Sunday, February 28, 2010

Long time a-comin'

So I was going through my camera and realized how many things I haven't blogged about! Big surprise, right? Anyways, here are a few pics off of my camera from the night Josh and I went to the RV show in Grand Rapids. I was not that thrilled to go to the RV show since I'm not really in the market to buy a camper or motorhome, but I ended up having a lot of fun! I couldn't believe the size of some of the motorhomes that were priced at $250M - I'm sure they were bigger than my first apartment! They had 3 LCD TVs and a washer and dryer!  Then, they had a few antique campers, too, which I enjoyed looking at. I snapped some pictures of some of the ones I liked:

This camper was made in the 1930's and had a wood burning stove. Josh's great grand parents had a similar one!

One of the first motorhomes ever made. It doesn't look anything like some of the diesel pushers we saw that night, but for the early 1900's it was luxurious!

For dinner, we decided to go to Yesterdog in Eastown. Josh and I had heard SO many good things, but never had been... They have an OLD cash register, so they only take cash, no checks or credit cards. Luckily, we were able to scrounge around for $8 and got 2 hot dogs each. Their saurkraut is DELICIOUS and the whole atmosphere is really fun. It's a really long, narrow store and it's retained much of the turn of the century charm that is unique to East Grand Rapids. Next time, we will definitely bring more cash so we can taste some of their other food!

Josh was checking out how far back it went. I LOVED the original barstools and long wooden bar!

Old advertisements have some of the best artwork and are such a snapshot of ideals of the time (haha that sounds like something a feminist or sociologist would say...)

They enourage you to write on the tables and seats, so I did!!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Empty Bowls

For the past 4 or 5 years (I think) the Ionia Middle School has put on a fundraiser for local area food pantries called Empty Bowls. This fundraiser also raises awareness of starvation and malnutrition around the world. For a $5 donation, you get to eat a bowl of soup, a roll, and a dessert. You also get to pick a clay bowl that is created by a middle or high school student. Throughout the night they have a live auction, silent auction, and a raffle. The event is largely student-run and organized by middle school students in the Brodcasting and Visual Arts classes. You can read more about their fundraising success here, in Ionia's newspaper. They had a banner year, raising over $2000 in cash! It might sound silly, but I'm very proud of what our community can do when it comes together, and I'm especially proud of the students that made it happen.

Here is the bowl that my brother picked for me. On the outside it looks like your average, everyday,  handcrafted clay bowl...

...but SURPRISE! This little guy greets you when you look inside!

Friday, February 26, 2010

"workin' for the weekend..."

I am SO excited about my weekend!! In about 20 minutes, I'm meeting Josh for a quick lunch and then I have the rest of the day off! I have a hair appointment scheduled (bangs or no bangs, that is the question...), I'm cleaning out my car, and then I'm headed to Royal Oak to see Jenna! We're having a nice sushi and wine dinner, getting dressed up (I scored a major deal at Target last night - $10 dress on clearance! It's kind of a bold print so we'll see if it looks ok according to Jenna), and then meeting Garrett for his birthday celebrations at Commune. I'm SO excited because I haven't seen Jenna since January 1st and I always have so much fun with her. She's my only sushi-loving friend! And I usually have fun with Garrett, too.

Unfortunately, Josh will not be joining me because tomorrow he begins 12 hour shifts at work. He has to be in Grand Rapids at 6am, which means he must leave his house before 5am. YUCK! So I'll be staying at his house all week until the 12 hour shifts are done. That way I can take care of Diesel : )

Sunday I'm heading to Bay City for the day. One of the girls I used to work with just found out her husband has a stage 4 brain tumor. There is a spaghetti dinner benefit at one of the local bars and I think it's going to be a lot of fun. Obviously, it's for a somber cause, but it's always great to raise money for people in need!

Anyways, I've scheduled a few posts to keep you entertained over the weekend and into next week. But my Sunday one already posted - oops! I hope you all have a weekend that is just as fabulous as mine!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Buy MY Stuff!

So... in light of me quitting my cushy bank job in about 4 months, I've decided to do something I never thought I'd agree to: I'm going to be one of those crazy jewelry ladies that hocks her stuff at your home parties. Yeah. I'm a little ashamed, but at the same time I'm pretty excited because I LOVE jewelry, especially big, bold, clunky, bright, fun jewelry.

Originally, I thought I'd go the Lia Sophia route, but after evaluating their marketing plans (at least that business degree was good for something) I've decided that's probably not the best company for me. So, I've decided to sell Premier Designs. Why? Well, there are a few reasons:
  1. There are absolutely no sales quotas. This was extremely important to me because I don't want to have to reach an unattainable goal while I'm doing my teacher assisting and student teaching. I'm afraid I'm going to be realllllly busy as it is!
  2. Premier jewelry is less expensive than Lia Sophia or Silpada. That was important to me because a lot of the people I know (family, cousins, school friends, etc..) don't want to spend an ungodly amount of money on jewelry, but they still want to look good. And they will!
  3. Their designs are the shit. Right now I think I'd wear about 75% of the catalog (the stuff I probably wouldn't wear is mostly gold, bracelets, or not chunky enough for me). They have an amazing turquoise necklace that I. Want. NOW. I'm hoping I can style myself in a way that will show people fun ways to wear the jewelry. Just call me Rachel Zoe. (Ha. Completely kidding!).
So, if you're in the market for some new jewelry at a fairly inexpensive cost (the average piece is priced is under $40) just let me know! My first party is in April and I can start booking shows immediately for any date after April 12th. Periodically, I may post some pics of pieces that I love. Wish me luck on this new business venture :)

Unfortunately, they don't have an online catalog so I can't direct you there to see some of their fun stuff. Here's the only picture I can get from their website:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Brain Dump!

Let me dig out from the mountains of homework I've been suffering under for the past week.... OK I'm out. Whew that was tough... and I see a 6 page paper looming in the not-so-distant future (AKA today and next week!). But I missed my lil blog- so here's a rundown of what I've been doing over the last week or so; a Brain Dump, if you will, of all of the little things I've wanted to blog about but haven't had a chance to:

Josh and I had a lot going on during the weekend of Feb 5-7:
I got stuck on a back country road by Josh's house when I was on my way to my grandma's house to visit. It was a horrible drifting mess and I shouldn't have even gone down that road. Does that make me scared to drive in winter? NOPE! Just makes me grateful for a boyfriend that will leave work to shovel my ass out (and only mention twice that I had on flats, not boots)

We went to the Auto Show in Grand Rapids. Yeah, it's a knock off of the big one in Detroit, but we didn't have a chance to make it down there. Josh is a car guy, I'm not so much a car girl. I did like looking at some of the Mercedes cars that I will never own, and spent some time drooling over the Dodge Journey. Josh actually may have convinced me that we need a 4-door Jeep Wrangler in the future. (I think I'm becoming more and more country as the days go by... I guess all I can do now is own up to it!)

We met up with some of my former and current coworkers at Hooters, because we're all very classy people. Sadly, I was the only girl drinking :( When I ordered my tall Blue Moon I was hoping that some others would follow suit, but I was left chugging that glorious mug of beer all alone. The wings were good and Josh and I discovered that we like deep fried pickle slices better than deep fried pickle spears. (OMG I was half-joking about becoming more country, but I think that last paragraph has enough 'country' in it to convert a sorority girl!)

Before we went to Hooters, we killed some time by doing some engagement ring looking. Since the only places open were chain stores, we looked at Jared and I found some designs I like. I'm pretty sure we're not going to go with them for the final bling, but it was nice to spend a little time looking at what was out there. So... I guess we're in the pre-engagement stage? This probably deserves a post dedicated completely to the visit, but I'm just not in the mood today. Here's a sneak peek at a top contender, although I think I'll have trouble finding it at an independent retailer

We had a lot of fun at Josh's friend's house for the Superbowl. Josh and I LOVED (read: completely devoured) the Buffalo Chicken Dip I made. Nobody else seemed to be as smitten with it, but that was fine with me because it just meant that Josh and I got to enjoy leftovers!

Diesel deserves, and will be getting, his own post soon - Once I get some new pictures taken and put on my computer. He's growing like a weed!! At his last vet visit 2 weeks ago he was over 23 pounds. One thing we've learned, and please don't call PETA on me, but my dog cannot hold his alcohol. How did we find out about this little gem of information? My sister gave him a drink of her Smirnoff a few weeks ago. He proceeded, a few minutes later, to leave a trail of pee alllll throughout Josh's friend's house. He was peeing like every five minutes. It was embarassing and I felt bad for my puppy. My sister is not a good Auntie. Then, this past Sunday, one of Josh's friends gave Diesel a drink of beer at the farm, even though I warned him of the consequence. Sure enough, history repeated itself. I wasn't the happiest, especially because I had to clean it up!

I passed my teacher certification tests!!! It was actually a relief. I was pretty confident about the English content area test, but the economics test made me want to strangle myself with a supply and demand graph. (is that even possible... ?) On the 5th I found out that I passed both! Luckily, they don't report scores, just a pass/fail grade. Regardless, I was beyond excited.

Mansfield Park - AKA The Book that is the Bane of My Existence. I don't know if it's the slow pace that we're taking while reading or if it's the subject matter or what, but GAH! I just want to skip to the end, fast forward through the life of Fanny Brice, and just find out whether or not she marries her damn cousin. (Spoiler alert: She does) I'm not impressed with Fanny as a character; I find her boring and judgmental. I like Mary Crawford because she's conniving and a little stuck up. She makes for a fun read. I'd much rather read 300 pages about her. Thank God we're done with this book now - next week we start Dubliners.

Along the lines of not likeing Mansfield Park, I'm still not getting to read any books I want!! GRRRR! I have yet to crack the spines on any of the books from the post I wrote a few weeks ago. It's frustrating to see interesting, new books sitting neglected on a shelf. I feel bad for them. I just want to scoop them up, hold them in my hands, and completely devour them (in a non-violent way, of course).

I discovered a rather pleasing little tidbit of info yesterday: One of my faves from my first year through college now has a blog! She's an English teacher in Virginia (a fabulous one, at that) and she writes daily about the 'roses' of her day. It's pretty encouraging for someone like me, who is getting ready to go into the teaching field, to hear about the good things in store for me. So many times I hear all about the unfun things - Tori's blog is a little bright spot for me! Go check it out:

OK- So I guess you're all caught up with what's been going on with me!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Hallmark Holiday Weekend

Ok, so I have a whole "Brain Dump" post in the works, but I'm also trying to eek out a draft of a paper before tomorrow, so this quick little mushy post will have to do for now. So sorry, I don't have any pictures either, because lately I have been much too busy to snap pics around the house. UGH! I only have 3 weeks of class til Spring Break and I am DEFINITELY looking forward to a quick break in the action!

Anyways... I'm NOT a Valentine's Day person. Yes, I tend to be a girly-girl, but I also tend to want to be 'different,' especially when it comes to mass-commercialized things including, but not limited to, Valentine's Day. I've been known to spend my single V-Days by myself at a movie, or treating myself to a pedicure. And I was completely fine with that. So, now that I'm in a relationship, I made sure Josh knew that I expected and wanted NOTHING for the pink-red-purple festival of loooove. (I'm not really as cynical as this sounds, but honestly, I'd much rather celebrate a day that actually means something to us as a couple, not just a day that was selected years and years ago for reasons that have been forgotten.) I made it clear to Josh that I did not want flowers of ANY KIND (I'm not a fan of roses - yes, they're pretty, but again, I like to be different. I want something that is unique. If I were to get flowers, I would want peonies or ranunculus or hydrangeas.) and I'm SO glad he listened to me :)

So, last week, I told Josh that we had a $5 budget for Valentine's Day. I told him all I really wanted was a card with something nice written inside by  him. I chose a nicely worded card and wrote a sweet note to him as well. But, the little sneak that he is, bought me something anyways. He thought he was supposed to, which was very sweet, but I honestly didn't want anything! So, what did he get me you ask? Only the MOST THOUGHTFUL GIFT EVER! I was almost moved to tears by the thoughtfulness of his gift. He filled in the gaps of the wine rack he got me for Christmas! And not only did he get me 4 new bottles of wine, he selected wine that actually had meaning! One bottle was my favorite Late Harvest Riesling from Chateau Grand Traverse, along with their Late Harvest Chardonnay, which he chose because it won the same award as the riesling. Josh knew how much I love that winery and wine and every time I see it at Meijer I swoon over how badly I want to go back! The other two bottles were from St. Julian's winery, which we visited last fall! It was our first and probably our only visit to a winery together and he chose a white, Niagara, and their Cherry Wine. He said he chose the cherry wine because it was made from Traverse City cherries, and he knows how much I love that town. I'm constantly campaigning for Josh to accompany me on a visit!

We planned on going to Soaring Eagle Casino for dinner with Josh's sister and her boyfriend on Friday night, which I said I would pay for. Then we were going to see a movie, which he would pay for. Well, we ended up scrapping the movie plan because of how late the show times were. It would put us back in Ionia wayyyy too late for Josh, who had to get up and work at 7am the next day. We all ate some YUMMY dinner and played some slots and had a good time. Saturday, Josh made me some filet mignon for lunch - one of the many perks of dating a farmer is that you have amazing cuts of meat stocking the freezer at all times! It was so nice to have a quiet afternoon together, even though all we did was homework. Saturday night we hung out with my mom and step-dad for a little bit and watched the Olympics. Sunday we went with Josh's parents to take his grandma out to lunch at Lamplight Grill in Ionia. They had a prime rib smorgasboard which was good, but not nearly as good as Josh's filet the day before :)

All in all, I'd have to say that my non-traditional Valentine's Day-Weekend was one of the best I've had. I cannot wait to drink my wine that was so thoughtfully selected, although I know Josh won't drink it with me!

(Oh- PS: After I saw that Josh got me something, I ran out to Wal-Mart and got him Couples Retreat because he had been talking about how he wanted that movie when it came out. So, I'm not a completely selfish girlfriend!)

I hope everyone celebrated (or didn't celebrate) in whatever way they wanted - that's what it's all about!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Superbowl Snack!!

I FINALLY found a recipe for what I'm going to take to Josh's friend's Superbowl  party! I originally wanted to make Cake Balls in the shape of little footballs, but sadly I'm afraid I have a super busy weekend and don't have enough time to devote to these oh-so-cute little bite sized beauties. Especially since it's my first time making them, I wanted to make sure I had enough time to account for mistakes so I don't end up with a footblob:

But last night as I was searching through my saved online recipes, a new blog that I've been following posted a recipe that made me exclaim with delight!! My mom told me about all of the yummy recipes she found at  Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes and I have to say that the three things I've made/eaten were delicious! So, are you all dying to know what I'm making Sunday?? No? Well, too bad, because you're about to find out anyways!


Doesn't that look so yummy!! I'm excited for the low-cal option amongst all of the nacho-cheesy/meatball/bean dip calorie laden buffet, plus the easy recipe is SO easy I don't think I can screw it up! I'll share it below, but you should check out Gina's for some other delicious meals!

Lighter Buffalo Chicken Dip
Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 11 • Serving Size: 1/2 cup • Calories: 111 Points: 2.75 ww points
  • 4 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup fat free sour cream
  • 1/2 cup Franks hot sauce (or whatever hot sauce you like)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 cups cooked shredded chicken
Mix the first 4 ingredients together until smooth. Add the chicken and put this in the crock pot on low for 3-4 hours. Serve warm. Makes 5 1/2 cups.

Yeah, it's THAT simple! Which makes it all the more delicious!! Is anyone else making special snack to watch the game?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bookworm.. (I wish!)

The past few days (weeks, months) in Michigan have been so dreary! We've barely seen the sun and the temperature hasn't risen over 32 degrees for more than about two days. It's days like these that make me wish that all I had to do in a day was curl up with a nice blanket (maybe a Snuggie? bahaha) next to a fireplace and read. What's on my reading list, you ask? Well.... a lot, actually. (My images are all from Amazon, so disregard that 'click to look inside' along the top of the books... if you want to look inside, go to Amazon.)

I bought this book and started reading it, but something about the way the first few chapters are written has left me unimpressed... so it's now sitting next to my bed, untouched.

I'm hoping to give it another chance when my class-require reading dies down, but for now, it's just not doing it for me.

I got the entire Ruby Oliver trilogy from the library, but I only had time to read one. I read the first installment this weekend and thought it was great! It's a young adult book so I breezed through it pretty quickly, and I could see how any teenage girl would like the character of Ruby and relate to her problems. I'm excited to start reading the rest of the series by E. Lockhart.

Sunday I went to Barnes & Noble in Holland as I was waiting for my brother's Honor's All Star band concert to start. I picked up three books from the "Buy 2 get 1 free" table, and another from the $2 clearance rack! 4 books for under $30 isn't too bad, if you ask me! I can't wait to get my hands on each of them!
I've already read this book, but it's the only book my little brother will read, so I think it'll be good to have in my 'teacher collection' for those male reluctant readers I'm sure to encounter.

For some reason (maybe because I have an odd mind) I like reading about the Mormom faith and their accounts of polygamy. I find it fascinating because it's so foreign to me. This is based on a real account of one of Brigham Young's wives, intertwined with a modern day murder plot. I think it's going to be really interesting.

I loved Allen's first novel, Garden Spells, so when I saw her second novel on the table I HAD to have it. She writes with such imagery and inventive and whimsical storylines. The first book was a fun read and I have no doubts that this will be anything less.

(Carrie- I think you have this book?) Anita Shreve is a great author and when I saw her book on the $2 shelf I figured I might as well grab it. From what I've read, the book isn't getting great reviews, but I kind of don't care. I think it will be a good read regardless of what the critics say.

So, have you read any of these books? Do you have any other recommendations for me?