Monday, November 24, 2014


People. This weekend = WHOA.

It was electric. And WONDERFUL.

Saturday started BRIGHT (read: dark) and EARLY for Hubs and I so we could get to the best race around:

I seriously look forward to this race EVERY SINGLE YEAR. It's a beautiful course (albeit, HILLY), and the atmosphere is always so positive and upbeat.

Plus, there's a retired military man at the end waiting to give you a hot cup of red beans and rice straight from his GIANT cauldron:


Red beans & rice make an epic breakfast-slash-post race meal on a cold day. I cannot talk about this race ENOUGH!

Not to mention -- need I say it? -- CAKE!

There was CAKE at the end! DELICIOUS half-chocolate, half-yellow cake! Be still my ever-loving HEART.

BONUS POINTS: This was Hubs' first 12K -- and he ROCKED it.

((I believe this was somewhere around mile 4. Still smiling!))

Saturday was off to a pretty amazing start. Fast forward to a few hours later, and we're hobbling around our apartment (hills = sore hips, quads, toes, EVERYTHING) while watching a Hallmark movie. I'm addicted. I'll be the first to admit it.

All the Hallmark Christmas Movie lovers say YEAAAAAHHH!!!

So here we are, Hubs propped up in our recliner, me on the couch - and we start talking about the Mississippi State game that was scheduled for Saturday night, and how fun it would be to go to a game one day. Seeing as how I've never been to a State game (or any SEC game), this sounds like a GRAND idea and decided THIS HAD TO HAPPEN TODAY.

So around 1pm, we decided "WHY NOT" and jumped (read: rolled/crawled) into the car and headed to Starkville. (We HAD to finish that Hallmark movie, after all)


Quite possibly the most spontaneous thing we've ever done.

And off we went to see the Bulldogs. Well, the Lord smiled on us that night because we were able to find some pretty nice seats as soon as we arrived. AND my insane fear of heights gave me only a medium-sized panic attack (as opposed to paralyzed fear) as we were climbing the steps.

Please feel free to chuckle when I tell you that an 80-year-old woman fared better than I did with the heights and sent her husband to help me. It was a sight :)

But let me tell you. The atmosphere was electric, and it was SUCH a great experience. The team played SO WELL, energy filled the stadium, and there were COWBELLS galore. GALORE.

Plus, I mean --- that score? Epic.*

I even got a new shirt out of the deal :)


We arrived home at 1am, worn out, sore, but oh-so-elated. I absolutely love weekends like this - so busy, but fun and memorable. Here's to many more spontaneous weekends in the future!

Happy Monday Party People!

*State won over Vanderbilt 51-0.

#HailState :)



Friday, November 21, 2014



I seriously cannot WAIT to get this weekend started --- I have a feeling it may involve some MAJOR fun times...but more on that later because SUSPENSE.

But most importantly....


I have a feeling that THIS is the thing that will, in fact, break the Internet.

I'm pretty sure I've watched this approximately 47 times in the past 8 hours. I'm not proud of how many times I watched it yesterday.

But THIS MOVIE! The first one is for sure one of my favorites EVER --- and while I'm always skeptical of sequels....I'm REALLY pumped for this one.

I mean --- couldn't you just listen to a cappella "CUPS" forever? Gorgeous.

...maybe while sitting around a fire roasting marshmellows?

And don't get me started on my girl crush on Elizabeth Banks. Fantastic actress and producer --- now director.

"They HATE us!" "The whole WORLD!"

Oh, and....

"She actually speaks EIGHT languages, but 'loser' is not one of them."

I'll likely be quoting this for awhile. Come onnnnnnn May 2015!


Have you TRIED these????? (< Chandler voice! Because my life is filled with "Friends" references)

My new obsession. I have NO IDEA why I am JUST NOW putting peppermint in my coffee. NO IDEA!!!!

What else am I missing out on in this world????

That's it! I'm out! Happy Friday!!!!!!

"Crushed it."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

12 weeks = CHECK.

Folks, we made it.

We've reached the 12-week mark and our 5am boot camp IS OVER!

No more 4:12 a.m. alarms!

No more 4:20 a.m. alarms!

I can SLEEP until 6:30 a.m. again!

...or 7:20, but who's counting?

We made it. It's over and YAY-YEAH!

I'll admit, it was tough. Especially around the 7- to 8-week mark, when we had a good bit behind us but the end was still so far away. But I'm so glad we did this. Really, I am. I feel so much better than I did when we started this thing on Labor Day. Like I've mentioned before, I've done this program a couple of times in the past, and each time it's been a huge challenge both mentally and physically. But to be honest? I've never regretted it.

Even the mornings that were the hardest to get up and go -- the mornings our whole team knew would be some of the hardest -- after the workout was over, I was so glad I had this opportunity. It's literally one of the hardest things I've ever done physically (they may not say much about my sense of adventure ;) ), but I'm so thankful we made it!!!!!

I really do wish I had some hard-core pictures of us working it out over the past few weeks - but we leave everything behind once we hit the field (read: no phones). Plus, pictures would not have been pretty anyway --- I don't know anyone who looks exactly radiant at 5 a.m. ;)

So here's a funny picture of a really, really excited cat instead!

Ok so here's some happenings as of LATELY....

one. Hubs and I are on a soup kick - so we're basically experimenting with every soup known to man thanks to this freakishly cold weather. Our top pick so far?

The Pioneer Woman's Potato Soup!

So. Much. Goodness.

I used turkey bacon and cut the recipe in half for the two of us and WOW. I'll take this with a side of Texas Toast any day!

two. Who's listening to Christmas music already? The way I see it, the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is MUCH shorter than usual this year, so I say BRING IT.

Although Hubs cannot even fathom putting up the tree until AFTER Thanksgiving (understandable...I guess). So meanwhile I'll just keep listening to Michael Buble on repeat.


three. Nutella Hot Chocolate happened in my kitchen a few nights ago.

I'm just gonna let that sink in for a minute.

Oh yeah, it's a thing. Check out the recipe on the "Beautiful Mess" blog :)

Topped with homemade whipped cream and chocolate shavings from THIS DELICIOUSNESS???

It was a wonderful night. Promise me you'll try it sometime, okay? Just say yes :)

four. OH! And HERE'S a funny story:::::: We're going to run a 12k on Saturday!

The last time I was sprinting running I almost threw up. True story.

The sad thing is, I never caught up to the taco truck :(



five. Please tell me you've seen THIS VIDEO of Jimmy Fallon lip synch battling with JGL and Stephen Merchant. PUH-LEASE. If not, DOOWITNOW.

Aaaaaaaand THIS ONE of Jimmy and Kevin Hart riding a roller coaster. I giggled A LOT.

That's all for now, people! Happy Wednesday!!!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Dance Your Cares Away....

Happy Wednesday Party People!

For the past few months, I've told myself that if I can make it to Wednesday night, then I can FOR SURE make it through the rest of the week. Wednesdays start around 4 a.m. and end around 11 p.m. over here, and once my head hits the pillow I know that there's only one more crazy morning workout ahead of me before I can coast through to Friday!

And folks, it's mid-afternoon here on Wednesday, and so far, so good!

In other news, a few days ago our neighbors' Bassett Hound tried to follow me on my walk and gave me the sweetest Bassett Hound kisses known to man, and now my puppy fever is at an OFFICIAL all-time high.

You may reference THIS POST to get a glimpse of when said fever began.

We're in an apartment right now, but maybe ONE DAY we'll have a place with yard and - let's face it - YARDS NEED PUPPIES and that, my friends, will be a situation to be remedied :)




A couple of days ago, I found a clip of FREAKAZOID (<- FREAKAZOID! Can you believe it?! I'm so excited I had to alternate between bold print and italics!) on YouTube and CRACKED UP at the memories that it brought back. My brother and I used to watch this A LOT when we were younger, and when I sent it to him he pretty much flipped out as well.

PLEASE tell me you know what (and WHOM) I am referring to!

It's what Saturday mornings were made of.

Not to mention, Looney Tunes, TINY Tunes, Garfield, and so many more.

It wasn't long before Hubs and I started YouTube-ing all kinds of shows we remembered when we were younger.

For instance....

DUCK TALES, anyone?


LaunchPad was my favorite.
Even though back then I thought his name was LunchBox.

...I always was a fan of food, you see.




...and TALESPIN!!!!

Ohhhhh EEEEE-AAAYY!!!!
Oooohhh EEEE-OHHHH!!!!!!

Aaaaahhhhhh....those were the days. Kids today just don't know what they're missing. I miss good TV like this!

Okay folks, what did I miss? What shows did you watch when you were younger?

Wheeeeeere did he go???
That Invisiboooooo!!!!!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Hot 'n' Spicy Outlaw Chili

Iiiiiiiiiiiiiit's NEW RECIPE TIME!

The evening (and early-morning) temps are dropping - making it the perfect weather for this Hot & Spicy Outlaw Chili. Hubs and I tried this over the weekend and we both agreed it was a success :)

Despite my smokey photography skillzzzzzz.

But first! A backstory.

About a month or so ago, my office had a day of friendly food competition. People divided up into teams, chose a food and theme, then had half of a workday to decorate an area of the office and prep their food (the aroma was incredible). Then, everyone in the office had the chance to walk around and sample each food and vote for our favorites.

It was a delicious day, indeed.

So delicious that I had to collect a few recipes here and there, as well. This chili being one of them.

Side note: When asked about the "Outlaw" part of the name, the sweet ladies on the team simply responded: "Because it's so hot, it should be illegal!"

Please also note that they were dressed in lady cowboy hats and vests as they said this, as well.

They were just too cute.

I usually use lean ground turkey meat when I make chili (see my recipe here!), but this time I opted for lean ground beef since the original was sooooo good when I tried it at work.

There is no doubt in my mind that this was the ultimate supper to warm us up on a cold weekend night. ESPECIALLY since we topped our chili with cheese, sour cream, and FRITOS!

PLEASE tell me this brings back everyone else's memories of Frito Chili Pie as a child! This dish DEFINITELY took me back to the days of junior high where we'd walk after school to the tiny little diner across the street to get $2 Frito Chili Pies after school.

And there we'd devour them with pink lemonade until our moms could come pick us up.

...around the corner.

Because that's what all the cool kids did. AND STILL DO!***

Now go make somebody (and your tummy) happy and MAKE THIS!


Hot 'n' Spicy Outlaw Chili
courtesy of the sweet ladies' team at work :)
Feeds 4-6 hungry folks

What you'll need:
2 lbs. ground beef (I used 80% lean)                                                   
1 tbsp garlic powder                                 
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can diced Ro-tel Tomatoes
1 or 2 cans Bush’s Chili Hot Beans
1 can of red kidney beans
3 heaping T. chili powder                                           
2 heaping T. ground cumin
½ - 1 tsp cayenne pepper (more if you’re brave)     
1 tsp oregano
1 can of low-sodium beef stock
1/2 cup of water (or more, depending on your preference of consistency)
1 large onion, diced
Salt and black pepper to taste

What you'll do:
Saute onions in a small amount of oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven until they are clear and tender.  Then add ground beef, and cook until browned.  Add garlic powder and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute.  Drain well and dab excess grease with a paper towel.  Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for ~ 2 hours. Check occasionally, and if the consistency is too clumpy, add more water 1/4 cup at a time - until you reach your preferred consistency.*

*I prefer my chili a little soupy, but not watery. So add water (or not) until your heart's desire. It's up to you!

***That tiny little diner is STILL there! Still in business and infested with tons of junior high kids every day. Memoriessssssss.....

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Tacos that Changed My Life

This is a story about the most AHHH-mazing tacos I've ever shoved in my face.

This is ALSO a story that could be alternately titled, "The Shadiest Little Taco Stand EVER."

...but I didn't want this post to have a negative connotation.

But let's continue :)

A few weeks back, when Hubs and I were hanging out in Folly Beach, we scheduled a kayak trip around the marsh at sunset.

It was glorious. We listened to the oysters "pop", saw a couple of jellyfish (eeesh), and watched some dolphins start feeding just a few feet from us.

Our tour guide, Kate, was the best. She guided us on our first trip last year, and we couldn't help but request her again. She's a local so we knew we could count on her to give us some not-so-touristy tips for the area.

And oh, did she deliver. She was the one that suggested we hike to the Morris Island Lighthouse not far from where we were staying, and THEN gave us a heads-up on a little-known taco shack around the corner whose tacos {serious quote:} "CHANGED. MY. LIFE, DUDE!!!!"

{Kate is everything you'd expect from an outdoorsy, life-loving, energetic surfer girl.}

Now, if you know Hubs and I, it really doesn't take much to convince us to try some kind of new food. We love to explore and try weird things and then gauge on a scale of 1 to 10 how sick we feel afterward.

I may be kidding on that last part.

We barely loaded our kayaks before Hubs looked at me and said, "We've GOT to try these tacos."

So off we went. The place was a few blocks off of the main strip, but still very much walking distance from our hotel. The lighting was not great (we passed it up at first), and it was right across the street from a very....questionable looking grocery-slash-convenience store.

In other words, it was one of the shadiest looking places I've ever seen.

At first.

The door was blocked by some junk old furniture, and the one window of the place was closed. There were lights on inside, but we didn't see any people. The small crowd (read: 8 people) on the patio (read: at the tiny bar) was the only indication that this place was, in fact, open.

Since I'm being honest, I must tell you that we actually walked away at this point. We were a little freaked out by the small gathering outside of the creepy grocery-slash-convenience store and the lack of lighting for the next walking mile or so that suddenly we weren't so hungry anymore.

But yet, we were. So very, very hungry. And if these tacos really changed our dear Kate's life ---- well then, we had no choice but to try it. For Kate's sake, of course ;)

So back we went. We approached the bar and chatted with the surfer guy that was working and found out there were three things on his menu: chicken tacos, pork tacos, and shark tacos.

Yep. SHARK tacos.

As in JAWS, if you weren't paying attention.

I went with two pork, Hubs opted for one of each.

As for drinks? Two options.

Beer, and water from "that jug in the back," as I lovingly deemed it.

It was QUITE entertaining. So here we are. hanging out with the 8 other customers, waiting for our tacos and jug water and wondering just what we were about to experience.

And let me tell you...Kate was right.

These really were the best tacos with which I have ever stuffed my pie hole.

EVER, people.

Apparently, surfer dude (who turns out, was/is the owner) marinates and cooks the meat alllll daaaay lonnng with all sorts of dreamy seasonings and APPLES. APPLES! It gives the meat a nice sweet flavor unlike any other I've had. We even had little apple slices on top!

I even tried the Mister's shark taco, and it was actually really good! Just like a regular white fish taco - only AWESOME.

This was NOT a fancy place - but we LOVED it, and we loved how NOT crowded it was. Fun fact: half of the people that were there were actually part of the band that started playing once we got our food. It turned out to be a great, laid back atmosphere (no crowds!) with excellent food that was perfect right after a two-hour kayaking trip.

I'm pretty sure these tacos really did change my life.


With that said, if you ever find yourself in the Folly Beach area, go for a kayak tour of the marsh (ask for Kate!) and then hit up Chico Feo (pronounced: cheee - koh fayy-ohh). You won't regret it!

Unless you hit up that shady grocery-slash-convenience store across the road. Then I can't make any guarantees for your enjoyment.

Happy Friday party people!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Allllllll About that Bass it's in YOUR HEAD too!!!!

I already liked this song (<- anybody dancing right now?), but I've been singing it ALL DAAAAY LONNG today because the CMA Awards are tonight - and MIRANDA is singing this with Meghan Trainor!

Normally I'm not fond of pop crossing into my country...but at this point Miranda can do no wrong so I say BRING IT!

In all honesty, I wrote a post LAST WEEK - an oh-so-LOVELY post, at that - featuring a fantastic fall dish that I love and adore: Turkey and White Bean Chili. However, once I finished going on and ON and ONNNNN about said chili, I realized that I'd ALREADY POSTED THAT RECIPE and it was therefore POINTLESS for me to post the exact same thing about a year later!

I just felt like I needed to confess that to you. Glad THAT's off my chest. I feel MUCH better. I'm glad we had this talk.

So TODAY I'm absolutely PUMPED because A) this morning's Workout ROCKED and my calves are CRAZY SORE, B) COUNTRY MUSIC, and C) I'm FINALLY starting to conquer the BEAST that is my job.


And maybe a little bit because of THIS:

AY KAY AY, the BIGGEST COFFEE I've ever seen. EVER.

Although, if we're being QUITE honest, we all KNOW I've only drunk about half a cup out of this. I've said it before, but my system just won't let me have more than that!

Yet I'm STILL feelin' the jitters!

Aaaaaaaand I'm feeeeeelinnnnnn'.......GOOOOOOOOOOOOD......

{click me!}


I've been STRUGGLING with various parts of my job for awhile now. I knew going into a new field meant a learning curve but WHOOOOOOOO has it been a doozy!!!!

But you know WHAT????

Today marked SUCCESS for this girl.

Even if it's only a small success in the grand scheme of things, it's a big deal TODAY!!!

Crazy Complicated Web Program = 0
This Girl = 1

That, combined with the fact that a co-worker gave me an AWESOME new recipe today, is a cause for celebration!!!!!

I want to go home and fry chicken and make mashed potatoes and biscuits and pull out ALL OF THE STOPS and just celebrate!!!!!

However, tomorrow is weigh-in day at The Workout - so I'll probably just go eat some vegetables.

But I WILL leave you with this ROCKIN' celebratory playlist instead!!!!!!

Happy Wednesday errrr-body!!!!! Friday is ALMOST HERE!!!!!!

Happy Day Playlist

You Make My Dreams - Hall & Oates
Build Me Up Buttercup - The Foundations
Jump in the Line - Harry Belafonte
Sweet Caroline - Neil Diamond ("IIIIII love Neil Diamond!!!")
Uncaged - Zac Brown Band
The Wind - Zac Brown Band
All About that Bass - Meghan Trainor (you KNEW that was coming)
Any Way You Want It - Journey

p.s. Fingers crossed for an AMAZING new recipe soon!!!! #experiments