April 18, 2016

Regular programming continues next week

I know I just said I was back... But the FDIC is in town this week. That's the Fire Department Instructor Conference. So Indianapolis is being overrun by firefighters from all over the world. And well, it's my civic duty to be a good Hoosier and show them around. So I will be back next week!


April 11, 2016

Under Construction

It's been a minute (about a year and six months worth) since I've blogged and I've missed it so much! Just about everyday I have the thought, "that would make a great blog post!" So don't worry, I've got plenty of ideas coming!

So if you visited these parts before, you will notice the blog got a bit of a facelift. Kelsey at Kreated by Kelsey installed my new blog template and I've got some new pages created. During this time off, my life has changed, so I thought my blog needed to change too. I will still be blogging about my crazy life, but now it will include dating & life in Indianapolis.

A lot has happened in the past year and half. I finished grad school! (Yay me!) After spending 2 years in grad school in Indianapolis, I fell in love with the city. So much so, I was lucky enough to find a job here. The perfect job! So now I am permanently stationed here in Naptown.

But unfortunately, some not so great things happened over this past year. My 4 year long distance relationship with B ended dramatically and unexpectedly. We were planning our lives together... Marriage, kids. And now all of that is gone. It's been very hard to swallow that fact and there are a lot of days I'm still mad at him about everything and a lot of days I just want to cry because he isn't there anymore.

I also lost a friend I have known over 10 years to Berger's disease. Berger's is a disease where clots form in the medium sized arteries in your body. Risk factors include being a woman, being on birth control pills, being overweight and inactive, and being a smoker. Missy B had just turned 34 when she lost her battle. It was unexpected for me since I haven't been in touch with her as much over the years. And I think losing touch with her made her death even harder for me. But my heart broke for her husband which I also have known over 10 years (we all met working at a grocery store years and years ago). I stood next to her when she said her vows to him after 7 years of dating. She loved him so much and I just couldn't picture either without the other.

While I love being in Indianapolis, I have also realized how alone I am. Without my family. Without my childhood, high school, and college friends. Without a significant other. I've started dating again (which is more entertaining than productive), and have made great friends at work. But I've realized just how independent I am and can be. Realized how much I've accomplished on my own. And realize more than ever what it is I'm looking for in life.

So for now, just like me, this blog is under construction. I want blogging to be a part of my life because I love writing and sharing my knowledge, advice, and ridiculous stories. So check back often. Or just subscribe by email! Because I've got more coming!

October 22, 2014

What to buy at the Dollar Tree

As a grad student, I'm on a very VERY tight budget. But I think these days everyone feels the crunch in the financial department. So for people with a shopping obsession (ahem, me), the Dollar Tree can be a great place! 


Not everything at the Dollar Tree is high quality or good buys. So I'm here speaking from experience on what to buy at the DT! 

Containers


I've been able to organize nearly the whole apartment with containers and baskets from the DT. Not only do they come in every single color, they come in many shapes and sizes as well. These are also great for making gift baskets. 

This also includes Tupperware! Especially if you're like me and leave leftovers in your fridge for weeks (or months, eek). If you've only spent $1 on a 2-pack of Tupperware, you won't regret throwing the container away as much as you would washing out whatever is growing inside.  And I've bought ice trays for me & Bobby from here and we both agree they are the best! The ice cubes are huge and they pop out so easily every.single.time. 

Cleaners


Why spend $3 for a bottle of windex or Lysol? You can find good quality cleaning items for just a buck. This includes bleach, sponges, brushes, spray bottles, and dusting cloths. 

Beware: Read labels closely and know what chemicals you are using in your household. I know some of the toilet bowl refreshers are absolute garbage. 


Pet items


If you live in an apartment and need to purchase poop bags, you know that Walmart and Target charge around $5-6 for 150 bags. Bags to hold poop! Start getting your bags at the DT. I've noticed the colored bags are thicker and nicer. 


And dog toys galore! If you have a group like mine, they are going to destuff most of their toys in 2.5 seconds anyway, so why spend a ton on anything they are just going to tear up? The DT carried waterproof and stuff-less toys in addition to tennis balls, frisbees, and ropes. 

Beware: not all of the dog treats are high quality. I would not buy anything that doesn't say "made in the USA". But personally, my dogs love the boxes of cheap dog biscuits! 


Seasonal items. 


Dollar Tree always carries a good selection of decorations for each season. I love changing my decor for every holiday - and not just the big ones like Halloween and Christmas. Everyone can have a festive house with these prices! 

Cards

I love snail mail and sending cards. But geez, why are most cards $3+?! Get your cards at the DT for any occasion for 2/$1! I pride myself on always being able to find the perfect card. Not all of the cards at the DT are gems and it may take awhile to find the perfect one, but you will save a ton of money if you like to send cards. 

Party supplies.

Dollar Tree has a huge selection of balloons, streamers, banners, plates, and napkins and in every single color. They also have a big selection of children themed items. Parties don't have to be a money suck! 

School supplies.

 
Back to school time doesn't have to break your bank account! You can find all kinds of school supplies at the DT. I love pens and always have one in my scrub pocket (and sometimes end up losing them), so picking up a pack at the Dollar Tree is convenient and affordable. 

They also have lots of items for teachers or stay at home moms like books, activities, coloring books, and puzzles. 

Makeup


Now this section can be hit or miss, but you can find name brand items like Essie, Physician's Formula, and Maybelline.  I mean, check out the price on that Aziza eye shadow - $3.95

I love getting nail polishes from here because I am a polish picker and can't justify spending $6 on a small bottle of polish that I'm just going to pick off my nails in a few days. I love the quick dry clear coats. There is always a good selection of manicure items. 

---------
These are just some of my favorite sections at the Dollar Tree. But note, every store carries a little bit different inventory. The one closest to your house may not have a good pet section, but the one on the way home from work does. So definitely check out multiple stores around you! 

As far as food goes at the Dollar Tree, I would definitely be wary. A lot of things are out of date or stale, but you can find a few name brand items like RiceARoni and Gatorade. 

What do you buy from the Dollar Tree?


All the yellow leaves!

It's no secret - I LOVE FALL. Growing up in Alabama, we only got true fall for a few weeks. True hoodie weather didn't last long and the leaves changed colors very quickly. This year in Indiana, I haven't had to run the AC or the heat for nearly a MONTH! Hoodies everyday and fall colors everywhere! 


Also in the South, we had pumpkin patches, but no apple orchards. Last year we visited one and got the best apple cider and apple donuts. So this year we went to Tuttle Farms that had u-pick apple orchard and u-pick pumpkin patch. The day was dreary and a little chilly, but we still got more cider and more apple donuts. 


You can tell Bobby loves taking pictures with me #reallynotreally. 

What do you love about fall? 


October 16, 2014

When you turn 31

And your boyfriend has to work. And your best friend that had planned to visit nearly broke her ankle. So what do you do? You do what any sane post-30 girl would do for your birthday... 

Start your morning with Cake Boss coffee - vanilla buttercream of course. 


Then order a pizza and pick up a free cupcake! 


So when I turned 31 last weekend, I called in a takeout order for pizza and drive to the nearest Flying Cupcake. But of course Duke wanted to go too. 


My free birthday cupcake was none other than the "it's my birthday" kind and it was fabulous. 


And because calories don't count on your birthday and your boyfriend isn't there to gripe about pineapple being on your pizza, you can get all the ham, bacon, cheese and pineapple you want.

I caught up on my DVR and snuggled with my puppies. #perfectweekend 


This weekend the boyfriend is in town and he is turning 30! So we have a weekend of hockey, apple picking, and Gone Girl planned! 

 


October 14, 2014

Easy Beefy BBQ Biscuits

So I bought some beef and then I needed a quick, easy way to make dinner.  I was hungry and didn't feel like waiting an hour for something or 4 hours for a crockpot recipe. So I made this: 


Don't you love how all my recipes say "easy" in the title? I mean it.  This one only needs 5 ingredients and 20 minutes. 

First brown a pound of ground beef. I like to mix in a little bit if minced onion for extra flavor. If you wanna go all crazy and cut fresh onion, I'm sure you could do that. 

Once the beef is cooked and drained, add half a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce. I used Sweet Baby Ray's Sweet and Spicy! 


Leave the BBQ beef on low heat while you spread ten refrigerated biscuits in a well-greased muffin pan. I flattened each one a little bit before molding into the tin but they mold really easily. Make sure you use a regular can with 10 biscuits. 


Spoon some of the beefy BBQ mixture into the biscuit cups and sprinkle with cheese. Then clean up the cheese that missed the cups because you don't wanna waste any - or clean up burnt cheese. 


Place in a 300 degree preheated oven for 10 minutes and you're done! 


INGREDIENTS
1 lb ground beef 
Teaspoon of minced onion 
Half a bottle of BBQ sauce 
Can of refrigerated biscuits (regular 10 count) 
1 cup shredded cheese 

DIRECTIONS
1. Brown ground beef with minced onion. 

2. Drain grease and add BBQ sauce. Leave on low heat. 

3. Spread biscuits into a well-greased muffin pan molding dough into cups. 

4. Spoon BBQ beef mixture into cups. 

5.  Sprinkle each cup with shredded cheese. 

6. Bake for 10 minutes at 300 degrees. 



October 6, 2014

Keurig 2.0 Hack

So you got the new Keurig 2.0 (against my advice) and you have gotten the dreaded "Oops" message. You have either tried to use a Keurig K-cup that is a few months old or a generic cup that used to always work in your Keurig brewer. I am here to help you and provide you with a very easy Keurig 2.0 Hack. You're welcome. 


You will need a new Keurig brand K-cup that has the rim of white around the edge and some type of cutting tool. I couldn't find a box cutter so I used a kitchen knife. Don't judge me. 


Cut just the label off the K-cup. I used a brew-your-own generic cup to put the coffee from the new k-cup - no waste! 


Tape the new k-cup label to the top of your Keurig 2.0 so the needle goes through the center of the label. This may take some trial and error to get it perfect. 


I used basic tape and made sure it was held very well to hold up through multiple uses. The 2.0 "reads" the label so as long as the label is where the machine can read it, it will work! 


I have been able to brew multiple cups of any type using this hack. It will take a little more push to close the top, but as long as you're careful the label will stay on. 

This hack also let's you get hot water without holding the brew button down. Don't put a KCup in the machine and you can change the ounces just like you would when you brew but just get hot water!


Brew away!! 

If you like this hack, make sure to share it with your friends! And if you have any questions please message me! 

September 21, 2014

Easy Mornin' Yogurt Parfait

If you're anything like me, you hit the snooze a few (thousand) times every morning. Which leaves no time to sit at my dining room table reading the paper, enjoying my coffee, and eating my breakfast. Pretty much everyday I am grabbing my breakfast on the way out the door and eating it in the car. 

I wanted something new and easy to enjoy for breakfast, so I concocted these yogurt parfaits with just 3 simple ingredients. And it gave me a use for those small souvenir cups! I make them at night and have breakfast in the morn!


I have a lot of these small souvenir cups so I like using them, but I would also recommend just using the classic red solo cup. #easycleanup

I put 2 spoonfuls of yogurt at the bottom of the cup and add frozen berries on top. You can choose any fruit you want and can even use fresh fruit.  I chose a vanilla yogurt because I don't like that plain or Greek stuff and frozen blueberries & strawberries that I have in the freezer all the time. 


I added 3 more spoonfuls of yogurt on top of the berries and then covered the cup with foil to keep in the fridge overnight. 


In the morning, I will grab my pre-made cup, add granola to the top of it, grab a spoon, stir, and eat it in the car. The granola I used was actually in the cereal aisle at ALDI and I love it! 


Warning: if you have super sensitive teeth, the frozen berries are not completely thawed overnight. You can prevent this by just using fresh fruit, or do like I do and suck it up and allow biting into half-frozen fruit to give you a real wake up call. 

INGREDIENTS
Any flavor yogurt (5 spoonfuls) 
Fresh or frozen fruit 
1/2 cup granola 

DIRECTIONS
1. In a small cup, add 2 spoonfuls of yogurt. 

2. Add fresh or frozen fruit on top of yogurt. 

3. Add 3 spoonfuls of yogurt on top of fruit. 

4. Cover with aluminum foil and keep in fridge overnight or for 1 day. 

5. Before eating, add granola to top. 

6. Stir and enjoy! 



Keurig original K45 vs. 2.0

I've had the single brew Keurig original K45 for about 8 months. I love how convenient it is and all the things you can make with it (coffee, iced coffee, hot cocoa, cider, tea, iced lemonade, etc). When Influenster asked me to be part of the #HelloKeurig campaign and sent me the new Keurig 2.0, I was beyond excited. 


Today I want to share the pros & cons of the 2.0 when compared to the original K45. 

PROS
- bigger water tank 

- 10 brew sizes (vs. 3 with the K45) 
- can brew a carafe (4 cups)
- colored touchscreen & water lighting 
- stainless steel plate stays warm 


CONS
- larger unit means more counter space needed
- stainless steel fingerprints 

- the k-carafe doesn't even fit on the tray 

- the oops message 

The oops message is shown when you are not using one of the updated k-cups or ANY off-brand cup. The 2.0 uses a new technology that reads the new labels of your k-cup or k-carafe to brew the perfect cup. This means you can't brew your own coffee or use the older k-cups that do not have the new labels. I personally have a stock of about 80 Keurig brand k-cups that will not work in the 2.0. 


I think the fact the Keurig is trying to ensure you only use their products is kinda rude. And the fact that when you buy the new system, you have to make sure you buy the new compatible k-cups too is just a rip-off. How long until stores actually have replaced all the older k-cups so you don't get stuck with a box of the older ones? I know I tried to buy a box of Keurig brand k-cups from the Cake Boss Cafe in NYC (I mean, have you seen their flavors?!) and they didn't have the updated k-cups yet. #fail 

So in my personal opinion, unless you just NEED the ability to brew a pot, I would save your money and get the original brewer. It can use ANY k-cup, including generics, and still has 3 brew sizes. 

I received this product gratis from I flue after, but these opinions are my own. 

September 18, 2014

#HelloKeurig

As most of you have seen around blog land, Influenster and Keurig teamed up and sent out 1k of the new Keurig 2.0's for people to test. And I was one of the lucky ones! 


I already had a single cup Keurig, so I have been enjoying the many flavors and ease of Keurig for a few months now, so I was super excited to try out this new model! 


The 2.0's biggest improvement is that it will brew a single cup AND a carafe. And if you were like me and didn't know what the heck a carafe was - it's a coffee pot. So it also uses a different KCup size to brew a pot (4 cups) 

Some of the other features are a bigger water tank, TEN different brew sizes, a color touch display, and fun colored lights! 


The 2.0 comes with 4 k-carafes and 6 new designed k-cups. But note, the 2.0 will only work with the rebranded k-cups that have a white rim in the label. Influenster also included an ENTIRE BOX of k-carafes - which means I totally need to have some friends over for coffee now! 


I'm enjoying the customizable features of the 2.0 with a colored screen and colored light inside the water tank as well as programmable on & off. 

Check back soon for a comparison to the single cup brewer! 

I received this item gratis from Influnster, but the opinions are my own. 
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