Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Better Than Hawaiian Pizza

Better Than Hawaiian Pizza

 I love pizza. It's a blank canvas for whatever sauce and toppings your little heart desires, and whatever flavor profiles you can dream up.

One of my favorites is the classic but delicious Canadian bacon and pineapple pizza, aka Hawaiian pizza. I wanted to come up with a "fancier" version, if you will, for our last pizza night, and here's the results:


pizza dough
and as much or as little as you want of these:
pizza sauce 
Canadian bacon
feta cheese

Prepare your pizza dough, throw all the toppings on top, then pop it in the oven for about 15 minutes and enjoy.

Better Than Hawaiian Pizza

This is the first time I've used feta on a pizza and I must say, it's a winner. It doesn't melt, but rather gets a little bit toasted on top, and the flavor goes oh so well with the Canadian bacon and pineapple.

Better Than Hawaiian Pizza

 Did I mention I love pizza?

Monday, July 29, 2013

One Piece Many Ways: Striped Jersey Knit Dress

One Piece Many Ways: Striped Jersey Knit Dress

I'm so excited to be participating in another one of Audrey's wardrobe challenges! When she announced the One Piece, Many Ways link up, I immediately thought of this dress from Old Navy as it has proven to be one of the most versatile purchases I have recently made. 

I've already worn it twice on the blog (here and here) but I challenged myself to come up with even more looks for it, and I'm happy with the results!

One Piece Many Ways: Striped Jersey Knit Dress
necklace, dress/ Old Navy | shoes/ Converse | button up/ Converse One Star for Target
1. With a tied button up

One Piece Many Ways: Striped Jersey Knit Dress
button up, necklace, dress/ Old Navy | belt/ Target | sandals/ Payless
2. With a belted button up

One Piece Many Ways: Striped Jersey Knit Dress
necklace, dress/ Old Navy | tank top, flats/ Target
3. Under a tank top

One Piece Many Ways: Striped Jersey Knit Dress
necklace, flats/ Target | blazer/ Laundry via TJ Maxx | dress/ Old Navy
4. With a blazer

One Piece Many Ways: Striped Jersey Knit Dress
necklace, belt/ Target | cardigan/ Target, thrifted | dress/ Old Navy | sandals/ AE via Payless
5. With a belted cardigan 

One Piece Many Ways: Striped Jersey Knit Dress
tee shirt, dress/ Old Navy | necklace/ Target | sandals/ Payless
6. Over a tee shirt

Every one of these looks is something I could see wearing in my current lifestyle with the exception of the one with the blazer. As a matter of fact, I wore look number five today for pre-school orientation for E then to the park! I need to find a reason to wear my blazer more, since I love it so.

Either way, I'm excited to wear the new outfits I've discovered through this challenge!

What is your most remixable wardrobe piece?

Our Temporary Home: Part 2- 3 DIY Canvas Ideas

It's time for Part 2 of the Our Temporary Home series! This week, I'll be showing you three DIY canvases that I have made for our master bedroom/bathroom-- and hopefully inspiring you to try something similar!

DIY canvas


Canvas in whatever size works for you
2 cans of spray paint (one for the lettering color, one for the top color) in your chosen color story
Scrapbooking letters

Step 1: Spray the entire canvas (including the sides) with your base color. This will be the color of your letters, and works best when this color is lighter than your top color. Allow to dry completely (preferably overnight). This project is best accomplished over a weekend.

Step 2: Choose your message. Cut out the scrapbook letters you will need and arrange them on the canvas without taking the backing off until you are happy with the composition. This helps avoid running out of space or the composition looking weird.

Step 3: Affix the letters. Spray the entire canvas again with your top color, making sure you can no longer see the base color in any spots. Allow to dry completely. 

Step 4: Carefully peel off the letters, and voila!

DIY canvas

I made these when my husband and I were dating, before we moved in together, as a Valentine's gift. The one on the left is the one I made for him, using the color story from his living room (blue and brown). The one on the right is the one I made for my bedroom, and as you can see, the colors I chose for it (olive and grey, based on my comforter set at the time) were a little too similar and the lettering isn't as clear because of this. The lyrics I chose have special meaning to my husband and I, though, so even though they no longer match our room colors, I still keep them up for sentimental reasons.

The wall hanging on the left is the first piece of art I ever purchased, and I used it as inspiration for the color story of the master bathroom-- black and white with pops of blue. I wanted something with a more graphic feel, in black and white only, to also hang in there. After seeing this tutorial on A Beautiful Mess, I decided to try and incorporate the same idea but in canvas form. 


Canvas in whatever size works for you
Wide paint brush
Acrylic paint in whatever color you want the wording to be

Step 1: Choose your message. On a piece of paper, play around with the composition until you are happy with it. I knew I didn't want each line to look exactly the same, with all the I love you's aligned, so it took me a few tries to figure out how many letters across and how many lines down I wanted it to be so that it was more off-center.

Step 2: Using a pencil, lightly pencil in your lettering directly onto the canvas where you want to paint it.

Step 3: Paint over the penciling. You may have to go over each letter a few times to make the letters thick and solid. Allow to dry completely. This DIY can be accomplished in one afternoon/evening.

DIY canvas

I made this one because I love abstract art, and I wanted another wall hanging for our master bedroom. After searching Etsy and not being able to find anything that fit the color story of our bedroom (at least not in my price range), I once again resorted to DIY. 


Canvas in whatever size works for you
Paintbrushes of varying sizes
Acrylic paints in whatever colors you need for your color story (I used green, red, and yellow, and mixed varying degrees of white with each to make different shades, then added some graphic touches with the black from the last DIY)

There really aren't any instructions for this one, all I did was mix my colors until I was happy with them, then painted vertical lines with them. I used different shades and different brush sizes to add variety, then added a few graphic elements with the black where it felt a little empty. There are no wrong answers with this one! I think that's why this one is my favorite. This one can also be accomplished in one afternoon or evening (preferably while blaring music that makes you feel creative). 

The best  thing about all three of these is that I was able to create artwork for our space, at a price point that I could swallow, and that are customized to the color stories in those spaces and therefore will always have a place on our walls, no matter what house we're living in!

What do you think? Will you be giving any of these a try this weekend? 

(Oh, and PS, I'm also guest posting for Bri over at Work Clothes, I Suppose, if you want to see an outfit from me today too!)

You can read Part 1 of this series here.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Budgeting Bloggers: July Budget

I debated not even doing a budgeting bloggers this month because I only purchased two things, but I figured I might as well because I made the conscious decision to actually pay attention to what I add to my wardrobe and how much I spend doing it.

So, this month I bought:

This tank top (worn here): $20

And these sandals (worn here and here): $20

So overall, I spent $40 - $18.81 sold clothes = $21.19.

I didn't get much of a chance to go shopping this month, because I don't particularly enjoy shopping while dragging E along with me-- it's my me time! and she doesn't really enjoy it either-- but good news! We came up on the wait list for the Child Development Center here on base, so starting Tuesday she'll be going twice a week for three hours each morning. Six hours a week for me to do whatever I want (shopping, duh), and she'll have a chance to be around other kids and have a more structured learning environment.

I love homeschooling her, but I'm not that great at it and she needs to be exposed to social situations more. Plus some mommy time will help me retain my sanity, so that's also a plus. Yay!

Linking up with Franish for Budgeting Bloggers!

Friday, July 26, 2013


Alright, friends, I have installed Disqus on my site for comments because I like it on other blogs (so that it's easier to know when someone responds to a comment I left!) and I'd like to make sure you guys receive my replies to your comments. I like to keep a good dialogue and rhetoric going so hopefully this will help facilitate that.

That being said, I'm somewhat HTML un-savvy, so if anyone experiences any issues with this feature, please email me and let me know (especially you IE and Chrome users!).

Thanks, and (hopefully) happy Disqus-ing!

Disneyland Recap

As you know, my family (husband, daugther, mom and I) went to Disneyland this past weekend, from Friday to Tuesday. Today I want to share with you some photos from our experience. I tried to keep it to a minimum, but this is still a verrry picture heavy post, so feel free to continue reading after the cut if you wish.

First day at Disneyland! Obligatory picture in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Raisin Bar Cookies

Raisin Bar Cookies

 I recently received a few of my great-grandmother's recipes from my grandmother to try out. I knew I had to try her raisin bar cookie recipe first, because I haven't had them in years. I'm happy to say, this recipe turned out perfectly and they are just as delicious as they were when I was a kid. 

Raisin Bar Cookies
makes 24

2 cups water
1 cup raisins
1 stick margarine
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour (I used my whole-wheat flour)

Boil the water and raisins until one cup of the liquid remains (this took about 10-15 minutes). Add the stick of margarine, then remove from heat. Once it cools to room temperature, transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and add the baking soda, salt, cinnamon and sugar and mix until well combined. Then add half the flour, mix until well combined, and repeat with the other half of the flour. 

Raisin Bar Cookies

Grease a 9x12 cookie sheet, then spread the dough evenly in it. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer the cookie sheet to a cooling rack, allow to cool for a few minutes, then turn the cookie out of the sheet and allow to finish cooling. Otherwise, the cookies will sweat and get sticky. Once cool, cut the cookie into 24 equal sized bars. 

Raisin Bar Cookies

Pour yourself a glass of milk and enjoy. These bars are just sweet enough to constitute a cookie, but the raisins and cinnamon give them a warm earthy flavor that almost makes them savory as well (which means it's totally fine to eat them for breakfast). Thanks, Grandma.

Raisin Bar Cookies

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Stay-At-Home Mom Style: Change of Scenery

Stay-At-Home Mom Style: Change of Scenery
Stay-At-Home Mom Style: Change of Scenery
Stay-At-Home Mom Style: Change of Scenery
jacket, scarf, tee, jeans/ Target | shoes/ Walmart | aviators/ borrowed from husband

Today's pictures are brought to you by my mom. This is what I wore when we visited Fisherman's Wharf last Thursday while she was in town, and yes, it was chilly enough to warrant both the scarf and jacket. When I bought my grey skinny jeans, I didn't realize how difficult grey was as a neutral to pair. I changed my shirt three times before landing on this ensemble, so I'm glad I was able to wear the scarf that day to make it a little bit more interesting.

That's pretty much all I've got for you today, I hope you all are having a happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Pineapple Pork Chops

Pineapple Pork Chops

Guys, I'm really proud of this recipe. This is the very first recipe I came up with off the top of my head using just whatever I had around the house. Since its humble beginnings, it has become a family favorite. By that I mean it is my husband's favorite meal, and my sister always requests it whenever she visits. Today, I share it with you. 

Pineapple Pork Chops
makes 3-4

3-4 pork loin chops
1/2 cup flour
1 egg
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 Tbs olive oil
1 small can pineapple slices (4 slices)
3 Tbs brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. Heat up a pan with the olive oil. Coat the pork chops in the flour, then egg, then bread crumbs, and transfer to the pan. Fry the chops for about 1 minute on each side, then transfer to a baking dish (I usually line mine with aluminum foil to minimize cleanup). Place one pineapple slice on top of each chop. Mix together the juice from the can of pineapples with the brown sugar to create a glaze, then pour half of the mixture over the chops. 

Pineapple Pork Chops

Bake for 15 minutes, then pour the remaining mixture over the chops. Bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the pork chops are no longer pink in the middle.

These are best served with this Panera mac and cheese copycat recipe and a nice glass of white wine. Enjoy!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Guest Post: Finding Your Post-Military Job

Today we have a guest post from the wonderful Emma of Smile As It Happens. This article is geared towards military personnel who have separated and are looking for jobs in the civilian market. I have a lot of friends for whom this would have come in handy, and probably a lot more for whom this will be good knowledge in the future. I know some of you aren't military, but if you know anyone who is and might find this helpful, feel free to share this with them!

Take it away, Emma.  

Finding Your Post-Military Job

Finding Your Post-Military Job

Every transition in life comes with its own set of challenges and those transitioning from the military to civilian life will find several challenges along the way. While one of those challenges is finding a job in the private sector, this may not be as difficult as you might expect. Several myths exist that make job searching seem more daunting than it really is.

Myth #1: As a civilian, I won’t be able to do work similar to what I did in the military.
Truth: Many of the skills you honed during your military career translate well to jobs in the private sector. Take the time to learn about civilian employment that will utilize your strengths by using the Skills Translator at Military.com. Here, you can plug in information about your military career including service branch, pay grade and job position, and the Skills Translator will help you learn about civilian jobs that have similar characteristics and requirements.

Myth #2: The application process is always difficult and time consuming.
Truth: Of course, you can’t expect to land the perfect job without putting in a little effort, but today’s employers understand the importance of attracting top talent by making it easy to apply for open positions. Many top companies now utilize mobile recruiting services, like JIBE, that allow applicants to upload a prepared résumé directly to the employer.

Myth #3: The types of jobs available to military veterans are limited and difficult to find.
Truth: Programs such as the 100,000 Jobs Mission have been created to make it easy for veterans to locate civilian employment. This organization consists of top companies in the US that work together to provide information on current open positions in a wide range of fields. The program is dedicated to ensuring that transitioning service members lead successful lives after their military service.

Myth #4: During difficult financial times, you have to take any job you can get.
Truth: Taking a job for which you are overqualified can actually set you back professionally. Rather than sending out applications for every job opening you find, focus on applying to jobs that require your personal expertise and training. Don’t be afraid to turn down a job that isn’t a good fit as you search for the right position.

No one can completely minimize the anxiety that can come with a life change such as leaving military service for civilian life. However, by debunking some myths about job seeking, you will find yourself empowered to be successful in the days ahead.

Emma is a mid 20-something year old with a passion for life, love, fitness, and helping others. She loves to be active and get involved in as many sport and community activities as possible. Emma is currently studying to become a Career & Life Coach, and loves to network with people from around the world! Check out Emma’s blog at http://smileasithappens.blogspot.com/!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Stay-At-Home Mom Style: Something Borrowed, Something Blue

Stay-At-Home Mom Style: Something Borrowed, Something Blue
Stay-At-Home Mom Style: Something Borrowed, Something Blue
Stay-At-Home Mom Style: Something Borrowed, Something Blue
Stay-At-Home Mom Style: Something Borrowed, Something Blue
shirt/ Dress Barn (borrowed from my mom) | pants/ Post Exchange | sandals/ AE via Payless | necklace/ Target
My mom is in town visiting right now, and when I told her about my blog she said that I could look through the clothes she brought with her to see if there was anything I wanted to borrow and post here. I know I said no white, but when I pulled this pretty white crochet top out of her suitcase my first thought was "This would look great with my blue pants!" 

After explaining blue pants to my mom, here we are. I wore this outfit with her and E to go on the 17 Mile Drive through Carmel. I wonder if my mom would notice if she left here without this top? 

FYI: my mom, myself, E and J are all driving down to Anaheim today to take E (and J) to Disneyland for their first time! We'll be driving back next Tuesday, so until then, you may not hear from me a whole lot via comments. I have a guest post scheduled for Monday (!), and my own posts scheduled until next Thursday, so you'll still have posts to read. You just may not see me much in the comments on here or on all of your blogs until I return. You can follow along on Twitter and Instagram, though, if you'd like! Disneyland, here we come!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

My 3 Favorite Smoothie Recipes

We recently bought a smoothie maker (this one, if you're curious) after reading about the health benefits of smoothies and wanting to add variety to the fruits and veggies we eat and how we eat them. Today I will share with you my 3 favorite smoothie recipes!

A Very Berry Smoothie

a handful each of blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and spinach
4-5 strawberries, tops removed
1 banana
1/2 cup fruit juice (I used a berry blend)
ice cubes

very berry smoothie

This smoothie is a good way to eat fruits, and to sneak in veggies. I hardly notice the spinach at all. 

Breakfast in a Smoothie

1 banana
4-5 strawberries (or other berry of your choosing)
1 cup oatmeal 
1 Tbs honey
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tsp cinnamon
ice cubes

breakfast in a smoothie

I make this smoothie for breakfast a few days a week. The oatmeal makes it more filling and the honey sweetens it up nicely.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

1 banana (105 cal)
2 Tbs peanut butter (210 cal)
2 Tbs chocolate syrup (100 cal)
1/2 cup milk (70 cal)
ice cubes

chocolate banana peanut butter smoothie

I make this one as an afternoon snack every once in awhile. At 485 calories, it's not the most low-calorie snack option (for example, a 2 pack of Twinkies is was 300 calories), but it tastes a lot fresher than most unhealthy snacks, it's filling, and it gives me an energy boost instead of a sugar crash.

I'm still experimenting, but these three are my go-to's right now. Hopefully I'll have more for you in the future!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Stay-At-Home Mom Style: Forcing It

Stay-At-Home Mom Style: Forcing It

Stay-At-Home Mom Style: Forcing It

Stay-At-Home Mom Style: Forcing It

Stay-At-Home Mom Style: Forcing It

Stay-At-Home Mom Style: Forcing It
Jacket/ Old Navy | shirt/ Target | shorts/ Old Navy (thrifted) | sandals/ American Eagle via Payless | necklace/ laurenelainemoore

I know most of you guys are sweating your booties off with how hot it is where you live, but here in my part of the bay, it rarely gets over 70 and most days are cloudy and/or foggy. Being from the Midwest, I'm not used to the temperate climate here.

I've finally started to add shorts back into my wardrobe after neglecting them for nearly a decade, and now I can't wear them? I think not. So I put on shorts, temperature be damned, and then added my denim jacket because holy crap I was cold.

Cold. In July. What the crap, Monterey?

Anyway, these sandals are my second purchase of the month (this shirt was my first one). I'm eyeing a few things that may be the final purchase for this month, but we'll see. I'm really, really cheap, guys. But I also really, really like clothes. It's a wonder I'm even capable of dressing myself.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Spicy Cajun Shrimp Pizza

Spicy Cajun Shrimp Pizza

This pizza is basically this recipe in pizza form. I had the extra bell pepper, Cajun seasoning, and shrimp leftover from it, so it just made sense to throw it all on top of a pizza, right? This was also my first time using the whole wheat flour in the pizza dough, and it was actually pretty darn tasty!

Spicy Cajun Shrimp Pizza

pizza dough (my recipe here, except this time I subbed whole wheat flour for regular)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
1/2 jar marinara sauce
1 cup cocktail shrimp
olive oil

Preheat oven to 450°. Get your pizza dough ready (be it homemade or store bought).

Heat up a skillet with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Saute the bell pepper and garlic until it becomes fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Spicy Cajun Shrimp Pizza

 Once the dough is spread onto the pizza pan, sprinkle the Cajun seasoning on top of the dough and rub it in a little bit. Spread the marinara sauce. Then add the pepper, garlic, and shrimp.

Spicy Cajun Shrimp Pizza

 Bake for 10 minutes, then top it all off with cheese and bake for another 5-10 minutes.

Spicy Cajun Shrimp Pizza

Enjoy! This was one of our favorite pizzas to date.  Nom nom nom.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Our Temporary Home: Part 1- Tips

Our Temporary Home

Introducing a new series: Our Temporary Home! I will be sharing tips on how to make your home feel more home-y and some cheap and easy ways to decorate your space, no matter how temporary.

They say that home is where the heart is, but one of the biggest realities of military life is that you will have to move at least a few times in your career, which can be hard on your heart. The biggest source of melancholy for me once we moved out here was not feeling at home in our new house, let alone our new state. Once I got out of the mindset that the house was only temporary, and started making our house into a home, though, our new state didn't scare me as much. Maybe this is because I knew I had a place I could go back to that felt safe and cozy.

Throughout this series, I will be sharing some tips that I have learned along the way to help make your space feel like home, no matter where it is. This article will be useful to just about anyone who has that "this is only temporary" syndrome, military and civilian alike. 

Color Stories



My biggest tip for decorating your home, making it feel home-y, and being able to easily translate from one house to the next, is color stories. Keeping a similar color story in certain areas of your home means that everything will work in your next home, no matter how much you have to rearrange it to fit the new floor plan.

Curtains and Decor


Since painting isn't really a viable option in most temporary residences, this is the best way to bring color and personality into your home. A home doesn't feel complete and lived in until you put up curtains and wall art, in my opinion. Nothing says "temporary" like construction grade blinds and bare walls. For the last couple of homes, putting these things up was the last thing I did because it's such a giant pain. Once they were up, though, I breathed a huge sigh of contentment that the place finally felt lived in.

Putting these "finishing touches" up as soon as possible will help your home feel lived in sooner, and you'll be able to enjoy them longer.

Cheap or Free

One thing I have done in my last few homes is save wine bottles and use them in my decor. I mostly use them in my kitchen area, because my kitchen is somewhat wine-themed, but they have made appearances in the living room as well. This is a free option (well, other than the cost of the wine that you were going to drink anyway) and you can just get rid of them before moving to your next home, eliminating extra packing and extra weight.

There are also some great DIYs on Pinterest using wine bottles.

my kitchen


I also have quite a few things on the walls and around the house that either E or I made (more on that in a future post!).

our bedroom dresser

Flexible Furniture


Another key component is having furniture that is flexible. A couch and a loveseat is a lot easier to arrange from space to space than a sectional. Instead of an entertainment center, get a small TV stand and a couple of bookcases in the same finish. If nothing is oversized, oddly shaped, or only works one way, it's easier to fit everything into your next floor plan. This also helps reduce weight and the physical difficulty of moving your furniture!

Also, don't buy furniture that might only work in the home you're currently in.

Love Everything

This is a bit of a no-brainer, but I can't stress it enough -- make sure you love everything you bring into your home. Don't feel the need to bring in stuff you don't really like, just for the sake of filling a specific space. If you love everything in your home then it will be easier to move it from location to location. In all likelihood you'll have less junk, and it will also help make your space feel more like yours because you surround yourself with things that bring you comfort.

 So there you have it! Everything I've learned so far about being able to easily move from location to location and still feel at home. Next time, I will share 3 DIY canvas projects that I have completed for our space and will be able to move with us from house to house!
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