Dinner Tonight: Creamy Corn Pasta with Bacon

This recipe was from, wait for it, last week's Rachael Ray show.  It reminded me a little of corn chowder, but in pasta.  I really liked it--it was sweet, creamy, and a little salty because of the bacon.  It also had fresh dill in it, which I think has such a fresh, unique flavor.  If you like corn, bacon, and pasta (which come on, who doesn't?) you should consider this for your next meal.  

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I'm Sippin On Some Sunshine

So surprisingly, this is not what I wore to work today.  It is, however, what I wanted to wear.  The weather was lovely today—a perfect day to bust out the shorts.  And sans tights even.  (Although I really hope that’s still cool next fall—that look was really starting to grow on me.)  Anyway, I decided to change because I wasn’t feeling what I had on earlier.  Really, it was the same outfit but with a skirt instead of the shorts, and there was something about it that just wasn’t right.  Which, duh, was the skirt so that's why I changed it.  Is it just me or am I talking in circles?

I feel like since the weather has gotten warmer, my outfits have gotten simpler.  I don’t know if it’s because I don’t want to feel weighed down or if it’s simply because it’s nearly May and I’m a teacher and I’m growing lazier.  It’s probably both.  Do you tend to dress more simply in the warmer months, or does season not affect the simplicity-level of your style? 

Blouse: Forever 21; shorts: Hollister (I'm pretty sure I haven't shopped there since high school, and that is exactly when I got these shorts. Old.); belt: Old Navy; shoes: Merona, Target; sunnies: Target
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Merci! Thank You! Gracias!

As you can see, dear readers, this blog has a lovely new look!  I couldn't be more happy with the job done by Rachel and Victoria (who I know through my Alpha Chi Omega days at K-State.  Go Cats!), the gals behind RV Designs.  I had been wanting to change the look of my blog for a while (the Blogger template just wasn't cutting it) and when I found out about RV Designs, I knew I had my solution.  Despite my utter lack of knowledge about blog design, they were able to answer all my questions and give me the look I wanted.  Anyway, I just wanted to give a quick shout-out to Rachel and Victoria--you guys are the best, thank you so much, and I love my blog's new style! 
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It's All Been Done

When I was putting today's outfit together last night (which I must--I get up too early to make good choices) I found myself being drawn to some of my wardrobe workhorses.  Every piece I put on today I seem to gravitate towards constantly.  This LBD is so perfect for work--it's easy to put on, plus it's a blank canvas for whatever accessories I'm in the mood for.  This gray cardigan (that was SO cheap!) is so easy to throw on over whatever I'm wearing for added warmth and added chic.  My necklace, which I got when I went to Paris several years ago is my go-to necklace anytime I'm wearing a simple dress or shirt.  These shoes are a more recent addition to my wardrobe (not that recent, but they're less than a year old) but I find myself wearing them whenever I need to add some color to a black or gray look.  In fact, after looking at this, I'm wondering if I've already worn this exact same thing and posted about it.  Hmmm I may have to search the archives.  Maybe I'll learn my lesson and be more detailed in my labeling.  

Cardigan: Forever 21; dress: Banana Republic Outlet; necklace: boutique in Paris; belt: Forever 21; flats: Se Boutique, DSW
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Dinner Tonight: Mexican Pizza

I don't have time to write much, but I did want to share this because it was GOOD.  It was quick and easy to make too, which is exactly what I needed today.  I got the recipe from AllRecipes.com, which can be hit or miss, but this was a definite hit.  Basically, you layer refried beans and seasoned ground beef between two burrito-sized tortillas.  You bake it (350 degrees) for 10 minutes, then top it with salsa, cheese and green onions (and whatever else you want).  Then you throw it back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes.  It was supposed to serve four.  Let's just say it didn't.  

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I Wanna Soak up the Sun

Despite the fact that I haven’t worked since Wednesday, my mind and body still weren’t quite prepared to return to the money-making world today.  I mean, I was fully prepared to make money, just not to do anything worthy of making it.  (I’m still on the lookout for that perfect, do-nothing-and-get-paid job.)  Therefore, I decided to look like I could be teaching, or I could be out strolling a beach somewhere.  No, I did not wear my bathing suit to school in case you were wondering.  But cute little sundress, check.  Sandals that ensure a wacky looking suntan on my feet, check.  Casual jacket, check.  Seriously, all I need is a bikini (plus a body that is ready for said bikini), some SPF 50, and a juicy novel and I’d be set.  Instead I spent my day with seventh graders.  A vacation? I think not.  

Jean jacket: Gap; dress: Mossimo, Target; earrings: Charlotte Russe; scarf: Old Navy, gift; sandals: Gap
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See How They Run

I eased myself back into real life today by taking the day off.  While it would have been lovely to sit on the sofa eating bonbons all day, I decided to put my day off to good use.  And I ran out of bonbons.  I just did some laundry, ran some errands, you know, the usual day off stuff.  Well, my day was so boring I don't have anything to talk about.  Even my outfit is pretty simple and self-explanatory.  Maybe that mountain air killed a few brain cells.  I don't think you can claim jet lag when your flight was only an hour and a half.   

Trench: Gap; blouse: Loft; jeans: Old Navy; earrings: Target; wedges: Xhiliration, Target
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Be Who You Must That's a Part of the Plan

Well it’s back to life as usual.  I had a great time in Colorado visiting my mom, but the trip was too short!  We were greeted in Boulder with rain that quickly turned to snow.  I thought I was done with the snow!  But it’s not so bad when you’re sitting by the fire thousands of feet in the air.  I even tried to get excited about the frigid temperatures (but you can tell my joy isn’t quite genuine).  Not surprisingly, after a glass of wine (or two) I was nice and toasty.  Problem solved.  

Cardigan: American Eagle; Dress: Merona, Target; belt: Target; OTK socks: Target; wingtip maryjanes: Isaac Mizrahi for Target (wow I have quite a theme going on here)

I thought I had prepared myself for Colorado weather by wearing thick knee socks with my dress, but I should have dug out the tights from the back of the drawer.  I know I just wore this dress too, but I love it and it’s pretty comfortable.  Luckily I brought jeans for the remainder of the trip.  

Shirt: Old Navy, Aaron's; jeans: Old Navy; camisole: Isaac Mizrahi for Target; belt: Target; shoes: American Eagle

By Saturday, the sun came out, and the snow melted (hooray!).  My mom and I spent the day making Swebach, a family bread recipe.  She asked me what kind of food I wanted for my birthday, and these delicious, funny-looking rolls were definitely it.  

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

Dinner Tonight: Fish Tacos

Aaron made me some delicious fish tacos for dinner tonight.  He was going to grill, but since it's pouring he cooked them on the stove.  They were really spicy and good.  I topped them with some chipotle-spiced sour cream and red cabbage.  Yum!

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Every Time I Try to Tell Her How I Feel it Comes Out I Love You

This is going to have to be a quickie (post I mean, come on, get your mind out of the gutter!) because I have to get packing.  That's right, I'm going on a little vacay.  We're going to Boulder, CO to visit my mom!  For the past couple of years we've gone every year for my birthday (on Sunday).  I plan on taking pictures while I'm there, but I probably won't get them posted until we get back.  It will be a good time, that I know.  My mom and Jeff (her man) know how to party!  

Aaron's cooking me a birthday dinner tonight--Fish Tacos, my fave!--so hopefully I can post on that too later.  Even though it's early, he gave me my birthday presents today.  I love presents!  He got me the Zac Brown Band CD which is excellent and the New Moon DVD.  Yes, I realize I share my love of Twilight with about a million 14 year olds.  I can't help it.  That Edward, he's dreamy.  AND, last but not least, he's getting me a blog makeover!  So in the coming weeks, if things look a little crazy it's because my blog is getting spiced up (by two great gals I know from college who now have a Blog Designing Biz).  Woohoo!  Okay, seriously, I need to pack.  Focus, Shea.

Shirt: Elle, Kohl's; jeans: Old Navy; scarf as belt: thrifted; flats: Isaac Mizrahi for Target
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Somewhere Beyond the Sea

Every year for the past few years, the nautical trend seems to roll around again, and every year, I seem to get more addicted.  Maybe it's because it never goes out of style, yet when Spring comes it still feels fresh.  Today, I decided to just add a little nautical charm to my look, with a navy blue striped belt and rope-adorned sandals.  As I was putting this on this morning, I got the song "Somewhere Beyond the Sea" by Bobby Darin in my head.  It made me think about when I was little, and I used to work out with my mom to Richard Simmons' "Sweatin' to the Oldies".  That was one of the songs we, well, sweated it out to.  Now Richard Simmons may not be the least annoying person on the planet, but looking back, that was a pretty fun workout.  Although the Jane Fonda audio tape workout was a close second.  I don't remember a lot about that one, other than the awesome music and her telling me to "pull weeds, out, up" for some reason.  I'm headed to Colorado this weekend to see my mom, and I'm sure she'll get a kick out of my workout memories.  

Sorry for the complete randomness of this post.   

Cardigan: Gap Outlet; tank top: Gap; pants: Gap (wow, this is sad); belt: J. Crew; sandals: Old Navy   
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You're as Cold as Ice

This outfit is nothing new really--I'm pretty sure I've worn this same combo before, recently even (maybe without the cardigan).  But I was really feeling the icy cool color combination.  The gray really makes the blue cardigan pop I think.  

I know it looks like I'm not wearing shoes (I am) but it was hard to get a good photo in after the close call bumblebee attack.  Usually, Aaron takes my blog pictures in the little wooded area behind our apartment building.  But for the past two days, there's been a bumblebee flying angrily back and forth right by Aaron's head as he's trying to get the shots.  I get the distinct feeling that we are NOT wanted back there.  Or maybe he just read my yellow and white outfit post and he's offended.  Either way, I think I'll just take pictures out front for the next couple of weeks (and then we'll be shooting from a new location...yay!).  This, unfortunately means shots with cars in them or shots by the ass tree.  Hey, it may be pretty, but it also STINKS!  (I just read a post on Jen Loves Kev where she was complaining about the smelly trees, so I'm not the only one!)  

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Oh, I almost forgot--my neighbor put this owl statue in front of her door, so I had to take a picture with it.  Supposedly it's to keep birds away (or that's what Aaron says anyway).  But it gives me the creeps.  The first time I saw it it was dark, and I thought it was real (I was far away, okay).  

Cardigan: Gap; t-shirt: Old Navy; pants: Gap; necklace: Francesca's, gift

Sun in the Sky You Kow How I Feel

I know it may seem like an oxymoron, but today, Monday, was a great day.  I suppose I should say is a great day since it's several hours from being over.  First of all, the weather is gorgeous, which always improves my mood.  Secondly, I got to bake some cookies, something I haven't done in quite a while.  Finally, I had a job interview this afternoon that went really well.  I'm not going to say where, because I don't want to jinx myself, but let's just say I got to talk a lot about books.  I could talk about books all day; I love them, I do.  I'm actually getting ready to go to another interview in a few minutes, and I hope that one goes well too.  Although I'm secretly hoping I get the job at interview place #1.  We shall see.

I wanted to look nice for my interviews, but since both are retail jobs in nature, I felt a suit would be too much.  So I went with this simple dress I got at Target and added a touch of Spring green with the belt.  It must have been a good choice, because I got compliments from more than one person when I was out and about today.  That never hurts my mood either! 

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Dress: Merona, Target; sash/belt: from Gap trench; earrings: NY & Co, wedges: Xhiliration, Target

Cholate Peanut Butter Heaven

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Just a quick post to share the cookies I just made.  I've been craving homemade cookies lately, so when I saw this recipe on the Martha Stewart website, I knew I had to make them.  They're a combination of peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies.  (I'm a total sucker for anything with peanut butter AND chocolate in it.)  If you're looking for a quick, easy, and tasty cookie to whip up, you should try these!

Dinner Tonight: Garlicky Chicken and Noodle Casserole

This may not have been the healthiest dinner ever (parmesan cheese, half and half…) but it was quite comforting.  I got the recipe from Better Homes and Gardens’ website.  Not Rachael Ray--it's shocking I know. 

I shredded up the meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken (I just love those, don’t you?).  I cooked about half a bag of extra-wide egg noodles, and while they cooked I heated up the chicken with half and half, parmesan cheese, and garlic.  When the noodles got done cooking, I added them to the chicken mixture.  Although the recipe said to cook the casserole in individual dishes, I just threw it in one big casserole dish.  Yes, I’m quite a rebel.  I didn’t add the peas it called for either.  Ooh.

To make the breadcrumb topping, I ground up a slice of bread in the food processor.  I mixed the crumbs with a little parmesan and melted butter.  After topping the chicken and noodles, I baked it in the oven (450 degrees) for 5-10 minutes.  For a boost of color and flavor, I sprinkled some chopped fresh thyme on top.  I had low expectations for this meal, considering how simple it was to make and how few ingredients it has in it.  Happily, those expectations were greatly exceeded—I can’t wait to warm up the leftovers tomorrow for lunch!

I'll Meet You Any Time You Want in our Italian Restaurant

I swear, better pictures (and scenery) to come next week. As lovely as the white walls and partial bookshelf are I'm sure.  Anyhoo, I felt like a waitress (or the more p.c. term, server) when I first put this on.  Then I added the belt and necklace and felt less "may I take your order?".  Sorry that this is so short, but I have to go get ready for a wedding soon.  Hey, at least posting yesterday's outfit today is better than my usual Friday-outfit post on Sunday. Maybe one day I'll actually post Friday's look on Friday!  It could happen.

Blouse: Ann Taylor Outlet; tank: Gap; pants: Gap; necklace: shop in Paris, can't remember the name; belt: Target; sandals: Merona, Target
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Oh I almost forgot.  I'm considering joining the world of twitter.  Any thoughts, tweeters?  Do you like it?  Is it a lot to keep up with?  Does it require a cool phone with internet?  (I have a lame phone without internet--I'd rather spend money on shoes.)

I Could Drink a Case of You Darling

I know I know, I just wore this shirt.  And despite my whining yesterday, I really do have quite a variety of shirts that I could wear.  Its just that, every time I'm reading a blog or a magazine, and I see stripes I think, "Oh, I should wear my striped top(s) like that!"  Today I drew said inspiration from Fab Finds Under $50's inspiration calendar.  I love her calendars, she saves me from those "I have nothing to wear" days.  Anyway, maybe I should go a week or so without wearing this shirt.  I don't know, can I make it?  To be honest, I wear it more than you even know.  Like on days when I'm not taking pictures for the blog.  I can admit it, I have a problem.  This only makes me want to shop more.  It's funny how I can make any conversation lead to the conclusion that I need to go shopping.  It's a talent I have.  

T-shirt (yet so much more): Old Navy; pants: Gap; earrings: The Limited; pearls: my mom; Chain necklace: H&M; sash/belt: from an old dress; shoes: Isaac Mizrahi for Target

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Dinner Tonight: Spanish Chicken Stew

For dinner tonight I made "Big, Thick, Hearty Thighs Spanish Style" from Rachael Ray's 365: No Repeats cookbook.  You can laugh all you want about the goofy name and my obsession with the Ray, but this meal was delicious.  I won't go into much detail, but basically I switched it up and used chicken breast (cut in half--this chicken was very well endowed), spicy sausage (the fully cooked kind), Yukon gold potatoes, onion, thyme, parsley, chicken stock, roasted red peppers and lemon.  

I toasted and sliced up some bread, since every stew needs a dipper.  Although I wouldn't consider this warm, 80 degree day stew-weather, we had no trouble cleaning our plates.  

And I Just Can't Wait

I'm in a rut.  I feel like I've been wearing the same stuff week after week after week (denim pencil skirt again anyone?).  It's Spring, and although I've seen countless things I want to buy, for the most part, I've held myself back from buying them.  With the exception of one pair of army green pants, which I don't actually have right now since I left them in my friend's car after I bought them.  Smart move Shea.  So anyway, I want to shop very very badly, but I'm trying to fight it.  I keep telling myself: "You can shop after your birthday."  and "You can shop after we move." and "You can shop when you get a summer job."  But there's a whiney, annoying voice in the back of my head that says (okay, yells) "But I want to shop NOW!".  If I don't satisfy that voice real soon, you will soon be reading the headline Grown Woman Throws Temper Tantrum in Local Mall in your local papers.  But, for today, that voice was silenced, and I put on a dress as a shirt and the same old same old denim pencil skirt and brown belt.  Sigh.

Dress (as shirt): Tramp, Marshall's; skirt: Converse One Star, Target; earrings: Target; belt: Target; shoes: Steve Madden, Marshall's
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Dinner Tonight: Mmm Mmm Mexican Lasagna

Finally, I remembered to take food pics!  Tonight’s dinner was an old favorite.  No surprise it’s from the Ray, from her 30 Minute Meals show way back in 2004.  This was one of the first meals I made when I was in college (and had access to a kitchen).  I made it for some friends, and it was a total hit.  I can’t express to you how good this is.  You’ll just have to make it for yourself.  Actually, I guess I will try to express it, considering that is kind of the point of the food posts.  

It’s ridiculously easy to make too, if you need further incentive.  I just browned up some ground turkey (you can use whatever you like—chicken, beef, pork, I’m sure it’s all good).  Then I seasoned it with chili powder, cumin, and onion powder.  Next I added tomato sauce (a small can), taco sauce, black beans, and frozen corn.  Once everything heats through for a few minutes, it’s time to start layering.  This is Mexican Lasagna, remember? 

Half of the meat mixture goes in the bottom of a small casserole dish (mine is 8x8 or 9x9, something like that).  Then tear 2 tortillas so they fit over the meat layer.  Next comes the cheese, which I had some shredded Colby jack so I just used that, enough to cover the tortillas.

Add another layer of meat, tortillas, and cheese, then pop that baby in the oven at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes.  I know I say this about a lot of things, but you really, really need to make this.  I could probably have it once a week and not get tired of it.  The best part is that it makes the best leftovers too.  

Do you have a favorite go-to meal to make?  If you do, tell me, I’d love to try it!