Friday, January 30, 2015

End of the Week Roundup

Happy Friday to a very long week (for me at least)!

1. Yesterday I met with my doctor which I mentioned here. I feel a lot better having gone to her. It doesn't fix everything but it at least gives me a new hope about my situation. Quite frankly, it was the only time in my life that it was okay to hear "you at least got pregnant". Long story short, I got a prescription for Clomid and they took my blood to check my thyroid to see if there's any issues there. Here's to hoping for good things family-wise in 2015!

2. Steph is awesome, she let me grace her blog this week with a guest post and recommendations. If you scroll to the bottom of this post, there's also a giveaway you can enter! Good luck!

3. I finished up my first chevron quilt this week (it's for sale too, if you're interested!). I love how it turned out, but it was definitely a lot more work than my usual patchwork quilts.

4.  Speaking of my quilts, I created a Quilts by Nicole website this week too! I'm not sure the website was really necessary but I needed to flex some creativity muscles and that usually means a new blog design and since I love my current design, I decided to just create this site instead. 

5.  Sunday was my sister's birthday. We all met up at my moms house and had dinner and played games. It was a good time, but then again time with family always is. I didn't get any pictures but we did pull out some old pics of us as kids and my sister commented how much she loved her bangs in this pic so I'll share that instead!

Happy Friday and good luck with the giveaway!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

January Cooking Challenge Results

In the beginning of this month I created a cooking challenge for myself. It was my way of not only using up recipes/pins that I've never used that I wanted to but also to step out of my comfort zone and use cooking techniques I avoid because I'm not comfortable with them. 

Here's the first results of the year! I'd say I was 65% successful....

First up, Cheddar Bay Biscuits. Now I've eaten this recipe before, however I always made Dave make it for two reasons: 1. I don't work with dough, at all  2. I don't cut in butter. So this time I decided to make it all by myself, cutting butter and all. 

Cooking Technique Tackled: Cutting butter, working with dough

The results: Complete success! The recipe is delicious to begin with and I manage to not mess up the cutting in of the butter. 

Cooking Technique Tackled: Frying food in oil, working with spring roll wrappers

The results: The filling was really good, but the egg rolls did not come out looking crispy, crunchy or egg roll-y at all. The grease just kinda sat on the wrappers and it was like eating oil straight from the pan. I'm not completely turned off of the idea of trying to fry it again but maybe cook it in less oil? Or something along those lines. It was edible and tasted half decent but good lord it was hideous and... loosened the bowels to put it kindly. 

All in all, this month's challenge wasn't half bad. I'm excited to see what other cooking techniques I'll tackle this year. 

Did you try anything different this month? 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Dancing with Duck Lips

I've been on a memoir kick lately. They're normally quick reads for me that give me a "sneak peek" into a celebrity's life. My favorite memoirs have to be the ones by Chelsea Handler. 

Anyway, I was inspired by the run of memoirs I've read to brainstorm what the chapters of my own memoir would be called. Ladies and gentlemen I present to you the chapter headings of "Dancing with Ducklips and other insights", look for it at your local Barnes and Noble never. 

Chapter 1 // If your mother didn't pass out from your big head entering this world at least once, you haven't done it right. Go back and do it again. 

Chapter 2 // Greasy hands and dirty fingernails aren't as sexy as I once thought, but it made me a hard worker.

Chapter 3 // I don't care how intelligent or level headed you are as a teenager, your first boyfriend is going to make you stupid. 

Chapter 4 // Hemorrhoids aren't the only thing in life that will be a pain in your ass. 

Chapter 5 // How to plan your life out perfectly--and then watch your plans fail miserably.

Chapter 6 // You know love isn't like the movies, well neither is friendship. 

Chapter 7 // Treat yourself as you would treat your friends.

Chapter 8 // Romance isn't flowers and candles, it's when he stays by your side when you hop on the crazy train and get on the first class psycho bitch cart. 

Chapter 9 // Dancing with duck lips, perfect "The Lawn Mower" on the dance floor,  and why Night at the Roxbury is the worlds best dance instruction video.


aka The End. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

End of the Week Roundup

You know it's funny, in the winter I have blog post ideas coming out the wazoo but roundups are hard to create because I hibernate in the winter. I go to work, then school, then come home and quilt or read. That's it. It's tough to create a roundup when you're pretty much just curled up under covers for the majority of the week.

1. Saturday I met up with a friend to give her a quilt that I made for her mom out of her dad's shirts who passed away last May. 

2. On Saturday I also got a new rotary ruler/cutter. I can't cut a straight line so this new contraption is a Godsend for me. 

I mean just look at these perfect squares! (Rainbow chevron quilt coming soon!!!)

3. In the world's suckiest moment of the week, I came home from school Tuesday night to a huge package of Similac formula, which was a sharp reminder that if I hadn't miscarried my baby would be due in two weeks. How did they even know in the first place? I wasn't pregnant long enough to sign up for anything! In either case, it blew monkey chunks hard and it took me a while to get over that one. 

4. I made this recipe over the weekend, nothing like some good yummy comfort food on a quiet Sunday!

5. Nibbler rarely plays with toys (unless he wants to steal one from Squish), but this little egg gives him treats so of course it's one of his favorite toys. 

How did your week go?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Crockpot Broccoli and Cauliflower

My father's side of the family is huge. My grandmother had 9 kids and we all kinda just kept growing from there. One of my favorite part of family get-togethers was our meals. They were always hearty and terrible for you but oh so good. One of my absolute favorite side dishes was the broccoli and cauliflower casserole my Aunt Penny makes. The recipe I'm sharing feeds A LOT considering the size of our family. You can cut the recipe in half and it'll feed about 6. 

Here's what you need:
- 2 packages frozen cauliflower
- 2 packages frozen broccoli florets
- 1 can cream of shrimp soup (if you cannot find cream of shrimp you can use cream of mushroom as well)
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup milk
Here's what you do:

1. Cook vegetables according to directions, arrange in crock pot.
2. In a separate pot, melt cream cheese and butter. 
3. Add milk and cream soup.
4. Mix well and pour over veggies in crock pot. Cook on high for 1 hour or 2 for low. 


Monday, January 19, 2015

I am not a Failure

When Dave and I married three years ago we agreed to wait until I was finished my bachelors degree before we started trying to conceive. I assumed it would be easy and I would have all the time in the world. Fourteen months ago, the time came for us to begin trying. Clearly, the "plan" hasn't worked yet. 

One of the biggest things I've struggled with over the past fourteen months (besides the obvious) is that I have felt like a massive failure. The woman's body is designed to create human life, whether you choose to use it or not. I've made the decision to do just that and I haven't so far. That makes me feel like a failure as a woman. I don't think it's helped that everything I've set my mind to, in life, I've been able to accomplish, most of it with ease. I'm not saying this to brag, I'm saying this to better explain why this setback feels like such a massive defeat for me. 

I had to swallow my pride and finally made an appointment later this month to see my doctor to try and help Dave and I conceive. From what I can tell, I don't ovulate consistently and I'm hoping the doctor can help me figure out how to deal with that. It wasn't that I didn't want to (in the sense that I don't want help to have a baby), it was the realization that I didn't want to have to admit that I needed help to do something that so many others can accomplish easily without the aide of others (besides obviously one partner). I am so afraid that I will have this stigma hanging over my head that I was not able to have a baby (if I even get that lucky) without help. Do others think less of women for that? Probably not but I still struggle with that notion in my head. 

Ashley has been a massive help throughout my struggles, understanding through her own struggles, offering advice, talking me off ledges. She  shared a really helpful article with me about actress Jaime King and her own struggles with infertility. King resonated with me because she said exactly what I was feeling, shame because women are supposed to bear children but she couldn't. She shared her story so that others would know they are not alone. 

I share my story for that same reason. I don't have a happy ending...yet. Hopefully I will. Either way, I am not a failure. Some days I will feel differently but deep down I will know, I am not a failure. And if you're struggling too, neither are you. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

How to Look Smart When You Forgot to Write a Post....

Sorry friends, I forgot to write up an EOTWR post last night because I'm still getting used to having a class Thursday night and it's just throwing everything off. So, in lieu of a roundup, I wanted to share this really interesting article I found this week from the Wall Street Journal. 

It's about what people do to look smart, how we judge other people's intelligence, and what behaviors we do that actually do make us look smart. Check out the article and then let me know what you think. Personally, I think using your middle initial is hooey when it comes to looking smart (more like country club smart! haha) and wearing glasses is stereotypical and not really true, I know plenty of dumb people who wear glasses.....even though I am wearing mine today. But not to appear smart (consciously at least, subconsciously you never know!) 

Finally, please enjoy this picture I shared on Instagram of Squish. I have no idea how he contorted himself into that position but he stayed that way purring this little butt off for quite a while. 

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

15 in '15- January Update

I may know how to read, but apparently I don't know how to count. I didn't realize until I started to write this post that I chose 16 books for 2015. No worries, I always like bonus rounds. 

The gist of 16 in '15 is simple. I'm going to read a lot more than 16 books in 2015 but I'd like to make it a point to read these books in particular. 

Pride and Prejudice

I've only ever said twice in my life that a movie was better than it's book. Both times I uttered this phrase was during the past month. This was one of those books. It's not that P&P was a bad book, it's just not what I enjoy reading. I understand that this book is a classic and I can see why but I just could not enjoy it. I attempted to read it and couldn't so I borrowed the audio book from the library and even that I couldn't finish so I watched the movie. I enjoyed watching the movie but I just could not with this book. Sorry guys!

Big Fish

The second time I uttered that phrase was during this book. I think I have to confess that Big Fish happens to be one of my favorite movies of all time. The book wasn't bad at all and I would still recommend it to others, its just that the movie and it's characters resonated more with me than the book did. The book seemed a bit scattered and I don't think that it had the same magic to it that the movie did. It's a short book and a quick read, maybe if I hadn't seen the movie first I would have enjoyed it more. 

Paddle Your Own Canoe

I think Chelsea Handler's books ruined me for all celebrity memoirs because they always fall short of my expectations. Nick Offermans' book is broken down into two parts in each chapter. The first part is the memoir and the second is lessons/advice. Honestly, I skipped over the second part of each chapter, it was too long winded and didn't interest me. It was really sweet hearing him talk about how he met his wife Megan Mullally, but the book wasn't as funny as I'd hope it would be.

Gillian Flynn has quickly become one of my favorite authors. I loved Gone Girl and Sharp Objects was no different. I was hooked on this book and finished it in two days. Flynn writes very dark novels so as much as I want to pick up Dark Places, I'm pacing myself for now for two reasons: 1. to break up the darkness with some humor/lightheartedness 2. because once I'm done her third book I'll have nothing to look forward to from her. This was definitely my favorite read from this month. 

Here's the complete list (links in this post will take you to the book, future posts will link to the post that I wrote about the book):

1. Sharp Objects
2. TV Gods
3. A Discovery of Witches
4. The Thousand Dollar Tan Line
5. The Serpent of Venice
6. I Don't Know What You Know Me From
7. Big Fish
8. Orange is the New Black
9. American Gods
10. Dead Until Dark
11. The Great Gatsby
12. The Glass Castle
13. Pride and Prejudice
14. Insurgent
15. The Clan of the Cave Bear
16. Paddle Your Own Canoe

Monday, January 12, 2015

Beauty Favorites

It's been nearly a year since I've posted a beauty favorites list, so I think we're due. How about you?

1. Too Faced Absolutely Invisible Pressed Powder

This is the last step in my makeup process. I have really oily skin and this powder does a great job keeping my skin matte and fresh looking.

2. Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Hibiscus and Lip Shine in Blush

I got these two in a gift pack last year and I love them together. The lip balm gives a great, subtle color and the lip shine is a great finishing touch that doesn't leave my lips sticky.

3. Real Techniques Setting Brush

I use this brush to apply my highlighting powder. It's the perfect size to accentuate the areas I want to highlight. The brush is soft and durable, I am a fan of Real Techniques brushes!

4. Fabulips Sugar Scrub

My lips have been really dry and cracked this winter, a lot worse than normal. I just started using this scrub and have noticed a big difference. I love the vanilla scent and the soft way my lips feel afterwards!

5. Tarte Amazonian Clay in Dazzled

I love Tarte's blushes so much, if I could own every color I would. My most recent purchase is Dazzled and it's a bit darker than what I normally where but I love the pop of color it gives my cheeks.

6. Burt's Bees Acne Gel Cleanser

Nothing has made my hormonal acne disappear but this gel cleanser has come the closest to giving me clearer skin. 

7. IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream

I was hestitant to try CC cream for the longest time but I tried this travel size cream and fell in love with it. It completely covers up the redness in my face and the acne. A little goes a long way and lasts all day. 

What are some of your beauty favorites?

Friday, January 9, 2015

End of the Week Roundup

Welcome to the first roundup of the new year! How did your week go?

1. Classes for the spring semester of my class started Thursday night (last night). I'm half excited, half over it. I feel like I've been in school forever...oh that's right it's because the majority of my 20s (minus 20 itself) I have been in school. 

2. I've been really digging this song this week.

3. I have some down time right now between quilts and bears so I decided to start working on a chevron quilt (my first!). Here's the beginning stages of the quilt:

4. Speaking of my quilts, I created stickers and bought bags for customers, instead of giving them their items in grocery bags. I'm in love with the stickers!

5. Five seconds before this picture was taken, Nibbler had his head right up against Squishee's bum. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Minor Annoyances

Nobody's perfect, we all know that. But do you ever do something (or things) consistently that makes you want to punch yourself in the face? Okay maybe not that violent but something along those lines? 

Here's a list of grievances I have against myself, that no matter what I do I probably will not change, complete with corresponding ecards!

1. No need to write this password down anywhere, I'll remember it!

I believe I read somewhere that the average person has to remember 19 passwords. If I took the time to count I'm sure I have triple that number. The important ones, like work related passwords, able to remember (since I'm not going to tell you where I have them at). But simple ones like logins to online stores? Oh pssssh, I'll remember that no problem! Or not. Every. Single. Time. 

2. I don't pay attention at all

Have you ever liked someone's Facebook status about something terrible, like someone died or something bad happened to them? A status that is wholly inappropriate to like? I have. Or, someone will walk by me and wonder why I'm ignoring them. I'm not, I'm just not paying attention. One time Dave drove next to me in a big red truck and he claims I didn't notice for at least a mile and a half until he honked at me. I don't doubt it. 

3.  Being too hard on myself

I think we are all guilty of this, but how many times do you take a picture and think "good lord, I'm hideous!" then go back to the picture a little while later and realize it's actually not that bad? Every time. Every single freaking time. Shame on me.

4. I repeat myself a lot. 

I feel like I never truly get my point across to people. Which is something I really should try to work out before I attempt to become a teacher....Anyway, sometimes if I really want someone to understand something, I'll repeat myself over and over again rewording the phrase a little differently each time. I've gotten a little better over the years by being more self aware of it, but I still do it. 

So that's just a quick roundup of a few things I don't like about myself. Do you have any pet peeves about yourself?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Green Beans and Bacon

I originally posted this in November 2013 when many of you didn't know I existed. I just ate this the other night and thought I'd re-share on this blog to bring it to light again on a day I normally wouldn't post. It's delicious so please try it out one night!

Green Beans and Bacon

I love this dish, it has bacon in it! Who wouldn't love it (aside from the obvious)? It is an incredibly simple dish to make with only four ingredients!


- 1 pound bacon cut into one inch pieces
- 2 cans green beans
- 2 cans wax beans
- 1 onion, chopped

1. In a large pan, cook bacon and onion.

2. Drain the grease from the pan periodically (when there is too much for everything to continue to cook). You should probably drain the grease at least 3 or 4 time throughout the cooking process.

3. While the bacon is cooking, drain the beans of the water in the can completely and set aside.

4. Once the bacon is cooked, add the beans to the pan and cook covered on medium heat for about a half hour, mixing occasionally.

5. Once the beans are heated through and the flavors have all melded together, you're done! Enjoy!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Cooking Challenge

I hate new years resolutions. I never make them because I know I'll break them.I have decided, however, to challenge myself this year on one thing. I have this habit where I collect recipes, whether its on pinterest or magazines, and then hang on to them doing nothing with them. 

This year I've decided that at least once a month I'm going to try to cook something new from the arsenal of recipes I've collected. Ones I like I'll jot down in my recipe journal, others I'll toss or unpin. I'll also share with you the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

I haven't really ever had a massive cooking disaster on my hands. I think that is in part to the fact that I tend to avoid complicated recipes. There are a few things I know I'm terrible at, working with dough being one of those things, but I can't keep avoiding them and then pinning/saving recipes that use them. 

It is my hope that this year with this cooking challenge, I'll finally step out of my comfort zone a little and create new things, or at least I'll have a few good stories to share. 

Have you created any challenges or resolutions for yourself this year?