Friday, April 22, 2011

Extreme Couponer in Training

I am completely obsessed with Extreme Couponing on TLC.  I have always been a smart shopper, only buying necessities and what's on sale in the circular.  When I got laid off the first time I started using coupons.  Now after watching Extreme Couponing I now understand how sale cycles work so I can get the lowest price possible.  There is a free newspaper that gets distributed in my part of town.  I waited a day and then Sully and I went on a walk to get the papers that were not picked up.  I think we got 6 newspapers.  After Sully went to bed I poured a Skinnygirl Margarita and started clipping.  The hot coupon was $3.00 off of Nivea bodywash for men and women.  Yesterday, I decided to run a couple of errands (put my coupons to use) while Mr. O was sleeping.  The bodywash was marked down to $3.00 at Wal-Mart, unfortunately there were only three bottles left, looks like I'm not the only one deal hunting.  Sully and I strolled by the clearance rack and I found Meyers Dish Soap marked down to a $1.00..woo hoo!!I scooped up 3 bottles.  Next we went to Giant Eagle, they were advertising the bodywash $1.00 off with club card and I could put the coupon on top of that.  The body wash was originally $4.49, and with my coupon and club card savings...a whopping $.50!!! To recap, I got 3 bottles of bodywash for free, and 11 for $.50!  Have you jumped on the coupon bandwagon??

Thursday, April 21, 2011

DC Photo Tour

For Valentine’s Day Mr. O got me a Photo Tour of DC.  I decided to use it a couple of weeks ago when the cherry blossoms were at their peak bloom.  I took about 350 photos during the tour!  It has taken me two weeks to edit all of my top-rated photos.  I learned so much useful information and tricks during the tour.  I would highly recommend a photo walking tour if you are traveling to a new city.  The photo tours are comprised of smaller groups, my tour was myself and four other people.  There was a family from Minnesota and a man who also lived in the DC suburbs.  In addition to getting a tour of a city you will also get great photographs of your trip.  No one has to have a fancy camera to sign up for a photo tour.  I was the only one in my group with a DSLR camera, and my guide still gave everyone the same amount of knowledge.  After we made our way around the Tidal Basin my guide asked if I wanted to continue around the FDR Memorial.  Are you kidding me????? Myself and one guy decided to continue and it was so worth it.  We ended up going on for another hour.  I got some great shots and learned some great techniques.  Overall it was a great experience and I will definitely look into doing a photo tour if Mr. O and I are traveling to a new destination.  Below are some of my favorite shots.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mud Dog Run Review

On Saturday I ran the Mud Dog race with my sister and a couple of friends.  I was really excited about this race because I have never done anything like it before.  The weather on Thursday and Friday was gorgeous high 70's, and on race day it was in the 50's and rainy.  The race was a 5k that included 16 obstacles.  The obstacles ranged from crossing the Monocacy River, climbing cargo net and hay bales, rolling in flour, to jumping over fire.  It was definitely and experience and had so much fun!  My time was 32:42, and I ended up finishing  7th for women in the 34 and under division, not too shabby!! Afterwards we were treated to a free beer and band.  Since it was chilly all of the runners were huddled around heaters.  Due to the weather Mr. and Sully stayed home.   I feel that the race could've been a bit more organized, there was only a mile marker for the first mile.  Also, on the race information sheet it said that there would be one water station and there wasn't one.  But all in all it was a great time and I'm looking forward to next year's race.  After I got home and showered the the weather turned nasty!  The rain continued, wind gusts picked up, and then there were tornado warnings!!  Here are some pictures from the race.

I'm Done!!

Me and Little Sis

Start of race jumping in the Monocacy River

Jumping over fire at the finish line

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Run Forrest Run

I heard the rain last night and I hoped that it would subside so I could go for run.  Sully woke up and the weather was overcast.  However, I still told myself that I would go running.  I woke Mr. O up and put on my running clothes before I changed my mind.  I had decided that I was going to do a 3 mile loop.  There I was running and realized all was good, so I decided that I would keep going. 

My body felt great, the weather was mild, I was hydrated, and the jams were pumping on the iPod.  As a runner this is the best type of run.  The kind of run where everything is perfect and you get lost.  My mind was clear and it was just me running.  As I finished, it didn't feel like I had just run 5 miles, but just had gotten a breath of fresh air.  This was the perfect way for me to increase my miles.  I have become very comfortable in the 3.5-4.5 mile range and need to increase.  This weekend I am doing the Mud Dog Run with my sister.  Flying Dog brewery used the Warrior Dash as inspiration for the run.  I have never done anything like this so I am very excited! 

New Mexican

So as Mr. O and I made our way to Nordstrom Rack yesterday we brainstormed ideas for dinner.  So far I had made Thai and Greek inspired food, so we continued with the down our version of take-out path and choose Mexican.  We usually make a marinade with a taco seasoning package and then grill the chicken.  However, we wanted to try something new.  I turned to my favorite website Gina's Skinny Taste and searched Latin inspired recipes.  If you haven't figured it out, I like recipes that have a lot flavor and that are healthy.  We choose Chicken Ropa Vieja with Cilantro Lime Rice and corn and black bean salad.  We had been out all day running errands so using the slow cooker wasn't an option.  So we simmered the chicken on the stove.
Chicken simmering on the stove

Rice cooking
So we followed the recipe up until this point.  We forgot a couple of ingredients at the store and wanted to finish making our dinner.  We took out the chicken and set it aside on a plate to be shredded.  Then I took all the ingredients that were cooking in the pot and put it in the blender.

Once the ingredients were pureed I placed it back on the stove so the sauce could reduce.  I added 1/4 cup white wine, 2 cups of chicken broth, 2 tsp. cumin, 2 tsp. garlic powder, and a dash of Cholula hot sauce.  I turned the stovetop on high and let the sauce reduce.

Once the sauce started to reduce, I put the shredded chicken in and let it simmer together.

And the finished product! Shredded chicken, cilantro lime rice, guacamole, corn and black bean salad...major yum!!!  I am really enjoying cooking and sharing my recipes.  I have to warn you next Tuesday is my anniversay and Mr. O and I are going to a concert, so no cooking.  Hopefully, the rain will go away and we can break out the grill. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Weekend Wrap Up

After venturing down to DC to photograph the cherry blossoms my allergies hit me pretty hard.  There was so much sinus pressure it was unbearable.  On Friday, Sully and I stayed in our pj's and snuggled.  Saturday I woke up to get my eyebrows done, got Mr. O a cup of coffee and headed home.  Mr. O let me rest for a couple of hours and I felt much better.  So, I thought it would be good to get Sully out of the house and we headed over to my parent's for dinner.  On Sunday, the rain was finally gone and it was gorgeous!! After Sully woke up for a nap I decided to take him on run to the park.  The park is about a mile and a half away, so it is nice little tempo run for me.  I took Sully out of the jogging stroller and we were playing on the equipment, and then I noticed something.  Sully and I were the only white people at the park.  There were so many other people from different backgrounds and cultures at the park spending quality time with their families, and the kids using their imagination.  Are all American children stuck in front of TVs and playing video games??? It made complete sense as to why the United States has the highest rate of obesity and are falling behind in academics.  For someone that has been active their entire life, and continues to be, this was a tough pill to swallow.  Playing team sports made such an impact on my life growing up.  I played field hockey competitively for over ten years and played all four years in college.  It teaches a person teamwork and helps with their confidence and self esteem.  I try to get Sully out of the house as much as possible.  Today I went on a morning run, Sully and I went to the park, and then on a walk.  I do realize that me being home with Sully does give me the advantage of getting him out of the house.  However, when I was working and Sully was in daycare I made sure to pick a provider where he would be outside as much as possible.  Hope you all had a good weekend.  Stayed tuned to see what Mr. O and I make for dinner on Tuesday!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Easter Egg Wreath

Good Morning!! All is quiet on this Saturday morning as Mr. O and Sully are snuggled on the couch.  Last week I was in A.C. Moore with my mom getting some Easter decorations and saw a huge bin of plastic Easter eggs.  I thought to myself there must be something I can do with these things.  As we made our way through the store, it came to about an Easter egg wreath!  I thought it would be such a fun and cheery way to put those plastic Easter eggs to use. 

-Hot glue gun
-Foam wreath
-Plastic Easter Eggs, I used 4 bags of 12, it depends on how big your wreath is

I had my materials and I was all ready to start gluing.  At first I arranged my eggs like this:

I soon realized that this wasn't turning out to my liking, so I took off the eggs and started again.  Ok, so here we go again.  Rather than going all around at once, I glued the eggs by clusters.  I glued the eggs as close as I could to each other.  The wreath was starting to take shape.

Ah, much better.  Just make sure that when you glue the eggs that they are closed.  Also, I only glued eggs on the inner and outer edges leaving the back bare.  Almost there.....

And the finished product!! I couldn't be happier with how the wreath turned out.  When it comes to decorating for holidays I tend to go more the classic and simple route.   So this wreath is a breath of fresh air for our door.  I was thinking that it may look elegant spray painted white, with some lavender tucked in-between the eggs.  But for now plastic Easter egg wreath will remain bright and cheery!  Have you all brought out the Easter decorations yet?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

2 for 2

Mr. and I had another successful dinner at home this week.  I know what you are thinking; Mrs. O only has to cook one day hard is that?? Well, when your husband works in a restaurant 6 days a week the last thing he wants to do is cook and clean up afterwards.  Mr. O and I love Greek food! We love the flavors and there is something about Greek food that is refreshing.  After a couple minutes of deliberation we decided to make Greek meatballs and serve them with pita and homemade tzatkizi.  This week I adapted Gina's Skinny Taste meatballs.  We substituted ground beef for ground turkey, and left out the zucchini.  I made the meatballs a bit larger, so after I cooked them in the frying pan, I finished them off in the oven just to make sure they were cooked thoroughly.  I also made tzatkizi to accompany the meatballs.  The tzatkizi recipe is something that I have come up with on my own.  The recipe is all follows:

-1 cup Greek style yogurt
-Half of a peeled cucumber, diced with seeds taken out
-Juice from half of a lemon
-3 sprigs of fresh Dill, I like a little extra dill
-1 tsp. of Kosher salt
-Mix ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to serve

This dinner is perfect for the warmer weather that is upon us.  Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of our fabulous Greek feast.  I hope to keep the streak going next week. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

New Finds

  The first Saturday of every month the downtown area boutiques and shops stay open later and offer their customers snacks and wine.  Since Mr. O was working, my mom and I decided to go.  First we had a quick bite to eat at the restaurant where my sister works.  She was surprised to see us.  This month's theme was an Easter egg hunt.  The stores were giving away candy to the kids.  There was also an adult Easter egg hunt to win a gift card to be used downtown.  We had fun searching for the various eggs.  We hit our new favorite boutique called Simply Beautiful.  While we were there I made two discoveries! My first discovery are the Spartina 449 handbags.  I seriously cannot get over how colorful and chic the bags are.  Here are some of my favorite prints.
Image via Spartina 449

Image via Spartina 449

Image via Spartina 449

Image via Spartina 449
 My second discovery of the night was Nest Diaper Bags.  The bags are so functional and stylish at the same time  There are so many compartments inside and the bottom zips out as a changing pad. How genius!  I had serious diaper bag envy.  Here are some of my favorites.

Image via Nest Diaper Bags

Image via Nest Diaper Bags

Image via Nest Diaper Bags
But, I can't complain because Mr. O spoiled me with a Coach diaper bag.  I figure if I'm going to be carrying around this bag for a number of years, it should be able to last. 

My last discovery of the night was this adorable sock monkey hat.  If it wasn't April I would've definately bought it.  As you can see Sully is a little bit tired, but he looked too cute in the hat.  I will definately have to get one next winter, I'm not sure what Mr. O will think of it.
What new discoveries have you all made??

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Our Saturdays

Saturday morning and afternoon is the only time that three of us are together besides Tuesday.  I know what you all are thinking, is when do Mr.O and I have time together and how does Sully see him?  Mr. O leaves the house at 10:45 to go to work.  So in the mornings it is all three of us hanging out together.  On Monday and Wednesday nights I wait tables at the restaurant.  I am very fortunate that my parents and sister live ten minutes away.  I drop off Sully at their house before work and pick him up when my shift is over.  I cannot even being to express how grateful I am that they do this for us.  Working at the restaurant not only gives me more time with Mr. O it is also my adult time.  Saturdays we try to go to the park and just spend quality time together.  Here are some pictures from our trip to the park a couple of weeks ago.

 Happy Guy!
 I love this one of me and Sully.  I'm usually the one behind the camera.

As you can see photography is a hobby of mine.  We got a Canon Rebel T1i in October and I love it!  I am trying to learn as much as I can.  I have a couple of books and follow some photography blogs.  I want to make the most out of camera.  For Valentine's Day Mr. O got me a voucher to go on a DC Photo Tour.  I am going next week to take pictures of the Cherry Blossoms.  I am beyond excited and cannot wait to learn and share some of my shots.  Hope you all are having a great weekend!!