hair show

I've been wearing a lot of headbands and bows lately. They keep my hair out of my face, and they let me be a little more girly than usual. While I already have a pretty hefty collection, it's always fun to take a peek at some new ones.

Bows by American Apparel
Striped Turban by Free People
Studded Bow Headband by Forever 21
Leaf Hair Comb by Urban Outfitters
Glitter Headbands by Anthropologie


spicy chicken quesadilla

When I was little the only after-school snack I ever requested from my mom was a quesadilla. I loved coming home and having crispy, cheesy goodness waiting for me. While I've expanded my diet since then, I still like to have a good ol' quesadilla every once in awhile. This recipe looks delicious! Plus, it's healthy!

  • 1 cup chopped skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
  • 1/3 cup refrigerated fresh salsa
  • 1/4 cup canned no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapeƱo pepper
  • (6-inch) flour tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  1. Preparation
    1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Divide chicken mixture evenly over 4 tortillas. Sprinkle quesadillas evenly with cheese. Top with remaining 4 tortillas.
  2. 2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add 1 quesadilla to pan; cook 1 minute on each side or until golden. Remove from pan, and repeat with remaining quesadillas. Serve with sour cream.
[image and recipe via Cooking Light]


sunday spark

“There are times to stay put, and what you want will come to you, and there are times to go out into the world and find such a thing for yourself.” 
-Lemony Snicket

[click on image for source]


thoughts on relationships

I keep getting more and more emails asking for advice on relationships. I'm flattered, but I'm also no expert. Nonetheless, I thought I'd attempt my best impersonation of Carrie Bradshaw, and start posting more on the popular topic of love and relationships.

So here are my thoughts on beginning a new relationship...

Stay true to yourself. Your likes, your dislikes, your beliefs. They are all part of you. There are times you will be opened up to new ideas, tastes, sounds. Give them a whirl, but never change who you are to fit with someone else. And in return, don't expect someone to change for you.

So often people end up losing themselves because they attempt to be someone else in order to gain or retain affection. It becomes a big circus of acts and performances, but the show can't go on forever. Once it's over, they are left alone and as someone they no longer recognize.

It's important to know and love who you are. Gain confidence in every little thing that makes you, you. Having a solid relationship with yourself will allow for a solid relationship with someone else. The right person is going to love every quirk, every opinion, and every quality that you possess.

Love someone for the right reasons. There are no motives in real love. It is a naturally occurring attachment to another person. There is no rhyme nor reason behind it. It is never forced. It's the truest, most honest, and innocent feeling.

There are those with wrong intentions. They seek out those who only have something to offer them. Rather than appreciating someone for who they are, their appreciation lies in the exterior. The fame and money, the looks and possessions. They wind up building a relationship on a false foundation that will eventually crumble down.

Begin a relationship with the best of intentions, authenticity, and asking for nothing other than love from that person. In the end, the way someone makes you feel will offer you a whole lot more than a lifestyle or something shiny ever could.

Go for it. When it's love, it's love. And you'll know. When you forget everything else. When you throw caution to the wind. When you jump in heart first, and leave your head behind. That's love.

There are too many things that hold us back when it comes to love. It could be a past relationship that's dug its fingernails so far into you that it makes it difficult to forget. It could be people's opinions, whether told to your face or whispered behind your back. It could be that you don't think you're good enough and shy away. We end up missing out on opportunities and are later left wondering what if?

So don't ever think those awful two words of what if? When you see a chance in front of you, take it. Forget the past, don't listen to anyone else but your own heart, and be brave. Even if all the odds are against you, find the one odd in your favor, and go for it. It's going to be so worth it.

[click on image for source]

keep going

I recently wrote a post on trusting that your great love will come along when the timing is right. Well, the same thing goes for creating the life you want...sort of. This takes work and dedication, but in the end you do have to trust that you'll eventually get where you want to be.

Those who work their booties off will get far. It might not happen at the snap of your fingers, and it might not happen next year. This is where it gets frustrating. Certain dreams are hard to make reality, and jobs aren't easy to snag, especially in this economy. This doesn't mean it's quitting time. It's easy to throw in the towel. It's harder to stay in the game.

Keep practicing. Keep studying. Keep dreaming.

I've come close to quitting many times. I had my dream of being a writer since I was a little tyke, and I went to college to pursue a writing degree. At graduation I threw my cap up, along with all my dreams and wishes for the future, and every single one came crashing down. I spent over two years searching for that dream job, while working part-time to make ends meet. I felt like a failure. 

Instead of giving up, I decided to take a different route. I started graduate school to pursue education. It was the best decision I have ever made. I was offered a teaching job just two weeks ago, and I love it. It doesn't mean I gave up on writing. I get to encourage kids to write every day. I get to write this blog, and I plan on writing novels on the side.

Sometimes you have to change up the journey to get to a certain place. It doesn't mean you forget about your initial dream. It just means you take a different route to get there. However long it takes you to get there, don't give up. It will come, but you have to keep going. Don't let an economy or someone tell you no. If you dreamt it up, you can do it. It's just a matter of time and a whole lot of work.

[click on image for source]



I can't walk out the door without putting a little spritz of perfume on. It brightens up my day and makes me smell a little sweeter. I've tried out a few over the years, but I always come back to the same three.

Armani Code by Giorgio Armani
Parisienne by YSL
Lola by Marc Jacobs

Armani Code citrusy. Parisienne is rosy and woodsy. Lola is florally. They're all so heavenly when they hit the nose. It's hard to choose which one to spritz on for the day. Thank goodness there are 365 days in a year.


what i'm lovin' wednesday

1. The Dark Knight Rises
Boyfriend, his buds, and I saw this much-anticipated movie. It seemed a little long, but we loved it. Thumbs up!

2. Plane snacks
I was all set with treats for my flights this past week. I had my magazines, Swedish fish, and some agua  to keep me happy while flying alone.

3. Conversations
Nothing is better than laying down, looking up at the dark sky, and talking for hours with someone you love about the silliest of things and the most serious of things.

[1st image via Xtragfx]

east coast snapshots

I had an amazing couple days with Boyfriend over on the east coast. I barely slept on the redeye out to New York because I was way too excited. While bopping around the east coast (he's been on Warped Tour for what seems like forever), we hung out with his family, he did his thing on the drums, we caught some weeeeeird bands play, ate yummy BBQ grub, slept like sardines in his bunk, and even caught a showing of The Dark Knight Rises.

The best thing about our relationship is how much we appreciate the time we get together. It's not often and it's not a lot, but we make it work. We don't have to do anything extravagant to enjoy each other's company. We like the little things, and that's really what love is all about; finding someone to enjoy those little things.

The goodbye was hard, but he will be home soon! Here are some snapshots...

1. Early flight into NY
2. Boyfriend's cousins
3. Squished in his bunk
4. Sippin' on some cold ones
5. An amazing gift from Boyfriend
6. The boys playing Long Island
7. Being a nerd
8. Never without a smile
9. Making noise
10. Last day together. I was not too happy


faceplant dreams

While strolling through Laguna last week we stopped in an amazing home goods store. I loved absolutely everything in the place, and wished I had the trunk (oh, and the money) to bring it all home with me.

I really liked these accent pillowcases by Faceplant Dreams. They come in pairs with the sweetest messages written on them. It's like falling asleep to something positive, and waking up to something positive. I'm thinking they are a must!

I'm a little obsessed with the "His" and "Hers" ones. How cute are they? Now I just need to convince boyfriend that we need them...

[images via Faceplant Dreams]


caprese pasta salad

This recipe mixes two of my favorite dishes together: caprese salad and pasta. It's a perfect refreshing meal for this hot summer. I love the taste of balsamic vinegar and garlic. YUM! I think a dollop of pesto  could easily substitute for the balsamic when you want to change things up a bit.

1 pound dried pasta shapes (fusilli, orecchiette, penne)
2 pounds tomatoes (around 6 medium) roughly diced
1/2-1 pound fresh, water-packed mozzarella, cubed
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, pressed through a garlic press
1/2 teaspoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or half as much table salt)
freshly ground black pepper
1 packed cup basil leaves, washed, spun dry, and slivered
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it heavily (it should taste like seawater), then add the pasta and cook until just done.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the tomatoes and cheese and put them in a very large bowl. Whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, garlic, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper to taste; the mayo will help keep the oil and vinegar from separating.
  3. Drain the hot pasta and shake it dry (don't rinse it), then add it to the bowl with the cheese and tomatoes and stir with a rubber spatula to combine.
  4. Add about half the dressing, and stir again, then fold in the basil and pine nuts.
  5. Now taste the pasta, and add more dressing, if it needs it, and more salt, which it will almost surely need. If you have time, cover it and let it sit at room temperature for an hour or so to let the flavors blend and to let the pasta absorb some of the juice that will come out of the tomatoes (don't refrigerate it, or the pasta may get tough and the tomatoes may get spongy. Taste just before serving and re-season as necessary.
[image and recipe via Disney Family]


sunday spark

“We love the things we love for what they are.”
-Robert Frost
[click on image for source]


hi-lo, hi-lo

I'm currently obsessed with the high-low skirt trend. It's all about the party in the front, business in the back now. Like a reverse mullet. You get the idea. They can be dressed up or dressed down, and that's something that is a must for me. Versatility is key. 

Take a look at these...


friday funnies

I have a new Insta-crush. Follow Ginny_Jrt on Instagram. So cute!


makeup must-haves

I love makeup. While I'm no "cake face," I still like to scour Sephora and Ulta for new items to try. Recently I found three must-haves for my every day. They go on quick and get me out the door. Just how I like it. Boyfriend always praises me on my timeliness in getting ready...until it comes to choosing the right outfit. Whoops.

So here are my go-to's...

I use this as concealer for under eyes and any redness. Goes on creamy and protects me from those UV rays.

The shimmery coral and sun-kissed bronze make fore a perfect two-in-one combo.

No need for foundation or powder. This smooths and perfects your natural skin. Miracle primer!

Add a little mascara and you're good to go!


what i'm lovin' wednesday

1. Reuniting with my love
After three weeks of being apart, I'm finally flying out to see Boyfriend on the east coast for a couple days. I just can't wait to see him, act silly, and smooch him of course!

2. Bracelets
I found these pretty bracelets to layer on my wrist. I don't want to take them off.

3. Saltwater Taffy
Mom and I stocked up on this sticky, sweet candy. So colorful and tasty!
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