Tuesday, January 16, 2018

SNACKY

Now that I am back at work and having to pump milk 3x while I'm there, I am committed to eating healthy, protein-filled snacks and meals while I am there. Don't get it twisted: I have a bowl of ice cream every night. But at work, I try to eat healthy in order to keep my milk supply up and have to consciously plan ahead in order to do so. Time is of the essence, so the easier it is to grab it from the fridge and go, the better.

I'm aware that pasta is not known for its nutritional value, but it's cheap and we happen to have a lot of it stocked up. So last week, I made a veggie pasta salad to take with me to eat along side my deli chicken and I REALLY liked having something semi-cooked to go along with plain slices of deli meat right out of the bag. So much so, I made another kind to eat this week and both recipes are winners. This might be my new weekly tradition. Because if there's one thing I need more of in my life, it's definitely pasta.

Last week, I made this Balsamic Roasted Veggie and White Bean Pasta from SkinnyTaste. What drew me in was the white beans. I love them but I would have never thought to put those in a pasta salad. As far as beans go, they have a decent amount of protein. I left out some of most of the vegetables (tomato, onion, mushrooms and peppers), but when I make this again, I will probably add shelled edamame (which have more protein than white beans actually). And possibly feta cheese. When it's not snowing outside and we can get to our grill, I might add some grilled chicken to this and skip the deli meat altogether.

This week, I made Edamame Pasta Salad, a recipe I found in my most recent Real Simple magazine. I do love arugula but I skipped it ONLY because I knew I'd be eating this for the span of a week and didn't want it to get gross. We squeezed the lemon wedges into the vinaigrette instead of as a finisher at the end. We had to look hard for shelled edamame, it's mostly sold in the pod, but we found it. I will add white beans and/or asparagus to this too next time I make it, and most likely some bacon. This would be amazing with bacon.

My other protein snacks: Justin's peanut butter packs (I eat it on a rice cake) and sheepishly, Rx bars. I was hesitant to get hooked on these because of their price, but I decided I'd rather skip something else and have a good snack to grab.

What are your healthy snack go-tos?

Monday, January 15, 2018

BUDGETY

Confession: since getting married, one of my greatest hobbies has become personal finance. Every time I go down a rabbit hole and start rereading old posts on this blog I want to find the nearest time machine, travel back to when I was 23--25 and tell myself GET ON A BUDGET!

When I first moved to Nashville 12 years ago, I was paying under $400/month for rent. STUPID cheap! In fact the most I ever paid for rent, including when I lived alone, was around $800. Now that was a chunk of my paycheck but there was still plenty left over. I never went into debt or spent more than I had, but what I did have, I spent. Usually at Target, Carrabba's or David's Bridal. I made sure to contribute to a 401k and that was about the only money I saved, because it never touched my bank account.

When Matthew and I got married, neither of us had lived on a budget. Again - no debt - but we both bought what we wanted and made do. But that changed when we got married and combined finances. In fact we were forced into action when three short weeks after our wedding, we were given the opportunity to buy the condo we'd been renting. Can you imagine getting that call 21 days after "I do?" We had to assess our fiscal picture and establish some financial goals pretty fast.

We were saving for a new home, beefing up an emergency fund and planning a European vacation, among other things. And now we were buying a condo. Quite a lot of balls in the air. I used Mint.com to track our money and a Google doc to try to organize our savings into "buckets" and was transfering money back and forth between our savings and checking accounts probably once a week. Within a few months (weeks, really), I knew I was done trying to use Mint and that sad Google doc. Mint had no problem showing us what we spent; it was what we WEREN'T spending that I couldn't organize. It was like driving a car with only three wheels: I was spending my time and energy trying to make it work, but we were getting NOWHERE.

I also tried the free version of Dave Ramsey's Everydollar and really liked it. But the free version didn't offer direct import, and even the paying version didn't sync to credit cards at the time (this was 2015, right when it came out). Matthew was very attached to his credit card because of the points, so I knew moving away from that PLUS asking him to enter transactions manually was not going to work for us.

Then I found You Need a Budget (heretofore known as YNAB).

I signed up in January 2016 and quickly, everything changed. For one, I didn't have to use the sad Google doc anymore - all of our money is right there, organized and ready to go as soon as we were ready to spend it. Whether it's something as boring as a year's supply of contact lenses, or a ten-night trip to Italy, we are able to point the dollars where we want them to go and park them there until they're needed. In fact, within a few months of using YNAB, we closed our savings account. Yup. Went back to the bank and everything. Because we no longer were constantly moving money out of our checking account and into savings (where it couldn't be debited away) our bank actually FINED us for inactivity. And now we are those textbook YNABers who neither have a savings account nor monitor their checking account balance. YNAB tells us everything we need to know. And I mentioned Matthew was attached to his credit card points: YNAB makes paying for things on a credit card SO easy. They have it nailed.

In 2016, we took that European vacation. In 2017, we bought a home and had our first child. Thanks to YNAB, we are able to do all of these fun and exciting things while also prioritizing the not-so-exciting stuff like new tires, those boring contact lenses or God-forbid, a real emergency.

In case you can't tell, I'm pretty passionate about this stuff. I plan to share a lot about budgeting and personal finance on here moving forward. It's amazing how finding the right product that works can change your outlook on money. If you had told me ten years ago that I would be so enthusiastic about budgeting, I would have laughed at you. I have tried to share my joy for YNAB with friends; so far I have made one convert (what up, Eric!) but I'm not giving up on the rest of you easily. Peace of mind is the best gift you can give yourself! I am so thankful to YNAB for providing that not only for me and Matthew, but now for our child too.

PLEASE email me (Lindsay@pearlsofwit.com) if you have questions about this program! I could talk about it nonstop.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

STRUCTURED

Well, my first week back at work/my son's first week at school has come and gone and ended quite dramatically: our first snow day! Indeed, parading across the bottom of the TV screen alongside classics like Grandmama's House of Tiny Town and Linda's Little Lambs (both real places) was our daycare, signaling that at least two of us would be staying in our pajamas yesterday. Partner that with being off work Monday and hello, four-day weekend!

We all survived our first week in our new normal, but if nightly intake of ice cream is any indication, my son is definitely handling the transition better than me. Speaking of ice cream, allow me to go on record here: Breyer's chocolate peanut butter ice cream is THE BEST ice cream in the history of ice cream. I should know, I tried them ALL while pregnant. Twice. But once I entered into this frozen nirvana I never went back. It can't be beat. Try it and tell me I'm wrong, I dare you. I don't even care if other ice creams are BOGO at Publix; I'll still buy this one and it'll be the best $5.49 I'll spend all week.

But back to the subject at hand. I cried and moaned and whined really hard before AND after this week dawned. But we're making it work. The days pass much quicker when you are pumping 3x a day, so I'm grateful for that. And anyone who knows me understands that predictability and structure are some of my favorite things, so while maternity leave may be over, at least I am back in my comfort zone of routine and order. The days may start earlier than they used to, but they start so much sweeter when bags are packed, lunches are made and dinner is planned.

I am really fortunate that my son is a very happy, very easy-going, very laid-back, very chill baby. I'm completely aware - and after that last paragraph, so are you - that he gets 100% of that from my husband. My greatest fear is that daycare is going to change that about him. Going from 1 of 1 to 1 of 8 has to be rough. What will that mean as far as expressing his needs and wants? It'd be one thing if he was already high maintenance when we dropped him off. But he's so sweet and happy. Yesterday his teacher said he was "cheerful" and I started to cry. I hope he stays cheerful, no matter what his circumstance, at daycare or beyond.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

FISHING

Lots of people have mentioned this blog to me lately. I don't know why, but it's been on my mind too. Maybe it's the new year; maybe it's the new chapter. I definitely miss writing, but when can I possibly find the time to keep it up? I'm about to have to pay to renew my domain, and it's time to either fish or cut bait.

I'm gonna try to fish, y'all.

But first, let's catch up.

February makes five years since I met my husband and what an amazing five years we've had. I will tell you about some of our adventures in some upcoming posts (if nothing else, it will make for some easy content when I have nothing new to post).

We recently bought our first home, so all of the homeownership stuff like decorating and saving for bathroom renovations is on our plates now. Thankfully, our home is in great condition so don't think I'm going full Chip and Joanna Gaines on you. It's all I can do to change the roll of toilet paper some days, let alone a real Project with a capital P. However, I did take some drapes to get hemmed the other day. Baby steps.

And speaking of baby steps, we welcomed our little boy this fall. Oh my goodness. Y'all should have told me sooner how wonderful babies are. I mean, I knew but I didn't KNOW. I was home with him for three months and last week I returned to work, sobbing all the way.

So it feels like I'm on the edge of a very wonderful journey ahead: working mom, new house, etc. etc. I think documenting it will do me good even if no one is reading it. What do you say, shall we try this again?

Saturday, November 14, 2015

MARRIED

It’s funny – for years and years I documented the most mundane, trivial things on this blog (and some very not trivial, very unmundane things). I can read the older posts now and can usually even remember where I was when I wrote the post (including sitting in the bathtub). I documented more than six years of my life here.

And now, I’ve gone through one of the most exciting chapters of my life and haven’t really documented it all, other than in my best handwriting, carefully scripted on thick cotton pages bound in a really gorgeous wedding album that I ordered from Etsy.

Eleven months ago and some change back on a rainy, cold night in NYC, under a dark Rockefeller Tree (did anyone else know they unplug that thing at 11:30 pm?) Matthew asked me to marry him. I said of course. We pranced around New York for three more days, convinced we were the happiest couple in the city. We shared our news, celebrated Christmas, and once January rolled around, the wedding planning BEGAN.

Fast forward to July. Who could have ever guessed that a plain old hot summer day would go on to be the BEST day of my life? Every detail was perfect, perfect, perfect. Matthew and I hosted a fabulous celebration following a sweet ceremony and jetted off to Mexico. We are home, we are settled, we are husband and wife.


Friday, March 20, 2015

FLEETWOODY

My very first boyfriend in high school was quirky. No more so than my FIANCÉ (we'll circle back on that next post), but still: not your average football-playing, truck-driving, hat-wearing high school boy. The ways in which I benefited* from this included but were not limited to 1. I learned some Latin 2. I was exposed to some fabulous music that had not yet made it's melodic way into my world**, including U2*** and Fleetwood Mac.

I paused my Dave Matthews Band CD long enough to run to the local Coconuts and snap up The Dance so that I could learn some of their songs. It was totally lost on me how significant that album was, by the way. It was also totally lost on me that my parents were probably laughing behind their newspapers at their baby girl's favorite new band. I had zero idea of what really made Fleetwood Mac so great, such as oh I don't know their break ups, emotional backstory and rich lyrics. I just wanted to listen to the same thing as my boyfriend.

Fast forward to February 13, 2013 when a certain handsome bearded man that I now call my FIANCÉ asked me if I could see any band that wasn't touring on tour, which would I pick? Fleetwood Mac, hands down. And now I get why they are such a great band.

Two nights ago, that pipe dream came true. Mac is back, this time with the five true band members. It was such a great concert!

Eventually I discovered the alternative radio station and went on to become a fan of Matchbox 20, Barenaked Ladies, Vertical Horizon, etc. Thank God for cheerleading or I might have become a little hipster!


*My next boyfriend was into the Wallflowers and their recent release "Bringing Down the Horse"; yet another CD I promptly purchased and still enjoy to this day.
**I credit my parents with my taste in music. My dad's CD case had everything from Gloria Estefan to Barry Manilow to Garth Brooks to Whitney Houston, all of which I grew to love.
**I saw U2 in concert in 2012 when their 360 Tour made a stop in Nashville. Seriously one of the best shows ever.

Monday, June 16, 2014

BURCHY

My birthday is just around the corner and I am here to give all of you ladies a little tip. I'm not sure if it's because I bought something from them once or just hopped on their mailing list, but each year before my birthday, my good friend Tory Burch sends me an email code for $50 off anything online or in-store. Now, $50 can get you nowhere fast with TB, but I always choose to pick up a cute little something (from the sale section usually) and thanks to Tory's generosity, it usually only costs me about $10-$15 out of pocket.

Last year I "bought" myself this cute little card case, perfect for a pool or beach bag or tossed in a clutch for a night out:

and this year, I picked up this sporty little makeup bag, perfect for holding some odds and ends in my purse.



Happy birthday to me!

Friday, April 04, 2014

LATELY

Things I Am Currently Obsessed With:

Dallas on TNT (SO GOOD I CAN'T STAND IT)
Polish Changes (did this for the first time last week; half the price of a manicure! Can't beat it)
Avocado (Eating healthy again so putting this on a salad is *almost* as good as having cheese)
A-Day (Making big plans to be on the Plains in a few weeks! Anyone else gonna be there?)
Working out in the AM (On a roll! 10 straight workdays!)
Tuesdays at Fresh Market (Have to thank the Bunko ladies for this tip: Fresh Market has a great sale on Tuesdays where a lot of their meat is marked down to 2.99/lb. Their organic chicken is so good I swear I can taste a difference. If you have a Fresh Market near you, sign up for their mailing list to get the deals via email)
George W. Bush and his art (Did you see the story on the Today Show this morning? Adorable)

What's cooking with you all? Any new fun discoveries to share with the class?

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

RE-KINGED

Two years ago, the Cajun in our office ordered an authentic king cake straight from her hometown and had it shipped to work so that we could celebrate Mardi Gras in high style. I was THRILLED that my piece of cake had the baby in it! That king cake baby was good luck: within 12 months, I was promoted, became an aunt, moved into my lovely little condo and starred in a play. It was a fantastic year!

Well the king cake baby has struck again. Last month my piece had the baby in it and what do you know? A days ago, I got promoted! Exciting times. I wonder what else that little king cake baby has up his sleeve! Any guesses?


Thursday, February 13, 2014

YEARY

Guess whose first date was a year ago today? Woohoo! So much has happened in a year, with so much still to come. Cheers to us!

Saturday, February 08, 2014

LINKED

"This is His Plan A for us."

This statement sums up my friend Jamie's attitude toward receiving some news about her baby less than halfway through her second pregnancy. Please visit her blog, Normal As We Know It, and witness their testimony unfold.

Friday, February 07, 2014

PIKOED

Every time I log onto Pinterest, I see that cute little blonde in her cute little outfits from Impressions Boutique in Arkansas and so I click over to their website. But I am leery, leery, leery of ordering clothes off the internet. Especially when you have 7 days to return them for credit, no refunds.

But, right before Christmas, in the middle of “Do Not Spend Any Money On Yourself Right Now” December (anyone else celebrate that holiday?), they put a bunch of their PIKO 1988 shirts on sale. Have you seen these? They look SO comfortable. I had been eyeing them for months, but again – so leery of ordering clothes online when I can't get a refund. But, the sale was enough to make me bite the bullet and so I ordered one.

Well I LOVE it. It was tight in the arms at first (has since stretched out a little) but VERY roomy in the torso, which is kind of the point I guess. No one has asked me if I’m pregnant (Yet! Winning!) so I don’t think it’s TOO blousy, but it’s definitely blousy enough. For braver, shorter souls, it would look great with leggings. Is it Matthew's favorite shirt that I own? Not by a long shot. OH WELL.

My advice if you order one: they are kind of thin, so I am not sure it would work for me in a lighter color. But the dark gray one I got is awesome. I will be watching their sales to order one in black and maybe burnt orange.

Oh look, here’s a super awkward picture of me* and my PIKO shirt with Shaquille O'Neal in Las Vegas! Does he look ridiculous or WHAT? Unfortunately Shaq was far too focused on M’s Auburn hat to notice anything else anyone else was wearing; otherwise, I'm sure he would have said "cool shirt!"

*Please cut me some slack, I had been up since 5 am.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

CALIFORNIAD

I miss California. A month ago today, we were Pasadena-via-Vegas bound. I was SO SMUG that we had missed the worst weather of the winter. Surely it wouldn't get into single digits again! Oh how wrong I was.



Someone in this photo (not me) has watched the SEC championship game 6 times (5 on TV, once in person). A month later and neither of us have been able to watch the BCS game again.

I'm glad that I went, though. I swore up and down after Glendale that when the next one rolled around, I would not miss it if at all humanly possible. Plus, with the changes to the system taking place next year, getting into the title game will be a mad, expensive dash.

The loss stung but all in all, we had a fun trip! War Eagle!

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

RENEWED

Well. I just paid $12 to to renew this blog for another year. Where should we start?

Monday, October 14, 2013

WITNESSED

Around the same time I started this blog, my mom began dating. Since I had just graduated from college and moved back into her house, I was front and center for it. It was hard to watch and harder to process.

On Saturday, once again I was front and center, this time to watch her get married. She was a beautiful bride and her marriage is a beautiful reminder that our lives are in His hands.

Congratulations, Mama! I love you!


Saturday, August 24, 2013

SUMMERED

It has been a busy summer!

I turned 30 on 30-A with my family all there to celebrate. It was a fun trip and one I hope will become a tradition.



Kathryn came to visit. I won't say who supplied what, but this pretty much sums up our day at the pool:


I checked a HUGE box on the bucket list and saw Queen Bey in concert. Best show ever, obviously. I was mesmerized to put it mildly.












But the summer wasn't all about the girls. This lad and I took a quick trip to Chattanooga, where the weather was perfect!


The Waldrons, Evan and I took our annual trip to Smith Lake but this year, invited two new "pledges": our good friend Sarah and Matthew. The pledges fit right in.



And speaking of Evan, we had not one,


not two,


but THREE going away dinners before he moved to DC. Look out, Uncle Sam!

There was also supper club, bunko, double dates, new restaurants, new babies and new friends. Good times for all!

Between football, a wedding and the most challenging season I've ever faced in my career, fall is looking to be even busier!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

DUCKED

One my new favorite pastimes if not obsessions is the show Duck Dynasty. Am I the last one on earth to discover this show? We love it and have spent a lot of time this summer catching up on old episodes.

Here is maybe my favorite moment I have seen yet. Si is such a hoot.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

PEACHED

On Sunday, three bunko friends and I threw a baby shower for Julia, who is expecting her first born this fall! The shower was a hit, but the sweetest part of all came home with us hostesses: Julia made us gift baskets with peach jam and a sack of six delicious, ripe, sweet Georgia peaches from the Peach Truck!

So, we have been putting them to use this week. On Monday we had grilled peaches and ice cream:


and last night, we made a peach pizza! Publix whole wheat pizza dough, two peaches thinly-sliced, some crumbled goat cheese and balsamic glaze that I picked up from Trader Joe's. The whole thing was topped with fresh basil from Matthew's little garden.



Not gonna lie; that pizza was delicious. Any peach dishes I need to keep on file for next time?

Monday, July 15, 2013

SPROUTED

I will crawl, walk, run my way back into blogging. I waver between stopping altogether, and keeping it going for posterity's sake. Until I decide what to do, let's start with something easy: a recipe.

Brussels sprouts get a bad rap. Today, I am going to tell you how to make them so well that you will want to eat them all the time. We saw this recipe on America’s Test Kitchen and sometimes I find myself craving Brussels sprouts like a regular herbivore. Who’d have thought? The geniuses at America’s Test Kitchen, that’s who.

First, get your hands on about 1 lb (ish) of sprouts. Wash them (some leaves will fall off; that’s okay), cut the root off, and cut them in half. Inspect each half: little brown holes usually led to some bigger bad spots a leaf or two down. Don’t be afraid to get in there.

Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of water into the bowl. Toss the sprouts and season with some good chunky salt and a little pepper.

Next, preheat your oven to 500 degrees. It sounds too high but it works, trust me.

Here’s the catch: place the sprouts CUT SIDE DOWN on a rimmed baking sheet and cover it tightly WITH FOIL. Roast them in the oven for 10 minutes, then take the tin foil off. Leave them in for another 10 to 12 minutes (they will be charred if you go the full 12 minutes but that’s my favorite way to eat them). Thanks to America’s Test Kitchen, I learned that adding water to the sprouts basically steams them in the little tin foil incubator, cooking them all the way through. Then, you take the foil off and char the suckers and viola! It’s like eating candy.



And just to keep it real, no matter how good your roasted Brussels sprouts are, they will never, ever be as good as an individual ramekin of homemade mac and cheese.

Friday, June 14, 2013

DOOMED

When I was little, one of my favorite books was There's a Monster at the End of This Book. Grover didn't want you to turn another page in the book because after the last page, there was a monster. Every page was one step closer to immediate doom.

Grover, I now know how you feel. This is what is waiting me the next time I flip my calendar:



While the beach is quite an exciting idea, I would by lying if I didn't admit to still being torn up about turning 30. Life is pretty great right now, yes; but still. It's THIRTY.

*Another great childhood book: the Ernie & Bert book, where Bert can't find anything because Ernie moved it. I imagine I will be relating to that one before too long, what with my old age and all.

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