Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Smiles

Without further ado, here are the things I am excited about this week!

  • We'll be meeting some friends today to hang out at IKEA and grab lunch! Sounds like a great way not to do homework :)
  • I am done with all my mid-terms! 
  • Matt is planning date night this weekend, which means happy surprises for me.
  • I did NOT have to wake up at 5:30 this morning. That deserves a huge smile.
  • My Ph.D. program was recently ranked 2nd in the world in terms of scholarly impact. I am so glad I get to learn from some of the best people in the field and will be writing nerdy, academic papers with them!
  • The weather this week has been absolutely gorgeous and I hope it stays that way for the weekend so we can get out a little and enjoy it!
  • Finally, it's Friday. Matt is off of work. We have a 3 day weekend ahead of us. Yup, life is good.
What about you? What is making you smile today? I hope this helps at least!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


I need energy.

I need excitement.

I need persistence.

Mostly though I need more sleep. And time with my husband. 

Also- I need a good cookie recipe that everyone likes. Any suggestions?

Monday and Tuesday really take their tolls on us. Getting up at 5:30 AM and then going to bed after 10:30 two days in a row-- goodness my 20-something body can't take it. 

I have a lot of work to do today. Good thing is I don't have to drive to campus. Bad news is I don't have the pressure to leave the house, therefore less pressure to start work early in the day.

I convince myself I have so much time, and then end up wasting a good chunk of it on the internet. Today will be different. Somehow. I know this isn't the most exciting or well-thought-out post, but I am writing this to hold me accountable. Because I know you care so much about how much work I do (Yes, that was sarcasm). 

Here's the plan: publish this post and start work. And later look at your recipe suggestions. Seriously-- let me know of any good cookie recipes :)


Monday, March 26, 2012

On Pinning and Related Thoughts

So, like most [female] bloggers, I have become slightly attached to Pinterest. It is great for saving recipes, DIY ideas, cute and happy things, etc.

However, as with all things where people are involved, I notice things that just seem off, wrong, ironic, or just plain funny. So here is a list for you of things Jessica randomly noticed about Pinterest:

  • Men should get off. Well, specifically, men who post pornographic images and the like-- I do not want to see that thank you very much.
  • Also, I don't want to see local, national, international businesses promoting anything. I should find a way to block those things...
  • I find it humorous when people pin things on the wrong board. I know that may be slightly mean and I hope it is an accident, but between my OCD and dry humor, I really enjoy when I see someone post a picture of an engagement ring under "Books Worth Reading."
  • I know some people have commented on non-dating/non-engaged women planning their wedding on this site, and while I'm sure you can go overboard, I know most women secretly store up images in their head (and maybe in a secret computer folder or a shoebox) of wedding ideas. I know I did. Did I feel like I had to stick with them when I did get engaged? No, but it was fun to day dream. 
  • Of course I love the irony of all of my dessert pins sitting next to my physical exercise pins. 
What about you? Have you noticed anything funny about the wonderful board of Pins?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Smiles

First on this week's edition of things that make me smile, I want you to watch this:

[Removed due to being a lie... click here if you want to know what I'm referring to]

Other things that make me smile:
  • Two tests done, one to go!
  • I am figuring out my thesis analytical paper committee and it is coming along nicely 
  • My parents are in town which means a lot of family time. So excited to spend time with them!
  • This is pretty cool- go check it out! Your finger will get some good stretching exercises, promise
  • Um, it's Friday. Isn't that happy enough?
  • And Disney always makes me happy, so here you go:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pretty Amazin' Jambalaya

So one of the many things Matt and I did over spring break was make this delicious jambalaya. 

[I had to steal the picture from here as I was too busy enjoying mine to take a picture! Ours did not have shrimp]

It was so incredibly delicious! I know I say that about everything but dude, this is going in my repeat recipe list, which is quite a feat as I tend to try new recipes way more than repeat old ones. There are quite a handful of ingredients and it is time consuming, but it is more than worth it in my opinion (and my husband's!). 

If you don't want all the meat, that's fine. The original recipe called for pork sausage and shrimp, neither of which we used and we did not feel like we were missing anything. 

Adapted from here
Serves 6-8
12oz andouille sausage, diced
12 oz turkey bacon, diced
1 oz butter
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
2 celery stalks, diced
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 dried bay leaf
2 1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (didn't have, substituted chili powder)
2 1/4 cups brown rice
1 15oz can crushed tomatoes
2 1/2 cups rich chicken broth

- Preheat a large cast-iron pot over high heat. Lower the heat to medium and add the sausage, bacon and butter. Cook the meat as evenly as possible, stirring slowly, until the fat is released.

- Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add it to the pot. Once the chicken has browned, about 5 minutes, add the onions and cook for 15 minutes. Add the bell pepper, celery and garlic. Continue to stir, allowing the ingredients to brown without burning, about 5 minutes. Once the chicken is cooked, remove & shred, then add back to pot.

- Add the thyme, bay leaf, paprika, cayenne, and rice. Keep stirring for 5 to 7 minutes over medium heat.

- Add the tomatoes and broth, raise the heat back to high until the liquid boils, and then cover and reduce to a low simmer until rice is almost cooked through, about 25 minutes.

-Season to taste and enjoy!

Monday, March 19, 2012

A quick hello!

Welp, spring break is over :(

It was definitely a great one, especially the last four days as Matt didn't have to work Thursday or Friday so we got to spend a lot of fun, quality time together and with friends. 

Now it is unfortunately back to the 'real world.' Before I head off to work out and do my grocery shopping, I figured I would say hello! This week will be a busy one for us:

-Test tomorrow
-Parents coming into town for the week (so excited to see them!)
-A test next Monday
-Plethora of reading
-A problem set to work on

Well, you get the idea. I will be trying to do as much school as possible between now and the weekend so I will be able to spend time with my family. Here's hoping that goes well!

And because I can, here's something to help you have a little better Monday!


Friday, March 16, 2012

Weekly Smiles

Happy Friday everyone! 

This week has definitely been full of happy things, and more happy things to come! Here are some things that just make me happy:

  • Matt and I had a GREAT day yesterday! He took the day off and we:
    • Went shooting with a good Groupon deal
    • Accidentally found the seemingly only Dairy Queen in DFW and had mint oreo blizzards!
    • Visited a military museum
    • Walked around the Ft Worth Botanical Gardens
    • Joined Matt's co-workers for a happy hour
    • Walked around downtown Ft Worth
  • Today involves relaxing and cooking, again with my husband. 
  • I get to see one of my dear friends tomorrow and I'm SO excited
  • I have over 50 followers! What?!? Thanks everyone!
Hope you have a great weekend! Do you have any plans? Let me know!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy Pi Day!

3.14159265...etc etc. Hence why March 14 is also known as Pi Day.

In yet another edition of why I love being married to an engineer, Matt and I baked last night.

What did we make??

Mini Apple Pies!

And we even put it in our Pi pan. Because we're nerds. And we got it as a Christmas gift. 

You can go here for the recipe. It is time-consuming peeling all those apples and whatnot, but it isn't difficult and they are absolutely delicious, so in my book they're worth it!

They are now off to Matt's work where fellow Pi/pie-enthusiasts will enjoy them.

And for some action shots, because no cooking-related blog post is complete without them.

My husband being the expert apple-peeler 
Mix of all the spices + sugar + flour
Turns out a coffee mug was the perfect size to cut the dough!
8 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped mixed with the seasonings
Put the apples in the crust
Slice of butter on top, followed by scraps of dough, then brushed with melted butter 
Right out of the oven! Yum!
 So go make these for the math enthusiasts in your life, or just the pie enthusiasts that you know of. Matt brought up the point that you could really make any kind of pie like this, and makes it much easier to eat then 'real' pie. And you get more crust, which is oftentimes my favorite part!

Monday, March 12, 2012


It's spring break! I've been so looking forward to this week! Not so much in the fact that I won't have to do work, that I'm going somewhere cool, or I get to sleep in. Oh no, none of those things are really true.

I have a list of all the things I need to do school-related. It takes up an entire Word document page. 

I am getting up early with my husband like normal so he can go to work and all that. Man, this morning was bad. Daylight Savings Time seems to be rougher than I remember...

But, here are the good things about my spring break 2012:

  • We got to hang out with some good friends this Saturday and have a lot of fun
  • I don't have to drive to campus
  • I don't have classes. I'm particularly excited about not having my late night class tonight! Woohoo!
  • Have a fun day in Ft Worth on Thursday with my husband
  • Visit a dear friend on Saturday
  • Cook a lot more. On the agenda are things like mini-apple pies, jambalaya, twice-baked spaghetti squash, and stir fry.

 Pi day on Wednesday- I thought making mini-apple pies would be quite appropriate!
Making some jambalaya, minus the shrimp for my seafood-disliking husband 

None of these recipes involve the slow cooker and involve actual cooking that i normally don't have time for. I'm excited!

What about you? Any exciting plans for this week, even if you're not on spring break?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Weekly Smiles

And for our second edition of things that made/make me smile this week...

First, for a joke. Because I love cheesy jokes.


  • I am almost done with my mega-theory take-home exam. I will be reviewing it this morning and then emailing it back to the professor. Exam 1 of three done!
  • I am finally on the recovering end of Death Cold 2012 part 2. Long story, but it makes me happy!
  • Spring break starts as soon as I get home tonight! It's not so much a break from school as it is from driving, but I'll take it! Life of a grad student and such.
  • I get to see some good friends over the next few Saturdays and I'm SO excited!
  • I will be helping with a mock career fair for some high school students, so that will be fun and different
  • And it is Friday! :)
What about you? What makes you smile today?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

How Pinteresting Wednesday

I'm linking up again with the Vintage Apple for this week's edition of How Pinteresting!

So next week is spring break. Unfortunately, Matt and I have no huge trips planned as he will be working for most of it and I have TONS of work to do, but, here are a few places I would love to go if it wasn't for that!

Source: via Jessica on Pinterest
Source: via Jessica on Pinterest
Source: via Jessica on Pinterest
Source: via Jessica on Pinterest

Ah, a girl can dream! One day we will do some extensive traveling, but til then, I'll be studying about CRIM theories, regression analyses, and research designs until my eyes bleed. Wish me luck!

Monday, March 5, 2012

How Netflix Changed My Life

In high school, I didn't watch that much TV, specifically the shows that everyone talked about at the time, such as Lost.The same goes for college. I just didn't have the time and my schedule didn't allow me to sit down every Tuesday night at 7 PM eastern/6 PM central to watch my show. I think the only show I considered mine were Mythbusters and that I only watched when it happened to be on Discovery and I happened to be free. 

However, since getting married and subscribing to Netflix (as opposed to cable), my life has changed. I all of a sudden have shows now. It is a weird thing for me. All last summer, Matt and I watched the complete series of Lost. He had seen a few of the early seasons but I had never seen 1 episode. We had wonderful discussions about the smoke monster, or what we called ESD (Electric Smoke Dragon), and even had a Lost Finale Party For Two. 

Also during my unemployed summer I started watching Glee and have since become hooked, watching the new episodes on hulu. I also started watching "Once Upon a Time." I saw a commercial for it somewhere and was instantly attracted to it. Um, a show all about fairy tales, come to life? I'm there and I'm loving it!

Now last week, Matt & I started watching from season 1, episode 1, How I Met Your Mother. Where has that show been all my life? I have heard various pop culture references to it (Legendary, anyone?) and now that they're starting to click, I feel like I'm slowly becoming part of the cool club. I know, I'm silly, but it is a fun, light-hearted show. 

And no, though I'm studying Criminology, I have not watched Criminal Minds. Again, the lack of cable thing. Plus, I typically find crime shows exaggerate real life, as medical dramas tend to do as well, so I'm not sure what I would think of it if I did see it.

So, what about you? What are your shows? Any show you started watching way after it started?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Weekly Smiles

First- I noticed I have some new followers! Howdy! Thank for dropping by and I would love for you to leave a comment and tell me about yourself or where you blog at so I can come visit!

Second- in a goal to keep my blog an upbeat, complaint-free place, well, as much as possible, I decided to start a new weekly posting for myself. Once a week I am going to write a list of things that post a smile on my face! I think this will help not only my blog have less grad school-related complaints, but also help me be more optimistic. Feel free to join!

So, here is my inaugural post of my Weekly Smiles (ps, if you have a better name, let me know!)!

  • Spring break is a little over a week away. SO excited about a week without driving to campus and always being home when Matt gets home from work.
  • My husband just makes me happy. Getting some Slurpees and watching Toy Story was a particularly delightful highlight of last weekend.
  • A sermon a few weeks back challenged me to start memorizing relevant Bible verses and I have loved being able to meditate on some verses when I'm stressed. So God's Word makes me happy.
  • I'll be going to Chicago next fall to present at a conference, so that's fun! Plus, we're staying here. How swank is this place?
  • It's Friday, which is happy on its own, plus it's Matt's off-Friday and it's date night! :)!
So what are you particularly happy about for today? Anything special? Any plans for the weekend? PS- it's March. I just don't understand how the year is going by so quickly!