Friday, May 1, 2015

My Grey's Anatomy Rant. . . caution there are spoilers.



Caution Spoilers Ahead.  If you have not watched the 2 most recent episodes (airing 4/23 and 4/30) do not read this post.  If you do read this post do not blame me for ruining the episodes for you. You have been warned.

If you do not like, watch, or care about Grey’s Anatomy, this post is not for you.  I know many people will call be crazy for writing such a long post about fictional characters on a TV show, but I needed a place to vent my frustrations with Shonda Rhimes and the writers of Grey’s Anatomy. 
 
I remember watching Grey’s Anatomy while I was still in high school.  I came to Utah for school and stopped keeping up a few seasons in because it was hard to find time and a decent computer to watch the episodes online.  A few years ago I signed up for Netflix.  I saw that Grey’s Anatomy was on Netflix and instantly added it to my “to watch” list.  I started watching from the beginning.  I cried when Izzy got diagnosed with cancer, scared they were going to kill her off. I was upset when they wrote her off of the show.  I cried when they actually did kill George off. And don’t get me started on the plane crash episode. I was bawling my eyes out when Lexi died. And then they killed off Mark, who seemed to have survived the plane crash just fine.  It was a tough couple episodes to watch.  And then Christina left.  What was the show going to be like without the core relationship of Meredith and Christina?  Even when Derek and Meredith were at odds, she always had Christina.  I thought the writers  handled Christina leaving very well.  There was great story arc leading up to, and even after, she left.  Even though she isn’t in the show, her character has still been a part of Meredith’s life. We might not be seeing her every episode, but at least we knew she was doing well.

As this season has progressed I could see that Derek’s time on the show was coming to an end.  There is no way any fan of the show COULDN’T see it coming.  But the way it happened was horrible.  They could have had Derek stay in DC.  There was a hashtag devoted to whether or not Derek cheated on Meredith.  If Shonda wanted to be done with Patrick Dempsey/Derek, she had the perfect opportunity to write him out of the show without killing him off.  It would have been SO easy for her to make Derek cheat and close out that entire story line.  But no.  She resolved that entire issue and made all of us Grey’s fans think that everything was going to turn out ok with MerDer.  

Can I just say that, even if they had to kill Derek off, they way they chose to do it was STUPID.  The entire episode was centered on the fact that there was no cell phone reception where the car crash happened.  That’s why Derek and all of the other people involved in the accident were glad the car caught on fire.  How many times did they say “smoke signal”?  It was made very apparent during the episode that THERE WAS NO CELL PHONE RECEPTION.  After everyone is on their way to safety after who knows how many hours, miraculously there is suddenly cell phone reception in the area?  And after hours of these poor people being stranded in the middle of nowhere without a car driving by, at the exact moment that there is miraculously cell phone reception there is also a semi driving by?  It’s a bit of a stretch Shonda Rhimes.  2 circumstances central to the story line of the episode can’t suddenly change just so you can kill off Patrick Dempsey’s character. Do you think your fans are stupid?  Do you think we wouldn’t realize how insanely implausible that situation is?  I understand that you don’t like actor “divas”.   But to treat your fans as if we are stupid just isn’t fair to us.  It was HORRIBLE writing.  There are so many ways you could have killed him off, if that’s what you felt needed to be done.  He could have been injured in the initial crash.  He could have not realized he had serious injuries because he was trying to help everyone else.  He was a surgeon.  He is devoted to his patients, doing whatever it takes to save their lives.  It would have been a lot more plausible that he was so focused on helping them that he didn’t even realize he was injured.  But no.  You let us all think he’s going to be ok and then have him get hit by a semi.  Not cool Shonda Rhimes. . . 

I realize sometimes characters need to leave a show.  Whether it’s because the actors are divas or the actors don’t want to renew contracts or because it’s just time for a character’s story to end, there is a time and a way to end a character’s time on a show.  After 10 years, Derek Shepherd deserved a better ending than he received. Derek Shepherd deserved better writing than he received.  And, if nothing else, the fans of the show, fans that have already been through so much with this show, deserved a better ending and better writing than we received.

After a week of having to come to terms with the death of Derek Shepherd, I was ready to say goodbye to him as I watched his funeral.  I was ready to cry and mourn with the characters as they all came to accept that they had lost a dear husband, brother, friend, and colleague. Imagine my chagrin when I start watching the episode yesterday and see a whole 30 seconds devoted to his funeral.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?????  A character that has been CENTRAL to the story line for TEN years deserves more than a 30 second funeral. This INFURIATED me.  I have never in my life been so mad at a tv show.  I thought last week was the worst it could get. Apparently I was wrong.  

The 30 second funeral was just the beginning of what made me mad about this week’s episode.  I thought the entire episode (all 2 hours of it) was confusing.  It jumped from story line to story line with no rhyme or reason. It was so hard to follow what was going on between all of the different characters.  And then there were story lines that I didn’t even think were necessary.  I still don’t know what exactly happened last night.

First let’s talk about Jackson and April.  They have already been through so much this season.   I was SO confused when she left with Owen.  They never really say that she is leaving until she is suddenly at the airport with Jackson saying goodbye.  And why send her to a dangerous combat zone?  I didn’t understand.  I think the writers kind of touched on it when Arizona and Jackson are talking.  I get that April just needed a chance to find herself again. But I find it hard to believe that she would leave Jackson for x amount of months to do this.  

Now Owen.  Again I didn’t really understand what he was doing until he was just gone.  When he is talking to April they sort of talk about it, but not really.  One minute he’s there, the next he’s been gone for 6+ months.  And then he is back and talking to Amelia.  In the conversation between Amelia and him, he says something about re-enlisting or signing up for another tour.  Does this mean Owen is gone too?  So many questions!

The burn victims?  Why were they even in this episode?  They don’t seem to play any real role in the episode, other than to keep Jo busy.  I had a hard time even seeing their purpose in this episode.  Yes the show is about doctors and a hospital.  But while everything else at least had a little to do with Derek, these characters had NOTHING to do with anything.  Jo doesn’t use them to heal after hearing about Derek’s death.  They had no real purpose in the episode to me.  At least the patient that Callie and Amelia were helping had an injury that was healed BECAUSE of Derek.  And Amelia was able to help him and prove that, even though Derek is dead, there is still a capable neurosurgeon at Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital.  

And then there is the Meredith arc.  How can Shonda Rhimes write Meredith almost completely out of the episode IMMEDIATELY following her husband’s death?  I get that this was Meredith’s way of coping with the loss.  But where did she go?  Why didn’t she turn to Christina or Alex?  She was just gone. I thought it was so bizarre.  And then almost as quick as she left, she was back again. Granted it was actually a year later, but still. It was so sudden. I don’t feel like Meredith actually ever mourned her loss.  I know she had to be strong for her kids, but we never really saw her cry or grieve at all.  

Finally, what was with this whole “let’s cover 9 months in a 2 hour episode” thing?  I feel like we lost so much time with these characters.  Are we now watching events that are taking place in 2016? Did Derek’s accident even happen in 2015?  I now have no concept of time in this show. Why did we have to squeeze 9 months into one episode anyways?  So that we could see that Meredith was pregnant?  So that we could see the birth of her and Derek’s baby?  I don’t understand why it needed to happen.  I felt that this just contributed to the confusion that was this episode.  Also, that baby did NOT look like a newborn.  If you are going to have her give birth, at least  give her a baby that actually LOOKS like a newborn.  That baby was MASSIVE.  I certainly hope I don’t pop out a child as big as that baby was.  Don’t get me wrong, she was cute.  And if she was supposed to be portraying a 6 month old she would have been perfect for the role.  But she must have weighed at least 15 pounds.  

So now I am left wondering what is going to happen with Grey’s Anatomy.  Where is this show headed?  Is it coming to an end?  I don’t think I can stop watching now that I am 11 seasons in.  I do think the show could end this season and I would be ok.  Without McDreamy and MerDer why carry on?  MerDer has been central to the story line from Season 1 Episode 1.  Without that key relationship I think Grey’s Anatomy will come to an end sooner rather than later.  While there are other characters I have grown to love and root for, I don’t think the show will ever be what it was without Derek Shepherd.  Jackson and April, Arizona and Callie, Owen, Bailey.  None of them are quite as great as Derek and Meredith.  I hope Grey’s Anatomy can bounce back from this tragedy, but deep down in my gut I know the show will never be the same.
RIP Derek Shepherd.

~Tara

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Success in Being Healthy!

I know, 3 blog posts in 2 days!  It's crazy!  Work has been crazy slow this week due to Spring Break and crappy weather.  Thanks Utah for deciding to drop back into the 30's now that it's April.  We all REALLY appreciate it!  I just thought I should blog about the progress I have made in being healthy.

I know I've written what seems like 405858392 blogs about attempting to get in shape and be healthy and all that fun stuff.  Well I am finally starting to make progress. And it's all thanks to John.

After coming back from our Florida trip I had decided that I was FINALLY going to be successful about going to the gym.  I hadn't really talked to John about it, but in my head I was making plans to be healthy.  Then one Sunday night (actually it was about 3 weeks or so ago.  A week and a half after we got back. Whenever that was) John and I are laying in bed.  He out of nowhere asks me what days I want to go to the gym.  Now I have asked John at least a few times if he would ever want to go to the gym with me.  His response had always been a resounding NO.  So when he asks me what days I want to go to the gym my gut reaction is "why do you care what days I go to the gym?".  As it turns out, he was asking me because he had decided he wanted to start going to the gym.  I have no idea what prompted this complete change of mind, but I really didn't think I should question it.  So the next night we went to the gym and got John a membership. 

John is the type of person that when he sets his mind to do something he does it all the way.  There is no cutting corners or slacking off.  John set up a schedule for us and has not let me slack off once.  We go to the gym 5 days a week. We do cardio every day and then work out different muscle groups.  I have never felt like I was getting so much out of my gym membership.  In the past, when I had gone to the gym it was strictly to use the elliptical or treadmill and be on my merry way.  Now I use all of these crazy machines and leave sore EVERY SINGLE DAY!  Luckily its a good sore. . . most of the time. . .

On top of going to the gym 5 days a week, John has really helped me eat healthier too.  We've dropped soda from our diet completely (goodbye Dr. Pepper.  We had a good run.  You are still my go to soda of choice. Don't worry this isn't goodbye forever, just for now). We've started eating more fruits and veggies.  I think we've only gone out to eat once since starting this journey.  We casually count calories.

It has been so nice having John to help me accomplish my goals.  Having a gym buddy makes it so much more fun.  Having that gym buddy be your boyfriend is even better :)  No offense Ky!  And having that gym buddy live with you means you can't slack off and sneak junk food into your diet.  Or at least you can't do that without him finding out.  Or without feeling guilty about it later.

We are in our 3rd week of gym attendance.  I feel so much better about myself and am hopeful that all of the goals I have set for myself will FINALLY prove successful.  Here's to a cute bathing suit body for Connecticut this summer!  And to maybe finally running a 5k in LESS than 40 minutes!

Until next time,

Tara

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Every Tuesday night John does a web show right around 7.  Because of this show, John typically stops and gets a sandwich from Blimpie on his way home for work and chows down before the show.  That leaves me to make whatever I want for dinner without worrying about whether or not John will eat it.  (For those of you who don't know, John is a fairly picky eater.  He's getting better, but it's still a struggle balancing my desire to try new recipes with his picky eating habits).  I look forward to Tuesdays and the opportunity they present to try all sorts of new recipes.

Last week I tried a recipe I found on the good ol' Pinterest.  Seriously I love that website!  It is a fantastic source for crafts, recipes, outfit ideas, wedding planning, adorable animal pics, random life hacks, quotes. .  .you name it you can probably find it on Pinterest. It's awesome.

I based my dinner on this recipe I found on Pinterest.  I did modify a bit though.  Here's what I changed:

First I just used regular ol' black beans from a can.  As it turns out, I didn't happen to have a spare black bean burger hanging out in my fridge.  I drained and rinsed the beans and added cumin, granulated garlic, onion powder, salt, pepper, and ground red pepper.  They were really tasty and I probably could have just eaten that for dinner but alas the potato was baking so I stuck to the game plan.

I didn't have any pepper jack cheese at home and I really didn't feel like going back to the store.  Yes I live a stone's throw away from a grocery store.  But I was feeling lazy and I had other shredded cheese at home so I just used what I had.  I ended up using a fiesta blend or maybe it was a Mexican Style blend of cheese. It had cheddar and Monterrey jack and maybe another kind of cheese.  Whatever it was, it was tasty.

I don't know if I didn't cook the potato long enough, but it did NOT scoop out of the skin easily, nor did it mash well.  As it turns out I'm not really picky about how my food looks as long as I know what it is and that it is edible.  Here is my finished product:

I am by no means a professional food photographer.  Can't you tell?  

This was really tasty.  I know John would never go for it, but I would definitely eat it again.  If you like avocado and sweet potatoes I definitely recommend this dish.

On a somewhat different note, how does one take a good picture of food?  All of my plates (except for one random plate I acquired probably from a college apartment) have some sort of color or pattern to them.  No matter what camera I use, the food just doesn't look as appetizing as the professional photos one sees in magazines (or on other blogs for that matter).  I'd like to think my cooking is an actual representation of the normal, every day, non professional cook.  I don't worry about my food looking like it came out of a 5 star restaurant.  It's all eaten within 20 minutes of getting on the plate, so why worry about how pretty it looks? This got me thinking about possibly including more recipe/craft type posts here, showing what a NORMAL person can produce based off of magazine recipes and Pinterest.  Because lets face it MOST people aren't professional chefs.  Most people don't devote their entire lives to creating the best pictures of inanimate objects that they consume immediately after taking the picture.  While I would love to be able to produce 5 star restaurant quality food every single day and then be able to take a picture worthy of magazine covers to display said food, it's just no realistic for me. After all I am Just an Average 20 Something. . .

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Florida Vacation. . .with pics!!!

Hey everyone!  It has been FOREVER since I've posted and even longer since I included pics in a post.  I've finally joined the 21st century and got a smart phone so uploading pics is a LOT easier and way less time consuming.  Eventually I will post all of the pics from 2014 that I want to share, but until then here's some pics from our  vacation to Florida.

We decided to  go to Florida when our friend Steven invited us to his wedding.  Typically I don't think we would have flown all the way to Florida for a wedding that wasn't a family member, but there was a lot more we could do there than just go to wedding.  My dad lives about an hour away from Orlando and I have a very good friend that lives in Jacksonville.  So John and I decided to take a Spring Break if you will and visit Florida.

Dad so graciously bought us 3 day, park hopper tickets to Universal Studios.  I have been wanting to go to Universal ever since the Harry Potter parks opened.  The park hopper pass allowed us to take the Hogwarts Express between the 2 parks, which is WAY better than walking.  Here we are waiting for the train







I also got the awesome opportunity to try some Butterbeer

If you go to Universal Studios and don't at least TRY the Butter Beer you are missing out.  I don't think I could drink it all the time, but it really is delicious.

The Harry Potter parks are a must see for any Harry Potter fan.  They are a lot of fun and really help bring the books to life.  You have to ride the Castle Tour and Escape from Gringotts.  Those rides were epic and the queuing for them are great too!  I've never had so much fun waiting in line for 45+ minutes as I did waiting to ride the Harry Potter rides.  Even just walking around Diagon Alley and Hogsmede is fun.  Walking into all of the shops and buying candy from Honey Dukes or joke toys at Weasley Wizarding Wheezes was a blast.  You can also explore Knockturn Alley, which is cool.

While the Harry Potter parks were by far my favorite part of Universal Studios I enjoyed the rest of the park as well . We got to watch some pretty cool shows and ride some other epic rides.  Shooting Aliens on the Men in Black ride and getting soaked on the Popeye water ride was a blast.  Despite getting a horrendous headache my first day at the park I really had fun hanging out with John and my Dad and Step-mom. Word of advice to anyone planning a trip to Florida.  Drink LOTS of water and make sure to eat on a regular basis too.  Universal Studios allows you to bring food and water into the park to help cut the costs of expensive park food.  And if I remember right from my trip to Disney World a few years ago, they do as well. Take advantage of that!  It's really hard to enjoy the parks if you have a headache because you are dehydrated or haven't eaten! 
This picture is a must if you go to Universal Studios.  And look at what a great job Dad did at getting this!!!

nothing like checking out Fear Factor live. Not as crazy as the actual show, but it was a nice way to relax and eat some snacks.  If you need a break from all of the rides and craziness, stop by and check it out.


Wednesday and Thursday (as well as Monday of the following week) were spent at Universal Studios.  Friday John and relaxed pretty much all day.  We ran to Wal-Mart to get some last minute wedding stuff, got our hair cut (John) and got our nails done (me).  Then we got all fancied up and went to the wedding.

Unfortunately I don't have any great pics from the wedding.  John and I apparently were horrible at taking selfies that night and a lot of the pics I have took on a very red hue because of the lighting.  But just know it was a LOT of fun.  While we didn't know anyone other than the bride and groom, John and I managed to really have a good time (with the help of an open bar :)  ).  John and I don't get dressed up and go out drinking and dancing ever so it's a nice change of pace when we go to a wedding.  And ever since the wedding John and I have started talking a little bit more seriously about our future wedding, whenever that will be.  And no this is not an engagement announcement.  There is still no ring on my finger. . . YET :)  Thanks Steven and Kate for a great night!!  Sorry I have no awesome pics to show for it.  Maybe I will get in and try to do some editing  at some point.

Saturday John and I drove up to ST. Augustine to meet my friends Russ and Alesha.  They spent a couple hours with us at Universal Studios on Wednesday, but I didn't come all the way to Florida to spend just a few hours with my good friend Russ!  For those of you who don't know, Russ and I have been friends for 6 or 7 years.  We met doing early morning custodial way back in the day at BYU.  We've been close ever since.  I consider him almost like another brother.  He is from Florida originally and moved back to Jacksonville after graduating (and brought his then fiance Alesha with him).  I haven't seen them since they moved to Jacksonville and I just HAD to meet their little one.  So they graciously met us in St. Augustine to spend the afternoon.  I loved walking around and chatting with them, and hanging out with the kiddo.  She and I had so much fun just walking around.  I loved it.  It was nice to get to know Alesha better as well.  I had met her only a  couple of times before they moved so I really enjoyed talking to her more.  I knew she was awesome because she landed Russ, who is just so cool :)  My hunch was confirmed after spending time with her and getting to chat about the possibility of getting engaged and all that other girl stuff us girls have to talk about whenever we get together.   And I'm glad John got the chance to meet Russ.  Russ is so important to me as a friend and John is obviously important to me.  Russ meeting John and "approving" of him was so great.  And John saying he enjoyed hanging out with Russ was pretty cool too.  It's always nice when 2 important guys in my life meet and get along.  I think John has finally met all of the important guys in my life and they all seem to approve.  So we can move forward and get engaged any time now.  haha

Checking out the fort.

Russ is such a good dad.  And look at that cutie!  Isn't she adorable!!!!!

We had so much  fun in St. Augustine and can't wait to see Russ and Co. again when they come out to Utah in June!

Saturday night we hung out with the newlywed couple again.  It's always interesting to go out when we aren't in Utah. The atmosphere and people are so different outside of the "Utah Bubble".  We had a good time eating dinner and getting drinks with Steven, Kate and some of their other friends that were visiting from out of town.  While I love all of my LDS friends and hanging out with them, it's always nice to go out with people that have a similar lifestyle to us.  Not that the LDS lifestyle is bad by any means, it's just different.

Sunday John and I drove out to Cocoa Beach.  Cocoa Beach is MAYBE 20 minutes away from my dad's house, which is so cool to me. Finding parking at the beach in the middle of March on a weekend is by no means an easy task, especially since we REALLY didn't want to pay for parking.  We are pretty sure we ended up parking outside of a strip club, but hey, parking was free for 3 hours so we were ok with it.  John and I enjoyed relaxing on the beach and collecting some seashells.  We found some way cool ones that we are planning on displaying as soon as I go out and buy a vase.  John taught me how to body surf which was fun.  I don't think I ever actually did it correctly, but I had a blast pretending to know what I was doing and hanging out in the ocean. I love the beach and how relaxing it is (even when there is a HUGE crowd every where you turn).  To me, there is nothing better than laying out in a bathing suit with the sun shining down on you and being able to hop in the water to cool off if need be.  Whether it's a lake or the ocean, I just love that setting.

No we are not on a nude beach.  I just happen to be wearing a strapless bathing suit top.  I promise.

The obligatory beach kissy picture.  We are just so cute right?
John and I had so much fun in Florida.  I'm so glad we got to visit so many different people and see so many new places.  Vacations are always nice, but it's nice to get back to our routine as well.

Soon I promise I will get pics up from 2014. We did so much last year that I  want to share with everyone!  And we still have most of 2015 left to go!  We have a couple more fun trips tentatively planned, both to Connecticut.  We also have concerts we want to go to, races to run, recipes to share, crafts to try, and just our normal life.  I am going to try to post more frequently, I promise! 

Much love!!!

~Tara

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Joys of Being an Adult



It’s been a stressful past couple of days for me.  I’ve had customers get mad at me for not going WAY out of my way for them.  I’ve had customers lie to my bosses about something I said in order to get something for free. I’ve had customers get mad at me for trying to get them to make a final payment.  It’s been stressful for me at work.  Don’t get me wrong.  I LOVE my job.  Most of the time it’s very laid back and stress free.  The past couple of days though have been pretty rough.  Typically customers are very nice and friendly and make work that much better.  But man, when a bad customer comes along, they are VERY bad.

On top of that, John and I have run into a bit of a financial bump.  Without going into detail, money that we thought was a sure thing has turned out to be not so sure.  John and I approach situations like this very differently.  John tries not to worry about stuff that is pretty much out of his control.  He takes the “we’ll figure it out and make it work” approach.  I, on the other hand, get VERY stressed.  I basically spent all last night crying and trying to figure out what I can attempt to sell in order to come up with the money we need.  I started thinking that we were going to get evicted, become homeless, have to get rid of the dogs, break up, and be miserable for the rest of our lives.  That’s just the way my brain works; I automatically think worst case scenario.  Most likely, none of these things are going to happen.  Our rent check isn’t going to bounce.  We will just have to watch our spending for the next little bit.   John and I got to have a very “adult” conversation about bills, money, and all that fun stuff that adults get to stress about.  Talks and situations like this really make me miss being a little kid.
Why are little kids always in such a hurry to grow up and live on their own anyway!?  I remember as a kid being so eager to move out and do whatever I wanted.  Now I would give anything to live back at home with my mom and let her worry about bills and stuff.  Sorry mom!  Granted being an adult means I make my own rules, cook what I want for dinner, and clean when I want.  But man I hate bills. I hate having to worry about paying those bills.  I hate stressing about money. 

I know everything is going to work out and that John and I will be just fine.  I know that I am probably worrying about absolutely nothing.  John and I have a very solid relationship.  We’ve gotten through hard times before, so why should this time be any different?  It shouldn’t and it won’t.   So things get a little tight for the next little bit until this problem works itself out.  As long as John and I stick together everything will be fine.
Until next time with what is hopefully a more upbeat post (maybe even with pictures!),

~Tara

Thursday, January 22, 2015

New Year's Update



We are 3 weeks into the New Year. . . yay?  Just kidding.  2015 is going just great so far.  First a quick update on Christmas with 18 people, 4 dogs, 2 cats, and a bird.  It was SO great to see my family, especially my brother’s kiddos.  I haven’t seen them in forever, and had never even met my nephew.  I loved spending time with them.  They have each developed such a unique personality since the last time I got to see them.  The oldest is quiet and content just playing games on a tablet or phone.  I may have downloaded some Frozen themed games for her amusement.  And I might still play some of those games even now. . . just sayin.  The middle child is a little spit fire.  She LOVES to play.  On more than one occasion (about 4038298347 times over the course of 4 days) the words “Aunt Tara PLAY with me!” were spoken.  I got to spin around in circles really fast, give piggy back rides, crawl around on all 4’s like a horse, and all sorts of other activities that amuse young kids.  I definitely got a good workout in!  I absolutely adored every second of it, even if I was plenty exhausted by the end of the week.  She also put John in “jail”.  It was hilarious.  Apparently John was breaking the rules because he was watching David, my younger brother, play on his tablet.  John is only allowed to eat, sleep, and relax.  I guess I make John work too hard and he needed some relaxing time.  And there’s no better place to relax than jail.  It makes sense to me.  Anyways I loved seeing the little ones and can’t wait to see them again!  Another fun side note about the trip to my mom’s.  John and I won the Trivial Pursuit game!  My family plays Trivial Pursuit whenever we gather.  I don’t know why, but hey, it’s a tradition so why stop.  As the family gets bigger we have to play in teams, so naturally the couples all team up.  John and I have come close to winning previous games, but were denied the win because we didn’t know the EXACT word (we still count it as a win).  But this last game we proved victorious!  John’s knowledge of the Yankees and my knowledge of Jay-Z and Beyonce led us to a win.  We were pretty stoked about that.  It’s the little things in life people!

While the 4 days in Colorado were fun, John and I definitely are accustomed to the peace and quiet of our home. It’s always nice to get back to the day-to-day.  I got to take the week following Christmas off of work.  I tried to take advantage of this time off by cleaning, but really I didn’t accomplish a ton. I just cannot seem to keep my house organized!  I was able to get some stuff tidied up, but you better believe the house is pretty much a disaster again.  I really try but when I get home from a long day at work the last thing I want to do is clean up.  It’s bad people. . . REALLY bad. 

My New Year’s Resolutions are going. . . ok.  I haven’t been the best at going to the gym, but just when we got settled back into the daily routine my dad and step mom came for a visit.  So there’s that.  I’m hoping to really get into the swing of things now that things have settled down again.  I have been really good about cooking. For anyone that had the same struggles I did with not wanting to cook or knowing what to cook MAKE A MENU!!!!  It really has kept me in line and avoided trips to fast food restaurants.  Every Saturday I sit down and figure out what we are going to eat for the week.  On Sundays we go to the grocery store and pick everything up.  It has helped SO much!  I write out the full meal in a notebook and write a summary such as “Balsamic Chicken” or “Beef Tenderloin” on a white board.  This helps me know what I need to pull out to thaw.  Then I get home for work and dinner is all ready for me to cook.  It really has helped a TON. 

I have also successfully stopped drinking the Dr. Pepper.  I don’t even crave it any more.  I am really proud of this accomplishment.  I was drinking 2-3 sodas a day before the start of the New Year.  Now I drink a very little amount of coffee in the morning and pretty much stick to water the rest of the day.  I sometimes drink a glass of lemonade at lunch or a glass of wine with dinner. But for the most part my beverage of choice is water.  I thought it would be a lot harder for me to quit drinking soda, but really it hasn’t been that bad.  I’m hoping I don’t slip back into the habit, but I feel confident I can keep away except for special occasions. 

Couponing and money saving are going decently. I’ve been trying to be pretty selective about what deals I purchase and what deals I pass on as far as couponing goes. So far I think I’ve done well.  I’ll have to take pictures of deals I scored and what not in future posts.  For those that still don’t think it’s worth it to coupon, trust me it is!  You won’t see immediate savings right away, but they do add up!  Especially in a world with a plethora of rebate apps available that pay you just to buy a product you already had on your shopping list.  Why not take advantage of that?  It’s a great time to coupon!!! 

That about sums up the first few weeks of the New Year.  I desperately need to upload pics of our adventures soon.  Beware, a photo dump is coming! 
Until next time,

Tara