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Jalapeño pineapple martini

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One year anniversary! This means its drinky drink weekend! What? What? Are you excited? I know I am! Here is the recipe…

Ingredients:
1/2 jalapeño deseeded unless you want it really spicy
2 oz pineapple juice
1 oz simple syrup
2 oz Vodka
Juice of half a lime
Ice

Put jalapeño, lime, and simple syrup in martini shaker and muddle to squish jalapeño. Add pineapple juice,vodka, and top off with ice. Shake, shake, shake! Pour in a pretty glass and add and pineapple wedge for garnish.  Put your feet up and enjoy!

“To have garden, is to believe in tomorrow” – Audrey Hepburn

Hey all! At the end of last year I swore up and down that I was NOT going to have a garden. Well, Steve looked at me with big puppy dog eyes and  whimpered, “what do you mean we are going to have veggies?!”  I buckled. Our veggie garden is even bigger than last year. LOL. It absolutely amazes me to see how much changes in a year. Last year I was in the mode where I was bound and determined to make this whole house my own and put my mark on it. I started ripping out and transplanting all the bushes and irises that were over grown and not taken care of. These bushes above were some in question. Let me just say I’m so happy that we left them alone. To find out they were lilac bushes sent me over the moon!!!!!!!!!!! I’m obsessed with lilac bushes. The smell is amaze-balls!

My planter from last year with fushcia in it. Abel is just trying to be a model for the "perfect" home ad. LOL.

My planter from last year with fuscia in it. Abel is just trying to be a model for the “perfect” home ad. LOL.

Abel just cracks me up. His personality is so silly! When I walk the house he is my little duckling running right behind me. If he could talk he would say, “Mama, why aren’t you paying attention to me? Look at me! Look at me! Look at me! Don’t pick me up!!” Hahaha no wonder they look at me crazy.

This has bloomed so much! The flowers haven't opened up just yet. I will post an update when they do.

This has bloomed so much! The flowers haven’t opened up just yet. I will post an update when they do.

So neat and in order! Yippie!

Last year these daylilies were so thin. It looks so great in just one year!

Last year these daylilies were so thin. It looks so great in just one year!

Filled in daylilies.

The vegetable garden has cauliflower, green pepper, zucchini, jalapeno, and rosemary. (The lettuce died.) :(

The vegetable garden has califlower, green pepper, zuchinni, jalapeno, and rosemary. (The lettuce died.) 😦

I can’t believe I went from not ever having an indoor potted plant a year ago, and now I have a veggie garden among other various plants. Whew! I’m sweating just thinking of all the work.

Walkway to the veggie garden. I'm not sure if I really like this, so it's still a work in progress.

Walkway to the veggie garden. I’m not sure if I really like this, so it’s still a work in progress.

This whole back area makes my OCD alarm go off. I just doesn’t feel right. I would like to plant some tall grasses around the pole of the satellite dish to hide it. The stones need to be buried or I need more of them. I just don’t know!!! Ugh! lol

Last year the tomatoes were on the other side of patio and didn't get much sun so I swapped to the other side. Lets cross our fingers they do much better.

Last year the tomatoes were on the other side of patio and didn’t get much sun so I swapped to the other side. Lets cross our fingers they do much better.

We already have used the heck out of the mint to make mojitos our anniversary weekend. Woot woot! I think it was best to plant them in pots so I can bring them in and have fresh herbs in the fall.

Changing the way we buy food for the better

In my new journey of paleo eating and just downright upset with the things we are provided to nourish our bodies. I’m doing some research! Looking into supporting your local farmers and cutting out the middle man I found this website. Eat Wild You can find your local farmers and what is available to you.  The cost upfront could be a large amount but throughout the year is when you will find your savings.  I’m tired of wanting to do things to better my life and health and now taking action to find these things and set in action the world of change. So with that being said, do your research and change your life. Buy larger portions and split with your friends, neighbors, and family. You’ll feel better in the long run. It’s time to stop doing and eating what the government tells you to do.

How I made my small home feel BIG!

Good Morning all! Hope you slept well. 😉 I went to bed super inspired remembering that this site is all about my life not someone else’s. I was getting really down that my posts wouldn’t meet up to other peoples expectations and fabolous blogs. But guess what?! It doesn’t matter. There is only one me. These are my opinions, family traditions, and tips I’ve learned along the way. Okay! Let’s move along! Shall we? Hehe.

We bought this town home end of April of 2013. Let me just say that I look back sometimes and kick myself for not looking a little harder for something further along the renovation highway, but I know my instincts for finding a diamond in the rough is pretty good. So if your house needs a lot of work don’t get over-whelmed, just remember these are oppourtunites for you to put your own stamp on them and challenge to do things on a budget but for maximum profit.

I think the biggest question you should ask yourself would be “Is this my forever home?” If it is bravo! You may proceed any way you want putting your stamp on everything you want no holds barred! Get crazy people! High school Melissa would have her house sparkles, giant flowers and cheetah galore! (Like a jersey barbie! Sweet!) If not, you are in my boat. Don’t worry this does not make you up (you know what’s) creek without a paddle. Excuse my french. It will be a challenge but remember to keep the foundation things that will be left behind and not easily changed neutral. Get crazy with art, pillows, nick-nacks, mirrors, and whatever else can be taken down and hidden.

I walked into our little townhouse with some rose-colored glasses on, but that’s okay. I saw all the walls painted with bad faux wall paper techinques and said this will be a huge makeover! How fun! Let me tell you the challenges of raised texture on walls when people use craft paint instead of wall paint. My clean, crisp designs DO NOT like wall texture. I see wainscotting and bead board in this houses future! Muahahaha!

First off remove all yucky, dark curtains and let the light in baba! We are not vampires and teenagers sleeping all day long. I find natural light so theraputic every morning the first thing I do is open all the blinds. I like to white, sheery and airy curtains. Make sure you put the rod as close to the ceiling as possible to add height to the room and make the windows appear larger than they are. I tried to also use rods that were close to the wall color to blend in to create more “visual space.” Our master bedroom is the only room we have replaced the blinds and that was because Steve and the blind cord had a date with the palm sander. Oops!

Cleaning your windows will allow more light in. I live in a townhouse don't hate on my satillite dish. lol.

Cleaning your windows will allow more light in. I live in a townhouse don’t hate on my satillite dish. lol.

This is the side light on our front door.  It was covered with a Navy curtain when we moved in. When I took it down people could see right in so we used contact paper to "frost" it and allow the natural light in.

This is the side light on our front door. It was covered with a Navy curtain when we moved in. When I took it down people could see right in so we used contact paper to “frost” it and allow the natural light in.

Lighting is also very important. Take down all old ceiling fans and light fixtures. Either wash them, paint dark ugly things on them lighter colors (usually crisp white), or donate them and buy something new. I found using clear glass, white, as well as, silver makes it feel more open.All of my tables in my living room are glass to let the eye just see through them. Don’t just settle for a light fixture do the work and look for deals. I almost spent 3 times the amount on a chandilier for the dining room, but waited and walked into menards one day to find my current one for $130.

This is the master bedroom fan. The old one was yucky brown. with all the stuff going on around it white was best.

This is the master bedroom fan. The old one was yucky brown. with all the stuff going on around it white was best.

This is the guest bedroom fan. I wanted to go with white so it would blend in and other things could be the focus in the room.

This is the guest bedroom fan. I wanted to go with white so it would blend in and other things could be the focus in the room.

Dining room light with crystal silver and gold beads inside it help reflect light all around the room.

Dining room light with crystal silver and gold beads inside it help reflect light all around the room.

The entry light was also an update. The old light looked like it was alien abduction tool. This was simple and classic. Clean lines and clear glass to brighten up the room.

The entry light was also an update. The old light looked like it was alien abduction tool. This was simple and classic. Clean lines and clear glass to brighten up the room.

Use reflective things to decorate with. Place mirrors in positions where they will bounce light from windows and lamps to darker areas of the house. I didn’t realize until we lived here for a while that our windows are only one 2 sides of our town home so we only get sun during certain portions of the day. My kitchen is a dungeon! Metals and glass will reflect light or allow it to pass through. Ah, yes! Clean your windows at least once a month. It’s all about using what you have to the fullest potential.

Putting a mirror behind a lamp will help bounce light around a room.

Putting a mirror behind a lamp will help bounce light around a room.

Sorry about the weird angle, but this is my small hallway. This mirror reflects light from the master bedroom and guest bedroom to keep it brighter throughout the day.

Sorry about the weird angle, but this is my small hallway. This mirror reflects light from the master bedroom and guest bedroom to keep it brighter throughout the day.

Paint your house! Most people think that bright sunny yellows and electric colors will bring light to a room. No. A cool color pallete will receed the eye and push the walls outward. Make sure you pick colors that aren’t too dark because that will close off the room and make if feel smaller. If you hate them don’t worry paint is just paint it can always be changed. Get paint samples and test them on the walls and look at what they do to the space different times of the day. Personally, I love whites, grays, and blues. I’m like Pablo Picasso in his blue period right now…. So, that’s what I used so far. Paint the trim around door and baseboards that will make things feel crisp and new.

This was country picket fence and floral before. It's not completely updated but all we could afford so far. Once again a brighter blue with white finishes and glass jars filled with white things on the counter top.

This was country picket fence and floral before. It’s not completely updated but all we could afford so far. Once again a brighter blue with white finishes and glass jars filled with white things on the counter top.


The paint on these walls before was awful. I'll put up a post of before feather duster stamped walls. We chose a light blue and a large dark mirror for visual interest. You can also see the curtains are light and airy.

The paint on these walls before was awful. I’ll put up a post of before feather duster stamped walls. We chose a light blue and a large dark mirror for visual interest. You can also see the curtains are light and airy.

I saw a post on pinterest where someone did this with tape on their focus wall and was obsessed with it. We painted this though. I also made the mirror off another tutorial. It really brings the whole room to life.

I saw a post on pinterest where someone did this with tape on their focus wall and was obsessed with it. We painted this though. I also made the mirror off another tutorial. It really brings the whole room to life.

Here is the link for the bedroom wall from the nester. http://www.thenester.com/2012/08/no-paint-diamond-wall.html

Get rid of clutter. Do you really need 3 boxes of notes from your bestie in high school? You know what you use and what you don’t. Just remember if you are using space for all your old things you will never have space for new cooler things that you just have to have. (I remind myself of this daily.) I say if you’ve had it for 2 years and never use it get rid of it right now! Right now! I said right now! Have furniture that is multipurpose. Like tables that are for lamps and have storage underneath. You can also, marry a skinny husband, lose a few pounds, and have small dogs. LOL. Everything else will feel huge!!!!!!!!

I’m back! Laundry room update

Abel is very shaggy boy. Lil snot makes it so hard to take pictures of him. Hehe.

Abel is very shaggy boy. Lil snot makes it so hard to take pictures of him. Hehe.

George is so photogenic with his fishy. His hair is so long it makes him look 2x as big.

George is so photogenic with his fishy. His hair is so long it makes him look 2x as big.


My boys are so handsome!

It has been super cold here in Chicago. We have hit wind chills of -50 below, so, I let the dogs coats grow out… I think I let them get a little too long.

All I can say is “Oh MY GOODNESS!” I have had gotten locked out of my account and then I couldn’t remember which account my blog was linked to. Well, FIN.A.LLY I’m back. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!! So much to updating to do. Yippie! Okay, Celebration is over. Hehe.  Back in October we had new windows installed so the renovating has come to a halt for the most part, but I haven’t put any the previous reno’s on here. So I’m sorry if there aren’t play-by-play pictures but I can at least tell you what we did along the way.

Laundry room: Before

Laundry room: Before Drab and boring.

Laundry room after. I painted Behr Jade for a fun but fresh color. The curtain is damask from Kohls.

Laundry room after.New light fixture from menards. I painted Behr Jade for a fun but fresh color. The curtain is damask from Kohls.

I put up some new shelves because the old ones were all gross. Beverage dispensers from World Market and various containers and baskets from Home Goods.

I put up some new shelves because the old ones were all gross. Beverage dispensers from World Market and various containers and baskets from Home Goods.

The hooks on the wall were an light oak color I used various paint samples to coat covered in white and sanded the edges to give an antique look. Of course there is a fire extinguisher for safety. ;)

The hooks on the wall were an light oak color I used various paint samples to coat covered in white and sanded the edges to give a antique look. Of course there is a fire extinquisher for safety. 😉

Fresh laundry room. It's small but it does the job.

Fresh laundry room. It’s small but it does the job.

There is also a closet in there which I may open up to make some nice looking storage. Soon we will have a new washer and dryer and tile flooring. Overall I’m pretty happy with how easy and cheap the update was. It make a dark and dreary room fun and fresh.

What is true love? Fixing yourself…

Strength of a marriage

Strength of a marriage

I believe if you found this, this your sign, you are meant to read this. My hope is that this helps someone in some way.

It has been on my heart to share my journey thus far.  It has been an interesting two years, to say the least.  I discovered the love and existence of God 2 years ago and have learned many things and have had to repeat many lessons growing as a new-born Christian.  As a human we are constantly trying to satisfy oneself and fix internal strife. (Our flesh is in inherently selfish and self-centered.) Its time for us to live lives where we aren’t the only people in it. This is something brand new to me so I am not saying I know it all or much to begin with. They say if everyone walked in love the churches would be so full no one would have anywhere to sit.  God’s formula for helping heal one self is to reach out and help someone else and you will sow a seed for God to bring you harvest for your life.

2 Timothy 3:2-5
But understand this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear]. For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane. [They will be] without natural [human] affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting no truce or appeasement); [they will be] slanderers (false accusers, trouble-makers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good. [They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God. For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion) they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it.

So, two years ago I lost my job and was doing some major soul-searching and trying to find a purpose and what I wanted to do with my life.  Let’s just say it is very hard on your Ego when you have to leave a job and your everyday normalcy changes.  I started asking questions. “Am I doing what I should be for a career?” “Am I happy with where my life has taken me?” “Am I good enough to be doing what my job is?” “Will my future hold any success?”  “Did I mess up and take the wrong turn somewhere in life?” I was sitting at home by myself everyday looking for jobs online, stuck in my own stinky thoughts, questioning my life and where it was going, and dreaming up fantasies of lots of money and then bringing myself down with negative thoughts. 

My future mother-in-law was a Mary Kay consultant and constantly was pestering me to go to one of their makeover events.  I always made up excuses of why I couldn’t go. Our relationship at the time was pretty on-the-rocks.  She was always a sweet woman, but we had some things happen with my fiance’s business and family issues that just brought my views of her into a negative one.  So she would give me free products and like a total brat, I would give them to other people or never even try them.  I worked in the beauty industry since I was 14, so “I knew better, and her stuff was cheap and crap!” (Pissssssssshh!!! What an arrogant, closed-minded beeeyotch I was!) I look back at those times now and want to slap myself! Guess what?! She never gave up and always asked me to come. So, one night I could no longer make up anymore excuses. I guess I must have used them all up.  Even when I was driving to this event I was trying to think of any reason not to go.

 

OKay.  So I’m there and I do the makeover part.  Out comes the National for the area, Jamie.  Everyone is jumping up and down and clapping and cheering.  I was sitting there like, “what the heck is going on?” I was feeling positive energy and sisterhood it hung around me like a wet blanket. (I was just oozing negativity.)  She talked about her life.  Where she came from how she went from poverty to success multiple times in her life, and then how much money she was making.  I said sign me up!  Of course, I was jobless living on unemployment of less than $300 dollars every 2 weeks.  Anything was better than where I was. So, I took my $100 and signed up.  Well, little did I know was the rest of the weekend was fall advance, a huge event for training.  So the foundation of Mary Kay is God first, family second, and career third.  Sounds good right? The answer is yes… Jamie is a very strong believer and just a downright fighter and does not mince words.  She kept talking about God  the first day, and me as non-believer just sat and listened with intrigue. “Wasn’t I here for Mary Kay training?”  I was very cynical, but so broken and lost on the inside. I kept looking for a career and money to fix my happiness. I thought having tons of money was going to fix all the hurts and problems I had in my life. 

So, later that night for the first time in my whole life. I prayed a real prayer of desperation to God.  I think it was something a long the lines of, “God, if you’re out there and can hear me… I need you, I need a sign, I need help!”  I cried while I prayed and thought what a waste my life had become.  I was always and extremely hard worker and it had gotten me no where.  The next day at Fall Advance, Jamie was up on the stage again she was talking about the hardships of looking for jobs and I wish I could tell you exactly what it was that she said, but it’s not important and I can’t remember. (LOL) She said word for word one the things I had contemplated doing and it wasn’t common, but right then it’s when I knew with my whole being that God had heard me and this was his proof to me.  Seriously, it was the smallest thing, but I instantly felt my whole body release and I cried and cried and cried. (For all who know me, I am not a crier.) I mean, instantly I felt the weight of the world lift off my shoulders and I knew I didn’t have to rely on myself to figure it out anymore that I could trust God to lead me to it and through it.  Finally!  I had hope again.  Anything was possible for God through me. What a concept!?

I stuck it out for a while with Mary Kay and learned so much from those wonderful woman about confidence and God.  I still am a consultant, but decided to not actively pursue it while I am pushing to do hair and love on all my clients.  I just feel like that is what I am being led to do right now.  I grew up in a Catholic family and we went to church every sunday and also went to CCD. Maybe I was just too young then, but I never understood God. He was just an idea, never thought to rely on him for what I needed.  It seemed all the things I had been taught were just that Jesus died and all the other things in the bible happened long ago it was “important’ and repent for fighting with my sister or any of the other bad things I had done. LOL. My mom would tell me to pray before bed I would say “our father” like it was a security blanket to me, to protect me from going to hell just in case there was one. 

I feel that I was just in the right place at the exact right time and open to let God in my heart.  Otherwise, close-minded Melissa would have just thought “yeah, yeah, God and such, I get it!”, then move on. There are so many lessons I have yet to learn, but now I fight for are having joy everyday with what I am doing no matter what it is.  Why would God want to give me better things in life if I can’t appreciate and thank him for what I currently have? Forgiving other people (even if I know I’m right -hehe), not being judgemental, and learning to love people who don’t love me.  The topic of giving is also one that I feel the Holy spirit keeps bringing up inside me.  The definition of callous is feeling indifference to the suffering of others.  I know that I am guilty of that.  Thinking oh yeah, that is awful for the situation they’re in, who is going to step up and help them?

**(Strong side note)My relationship with my mother-in-law has become a strong one. She has helped me reach up and out to God and others. I misunderstood her love and forgiveness for others as weakness and stupidity. You know the expression when you point a finger and someone else, three are pointing back at you? (Uh um…. HELLO Melissa! Knock, knock! I see three in your face.) I have such a wonderful bond with her and the love I feel for her is also one I feel for my own mother and step-mom. God really knows how to put the right people where they need to be.

You have to start living your life to make other people happy.  Starting at home! (Oh man!)  Being a newlywed I am desperately fighting to have a strong Godly marriage that will last forever.  All I want to do is speak good into our marriage and not say negative things to or about my husband. 

Joyce Meyer asked this:

“Are  we willing to even ask God to teach us how to love the way he loves, because if we love the way God loves, that means we are going to love when there is nothing in it for us?”

 

What I get from this experience in hindsight is to find true love is to love God with all your heart act like Jesus and love on other people. The internal healing comes when you learn to do these things.

Camping at Devils lake

Steve, Me, Paul, Bridget, Ty, Norbert, Mags, and Katy. "The group"

Steve, Me, Paul, Bridget, Ty, Norbert, Mags, and Katy. “The group”

So we finally had a friends trip at the end of September,after discussing it for many years. Just so happened to be camping which was super fun! We were at Devil’s lake in Baraboo, Wi. We were all gross and grubby from the camping and rain I only got one picture the whole time we were there. We took the scariest hike up and down one of the bluffs there and the dogs did so well. At one point, we had to put them in Steve’s backpack because it was so steep. All-in-all a great trip with great people.

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