DIY Wall Art

As I browsed through our local arts & crafts store trying to find a DIY project to blog about, I saw that canvases were being sold in pairs for only $6 so I figured I would give painting a shot! I grabbed a couple of canvases along with a cheap pack of brushes and a few paints and left the store eager to create my very own wall art.

I had no idea where to start, but I knew that I wanted to including writing in my art. I soon regretted this decision when I realized how difficult it is to paint perfect letters. But it turned out alright…. I think.

The supplies:

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Paint, brushes, canvases, a paper plate, a cup of water and some paper towels.

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I squeezed the paint colors that I wanted to use onto a small paper plate and filled a plastic cup with water to clean the brushes.

I was trying to create sort of an abstract background before I painted the quotes, and I’ll admit that I had no idea what I was doing….. so it ended up looking like this.

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I used a burgundy color and a beige for the background and I couldn’t help but laugh because all I could see was bacon, or a scab or something. So in order to make it NOT look like a scab or bacon, I added some white and gold.
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The while and gold definitely helped make it look more artsy.

Although it turned out nothing like I had expected, I was still going to try and finish my piece by adding a quote.

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Obviously the writing is not very aligned but I was just happy that it was legible!

I’m no paint expert so I don’t know if its just the type of paint that I was using (Acrylic) that made it difficult or if painting just isn’t my forte. Anyway, I think with a little more practice I could probably make something that I would really be proud of but this was my first try so cut me some slack!

The best part of the activity was that Blake actually took a break from studying and painted with me. And much to my surprise, he created an adorable little piece of art. I mean, is there anything that guy can’t do?

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This is Blake’s little masterpiece, an owl on a tree.
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Vegetable and Wild Rice Soup Recipe

Clearly soup is my favorite meal since this is the 3rd soup recipe I’ve posted. I swear I cook other things but soup is so easy and delicious! I kind of just threw this soup together a few weeks ago and apparently it was really good because Blake asked me to make it again.

Here is what you’ll need:

2 large cartons of low sodium chicken broth [If you’re vegetarian use vegetable broth instead]

1 Green cabbage

3 Carrots

3 Summer Squash

2 Zucchini 

1 Yellow Onion

1 Clove of Garlic

1 tsp Garlic Salt

1/2 tsp Salt and Pepper 

1tbsp Chicken Bullion

1 French Baguette 

1 Pack of Uncle Ben’s “fast cook” wild rice (you’ll need water and either butter OR olive oil for this)

Begin by peeling the carrots then cut them along with the zucchinis, onion, clove of garlic and the cabbage. Place all of the veggies in a large pot and add the broth. Turn heat to medium high and cover the pot.

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While the veggies are cooking in the pot, cook the wild rice in the microwave. Just follow the directions on the box of rice and when it is cooked, add it to the pot.

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Finally, cut the baguette into small pieces to dip into the soup.

And that’s it! Easy and delicious! 

Skippy the Wonder Dog

Hi, I’m Skippy! Also known as Skip, Skipper, Skipper-doodle and some people even call me “Skippy the Wonder Dog”!

I was a surprise present for my momma 11 long years ago and we have been best friends ever since!

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This is a photo of me as a young pup. 

For a little dog, I have been on lot’s of adventures. When I was just a puppy, I went to Mexico with my family and I pooped in a closet (everyone was pretty mad about it). More recently I was on a local television program called CCN Sunrise with my grandma playing the role of a therapy dog, little does everyone know that I’m the one who needs the therapy.

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Here’s a photo from my interview that I found on google images by searching “skippy the wonder dog”.

I often get major anxiety and start to shiver like crazy, but that didn’t stop me from being the “ring bearer” in my mom and dads wedding.

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Speaking of my new dad, I wasn’t so sure about that guy at first. When I was just relaxing on moms lap, he would lean in like he was about to bite her! So instinctively I would try to bite him back, but I’ve come to realize that he isn’t trying to bite her. I guess he was just trying to kiss her.. it’s something humans do. I do not understand it. Why put your mouths together when you could just sniff each others butts?! Anyway….

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Now we get along great! We cuddle all the time and I don’t try to bite him at all anymore.

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My hobbies include, eating, sleeping, peeing on every bush I see and more sleeping. My favorite sleeping position is called “the cinnamon bun”. I walk around in circles until my body is formed into a perfect little loop and then I lay my head right next to my butt. It’s so comfy!

One day, my parents woke me up super early and we ended up in a car for 3 days! I had no idea what was going on, but I couldn’t say no to a ride in the car! I truly love to stick half of my body out of the car window and take in all of the wonderful smells. I didn’t mind being in the car for so long since sleeping is one of my favorite things to do. Apparently we were moving to our new home across the country, it was a long car ride but I got to see and smell and pee on lot’s of things along the way which made it totally worth it.

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My ears are very big, but they are great for hearing when intruders are trying to enter our home. I usually bark as loud as I can to let them know they are not welcome, until my mom tells me to stop because she doesn’t like the loud barking. Doesn’t she know I’m just trying to keep her safe?

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For my next adventure I will be boarding an airplane with my mom and dad to come home for christmas! Life is anything but ruff for this blogging dog! Until next time, have a happy wednesday my friends.

5 Organization Tips to keep your home clean

Organization isn’t about perfection it’s about efficiency. Reducing stress & clutter, saving time & money, and improving you overall quality of life.

Organization, it’s one of the few things in life that I am really good at. I love to organize things because when I do, it’s more likely that my home will stay cleaner longer. Having a clean home means having a clear mind. When my house is clean I am at peace. Sometimes it can seem impossible to keep your house clean even for a few days (or hours if you have kids), but I’m hoping that these organization tips will help you.

The secret to having an organized home is that you must be willing to give up things that you no longer need or want. You may be hanging on to old clothes that don’t fit or trinkets that have no useful purpose. Unless it serves a purpose or it’s really important to you, you have to start by getting rid of everything that you no longer need. You can try to make a little extra money by selling your more valuable items on craigslist or offer-up, just know that you probably wont get as much as you want for the item, but it’s better than nothing! You can also donate old clothes and household items to Goodwill rather than throwing them away, or have a big yard sale! Anything else goes in the trash.

Here are some organizational tips that have been helpful for me:

1: Sorting the Mail

Junk mail has got to be the biggest culprit when it comes to having unwanted trash laying around the house, especially if you are not the only one receiving mail in your household. It is important to get into the habit of throwing away junk mail as soon as you look through it and realize that you don’t need it.

If the mail belongs to someone else in the household then I would suggest getting a mail sorter and designating each section to each person who receives mail in your home. This way the mail will be out of the way and in a safe place for the recipient to go through themselves when they have the time.

I would also suggest signing up for online banking notifications to save yourself from ending up with a bunch of bills lying around the house. If you want to keep it old school and continue getting paper bills, then get a file box to keep your important papers safe.

2: Laundry

If you’re like me, then you probably have a certain piece of furniture in your room where all of your dirty clothes end up. That was my problem until I got a hamper worth using. This hamper has four different sections and wheels! I can separate my colors, whites, darks and delicates AND I don’t have to carry a huge pile of laundry in my arms all the way to the laundry room because I can just stroll the whole hamper over! The only negative thing about this hamper is that it is pretty big so if you don’t have a closet large enough to store it where it will be out of sight, it may not be the best option for you. But if you can at least get into the habit of keeping your dirty clothes off of the floor then you will definitely have a cleaner room.

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 3: Storage (out of sight-out of mind)

For those of you who do not have a ton of closet space, think about getting under-ther-bed storage containers.  I like to use mine to store my shoes in. You can store seasonal clothing items under your bed during the moths which you will not be using them, I keep my boots and other shoes that I don’t use a lot under my bed in containers. You can also put risers on your bed to be able to fit more stuff under there. Just be practical about what you keep under your bed and make sure it is easy to keep organized.

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Recently, Blake and I purchased these cube organizers to use as nightstands and they are really great for storage. The cool thing about them is that the come in many different colors and so do the drawers. You can get up to 4 pop-out drawers for each square or you can leave them empty and use them to display books or any other items you want to have out in the open. We purchased them from Target but I know that Ikea also has a similar item, however I think Target has a bigger variety of pop-out drawers.

4: Drawer-ganization

Letting a drawer get messy is easy to do. For bathroom or vanity drawers, I would suggest that you find a drawer insert so that you can keep your jewelry and makeup organized. It’s those drawers full of smaller items that can get really messy and inserts provide a way to keep those items separated and make them easier to find.

Dresser drawers can get messy too, a few years ago I organized my dresser drawers by getting rid of any clothes I no longer wore and I organized my clothes within each drawer. For example, my drawer full of tops is separated into four piles, tank tops, t-shirts, long sleeve shirts and crop tops. If you have things in your drawers that are able to be hung in your closet then move them so that your drawers aren’t too stuffed full of clothes.

5: Making use of closet space

Take advantage of whatever closet space you have and invest in some closet organizing tools. I purchased a shoe hanger where I keep all of the shoes that I use most often. (As seen in first image)

I also have re-purposed gift boxes to hold things such as bathing suits, purses and hats, you can find boxes like this for less than $10 at Marshals and they come in different sizes, if you can’t find a style you like, baskets would be another good option.

If you have a lot of smaller odd and ends that need to be organized I would suggest using plastic storage containers as long as you don’t mind the way they look. Blake and I have four of them and they serve as Blake’s personal “dresser”. To keep from over-loading my dresser drawers, his clothes are stored in the plastic drawers in our closet. This is only temporary while we live here but it is a good (cheap) way to keep things organized for the meantime.

I hope this has helped you in some small way! Now organize away my friends!

Chicken Chili Recipe

“Nothing brings people together like good food!”

This chili is a family recipe, I got it from my mom and she got it from her mom. It has changed a bit throughout the years but it is one of my all time favorite comfort meals for the colder weather. My mom has made this chili for holidays such as Halloween and New years in the past because it is delicious and can feed a lot of people.  The best part about this recipe is that it is SO EASY to make! All you have to do is shred some chicken, open a bunch of cans and chop a few toppings.

WARNING: This recipe includes a LOT of beans.. and you know what they say about beans, they’re the magical fruit. The more you eat, the more you… well you know. Basically what I’m saying is, just don’t make this if you’re having a first date with someone and trying to impress them with your cooking skills, because half way into Netflix and chilling you might need to pull out the GasX.

Heres what you’ll need:

1 Roasted Chicken (shredded)

2 (1lb 12oz) cans of Green Chile Enchilada Sauce

7 (15.8oz) cans of great northern beans (Drained)

1 (15.8oz) can of Butter beans (they’re like the giant version of great northerns beans)

2 (4.5oz) cans of chopped chiles

1 (7oz) can of Herdez salsa verde (optional for extra spice)

For Garnish

Shredded cheese- Jack or Mexican Blend

1 Bunch of cilantro- chopped

1-2 Avocados- Diced

Start by shredding the roasted chicken- get all of the white meat off and set is aside

Now you can open all of the cans and drain the liquid from the 8 cans of beans

Combine the enchilada sauce, chicken, chopped chills and beans (& optional salsa if you like it spicy) all together in one pot and stir it up.

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Turn the heat to medium high and cook until warm. Be sure to stir continuously so the beans on the bottom don’t get burnt.

Once the chili is hot enough, serve in bowls and top with cheese, cilantro, avocado and ENJOY!

How to live a life with less regrets

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if life was perfect? Well unfortunately it isn’t. Bad things happen, people can be cruel and sometimes we make bad decisions. Sometimes we lose loved ones and sometimes we feel helpless. Sometimes addiction takes over, or depression, or even greed. Life isn’t all butterflies and rainbows. Sometimes we let our anger get the best of us and we make decisions that we wish we could take back, but we can’t because that’s just not how life works.

I know it’s impossible to live a life without a few regrets but I’d like to share my thoughts on some of the ways that I believe could help you to live a life with less regrets:

Believe in yourself

If you have dreams or goals for your future you have to believe that you can achieve them. Attitude is everything. Blake, for example, has never been much of a scholar but he set a goal to do something that he knew would be a challenge for him and has maintained a positive attitude about it from the start. And guess what? He is doing an amazing job. He’s smarter than he knows, and his positive attitude and determination are what will get him through this insanely tough medical program. Do things that scare you, travel to the places you want to see, push yourself to be better than you were yesterday and always be your own biggest fan.

Believe in others

You never know what other people are dealing with, whether it’s a personal issue at home or a problem with mental health, there are so many things that could be going on beneath the surface, of which you are unaware. My mantra in life is to just be nice. A smile or a small compliment could save a life. The world needs more NICE. Always encourage your loved ones to follow their dreams and passions no matter what. You never know who’s life will change just because you were the only one who believed that they could accomplish their goals.

Say “I Love you”

You never know when you will be hugging someone for the last time. Tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us. Life takes unexpected turns all of the time and you never want to live with the regret of forgetting to tell someone that you love them while you still have the chance. P.S. To my friends and family who are reading this.. I LOVE YOU ALL! 🙂

Don’t hold grudges

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned” -Buddah

When you’re holding grudges, ultimately you’re only hurting yourself. Allowing yourself to dwell on negative thoughts about someone is not good for your own mental health. Learning to forgive and forget is the biggest blessing of all. Sometimes we get so angry about things that won’t even matter to us a few years down the road. Always choose to be the bigger person and mend your relationships. Even if you don’t want to maintain a close relationship with the person anymore, it’s still important to stay cordial.

Love people beyond their flaws

It’s never okay to make fun of someone because of their appearance. Whether it is someone who’s struggling with acne or weight gain or someone who looks different because they were born with something that made them that way. All humans are God’s beautiful creations and what defines them is how big their heart is, not what they look like. Some people struggle with addiction and that makes them hard to love at times, but it’s important to be supportive of people and encourage them to do better. Always PRAY for people when they are having a hard time in life, even if they are hurting you, prayer is power and sometimes it’s all you can do to help.

When you’re having a bad day, don’t take it out on other people

We’ve all been there. It’s 2:00 and we haven’t had lunch yet, all of a sudden we are hungry and angry, AKA HANGRY. Working in a restaurant as a hostess made me realize how angry people can get when they need to fill their bellies with food. I have had multiple people get upset with me and throw fits because their table wasn’t going to be ready when they wanted it to be. Grown adults wearing suits would act like children, one woman even threw a paper menu at me when she learned that it would be 20 minutes before a table was ready. As a kid I would get cranky and throw fits, I had no idea why I was so mad but my mom always knew that it was either because I was hungry or tired. Not much changes with age. We still get mad when we are tired and hungry but most of us know how to control our emotions much better than when we were children. I knew that people were only mad because they needed to reenergize and fuel their bodies with food so I didn’t take it personally. But there are tons of other circumstances which may cause you to have a bad attitude. No matter what kind of horrible day you’re having, try not to take it out on other people. You could potentially ruin someones day or diminish their self-esteem with your mean comments and that’s not okay.

Have fun!

Do the things that make you smile. Go to disneyland, take a vacation, spend time with family and friends and go on adventures. Don’t think about the money you’ll be spending, think about the memories you’ll be making. You can always make more money but you can never re-live the same happy moments. Turn mundane tasks into fun games. Go out with your friends every chance you get and don’t miss out on the precious time you have with your family during the holidays.

Be the change you wish to see in the world and you will live a life with less regrets. Always be nice and work hard so that you can do the things that make you happy! Follow your dreams and live a life that you love.

I would like to dedicate this post to my late friend Kirk Allen Mirkamali. An ambitious, light-hearted, solider who knew how to accomplish goals and live a life full of adventure. Kirk, you were taken too soon, but I have no doubts that you’re looking down on your friends and family with a smile on your face…. because now you know how many hearts you’ve touched with your kindness. Prayers for your family and your girlfriends family as well. Rest peacefully sweet friend.

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5 things I’ve learned since I moved from California to North Carolina

As a girl who was born and raised on the west coast, it has been somewhat difficult adjusting to life on the east coast/south. In the two and a half months that we have been here so far, I’ve noticed a few differences. The following are my personal opinionated speculations on the differences between life on one side of the country versus the other.

1. NOTHING compares to In N Out

Only west coasters have the privilege of being able to enjoy an In N Out burger whenever they want. I knew before I left that I would miss it, but something that I didn’t realize was how many of my friends are constantly posting pictures of their In N Out burgers on Instagram and Snapchat. My mouth waters when I come across these pictures and I get the sudden urge to buy a plane ticket just so I can go home and devour a double double. I grew up eating In n Out burgers and as I got older and started cleaning up my bad eating habits, In n out was the only fast food place that I would still allow myself to occasionally enjoy. One of our friends out here says that he doesn’t think In N Out is very good….  but this is coming from the guy who wants to try that BK burger with the black bun. His opinion on burgers clearly has no credibility here.

2. Humidity is horrific

To be honest I don’t even know how people can stand to live here in the summer. When we first got here it must have been the most humid time of the year. We were moving our boxes from the u-haul to the apartment and within minutes I was drenched in sweat. It was then that I realized I wouldn’t be wearing a lot of makeup or spending too much time outside. A couple of months went by and I got excited when I looked out the window and saw clouds and rain. I thought it must feel nice out there for once, however when I walked outside, I was still hit with the sticky humidity of the south. There have been maybe two weeks out of the two months that we’ve been here when the weather was actually enjoyable. Needless to say, I’m missing the California weather and really looking forward to the winer…. which is saying a lot coming from me because I do not like the cold, but it’s better than the heat when humidity is involved.

3. If you want unsweetened ice tea, be sure to make it clear.

Since I’ve stopped drinking soda, I have resorted to ordering iced tea when I go out to eat. At home I would ask for iced tea and receive it unsweetened. If the restaurant had other options the server would ask which type of tea I would like. Here in the south, if you ask for iced tea they assume you want sweet tea. And this isn’t your typical sweet tea, it’s the sweetest tea I’ve ever had in my life, basically a cup of liquid sugar and I have no idea how people drink it without throwing up their entire meal afterwards.

4. Krispy kreme doughnuts are not real doughnuts.

Ok so I’m sort of a doughnut connoisseur.. I mean what do you expect? I’m the daughter of a deputy sheriff for goodness sake! I know my doughnuts! and if you want a good one you have to go to Christy’s doughnuts on foothill boulevard in Monrovia because they always have and always will be the best. I’ll admit I was once fooled by Krispy Kreme. It was our first time at the drive-thru and we were excited to try some WARM glazed doughnuts.   The fact that they were warm is what made them so delicious, but they were overly sweet. We went back a second time but the krispy kremes were not warm, therefore they were just gross. They don’t have the fluffiness that a good doughnut should have, no sprinkles either. What the heck? We have one real doughnut shop here which I have yet to try because it’s pretty far, aside from that our only other options for doughnuts are krispy kreme and starbucks. No thank you.

5. There are 3 major changes in scenery

The first major difference in scenery is the greenery! Yes I know that rhymes. Driving on the freeway here is so different than back home. First of all, theres no traffic but then again, I don’t go anywhere so the ‘no traffic’ thing doesn’t really benefit me. At home there were lot’s of things to look at while driving along the 210 such as buildings, signs and other things. Oh and speaking of freeways, over here people think is weird to say “the” before a freeway name. Because saying “I took 210 to get here” makes so much more sense… not. Anyway, driving on the freeways here, you will see only pine trees and the occasional carls jr… wait excuse me.. I mean Hardee’s signs in your travels.

That’s right, Carls Jr. is called Hardee’s over here! Same menu and logo, just a different name. That’s the second major difference in scenery, the chain stores and restaurants. Carls Jr is an example of one large fast food chain buying out another well known fast food chain (Hardee’s) and slowly changing the menu over time to resemble that of Carls but keeping the name the same in order to keep the same loyal customers coming back (Yes I did my research, I was curious). It’s been interesting to see what major stores they have here and which ones they don’t. Instead of a Nordstrom, the major department store in our local mall is called Belk. There are no ARCO’s or Chevrons, the biggest gas stations here are called “Kangaroo’s”.

Finally, the third major difference is the old southern architecture, this is my favorite change in scenery because old buildings are always so much more detailed and beautiful than new ones. Brick buildings are the norm around here and there’s also a myriad of old churches with extra pointy steeples for that extra southern feel.

So far these are just a few of the things I’ve noticed since we’ve been here. Although we aren’t in the most exciting city and the weather has been tough to get used to, I’m still trying to make the most of the time we have here. I’m looking froward to exploring new surroundings and learning new things along the way!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

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This recipe is perfect for fall! I am a major soup lover and chicken tortilla is my all time favorite. I found a recipe similar to this a few years ago and have since changed it to become my own. Those who know me well are aware of my distinct hatred for tomatoes. It’s difficult to find a chicken tortilla soup recipe without tomatoes but this one has been a major hit with my family and friends plus Blake absolutely loves it.

If you decide to make this soup please read the recipe all the way through to be sure you get everything you need 🙂

Here’s what you’ll need:

Utencils- 1 Spoon, 1 Ladle, 1 Chefs Knife, 1 Peeler, 1 Large pan and 1 Large pot

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2 Large Carrots,  1 Large Yellow Onion,  1 Large Anaheim pepper (I couldn’t find a large one today so there are two small ones in the picture),  2 Red Bell Peppers,  1 Yellow Bell Pepper,  2 Large limes,  2 Avocados,  1 Bunch Cilantro
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2 Cartons of Low Sodium Chicken Broth, 1 Roasted Chicken (they have these hot and ready to serve at most supermarkets), 1 Pack of Small White Corn Tortillas & Shredded cheese (I recommend Mexican blend or pepper jack)

For flavor- Garlic Salt, Cayenne pepper, Chicken bouillon, Salt and Pepper

Step 1– Start by chopping the onion, bell peppers, Anaheim pepper, and carrots (I like to slice the carrots as thin as possible).

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Step 2– Shred the roasted chicken.

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Step 3– Fill your large pot with your shredded chicken, the 2 cartons of chicken broth and 1 & 1/2 limes juice then bring to a low heat. Add about 1 1/2  Table spoons of chicken bullion to your broth.

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Step 4– Spray a large pan with non stick cooking oil and bring to medium heat. Add the chopped veggies and your remaining half of the lime’s juice. Be sure to stir every so often as the pan will be very full.  Add some garlic salt and cayenne pepper.

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Step 5– Grab 10 white corn tortillas and start cutting them into strips, then put them in to your large pot with the broth.

Step 6– Once the veggies are cooked through (about 10-15 minutes or until the carrots are not longer crunchy), you can add them to your large pot.

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Now that everything is together and heating up, you’ll start preparing your toppings.

The most important of which will be your tortilla strips.

There are two ways to do this, either in a pan on the stove or on a baking sheet in the oven. Today I used the oven strategy since the pan of boiling hot oil can be dangerous and messy.

What you’ll need:

1 baking sheet, 10 white corn tortillas, 1/4 cup Conola oil, 1 teaspoon paprika and salt.

Step 1– Preheat oven to 375, Mix oil and paprika in a small bowl.

Step 2– Brush one side of each tortilla with the oil/paprika mix.

Step 3– Stack and cut the tortillas into 1/2-1/4″ strips and sprinkle salt.

Step 4– Place strips on the sheet in one layer and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Add some more salt and paprika when you remove them from the oven and place them in a bowl.

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Next, you’ll begin to chop your cilantro, dice your avocados

and shred your cheese if it was not previously shredded.

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Finally, top off your soup with the toppings of your choosing and you may now enjoy your delicious bowl of perfection!

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Love Grows Here

My obsession with succulents began when I realized they were the only type of plant in the world that I could never kill.

These little succulent boxes were super easy to make! We bought about 6 different types of mini succulents from the nursery and I found these two small wooden boxes at Marshalls for $5 each. I thought I was being smart by lining the inside of the boxes with sandwich sized ziplock baggies before I put the plants in them, but unfortunately the baggies were not formfitting enough to keep the water from seeping through the bottom of the boxes. I would recommend using foil if you plan on keeping these indoors.
These little boxes were super easy to make! We bought about 6 different types of mini succulents from the nursery and I found these two small wooden boxes at Marshalls for $5 each. I thought I was being smart by lining the inside of the boxes with sandwich sized ziplock baggies before I put the plants in them, but unfortunately the baggies were not formfitting enough to keep the water from seeping through the bottom of the boxes. I would recommend using foil if you plan on keeping these indoors.
Here are a few reasons you should fall in love with succulents too:

They are low maintenance. Have you ever bought a plant and just sorta accidentally forgot about it for a few days and when you remembered that it existed you rushed over with a cup of water just to find it dead? Well you’re probably not the only one. Most plants require a lot of attention. Watering but not overwatering, making sure they’re in the sun or not in the sun depending on the type of plant. Succulents are the lazy persons plant. You forget to water them for a few days? No biggie! Going out of town for the weekend? Forget about paying the neighbor kid to water your plants. They can survive in almost any environment with minimal water. How efficient of them!

They are super cute! Have you ever seen a baby succulent?... well now you have. I bet you want one now don't you?
They are super cute! Have you ever seen a baby succulent?… well now you have. I bet you want one now don’t you? They’re like kittens… They start off small and cute and get bigger as you nurture them. Except they won’t scratch your furniture, it’s a win-win.
Little did I know when I first became fascinated with these little plants that there were so many different types! I love that they come in different hues of green and sometimes purplish colors. The wide variety is what makes succulents so fun, mixing and matching styles and colors makes for beautiful DIY projects.

When Blake and I finally own our own home, one of my first outdoor projects will be to create an ombre style succulent wall like this one!
When Blake and I finally own our own home, one of my first outdoor projects will be to create an ombre style succulent wall like this one!
Lastly, men are cool with them. Guys typically don’t care much for flowers and plants, because gardening is more of a women’s hobby but It makes me happy that Blake loves succulents just as much as I do. A few years ago, for my birthday, he helped me build a pallet plant holder. We had so much fun working on it together and that was when he first showed interest in them. It was cool to share a common interest and we had a lot of fun at the nursery picking out which succulents we wanted to include in our little project.

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Do All Things With Kindness

Do you believe in Karma? Do you think that when you do something bad on purpose, that the universe will get even and punish you by having something bad happen to you in return and vice versa?

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To me, if you believe in karma, then it means that you are aware of your conscience. (This is not to say that people who don’t believe in karma do not have a conscience.) It’s that little voice in your head or feeling in your heart that tells you whether something you plan on doing is good or bad. I believe that God gave us a conscience so that when we act according to how it makes us feel, we will receive good karma. If we go against what our conscience is telling us and do something that is wrong, we get bad karma.

A few days before my wedding, I had a few last minute errands to run. I was at the mall with my two best friends and after we had found what we were looking for, we decided to stop for a bite to eat. We ordered our food, filled up our drinks and chose a table where we would sit and enjoy our lunch. A few tables over was a tall African American man wearing a cowboy hat at a table by himself. On the table he had a notebook and an array of papers which he had been writing on. It was clear that this man was probably homeless, his clothes were worn and he was mumbling to himself as he was writing vigorously in his notebook. At first, he asked us what time it was, and we told him. Then he asked if we had any money to spare for food.

When it comes to homeless people, as mean as this may sound, I don’t like to give them money. Instead, if I’m driving home with untouched leftovers or an unopened water in my car, I will offer it to them. I have given homeless people money, but I always wonder what they’ll really be spending it on. Alcohol, cigarettes, drugs? I would much rather help someone by providing them with food or water.

When the man with the cowboy hat asked if we had any money to spare, I asked him what he would like to eat from the menu. He told me that he wanted a #1, so we went up to the register together and ordered his meal. He thanked me and we both went back to our separate tables. My friends and I finished our meals and headed to our cars. As we approached the parking lot I realized that the man in the cowboy hat had followed us outside. He called for our attention and stopped us in order to give me a piece of paper that he had written on. He talked about some sort of insurance office that he used to work at in Pasadena and wrote a street address on the back of the paper. Most of what he was saying didn’t really make any sense, he was mumbling and his words were jumbled but I could tell that what he was trying to do was thank me in any way that he knew how.

It felt good to be able to help someone and see that they were truly grateful in return. I thought maybe this man was once an insurance agent in this office he spoke of in pasadena. Maybe he was living a normal life and suddenly something traumatic happened in to him, a brain injury or some sort of mental illness which caused his life to take a major turn. I could be totally wrong but this was just what went through my head. Regardless of how he ended up in his situation, he was a nice man and I felt grateful to be able to help him.

Fast forward to the night before my wedding… I was playing it cool on the outside, but a total mess on the inside. I was worried that something would go wrong, that the 10 months of planning and the thousands of dollars my parents had put into this one day would be ruined by any small mistake. Most of all, I was nervous about reciting my personalized vows in front of 100 guests. I got about 4 hours of sleep that night, and as hectic as things were the morning of the wedding, I felt strangely calm. I was no longer worried about all of the things that could possibly go wrong, instead I was trying to live in the moment and appreciate every minute of the day.

Having the ceremony outside and near the beach, I knew that there was a greater chance of wind. I wasn’t wrong, the wind was much stronger than I thought it would be. This was probably great for the guests who were sitting in the sun but just as I walked out of the building, prepared to make my grand entrance and cuff arms with my dad, my veil flew right off of my head. As my family was waiting on the sand, I could see them looking in our direction eagerly anticipating our walk down the aisle. I struggled to shove my veil back into my tightly pinned hair and once the veil was in, the rest of the day was like a dream. Of all the things that could have possibly gone wrong, the worst thing that happened was that my veil flew off of my head.

In the days following the wedding, people would ask if it was everything I had hoped it would be or if anything went wrong. Even I was impressed that the veil incident (which wasn’t even a big deal) was the only thing that went wrong. The wedding was even better than I thought it would be. After seeing so many youtube videos of “wedding fails” while I was planning the big day, I couldn’t help but wonder why I got so lucky. What did I do to deserve such a perfect day? I thought back to that man with the cowboy hat and couldn’t help but wonder if this was God’s way of thanking me for doing a good deed.

More recently, during one of our first outings in North Carolina, Blake, Logan and I went out for a few beers at a local bar & grill. Sitting at the table next to us were two older couples enjoying dinner and drinks. When it came time to pay for our beers, the waitress explained that one of the men from the table next to us had already paid our entire bill. We got up to thank the generous man and he said, “hey, no problem, just pay it forward!”. If you haven’t seen the movie “Pay it Forward” I seriously suggest that you do. It’s a movie about good deeds, starting with one person doing something nice for another person then the second person does something nice for a third person and so on. We left the bar that night eager to do something nice for someone else.

Could you imagine if everyone did just one nice thing for a stranger each day, even something as small as opening the door for someone? The world would probably be a much better place. I hope that reading this has inspired you to do something nice for someone else today, if not for the sake of good karma, then at least for the sake of making our world a better place. 92de758233cd553a5981d3adac3ee3fe