Saw It. Pinned It. Did It. // Hot Spinach Dip

Maybe I'm on a spinach kick or maybe I'm just trying to grow big and strong, but either way I simply don't understand the fuss with spinach. It is delicious and good for you. So if you're not sold on spinach, you should be.

I made this dish at New Years and it was awesome! If you're looking for a easy side dish to whip up for the Super Bowl this Sunday, I'd highly recommend it. And this is a HUGE side dish! This recipe can feed a ton of people! 

Here is the original pin, via Martha Stewart Recipes.
2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more for baking dish
1 medium inion, diced
2 garlic gloves, minced
2 pounds spinach (I used frozen, but gave it ample time to thaw before cooking)
1/2 cup milk
6 oz cream cheese
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
3 dashes hot sauce (I used tobacco)
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
salt and pepper
Baguette slices for serving (crackers would work too!)

Preheat over to 425 degrees. In a large pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion and garlic; cook until lightly browned. Add spinach in two additions. Let the first batch wilt before adding the second. Cook until completely wilted, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a colander and drain, pressing to release all excess liquid.

In the same pot, warm milk over high heat. Whisk in cream cheese until melted, about 3 minutes. Add spinach, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and 1/4 cup of cheese; stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into a lightly oiled 1 1/2 quart shallow baking dish; sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Back until bubbly and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. 
Okay, so maybe this dish is no longer good for you once the mozzarella cheese is added! But trust me, it's worth it!


Countdown to Me (Part 2)

Time for another countdown post! If you missed my first one you can read it here

5 Things I Miss on the East Coast:
1. Sunshine (obviously)
2. Chick-fil-a (Please, please somebody open a Chick-fil-a out here!)
3. Sonic (they have great ice)
4. Hobby Lobby
5. My family
On the East Coast you can ride bikes and not get rained on. It's pretty awesome.
4 Favorite Reads:
1. The Harry Potter series
2. To Kill A Mockingbird
3. Huckleberry Finn (hence, my pups name)
4. Northanger Abbey
3 Greatest Achievements:
1. Graduating with my BA in English
2. Landing a job in my field
3. Marrying an amazing, sexy man ;)
2 Things I Want. Like Right Now:
1. A pygmy goat, and his name shall be Hamlet.
2. A maid.
1 Regret:
Not spending more time with my family when I lived so close to them! 
Feel free to do your own countdown, but leave a comment telling me you did so I can check it out!

Happy Wednesday!

If you haven't had a chance to enter the Keurig/Verismo giveaway, go here!


Getting Out of That Mid-Winter Funk

I don't know about you, but this time of year is always hard for me. The holidays are behind us and the next best thing to look forward to is Spring/Easter, which still feels like it's a million years away. Between here and there are no holidays, cold, snowy/rainy weather, and the mundane 8-5 grind. 

Every. Single. Day. 

It gets tiresome. And if I let it, the bitter cold and wind seeps into my body, giving me a matching bitter attitude. I feel exhausted and cranky and doodle stick figures of me and my hubby standing on a warm beach in the Hawaii sun...Okay, I don't do that last part. Or maybe I do.

So today, I'm going to share with you my strategy for getting out of that mid-winter funk.

1. Buy Fresh Flowers. If everything outside seems dead, bring the life inside your home. Fresh flowers are not only beautiful, but they are fragrant --I figure I just may be able to trick my senses into thinking it's Spring!
Speaking of tricking your senses... 

2. Light a candle. But stay away from scents that remind you of Christmas or Fall like Wintergreen or Pumpkin. I love the smell of anything apple in my kitchen --reminds me of fresh baked apple pie in the summer! Or try a citrus scent. Anything that will make your senses scream Spring!
3. Eat summer foods. Oftentimes, in the winter months we eat that comfort food --chili, baked potato soup, warm baked goods --and forget that we can get summer seasonal fruits and veggies this time of year too! Put some fresh strawberries on your french toast or throw some fresh fruit and nuts on your salad for work. Your taste buds will help you forget that Spring is still 3 months away.
4. Get Organized. Begin your Spring cleaning early! I don't know about you, but I am genuinely a happier person when I'm in a clean environment. Put your Christmas/winter decor away and tackle the organization system in your closet or that pile of mail that's been building in your office. Jumpstarting your Spring cleaning will not only make the process easier when the time does come, but you'll feel great knowing you've being productive rather than spending another evening in front of the TV.

I recently tackled the built-in shelving in our master bedroom. I procrastinated for about 8 months (oops..), but I finally decided to display some books and memories from our wedding and you know what? It felt great!

I also took down the Christmas decor on our fireplace mantel and attempted to make it Spring worthy.
 5. Get in the kitchen. It's so easy to pick up some take out after work or grab a quick bite to eat in a drive-thru. The cold winter months have a tendency to make us inactive, but cooking your own meals are not only healthier and cheaper, but it's also a great time to spend with those you love. Cook dinner with your hubby or kids and then eat it together. At the kitchen table. Let me guess, your mind = blown. 

But seriously, there is no better way to get out of the mid-winter funk than spending time with those you love.
Baked oatmeal recipe, here!

So tell me, how do you get out of that mid-winter funk??


Happy Birthday! // Keurig Giveaway

I said I'd have a surprise for you all today and I hate to disappoint. So this week, I've teamed up with 28 other amazing ladies to bring our readers the opportunity of winning an amazing prize!!

In honor of Samantha's 26th birthday this Friday, we are giving away one of her favorite things!
I'll let Samantha explain :)
 photo birthdaycollage_zps3570f226.jpg
If there's one thing I CAN'T live without, it's my Keurig. Ask my husband, if I don't have my coffee in the morning, it's not pretty. So now one of YOU will be winning one! 

I haven't tried the new Starbucks Verismo but if you would like to choose that instead, your wish is my command.

Not only can you drink coffee with these babies, but you can drink tea, hot chocolate, etc. So even if you're not a coffee junkie, there's something for everyone!

Still not interested? How about winning the CASH instead? Excited now?!

Just enter the rafflecopter below and cross your fingers! Contest will remain open until Friday, February 1st at 12:00 a.m. EST and the winner will be announced once all entries are verified. 

Good luck! 


February Sponsors and Huckleberry's Baby Butt

I hope you're having a relaxing Sunday afternoon! Just wanted to drop a quick note to let you know Taking Notes...Coast to Coast has a few open sponsor slots available. If you think your blog, shop, or business is a good fit for my readers, I'd love to have you! Or if you're trying to grow you're blog but don't want to invest the $, we can swap. Go ahead and reserve your spot for February 10th. You can find additional information on my Sponsor Page.

More importantly, that is a picture of Huckleberry's 8 week old fluffy butt. Really, it doesn't get much cuter.


Friday Letters

My mom keeps telling me she misses Friday Letters. And since she was my very first follower, and probably my only follower who reads this blog religiously, I figured I should bring it back for her.

Love you, Mom :P
Dear Beverly - My beautiful, El Salvadorian friend!! I am SO FREAKING EXCITED for you and your recent engagement! I wish more than anything I could have been there with you. Like sitting right in between you and Kevin. Because that wouldn't have been awkward...And I can't wait to see you this summer and celebrate the beginnings of your new life together! Te amo :) Dear Husband -  Your face is healing nicely. I can tell that since the surgery your jaw line has become a little more defined. I have a feeling that once your swelling is gone completely you're going to be even more sexy than usual...just saying... Dear Washington - I was really enjoying the dry spell you were giving us! Despite the frigid cold temperature, it was nice to be soaked from head to tow when I arrived to work for once. But I suppose good times can't last forever, so you brought back the rain. Uncool. Very uncool. Dear Work - The new year brought a lot more responsibility when it comes to you. At first I was excited! It feels good to be busy at work! But now you're kind of cutting into my blogging time, which means time for a time management revamp..I may have to begin blogging at night. Or quit my job. Dear Blog Buddies - Just a heads up, I have an amazing surprise for you on Monday. You won't want to miss it.


On Loving Others.


Steven and I attend a couple's Bible study on Wednesday nights and last nights got me thinking...
about loving others 
and being kind.

I'm not sure why it is such a struggle for us-- humans --to simply love another human being.
To just be considerate...
and thoughtful...

We learn that infants and small children are egocentric.
They don't possess the capabilities to think of another's existence as separate from their own.
To acknowledge that others have needs, desires, and feelings.

We as adults have that capability, yet we choose not to utilize it.
And that's sad.
Really, really sad.

I know that I am not exempt from this behavior.
I practice it daily. Whether conscious or not.
And I think it's safe to say that you do too.

Oftentimes, the best way to love,
to be considerate, thoughtful, and kind,
is by serving another.

So who can you serve today?
And how can you serve him/her?

 "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God..."
1 John 4:7a


I am Herschel, hear me Roar.

Seriously, it doesn't get much cuter than this.
The fluffiest kitty in all the land taking a little catnap. 

Every time I see Herschel sleeping, I have to sing Soft Kitty from the show Big Bang Theory.
I can't help it, it's an uncontrollable compulsion.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, watch this clip.
It just might change your life.
And then I wake him up with obnoxious picture taking...
because apparently, I'm a crazy cat lady.

And then he yawns roars and falls back asleep.
Now tell the truth.
Did I just brighten your Wednesday with these photos?

Mission accomplished.


Let's Talk Facts

Today I'm linking up with the hilarious Whitney from I Wore Yoga Pants to Work. A) Because I love when people tell me what to blog about because then I don't have to be creative at all and B) Whitney's pretty. I like pretty people. 

So here are some random facts all about me, myself, and I.
I only wear clothes because that's what society expects of me. Most days after work I put on my bathrobe and if I do happen to fall asleep in pajamas, it is not uncommon for me to wake up naked. I understand the necessity of clothing, but, seriously, my birthday suit is just way too comfortable to be beat.

I sing. All. The. Time. About everything. I don't speak my sentences, I sing them. You can bet my husband really enjoys that on the daily ;)

I name inanimate objects. Example: My espresso machine is named Max. My car is named Gracie. And my iphone is named Florence. 

I write for my hobby and my living. I'm one of the lucky few English majors who is actually using my degree. Feel very blessed about that.

I think old people are pretty much the cutest thing ever. So cute, that when I'm in close proximity to them, I cry. No, seriously, I do. Evidence in this post.  

Speaking of crying, I also tend to cry pretty much every time I watch Animal Planet.

To this day, Beauty and the Beast and Moulin Rouge are my favorite movies. I guess I like musical. 

I take a bath almost every night. Nothing beats some candles, a good book, and bubbles. Plus, it helps me fall asleep quickly.

I suffer from sympathy pains. If you describe to me any pain you're feeling, I will experience pain in my knees. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN!?!?!

I've had the same best friend for 14 billion years. Okay, like 17. But that's a good run, huh?
And, I'm pretty sure we were the most awkward looking kids growing up.
Mullets, oversized tweedy bird shirts, and rollerblades...doesn't get more awkward than that.

I'll stop now because this could easily go on all day.
You're welcome :)


Taking a Stroll

As lame as this is going to sound, the highlight of my weekend was going for a walk with Steven and Huckleberry. Not because we explored someplace we had never been before or because the scenery was breathtaking, but because sometimes despite the frigid, dreary Washington winter months it simply feels so good to be outside. 

With all the rain and cold temperatures, the longest I've been outside is to my car and back! But thankfully, my husband forced talked me into going on a little walk with him and the pup Sunday afternoon. 
And I'm glad he did. The fresh air, the smell of moss and cold, the simple pleasure of uninterrupted conversation with my husband --it's those moments that help make my world go round.
"The true charm of pedestrianism does not lie in the walking, or in the scenery, but in the talking. The walking is good to time the movement of the tongue by, and to keep the blood and the brain stirred up and active; the scenery and the woodsy smells are good to bear in upon a man an unconscious and unobtrusive charm and solace to eye and soul and sense; but the supreme pleasure comes from the talk." -Mark Twain
Hope your weekend was amazing as well!


Friday Feature // Southern Living, Our Way

If you haven't meant Alexa then you are definitely missing out on some side splinting, tear inducing laughter. Obviously, I love her because we have so much in common (newlywed, fur mamas who name inanimate objets), but I feel pretty confident that you'll fall in love with her too!
So without further ado, here's Alexa!
Hi there, y'all!
My name's Alexa and I'm the Southern not-so-Belle behind the blog Southern Living, Our Way. 
I blog about life as a newlywed to my handsome husband, the joys {and hilarity} of mommying a fur-baby who hates other dogs, loves cats and bananas, and thinks vacuums will commence the Apocalypse, and sometimes I just tell ridiculous stories that I assume people are interested in because I find them funny.

I swear, my head isn't too big.  :)

One such story happened just last month while I was doing some Christmas shopping. I was checking out at the Container Store, buying my husband an eye mask for sleep, because he complains constantly about my blogging in bed and keeping the light on when he wants to snoooooze. 
{Sorry hubs, I ain't sorry.}

The cashier, an older woman, and I get into a conversation about how her daughter bought that same eye mask and just loves it. I say it's for my husband and she gives me this super weird look, so I go into an explanation about how I'm often up late writing and it keeps him awake.
Writing = blogging. I wanted to sound more intellectual, duh.

But then Mrs. Lady asked what I write. Like I'm about to explain that I'm the next Emily Dickinson or something.


"I have a blog. So, I umm blog a lot." 
{I'm super awkward ~ have we yet discussed this detail of my life?}
"Oh, that sounds fun. So you have your own website?" she asked.
"Well, sorta. It's kind of like an online journal. But not where I post my feelings and crap. I just write about my life and stuff that happens. And about my dog."
She gives me a puzzled look and responds, "And people read it?"
As badly as I wanted to be all, Of course they do, because I'm awesome. Haven't you gathered that in the last three minutes of our meet-and-greet?, I held my tongue and just smiled and shrugged my shoulders, saying,
"I'm as surprised as you are!"

I knew what she meant all along was, "You think your life is that interesting?"

And all along I thought, "My life rocks, dude. Rocks your silly face off."
So, that's me in a nutshell, y'all.

I think my life is interesting, so I write about it daily on my little corner of the interwebz.

I hope you'll hop on over to Southern Living, Our Way and follow along with the crazy!


The Many Faces of Huck

Last night I was going through my "Huck, baby!!" folder on my computer. 
Yes, that's what it's really called. 
And I realized that not only do I have the cutest pup in the universe,
but also a pup capable of  quite the range of facial expressions.
It's pretty remarkable.

Here are just a few of my favorites.

you didn't really throw the ball did you? it's behind your back...

Ohmygod. Dad is going to bring that huge stick INSIDE!!

i have no idea who tore up the reindeer...must have been the cat...

hey ma, make sure you get my good side.

i promise to never dig in your flower pots again...

are you seriously going to let this kid lock himself in this crate with me...thanks for nothing.

i. refuse. to. look. at. the. camera. 

i get hot dogs, peanut butter, tummy rubs, and lots of cuddles! 

And then there's this one...not sure what to call it...
what? you said "smile," so I smiled.

Huckleberry never fails to bring a smile to our faces! He is truly the silliest dog alive,
making him quite the perfect match for our little family.
To see more of Huck's many faces, click here!