Chicken Fajita Soup

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It’s been a little while since I posted a recipe and just this week I tried a recipe for Chicken Fajita Soup that I found on Pintrest – and it turned out delicious! Choosing to make a recipe that is found on Pintrest is always a little bit of an experiment in hoping for the best and holding your breath, right? I’m sure we’ve all made something that ended up being a Pintrest fail – this soup, was not!

Chicken Fajita Soup

What You Need
– 2 cans of white meat chicken; drained
– 1 teaspoon olive oil
– 2 bell peppers; seeded and chopped
– 1 red onion, peeled and chopped
– 4 garlic cloves, minced
– 2 15 ounce cans of black beans; drained
– 1 15 ounce can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
– 8 cups chicken broth
– 1 fajita seasoning packet
– salt; to taste
– pepper; to taste 
– 1/2 cup brown rice (optional)
– 1 cup water (optional)

What to Do
1.  In a large 6-8 quart pot over medium heat, add olive oil, bell peppers, onion and minced garlic. Saute the mixture for 3-5 minutes to soften.
2.  Add in the chicken, black beans, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, fajita seasoning packet, salt, pepper, rice and water. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3.  Allow to cool and serve with your favorite garnishes – perhaps some avocado, sour cream. shredded cheese or tortilla chips…or perhaps all of those things?
This soup is incredibly easy to throw together, has a delicious flavor and is filled with veggies and protein! What’s not to love? I ate my first bowl of soup just as it came out of the pot and topped my second bowl of soup with a little Mexican blend shredded cheese and some crumbled tortilla chips and it was delicious both ways! 

This Pintrest recipe is a definite keeper!

Struggling to Remember & Raindrops

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Is it bad that I’m wracking my brain trying to think about what in the world I was up to all week last week – and I cannot remember much more than watching baseball games, spending time on the elliptical and honestly…I know I did a lot more than that, but I cannot for the life of me think of what I was doing all week! 
I devoured the book Big Little Lies, so maybe some of my time was spent on that? It’s really hard to say, ha-ha! I know that the week itself passed pretty quickly and happily enough, on Wednesday our boss granted us an early reprieve and so I was home by 3:30, done exercising by 4:30 and had the whole night stretching before me with nothing to do but eat supper…it was nice.
Friday evening followed the same routine as always – I went out for dinner with my parents. We tried a new gourmet Mexican restaurant not too far from the house and while some of the items on the menu were…interesting (perhaps you’d prefer goat meat for your filling?) the food and the service were both wonderful! I had a delicious plate of Enchiladas Verdes with Chicken and while the sauce had a wee bit of spice, it went so well with the chicken and I devoured every bite! I passed the rest of my Friday evening doing a little sitting on the front porch with my pup, watching the Nationals begin their weekend dominance of the Mets and watching (yet again) The Girl on the Train – such a good movie!
Watson enjoys perching on the top step & watching the neighborhood.

I started my Saturday pretty slowly – there is always that moment when you finally crawl out of the bed when that delightful warmth of being cocooned in your blankets is broken; I was lazy and hesitant to break free of my bed on Saturday morning, but as always the smell of coffee proved effective at getting me out of bed. I had coffee and breakfast (of sorts) before tackling a 40 minute jaunt on the elliptical, doing some cleaning up and organizing in my living room and taking a much needed shower.

I joined my Mom for a quick run to the mall – a place I cannot claim to have too much affection for; I think it comes from working in retail in that very mall, I’m not sure. We perused the clothes in Belk, bought a gift or two, grabbed some cards from Hallmark and then made a quick stop at Panera for a late lunch before heading home. Oh yeah – it also poured all day on Saturday. Such glorious weather.
This face = begging desperately for a bite of strawberries and cream.

I headed out in the wet, windy and otherwise not worth writing about weather on Saturday afternoon to meet up with my lifelong (quite literally) friend, Rachel. We caught a 4:45 showing of Beauty and the Beast – she hadn’t yet seen the movie and well…I think it suffices to say that I’ve seen it much more than once – it was still just as wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. I’m still slightly bummed that I missed out on seeing the sing-along version because sometimes its so hard not to break into song…but I managed to contain myself.

After the movie, we checked out some of the stores at the Promenade Commons and grabbed dinner at BJ’s Brewhouse – I had the Parmesan crusted chicken with mashed potatoes and broccoli and well; thinking about it now makes me so very hungry, I won’t lie. The company was excellent too and happily, by the time I was making the drive back home around 9:00, the rain had stopped! I was a complete bum once I arrived home; I’m fairly certain I was in the bed by about 10:05 and I don’t think I made it past 10:30 and I was out!

Friends since our lives began…

Sunday was meant to be another day of rain…rain…rain…and so the original plan to go pick tulips at Burnside Farms was derailed. Imagine my surprise when I woke up to sun streaming through my bedroom windows! Sadly, the tulip picking was still a no go, so after meeting up with my friend Meridith for church, I picked my Mom up from her church and we had brunch at the restaurant that is part of the clubhouse at my parent’s community. 

A side note – I don’t think I have experience being truly “hangry” until Sunday before lunch, but it happened and it was real and it was truly disturbing. I was running on nothing but coffee and the farther the clock went past 12:00, the more irate I became. I’d like to say that I don’t think I was mean to my Mom…but I was downright irritable, snarky and far too sassy for my own good. Thankfully some delightful croissant french toast with strawberries, cream cheese and pee wee potatoes snapped me right out of that mood. I apologize for anything I said while I was hangry – I probably didn’t mean it…

This will definitely cure what ails you – even if it’s a bad attitude. 

After our divine brunch, I convinced my Mom to join me for a quick Target run – I wanted to see about some shelves for my “kitchen” of sorts and wanted her input. After she looked over the shelves with me, she headed out to run her own errands and I did something I haven’t done in a long while – I just wandered the aisles of Target. I managed to get out of the store without buying something from every aisle and I even resisted the siren song of the Starbucks and its limited edition Unicorn Frappucino! I debated on getting one all weekend but I finally decided I wasn’t really sure I wanted to spend money on something that more than one person described as “sickly sweet and then sour”…

I spent the rest of my evening doing laundry, preparing meals for the week and watching a movie called Summer in February…which should have honestly been called Poor Life Choices, sheesh. Even the presence of Dan Stevens couldn’t do much to help the movie; it left me raging at the main character’s choices and sending my little sister unsolicited movie review/commentary. I ended my weekend watching Daniel Murphy smash a grand slam in the first inning of the Nationals final game against the Mets – the Nationals would go on and win the game, sweeping the Mets and winning their seventh game in a row. So…all in all not a bad way to spend a weekend.
Perhaps this week I’ll remember a little bit more of what I keep myself busy doing – but I can’t make any promises.

Mountain Memories – The Blog Spot Edition

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What I think will be my last “catch-up” post from my other blog – there’s only so much you can go back to – which is more profound than I meant it to be. Any who…a quick recap of my recent long weekend in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee!
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Last weekend I actually didn’t just sit around binge-watching something on Netflix; I know, what a surprise!?! I actually headed six hours south to Gatlinburg, Tennessee to meet up with one of my “people” that has been a sweet friend for almost all of my life – we’ve known each other since we were toddlers and we were joined at the hip in high school…
When we graduated from high school, we took our Senior trip together and one of the places we went was Gatlinburg – and so we decided that fourteen years later (excuse me while I go breath into a bag – FOUR-TEEN YEARS?!?) we’d do a little weekend recap.
Now – If you have reading the ol’ blog for any length of time, you might remember that back in November of 2014 I got hit by an 18-wheeler and it’s made me a little skittish when driving on the interstate. I was staring down the barrel of 6+ hours each way on I-81, which 18-wheelers absolutely love and I was just a wee bit nervous. I was also extremely excited to finally listen to the new soundtrack for Beauty & the Beast…and what that all translates to is me “performing” the most anxious version of Be Our Guest as I zipped past semis – it was a moment – no doubt about it.
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I arrived around 8:00 on Friday night and was so tired of anything and everything involving driving, so I ordered a pizza, watched some TV, took a bubble bath and waited for Nickolee to arrive – around 12:15. I know we were both exhausted but we also hadn’t seen each other in over two years, so of course we had to chat just a little bit. Somehow even though we hadn’t gone to sleep until after 1:00 – we were both up and ready to go before 9:00 the next morning – I was being fueled by coffee, of course!
Our first stop was Pancake Pantry, located right in the middle of downtown Gatlinburg – it’s a tradition for any vacation my family has ever taken to Gatlinburg; we always eat at the Pancake Pantry on our last morning. Nickolee and I ate there on our first morning and along with (more) coffee, I had some delicious apricot lemon crepes with a side of bacon. Absolutely delicious! We also wandered up and down the main street of Gatlinburg, slipped into a couple shops and bought some things here and there…all while some wispy snowflakes fell from the sky! And of course – we took pictures – because documentation is always key!
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Nickolee is a born and raised Mississippian and when she wasn’t living in the deep South, she was living in Madagascar – so the snowflakes that were gently drifting from the heavens were an absolute thrill to her. I’d like to think that I still find snow magical, because sometimes I do…but I guess I’m just sort of over it this year…I didn’t find it as fascinating, ha-ha! Especially having driven six hours south – only to find colder weather!
We passed the afternoon by stopping in at some of the outlet shops in Pigeon Forge, seeing The Shack and grabbing an early supper at Huck Finn’s Catfish Cabin (so very yummy!) We may have also made a pit stop at Krispy Kreme to grab donuts to have for breakfast on Sunday and then we headed back to the room to relax and watch Dr. Strange.
It snowed just a wee bit overnight and so the ground had a light dusting of powder – just enough to look like a giant had an accident with some powdered sugar, ha-ha. By 9:30 the sun was blazing and the snow was nothing more than a distant memory, so we decided to head over to Pigeon Forge for an early lunch at Paula Deen’s Country Kitchen. Well – y’all, Paula Deen does not play around with her food – and it was definitely the best meal I had on my long weekend and I’d highly recommend it to anyone. The meal was family style; we chose two main dishes (beef pot roast and fried chicken), four sides (squash casserole, macaroni and cheese, black eyed peas and creamed potatoes) and dessert (ooey gooey butter cake). It was DELICIOUS. And yes – it was so good that it requires caps lock.
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The sky was the most perfect shade of blue and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky – so we decided to drive over to Cades Cove and see the views from the valley. The drive over was gorgeous and the views were spectacular – I think my pictures speak for themselves.
Cades Cove is a restored community nestled in the valley with a loop road that has cabins, barns, a grist mill and various other things from days long past – this was once a working community and it’s always fascinating to drive through a little piece of history. Especially when the views are so amazing.
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Once we drove back from Cades Cove, we played a rousing game of goofy golf – Nickolee proclaimed she wasn’t any good and yet she ended up getting two holes in one! I feel a little bit like I got hustled, ha-ha! The day was so lovely and spring-like, so we went back into downtown Gatlinburg and picked a couple more souvenirs before grabbing pizza and a movie to watch (The Girl on the Train).
The next morning we were up and at ’em to be on the road by no later than 9:30 – we had a quick breakfast at Chick Fil A before parting ways. It was a lovely end to a short but sweet weekend spending time with a cherished lifelong friend!
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Happily – the return home was slightly less stressful; I wasn’t too tempted to grab my souvenir bottle of blackberry wine and no aggressive renditions of Disney classics were performed. Wonderful memories made – and happily, all that driving under my belt.

Saturday Suggestions

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Otherwise known as a crazy long post that combines a few of my posts from my old blog. In case you’re bored on a Saturday and looking for suggestions for reading…watching…binge-watching…movie going or snacking! The past two months favorites are below!
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Believe it or not – this post has absolutely nothing to do with basketball. What a relief.
Books I Couldn’t Put Down
Hitler’s Forgotten Children: A True Story of the Lebensborn Program by Ingrid von Oelhafen – I absolutely devoured this book! Imagine discovering that you were taken from your family as a baby and placed with a good “German” family to be raised to support the Nazi Reich, Hitler and all the things that “good Germans” in the 1940’s were meant to be. The author lived that life and as she researched her family history learned that she was a part of the SS’s Lebensborn Program – she uncovered not just her roots, but the horrible and lesser known crimes committed again thousands of children that were born or brought into Lebensborn. The book was a fascinating, astounding and shocking read.
Beauty & the Beast by Gabrielle-Suzanna Barbot de Villenueve – The “original” story of the beauty and the beast that takes her captive; the updated story has touchstones from the original, but – as with so many fairy tales – the original is a little more intense. As punishment for stealing a rose from the garden of the Beast, a wealthy merchant must send one of his six daughters to spend the rest of her life with the Beast in exchange for his freedom. The merchant’s youngest daughter – the most selfless and beautiful of his six daughters offers to take his place in the Beast’s enchanted castle…and there are monkeys, parrots, a strange Prince that only appears in dreams and nightly marriage proposals from the Beast…to name a few differences.
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My copy of the book is the above pictured – it’s gorgeously illustrated and has pages with windows that open, dials that turn and interactive “touches” that will make the book a keepsake. It’s absolutely…beautiful!
Books on the Shelf
Oh my goodness – okay, I kind of had a field day on Amazon recently and bought a ton of books and they are all on my shelf. They include…
Night by Elie Wiesel, The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick, Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne…and I also still haven’t gotten around to reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.
I have just a little bit of reading to do…
Must See TV
Legion – What a delightfully mind-bending show this was! The show concluded its eight episode run just last night and while the sixth and seventh episodes answered some of the questions posed, there was plenty of mind-bendy goodness left up in the air for season two. The show had so many stand out performances – probably the most interesting to me was the lead, Dan Stevens…then again, I’m partial to Dan Stevens in most anything he does – Aubrey Plaza also blew my mind; I’d never have expected to see her as such an unhinged “villain” but she completely owned the role of Lenny. This show has twists and turns, really good music, a dance number here or there, excellent acting and really unique sets…its definitely different from anything I’ve watched and I can’t wait to see where season two goes!
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Bones – After (almost) 12 years as a devoted Bones fan, the show’s final episode – the 246th – aired on Tuesday, March 28th and gave the show a wonderful, nostalgia inducing episode that wrapped up everyone’s story concisely and…happily! The will they/won’t they relationship between FBI Agent Seeley Booth and Forensic Anthropologist Temperance “Bones” Brennan spanned 12 seasons and included an endearing cast of characters that wormed their way into my heart and wouldn’t let go. I’ve so enjoyed spending different nights of the week at the Jeffersonian Institute watching Booth, Bones and the Squints solve the murder of the week.
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Movies I’d See Again & Again
Beauty & the Beast – As the titles says…movies I’d see again and again…and in the case of Beauty & the Beast, well – I did just that. I won’t admit how many times I’ve seen it but I will tell you that it has completely enchanted me and I absolutely love it! I went to see Beauty & the Beast with guarded excitement and I was overwhelmed – in the best way possible. The gorgeous costumes, the cinematography, the songs and musical performances, this movie took my most beloved childhood favorite – which I think is perfect – and somehow built on it. The little touches here and there, the details, the added bits of story that were perfectly built into the original tale…and the new songs…OH MY. Just writing about this makes me want to go see it again…
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THIS MOVIE IS GLORIOUS…much like Dan Steven’s hair flip in this GIF…
Oh yeah – it’s not the only movie I saw all month – even though it feels like it, ha-ha!
The Shack – I like to choose controversial movies; ha-ha! Honestly though, I caught this movie while I was in the middle of a girl’s weekend in the mountains and I thought it was great. It’s based on the 2007 bestseller of the same name and revolves around a man’s confrontation with the Trinity at the Shack where his youngest child was brutally murdered. The movie deals with some pretty complex questions, including why God allows bad things to happen to good people, why God allows His children to hurt, the list goes on and on… I enjoyed the movie and would recommend it to anyone – it was wonderful.
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Binge Worthy
Downton Abbey – So, I’ll level with you. I’ve seen all six seasons of Downton Abbey in full but my younger sister and I recently started a cross-continental (I’m in Virginia, she’s in Nevada) re-watching of the series and I have so many thoughts! Most importantly, I have forgotten so many things! So many things! I’ve only made it halfway through season two, but it has led me to double down on the my thought that Mary is NOT a nice person and Matthew Crawley should have never looked back when she refused his first proposal. That’s right – I said it. Matthew is TOO GOOD for Mary. I find Edith more annoying than I remembered, Sybil is obviously the best daughter, Cora is delightfully oblivious to almost everything and the Dowager Countess and Mrs. Crawley (and their constant back and forth) are the best part.
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Run Matthew…Run Away!
If you have opinions, feel free to share them. I know people have thoughts about Downton Abbey…
Tasty Treats
Everything I Ate at Paula Deen’s Kitchen – Y’all, I am still dreaming about the food from Paula Deen’s Kitchen…dreaming…it was so good! The garlic cheese biscuits; well, they make the biscuits served at Red Lobster look like garbage – I’m sorry, it’s true. The hoe cakes with sweet potato butter were to die for and oh..the entrees! The most tender and delicious roast, creamy potatoes, macaroni and cheese, slightly spicy black-eyed peas and surprisingly delightful squash casserole. My dessert of Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, well that capped everything off to perfection. When can I get seconds?
All the Drinks – I’ve had some delightful drinks this month… I discovered blackberry wine while I was visiting Gatlinburg, Tennessee and brought home a bottle that I’ve been sipping on in my spare time. I got The Transformation at the Friday night showing of Beauty & the Beast and the combination of gin and red wine was surprisingly delicious. The best drink I had all month was called The Bleeding Rose – it’s like two drinks in one! Elderflower liquer, hibiscus infused vodka and fresh sour are combined and poured over an Aperol-tea ice cube that has citrus notes and changes the flavor of the drink as it melts. So good!
I promise I’m not an alcoholic…ha-ha!
Earworms
Evermore – One of the three new songs from Beauty & the Beast, this song is performed by the Beast in the movie and is absolutely beautiful. I prefer the version from the movie (hey-o musical Dan Stevens) over Josh Groban’s rendition of it…although they’re both beautiful. I’ve listened to this song so many times I lost count…
The Beauty & the Beast Soundtrack: Deluxe Edition – When I’m not listening to Evermore on loop, I’m listening to the rest of the soundtrack. It was released on March 10th and I cannot tell you what I’ve listened to besides the soundtrack since that day – seriously. I bounce back and forth between the vocals and the score and I absolutely love it all.
What I’m Looking Forward To
Baseball Season – The 2017 season starts in just THREE days. Three! The Nationals will be playing two exhibition games on March 31st and April 1st (the second of those games will be at the US Naval Academy) against the Boston Red Sox, then Sunday afternoon is a free day before Opening Day on Monday, April 3rd! I won’t be getting to the ballpark on Opening Day, but I will be getting to the ballpark for the first time this season on April 11th…and then I’ll head back just a few days later. I cannot wait to watch my Nationals play!
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Easter Break…and A (potential) Visit from the Sister – My Easter break will be kicking off on Thursday, April 13th when the clock hits 5 o’clock and I’ll be spending some of Easter weekend at Nationals Park, in old town Alexandria and of course, spending time with family. My sister may or may not be able to come home for a quick visit at Easter and so I’m crossing my fingers that she’s a part of all the goodness I listed above!
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A Weekend in Williamsburg – I’ll confess, I’ve been to Williamsburg twice before…but neither visit has left much of an impression because it rained both times. Let me tell you, rain really puts a damper on walking the dusty (muddy) colonial streets…so I’ll be making my third visit at the end of April and I’m hoping the third time is the charm. I’m really hoping that the sun will be shining – I guess we’ll see!
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And – that’s what I was into this past month! I cannot believe there is just one more day of March…I feel like this month absolutely sped by! It seems April has lots of good in store!

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Perhaps it’s because February seems like the “dead” of Winter (although not so much this year…) but man, it seems like I sat around doing a whole lot of reading and binge-watching this month…
Books I Couldn’t Put Down
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – A blind French girl and an orphaned Nazi boy anchor Anthony Doerr’s sweeping novel of German occupation. While the stories seem divided, bit by bit sections begin to fall into place as the story progresses while larger themes of loss and isolation play out through the characters’ fixations with radio waves, gemology, and shell collecting. Part historical fiction and part finely crafted tale, this book is mesmerizing from cover to cover!
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – This story takes place in a dystopian society in the near-future in what was once New England; women have no rights, they are not even allowed to read. The story is told from the perspective of Offred; a woman who serves as a handmaid, a bizarre function where she is placed in a high-ranking officials house in order to conceive and bear a child for his family. The story is interspersed with Offred’s memories from her previous life when the government had not yet been overthrown and offers a counter to the strict regime she currently lives under. That brief plot summary might sound…strange…but the book was fascinating and I sped through it in days!
Books on the Shelf
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – Another WWII era book that’s waiting on my shelf; this book revolves around two sisters during WWII and I’ve heard great things about it.
Victoria by Daisy Goodwin – The novel that the new PBS series Victoria is based on; the show is fascinating, so I’m sure the book won’t disappoint!
Hitler’s Forgotten Children:A True Story of the Lebensborn Program by Ingrid von Oelhafen – I’ll admit, I’m already more than halfway through this biographical tale of a woman who discovered that she was a product of the SS horrific Lebensborn Program; which I knew nothing about until watching The Man in the High Castle.
Must See TV
Legion –David Haller was diagnosed with schizophrenia at a young age, and has been a patient in various psychiatric hospitals since. After Haller has an encounter with a fellow psychiatric patient, he is confronted with the possibility that there may be more to him than mental illness. Perhaps he might be…a mutant? Not quite a superhero…but not quite normal… This show is a branch of the Marvel universe, directed by Noah Hawley (who does another show I love, Fargo) and is certainly one of the most unique and colorful shows I’ve watched in a long time. Can’t wait to see what happens…
Also…who knew Matthew Crawley played crazy so well? Ha-ha!
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When that headache is really getting to you…
Movies I’d Watch on Repeat
Loving – What an excellent movie! I noticed Loving had finally arrived at a theater here in town and there were only five seats left; so even with those seats being on the two front rows, I snapped a seat up! The movie tells the story of Richard and Mildred Loving; the couple at the center of the 1967 Supreme Court case Loving V. Virginia. The case is considered a landmark case; it invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage, and affected not just the state of Virginia but 15 other states. The story and the love between the Lovings is what makes this movie so touching and wonderful. Go see it if you get the chance!
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Binge Worthy
A Series of Unfortunate Events – Honestly, I was completely drawn into watching this because I love Neil Patrick Harris! I read all the books in the series about the Baudelaire orphans when I was younger and I watched the movie with Jim Carrey – which was thoroughly disappointing – but seeing that NPH was involved in this version, I decided to give it a chance. This series captures the dark comedic tone of the books so much better and I devoured all eight episodes in just four days. I loved this take, thought the casting was great…especially the casting of Patrick Warburton to narrate the tale as Lemony Snicket!
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Stranger Things – I finally, finally jumped on this bandwagon and wow…so much 80’s nostalgia! The story follows four friends living in Indiana in 1983; when one of the boys goes missing, the whole is turned upside down (literally) for the boys as they search for their missing friend and encounter forces much larger and more powerful than they imagined when playing board games in the basement! The kids are hands down what makes this show; the suspense and jump scares were fun and I can’t wait to see where season two will go.
The Man in the High Castle – What would the United States look like if the Axis Powers won WWII? That is the storyline that The Man in the High Castle posits to it’s viewers and honestly; it’s pretty terrifying. The United States has been split between Japan and Germany; the East coast is now the Greater Nazi Reich and the West coast is the Japanese Pacific States with the neutral zone lying somewhere along the Rocky mountains. The man in the high castle is a shadowy figure that encourages the resistance by releasing videos that show how the world might be different were the Axis powers not in control. Certain parts of the show are dark (in the Greater Nazi Reich, cripples & the ill are burned on Tuesdays…) the plot and story lines are intriguing and thought provoking. I sped through the first two seasons and now I’m waiting to see what season three will have in store.
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Should I go ahead and admit that maybe I have too much time on my hands? Ha-ha!
Tasty Treats
Edible Arrangements – FOR THE WIN! My little sister absolutely got the jump on me and surprised me with a gorgeous (and delicious) Edible Arrangement on Valentine’s Day. I cannot lie, that heart-shaped pineapple was gone within about five minutes of getting that bad boy unwrapped! The strawberries I managed to spread out over three days and they were so yummy!
What I’m Looking Forward To
Game of Thrones (in Concert) – One of my awesome friends gifted me with a ticket to see Game of Thrones in concert at the Verizon Center on March 1st and I am so excited for this! The most exciting aspect of the concert is that it will be conducted by Ramin Djawadi; the composer of the music from Game of Thrones. It’s definitely something to look forward to in the extra long gap between seasons six and seven!
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Girls Mountain Weekend – I’ll be spending a long weekend in the Smokey Mountains with one of my lifelong best friends, Nickolee and I cannot wait! This trip has been in the works for over a year…because we had planned to do this last year, but unforeseen circumstances derailed our plans…but we prevailed and rescheduled for this year! You see; when we graduated from high school many moons ago, we went to the mountains…so we’re recreating that, ha-ha! I’m not 100% sure what we’ll do, but I know the food will be good and the company will be the best…and really, that’s enough for me!
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Oh…we were such babies…
Beauty & the Beast – Oh. My. Goodness. I have had a countdown for this movie on my phone for over a year and it is SO close! I bought my tickets weeks ago (with the commemorative glass), I’ve already pre-ordered the soundtrack and I can almost guarantee you that I’ll see this more than once. Beauty and the Beast is hands down my very favorite Disney movie, Belle is my spirit animal (pun also intended) and Prince Adam is the BEST Disney prince… I just could not be more excited to see this! *sigh*
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Spring – It has been unseasonably warm this past month (with some freak snow showers in the midst of it all) and I have had absolutely no problems with that! I’m really hoping that even though that pesky groundhog predicted 6 more weeks of Winter, maybe he was wrong. I’m hoping that the sun will keep shining, the trees will start to bud and Spring will arrive a little earlier than usual.
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Five on Friday

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It’s Friday. And I cannot even begin to wrap my head around five things to share…because I don’t know why. It’s Friday and maybe my brain feels warped after this week? I’m not sure. I have no excuse… *smile*
So – in an effort to somewhat recap the things that I posted about on my “other” blog hosting site, I’ve shared five on my favorite things I posted about in the months that I wasn’t here on this blog hosting site. Enjoy!
One. Stitch Fix – I made the jump to Word Press before I started getting Stitch Fix and it’s something I’ve fallen in love with! Stitch Fix allows you to have a personal shopper once a month and you only pay $20! You are sent five items and the $20 styling fee is deducted from anything you keep! If you choose to keep all five items, you get an additional 25% off your entire purchase! I have only once had a less than stellar experience and I would highly recommend this service to anyone! My very first experience can be found here:
 https://natyouraveragestory.com/2016/09/28/stitch-fix-the-first/ 
and if you’d like to try it for yourself, please feel free to use my link: 

Two. Supper Made Simple – This dish is so easy and is always devoured! Give it a try!
Sausage, Potato & Broccoli One Pan Meal
– 1 package beef or turkey sausage, sliced in rounds
– 1 bag small red potatoes, cubed
– 1 bag frozen broccoli
– olive oil
– Season All
– onion powder
– garlic powder
– salt & pepper
Combine the cubed potatoes, broccoli and sliced sausage in a bowl; add in olive oil to coat and sprinkle on your spices. Preheat the oven to 400, places the veggies and sausage on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet (if you think you need more seasoning, add it now) and cook for 40 minutes. Enjoy! 
*I also added some cubed chicken tenderloins the last time I made this – excellent*
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Three. Turning 32 in Las Vegas – I spent the weekend of my 32nd birthday in Las Vegas with my younger sister. It was absolutely a blast, I could go on and on about it. We stayed at the Venetian, ate at some incredibly delicious restaurants (hello Yard Bird!) and just had a wonderful time together – I’ve tucked some pictures below!
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Four. Autumn in the Mountains – One of my dear friends has a house that has this incredible view off her back deck…it’s amazing, to say the least! Saying I love Autumn in the mountains is sort of broad, because what I really love is everything about September – December in the mountains. I love the how beautiful the mountain scenery is and how the mountains change as the seasons change. I documented that on my “other” blog and I’ll keep doing that here!

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Five. The Nationals win the NL East – Another favorite post or recollection from my time on the other blog was that my Nationals won the NL East last fall! The Nationals had a stellar 95 win season last year and celebrated in the clubhouse after they beat the Pirates 6-1 to secure the National League East title. Here’s hoping this season will be a repeat!

Murphy Does Murphy Things…

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I’m a little behind on this post – and there really isn’t much of an excuse besides moving my blog and still figuring out the logistics/styling of my old blog and my new. Like I said – not really an excuse!

I went to two baseball games last week – two games in three days – which is pretty delightful. I’ve said over and over again that the dream is to spend the entire weekend in DC and attend an entire series of games…Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon…all spent at the ballpark. What’s not to love?

It was the first bobble head game of the season – and ALL the people come.

I think one of the things I’ve learned about major league baseball and giveaways is that bobble heads are a big deal. If the gates open two hours prior to the first pitch, there will be multiples lines at the gates at least thirty minutes or more before that two hour mark. People want their bobble heads! The first bobble of the season was of Daniel Murphy and while he’d never admit it, Mr. Murphy obviously wanted to make his bobble head night special…but wait…I’m getting ahead of myself.

Batting practice in action.

A (grainy) look at the banner dedicated to the National League 2016 Cy Young winner – Max Scherzer!
Snapping pictures around the park – Scherzer, Zimmerman and Rendon posters! 

I suppose one of the biggest pitfalls of waiting almost an entire week is that I don’t remember exactly how the game played out – oops! I certainly know how it ended, but the specifics of the game have left my mind. Oh well… Perhaps I can make up of it with the pictures I took? The seats we had were great and were surprisingly a place I’d never sat before – and not surprisingly, I loved the seats! They were on the third level but the views of the entire ballpark were not to be beat – I’m already looking forward to going back and sitting in seats in this section again!

Friday, April 14th – A gorgeous day for baseball!

Daniel Murphy was honored as the 2016 Outstanding Player!
Stephen Strasburg was on the mound for the Nationals – and as always, pitched incredibly!

The game was; for the most part, a pitching match up. It seemed every time the Nationals hit the ball, a member of the Phillies would be in just the right spot, ready to snatch the ball out of the air and get the out. Some hard hit balls were caught and some good hits were robbed… Granted, the Nationals were doing the same thing to the Phillies when they came to bat – but that’s what you hope for as a Nationals fan, ha-ha!

The sun begins to set and casts a shadow across the field…
Sunset at Nationals Park – one of MY favorite places.

The pitching match up carried through a large majority of the game, through the ninth and into a tenth inning and when the bottom of the tenth arrived, the score was all tied up and 2-2. Bryce Harper got himself on first and Daniel Murphy came to the plate, got a pitch he liked and launched it out to left field…and it dropped just short of the wall, on the grass. While the Phillies scrambled to get the ball and send it back toward home, Bryce Harper sped all the way around from first base and made it home just in time to score the winning run – and make the game a walk off win with a score of 3-2!

The Nationals rush onto the field to celebrate the win!
The man of the hour…the man of the day – Daniel Murphy!

Dan being interviewed by…Dan…ha-ha!

A visit to Nationals Park is always wonderful – but it’s especially wonderful when my team gets the win! Last Friday’s game was filled with good moments, incredible pitching and a breathless finale! You can’t beat that! Just like you can’t beat a Friday evening at the ballpark!