Big News-I’m Moving!

Hey Cats!

I’ve been a little MIA on the blog lately. Some of that is because I’ve been busy, but also because I have been working on something BIG…I’M MOVING!! Not physically, virtually. For the past month, I’ve been busy designing my brand new website, and I cannot wait to share it with you!

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The brand new site will be launching Saturday, July 2, so in just NINE short days!! Ahh I still have so much to do, but I’m so excited! I’ll be changing the name of the blog and have an updated, cleaner look, but the sassy, real-life content will remain the same. With this new, more professional design, I’d like to pursue more collaborations and partnerships, but as always, I will only promote products I believe in and give my honest opinion on products I receive to review.

To be honest, I’m a little sad to leave Sweet Cats! behind. This blog has been a part of my life since before I went to college- 5 years! It’s been a hobby, a creative outlet, a great place to learn, and it even helped me land my current job. But, for a long time I’ve known that if I ever want to reach my full potential as a blogger, I needed a more serious and professional space. So after years of debating, I went for it! The great thing is, the name and appearance are the only things that have changed! I’ll still have Friday’s Few, easy recipes, affordable style, and of course the Gif of the Week. In the words of JLo, I’m still Jenny from the block. Except I’m actually Kristen from the suburbs, but you catch my drift.

SO, what does this mean for you, my loyal readers? I would love for you to come with me! I don’t want to lose any of you, so I’m trying to make this transition as simple as possible. All of my old content will be on my new site, so if you’re looking for a favorite recipe, you can find it in my archives! Please make sure you’re following me on social media, especially Twitter since that will be the easiest place to find the link to my new site! If you follow via Bloglovin’, I’m still trying to figure out how to make that transition. I think I can just switch my old site out for my new one, but I’m not sure! If not, I will be making a new Bloglovin’ account and would love to have you all follow along there! Most importantly, once the new site is launched, traffic from Sweet Cats! will be redirected to my new site. So if nothing else, just head over here any time after July 2nd and you’ll be sent straight to the new stuff!

I can’t wait to share what I’ve been working on, but I’ll enjoy these last few days on Sweet Cats!. Thank you so much for reading for all these years, and I would love for you to join me on my new site!

That’s all for meow!

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A Not-So-Basic Bikini

Hey Cats!

Happy Wednesday! I’m getting a bit of a late start again this week…but this time I really have no excuse. But! At the end of this week (so Friday) I have a HUGE announcement that I cannot wait to share! Eeeeee!! But I’m determined to keep it in until then. So let’s jump right in!

I’m sure some of you may be tired of hearing about my trip to Miami, but honestly, I don’t care because it was fabulous. However, one thing that was not so fabulous was trying to cram all of my clothes into a carry-on. I am a severe over-packer, so even though we were there for just two days, I had trouble deciding what I needed and what I could live without. I mean, I’ve got to have options! One solution to this dilemma? A bikini that you can change every day!

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This BeachGal bikini comes with different attachments you can add to shake up your look! Pictured above is the bikini by itself with no attachments, which is a fun, classic look. This is perfect for day one on the beach!

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For Day 2, add a fun ruffle to both the top and the bottom- or just one! The attachments snap on quite easily, but hold well enough so you don’t lose a ruffle on the beach- no one wants that.

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Looking for a little more bling? This sequin trim is perfect for laying by the pool! Keep in mind that each trim option comes with pieces for both the top and bottom of the bikini. There are also many other colors- black, coral, leopard, and hot pink. I went with Aqua since it matched my floppy hat!

I received this product courtesy of BeachGal Swim in exchange for a review, so I’m going to give my honest opinion. This bikini is very well-made, definitely better quality than the Target swimsuits I own! However, if I were to try it on in the store, I don’t think I would have taken it home with me. The bottoms fit well and have a lot of coverage, but the top did not cover everything the way I would prefer. I’m pretty modest when it comes to swimsuits, and the cut of the top didn’t exactly match my taste. But other than that, I think this is a great concept in swimwear, and is a great option for those of us with Severe Over-Packing Syndrome!

How do you save room in your suitcase? Let me know!

That’s all for meow!

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Recipe: Sprinkle Cake

Hey Cats!

This past weekend, I had a family reunion with my dad’s side of the family. We have it every year, and I always love going! It’s great to see my family, plus there’s always really delicious food. I was talking to my dad a couple of days before and he asked me what I was going to bring. “Wait, what?” I’m still used to being a child and not having to bring food, but I guess since I’ve been a responsible adult for a full year, I’m capable of bringing some sort of dish to a function. So, I decided to make one of my favorite recipes that’s beyond easy but also delightful. And I made two, because I wanted to keep one for myself.

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Sprinkle Cake!! Y’all. This cake is probably my favorite. It’s simply a pound cake with sprinkles inside! Confession: I only make this to take somewhere when I know I will have plenty to bring home. Not a joke. I like to eat it for breakfast. It’s just SO GOOD. Also, people love it, because it’s fun! You know how people have “signature dishes” that they’re asked to bring to functions? I want this to be mine. “Kristen, bring that sprinkle cake, it’s so good!”. That is my dream.I clearly have too much time on my hands. So anyways, here’s how you make this:

I got this recipe from The Sweet {Tooth} Life, so I can’t really take credit, but I would love to share!

Here’s what you’ll need:

-1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

-1 cup of sugar

-4 eggs

-1 tsp vanilla extract

-1/2 tsp salt

-2 cups of flour

-1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles (I used Jimmies… I honestly hate that they’re called that so much but I couldn’t think of another way to explain them. Ugh Jimmies. Such a stupid name.)

Here’s what you’ll do:

1.First, cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl.

2. Add eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each.

3. Mix in vanilla and salt until fully incorporated.

4. Add flour and stir until smooth!

5. Add the sprinkles and give it another stir

6. Transfer to a buttered & floured loaf pan

7. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour

8. Enjoy!

This is a great quick dessert to bring to an event, or for whenever you feel like something sweetie. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

That’s all for meow!

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Girl’s Trip Must-Haves

Hey Cats!

Apologies for getting this up a day late! As per usual, my procrastination got the best of me, and Sunday night I was so exhausted and went to sleep at 10 pm instead of blogging. But! I’m planning on posting my regular three posts this week, so stay tuned!

Last week in my vacation recap, I promised a post detailing my Girl’s Trip Must-Haves. Miami was probably my favorite three days of the year, and going with my besties made it even better. After this, I am a firm believer in girl’s trips and am already saving for next year’s trip (or trips!). And I’m basically a girl’s trip professional. After 72 hours. Because of this, I’m going to tell you everything you need to have a fun, easy, and smooth vacation.

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1. Friends

Okay, I mean obviously, but at least read the whole paragraph before you decide this is a stupid list. Truth is, the right friends are paramount to a good girl’s trip. I have a rule: never take trips with anyone you do not love. A couple of terrible weekends in college led me to this discovery, so since then I’ve been wary to just pack my bags and go. Make sure you’re not going to have to hold people’s hair back every night. Make sure you’re all on the same page about how much money you want to spend. Make sure you’re all okay with either having a plan or not having a plan for the trip. And most of all, make sure you’re able to stand the people for extended periods of time- because once you’re there, you’re stuck!

2. A Selfie Stick

I used to make fun of selfie sticks, but we brought one on our trip and they are SO FUN. Plus, everyone can be in every picture! We used it at the beach, on our balcony, and yes, even on the airboat tour. Like true millennials. HASHTAG SELFIE.

3. Groupon

Full disclosure: we were on a budget. A tight one. But! That definitely didn’t stop us from having an awesome time. We did everything we wanted to, and spent a reasonable amount of money. For every activity, we searched high and low for the best prices, using Groupon and other coupons to find the best deals. I probably spent a little over $500 for the whole trip (not including clothes HAHA), which is so great for a trip to Miami!

4. Cluster

Thanks to the selfie stick, we took an abundance of photos. Then we all liked each other’s photos better than our own, but sending mass amounts of pictures is annoying and takes so long. My friend Catherine told us about an app called Cluster, where you can just upload your photos to a private group, and everyone can have access to them! Now, we each have all of the photos from the trip to frame or ‘Gram at our discretion. Everyone wins!

5. Your sense of adventure! 

You may get lost in your rent car on the way to the Everglades. You may have to rearrange all of your plans at the last minute. You may get to do everything you want to do, and you may not! You may have to run through the Atlanta airport with moments to spare and eat box sandwiches at 10 pm. But it’s all part of the fun! I will always have wonderful memories from this trip, and it’s mostly because we went with the flow and kept our sense of adventure about us!

These are just a few things I’m glad we had on our trip! What are your girl’s trip must-haves? Let me know!

That’s all for meow!

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Friday’s Few

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Hey Cats!

Happy Friday! This short week flew by, which is exactly what I was hoping for! It was also a busy week, but a good one! P.S., can you believe it’s already June? I feel like it was just New Year’s! Also, I’ve declared June a “no-spend” month for me. I went a little crazy on the shopping this past month, and I need to tone it down. There are things in my closet that I bought months ago and still haven’t worn, if that tells you anything. I’ve decided that I’m just going to have to get creative with what I’ve already got in my closet (which is plenty). Plus, it’s summer, so I can re-discover all of my tanks and shorts! At least that’s what I’m telling myself. But it’s not going to be easy (those flash sale emails get me every time. I am a sucker.). So pray for me. For serious.

But anyways, here’s what I’m loving this week:

1.Charming Charlie

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Earlier this week, I went shopping with a friend and we wandered into Charming Charlie. And yes, this was May 31st, the day before the dreaded spending fast began. My friend Catherine that was with me has decided to also participate in a no-spend month! Anyways. Charming Charlie was having an amazing sale (75% off all clearance!!), so I got 4 great pieces of jewelry for just under $9! I think my favorite find was this pair of Lola Beaded Tassel Earrings. I’ve been wanting a pair of Lisi Lerch tassel earrings for years, but I couldn’t justify the price tag. The Charming Charlie dupes are marked as just $6.99 online, which is already a steal, but with my 75% off, I got them for $2. TWO DOLLARS. That’s less than a Starbucks. Clearly I am still beside myself about this. And once my shopping ban is lifted, I will be back. I’m planning on wearing these with my new top from Lyon + Post for my Friday night activities! So summer and so cute. P.S., with my $30 credit, this top was only $20! Sign up here to get your own $30 Lyon + Post credit!

2. Quinoa Salad Recipe

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I came across this recipe for Sweet Pineapple Chicken Quinoa Salad from Layers of Happiness on Pinterest! As you know, I love quinoa, and am always trying to find ways to incorporate it into my diet. This looks like a really yummy summer lunch option, and I can’t wait to give it a try!

3. Embracing my curly hair

Ever since I started fixing my own hair, I have flat-ironed it into submission, refusing to wear it natural. Over the years, I think my hair has gone from wavy to actually curly, but I never left the house without fixing it, except for a few times in college. When I went to the beach, I decided to just let my hair run free, and I loved it! I decided to see if this would work on a daily basis. I bought the Quenching Coconut Curls shampoo and conditioner by OGX to try and enhance my curls, then added the styling milk to tame the frizz! I’ve worn my hair curly to work ever since I returned from vacation, and I have no plans of stopping! It’s so nice not to have to fix my hair every morning, and I really love how it looks! So big. Just wondering how I lived so many years without taking full advantage of my lion’s mane.

4. GIF of the week

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If you haven’t been watching Real Housewives of Not Houston Dallas, you have been missing out on the best way to waste your time. Stephanie is probably my favorite, because she cries when people are mean to her, which I feel is the most normal response. Or would be my response. Bless her heart.

That’s all for meow! Hope everyone has a great weekend!

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Cooking For One

Hey Cats!

Happy Wednesday! It came quickly this week, since we had Monday off. I loved having an extra day to sleep in and lay by the pool, but it’s kind of gotten me thrown off a bit! I kept thinking Monday was Sunday and Tuesday was Monday, and I’m always wishing it was Friday. I digress.

I love to cook. I remember being so excited to escape the greasy campus food when I moved out of the dorm and into a house with a kitchen in college. I was going to cook every day and love life! But that proved to be a challenge. I was used to helping my mom cook dinner for our family of four, so when I started making dinner for just myself, I wasn’t sure where to begin! Over the past few years, I’ve perfected the art of cooking for one, and it’s actually not as difficult as you’d think! Here are some of my favorite tips for those of you just moving into your first kitchen!

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1. The freezer is your friend! 

Every two weeks or so, I buy a package of chicken tenders from the meat section of the grocery store, take it home and wrap each one individually in foil and pop it in the freezer. In the past, I bought the huge bag of IQF frozen chicken breasts, but then they started to get really gross (think blood and bones-ick.). This may be slightly more expensive and doesn’t last as long, but they’re definitely better quality! Plus, it’s super easy to just move one from the freezer to the fridge in the morning to thaw for dinner that night!

In addition to chicken, I will occasionally buy a big piece of salmon and cut it into thirds or quarters, depending on the size, and freeze that as well. However, I would recommend eating the salmon within the week!

I also like to keep a bag of frozen corn and a bag of frozen peas on hand in my freezer. If I don’t feel like cooking a vegetable I’ll just heat up a small bowl of one of those, or if I’m making stir fry I’ll just toss in a handful! These last forever and they’re super cheap!

2. Try to repurpose your leftovers in creative ways. 

I’m usually okay with leftovers, but when you live alone, leftovers can last a while longer than you want them to. I don’t know about you, but eating something every day for dinner (and sometimes lunch also) makes me never want to eat it again. Typically, I try to avoid leftovers, but sometimes it can’t be helped! Let’s say you made a pound of hamburger meat for stuffed bell peppers one night, and you still have a lot left. Well, you could make tacos the next day, or you could make a small pot of chili!

3. Buy perishables in small quantities.

Sometimes it’s super tempting to buy both asparagus AND Brussels sprouts, but don’t. You will regret it and it will be a waste of money, because one will definitely go bad before you can eat it. You might think that you’ll get tired of the same vegetable every night, but if you prepare it a little differently, that will shake things up a bit! I like to roast Brussels sprouts, but sometimes I sprinkle them with red pepper, or toss them in sriracha, or sprinkle them with goat cheese!

4. If you want something big, invite friends over! 

I love lasagna and enchiladas, but if I made them for just myself, I could never eat it all! If I’m dying to have something different, I will whip it up and invite a few friends over to help me eat it. And depending on how many people you have/what you make, you may still have some leftover for lunch!

5. Don’t be afraid to experiment

I will often find recipes on Pinterest that look delicious, but they typically feed a small country. If I want to try it, I’ll peruse the ingredients and come up with a smaller version for myself! Or, I will add the ingredients on top of a pizza or mix them into pasta for something easy and different. Just make sure you scale everything down evenly, or else the flavors will be off and it will not be delicious.

Cooking for one can seem boring, but it doesn’t have to be! Hopefully you learned something new today. If you have any tips or yummy recipes for just one person, let me know! Also, be sure to check out all of my recipes– most of them have a serving size of one person!

That’s all for meow!

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Mi-i-iami! Vacation Recap

Hey Cats!

Did you miss me last week? While I had an awesome time on my trip, I definitely missed blogging a bit! It’s good to be back in the swing of things! Hopefully this week will be less crazy than last week! I was on vacation Sunday-Wednesday, went to work on Thursday, where I was surprised with cookies to celebrate my one year anniversary with the company, then left early due to severe weather (more flooding in The Woodlands) and left early again on Friday due to continued flooding. I’m honestly just looking forward to a nice, normal week! And for El Nino to calm himself, because Houston is tired of all these floods. I digress.

Y’all. Miami was THE. BEST. I’ve never taken a full-fledged girl’s trip before (most likely because I’ve never been gainfully employed and if I would have asked my parents to send me to the beach with my friends they would have said, LOL, no). But it was seriously so fun. If you’ve never taken a trip with your closest friends, you need to do it. Even if you’re like, 80. The laughs, the memories, and the sass are unforgettable. Also, it was fabulous to not do work for like three whole days.

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First things first, our condo was incredible. We stayed at Marenas Resort in Sunny Isles, and had a view of both the ocean and the city, which was great. Our room had a kitchen, living room, and awesome balcony that we took way too many photos on. Also, the pool was great, and each day we had our own little chairs on the beach! I got plenty of use out of my monogrammed floppy hat and breezy cover-up!

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Since we were only there for three days, we had lots of adventure to pack in! We drove around in our sassy little rent car that we named Sasha, to the Everglades for an airboat tour (complete with holding a baby alligator, OMG), and to the Port of Miami for jet ski tours! We only got lost once, which is kind of a huge accomplishment considering the road system in Florida is incredibly confusing.

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We had “Fancy Dinner Night”, which ended with no one loving their expensive food and McFlurry’s on the way home. But we looked real cute! As you can tell, we had a blast the entire time. No one got tired of each other (that I know of) and we even watched the premier of The Bachelorette on Monday night, complete with pizza and brackets- we’ve decided to be hardcore fans this season. It was like living with your best friends but no one has responsibilities and you can just have fun all the time. I want that to happen every day.

 

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This was a great trip, for many reasons! It was a great way to celebrate one year of post-grad life, an awesome time with my friends, and a wonderful way to relax!  My friends and I realized that before we went on this trip, we’d never even spent the night at each other’s houses. By the end, we had seen it all: a 3 am wakeup call for a 5 am flight, a full day with only 2 hours of sleep, devouring a whole bag of peanut butter M&Ms in one day, forgotten clothing, and hangry attitudes whilst running through the Atlanta airport trying to catch our flight back to Houston. It’s safe to say that this trip was a bonding experience- but an unforgettable one at that!

I know reading about the beach isn’t the same as going- but I had to share! Stay tuned, as next week I will be sharing my Girl’s Trip Must-Haves, now that I’m a seasoned vacation professional.

That’s all for meow!

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Friday’s Few

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Hey Cats!

Happy Fri-Yay! This week has been so busy that I don’t even know where it went. But it’s been fun! Last night, I drove downtown to have dinner with my mom, who’s in town for training, so it was great to see her! After work today, I’m going into full-on vacation mode, with pedicures at 6, then finishing up shopping, packing, and getting to sleep early for our 5 am flight Sunday morning. It will be here before I know it! Here’s what I’ve been loving this week:

1.College Station’s Best

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So I found this list  of the 45 Best Places to Eat in College Station and it made me want to return to Aggieland for the sole reason of eating. I’m proud to say that I’ve eaten at most of those places (if I could choose my last meal, it would def be from Napa Flats), but there’s a few that are new! And some that I’ve missed. Just another reason to go back! If you live there, try some for me!

2. Lyon and Post

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I’ve been seeing other bloggers talk about Lyon + Post for a while now, but I didn’t really know what it was so I just ignored it until I saw that one of my favorite bloggers (Brenna from Chic Street Style) scored a mega deal on an adorable dress, and was intrigued. After perusing the site, I discovered that it’s a site that sends you clothing to try on but doesn’t charge you for any of it unless you keep it! Which is great for those of us who are short and are sometimes scared to buy things online. They have great brands like Elizabeth and James, BB Dakota, Vince, and more!  There’s no subscription fee, and you get to try before you buy, just like a brick and mortar store! It vaguely reminds me of “About the Fit”, the fictional company that Anne Hathaway’s character runs in The Intern (which is a fabulous movie, by the way. It motivates me to no end to be the ultimate girlboss, and I watched it with my ex-boyfriend and he hated it and that’s part of the reason he’s not my boyfriend anymore. Bye). I’m waiting until I return from vacation to send for my first batch of clothes, but I’ve already got my eyes on a few things! If you’re interested, register here to get a $30 credit for your first purchase!

3. White Queso

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White queso is my latest obsession. Actually, any queso, but I’ve been on a particular quest for queso blanco since Cinco de Mayo. The clinical staff in my office had fajitas catered on Cinco de Mayo from a local Mexican food restaurant, and they had white queso. One of my coworkers was telling me how delish it was, so obviously I had to go sneak some. Then I kept finding reasons to go up to the front, but I would actually just stop by the break room and sneak a chip loaded with queso. I’m not proud, but I’m also not sorry about it. Anyways, right after the queso-swiping incident, I came across this recipe for white queso from The Baking Fairy, so obviously I pinned it. Some of my friends and I are planning on grilling dinner one night soon, and I’m definitely making this!

4. GIF of the Week

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This is how I feel that VACATION IS HERE!!!!! I literally cannot control myself. P.S., still trying to decide how I feel about Real Housewives of Dallas. I think Real Housewives of Houston would have been better, but Andy didn’t ask me. But considering the above, maybe he should have. ALSO: speaking of vacation: I will not be posting next week…sorry! I think it’s just time for a break from everything. But! Check back the following week, because I will have plenty of beach content!!

That’s all for meow- see you in a week!

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Recipe: Shrimp & Spinach Summer Salad

Hey Cats!

Happy Wednesday-we’ve made it halfway! I hope everyone is having a great week so far. For me, it’s been busy but happy. Monday night I went to a new Bible study with my friends, and last night was my last Junior League meeting of the year. Tonight I’m at home, and will probably be scrambling to get my life together before I head to the beach on Sunday with my friends! SO EXCITED.

I threw this salad together Sunday night, and it was so yummy that I had it again for lunch on Monday! This weekend, I bought shrimp for dinner for a little something different. However, I asked for 1/4 of a pound, but walked out with 3/4 of a pound, and it was like $9 so I’ve had to get creative to use it all. This is just one way! This meal is perfect for lunch or a summer dinner!

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Here’s what you’ll need:

-Spinach

-Shrimp

-Quinoa

-Goat Cheese

-Croutons (optional but delicious)

-Lemon vinaigrette (or whatever dressing you desire)

Since I’m going to assume you all know how to combine ingredients in a bowl to make a salad, I don’t need to include steps. But I will tell you how I cooked my shrimp!

  1. Melt 1-2 tablespoons of butter
  2. Spread raw shrimp out on a cookie sheet. I got mine from the counter, and went with peeled and de-veined.
  3. Pour the butter over the shrimp, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and crushed red pepper flakes.
  4. Toss until evenly coated
  5. Cook at 350 degrees for 7-10 minutes until pink and curly!

So easy, and so quick! Also, the dressing I used was divine. I found it at the grocery store and thought it would be the perfect light addition to my shrimp salad. It’s called Leo’s Lemon & Caper dressing, and is pictured below. I also like Marzetti’s Lemon dressing, or you could make your own! I liked how the taste didn’t overpower everything else in my salad.

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That’s all for meow!

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Post-Grad: A Year Later

Hey Cats!

Exactly a year ago today, May 16, 2015, I walked across the stage at Texas A&M, was handed a diploma and thrown out into the world to fend for myself. Just kidding, it was an amicable split. I remember being so excited and proud of myself but sad and terrified all at the same time. Honestly, sometimes I still feel that way. I can’t believe it’s already been a year! It’s been an interesting one for sure, but a happy year as well. Here are some things I’ve learned about myself, life, and Jesus this year:

I'm an educated woman!

P.S. my diploma is still in that tube.

1.You don’t have as much free time as you did in college. I remember my Bible study leader telling us that we’ll never have as much discretionary time as we did at the time, and honestly I didn’t believe her (sorry Kate- but I know now!). I was always busy in college, rushing from one meeting to the next, going to school and work, and squeezing in homework, so I thought once some of those things went away I would have more time.  But now, I feel like there’s never time to do everything I want and need to do. Like, I should probably be cleaning my nasty house right now, but here I am, blogging. It’s definitely taken some planning, prioritizing, and learning to say no, and it’s still not easy, but I’m working on it!

2. Living alone is the best thing ever. Seriously. It’s really expensive, but it’s really worth it. If anyone’s in my house, I invited them to be there. If I want to leave my towels in the dryer instead of fold them, I can do that. No one’s cheap beer is squishing my leftovers in the fridge and literally everything is hot pink or gold. It’s a dream come true.

3. Don’t forget to clean the lint catcher in your dryer. Okay, so this is kind of a pathetic story, but there was a period of a few months where I would have to leave my clothes in the dryer for about two to three cycles to get them dry. After one particularly annoying instance where I had reset my dryer FOUR TIMES and my towels were still damp, it dawned on me that maybe I should possibly clean out the lint catcher (does this have a formal name? “Lint catcher” just sounds weird). I could barely get it out it was so full of lint. It was terrible. I could have spun yarn out of it and crocheted a blanket. I’m surprised my house didn’t catch on fire, honestly. So now I empty it after every other load, and my dryer works just fine!

4.It’s okay to change your mind. I’ve changed my mind about quite a few things over the past year. Whether it’s the church you’re going to, your boyfriend, or what you want for dinner, it’s okay. As long as you’ve prayed about it and don’t do it all the time, it’s okay. You’re not going to get it right the first time every time.

5. You will always miss the free tacos and the free gym. Like, honestly. Sometimes I just want to run around the indoor track at the Rec and then get free Rosa’s on the way home. Ugh.

6. Don’t forget who God says you are. Moving to a new place where I didn’t know anyone was exciting, but also really challenging. And it still is, to be honest. One time, when I was having a particularly tough time, I wrote down all of the things/qualities that God says I am, and the things He says I’m not. It’s great to have on hand to go back to when you need it.

7. It’s possible to make good friends after college. I thought that I had reached my bestie quota for life after I graduated. I mean, everyone’s best friends are usually from college or high school. I expected to make friends, just not tried-and-true, first people I call when something is wrong sisters. But I was wrong. I found two of my very best friends this year, and I am beyond thankful for them. They’ve definitely made it onto the bridesmaid list!

8. People won’t ask you to do things if they don’t think you can do them. At work, there have been quite a few instances where I’ve been asked to tackle roles or projects that intimidated me, causing me to panic and think, “I CANNOT DO THIS.” But obviously, I had no choice, so I’ve been forced to figure it out. And you know what? It’s usually not that  bad! I still have to tell myself sometimes that they wouldn’t have asked if they thought I was going to fail. And it’s definitely encouraging to know that others believe in you!

9. You don’t have to spend all of your shopping budget every month. But LOL, you probably will especially if you’re like me and have zero self control.

10. If you put God in a box, He will promptly remove himself. One thing I struggle with is limiting what I think God can do in my life. I tend to think that He will only work in ways that I can see and understand, but that’s not right at all. For the longest time, like since I was in high school, I was convinced that I would marry the first boy I ever dated. I thought that that was why I hadn’t ever dated anyone; because God was going to give me one and be done. But I was wrong. And you know what? I’m thankful that I was, because God just reminded me that I actually do not have it all figured out, and the only way to deal with a change in plans is to trust in Him completely.

11. Do something that isn’t all about you. Confession: it’s hard not to be selfish when you’re single and live alone and can basically do whatever you want. I joined the Junior League this past fall, mainly to find friends, but I have loved getting to serve my new community with other women. Whether I was helping raise funds or helping sweet high school girls find a prom dress, I honestly loved every second of it, and it was a good way to stop thinking about myself and think about helping others. JLTW was a major highlight of my first year post-grad, and I’m so happy I joined!

12. Staying in shape after college is so difficult. For real. It’s because I don’t walk nearly a mile every day, aside from actually working out. Not to mention the gyms that are filled with real people are incredibly crowded. I’ve given up on that and have started working out at home.

13. You’ll be tempted to become a workaholic. Don’t. There are always blog posts to be written, emails to be answered, and projects to be completed. For a while, I would work for an hour or two at home every night, but then I felt really overwhelmed. So I stopped. Now, I’m not saying to not do your work. There have been times where I’ve stayed up until the wee hours entering information into spreadsheets because they had to be done. I’m just saying that you definitely need a break from work every now and then.

14. You will still miss everything about college. The friends, the freedom, wearing Norts and a tee to class, the cheap rent. I went back to College Station a couple of times this year, and I cried a little every time. It’s like nothing has changed but everything is different. That place will always, always, always be my home and my favorite place on earth. I don’t think I would actually want to be in college forever, but sometimes I wish I could do it again just for like a week. The good thing is, I can always go back and it will welcome me with open arms!

15. You can do it. Honestly, when my parents left me at my apartment a week after graduation in a strange town, I wasn’t sure if I could do it. I was excited but also really scared, but determined not to give up and move home. I thought about it a few times, and sometimes I still do. But looking back on this past year, it wasn’t always easy or fun, but I did it, and the Lord was with me every step of the way. I have a job that I love, I made new friends, I went through some tough times, I made some big decisions, and developed a love for specialty cheeses. This year wasn’t what I thought it would be at all, but I’m so thankful for the path that Jesus has led me down, and I’m excited to see what my future holds!

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Just kidding, I still know nothing.

Thanks for letting me share some real talk today. That’s all for meow!

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