it's here!

Closing Day has arrived!  The final leg of our "move back home" is happening this weekend.  I don't know if it has hit us yet that we will have our own space in Jacksonville, but we can't wait to get the keys to our new house.

Though it's hard to believe, we have "officially" lived outside of Jacksonville for more than a decade!  When we have been back to visit, Jacksonville has consisted of childhood bedrooms and home-cooked meals.  While I can't complain about this, I have to admit I am excited to have our own space.  I know living here will be a completely different experience, but it will be a fun one with our own house and our own routines.  It will certainly be another transition but it is one we are excited to make.   

Thank you to everyone who has helped make this move possible.  We appreciate you taking us in for weeks at a time, keeping us full of amazing meals, and just showing us your unconditional love and support.  We can't wait to return the favor from our very own place in town.



productivity and happiness

First of all, thank you all for your support and encouragement about HeroMe!  I cannot tell you how much it means to have you all behind the idea.  As Josh said last night, it seems like it is "finally happening!"  It's been a long road, but we are excited to see what lies ahead and so thankful for the role each of you will play in making HeroMe a success. 
In honor of being productive (and happy) while studying for the bar exam this summer, I thought I would share the "Top 8 Things you Should NOT do Everyday."  This was floating around the internet a few months back, but it resonated with me.  Just in case some of you didn't see it, the author claims that following these tips will lead to increased productivity AND happiness...got to be worth a shot!

:: Don't check your phone while taking to someone ::
"Stop checking your phone.  It doesn't notice when you aren't paying attention.  Other people?  They notice.  And they care."

:: Don't multi-task during a meeting ::
"The easiest way to be the smartest person in the room is to be the person who pays the most attention to the room."

:: Don't waste time thinking about people who don't make any difference in your life ::
While this sounds harsh, the author is referencing celebrities, reality TV stars and the like.  As he says, "...your family, your friends, your employees, all the people that really matter to you...give them the time and attention they deserve."

:: Don't use multiple notifications ::
"You don't need to know the instant you get an email.  Or a text.  Or a tweet.  Focus totally on what you are doing.  Focusing on what you are doing is a lot more important that focusing on what other people might be doing."


:: Don't let the past dictate the future ::
"Mistakes are valuable.  Learn from them then let them go."

:: Don't wait until you are sure you will succeed to try something ::
"Stop waiting.  You have a lot less to lose than you think, and everything to gain."


:: Don't talk behind someone's back ::
"Spend your time on productive conversations.  You'll get a lot more done... and you'll gain more respect."

 :: Don't say yes when you really mean no :: 
"When you say no, at least you'll only feel bad for a few moments.  When you say yes to something you don't really want to do, you might feel bad for a long time."



Good Morning!  I know I usually do a wedding registry post on Wednesdays, but I hope you all will bear with me today as I change things up a little.  Today I want to tell you a little more about Josh and what he has been working on for the past few years....HeroMe.

Josh is one of the most creative people I know, and he always has a project, new idea, or creation up his sleeve.  While we were living in Charlotte, Josh had the idea to start a customizable toy company.  (Check out his blog post on the "genesis of HeroMe" if you want to hear the whole story...it's worth the extra click- I promise!)  Although he didn't officially start the company until his second year of business school, he has been brainstorming, creating contacts, and working towards manufacturing his product for more than two years now.  (Quite a feat of perseverance if you ask me!)  He has even taken time to secure his first staff members...

a quick staff meeting...just missing k and b!
As I mentioned before, HeroMe is a customizable toy company that allows kids to create their own superhero action figure.  Each figure is customizable with different arms and legs (my personal favorites are the frog leg and helicopter arm)  that give the hero his unique set of powers.  While HeroMe is still a few months from a true product launch (fingers crossed for actual figures in time for Christmas!), Josh has officially kicked off a soft-launch of the HeroMe website.  So friends, we (yes, we) need your help.

frog leg and helicopter arm
Josh is trying to start a buzz about the business, and while he is awaiting the manufacturing of actual figures, he has created a Hero Creator Kit.  The Hero Creator Kit is essentially a kit that lets kids (or kids at heart) create a paper version of a hero.  You can choose the powers your hero will have by picking from a variety of arms and legs, and you can even submit a picture of the hero you create to his website.

the only rule for HeroMes is to "do good"
While we would love for you to create your own hero, if that sounds like too much work, no worries.  What would really be helpful is to spread the word about HeroMe to your friends (especially friends with kids.)  Getting feedback about the business, introducing the Hero Creator Kits, and just getting a buzz going is really the goal at this point.  Of course, we would also love it if you would like HeroMe Lab on Facebook.

Thank you all in advance for your support!  We are so excited about the launch of HeroMe!

and JOSH!


green energy juice

I have a confession to make...I am majorly addicted to caffeine and studying for the bar exam is making it worse!  I used to get by with just one (large) cup of coffee in the morning and the occasional second cup of "half-cafe" if it was a really rough day.

In the past week, however, I have found myself consuming MORE caffeine.  I start the day with two (large) cups of full caffeine coffee, and sip on a coke during the morning of lectures.   (Luckily, I don't wind up drinking much of the coke- it is more insurance in case I start to get droopy eyes while listening to that third hour of video lecture.)  I definitely have another round of caffeine and lunch and sometimes even in the afternoon or at dinner.  While this might be OK on a short term basis, I have to figure too much caffeine is detrimental at some point.

a little ombre effect on my juice
Enter: Green Energy Juice.  I haven't gotten on the juicing bandwagon up until now, but I have to say I might be a convert.  I stopped into a local juice bar and smoothie store last week and, feeling deprived of veggies, I decided to get a green juice.  I was skeptical when they told me it would be delicious, but I am happy to report that they were 100%  correct.  AND, the best part was it really did give me a shot of energy.  I didn't have any caffeine at lunch or in the afternoon and I felt great - alert, and productive.  

The secret to this juice is the combination of apple, lemon and ginger.  With these three ingredients, you can add almost any green or veggie and the juice will still taste delicious.  My juice had apple, lemon, ginger + kale, cucumbers, spinach, parsley and celery.

If you are in Jacksonville, try the Green Energy Juice at Pulp in San Marco (and maybe Avondale soon.)  If you are making your own juice at home, just be sure to include the three magic ingredients (apple, lemon, ginger) and then load up on the veggies.

PS: Fingers crossed we will move into our new house this weekend!  Recipe posts should resume once we get the kitchen unpacked.  Thanks for your patience!


happy memorial day

Happy Memorial Day!  I hope you all have a fabulous day planned.  Regardless of how you plan to celebrate, take a moment today to be thankful for those who serve.  
AND now, before I go any further, I have to brag...

Remember this post, where I told you about my little sister booking a national Dairy Queen commercial?  Well, it began airing this weekend and she made the cut!  She may be in others that are released throughout the summer, but in the meantime, we have stopped fast forwarding through DVR'd shows in the hopes we will see her in all her DQ uniformed glory.  Way to flip that Blizzard, Chicken Little!

Click here to watch the full commercial.  She appears at 15 seconds.

screen shot from the full commercial
While I spent some time with my books this weekend, I also got to sneak in some fun.

Friday, we went to dinner with the Skinners and the Coopers,  and Josh and I got an education in eating pizza with toddlers!  The littlest members of our party (ages 1 and 2) were so adorable that we kept them up past their bedtime and sugared them up with ice cream before we called it a night.

gotta have those sprinkles to make it a true yobe experience
Saturday, we celebrated our family friend's graduation from high school!  Javi is headed to Florida this summer and we could not be more excited to have another Gator!
rebecca, josh, and annie waiting to toast the graduate
"kids" (+ "the mom" according to one spectator...)
javi is in the orange and blue tie- perfect for bolles graduation and upcoming gator games!
Sunday was spent catching up on Florida Civil Procedure and Contracts.  I wish I could say it was riveting reading, but instead I have to be content with the fact that it will be over soonish.  I also snuck in a little poolside takeout with Josh and Rebecca as a treat at the end of the day.

nothing like chicken fingers and the pool
Now, what can we do to make every weekend a three day weekend?!



happy weekend!

Wishing you all a happy, safe holiday weekend!  
Relax, head to the beach or lake, check out jcrew's amazing sale  (love this top, this clutch, and this cute skirt), spend time with family and friends, try this delicious looking salad, and ENJOY the weekend.  I'll be back next week after what I hope will be a productive and focused weekend of studying and catching up (and maybe indulging in one or two of these activities!)



blog love

Happy Thursday!  It has been quite a week of bar studying so far and to say it is tiring and time consuming is an understatement.  One of the indulgences I allow myself during the day, however, is taking quick breaks to read my favorite blogs.  I might squeeze one in during the last 3 minutes of our lecture break, or it might be as a quick break between multiple choice question sets.  Regardless of the random times, one thing is consistent- these bloggers have great style and content and they provide me with TONS of inspiration.

So, today I want to give a shout out to some of my favorites.  You may know some of them and others may be new, but I promise they are all worth a look!

1. Cup Half Full.  Becky has an amazing talent for interior decorating and she details her projects for all of her followers.  AND,  yesterday she posted the most amazing grilled peach salad recipe- definitely one to try!

2.  designer bags & dirty diapers.  Natalie has amazing style, an adorable son (with another on the way), and the best wine recommendations.  I think this was the first blog I ever followed and she got me hooked!

3. Eloquently Emily.  Emily is adorable and BUSY.  The girl never stops and I love following her adventures as a nurse, friend, and book reviewer!

4. Sequins & Stripes.  Liz is a professional blogger and stylist with amazing taste.  She always shows off fantastic outfits with Chicago as her backdrop.  

5. Turquoise & Teale.  Ashley's blog is an amazing lifestyle blog.  She features great recipes, a variety of home decor, travel tips, and cute outfits.  A definite on my must-read list!

PS: As a shameless plug for people I love, be sure to check out this blog, and this one too!


wedding registry: summer entertaining

Good Morning!  Summer is around the corner, and every bride needs a few staples on her registry for entertaining outdoors on a warm night.  Here are a few of my favorite picks:  

Tear Off Napkins
 perfect for outdoor entertaining and much cuter than a paper towel.  Throw them in the wash when you are done and use them again and again!
tear off napkin
Catch-All Tray
There is nothing worse than trips in and out of the house when you are trying to relax with guests.  Make sure to include a large catch all tray to make carrying all of your entertaining essentials easier.  
catch-all tray
Mason Jar Mugs: 
Perfect for icy lemonade at your next garden party or luncheon.
mason jar mugs
Drink Dispensers
A fun way to let guests serve themselves. The only hard part is deciding what to serve...
glass drink dispenser stand
Chalkboard Drink Dispenser Labels
A cute way to make sure no one gets spiked lemonade instead of regular.  Throw them in a drawer with some chalk when you are done and re-use them again and again!
chalkboard drink dispenser label
Galvanized Steel Bucket
The best way to keep drinks cold!  Register for at least two - one for alcoholic beverages and one for waters, soda, etc. to make your entertaining a little easier.  
galvanized drink bucket


cuban style black beans

A few weeks ago, (with the upcoming move looming) Josh and I attempted to eat only what was left in our pantry.  I can't claim this worked for long (there are only so many times you can eat pasta before you are dying for something fresh and green), but we did enjoy black beans and rice for several days.

Though I am no expert on Cuban food, I have had my fair share of authentic Cuban black beans.  This is a great recipe for when you want a quick fix (ie: you don't have time to simmer the beans for 24 hours), and it gets better with each day of leftovers.  If you are like me, you probably have most of the ingredients for this recipe in your pantry (really, why did I have 4 cans of black beans?!?)  Give it a try next time you have a hankering for a quick Cuban meal.

Cuban Style Black Beans
recipe adapted from the Flat Belly Diet Cookbook

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped (as always, I used my handy pre-chopped garlic)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 cans (15 ozs each) no-salt-added black beans
  • 1/2 c. orange juice
  • 1 Tbs. orange zest (I threw this in last time and it really added to the flavor of the beans)
  • 4 Tbs. green onions, chopped (optional)
  • Brown rice (optional)
  • 1 avocado (optional)
  1. Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. (le creuset with a lid is perfect for this!)  Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute or until garlic browns.  
  2. Stir in the cumin and cook for 1 minute longer or until fragrant.
  3. Add the beans, orange juice, and orange zest and reduce heat to low.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken.
  4. With the back of a wooden spoon, smash some of the beans into the sauce during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
  5. Serve with rice (if desired) and top with green onions and avocado.


first weekend in florida

This collage could not be more descriptive of our return to Florida!  We had a wonderful first weekend here complete with temperatures close to 100 (my car was in the sun when she hit 113), palm trees, and afternoon storms.  As crazy as it sounds, there is something so comforting to me to know that everyday at 4:00pm, a storm will roll through to cool things off...

While I wish I could say we did something over the top and crazy on our first weekend back, most of my weekend was spent staring at my computer screen.  I start my bar review class this week, so I had some pre-work to catch up on that took most of my weekend.  I did have a beautiful view of the river and loved seeing so many boaters whiz by enjoying the gorgeous weather.

my current desk set up...moving to a larger desk tomorrow!
For study breaks, we snuck in some visits with family and friends.  We are still adjusting to the fact that we are in Florida for good now and that we don't have to squeeze everyone into a few days or weeks.  We have lots more friends to catch up with, and we need to schedule some extra time with my family, but all in all, we have loved getting time with our Florida people.

quick visit to our new house for some measurements and planning with rebecca, mom, and josh
dinner with claire and ed at basil thai...and an amazing mango sticky rice dessert
family dinner with nieces k and b
Though I don't have a picture, we got to have dinner with Russell and Simmons earlier this week and Simmons introduced me to a fantastic wine.  This was the perfect red for summer- light and delicious and available at Total Wine!

cloud break

Hope you all had a great weekend!  Trying to get back into my routine of blogging now that we are in Florida but with bar classes and another move into our house on the horizon things might get a little crazy again.  Thanks for bearing with me!