Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Our Journey with Infertility: Part II

On November 13th, I went to Hopkins for outpatient laparoscopic surgery to have one of my Fallopian tubes removed, otherwise referred to as a Salpingectomy. I was nervous and apprehensive because going in, my surgeon discussed the different results with us. He told us the plan was to remove my blocked tube, but if he saw any scar tissue or damage to my other tube, he would remove those as well. The uncertainty was a little scary because having both tubes removed gave us a different prognosis and outlook for fertility and getting pregnant. But I wanted the tube (and frankly anything else damaged) removed because of the concern of it rupturing or causing issues if I did get pregnant.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Last Minute Holiday Hostess Gift

No joke guys, prep time for this treat is <15 minutes and refrigeration is <1 hour. You can make this and stick it in the fridge, hop in the shower and get spruced up for your holiday gathering, then break it up, package it, and be out the door!
Version 1: Dark Mint Chocolate Bark

Ingredients:

2 packages Hershey's (or Bakers) semi-sweet chocolate baking bar (4 oz. each) broken into pieces

10 ounces Andes Creme De Menthe baking chips (10 oz. bag)

1 tablespoon shortening

Optional but strongly encouraged: handful (~5 or 6) Tim Tam Dark Mint

Directions:

1. Cover cookie sheet or tray with wax paper.

2. Place chocolate in medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM (50%) 1 minute; stir. If necessary, microwave at MEDIUM an additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chocolate is melted and smooth when stirred.

3. Place Creme De Menthe chips and shortening in second microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM 1 minute; stir. If necessary, microwave at MEDIUM an additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chips are melted and mixture is smooth when stirred.

4. While chips are heating, place Girl Scout cookies in heavy duty ziploc bag. Use a crab mallet (if you're from Maryland : ) or a wooden spoon) to break into small pieces.

5. Spoon above mixtures (2 & 3) onto prepared tray. Gently tap tray on counter-top to even out thickness of mixture. Sprinkle Creme De Menthe crumbs evenly over tray. Refrigerate about 1 hour or until firm. Break into pieces. Package in a pretty container or bag and you'll have your friends and family swooning!

Store in a cool, dry place. Makes about 1 pound.
Version 2: Peanut Butter Chocolate Pretzel Bark

Ingredients:

2 packages Hershey's (or Bakers) semi-sweet chocolate baking bar (4 oz. each) broken into pieces

10 ounces Hershey's Peanut Butter baking chips (10 oz. bag)

1 tablespoon shortening

1 large handful of pretzels broken into pieces

Directions:

1. Cover cookie sheet or tray with wax paper.

2. Place chocolate in medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM (50%) 1 minute; stir. If necessary, microwave at MEDIUM an additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chocolate is melted and smooth when stirred.

3. Place Peanut Butter chips and shortening in second microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM 1 minute; stir. If necessary, microwave at MEDIUM an additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chips are melted and mixture is smooth when stirred.

4. While chips are heating, place pretzels in heavy duty ziploc bag. Use a crab mallet (if you're from Maryland : ) or a wooden spoon) to break into small pieces.

5. Spoon above mixtures (2 & 3) onto prepared tray. Gently tap tray on counter-top to even out thickness of mixture. Sprinkle pretzel crumbs evenly over tray. Refrigerate about 1 hour or until firm. Break into pieces. Package in a pretty container or bag and you'll have your friends and family swooning!

Store in a cool, dry place. Makes about 1 pound.
Version 3: Salted Caramel Chocolate Bark

Ingredients:

2 packages Hershey's (or Bakers) semi-sweet chocolate baking bar (4 oz. each) broken into pieces

10 ounces Hershey's Salted Caramel baking chips (10 oz. bag)

1 tablespoon shortening

Optional: sea salt

Directions:

1. Cover cookie sheet or tray with wax paper.

2. Place chocolate in medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM (50%) 1 minute; stir. If necessary, microwave at MEDIUM an additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chocolate is melted and smooth when stirred.

3. Place Salted Caramel chips and shortening in second microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM 1 minute; stir. If necessary, microwave at MEDIUM an additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chips are melted and mixture is smooth when stirred.

4. Spoon above mixtures (2 & 3) onto prepared tray. Gently tap tray on counter-top to even out thickness of mixture. Optional: Sprinkle sea salt evenly over tray. Refrigerate about 1 hour or until firm. Break into pieces. Package in a pretty container or bag and you'll have your friends and family swooning!

Store in a cool, dry place. Makes about 1 pound.
Happy non-baking and happy holidays! I hope these recipes help you with last minute gifting needs. If you don't have baking bars on hand, you could always melt chocolate chips (I know I always have those in the pantry) and get creative with your flavors. Use what you have if you can't make it to the store or don't want to brave it in the holiday rush!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Master Bedroom: Holiday Home Tour Part III

This year, I decided to add some Christmas cheer to our master bedroom. I never decorated our bedroom in the past. We were using a spare room temporarily and hadn't even designed the room because I knew we'd soon be transitioning into the intended master bedroom. Now that we finished (all but the barn door and adding a chair), I felt compelled to decorate it to bring the holidays into our relaxing retreat. Why not enjoy it while in your in bed too? I don't think Brian was happy about it. He felt like our house vomited Christmas glitter and antlers! So many antlers! But he adjusted quickly and the decorations didn't get in his way, so he happy obliged...eventually. : )

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Holiday Home Tour: Part II

For some reason the lyrics to "Cha Cha Slide" keep playing in my head while writing this post. "This is something new, the casper slide part two, featurin' the platinum band, and this time were gonna get funky, funky, everybody clap your hands, clap clap clap clap clap your hands...." solely because I am sharing part II of my holiday home tour with you! And then I rhymed; yes, that just happened! Thanks D.J. Casper for bringing out the rapper in me! : )
Alright, now I can get down to business. I'm venturing into the kitchen and bathroom for part II, and will finish the tour with our master bedroom in part III tomorrow. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Holiday Home Tour: Part I

Happy Tuesday! Christmas is just a week away and I could not be more excited to share my holiday home tour with you! This is a first for me, so be gentle. ; )

The past few years, I've been into the gold and silver, rustic chic vibe. I use woodland elements as well as glitter and lights to keep it from being dark or heavy. Most of the items I use are neutral and can be kept out through the winter, which is a plus, especially after putting in so much effort to decorate for Christmas. This way, I get to enjoy it a little longer and it requires less work on my part...win win!


Monday, November 27, 2017

Our Journey with Infertility: Part I


Happy Monday, ya'll! After sharing a bit about my surgery on Instagram earlier this month, (and receiving so many supportive, sweet, and thoughtful comments, cards, and gifts) I wanted to update you on how I'm doing and give you some background about how our infertility journey began. First and foremost, I spent two weeks recovering from the surgery, and even had the opportunity to visit my mother in law in Florida for the Thanksgiving holiday. My husband and I took advantage of the rest and time with family and I am back to work feeling healthy and rejuvenated today. I am not sure what to even call what I had done, as it was not the surgery that was intended. Instead, it was an exploratory operation which inspected my pelvis and corrected the diagnosis from hydrosaplinx to adhesions. That said, I did not have my tube or anything else removed.

Let's go back to the beginning now (since this is part I). My husband and I were married in August of last year. We planned to travel to Madeira for our honeymoon in December and per doctors' recommendations, did not move forward with trying to conceive until after our return as they were concerned about Zika Virus. Zika has not been reported in Madeira; however, at the time, our doctor knew very little about Madeira, so she was hesitant to instruct us otherwise.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

OOTD...the Perfect Outfit for a Crisp Fall Day

It's a windy, crisp fall day in Baltimore, so a ribbed sweater with a turtleneck is appropriate. Fall weather can be tricky, so I often avoid turtlenecks, but as it creeps closer to winter and the temps drop, a turtleneck keeps you warm and comfortable.


Lucky Brand jeans (and pants frankly) are my go-to in my 30th year! They fit me well, are classic, super comfortable, and made of quality materials. I have the Bridgette in mid and high rise and they are my absolute favorites! Lucky for you (pun intended), there is a big 50% off Black Friday sale on LuckyBrand.com so these guys are less than $60! I recommend you scour your local T.J. Maxx and Marshall's as well, because I often get lucky (wow, they just keep on coming) finding them there!