Playlist To Get You To The Weekend

1. “Wanna Be That Song“ by Brett Eldredge 

2. “Rodeo” by MacKenzie Porter

3. “Some Beach“ by Blake Shelton

4. “Middle of a Memory“ by Cole Swindel 

5. “Crash and Burn“ by Thomas Rhett

6. “It Girl“ by Petric

7. “Road Less Traveled“ by Lauren Alaina

8. “Mayday” by Cam

9. “Lights Come On“ by Jason Aldean

10. “One Little Kiss“ by Dallas Smith

Spring Break Wishlist

Spring Break is swiftly approaching, and we are so ready to trade in our mittens and gloves for bikinis and tank tops. Check out these ideas for an amazing Spring Break! 

ACTIVITIES:

  • Travel!
  • Camping
  • Shopping trip (treat yo' self!)
  • Dine at a fancy restaurant
  • Go to the movies
  • Water gun or water balloon fight
  • Jump rope
  • Play with sidewalk chalk (the possibilities are endless here from doodles to games)
  • Construct a blanket fort
  • Shoot at the local gun range
  • Tubing
  • Picnic
  • Stargaze
  • Fishing
  • Horseback riding
  • Sleepover
  • DIY projects
  • Snowboarding
  • Tanning
  • Mudding
  • Hammock naps
  • Mini-Golfing
  • Get a new tattoo or piercing
  • Make a playlist
  • Surfing
  • Learn something new!
  • Do something creative every day (art project, write, etc.)
  • Go for a run
  • Take lots of pictures (go on an adventure, vacation, come up with a photo set, etc.)
  • Break in your new boots (go line dancing!)
  • Enjoy the sunrise and sunset
  • Hiking
  • Volunteer
  • Decorate your house/apartment/room
  • Travel
  • Summer clean up (clean out your car, house, closet, laptop, etc and start fresh!)
  • Host a Yard Sale
  • Canoeing or kayaking
  • Get a full makeover (hair cut, makeup, new sexy outfit, etc.)
  • Bonfire
  • Plant a garden (flowers, veggies, fruits, etc.)
  • Make a new friend
  • Write a letter
  • Rollerblade or rollerskate
  • Go down a Zip-Line
  • Host a party
  • Explore a town/city
  • Slip 'n' Slide
  • Play boardgames
  • Ride a roller coaster
  • Roadtrip
  • Try new food (eat, drink and be merry!)
  • Cook/Bake
  • Random acts of kindness
  • Visit an old friend/family members you haven't seen in a while
  • Dye eggs
  • Eat lots of candy
DESTINATIONS:
  • Beach
  • Boardwalk
  • Zoo
  • Aquarium
  • Parks (local, state, national)
  • A city you've always dreamed of going to (New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Nashville, Austin, Miami, Boston, London, Berlin, Boise, etc.)
  • A resort
  • Amusement Park or Water Park
  • Carnival
  • County Fair
  • Concert or music festival
  • Campground
  • Wilderness
  • "Tourist Traps" (Statue of Liberty, the Hollywood Sign, Disney World, etc.)

PARTY IDEAS:

  • Parties People Should Totally Be Throwing
  • Pool Party (Pool required)
  • Splish Splash Party (Pool not required. This is for water gun and water balloon fights, slip 'n' slides, sprinklers, kiddie pools, etc.)
  • Luau (here are some fun ideas
  • Slumber Party
  • Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties
  • Fancy Dinner Party
  • Afternoon Tea

Spring Break is supposed to be fun and a time to unwind and let loose, however it can all get pretty overwhelming. Check out these tips to help you out!

(unsplash.imgix.net)

1. Research
Research the destination you want to go from best places to go for lodging, eats, drinks and fun! 

2. Come up with a transportation plan.
Are you going by plane, train, automobile or a combination of all of the above? Renting a car or road tripping there?

3. Travel in groups!
Traveling in packs means safety, fun and more often than not discounts. Also, if you go out with a group of friends, everyone that goes together, LEAVE TOGETHER. No one gets left behind. Jennifer, put your heels back on and your cell phone out of the bathroom sink, we're gonna go home.
(thedigital.com)

4. Food.
Limit eating out to special occasions. When you first arrive at your destination, head to the grocery store to pick up food and snacks. Eating out can get expensive after the fourth or fifth time, also hotels love to gouge when it comes to the mini bar!

5. Drink responsibly or in the company of someone responsible.
Make sure to have a "designated sober." A DS is a designated driver, guide or caretaker. This individual is responsible for making sure his friends drink within their limits, get home safely and don't get into too much trouble. Keep an eye on your drinks too, lads and ladies alike. Also, while at bars purchase local brews - they're often cheaper and you get to experience a taste of the town!
(fourwheeler.com)

6. Relax!

-Read magazines or the book you've been meaning to finish
-Go to a spa, or give yourself a home spa day! (do your nails, get a few ladies together for facials and manicures, take a long hot shower or bubble bath, pamper yourself!)
-Update and clean out your iTunes library
-Go shopping! (at www.redneckcouture.com to start!)
-Cook some new recipes

7. Head to a fun travel spot.

-Pacific Grove California (this fun location is a beach town with one of the largest aquariums in the world - Montery Bay Aquarium, playful sea otters, kayaking, tide pools, surfing, shops, the Cottage of Sweets, and Carmel-by-the-Sea full of fun!)
(pinterest.com)

-East Coast Shores

-New Jersey Shores (From Wildwood or Ocean City to Atlantic City! The Jersey Shores are actually home to more than fist bumping reality star idiots such as beautiful beaches, boardwalks with shops, eats and games and more!)
(islesofpalmsmotel.com)
(destination360.com)
(babytravelblog.com)

-Maryland (Washington DC for museums and monuments)
(blog.gorving.com)

-Virginia
(virginialiving.com)

-Asheville, North Carolina (near Tennessee's Great Smoky Mountains National Park, rich art culture, fun food, beautiful flowers and trees, funky galleries and plenty of shops!)
(wallroft.com)

-Austin, Texas (amazing weather, Barton Springs pool, tubing, kayaking and delicious food with that southern hospitality.)
(texascx.com)

-Bahamas
(cheaptickets.com)

-Miami, Florida
(worldredeye.com)

-Disney World
(iclarified.com)

-Road Trip! (check out our article on the best tips and tricks for your road trip.)

-Concerts or festivals

8. Soundtrack for your Spring Break!
Luke Bryan is famous for his Spring Break albums that he has been producing for seven years. Create a fun spring break playlist full of old favorites and new tunes!

9. Student Discounts
Spring Break is important to any college student, but also most college students are super broke. However, your student ID is your way to discount after discount from everything to airfare to shopping to food! Check out these websites hereherehereherehere and here to find out what you can get with your Student ID! Who says education doesn't pay?

10. Have fun and stay safe!
Check out this site as well as this spring break survival guide for some extra stay safe tips for your break! 

Snack Like A Southerner: Lighter Tuna Casserole

Lighter Tuna Casserole by Gimme Some Oven.
(gimmesomeoven)

Ingredients:

8 ounces wide egg noodles
1tbsp butter or olive oil
1 medium white or yellow onion, peeled and diced (about 1.5 cups)
2 large carrots, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups milk 
2tsps Italian seasoning, homemade or store-bought
1/2tsp salt
1/4tsp freshly-ground black pepper
6oz baby Bella or button mushrooms, sliced
1 cup frozen peas
3 (5oz) cans tuna in water, drained
1 cup reduced-fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2tbsp Panko breadcrumbs

Step One:
Preheat oven to 400°F.

Step Two:
Cook egg noodles al dente in a large pot of generously-salted water in a large stockpot according to package instructions.  Drain and set aside.

Step Three:
Meanwhile, as the water for the noodles is cooking, melt butter (or olive oil) in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add onion and carrots, and saute for 5-7 minutes, or until both are soft.  Add garlic and saute for 1 more minute until fragrant.  Stir in the flour and cook for 1 more minute.  Whisk in the chicken stock until it is combined, then stir in the milk, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, mushrooms, peas and tuna.  Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches a simmer and thickens and the mushrooms are cooked, about 4-6 more minutes.

Step Four:
Once the noodles are ready, add the sauce mixture to the (drained) noodles, and toss to combine.  Stir in the cheddar cheese until it is evenly combined.  Then you can either serve the pasta as-is at this point, or continue on to bake it.

Step Five:
If you are baking the casserole, pour the noodles into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan.  Sprinkle the Panko breadcrumbs evenly on top of the pasta, then mist with some cooking spray.  (Or I prefer to use olive oil in a Misto.)  Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the top of the pasta is slightly crispy and golden, and the filling is bubbly on the sides.

Step Six:
Remove and serve warm.

Thank you, Gimme Some Oven, for this amazing recipe and easy how to!

Playlist To Get You To The Weekend

1. “Wanna Be That Song“ by Brett Eldredge 

2. “Rodeo” by MacKenzie Porter

3. “Some Beach“ by Blake Shelton

4. “Middle of a Memory“ by Cole Swindel 

5. “Crash and Burn“ by Thomas Rhett

6. “It Girl“ by Petric

7. “Road Less Traveled“ by Lauren Alaina

8. “Mayday” by Cam

9. “Lights Come On“ by Jason Aldean

10. “One Little Kiss“ by Dallas Smith

Blushing Belle: Wedding Expo 101

Wedding Expos are so incredibly fun, crowded, insane, hectic, packed with vendors, and AWESOME. However, they can more often than not be kind of overwhelming.

(eatprayrundc)

1. Utilize the buddy system.

Going to an expo with your gal pal, Mom, or even your bridal party is a great idea. First of all, it will be fun for them because who doesn't love free stuff? Second, it will be a great bonding experience for everyone involved. There's a ton going on at an expo. You want someone there to watch your stuff if you get your make up done, or have to use the restroom. Find a buddy!

2. Make a wedding email address.

You will sign up for things you will never need, or want to hear from, but you do it because you're excited, it's the polite thing to do, and again, who doesn't love free stuff? However, you don't want your main email inbox to be bogged down with wedding stuff exclusively--especially if you aren't interested in a particular service after you give your email out. This will help you keep everything organized.

3. TAKE ALL OF THE BUSINESS CARDS YOU CAN.

Business cards are excellent little things of information. Not only are they conveniently sized, but they are physical reminders about a company, service, or even a consideration you should be thinking about or want. Collecting these business cards gives you all of the information that you need from each of these vendors in case you need to do more research on them in the future.

4. Stay.

Some bridal expos can feel like they take forever, but more often than not, waiting until the end of the expo is worth it. There are incentives to stay like raffle prizes, and grand prizes that you can win. I recently went to my first bridal show and won $500 wedding bands because I happened to stay until the end of the show, and they called my name during the raffle. I never win anything, but I'm glad I stuck around.

5. Ask questions.

Don't be afraid to ask vendors questions--even if you don't end up wanting to use that vendor. It is important to see what you are dealing with or are in for. Speaking to vendors, and the vendors' competition, will give you a clear idea of costs, considerations, and ideas for you to think about while you are planning and choosing.

6. Bridal expos are for EVERYONE.

Grooms and groomsmen, don't be afraid to check out bridal expos with your fiancé, or even on your own. Although it's not entirely common to find dudes at these events, it's still your wedding just as much as it is the bride's. More often than not there are vendors there specifically for men catering to tuxedos, entertainment and more.

7. Organize your free stuff.

When you return from the bridal expo, you will have A LOT of stuff with you from free samples, little gifts, to absolutely a textbook amount of paper, pamphlets, business cards and flyers. Organize your stuff from information that you want/need, information to consider, and toss the rest. There's no reason to get bogged down with this pile of stuff, but at the same time you don't want to just throw it all in the nearest recycling bin. You will find at least one bit of useful information, or vendor that you like among that pile.

Check out these sites to find bridal expos near you:

Wedding Wire
The Perfect Wedding Guide
Here Comes the Guide

Snack Like A Southerner: Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork

Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork from The Pioneer Woman
(thepioneerwomen)

Ingredients:

1 whole Large Onion
1 whole Pork Shoulder ("pork Butt") - 5 To 7 Pounds
 Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 can (11 Ounce) Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce
2 cans Dr. Pepper
2tbsps Brown Sugar

Step One:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 

Step Two:
Peel the onion and cut it into wedges. Lay them in the bottom of a large dutch oven.

Step Three:
Generously salt and pepper the pork roast, then set it on top of the onions in the pan.


Step Four:
Pour the can of chipotle peppers over the pork (include the sauce.) Pour in both cans of Dr Pepper. Add brown sugar to the juice and stir in. 


Step Five:
Place lid tightly on pot, then set pot in the oven. Cook for at least six hours, turning roast two or three times during the cooking process. Check meat after six hours; it should be absolutely falling apart (use two forks to test.) If it's not falling apart, return to the oven for another hour. 


Step Six:
Remove meat from pot and place on a cutting board or other work surface. Use two forks to shred meat, discarding large pieces of fat. Strain as much of the fat off the top of the cooking liquid as you can and discard it. Return the shredded meat to the cooking liquid, and keep warm until ready to serve. (You can also refrigerate the meat and liquid separately, then remove hardened fat once it's cold. Then heat up the liquid on the stovetop and return the meat to the liquid to warm up. 


Step Seven:
Serve on warm flour tortillas. Top with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, grated cheese, avocado slices, salsa, and whatever else you'd like.

This recipe is by The Pioneer Woman.

Playlist To Get You To The Weekend

1. “A Guy With A Girl“ by Blake Shelton

2. “I Love This Life“ by LOCASH

3. “We Went“ by Randy Houser

4. “Kiss You In The Morning“ by Michael Ray

5. “80s Mercedes“ by Maren Morris

6. “Tennessee Whiskey” by Chris Stapleton

7. “Bonfire“ by Craig Morgon

8. “Nothing But Summer” by Dallas Smith

9. “Lonely Girl“ by David James

10. “The Only Way I Know“ by Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan

Snack Like A Southerner: Texas Style New Potato Salad

Texas Style New Potato Salad from She Wears Many Hats.
(shewearsmanyhats)

Ingredients:

3 pounds red/new potatoes
1 large red onion, cut into thick slices
1tbsp coriander seed
1 pinch cumin seed
1tbsp oregano leaves
2 serrano chiles, minced
3 slices bacon, crisply cooked and coarsely chopped
1 bunch fresh cilantro, thick stems discarded, coarsely chopped
¼ cup olive oil
1tbsp red wine vinegar
1tsp salt
½tsp coarse black pepper

Step One:
Cook potatoes in salted boiling water until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and cool. Once cool, quarter potatoes; set aside.

Step Two:
Grill onion slices over high heat until lightly caramelized.

Step Three:
In a skillet over medium heat, toast coriander and cumin seeds for about 1 minute or until fragrant. Add oregano; and continue to toast about 20 seconds, be careful to watch for burning. Immediately remove spices from heat, transfer toasted spices into large bowl.

Step Four:
In a large bowl with toasted spices, add oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and whisk together to blend. Add potatoes, onions, chiles, bacon and cilantro; toss lightly to coat.

Thank you She Wears Many Hats for this amazing recipe!

Playlist To Get You To The Weekend

1. “Make You Miss Me“ by Sam Hunt

2. “Dibs” by Kelsea Ballerini

3. “She’s Got A Way With Words” by Blake Shelton

4. “How I’ll Always Be“ by Time McGraw

5. “Long Stretch of Love“ by Lady Antebellum

6. “Burning House“ by Cam

7. “Pain Killer“ by Little Big Town

8. “Song for Another Time” by Old Dominion

9. “Blown Away“ by Carrie Underwood

10. “Hood of My Car“ by Chad Brownlee

January 30, 2017 by Lexx Fusco

Snack Like A Southerner: Healthy Strawberry Oat Squares

Healthy Strawberry Oat Squares from Sally's Baking Addiction!
(sallysbakingaddiction)

Ingredients:

2tbsps cornstarch
2tbsps warm water
2 cups finely diced strawberries
1/4 cup maple syrup
1tbsp granulated sugar
2 and 1/4 cup quick oats (not whole rolled oats)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup unsalted almond butter (can use peanut butter as well)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup apple butter*
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Step One:
Make the strawberry filling first by mixing the cornstarch with the warm water until it all of the cornstarch has dissolved and there are no more clumps. It should resemble milk. Set aside. Combine the strawberries, maple syrup, and sugar together in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir well. Remove from heat and stir in the pre-mixed cornstarch. Whisk until all clumps are gone and set aside to thicken and cool.

Step Two:
Preheat oven to 325F degrees. Line an 8x8 baking pan with aluminum foil with enough overhang on the sides for easy removal. Set aside.

Step Three:
Make the oat crust/topping: In a large bowl, combine the quick oats, cinnamon, almond butter, maple syrup, apple butter, and beaten egg. Mix until all of the oats are moistened and the mixture is thoroughly combined. Reserve 1/2 cup of the oat mixture. Press the remaining oat mixture into prepared baking pan. Make sure it is firmly pressed down and even. Spread the strawberry filling on top. To the reserved 1/2 cup oat mixture, add the sliced almonds. Crumble this over the strawberry filling and, using the back of a spatula, press the topping down firmly into the strawberry filling. You want to make sure it sticks well.

Step Four:
Bake for 25-30 minutes. The topping will be lightly browned. Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.

Step Five:
Makes 9-12 squares, depending how large you cut them.  Squares stay fresh covered tightly at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.  Bars freeze well, up to 2 months.

This incredibly easy and tasty recipe is from Sally's Baking Addiction. Check out her site for more incredible recipes!