Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Week 2 - Favorite Things

I am proud of myself for now blogging 3 times in two weeks! Let's just hope I can keep it up! This blog is for my favorite things for the week.

Micky and I enjoyed a great Sunday together this past weeked! We went to church together, had lunch, and took a trip to the mall :) We received a Sephora gift card from some of our wonderful friends for Christmas, so we decided to use it! I have honestly just always used make-up from Target so I wanted to start with the basics so that way I can build myself up. The sales lady there was amazing, if you go in ask for Lindsey! She definitely knew what she was talking about. I have combination skin, oily nose & forehead but extremely dry chin, therefore Lindsey picked out some great stuff for me. After identifying my skin type, she asked about my trouble areas (darkspots and acne). This lead her to an oil based mosturizer which shocked me. I thought oil to fight oil? However, I use two drops twice daily and I can already see a huge difference in my skin. It has kept my skin properly mosturized all day long and has improved the overall appreance of my skin. The 1.7oz bottle was $48; however, you use so little each day that I am sure it will last me at least a year. Also you can use it for not only your face but also for split ends, cuticles, and skin treatment (like dry elbows).

Use two drops, rub until warm in hands, and then dab onto skin.

As I continue my obsession with Clif products, I had to try the Luna Protein Bars. I love chocolate and peanuts, so I thought I should try the Chocolate Peanut Butter. These bars are delicious! Now they are 5 WW points, but they serve as a great breakfast or pre-workout snack like the other Clif Bars. These have a very different texture than the Clif granola bars, but they are wonderful.

This season I purchased Tiger Basketball tickets. I have absolutely loved getting to take friends and my family to the games this season. This past Saturday, my best friend Anna Claire went with me to watch the Tigers play Harvard. After the game we were starving so we decided to try a new place to eat downtown. I had heard of Local Gastropub and their great brunch, so we decided to give it a try! Neither of us had ever tried chicken and waffles, but when we saw the pecan crusted chicken and sweet potato waffles menu item we knew we had to order it. Delicious doesn't even fully describe the food. Now this meal is definitely not on WW, but hey a girl has to treat herself every once in a while ;) I even got a wonderful Mimosa to wash down the waffles.

Here is there website if you want to give it a try!

I always want to end each post with  favortie quote of mine, so in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day my quote comes from him.

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase." - MLK Jr.

Monday, January 14, 2013

New Favorites for the Year

Throughout the year I want to showcase different foods, and products that I love and use in my everyday life. Today I want to share a recipe, snack, and beverage.

The recipe is Stuffed Green-Peppers! I am addicted to bell peppers. About 90% of the recipes I make include peppers in some capacity. They are so simple to add to any meal and are a great vegetable, especially since they count as 0 points on Weight Watchers! I found this recipe on Campbell's webpage but made a few slight changes :)

Here is the link:


1/2 cup uncooked quick-cooking brown rice
1 pound extra lean ground beef
3 cups Prego® Heart Smart™ Traditional Italian Sauce
6 medium green peppers
4 ounces shredded fat-free mozzarella cheese (about 1 cup)
  • Cook the rice without salt or butter according to the package directions.
  • Cook the beef in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until it's well browned, stirring often to break up the meat. Pour off any fat. Stir 2 cups of the sauce and the rice in the skillet.
  • Cut each pepper in half lengthwise. Discard the seeds and white membranes. Place the pepper shells in a 17 x 11-inch roasting pan.
  • Spoon the beef mixture into the pepper shells. Pour the remaining sauce over the filled peppers. Cover the dish.
  • Bake at 400° F. for 45 minutes or until the peppers are tender. Top with the cheese. Let stand for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
I decided to add red onion to the meat mixture just because I also love onions. I cut up about a cup of red onion, sauteed it in a pan with a small amount of EVOO, and then stirred it in with the meat, rice, and sauce mixture. Here is the result:

They were SO GOOD!!!

When I am shopping, I also like to look for something new to try. I love to do this especially when I am at Whole Foods. I usually just buy one of the new item that way if I hate it, I didn't waste a ton of money. Also, if I love it I can pick up more on the next trip. Last week when I was at Whole Foods they had a great sale on the Clif products so I decided to try one! I love peanut butter and chocolate, so I thought you can't go wrong with this...

One serving includes 2 bars which equals 5 Weight Watchers points; therefore, it can serve as a breakfast on the go or pre-workout snack! I am excited to try all of the different types of granola bars and other Clif products!

Lastly, my new obsession this week is Vitamin Water Zero. My mom accidentally left some in my refrigerator on her last visit so I decided to try it. I am now obsessed with the lemonade flavor and the great portioned bottles! I pack one everyday for work and take one when I go work out at the gym. I generally love lemonade flavor items, but most of the time it is too sweet for me so I can't drink that much. However, Vitamin Water Zero gets it right with just the perfect combination of water and lemonade flavoring. Also, it is 0 points on Weight Watchers!! :)

Those are my picks for the week! I hope you enjoy the products as well! :)

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. -Virgina Wolf

A little update :)

Wow, it has been a while since I have blogged. The last time I blogged, I had just graduated from the University of Memphis and I was waiting to see what would happen for me in the "big girl" job world. I ended that last blog with one of my favorite bible verses Jeremiah 29:11 and it seriously could not have been more perfect for what happened next in my life. I spent the summer searching all over for teaching positions and was offered one, but it just didn't feel right. I started to become discouraged so my mother (I am beginning to learn they really always know best) suggested that I email a few professors, advisors, and connections I had just to see if they had any advice. Well little did I know, but one of those emails lead to me interview for and be offered a position as an admissions counselor for the University of Memphis.

Now it is a little scary how seriously perfect this job is for me. First, I have a huge love for the not only the university, but also the city of Memphis and all of the wonderful things going on here. Therefore, I love the idea of recruiting for the University. What really sealed the deal was the fact that I would be recruiting specifically in the Middle/ East TN area. This job would allow me to recruit students from right where I grew up and in the same area that my extended family lives, perfect situation. For all of those who know me, it is no surprise that I LOVE to talk and would truly talk to a brick wall if given the choice. I knew that traveling the state, talking about a school that I care so much about was God's plan for me all along. It's even funnier because on the 4th day of my first official week and the University I received a call offereing me several different teaching opportunities, God sure has a sense of humor.

The job has been even better than I could have ever dreamed. I travel a lot during our official travel season which runs from late August throughout October and I get to meet other admissions counselors from all over the state and nation. I am blessed with an office family and a travel family. I am excited to see what this job has in store for me in the upcoming semester. I am hoping to use this blog to talk about some of the places I  travel to during travel season and share exciting things to do in those cities (another one of my Mom's ideas ha ha).

My travel sisters! Allie, Me, Ericka, & Elizabeth

I am also hoping to use this blog to continue my weight loss journey. As of August, I had officially lost 30 pounds; however, with getting adjusted to the travel lifestyle I gained a few of those back. I am extremely motivated now though and look forward to sharing recipes that I have tried and products that I love. I even got some new tennis shoes and a new cookbook to help with the process!

This past semester was so much fun with the new job, Tiger Basketball games, visits from friends and parents, and getting to spend some time at home as well!

I started the semester with planning a surprise engagement party for my roomate (for 4 years) and best friend Laura Murphy. Laura is engaged to her long time boyfriend Derek, or DMill as we call him. It was fun to actually surprise them and have a fun night with great friends! Laura is getting married in June and I can't wait to spend the day with her as one of her bridesmaids.

The surprised couple, DMill and Laura!

The bride with the hosts! Me, Anna Claire, Laura, and Libba.

Such a fun night with great friends!

Football Homecoming was especially fun at the University of Memphis since my sister, Micky, was nominated for Miss University of Memphis! We were so thrilled to have two finalists in the same family. We enjoyed getting to go to the parade and see Micky on the float for the finalists. Game day came and we went to tailgate with our great friends Kirsten, Russ, and baby Tyler Brasfield and many friends from my work. We then ventured to the stadium to enjoy the game and finalist ceremony. We were so extremely proud of Micky and in our eyes she was Miss University of Memphis before she even stepped on the field. We then had the joy of hearing them announce her as the official Miss University of Memphis!! proud and excited don't even begin to describe it. Micky has found her own path at the University of Memphis and did things her own way. I am so blessed to be her sister.

The family right after the ceremony where Micky was named Miss University of Memphis.

President Shirley Raines with Mr. University of Memphis, John Stevenson, and Miss University of Memphis, Micky Pietkiewicz.

At the tailgate!
Micky with little Tyler at the tailgate! :)

I got to work a college fair in Lousiville, KY this fall and since one of my high school best friends lives there she offered for me to stay with her. Chelsey is in her first year of dental school at Louisville so we don't get to see each other very much. I loved getting to visit and see the new town she lives in and visit with some of her new friends. Later in the semester, Chelsey got to come and visit me for the Memphis vs. Louisville game. Even though we didn't win, it was great having her visit and for her to get to meet some of my Memphis friends at our Christmas party.

Memphis vs. Louisville with Chelsey at the FedEx Forum.

Our little "Old Squirrel" Christmas Party with great friends.

Chelsey, Me, and Anna Claire!

I was so glad to get to go home for a nice long Christmas break. For those of you know the Pietkiewicz Family this means a lof of baking and movie watching. Micky and I made our traditional Christmas sugar cookies, but this year we also tried cake balls. The cake balls were amazing and so much fun to decorate! I am planning on doing a Christmas recipe blog soon to share these treats! We got to see both The Hobbit and Guilt Trip which I highly recommend. My family was not so crazy about the Hobbit, but I loved it. I mean I would like to live in Middle Earth at times so I could be a little biased. ;) We enjoyed a wonderful Christmas morning by opening way too many presents and enjoying a tasty breakfast. I was thrilled to get a Keurig to assist my new found coffee addiction, a new pair of Nike Frees, Pandora Jewlrey, Downton Abbey planner, and new pajamas. One of my favorite presents had to be my La Sagrada Familia Pandora charm to remind me of my trip to Spain last summer, Micky did a good job. :)

We then all got ready and left for the IMAX theatre in Nashville to see LES MISERABLES. I was really nervous because since I am such a huge fan of the stage production, I wasn't sure that it could live up to any live performance I had seen. I remember waking up on Saturday mornings as a kid and my mom & dad would already have the Les Mis soundtrack playing at the oudest volume setting possible. There were also many times Micky and played dress up and would try to act out our own production, we were weird kids. ha ha However, the movie ended up leaving me speechless. They captured the essence of the stage production in the most beautiful way. If you have not seen it yet, make sure to take some tissues. The last scene made me cry like a baby. Anne Hathway's performance deserves EVERY single award possible. I believe the mainstream stars did a great job, but besides Hathaway the true show stoppers were, Samantha Barks and Aaron Tveit. I was so thrilled a year or so ago when they selected Samantha Barks because I loved her in the 25th Anniversary special, but I didn't really know much about Tveit. They both had amazing theater backgrounds and that was obvious in the movie. Their voices were exceptional. Also, one of my favorite characters has always been little Gavroche and Daniel Huttlestone was perfect as the spirited little boy. The only negative I had was Russell Crowe's voice, he was just no Norm Lewis. Overall I was very happy with the movie, so much so that I have now seen it a total of three times. :)

This was after round two!

One of my favorite activites that we did over the Christmas holiday was partake in Ann Curry's 26 Acts initiative. For those of you that haven't heard about it, it is where you complete 26 random acts of kindness in memory of the Sandy Hook victims. This was very nice to do over Christmas because it served as a reminder for the true reason for the season. Doing for others is more rewarding that any gift I could personally ever receive.

I am excited for this new year and I am looking forward to blogging more and more!

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'"- Martin Luther King, Jr.