Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Texas State Fair through a Brit's Eyes

Y'all, my sister has this friend. He's British, and although his ability to speak the English language in general is questionable, he's actually pretty okay. Matthew thinks he's WONDERFUL and dumped us in favor of him halfway through the weekend. He put up with our ENTIRE family (both sides, every member) for a weekend, and then he experienced the Texas State Fair with Ryan and I. Now, this was Ryan and Matthew's first trip as well, which made it that much more fun for me as a wife and mama, but showing Ben this little (big) piece of Texas was super fun.

We had a mission to eat as many fried things as possible, and I have to say, we did pretty darn well for only a few hours at the fair. I had Ben pose with each of them, and rate them on a scale from 1 to 10. I'll give you my thoughts on them as well, so that you know what a normal person would think of the food at the fair.

First food: Corn dogs
What else would you eat first at the Texas State Fair than the iconic corn dog? Ben had never had one, which in and of itself is tragic, but to have never experienced the amazing crunch on a Texas State Fair corn dog makes me so sad for him. Ryan had never had a Texas State Fair corn dog, and although he was not as impressed as he should have been, I can probably forgive him in time.
Ben's Rating: 7
Second Food: Deep Fried Bacon
Y'all, if there's anything better in this world than bacon, I don't know what it is. And then they fried it. We weren't overly impressed (we were pretty sure they over cooked it) but the idea is fantastic!
Ben's Rating: 6

Third Food: Deep Fried Snickers
Ryan's favorite candy is Snickers, so we knew we had to try this one. Thankfully, Ben was a huge fan as well. It was warm and gooey, with just a little crunch on the outside from the breading.
Ben's Rating: 10

Fourth Food: Fried Sweet Texas
Fried Sweet Texas was a new treat this year, and it might be my favorite ever. It's a combo of buttermilk pie, peach cobbler, and pecan pie, served with a scoop of Blue Bell vanilla ice cream. First of all, Ben had never had Blue Bell ice cream-- bless his heart-- so that was a 10 in and of itself, of course. Then, you add it the deep fried pies all in one, and you have a home run (speaking of baseball, we still need to teach him it's a fun game, America).
Ben's Rating: 10

Fifth Food: Funnel Cake
A State Fair classic, we HAD to get him one of these. Matthew probably downed half of it, but Ben got his fair share as well. In his words, how do you NOT like fried dough with powdered sugar? So true, my British friend, so true.
Ben's Rating: 8
Sixth Food: Fried Butter
Y'all, this was one we just had to try. The epitome of ridiculous gluttony, fried butter is exactly what it sounds like: a ball of butter, breaded, and then fried. We were actually surprised that it tasted as good as it did-- originally it scored a 7-- but as we walked, we could literally feel it getting heavier and clogging our veins. It ended up a 2 and one that we're glad we can say we tried, but have zero desire to ever try again.
Ben's Rating: 7, 5, 2
Seventh Food: Fried Sweet Tea
Now, Ryan and I LOVE sweet tea. It was one of the great parts about living in Mississippi. Frying it up sounded like a great idea. It wasn't nearly as flavorful as we were hoping, and it was a little soggy, rather than crispy, so we agreed with Ben's rating.
Ben's Rating: 5

We had a blast at the State Fair with Ben! He was a great sport about all the ridiculous British jokes we came up with, and even threw it back at us. Hearing him attempt "y'all" might be the highlight of my life. Ben, you're a great guy, Matthew adores you (and has no idea who Stranger Danger is!), and we can't wait for you to be back in Texas.

Our brunch the next day... Because what better way to follow up a day of fried food than with more fried food?!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What Oils? Wednesday: Travel Edition

We've been traveling like crazy the last couple of months-- moving to Austin, going to Port Aransas, work/town hunting in DC, visiting family in Chicago, and now Ryan leaves on Sunday for Wisconsin. Needless to say, we need my oils as badly on vacation as we do at home, if not more so! Avoiding nasty germs in restaurants, public bathrooms, etc., allergies to cats at my mother-in-law's house, new plants, etc., colds from the climate changes, stiff necks from the airplane, you name it! Thankfully, they count as medicine with the TSA, so I didn't even have to put them into a quart baggie to get through security. Today, I thought I'd share what I bring with us on trips, as well as the amazing bag I use to hold them all (plus a discount code to get the bag for cheaper!).

For more info and a TON more recipes, check out my doTERRA essential oils page!

I pre-make the blends I think we'll need in roller bottles so that they're easy to use and I don't have to bring every oil I own.

My Must-Have Oils
Equal parts lemon, lavender, and peppermint in a roller bottle

I do a 50/50 blend of OnGuard and fractionated coconut oil in a roller bottle for Matthew and bring the OnGuard beadlets for us adults. We take one before each plane ride and every morning and evening the rest of the trip.

Deep Blue
I put a 50/50 blend of Deep Blue and fractionated coconut oil in a roller bottle for stiff necks and headaches.

Sleep Blend
Using approximately 20 drops each of Serenity, Lavender, Vetiver, and Roman Chamomile, topping it off with fractionated coconut oil, I make our sleep blend for Matthew (which we end up using for time zone differences on ourselves, too). This settles him down on the airplane, and helps him sleep at night. If you don't have all of those oils, feel free to use more of one or another, or just leave it out entirely!

Thanks to dry air, allergies, and colds, this one gets used a ton! I do a blend of Breathe and FCO for Matthew and one roller bottle straight for us. The new Breathe drops have been a great on-the-go option for those of us who can have hard candy, as well.

How do I keep all of these from breaking or going all over the place?
I searched etsy (we all know how addicted to that site I am), looking for the perfect essential oils bag. I couldn't find one, so I commissioned Caitlin to make me one. Specifically, one that Ryan wouldn't be annoyed with taking with him on his trips. She had some leftover flight suit green material so she got to work!

The one she sent me is the perfect size for 10 roller bottles (or 10- 5 mL bottles) and not girly at all (which Ryan is a fan of, but she has plenty to pick from that ARE cute, too!). She padded both sides so that all of the oils stay totally safe in transit (or in my purse) and it zips closed so there's no way you'll lose one one the plane. The elastic makes it super easy to find the one you want, instead of having to dig through the bag.

If you want one of your own (or one half the size for your purse!), check out her etsy shop and use the code PEARLANDPILOT to get 10% off! She has tons of gorgeous fabrics to pick from and loves to customize her products just for you!

**These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Use/consume at your own risk. These are just suggestions that I complied. I have not personally tested each one. Always dilute with children and only use topically and aromatically with children under 6.
**There is an actual science and art to blending oils that is explained in Modern Essentials 5th Edition. doTERRRAs blends are scientifically based. I do not recommend putting a lot of oils in a blend just because you need all of their benefits (ex: combining On Guard and Breathe because your sinuses hurt and you want the benefits from each) Layering oils is a very effective way to use multiple oils. Apply one, and wait a min and apply the next. They absorb very fast allowing you to apply the next one soon after the first. 
**Always dilute sensitive or hot oils. Always dilute for babies or children.
**Remember: less is more with oils. You only need to use 1-3d at a time, and less with children.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Planning My Week with CraftyPlannerAddict!

I've shared my love for my Erin Condren planner on this little corner of the internet a few times, and the most common question I get is "But how do you use yours?" So, I thought I'd do a series of posts highlighting not just HOW I use it, but where I get all the beyond-cute goodies for it (and get y'all some fun stuff, too, in the process)!

First off, my number one tip for my planner is: use something move-able! I use sticky notes for future weeks, and washi tape for the week I'm currently in. Why? Because I love to decorate, I want to be able to choose the theme for the week and not have to trash a bunch of washi tape. I love the washi for the week of because a) it's super cute b) go with the theme c) it's still able to be moved if something changes last-minute.

Around the washi, I put cute weekly squares, stickers, and flags. These are not purely decorative, but also highlight when I have something important. For example, I'll put a flag on one side of the box and write next to it. I'll also write inside a larger weekly flag. The weekly squares I usually use purely for decoration.

This week, I used a ton of fun stuff from CraftyPlannerAddict on etsy. I love supporting small businesses, so etsy is always my first stop for anything craft-related (in case you hadn't noticed). Her stuff is SO pretty, beyond easy to use (they're mostly stickers!), and she's an absolute doll.

The adhesive flags and weekly squares come organized in little baggies so that it's easy to keep track of where they are and they don't end up getting wrinkled or folded. One of my favorite things she sent me were the washi samples. I hate using the same washi over and over, so having small amounts of a bunch of different prints is perfect for me!

Right now, she has a set called the Fall Bundle that is simply adorable. It comes with weekly squares, monthly squares, AND washi tape samples, all coordinated to look super pretty together! How perfect is that for my little OCD heart?!

Want to get your planner looking as adorable as mine does, thanks to Stephanie? She's giving away $10 to her shop AND 15% off for all of my sweet P&P readers! Enter below! Don't forget to head over to her shop and use the code PEARL15 until October 31st for all your planner goodies!
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