Anchors Aweigh : October 2015


Friday Confessions

On top of it being Friday, it's also the day before Halloween! Let's all take a moment to pray for the teachers of the world who are surely about to pull their hair out. A bunch of kiddos on the eve of their favorite day- those poor teachers! I'm keeping it short and sweet on the blog today with these 5 confessions...

I confess... Parker and I are dressing up this year for Halloween, and Parker's response to the costumes we chose was "Happy wife, happy life". Needless to say, we will not be Jon Snow and Ygritte from Game of Thrones like he wanted. I'm excited to show our costumes after we wear them tonight, but all I can say is that man is a champ for going along with it! In honor of Halloween, here's a picture from the dating days. We went as Olympians- him a swimmer (Michael Phelps), and me a volleyball player (Misty May Treanor or Kerri Walsh).

I confess... I finished binge watching Pretty Little Liars and am so sad it's over (until season 6, that is). All I have to say is the actress who plays "A" is so talented! I thought she played her so well!

I confess... If I have a choice when booking flights, I always choose Delta. Why? Because they are the only airline that still gives me free pretzels in flight. That 25 cent bag of pretzels produces brand loyalty, apparently. 

I confess... This Target Meme is real life. I love me some Target!

I confess... Halloween makes me really nervous. I feel like some people are just inclined to make poorer decisions on this day, so I always feel a little relieved once it's over. 

Happy Halloween, yall! Stay safe and have fun! 
The next time we talk, it will be November- so crazy!

Life Lately

Life lately... also known as a picture dump from my phone/Instagram over the last 2 weeks. Let's get to it!

I flew into Texas for the Taylor Swift concert a couple of weekends ago which was beyond amazing. I got to hang out with the family and see TSwift... not too shabby for a weekend! Someone I always look forward to seeing is Sully, the world's largest lap dog and my pupper nephew. If you sit down, he will back up and sit right on top of you. It's a nice 100 pound surprise. 

I also got to see my sweet grandparents and stay a night with them over the TSwift weekend. I didn't want to leave! I feel like I grew up in their house, and seeing them twice a year is just not enough. I snapped this picture of my awesome granddaddy carrying my bags to the car. This was right after the "What's in here, bricks?!" comment he made. Love that man!

And here's precious Nana with the homemade cherry pie she made us. She makes one for me every time I come home. I learned to cook in this kitchen!

I got home from the TSwift concert at midnight Sunday evening, so getting up the next morning for work was not so pleasant. Jenny seemed to think we needed to sleep in too.

Fall fashion has me giddy excited this year. Lumberjack shirts and vests for days! I love this lightweight vest I snagged from Old Navy...

... And this heavier puffer vest I found at Old Navy. Go getcha one! Old Navy just gets me.

Sunday was our annual trip to the pumpkin patch, and I am still obsessed with our little pumpkins we picked. One can never have too many pumpkins on her porch!

We took a family trip to the barber Sunday evening. I was planning on walking around with Jenny outside while Parker got his hair cut, but the nice barber invited us to sit inside. Just a dog watching her human get a haircut!

We finished Sunday evening off with trying something new: Filipino food. Side note: does anyone know why it's "Filipino food" with an "F" when "Philippines" is spelled with a "P"? I'm still scratching my head at that one, but I digress. This was my plate. I don't think the nice lady gave me enough rice. #sarcasm #ricefordays. Parker was slightly more adventurous and had fried gizzard. I'll try anything once, but gizzard is something I don't foresee trying again. Not really my thing, but he liked it!

We are enjoying these sweet Fall days as much as we can, and that includes many driving range trips. Jenny loved being included! We love our favorite golf man!

That's life lately! 

Recent Reads: October

It's book day! Reading is just more fun when I know I get to share my reads with you and get awesome suggestions for the future. Since I flew to Texas this month, I had plenty of time to relax and knock out some light reading. I used to dread flying, but now I kind of look forward to the uninterrupted time to curl up (or sit up straight for 3 hours) and read. I read 4 very different books this month, so let's jump right in!

The Heist
by Janet Evanovich 

This is my first book by Janet Evanovich, but I really want to read her hit "One for the Money" after reading this. FBI agent Katie has been after con artist Nick for years, but he is always one step ahead of her. She finally catches him, only to find out the FBI wants them to team up and use their skills to perform an undercover opp to expose even bigger con artists. Both characters are brilliant and quick, and the story is a fun one to read. I definitely recommend adding this book to your night stand!

Practice Makes Perfect
by Julie James

For some reason, I almost always love books centered around a main female character that is a lawyer. Lawyers are fascinating and hard-working, and the job just works in chick lit. Payton and JD are incredibly motivated, successful lawyers at their firm. They have driven each other absolutely nuts over the years and are both used to coming out on top. When they have to join forces for a major case and find out only one of them will make partner, they have no choice but to make it work. The characters were really well written, and it's a quick, fun read. This is probably my favorite book I read this month!

Girl at War
by Sara Novic

I had a craving for some good historical fiction this month (Can you crave books? Anyway...), so I chose Girl at War. It was exactly what I was hoping to read! It's the story of Ana, a Croatian girl who lives through genocide as civil war breaks out across Yugoslavia. Ten years later, Ana is living in New York but hiding the past that threw her world into a tailspin from everyone she loves. She returns alone to Croatia and must face the horror she once lived through. The story was raw and real, and I recommend it if historical fiction is your thing. 

Daddy Flies
by Brye Butler Steeves

This it a children's book I received from the author, a fellow pilot wife. Even though it's written for kiddos, I was excited to read it and own a copy for future Phelps children. This book chronicles a little girl's thought process as she tries to figure out what it means when people say "Daddy flies". It's sweet, adorable, and fun for young children and toddlers. If your husband is a military pilot, this would be a great book to read to your kiddos at bedtime! You can find it on Amazon here and email the author here.  

That's it for October! Have you read anything wonderful lately?

5 Minute Halloween Reese's Pieces Pretzel Treats

With Halloween this weekend, I thought I would share an easy little Halloween-themed recipe that will be perfect for any party or get-together. If you're throwing a party, the last thing you want to do is spend the entire thing in the kitchen. There are thousands of Halloween-themed recipes floating around Pinterest, but many of them require multiple dishes, ingredients on ingredients, and food coloring. Let's keep it simple, yall.

One great thing about this recipe is that you can make as many or as few as you wish. I would offer one piece of advice though: these treats will disappear quicker than you think. You can easily eat 10 in one sitting without even blinking. They will be a favorite at your Halloween party!

Mini Pretzels
Hershey's Chocolate Kisses
Reese's Pieces

1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil for easy clean-up. 

2. Place pretzels on the lined baking sheet and top each one with a chocolate kiss. 

3. Place pretzels and chocolate in the oven for about 3 minutes- just long enough for the kisses to get soft. 

4. Remove from the oven, and immediately press a single Reese's Piece on each. 

5. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes to allow them to harden and enjoy!

 Happy early Halloween!!

Pickin' Pumpkins 2015

My natural inclination is to start this post out with "Isn't Fall amazing?!", but I think I've been doing that a lot lately, so I'll refrain. Seriously though, Parker and I are absolutely loving this season! We are trying to be outside as much as possible while the weather is so perfect and the air is so crisp, which means long walks, runs, and golf days have been the norm around here.

One thing I wanted to make sure we did before the season passed was visit a pumpkin patch. It's a Fall must, and even though I'd already bought a bunch of pumpkins from the grocery store, we needed to pick at least one from the pumpkin patch. 

Thankfully a couple of our friends were equally enthused about the trip, so off we all went to the pumpkin patch! If you know me, you know I love Texas more than anywhere else in the world. Around here, we call it "the motherland". That said, Virginia does pumpkin patches better. Way better. Neither Parker nor I had ever actually picked a pumpkin off of a vine until yesterday! It was way cool!

We chose Cullipher Farms Pumpkin Patch for any local friends with a corn maze, sunflower maze, hayride, and of course pumpkin picking. It was definitely worth the little trek it took to get over there! Our friends took pictures of all of us on their nice camera and I only pulled the iPhone out at the end, but I did snap a few pictures to share! This is one of those fun Fall memories that I just want to remember. 

We set out to pick ugly pumpkins that no one else would want so that they could fulfill their holiday destiny, but I couldn't resist the beautiful white pumpkins. There was something so adorable about them that one had to come home with me. 

Parker stuck to the original plan and picked a nice green/grey one. Not most people's first choice, but it is a beautiful little pumpkin to us! I set them both on our kitchen counter and love how they compliment each other! It was fun trekking through the entire patch to pick the perfect pumpkin. 

The farm also had their own peach cider and apple cider for sale, so we each bought a bottle to try. We saved the peach and both agree the apple cider was probably the best apple cider we have ever had! After drinking about half the bottle, I had to stop on account of the sugar headache, but it was worth it! Pumpkin patches and apple cider... pure bliss.

It was such a fun way to spend the Sunday, and I am so glad we made time to go this year! 

Friday Confessions

It's Friday! In keeping with tradition here on Anchors Aweigh, here are some confessions from our neck of the woods.

I confess... If you're thinking about a movie date this weekend, go see The Martian or The Intern. Parker and I absolutely loved them both! All the good movies come out this time of year! I really think both should be in the running for Oscars.

I confess... As an extension of my last confession, I told Parker I think it would be really fun to watch all of the Oscar-nominated movies before the Oscars and fill out our ballot. He liked the idea as well, so stay tuned for our Oscar picks in a few months coming to a blog post near you. 

I confess... I am the farthest thing from a make-up guru you can find and barely know how to put the stuff on (although I wish I was better at it), but I recently tried the Younique 3D+ Fiber Lash and quite like it! If you're in the market for new lashes, my friend Hannah has you covered!

I confess... Parents using emojis has got to be one of my favorite things ever. From my dad telling me he had arrived at our lunch date via the spaghetti plate and fork emoji to my mom using all the different hearts she can find, it just makes me smile. 

I confess... This meme has me nodding like a bobble head. Ahh the motherland! Okay, except for the Shiner. I never was able to get on the beer train. 

It's the weekend! Go make it a good one!


October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. They really do have a month/day for everything, don't they? Contrary to my feeling for all the national food days, I actually love that this has its own month. I think it's probably helpful and therapeutic to some of the angel mamas out there.

The heartbreaking truth is that 1 in 4 women will have a miscarriage. It's a scary statistic until it happens to you. Then, it's a nightmarish reality.

I was nervous my entire first trimester carrying our little girl for fear of miscarriage. After I passed that 12 week mark, I thought I was really going to have a baby. I had passed the danger zone and was ready to do this. If you've been around this blog for any length of time, you know we lost our baby girl halfway through the pregnancy.

Tomorrow marks 11 months since Taylor Grace went to Heaven, and I won't lie and say the pain has gone away. One thing I can honestly say is that it helped me to know I wasn't alone. The support and encouragement of other angel mamas is something that comforted me in this journey more than almost anything else. They got it. They knew what I was going through because they had to go through it too.

I've seen a lot of people across the interwebs encouraging those who have lost babies to "speak out" this month. Stop hiding and start talking about it, they say. While I like that there is a month to remember the babies we have lost, I think we might be missing the point here.

I touched on grief in an earlier blog post. You can read it here if you'd like, but the punchline is that everyone grieves differently. Not everyone wants to plaster their story all over the Internet for hundreds of strangers to read. Whether you tell the world or tell no one, that's your call.

For any mamas who have miscarried their babies, this post is to remind you that you are not alone. I want you to feel uplifted during this month rather than pressured. So many before us and so many after us have and will live this same devastating reality. It helps me to remember I am not all by myself in this. I hope that will bring comfort and relief to other women out there who have lost babies too!


Taylor Swift Weekend

Yall, I don't even know where to begin with this post. My twin sister (Danielle) and I went to the Taylor Swift concert in Dallas this past weekend, and I get giddy with excitement every time I think about it! 

Our husbands banded together and bought us tickets to Taylor Swift's 1989 tour for our birthday back in February, and we had not so patiently waited for October 17th ever since. All I can say is it was worth. the. wait. 

We have been TSwift fans for 10 years (gosh, that seems like so long), so seeing her in concert really was a dream come true. If I had to pick the person I would most want to see in concert, it was easily Taylor Swift. My second choice is so far behind that it's really a different league. I just think she is the coolest!

I tweeted TSwift to tell her we were coming and that we too were born in 1989 in hopes that maybe we could score some backstage passes or something, but no such luck. I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt that perhaps my tweet got lost in the other tweets from her 60+ million Twitter followers. 

She put on an amazing, creative show that we never wanted to end. She sang most of her songs from her 1989 album, "Trouble" from her Red album, and "Love Story" and "Fifteen" from Fearless.

We expected to hear all the 1989 songs and "Trouble", and we had heard through the grapevine that she sings "Love Story", but "Fifteen" was a huge surprise! Danielle and I took a video of her singing most of the songs, including a long video of Fifteen, but one of us is singing so loudly (and off pitch, per usual), that you can't even hear TSwift. We agreed to not place blame because we can't figure out which one of our voices it is in the video. Twin problems.

She played the guitar, keyboard, and piano throughout the night, which I thought was really neat. I think she has received a lot of flack in the past from people who don't think she's talented. Sure, there may be better singers in the world, but she is one of the most talented people out there in my opinion. She was so well spoken and eloquent, and she sure knows how to write a song that will appeal to the masses. She also seemed really humble and grateful to the 60,000 of us that sold out AT&T Stadium for her. She's arguably the biggest star in the world, but she came off with such humility.

If you are one of the 50 million people who follow TSwift on Instagram, you may have seen that she brings out a special musical guest at each concert. Danielle and I had been so excited for this part and so curious to know who the Dallas guest would be! TSwift started introducing her guest, and she said something about a British accent. We both immediately thought Ed Sheeran and were ecstatic! Then we heard her refer to the guest as a "she" and realized we were wrong. When she said the guest starred in her Bad Blood music video as Destructa X, I started jumping up and down! Ellie Goulding!!

Ellie Goulding and TSwift did a duet to "Love Me Like You Do", and it was spectacular! Danielle and I both run to that song all the time and seeing them perform it together was perfection. I am so glad Ellie Goulding was the Dallas guest! Night made, as if it wasn't already.

If there was a downside to the evening, it would probably be the lovely girls sitting in front of us. They made frames out of poster board and waved them in the air the entire concert. It made it really hard to see, which effectively annoyed everyone around us. A few people asked them to lower their signs, but nothing really came of the requests. Danielle and I looked at each other and thought, "Man, how did we get so unlucky?!". They were the only ones in our entire section with large signs, but we ended up being so into the concert that it didn't bother us too much. The girl on the right kept hers around her neck for the most part, but homegirl on the left was on my list...

Aside from the music being off the hook, TSwift also dabbled in a little motivational speaking. She talked about not conforming to society's definition of "cool", the premise behind "Shake It Off". She also talked about appreciating happiness in the moment. She said that so often, we don't realize moments are the happiest of our lives until they have already passed. She challenged everyone to appreciate the happy times while they are happening, which I thought was really neat.

She ended the concert to "Shake It Off", and the entire stadium went nuts. Who hasn't rocked out to that song a time or two in their living room? If I had to sum up the night in one word, it was magical. Danielle and I had the BEST time together, and it was one of the best nights of my life. I want to go back!

Big thanks to our husbands for making this night happen! Best birthday present ever, even if we had to wait 8 months to enjoy it!

Effortless Ways To Celebrate Fall

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EffortlessPies #Collective Bias

How much are you guys loving Fall this year? It. has. been. GORGEOUS! I just want to be outside as much as possible to soak up this beautiful season. I don't know about you, but Fall makes me want to channel my inner homemaker. I get my yearly surge of motivation to make decadent desserts, hearty casseroles, and pumpkin-themed crafts.

The only problem? In the words of my Internet sensation friend, aint nobody got time for that. Sunday afternoons are for all that fun stuff I just mentioned above, but it's hard to get my Fall on in the middle of the week when I have a total of 10 minutes of free time.

I figured I might not be the only Fall-loving lady that doesn't always have the time to crank out Martha Stewart-worthy recipes and home decor, so I have come up with a few effortless ways to celebrate Fall.

Effortless Pies
If you know me, you know that pies are my love language. I will almost always make a homemade crust with homemade filling, but that. takes. time. A lot of time. I recently discovered a couple of things at Walmart and decided to create a recipe that I could make on the fly. Calling it a success would be an understatement. Yall, it was divine! I used Keebler® Ready Crust® Mini Graham Cracker Pie Crusts, Reddi-wip® Original, and Dannon® Oikos® Pumpkin Pie Greek Yogurt. That's it. 3 ingredients. #winning.

This pie was the definition of effortless- with only 3 healthier ingredients, it was the perfect after dinner snack! I whipped up 2 on a busy night and it almost felt like Parker and I were on a date. Ahh simple luxuries. Here's how to make this effortless pie. (It's so effortless, I don't even think you need written instructions.)

Ta-da! Also noteworthy, Dannon® Oikos® Pumpkin Pie Greek Yogurt is a game changer. I need to make another Walmart run and buy 15 of these bad boys. Delicious!

Go Mad For Plaid
Fall fashion is my favorite. Basically, you can catch me looking like a lumberjack 90% of the time. I'm in sweat pants the other 10%... no shame. Throw on a plaid button down or scarf, and feel the Fall!

Pumpkin All The Things
From pumpkin pie to pumpkin bread to just plain pumpkins, go nuts. I have already made 2 batches of pumpkin muffins this season with no sign of stopping soon. I picked up a few pumpkins for the porch and called it done. I had high hopes for some cutesy, elaborate porch decor, but time just got away from me. These little pumpkins make me happy and make it feel like Fall. Boom.

Get Your DIY On
There are a plethora of DIY crafts that take no time at all. Might I suggest my 10 minute DIY Pumpkin Candy Stand? This thing took no time, effort, or particular talent to put together, but it really makes the house feel like Fall. Buy some $1 pumpkin containers and a can of spray paint, and you're good to go.

What are some of your favorite effortless ways to make it feel like Fall? I am all about this season and want to make sure I am enjoying it to the fullest, even during the busy parts! And, if you want to try the effortless pies I talked about earlier, here's where I found the three ingredients at Walmart:

Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein

I love Chinese food just as much as the next person, but I always feel awful after I eat it. Chinese food is also, in my opinion, the hardest thing to try to make at home. After many failed attempts, I finally quit trying a couple of years ago. I decided it was a treat I could indulge in once in a while and that I would leave it to the professionals when I did.

Until now, that is. I stumbled upon this recipe for Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein and decided to give it a shot. I had such low expectations that I didn't even take pictures before I served it, something I typically do with a new recipe in case it's "blog worthy". However, after I took a bite, I quickly snapped a few pictures because I knew I wanted to share. This is one of those meals that you feel great about eating. I mean really, really great. It's basically straight vegetables!

The original recipe was vegetarian, but I added in lean ground turkey for some added protein (and to appease the husband). You could easily use chicken or ground beef or go the vegetarian route. Either way, this recipe has an authentic Chinese taste thanks to the ginger and is one of the healthiest dishes you could make. 
1 large spaghetti squash
1 lb 99% lean ground turkey
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp ginger
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 stalks celery, diced
2 cups cole slaw mix (shredded lettuce and carrots)
1 onion, diced (I left this out since we aren't onion people)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and fill a 9x13 pyrex pan with 1/2 inch of water. 
2. Cut a spaghetti squash length wise and scoop out the seeds. Lay skin side up in your pyrex pan.
3. Bake spaghetti squash for 30-40 minutes or until the flesh is very tender. Once done, scoop out the flesh with a fork so it breaks apart into strings and set aside.
4. Meanwhile, whisk together soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, and ginger and set aside.
5. In a large pan over medium high heat, add olive oil and brown your ground turkey. Add in onion and celery and stir often, cooking until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in cabbage and heat another minute.
6. Stir in your soy sauce mixture and spaghetti squash until well combined, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately. 



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