Mushroom Ravioli w/Hot Garlic Sausage

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My sister and I made a trip to an Italian market in our hometown. It’s called Claros Italian Market and it was AMAZING! The food there was very authentic and I could definitely taste the difference. We ended up buying pretty much the whole store. I love mushroom ravioli so we got that with like 5lbs of hot garlic sausage. My dad grows cherry tomatoes so we didn’t have to buy any! 🙂

Mushroom Ravioli w/Hot Garlic Sausage
1lb of frozen or homemade mushroom ravioli
5 links of hot garlic sausage (I used smoked beef sausage as well as it just didn’t taste the same)
15 cherry tomatoes halved
evoo for tossing
grated parmesan cheese for garnish

– cook ravioli in a medium pan and set aside
– cook sausages and then cut into pieces
– throw ravioli back into pan and toss with evoo
– add sausage and toss again
– add tomatoes last and stir until just combined
– garnish with grated parmesan cheese

I used flavorful ingredients from the Italian market so I really didn’t have to season it at all. The ravioli was frozen and seasoned very well. The hot garlic sausage was also seasoned very well.
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I highly suggest using just Italian sausage. The smoked sausage taste weird with it.
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Prepping for the pasta 🙂
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Blood orange gelato! It’s freakin delicious!! I LOVE blood orange so it was the perfect treat for me.
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Delicious frozen mushroom ravioli
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Box of deliciousness!
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Slice of grand marnier cake and a bavarian creme eclair
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Yummy syrups for my coffee.

We also bought spinach pasta salad, smoked gouda, jarred pesto, homemade chunky meat red sauce, amaretto syrup, 3 kinds of coffee, zabaione syrup, spaghetti pasta, angel hair pasta, a cookbook, greek cucumber salad, and I think that’s it. But seriously…we bought the whole store. Overall it was great! The workers were very friendly and helpful in helping us decide what to get. When we couldn’t decide we got everything. I know, I know, it’s horrible.

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

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Pennsylvania Road Trip

Am I a weirdo for dedicating a blog post to a trip I haven’t gone on yet? If I am, yay for the weirdos! My best friend and I have been texting back and forth about our trip to Hershey, PA. I did a lot of research about flights, hotels, food, entertainment, etc. The cheapest route for us would be for me to fly to Nebraska and meet her there, drive to Pennsylvania, visit Hershey, drive back to Nebraska, and then fly home. The drive from Omaha to Hershey is approximately 17 hours long. I’m usually not a big fan of road trips BUT my bestie makes an excellent travel buddy. We have the craziest stories and the best moments happen when we’re driving so why not? 🙂 We plan on driving through Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio before we hit Pennsylvania. Being the micromanaging planner that I am, I’ve complied a list of all the places I want to go in each state. Sadly Iowa and Indiana don’t have any places that I know of. Does anyone know of any cool spots or good food in those two states? Help a sister out will ya?

I’m definitely going food crazy in Illinois and Ohio. For Illinois I want to inhale any type of Chicago style food that I can get my hands on. Portillo’s stands at #1 for me but I’m open to all suggestions. If anyone has them, let me know! We’ll be real close to the Chicago area. In Ohio, I plan on indulging any type of cassata cake as well as paying a visit to the Chocolate Bar and Lola’s. I’m really excited to visit Lola’s since it’s owned by Iron Chef Michael Symon. He is a beast..and rightly so. We’ll be close to the Cleveland area. I believe we’ll also be in Pittsburgh before we hit Hershey so a Roethlisburger is a must. I’m not a Steelers fan BUT it looked really good in the pictures. Yes, I’m super lame. I’m perfectly content with that though!

I’m still racking my brain trying to find places in Iowa and Indiana. I came up with nada. Seriously, someone help! I can’t wait for this road trip. It’s going to be awesome. We’re going to Chocolate World, Hershey Park, and the Chocolate Spa. We’re also going to inhale all the good food in between. The year needs to hurry up already cause I’m ready to go.

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

Travel List for 2015

Ever since vacationing at Catalina Island and visiting my best friend in Nebraska, I’ve been on a “travel kick.” I want to go everywhere. I keep making all these lists and plans that I’m slowly driving myself crazy. I’ve finally narrowed it down to three places. One of them is for sure and the other two are maybes. I couldn’t decided which one I want to go to more so I added both.

#1: Lake Powell, AZ – This made the list again because my sister said she wants to go. I think she’s still bummed we went to Catalina but it was fun. They have a great website for planning the trip. The only down side was I couldn’t find much about food and if anything, I always go for the food. We’re planning on taking a boat tour along with kayaking and all kinds of water stuff. If we go, we will most likely drive there. We’re not really looking forward to the drive. It’s approximately 8 hours from where we are and well…we could be in San Francisco in 8 hours. I am excited about going because it means I can check Arizona off my visit 50 states list.
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#2: Morro Bay, CA – This was originally no where on the list. However, my sister went on a trip with friends and made it sound so amazing now I want to go! She was telling me about the beach sand. I know it’s strange but we typically judge a beach by the sand and cleanliness. She said the beach up there surpasses Laguna Beach which made me really curious. Laguna is my #1 down here so I knew I had to put it on the list. She kept saying soft beach sand and I was convinced. I’ve never stopped here on the way to San Fran but I heard it’s really nice. We’ll either go to Lake Powell or come here. Is it sad to say I pick here instead? 🙂 It’s closer and we’ll be going to the beach! I’m hoping we can rent a house within walking distance of the beach.
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#3: Hershey, PA – My best friend and I are travel junkies. Since she moved to Nebraska, I’ve been scheming up ways for us to get together. I went to visit her in Nebraska last September and she came to California in December. However, she might be PCSing to Japan with her hubby at the end of this year. I was planning on visiting her again in Nebraska in the spring but since she might be going to Japan, I thought I’d visit her there instead. So now we’re going to Hershey, PA. Mainly for the chocolate. I’ve been dying to see Chocolate World and Hershey Park. I know, I know, I’m a 5 year old at heart. I’m not going to lie, I love me a good Kit Kat bar. Actually…come to think of it, I’ve never had a bad Kit Kat bar. Anyway, they also have a chocolate spa. We’re completely sold and definitely going after summer. Strangely enough, I heard of Hershey, PA while watching the HBO series Band of Brothers because of Major Winters. I might have to bring an extra suitcase just to fit all my goodies.
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And for the honorable mentions that almost made the list..
#1: New Orleans, LA – I love NOLA’s atmosphere. I love oysters…and cajun food. I was drooling when I looked at the food scene. I wasn’t sold on the super expensive hotels. If I were to go I’d at least stay for a week and it costs about a grand just for the hotel stay. Not within my budget.
#2: Washington, DC – This has been on my travel list for a long time. I want to go see all the monuments and soak in the atmosphere of Capitol Hill. However, like NOLA it’s just way too expensive for my budget right now. It would take me at least two weeks minimum to see everything I want to see.
#3: Charleston, SC – My sister likes places that are considered “quaint” and she’s into the bed and breakfast thing. I’m not much for that because I think my taste is a little too luxurious sometimes but I humor her. She wants a bed and breakfast AND a rodeo. Do they have rodeos in Charleston? If so where are they? Help a girl out because she said it’s my job to research so I need to add it to the list. I just want the shrimp and grits.

The list for 2016? You had better believe NOLA will be on there. And in addition to NOLA, Hawaii will be on there and possibly the Cayman Islands and/or Washington, DC. I have two must haves for vacay: one is the beach, two is the food. Everything else is secondary. I’m so excited! Oh and who got hired? This girl! 🙂 I’m truly blessed with all the opportunities that I have been given. Nothing but good vibes today!

**All pictures courtesy of Yahoo! Images.

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

The Bystander Effect

The bystander effect is a pretty crazy phenomenon and stupid at the same time. For those of you not familiar with the term, the bystander effect is when people don’t offer any assistance to the victim when other people are present because they think someone else will help. The reason I think it’s stupid is because how can you walk pass someone bleeding on the sidewalk and not do anything?! AND expecting people to do something when you’re all doing the same thing?! It makes no sense to me. Why am I blogging about a psychology term you ask? Because it happened. And no I was not the victim nor was I a bystander. I was the one who called the police because it’s what I’m supposed to do! I learned all about the bystander effect in college and the most well-known case about the murder of Kitty Genovese in 1964. When she was stabbed multiple times and NONE of her neighbors called the police even though they heard her screaming. Don’t be that neighbor.

I never thought my neighborhood would fall into the category of the bystander effect but it does. Early in the morning I heard a man yelling for help and to call the police. I got out of bed and looked out the window but didn’t see anything. I decided to call anyway, just in case. I never want to be the person that doesn’t call just because they don’t see anything. The police showed up a few minutes later and searched the surrounding areas but I guess they didn’t find anything (hopefully that’s good news) so they left. The reason why I’m stating that my neighborhood falls into this category is because there’s absolutely NO way people didn’t hear this guy. I heard him loud and clear. It wasn’t a “did you hear that?” type of thing. It was a “oh shit, what the hell is going on outside?” type of thing. That and I know my neighbors. They’re always up at late hours of the night and some even throw parties into the early morning hours. Yet, NO ONE called. I spoke to an officer and I told him I know it’s not much to go on considering I didn’t see a thing but I want to make sure that if something did happen then that person got help. He assured me that I did the right thing by calling and hopefully no one got hurt.

I say hopefully as a loose term. The direction of the yelling is on the street where there are some “rotten apples.” I’ll leave it at that. The officer and I knew full well that shit could have went down because every time something happens, it’s on that street. They’ve cornered off the street to look for bad guys. They’ve had helicopters hoovering above to look for bad guys. You get my drift. I’m not the type of person who calls the police for everything. There have been times that I wanted to (noise complants) but I didn’t. I do so in emergencies such as what happened or if someone got hurt. Not that I want to discourage anyone from calling if they felt compelled to do so. It’s my general rule of thumb. My mom freaked out because there were a ton of cop cars on our street and the surrounding streets. Sorry mama!

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

TFSP: Valentine’s Day Spa Package Giveaway for MilSpouses!

I have to admit..I’ve been a pretty bad blogger in terms of reading up on blogs and writing blog posts. I saw a picture that caught my eye when I was reading Kara’s blog. It was a spouse box filled with goodies for $29.95 a month. I looked at some of the links AND I found my new obsession. Udderly Natural Handcrafted body products. As in everything I’ve wanted in a spa package. AND there are a ton of different flavors and scents to choose from.

Here are the following items included in this giveaway..
5oz sugar scrub
2oz bath bomb
2oz goat milk lotion
1 goat milk soap bar
1 lip balm

The winner of this giveaway will have the chance to choose any flavors and scents of all the items listed above. Not a bad way to pamper yourself if I do say so myself.

To enter the giveaway..
– You must be a military spouse at some point (veteran/wounded warrior spouses count)
– Write a active blog (2 blog posts per month)
– Live in the U.S. (giveaways only ship in the U.S.)
– Enter through this link,here
.

The winner will be contacted through email and through my social media accounts. Winner will have three days to respond to my email from the day the email was sent or another winner will be chosen. I hope you ladies enjoy! 🙂

And for those that are curious, I’m hosting this giveaway early because I want the winner to be able to use the items by Valentine’s Day. Sometimes things take a while. Have a good one 🙂

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

The Wrong Way

Lately I’ve been cooped up in the house and just super frustrated with everything. Job hunting, bills, grad school, and the unknown. My mom always tells me to be patient and that what I’m meant to do will come. I wish it would come already! I worked a lot the first 1 1/2 years after graduation to pay off my loans and build up savings. I quit my last job to complete a fellowship program that I felt would get my foot in the door working for an organization serving veterans. That has yet to happen. Today marks a month since I graduated and still no job offers. My savings is slowly going down because even though I’m not working, I’m still paying bills. Not to mention throwing grad school in the mix just gives me a headache. When I graduated from UCI I was hell bent to move back out there or to LA after a year or two. It’s been 2 1/2 and I’m still at home! I hate that I ended up back home. Don’t get me wrong…I love home. It’s just by now I figured I would be able to stand on my own two feet and be an independent adult. That has also yet to happen. I applied to more jobs today and just felt the wave of frustration taking over me. I was so frustrated that I cleaned my bookcase, dresser, drawers, cookbook collection, headboard, and vacuumed my room. THAT’S saying something considering the fact that I absolutely HATE cleaning.

I feel like when my path became a fork, I completely fell off the path. I’m going the wrong way and somehow I can’t seem to find a way back. In 2014, I volunteered for 7 months at the VA, worked for 5 1/2 months, and went to school for 3 months. 5 1/2 months is not adequate savings for the year. I pretty much spent all of it paying bills. I still want to run my project but I notice I’m usually sending out cards or emails of encouragement (not that there’s anything with either). I just want to do more. I keep telling my best friend I should just move to Nebraska. Maybe I could get a job over there. Life seems so much slower over there anyway. I could use the change of scenery. Yes, this is a rant post. If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading! 🙂

In other news, because I cleaned my bookcase and got rid of all my kiddy books (Dr Suess anyone?) I treated myself to a bunch of Nicholas Spark books. I know, I know drama love stories. I think those are actually my favorite stories. I’m weird like that. I purchased Dear John, A Walk To Remember, Safe Haven, The Best of Me, The Lucky One, and The Longest Ride. Amazon Prime and free two day shipping. I’m really excited to read them all. It’ll give me a sense of peace after all the thinking about life, money, and jobs.

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

Anteater to Toro to Tar Heel?

For the past few weeks I’ve been sick with a sore throat, stuffy nose, sneezing, and etc. I thought I would make progress on my graduate school decisions while I was laying in bed. Please don’t ask why I thought it was a good idea. It could have to do with all the medication I’ve been taking. I came up with a list of four possible schools I want to apply for. #1 is USC. They have the subconcentration of working with military families and veterans services and that falls right into place with what I want to do. Down side is that tuition for a year is 91,000+. #2 is UNC Chapel Hill. They have a community and non-profit services leadership concentration which would be excellent for my goals to run a non-profit organization. The down side is that it’s on the other side of the country. Am I really THAT independent? I have no clue. #3 is UCLA. They have a non-profit sector concentration which is similar to UNC CH. They also have Operation Mend which would an amazing opportunity. Down side is it’s super hard to get in. It is UCLA after all. #4 is University of Chicago. They have a community, administrative, leadership concentration. It’s very broad which I love and hate at the same time. It’s ranked as the best program out of the four. The down side is the tuition and rent would leave me in debt forever and it’s far away from home.

I’m the type of person that would always chose to live by sand and water if I had to pick. I don’t know if I’ll survive the winters of Chicago or Chapel Hill. Right now I’m leaning towards Chapel Hill because it’ll give me an opportunity to grow as a person and be independent, learn about different cultures, and it’s way cheaper than the other three. The only dilemma I have is that there’s no specific sub concentration like SC has. Ugh! It’s driving me crazy right now. I cannot decide where to go. Oh and the anteater is the mascot from UCI (my alumni). The toro is the mascot from CSU Dominguez Hills which is also my alumni. Anyone have any input? I’ve officially declared that I am the most indecisive person ever.

Fail Sweetly,
Justina