Wedding: OMG shoes

For the past 10 months, I have searched with my 5 bridesmaids for the perfect yellow shoes for my June wedding. And by perfect, I do not mean “unique,” “different,” or especially “special.” We were literally looking for yellow patent pumps, preferably round toe, preferably no peep toe, preferably not terribly tall or terribly short heel height.

Do you have any idea how hard these are to find?

We’d find them, and then sit too long and they’d be sold out. Or we would search and search and search and find nothing.

For months.

And granted, the wedding is in June, so we weren’t in a huge time crunch here. But let’s also be realistic: if we could cross this mutha off the list sooner rather than later, that’d be a-OK too, ya know?

Luckily, when you give my sister 10 minutes with the Internets and retailmenot.com, she finds LITERALLY THE PERFECT SHOE.

Screen Shot 2013-02-03 at 10.27.58 PM

For $39.95.

When just minutes before we were looking at something not even as cute, with the price tag of $80.

Thank you, sister friend. And retailmenot for that nice little shipping code.

Now it’s just finding my own pair of shoes for the Big Day, and the whole What-Will-We-Wear question will be answered. Yayyy. SHOES.

 

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The best cheeseburger soup recipe

Kids, I’m here to tell you that dreams do come true.

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They really, really do.

I don’t know if you’ve heard (OBVS THAT’S SARCASTIC) but Cory and Topanga are BACK and playing parents in the new series, Girl Meets World. It’s official, because it was a trending topic on Twitter and has taken over my Facebook newsfeed.

I am. So. Excited.

So excited, in fact, that I got all nostalgic last night and ended up watching other old shows that I used to love and tweeting an incessant amount about the old days and how I want them back. It was similar to the time I had a cry fest about Harry Potter being over…while I was at work.

Which is a story for a different day. Or not at all.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t have any reservations about the show. I do. Of course I do. Disney used to be SO GOOD. They didn’t have to introduce sketchy story lines about promiscuous things. It was WHOLESOME. It was for the FAMILY.

[Although I think we all remember Cory and Topanga’s honeymoon, AKA the most awkward episode ever to watch with your mom, which was of course the one day my mom decided she wanted to watch TV with me.]

o_0 Awkward.

I’m nervous that Girl Meets World is going to lose all it’s integrity. I’m scared it will be the next Hannah Montana or iCarly (<- My sister will point out this is Nickelodeon; I KNOW, it’s an EXAMPLE). Those shows are extremely entertaining, but wholesome they are not.

So here’s hoping Girl Meets World is done up the right way and I have a new fave TV show.

And here’s hoping all my other fave shows get the whole reunion-movie-or-series-sequel memo (I’m looking at you, Gilmore Girls).

Would you like me to stop talking about 90s television so we can talk cheeeeeeeeseburger?

OK.

The best cheeseburger soup

Now. That’s a little misleading. But I have, in fact, eaten the best cheeseburger soup (served at a cafe near where I work; it’s life changing), and this is damn close. It’s cheesey and creamy and salty and delicious, and perfect for fall/winter (OMG IT’S DECEMBER). My mom found it in a recipe book she had from a while ago, I tweaked it ever so slightly, and I felt the need to share with you because YOU NEED THIS RECIPE.

This soup has had me on a soup kick for days (it makes a lot of leftovers for one person) which I’m attributing to why I’m retaining a solid 5 lbs. of bloat from the salty goodness.

I REGRET NOTHING.

Cheeseburger Soup
8 Servings
Approx. 250 calories/serving (without potatoes or sour cream)

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. ground beef
3/4 c.  chopped onion
3/4 c. chopped or shredded carrots (I used chopped because I only had whole carrots and I’m too poor to own fancy things like graters, but shredded would prob be bomb)
3/4 c. diced celery
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
4 T. butter (eh, give or take)
1/4 c. flour
2 c. cubed processed American cheese (I literally stacked a bunch of Kraft Singles on top of each other and diced them because it’s what I had; worked perfect)
1 1/2 c. milk (I used skim; you get a lot of creaminess from the cheese)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Optional:

3 c. diced, peeled potatoes
1/4 c. sour cream

1. First, brown the beef in a pot (3 qt). If you are a carnivore, you’re gonna be like, Whoa I need more beef. You don’t. Be patient.

2. Drain that and set it aside. If you’re feeling naughty, keep the drippings in the pan for step 3.

3. In the same pot, saute your onions, carrots, celery and basil in about 1 T. of butter and/or the drippings. Do this for about 10 minutes. The carrots and celery will turn a bright color, and the onions should be clear.

4. Add the broth and beef (and potatoes, if you want potatoes; I didn’t). Bring it to a boil.

5. Reduce the heat, cover the pot and let it simmer for about 10 minutes (if you are cooking with potatoes, simmer until they are tender; should still be about 10-12 minutes)

6. While that’s chilling out, take a small skillet and melt some butter (start with 3 T.) and then add your flour. Cook and stir for 3-5 minutes, or until it’s bubbly. It’ll start to do this foam thing before the big bubbles start, and that’s your cue).

7. Add the flour mixture to the soup and bring it to a boil again. Stir for 2 minutes.

8. Reduce the pot to low heat. Add the cubes of cheese, milk, and some salt and pepper. Cook and stir until the cheese melts.

9. Have a little taste test. Does it need more salt and pepper? Probably. DON’T BE STINGY WITH THE SALT AND PEPPER. Nobody likes people like that.

10. Remove the pot from the heat and, if you’d like to add sour cream, now is the time to do it. I did, but didn’t notice much difference in the taste.

This soup is DELISH and heats up really well. I still have quite a bit left, so I’m thinking about freezing the rest so I don’t waste it 🙂 Try it and let me know what you think!

PSSSSSST! Head over HERE and enter a sweet contest 🙂

IndiEdge bracelet giveaway

My friend Dave is supa talented.

His claim to fame is his crazy artistic talent – I die for his paintings. DIE, people.

Dave painted this last year for Jeff and I. This photo does not do it justice. It is so dang cool, and I’m pumped to have a real house to put it in (it’s in Jeff’s house now, which is a real house, I realize, but it’s not OUR house). I anticipate when Dave is famous it will be worth $1 million. Probably.

Anyway, the kid knows what he’s doing, and now he’s all, immabe supa cool and go live in Cali with my girlfriend and make jewelry and live a supa cool artist life.

Yeah.

Not jealous though.

It’s 18 degrees in Iowa today. But I’m not jealous.

Anyway, I bought a bracelet from their new shop last week and I lurve it.

It’s gold and black, which I’m excited about because gold is the metal to have right now and I. Have. None. So sad.

Dave has great passion, and he’s extremely passionate about his new business. He even offered to throw in two extra bracelets for a giveaway on the blog. How pumped are you?! Check out the merchandise:

First one has one large, turquoise bead in the center, surrounded by smaller gold and turquoise beads. I really want to keep this one but whatever.

And this little beauty is a a pretty navy color, with 3 larger white beads with a delicate flowery design. Simple, elegant. Wants to stay in my jewelry box, but alas…

How to enter, you ask?

To enter:

1) [Mandatory] Leave a comment on my blog telling me what bracelet you’d like to win, your fave piece of jewelry, if you love silver or gold, if you like giraffes…whatever. (1 entry)

2) LIKE Maddie’s Memos on Facebook for 2 additional entries (and tell me ya did in the comments, if ya like)

3) Follow @maddieessig (that’s me) on Twitter (1 entry)

4) Tweet the giveaway by retweeting this or crafting your own witty 140 characters

5) Click-a the link below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And tell me what you all did. You can have 5 ENTRIES TOTAL. Oh my dang. Win them jewels.

In the meantime, head over to IndiEdge and look around. They have bracelets for your guy friends, your girl friends, and other items, too. The prices are low but the quality is high – I’d recommend it! AND for the rest of November (HURRY!) they are offering free shipping. Just enter FREESHIPPINGNOVEMBER at checkout. Baddabing baddaboom.

Back fat be gone

First of all, I owe you guys like 97 posts.

SO MUCH IS HAPPENING.

I HAVEN’T SLEPT IN DAYS.

Not really, but I’m tired. And sleeping has been trumping blogging. Sorry.

IN THE MEAN TIME let’s talk about exercise.

**crickets**

So ya’ll know that I’ve been in a fitness rut approx. since I turned 18, and now that I’m getting married and don’t want to have arm fat in my strapless dress, sh*ts gotta get serious. I’m not talking drastic weight drop here – for the most part I’m pretty happy with the bod I’ve been given. But I’ve realized that there is basically  no reason why I can’t be in the best shape of my life right now. I’m 21. I’ve had no babies. I won’t be having any babies [soon]. I have time at night to exercise (not lately, really, but I guess I have time for Harry Potter marathons so I have time for exercise…I guess).

So why not, right?

Cuz I’m lazy, that’s why.

And, quite frankly, even though no one described me as “petite” in high school (OR EVER), I didn’t have to work at staying in shape then because I was dancing 6 nights a week. Yes, I was eating like crap a lot of the time and my sleep schedule was whack cuz I had just met this guy who I decided I needed to stay up until 2 a.m. talking to (turns out we’re getting married now), but I didn’t feel like I needed to hit up the gym because…well, I didn’t. I sweated plenty during all those dance/show choir practices, thanks.

Not to mention the fact that I was having a BLAST. Yes, it was exhausting, but I’ve always loved dance. And we all know, when you’re having fun, it’s not that lame.

An hour on the elliptical while watching Oprah, however? Lame.

Don’t get me wrong, I love me a lazy day, don’t-wanna-use-my-brain workout. I do. But for the most part I need to be all in and having a good time, or no way in hell am I doing it again tomorrow.

This is my extremely long-winded way to tell you I started TurboFire.

FIYAHHHHHHH!

I’ve done a TurboFire HIIT workout before, so I already knew I really liked Chalene and her style of teaching. AND I like the idea that it’s a sort of choreography – so even though it’s difficult, my brain is turned on and I’m engaging, and the time is going much faster.

Funny story about how I bough the whole package – I’ve been playing with the idea for a while, but it’s not cheap. The package (a bunch of DVDs, meals, a measuring tape, a band, bonus workout DVDs, a class schedule, etc.) runs around $150, and while I TOTALLY BELIEVE IT IS WORTH IT, I’m poor. Not poor enough to not have an online shopping addiction (PayPal lovers, holler at me), but just-graduated-and-I-owe-the-government-and-the-Bank-Of-Dad-millions poor.

So Jeff, in his infinite wisdom and cheapness, told me to check Amazon.com. BAZANGA, 80 dolla. I was basically ready to pounce on that.

And then, because I have ADD, I decided to log on to Groupon to see when my Picaboo Groupon expired (shiny object syndrome, stop judging).

And then OH HEY WHAT IS THAT RED BOX THAT SAYS NEW?? **click**

WAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH???!!!

Sold.

I snatched that up so quick I got whiplash.

It’s a sign from God that He loves me.

Or that I need to get my back fat under control.

Whatever it is, game on TurboFire. Game on.

P.S. I’m currently on Day 2 and can’t lift my hands higher than my shoulders. Remember that back fat I mentioned? It hurts. I can feel my achey breaky back [fat]. Seriously.

P.P.S. This is clearly not a Whistle Worthy Wednesday post because I suck, but head over here to see what my sister’s jammin’ out to. See you back here next week. Maybe.

 

Famous Dead People and Experts

Liv came over last night and made me and my new roomie dinner.

After dinner we had some wine and started talking about pop culture, mostly The Voice, since that is what was on.

During the competition, one of the coaches told a contestant they reminded them of Neil Diamond. I know who Mr. Sweet Caroline is, but it got me thinking.

If I was on some sort of talent-content show, and the host was like, You remind me of *insert name of famous dead person here* I’d be like

 

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because I have no idea who most famous dead people are or what they did.

I feel like a really good example of this is America’s Next Top Model.

They’re always bringing on RANDOM people and acting like they’re a big deal.

“And you’re photographs will be taken by THIS ALLEGEDLY AMAZING PHOTOGRAPHER NO ONE HAS ACTUALLY HEARD OF!!!”

And the girls are all

 

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And I’m just

 

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And then one of the girls does this shameless plug for the person no one’s heard of, to make you feel completely inadequate because you don’t know who this person is.

“OH MY GOD! And our photographer was SO AND SO and he’s done THIS and THAT and THIS and LOTS OF OTHER SUPER SPECIFIC THINGS THE PRODUCERS ARE TELLING ME TO SAY.”

So the question is, when I decide to be a reality television star, am I going to be schooled in whatever field I want to be famous in? Or will the people who create the show tell me how to act?

Whistle Worthy Wednesday: Lennon and Maisy Stella

I thought I’d start a new weekly feature on the blog and link up with my sister, who came up with the idea. Ain’t she smart?

Music has always been a big part of my life, and I always tend to relate a certain song to whatever was happening in my life when I first heard it/became obsessed with it. Like, Everything by Michael Buble takes me back to junior year of high school, and Dare You To Move takes me back to a musical in junior high, and also that really sweet kiss scene between Haley and Nathan on One Tree Hill. Obviously.

Without getting too cheesey and weird, you cannot deny that there is something about a good song–or a talented artist–that just RESONATES with you. It’s like a really good book–you can’t stop thinking about it, even after you’re done (or is that just me?).

I have a not-so-secret fantasy of being Carrie Underwood, so I love to see when that dream actually starts coming true for young people. Maybe that’s why I’m DYING for Lennon and Maisy.

(^Just a screen grab cuz I thought it was adorbs^)

Lennon and Maisy Stella (I MEAN JUST THEIR NAMES, hellooooooo) are the daughters of The Stellas, the married couple who can kill a duet with the best of them. Basically I want to be part of this family.

Lennon and Maisy shot to crazy YouTube stardom this summer when their YouTube video of Call Your Girlfriend went viral, and it’s obvious why. It’s insanely good.

Like come on. Voices like that. Just not fair.

They also landed a gig on Nashville, a show on ABC that I’m digging so far. We got to hear them sing for the first time on one of the last episodes and it was awesome. I have never met these girls and I’m sure I never will, and yet I’m so proud of them! Nerd alert.

Anyway, go check out Lennon and Maisy. Watch their videos, download their jams (they’re on iTunes!), watch Nashville to see their cute little faces. And tell me you aren’t obsessed. JUST TRY.

Got a blog? Link up with me and Liv and tweet us @maddieessig and @oliviaessig. You can check what Liv is listening to here, and leave your post in the comments!! See you next week 🙂

Wedding: Bridesmaid dresses

Heyyyyyy weekenders!

How’s your Saturday going? Mine has consisted of playing paparazzi with a few family members and clients, and I just had dinner with Jeff and my mama.

Yesterday was very exciting because I officially ordered bridesmaid dresses for my laidez. If we are friends on Facebook, you may recall that I officially ordered these dresses a few weeks ago. Not so. I found out soon after that my sister actually neglected to get me a particular measurement, so they weren’t OFFICIALLY on their way. I tried to get her to take the measurement for me a few times, but she was quite unhelpful.

This weekend, though, she spent a night at my grandparent’s house. I called my grandma Friday morning and gave her specific instructions to tie Olivia down, and I had a measurement texted to my phone within 10 minutes. Love her.

I found the dresses on Etsy, which is basically the wedding Holy Grail. I don’t even know if I’ve just used that term correctly, but essentially, Etsy is awesome. We sent in all five girls’ measurements and will end up with five custom bridesmaid dresses. Wanna see what they look like? 😀

Originally, we had ordered these dresses, but gray in color:

 

 

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But then I started hard core coveting the ruffles:

[Source] [Photography by Ben Barnes @ www.benbarnes.com]

Love me a good ruffle.

So I contacted the shop owner to see if she had started on the dresses yet and asked if I could change the order, and I could! I had seen some two-toned dresses in the Etsy shop I REALLY adored, and ended up ordering these:

 

[Source] [Photos by Edyta Szyszlo @ http://www.edytaszyszlo.com/]

I’ve seen the swatch of fabric and they’re a tad light in this photo, but essentially, that’s what my gurlz will be wearing come June. I’m SUPER excited and kind of wish I’d ordered 6…I love them. So excited to see them all done! 😀

 

Whale of a time: ‘Food Baby HIIT Workout’ by Blogilates review

I love me some HIIT workouts, mostly because they’re great bang for your buck. I’m usually sweating buckets, my chest feels like it’s going to cave in, and my knees buckle.

All in the first minute.

I didn’t say it was enjoyable.

I had heard of @Blogilates before, and I follow her on Twitter and think she’s adorable, but the one time I tried one of her pilates videos on YouTube I was all, HA NO THIS IS NOT HAPPENING and I turned it off. That says a lot about my dedication and a lot about her butt kicking.

So today I get home from work and even though I LOVE JILLIAN I just couldn’t bring myself to do 30 Day Shred today, and to be perfectly honest, I wanted something freaking SHORT.

Cassey has a ton of great videos, but I wanted a HIIT one. I found one that included 8 moves for 1 minute each – I could do that.

No.

No I could not.

The funny thing about HIIT workouts is that if you were to sit on your couch and watch it, you’d be like, Daaaaang this is easy. I can do this.

You’d be wrong.

I literally had to modify every move and I still looked like a dying whale, complete with dying whale sounds.

And I was like, Come on thighs!

And my thighs were like, LOLOL no.

It was rough.

BUT it was only 8 minutes. And I was sweating like a mutha. I’d call that a win.

Whale noises aside, I’d definitely do this workout again. I may even try others if I’m feeling cray.

Side note, I LOL’d at this on Pinterest.

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Spanx.

Hi folks.

It’s been a while.

Since we’ve talked last I’ve become even more of a domestic diva. Yesterday I made homemade creamy tomato and basil soup. That’s soup with 4 ADJECTIVES. Everyone knows food with lots of adjectives is super fancy and people who make it are divas.

Tonight, I attempted a HuHut recreation. It was not bad. I will continue improving it until it tastes just like what I make at the Mongolian Grill. I will not be defeated.

Shockingly, with all this cooking I’ve been doing, I’ve lost about 3 pounds. I have no idea how this is happening except for the fact that I’m  eating less Pizza Hut since I’m dominating my entire Yum board on Pinterest.

Oh. I guess that’s probably how it’s happening.

In other world domination news, the other day I went to Target and did not buy a single thing because I’m so fulfilled in my life that I don’t need material objects.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Obvs that’s a lie.

TARGET THINGS.

Not pictured: lots of things.

I went shopping again after the Target spree weekend, which to be fair was mostly because of peer pressure during bachlorette party shenanigans (Lori’s getting marrrrrrrrrrried!). I will not be shopping again for a long time. Probably.

On another note, do you ever stand in a department store dressing room, look in the mirror and think, Damn this would look nice with Spanx?

No?

Me either. That would be weird.