Our Mini Family

"It's a Dry Heat" - My Arizona Summer Story

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

When I was in grade school, I remember learning about the different types of ecosystems and climates around the world. Among all of the different regions we talked about, the desert always stuck out in my mind. My fascination with cacti, roadrunners, plateaus, rattlesnakes, scorpions, and the blazing heat continued with me through my education and I sought out to learn more about Arizona which seemed like an alternative universe compared to my life in Massachusetts. Once it came time to think about college and my life after high school, I knew I wanted to experience something different and I could not help but feel a gravitational pull to the Southwest. 

Moving to Arizona at 18 in the middle of August was, no doubt, like diving headfirst into the ocean without any swim lessons or a life jacket. I'd never felt a heat so oppressive it felt like I could not breath when I stood outside in the sun for only a few minutes. And yet, I loved it.

Our Mini Linky Party | Week 128

Happy Saturday!

It's been an exhausting (and hot) week, and it looks like the three digit temperatures in the valley are here to stay. I'll be running errands all weekend and getting ready for all of the projects I am working on next week, and Adam is as busy as ever with his work.

I cannot complain, though. I'm thankful we are both busy with work and that we are finally back in our routine. Ever since we got back from our trip to Boston, it's felt like nothing has gone right or felt normal. We had a number of utility issues piling up that were overwhelming to say the least, but it would seem that everything is finally back to normal (knocks on wood!)

Also, don't these chocolate covered strawberries look delectable?! We enjoyed these quite a while back, but my sweet tooth has been craving all kinds of desserts this week so I thought what better picture to share at the link party than the one dessert I've been craving but haven't been able to eat!

On another note, the 4th of July is coming up and it's great to see that so many bloggers are preparing for the festivities like we are! I have loved looking over all of the red, white, and blue themed projects, tutorials, and recipes being shared at our weekly link party! So inspiring! 

10 Tips on How to Stay Cool while Indoors

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

The Arizona desert heat has arrived, and it's not going anywhere anytime soon. 

Next week, the temperatures are climbing through the triple digits and the week is supposed to end with a 117 degrees (F) day! That kind of heat is just beyond bearable, and when the weather gets that hot there's only one thing to do--head inside. After living in Arizona for almost 10 years, I've learned a thing or two about keeping the heat outside and staying comfortable and cool inside my home.

There are plenty of ways to beat the heat while staying indoors, and today I am sharing 10 tips on how to stay cool even on the hottest days of summer. 

Southwestern Fried Pickles

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

I remember the very first time I tried a fried pickle at our county fair.

It was the fall and it was our annual Topsfield fair, just a short drive north of my childhood home in Massachusetts. Every year, our family had a tradition of going to the fair and enjoying all there was to do and see. Each building on the fairgrounds would have something interesting to see inside--from crafters to art exhibits, from prized animals to produce, it was as if we didn't have enough time to see everything every time the fair came. But perhaps my favorite thing about the fair growing up (which still rings true to this day), was the variety of county fair food to try. 

I remember one year I tried a fried pickle for the first time at one of the fair stalls and it was a total game-changer. I had already had a love for pickles at the time--in fact, my childhood best friend and next-door neighbor and I would sit at my kitchen table and just eat pickles from the jar! But that fried pickle merged two things I absolutely loved--the golden crispy taste of fried food and my current obsession with dill pickles. 

Over the years, I've enjoyed frying pickles and every time I make them it brings back the memories of going to the fair and eating pickles with my best friend. Since moving to Arizona, I've become obsessed with adding hot sauce and spicy seasoning to basically everything I eat so I figured what better way to merge the foods I love than bring some Southwestern flavor to my favorite county fair treat: Southwestern fried pickles! 

Enjoy these Southwestern fried pickles on their own and drizzled with hot sauce and ranch as a tasty appetizer or snack, or whip up a batch of these fried pickles to add to your grilled summer sandwiches and BBQ burgers to the next level! 

Our Mini Linky Party | Week 127

Good morning!

After a rough week and then getting back into our routine after so much travel and exploring, Adam and I had a productive week (minus a little bit of Internet outage and my 24 hours flu). This weekend will be no different--I have got quite a few projects I need to accomplish between now and Monday so you can find me parked in my at-home office working away at my epic to-do list! 

Summer is in full swing here. We've got the air conditioner running almost all day, temperatures have consistently been over 100 degrees (F), and we've enjoyed our fair share of barbecue hamburgers, brats, and grilled veggies. When I have some downtime after the weekend, I'll be keeping my eyes out for some new grilled recipes to try this summer. I've been loving all of the summer-inspired recipes and tutorials being shared at the weekly link party as of late!

9 Grilled Steak Summer BBQ Recipes

All 9 of these different, grilled steak recipes are perfect for your barbecue all summer long!

Fire up the grill, crack open a beer, and let’s get cooking! Summer is here and now is the time to enjoy all things BBQ!

No summer barbecue is complete without grilled protein. My favorite summer BBQ must-have is chicken (click here to see some of my favorite new grilled chicken recipes), but Adam’s favorite has always been grilled steak. 

Today, I’m sharing a curated list of some delicious, grilled steak recipes from some of my favorite fellow foodies (including this crazy good, Hawaiian steak kabobs  recipe from Savory Tooth shown above!) There is bound to be at least one recipe here you have yet to try that you’ll want to save and replicate sometime this summer—be sure to save as many recipe ideas as you’d like to Pinterest and Facebook, and once you’ve enjoyed looking at these recipes don’t forget to scroll all the way to the bottom of my post to enter to win a variety of giveaways for some exciting prizes and gift cards!

Date Night Idea | Go on a Hike Together

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

Over the last year or so, Adam and I have been trying to find ways to make our date night more active. 

Last summer, we spent a lot of time walking around Tempe Town Lake catching Pokémon and clocked in many hours of spending time together on-the-move. Last Christmas, Adam surprised me with a brand new bicycle and Santa brought him one, too. After that, we spent the majority of our winter season riding around town enjoying the weather and simultaneously getting a workout. Lately, we've been doing a lot more hiking and enjoying the desert and one of our favorite spots to hike is at A Mountain near the ASU Tempe campus. 

I'm a firm believer that date night should not be difficult to plan or even afford (this gal doesn't need to have a fancy dinner in order to spend quality time with her boo bear!) Combining exercise with date night is a great way to inspire a healthy marriage--it keeps us on-the-move and having fun together, while at the same time promoting a more active lifestyle!

Today, I'm sharing this date night idea along with what we think are the necessary date night essentials!

Date Night Idea | Host a Game Night

When Adam and I first started dating, one of the things we did to spend time together (and not spend a lot of money going out on frivolous dates) was buy a bottle of wine and sit down and play card games for hours and hours. 

It was a blast getting to know each other that way—you learn a lot about a person when their competitive spirit comes out! In fact, we played so many games together that he was the one who  first taught me how to play rummy and how to shuffle cards properly. Because of this, I have a soft spot for playing games with my husband. To this day, it’s still one of our go-to ways to have a date night at home when we’re trying to save money and just want to unwind and spend time together.
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