Puppies & Plaid

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Yes, I know my snapchat and insta story was completely flooded with videos and photos of this little nugget, I just can’t help it. He is seriously so cute. I have been wanting a puppy forever and ever, but Cody and I just can’t get one right now. We both are so busy and work a lot, and feel it would be wrong to just leave a pup home all day. We have promised we will get one (and spoil it!) when the time is right. Until then, we will have to borrow this little guy from his parents every so often.

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His name is Brody and he is a Shiba Inu and Husky mix. He is Cody’s parents pup, and has only been in the family for a week now. He is very stubborn, headstrong and independent. But also very, very sweet and mostly docile and nonchalant. Brody literally doesn’t bat a lash when another dog walks by. When we had him at the beach about half a dozen people came up to pet him and he just sat there like a huge ham. There was this family of kids who were in his face trying to kiss him and all he did was give them gentle face licks. So sweet! However, about 8 o’ clock every night he gets this huge burst of energy and turns into a demon dog for like an hour and a half? Yeah, definitely giving props to Cody’s parents for dealing with that every night!

But it was super fun to spend the weekend with him and get a little puppy love in. We also saw Doctor Strange and it was really good! Such a good weekend! Love going into the week so happy and refreshed.

Hope everyone has a fantastic week!

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Lob Inspo…

About a month ago I started feeling really unattached to my hair. I all of the sudden wanted a change. Usually when I feel like this it goes away after a few days. But, this time, it didn’t…and when we were on vacation we went on boats, and in the ocean and all that hair I had was just a knotty mess. So, as soon as I got back I went on the web and searched for some inspiration. Here are some of my favorites:

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Can you guess who my biggest inspiration was? I am so glad I took the plunge. It feels so fresh, and it is definitely something new. Change is good, and waking up and doing my hair every morning is exciting again….for now! We will see what happens, though!

A little about what I have been using to style it since the cut:

I am a hair product junkie, I will admit it. I am constantly on the hunt for the best products so I most definitely have a bunch of products I switch off between using. I only wash my hair once a week or so, maybe twice if I do too many really sweaty workouts… I alternate between this shampoo, that is a purple shampoo and this shampoo which is all natural with no harsh chemicals or parabens. I alternate between this super affordable and this damage remedy conditioner, which I LOVE. Some days my hair is literally just too sweaty after a workout to not get it wet and rinse it, so I use this co-cleanser (smells AMAZING!) to kind of just refresh it a little but. After I get out of the shower I typically work either this leave in conditioner or spritz this treatment all over it for heat protection, to de-frizz and make it soft and manageable. Sometimes I let my hair air dry over night and curl it in the morning, or I wash and blow it our with a big round brush. If I curl it (with this curling iron), I always put some of this thermal shine spray all over and kind of scrunch with my fingers, because it also gives it a bit of soft texture. If I blow my hair out it usually needs a bit of de-frizzing, so I spray some of this oil mist on my hands and work it through the bottom half of my hair. Usually does the trick! And when my hair gets a tad dirty, I typically rub a bit of this dry shampoo around and it usually freshens it right up.

SHOP ALL THE PRODUCTS MENTIONED ABOVE:

Like I said, I am always on the hunt for the best and most nourishing hair products, or any products for that matter, so if you have some absolute must haves please let me know in the comments below!

I hope your weekend is fab!

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Sausage Meatloaf, Smashed Potatoes & Roasted Broccolini

Cody is a pretty good sport eating some of the stranger things I cook or make. When I went through my spaghetti squash phase, he ate every bite. Every time I want to substitute rice with cauliflower rice or flour with coconut flour, he always obliges. So when the man asks for a meat and potato meal….you give him a meat and potato meal!

I recently got Chrissy Teigen’s cook book– Craving’s and so I told Cody to look through it and pick out a few things that he wanted me to make him for dinner. He chose the Spicy Italian Sausage Meatloaf and the Smashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic. I then just roasted some broccolini in the toaster oven. It was a well balanced and hearty meal that my boy really enjoyed.

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What you’ll need:

-food processor, blender, nutri-bullet
-bigger bowl, medium bowl, small bowl
-measuring spoons & cups
-cooking spray or butter

Ingredients:

For Meatloaf:
– 3 slices white sandwich bread (I had sourdough lying around, so I used that)
– 1/3 cup whole milk
– 1 cup roughly chopped mushrooms
– 1 lb. hot/spicy Italian sausage (bulk or casings removed)
– 1 lb. ground beef
– 1 cup finely chopped onions
– 1 large egg
– 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
– 2 teaspoons koshersalt
– 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
– 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
– 1/2 cup ketchup
– 3 tablespoons brown sugar

For Smashed Potatoes:
– 2 and 1/2 lbs. baby red potatoes
– Kosher salt
– 1 stick (4 oz.) butter
– 1/2 cup heavy cream
– 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
– 15 large cloves (1/2 cup) roasted garlic
– 2 tablespoons chopped chives

For the Roasted Broccolini:
– 1 package broccolini
– 2 tablespoons olive oil, or oil of your choice
– Salt, pepper, garlic powder and smoked paprika

Directions:

For the meatloaf:

1. pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees

2. In a food processor, blender, or nutribullet (which is what I used) process the bread into fine crumbs. Transfer them to a large bowl and pour the milk in and let it sit for 5 minutes.

3. Also mince the mushrooms in the processor or blender until fine. Add the breadcrumbs along with the sausage, beef, onions, carrots, egg, Worcestershire sauce, salt, red pepper flakes and and black pepper. Gently mix with your hands until combined.

4. Coat a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray or butter (I found that I had enough mixture for two 8×4 loaf pans, which is what I had). Put the mixture into the pan(s).

5. In a small bowl combine the ketchup and brown sugar and spread it over the top of the meatloaf.

6. Bake until the meatloaf is cooked through and the glaze is slightly dry on top, about 1 hour.

7. Let cool a bit before slicing.

For the Smashed Potatoes:

1. In a large pot combine the potatoes with water to cover them by 3 inches. Salt the water until it tastes good. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat and cook the potatoes until you can easily pierce them with a fork.

2. When the potatoes are almost cooked, heat the butter, cream, pepper and 1 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan and keep it warm over low heat.

3. Drain the potatoes, return them to the pot, and add the roasted garlic. Using a potato masher, mash until chunky to smooth, then stir in the cream mixture. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the fresh chopped chives.

For the Roasted Broccolini:

1. Preheat your toaster oven, or regular oven to 375 degrees.

2. Trim the very ends of the broccolini off. Toss in the olive oil and generously sprinkle with the salt, pepper, garlic powder and smoked paprika.

3. Toast in the oven or toaster oven for about 20-25 minutes, then remove from oven, toss them, and place them back into the oven for another 5-10 minutes on broil.

Original recipe for the meatloaf and potatoes is from Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings Cookbook.

It was the moistest and most delicious meatloaf I’ve ever had. The potatoes were a smashing success, as well! There was plenty of leftovers and cody took it for lunch the next week. I would say it was a great success!

I have been sharing a lot of recipes on the blog recently, because I am truly finding a passion for cooking. I would super love some feedback from y’all regarding what type of recipes you would like to see. More vegetables? Less carbs? More baked goods? LET ME KNOW in the comments below or shoot me an email….trust me, I am always up for a challenge!!!

As always, thanks so much for reading!

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Mint Green Mock Neck Dress

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I was in Target to get like toothpaste or something and I somehow ended up in the clothing section and there just happened to be a 20% off all dresses sale going on, and I just happened to leave with this dress….and no toothpaste. No, but really, I had to have this cute little dress. I thought it would be perfect for Thanksgiving with family–I love to look cute, because it is a holiday, but I also want to be comfortable. Plus, I always love to wear dresses on thanksgiving so I can eat whatever I want and I won’t have to worry about the judge mental pink marks around the waist that jeans give you.

Also, these flats are seriously so cute and comfy. Perfect for being on my feet all day helping my mom cook thanksgiving dinner. Also, I think I wore them three days in a row this week to the office.

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SHOP THIS POST & some similar things that I LOVE below:

We had a super exciting weekend! We had my brother and his wife over for a FEAST that I cooked on Saturday, like legit feast. I made s’mores cookies and they were a huge hit! (If you want the recipe comment below!) Then Cody bought his parents the CUTEST puppy. He is a Shiba Inu/Husky mix. He doesn’t have a name yet, but we love him so much! He may make an appearance on the blog sometime soon!

I also made some yummy food for lunch this week, so I am READY to take on Monday like a champ. Hope everyone has an easy and fast week!

Thanks so much for reading!

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Cancun

A few weeks ago Cody and I took a trip to Cancun, MX. Cody had really been wanting to travel or take a trip somewhere to break up monotony and I whole-heartedly agreed. So, when the opportunity presented itself, we booked a 5 day 5 night stay at the Grand Oasis Sens.

The Grand Oasis Sens is an all-inclusive sister to the Grand Oasis. It is a 21 and over resort, and from our experience we feel that it is geared toward couples who are looking for an intimate getaway. It had several restaurants, three different pools (one with a swim-up bar….say what?!), and of course it is on the beach. The reason I do say it is geared towards couples is there is a lot of little nook-type lounges and cushions that are kind of hidden and in corners so you can get a bit of privacy. The beach front not only has chaise lounges that you can take advantage of, but also these super cute canopy-covered bed cushions that are awesome if you want to snuggle up next to your sweetie and get some sun at the same time.

Speaking of time with my sweetie…it was very important to both Cody and myself that we treated these 5 days like a true vacation away from everything that is the “norm” for us. This meant we left our phones in the room most of the time and didn’t go on social media all that often and absolutely NO working on the blog. This and the fact that that we were soaking in the amazing 80 degree water the whole time meant that we did not get as many photos as I had hoped for….but we had an amazing time!

Here are a few of the photos we managed to snap when we weren’t in the water…

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We got to sail in a boat (a little bigger than this one) to the Isla Mujeres

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We found a rainbow giraffe print wall and I almost died!

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My favorite part about the island were the brightly colored buildings and the murals up and down the main drag.

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We got to drive these mini speed boats through the “jungle” to some coral reefs to snorkel.

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My stud.

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Yes, it was a very relaxing and fun few days in paradise with my Babe. I feel very fortunate that we were able to get away and spend that time together. Now that the “tropical beach vacation” is out of my system, I am ready to see the rest of the world. We are thinking about Eastern Europe next….any tips or places that we absolutely must see? Tell me in the comments below!

As always, thanks so much for reading. I hope your weekend is both relaxing and productive!

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Black Lace-Up Dress

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Firstly, I have been super MIA and slacking major with blog posts SO SORRY! I went on Vacation with Cody and it was just so good to leave me phone in our room and not worry about posting all the time. Sometimes we just need to unplug for a little while…ya feel?

Now about this dress…I always love a good black dress. You can do so much with them, like pair them with red lips and bag, or neutrals, or just black on black. This dress has the cutest lace-up neck and is ribbed, which for some reason I just love. I can’t wait to layer a vest or a long cardigan over it when it actually gets chilly here in Southern California…whenever that may be!

Outfit Details:

Dress (comes in a cute striped version too) | Boots are from last year, similar here ($), here ($$) | Similar bag here and here

I hope everyone has a wonderful rest of your week! Thanks for reading!

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Shrimp & Pork Dumpling Soup

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It is officially fall, which means it is SOUP SEASON! Yes, be expecting a lot of yummy soup recipes here on My JennaRaetion. I have spoken of my love affair with soups in the past when I shared my Mexican chicken soup recipe, (link recipe!) but my love for asian soups is a completely different story. Dumplings, noodles, egg drop soup, it’s all good in the hood! This soup, in particular is unique because it includes both shrimp and pork, which in theory sounds really strange but actually comes together quite effortlessly to create an asian flavor explosion in your mouth.

This soup is definitely one of my favorite recipes to make and it never fails to be a crowd pleaser, even to the pickiest eaters! It is slightly time consuming, so I would recommend saving it for a weekend, or a weeknight when you aren’t pressed for time. It can easily serve 4 or 2 with plenty of of leftovers (my favorite leftovers ever!). Just make it and I promise you will not regret it for one second!

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What you will need:

A large pot
A slotted spoon or ladle
small bowl for water

Ingredients:

– 8-12 oz. (or 2 1/2-3 cartons) cups low-sodium chicken broth
– 2 tablespoons fish sauce, divided
– 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes, divided
– 1/2-3/4 pound cleaned shrimp (no tails!)
– 1/2-3/4 pound ground pork
– 6 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and finely minced
– ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro, plus more leaves for garnish
– 4 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
– 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, divided
– 1 tablespoon Sriracha
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
6 large square (6 inch) egg roll wrappers
4 scallions, thinly sliced

Directions:

1. Firstly put the chicken broth, 1 table spoon of the fish sauce and 1/2 teaspoon of the chili flakes into the pot and give it a stir. Bring that to a boil.

2. Finely chop the shrimp (into thirds or fourths). Also finely chop the shiitakes, cilantro, ginger and scallions.

3. Combine those chopped ingredients (shrimp, cilantro, shiitakes, ginger and scallions) with the pork, 1/2 tablespoon of the sesame oil, teaspoon of Sriracha, the other table spoon of fish sauce and salt until incorporated.

4. One at a time fill the wrappers with about a spoonful of the mixture right in the middle. Then take your pointer and middle fingers and dip them in the water to wet all four edges of the wrapper.

5. Take two corners of the wrapper and fold them together over the mixture and pinch together at the top with wet fingers. Take one of the remaining corners of the wrapper and fold it behind and pinch it together at the top with the other two corners. Take the remaining corner and fold it over the front and pinch the corner at the top with the other three corners. Repeat this until the mixture is complete. Will likely make about 8-10 giant dumplings.

6. Once all the dumplings are formed and the broth is boiling go ahead and gently drop each dumpling down into the pot so that they are all side by side at the bottom.

7. Cover the pot and let the dumplings simmer for about 8-10 minutes or until the wrappers are transparent.

8. Once the dumplings are cooked, take your slotted spoon and gently remove the dumplings one-by-one and place in a bowl. Take a non-slotted ladle and pout the broth over the dumplings in the bowl. Garnish with cilantro and scallions.

Yes, it really is as good as I say it is….I promise! It is the absolute best on a chilly Sunday evening. You will definitely have enough for lunch the next day.

What are some of your favorite soup recipes? Tell me in the comments below!

Happy Monday!

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Dark Floral Peplum Top

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Thank the good lord it has finally started to cool down enough for jeans! *raises hands in praise*

I was starting to get worried there for a while that it was going to be 90 degrees daily clear into December. But the leaves are finally starting to change colors (or as much as they can in California), the evenings are beginning to feel more crisp and I definitely can’t wear tank tops to the office anymore. I’m not mad about any of it.

Currently I am loving lighter long sleeve tops and jeans pretty much on the daily. This peplum top is seriously just so cure and I had to have it the moment I saw it. In case you missed my Fall Must Haves post, dark florals are something I am really into this season. I am very much looking forward to adding more of them to my closet this fall and winter.

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SHOP THIS POST:

Yes, I am VERY happy it is starting to cool off. Unfortunately, it does look like it will be pretty warm the next few days here in Southern California, but Cody and I don’t care because we’re taking off on a vacation to Cancun today! We are SO excited. Keep an eye out on social media for all of our vacay shenanigans!

Thanks for reading!

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Homemade Pizza Hot Pockets

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Oh, Hot Pockets….you delicious, cheesy, sauce-y, nostalgic little crispy dough balls of goodness…

Every week Cody and I make our lunch for work. We do it mainly to be frugal, and also so that we know what we are eating, because we do love to know what is in our food. Cody is a bottomless pit, and struggles to find meals that have enough calories and fill him up. I googled “man lunch recipes” and found this recipe for homemade hot pockets. Let me tell you, it was an AWESOME discovery!

Ingredients:

-4 cups flour
-1½ tsp salt
-1½ tbsp yeast
-3 tbsp olive oil
-1½ cups warm water
-1 package chopped up pepperoni
-1 package cheese of your choice
-1 jar marinara or pizza sauce

**You could also do ham and cheese instead of pizza if that is your jam

What else you’ll need:
-hand mixer or stand mixer
-bigger bowl
-rolling pin
-baking pan
-cooling rack

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Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

2. You will begin by adding your flour, salt and yeast to a big bowl. You can combine those three with just a wooden spoon. You will then add the olive oil and mix that in with your hand mixer or Kitchen Aid Mixer. Then add the warm water and mix that in.

3. After the dough is all mixed together, take the dough out of the bowl and grease it with oil or butter, whichever you prefer. Put the dough back into the greased bowl and let the dough rise for about 30-45 minutes.

4. After the dough rises take hand fulls of the dough out of the bowl and roll them into a ball with your hands. You will then roll the dough flat with a rolling pin until the dough is about 1/4 inch thick.

5. Once the dough is rolled out, you will go ahead an put a few spoon fulls of sauce into the middle of the dough. Sprinkle some cheese over the sauce, then add your pepperonis and another layer of cheese.

6. After it is filled, fold the dough over to form a half-circle. Take your finger and press around the edge of where the sauce, cheese and pepperoni is in the middle to form a crust. Place your finger on the edge of the crust and grab the piece of crust next to your finger and fold it over your finger and pinch it down. Do this repeatedly across the entire rounded part of the half circle, it will end up looking braided. Cut three slits in the top.

7. Place in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Once baked, take out of oven and place on cooling rack for about 15 minutes before eating (WAY too hot inside…ya know, like the microwaved ones always are!)

YUUUUMMMMYYY! Seriously, so good. Just as good, if not better than the frozen ones you buy at the grocery store. You can also put these in a gallon zip-lock bag and freeze them and save them for later; just heat them up in the microwave.

As I get older I love to find recipes for my favorite childhood foods, just for nostalgia’s sake. It makes me and my tummy very happy! What are you favorite childhood foods?

As always, thanks for reading!

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DIY: Glitter Pumpkins

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Can you believe we are half way through the month of October? I can’t! Seriously, everyday I think Thanksgiving is going to be like, next week. I am really excited its fall. I do love summer, and short dresses and living in sandals….but I also love cozy sweaters and thanksgiving food. Also the fact that the Holidays are right around the corner makes it really just a special time.

Since Cody and I have been moved in for ahem, 6 months, ahem, I am finally starting started to decorate more for the Holidays. I saw some plastic Glitter pumpkins similar to this at Home Good’s so, I thought I would try and make my own out of real pumpkins!

What you will need:
-Spray adhesive
-2-4 pumpkins, differing in size
-2-4 different colors loose glitter (I would recommend orange, gold, red, burgundy/maroon)
-paper, a matt, or flattened out paper bags; to catch the glue and glitter

The first pumpkin I made was my “ombre” pumpkin. I began by spraying the top quarter of the pumpkin.

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Go ahead and start sprinkling the glitter over the front top quarter of the pumpkin and cover until desired.

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Flip the pumpkin around and spray the backside quarter of the pumpkin and add glitter just as you did to the front side.

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Ta-Da! An Ombre pumpkin!

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For this next pumpkin I wanted to cover the entire surface in glitter, so I began by spraying an entire half of the pumpkin.

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You will then go ahead and sprinkle glitter over half of the pumpkin until it is covered. I chose gold glitter for my second pumpkin.

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Then flip the pumpkin around, spray the other half and glitter until covered.

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Take your third pumpkin and spray half of it, just as you did to your second pumpkin. For my third, I chose an orange glitter, which I thought was going to be my least favorite, but actually turned out to be my favorite!

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Then Sprinkle glitter over half of it, just as you did the second pumpkin.

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Finally, you will sprinkle glitter over the second half of the third pumpkin.

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***Note: The spray adhesive glue will be white until it dries. You will want to leave the pumpkins alone until the glue dries to reduce the amount of glitter that falls off.

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I absolutely LOVE the way these turned out. Our pumpkins are living outside our front door. It is a super simple project, which should take you less than an hour to complete and is perfect for a Saturday afternoon! Also, the best thing about these pumpkins is they will last a lot longer than a carved pumpkin, and after halloween you can still open them up and roast some pumpkin seeds….YUM!

I hope you have a very happy Saturday!

As always, thanks SO much for reading!

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