Sunday, September 25, 2016

Favorite Reads

From romance to murder mysteries to Christian literature, here are a few of my favorite books:

1. The Story Teller by Jodi Picoult

Every.single.person that I have recommend this book to has loved it! I, personally, have read it twice. There is no way I could do justice to this book with a summary, so check it out here. Buy it today, you will thank me.

2. The Husband's Secret by Laine Moriarty

Y'all, I read this book in 28 hours. Yes it was in the summer and I wasn't working but still. Talk about a captivating read! Here's a teaser from Amazon:

"Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything—and not just for her. There are other women who barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they, too, are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret." 

3. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Gillian Flynn, who is also the author of Gone Girl, knows all too well how to write a haunting murder mystery. This is a book you won't be able to put down, and when you do drag yourself away from it, the darkness lingers with you for awhile. It a great read with an interesting twist you don't see coming.

4. Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

In my opinion, Nicholas Sparks movies never live up to the depth and beauty of his writing. Safe Haven is about a woman named Katie who is being abused by her alcoholic husband. She knows it is only a matter of time before his drunken violence ends in her death. This story shows the strength of a woman who desires freedom more than anything.

5. Everyday a Friday by Joel Olsteen

I read this book during a tough time in life and man, did it help me out. Olsteen challenges his reader to see life from a different perspective and live joyfully everyday. It may sound cheesy, but it is far from.
Something he wrote about that stuck with me is complaining about work. He talks about how we don't want to get up early, stay late, deal with colleagues, bosses, etc. But then he challenges you to think about what it would be like if you got fired from that job and went months unemployed. He asks you to think about how grateful and happy you would be to accept that job back. The very job you loathed would become a source of joy. It is all about perspective.
Very uplifting read!

What should I put next on my reading list? I'm always hungry for more books!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Our weekend in Auburn

For months we have been looking forward to celebrating Erik's birthday in Auburn, Alabama. Erik spent his freshman and sophomore year there, where he pledge Phi Gamma Delta and made a lot of friends that he still keeps up with!

Thursday night we flew from Houston to Atlanta where we met up with our friends Kate and Barrett. We arrived at our hotel around 11:15, so we went to the bar and counted down until midnight- Erik's 28th birthday! Barrett bought us fireball shots and I lovingly let Erik drink mine ;). 

Friday morning we ate brunch then headed over to the Georgia Aquarium! The whale sharks were the absolute highlight. Word to the wise- it is crazy expensive! For two tickets we spent $86! Yikes.

We drove from the aquarium to Auburn which was right under two hours. One of Erik's fraternity brothers and his wife met up with us, we went to dinner and had drinks, then us ladies turned in early. As for the boys...ha they made it home MUCH later.

Saturday was game day! The game wasn't until six, so tailgating was definitely a marathon, not a sprint. We were so impressed by how welcoming and fun the Auburn fans were. People would pass us and say "Welcome to Auburn!" or "Hope ya'll are having a good time!".  SEC class at it's finest.

We had so much fun, Sunday morning it was hard to pack up and leave. Which could have also been due to our raging hangovers.. Needless to say, the Jaynes family is really looking forward to our upcoming lazy weekend at home!

Gig 'em & God Bless!

Monday, September 19, 2016

My sweet niece!

One September 3rd, 2016 my brother William and sister-in-law Pamela made me an aunt! Kathleen Gwenaelle O'Gorman is the first grandbaby on the O'Gorman side, and my goodness do we love her. 

We were all on baby watch that week, and Friday night it became official- Pam and Kathleen were ready to go! I drove up to Dallas Saturday morning, getting constant updates from my family on baby and momma. When I finally reached the hospital I was shaking with excitement. My dad came to the front and lead to the room...I walked in and saw Paul holding Kathleen and my breath was taken away! She was more beautiful than I could have imagined. She absolutely stole my heart.

Happy tears!
Paul, Grandpa, and sleepy Kathleen!

So alert!

William and Pam went home and Kathleen looked even tinier in a regular sized space! They have had plenty of visitors over to love on and adore baby K.

Uncle Paul and Kathleen snuggle time.

Auntie Pey FaceTime!

Such a big miracle in such a little girl!

Erik and I are headed back up to Dallas the first weekend of October for Kate's baptism. Will and Pam asked me to be her godmother and I can't wait to hold this precious angel while she receives her first sacrament!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Sarah's Black Bean Soup


  • 3 cans of black beans
  • 2 cans of Rotel
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1. Combine beans, Rotel, onion, and garlic in crockpot- cook on low for 6-8 hours.

2. Add cilantro 15 minutes before serving.

3. Use immersion blender to blend half of soup, then stir well.

For garnish I added 1/4 of an avocado and little feta cheese. This soup is great as a main course or side for any Mexican inspired meal. With fall weather on the way, what is better than a healthy, hearty, crockpot soup!

Thursday, August 25, 2016


  • I confess...I read The Husband's Secret by Laine Moriarty in 28 hours then immediately began watching the Netflix series Stranger Things and finished it in under 24. Time well spent.

  • I confess... I have a spray tan membership. Best $34 I spend all month.

  • I confess.... I had my first facial two weeks ago! My teenage addiction to tanning beds has taken its toll on this poor Irish skin. Hopefully a monthly microdermabrasion sesh will undo some damage.

  • I confess...I look at my wedding photos at least once a day.

  • I confess... this first week back in school has had me in bed every night before nine. 

  • I confess... married life is even more wonderful than I imagined it would be. I had no idea this kind of happiness was achievable. 

  • I confess...I am already looking forward to Summer '17! Euro plans are in the works!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

At Home in the Heights

Erik bought this house in The Heights two years ago in September! I can't believe he has had it so long now. He was building it when we were just dating, but he let me help pick out details because he knew I would make this house our home some day. Could he be anymore romantic? 

I love our home and will be sharing pictures of the inside soon! Bare with us, we've only been married seven weeks and putting a house together is as expensive as it is exhausting.

One of the best things about living in The Heights is the demographic. Most people here are young couples with great jobs who like to eat and drink.

Erik and I have made it a point to try out restaurants and bars that are walking distance from our front door. 

So far, our favorite Heights Delights are:

  • Hunky Dory 
    • Great atmosphere and happy hour menu! 
  • Cane Rosso 
    • Pizza like no other. Erik, my mom, and I left in a food coma.
  • Fat Cat Creamery
    • Creative, local, organic ice cream menu. I recommend Mexican Vanilla icecream with melted prailines on much yes.
  • Juice Girl
    • Acai bowls that are perfect for this hot Houston weather.
  • Lola
    • Meets all your hang over breakfast needs! I'm a waffle kind of girl but Erik is all about his chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes. 
  • Good Dog
    • Gourmet hot dogs. Need I say more?
What are some of your "Houston Restaurant Musts"? Plan me and Erik's next date with some recommendations!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Caroline's Lasagna Soup

  • 1 lb Italian sausage
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup pasta
  • 4-6 cups fresh spinach
  • Fresh mozzarella 

Erik won't eat mushrooms so I swapped them out for zucchini and squash.
Brown sausage and add veggies.

Add broth, tomato paste, and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil then add pasta. One cup at a time, add in spinach. 
Serve with mozzarella.

We really loved this soup! I was surprised at how hearty and filling it was. I used whole grain pasta and low fat cheese too keep it as clean as possible. It is filled with vegetables making it a guilt free meal!