Taking Back My Twenties

Last Chance for Year of Surprises!

Posted on Aug 26, 2014 | 0 comments

“I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Millennial Central Consulting for Marriott Rewards. I received Marriott Points to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”

Hi Guys,

Remember my other posts about the Marriott Rewards® program and Year of Surprises? Well, this is the last of a series of 3 posts because the third nomination period ends August 31st!

If you’re just tuning it, Marriott Rewards is celebrating its 30th birthday by throwing surprise parties for people who deserve to be celebrated. Whether it’s your parents’ golden anniversary or your best friend’s graduation from a PhD program, I bet you can come up with someone or something to celebrate!

When I first heard about the contest, I know I was curious to see the winners and their parties. Marriott Rewards has already announced 8 winners from the first two nomination periods and you can see videos of the surprise parties online.

Check out this video – the bride had to miss her wedding because she had brain surgery and then a stroke, so a friend nominated her and Marriott Rewards surprised her with an engagement party once she was back on her feet!!

Nominations are reviewed based on creativity, uniqueness, and feasibility of the party. You don’t have to be a Marriott Rewards member to submit a nomination, but I highly recommend the program! You can sign up for the Marriott Rewards program online at Marriott.com/rewards. And don’t forget to enter at yearofsurprises.com – if you want to know more about how it works, you can find the rules at yearofsurprises.com/rules.

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Beef Taco Pizza

Posted on Aug 26, 2014 | 2 comments

“I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for the Beef Checkoff. I received products to facilitate this review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.”

Remember that beef, it’s what’s for dinner commercial from way back when? That’s the first thing I thought of when I was asked to do a post for The Beef Checkoff – turns out it’s the same program from years ago. It’s a national marketing and research program funded by America’s cattle farmers and ranchers as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. Check out the BeefItsWhatsForDinner website for some pretty awesome recipes. I slowed down on my beef consumption for a while because I was scared away from the price tag of grass fed beef. But then I realized I can buy it in really small portions (duh) at Whole Foods and it’s actually really cheap. I buy a 1/4 or 1/2 pound and throw it in pasta or big bowls of veggies and grains.


I wanted to try something different for this post though, because who wants to go to a party and eat veggie and grain bowls or spaghetti? I would love to make big, hearty burgers, but we don’t have a grill. It’s on our list to buy soon! So I made the next best thing to burgers: a big, hearty Mexican pizza.


I kind of created this recipe on the fly, so I don’t have formal measurements for you. I started with store bought pizza dough and about a half pound of lean grass fed beef. I made my own taco seasoning by throwing together a bunch of spices – there’s a million recipes on the internets. I also shredded a giant block of white cheddar cheese in my food processor because freshly grated cheese is soooo much better than those clumpy bags.

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While I was cooking the beef, I pre-cooked my dough for a few minutes and then covered it with a thin layer of Trader Joe’s black bean dip.


Then I covered it with beef and cheese!


And jalapeños, and I topped the whole thing off with huge slices of avocado and cilantro. We had a few friends over for a pizza party, and this one was incredible – probably one of the best homemade pizzas I’ve constructed and definitely the crowd favorite. I’d definitely eat this as cold pizza for breakfast, or heat it up and add a runny egg!


What’s your favorite way to prepare beef? Aside from burgers, I do enjoy a good meatloaf.

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Restaurant Week and Relaxation

Posted on Aug 24, 2014 | 1 comment


I’m so thankful for a restful weekend at home. I can’t even describe how exhausted I was after my first week of work. I managed to scramble some eggs each night for a taco dinner and then went to bed at 9:30, and I was still tired. Despite how my body feels, I couldn’t be happier. I love being back in a routine, I love using my brain, I love collaborating with awesome people, and I love being in a school that’s full of energetic students. I feel like a real member of society again:) With each passing day, I feel more and more fortunate that I landed a job in such a wonderful school!


We missed restaurant week last weekend, but there were a couple of places that extended it, so we snagged a reservation at Dallas Fish Market. We rarely have dinner downtown, so it was fun to get dressed up and go to a fancy place. We stopped at The Woolworth before dinner, and I ordered a delicious spicy tequila drink with dry ice! Matt didn’t love his drink, and for the price ($13) and casual atmosphere, we decided we probably wouldn’t visit again.


We strolled just a few blocks to Dallas Fish Market – the space was modern and was decorated with cool blue, fun bubble lights, and ocean scenes.


We ordered white wine to go with the seafood and this deviled egg was brought out as a little bite before the first course.


For the real first course, I ordered the tuna tartare, which was pretty typical, but very good.


My main course was a sea bass with mushrooms, truffle ravioli, and a mustard sauce – this was heavier than your typical fish dish (a good thing in my eyes). I really loved the mustard sauce and I’m obsessed with mushrooms, so it was and hit! Matt had some kind of sweet duck with brussels that was also fantastic.


We shared the desserts equally – the lemon pine nut tart and the poached pear with butterscotch. Both were enjoyable, but nothing mind-blowing.


Overall, we had a lovely dinner and I would recommend Dallas Fish Market. I don’t think we’d go back, just because the entrees are really expensive if it’s not restaurant week and we are rarely in that neck of the woods. The food was delightful though!

Have a good week.

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