I’ve recently become re-addicted to the Food Network.


For awhile, I was on an HGTV kick, but something recently changed and I can’t get enough of cooking shows.


So the other weekend, we were lounging around watching The Kitchen (half talk show, half cooking show… it’s funny) and they made this A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. looking black bean burger. (and then they turned it into a weird cuban sandwich breakfast thing but that other part isn’t important)


(The Kitchen is also where I saw the brown sugar spiced salmon!)


And then Mike turns to me and goes, “Hey, we should try those!” and I was like ummm, YES! When he gets excited about vegetarian things I get extremely excited. I’m not vegetarian but I really like veg things :)


So we tried the recipe and wouldn’t ya know… IT WAS SO FREAKIN’ DELICIOUS. We couldn’t stop raving about the burgers! Mike declared that we need to make them at least once a week from now on.


So without further ado… the best black bean burgers ever.

(recipe from Food Network)





  • One 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn (do not thaw)
  • 1/4 cup instant oatmeal   (<– I used old fashioned oats and they worked just fine)
  • One 1.25-ounce packet taco seasoning mix
  • 1 clove garlic, grated on a rasp
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons olive oil

Mash the beans with a fork then mix in everything else (minus olive oil, that’s for cooking them in). Put in the fridge for 15-20 mins then form into 4 equally sized patties. Heat olive oil in a pan on medium heat, cook the burgers until golden & crisp (~ 8 mins) on one side then flip and cook until slightly crisp on the other side (another 5-8 mins). BOOM. done.



We tried them with salsa on top and it was good, then tried with mustard and ketchup and pickles like a normal burger, and it was SUPER delish. Seriously it is just like a normal hamburger patty- so good!


Try those. Like, now. You will love it, even if you don’t normally love vegetarian things! :)




Do you like vegetarian meals?

What is your favorite vegetarian recipe?



The other day I was emailing with one of my budget coaching girls (heyyyyy, K!) and she mentioned that she had a big project due soon and it was causing her to spend money purely out of stress. She realized that she was making extra trips to the coffee shop just because of how stressed she was.


That got me thinking. I used to stress spend, too.


target wine box

(WHOA old pic- my hair is so short here! Also this was in VA, you can tell because THEY DON’T SELL WINE IN TARGETS IN NY!!! Ugh, it’s sad)


When I was in crappy living situations after college, I often found myself wandering the aisles of Target, buying stuff just because it made me feel slightly better about life.


That really is the crux of stress spending. You’re spending money in an attempt to make yourself feel better. So how can you avoid that?


(did I use “crux” correctly there? I really like that word but just never know where to use it.)



5 ways to avoid stress spending


target pillows bedding

1. Don’t let yourself near Target if you know you’re feeling stressed. Can’t spend money if you aren’t in a store… (and don’t let yourself go online shopping, either)



2. If coffee is your weakness, splurge on some fancier coffee grounds, delicious coffee creamer, and some whipped creme. Then make yourself some awesome coffee at home. It’ll be a bit more expensive than your normal at-home coffee, but still WAY cheaper than buying it at a coffee shop.



3. Schedule 30-60 minutes of your day to do something you REALLY want to do. Sure, yeah, it’ll cut into your work/project/study time, but trust me, it’s worth it. You need to recharge and give yourself some “me time”. Take a nap, go for a walk, read a book, watch trashy TV, paint your nails, bake cookies, call a friend, have a beer, make some tea… whatever you enjoy. It’s kinda preemptively making yourself happy so you don’t feel like you need to go out and spend money to make yourself happy.



4. Allow yourself a few splurges. Whatever you’re working on is probably really BIG and it’s okay to be stressed about it! Allow yourself that extra coffee trip to reward yourself for all your hard work. Life’s no fun if you make yourself feel guilty for everything.




5. Perspective. Take a step back and evaluate what’s going on. Is this project a life or death situation? Is your living situation really the most horrible thing on earth? Things could always be worse. What you’re going through is tough, sure, but eventually it’ll be over and you’ll still be alive.






How do you avoid stress spending?




PS— I’ve got a lil’ (BIG) something in the works that I’m going to let you know about soon… in the meantime, here’s a sneak peak ;)

Live Your Life edits

I’m killing approximately half the rainforest on this project because I review/edit things best in hard copy (not on a computer screen) so I’ve been printing massive amounts of things lately. Sorry, trees.


We hit the coffee jackpot this weekend.



Friday I took Starbucks up on their buy one get one free holiday drink offer and Mike and I got some delish drinks! (so there’s the first free coffee)




Saturday we wandered into Bed Bath and Beyond and there was a Keurig employee demoing the Keurig 2.0 and she asked if we wanted to make some coffee for ourselves– YES PLEASE! (so there are free cups 2 & 3 :) )



Hmmmm what else did we do this weekend? Oh! I’m actually super proud of my Friday night activities: I managed to disassemble my Ikea desk and reassemble it without breaking anything! WOOOO!



My desk originally looked like this… (see the drawers/shelves on the left side?)




And I reassembled it to look like this (drawers/shelves on the right!)


I’m not magical; the desk actually came with the option to build it either way. But when I originally built it 2 years ago, I just chose the first option and now I realize that I want to be able to sit on the left and have the right side of the desk to write on since I’m right handed.




Also we hit up Plato’s closet (which is seriously becoming my favorite store) and I scored all this stuff for $36!


See that glorious American Flag shirt? I got that as an investment in my future 4th of July festivities and/or Olympic ceremonies, World Cup games, etc. It’s AWESOME. Best $8 ever.



When I got home with the new clothes, I decided to organize my closet. Do you know how hard it is to share a TINY CLOSET with someone?! Yeah, it’s hard. I told Mike we need to move just so we can get a bigger closet.



Oh and while I was closet-organizing, I started listening to that “Serial” podcast that everyone’s talking about. If you haven’t heard of it– it’s a podcast that investigates murder from 1999 in the Baltimore, MD area (so it’s kinda cool to me because it’s close-ish to where I grew up). There’s a guy in prision serving a life sentence for the murder, but there are people who think he didn’t do it. So this podcast investigates that. It sounded weird to me at first but it’s actually really, really good.



So that was my weekend in a nutshell! I was going to write a post today on avoiding “stress spending” (ya know, spending money when you’re stressed out) but recapping all my free coffees sounded more fun. Keep an eye out for Wednesday’s post– I’ll write about it then! :)



PS for anyone who’s curious… ITS SNOWING RIGHT NOW AND ACTUALLY STICKING TO THE GROUND. Welp, I guess the 8-month Rochester winter is beginning now…



What did you do this weekend??





A few months ago, I wrote a post about some unnecessary fees that you should ALWAYS try to avoid.


Well, today I’ve got another one for ya.


And honestly it’s pretty embarrassing; I almost don’t want to admit to it!


BUUTTTT, since this is a blog and I over-share my life anyway, I’ll fess up ;)



I had to pay $1.40 in late fees at the library!!!!! AHHHHH how could I let this happen?!?!


(PS- sorry, Mom, I’ll never let it happen again!!! ;))

{My mom is a librarian, so I know she’ll be extra disappointed haha}


I mean, okay, it’s only $1.40. Valid point, not a bank breaker. But imagine getting hit with fines like this a few times a month? Even $4 or $5 can add up over the course of a year!


Fines/fees like this make me extremely angry because they are SO 100% AVOIDABLE! All you have to do, is just DON’T RETURN YOUR BOOKS (or Redbox movies, or whatever) LATE! That’s all you have to do and you save money! Have you ever heard of something so simple?


Next time you rent something, remind yourself that the due date is important. Imagine me sitting on your shoulder (you know, like the little devil/angel that they show on people’s shoulders in movies or tv?) saying “REMEMBER TO RETURN THIS!”


Avoiding these silly little fees will keep more of your money in your pocket! So, you know, you can use it on iced coffees or ice cream or something fun like that ;)




What’s the last silly fee you had to pay?

Before this library fine I think it was an ATM fee at a random gas station in the middle of Pennsylvania… ugh.


Last week I added a lil’ something to the blog… did you notice it?




Up there near the top of the page, you’ll see a “Recipes” link! I pulled together all the recipes I’ve written about on the blog and put them in one place :) Take a look and see if you can find any meal inspiration!


And to add one more to the list… Mike and I made this AWESOME salmon the other week so I wanted to share with you guys!


Brown Sugar Spiced Salmon

(recipe via Food Network)


  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar (I used light brown, just what I had on hand)
  • 1 tablespoon chile powder (I used “chili” powder because that’s what I had, but I can’t tell if that’s the same as “chile” powder?)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (I used normal salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Four 8-ounce salmon fillets (we only did two, so I halved the other ingredients)

    Mix everything together and put on the salmon, bake in a foil lined pan (IMPORTANT… that sugar mixture goes everyyyyywhere and believe me, you don’t want to clean burnt sugar off your pan) and bake at 400 for 10-15 mins.


Money saving tip: we buy frozen salmon, in individually wrapped portions, and it’s AWESOME. It’s cheaper and easier than getting fresh fish and I think it tastes totally normal!



This was a super delicious dinner (I think we had it with roasted broccoli and rice?) that would be probably $15 or so in a normal restaurant… we saved SO much by making it ourselves! #WINNING




Are you a fan of salmon / fish?

I used to not really like any types of fish (sorry Mom and Dad, I know you tried to feed it to me) but I’ve grown to really like salmon!