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a year ago today..

a year ago today, randy edward joe proposed to me <3

it totally blows my mind that we have been engaged for a whole year! i would say i remember it like it was yesterday, but soooo many things have happened in the past year, not to mention a crap load of wedding planning, that on one hand, it totally feels like an entire year has already gone by. the part i can't believe is how close the wedding is getting!

so here we are - randy and alaina :) getting married in 3 and a half months, and so much in love. i will tell you, i can definitely see how so many couples break up because of wedding planning - it is so much stress, there's so much to do, and if it's your first time, planning a wedding is nothing like you could ever imagine, regardless of how many times you've seen bride wars or 27 dresses.

but luckily for us, i think this engagement has brought us much closer together. i can't wait to see what the next few months bring, i definitely cannot wait to see what our wedding day is like, and of course, can't wait to spend the rest of my life being mrs. joe <3



turkey sausage + bell peppers

holy moly, have i found the dinner jackpot!!!

i have to disclose: i had dinner at carmella's house one night, and she made something very similar, so i kind of stole this from her :)

similar to other things i like to cook, this dish is super duper easy!

chop all of your ingredients
(i used sweet italian turkey sausage, bell peppers, tomato, and zucchini *i forgot onion here, but definitely add it!)
i cut the sausage so that it would cook faster, but you can leave them whole if that suits you
pour a touch of olive oil into a pan; add ingredients and cook over a low/medium flame
cooking time will depend on how much food you are preparing. to speed cooking, cover the pan and stir frequently

i have to mention that i was so scared about adding tomatoes because i thought they were going to burn in the pan, and burned tomatoes doesn't sound like the most awesome thing in the world. luckily, they didn't burn :) they did fall apart a bit, but they flavored the sausage really nicely.

while your meal is cooking, you can prepare your side. in this instance, we thought rice pilaf would go nicely (which it did). this was boxed, so i just followed the cooking directions.

a few other ideas: you could make 'sandwiches' with the sausage mixture and pair with a nice salad; or you could finely chop the ingredients and put it on top of whole wheat pasta. the other night i paired it with some crinkle-cut sweet potatoe fries that i roasted in the oven, and it was a very fall-feeling dinner.

however you decide to serve it, i guarantee it will be a big hit! randy finished his plate in just about 4 seconds!

add some olive oil to the pan so that your food doesn't stick and burn

yes, this is a santa plate



gobble gobble!


happy thanksgiving!
instead of going into some drawn-out sappy thing, i'll just quickly mention how thankful i am for all of the blessings this year has brought me, and there are only more wonderful things ahead!
i hope you all enjoy a day with family, friends, and food and hopefully no work!
stay safe <3


rooster: revisited

i decided to add another "element" to my rooster tattoo..

i felt like the top of it needed to be anchored to my arm a bit more. having the clouds on the bottom made the top part feel kind of just placed onto my arm instead of being a part of my body. so i thought i would add a sunrise (plus, it's a rooster, get it?! they love sunrises! i actually didn't get this until randy pointed it out..)

we also touched up the leaves underneath the flowers. the whole thing will be getting touched up before the wedding, probably sometime next month.

psst.. you can follow me on instagram @future_mrs_joe to see sneak peaks of the fun things i like to post on my blog!


alaina + randy's egg bake

i've found a great breakfast that packs nutrients, and is also easy for those hectic mornings when you're trying not to be 15 minutes late to work.. again!

let's call this one.. alaina + randy's egg bake :)

*i've also seen this type of thing done using a cupcake pan. here, i use a bread pan.

for the pan i use, i find 9 eggs works best
crack and pour eggs into a mixing bowl. scramble the eggs
add in vegetables of your choice (my faves are tomato, zucchini, and a bit of onion)
pour contents into your pan. i "stir" once it's in the pan to make sure the vegetables are evenly distributed
top with a light layer of cheese
bake @ 350 degrees; i've never timed it, but i like to tip the pan to one side, and if the contents are pretty sturdy and no raw egg leaks out, i know it's done

if i'm making this at night time, i let the dish cool for about 10 to 15 minutes. then, i cut 6 slices and put 3 slices into 2 tupperware containers. this will be randy's and my breakfast for 3 days. each morning we take a slice out and pop it in the microwave.


4 months 'til matrimony!

i'm treating myself to a massage today! i bought a livingsocial deal for a 75-minute massage after the summer trade show season, and my appointment is today! after that, i have my hair trial to decide how i'll style it for the big day. not a bad way to celebrate 4 months 'til the wedding!


wedding wednesday

randy and i are not having a candy buffet at our wedding, but i could look at pictures of them all. day. long.

first of all, smitten on paper has the cutest little favor bags! they can be customized to say whatever, so you could also get some for a bridal shower or baby shower.

now for the bread + butter:





easiest chicken dinner in ze world!

randy and i have been participating in a weight-loss challenge with some of our friends, so i've been trying really hard to cook healthier meals at home (or cook at all, for that matter..)

one thing i've found that is super easy and tastes delicious is this chicken and veggie thing (there is no official name yet). i do have to admit, i stole the general idea from pinterest, but changed some things around a bit..

it's so super easy i feel silly writing directions, but basically you:

put raw chicken into a baking dish
add vegetables of your choice
pour just a touch of melted butter over all contents (i've forgotten this step and it's still delicious)
*this was my contribution* add a can of diced tomatoes over the top
cover with foil and bake @ 350 degrees for about 1 hour (or until all ingredients are cooked)
and you've got dinner!

i usually always add potatoes; you can also add other vegetables like zucchini (3rd image) or carrots, etc.
i didn't realize, but the can of diced tomatoes i had also has green chiles in it. this gave it more of a salsa-y taste.

how easy is this, seriously? and when you plate it, it looks like you spent more time on the meal than you actually did. the reason i didn't used to cook as much is because i didn't think i was creative with food; this dish makes me feel like i've got a little more going on in the kitchen than i thought!
happy cooking!