I'm so full of joy today!! I honestly woke up with smile on my face.... who does that?! :) I am looking forward to this weekend SO MUCH, for a number of reasons:

Tonight- Jared and I are getting dinner with my parents at a local restaurant we've never tried (yum!) and then going to an Easter play! A fun night with my parents is long overdue, and if you know me, I LOVE Easter and want to soak as much of it in as I can :) We've missed out on an Easter play for the past couple of years so I'm really excited to start that tradition up again in 2013.

Tomorrow- Jared has an ENTIRE day/night planned out for us! We haven't done anything new/different in awhile so I'm really excited to just spend the whole day together having fun, no interruptions  no other commitments - plus the weather is supposed to be fantastic in Ohio!

Sunday- Easter Sunday!! Our church service is always amazing, so I'm really looking forward to celebrating at church that day! Then a lazy afternoon, followed by a small family dinner at our place. It's not going to be much, but I'm excited to host a holiday with our best friends.

Is anyone else cooking an Easter lunch/dinner this weekend? My Pinterest board has given me some cute decor and dessert ideas, but I still don't have my menu decided on and would love to hear what you're making! ;)

I also just wanted to say thanks for ALL the sweet comments on yesterday's post. Sometimes I get worried about putting a really heartfelt, vulnerable topic out there... but your comments and support just reassured me even more! So many of you can relate to what I was talking about and I think by posting about it, I feel more motivated than ever to keep on keepin' on! So, thank you!!!

Enjoy your Easter weekend- what do you have planned?

Dream Big

Jared and I had one of those conversations recently that got me excited about life again. That's not to say I wasn't happy and enjoying each day as much as possible…. but it was a conversation that just made us both light up. Made us both feel alive, energized, excited, hopeful, scared, giddy even.

We were just laying in bed one night, already awake later than we should be, talking about our jobs and how neither of us is quite satisfied with where we are in our careers. We both have so many hopes and dreams that lie outside of a "normal" 9-5(ish) job. We both have many talents we want to share and use to really reach people in ways that our current jobs just don't.

While the conversation started out like a typical, "Ughh… I'm so sick of my job. I hate work… I need a vacation…" it soon turned into one that truly motivated us both I think. We started really talking about finances and where we'd like to be in a year, or two. We discussed how realistic some of these dreams of ours really could be. We made mental lists of a couple people we could contact to get the ball rolling when we were ready. We were making our dreams possibilities!

Now it's not to say this is going to take place tomorrow, or this month… or even this year. We have a lot on our plates in regards to our student loan debt and that's definitely still #1 on our priority list. But just to think about the endless possibilities that are out there… to think about us actually DOING WHAT WE LOVE for a living?! It seriously got my blood pumping and for the first time in awhile I truly felt DRIVEN and MOTIVATED to go after the things I really want out of life.

I never want to be one of those people who just says, "I can't wait to do this!" or, "Oh my gosh, I wish I could just do that!" No, I want to be the one who truly achieves the things they want. The person who goes after their passion, their dream and can look back and say, "Yes, this is what I've done and this is what I'm proud of!"

It's a phrase we've all heard a million times before, but it's one I love, and one that I have on my desk at the job that I don't want to be at forever. So how would you answer this question today? I know there are so many people in the same boat as Jared and I, working, collecting paychecks, but just wishing we could do something we loved. What would you go after if you knew you'd succeed??

I can't believe it….

I can't believe it's only Wednesday…. this week is dragging compared to last!

I can't believe Robin officially solved that mid-week blogging rut for me by creating this link up ;)

I can't believe this outtake from from the bridal shower… actually, I can believe it.
Mid-hair flip, lol!
I can't believe vacation is alllllmost here. How early is too early to start packing?!

I can't believe how cute my bridesmaid dress is for the upcoming wedding. I can't wait to wear it when I'm a little more tan.

I can't believe baseball season starts next week!!! Let's go Redlegs!

I can't believe how long it's been since Jared and I went on a "real" date. Don't worry- that is changing this weekend!!

I can't believe how many coupons I'm already getting for my April birthday. My favorite stores are realllly tempting me right now!

What can't YOU believe this Wednesday!? :)

Traveling on a Budget!

If you read my 30 before 30 list, you probably picked up on the fact that I love to travel (who doesn't?!) and want to see/do as much as I can in the next few years... you know, while Jared and I are still young and crazy ;) However, traveling, hotels, airfare... it adds up, and quick! If you don't plan and do your research, you will easily overpay for your vacations- and you don't have to.

I'm a sucker for a good deal... I use coupons, I get dozens of money-saving newletters in my email, etc etc! It's rare that I would ever pay full price for something and that includes traveling. I know there are a million websites out there that help you find deals, but I wanted to share some of my favorites to help keep vacations and weekend getaways affordable.

First- Jetsetter. They put together TONS of amazing travel deals, all over the world-- any location you can think of. Their app for the iPhone is also one of the coolest I've ever seen with tons of 360-degree photos of rooms and locations. There are weekly "flash sales" that offer vacations 50% off or more, and they are legit! This is a must-save website. Check in often and you're sure to land a deal that works for you and your budget.

Second- TravelZoo. Their weekly emails are completely dangerous, so I'll warn you of that first ;) Some of the deals they have make my jaw drop! Incredible savings all over the world; their best deals are generally to the Caribbean and various parts of Mexico. Last year my husband and I stayed at a beautiful all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana for 7 nights + airfare and only spent around $1400 total. Another cool thing about TravelZoo is that they offer local deals as well- I've purchased tickets to plays/concerts through them also and saved half off the general admission costs. They feature a "Top 20" each week with their absolute best deals-- those do sell out quickly so if you're interested in one, you must act quickly.

Third- LastMinute is just what it sounds like:  the best place to book last minute travel arrangements. You can book flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises...even specific activities for somewhere you're going to be like a dinner reservation or ticket to an event. They claim to be able to search for the lowest price, and we all know last-minute bookings usually aren't cheap elsewhere!

BONUS!!! I'll remind everyone again of SwagBucks -Possibly the greatest thing I've ever discovered.  Sign up, take surveys, watch videos, play games, complete tasks... all kinds of opportunities to score 'swagbucks' which can then be redeemed for all sorts of gift cards- including hotels, travel and airfare. You can always cash out for PayPal money too which just means extra traveling money for you! There are dozens of opportunities to earn, so it can feel overwhelming at first but I promise it's worth it. I easily make around $50/month using this site- ask me for tips if you need them! Don't be discouraged if it takes awhile to build up, it's well worth it.

Do you use these sites? What are some of your favorite websites for affordable vacations?! I'd love to hear about some of the best deals you've been able to snag up in the traveling world! The most important thing is shop shop shop around until you find what you know is a great deal- they are out there!


This Monday morning I am in desperate need of a weekend to recover from my weekend. Anyone else in the same boat today?! My goodness-- I am beat! But for good reason :) If you follow me on Instagram at all, you probably saw that I was crafting my little hands off late Friday night in preparation for my SIL-to-be's bridal shower on Saturday!

Before I dive into a photo overload, I must say-- the highlight of my Friday night MAY have been Skyping with not just Robin, but Dom & Tate as well!!! And yes, they have a pet hedgehog named Tate. How jealous are you right now?!?!

Onto the bridal shower!! We were in no shortage of yummy foods or desserts, I'll start by saying that! ;)

These were the party favors- full of DELICIOUS taffy!
There was some super intense game-playing going on. Bridal shower games are no joke!!

The beautiful bride! That sign says Bride to be, even though you can't quite read it in this picture. And that canvas of one of their engagement pictures was part of my gift for her. I can't wait to see it hanging in their new apartment soon!

Our favorite little 'princess' cousin and her momma. And yes, she is wearing bunny ears at the moment... I'm sure she will love me posting that picture ;)

She got so many gorgeous gifts.... although at least half my pictures are not appropriate to share on the internet. Jared's family goes ALL OUT for family bridal showers. It seems like each time they try to out-do the last one in terms of "honeymoon" attire... and I think Kayla's bridal shower topped them all! It was way too entertaining ;)

Kayla, her sweet grandma and our favorite baby... again ;)

I'm so excited to be able to officially call Kayla "family" in just a couple short months, even though she already is a little sister to me :) This girl deserves the absolute world so I am honored to be a part of her and Caleb's wedding and share in their excitement!

Weekend rollout!!

I won't lie… one of my favorite parts of a Friday morning is the commute to work. Weird, I know. But in my part of the world, country, state, city…. a local radio station plays THE best jams from 8 to 8:30, nonstop, no commercials. All the current hits, all the old hits that you wish still got played more often and it's remixed in THE best possible way ever. Oh, and miss Britney is ALWAYS in attendance.

So since I'm groovin' on into work right now, I hope you are too. I plan on cranking Pandora in my office today (Most likely 80s pop stations- don't judge, I love my Michael Jackson!) and attempting to focus even though there's a TV that will have basketball playing all day long as well!

And as always, I've got a few Friday's Letters for you!

Dear Friday, You got here FAST this week. I've been one busy, crazy person but I'm happy you and your friends Saturday & Sunday have arrived!

Dear Pinterest, Are you proud of me?! Finally, all this time of pinning and pinning…. I've actually gotten with it and put some of these things into action! Can't wait to share all of 'em on the blog, after a certain bridal shower tomorrow, of course!

Dear PNC Bank, I'm seriously annoyed with you right now. Jared and I combined bank accounts on March 4th, and I have yet to receive my new debit card from you!!!! Not.Cool.

Dear March Madness, I'm so happy you're here!! I haven't kept up much with the college basketball world this year…. but I'll never miss out on the tourney and making a sucky bracket! ;)

Dear Halie, Your blog and your weight loss stories are incredibly motivational! Thanks for sharing so much with us, I think you rock!!! :)

Dear DisneyWorld, We probably should have videotaped my reaction when all our travel info/packet  came in the mail. It was commercial worthy. Can't wait to see youuu!!!!! :)

Dear Readers, Got any questions for me? Topics you'd like me to post on? Spill it!

Dear Jared, I think you're hott…. that is all ;)

March's Past

If you haven't picked up on a theme yet, I've been recapping the past 5 years each month, just to see the crazy amount of things that have changed in such a short time. If you missed January or February, be sure to catch up first ;)

March 2008
Finishing up my junior year of college by going on a missions trip to FL.

Helped throw a bridal shower for my sister.
And hellooooo short-haired-Erin!
March 2009
I was working a temp job grading standardized tests. THAT is a post for another day, my friends ;)
Made my first trip to NJ/Philly with my mom. Visited Ellis Island & saw the Statue of Liberty.

March 2010
I'd been a temporary employee at my current job for 7-8 months and was waiting for
that bump to a full-time employee.... and an engagement ring ;)

March 2011
Prepping all the last minute stuff for our wedding.
Getting spoiled by bridal showers left and right!

March 2012
Celebrated a fun St. Patty's day with family and friends.

Jared and I hosted our first grill-out at our new house.

March 2013
Said goodbye to my dear, sweet great-grandmother.
Officially started on the Dave Ramsey plan to pay off our debt!!

Simple Southern Ways

I made one!

A 30 before 30 list that is. Sure, everyone's got them floating around in blogland... but for good reason! They are awesome! Anytime I see that someone has one on their blog I click straight to it, no joke! I love to see what people hope to accomplish in the next few years of their life. It always inspires me to do more.

In my mind I always think of things I want to do, see, accomplish before a certain point in my life but I've never made that concrete list. Which, if you know me, is crazy because I LOVE a good list.... or seven. I make lists daily so it just makes sense to finally get on it and make by 30 before 30 list. Plus, my 26th birthday is exactly 1 month from today and every so often I have panic attacks about how "old" I'm getting.
Oh you know... just *TWENTY* years ago!!

Erin's 30 before 30 list
To be completed by April 20, 2017
1. Run a 1/2 marathon.
2. Be completely debt free.
3. Give up pop for 60 days straight.
4. Finish my novel and submit it for publishing.
5. Be a mom.
6. Organize our house, top to bottom.
7. Grow this blog to 2,000 readers.
8. Treat myself to a day at the spa.
9. Host a holiday meal.
10. Crochet a gift for someone.
11. Get at least 2 more stamps on my passport.
12. Get involved in our church.
13. Visit 2 more NFL stadiums.
14. Upgrade the floors/carpeting in our home.
15. Get professional pictures taken of Jared and I.
16. Visit as many new states as possible. (I'm 22/50 right now)
17. Regularly donate to charity.
18. Watch every movie we own.
19. Throw Jared a fantastic 30th birthday party.
20. Go on a spontaneous weekend getaway.
21. Be up-to-date on all family/yearly photobooks.
22. Get a promotion.
23. Visit DisneyWorld     April 2013, recaps found here, here, here , here and here!
24. Anonymously help someone in need.
25. Restore an antique piece of furniture.
26. Become an early riser.
27. Go to the Ohio state fair (I've never been!)
28. Update my camera/lenses
29. Grow my hair out and donate to Locks of Love.
30. Read 20 new books each year.

So what do you think? Think I can do this all in 4 years & 1 month?! I know there are some pretty lofty goals on there, but I'm excited to finally have an 'official' list and to start crossing things off. I'd love to read your bucket list or 30 before 30 type of list, if you've got one- leave the link in a comment below!

And since Robin is starting her brand new link-up today, I wanted to join in as well!! Because seriously….

I can't believe… It's taken me this long to make this list.
I can't believe… My birthday is only 1 month away!
I can't believe…. I might be meeting lil miss Robin next month, eeeeek!!!! :)
I can't believe…. I actually went out and jog/walked 2 miles with Jared after dinner last night- and liked it!


Looking back over this past weekend I couldn't help but smile and think about how thankful I am for so many blessings in my life. I know, I know.... everyone says that cliche phrase all the time, but I mean it. Even with the craziness that our life has been in the past few weeks, there has been a lot of fun as well. You can never let yourself be too busy for fun, am I right!?

I'm thankful that every one in awhile Ohio decides to give us that perfect cool, crisp night. A night that's perfect for sitting around a fire and hanging out with family ----and a cute puppy-in-law.

I'm thankful for occasions to dress up with my man, and for hair that is FINALLY getting longer again!

I'm thankful for a favorite mug from a friend, a job that sometimes lets me do cool stuff and a job that allows me to take a much-needed vacation next month!

I'm thankful for the family I gained when I married Jared! There is nothing cuter than that scrunched up little face and a cupcake shirt!

I'm thankful my mom is always just a phone call away.

I'm thankful for the house Jared and I live, as much as we might complain about all that's wrong with it ;)

I'm thankful for the closet I have, overflowing with clothes.

I'm thankful for little things like planners, fun pens and post-it notes that make a day at the office just a little more colorful!

Think about all your blessings today! :)

Erin means Ireland

Happy Monday, friends!!! :) Remember Friday when I told you I had a bajillion things crammed into one weekend?? I wasn't kidding. It was one of the busiest weekends ever, but a productive one at that! So even though most of your blog reading list might be filled with pictures of green and shamrocks galore, I'm saving some of my updates for tomorrow and Wednesday. And the only reason for that is that I'm slacking on the blog and
 didn't get anything ready in time. 

Oh, but since Erin means "Ireland" and everything I DID grab this picture for you guys. Obligation, I suppose ;)

Luckily- My girl Kaitlyn is here to save the day & entertain you today. I was pretty excited when she told me she wanted to share some recipes on my blog because I am ALWAYS looking for new ones. Sometimes Pinterest is just too darn overwhelming, so it's nice to have a more personal reference on a recipe someone knows and loves. So check out her recipes and her blog today and you'll make this "Irish" blogger one happy Erin!!

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Hi sweet Love Fun & Football readers! I'm Kaitlyn and I blog over at put a bow on it. I "met" Erin a little earlier this year and what can I say, it was love at first sight. Another girl who loves football as much as I do? I was sold.

Like Erin, my husband and I have been trying to eat healthy & clean lately. Sure, that mac and cheese tastes pretty freaking amazing, but we feel SO much better when we eat better. (Said husband will call me a hippy when he reads this!) Pinterest is a help, but, like I'm sure you've all noticed, there's WAY more cheesy & fried recipes than healthy & delicious!

So today I want to share some of our favorites with all of you! We LOVE these recipes and have made them multiple times, and will continue to do so.

The first, and my favorite, is one I tried to be a food blogger and post. TRUST ME - you will want to make this. I know it's a soup and I know it's not really soup weather anymore, but it's so good that IT NEEDS to be made. I changed up the recipe a bit, but the original is linked on there so you can make it your own!

And now for a few more:

1. This is what I make on nights where I just CANNOT cook. Rather than run out to get Chick-fil-a, I throw some chicken in the oven and roast some broc. These packets are amazing - not only do they taste like heaven, but they are 100% all natural. Seriously, read the ingredients - you will know every one. And it's cheap! They have three different flavors from what I've seen at Target. (And also world market! Get you this and some wine and you're set.)

2. I'm obsessed with Cantina Laredo. It's not tex-mex, but it's the BEST Mexican restaurant I've ever been to. They have a pomegrante margarita that is out of this world. But back to food - their tortilla soup is the best tortilla soup I've ever had. I don't like chunky torilla soup, so this was perfect. I watched a video of a chef from CL making it and then used this recipe to make my own. I left out the jalepenos and the diced green chilis and rough chopped the onion instead of dicing them. And we didn't bother with the fried strips or avodaco. Topped with some cheese - this was amazing.

3. Cauliflower bread sticks. In addition to Erin's rice recipe, you guys need to make this. NOW. Basically, go buy stock on cauliflower. I used this recipe and used four cloves of garlic instead of 2 and was a little more liberal with the cheese - we used the new Kraft with a touch of Philly Motz because it melts really well. Pro tip - bake it on parchament paper on a cookie sheet. When it's time to flip it over, lay another sheet on top and flip it onto that new sheet, then back in the oven. Works perfect!

4. And now for the best one - the eggplant parm. This recipe is hands down the best one ever. We did exactly as she says to, just maybe put a bit more ricotta in the middle. I'm sounding like a broken record, but make this now - you won't regret it.

So there you have it - four simple and healthy recipes! (Made healthier without cheese, but come on, I can't let go of my cheese!) Come over and say hi, I would love to have you!