Friday, December 10, 2010

outtakes

For the last two years I've sent out a picture of my sweet pup, Ellie, with my Christmas cards.  I wanted to get my cards out this weekend, so time was of the essence...I needed to get a picture of Ellie, stat!  Mind you, I tried to get a picture of us on Thanksgiving and mom was too busy to take the picture.  Anywho, I picked up Ellie and attempted to have a quick photo shoot, let's just say things went south quick.  Ellie was not having it and was fidgety during the entire shoot.  Here's what I had to deal with....

Ellie is hating life

We were able to get a few shots, even though she wasn't looking into the camera for any of them.  I think my favorite may be the kissy picture.



The picture below is fairly decent of me and Ellie looks so sweet...looks can be deceiving ;).  Since I didn't love any of the pictures, I decided to scrap the idea altogether, so I thought I'd show you some of our outtakes.  Here's to hoping things go better next year.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

o christmas tree, o christmas tree

I cannot believe it's already December!  My goodness, how this year and last few months have flown by. Christmas is my favorite time of year and I have so much coming up in the next few weeks, so stay tuned. For now I wanted to show off my very first Christmas tree.  I dragged my sweet parents to Lowe's last night to pick out a tree.  The rest of the evening was spent trimming the tree.  As a side note, putting lights on a tree is miserable, I don't know that I've ever done it since Mama Bear is so good at it ;) ... but without mom I was left to string the lights myself.  And of course the best part was putting on the ornaments.  Before moving last year I packed up all the ornaments I had collected over the years (mom gets me a new one every year), it was so much fun unwrapping them -- I love it when ornaments have a story.  After a tiring two hours my tree was trimmed, behold my pretty tree...I love it!


Hope you're enjoying the holiday season!

Friday, October 22, 2010

happy blogiversary

A year ago today I laid in bed and set up my very first blog.  I remember the moment quite distinctly.  I tried to write an illustrative and comedic little post about my first blogging experience, don't know that I accomplished either, you can make your own assessment by clicking here.  My friend, Mary Grace and I had been talking about blogging for a few months, it wasn't until October 22, 2009 that I decided to bite the bullet.  Quite honestly, I didn't think I'd ever post again.  Shortly after my first post, MG created her own blog.  As a way to hold ourselves accountable so as not to give up on our blogging adventures we started "Top 5 Fridays".  Each Friday we'd pick a subject and choose our top five songs, movies, websites, etc...you get the idea.  Shortly thereafter we started Must Have Mondays.  After a few months we started to run out of ideas and Top 5 Fridays and Must Have Mondays became something of the past.  But I continued to blog and MG's blog became quite popular.

This time last year I was going through a very difficult time in my life.  As I continued to blog I started to notice how therapeutic my blog writing was.  It was only when I was blogging that I stopped thinking about all the seemingly unbearable things that were going on in my life.  Blogging became an escape for me and I am forever thankful.  So, thank you to my faithful followers, all 5 of you ;).  Here's to another year in the blogosphere!

Friday, October 15, 2010

a place to rest my feet

I moved into my first house during my senior year of college (4 years ago, my how the time flies).  After years of communal living I was so ready for a "home" life.  I was looking forward to decorating and being able to make the place my own, well mine and my roommates ;).   I quickly learned how expensive furniture was so my new place became more of hodgepodge of what me and my friends could get from home.  For some reason I had the idea of using a chest as a coffee table.  In my mind I imagined a red, distressed chest adorned with a full bouquet of sunflowers.  Unfortunately I never found the right piece and I have been longing for a chest coffee table for the last four years.

A couple of week ago I made a pit stop at my favorite furniture store and saw a chest.  Mind you I've been going to this place for the last year or so and I've gotten a few pieces here and there.  I had seen a trunk on the website and asked her to keep an eye out for me and let me know when she found one.  One year later I was writing a check for my trunk, yay!  She had painted the chest white but since most of my furniture is turquoise, I asked her if she could paint and distress the chest turquoise, turns out for an additional fee of $10 I could have the chest painted any color I wanted.

The chest made it home today and I absolutely love it, it's perfect and it looks like what I've been envisioning for the last four years.  Behold my new coffee table...


In honor of the fall season (my favorite mind you) I decided to do an autumnal arrangement in the corner of the chest.  Here's an up close picture of the arrangement.  The picture is of me and my roommates from our sophomore year of college, we had a full force photo shoot at the pumpkin patch (and don't worry, we also sent out Christmas cards using the picture below).  I found this picture a few weeks ago and put it on my fridge, the flowers and pumpkin needed one more touch so I figured this picture would be the perfect finishing touch.


While I was snapping pictures I thought I'd take a picture of the living room for you all to see.  Now you can envision where I'm blogging from, feet propped up and all!



Hope you're all having a great weekend!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

like a kid on christmas

Yesterday I made a quick trip to Target for the essentials like face wash and cleaning supplies, all in all, a not so fun trip to Target.  As always, I ventured to the housewares section, specifically the Giada housewares section.  As I mentioned in this post, I absolutely love her new line of cookware and will often times just marvel at all her pretty, yet expensive utensils and cookware.  To my surprise and delight her 10 piece stainless steel cookware set was $50 off, for a limited time only, of course.  I have been eyeing this set for a few months and have even asked for it for Christmas, that being said I decided to bite the bullet and buy this beautiful set of pots and skillets.  I was excited to say the least, so much so I decided have a mini photo shoot with my lovely new Giada cookware!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

peanut butter chocolaty goodness

I stumbled upon a fun little blog called the Sweetest Kitchen.  Initially I found some fabulous cupcakes that I wanted to try.  I had big plans this weekend to test them out but by Sunday I was officially over cooking and baking so I decided I'd put the cupcake project on hold.  I was perusing the site the other day and found a recipe for homemade peanut butter cups.  I don't know why I felt so compelled to try these but I was obviously compelled enough to make a quick trip to Walmart this afternoon and whip 'em up.  Mine didn't turn at as good as the one's from this post, but they taste great.  Next time I'm gonna try my best to make sure I cover up the peanut butter completely.  Lucky for you I did another illustrative post to walk you through the recipe.  My pictures are terrible, perhaps photography will be my next venture...hmmm.

Before getting started, line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners.

Chop up 1 1/2 cups of bittersweet chocolate.  Add 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter and a pinch of salt.

Melt chocolate, peanut butter and salt.  Place 2 teaspoons melted chocolate in each liner.  Place muffin tin in freezer and freeze for 20 minutes.


In a bowl, mix 3/4 cups natural peanut butter, 1/3 cup light brown sugar, 2 tablespoons crushed graham crackers and a pinch of salt.

Remove muffin tins from freezer and place 1 heaping tablespoon of peanut butter mix in each liner, freeze for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes place 2 teaspoons of the remaining melted chocolate in each liner, ensure that the peanut butter is completely covered. Place in freezer for up to an hour.


Enjoy

Sunday, August 8, 2010

taco night

Last night I ventured into the kitchen for my first cooking venture.  My love for baking started toward the end of last year and since then I've wanted to do some more cooking, it just always seem like a much more daunting task than baking.  Last night I had a friend over for a "tacos and margaritas" night.  I called upon my mom for my great Aunt Jenny's yummy taco recipe.  My family's tacos are a bit different from the norm, we include potatoes and carrots in our taco meat, weird, I know but I promise you it's good and it's what I've grown up with.  I've always wanted to do an illustrative cooking post so I tried my best to capture each step of the process, my pictures are amateur at best, but you'll get the idea.


Chop up a handful of baby carrots and cut a couple of white potatoes in cubes.  I think I went overboard on the potatoes.


Brown one pound of lean ground beef.  Once it's complete, drain in a colander.  Please notice my fabulous new Giada skillet from Target.  PS, Santa I really want the 10 piece cookware set ;)



While the meat is browning boil the carrots and potatoes until soft.



Once the carrots and potatoes are soft, mix them with the browned meat.



Fry tortillas in a skillet with peanut oil, be cautious of the splatter.



Once the meat and tortillas are complete you can build your own taco with any garnishments you like.  I opted to add cheese and lettuce with a side of beans.

bon appetit

Sunday, August 1, 2010

cupcake lovin'

I was scouring the net looking for pictures of cupcakes.  As you all know by now I absolutely adore cupcakes and could probably look at pictures for hours, weird, I know.  It's always amazing what people can do with these tiny little treats.  My favorites are the ones with fondant icing.  Check out some fabulous cakes I stumbled upon.

I know you started humming the theme song the minute you saw this.

Lego lovin'

All I can hear is that beeping...

The iPhone replica may be my favorite

After scrolling through pages and pages of of cupcake pictures (my goodness Google images is so much more user friendly) I stumbled upon this gem...



Are you kidding me?!?  Quite possibly two of my most favorite things together, cupcakes and jewelry, and Tiffany's jewelry nonetheless.  I would be a happy girl if this little concoction was presented to me on my engagement night, just an FYI to all potential suitors ;)

it's bananas

I woke up bright and early this morning and immediately felt the urge to bake, strange, I know but I decided to go with it.  I've had mushy, overripe bananas staring at me from the fruit bowl for a week now so I figured I'd whip up some banana nut bread.  Since I had four overripe bananas I figured I'd test out a recipe from my friend Mary Grace -- chocolate chip banana nut cookies, yum.

After tossing and turning for a few minutes I pulled myself out of bed and headed to Walmart, ugh, I know I hate it too but they have cheap food.  I got home and was ready to go.  If you've read some of my previous posts about baking you'll notice I always have a few stumbling blocks before I can get to work.  Today was no different.  At the suggestion of my friend Marjorie I placed my bananas in the freezer last night, that way the nasty flys and gnats that keep getting into my house would stop feasting on them.  I thought it was so genius.  Well as I started to unpack my groceries I pulled open the freezer and found rock hard bananas.  I don't know what I was thinking.  I imagine I figured they'd be like vodka and just never freeze, no such luck.  Also, while unpacking groceries I dropped the eggs on the floor, ugh.  Luckily I was able to salvage enough to make my desserts.  After a few frustrating minutes I was able to get everything together and start baking.  First on the list, chocolate chip banana nut cookies, behold:


To shorten this post I suggest you visit MG's blog to get the ingredients and directions, please note, I substituted walnuts for pecans.  You can choose any nut that suits your fancy.  Her post is far more illustrative and fun to read.  While the cookies baked I worked on whipping up my banana nut bread.



Ingredients:

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 ripe bananas
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tps. vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 tsp. salt
2 cups flour

The directions are fairly simple.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Mix all the ingredients in bowl in the order listed.  Once everything has been mixed pour the batter into a greased and floured 9x5 inch loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes.   Let cool and enjoy.

A few posts ago I mentioned that I would try to post pictures of my new digs.  I happened to snap a picture of my cute kitchen, check it out.



Hope you're having a relaxing Sunday afternoon!

Monday, July 26, 2010

fresh friands

I came across this delicious recipe a few years ago.  As most of you know, back in the day I wasn't quite as baking savvy as I am today.  When I first tried this recipe (about four years ago) I forgot to add flour, you can only imagine my disappointment when I opened the oven to find flat friands staring back at me.  If memory serves me correct the second batch went terribly wrong as well.  I guess third time was the charm. I've made this sweet treat a few times in the past few years, it's a light and refreshing treat, perfect for the summertime.  While I was at the grocery store, I figured I'd take a stab at it again, behold my yummy berry topped friands.



Ingredients

1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup ground almonds
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 sticks butter, melted
4 egg whites, beaten until stiff
5 strawberries, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Directions

1. Preheat over to 400 degrees.  Lightly grease muffin pans.
2. In a medium bowl, combine confectioners' sugar, flour, ground almonds and baking powder.  Stir in melted butter.  Gently fold in egg whites.  Spoon batter into prepared muffin pans.  Top batter with fruit.
3. Bake 18 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Remove from pans immediately.

bon appetit

Sunday, July 25, 2010

some of my favorites

I've lived in my apartment for close to 7 months and still haven't made an official post about my new digs.  I had a grand idea of posting pictures of all my previous homes, apartments, and so forth but clearly that never came to fruition.  That being the case I've decided to post some pictures of some of my favorite pieces in my apartment, the first being my dresser.  As some of you know I made this dresser over last fall and in the months since I have absolutely fallen in love with it.  It's directly in front of my bedroom door and it always makes me smile.  Not only is it the first piece of furniture that I refurbished but all the pieces, pictures and trinkets on it seem to come together perfectly :)




close up of all my fun trinkets :)

Another piece I absolutely adore is my book shelf.  I've wanted a book shelf for a while now.  I have a lot of books that have been sitting in boxes and hutches just waiting to be put on display.  My sweet parents were kind enough to buy be a cute book shelf for my birthday.  I've had fun dressing it up with all my fun knickknacks.  The bottom shelves have been a bit sparse for the last few months, I finally decided to do a little rearranging this afternoon and it now looks complete.  There are few holes here and there, but for now it will do.

pardon the black cord...

Hopefully one day you'll get to see the entire apartment...stay tuned :)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

louie turns one

As most of you know I have a great memory for dates, I remember birthdays, major events, anniversaries, etc, etc.  Well this time last year I bit the bullet and bought myself the monogrammed Louis Vuitton "speedy 30" handbag.  A year prior to that I had been looking for the perfect purse to wear with everything.  I had grown sick of wearing one purse for a few months until it wore out and I was forced to find another.  I had started eyeing the Louis Vuittion purse around Christmas 2008 but there was no way I could make the big purchase, I wasn't even employed full time at that point.  After doing my research and saving a few extra bucks, not to mention finding a job I made the big purchase last summer.  Had I had the blog at the time I definitely would have blogged about this momentous occasion, lucky for my readers I have one now so I can blog about "his" birthday ;).  Even a year later I absolutely love my bag and the money I doled out has been well worth it!

Sporting the new Louie

Saturday, June 12, 2010

losing myself in lost

The day after the epic series finale of Lost, I felt compelled to find out what at happened to the survivors of Oceanic flight 815. Perhaps it was my friend Mary Grace's tweet about the characters being stuck in purgatory or Marjorie's confusion over what I had actually happened, apparently she herself was still "lost" or confused as to what had happened to the survivors. Whatever it was I felt the need to figure it out for myself. During my lunch break I scoured the Internet trying to find out what had happened on that island. Just as Marjorie had said, there was no clear answer. No one could tell me if the survivors were in fact dead or alive. That night I took it upon myself to draw my own conclusions. I decided I would watch the first episode and see if I was hooked...turned out I was. For the past three weeks I've become enraptured with this show. This was a big step for me. During the shows six year run I constantly knocked it and told anyone that told me to watch that I didn't understand the appeal. I insisted that by now, they would have either been rescued or dead, little did I know that there were so many twists and turns on this captivating show. I am nearing the end of season two and look forward to what's to come, hopefully I will feel satisfied with the conclusion and watching the show will have been worth it.


Monday, June 7, 2010

mama knows

For the last year I've developed a close relationship with three of my female coworkers, Marjorie, Carla and Teresa.  When you spend what seems like half your life at work it's easy to become close with people.  Marjorie, Carla and Teresa have become like mothers to me, so much so that I refer to them as "mama" from time to time.  I'm fairly certain that I would be a mess at work if it weren't for them.  Teresa always has utensils and every drug imaginable on hand, while Marjorie provides me with snacks and floss for my post lunch cleaning. And Carla always seems to have just enough change to afford me a Diet Coke or bag of M&M's when I'm starting to lose steam in the afternoon.  It's been an interesting and difficult year for me and when you work ten hour days it can be difficult to hide your emotions for the entire time, these sweet women have been through it all with me.  I've been able to tell them all my boy, friend issues and all the other drama girls have to go through and they're always there to listen and provide me a Kleenex if need be.  Thought I would give a quick shout out to these fabulous women and let them know just how grateful I am for each of them!  

My "Mama's" (from left to right): Teresa, Marjorie and Carla

Thursday, June 3, 2010

yummy, yummy goodness

For a little over a year now I've had the perfect work schedule.  I work four ten hour days and get every Friday off, yes I've grown accustomed to having a three day weekend.  Close to two months ago my company gave me the devastating news that we would be going back to a normal 5x8, Monday through Friday work schedule...heartbreaking.  My new work schedule started this week.  I'm not gonna lie it's been great getting off at three every day.  I'm now able to work out, lounge, read, run errands and the list goes on, but now comes the devastating part.  Rather than lounging and relaxing on a Thursday night, I now have to get myself ready for another work day.  As a way to err, celebrate or rather help us ease into our schedule my co-workers and I have decided to have a breakfast potluck.  I jumped at the opportunity to make yummy Bottle Tree Bakery blueberry muffins, they're to die for.  Be sure to check out the recipe here.  While baking I even got an opportunity to wear my cute new apron from Claire, check me out modeling the new apron in Cabo.  Hope everyone enjoys my muffins as much as I do and I guess if they don't, there will be more left over for me :) Bon appetit!


Monday, May 31, 2010

cabo, cabo, cabo

I just touched down in Los Ustados Unidos after a fun filled weekend in Cabo San Lucas.  My dear friend Claire has a home there and was kind enough to invite me and my friends for a fourth time to enjoy the sunshine and beautiful scenery.  Please take a look at my digs from the past four days.

One of the many gorgeous views

The gorgeous kitchen

Most of the weekend was spent lounging by the pool (yes, I got burned on the first day), sleeping, eating amazing food and watching lots of Lost.  I had a wonderful time and I look forward to reuniting with my friends in a fabulous locale once again.  I'll let the pictures do the talking...

Me and my sweet friend Jill catching some rays

Dinner at La Palmilla

The restaurant was beautiful

Me and Dana

The girls

Playing at Casa Turquesa

The Ole Miss crew

Me and Jill

Pretty girls

Thursday, May 20, 2010

an affair to remember

Last Thursday my parents and I headed west for Ali and Greg's wedding.  After close to six years of dating Ali and Greg finally made it official at a beautiful wedding in the Santa Barbara wine country.  

After what seemed like days of traveling my parents and I finally made it to the sweet dutch town of Solvang.  The town is complete with kitschy boutiques and plenty of wind mills, it looked like something out of Shrek.  On Thursday night we met up with family and friends for a delicious dinner at Mattei's Tavern.  On Friday morning my parents and I woke up bright and early (we were still on central time) and headed to Paula's Pancake house for a fabulous breakfast, complete with omelets and danish pancakes...yum! The rest of the day was spent exploring the small town, getting mani/pedis, and a faux glow for myself.  I had tried to get a spray tan on the Wednesday before I left but the tanning salon had closed so I had to get sprayed on Friday afternoon.  Unfortunately you can't shower for ten hours after you get sprayed so I looked a bit "dirty" on Friday night...I tried to tame down some of the pictures so I wouldn't look so orange.

Since it was a destination wedding Ali and Greg decided to have a low key picnic in the park for the rehearsal dinner and everyone that was in town was invited to come.  And let me tell you, this was no ordinary picnic.  The tables were adorned with mason jars, votives and bouquets of beautiful flowers and the chef was famous in the area for his superb barbecue.

On Saturday we ventured off to the wedding via bus.  Ali and Greg were married in a small Episcopal church.  Everyone looked gorgeous (unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the bride and groom).  After the ceremony we were transported to the Sunstone Winery in Santa Ynez.  Cocktail hour was followed by a three course sit down meal and topped off by a night of dancing.  I wish I had more pictures to show you just how spectacular the wedding was but I will be sure to follow up with a link to their wedding pictures so you can have a glimpse of all the fabulousness.  I wish Ali and Greg all the best!

           
The wedding invitations were beautiful.  They were done by a woman in Mississippi...small world!

           

Mama and Bob in front of Paula's Pancake House

One of the many windmills that lined the streets...this is pre-faux glow

Me and Mama Bear

Bob and Aunt Michelle

Me and Aunt Michelle...you can totally tell I had gone a bit overboard on the spray tan

Me with my mom and her sisters, Aunt Michelle, Aunt Cheri and Mama

The Tomchecks

Bob and I taking a rest from shopping

Me and Mom at the wedding

The Carone sisters

Me, Mom and Bob

The beautiful cake