Saturday, August 31, 2013

First Football Weekend!

Tailgating all afternoon, cheering all night.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Current Favorites!

It's a rare time when you have a reason to link-up twice in one post.  But today must be a rare day.

My Favorite Things:

1.  A new favorite frozen yogurt place.
I love the original tart flavor with kiwi and strawberry.

2.  My ECU Pirates!  First game tailgate of the season is this weekend....We Are Purple!
3.  Pretty Little Liars

I've been hooked on this show all week.  I just started watching the first two seasons on Netflix...I'm still so lost on all the "secrets".

4.  Sugar Snap Peas

Delicious.  I go through a bag every two days, it's my favorite mindless snack food.

5.  House Hunting.

yep we are doing it.  It's a fun and exhausting decision.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Discover New Blogs - my Leibster Award (big thanks to Ashley)

One of my newest followers, Ashley from Everything's Hunky Dorey, nominated me for a blog award.  I had a difficult day at work today so that email notification gave me a reason to smile and provided me with tonight's blog topic.
11 Questions for me to answer. . .
1. What is your favorite TV show currently on tv?  I'm addicted to Criminal Minds and Law and Order SVU.

2. How many children do you want?  Let's start with one child and see how it goes.  Ideally we will have two though.

3.  What is something you need everyday?  Me time.  I love spending time with my husband but I also love those precious minutes by myself.

4. Go-to exercise?  I love to run.  I'm not fast and I've never been in any races.  I just love putting in my earbuds and going for an afternoon jog.

5.  Where would you go on vacation if you could go anywhere?  Alaska, yep.  I can see a beach any day, Alaska would be magical to me.

6.  Favorite recipe to make?  HG Brownies...canned pumpkin and devils food cake mix.  When I need a chocolate fix, this works.

7.  If you could pick anyone, who would you want to spend a day with?  Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and I'd like to spend the day in her closet.  I'm not even sure if this is my answer but I can't come up with anything else right now.

8.  Favorite kind of pizza?  Fig and prosciutto if I'm making it.  For takeout I usually just order veggie pizza.

9.  Favorite all-time movie?  I can watch Steel Magnolias on repeat.  And I sometimes watch it with the sound off...I can recite every single line.

10.  What is your least favorite household chore? Dishes. Wet food particles are disgusting to me.

11.  What was your favorite pet?  My Lilly cat of course.  She is fat and fluffy and low maintenance which is important to me.

11 Random Facts About Me:
1.  I prefer Pepsi to Coke.

2.  I love state and local fairs. R and I had our first real date at a county fair.

3.  I'm a major insomniac.

4.  When I laugh really hard, I snort.  This is R's favorite quirk.

5.  When I start watching past seasons of a "new to me" show, I become obsessed.  I'm sure R is tired of watching Pretty Little Liars at this point.

6.  I might be on time, I might be late, but I'm never early.

7.  I love DIY but I don't think I'm very good.  I may recreate several "pinterest" items but I doubt I'd be able to come up with an idea on my own.

8.  I have a black thumb.  I can't keep a plant alive to save my life.

9.  I don't care for coffee, I rarely drink it.  I don't care much for tea but I drink it often because it's healthy and sometimes I get tired of water.  Either way I get jumpy with too much caffeine.

10. I love any combination of chocolate and mint.

11.  I have some long commutes several days a month....I flip through radio stations like it's my side job.  For any passenger in my car, I'm sure this would be an annoying trait.

My nominees are:
Ginny @Buttergirl Diaries
Robin @Surviving Life and Grad School
Katie@ Sappy and Happy
Lidija@Mess of Beautiful Chaos

Questions for my nominees:
1.  Who is your favorite designer and why?
2.  What is your favorite weeknight meal?
3.  What is your favorite "current" song?
4. What website do you visit (almost) daily?
5.  Chocolate vs Vanilla (or any other flavor)?
6.  What is your most recommended wine?
7.  Lipstick, Lipgloss, or Lip stain?
8.  Favorite Pinterest idea - please link.
9.  Most prized possession?
10.  The thing you look forward to every week?
11.  Favorite vacation location?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

In the Kitchen: Superfast Taco Night

We have "taco" night almost weekly.  It's a quick and healthy meal that can be thrown together and topped with whatever we have in the fridge.  I like to use whole wheat Flat Out wraps instead of traditional flour or corn tortillas.  Here are my two favorite variations:

1.Shrimp cooked with taco seasoning (we make our own to avoid all the salt that some of the store blends have).  I like to top it with shredded cheese, onions, chopped tomatoes, sliced avocados, and sriracha.

2. Roasted chickpeas with taco seasoning.  I love it topped with chopped kale or spinach, shredded Monterey Jack cheese, and fresh salsa.

Both of these require minimal cooking and only a few minutes of dicing and shredding.  Both versions can be punched up with other veggies or fresh herbs.  Perfect for any weeknight!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Current Drugstore Favorites

Current Drugstore Favorites

I have been wanting to post an updated list of my favorite drugstore products for a while.  Apparently a few other bloggers beat me to the punch because I've seen a lot of these in the past week.  The L'Oreal Shampoo and Conditioner is a regular alternate in my shower.  I'm still loving my summer nail colors - Essie Turquoise and Caicos makes for a beautiful pedi.  The L'Oreal False Fiber Lash Mascara is perfect for dramatic eyes - I love Clinique High Impact mascara and this gives a very similar look for less money.  I use the two Neutrogena products at night to combat blemishes (be sure to sleep on white pillowcases and towels because it will bleach the color out of nice linens). The Aveeno lotion and the Garnier BB cream are morning makeup bag staples.  Sally Hansen's cuticle pen works miracles on dry nail beds - mine take a beating at work from all the hand sanitizer I have to use.  Most of these items have been repurchased several times and I'd recommend them to anyone.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Saturday Evening MiLB Game...

After a difficult and emotional day Saturday R and I decided we would have a lighthearted evening.  We caught a minor league baseball game.  Five County Stadium home of the Carolina Mudcats hosted the Salem Red Sox, a Boston Red Sox affiliate.  

We had a large lunch with R's family earlier in the day so we shared a bag of roasted peanuts for "dinner".  Our team won in the 12th inning and a surprisingly beautiful firework display followed the game.  I wish we had ventured out earlier in the season but I'm glad we were able to catch the last home game for the's definitely on the list of things to do for next year.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Five on Friday

As always, thank you to the hostesses.  This is the most fun post of my week!

1.  White pants - mine are Lauren Conran from Kohls.  I also love my white shorts from Express and my white pencil skirt from Jcrew.  I don't necessarily follow the rules but I probably won't wear them as often after Labor Day.  I just miss them so much when I put them away.

2.  Summer reading, I recently finished Dan Brown Inferno, it was fast paced and exciting. I'm downloading at least two more on my Kindle this weekend.  One of them will be by Mary Kay Andrews, she is possibly my favorite author to read in the summer.
3.  Baked Kale.  I love love love the crunchy texture of kale when it is baked into chips.  I cheat and buy the pre-rinsed and cut Kale in the bag and roast it in the oven for 15 minutes at 350*.  Make sure you lay it out in a single layer on a baking sheet so all sides get crunchy.  I add some coarse salt and enjoy my snack.

4.  Outdoor music.  The summer concern series continued in our town and this month the Johnny Orr Band performed.  It was a phenomenal afternoon - we brought the dog, the weather was nice and cool, and we had two sub sandwiches for dinner picnic style.  Oh, and the music was rockin'.

5.  Blue Bell Happy Tracks ice cream.  This is a special treat that should not be in my house more than twice a year.  It is the absolute best and it's seasonal so it's not to be missed.  Be warned, you need to ration it better than we do!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

2014 Kate Spade Agenda

Earlier this week I purchased the 2014 Kate Spade New York 17 Month Agenda from Lifeguard Press. I haven't received it yet but I can't wait to start filling it out.  My 2013 Lilly Pulitzer agenda has been perfect, I used it to organize my work, wedding, and life over the past year.  I thought about purchasing another Lilly agenda until I found out Kate would be releasing one.  I like that the month tabs are mylar covered so hopefully they will not bend and there is an interior pocket for receipts or my multiple sticky notes that I write at work.  Here are the pictures from the Lifeguard Press blog, isn't she pretty?

Gold dots is my favorite Kate pattern.  This will look beautiful tucked into my handbag and I can pull it out at work and meetings at not feel weird about having a name brand plastered across the front.

If you are in the market for a beautiful planner, check out the Kate Spade line.  There are four total patterns to choose from, I was diggin' Literary Glasses too - it was such a hard choice.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A few new furniture pieces...

We recently purchased a couple of pieces of furniture for extra storage.  We received so many beautiful items from wedding guests and wanted a way to display them.

We purchased the Verona Bar from World Market (on sale!)
 It's perfect to house our wine glasses, wine, and cocktail set.
 We chose a small corner to place the bar so ours can't extend all the way out (we can always move it if we are entertaining).  Our guest mat from our reception was perfect to hang above it.  We also display our aerator and R's scotch decanter and glasses.
 Here is a picture of the doors opened.  We have glasses on both sides and on the top two racks.  Wine and cocktail tools are on the bottom shelf.  The side and leaf on the left is fully extended to show that it can be completely opened for serving.
 We purchased a china cabinet for our dining room too.  I hate that the lighting is so bad!  We took these pictures at night.  There is nothing wrong with the finish but it isn't my taste.  The plan when we move into a house with a garage is to strip it and re-stain it a darker color.  The mirrors in the cabinet are dated so I may remove them eventually.  A small project, and one that will be accomplished quickly, is to replace all the hardware - we are hoping to do that in the next month.  I really dislike the dated brass pulls.
 This is a close up of the cabinet with our wedding cake topper nestled on the first shelf.
This is our china pattern, the Kate Spade by Lenox Library Lane with the Larabee Dot accent plate.  I love it!  We have six complete sets so far and I hope I continue to collect them for holiday gifts.  They are beautiful!  I plan to use the accent plate for desserts.

I like that I can have everything displayed.  It sure beats having boxes of dishes stacked in a spare room!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

In The Kitchen: Baked Ziti

We had a party for a coworker who decided to move away and pursue another career opportunity.  I volunteered to make baked ziti.  I know it reheats well and I could make a small portion for R to take for his lunch as well.  I've made this recipe for years and it is always a big hit at a potluck.  This is not a low calorie recipe so put those notions behind you.  My directions are for 1 pan of ziti, though everything pictured has been doubled so I could feed a crowd.  

Spray PAM cooking spray into a hot pan. Saute 2 cloves garlic minced and 1 small white onion chopped.  Onions should be translucent before proceeding.  Remove the casings of 2 hot Italian sausages and deposit the meat into the pan.  Brown it up!
 In another pot bring water to a bowl and add 1 box of whole wheat pasta.  I used Penne.  Cook to al dente remember it will cook again later.
 Back to the pan  - add two jars of either homemade marinara or Good Quality marinara from the store.  You can also add stewed tomatoes and Italian spices in a pinch.  Get the sauce good and hot, then turn down the heat and let the flavors relax for a while.
 In a glass bowl add 1 container of ricotta cheese and about 1/2 cup parmesan cheese.
 Drain the pasta and quickly add it to the bowl with the cheese mixture.
 Toss the pasta to coat it in gooey cheese.
 In a pan place a little sauce in the bottom to cover.  Then add the pasta.
 Pour on the yummy sauce
 To make it even cheesier (told you it wasn't low calorie!) I make a rue on the stovetop by melting 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of flour.  Whisk to combine and cook on medium low heat for at least 4 minutes to cook out the starchy taste.  Then take the pot off the stove eye to add 1 cup of milk...whisk it in and then place the pot back on the hot stove top.  Add 1 cup of freshly grated mozzarella cheese.   When it melts into white cloud - pour it over top your pasta.
 Now place the whole thing in the oven at 350* for 25 minutes.  When you pull it out of the oven top with thinly sliced basil.  I didn't add it to this recipe since it was going to be reheated later in the day but fresh basil always makes it better.
If you like cheese, you will like this.  I make this with and without meat - sometimes I use sausage, sometimes hamburger meat, and sometimes meatless is the game plan.