Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Currently daydreaming about...


It's funny how your traveling hierarchy changes as you check places off your list.

I've never had much of a desire to go to Spain. I think I was too busy dreaming of the french riviera and amazing italian food.  But now that I've checked France, Italy, and England off my list- Spain is suddenly very inviting.

I got sucked in by an email from British Airways touting amazing summer deals to Europe and had a (surprisingly reasonable) flight begging me to click "Book Now."

First things first- must find travel buddy.  Spain anyone?

Maybe these will entice you...

Source: via Gayle on Pinterest

Source: via Cindy on Pinterest

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Shower for Baby B

One of my best friends from college is pregnant with a little boy due in May. We threw a shower for her this past weekend to celebrate Baby B's impending arrival. It was my favorite kind of shower- good food, booze, and unwrapped gifts that the mom-to-be "opened" at home.

Jules isn't the type to "ooh" and "ahh" over teensy jumpers and crib sheets, so it fit her perfectly. It was more celebration than shower and definitely more sophisticated that cutesy.

It's hard to see in this picture, but the flowers were gorgeous. There were probably twelve vases bunched together with small amounts of flowers scattered throughout. I always tend to do one large centerpiece and this was just as striking, if not more so. I'm definitely going to try to recreate this at the next shower I throw.

 The party matched Jules' nursery- modern gray and white with pops of yellow.

Jen, Al, Caroline, Jules, E, me.

 Mom-to-be mingling with guests.

Our hostess gifts were so pretty that I didn't want to open it!

I was asked to bring cake pops to the shower. I've made cake pops maybe one time in my life and it was not a pretty sight. Knowing myself and my general dislike for baking combined with my psychotic special occasion induced perfectionism, I thought this was a task best left to a professional. My roommate and my sanity both later thanked me for this decision.

Happy with my plan to outsource, I googled "Cake Pops Dallas" and ran across the Cake Pop Shoppe. Susan was so helpful and her cake pops were delicious and SO cute! I will never again make another cake pop in my entire life. I sent her the invitation and she took it from there. We ordered vanilla, red velvet, and raspberry white chocolate- and from what I heard, all were a hit. She's in Dallas so I was able to pick them up, but from the looks of things, she delivers all across the country as well. Highly recommended!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Pinterest PSA

Like most of you out there, Pinterest has inspired me in a lot of ways: food, fashion, and home decor to name the biggies. I joined the wonderful time-suck of a website shortly after moving and loved looking at all the ideas for decorating.  After getting settled into our new place, I had this big empty space on one of our walls:
In the past, I have gravitated towards BIG artwork to fill spaces with a dramatic punch (like the picture on the left), but with that and another large piece already in our living room, it would have been too much of the same. So I decided to create a gallery wall instead. Enter Pinterest! 

This was quite an undertaking because hanging pictures is not my forte. I do best with artwork that has a wire on the back and requires one nail and no sort of measuring or leveling whatsoever. So when I saw this pin claiming to be a fail-proof way to hang a gallery wall, I thought to myself "PERFECT!"
Um... not so much.

Let's just say looks are deceiving and this wasn't quite as easy as they make it out to be.  I went through the motions and did everything they said to do:
Laid the pictures out how I wanted them...
Taped strips of wax paper together and marked the spots where the nails should go...
Taped it to the wall, centered where the pictures would hang...
And hammered in the nails according to my markings.

And my wall ended up looking like this:
So crooked it looked like it should be in a Dr. Suess book.

I begrudgingly got out the damn level and went to work correcting my "fail-proof" hanging method. A few slight adjustments and I ended up here:

It still looks a slightly crooked in the picture, but I swear it doesn't in person (or at least not to my non-type-a self).

It took some work, but I love the way it turned out! I think it's so much more interesting than one giant picture. I was so inspired that I decided to do a mini gallery wall in my bedroom:
On this one I used a combination of eyeballing it and the toothpaste method to hang these pictures and it turned out to be MUCH easier. I highly recommend toothpaste vs. wax paper.

I love Pinterest and won't be judging future project ideas on this one experience, but I may do a little more research next time!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Things I'm Loving

  1. Repurposing old, useless things. I had a pair of earrings from the ex-fiancĂ© that I adored but lost one of a couple years ago. I called to see about ordering a new mate for it, and they wanted more than my rent for one earring. Literally. So I decided to turn it into a necklace instead. I took it to our family friend that is a jeweler and "ta da"- what's old is new again! I love the way it turned out! My favorite way to wear it is paired with the necklace the girls got me for my 30th. 
  2. This miso salad dressing. It may be in my head, but I feel like miso is on its way to becoming the next big culinary trend. I found it at Eatzi's when they were offering tasties and oh my word- It is delicious. 
  3. Old friends! I had two of my best friends from college (and one post-college) in town this weekend for St. Paddy's day and we had so. much. fun. I was sad to see the weekend end. Sometimes a girly weekend full of brunches and sleepovers is just what you need. 
  4. Hearing nice things someone said about you behind your back. We were all out Saturday night and unbeknownst to me, one of my guy friends was two feet away talking to my friends about me. It's nice to be complimented, but it's even nicer when it's not being said for your direct benefit. 
  5. I'm obsessed with this song right now! I finally found out who sings it (Fun.) and it went straight into my work-out playlist. It had a familiar sound to it and after a quick google search I figured out the lead singer used to be a part of one of my favorite bands The Format:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Gift is Yours

I love this quote I found on Pinterest- especially that you alone are responsible for the quality of your life. I am very, very big on "the small things". To me, the little things you do can either add so much happiness or so much frustration* to your life and reminders of that are much needed at times.

I actually keep a running "happy list" on my phone of small pleasures for those blah days when I need a pick me up. Silly, yes. But it's served me well on many an occasion.

In the spirit of improving the quality of life, I decided to change up my routine this morning. I typically sleep as late as possible, pick out my clothes with one eye open, and get ready with the Today show droning on and on in the background. Today, I woke up a few minutes early, kept the TV off and did yoga with my doors open and birds chirping in the tree outside my door:

It was such a nice change of pace. It's amazing how peaceful you can feel when you just take a few minutes to turn the world off.

I hope you find inspiration in that quote as well!

*Losing my keys was the source of endless amounts of frustration a few years ago. I finally got tired of it and bought a glass bowl that is now my key bowl. I can't even tell you how much this tiny thing has improved my life. It's so simple, but oh my word- never ever losing my keys when it used to be a daily frustration? Wonderful. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

March Birchbox

If you don't know about Birchbox, you need to! Birchbox is a subscription that sends you five deluxe beauty samples a month for $10 (shipping included). I have been a subscriber for three months now and I love it! Aside from my sweet Aunt that sends cute cards for darn near every holiday, I hardly ever get "fun" mail. So I love finding this in my mailbox once a month.

The March box included a bottle of Essie polish, Tarte LipSurgence (both of these looked like they were full-size), a sample of Kate Spade Twirl perfume, a sample of Keretase Elixer Ultime, and a Twistband hair tie. I will admit that there is usually one sample per box that is sort of "meh" but there are usually several others that make up for the things you would never use (like the sparkly stick on lip tattoos from last month, seriously??).

My favorites so far are the Beauty Blender, VMV Hypoallergenics Re-Everything Eye Serum, and Orofluido Elixer.

I originally heard about Birchbox through twitter and blogs, so I just thought I would assist in spreading the word in case any of you had never heard about it.  You can sign up for yours here!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

January in Pictures

I was about to do a February in Pictures post and realized I never did January! Looking back it doesn't appear that I was very into taking photos. Most of them seemed to be centered around two of my favorites- Moose and Madi.

Speaking of Madi- my sweet godbaby turned one on the 18th! She was so cute and dainty with her cake. Her mama literally had to smush her hand into it to get her going. But once she got started there was chocolate cake everywhere. I think she enjoyed herself though!

My favorite store, Oil & Vinegar, reopened in the metroplex after closing it's Galleria location several years back. It's hard to beat a store that focuses solely on oil, vinegar, herb mixes, and pastas. 

Every once in awhile one of our clients is asked to do a segment on Good Morning Texas. I love managing these appearances because you never know who the other guests will be. I've met some very interesting people in the green room waiting for our screen time. 

One of my new favorite wines! It is a delicious red called La Quercia. Dallasites you can find it at Jimmy's, Eatzi's, or Central Market. 

I saw this in H&M and laughed out loud. I love my Twilight as much as the next tween, but I doubt I'll be sporting movie quotes as fashion any time soon.

This photo makes me laugh. I was trying to trim Moose's nails and he literally wiggled his fat little body around and stuck his paws underneath my arm so I couldn't reach them. Annoying but smart. I had to laugh.

More Madi! (See? I told you!) My cutie lunch date.

Instagram Moose Nose.

Y'all. This was a lady at the Dallas courthouse helping me take care of a ticket. I have never seen nails like that in real life. I stood there absolutely fascinated as she did simple tasks like use a pen, type on a calculator and answer a phone. She was so nice which makes me a really bad person, but I was just in awe.

See? Pretty sad showing for pictures from January. I'll make it up to you in February!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Let's Play a Game!

The game is: Guess what the object in the middle of the cutting board is:

Water Chestnut? 

Almond Sliver?

Slice of Grape? 

Need a hint?

Yep, if you guessed finger/nail... you are correct!!

In probably my most significant kitchen injury to date, I decided last night that I no longer needed my fingertip and/or about a quarter of my nail.

I was cooking dinner and got a little too over-zealous while chopping up some basil. When I cut it, I immediately grabbed a paper towel to put pressure on it. It wasn't until my roommate came running over that we peeked at it and realized there was a fairly decent chance my finger was somewhere amongst the basil. We moved a leaf over, and sure enough- there it was! 

Side PSA: if you are looking at purchasing good quality knives, I highly recommend Global. That sucker breezed right through my fingernail and flesh like it was warm butter. And it was a clean, perfect slice. It was very strange to pick up the tip of my finger with the nail still perfectly attached. 

My nurse roommate instructed me to put heavy pressure directly on the tip for at least 15 minutes, if not longer, due to the area I cut. She stepped up like a champ and finished dinner while I stood off to the side and instructed her on what to do. She even assisted in ripping off the bloody paper towel for me since after an hour it was stuck on there as if I had glued it (and I was too much of a pansy to do it myself). Thanks Alex! 

Lesson learned, from now on I will be chopping things with my fingers curled under like the pros. I watch enough food network to know that's how you are supposed to do it, but sometimes I feel silly and snobby copying stuff the pros do without having had formal training myself. I feel the same way about swirling and sniffing wine- the only time I ever do it is when I'm with my parents. Granted that's also due to the fact that if I'm with them, I'm probably drinking wine that's actually worthy of swirling. Swirling Barefoot = Pointless, no? I kid, I kid... I would never drink Barefoot. Just Oak Leaf.  :) 

Anyways, that's my little adventure for the week- I hope your Monday was a little better (and a lot less bloody) than mine!  Have a great week!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Foodie Friday: Thai Chicken Pizza

I know, I know... don't fall out of your chair- I actually got back in the kitchen last night.  I have had maybe two nights in the last two weeks without something going on after work. Needless to say, that doesn't leave much time for cooking. Or energy for cooking for that matter.

I saw this recipe on Pinterest and have been dying to try it. Of course the week that I decide to make it, there happens to be a bean sprout recall. Such is life. I had already bought all the rest of the ingredients so I went for it anyways.

I was very pleasantly surprised. It looked good, but it actually tasted even better than I expected it to. The whole thing had sort of an egg roll vibe to it and it's definitely something I would make again whenever I'm craving a non-traditional pizza.

Thai Chicken Pizza {photo and recipe from Closet Cooking

  • 1 batch of pizza dough
  • 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 1 cup cooked chicken, cut bite sized pieces (I used rotisserie)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 carrot, julienned 
  • 1 handful bean sprouts
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 handful roasted peanuts, chopped (optional)
  • 1 handful basil, chopped (optional)
  • 1 handful cilantro, chopped (optional)
  1. Preheat oven and pizza stone to 400 degrees.
  2. When stone and oven are preheated, remove stone from oven.
  3. Spread the dough out onto stone and spread the sweet chili sauce over it.
  4. Sprinkle the chicken, red bell pepper, carrots, bean sprouts, green onions, cheese and peanuts onto the pizza.
  5. Bake in oven until golden brown on top, about 10 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle the basil and cilantro on to the pizza.

A few notes: 
  • I used rotisserie chicken because I was short on time. Chicken marinated in some sort of Thai marinade and then grilled would probably be even better.
  • I was feeling lazy and didn't want to get out the mandolin, so I just used a potato peeler to thinly slice the carrots and then cut the long strips into shorter pieces. 
  • I used pre-made sweet chili sauce and being a spice lover, it was a little too mild for me. Next time I'll probably take a crack at making my own or mix in some sriracha for a little heat before spreading it on the pizza. 
  • Obviously mine lacked the bean sprouts. I will be using those next time as well. 
All in all, this was a huge success in my book. Perfect for an easy, but different, weeknight dinner. Give it a try and let me know what you think!