Friday, February 28, 2014

Working For The Weekend

It's been an amazing week full of answered prayers and puppy kisses…not too shabby, I must say.  I've got some serious packing to do this weekend which may be tricky in light of said puppy kisses but that's okay.  Totally worth it.  Hope your weekend is lovely and maybe even (dare I say it?) not entirely freezing.  Enjoy the links!

This has been floating around everywhere this week but it's too good not to share!

Cute idea.

In honor of this weekend's Oscars part 1

…and part 2

Great shop!
Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Foodie Files

Here ye, here ye; I have an announcement!  Even as I type it, I can hardly believe it…as of today, Davey and I are the proud parents of the most delightful English bulldog puppy there ever was.  My soon to be in-laws set the whole thing in motion as a wedding present and I'll tell you what, I'm over the moon excited.  So without further ado, meet Virgina…my snuggly, calm, incredibly cute little munchkin.  

Before I tell you about the homemade dog treats I threw together this afternoon let me first say I promise not to be a finger-pointing, organic-only, self righteous dog owner.  To quote Sweet Brown, "Ain't nobody got time for that".  But I was excited to make a welcome home treat for my big eater and I'm glad I did cause she loves them.  I first spied the recipe on Cesar Milan's website and it looked like something simple she'd enjoy.  Davey tried one…needless to say I did not, but I will say they actually smell really good!

2 ½ cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1 tsp beef or chicken bouillon cubes
½ cup hot water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Dissolve bouillon in hot water and set aside.  Add remaining ingredients then knead dough until it forms a ball.

Roll dough until ½ inch thick.  Cut into slices or use cookie cutters (I used hearts and stars cause it's what I had on hand but a nice dog bone might be a nice touch).

Place dough pieces on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes.  Let cool and serve to your darling canine doll baby.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

3 Ideas

It seems like a lot of life is spent waiting, don't you think?  Waiting in traffic, in line, for the end of the commercial break…to graduate, to get married, to have kids and then grandkids…to feel well, for some peace, for a moment of rest.  Waiting, waiting, waiting.  The truth is, contentment will always seem just out of our grasp if we're not careful.  As my pastor put it last Sunday, it's a moving target.  While I can't pretend to have all the answers on this very deep, very complicated, very serious-for-a-design-blog topic, I do have a few thoughts weighing on my heart…hope they resonate with you.

(Image via Vintag)

1. Let yourself grieve.  Waiting is hard, being told "no" is hard, life is- sometimes- really, really hard.  In my experience, perspective is an important part of the whole picture but it's not necessarily the best place to start.  Yes, you are exceptionally fortunate compared to the rest of the world, your problem may be trivial compared to such and such, you have air in your lungs and shoes on your feet…all those things are true and good.  But if you start there you'll probably just end up feeling discontented and guilty.  That's not progress.  Sometimes you just need to take the time to be upset in a healthy way…not by obsessing or lashing out but by recognizing that you're frustrated because it's frustrating, it doesn't feel fair because it's not fair.  It's an important first step.

2. Talk to a mature person you trust…someone who cares enough about you to be kind and honest, who has the wisdom to know when to talk and when to listen, who won't minimize how you're feeling but won't magnify it into something worse either, someone to help you strategize what's next without missing what this moment has to offer and someone willing to walk with you as you settle into that all important perspective we discussed earlier.  Talk to someone who is for you, tell them the truth and then listen to what they have to say.      

3.  Be open to hope.  This does not mean be instantly happy, you get to decide how you respond but you don't get to control how you feel.  It doesn't mean be positive that things will work out exactly the way you want them to, because- unfortunately-  it's possible that won't be the case.  I know everyone who reads this believes something different, but can I just tell you what I believe?  I believe the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy but I also believe Romans 8:28 that says God works all things for good.  I believe Isaiah 41:10 that says "Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." and I believe, as it was so eloquently put by an acquaintance from college, in the God that gives, and takes away…and then gives again.  
Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Wanted: Week Twelve

1. Hungry T-Shirt, Etsy $17.69  2. One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories, Amazon $14.97  3. Edie Parker Sapphire and Coral Clutch, Moda Operandi $1,295  4. A Frame Chair, 1stDibs  5. Skin Perfection Gel, Sephora $48  6. Coral Stripe Pillow, West Elm $31
Monday, February 17, 2014
Friday, February 14, 2014

Working For The Weekend

Happy Valentine's Day!  It sure is a great day to be alive.  It occurred to me today that this is the only Valentine's Day I'll ever be a fiancé…and that I'll never be a "girlfriend" again…and that by this time next year I'll have been married for 8 months!  Crazy stuff, ladies and gents.  I'm so thrilled to get to spend this and every Valentine's Day with Davey but no worries, I won't get all mushy on you (though I do hope every single one of you has or finds someone you love as much as I love him).  Have a wonderful night, an excellent weekend and enjoy the links!

I spent hours on this site the other week…literally…hours


Kinda weird but also neat.

Seriously funny!

If this actually works, it's pretty awesome.
Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Foodie Files

I've got an extremely simple but very tasty recipe on tap today…goat cheese, lemon and and asparagus pasta.  In fact, basically all the ingredients are in the title so you know it's not complicated.  When I first spotted a similar recipe here I thought it might actually be too easy to turn out correctly…then I figured I'd try some of their techniques (straight goat cheese melted onto the pasta) instead of the more complicated thing I probably would've done (more of a goat cheese Alfredo with a roux, cream, etc).  I'm glad I did cause it was delish.  Sometimes easy is the way to go…who knew?

3/4lb mezzi rigatoni pasta
1 lb fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into pieces
3-4 oz goat cheese
1 TBS lemon juice
1/2 TBS olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare pasta according to package instructions.  In a separate pot, bring water to a rolling boil, salt and add asparagus.  Cook for 2 minutes, drain and set aside.

Drain pasta and reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water.  Place hot pasta into a large bowl and add in goat cheese (breaking it up as you put it in), olive oil and lemon juice, along with a TBS or two of the pasta water.  Stir to combine.  Mix in asparagus and toss to combine.  Season with additional salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

3 Ideas

Whether you find yourself attached or not this Valentine's Day, I think it's a great time for a little decadence.  Celebrate romantic love, platonic love, present love, future love, partnership, independence, or anything in between…and whatever you choose, celebrate it well.  Here's a few ideas to make this or any week feel extra special.

1) If your budget allows it, book yourself a massage or facial (heads up, I hear the best facialist in Nashville is accepting new clients…615-884-7721…you're welcome).  If you're looking to spend just slightly less, take a long bubble bath, throw on a Sephora One Use Mask (it may or may not make you look like a serial killer but it does wonders for your skin!), and enjoy the magazine of your choosing.

2) Eat a rich dessert…I mean really, really rich.  If you can take more than three bites, it's not rich enough.  Think flour-less chocolate cake, a really good creme brûlée or flan, cheesecake or tiramisu, and so on and so forth.  You may regret it at some point, but that point will definitely not be whilst you eat it.

3) Buy a new perfume…even if it's a tester size.  While I tend to stick to one signature scent at a time, I enjoy the occasional switch up.  A spritz of perfume is a beauty ritual we can all share with Coco Chanel, Audrey Hepburn...even Cleopatra!  There's something kind of neat to that, don't you think?  If you're looking for a new scent, a few of my personal favorites include Dior Poison, Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, and Lolita Lempicka Eau de Parfum.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Monday, February 10, 2014
Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Foodie Files

I wandered around the grocery store today looking for warm, hearty meal inspiration to fend off the cold and landed on a delicious lamb and chick pea chili that did not disappoint!  I used a variation of a recipe I first spotted here and was thrilled to discover it's a true 30 minute (or less) meal.  Add this one to your winter repertoire for a real treat!

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large bell pepper, chopped (I used orange but red would work, too)
4 cloves garlic, minced
16 ounces ground lamb
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
3/4 cup yellow cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
1 tsp chili powder
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion, bell pepper and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions and peppers begin to soften, about 3-5 minutes.  Add lamb, salt and pepper, then stir until brown, about 5 minutes.  Drain excess fat, then add tomatoes.  Cook 5 minutes more.  Add chili powder and salt and pepper to taste.  Lastly, add chickpeas, stir, then immediately remove from heat.  Serve garnished with cilantro (trust me, it really makes a world of difference).

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

3 Ideas

It seems Facebook's 10th anniversary has made saps of us all.  I've only watched a few of my friends' look-back movie thingamajigs but it is touching to see some of the moments that defined their last few years.  I spent a little time this week unpacking actual photo albums at my parents' new house (from the pre-Facebook era, of course) and I couldn't help but flip through their gloriously embarassing pages.  I laughed, I cried, I got the whole subscription.  Even amongst the very cute baby pictures, hilarious costumes and numerous events captured, my favorite was the one below.  It may not be as picturesque as some of the others I thumbed through but the sentiment sure is strong.  To make a long story short, my Mom took this picture of my brother and I on a family vacation…I think it's probably the very first time we ever sat and talked for hours, just for the sake of soaking up each other's company.  I always thought of him as a really great brother but I think I'd pin point this as the moment we became friends.  Pictures like this remind me of the power of reflection…especially in a world where we tend to focus so much on our problems and so little on our joys.  That being said:   

1. We've gotta start with the obvious…pull out some old photo albums/yearbooks/boxes of cards and ticket stubs/etc.  Speaking from very recent experience, it's one of the best ways to take a fun stroll down memory lane.

2. Think of a few songs you really connected with during happy moments of your life.  Jimmy Durante's 'Make Someone Happy' makes me think of road trips with Jessie, Rod Stewart's "Oh La La" takes me back to college with DC and Rich, James Taylor's "You Can Close Your Eyes" stirs up memories of all the songs my Dad used to sing to us when we were little…try it and see what you remember!

3. Pin point one major thing you have now that you wished and prayed for at another time in your life…a high school diploma, a spouse, a job, or anything in-between.  Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed by everything that still needs to fall into place in my life but when I reflect on what already has, I feel a sense of calm.  Some wonderful things have unfolded for you…doesn't it feel great to be thankful for a moment and just remember?
Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Wanted: Week Ten

1. Kevin O'Brien Lilac Pillow, ABC Home & Carpet $219  2. Duck Mirror, Amazon $66.59  3. Jennifer Behr Turban, Net a Porter $695  4. Cat Cora Wood Board, Bed Bath & Beyond $34.99  5. Rick Owens Lilies Draped Jersey Top, Net a Porter $420  6. Gold Rimmed Glassware Set, West Elm $32  7. Paris in the 1920s, Anthropologie $195  8. Crystal Shimmer Earrings, J. Crew $58
Monday, February 3, 2014