Friday, December 14, 2012

Who's Ready for Christmas Break?

I'm having one of those days where forming a complete thought is a herculean effort, let alone forming sentences that make sense to 5th graders. It's one of those days where I sit at my desk, stuffing Hershey's kisses in my mouth as I pray for Christmas break to get here already.

Actual conversations that could be overheard in my classroom:
Student: I'm so tired...can I just sit here? (from under table)
Me: Well, if you're going to sit under the table, at least read a book.

Students: Can we play the next game now?
Me (not wanting to explain the rules of the next game): Wouldn't you rather have a rematch of the game you just played?
Students: ...

Me: OK, who's got the answer to #1?
Students: ... (sounds of silence)
Me (tapping invisible microphone): Hello? Is this thing on?

Teacher of the Year material over here, guys.

Just remember...

Have a happy weekend! I am so excited to be in one of my best friend's wedding tomorrow!!



Thursday, December 13, 2012

Holiday Gift Guide Round-Up

So it's probably a little late to get in on the holiday gift guide game at this point. We've got 12 days until Christmas, but I always end up second guessing my gift choices at this point. Are they going to like it? Are they going to get it? Is it thoughtful enough? Is it too sentimental?
Leg Lamp, anyone?

I'm not usually a fan of holiday gift guides because I feel like they tend to be full of useless but pretty things that just seem so holiday-gift-guide-ish. I feel like someone would totally know I copped out and shopped a gift guide instead of genuinely thinking about who I was buying for and what they like.

That being said, this is a holiday gift guide round up. These are gift guides that I either have actually bought things from or have thought "huh, that's a really great idea, if I hadn't already bought that completely thoughtful gift, I would totally buy that" while scrolling through it.

  • Emily at Cupcakes and Cashmere has some great gift guides that are so stylish and thoughtful at different price points (under $25 and under $100). Each selection really feels handpicked. I even bought my dad something from her gift guide for men. Actually just look up any of her gift guides; they all rock.
  • Dinner A Love Story's 2011 gift guide...the 2012 gift guide was pretty good (come to me, Le Creuset french press), but I really like the idea of receiving Pantone I went with this one.
  • As always, Gilt has curated a beautiful and unexpected boutique, this time for the holidays. It has lovelies at every price point, without ever sacrificing style. Get your invite here.

OK, so that was only three. Told you I was picky! I've been seriously coveting almost everything on all these for a little while now, so I had to record them here so I could get back to them in the future! 

I hope you're enjoying holiday preparations...remember, if you're in a pinch, nothing says "I love you" like a Starbucks gift card!



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mini Apple Pies

As I'm sure you'll agree, everything is better in mini form. My family likes to joke that I have a mini-life. I drive a Volkswagen Bug, have a four-pound dog, live in a small, one-room get it. I just think mini things are so much more fun!

I tip-toed into the mini dessert world with this lovely, and since it turned out so well, I figured I'd give it another go at Thanksgiving with mini apple pies!

So good it didn't make it all the way to the iPhoto shoot.

This treat is another courtesy-of-Pinterest find. I basically followed the recipe, but had to make a few adjustments based on what was in my mom's kitchen. To me, she's the queen of looking at a recipe, realizing we have almost none of the ingredients in the house, and still claiming that we can make the cookies/muffins/coq au vin. Ok, maybe not the last one. She's always right though; they were delicious. So definitely look at the recipe, but then feel free to grab whatever you can find around the kitchen and throw it in a pie crust.

Mini pies get a small cube of cold butter before baking because...why not?

Apples are fruit, and you can eat fruit for

Happy Wednesday!



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I'm Alive!

Hello all! I'm still alive! I've never left off with the blogging for so long since I started this blog...which makes me a little sad. Not really sure why it's been so long, but I'm back!

As penance, I'll leave you with this:

Yes, that would be my four-pound nugget dog in candy cane pajamas. Someone is ready for Santa!



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What to Wear: Thanksgiving Day

With just two days until Thanksgiving, I'm a big fan of this week's What to Wear Where theme! A lot is asked of a Thanksgiving day outfit: it has to be appropriate for a holiday (one in which you may be seeing people you haven't seen in a while), for eating way too much food in, for sitting on the couch after the meal in, for scuttling around the kitchen to bring the mashed potatoes to the get the picture. 

This year, my family is going to a Thanksgiving buffet at a beach club in my hometown, so I don't think sweatpants and a large long-sleeved shirt will be acceptable attire. I found this dress (and created an outfit around it), and I think it strikes the perfect balance of comfort and fashion for Thanksgiving:

Love those fall colors!

Statement necklace that doesn't compete too much with the dress

These are sensible enough for a family dinner...

...but let's be honest...these would be more fun...

At six inches (with a two inch platform), these would probably make your boyfriend's grandmother raise an eyebrow, but doesn't everyone need the appearance of longer legs when you've just eaten your weight in turkey and dressing?

Here's wishing you and yours a happy, healthy, and fashionable Thanksgiving!



Monday, November 19, 2012

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend! I had a busy, but fun, one. Engagement party for friends, a Clemson win, brunch on Sunday...doesn't get much better in my book! Of course, we're doing it all over again in a few days when Clemson plays South Carolina!

The Clemson-South Carolina game will be our first (and only) home game at night this year. When I was shivering on Saturday night, I began to think about my outfit for a week later, when the game wouldn't even be starting until 7:00! I'm originally from Florida, so temperatures under 55 degrees still send my teeth a-chattering.

On my wishlist for next week...

Gloves like these:

A scarf like this:

In a perfect world, earmuffs like these:

Santa, if you're listening, I'd love an early visit. Help a chilly girl out!



Friday, November 16, 2012

Happy Friday!

I've got a busy weekend coming up with a friend's engagement party and the second to last Clemson home game...exciting stuff! I'll leave you with this precious nugget picture that makes me want to stay in and cuddle:

Have a great weekend!



Thursday, November 15, 2012

Quinoa Salad

There are some things that make you feel healthier just by putting them in your grocery basket. I think quinoa is one of these foods. Until this week, I had never tried quinoa. I figured something that healthy couldn't possibly taste good.

But recently, I've been trying to forget that pizza I ate this past weekend eat more cleanly and since I don't really like cooking meat for just me, I figured I'd better give some meat-free options a try. I'd heard quinoa was a complete protein, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

I'm so glad I did, because this salad is really tasty! I kind of made it up as I went along and didn't really measure, but my basic recipe is below.

Quinoa Salad
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 can of chick peas
1/2 block of feta (cut into small pieces)
a few tablespoons chopped mint
1 lemon, juiced
about 2 tablespoons olive oil
ground pepper, to taste

Mix the quinoa in the boiling chicken broth, cover, and simmer for 12 minutes. Fluff with a fork and transfer to bowl. Add in all other ingredients and mix thoroughly.

So easy and so tasty! I feel healthier just looking at it!



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What I Wore: Casual Engagement Party

Why can't party invitations include what the host or hostess plans on wearing? I feel like that would make life so much easier than trying to decode what "festive casual" means. This past weekend, the bf and I went to his cousin's engagement party. On the invitation, the only clue about attire was at the bottom: "Cowboy boots welcome!" Um, what?

I gathered that meant casual and then found out the party would be almost entirely outside, so this is what I came up with:

I've been wanting some burgundy in my closet for this fall, and these are so comfortable and perfect!

Who doesn't need another white t-shirt?

This isn't the one I wore; mine definitely isn't cashmere, but it looks like this.

I love the caramel color of these boots. It worked well with the burgundy jeggings.

I love imagining the perfect outfit to wear to different occasions, but this one is one of the few that actually came pretty close to what I was envisioning when I pictured what to wear to this party. I was comfortable and warm the whole time, while still being on trend! Plus, the party was lots of fun :) Here's to deciphering all the upcoming holiday party invitations and their attire!



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Homemade Granola

Happy Tuesday! Sorry for the brief break last week...writer's block and all that. After thoroughly enjoying my baked oatmeal last week, I changed it up by making granola to go with greek yogurt for breakfast. It was super easy and is SO delicious!

I followed this recipe (via Cupcakes and Cashmere) pretty was much easier than I thought it'd be. I feel much better about adding this to my yogurt when I know exactly how much oil, sugar, etc. is in it! My favorite flavor to combine this with right now is blueberry Chobani, though black cherry is a close second.




Monday, November 5, 2012

Stove Top Potpourri

Have you ever walked in your house or apartment and noticed that it just doesn't smell that fresh? Living in a one bedroom apartment means that if I decide to cook beef and broccoli, my whole place smells like it for the rest of the night. Same thing goes for if I forget to run the garbage disposal after cooking. Not the worst smell in the world, but definitely not what you want to come home to after a long day at school.

Well Pinterest has come to the rescue yet again! This pin has been circulating for a while, and I finally gave it a shot. 

I love the mix of the lemon, rosemary, and vanilla's a citrusy, herby,  sweet mixture that is just enough of everything you want in your home fragrance. I really think that if you left out one of the ingredients, it would be too one-note.

Of course, when I looked in my cabinets, I had everything on hand except for fresh rosemary. Dried rosemary worked just fine, but I'm sure fresh would've been even better.

Try this now!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Who Wants to Go Apple Picking?

Happy Friday!

I know this week's posts have been pretty food-dominated, but when the weather turns cold, my mind turns to what my mom calls "yummy tummy" foods. The kind that warm you from the inside out and make you forget about how chilly it is outside...until you have to take the dog out again.

Unfortunately, not all of us get to lay around all day in our snuggies...

I have been craving an apple-picking outing, so I'm hoping I can convince someone to go with me tomorrow (are you listening, BF?) so I can bring home WAY too many apples for one person to ever eat. (Fingers crossed for honeycrisps)

Here's a round-up of some apple recipes I promise to make you if you go pick apples with me (and, yes, most of them involve a crust):

  • We've all loved on some blueberry pancakes, but apple pancakes? Something tells me they could give the blueberries a run for their money.
  • What's that you say? You're in too much of a hurry to sit down for apple pancakes? That's OK, just grab an apple hand pie for the road.
  • I know we had apples for breakfast, but I just had to bake you some caramel apple pie for dessert.
  • Some of us aren't pie people (I say "aren't pie people" in the same way I might say some "aren't puppy people"), so why not try some caramel apple cheesecake bars
I hope you have a happy weekend!



Thursday, November 1, 2012

Baked Oatmeal

Lately, I've been making more of an effort to eat more cleanly instead of focusing on counting calories so much. I find that after a couple of weeks counting calories, I get annoyed with it and stop, which usually puts me back to square one. Eating cleanly, however, allows me to feel like I'm not on a 'diet' and can eat more like a normal person. I've never been the type of girl to deny myself as far as food goes, so I am less likely to "rebel" if I feel like I'm eating something I would want anyway.

This baked oatmeal is SO. GOOD. I'm not usually an oatmeal fan, something about the mushiness, I think. But this is really great heated on a chilly morning with a tiny pat of butter and  some milk poured over it. I can make it on a Sunday afternoon and eat it for breakfast for the rest of the week. Drive-thru breakfast is a lot less tempting when I have this sitting in the fridge for me!

Fresh berries! Yes, they are at a premium at this time of the year, but they are totally worth it.

Bananas line the bottom and soak up the syrup-y, cinnamon-y goodness.

Ingredients pre-oven, pre-bubbliness, pre-crusty-yummy-happiness!

Look at those berries and oats! You can't smell it, but there's cinnamon, pecans, and vanilla extract in there, too. Dee-lish.

Here's to tasty, healthy breakfasts!



Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ginger Crinkles

My mom is going to kill me. OK, hopefully not kill me, but I'm definitely giving up a family secret here. Last week, when I asked for my mom's ginger crinkle recipe that has been the star of our Christmas cookie line-up for years, she handed it over, but warned me, "don't tell people how easy it is!"

Well, these are just too good not to share, plus I'm probably going to lose the scrap of paper I wrote the recipe on, so it's really like I'm recording it for future generations!

Rolling in sugar gives the outside a sweet crunch.

Make sure you thoroughly stir the melted white bark...otherwise you get splurts of chocolate while trying to elegantly zig zag the cookies...see middle of picture.

Autumn-y, chewy, white chocolate-y goodness!

Ginger Crinkles
-Preheat the oven to 350.
-Mix 2/3 cup shortening an 1 cup white sugar.
-Add in 1 egg and 4 tablespoons molasses.
-Sift together 2 cups flour, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon ginger, and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and gradually add to the shortening/sugar/molasses mixture.
-Roll the dough into balls (I got about 30 cookies out of one batch) and roll each ball in white sugar.
-Bake for 10-12 minutes.
-Drizzle melted white bark (candy coating) over the cookies in a zig-zag pattern.

Enjoy with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate!



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What to Wear Where: Halloween Edition

Happy early Halloween! Today's What to Wear Where theme is Halloween, and I have a confession. Halloween costumes aren't really *my thing*. I'm always impressed when people come up with creative, theme-y costumes, but I always get costume-block when it comes down to thinking of something. So, instead of anything costume-y, I thought I'd go with what I'd like to wear while sipping a hot chocolate on the couch with a blanket and waiting for trick-or-treaters to come a-knockin'.

Elbow patches. 'Nuf said.

Pretty little lacy cami peeking through the holes in the chunky sweater makes things a little more delicate.

Ruffled Foldover Legging, $68
Again, I am a member of team leggings-as-pants. Ruffles and the foldover add interest.

Dainty pink slippers are good for one thing: walking from the kitchen to the couch with handfuls of (calorie-free) candy. Yes, many people don't know it, but candy is actually all calorie-free on October 31st every year.


I know this isn't the most "fashionable" outfit in the world, but if you try to tell me you wouldn't want to lounge in this tomorrow evening instead of being out in Sandy-pocalypse, I will call you a liar.

Happy Halloween, happies! Be safe and get lots of candy!



Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Pup

Happy Monday!

This past week, Gatsby went from this:

Where are his nuggety eyes? Under there somewhere... this:
Looking a little embarrassed about his haircut

Sleepy on the way back from the Wofford homecoming game

He was pretty matted, so he had to get an extreme shave. He looks a little like a mini-deer now. It's a good thing the groomers added some Halloween spirit to slightly distract from the major haircut.

Someone is ready for Trick-or-Treating!

Sorry for the gratuitous nugget post...he's just so cute, I can't help it sometimes.



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What to Wear Where: Arts Night Out

This week's What to Wear Where theme is Arts Night Out. Having never been to anything that could be considered an "arts night out", I'm flying slightly blind on this one. I just tried to envision what I'd like to be wearing while sipping red wine in a large room with treated concrete floors (don't all art galleries have those?).

This picture does not do this top justice. This also comes in black with white dots. When in doubt, sparkle on.

I know not everyone is on Team Leggings-as-Pants. I think they are a comfy alternative to jeans that look great with heels and boots.

I like these platform wedges over traditional pumps to impress the cool, artsy set.

A neon pop of color, plus the suede adds some interesting texture.

Happy Tuesday!



Monday, October 22, 2012

Tailgate Treats

Happy Monday, happies! I hope you had a fabulous weekend! I had so much fun in Clemson with friends I haven't seen in years. Plus, my tigers won!

Every week (before a home game), I start to plan out what I am bringing to the tailgate pretty early. This recipe is always on the menu; I posted about it here, but sausage balls warrant another mention. They're just that good.

I feel like I speak many truths here (let's hear it for platform heels!), but if you only remember one, make it this: you will never go wrong when combining sausage, cheese, and Bisquick.

This recipe usually makes about four dozen golf ball-sized sausage balls. How many actually make it into the bowl for the tailgate is another story.

Yummy, cheesy, crispiness.

Sausage Balls (adapted from here)
1 pound bulk sausage (I use Jimmy Dean Hot)
3 cups shredded sharp cheddar (you could also sub out 1/2 cup parmesan cheese for 1/2 of the cheddar)
3 cups Bisquick (you could use about 2 1/2 cups if you want it less Bisquick-y, more cheesy/sausage-y...hey, I won't judge)
1/4 cup milk (I've used water in a pinch, and it works just fine)
A couple shakes of paprika

Pre-heat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Roll golf-ball sized (maybe smaller) balls and place about two inches apart on a non-stick baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. I usually have a few pans in the oven at a time, so about 10 minutes in, I switch the pans so that they have equal time on the top and bottom shelves. Because I'm a culinary mastermind like that.

These things are crazy delicious and make for a yummy poppable bite on a special occasion. Don't go eating them for breakfast every day, but for a tailgate? Perfect every time.



Friday, October 19, 2012

Why Puppies Don't Have to Do Chores

Happy Friday, happies! I was just doing some chores around the abode, and, wouldn't you know it, someone just isn't holding up his end of the deal...

Apparently furry nuggets prefer to lounge on piles of clean clothes, not fold them.

But how can I stay mad at this face for too long?
Cuteness that just won't stop.

Have a happy weekend! I'm excited to cheer on my Tigers in Clemson this weekend!