Saturday, March 31, 2012

Southern Belle Saturday

Recently there have been numerous quint books that I have seen on the subject of being a Southern Belle. {Yes, I did mean to capitalize those two words.} During my recent Kappa Trainer weekend, I spied a little book called A Southern Belle Primer: Or Why Princess Margaret Will Never Be A Kappa Kappa Gamma. I actually think that I saw it a few years ago, but my interest in it was reignited. It is an adorable book about the social graces of living in the South.
Top Tips For Channeling Southern Charm

1. Entertain as much as possible. There is never too small a cause for a celebration.

2. Treat everyone as a dear friend. Chances are their mother has tea with your boyfriend's very opinionated aunt.

3. Expect a gentleman to open your door, order your drink, hail your cab and pull out your chair.

4. Use your fine china on weekdays, even if it can't go in the dishwasher.

5. Be a gracious and lively guest. Hostess gifts, genuine conversation and thank you notes are a must.


I am in the mood to throw a fabulous garden party. The only problem is that my back  yard doesn't grow grass and my kitchen table only seats four people. Those aren't good enough reasons for me to not have a party though, nothing can stop me from wanting to have a good time. Any thoughts, ideas or suggestions?

Doesn't this picture alone make you want to have a spring soiree? Click here to find these colorful Jill Rosenwald vases.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Almost April Showers

It's time for another Friday's Fancies! Our warm weather has made me a happy gal, but you and I both know that April showers are just around the corner. That's the theme for this week's Friday's Fancies--April Showers. I can't wait to see the colorful creations that fellow bloggers come up with to share today. Be sure to stop by Alison's Long Distance Loving blog and see some wonderful outfits.

Rainy days can be dull and dreary, but my favorite part about them is getting the opportunity to pull on my rain boots. I am a huge rain boot girl. Give me pink ones, give me plaid ones, give me kelly green ones, I'll take them all. I would have wellies in all colors of the rainbow if my hubby would allow it. Thankfully, he thinks Hunters are pretty cute. {Don't tell him I said that.}

The latest boots that I have spied are the pretties in my outfit below. They come in a variety of colors. What's not to love about pink and black?

Rain, Rain, Go Away

My favorite rain boots by far are my Burberry boots. There is something about wearing them that makes me feel classic and chic. Once I almost wore them for a full week. My boss commented that I had basically dressed the same every day. It was true, I just changed my reds, blacks and tans.

What do you like to wear when it rains? Rain boots? Sperrys? Tennis shoes? Have a great Friday, friends!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thursday Thoughts

Happy Thursday, lovelies! I hope all of you have been having a good week. My days have been jam-packed with running around and my evenings have been spent with friends. Tonight is date night with my hubby. Bryan and I try to set aside one night a week to spend by ourselves. Our date can consist on pizza on the floor and a movie, but we really try to get away from the hustle and bustle of life and spend some quality time together. Since we're having such pretty weather, we are planning on hitting the mountain bike trail and then grilling something for dinner.

Did you know that kissing your spouse just 10 seconds in the morning and 10 seconds in the evening makes your relationship stronger?

"What do you wanna marry me for anyhow? So I can kiss you anytime I want."

After three and a half years of marriage, Bryan and I are finally in a small group with other young couples from our church. It is wonderful! We have the most amazing leaders, who have been such a blessing in our lives. In the short amount of time we have been meeting I cannot tell you how much it has enriched out lives to spend time with these special people.

Bryan and I are going with one of the couples to a wine and jazz evening at a local restaurant this weekend. How fun does that sound? As much as I love cooking desserts, I said the other day that I would die a happy woman if I could just have a glass of wine and piece of chocolate a day. {Both make the heart happy.}

With all of my fresh herbs in my back yard I have been thinking of ways to put them to good use. Most of you already know this, but I am a huge water girl. During the day I only drink water. {After my morning coffee.} Occasionally there is the exception of when I go out to eat and order sweet tea. This is weird, but I don't like the taste of water in lots of restaurants, thus I sometimes order tea. And on occasion I will have a mixed drink, but that is the only time I have a carbonated beverage. My favorite water right now is mint and orange water. Crush up some fresh mint and squeeze in some fresh oranges--viola! Yummy flavored water!

Those are my semi random thoughts for the day, hopefully you weren't too bored. ;) 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hunger Games Date Night

Last night Bryan and I went with three friends to see the Hunger Games. I am not going to say anything about specific details, as I don't want to give anything away for those of you who haven't read the books or seen the movie yet. In all, I have to say that I was pleased with the movie. I went in with mixed feelings after hearing how so many people who had read the books first were let down. I could get really critical and tell you tons of details that were left out, but if they had put all of them into the movie it would have been waaay too long. There were a couple of things that were altered and a character that was left out, and about that I am not happy; I think it will hurt them down the road. The acting and movie itself by far blew Twilight out of the water. So. Much. Better. And as for being a movie about kids killing each other in order to survive, I thought it was tastefully done and actually less gory than I had imagined. Some might argue that, but come on, think about Braveheart and all of the war movies we see where people are killing one another in order to survive. I didn't notice that it was almost 2.5 hours long and it captivated me the entire time. As far as rating it goes, I give it a B+. If I hadn't read the books I would give it an A. {This was my date night attire.}

Before we went to the movies we made shrimp boil kebabs. They were extremely easy and everyone raved about them. Sorry, I didn't get any pictures of the food. I was going 90-to-nothing to try and hurry and get it all together before we had to leave to get good movie seats. The following picture is from Cook Au Vin.

Shrimp Boil Kebabs

1/2 pound small new potatoes
2 small ears corn, cut into 1 1/2 inch rounds
1/2 pound andouille sausage, cut into 1 inch rounds
1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 stick butter, melted
4 teaspoons Tabasco
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning

Boil the potatoes for about 10 minutes, then add the corn and cook both for 10 more minutes or until the potatoes are tender. {I like the corn basically cooked before it goes on the grill.} Drain and rinse under cold water.

Thread potatoes, shrimp and sausage onto skewers. {Thread the corn if possible, I just placed mine directly on the grill.}

Melt the butter in a microwave safe bowl. Add the Tabasco and Old Bay seasoning and mix together. Apply generously to the skewers and corn.

Cook on grill over medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes, or until shrimp are done.

*If you don't have Old Bay seasoning use a little garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper and Cajun seasoning.

*I added mushrooms to the skewers.

*Serve with a salad and and you have a great meal!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

IG Pics

Happy Monday Tuesday! My days are already thrown off for this week. I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. The weather is absolutely beautiful in my neck of the woods. Our winter was insanely mild, and I feel as though we are already jumping into summer. I've worn shorts every day since Friday.

Bryan's parents were here Thursday and Friday. His mom and I got a lot of stuff together for the rehearsal dinner. We found some really great finds at local flea markets to go with the outdoor theme. Friday afternoon it was too lovely to sit inside, so Ivy Belle and I decided to sit on the front porch and have a glass of wine.

Bryan and I went to the 9:30 church service for the first time on Sunday. It is amazing how that gives you such a longer afternoon than going to a later service. I broke out the flower power pants and yellow shirt. I think Bryan had to put on his sunglasses to look at me.

After lunch with friends, we headed to the lake with one of Bryan's hunting/fishing buddies. They fished while I caught some rays. {B couldn't believe I took a pic drinking Mic Ultra--I said it is the perfect beer for the lake.}

Yesterday was all about manual labor. Why hire anyone when I am around? Just kidding...sorta. I headed to my parents' house to help my mom clean out her back flower bed. It was not just a "weed pulling" venture, but a "dig multiple inches of dirt out to get all of the roots" venture. That's all I did. All. Day. Long.

Honestly, I had a great time and spent a little more time getting color on my cheeks. This is me in all of my glory. I probably drank two gallons of water. {Yes, I lathered on 45 sunscreen multiple times.}

I've got the window open with a fan tucked in it to give a nice breeze into the house. It is supposed to be another pretty day today. Friends are coming over for dinner and I need to figure out what to cook. We might go see the Hunger Games. Did any of you see it this weekend? I've heard mixed reviews. Some people think it was amazing, while others who read the book were disappointed. I'll let you know what I think!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Yummy Breakfast

Inslee Haynes is an illustrator whose work I absolutely adore. She captures  all sorts of situations and turns them into eye-catching pieces of beautifully fun art. When I saw her "Un-Barefoot Contessa" picture this week, I sent it to Bryan immediately saying how I had to have it for my kitchen. I am all about stilettos in the kitchen, right?

Earlier this week I decided that to make something for breakfast that would last more than just one morning. My local grocery store was having a bogo sale on strawberries, which meant strawberries galore. I first rinsed all of them and then patted them dry.

Half of them went onto a cookie sheet to freeze. {sans stems}

After they were frozen I pulled them out and put them into a freezer bag. By freezing them individually first, it keeps them from sticking together in the bag once frozen.

The other half of the strawberries when into a tasty oatmeal breakfast bake. It really did last all week long. Next time I might cut individual serving sizes and freeze them to pull out when needed. It was plenty sweet and agave syrup will probably be my alternative when I make it again. Also, there is no limit to what type of fruit to use. I will probably try blueberries next.

Strawberry and Banana Oatmeal Bake

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup walnut pieces, chopped
1 cup strawberries, sliced
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups milk
1 large egg
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ripe banana, peeled, 1/2-inch slices

Pre-heat oven to 375*. Spray a 10.5 x 7 baking dish heavily with non-stick spray. {I used two different dishes since I didn't have one this size.}

In a large bowl, mix the oats, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, half of the  walnut pieces, half of the strawberries and half of the chocolate. In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, butter and vanilla.

Add all of the oatmeal mixture to your baking dish. Layer the remaining strawberries, walnuts and chocolate on the top. Pour the egg and milk mixture over the top of everything. Give the dish a little shake to make sure it seeps into every corner.

Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the top is nicely golden brown and the egg mixture has set. {Insert a toothpick if you are unsure.}

*This is great re-heated in the microwave the next morning.

Friday, March 23, 2012

WooHoo For Friday

For Friday's Fancies this week the theme is "March Madness" aka choose an outfit that represents your basketball team. I don't have a team. I know, I know--I'm sure a lot of you are gasping right now and wondering what am I thinking. Well, Arkansas isn't in the Big Dance and I just haven't gotten into it this year. Hop over to visit Alison and see what team outfits everyone else is posting today. I have decided to share with you a few other things.

I told you I plan on living in maxi skirts this spring and I'm not kidding. I found both of these on the huge clearance sale that Express is having right now. What better way to add an additional pop of color by adding a Baublebar necklace? They are extremely affordable. My splurge? Tory Burch sandals. Camel is such a practical color and goes with everything.
Untitled #27

I have a Piperlime coupon to use and will be purchasing this dress. My only hesitancy is that there are no reviews yet; I always like reading them to see what people think before I place an order. Do any of you have clothing made by Tinley Road?

In the back of my mind it seems like I saw one of you do a blog post on Bota Boxes, but I'm not exactly sure who wrote about them. When we visited friends in Hot Springs recently they had a Malbec Bota Box. A couple of nights ago Bryan walked in and said the UPS man had left me a little present on the front porch. {I knew this was not the case since the UPS man had already visited earlier in the day.} I found a Malbec Bota Box on the front porch just for me!

My sweet mother-in-law is visiting and we are running around town shopping for rehearsal dinner things today. She spent the first part of the week in Dallas with no luck in finding an outfit. Hopefully we will find some good things today.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

How Does Your {Herb} Garden Grow?

As usual, I have found a wide variety of options on Pinterest for planting an herb garden. There is no telling how much money I spend at the grocery store picking up cilantro on a regular basis. That is one thing I can never grow enough of when the weather gets warm. Ohh, and chives, too. When Bryan and I lived at my parents' house there were special planters outside for herbs. This year I have had to come up with my own idea, one that can easily be transported if we have to pick up and move on short notice.

This option is one of my favorites for a small space, such as an apartment or condo patio. Pallets can often be found for free, so all you need to do is pick up your plants and soil. Click here to read how to make a balcony garden.

If you have a sunroom or somewhere inside that gets a lot of light, this table with herbs on it is not only eye catching, but gives off wonderful fragrances.

If you live in a permanent location, this is a lovely idea for a back patio area. Not only is there room for herbs, but also room for fresh veggies. Check out the whole post here to read more.

Another option if you have limited space is to plant herbs in individual glass jars. This creator made her whole project for less than $20. Click here to see how-to instructions.

Drool is not quite the correct word to use in reference to the following picture, but I am drooling over this luscious space. To me this eye-catching wall is a piece of functional art. I don't think I would ever run out!


One of the local garden centers was listed on Size the Deal. {If you aren't signed up click this link. It offers lots of great deals in places where Groupon isn't offered.} I went and stocked up on herbs and flowers with the original $15 that I spent! Farm stores carry all sorts of shapes and sizes of galvanized buckets--mine came from the Tractor Supply Company. And lastly, I picked up some organic gardening soil at Wal-Mart for less than $6 a bag.

First, make sure to drill or hammer holes into the bottom of the buckets so water can seep through. Fill your buckets with soil {break it up} and arrange them and the herbs how you wish.

Somehow I didn't snap a picture of my finish product on my camera, but luckily there is one from my phone. {It's raining cats and dogs outside or I would go take one for you.} As you can tell, I ran out of space and need to made another one.

This is my potted creation I put on a planter beside my salmon, lime and cream pillow on the front porch.

The lady who helped me at the garden center said they have already sold three times as much merchandise this year as they did last year at this time. They were out of multiple items I asked about purchasing. I've started a Pinterest board for gardening and outside areas. {How Does Your Garden Grow + Outside Spaces}

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Health + Spinach Burgers

The past few Wednesday I have not posted about fitness and health. To be quite honest, I didn't get much reaction from my workout posts and that discouraged me, but there were a few people who said they loved them. The past couple of weeks I've been in a workout rut. I was up to running 6 miles and exercising 6 days a week. Being out of town and on the road has made me only able to go about 3 days lately, and that is frustrating to me. What am I going to do? Make it a point to get out of that rut and go back to the gym this morning, even though it is pouring down rain outside. We can always find an excuse, right?

Even though I have already donned a swimsuit twice {thank you warm weather}, there is still a little work that needs to be done before I am ready for the summer. For me, the issue is not being thin or needing to lose weight, it is getting toned.

This workout has been floating around Pinterest. Have any of you tried it? I've got a new ab video that I have been doing, but I'm always up for tying something new.

Speaking of bikinis, how adorable is this swimsuit from Anthropologie? Now, if only I could figure out how to squeeze into the top I would be a happy gal.


It doesn't always happen, but a few years ago Bryan made a request that we eat a vegetarian dinner at least one day a week. On Monday I made spinach burgers. They were extremely easy to make, had plenty of flavor, packed with protein and were low carb. 

Spinach Burgers

1 bag spinach, thawed and pressed dry
2 egg whites
1 whole egg
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup cheese, shredded (I used cheddar)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
olive oil

Thoroughly mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl.

Drizzle some olive oil around the bottom of a large skillet and get it hot over medium heat. While this is warming up, form spinach into patties. {I was able to make eight, but depending on your sizes that might vary.}

Cook 4-6 minutes on each side.

Serve them with a bun or eat them sans bread. I whipped up some cayenne ranch and served them in whole wheat pitas.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

We all know that I am not afraid to be creative and try out new things when it comes to cooking. My creativity got the better of me when I decided to make Kappa blue velvet cheesecake brownies {instead of red velvet} to take with me as a sweet treat this past weekend. Color fail? Yes. Taste fail? Not in the least. They were amazing! I was slightly hesitant to take these to share with a group of women women who did not know me at all. They turned out to be more aqua and slightly green. Good thing it was St. Patty's day, right?

Just incase that picture might change your mind from initially wanting to make them, do not let it. Here is a picture from Doughmesstic where I found the recipe.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

10 Tbsp. butter
3 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
red food coloring
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

For the Cheesecake Layer:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper long enough to hang over on two sides, making it easier to remove from pan once baked. Spray pan and paper.
In small saucepot over medium heat, or in the microwave, melt chocolate and butter until smooth. Allow to cool slightly.

In a separate bowl, beat eggs, vanilla and red food coloring with the sugar. Slowly add in chocolate mixture until well combined.

In small bowl, sift together cocoa, salt and flour. Add mixture to rest of batter. Do not overmix.

Pour batter into prepared baking pan.

For the Cheesecake Layer:
Beat ingredients together until smooth. Pour over brownie batter. Use sharp knife to swirl together.

Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, or until just set and toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool. Enjoy!

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Past Few Days

This past weekend kicked off on Thursday night when Bryan and I drove to Little Rock to have dinner with The Kid and her parents. We ate at Bonefish, where I had the best Ahi Tuna that I have eaten in a long time. If Ahi is on the menu, there is a good chance that it will be what I order. One of my favorite things to do is have a glass of wine, chat and have a good time with people I love.

As I have mentioned before, I am not a huge music person (I leave that up to Em and Bryan), but one person that I have really wanted to see has been Justin Townes Earle. We had tickets to see him last summer in Mobile, but the beach house where we were staying flooded--that was when we unpacked bathing suits and repacked fleeces and headed to Colorado for a week.

Yes, I pushed my way to the front and could have taken a small leap and grabbed the man. I may have been close enough to touch his white shoes by the end of the gig. Harlem River Blues is the main track on his last album; he has a new one coming out soon. This is not my favorite video of it, but the sound is quality.

On Friday I had to go to Tulsa for a Kappa Trainer training weekend. Eight ladies met and stayed in a couple of home. A Kappa trainer travels the country, visiting different chapters and alumni associations, and educates them on a variety of topics. I met some amazing women this past weekend and had a wonderful time.

Since Saturday was St. Patty's Day, I incorporated a touch of green into my outfit from a scarf. I found this Tangerine Tango striped shirt at Old Navy last week on clearance.

We had a delicious dinner at a local Italian restaurant called Ti Amo. I ordered the special, which was stuffed orange roughy. Everything on our table looked and smelled amazing.

On the way home yesterday, Bryan stopped to fly-fish for a little while at a river about an hour away from my parents' house. Ivy sat on the bank beside me while I read and played word games on my Kindle.

I hope everyone had a nice weekend. I'm sure a lot of you are having fun right now on Spring Break trips. I can't wait to see and hear about them!

Friday, March 16, 2012

It's Almost Here

With the unseasonably warm weather, it already feels like spring to me. The official first day is next Tuesday, the 20th, but I have already broken out the sandals and short-sleeved shirts. I have a feeling that maxi skirts are going to be my go-to item this spring. What is going to be yours? I am counting down the days until our farmers' market opens. Who doesn't love fresh flowers and produce?

I'm out of town for a Kappa leadership training weekend, and I already have stories to share from the past 24 hours. See you back here on Monday. :)