Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I am Thankful

That God embraced me when my heart was shattered; that my relationship with Him continues to challenge and excite me in ways I thought not possible. 

That I am strong, able, and healthy.

That there are people in my life who I love so deeply, and who love me the same. My family, friends, and co-workers continue to inspire, support and nurture. I am incredibly thankful for memories, laughs, and even cathartic cries.

I am thankful that there are kind, selfless, and loving people on this planet; who emit kindness, selflessness, and love. 

That I am inexplicably lucky to have many freedoms just by being born when, where, and who I was/am.

For this earth that gives, and gives, and gives...even when we take, and take, and take.

For my sweet doggy Bindi, who may be pretending to actually love me because I give her treats, but I will take it just the same!

Wishing you a safe and happy holiday : )

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My Favorite Things Linkup: Week 2

This is the second installment of My Favorite Things Linkup. This week I am blogging about my favorite Stocking Stuffers. It's true good things really do come in small packages! 

If you would like to participate in the Linkup you still have one week left. All you are required to do is post your favorite gifts for friends and family (under $100) on 12/2 and post back to the linkup--it's as simple as that! 

The Healing Apron

1. I was first given a Rewined Candle by my friend Michelle. The soy candles are made out of recycled wine bottles and come in incredible scents that "mimic the tasting of wine notes." They not only smell wonderful, but are really cute too! I currently have my eye on the Champagne. While these sell at retailers nationwide, if you live in Charlotte you can pick yours up at PaperSkyscraper ($26).

2. I love these Plaid Shearling Scuffs (Slippers) from J. Crew ($31.50) ...don't they just look cozy? We re-did our floors last year so I pretty much live in slippers. I found these  that are nearly identical from Target for $19.99.

3.Facial Cleansing Clothes like these ones from Philosophy ($15) are the best thing since sliced bread. I no longer pack face wash when I travel --just these...way easier. I use them for lazy nights, or if I just need a little refresh after work.I usually just buy the Up & Up version from Target ($3.64), but these are a nice little luxury and would make a great stocking stuffer.

4. I had the world's best coffee mug from Starbucks. It was perfect in every way. My coffee would stay hot for hours, and the top never leaked.... not even once. It sat just right in my car's cup holder. Sigh. Sadly I left her (yes, I was THAT attached to a mug) somewhere. Note, if you are reading this and know where I left my beloved coffee mug please return her home...$5 reward. But in all seriousness, this would be a great stocking stuffer. This Contigo Travel Mug by Williams & Sonoma ($24.95) sort of resembles my beauty...

5. If you want to put something a little extra-special in your wife, girlfriend, or friend's stocking this year then I suggest these J. Crew Resin Flower Stud on sale for a very reasonable $18.55!

What are you favorite stocking-stuffers this year?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Weekend Recap: Her Grow, Dinner with Friends, & Golumpki

Weekend Recap:

We'll start with Thursday since I was a lazy blogger last week. My Her:Grow group met up Thursday night at Gallery Twenty-Two. This was more of a pre-holiday get together than a book-centric meeting. We had fun just chatting and spending time together. We supported A Child's Place Winter Kickoff Drive which I highly recommend checking out as they are an extremely deserving Charlotte non-profit. 

That night I played double-duty and met my friend Laura and her sister Alicia out. Alicia visited from Colorado and I got to know her through her visits when I lived with Laura.

Last week I made Golumpki which are Polish Stuffed-Cabage Rolls. One of my old friends from high school was kind enough to share her grandmother's recipe with me. I won't divulge her family recipe, but I found a very similar one here if you're interested in trying it for yourself.  Brad and I both agreed that this recipe is a keeper!

Friday night Brad took the reins and cooked dinner. He made Pork Chops, Stuffing, and Brussels Sprouts. I try to get away with not cooking on the weekends so it was nice that Brad stepped in. We had a  low-key night and just recovered from the week.

Saturday we compared the sample brick we received on Friday to the house we found with the original Boral Brick we loved. I am thrilled that the brick is identical! We put our order in and are hoping to have the foundation bricked by the first week of December!

That night our friend's Kevin and Beth came over for drinks beforehand and then dinner at Midwood Smokehouse . Beth is so sweet and brought me a hand soap from Bedside Manor it smells great-- I can't wait to use it! We had a lot of fun with them...and I think my dog Bindi wanted to go home with Kevin haha

Sunday was another extremely relaxed was rainy so we spent most of it in PJ's. I made tasty Crockpot Chinese Pork tenderloin and we watched a couple movies.

Anyone have any fun Thanksgiving plans this week? I think we will be headed over to Brad's uncle's house for a big meal. Bring on the short week!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Odds, Ends, and SUPER exciting news!

This morning was COLD. Yep, a whopping 21 degrees outside...but no snow, so I guess I am still okay with my decision to move to North Carolina ;  )

Our dog Bindi has very little fur which makes her the ideal candidate for a dog; super low maintenance. She doesn't need to be groomed per se, other than nail trimmings and baths. Unfortunately, this lack of fur combined with my husband's strict no-pets-in-the-bed policy, make it chilly for her as temps fall. Last year we purchased a heated dog bed mat for her which she diligently pushed over to the side every single night. This year, I reluctantly gave up my beloved heated blanket for the princess and needless to say she's been very cozy ever since...

Yesterday we had our Thanksgiving meal at the office. It was catered by Waiter's Choice and the food did not disappoint!

 Our extremely-hard working office  Manager Mom Vanessa always does an incredible job at putting together our activities. She is constantly throwing events for her church community and friends and I am always super impressed. I keep telling her she needs to put together a blog or start a business!

I'm not kidding, our office was downright festive!

Let me temper your expectations of "super exciting news" Leslie and Mom we are not currently expecting....but we are finally breaking ground today!!!! They are digging the footings as I type this and that means it's official; we are building our new home!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

My Favorite Things Linkup

Today I am participating in the second annual My Favorite Things Linkup! If you're interested in linking up too all you have to do is put together your own list of favorite things today and post back to one of the host-blogs (on the graphic below). If you miss today you can still participate on 11/25 (stocking stuffers), and 12/2 (friends & family gifts under $100).

Although this year Brad and I decided to focus on the house in lieu of gifts, it was still fun to put together this list. Plus I tried out Polyvore for the first time and I think I'm addicted!  Just remember the true spirit of Christmas has absolutely nothing to do with what's under your tree : )

The Healing Apron

1. A long cozy robe like this one  from Victoria Secret! I like it best in Inkblot... Bonus, right now  it's on Sale for $49.50.

2. Smashbox Travel Size Kit in Full Exposure . Although right now this particular set is sold-out, the colors are perfect, the size makes it easy to pack for trips, and at $22.00 this kit is very affordable.

3. Pulltaps Pulltex Champagne Stopper from Surlatable . If $5.95 is all it takes to keep my bubbly-bubbly, I'm in!

4. Okay so this one is a definite splurge ($298) but I absolutely love this Cedar Street Maise handbag from Kate Spade. The color (mulled wine) would go with just about anything and it looks so elegant. Considering the price tag, I will just have to  keep dreaming for now : )

5.While this scarf from Sole Society ($30) is also already sold out too you can find so many reasonably-priced yet equally cute plaid scarves like this one from Target ($16.99)

What's on your list this year?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Weekend Recap: Roasted Multi-Colored Carrots & Creamless Winter Chowder

It feels like a Monday doesn't it? I had such a hard time picking myself up out of bed this morning. Charlotte is supposed to get a potentially record breaking cold front coming in this week that I could definitely do without...

We had a good little weekend. On Friday we made bbq sandwiches and rented a 3D movie through Vudo.We decided on Edge of Tomorrow (my husband's choice). It was akin to watching a video game; lots of action, semi-entertaining, but no real character development.

Saturday we drove out to the land because it's ALL CLEAR woohoo! Bindi must have shared our excitement because she was running up and down the lot and seemed to be in her glory. The only bit of bad news is we have to even out the back-corner of our lot which we didn't account for in our budget. The good news, If the weather cooperates we should break ground this week!

After we visited the land again with Brad's parents and then hung out at their house for a bit.

That night we went to a Fish Camp (similar to Calabash) for dinner, this was a first for me. I like fried shrimp so I was a happy camper, and it was very casual so it didn't matter than my boots were dirty from traipsing around the lot.

Sunday we did a drive-by of the house that has our brick. Lucky us, Boral decided to switch to gas to fire the bricks which could potentially alter the appearance. It was so nice seeing a real-life example of what we picked. This change really stresses me out because choosing brick was not a fun process and there's no way of really knowing what we'll get...

Sunday night I made the BEST dinner. I slow roasted a pork loin and multi-colored  carrots with honey and balsamic vinegar. I made a small side of mashed potatoes too. It was so satisfying on a cold night... and I defy anyone to make a better tasting carrot! I also used similar ingredients to make a delicious, hearty, and healthy chowder to pack for lunch this week.

I found these multi-colored organic carrots at Trader Joe's for $1.99. While you could use regular orange carrots for the recipes I am posting below, the multi-colored do have a slightly different flavor (although still consistent with a root-veg flavor)

1/2 tbsp Honey
1/2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar 
1 Sprig of Romemary (remove leaves)
1lb Multi-Colored Carrots peeled and chopped (like photo above)
 Cracked Black Pepper  (to taste)
Garlic Salt (to taste)

1. Preheat Oven to 350F
2. Line a roasting pan with parchment paper.
3. Toss together rosemary, carrots, vinegar, and honey. Season with garlic salt and pepper.
4. Roast for 50 minutes . 
5. Taste & adjust seasoning if necessary and enjoy!

2 slices of chopped Bacon (optional)
5 cups Chicken Stock
1 head of Cauliflower (Chopped into quarters)
1 Bay Leaf
1 Sprig Rosemary 
1 Clove Garlic
1 Yellow Onion
1 lb multi-colored carrots diced
2 potatoes diced
1 cup of corn (fresh, frozen, or canned) 
Salt & Pepper (to taste)

 1) In a pan prepare Bacon as desired and set aside. 
2) Add Broth, Bay Leaf, and Cauliflower to a large pot and cover. Cook until fork-tender (about 5 minutes). Remove bay leaf and set aside to cool .
3) Reserving 1 cup of broth to the side. Add the remaining broth and all of the cauliflower to a blender and combine until creamy. Keep the mixture in the blender for now.
4) In the same large pot add: reserved broth, rosemary, onion, garlic, carrots, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook until carrots and potatoes are tender (about 15 minutes)
5) Add in corn and creamy cauliflower mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. You can thin out with a bit of lowfat milk if needed.  Continue to cook another 10-15 minutes until flavors are combined. 
6) Top with crumbled bacon & Enjoy!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Get In My Kitchen!

For this weeks Five on Friday I have kitchen on the brain. My current kitchen doesn't have a ton of storage space and literally every corner is crammed, but in 6 months (hopefully) that will all change! Here are the goods that I've been ogling....

// One//

This beautiful French Kitchen Marble Cheese Dome by Crate & Barrel. Not only will this match my kitchen perfectly, but who says it's just for cheese? I would use it for just about everything; cupcakes, breads, tiny little appetizers ...swoon. This will be in my new kitchen : )


The Nesco Snack Master Pro Food Dehydrator . Growing up we had a dehydrator that made the best dried-fruit, jerky, and fruit roll-ups. I want to be able to make homemade snacks like I enjoyed as a kid so this appliance is on my eventual-buy list.


The Pottery Barn Emma Cake Stand. I discovered while baking a cake this week that I had no cake stand. I improvised with a cutting board and a glass bowl, which worked but wasn't really ideal. The white design matches everything I have now so this would be a good addition once I have the space for it.


Threshold's Simplicity 2-Part  Beverage Dispenser. So part of the reason I am looking forward to moving into this house is that I will be able to entertain more often. This duel compartment (one for ice or fruit) is perfect for parties.


Real Simple's Roll Out Lid Organizer . I don't know about you, but the lids for my pans and cooking pots are all over the place. When planning our kitchen, I asked my cabinet maker about organization-solutions and she suggested buying things like this separately rather than building them in. She explained it would be just as efficient and cost much less. This particular organizer is nice because it will roll out towards you.

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