Thursday, May 29, 2014

Anniversary Trip to Charleston

Two years ago, John and I spent our first anniversary in Charleston, and since we were planning to be in Charlotte for Blake and Ginna's wedding, we decided it would be fun to extend the vacation with a third anniversary rendezvous in Charleston.  Our official anniversary isn't for a few more weeks, but we decided it was too great an opportunity to pass up!

ONE  |  When John and I first got into Charleston, we headed to Folly Beach for some relaxing beach and sun.  We were both pretty tired from the wedding the night before, so it was a perfect way to enjoy being in South Carolina without too expending much energy.

TWO  |  After the beach we went back to the hotel and headed into downtown Charleston for dinner at Husk.  It was amazing! We had to cancel our original reservations, so we went to the bar area for drinks and food.  We highly recommend eating here if you can... the building and decor is rustic and absolutely amazing!

THREE  |  We woke up early the next day for some serious shopping.  We probably shopped a bit too much, but Charleston just has shop after shop (after shop) of amazing boutique shopping.  It's hard to stop until you have been to all of them!

FOUR  |  We had a lunch break at a barbecue joint per John's request.  If you know my husband at all, then you are not surprised by this.  The man loves his barbecue (I've mentioned this before, but before he had a "real person" resume, he had barbecue listed as an interest on his resume...).

FIVE  |  One of my favorite buys of the day was a Southern Proper Brittany tie for my husband.  Our sweet puppy, Scout, is a Brittany, and we just had to represent her while in Charleston!

SIX  |  We, of course, did the obligatory walk through the battery and swooned over all of the amazing homes.  I mean really, these house are absolutely incredible, grand, and gorgeous.  I don't think looking at them would ever grow old!

SEVEN  |  John was craving seafood so we made reservations at Amen Street Seafood.  On our way there we stopped and took a few photos in front of some of the Rainbow Row houses.  When we were there for our first anniversary, we had photos taken in front of some of the homes (my button picture, for example) so it was fun to recreate some of the photos.

EIGHT  |  The next morning we headed back to Folly Beach.  It was much less crowded, and we really enjoyed ourselves walking up and down the beach looking at sea shells and enjoying the beautiful morning weather.

NINE  |  We headed back to Charlotte (where we were flying out of) from the beach.  And I am unashamed to say that I still had sandy feet while going through security... I don't get to go to the beach often, so when I do, I like to savor it! :)

We had a fabulous trip, and despite a few difficulties getting home, the trip was pretty much perfect.  Every time we go to Charleston we leave feeling like we a had a ton more to see... which makes me look forward to the next time we go!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Blake and Ginna's Wedding!

Hii!! We are almost home! John and I were stuck in Houston last night due to inclement weather and we are finally taking a flight back home to Albuquerque this morning.  Although I will pretty much be straight off to work, I am so looking forward to seeing my sweet puppy and getting a good night's rest tonight!

We had such a lovely time in Charlotte celebrating Blake and Ginna's wedding, and aside from the weather issue in Houston when leaving, everything went off without a hitch!

ONE  |  John and I had an early flight on Thursday morning to head to Charlotte.  When we got to the airport it took us almost an hour to check our luggage! When we finally got through, everyone on our plane had already been seated, but we were just thankful to be on!

Once we arrived in Charlotte we checked into our hotel, ate a nice meal out on a patio, and did a little shopping.  Let me say, I live in New Mexico, and there is pretty much no shopping here... Really, no shopping.  So needless to say, I was quite excited to see a Nordstrom right across the street from our hotel!

We ended Thursday evening at Ginna's parents house who were hosting some of their family and wedding guests for dinner.  It was lovely to get to see the bride and groom (and meet some of their family) before the craziness of the weekend started.

TWO  |  Friday morning was spent relaxing and heading to a pre-rehearsal lunch with Blake and Ginna, as well as Jim and Carrie (Jim was co-best man with John).  

Jim and Carrie live in Michigan, and it was the first time seeing everyone since moving, so it was great fun catching up.

THREE  |  After lunch we ran a few errands and headed off to the rehearsal.  The church was beautiful.

When John and I got married, the most stressful part was the rehearsal.  No one knows what they're doing and everything looks like a hot train wreck.  Anyone else experience this?!  Anyway, Ginna handled the whole thing beautifully, and from as far as I could tell, wasn't stressed one bit!

FOUR  |  The rehearsal dinner was so yummy! It was hosted at McCormick and Schmick's, and let's be real, you can't go wrong with a nice steak and good wine.

After the dinner, the majority of the wedding party went out for drinks at a place called Char Bar (I'm not totally sure that's the real name, but that's what everyone was calling it...).  It was good to get to know the rest of the wedding party since the majority of the people were from Ginna's hometown in Newport Beach.

FIVE  |  The day of the wedding I decided to get a blow out... And it was so bad. So bad. Ok, so, the blow out part turned out sort of okay, but then I asked the girl to pin my hair back a bit (which they claim to do all the time), and after a few tries of spraying and teasing my hair (then combing it out to try again), I ended with a ratty frizzy mess.  It was terrible.

I pretty much ran back to the hotel and washed my hair in the sink and started over (not to be a diva, but I feel like my hair is still recovering from the teasing trauma...).  By the time I got to the ceremony I was just thankful that I still had hair on my head.

SIX  |  The ceremony was lovely! Ginna's nieces and nephews are pretty much the cutest little people ever, and I would kidnap them if I could!  Seriously, that cute.

Ginna looked stunning and everything was beautiful.  It was the perfect amount of fun but still respected the meaning of the event (side note: the wedding program told the story of when John and the groom, Blake, were rescued by the Coast Guard after crashing a sailboat in Lake Huron... Oops! Sorry Blake's uncle!).

SEVEN  |  After the ceremony the newly married couple and the wedding party were all picked up by a trolley for a photo opp... And quite possibly the cutest photo opp ever!

EIGHT  |  The wedding party looked great together.  I can't wait to see all of the professional photos... The bridesmaid dresses looked awesome with the groomsmen suits, and the green and white flowers were so romantic with the navy! 

NINE  |  Once the bridal party finished with pictures, everyone loaded into the trolley for a ride to the reception.  The weather couldn't have been more perfect: sunny and warm, but no one was uncomfortably hot.

ONE  |  Once we arrived at the reception, John had a one track mind... His best man speech.  Since John and Jim were co-best men, they decided on delivering the speech together, and let me tell you, they did fabulous! Their speech was the perfect amount of heartfelt and funny with little bit of razzing on Blake.

TWO  |  The reception was absolutely beautiful and the flowers were out of this world!! Well done to Ginna's mom who planned it all... It was insanely gorgeous.  And again, you will need to see the professional photos to appreciate the beauty and grandness.

THREE  |  When the reception was over, many guests and those in the wedding party headed to Char Bar to extend the evening a bit longer.  

The evening ended by one of Ginna's bridesmaids and sorority sister, Mary Helen, rapping.  She did good y'all.  Not kidding either, I'm about to steal her (and a few others) from Ginna and make them my new besties!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Bite-Size Key Lime Pies!

The first time that I had key lime pie was a few years ago when John and I went to Key West together… and it was love at first sight bite! And lucky for me, John loves key lime pie just as much as I do, so it isn’t terribly obnoxious when I order it every chance that I can get.

This recipe is super easy, but squeezing all of the tiny little limes is a bit labor intensive (is there some sort of easy juicing trick that I don’t know about?). Either way, this recipe is worth the work, and the fact that these little guys are bite-size makes them even better.

What you need:
For the crust
- 1 1/2 cups of crushed graham crackers (or crushed shortbread cookies)
- 3 tablespoons of sugar
- 1/3 cup of butter
For the pie
- 2 (14 oz.) cans of sweetened condensed milk
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup of non-fat Greek yogurt
- 3/4 cup of freshly squeezed key lime juice (for me, this was about 15-17 key limes)
- 1 tablespoon of key lime zest

How to:
1. Begin by combining the crushed graham crackers, sugar, and butter; press a small layer of the mixture into the bottom of a cupcake liner.
2. Bake the mini crusts for 5-8 minutes at 350 degrees.
3. While the crust is baking, mix together the condensed milk, egg yolks (not the whites - save the whites if you want to make a meringue topping), Greek yogurt, lime juice (remove all seeds), and lime zest.
4. After the crust is done baking, add the key lime mixture to the cupcake liners, filling about 3/4s full.
5. Bake for 10-15 minutes (mine were done at 12), or until the top of the pie has mini pinhole bubbles bursting on the surface (do not brown!).
6. Chill thoroughly before serving, and top with whipped cream, if desired!

Linking up for Tuesday's Table

Monday, May 19, 2014

Weekend Happenings!

1  |  This weekend was absolutely gorgeous weather. It was sunny and in the high 70s and low 80s all weekend.  I mean really, it feels like full on summer here, and I am not complaining!

2  |  Since the weather was so nice, John and I decided it would be a good idea to lay out by the pool and get a little sun before Blake and Ginna's wedding this weekend.  However, after only an hour, we turned into Mr. and Mrs. Lobster.  It's bad - I'm just hoping my arms get through the peeling by Friday... (sorry in advance to the bride and groom!).

3  |  Saturday night John's coworker hosted a crawfish boil.  Crawfish is good, but I'm not going to lie, the process of getting to the edible portion grosses me out a bit.  After 20 minutes, or so, I was done and just had John do all the dirty work for me! Whata man! :) :)

4  |  It was nice getting to know some of John's coworkers a bit more and chatting with everyone.  Scout was invited and joined, but after only 10 minutes, I took her home... She was eating whole crawfish off of the ground, and it was totally nasty digging claws out of her mouth. 

5  |  On Sunday I made mini key lime pies! I couldn't believe how yummy they turned out!  I plan on sharing the recipe tomorrow. :)
6  |  Also, have you tried the new "Oprah" chai latte at Starbucks?  It is really good!! It's a bit spicier, and the flavor is way better than the normal chai... and fewer calories too!  This will def. be my new go-to drink for awhile!

7  |  Sunday evening, I took Scout to the dog park for a bit.  We haven't been going as often as we did when she was a puppy... I feel like there are a lot of dogs that are pretty rough with her, and although they aren't necessarily being aggressive, I don't think Scout has much fun getting beat up on.  She would rather sit and take selfies with me on the bench!  She's quite photogenic... look at that model stare!

8  |  I'm co-hosting a baby shower for a coworker in a few weeks, so I spent quite a few hours cutting out paper onesies.  I found a ton of super cute paper at Hobby Lobby for a good deal, so I bought a bunch - we will see if my fingers can stand cutting it all!

9  |  This doesn't really have anything to do with my weekend, but I am pretty excited for the new Bachelorette tonight! Will anyone else be watching?!  I didn't really enjoy Desiree or Juan Pablo's seasons, so I'm hoping this one will be worth watching.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Five on Friday!

Happy Friday!! Linking up with Christina, April, Darci, and Natasha for some Five on Friday fun!

ONE  |  Watermelon Cookies 

If you’re looking for an easy-peasy summer treat, these watermelon (shaped) cookies are easy and so fun!

How to:
1. Simply add a few drops of green food coloring to some sugar cookie dough, roll in balls, and bake as directed.  
2. Once the cookies are baked, divide the cookies in half using a spatula or knife.
3. After the cookies have fully cooled, add a few drops of pink food coloring to your frosting and frost your cookies.
4. Finish by adding mini chocolate chips on top. 

TWO  |  Simple Sangria 

I’m all about simple, and this sangria is simple!

Mix together red wine, grapefruit San Pellegrino, and some berries… refrigerate for 10 minutes and ta-da! 

 A super easy (and tasty) cocktail... great for a week night drink!  And the little bit of fancy from the San Pellegrino is perfect addition!

THREE  |  Blogiversary! 

As of yesterday, I have officially been blogging for one year! Whoohoo!

Happy 1st birthday little bloggity blog! 

FOUR  |  Crawfish Boil 

One of John’s coworkers is hosting a crawfish boil this weekend, and I am quite excited!  
The best part?  Our doggie Scout is invited too!

A few years back, John and I hosted a crawfish boil for his friends from law school, and it turns out crawfish aren’t all that bad (but there is still no way I’m about to suck the heads…). 

FIVE  |  Oh, Baby! Bad Baby Photos 

You may have already seen this link from The Ellen DeGeneres Show, but it is wayyy too funny not to share again.  Like, really funny.  I was at work when I saw this, and I was dying laughing.

Below you’ll find a couple of my favorites.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

DIY Bowls

I absolutely love raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc. and eat them like candy (…although, I will say, New Mexico is sadly lacking in the berry quality department).  In the summer, I love having a little dish of berries out for a grab-and-go treat, and I found some perfect little white bowls for cheap ($1.99 each) at Target that I decided to spice up a bit.

What you need:
- White porcelain bowls
- Oil-based Sharpie permanent markers

How to (I found these on Pinterest as inspiration):
1.  Wash and dry your bowls before decorating.
2.  Using an oil-based Sharpie, decorate your bowl as you please (normal Sharpies will not stay on through the dish washer).
3.  After you finish decorating your bowls, bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

This DIY is super easy, and really quite fun!  

And you can make anything, not just a bowl.  I made a mug using the same method awhile back, and my hubby (claims) that he still uses it at work every day!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Lemon Cupcakes!

Any dessert incorporating lemon is always a winner in my book.  There is something about the flavor that is perfect for summer and never feels too heavy.   

And girls – these lemon cupcakes… you need them in your life.  Seriously, I took them to work for a coworker’s birthday, and everyone agreed – way yummy, not too sweet, and just a little tart.

What you need:

For the cupcakes
- Lemon box cake mix; or, if you’re feeling fancy, you can follow this recipe to make cupcakes from scratch
- Zest from one lemon

For the lemon curd
- 1/4 cup of sugar
- 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice
- Zest from one lemon
- 1 egg
- 1 egg white

For the frosting
- Premade frosting; or, if you’re feeling fancy, you can follow this recipe to make frosting from scratch
- 1 teaspoon of lemon extract

How to:

1.  Begin by combining the zest of one lemon into the cupcake batter, and bake as indicated on either the box or original recipe.

2.  Once the cupcakes are baked and fully cooled, using a melon baller or a knife, create a hole in the middle of the cupcake, about 1 inch deep.

3.  To make the lemon curd, combine sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a sauce pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

4.  Whisk the egg and egg white in a separate bowl, and add in the lemon mixture.  Return to heat, and whisk until thick (about 5 minutes).

5.  After the curd thickens, remove from heat and refrigerate until cool.

6.  Put a small dollop of lemon curd in each cupcake.
7.  Stir together the frosting and lemon extract, and then frost the cupcakes.

Linking up for Tuesday's Table.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Weekend Happenings!

Today is one of those Mondays when I wish the weekend had been extended by a few days.  It was lots of fun, but I'm exhausted I and feel like I'm starting my week with a long to-do list!

1  |  During the week, my friend Faerl and I decided that we were going to go on a long road bike ride on Saturday morning. Very shortly into the ride, Faerl had a flat tire that we had to stop and change, but after that it went pretty smooth riding... no one was crashed or was hit by a car, so that was (obviously) a good thing. All in all, we got in a good 40 miles.

2  |  I don't think the temperature could have been any better - 73 and sunny... and the scenery was quite pleasant most of the time!  The first 35ish miles went fairly well, but the last 5 were pretty painful for me.  I was feeling pretty low on food, ran out of water in my Camelbak, and the never ending slow incline was killing me... by the end of our ride, we ended up gaining 1200 feet in elevation!

3  |  When we finished, we met John and Faerl's husband Jared (who were mountain biking together) for some well deserved green chile cheeseburgers and milk shakes at a place called Burger Boy.  It is a bit a of a dive, but it has the best food ever - EVER.  I was SO hungry, and it totally hit the spot.

4  |  After we all finished eating, John and I headed home and forced ourselves to take Scout for a short sunset hike in the foothills.  The poor girl was home alone all day, so she needed some fresh air.  It was a good thing we took her because we probably would have passed out and slept for 15 hours had we not got up and going.

Sunday, we ran some errands and stuck around home for most of the day... neither of us were up for too much!  I baked some lemon cupcakes which turned out amazing - there is a homemade lemon curd inside that is way yummy (recipe post tomorrow!).

Friday, May 9, 2014

Five on Friday!

Happy Friday!  Linking up with Christina, April, Darci, and Natasha! And a HUGE congrats to Christina on the birth of her sweet Caroline!  If you don't follow her on instagram, you need to so you can catch a peek of her new cutie!!

ONE  |  Mother’s Day Weekend
Happy Mother’s Day weekend to all the mamas out there!  And a very happy Mother’s Day to my mom!  She is the source of everything good I’ve learned!

Need last minute gift ideas?  Check out my Mother's Day go-to gift list!

TWO  |  Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred

Has anyone done this before?! I bought the DVD for $6 at a consignment store, and haven’t tried it yet.  I’m not much of a “work out in your living room” kind of girl, but I thought it may be a good option on days when I don’t feel like leaving the house.   

I should probably just look into the Tone it Up girls... they seem way more likable! 

THREE  |  Charleston Anniversary Trip

John and I are going to Charlotte over Memorial Day weekend to celebrate with our friends Blake and Ginna on their wedding day.  John and Blake have been friends for awhile, and we are excited to watch them tie the knot!

 Since we were going to be in the area (sort of), John and I decided to tack on a couple extra days to spend in Charleston.  We spent our first wedding anniversary in Charleston, so we thought it may be fun to add on a mini getaway in celebration of our third wedding anniversary only a few weeks later.

FOUR  |  Summer Eats

I cannot get enough of summer fresh fruits and vegetables.  I’m not going to lie… I even carried a whole watermelon in my purse into work, and ate the watermelon right out of the rind.  Judge if you want, but it was amazing.   

Avocados, artichokes, and (tons of) berries have also been making a regular appearance.

FIVE  |  Bike Ridin’

Girls.  I am going to need some serious prayers tomorrow morning.  My friend Faerl, who I was in Colorado with last weekend, convinced me it would be a good idea to go on a 40 mile bike ride tomorrow.   

Hopefully this doesn’t end badly… I have a pretty nice road bike, but have only used it a handful of times and I wasn’t super comfortable on it – we will see how it goes…

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Homemade Granola Bars

John and I love granola bars - they are the perfect snack to hold you over for the 15-45 minutes that is sometimes needed to make it to dinner (…and to help combat those hanger onsets).  John alone can go through a box of bars in a week – no joke, some days he will eat like three bars in a day!!  This is totally fine, except Kind bars (which are our favorite) aren’t exactly the cheapest things ever…

In effort to stock up on granola bars and have some healthy snacks, we decided to make our own!  The almond and coconut Kind bars are my favorite, so I decided I was going to model mine after those.  They were quite simple to make, and turned out fabulous!  


The ones I made are crunchy, so they also make the perfect bar to crumble into some Greek yogurt for breakfast (John has even crumbled them and ate them with milk like cereal).  The consistency is very much like a Nature Valley granola bar.


Anyway… what you need:
- 7 Cups of old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 Cup of vegetable oil
- 1 Teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 Cup of sliced almonds
- 1 Cup of coconut
- 3/4 Cup of honey
- 3/4 Cup of brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract
- 2 Teaspoons of ground cinnamon

How to:
1.  In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, coconut, almonds, salt, and oil until evenly coated.

2.  Transfer to a baking sheet and toast the mixture in the oven at 300 degrees, for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

3.  While you are toasting the oats, in a sauce pan, combine the brown sugar and honey until smooth.  Then add the vanilla and cinnamon.

4.  Next, combine the oat mixture with the honey and brown sugar.  Stir until well coated.
5.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and coat with a non-stick spray.  Put the mixed granola onto the baking sheet, making a flat and even layer.  Make sure to press the granola very tight so that it won't easily crumble.  I found that using the bottom of a smaller baking sheet helped in pressing the layer tight.
6.  Bake at 300 degrees for 35-40 minutes.
7.  After baking, let cool for 10 minutes and then cut the bars (I used a pizza cutter).  Don't wait too long to cut the bars or they will harden after about 20 minutes.

Linking up with Tuesday's Table
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