Saturday, February 6, 2016

Kale Chip Nachos

Thank you Simply 7 for sponsoring this post. While this is a sponsored post, all opinions and content expressed are my own. Now let's eat!


The "big game" is tomorrow and if you're scrambling to find easy, stress-free recipes for your Super Bowl party, I've got a really simple solution. 

First off, I'm not really into the Super Bowl this year. Not that I haven't ever been into it, I'm just not into tomorrow's game, you know? I'm a Pittsburgh Steelers fan and since they didn't make it to the Super Bowl, I have no vested interest in the game. I am however, a little bit of a fan of Cam Newton. So if I had to pick a team, I'm going with the Panthers. I'm also looking forward to the halftime show. Let's be honest though, the halftime show hasn't been the same since Janet Jackson. Boo.

Anyway, I was approached to try Simply 7 kale chips and I'm always down to try new snacks (especially healthy ones) so I inevitably said yes! I instagrammed a photo when I received the chips and I couldn't wait to try all of the flavors. The first one I cracked open was the sea salt and they were delicious but I was surprised to find out that I really liked the lemon and olive oil ones. For the nachos, I used majority of the sea salt flavored chips mixed with a few of the lemon ones.



Enough of me talking, let's get to these nachos - the Super Bowl is tomorrow!



Ingredients:

1 lb.ground turkey
Salt
Black pepper
Garlic powder
Cumin
Ground red pepper
Chili powder
1 15oz can of black beans (I used seasoned Bush's black beans)
Salsa
Simply 7 kale chips
1/2 small onion, chopped
Chives, chopped (I used about 3 chives)
Handful of cilantro leaves
1 jalapeno, sliced
Shredded cheese



Instructions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Brown the ground turkey and generously season with all of the spices.

While the turkey is browning, mix the black beans with some of the salsa in a small bowl and set aside.



Spread the kale chips on a baking sheet and begin the layering process. Add the turkey, bean & salsa mixture, onions, chives, jalapeno and cheese.

Pop these babies in the oven and bake until the cheese has melted.

Ready just in time for the Super Bowl!


Friday, February 5, 2016

Create+Cultivate: 5 Lessons Learned



Last weekend, I had the most amazing time in Dallas at Create & Cultivate, a conference that connects entrepreneurial women in a modern digital world. Because I'm trying to work through my 34x34 list, I had to make sure to attend a blog or business conference at some point this year and I'm glad I chose Create & Cultivate. Even though I consider myself an extrovert, I'm also an only child who thrives on being alone. On the flip side, I also love spending time with groups of people. No matter how much of an extrovert I *think* I cam, I was a little nervous about traveling to Dallas to go to a conference of over 400 women...none of whom I knew.







Would I make friends?

Would I feel comfortable enough to talk to anyone?

Will the ladies be friendly to me?

Am I going to feel out of place?

Will I be bored?

The answers to those questions - in order: yes, yes, yes, no, no.



This was such a friendly group of women from the attendees, to the volunteers to the Create & Cultivate staff. Oh even the speakers were friendly and welcoming. My worries were null and void. With a conference so full of activity, I definitely learned a lot. Here's what I picked up.



Sell your passion not your technical skills (or lack there of)


A lot of times when we're searching for jobs or trying to get a new client, we spend a lot of time trying to convince others that we're so skillful in the job we're trying to get. We name off our accomplishments and awards but what really matters is do you have a heart for it? Are you passionate about it? Sometimes your passion secures the gig, not how many letters are behind your name.


Skill doesn't equal talent


Think about it. how many of us are really good at something we don't like or don't want to do? A lot of us. Skill is the ability to do something well but talent is natural. Talent is a gift that you nurture. The two, skill and talent, aren't synonymous.


Girl crushes exist


There were so many amazing women at this conference, I can't even. I had a chance to meet so many business women and bloggers that I follow. Tina Craig of Bag Snob is one tough cookie and I LOVE HER. Her confidence, her little nuggets of knowledge - this lady is fabulously smart. Another favorite lady is Maxie McCoy. I'm so glad I picked her for my mentor sessions. Talk about inspirational - I learned a lot from her in the short time we were together. Lastly, the founders of Soul Cycle. There's only two words to describe them: bad ass. Foreal. Follow Elizabeth and Julie on Instagram for more bad ass stuff.


Constant momentum is key


If anything is going to succeed, you have to keep going. One of the first panels I participated in featured Sophie Macks of Beyond the Mag. First off, she's great. Second, she said something that has stuck with me since the weekend: in order to take off, you need constant momentum. It's simple, makes sense and very true. You're going nowhere real fast if you're not consistently working on it.


There's no right way to start/launch a biz


Sure, there were a lot of similarities between everyone's stories. But what rang really true to me was that no one story was the same. Yes, there are basic or general avenues one can take to launch a biz or grow a business but your journey is going to be very different from mine. What works for me, may not work for you and that's OK. Listen to your gut (it's there for a reason) and make decisions that work best for your business not what you think worked for others. 


Overall, C&C was great and I'd definitely recommend it others. I made friends with a couple of really cool ladies: Jessica of No Real Jewelry and Emily of Emily Wong Design. I even found out that a friend from Chattanooga would be there so that was nice. Bottom line: if you're hesitant about attending a conference, don't be. I promise it'll be fine.

Be sure to follow Create & Cultivate on social media (here and here); they'll be announcing their next city on the 15th of February! Go forth and create and cultivate!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Around the Web


It's almost my half birthday - Valentine's Day!



A super smart 11 year old started an international book drive - via Refinery29

Yes, you can keep lemons fresh for an entire month - via The Kitchn

There's a Ghanaian version of Sex & the City and apparently it's really good - via Refinery29

What are the most annoying posts on Facebook (all of them) - via Social Media Week

No heavy cream? Here's what you can use instead - via PopSugar Food

Do you know what the Iowa caucus is? Here's the low down - via Brit.&Co.


Monday, February 1, 2016

The Weekend


I had such an awesome weekend. For starters, I went to Dallas for the weekend to attend the conference, Create & Cultivate. It all seems likes such a whirlwind because I worked Friday and my flight left at 9:15pm. I got to Dallas around 10:30CST, got settled into my hotel and went to sleep almost immediately. Conference check-in was at 8am so I wanted to make sure I got plenty of sleep. Luckily my flight Sunday didn't leave too early so I had a chance to sleep, get coffee and chill in my hotel before having to fly back home.

Friday's post will be a full recap on the conference but what I will say now is that I met lots of awesome ladies and I'm looking forward to seeing them again and potentially collaborating in the future. The weather was great and unseasonably warm but I'm definitely not complaining. I got back early Sunday evening and first thing on the list was tacos with Johnny bear. Even though I had a jam-packed weekend, I went straight to work once I was back home. After tacos, we went to a coffee shop to set up shop. Must continue creating and cultivating, right?

a literal look at how much fun I had



new snack, pretty tasty.



Found a little slither of time to have dinner and drinks with friends in Dallas - before crashing again and going to sleep. Overall this was truly an awesome weekend. Can't wait to start executing everything that I learned. 

Friday, I'll be recapping all that happened so come back to get the scoop. Happy Monday!

Friday, January 29, 2016

What I Loved on Pinterest


I make it a point to keep my Pinterest updated. I love it for my personal inspiration and to inspire others. In case you haven't made it over to my Pinterest page, every now and then, I try to recap a few of my favorite pins that I've discovered over the last few months. Also, over on my Facebook page, I'm doing something new by sharing my "pin of the week", which is my most favorite (or popular) pin from the week. But today, it's all about the things I've been loving on Pinterest lately - hope you find something inspiring.


| f o o d |


5 minute cinnamon toast (Peach and the Cobbler)

butter basil roasted chicken (The Kitchy Kitchen)

meatballs with rosemary garlic wine sauce (Game and Garden)

thai red curry with vegetables (Cookie and Kate)


| d r i n k |


whiskey hot chocolate (My Dish is Bomb)

ginger beer with lavender & honey (Hello Home Shoppe)

bourbon brule (NY Times)

pineapple & ginger moscow mules (Sugar and Charm)


| h o m e |


pink couch (Desire to Inspire)

bedroom ideas (Apartment Therapy)

white & gold kitchen (The Sunday Chapter)

blue apron sink (Design Love Fest's Instagram)


| f a s h i o n |


champagne tee (Thug Life Shirts)

fitted black dress (Simply Cyn)

plaid scarf & coat (SheIn)

off shoulder black dress (Neiman Marcus)


| t r a v e l |


nashville guide (My Domaine)

how to eat like a local in montreal (Travel Noire)

9 vacation spots in mexico (My Domaine)

10 places to eat & drink in Paris (The Kitchn)

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Around the Web


Headed to Create+Cultivate in Dallas and I can't wait!


Did you know there are hidden Netflix codes that unlock more stuff to watch? - via PopSugar

Easy tips to help you make smoothies ahead of time - via Hello Glow

Which cities have the most bakeries per capita? - via Huffington Post Taste

Seems relevant since I got a new car. Tips to help you buy a car confidently - via The Financial Diet

Top music festivals with the best food. Did your favorite festival make the list? - via PopSugar

5 grocery myths, dispelled - via The Kitchn


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

STIR


I love it when new restaurants open. It makes me so happy to see people bring their food dreams to life. The restaurant industry is cutthroat so my hat is off to anyone who even attempts to get into it; I definitely do not have the guts or courage to get in it. This year, I want/need to do more restaurant posts - they're some my favorites to write about. John and I always love going to new (and old) restaurants and I've made a promise to myself and my readers to *try* and do a better job of documenting those adventures. I'll say this though: I do not plan to (nor do I want to) become a restaurant critic; that's not what this blog is about. I do, however, want to share my restaurant experiences and recommendations. Here's the last restaurant post I did.



So STIR is a restaurant that opened last November and though I've been there quite a few times, I'm really looking forward to dining there in the warmer months. You can access their bar from the outside and they have an awesome patio - I live for outside dining. You may remember me mentioning this place last year because I got an opportunity to takeover their Instagram account for their grand opening party, which was a lot of fun. Since then, John and I have been back a few times to take advantage of their happy hour and yummy cocktails.

So, off the top, STIR has an oyster and raw bar. I haven't indulged in that part of the menu quite yet but I'm sure it's great.

taken at STIR's grand opening party

OK, let's talk other food.



I'm a sucker for French fries and tacos. I know, French fries...really? But seriously, I hate when I go to a restaurant (especially one that offers burgers and sandwiches) and the fries suck. Just to be clear: the fries do not suck at STIR. John loves them and so do I. They're Parmesan white truffle fries so they're not playing around here.

Another favorite of mine are the blackened fish tacos and the baja tacos. Won't go wrong; can't go wrong with those.

fried green tomato burger

I've been told the fried green tomato burger is quite tasty. I'm not a fan of tomatoes especially fried green ones, so I'll trust my sources on this. Our last two visits to STIR, I've been drawn to the shrimp and grits. It's very rare, in my opinion, to be able to find a shrimp and grits dish that DOES NOT HAVE HAM IN IT. I just don't want ham in my shrimp and grits. Maybe I'm alone in that thinking but I don't want it and STIR doesn't offer it so I was already a fan before even tasting them. I think STIR'S shrimp and grits and mine are my favorites so far. Haha - shameless plug.

Moving on...drinks!



Oftentimes, when I go to a restaurant, I look at their beverage offerings before I even look at anything else. What can I say, I love a good cocktail. STIR does have an "ice chef". Yes, you read that correctly. STIR takes pride in their ice production; there's a whole process to producing perfect, purified ice. My favorite drink is the whiskey bramble.



The cocktails are tasty with prices ranging from $10 - $14. If a cocktail from the menu isn't your thing, they have over 300 types of liquors so there's definitely a little something for everyone.

one of my favorite photos from the grand opening party - THE LIGHTS!

We haven't tapped into their dessert or brunch scene yet (yes, they have brunch) but we'll definitely be adding it to our to do list soon. I hear the seasonal cobbler is a good dessert option but I've usually been too full to even attempt a dessert.



If you go:

STIR
1444 Market Street, Chattanooga, TN
Monday-Thursday 11am-midnight
Friday & Saturday 11am - 1am
Sunday 10:30am-midnight

TIP: go for happy hour. Monday-Friday, 4-6:30pm (bar & cocktail area only)

Have you been to STIR? What did you think?

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Weekend



So let's get the main weekend news out of the way: I finally got a new car [insert fireworks and confetti]. This has been a long time coming and I'm so glad I finally have one. The main reason why I waited so long to buy one was simply to avoid the whole car payment debacle but alas, I couldn't avoid it any longer and now I have a reliable car; we should all be proud.

Now that's out of the way, what else happened this weekend?

Friday night it "snowed" so panic ensued in the South although not much happened around these parts but a lot of neighboring cities saw some actual snow; I can't say that I'm jealous. Saturday, John was disappointed that he didn't have a snow day and I posted up in a coffee shop with my friend, Jennifer, and attempted to mark some things off of my to do list. Sunday was grocery shopping and cooking day while attempting to prepare for the week ahead. I'm heading to Dallas later this week (so excited) and need to make sure I'm all organized for that. Hope you had a great weekend.

the "snow" storm we got



great buy/find at Target



Happy Monday!

Friday, January 22, 2016

5 Things You Don't Know About Me




played the flute


So yeah, there was this one time, in a former life, when I was really cool and in the band. I used to have a weird obsession with flutes. I asked for one for Christmas one year (before I was even in band) and didn't even know how to play it. My parents obliged then later in life, I ended up in the school band. It didn't last long though; I wanted to be a cheerleader instead.



got an internship for a presidential candidate


One time in college, a friend and I, who were in the same major, decided to go after some political type internships. We got one. It was with a presidential candidate who did not get very far in the process. I was excited but with classes and a part time job, I decided not to do it. Sadness. Wonder if I could have been the original Olivia Pope without all the presidential drama.


image via


I sent an audition tape for The Real World


Remember when The Real World was just so popular and good? I used to love it. I loved it until I became older than everyone on the show. No bueno. Anyway, once in college, my friends and I decided to send in a tape for the Las Vegas season. Like a real tape. We got my roommate's video camera and everything...those were the days.



my first car was a Mitsubishi Eclipse


I begged my parents to buy me a car in high school. You know...I thought I "deserved" it. The options I gave my parents were an Eclipse or an Acura Integra. My geometry teacher had an Integra and I thought it was cool. I ended up with an Eclipse (so cute) and it was a 5 speed, which by the way, I HAD NO IDEA HOW TO DRIVE IT. Through many driving lessons with my father, I finally figured out how to drive it...even though I'm pretty sure I still rolled through stop signs.




wanted to be a United States Senator


Going to college in the DC area, I was always consumed with politics - I sort of loved it. I always thought I would be in the law and political area. However, once I moved away from our nation's capital, I quickly realized that law wasn't my true calling...politics, I'm still into but I don't think I'll be running for a political office anytime soon.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Around the Web


This has been a stressful-ish week. Purchasing a car is no fun.


7 phrases women should be able to say without flinching. What do you think? - via Real Simple

A hilarious comic on loading the dishwasher - via The Oatmeal

Commandments for keeping your kitchen clutter free - via The Kitchn

How Chipotle plans to aid their food and PR crisis - via Brit & Co.

This is something I need to do: stop spending money on lunch during the week - via The Financial Diet

Kendrick Lamar meets President Obama and it's great - via Jezebel


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Pineapple Cilantro Moscow Mules


It is freezing.

Cold temperatures make me long for warmer days and higher temperatures. I figure if the temperatures aren't going to increase, I can at least get a little taste of summer at home. Even though pineapple can be found year-round, there's just something summery and beachy about it. Usually, I drink Moscow mules year round but having one on a warm summer day is the best.

No it really is.

I rarely never have beverages with cilantro in them - I mean it's pretty rare, don't you think? Or am I missing out on some new trend that I'm not cool enough to know about? I've tried all kinds of random - some might even say weird - ingredients in beverages and foods. The pineapple cilantro combination isn't necessarily "weird" but it sure is interesting. This cocktail is actually quite refreshing and not overpowering with cilantro. I think most would like it unless you're in that odd group of folks who dislikes cilantro. I love it but apparently my BFF is not a cilantro fan - tragic. If it's cold where you are, here's a cool beverage to help you remember once upon a time when it was warm. Sigh.



Recipe very slightly adapted from Beard + Bonnet

6 cilantro leaves
ice
1 1/2 ounces vodka
pineapple juice
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
ginger beer (I like the Reed's brand)
pineapple chunk, for serving (optional)


Gently muddle the cilantro leaves in a glass to release their oils. Be careful to not be too rough with the leaves. You don't want to tear them apart when you muddle them. 

Add ice to the top. Pour the vodka over the ice; add the pineapple juice, lime juice then top with ginger beer. Stir and serve.

*makes one drink



Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Holiday Weekend


Y'all know how I feel about three-day weekends: they should be mandatory. But I'm not going to harp on that point. This [long] weekend was good and much needed. A lot of my weekend was spent at a car dealership perusing the lots and getting a headache while looking. So let me explain something. In my life, I've had 2 cars - neither of which I purchased myself (thanks mom and dad). So as a thirty-something year old woman, I'm going through the car process for the first time. Yes, Johnny bear is with me but you know...it's the first time without the aid of mommy and daddy. For someone just experiencing this process, IT'S OVERWHELMING and not fun at all. If I have to buy another car in 20 years, it'll be too soon.

Back to the point, most of my weekend was spent looking for cars - I think I found one and fingers crossed, it'll come home with me very soon. My BFF and her husband came to spend the day with us Sunday and that was a lot of fun. We brunched, watched football, drank and had tacos for dinner. The best thing that happened was that we saw Connie Britton. Yes, Connie. The lady from Friday Night Lights and Nashville - I love her.






Monday, I stopped into a super cute, local jewelry store to take some photographs for an upcoming giveaway I'm doing (so excited) - so stay tuned for that. Hope you had an awesome weekend!

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