Monday, January 26, 2015

The Weekend

As every weekend goes by, we get seriously close to the wedding day - eek!  A friend reminded me of how much time was left Sunday evening and asked if I was excited.  Well, of course I am...I'm just trying to get done everything that needs to get done on top of a pretty busy work schedule and just life in general. I think I forgot to mention that I have a huge fundraiser for work about 10 days before the wedding so that's not stressful at all, right?  Anyway, this weekend was a pretty calm weekend and it felt great. We've been on the go so much that whenever we have a weekend where we actually have no obligations - I welcome it with open arms.

I cleaned a little, cooked Sunday afternoon, met my friend for a Saturday cocktail/lunch and worked out. Productive weekend, I think.

So the photo of all the boxes...that's my wedding corner.  It keeps growing as the days go by. I forgot that John and I spend 2 hours and 45 minutes watching the movie Boyhood and we definitely were not all. Way too long.  Guess this is why I'm not in the movie biz. I'm obviously missing something from this movie that everyone else gets.

Whatever. Happy Monday!

Friday, January 23, 2015

What I Loved on Pinterest

I'm not exactly sure when was the last time I shared a 'What I Loved on Pinterest' post but I'm pretty sure it's about time.  Often times, I find a lot of my food, home and lately, wedding inspiration on Pinterest. For me, Pinterest really is a great resource for creativity an a way for me to share my own photos and/or recipes.  So, here's what I've been drooling over on Pinterest lately.

| f o o d |

40 clove garlic chicken - via Notions & Notations of a Novice Cook

French onion pastry bites - via Joy the Baker

Garlic soup - via Brooklyn Supper

Rhubarb & vanilla pound cake - via Pastry Affair

| d r i n k s |

Spiced orange mocha hot chocolate - via The Cupcake Confession

Roasted vanilla grapefruit mimosas - via The Kitchy Kitchen

Ginger latte - via Minimalist Baker

Sour green apple margarita - via Heather Christo

| h o m e |

Heart sheet set - via Pottery Barn Teens

White & gold oven - Style Me Pretty

Pink couch - Nest Pretty Things

Open space kitchen - via Tres Bon Gout

| t r a v e l |

The Crooked House of Windsor - via Flickr

Paris City Guide - via Culture Keeper

Tulum travel guide - via Design Love Fest

Charleston city guide - via Design Sponge

Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Around the Web

Another week of sifting through things on the internet.

A subscription box that teaches kids how to - via Brit & Co.

Apparently there's a scientific reason why some don't like cilantro - via Reason I am Here

How to cook the perfect steak - via the Tasting Table

A real time meter app to help with expensive Uber rides - via Brit & Co.

So, what's the difference between heavy cream and whipping cream? - via PopSugar

30 truths about marriage - via PopSugar

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Red Gold Lasagna

Lasagna is a meal that's comforting and reminds me of family. Even though lasagna wasn't a meal that we had often at home, there's still something very family-ish about it.  It's delicious, warm and you can sort of just place it in the middle of the dinner table and let people serve style. Another great thing about lasagna is that it's so versatile. You can pretty much throw anything that you like in a lasagna and bake it.  That's why I enjoy it so much.  I'm the girl that loathes ricotta cheese so I'd never put ricotta cheese in my lasagna.  Don't get me wrong, if ricotta is your thing, please cook with it...I just don't like the look of it.  Yes, one of my weird food 'things'.

Anyway, the nice folks at Red Gold Tomatoes sent over some of their canned tomatoes (along with some other goodies) and some of their original recipes for me to try.  I racked my brain on trying one of their recipes or if I should attempt to challenge myself and try to make up my own. I think I did a mixture of both...maybe?  I have no idea.  I'm so tired, I can't even see straight anymore. At any rate, I took a traditional lasagna (without the ricotta, of course) and sort of tweaked it.

I baked my lasagna as you normally would but added spinach and only using the noodles, cheese and half of some of the tomato sauce.  While that's baking, I made the meat sauce.  When I opened the can of basil, garlic and oregano diced tomatoes, you could immediately smell the herbs - so good. You don't always find that in canned vegetables, you know?  This was legit.

I made what I call a "quick bolognese", which really means...well, nothing really.  I added some heavy cream to the sauce to give a delicious and creamy texture.  When the lasagna was done baking, I spooned the meat sauce over the lasagna and served it that way.

So good!

Red Gold has some other recipes on their website that are definitely worth trying.

Definitely my new-ish way of making lasagna. Just make sure you tell your guests that the meat sauce is to be served on top of the lasagna.  Otherwise, you'll have a situation like I did with John; he thought the sauce was just extra and failed to put the sauce over the lasagna.  Ha!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Holiday Weekend

It's always nice to have a long weekend, right?  I can use every single moment I have off to relax, finalize wedding plans and just get my life together.  John and I saw Selma last weekend and I actually wished we waited to see it this weekend but I'm sure everyone else probably had that idea too. I got a chance to catch up with a friend over cocktails Saturday and met with my friends/wedding coordinators to hash out some wedding details AND I had my first wedding dress fitting!

So many details.

I hope I'm not overwhelming my friends but I'm trying to be as organized as possible so that we remain friends even after the wedding.  Ha!  Anyway, I'm hoping that this week is productive and goes by quickly.  One thing that we did accomplish this weekend was watching the first season of Broad City finally.  This show isn't for everyone but John and I enjoyed it...probably because we have an interesting/dirty since of humor.  Think Workahlics but with girls.  One last thing that was fantastic about this weekend: the weather.  I mean, this is how winter should be, don't you think?

Oh we went to see American Sniper Friday evening and carved out time to work out.  My body is definitely still sore from the workout.  Eeek.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Pineapple Bourbon Cocktail

I love a good cocktail.

I've been trying to limit my alcohol limit I mean, I'm not drinking during the week.  I'm not going on crazy binges over the weekend but if I must, I'll indulge just a bit. It's this whole January eating better/wedding is soon and I need to do better thing - it's much easier said than done. At any rate, I love a good cocktail and I love making a tasty cocktail even more.

I mentioned before that I'm participating in this PopSugar 2015 food challenge; it's pretty much my New Year's food resolution assignment.  I'm documenting my progress on this little adventure and I'm not going in any particular order...I'm just having fun with it.  One of the "challenges" was to create my own cocktail - no brainer, I do this all the time.  So, this is not only my first 'challenge' from this list but it's also my first cocktail post of 2015!  This drink is very easy and very delicious. I always believe that cocktails should be simple and not ruined by tons of sweeteners and sugary mixers. Simplicity is key...unless you're using high-quality ingredients, keep it simple.

Anyway, let's get into this little drinky drink.

As usual, I don't have "real" measurements but it's easy enough that I think you can figure it out. And if not, just email me or something.

You'll need:

fresh pineapple chunks
mint (couple of leaves)

Grab a few fresh chunks of pineapple, and muddle in a cocktail shaker along with a mint leaf (the pineapple that I used was so fresh, sweet and really juicy).  I muddled about 2 ounces of juice. Be gentle you're not trying to murder the pineapple or the mint.

Pour about an ounce of bourbon into a glass (more if you like) and top with ice.

Strain the pineapple juice into the bourbon.  Grab a cocktail spoon (or whatever you have) and give it a good stir.

Garnish with a mint leaf and a pineapple chunk and enjoy.  Yum. Yum. Yum.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Around the Web

Glitter, little Sebastian and salt.  Things that consumed my mind this week. 

Sending glitter to your enemies have taken over the internet this week - via PopSugar

The most anticipated bar openings this year - via Eater

How to start a cookbook club (fun!) - via PopSugar

Salt in your coffee? - via Huffington Post Taste

10 best island getaways for this year - via Huffington Post Travel

Make a little Sebastian breakfast sandwich (fans of Parks & Recreation will understand) - via Nerdist

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Weekend in: New Orleans

So a couple of weekends ago, a few friends along with John and I, went on a weekend rendezvous to New Orleans.  We all had been to New Orleans before but never together.  This trip was sort of our last vacation/breather before getting into the last mile of wedding planning.  New Orleans always brings delicious food, interesting people (and stories) and unfortunately for me, frizzy hair; I still can't manage that little hair problem.

Though we were only there for a weekend, I had a list of places that I wanted to try and our friends had places on their list as well.  There was a point in the trip where John reminded me we were only there for a weekend and I probably needed to chill on all of the places to frolic.  At any rate, we made it to a few places we wanted to try or that we've been previously and wanted to revisit.  I'm far from an expert on New Orleans but if you're going anytime soon, here's a list of the places we visited and enjoyed!

We decided to stay in the Garden District of New Orleans. Obviously New Orleans has tons of options for lodging (a couple of our friends did AirBnB) but this area was pretty close to some of the restaurants we were going to try.

Stay:  The Hotel Modern // 936 St. Charles Ave.

The staff at The Hotel Modern was great as was Scarlet, the hotel's parrot.  The staff even dropped off a complimentary bottle of wine - with a note - to our room since they heard we were getting married.

I don't think I've ever had a bad meal while in New Orleans.  There are tons of places to try while visiting but these are just the handful we were able to fit in while there.

Dat Dog // several locations (the one on Frenchmen stays open later)

I have a weird thing with hot dogs but Dat Dog offers so much more than that. I tried the duck sausage that was served with a blackberry sauce.  Wow.  So good...especially when it's 2am.

Atchafalaya // 901 Louisiana Ave.

Make a reservation. We went for Saturday brunch, which features live music and a bloody Mary bar. I had a champagne cocktail and the duck hash - so delicious.  Fresh slices of mango and blackberries just made the hash even better.  Get a side of alligator sausage.  John did and it was super-yummy!

La Petite Grocery // 4238 Magazine St.

We had eaten (and drank) so much that John and I decided to split a sandwich.  We went for Sunday brunch and tried the B.E.L.T. (bacon, egg, lettuce & tomato & herb aioli).  The sandwich was perfect as was the mimosa.  I also had a chance to try the waffle, which has the chef's selection of accompaniments.  On the day we went it was a lemon ice cream or gelato (I can't remember) and it was heaven.

Parkway Bakery & Tavern // 538 Hagan Ave.

Parkway has been in New Orleans since 1911 so I think the history speaks for itself.  I decided to go old school and get a shrimp po boy, not too adventurous but I had a feeling if I went with what I knew, I wouldn't be disappointed.  They have a huge, covered outdoor area too.

Bayou Beer Garden // 326 North Jefferson Davis Pkwy.

Don't let the name fool you - they have liquor too.  We stopped here for a bit to watch a little football and everyone (except me) had a few beers.  Bayou Beer Garden is close to Parkway Po Boys so I suggest you do like we did: get full at Parkway and head to the beer garden to chill and drink a little more.  The plan worked out great for us. Their patio is awesome.

For a little late night frolicking try...

The Saint // 961 St. Mary St.

Dive bar, fun music and strong drinks.  There's also a vending machine.

Cafe Negril // 606 Frenchmen St.

Live music, mostly reggae but the band on the night that we went was amazing.  Lots of Lauryn Hill, a little Bob Marley and even some Notorious B.I.G.  This is the only photo I have of Cafe Negril...

Siberia // 2227 Saint Claude Ave.

Dive bar. Stopped here to hear a friend of John's DJ.  Though at first site, you may not think of Siberia as having tasty food...they do.  I tried the black and blue burger and it was definitely worth sitting in a smokey bar to have it.  Jennifer tried the pierogis (dumplings) which were pretty tasty too.

We didn't do a lot of shopping but we did stumble upon a few stores that we love.

Goorin Brothers // 2 locations in New Orleans

Goorin Brothers has multiple locations throughout the U.S. We went to the location on Magazine street and the staff was helpful, attentive and really nice.  We walked away with 3 purchases that day...none of which were for me.  What I fell in love with the most was the feather bar they have to accessorize your hats!

Langford Market // 2131 Magazine St.

Magazine Street isn't Langford Market's only location - there are several locations in Texas. However, the staff was really sweet and they offered us champagne cocktails as we browsed. Though I walked out empty-handed, my friend Jennifer found something cute to purchase.

Defend // 1101 First St.

Defend has some really cool tees and books.  But what really caught my eye was a collection of bitters that they had for sale.  Naturally, I bought some because it's normal to go into a clothing store and buy cocktail bitters, right?  Hopefully I'll use those bitters soon and will share the details at some point.  Cool store though.

If you're into gambling...

Harrah's // 228 Poydras St.

We stopped by Harrah's just for a couple of hours because I had never gambled before.  I won nothing and quite honestly, it wasn't that exciting.  Maybe I should try it in Vegas?

You can't end a trip without treating yourself to something sweet....

District Donuts Sliders Brew // 2209 Magazine St.

Mmmm. Donuts.  Donuts aren't a dessert that I eat often so when I hear about such a place like District Donuts, I must mentally prepare.  I tried the lemon raspberry and it was delightful.  Beware: the donuts are huge.

Cafe Du Monde // multiple locations

No trip to New Orleans would be complete without a trip to Cafe Du Monde.  Beignets and coffee is probably the best way to end a trip.  So good.  There's usually a line but it moves pretty quickly.

What are your favorite places in New Orleans?

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Weekend

I'm not sure that this really felt like the weekend. When it actually did feel like there was a glimmer of relaxation and weekend life, it was Sunday and I realized I only had one more day before heading back to the real world.  Sad.  Friday night, we went to the movies to see Selma.  Great movie and it was beautifully done.  The director of the movie, Ava DuVernay, even favorited one of my tweets this weekend so that pretty much made my night.

I went to Atlanta for a few hours on Saturday to take care of a few wedding details and also do a very important task: hair trial!  The hair trial went perfect as I thought it would - it's nice having friends in the beauty industry, trust me.  Sunday we brunched and ran a couple of errands but it was a pretty low-key Sunday.  Now it's time to get back to the grind (boo) and also back in the gym!  I've neglected that little responsibility over the holidays and even last week but I'm back to it.

An outtake from John trying to get a pic of my shoes.

So many bobby pins from my trial.  I also found a couple in my hair later in the day.

Had delicious hot chocolate and a couple glasses of bubbly this weekend.  Though it ended too quickly, I guess it was an enjoyable weekend overall.

Happy Monday!

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