Monday, December 31, 2012

Adios 2012

This past year brought so many new adventures and exciting changes our way!

We celebrated our first anniversary in Indianapolis with the hilarious Aziz Ansari

We took a relaxing vacation with O's family to beautiful Hilton Head, SC

I started a new job and traveled to Dallas for a conference (GO SKINS!)

And we completed many a DIY project making our house more of a home

While 2012 was a great year, I am SO looking forward to what 2013 has to bring:
  • A weekend trip to Florida with my family in January--hopefully a few others too!
  • BABIES! We have several friends who are expecting a baby in the new year, we're set to have another niece again in June, and who knows! Maybe we'll think about having one of our own :)
  • Finishing up a long list of house projects, getting this place organized & redecorating {yes, O, again}
  • O graduating from Law School--hallelujah!  It's been a long three years!
  • Many more blessings--we're so excited to see where this next phase in life takes us!
So sayonara 2012!  I'm raising my class of champagne to 2013--what is sure to be our best year yet!

Friday, December 28, 2012


We had a crazy amazing time in Virginia for Christmas---I don't think we could have squeezed one more thing in!  After 8.5 hours in the car, this was a welcome sight

We were able to have a quick Christmas celebration with O's brother & his wife before they left to go out of town and I FINALLY got to meet my oldest friends' baby girl---ugh, SO sweet.  Here we are as babies.

Sweet baby Madison

Every year, we celebrate Christmas Eve with my mom's family.  It was sooooo good to have everyone together--my favorite 3 year old had the best time & was so excited!

Best surprise on Christmas Eve? THE SNOW.  We haven't had a White Christmas in Virginia in 10+ years....GORG.

Christmas morning we got up, ate way too much Monkey Bread & hashbrown casserole and then opened gifts.  Even though we were in Virginia, it was still a very "Kentucky" Christmas!  Lots of UK & Bourbon themed gifts this year

Santa was extra good to a few sweet dogs too!

Christmas evening we had dinner with our great family friends & exchanged gifts.  Noel {my sister from another mister} scored the BEST seasonal job at Kate Spade, and gifted me this beauty

Love it, Stell!  Thank youuuu!!

We wrapped the trip up with some Outlet Mall shopping {love a good sale} and then it was back to Kentucky, where we had several inches of snow waiting for us!

So thankful to have spent Christmas with my family & friends this year.  I'm only sorry we didn't get to see more people while we were in town!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

On the first day of Christmas...

...My true love gave to me, a gigantic appetite.  Something about the Holiday season makes me want to do nothing but eat.  ALL. DAY. LONG.  It seems like I'm never satisfied, and never full enough.  And it doesn't help that I'm surrounded by delicious cookies, and parties full of snacks and festive beverages.  Good thing I've got that tapeworm ;)

I've been snacking on my sister-in-laws famous ham biscuits this week.  She's an amazing Southern cook & I'm so thankful for this recipe.  They are seriously the best thing to come out of my oven.  Ever.  And, they're super easy!

1 pan of Sister Schubert's Parker House Rolls 
Shaved County Ham {has to be shaved, has to be country ham.  no other way}
3 tbsp. Brown Sugar
1/2 stick of melted butter {I never said these were healthy...}

Preheat the oven to 350.  Slice the rolls in half, through the middle {like a layer cake}

sister schubert

Brush both sides with melted butter.

sister schubert ham biscuit

Put a thin layer of shaved country ham down

country ham biscuits

and sprinkle with brown sugar.

brown sugar country ham biscuits

Put the "lid" back on, and brush that with the rest of the butter.  Make sure it drips down in the little cracks.

Bake for about 20ish minutes, or until the top starts to get a little golden.

Cut apart on the dotted line, and enjoy.  I dare you not to eat the entire tray.

mini country ham biscuits

*Linked up to Schue Love

Monday, December 10, 2012

Cookie Exchange + Red Velvet Cookies

I haven't been to a cookie exchange in probably 18 years {ugh, that makes me feel so old} My mom and I used to go to a mother/daughter cookie exchange around Christmas every year when I was a little girl.  I was so excited when my sweet friend, Amanda, invited me to her cookie exchange this past Saturday!

I made the Andes Mint Cookies that are all over Pinterest a few weeks back.  They were SO easy {and delicious, btw} I love a recipe with 5 ingredients or less!  I thought about making them again for the cookie exchange, but decided to put my own holiday spin on it.  I give you, Red Velvet Cookies.

Red Velvet Cookies
makes about 24 cookies
1 box Red Velvet Cake Mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup of Vegetable Oil

Preheat the oven to 350.
Mix dry cake mix, eggs and oil together--the mixture will be very thick.  
Drop spoonfuls on to lightly greased cookie sheet.  
Try to leave space between each, these babies spread!
Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350, until the tops start to crack.  Remove from the oven, and let cool on the cookie sheet {they'll continue to cook a little}.
Once cool, drizzle with melted white chocolate.

We had the best time!  I came home with a beautiful platter full of amazing cookies.

I know O & I can't shouldn't eat 4 dozen cookies between the two of us.... but I have some pretty happy co-works today :)

*Linked up to Schue Love

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Christmas Crafts

During our Christmas Craft Day, I added two sweet Christmas decorations to our collection--here are the details on how they came to be.

First, the Mini Burlap Tree:
DIY burlap tree christmas

I found this cute little burlap tree on Pinterest via See Kate Blog.  I didn't see any how-to instructions, but it looked pretty self explanatory.  I cut strips of burlap to about 1ish inches in width and about 2-3 inches long {I opted out of measuring...}

burlap how to

Fold each piece in half, with the loop towards the base and attach to a Styrofoam cone, starting at the bottom {I used regular 'ole straight pins}  Go all the way around the bottom, and work your way up to the top of the cone.
DIY burlap christmas tree

Once I was almost done, I took a small piece of burlap and covered the top of the cone before I put the last row of loops on.  Add on the final loops at the top,

DIY burlap tree how to

Voila! You've got yourself a little tree.

AND the pillow!  How easy is this?!  This pillow found me via the Joss & Main app on my phone.  I loved it, but knew I could probably make it myself for less than $18.95 + tax and shipping.

I went to Hobby Lobby and found this pillow cover.  Its was the right color and the right size--minus the buttons:

Flip it over, and you've got a solid pillow cover for $7, zipper and all {find a coupon}.  I went to Joanne's and found two quilting quarters for less than $4 and some bright red ribbon.

I used my ornament cookie cutters to trace the design onto the fabric and then cut 'em out.

ornament pillow

Get some fabric glue, stick everything in place, and let dry for an hour.  BOOM, pillow complete:

DIY ornament applique christmas pillow

I love the new additions to our holiday decor.  It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here!

I'm linking up to Hyphen InteriorsThe Winthrop Chronicles,  and Hi Sugarplum! for their Christmas Craft Parties!  

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas Craft Brunch

Over the weekend, I hosted a Christmas Craft Brunch with some of my Life Group girls to celebrate the start of December!  A few of us crazy crafters spent the morning sipping hot chocolate, watching Elf, LAUGHING and making some amazing Christmas creations!

We had a Hot Chocolate Bar and yummy brunch snacks (ham biscuits included!) to keep us fueled up for the massive amount of crafting that was about to occur.

On to the main event!  Everyone had something different they wanted to make--we had a wreath, coasters, hair bows and more!  I ended up making this precious little burlap tree (from See Kate Blog) and an ornament accent pillow.  My house is looking more festive by the minute!

It was so nice to be able to catch up and visit all morning--we missed those who weren't able to make it!  Little Izzie even joined in on the fun :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cubicle Decor

My love of decorating & organization extends far past our home. In fact, when I started my new job and learned that I'd be spending 7.5 hours a day in a cubicle, I was {strangely} excited to decorate my new work space! I went right to Google & Pinterest looking for cubicle inspiration--but sadly, I didn't find much of anything. Could this be because no sane person likes to sit in a cubicle all day? Maybe.  Or is it that I'm the only person on Earth who's googling Cubicle Decor? Probably.

BUT here is what my 5'x5' "corner office" looks like today!

cubicle decor
Erin Condren Life Planner   DIY Dry Erase Board  Gold Frame, Hobby Lobby  Magazine Holder  
Seagrass Snack Basket, Home Goods

cubicle accessories chevron cup

cubicle decor organization
Cork tiles, Walmart Wall Pocket Files  Frame and Letter, Hobby Lobby

cubicle decor custom quatrefoil mouse pad

Ikea grundtal containers cubicle organization
Ikea GRUNDTAL Containers   DIY Dry Erase Board    Gold Frame, Hobby Lobby

I consider myself lucky to be at the end of the row, so I do have an actual wall next to me---instead of being surrounded on all sides by padded cubicle walls.  I figure I sit there all day, I may as well enjoy the view.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

World's Easiest Pumpkin Bread

Today, as I was procrastinating at the office making my list of things to pack for our Thanksgiving trip, I decided that I should bake something to take to O's sweet grandfather on Thursday.  In case you decide last minute to take a little something along to your Thanksgiving feast, try this: the world's easiest Pumpkin Bread.

Two Ingredient Pumpkin Bread
recipe adapted from my awesome co-worker, Mary and The Nesting Game

three ingredient pumpkin bread

1 box yellow cake mix & 1 can of Pumpkin

That's it.  Those are the ingredients--all two of them.  I decided to get a little crazy and add in some vanilla and a few spices like Molly did over at The Nesting Game.

easy pumpkin bread

1/4 tsp. Nutmeg, 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. Ginger, 1/2 tsp. Allspice, 1 tsp. Vanilla

Mix it all up, and spread into a loaf pan {greased and floured} Don't be alarmed--this is a THICK batter.  Good use for your electric mixer...

If you're feeling really adventurous you can make a crumble topping:

1 tbsp. flour, 1 tbsp. brown sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, 3 tbsp. butter.  Mix with a fork until crumbly and sprinkle over the batter before popping your pan into the oven.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  While that bakes, finish up packing or cleaning orrrrr Pinterest-ing......what?

easy pumpkin bread

Happy Thanksgiving y'all!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Life Group Dinner

We are so lucky to be a part of an amazing Life Group through our church!  Our families don't live close by, so having this wonderful support system of great friends has been a huge blessing for us.  I think its safe to say that all six couples look forward to our weekly get togethers for so many reasons.  Among them?  Food!  WE. LOVE. FOOD.

This past week, our primer directed us to have a fondue night--we took our own spin on this and decided to have a night full of different dips!  Because, really, who doesn't love a good dip?!

Our delicious dip-fest included cheddar cheese fondue with lots of dippers, pub cheese with pretzel chips, Blaire's bagel dip, Dunkaroo Dip, and Caramel Cheesecake Apple Dip.  Everything was SO good!

I couldn't wait to make Blaire's yummy bagel dip at home this week--how easy is this?

-8oz block of cream cheese
-1 jar Old English cheese
-a few shakes of garlic powder

Mix it up and serve with "everything" bagels, cut up.
SOOOO good!  I love anything cheese :)

I love our time together each week, and I can't wait to see what other yummy creations we come up with!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup with Black Beans
serves 6ish; adapted from Girlichef

vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
5 small corn tortillas, cut or torn into strips
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. paprika 
1 "shake" red pepper flakes
1 can Rotel Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies
1/2 can of tomato paste
1 box (quart) of chicken stock
2 cooked, chopped chicken breasts
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
3/4 c. half & half
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

sour cream
shredded Monterey Jack cheese
fried tortilla strips

Heat a few tablespoons of vegetable oil in a dutch oven, or heavy pot over medium heat; add onion and cook until they are translucent, about 4-5 minutes.  Add garlic, and cook an additional minute.  (at this point, I removed half of the cooked onions, and reserved to add back in after I blended the base, for some extra texture.) Mix in spices and tortilla strips, stirring constantly for a few minutes.  Pour in the can of Rotel (juice and all!), box of chicken stock and the half can of tomato paste; whisk to incorporate.  Reduce heat and let simmer for about 5 minutes.  I turned off the heat and used my immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth (you can also do this in batches in the blender.)  Girlichef recommends that you let the soup cool before blending.  I threw caution to the wind--with T-minus 7 minutes until the trick-or-treaters would be beating down the door for the mini Snickers that I already ate, I needed to get dinner on the table.

After you puree the soup, add in the chopped chicken, black beans, half & half, shredded cheese and reserved onions.  Season to taste with salt & pepper.  Let everything warm through, and then you're ready to serve!

I took a few extra corn tortillas, sliced 'em up, and fried them in vegetable oil until golden & crispy.

We topped our soup with sour cream, fried tortilla strips & (lots) of shredded cheese!

I declare this a new Halloween dinner tradition!  I love that this is SO easy to make and SO festive with the orange soup and black beans.
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