Friday, January 31, 2014

Five on Friday

The last day of January.  Where has time gone?!  Big plans this Sunday for the Super Bowl!  Good food, {hopefully} good commercials and maybe a little football ;)

{one}  This Groundhog better see his shadow on Sunday.  Or not see it?  Whatever it is, he better say Spring is on the way. #overthesnow

{two} My closet continues to get smaller.  There just doesn't seem to be enough room for the things I keep "finding"... O tells me I need to purge.  I know he's right.  I hate when he's right.  While I LOVE to donate to Goodwill, I'd like to make a little money on some of these very nice pieces that I no longer wear.  Traditional or Online Consignment? eBay? Blog post?  What do y'all think?

{three} If you follow me on Instagram (@amparsons29) you saw that I got a fun little package in the mail this week!   I CAN.NOT.WAIT. to tell y'all the details of my drybar purchase!

{four}  Nerd alert.  I logged on to Pinterest the other day, and to my surprise, I see that Ballard Designs has pinned my guest room sample jar!  Just made my day!

{five}  Please be sure to stop by on Monday and link-up your meal plans/recipes/tips!  Grab a little flair while you're here ;)

Happy Weekend, friends!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

One Hundred!

Yay!  Today we celebrate 100 posts with A & O!

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for following along with 

Here's to the next 100 being better than the first!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Not My Mama's Meatloaf

My mom can cook just about anything--and well!  Except for meatloaf.  Other members of our family like it, but I don't {sorry, Mom...}  I went a good 20+ years without eating anyone's meatloaf.  Not at home, in college, or at a restaurant.  I was scarred.  Then I meet O, and what is his favorite meal?!  You guessed it.  Meatloaf.  I was able to get around actually making it for him until after we got married, but I knew I couldn't forever.  I like meatballs, why do I all not like it in loaf form?  After a little thinking and some Google research, I tweaked my meatball recipe and came up with the only meatloaf recipe I'll ever make {and LOVE!}


1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion {minced in a food processor, super fine} 
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/3 cup of milk
1 egg
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup finely crushed Ritz Crackers*
1 tbsp McCormick's Meat Loaf Seasoning {in packet}
1 pound of ground beef
1 pound of ground sausage

1/2 cup ketchup
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Heat the oil and cook onion for about five minutes, until soft.  Add garlic and cook for one more minute; set aside.  In a bowl, combine milk, egg and ketchup.  Add in cracker crumbs.  Crumble in both the ground beef and ground sausage along with the onion & garlic.  Mix well {your hands are the best tools for this, even though I'm thoroughly grossed out every time I do this...}

Shape into a loaf on a foil lined baking sheet.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour.  Mix together the topping and pour half over the meatloaf the last half hour of baking.  I always save some to serve along with the meatloaf and mashed potatoes!

This makes one very large meatloaf.  I usually divide it in half, and shape into two loaves.  I'll freeze one for a later date.  All you have to do is wrap it in plastic wrap and foil and store in a freezer bag.  When you want to use it, thaw in the fridge & bake as directed, above.

*you can substitute bread crumbs.  I think the Ritz Cracker crumbs give a good, buttery flavor to the meatloaf.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Meal Plan Monday Link-Up

In the past few weeks, I've read that a lot of bloggers have started Meal Planning recently--which I love!  I love cooking, and I'm definitely a planner.  I really started meal planning back when O started Law School.  We were on a tight budget, and I needed to make the most of the groceries we bought every week.

So every weekend, I sat down and planned our weeknight meals.  I kept a running list of our dinner options on the fridge, and this really took the "stress" out of the inevitable "What do you want for dinner tonight?" conversation.  I'm not a stickler, saying: We WILL have this on Monday, and this on Tuesday. I leave the list on the fridge and go with it.  It helps when deciding what needs to come out of the freezer, etc.  Almost four years later, I'm still meal plannin'.

So with that, I thought it might be fun and helpful to do a Meal Plan Link-Up so we can share lists {y'all know I L.O.V.E. a list}, recipes and ideas!  So grab a button and join me next Monday to link up your meal plan!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Five on Friday!

I think we should have a four day work week, every week!  Who's with me?!

{one}  I may have taken advantage of Loft's big sale last weekend.  LOVE their new super soft button down tops!

{two} This gorgeous sunrise from earlier in the week, Pre-Snow.  Makes a cold morning not seem so bad when you walk out and see this!

{three}  It was 1 degree here last night. ONE. The rest of the weekend doesn't look much better. I informed O we need to move farther south...seriously.

{four} I'm all about not "jumping ahead" in the holiday department, but I couldn't help but be excited to see Reese's Eggs at the grocery.  Sorry, Valentine's day.  PS: I ate three.

{five} I saw this quote on Pinterest last night.  This little reminder came at just the right time!

Happy, happy Friday--stay warm!!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Chili Cook Off

With the Super Bowl right around the corner, I'm trying to figure out what we'll be snackin' on.  Because that's what's really important about the Super Bowl.  Food.  And commercials.

Our fav Baked Mexican Bean Dip will most likely make the cut, and while I can make that a meal all on it's own, I should probably plan some "real" dinner too.  Something about the Super Bowl and Chili...they just go hand in hand.  But the question is.....White Chicken Chili or Traditional Red?

White Chicken Chili

1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cumin
2 cans Great Northern Beans {don't drain}
1-2 cans of Chicken broth {depends how thick you like it}
2 cups chopped, cooked chicken*

lots of shredded cheese
sour cream
fried tortilla strips {optional}

*save yourself a little time & pick up a cooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store!

 Heat oil in large pot, and saute onions for around 4 minutes.  Add in garlic and cook for one additional minute {it just occurred to me that 90% of my recipes start out with these two steps.  I love onions and garlic, but if you're not a fan, skip 'em}  Sprinkle in flour and cumin and cook for a minute or two.  Whisk in chicken broth, both cans of beans, and chicken.  Stir to combine and let simmer until thickened.  Serve with your choice of toppings.


Traditional Red Chili

this has become the chili for people who don't like chili--and it's crazy easy!

1 pound ground beef, cooked
1 large can tomato sauce {15oz}
1 regular can tomato sauce {8oz}
2 cans kidney beans {don't drain}
1 McCormick's Chili Spice Packet {mild, regular or hot}
1/2 teaspoon of sugar*

In a large pot or slow cooker, add all ingredients in together and stir to combine.  If you like whole tomatoes, substitute the 8oz can of sauce for diced tomatoes in their juices.  I top mine with lots of cheese, sour cream and a side of corn bread.

*the sugar really helps to cut the acidity of the tomato sauce--but it doesn't make the chili sweet.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Pillow Talk

First, how did I not know I had today off until the end of last week?!  Love me a three day weekend!

OK! So, I mentioned a few weeks ago before my Holiday Hiatus that we purchased a new sofa as our Christmas  gift to each other, and that I was in search of less-ugly new pillows.

Well, I couldn't pull the trigger on the West Elm pillows I had been eyeing.  I was worried they were a little too modern for our house--just didn't fit with the rest of our decor.  Of course, buying those would give me a reason to update EVERYTHING to be a little more modern.  I'm sure O would have looooved that.  #not

Anyway, I ended up going with some pillows from Pottery Barn's Rustic Luxe collection.  That way, I was able to keep some of our existing items in the living room.

I love the trim on the cream pillow.  Great blend of textures--makes my little designers heart sing.

Such a huge improvement to the whole room.  You can check out what the living room used to look like here and here.

I could constantly redecorate every room in our house.  But then we'd have to file for bankruptcy.  I'll settle for a little redecorating every once in awhile ;)

Friday, January 17, 2014

First Five on Friday of 2014!

It feels SO good to be back in the swing of things!  Linking up with the girls for my favorite post of the week!

First, let me say thank you to everyone for your helpful suggestions on my bare bedroom wall dilemma!  I'm finally getting some ideas together and I'm excited to finally give the room some personality.  Because, let's be honest, right now it sucks.

{one}  I woke up Wednesday morning to see my 13 year old self in the mirror.  I had not one, but TEN HUGE pimples that popped up over night {TMI?}  I don't know what's going on, but I made a bee line to Sephora for some powerful topical treatment.  This was past the point of Clean and Clear being able to help.  I had to call in the big guns.  Cue my fav: philosophy.

I'm happy to report that only 3 are left to destroy.

{two}  I'm fairly confident that everyone in my office returned from our business trip in San Francisco with the plague.  All week I've heard tons of sneezing and hacking and groaning.  I've gone through approximately one million PocketBac's from BBW.  Right now I'm on Island Margarita...reminding me of warm summer days.  And, how badly I'd like a margarita at 2pm...

{three} No surprise here.  I went in for a hair cut, and came home with MORE product.  It's a sickness, really.  But I'm really loving Bed Head's After Party Smoothing Cream.  Instantly tames the fly aways.  And smells AWESOME.  Just gotta get past it's.....ummmmm....interesting shape.....

{four} A few weeks ago during my random rant, I mentioned that I hate out of control eyebrows.  Ashley was kind enough to suggest I try out some brow gel.  So that was enough reason to go back to Sephora and buy Benefit's Brow Zings.  Way to twist my arm, Ash ;)

{five}  How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days was on TV last night.  This movie never gets old!

Gang's all here!

Happy Friday, y'all!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Bedroom Dilemma

Not what you might be thinking...

I have a love/hate relationship with our bedroom decor.  It is the one room in our house that I have put zero effort into.  It's in the back corner of our house and gets very little sun.  Which is GREAT for sleeping in on the weekends, but makes it seem dark and dreary most of the time.  Pair that with an odd shape and furniture that is wayyyy too big for the room, and you have a recipe for Driving Ashley Crazy.

Here's what we're currently living with....judge away.

My OCD side wants the bed on this wall to create more of a focal point.  It is the ONLY wall in the room that doesn't have a door or window

O has "put his foot down" that the bed needs to stay on this wall for better bedtime TV viewing.  I pick and choose my battles...

I'm at a loss!  I'm usually very decisive about how I want to decorate!  HELP!!  I feel like the big open wall {where the bed should be} needs some art work or something to take up that large space.  I need more lighting.  I need a few pops of color.  I just don't know where to start...


Monday, January 13, 2014

Sites of San Fran

I mentioned over the weekend how crazy our life has been the last few weeks.  To add to the madness, I spent all of last week in San Francisco for business.  I wish I could tell you I saw all of the wonderful things the city had to offer, but I can't.  I was either in meetings or work related events for the majority of the time there.  Luckily, I have great colleagues who make day-long meetings a little more bearable.  That, and we had a pretty amazing view from our hotel!

We were able to sneak out for a bit at the end of the week to take in the "touristy" sites.  It was perfect weather {66 degrees there, -4 at home.  Winning.}

We could see Alcatraz from the shore,

Walked down to Pier 39 to see all of the seals!  I thought they were SO cute.  A little stinky, but cute!

And finally we hopped on down to see the Golden Gate Bridge.  And what a perfect day to see fog!  Seriously, foggiest place I've ever been.

By Friday, I was more than ready to get home.  Even though I didn't get to see the Full House house :(  I missed O and the pups so much while I was away!  It's true, there's no place like home!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Life Update

I'm alive!  What a crazy, CRAZY few weeks it has been!  Between the holidays/traveling, working two jobs, a family illness and {what seems like} a million appointments, this is literally the first time I've been able to sit down and write!  So let's recap!

We spent Christmas with O's family in Lexington--it was so nice to have the week to relax and hang out with the fam :)  If you follow me on Instagram {@amparsons29 } you saw that this cute pup got a new Christmas 'do!  Why in almost 7 years {gasp!} is this the first time she's ever had a bow in her hair?!  PS: its still in.

When we returned from our week away I had a sweet little package waiting for me!  Let me back up...

Last month, I signed up to participate in Kacey's Christmas Swap!  Little did I know at that time, that this would seriously be the month from hell.  All of the wonderful things I mentioned above have made for an undesirable December {fact: we never did put up a tree...}  Luckily, my amazing swap partner, Carissa from T is for Townsend, was more than understanding of our crazy month!  Carissa your Christmas New Years Swap Gift is in route ;)

AND lastly...New Years. We spent the evening with wonderful friends in lounge clothes, as predicted.  SO low key!  Just what I needed after an insane year.  Yes, year...I'll save those details for another time.  But needless to say, I'm ready for whatever 2014 brings us!
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