Thursday, October 13, 2011

Feather Wreath

Y'all.  Look at this wreath.  Is it not so pretty???  I was browsing the West Elm website and came across this gorgeous feather wreath and it's only $19!  I know Christmas is still a solid 2+ months away, but I already can't wait to decorate for the holidays.  This puppy is going to take center stage and will be hung with some pretty ribbon on the mirror over my fireplace.  Who knows, I may even dress it up by pinning a little cluster of holly leaves or something on it.

I already can't wait for this to show up on my doorstep, and I know it's going to take all I have not to hang it up now.  I love that it's something I'll be able to leave up through the winter and not a decoration I have to pack away with the ornaments and stockings.

Here's some other wreaths hanging on mirrors that I think are pretty.



I kind of want to make one of the ball wreaths for the front door - I just may have to add that to my fall DIY list.

I know I'm crazy for already thinking about Christmas decorating...but seriously...I love Christmas more than I love chocolate.  And that's saying a lot.

Anyone else looking forward to Christmas decorating already??

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Skillet Lasagna

I'm a lasagna nut; it's been one of my favorite foods since I was a little girl.  But a real lasagna takes so much time and effort to make!  I found a recipe for skillet lasagna and made it for the first time last night.  It was delish!  I modified the original recipe slightly, since cottage cheese scares me, so the recipe below is my slightly modified and oh-so-yummy version!

  • 1 lb lean ground beef 
  • 1 small onion (chopped) 
  • 3 Cloves Garlic (minced) 
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (undrained) 
  • 1-1/4 cup water 
  • 1 cup tomato sauce 
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley flakes 
  • 1 tsp dried basil leaves 
  • 1 tsp dried oregano leaves 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 2-1/2 cup noodles (you can either break up lasagna noodles, or use penne like I did)
  • 1 cup skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup fat free grated Parmesan cheese 
  • Dash Basil and Pepper (optional) 
  • 1 egg 
  • Shredded fat free mozzarella cheese for garnish
In a large skillet, brown beef with onions and garlic. Drain.  Add tomatoes, water, tomato sauce, parsley, basil, oregano, and salt.  Stir in uncooked pasta.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until pasta is tender.

Combine ricotta and Parmesan cheeses in a bowl.  Mix in the egg.  Sprinkle in basil and pepper to taste.

Drop cheese mixture by rounded tablespoons onto pasta mixture.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes more.  Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella and serve.

Number of Servings: 6


Monday, October 3, 2011

Insert "Corn"y Joke Here

Fall has definitely arrived in North Carolina and I, for one, am so glad it's here!  The weather was G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S this weekend - you couldn't ask for a better first day of October!  Perfect for that corn maze I was so excited about :)

Let me begin by reporting that adults were not allowed in the bounce house.  Major disappointment for me...but probably for the best!

This picture looks like we were way out in the country, but the maze was actually just outside of Raleigh.

We passed this sign in the maze (several times) and it cracked me up so I had to get a picture.

There were ten numbered spots in the maze that you were supposed to try to find...we found seven of them before calling it a day.

Yep.  That's (a lot of) corn behind us...

On the way home from the corn maze, we stopped at the pumpkin patch near the house and got some great pumpkins and gourds for fall decorating.  Pictures to come this week!  When we were loading the trunk with the loot, a bus pulled up and it was a bride and groom and their wedding party!  They had stopped to take pictures at the pumpkin patch on the way to the reception - how fun is that for a fall wedding??

Friday, September 30, 2011


This weekend is one of the only ones this fall where I won't be a) going to a wedding, b) going to a UNC football game or c) hosting friends in town.  I'm looking forward to having a fun fall, but the weekends are going to be go-go-go!

I'm going to take advantage of this non-booked weekend and enjoy some downtime.

Saturday will of course be filled with watching some college football.  LSU plays Kentucky at 12:20, and UNC is at East Carolina at 8pm.

I bought a Groupon last week for a corn maze, so we're going to do that on Saturday afternoon between football games!  I did one several years back and had a good time - it's a fun fall activity, and they have other stuff to do too (hayrides, pumpkin patch etc.).  The weather is supposed to cool off (finally) and be in the 60s so it will be perfect for something like this! 

The best part is it was only ten bucks for two people with the Groupon!  Wait, scratch that.  The best part is they have a bounce house.  Please oh PLEASE let adults be allowed to jump.  That would seriously make my day.  (And would probably land me in the hospital with a broken arm.  But whatever.)

I also want to get my fall decorating done!  There's a great pumpkin patch just down the road that has all sorts of unusual pumpkins, gourds and other fall decorating goodness, so I plan on stopping there this weekend to load up on some decor.  Pictures to come next week!

Do you have anything fun planned for your weekend?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Scents for Fall

As the days start to cool off, I'm beginning to think about fall wardrobes and accessories.  While technically not an accessory, a good perfume can definitely step up your presentation a notch!  My absolute favorite is Vera Wang Sheer Veil, but it's a very light scent.

It's great for spring and summer, but I'm looking for something that's not quite as floral and fresh for the fall and winter.  I always have the hardest time picking out new scents!  What are your favorites for fall that I should try out?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Pumpkin Spice Bread

One of my favorite things about fall is the flavors!  Pumpkin, in particular...simply deeeelish.

I made this Pumpkin Spice Bread over the weekend and brought a loaf to some friends we visited in Greensboro who were kind enough to have us over to watch football before going to a wedding Saturday night.  The other loaf I kept, and let me tell you, it is some kind of good.

Pumpkin Spice Bread

  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree (make sure you don't accidentally pick up canned pumpkin pie mix!)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce (sweetened)
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 7x3 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, applesauce, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
  3. Bake for about an hour. Loaves are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Makes (2) 8x4" or (3) 7x3" loafs - or you can make muffins instead!

I'm linking up again today to Neely and Amber's Fabulous Fall Challenge.  Their Fall Recipes topic for today fits perfectly with my Tasty Tuesday theme!


Monday, September 26, 2011

Fall TV Lineup

I'm linking up today to Neely and Amber's Fabulous Fall Challenge!  The topic is Fall TV.  I'm excited about all of the goodness that is this fall's TV lineup.  I love always having something new to watch on my DVR list!  This fall I'll be watching some old standbys and trying out some new shows as well.

Oldies but goodies:

Modern Family: Love, love, love this show.  Cam and Mitchell are my favorites, they always have me rolling on the floor laughing.  Last week's (two!) season premiere episodes were no exception.

Parenthood: I started watching this show last season because my parents watch it (ironic, right?), and love it.  I think Erika Christensen is great.  She just seems real.

New shows I'm going to try out:

Up All Night: I watched the pilot last week and thought it was a keeper.  Will Arnett and Christina Applegate are hilarious together.

New Girl: Saw the pilot for this one too last week and decided I'll keep on watching.  I think Zooey Deschanel is adorable.  A lot of fluff, but hey, sometimes that's what TV is for right?

Whitney: Looks like it could be entertaining?

Suburgatory: I know, I know.  It's ridiculous that I want to watch this.  It premieres Wednesday so I'll make the call on whether or not it keeps a DVR spot or not after that.

What's on your fall lineup?  Anything I'm missing?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fall is for Football

You know fall is underway when football season is in full swing.

My LSU Tigers played an awesome game last night against WVU - they just might earn themselves a #1 ranking after last night, but even if they stay at #2 for now, well...I suppose I can live with that.

Unfortunately the Tar Heels didn't fare so well...they hung in there but ended up losing to GA Tech.  Oh well.  You win some, you lose some.

Who's your favorite college team to pull for?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fall Reading Challenge

I participated in a fall reading challenge a couple years back over at Callapidder Days, and thought I would participate again this year to help hold myself accountable to some the books on my to-be-read list!

Below is the list of books I'd like to read this fall - the challenge runs September 23rd - December 21st, so I have about three months to get 'er done.  I'm going to stick to what is actually reasonable for me...I could list about a hundred books I want to read (and, after clearing the shelves at a Borders going out of business sale a couple months back, I have a to-be-read stack that's about as tall as me).  But, I've got lots going on this fall ( games...countless DIY projects), so in the interest of having a life AND getting in some good reading, I'm keeping it manageable :)  If I had a beach vacation coming up, I'd whiz through all of these in a matter of days, but sadly, sun, sand and nothing else to do just isn't on the fall agenda.

Hopefully I'll be able to make it through these, and if I find I have more time on my hands than I thought and get through them all, I will update my challenge and add more books!  Be sure to check out the other participants in the challenge, it's a great way to find out some new books to add to your reading list!

The Joy Luck Club / Amy Tan - I've wanted to read this one for years, and finally picked it up when the local Borders store closed a few months ago.
Water for Elephants / Sara Gruen - Will definitely have to see the movie after I finish the book!
The Ragamuffin Gospel / Brennan Manning - I heard about this one from someone at my church, and it is supposed to be a great one - we're all ragamuffins and anyone who says they aren't is straight up lying.
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan / Lisa See - This is another one I've been wanting to read for years and finally got around to buying at the Borders clearance.
The Girl Who Played with Fire / Stieg Larsson - I read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for my book club earlier this year, and want to finish the trilogy (this is the second book in the series).

As I finish the books, I'll be posting updates!

What's on your nightstand right now?

SUYL: Favorite Places to Shop

Today's SUYL over at Kelly's Korner is favorite places to shop.  Give me a million dollars, and I'm going to want to spend it on home stuff, not clothes.  But hey, I can't go around naked so a girl's gotta have some clothes too.

My job is very casual (I wore shorts and flip flops most of the summer, and I was the most dressed up person in the office on most days), which is great, but it gives me little incentive to look stellar during the week.

Ann Taylor Loft is always a go-to for me, both for work and play clothes.  They have stylish clothes that aren't too trendy (let's face it, I'm not a style trendsetter), and are reasonably priced, especially if you use one of the coupons they're always offering.

I also am a fan of Target - I wore this dress to a wedding at the beach last weekend:

I also like Gap and Old Navy (though they are hit or miss, both with finding cute stuff, as well as with quality).  I like the no-button cardigans in the fall, like this one from Gap.

A new boutique called the Clothes Hound just opened up down the street from me; they've been online for awhile and this is their first actual store.  I went in and bought a couple dresses last weekend, and am excited to wear them!  Most everything in the store is under $150, and the dresses I got were about half that - isn't this one cute?  (I'm not trendy enough to wear one sleeve out though...I'll have both arms covered up!)

If I'm in the market for a great classic party dress, White House Black Market never lets me down.  A good pair of jeans - Nordstrom.  There are some things you just can't skimp on.

Just a couple weeks ago, I stumbled on a local "designer resale boutique" and ended up finding a like-new pair of Seven jeans for fifty bucks.  I've never bought any clothes from a consignment store before and always sort of turned my nose up at the thought, but this place may have me converted - they had all sorts of high-end stuff in great condition at really good prices.  I'll definitely be paying them a visit again.

What about you?  What are your favorite places to shop?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Stripe Colors Picked!

I went to the paint store on Monday to get a few sample cans of paint before embarking on my downstairs half bathroom striping project.

I am not one of those people who can just hold up a few paint chips and pick a color.  I have to actually see the paint on the wall.  Which means I have a plethora of paint samples in my garage (do you think I could sell these on Craigslist??).  The fact that I only bought four sample cans for this room that requires two colors has to be some kind of record.

Anyway, the winners are...

Benjamin Moore Cloud Nine

Benjamin Moore Seashell

They're both in the same paint color family; Cloud Nine is a shade lighter than Seashell and I think they will complement each subtly, but nicely.  Cloud Nine looks pinkish in the MyPerfectColor picture above, but it's really just a nice cream.

I've been doing some prep work tonight - I took down the mirror, towel racks and random two stick toilet paper holders (Seriously, who does that?  Don't they realize this type of holder goes sideways!??) and have been working on spackling the holes and sanding down imperfections.

I'll head to the store tomorrow at lunch to buy my paint, and tomorrow night hope to get the base coat on and maybe if I'm lucky, get the stripes taped.  That will definitely be the hardest part of this project!

I'm excited to get this small but important room finished!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Shoe Bargain

Last week, I was cruising Target last week looking for some inexpensive cute shoes to wear to the wedding I went to this past weekend.  Sadly, I had no success on the wedding shoe search, but I did stumble across these adorable shoes on clearance for only $5.74.  That's right...less than six bucks!

They're still full price on Target's website, but a whole pile of them were on clearance in my store.

I love the slight wedge - the hint of elevation is flattering for the legs, and they make my feet look dainty!  I got a black and a cream pair (I think the cream will look great with jeans for a crisp spring look).  I love the blue and red, too - and they also have yellow and pewter!

Beware...they do run a little small; I'd recommend getting a 1/2 size bigger than you normally wear.

Anyone found a good fashion bargain lately?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Wedding Weekend

I attended two weddings this weekend - one for British royalty, and one for my beautiful commoner friend who looked every bit the princess as Kate.  I honestly had not gotten into the whole Royal Wedding hype - I didn't obsessively watch every Will and Kate special on TV, I didn't care what she wore - heck, I actually thought the wedding was on Saturday.  But then, on Thursday night, some friends started exchanging e-mails about the wedding, and I began to think that it was maybe something I should pay some attention to (once I found out it was on Friday, not Saturday...).

I got up Friday morning and turned on the TV at 6am, right as Kate was getting ready to walk down the aisle (perfect timing!).  And let me say...she looked beautiful.  I absolutely loved her dress - I thought it was such a timeless look.

My favorite Royal Wedding moments:
  • When Harry turned around before William to see Kate coming down the aisle.
  • William telling Kate she looked beautiful after she finished the loooooong walk down the aisle
  • The hymns - beautiful music choices
  • Kate saying "Oh wow" when they first stepped out of the balcony at Buckingham Palace
  • Two smooches on the balcony

    I went down to Charlotte this weekend to see my beautiful friend, Day, get married.  What an amazing weekend!  Day and I have been friends since middle school.  A handful of my closest friends from growing up were at the wedding and it was so fun to all be together again since we're now scattered across three states.  This is a picture of two of my amazing friends before leaving for the wedding.  It felt like prom, all of us getting dressed up and having one of our parents take pictures!  One of our other friends, Leigh, was a bridesmaid, so I got to be her boyfriend's date to the ceremony, ha!

    Day was a stunning bride - absolutely radiant.  She was smiling so big during the ceremony that she could barely get the words out.  I was an idiot and didn't take any pictures at the actual wedding, but I did get one of all of us with the bride at the rehearsal reception on Friday night.  I love these girls so much!

      Have a great week!