29.4.12

weekend: dancing around

a crab cake sandwich and freshly squeezed lemonade at the salisbury festival . . . scallops rockefeller over white corn risotto green hill. . . dancing around with the pup after dinner . . . multigrain pancakes with strawberry sauce . . . homemade bread
~~~~
Friday, the Hubs worked late so I cleaned up the house a bit, ordered some sushi, and caught up on a few tv shows. Saturday, we ran some errands, I did yoga, and then we headed to the Salisbury Festival for lunch. Unfortunately, it was a gloomy day so we didn't stay very long. That afternoon, I took a nap and then we headed to Green Hill for dinner. When we got home, I turned on some music and had a dance party with the pup. This morning, I got up for a short walk/run and then made some pancakes. We mostly hung out around the house today. 

How was your weekend?

27.4.12

francophile friday: sessùn spring/summer 2012

I am really loving this French brand's spring/summer collection. Sessùn's warm color pallette gives off a vintage, retro feel and their unique additions of stripes make me swoon. I also need to steal a pair of those peep-toe sandals!

And since I am linking up with {long distance loving} for a date night themed friday's fancies, I suppose I need to pick an outfit. For a nice night out for dinner, I think I would choose the last dress. I love sweetness of the colors and stripes paired with the sexy back. 

What outfit would you choose for a date night?

26.4.12

an organized closet

I am not an inherently organized person. I know where everything is and I am certainly not dirty, but I am not one of those people who necessarily has a place for everything. But I do love when a space is finally organized even though it does not come naturally to me. (See my kitchen organization post here!)

My friend, Kathy, helped me organize my linen closet a few months ago and my bedroom closet is always pretty well-kept but I think it is time to take it to the next level. I am finding inspiration from some of these spaces:


Are you an organized person? What little tricks do you use to keep everything in its place?

{images via here, here, here, here, here and here}

25.4.12

a greener you

Even though Earth Day has passed that doesn't mean you should stop thinking about being eco-friendly. Here are some green products that I want to try out:
1. The Etsy shop, Coco & Bubbles, sells all natural soy candles. They also encourage you to reuse the tumbler as a drinking glass once the candle is finished. I bet this Sandlewood + Ginger Apple candle would smell so yummy.
2. ECO Lunchbox makes containers and bags that are toxic-free and will not create the waste that other throw away items will. Plus, I can't resist their industrial-style stainless steel containers. I would love to take these on a picnic and, of course, use them for everyday. 
3. The Etsy shop, Green by Mamamade, boasts resuable sandwich bags, cloth "paper" towels, and cloth diapers. The variety of patterns to choose from is awesome - I love these lemon "paper" towels. 
4. Phillips new LED light-bulb won the L Price from the Department of Energy. Although it looks neon yellow, it glows white and can be dimmed. It costs about $60 but, considering it could last an estimated twenty years, it is a pretty good investment (and you can probably get it for a lot less with rebates.) According to Earth911, "if every 60-watt incandescent in the US was replaced with this bulb, the nation would collectively save $3.9 billion in energy costs in one year. Such a swap-out would curb the emission of 20 million metric tons of CO2, the equivalent of removing 4 million cars from the road." 
5. Designed in Montreal, Canada, MATT & NAT creates beautiful vegan bags, clutches, wallets, and laptop cases; their linings made out of recycled plastic bottles. I am totally crushing on tan Marianne 
6. The confetti line by zak! is made from recyled melamine. You can choose from dinnerware, dining accessories, and kitchen prep products. Their packaging is also eco-friendly: they use recycled materials and  soy-based ink whenever possible. 

What eco-friendly products do you have your eye on?

24.4.12

baked chicken tenders with parsnip fries

This is a grown up of version of chicken tenders and french fries. It is meant to be healthier and have more depth of flavor. The Hubs is a fan of these tenders and I used to make them quite often. They are very versatile as well. Serve them atop a salad or use this same mix of breadcrumbs and spices on chicken breasts and top with a bruschetta.
I used panko breakcrumbs to get a crispy exterior while baking and used a variety of spices to give the chicken full flavor. The parsnip fries have a strong sweetness which I thought matched well with vinegar and old bay as opposed to ketchup which tends to sweet itself. I served with lightly dressed mixed greens.
BAKED CHICKEN TENDERS
serves 4

1 1/2 lbs chicken tenders (or boneless skinless chicken breasts pounded and cut into strips)
2 eggs
1/2 c. wheat flour
2 c. panko breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp. Italian Seasoning
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

olive oil cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350º F. In a shallow dish, whisk eggs. In another dish, add flour and season with salt and pepper. In another dish, mix breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne, and salt. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.

Dredge chicken in flour and then dip in egg. Then coat in breadcrumb mixture and place on baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the tenders.

Bake chicken  until golden, for about 15 minutes, flipping halfway through. 

To keep chicken warm while preparing fries, wrap in aluminum. To "re-crisp," place back in oven on baking sheet for 2 minutes at 400º F.

PARSNIP FRIES

3 large parsnips
canola oil
sea salt

Preheat oven to 400º F. Peel parsnips and cut into french fries - the thinner the crispier. Toss with some oil and a little bit of salt. Bake for about 20 minutes, toss, and then cook for another 5 minutes. Serve with apple cider vinegar and old bay seasoning.

Enjoy!

22.4.12

weekend: last working saturday

friday night dinner for two out on the patio . . . a vegetable samosa from our local indian resto . . . simple sunday night stir fry
~~~~
a little inspiration for the coming week:

how to dress like a french woman

a tumblr about my alma mater

starbucks secret menu
~~~~
Friday, the Hubs and I had a low-key evening. We picked up some egg rolls, steamed dumplings, and sushi and ate it outside on our patio. Saturday, I was up early for work (the third Saturday I have worked in the last four weeks). After that, I had a late lunch with coworkers and then came home and passed out for a few hours - I was exhausted. Then I got up and fixed the pup some white rice since she wasn't feeling well and then ordered in some Indian food. Today, the Hubs and I pretty much had a lazy day with a little bit of cleaning in between. I like when I get to wear my Hunter boots but I really wish it would stop raining.

How was your weekend?

19.4.12

style inspiration from jane birkin

So I created this style inspiration post late one night. It was originally for a francophile friday since I was thinking "Birkin Bag." The bag is French but its inspiration, Jane, not so much (well except for having a daughter with her French lover Gainsbourg.) So I saved it for another time.
With straight bangs and long lean legs, Jane Birkin's style was never overdone or stuffy. A little girly, a little sexy, and, sometimes, a little disheveled, her anti-fashion style is still something to be inspired by. And who else can say they have an Hermès bag named after them?

What do you think of her style?

18.4.12

best foot forward

Sometimes, I feel inadequate. I read all these blogs and these bloggers have these great jobs, weddings, marriages, and kids along with having successful blogs. They travel and live in cities where they go to cool coffee shops and wear cool clothes. They go to fun blogging events and are asked to write for magazines and trendy companies.

And here I am. Living in Salisbury. Inundated with student loans and car payments that squash my dreams to travel and wear cool clothes.  I have a job that I enjoy but it isn't my dream job and I am not quite sure if I will ever have my dream job because of where I live. 

But more than all that - those bloggers just seem to have it all together. ALL together. 

It is funny how things work out. I started writing this post before I read a post by E from E Tells Tales. Her blog is one of the first blogs I started reading and she really does seem to have it all together. She has a sweet baby, a beautiful Etsy shop, and an awesome blog to boot. But in that post, she writes about how she is just like you and me. She writes about how her readers have made comments about her perfect life and her "big" blog but she stresses that she still has moments where she feels awkward and small (like writing to an author she admires.)

Something clicked with me after reading that. I have always wanted my blog to be a place where people can go and see happy things that get them through the day. And so, I put my best foot forward. I am honest but, in an effort not to put a bunch of negativity out there, I may not be as authentic in my feelings and issues (if that even makes sense.) And maybe one of my readers feels the same way about me - that I have it all together. But I don't.

I always write about things to help others. And maybe some things that I deal with can help other people. Those posts, on other blogs, definitely help me. 

I will not go out there all at once but those authentic these-are-my-feelings posts are coming. I hope that we can help each other through those times when we don't have it all together.

Do you ever feel this way?

{image via here}

17.4.12

dal makhani

I really love Indian food. It is full of flavor and generally healthy. One of my favorite things to order when I am at an Indian resto is dal makhani.

A coworker, from my old job, is a great cook. He is from Mumbai, India and every once in awhile, he would bring in a homemade Indian lunch for us. It was great to be able to try different dishes and learn how they are made. I got this dal recipe from him and it turned out great - even better than from our local Indian restaurant.

DAL MAKHANI
serves 4

2 c. green or yellow lentils
2 Tbsp. canola oil
2 onions, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 c. chopped tomatoes
2 green chilies, seeded and chopped
1 tsp. ground turmeric

1 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. red chili powder
1/2 c. heavy cream
handful chopped cilantro

Place lentils in saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium. Simmer until tender.

Heat oil in a pan. Add chopped onions and a little salt and saute until golden brown. Add butter, ginger, and garlic and stir to combine. Add tomatoes and fry. Add chilies, turmeric, garam masala, and chili powder.  Stir to combine. Add lentils, mix well, and cook for 15 minutes. Add cream and simmer for a minute or two. Serve over rice, topped with cilantro.

Enjoy!

15.4.12

weekend: working and new food

beer on tap at the new public house . . . chopped salad . . . the hub's burger . . . my smoked duck confit . . . beer tasting . . . sitting outside as the sun goes down . . . puppy love . . . shower curtain that my aunt hand made for me
~~~~
a little inspiration for the coming week:


with summer on its way, this article is an important read
~~~~
Friday evening, the Hubs and I tried the new gastropub, Public House, inside the new Evolution Brewery building in Salisbury. It was crowded by the time we got there so we sat at the bar. We split the chopped salad. The Hubs got a burger and I tried the special: smoked duck confit made with their Lucky  Porter. Everything was delicious. Next time, I want to try the gruyere fondue that is on the menu. After that we stopped by Market Street for a glass of wine and then went home to hang out with the pup outside since it was such a nice night. 

Saturday, I was up early for work. We had an event on campus. Then I met the Hubs for a late lunch. After that, I got a much needed facial. I think I like facials more than massages. What about you? After that the Hubs and I picked up pizza from DiPietros. While the Hubs went out with some friends, I caught up on New Girl and Magic City episodes. 

Today, we ran some errands and I spent some time outside with the pup enjoying the weather. I managed to finally give myself a pedicure using my new Essie polish. While the Hubs and I were trying to figure out what to do for lunch, we fell into a sun-induced sleep delaying Chipotle until mid-afternoon. Then I straightened up the house a bit and some food for the week. 

This weekend was nice and the weather was great. I just wish it didn't feel so short. How was your weekend?

12.4.12

fixing wood paneling

One thing that may actually be worse that nails on a chalkboard for me is icky wood paneling. I am alright if it is very light with a more natural, unfinished look but give me dark wood walls or, worse, caramel colored wood walls, and I want to punch someone in the face. (Although I am fine with dark wooden beams on the ceiling. I even prefer them.)

However, want to know something that makes me want to kiss puppies and frolic through a field? Painted wood paneling. So yes, I need to start off with the home design items I most despise to come up with one of my fave aesthetic pieces. What I love about wood paneling is that it works with a variety of styles: rustic, shabby chic, preppy, eclectic.

My friend, Ledesa, is working on fixing up her retro house. When she told me she was thinking about ripping our her wood paneling, I nearly croaked. She said she had toyed with the idea of painting them but she was too afraid of how it would turn out. I told her I would search out some homes with painted wood paneling so she could have a better visual of how it would turn out. And I told her I would help paint - as long as she provided pizza. She is thinking about painting in either white, cream, or grey.


What do you think about painted wood paneling?

{images via my pinterest}

11.4.12

iphone case design

My cell phone plan is almost up and this means that it is almost time to get an iPhone. Yes, I may be the only person in the world that does not own one. I am trying to decide between an iPhone 4 or 4S. All the people I know with Siri say it isn't worth the extra money.

I may actually be more excited, though, about picking out the case than getting the actual phone. I am so sick of my current phone getting lost in my purse because of it boring black case. However, with all of the great designs out there, it is so hard to choose. Will you help me?
1. I love this peacock case. At the beginning of college, I gave a bullshit presentation in Composition class (where I met my bf Kathy) when I said something to the affect of "... because I like feathers and place settings." Ever since then, it has been a long running joke between her and I that "I like feathers." This has involved her picking out peacock invitations for my bridal shower and me receiving many peacock and feather related gifts. 
2. Ranunculuses are my favorite flowers so I am smitten with this case. It is almost impossible to find them around here but, with this, I could always have some with me.
3. I love a classic navy and white stripe and I like that this case has a playful variation of that. 
4. This case has stripes and my blog colors. Plus, who doesn't love a monogram?
5. I love polka dots (as talked about here) and the color green. This Kate Spade case does it very well.
6. A french café scene by Van Gogh on a phone - this case is so beautiful and adorable in its small size.

Which one would you choose?

10.4.12

chicken and broccoli quinoa bake

If you are looking for an gooey, calorie-laden dish, this is not it. I made this with a chicken and broccoli casserole in mind but wanted something healthier that wouldn't leave me feeling lethargic afterwards. This dish is incredibly filling. You get some protein from the chicken, of course, but quinoa is very high in protein, as well, making it very filling. 

I was actually surprised that this turned out so well. I was afraid that, by giving up the creaminess of your usual casserole, that I would lose flavor and overall satisfaction - I was wrong. I also think that this is even better the next day reheated. I also made sure to use less chicken making this a "more vegetarian" meal if there is such a thing. 

CHICKEN AND BROCCOLI QUINOA BAKE
serves 8

2 chicken breasts
3 c. broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tsp. ground mustard
1 1/2 c. 1% milk
1 c. quinoa
8 oz. block of sharp cheddar, grated
1/2 c. light sour cream
1 c. panko breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cook broccoli in a large pot of boiling water until tender for about 2 minutes. Drain.

Bring water to a boil in  saucepan. Add in chicken and cook until cooked through. Remove chicken and let cool. Cut into bite-sized pieces.

Meanwhile, heat oil and onion in a pan. Sauté until onion is translucent for about 7 minutes. Add ground mustard stirring for about 1 minute. Whisk in milk slowly. Bring to a boil whisking for about 3 minutes. Add in cheeseand sour cream and quickly remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper. 

Stir in broccoli, chicken and quinoa. Transfer to an 11x7 casserole dish. Top with breadcrumbs. Bake until top is brown for about 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

8.4.12

weekend: easter

the hub's high school alumni lacrosse game . . . takeout sushi . . . my very first cadbury creme egg . . . with the hubs before lunch
~~~~
a little inspiration for the week:

obsessed with this outfit

can't get enough of this hamptons home

celebrity body confessions

create a mad men makeup look

how to get through a rough day

i need to get organized
~~~~
Friday night, the Hubs and I went to have dinner at Green Hill. They were having trivia night and, although we didn't offically join in since we arrived a little late, we played along as we ate. (Someone won a set of president PEZ dispensers. I was jealous.) Then we went home and I fell asleep almost immediately. Around midnight, I woke up to a yelp from the pup. Peyton was having a seizure. I supported her to make sure she didn't hurt herself and let her know everything was going to be ok. This has happened before and, according to the doctor, is normal in labs, but it is still scary. 

Saturday, the Hubs went out to help with the local high school lacrosse game while I dropped the pup off at my in laws. Since we were going to be gone the rest of the day, I didn't want her home alone after her episode the night before. Then I ran some errands. The Hubs met back home around lunchtime and we headed to his high school for an alumni lacrosse game. After that we went back to pick up the pup and ended up having sushi with the in laws for dinner.

Today, I cleaned up the house a bit and ate my first Cadbury creme egg. I liked it but think I would like it better if it was with dark chocolate. Then we headed over the in laws to drop off the dog and eat some appetizers before we headed out to late lunch at Sobo's. We split the crabtini for an appetizer and I have a goat cheese and beet salad and then blackened mahi mahi over black bean risotto and asparagus with a tomato blush sauce. So yummy! This evening, the Hubs and I spent time cleaning up our office and organizing some papers - not too exciting but long overdue. 

I had a pretty relaxing weekend for the most part. How did you spend your Easter weekend?