31.7.12

going paleo

I have noticed recently how I feel after eating bread, pasta, and other white carbs. I am sluggish and nauseous and sometimes just sick. Actually, when I got sick during Fourth of July, I think it was from overloading on bread and potato products.

After reading about Paleo from Megan, Sarah, and Jenna, I have decided to give it a try. I started last Monday and although there were a few cheats while on my mini vacation last week, I have pretty much stuck to it. I ordered omelets without cheese and have passed on the bread basket. And I feel better and more energetic. Yesterday, I decided to cheat big and get a sub (with breaded chicken) for lunch. Even after sleeping in, I found myself in a two hour coma afterwards. 

Although the Hubs just thinks this is one of those things I am going to try and then give up, I have never felt so good right away. I really don't feel like I am giving up anything because I always feel satisfied after a meal. Plus, it is something the Hubs can get on board with since he isn't a huge bread, pasta, and cheese person (unless it is pizza and subs.)

Have you ever tried Paleo? What resources have you found useful?

{image via here}

30.7.12

winner of the scribble pad giveaway!

I am excited to announce that the winner of the notecard giveaway is Chicca T! Congrats Chicca! I will be emailing you for your information.

And special thanks to Shannon from the Scribble Pad for sponsoring this giveaway!

{image via here}

29.7.12

weekend: a graduation

after dinner at the narrows in kent island wednesday night . . . after the cocktail reception and before dinner on thursday night . . . the hubs giving his class president speech at graduation . . . with the graduate . . . a paleo meal for dinner tonight
~~~~
a little inspiration for the week:

in case you lose your camera

a day at the dock

i wish i was in napa

easy happy hour menu
~~~~
My weekend actually started on Wednesday after work. The Hubs' parents and I headed to McLean, Virginia for the Hubs graduation. We stopped in Kent Island at the Narrows for dinner and, although there were a lot of things that looked great, I always get the crab cake. If you are ever in the area, go and get a crab cake - it will be the best one you have ever had. When we got to McLean I went straight to bed since the pup had kept me up the night before since she was sick. 

Thursday, while the Hubs was in class, his parents and I went to Nordstrom for the Anniversary sale. I got two pairs of boots, a pair of jeans, nice leggings, a skirt, and a pair of comfy striped shorts, checking a lot off of my wish list. After that, we had lunch at Elevation Burger for the first time. It was really yummy and I am glad that I could get my burger wrapped in lettuce, helping me stay on track for Paleo (and giving me inspiration for tonight's dinner.) We headed back to the hotel and I relaxed, did my nails, and watched a little bit of tv. Then we went to the cocktail reception being held for the graduates and their families. After that we went to dinner at Ruth Chris with his parents.

Friday, I got up, had breakfast with his mom, and then got ready for the graduation. There was a nice luncheon followed by the graduation. The Hubs gave a speech since he was "class president." Then we headed back and got stuff in both DC and beach traffic. 

Yesterday, I went to Enza's for a haircut and my SIL came with me to get her hair dimineralized. I was amazed at how much shinier and healthier her hair looked afterwards. After dinner, the Hubs and I went to see the new Batman movie in the Regal RPX theater. I didn't particularly want to spend the extra money but the timing of the movie in that theater was convenient so we did. The screen was huge, the sheets were super comfortable, and the sound was unmatched. 

Today, we slept in and took naps. I feel like I need a few days off from my days off. 

How was your weekend?

28.7.12

august ad space

Looking to take your business to the next level? Sponsor la chapstick fanatique! I am now accepting ads for August and September. My readers are lovers of fashion, design, food and weddings and my rates are low, keeping in mind small businesses and Etsy shops. Plus, you get a blog post dedicated to your shop to introduce you to my readers! 

Also, remember that if you donate to E's classroom, you can also get a sponsor spot for the month of August.

 Please email me at morgan.designblanc{at}gmail{dot}com for more information.

{image via my pinterest}

25.7.12

my fall wish list

I think most people wait a little bit until they start to get excited for fall but, since fall is my favorite season, I start early. Planning for fall style usually begins around this time because this is also when the Nordstrom Anniversary sale is which I shop every year. Last year, I only found a pair of nude pumps which I love but I am hoping I am a bit more successful this year.

I am actually taking tomorrow and Friday off from work (and the blog) because the Hubs is graduating from a course he has been taking. He has left for a week every two months for the past year (with projects and homework in between) and it is basically like receiving the equivalent of a master's in his field. Thursday night is a reception and on Friday there is a luncheon and graduation so the Hubs' parents and I are headed over to Tyson's tonight. Tomorrow morning, while the Hubs is in class, the three of us are going to Nordstrom in Tyson's to shop. Yay!

This year's fall wish list is basically about replenishing staples. Here are a few items I hope to snag:
1. I am really in need of a functional but stylish casual jacket. I love the look of the military and utility jackets and I would love to get one in olive green like this here
2. During the fall, my job requires me to travel to high schools to meet with student. I visit about four to five a day so I am constantly in and out of the car and lugging around bags of information. I need a few more pairs of good quality flats that will hold up from the wear and tear but also make me look professional as well. I love these fun flats.
3. Back in 2007, a few days after Christmas I scored a $300 pair of riding boots on sale at Banana Republic for $60. They were brown equestrian style boots and I have worn them to death every fall and winter over the past few years. I loved them so much I was going to get them resoled but while across the bridge at a college fair at the end of the winter, I wore them in the rain not knowing they had recently had snow. Since they had recently has snow, there had recently been salt on the ground. The rain put the salt on my boots and they ruined the leather and it can't be fixed. So I am on the search for another tall pair of brown boots like these since I am not sure if I can get through a season without them.
4. A lot of my jeans are pretty worn and I don't own a pair that are a really dark wash. I really need a pair that can be dressed up like these.
5. My current fall/winter purse is black and it is really pretty but with only one snap button all my stuff falls out all the time. I even thought I had lost my Mason Pearson brush (for weeks) that I have had since middle school but, really, my bag had just allowed it to jump out and go under my car seat. I am thinking a cross body bag like this one would be good so it is still easy to carry when I am doing high school visits or lugging things into a college fair. I probably will stay away from brown or tan since that is what my camera bag is and I would love to go with an unexpected color. 
6. I love that Target has $8 black leggings and they serve their purpose - for about two months, considering they are part of my every weekend uniform. I have always had trouble shelling out money for a pair of leggings but, considering how much I wear them, I think it is time. I like these because they can be dressy but can also be a new item for weekend comfiness. 

What is on your fall wish list? Are you looking for the basics or for a few trendy items?

24.7.12

lemon butter seared scallops with magda squash

When I discovered that the Tuesday farmer's market where I pick up my CSA box had a seafood vendor, I got really excited. He carries oysters, clams, shrimp, and, one of my favorite foods, scallops. And it really exhibits one of the reasons you should buy local - his prices aren't as high as you would find in the grocery store. Now, on my budget, I still can't afford to visit every week but the Hubs and I picked a Tuesday night a few weeks ago for a date night in and I picked up a pound of scallops.

After I picked up my scallops, I walked around to browse and I came across a vegetable I had never seen before - Magda squash. It is a Mediterranean vegetable known for its nutty flavor. It is more expensive than your average squash (at least it is here) but I was intrigued and thought it would be  a good compliment to our scallops.

This is a perfect meal for summer. It is nice and light leaving you satisfied but not overly stuffed.
LEMON BUTTER SEARED SCALLOPS WITH MAGDA SQUASH
serves 2

1 lb. fresh scallops
kosher salt, to taste
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 lemon, zested
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 Tbsp. butter

1 magda squash, sliced
EVOO
kosher salt
pepper

Brush squash with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook on a grill pan or grill until soft. 

Meanwhile, pat scallops dry. Season with salt. Heat pan on high heat and wait for pan to become very hot. Add butter and let it just melt. Add scallops, garlic, lemon zest and juice. Cook the scallops until they are golden brown, about 1-2 minutes on both sides depending on size. (The scallops should still be somewhat translucent in the middle because they will continue to cook.) Remove scallops from pan and pour extra sauce on top. 

Enjoy!

23.7.12

monday giveaway: the scribble pad

Today's giveaway is from the Etsy shop, The Scribble Pad, which has a beautiful stationary. I met Shannon, the shop owner, at a Blogger Blitz event in DC a few months back and she is seriously the sweetest person. She also has an awesome blog where she writes about her son, food, living in DC, and life in general. I am absolutely delighted to read her blog each day so I am extra excited about this giveaway!
Shannon is giving the winner a card set of her choice from her Etsy shop. I love the cute animal sounds card set. I think they would be perfect to gift to a new mom for thank you notes. (Also, for everyone that follows the Scribble Pad on Twitter and tweets about the giveaway mentioning the Scribble Pad, Shannon will DM with a 30% discount code.!)

Please use the rafflecopter widget below. (Entries left in the comment section are not valid.) A winner will be chosen at random. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

22.7.12

weekend: a beachy kid time

at assateague . . . running from the waves . . . we found horses . . . outside, last night, after bocce
~~~~
My aunt and cousins came to visit this weekend. The Hubs and I spent Friday evening running around the grocery store and Sam's Club finding food for the kids. Then my aunt and cousins, Davey and Melissa, got into town late Friday night. 

Saturday, the Hubs went to work since he has class this week and my aunt, cousins, and I went to Assateague. We played in the water, took a walk on the beach, and found some horses on our way out. Then we head to Ocean City for lunch at the Dough Roller and Putt Putt. Melissa is only two so she didn't quite understand how to hit the ball with the putter but she understood that you were supposed to get the ball in the hole so, worse case scenario, she would put the ball near the hole and knock it in. After that, we headed home to shower and make dinner. After dinner, the Hubs and Davey played bocce and Melissa moved their balls around. 

This morning, after breakfast, my aunt and cousins headed back home and the Hubs headed to Virginia for his class for the week. I am exhausted today. Entertaining two kids all weekend is tiring! I went outside to read my magazine earlier and fell asleep for an hour. 

I am excited that, this week, I only have a three-day work week! Wednesday night, I am heading across the bridge with the Hubs' parents for his graduation. No more leaving every two months for a week for this class!

How was your weekend?

winner of the jojo loves you giveaway!

I am excited to announce that the winner of the JoJo Loves You giveaway is Fawn S! Congratulations Fawn! I will be emailing you for your information.

And special thanks to JoJo Loves You for sponsoring this giveaway! And, in case you had your eye on something, JoJo Loves You is offering you free shipping - just use the code "free20" when you checkout!

{image via here}

20.7.12

francophile friday: outfit for the riviera

Today, I am linking up for Friday's Fancies hosted by the wonderful {av} from {long distance loving}. The theme this week is Euro Trip and I am certainly making a stop in the French Riviera. My outfit is for a day visiting the market, going in and out of shops, and stopping for un café. And, since today is francophile friday, all the brands used are French. (You can read about my short trip to the Riviera while I was living in France here.)

What stops are on your Euro trip? What are you packing in your suitcase?

18.7.12

helping out

Disclaimer: This post is LONG. I thought about letting it sit, sink in, and then editing it, but I didn't want the honestly to be edited out. It was tough to write this post because it brought up so many old emotions but, mostly, it made me appreciate all that my dad has done for me and our family, even more than before. 

My parents are divorced. (I have talked about a little bit here.) Ever since I could remember, my dad and my mom had been married to other people. The fall of my freshman year of high school, my world changed. My dad told me he was getting a divorce from his second wife who was my stepmom and my "other" mom for as long as I could remember.

And then a few months later, I found out that my dad and ex-stepmom were in hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. 

That spring, I found out my dad had a new girlfriend - and that they were moving into together. I refused to like her at first until a friend made me realize that this situation wasn't her fault, that she came after all drama, and that she just wanted my dad to be happy.

But this post isn't about my dad's divorce.

After my dad and Kathy moved into together, we wanted for nothing. Sure, there weren't incredibly lavish dinners out anymore or frequent trips to the mall or expensive vacations but we were always well fed and we always had a lot of fun. When we weren't with them for a weekend, they ate Kraft mac and cheese because it was cheap and stayed home only to listen to credit card companies call at least once an hour. My dad would soon realize that bankruptcy was the only option. 

And then came the comments from people, even from family, who aren't supposed to kick you when you are down. How could you let it get to this point? Bankruptcy is for cowards who can't own up to the mess they have created! How can you let your kids go through this? It is funny how easy it is to make those comments when you haven't gone through something like this.

And, man, did I ever want to punch people in the face.

Mainly, I hated to see my dad hurt. My dad is not one to express emotion. And he never, ever lets us see the bad. He protects us. But I know that the whole situation made him feel like less of man and a father. 

~~~~
When I was a junior in high school, my dad took my brother, my sister, and I to Burger King for lunch. (Kathy always stayed home on these outings to save a few dollars since they were still in a terrible financial situation.) As we were leaving, a man was outside begging for money. His clothes were tattered and his skin was rough and dry. Many people had passed by him, not even giving him a second glance. But when we walked out, my dad handed him a twenty dollar bill. I looked at him in disbelief. That was entire week's worth of mac and cheese!

He turned to me and said, "There is always someone worse off than you." And that was the end of the conversation. 

There is always someone worse off than you. 

My dad may not have been the best with money but he was the best dad anyone could ask for. And really, this whole situation taught me much more than if we never had financial troubles. I learned to never spend more than you have, to never give up, and to have a sense of humility. I learned how to handle adversity with grace and to always remember how fortunate I am to have a meal on the table. I am who I am today because of all the love he has given me. And I see what a great man and father he is, even if others don't. 

~~~~
So, why did I write this post? Well, a fellow blogger actually sparked it. 

Elizabeth (E to her readers) from the blog E Tells Tales informed us a few weeks ago that her family was losing the store that had been in her husband's family for years. They could, quite possibly, lose everything. You can read more about it on her blog. 

What pained me the most was to read about how her husband felt like a failure and how people around them would make comments. I had watched my dad go through the same thing. 

~~~~
So what can you do? 

Well, first off, don't judge people. This is hard sometimes, even for me. But remember that in situations like this, like my dad's, hindsight is always 20/20. And you never really know what goes on behind closed doors.

E's family is in this situation because a huge WalMart came to town. So, buy local if you can afford to. And you may even find that you will save money doing this. My town doesn't really have a local grocery but the Hubs and I always try to go to local restaurants when we eat out, I shop at the farmer's market, and we joined a CSA

Luckily, E was able to get her old teaching job back but teachers in Alabama don't get money for supplies. (I know a few friends who have spent over a thousand dollars for supplies - on a teacher's salary!) Donate a little bit of money to help with her classroom so she isn't spending money out of her own pocket, which her family really needs right now. She talks about how you can "adopt" her classroom towards the end of this post

For each of you that donates, I will put up a sponsor ad for the month of August and give you a sponsor post like I do for my regular sponsors. You can use the button to advertise your blog, your Etsy shop, or something else. Just send me an email with the name you donated with (it will show up on her classroom adoption page) and the button you want me to use. 

And, stop by and read her blog. Her blog is one of the first I started reading and I love her sense of humor and honesty. It is really refreshing. 

Have a good rest of your day. And thanks to my readers and this little blog community.

{image via my pinterest}

17.7.12

challah french toast

A few weekends ago, when my friend Alissa visited, I had a lot of leftover challah bread. Knowing that one of her favorite breakfast items is French toast, I decided to make Challah French Toast that Sunday morning. 

French toast is so versatile. I thought about making a strawberry syrup or stuffing it with Nutella. But with such good bread as a base and some really sweet fresh strawberries, I figured simple was better. 

A great French toast can be eaten with absolutely nothing on top of it. If you can eat it with your fingers like a sandwich, it is perfect. And that is just how this is. I did add a little bit of butter and confectioners sugar the first time but I ate the leftovers plain while running out the door to work.
CHALLAH FRENCH TOAST
serves 6-8

8 slices challah bread, sliced 1 inch thick and halved
1 c. milk
3 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 - 4 Tbsp. butter
optional: confectioners sugar, strawberries, syrup

Combine milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon in a shallow dish. Whisk together. 

Melt two tablespoons of butter in a skillet on medium. Soak four pieces of bread in the egg mixture, 30 seconds on each side. Wipe off excess liquid and place in pan. Cook until both sides are browned for about five minutes. Repeat with the rest of the bread adding more butter to the pan if needed. 

Add confectioners sugar or whatever toppings you like. 

Enjoy!

16.7.12

monday giveaway: jojo loves you

Today's giveaway is from the shop, JoJo Loves You, which carries fun, colorful jewelry. They have earrings, bracelets, and necklaces but their most popular item is their "bling" earrings. I love that they have them in every color and they have so many different finishes (sparkly, frosted, neon and flat) so you can find earrings to go with any outfit.

The shop started in 2002 after JoJo left college. She sold to family and friends and found a few shops to carry her items. By the fall, she was a jewelry designer. Now she has an assistant, interns, sales representatives, and her dog to help her out. It is a great reminder that you can do anything you put your mind to - and it doesn't matter how old you are.
JoJo is giving away a pair of bling earrings of your choosing. I really like the Neon Pink earrings (shown above.) I would wear them to compliment a navy blue dress for a wedding or to dress up a navy striped tee and shorts. 

Please use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter. (Comments left in the comment section are not valid.) This giveaway is open only to US residents.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

15.7.12

weekend: pedicures and crafting

the view from green hill friday night . . . my dinner from fratelli's saturday night . . . peyton's afternoon nap . . . the drink flags I helped a friend make for her sister's baby shower
~~~~
a little inspiration for the coming week:

stripes please

found my future diaper bag

parisian rooftops

the provencal market
~~~~
Friday night, we went out with the Hubs' family to Green Hill since his aunt was in town. Saturday morning, I wasn't feeling well so I laid in bed, watched I Love Lucy, and did some blog reading while the Hubs was at work. My SIL got into town after lunch so we went to get a pedicure since the weather wasn't great. For dinner, we went to Fratelli's with the Hubs family. Today, I helped a friend do a few crafts for the baby shower she is throwing for her sister. Now I am just hanging out with the pup since the Hubs left for Kansas City this morning. It was good to have a nice relaxing weekend at home. 

How was your weekend?

14.7.12

winner of the evergreen co giveaway!

I am excited to announce that the winner of the Evergreen Co giveaway is Laura M! Congrats Laura! Please email me at morgan.designblanc{at}gmail{dot}com. And thanks to Evergreen Co for sponsoring this giveaway!

{image via here}

13.7.12

francophile friday: bastille day funnies

Just a few funny e-cards to send to your friends tomorrow for Bastille Day. Have a great weekend and Joyeux Le Quatorze Juillet!

{e-cards from here}

12.7.12

the man who dressed america

I finally got around to watching the CNBC special that the Hubs DVR'ed for me: J. Crew & The Man Who Dressed America. It focuses on J. Crew's CEO, Millard "Mickey" Drexler, who started at the company in 2003 when it was floundering. His previous ventures included working at Ann Taylor (where he constantly asked himself, "would Jackie wear this?"), making the Gap hip, moving Banana Republic from safari to upscale, and starting Old Navy. He is even on the board of Apple and helped to get their first retail store off the ground.

Drexler is often called the "King of Retail" because of his attention to detail and visceral "go with your gut" feelings on what the customer wants. He is a self-proclaimed micromanager but that has clearly paid off. Jenna Lyon, who was the only employee to survive Drexler's house cleaning when he first started, describes pre-Drexler J. Crew as "vanilla" and current J. Crew as "a triple decker sundae." 

He responds personally to customer complaints. And he holds company "town hall" type meetings with his employees. And he asks questions like, "is it easy for a woman to wear?" (But he admits he has made mistakes as well and, funny enough, I am pretty sure the mistake he references in the special is this one.)

If you get a chance and can find it playing (or can record it), I highly recommend it. And it is only and hour long. Even if you aren't exactly interested in Drexel's story but love J. Crew, the special follows him to Italy where he sources fabric from a century old mill, the making of a catalogue, and the J. Crew team as they create the Fall 2012 line.

I will leave you with a quote from him that is pretty telling: "I got, uh, shpilkes. You know the Yiddish term shpilkes. I can't stop moving."

{image via here}

11.7.12

advice on crossfit?

I am going to a free trial class at my local CrossFit gym today after work. (Actually, the cool CrossFit kids call a gym a box but I digress.) I am so nervous. I really only started working out regularly after college and I certainly was never an athlete. Since CrossFit seems so hardcore, I may chicken out. But that is really why I am writing this - so I don't chicken out. 

I am the heaviest I have ever been and, worse than that, I feel sluggish and tired. I want that energy back and I don't want clothes shopping to be an awful experience like it has been the for the last year. Honestly, I just need someone to kick my butt. If I like the trial today, I plan to take the beginners "on-ramp" courses so that I can start with the actual classes. And then I will alternate between those and Pilates. 

Has anyone done CrossFit? What should I expect? Any advice?

{image via here}

10.7.12

csa box: arugula and cheddar tart

I love a good quiche or vegetable tart. It is great for breakfast or for lunch with a small salad. When I found that arugula was in my csa box, I knew I would make a basic tart.

What I like about tarts and quiche is that you can be very creative. Your basic recipe consists of some sort of crust, eggs, cream (or milk or half and half), and cheese. Then you just add the veggies that you want. I had sharp cheddar on hand and I added onion for flavor.
ARUGULA AND CHEDDAR TART
serves 6 - 8

1 small onion, chopped
1 bunch of arugula, tough ends removed
7 eggs, beaten
1/3 c. cream
2 c. freshly grated sharp cheddar
6 sheets phyllo dough
olive oil, for brushing phyllo and for cooking vegetables

Preheat oven to 350º F.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add arugula and cook until just wilted. Set aside. 

Combine eggs and cream in a bowl and whisk together. Fold in one cup and a half of cheddar. Set aside.

Place sheets of phyllo dough around tart pan, overlapping and molding to the pan to form a crust. As you place each piece in, brush with a little bit of olive to keep the phyllo from drying out.  Spread cooked veggies evenly on top of phyllo dough. Pour egg mixture evenly over veggies. Trim edges of phyllo dough if there is any way above or over edges of pan so they don't burn. 

Place tart pan on baking sheet and place in oven. Bake for about 25 minutes or until eggs are almost set. Add remaining cheddar on top and cook until melted and slightly crispy. 

Enjoy!

9.7.12

monday giveaway: evergreen co

Today's giveaway is from the Etsy shop, Evergreen Co., which sells a variety of all-natural lip balms. They have very unique scents like chai tea, pineapple party, and pink lemonade.

John and Jessica, the shop owners, say, "We are a brother and sister team that makes all-natural lip balms that use eco-friendly and local products. Our lip balm is handcrafted by us in beautiful upstate New York."
They are giving away their signature All-Natural Lip Balm. It is made with locally sourced beeswax, organic shea butter, vitamin E oil, sweet almond oil, and a touch of honey. You can can choose either a tin or a tube. 

Please use the rafflecopter widget below to enter the giveaway. (Leaving a comment below is not a valid entry.) This is open to US residents only. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

8.7.12

weekend: st. michaels with tanya

my outfit for dinner and a movie friday night . . . tanya with the flower girl, natalie . . . the parsonage inn, the bed and breakfast where we stayed . . . inside coco and company, the coolest furniture and housewares . . down by the water . . . a pretty trolley . . . an afternoon sanpellegrino
~~~~
a little inspiration for the coming week:

i want my boy nursery to have a nautical theme and i want my girl nursery to look like this

beautiful guest house in france
~~~~
Friday, the Hubs and I had the date we were supposed to have on Tuesday night before the Fourth that was delayed because I was sick all week. We saw Ted. I liked it; I thought it was funny but not hilarious. I also wore my Fourth of July outfit that was pretty much wasted on Wednesday with me laying on my in-laws couch. 

Saturday, I left for St. Michaels to see Tanya and her family. For lunch, I went with Tanya, her aunt, uncle, and her cousin's daughter, Natalie, to the Crab Claw and had a wonderful shrimp salad. Then we went back to our suite that we shared with them since it was so hot out. The reason for going to St. Michaels was for Tanya and I to help babysit her cousin's daughter who was the flower girl in a wedding. Since her cousin, her cousin's husband, her cousin's parents, and her cousin's in-laws were all in the wedding or invited to the wedding, we helped get Natalie to the wedding and then take her home after the ceremony. It was nice because we got to watch the ceremony (since the groom's family is British, all the bridesmaids and flower girls wore fascinators) and have a look at the reception (it was very preppy with navy, pink, and nautical accents - perfect.) After Natalie went to sleep, Tanya and I hung out, watched television, and did our nails. It was nice to just have some time to hang out since now we almost are always seeing each other for an occasion or in a rush. 

Today, we had breakfast at the Inn and then ventured out to have a look at the shops. I bought a really cool scarf at the Chesapeake Trading Company. It has blue, green, red and mustard yellow with polka dots. It will be a perfect lightweight scarf for fall. And I lusted after everything at Coco and Company. I saw a lot of things that would go perfectly in my living room. After walking around in the this horrible heat, Tanya and I decided we needed some water so we found ourselves at the Big Pickle where we had awesome, spicy bloody mary's and the BEST fried pickles. (It is kind of funny we end up eating there since Tanya always used to bring pickles for lunch in elementary school and we would always share them. It was a huge deal when one of us had them for lunch.) After that, we both headed home. I have pretty much been lounging around the house since I got back.

How was your weekend?

6.7.12

francophile friday: how to visit a bakery



I am absolutely smitten by this video by Olive Us on how to visit a French bakery. Olive Us is a collection of videos on Vimeo with Gabrielle Blair's (Design Mom) family.

My favorite part is step two when it talks about saying bonjour. When the Hubs came to visit me while I was living in Bordeaux, he asked me why everyone would "sing" bonjour when we went into shops. It made me giggle. 

So go ahead and have a look! Isn't it adorable?

4.7.12

happy fourth

I hope you enjoy your Independence Day! I was home sick from work yesterday and I am still not feeling that great. If I actually start feeling better today, I plan to use this mid-week break to relax, spend some time outside, and then go over to the in-laws for a small barbecue.

How are you spending your fourth?

{cute tutorial from here}

3.7.12

csa box: green israeli couscous

The Hubs is a huge snap pea fan and I am not. So, of course, the week that they showed up in my csa box, the Hubs was out of town. I thought about freezing them and saving them for later but I decided to give them a try. I added feta to cut out some of the bite that I don't necessarily enjoy and the marriage of the feta with the bite of the snap peas worked out wonderfully.

This can be served at warm temperature or cold. It is great to make a big batch so you have it for quick and easy lunches for the week.
GREEN ISRAELI COUSCOUS
serves 2 as a main course, 4 as a side

Salad:
1 1/2 c. dry Israeli couscous
1 large handful of sugar snap peas
1 c. of mache sprouts, loosely packed
2 oz. chunk of feta, crumbled

Dressing:
3/4 c. EVOO
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
sea salt and pepper, to taste

Cook couscous according to directions on container. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, peel away and discard the "seams" of the snap peas. Blanch snap peas in boiling water, allowing to cook for about two minutes. Strain peas in a colander and rinse with very cold water to shop cooking. (You can put them in ice water but I am too lazy to do this.) Once peas are cool enough to touch, remove peas from pods and slice pods into small bite-size pieces. 

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.

In a medium bowl, combine couscous, peas and pods, sprouts, and feta. Add salad dressing and toss to coat. You may not use all of the dressing. 

Enjoy!

1.7.12

weekend: alissa visits

our jewish dinner on friday night . . . peach sangria (recipe adapted from here) . . . our caprese salad at public house . . . alissa's first eastern shore martini at market street . . . with alissa
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a little inspiration for the coming week:

anchors aweigh

house with a view

pretty wedding ring

beautiful dresses
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Friday, Alissa headed across the bridge. We had an easy night in, complete with Jewish dinner and peach sangria on the patio. 

Saturday, we went to a local diner for breakfast and then headed out to Green Hill for lunch and the pool. We were lucky considering it was supposed to be really hot outside. The Wicomico River provided a nice breeze the entire time we were there. Then we headed home, took naps, and headed to the Public House for dinner. We tried an awesome new port and shared a cool take on the caprese salad and cheese fondue. Then we met the Hubs at Market Street, had dessert, and listened to Alex & Shiloh.  When we got home, I made the obligatory mac and cheese (from scratch) that we used to make after a night out in college. 

This morning, we used our leftover challah bread for french toast and then Alissa headed home. Since it was too hot to be outside, I spent today cleaning the house and reading. Then the Hubs and I watched 21 Jump Street. Now I am just deciding on whether or not I want to stay up to watch The Newsroom or On Demand it later this week.

How was your weekend?