30.9.12

weekend: feeling better

with julie ann and kathy at market street on saturday night . . . at nolan's football birthday party today
~~~~
a little inspiration for the coming week:

bordeaux in a blender

the cutest picnic to welcome autumn
~~~~
Friday, Kathy and her coworker and friend, Julie Ann, came over for the weekend. They had a work retreat in St. Michaels Thursday and Friday so they thought a trip to Salisbury was necessary. We were all tired (and I was still pretty sick), so we ordered in food and hung out for a bit. I went to bed early since I had to work the next day.

Saturday, I was up bright and early for a work event. After that, I headed to the Hubs' company crab feast. I left early though because I felt awful. I took a much needed nap and woke up feeling a lot better. After that, I was introduced to R. Kelly's "Trapped in the Closet." Have you ever seen it? It is seriously one of the most ridiculous things I have ever seen. We watched about fourteen chapters on YouTube before heading to dinner at Public House with the SIL. After dinner, we went and had a drink at Public House and then headed home to watch a little bit more of "Trapped in the Closet."

After Kathy and Julie Ann left this morning, the Hubs and I ran a few errands and then headed to his friend's son's birthday party. It was a lot of fun full of football, pizza, and cake. After that I came home and passed out. Although I have been feeling much better over the past twenty-four hours, I am still tired. I still have to pack for another week of travel and hopefully catch up on Boardwalk Empire

What did you do this weekend?

27.9.12

stay creative

I am feeling a bit under the weather this week so today I am just leaving you with a few ideas on how to stay creative.
Go on now!

{buy the print here}

26.9.12

sponsor post: truly aesthetic

Please welcome out newest sponsor, Truly Aesthetic. The shop carries holistic and organic body care items that use only the finest essential oils and high end organic and wild harvested ingredients. You can also find them on Etsy.
I think these sets would make beautiful bridesmaid gifts or a good gift for mom's birthday. It would also be fun to buy and have an at home spa day with the girls. What do you think?

25.9.12

slow cooker asian-style short ribs

A little over a year ago, my friend, Ashley, made this while I was over at her house. It was delicious and I knew it was something the Hubs would enjoy. She sent me her recipe but I forgot about it until I was looking for new Paleo ideas.

This is a great weeknight meal. Just chop your vegetables the night before and you can assemble quickly in the morning. 

Ashley served this with rice and, if you are not doing Paleo, that works perfectly well. I am not really a fan of cauliflower rice that is popular with Paleo so I made pureed cauliflower and it soaked up the juices wonderfully. If you are able to eat potatoes, I think this would be yummy over mashed potatoes as well.

I used raw honey for this recipe since I am doing Paleo but regular honey is fine. I also cheated with soy sauce but if you are doing Paleo you should try and use tamari or, even better, liquid aminos.

SLOW COOKER ASIAN-STYLE SHORT RIBS
serves 4

4 carrots, chopped in inch sized pieces
2 leeks, rinsed and chopped
3 lb. bone-in beef short ribs
salt and pepper
1/2 c. reduced sodium beef broth
1/3 c. sherry
3 Tbsp. raw honey 
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c. cilantro, chopped
1/4 c. chopped scallions

Arrange carrots and leeks on bottom of slow cooker. Season ribs with salt and pepper and place over vegetables. Whisk together broth, sherry, soy sauce, honey, vinegar, ginger, and garlic. Pour over ribs. Cook on low for 8 hours. 

While still hot, stir in cilantro and scallions. Serve over pureed cauliflower, rice, or mashed potatoes. 

23.9.12

weekend: quinny and ruth's wedding

during the ceremony . . . some details from the reception . . . with the bride and groom . . . cutting the cake . . . the first dance
~~~~
a little inspiration for the coming week:

a ten hour wedding proposal

the best "gift" for new parents 
~~~~
Friday, I left work early since I felt sick and immediately made a doctors appointment. I don't have time to be sick during travel season! After that, I came home to a sleeping husband who had taken a red eye flight the night before. We ordered in food since we had nothing in the house and went to bed early.

Saturday morning, we woke up, took the pup to the in-laws, and then headed to DC for Ruth and Quinny's wedding at the Decatur House. Quinny (his actual name is Seth) is one of the Hub's really good friends from college. Ruth and Quinny met in law school in Michigan and we met Ruth about a year ago. We couldn't be happier for them - they are both such great people. It was an absolutely beautiful ceremony and a really fun reception. I am pretty sure every guest got on the dance floor last night. After the reception, we went and had a drink at a bar and then the Hubs and I headed back to the hotel. (Excuse the dark photos - I decided not to lug my SLR to the wedding.)

This morning, after breakfast, we headed back across the bridge. We stopped at the outlets on our way but both left empty-handed. I did a little laundry when we got home and took a much-needed nap. 

I won't be traveling as much this week but it will still be a busy one with a few late hours on the nights I am actually home. I plan to get to bed early tonight. 

How was your weekend?

21.9.12

francophile friday: le rèpere des belettes

I am loving the new-to-me shop, Le Rèpere des Belettes. The items have a rustic, farmhouse feel but with a modern twist. It carries textiles, wall art, lighting, kitchenware, and decorative home accents. These items would fit perfectly in my home - I just wish they shipped to the US!

What is your decorating style?

20.9.12

sponsor post: anastasia drawing & dreaming

Please welcome my newest sponsor, Anastasia Drawing & Dreaming. Anastasia's blog is a place where she shares things that inspire her, style posts, and crafts. She lives in Sydney, Australia, has two beautiful boys, works part-time in Finance, and has a darling Etsy shop, Percival Road Designs.
Be sure to stop by and say hello to Anastasia!

19.9.12

jenny in america

If you follow me on twitter, you know that my friend Jenny was in town from France with her boyfriend. She was in New York and DC last week and LA and Vegas this week. Since I was in Montgomery County at the same time she was in DC, we met up and I played tourist with them. 
Wednesday night, after Jenny and Thomas got into town, I met them at their hotel and we went to dinner at Kaz Sushi Bistro. We all enjoyed it - they have a good fusion sushi menu.

Thursday after work, I met them at the Air and Space Museum. After that, we went to take pictures in front of the Capital and the Washington Monument. It was hot so hot outside so we stopped for a drink. Of course, the first place we found was French. I enjoyed a really yummy drink with ginger ale, pineapple juice, and a few other juices. After sitting and talking for a bit, we headed over to see the White House. We parted ways there. I really didn't want to leave!

I miss you already, Jenny! Let's not let it be another four and a half years!

Where have you played tourist lately?

18.9.12

almond crusted chicken with mushroom sauce

I actually have come a long way- I used to hate mushrooms. I didn't actually start eating them until I was living in France. My friend, Nezia, used to make a dish just with mushrooms, salt, and oil. It was simple but she let them simmer for a very long time. That must have been the key. Or maybe it was the salt and oil. For awhile, that was the only way I would eat them but a few years ago I started to branch out and I will eat them pretty much any way I can get them except for raw.

This recipe is Paleo but you don't need be on a Paleo diet to enjoy its deliciousness. I really should have made extra of this dish - especially of the mushrooms. I just wanted to pile all those yummy mushrooms on top of my one piece of chicken. This is definitely going to become a staple in my kitchen. It is easy to make but fancy enough for guests.
ALMOND CRUSTED CHICKEN WITH MUSHROOM SAUCE
serves 3 - 4
adapted from the Paleo Comfort Foods cookbook

1 1/2 lbs. chicken breasts
1 c. raw almonds, run through the food processor until finely chopped
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. clarified butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 c. shiitake mushrooms, de-stemmed and sliced
1/4 c. dry sherry
1 c. chicken stock
2 tsp. scallions, sliced

Preheat oven to 375º F. 

If chicken breasts are thick, pound to about 3/4 inch thickness. 

On a large plate, combine almonds and garlic powder. Dredge chicken breasts through almond mixture. 

Heat skillet over high medium-high heat and add oil. Once oil is hot, cook chicken breasts on each side until browned. Remove chicken breasts and place in baking dish. Bake for about 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Reduce skillet to medium. Add butter to skillet scraping up any bits from chicken. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds being careful not to burn. Add mushrooms and sauté for 2 minutes. Add sherry and chicken stock. Let simmer until slightly reduced and mushrooms are cooked. Add scallions right before serving.

Serve mushrooms over chicken.

Enjoy!

16.9.12

weekend: after the first week

peyton wants my huge dark chocolate bar . . . pretty much matching with my SIL . . . a half-eaten attempt of paleo pumpkin muffins . . . the start of our fall porch
~~~~
Friday evening, I got back from my first week of travel for work. I was definitely exhausted. I picked up Peyton from the in-laws and came home to do a little bit of work. My SIL came over on her way into town and we went out for sushi. Then she headed over to her parents. The Hubs got home from traveling around ten.

Saturday morning, I went to CrossFit for the first time in a week and a half. I really didn't want to get out of bed and go but I am so glad I did. After that I went into work for a little bit to drop some stuff off and pick some stuff up (since I will be traveling again this week) and then I stopped by our local health food store to pick up a few things. After that I came home and made myself lunch and then did a little bit more work. Then, the Hubs and I drove around to look at houses. We aren't exactly looking for a new house - it is just something we do. We went to dinner with the SIL, came home and hung out for a bit, and then went to Market Street for a drink. 

Today, I did a little bit of laundry, a little bit of baking, and snuggled with Peyton. She isn't feeling well today and I hate that I have to leave her tomorrow.

How was your weekend?

13.9.12

a bit about you

What I love most about blogs is getting a chance to peek into someone else's life. I love how inspiring a lot of bloggers out there are and I also like that there is a feeling of community, that we are not alone in our struggles. 

What I love about blogging, itself, is making those connections with people. I love meeting new people and learning about my readers. But not every reader is a blogger and sometimes it is harder to get to know those people.

So I am going to take a note from one of my fave blogs, Design Darling, and ask you, lovely readers, a little bit about yourselves, bloggers or not. (Yes, I am pretty much copying her posts she does from time to time but I seriously couldn't think of a format that I like better. The questions will be my own though.)

I hope to learn a bit more about you and maybe you will learn a bit more about me.

ABOUT ME
Hometown: I was born in Fairfax, Virginia but I consider Cockeysville, Maryland my hometown.
Where you currently reside: Salisbury, Maryland
Favorite color: This is a toughy. I tend to like neutrals in clothing and home decor but if I had to choose I would say various shades of green.
Describe yourself in three words: weird, creative, loyal

YOUR TURN (copy and paste into the comments section and answer)
Hometown:
Where you currently reside:
Favorite color:
Describe yourself in three words:
A question for me:

Thanks for reading!

{image via my pinterest}

12.9.12

fall means

Fall means . . .

layered style with boots, scarves, and blazers

cozy socks

enjoying a hot cup of tea while wrapped in a blanket

thanksgiving

apples and pumpkins and their inspired recipes

colorful foliage

back-to-school with shiny new supplies

snuggling

hot apple cider (sometimes as an adult beverage)

crisp air smell

oversized sweaters

seven hour spaghetti sauce

What do you love most about fall?

11.9.12

advice on staying healthy while traveling

Before I get to the actual reason for this post, I want you to note the first two someecards. A small part of the reason I work out is because I have this weird fear that one day I will have to fight or run to avoid death. I am pretty sure that is a very ridiculous paranoia to have. 

I actually would like to ask you, lovely readers, for your advice. Yesterday was the start of travel season for me. I am an Admissions Counselor and that means there are basically two and a half months ahead where I am traveling to high schools and college fairs to meet with prospective students. Last year (my first year) it meant gaining about seven pounds. And getting sick. And constantly being tired. 

I would like to think that I am wiser this year. I really want to stay on track. I am lucky that a lot of my travel territory involves me staying at my parents (with a fridge and a kitchen). And some of my other territory involves me just being gone for the day and being able to stay in my own bed at night.

But it involves long days in and out of my car visiting high schools, sometimes with little time to grab quality food. It  is also involves very early mornings that make me less than motivated to come back to wherever I am staying and exercise. I also am subjected to college fair dinners - most of the time delicious but unhealthy (with unlimited mini desserts in which I want to try each one.) And, since I am close to a lot of friends and family while traveling, there are a lot of meals out.

Now, I have tried to prepare a bit this time around. I have been pinning CrossFit travel workouts on my pinterest page and motivational quotes. I also made myself little breakfast egg muffins on Sunday before I left to grab for breakfasts in the mornings instead of going through the drive through. And I went to the grocery store to buy some nuts and fruit to keep in the car. 

I am also being realistic. When I leave the house at 6:30 am to get to my first high school and then I have a college fair until 9:30 at night, I am not going to want to exercise. And sleep is important. But I  want to try and do the best that I can.

Do you have any advice for staying healthy while traveling? Any tips you have on exercising, eating healthy, and not getting sick (which makes travel so much worse) would be greatly appreciated.

Also, if you are Admissions Counselor (or if you work in Higher Ed) you may enjoy this tumblr

9.9.12

weekend: trade show

rear view . . . horsey . . . field . . . hibachi
~~~~
a little inspiration for the coming week:

barbie and ken's wedding photos

a great post on america and education
~~~~
Friday, the Hubs and I had a quick dinner at Adam's Ribs. I seriously had some of the best wings ever. First off, they are huge. Secondly, their house sauce is delicious - it is a buffalo sauce that is both spicy and sweet. Then, we came home and went to bed early since the next day was going to be a long one.

Saturday, we got up at 6 am because the Hubs had a truck show he had to go to for work. (My husband's family owns a truck dealership.) I went with him to help out. We drove to Denton and we were there until around 3 pm. There was a lot of country music, souped-up trucks, and cowboy boots. I am certainly not a country girl so I was a little out of my element but it was nice to spend a day with the Hubs before I left for travel for the week.

Today, I packed my bags and then headed across the bridge. I will be in Montgomery County until Friday for work. My brother and I took my sister out to dinner for her birthday. She loves hibachi so we decided on that. 

Also, I apologize for slacking in the picture department lately. I haven't been taking out my SLR a lot lately and I feel like these posts are just a recap of my instagram feed. I promise to do better. 

How was your weekend?

6.9.12

rain, rain

I don't mind the rain during the weekend when I have nowhere to go. I just snuggle up with a cup of tea, the pup, and sometimes my husband and have a grand old time.

But this weather - well, I am over it. Unless this rain gets rid of the humidity and brings cooler fall temperatures, I would prefer that it allow the sun to come out. No seriously, summer, I am ready for fall.

Maybe if I looked as stylish as these ladies above while it was raining, I would reconsider this weather. (I usually look like this.) But when I saw it was raining today I just put up my hair and didn't care. I mean, I am going to look like a drowned cat regardless. The only thing saving my look are my cute Hunter wellies.  

Do you like the rain?

{images via my pinterest}

4.9.12

baba g

When I was in high school, there were a group of friends that I had who had eclectic taste in food. These friends were not picky and, so, we were pretty adventurous when it came to trying new things. However, our default was usually Mediterranean food. We frequently ordered hummus and baba ghannoush to share. We ate it so much that someone in the group coined baba ghannoush "baba g" and we forever referred to the dish as that.

I started making baba g myself sometime after college since there weren't any places I knew of in Salisbury that had it on the menu. I had this random Mediterranean cookbook that I acquired, discovered the recipe, and I still have not strayed from it. The recipe is simple and always reliable.

This is great with flatbread or pita chips but since I have been trying to stick to Paleo, I made paleo crackers with almonds. You can find the recipe I used here.
BABA GHANNOUSH
recipe from Tastes of the Mediterranean

2 eggplants
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/3 c. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. tahini
pinch cayenne pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
sea salt, to taste
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 400 º F. Pierce eggplant with a fork and bake in a roasting tin for an hour until very soft and wrinkled. 

Place in colander over a bowl to drain off any juices and leave for 30 minutes until cool. 

Peel skin from eggplant, chop the flesh, and place in food processor with garlic, cumin, lemon juice, tahini, cayenne, and olive oil. Process until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and parsley. 

Enjoy!

3.9.12

weekend: birthdays and seven years

seven years . . . lap dog . . . rainy day . . . tea time
~~~~
a little inspiration for the coming week:

french inspired

i want one

parisian street style

i made these last week and, they were so yummy, i can't stop thinking about them (so i may make them again tonight)
~~~~
Friday, the Hubs worked late for the fourth night in a row so, after I brought him dinner, I cleaned up the house a bit and tried to keep myself busy. 

Saturday morning, I went to my first CrossFit class after taking the beginners class. It was a great workout but, man, was it tough. After that, I brought lunch to the Hubs who had to work on Saturday and then left for Niki's house in College Park. We celebrated Niki and Kathy's birthday by ordering in pizza and then going to Local 16 for dancing. I was having so much fun, I never really got any pictures!

Sunday, I had a quick breakfast with Kathy, Katie S, and Katie's sister and then headed back to Salisbury. The Hubs and I went to Wendy's for lunch. The first time the Hubs and I ever went to go have food together was lunch at Wendy's (gotta love college.) He never used to get up that early so he was sleepy and barely coherent so I paid. He claims this never happened but I swear it did. So, every year, on our dating anniversary, we go to Wendy's for lunch and (until we got married) we switched who paid each year. It is kind of funny since the Hubs and I barely eat fast food unless it is for breakfast. Wendy's has really fancied it up since the last time I was there. Sunday night, we headed to the Hubs' parents to have a little cookout and then we came back and I immediately went to bed since I was exhausted from the night before. 

Today, it pretty much rained all day but the Hubs and I got the house in order for both of us to start traveling for work. I think we may take a trip to Bed, Bath, and Beyond and then stay in for the rest of the evening.

How was your weekend?