Monday, August 31, 2015

a perfect saturday

how often can you say that you leisurely enjoyed a saturday exactly how you wanted to spend it? with so many things to do and places to be, it's a rarity to have the majority of an entire day to yourself. last weekend, stephen was studying non-stop for the CPA so he was out of commission, plus we got most of our chores around the house done friday night and saturday morning. and after that - it was my choice how to spend my saturday!

my saturday included donuts, a warm yin yoga class, manicure and pedicure with wine, a stop for fresh flowers, and starting a new book. what does your dream saturday consist of and what's stopping you from carving out the time for yourself every once in a while?

Friday, August 28, 2015

cherry almond muffins

ok so I'm kind of on a muffin kick lately. just call me the muffin madame.

the peach muffins I made a few weeks ago were such a hit that I decided to branch out to yet another fruit that I haven't cooked with before - the cherry. my goal was similar again, a muffin that tasted good and slightly sweet but not a muffin with icing glaze or anything too totally unhealthy. I ended up making these the day before my sister's first day of college classes. we made an impromptu trip to see her that day with a fresh delivery of cherry almond muffins and a bouquet of flowers in tow. happy start of the school year!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

a new greek in the family

we've had a busy two weeks in my family with the littlest sister heading off to college and going through recruitment. such a stressful and fun time, to say the least.

she just finished rush week and it turned out to be an emotional roller coaster. the thing about recruitment is that you can't really predict it. sometimes it sucks and sometimes it doesn't. the good news is that it's over and she's happy as a clam. the big sister in me is beaming. joining a sorority is one of the craziest experiences and one thing you only have the opportunity to experience while in college. congrats, little sister! now, tell us everything so we can live vicariously through your college life...

Monday, August 24, 2015

baked shrimp for two

another classic my mom made us while growing up is baked shrimp. this week, I made it for the very first time, it's odd that it took me so long since it was one of my favorites. I halved the recipe and there was plenty for the two of us, so feel free to double in order to serve more people.

baked shrimp is a great year-round meal since the shrimp are super light but the rice and baked buttery breadcrumb topping feel like fall comfort food. while I prefer jasmine rice for this dish, feel free to jazz it up with your favorite rice. I added some garlic bread and a french white and dinner was ready in about 20 minutes. weeknight perfection!

Friday, August 21, 2015

company-worthy snacks on the fly

I can't tell you how many times we have unplanned guests over to visit. it's not like they stop by uninvited... no, we invite people over casually or last minute or in lieu of going to a bar, and next thing you know - company's coming over in five minutes. along with quickly scrambling to tidy up the apartment, it's also nice to provide some type of food and drink for guests.

as you know, I always have my wine fridge stocked at all times so no fretting there. however, the food situation can be a bit trickier if unplanned. welcoming guests with little to no pre-planning while making them feel as though you actually made an effort means big things [mainly, proof that you are an adult] in my hostess with the mostess book. 

here are three snack options that you can buy all ingredients ahead of time and leave in your fridge or pantry until you're in a pinch. simply scoop out the dips into nice bowls and arrange the chips in a platter, and voila! you are an impromptu hostess with the mostess.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

5 points JAX, florida

last week I made the short trip down to jacksonville, florida for work. normally, I cab around while traveling and stay close to my hotel - mostly because I'm too lazy to get a loaner car, way too impatient for the pickup and return process. on this trip, I had dinner plans and had arranged some wheels so I was good to go!

I met some family at hawkers in five points, which was about 15 minutes from where I was staying. they gave me an address and I showed up with no idea what to expect. I assumed hawkers was a weird hooters spin off, thankfully I was wrong.

Monday, August 17, 2015

piedmont park arts festival

how is it possible that I've lived in atlanta for four years now and have never been to the piedmont park arts festival? the thing with art festivals is that you never know what to expect... will it be a few booths with turkey leg stands and funnel cake joints OR uber upscale booths with swanky glassware and do-not-touch signs?

piedmont park arts festival was just right! there were booths with gorgeous art work that you could easily drop a pretty penny on and also some affordable, unique pieces scattered throughout. I left with a hanging beveled glass terrarium and a copper hummingbird feeder. afterward we had a drink at park tavern and enjoyed a leisurely summer afternoon.

Friday, August 14, 2015

the inspiralized week

you guys know I bought a vegetable spiralizer a few months ago and have been in love ever since. if you don't have one, it will change your life. I've been chugging along making zucchini noodles at least once a week, completely satisfied but also aware that there is more out there in the world of spiralization to be discovered...

AND THEN my sister gave me ali maffucci's cookbook inspiralized for my birthday. I spent the weekend exploring the cookbook and inspiralized blog for meal plans... I spiralized zucchini, broccoli, and parsnip. I really can't tell you how proud of myself that I am - I have always wanted to eat a vegetable based diet but it's hard to get started if you don't know where to start. so if you're interested, this is your starting point. buy the spiralizer and cookbook, check out the blog, and make a grocery list! here's what I've been cooking...

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

afternoon in austin: barton springs

given that I lived in texas all through high school, college, and a few years afterward - I've been to austin multiple times. the city of austin really has so much to offer, from local music to wineries, to shopping and nightlife, to the state capitol, formula 1 racing and sxsw events. there's always something going on in austin.

austin also has so many natural attractions, one of them being barton springs [ahem, not to be confused with barton creek mall]. over the years, I'd heard a lot about barton springs. I envisioned a tiny stream surrounded by rocky, grassy terrain. turns out I was wrong - I finally had the opportunity to check it out at a recent bachelorette party and was seriously impressed.

Monday, August 10, 2015

weeknight chili cheese empanadas

you know I love my weeknight dinners [ahem, easy to prepare]... I've been spiralizing zucchini pasta a whole lot lately, but we had some beef in the fridge and I remembered these empanadas could be made in less than 15 minutes total. plus it's nice to cook something southwestern other than tacos every once in a while. 

my mom made these yummy empanadas while we were growing up and they've stuck with me over the years because the recipe is so simple. these empanadas would also make a great group meal, the recipe could easily be doubled to feed six people. I'm happy with one serving given that it feeds both stephen and me plus provides lunch leftovers for both of us. what more can you ask for in a weeknight dinner at home? add a side of rice and beans if you want (margarita, optional) and voila, dinner is served.

Friday, August 7, 2015

fashion friday: summer jammie sets

summer is in full swing and personally, I am counting down the days until my labor day beach vacation. if you're like me, you've already had a few trips this summer... I just came back from a bachelorette party and have at least one more family beach trip this summer. for me, one of the best parts about summer vacations is lounging. as soon as I wake up on vacation, I love to have a cup of coffee and slowlyyy come alive at my leisure.

usually getting a cup of coffee requires one to come out of bed and enter public spaces such as the kitchen or living room. I love sleeping in a large tshirt and shorts from time to time, but there is something to be said for a nice matching pj set on a family trip, girl's weekend, couples trip, etc. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

home sweet home georgia peach muffins

a few weeks ago, I bought a single peach at the grocery store. I never eat peaches, but the next day, I bit into this ripe and juicy peach and fell in love. everyone raves about georgia peaches and here I am living in atlanta - never eating our famous peaches. well, that's changed for sure! 

I've been traveling quite a bit lately and peaches have been on my mind ever since that first bite. I knew once I got back home, I would need to do some baking. I searched and searched for the right peach muffin recipe - a lot of recipes have streusel topping, or icing glaze, or cream cheese centers. all of those options sound good, but too sweet for what I wanted. these muffins, on the other hand, are just the right mix of real peach chunks and slightly sweet muffin... so delicious and not overwhelmingly sweet. these muffins are the perfect treat to revel in the last weeks of summer.

Monday, August 3, 2015

bachelorette swag bags

one of my favorite parts of planning last week's boots and bling bachelorette party was creating the bachelorette swag bags. these bags were really fun to put together over the past few months and were a festive surprise for all the girls. remember going to birthday parties as a kid and receiving a goody bag... these bags are the grown up and girly version!

I loved researching tons of gift options and trying to find the best favors possible, the bags turned out even better than I thought they would and we all got tons of use out of the swag bags - from the monogrammed tumblers out at barton creek to the personalized hair bands.