Monday, July 24, 2017

hawaiian honeymoon: hawai'i volcanoes national park

we happened to check out hawai'i volcanoes national park on memorial day during our honeymoon and I felt so patriotic. wandering around mother nature's beauty and being in a state park really made me feel american. we didn't really know what to expect at the national park and it turned out to be pretty cool.

yes, I bought chacos specifically for this trip. 

we started by driving to the jagger museum, where you can view the large crater. you can see the lava to the bottom left of the picture. they had magnifying viewers which allowed you to see the lava bubbling.

these gorgeous red flowers were everywhere in the national park - I loved them!

from the crater viewing, we hopped back in the jeep and headed to the lava tube with no idea of what to expect.

ok, the lava tube turned out to be so cool, like straight out of a movie, jurassic park-style ferns and drooping foliage.

I'm sure at this point, I was like... "you go first babe." HAHA. it was actually so dark in the tube, we had to use the flashlights on our phones to see our steps.

the photo below is my camera with the flash on, it was seriously pitch black in the lava tube.

from the lava tube, we got back in the car and started our route on the chain of craters. disclaimer, this is a loooong drive. we drove through lots of crater viewing areas, but we didn't get out. we kind of felt like we'd seen enough craters by this point. plus, I had my eye on the prize - which is the overlook at the end of the chain of craters, below.

do you enjoy visiting national parks? which is your favorite?

Friday, July 21, 2017

top 10 things you must do in savannah

y'all, I have always wanted to go to two southern cities: charleston and savannah. last year, my dream came true with our girl's trip to charleston and this year, my dream came true with my 30th birthday trip to savannah. stephen surprised me with the idea and I spent the five-hour drive down from atlanta researching what to do in this gorgeous southern city.

Monday, July 17, 2017

thirty before thirty update

welp, the day has come and I am definitely thirty. I initially wrote my thirty before thirty list six months ago and I'm back with an update since the inevitable has happened. stephen and I celebrated the big day in savannah, a southern city that I have always wanted to visit!

Friday, July 14, 2017

hawaiian honeymoon: black sand beach day trip

thirty years ago, my parents honeymooned in hawaii and they often reference when my mother made my father find a black sand beach where he subsequently almost died. I don't know how close he was to actually dying, but the black sand beach has been engrained in my mind for quite some time. when we got to the big island, we learned there are several colored-sand beaches, including black and green. at first, we were gung-ho on discovering the green sand beach since there are only four in the world. however, upon reading tons of reviews on tripadvisor, etc we decided it wasn't worth the effort (two hour drive plus either a strenuous, dusty 6 mile hike down to the beach or hitching a sketchy ride with a local in the back of a pickup truck for $40).

we decided we'd explore a black sand beach instead. during our trip, we relied on the valet team at both resorts for tips and they were great! they recommended going to pololu black sand beach on the north end of the island, an hour and a half drive from our hotel. we picked up snorkel gear at snorkel bob's, hopped in the jeep and hit polulu, hawi, and mahukona for the perfect hawaiian day trip.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

what I read in june

another month, another book for me and linking up with steph and jana, per usual. ok this month's book was an interesting one, and one that I read based on recommendations from last month's link up.

you by caroline kepnes
when a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the east village bookstore where joe goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he googles the name on her credit card. there is only one guinevere beck in NYC. she has a public facebook account and tweets incessantly, telling joe everything he needs to know: she is simply beck to her friends, she went to brown university, she lives on bank street, and she’ll be at a bar in brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting. as joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure beck finds herself in his waiting arms. moving from stalker to boyfriend, joe transforms himself into beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder. {}

my take: B
as I was writing this post, I referred back to the amazon page and realized this book is soon to be a lifetime drama series. I will say that is very exciting news to me and I will totally watch it. however, this book just kind of grossed me out. it made me sad reading about two very damaged people who would never get it together, on their own or together. the optimist in me was rooting for them to find love and both become content. sure, a naive view but hey, it could happen. this book is twisted, the narrative inside joe's head is very sick and it's disturbing to think that there are joes out there in this world. I finished it pretty quickly though, which is a good sign. 

what did you think about you? do you enjoy books about stalkers? can't wait to stop by your links this month and add new books to my list. thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 7, 2017

hawaiian honeymoon: spa without walls

I am not always drawn to hotel spas, but you really can't visit the fairmont orchid on the big island without noticing the lush and all-encompassing spa without walls. I have never seen anything like it, basically the best marketing ploy ever. the grounds of the fairmont orchid are covered in gardens and waterfalls, and on second look, you realize they are all a part of the spa without walls. beautiful island-style huts line the ocean and the waterfalls to accomodate outdoor massage services. 

when we checked into our waterfront room on our first day at the fairmont, I immediately noticed the six oceanfront huts lining the shore. stephen and I already had lots of plans made for our time on the big island and I wasn't sure if we could fit a massage in. however, as soon as stephen realized we were staying at the number one rated golf resort on hawaii, he found time to play a round of golf at mauna lani and just like that, I found time for an oceanfront massage at the spa without walls. I love golf.

Monday, July 3, 2017

hawaiian honeymoon: snorkeling with manta rays

by now you may have read a couple of posts about our honeymoon trip to kauai and the big island. when stephen and I were first planning our honeymoon, we were thinking italy or greece and we contacted a travel agent to start the process. after speaking with the agent, we decided an international trip was too much of an effort to make after our destination wedding and we decided on hawaii. we also decided that we didn't need a travel agent to plan hawaii. stephen happened to work with someone who recently took a hawaiian honeymoon and had worked with a travel agent. luckily, she was happy to forward her itinerary to us and so we were able to see some of the activities that the travel agent booked, including a manta ray night snorkel. stephen's coworker said the manta ray night snorkel was hands-down the best activity they did on their honeymoon, so we knew we had to sign up... even though I didn't really know what I was getting myself into!

Friday, June 30, 2017

white chocolate apricot scones

sometimes, you have a craving for something very specific out of the blue. a couple of summers ago, I was on a muffin kick. I found myself baking muffins every weekend! lately, I have had this random craving for white chocolate apricot scones. I even got my fill at the seattle airport on the way back from our honeymoon, but it only made me want to eat more white chocolate apricot scones! as I write this, I'm remembering the white chocolate raspberry scones from the nordstrom cafe I used to order before work every once in a while. I'll have to add those to my scone to-make list. also, moral of the story, anything white chocolate is delish.

the week that we got back from our honeymoon, I made sure to whip up some scones in our new kitchenaid mixer. I've never actually made scones before and it was kind of fun, forming dough balls and cutting them into triangles. this recipe makes 16 scones, but I froze half of the dough so I'm ready for the next time we have weekend company!

Monday, June 26, 2017

hawaiian honeymoon: doors-off volcano and waterfall helicopter ride

 I hope you like lava pictures, because this post is full of them! when we booked our helicopter tour, I was really excited because the paradise helicopter site shows some really intense lava pictures and I really wanted to see lava in real life. definitely seems like a bucket list type activity, right? well, it was. while the lava wasn't wildly erupting or shooting up in the air, this helicopter ride was definitely the best way to observe the flowing lava in the kīlauea volcano on the big island.

the travel channel calls this tour the “hottest helicopter ride on earth!” kīlauea volcano has been continuously erupting for 30 years, and even at 500 feet above the flowing lava and open vents, we felt waves of hot air rolling off the lava flows, which can reach temperatures of 2,000 degrees! 

Friday, June 23, 2017

hawaiian honeymoon: top 5 things to do in kauai

kauai is nicknamed "the garden isle" thanks to the tropical rainforest covering much of its surface, and it's the fourth largest island in hawaii. the dramatic cliffs and pinnacles of its na pali coast have served as a backdrop for major movies, while waimea canyon is a major hiking destination. we really enjoyed our time in kauai and this post is a great summary on the top 5 things to do if you find yourself in kauai. it's a relatively small island and we accomplished all these activities in less than three days!

Monday, June 19, 2017

hawaiian honeymoon: kauai coffee company

when planning our kauai trip, we definitely didn't have a coffee plantation listed as a must-do activity - we knew we had to do that in kona on the big island due to its reputation for world renowned coffee. it all started at our daily breakfast at koa kea resort, we really liked the coffee and our waitress informed us that it was in fact, kauai coffee not kona coffee. later that day, we happened to drive by the kauai coffee company plantation and made a mental note to fit it into our schedule if possible.

kauai coffee company ended up being the cutest little stop and it even includes a self-guided walking tour! I was all about the self-guided tour, I hate waiting around for the designated tour time to start and then being forced to spend an hour touring an attraction that you really only wanted to spend half that time learning about. anyway, kauai coffee company has got it figured out.

Friday, June 16, 2017

happy goats make happy soaps: serenity skincare

you may know that I work in automotive sales training, and it goes without saying that I have the pleasure of working with a lot of very cool individuals. many of them have awesome work-related stories, be it international travel for vehicle launches, celeb events, side hustles, etc. 

however, to my knowledge, only one of my coworkers owns a farm of sweet goats that make all natural soaps, lotions, and more. seriously, just wait until you see the goats. as if the products weren't yummy enough, the beautiful packaging just seals the deal. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

what I read in may

woohoo! glad to be back for the monthly show us your books linkup with steph and jana. I packed so many books for my honeymoon and guess how many I finished? one. yep, that's right. I watched the big little lies mini-series months ago and then decided to read the book, definitely not the recommended order in my opinion. I have been drowning with that book for months and only made it halfway through - I totally like it, I guess I'm not motivated to finish it since I already know what happens. I finally decided to retire big little lies and start a new one: luckiest girl alive. I finished this book in about three days!

luckiest girl alive by jessica knoll
as a teenager at the prestigious bradley school, ani fanelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancé, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve. but ani has a secret. there’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything. with a singular voice and twists you won’t see coming, luckiest girl alive explores the unbearable pressure that so many women feel to “have it all” and introduces a heroine whose sharp edges and cutthroat ambition have been protecting a scandalous truth, and a heart that's bigger than it first appears. the question remains: will breaking her silence destroy all that she has worked for—or, will it at long last, set ani free? {}

my take: A
I have said it before, but I love reading fast-paced thrillers that don't follow your typical gone girl recipe. I love a good murder mystery like the next girl, but lately I am really interested in reading books that stray from that pattern. that being said, this book was goooood. I loved the beginning of the book, the main character sets the stage for how daunting nyc life is and how hard you have to work to keep up to subtly portray old money. through all of the past pain and hard choices, ani finds herself and starts over again. this book has a lot of plot twists that keep you interested and is definitely a page turner. 

have you read luckiest girl alive? I definitely heard about it from the march show us your books linkup, so thank you to whoever recommended it and thanks for stopping by!

Friday, June 9, 2017

hawaiian honeymoon: waimea canyon

when we booked our trip to kauai, I knew we had to check out waimea canyon. it's considered the grand canyon of hawaii and it is definitely breathtaking. on our second day in kauai, we hopped in our car, crossed our fingers for the weather, put the convertible top down and made the hour drive up to the canyon. it was a beautiful, relaxing drive up the coast with many scenic points to stop along. 

the island of kauai gets so much rain, in fact it rained every day we were there. while there was a huge rain cloud overhead at waimea and we did get a few drops, we were pretty lucky to enjoy this natural wonder of kauai without torrential downpour and with a clear view.

Monday, June 5, 2017

hawaiian honeymoon: na pali sea caves excursion

I'm back from a three-week wedding and honeymoon hiatus in florida, kauai, and the big island! even though it was three whole weeks, it went by so quickly. finally after days and days of photo editing, I have so much to share with you. we spent three nights in kauai and five nights on the big island, we felt it was absolutely the most perfect amount of time.

I'm kicking off my hawaiian honeymoon series with our craziest adventure of the whole trip, which we happened to book on our very first day of the honeymoon. let me just say that our tour guide was great; however, I do not think that the experience resembled anything like the picture on their website. I expected a beautiful day frolicking in and out of sea caves with the sun warming our shoulders, taking a dip in the ocean, etc... HA. it was the exact opposite of this vision - torrential downpour, the worst waves I've ever experienced on a boat before, and no way in hell was I getting out to snorkel. with all this craziness, I'm still glad we did it since I'm not sure when else I would have the opportunity to go into sea caves, especially these famous na pali caves which can only be seen by helicopter or boat.

Monday, May 15, 2017

officially out of office

you guys, I totally planned three weeks' worth of blog content I could schedule so I wouldn't miss a beat here during my wedding and honeymoon... then it came down to actually wrapping up wedding planning, honeymoon planning, thank you notes, packing... and on top of all that, my day job... so no, the three weeks' worth of pre-planned blog content did not happen for me, unfortunately.

so I regret to inform you that lauren alford design is out of office for three {THREE!!} weeks with no scheduled content. ahh the self-imposed guilt is real, but I knew you guys wouldn't mind, really. besides, no one likes things to feel forced anyway.

Monday, May 8, 2017

styling our casual wedding china

one of the things I was most looking forward to receiving on our wedding registry was new casual china. I have been using the same dishes since I graduated college, which you know, wasn't exactly yesterday. they have totally held up over the years, and I'm actually giving them to my little sister who's in college. I have so been looking forward to new plates, glasses, and flatware. 

we ended up picking 'french perle' by lenox because I have a girlfriend who has the full set and was raving about how well they have worn, versus other patterns that she's had in the past. I also love the creamy white of these dishes compared to stark white plates.

Monday, May 1, 2017

how to make a DIY taco holder

to entertain for the super bowl a couple of months ago, we decided to go with a mexican theme for dinner. we made queso, guacamole, beef tacos, portobello tacos, and sopapilla cheesecake. since I started planning early, I had enough time to ponder how best to serve a large amount of tacos. taco stations are fun - but I have to tell you that, at least in my family, sometimes people who serve themselves first [ahem, the men] load up on all the main fillings and there's none left for the rest of us. this time, I wanted to pre-fill the tacos with the beef and portobellos and allow guests to top with their selected fixin's. enter the diy taco holder stand...

Friday, April 28, 2017

spring mushroom and asparagus quiche

a couple weekends ago, we had company stay with us and I made a classic quiche lorraine. I don't like bacon, but that quiche is good enough for me to just 'eat around' the bacon. it is the most amazing comfort food, especially with a homemade crust. naturally, I kept thinking I really need to make quiche more often. 

the next weekend, I went to spin class and stopped by starbuck's to pick up an iced coffee, croissant, and the wall street journal before heading to watch stephen's tennis match. it was such a beautiful day and I happened to stumble upon another quiche recipe in the lifestyle section of the WSJ. chef edouardo jordan from seattle-based restaurant salare shared his spring quiche recipe, which immediately made me crave more quiche. I ended up mixing parts of his recipe with parts of my quiche lorraine recipe (aka more cheese) and voila! the best part about quiche is that it keeps and reheats so well, I took it for lunch all week.

Monday, April 24, 2017

bridal tea stamp arrangements

I've mentioned how much I love all the printed items that go along with wedding planning. I realize some brides could care less for it and order their invitations online or use evites - but for me, stationery has been so enjoyable. from picking invitations at swoozie's, to ordering vintage wedding invitation stamps, and even making gift tags for bridesmaid proposals and shower hostess gifts. I have loved it all! 

our engagement is winding down, not long to go until we tie the knot! my last opportunity to add some pizzazz to wedding-related snail mail was my bridal shower thank you notes. the shower was a bridal tea so I had to have the silver coffeepot stamp and I splurged a bit on the barbie with a hat stamp to pull it together. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

beet-dyed deviled eggs

this year, I wanted to make something different for easter and I was also in the mood for deviled eggs. I decided a pretty pink hue would make them different enough and proceeded to make beet-dyed deviled eggs. by the way, have you ever had a frosted cake from whole foods? did you notice that the color of the icings are more muted? that's because they use all natural food colorings - beets are exactly how they accomplish pink frosting. so although this hue is bright pink, it's also all natural! love it.

I also tried a new recipe for deviled eggs that called for dijon mustard and no mayo so these pretty eggs were also pretty healthy!

Monday, April 17, 2017

my bridal shower tea

just like that, my bridal shower has come and gone. I honestly can't believe it! I have always wanted to have a bridal shower tea and I was so lucky to have exactly that for my wedding shower, hosted by these lovely ladies. the trophy room at atlanta country club was the most perfect setting.

Friday, April 14, 2017

the masters: top 5 tips

last week, stephen and I made our first-ever trip to augusta, georgia to attend the masters tournament. I really didn't know what to expect especially given that the weather was so dicey on the day we visited. after doing some research and experiencing the tournament first hand, here are my top 5 tips for visiting the masters!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

what I read in march

oh my gosh... was this month's book choice a unique one for me. I first heard about tampa by alissa nutting on carrie's post for show us your books a while back, I'm pretty sure her summary was something like, "man this book was f**ked up." so that definitely drew me in, haha! and now I'm linking up with steph and jana to share my thoughts. 

it all started when stephen went on his bachelor party to vegas - it seemed like a perfect opportunity to amazon prime this weird book to my house and finish it in one weekend. besides, it's not like I could read this book in public given the cover art! seriously, this book was interesting. I had moments when I really wanted to stop reading it because it was actually disgusting. but I definitely wanted to know how it ended so I had to keep going... 

tampa by alissa nutting
celeste price, a smoldering 26-year-old middle-school teacher in florida, unrepentantly recounts her elaborate and sociopathically determined seduction of a 14-year-old student. celeste has chosen and lured the charmingly modest jack patrick into her web. jack is enthralled and in awe of his eighth-grade teacher, and, most importantly, willing to accept celeste’s terms for a secret relationship—car rides after dark, rendezvous at jack’s house while his single father works the late shift, and body-slamming erotic encounters in celeste’s empty classroom. in slaking her sexual thirst, celeste price is remorseless and deviously free of hesitation, a monstress of pure motivation. she deceives everyone, is close to no one, and cares little for anything but her pleasure. tampa is a sexually explicit, virtuosically satirical, american psycho–esque rendering of a monstrously misplaced but undeterrable desire. {}

my take: B+
I can honestly say that I have never read or wanted to read a graphic detail of an adult's lust for pre-teen boys, or girls for that matter. I didn't realize this book would be so graphic, so it is not for the faint of heart that's for sure. I don't want to give too much away - but I just was disgusted by the main character's desire for pre-teen boys, I could maybe understand a mature-looking senior in high school or something... but a 14 year old awkward kid? I don't get it. but ahhh, wasn't that the whole point. it was definitely an interesting take on several issues, including the double standards of pedophiles based on gender.

please tell me someone else has read this! what did you think? if not, do you think you would be able to finish a book like this if you were really grossed out by the graphic nature?

Friday, April 7, 2017

mason jar centerpiece

I love reworking floral arrangements so while I was disappointed that the big-as-your-face hydrangeas from my easter mixed china tablescape died way too soon, I was also happy to rework them into this sweet mason jar centerpiece.

I bought prearranged floral centerpieces a couple holidays ago from costco that came in these beautiful wooden boxes. I honestly bought the floral arrangements because of these boxes, I just knew I would get so much use out of them in the future.

Monday, April 3, 2017

tea party bridal shower hostess gifts

one of the things that I love about being engaged is definitely all the stationery. I loved picking invitations, stamps, and also loved all the sweet shower invitations that my family and friends picked out along the way. another thing that I love about being engaged is the gift giving you get to do as the bride.

I so loved making my bridesmaid proposal boxes and was really excited to make thank you boxes for my tea-inspired bridal shower. when I found gift tags and stickers that matched the invitation theme, I was ecstatic. 

Friday, March 31, 2017

hangers fit for company

we've made a lot of progress in our home since we moved in last june, but I haven't quite gotten to some of the little details yet - like these sweet hangers for our guest room {and built-in wine storage, laundry room upgrade, painting the master... but hey, who's counting?!}. I have always wanted to make these hangers, since I saw them on driven by decor via pinterest, I think. luckily, we have company staying with us this weekend and I'm happy to have had a reason to finally make these  adorable hangers!

my biggest learning from this project was how awesome rub-on letters are. I hadn't heard of them before and couldn't find them at michael's - so I was tempted to buy letter stickers. I made another stop at hobby lobby and finally found a very slim selection of rub-on letters. there were only 3 sheets left, so I bought them all and am so glad I did. these rub-on letters go on so smoothly, they look as if they were printed on the wood. I'll be honest, rubbing the letters on the wood was a cathartic experience and I basically want to rub letters on everything now.

Monday, March 27, 2017

spicy chili sweet potato chickpea bowls

my work neighbor (you know, like next cube over) has recently been exploring all the meal delivery options including hello fresh, sun basket, marley spoon... you get the picture. naturally, she's been coming to work with super gourmet lunch leftovers. I'm always asking her what she's eating and when she said a sweet potato chickpea bowl, my ears perked up. she sent me the recipe and said it only took her 20 minutes, so the next night that stephen wasn't home for dinner - I knew I had to make this!

the ingredients are all super healthy and affordable, I think I paid like $8 for everything I needed. I will say that maybe I was procrastinating with wine, but it did take me a bit more time than 20 minutes to make these bowls. the sweet potatoes cook for 20 minutes, so you can chop all your veggies during that cook time. I loved having leftovers! just make sure that you keep your sauce separate - that way, when you go to reheat, you can heat your potatoes but keep your sauce chilled.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

betty's cherry pie with homemade crust

I have been dying for a cherry pie for weeks now! luckily, we had dinner plans with friends and I offered to bring dessert - which of course, meant cherry pie. our sweet friends could have told me they hated cherries, and I probably still would have brought it. I couldn't wait for cherry pie any longer and we know I can't bake a whole pie for myself. I have zero self control, not to mention #weddingdiet. 

since I had never made a homemade pie crust by myself, I went over to my mom's house and we made two cherry pies together - one for my dinner with friends and then one for family dinner the following night, which meant I got to devour cherry pie two nights in a row, hellooo multiple servings of fruit ;)

Friday, March 17, 2017

mixed china easter tablescape

I love using my mix and match vintage china that my mom gave me for my birthday, inspired by our trip to cuba. whether it's casual burgers or easter lunch, using this china makes me very happy. 

last year, I bought these adorable nests and blue speckled eggs to set out for spring. let's just say the eggs became my cat's favorite plaything and I never found them all again after she continuously batted them out of the nests and on to the floor. then they became cat-sized soccer balls. so when I went to super glue the eggs to the nests this year, I couldn't find enough of the eggs to make it work. I wised up this time and bought nests with the eggs already glued in. lauren 1, cat 0. for now, at least...

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

what I read in february

you guys {jana, steph, all the regulars, and new visitors} seriously keep me so motivated to read, even if it is only one book a month. this monthly link-up totally holds me accountable and thank you for that! 

I read sweetbitter in february, and let me just say that I couldn't wait to read this book. luckily, I got it for christmas and was all too excited to read it. I moved it up to the top of my long list of books to be read. to sum it up, it was interesting.

sweetbitter by stephanie dauler
twenty-two, and knowing no one, tess leaves home to begin her adult life in new york city. thus begins a year that is both enchanting and punishing, in a low-level job at “the best restaurant in new york city.” grueling hours and a steep culinary learning curve awaken her to the beauty of oysters, the finest champagnes, the appellations of burgundy. at the same time, she opens herself to friendships—and love—set against the backdrop of dive bars and late nights.  as her appetites sharpen—for food and wine, but also for knowledge, experience, and belonging—tess is drawn into a darkly alluring love triangle that will prove to be her most exhilarating and painful lesson of all. {}

my take: B+
I feel like there are two proving grounds for youth in this life: retail and restaurants. people are mean, the stakes are high, and you learn lessons every day. I worked retail and although I never waited tables - I distinctly remember asking a customer in the fitting room if she wanted a larger size, only to be corrected by "yes, I would like a different size." she had a point. those years after college are so interesting and this book totally hits the nail on the head with the main character. I could totally relate to the themes of finding yourself, developing a palate, and getting hurt. this book could have been so endearing and so nostalgic. I also think there was something off for me about the drug use, I get the desire to make it realistic but the ending could have been so much more, in my opinion. it could have really tugged at the heartstrings, but in typical twenty-something detached ambiguity and deflection to avoid vulnerability, it ended flatly. I'm not saying it wasn't good, I'm just saying I would've done things differently.

have you read sweetbitter yet? what did you think? can't wait to see what you read this month!

Friday, March 10, 2017

stephen's spicy snack mix

I really wish that stephen had more of a sweet tooth. whenever I make cookies or brownies, or anything sweet, he is rarely tempted to eat it. meanwhile, I've had spoonfuls of batter, plus like 10 servings of the cookies once they've baked and a couple more after they cooled down. ugh. I definitely have a sweet tooth, while stephen is into the savory.

his absolute favorite snack is spicy chex mix. I personally don't get it, but I figured if I'm going to marry the guy {!!!}, I should probably get around to making his favorite snack. don't worry, I've already mastered his favorite dessert {no surprise, it's based on a fruit}. this spicy snack mix is so very easy and chances are you already have all the ingredients you need to make it! next time you are having a game night, or watching the big game, or really just feel like making something to munch on for the week - this spicy snack mix is a crowd pleaser.

Monday, March 6, 2017

parting wisdom: top five lessons from nordstrom

lately, I find myself thinking about lessons I learned from my very first job out of college often. I'm not sure if this is normal, or if I just had the most spectacular AND terrible first job out of college ever. one of the things that I love about blogging is that it's a creative outlet for me to walk down memory lane while telling the story at the same time. I decided that I had to write a post about my nordy days - like I did when I left spanx, which is one of my favorite posts.

my first job post-undergrad was a series of roles at nordstrom in different stores in the dallas fort worth area of texas. I just loved the company {still do!} and everything it stood for and I couldn't wait to get back to my roots full-time. my very first job when I was 15 had also been part-time at nordstrom; however, working as a manager full-time was an entirely different experience. I ended up spending about three years, including two and a half promotions, with the company when I knew it was time to make a life change and move to atlanta to earn my MBA. the lessons I learned at nordstrom have stayed with me ever since those early days.

nordstrom northpark, where I started and ended my post-grad nordy career in dallas, texas. I later traveled to this mall to watch the spanx store opening about five years later!

Friday, March 3, 2017

banana chocolate chip pancakes

a couple fridays ago, as the weekday was winding down, stephen and I were texting about what we wanted to eat for dinner. he suggested breakfast for dinner, for which I am always a proponent. he actually had a specific request, banana pancakes. I'd never made banana pancakes before, but luckily, my coworker had a favorite recipe that she sent me. I think I've talked about this before, but I can't explain the amount of happiness I get when I find a recipe and realize that I already have all of the ingredients required. it's so satisfying to not have to go to the grocery store. for the banana pancakes, all I needed was bananas. luckily, my other coworker reminded me that our office has a healthy snack kiosk with healthy (and complimentary) snacks for employees. I rarely make a visit to the "healthy snack" area, but I was so happy that I could grab two bananas that were a) free b) convenient c) efficient, because who wants fresh fruit to go to waste over the weekend.

ok, the best part of this story is that I came home from work with my two bananas, all ready to make pancakes. stephen and I looked at each other and said, "wanna pop in a pizza?" basically, we wanted wine and decided that wine didn't go with banana pancakes, so we opted for a pizza. however.... when we skipped spin class that sunday morning to make these banana chocolate chip pancakes, it was SO worth it.