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.

over the next three weeks, we are getting married in florida and then hopping over to kauai and the big island for some R&R and adventure. I'll be back in june, all rested up and revitalized... oh, and married :) with lots of blog content coming your way.

as always, thanks for reading xx
lauren case you missed any of my wedding-related posts, be sure to check out:

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.

Monday, February 27, 2017

wedding invitation tips and tricks

I am really excited about this post because I have scoured the depths of the internet every step of the way in wedding planning, and have put everything I learned about invitations all in one place - this post! I love paper goods and invitations so I spent a lot of time picking them out and assembling them throughout the planning process, hopefully these tips and tricks will help you too.

Friday, February 24, 2017

grilled glazed carrots

there have been a couple times that a perfectly-cooked carrot has totally rocked my world. if you haven't experienced this before, you should just trust me. the first time, was a five course meal at the altitude restaurant in shangri-la hotel in sydney, australia. one of the courses was carrots and I remember thinking "hmmmm." then, of course, they were absolutely the best thing I had ever eaten. recently, on our valentine's dinner date, I ordered salmon with a side of roasted vegetables. there were only two carrots in the mix, but again, the flavorful carrot romanced me.

does anyone else find carrots to be beautiful? when I pass them in the grocery store, with their huge green leaves and bright orange stalks - I always have an urge to buy them. I finally found a reason, or a recipe rather, to buy them! stephen was firing up the grill for a filet mignon and I decided to have carrots and broccoli, which turned out to be the perfect "spring is coming" dinner.

Monday, February 20, 2017

a word on vintage postage

somehow during wedding planning, I stumbled upon the most beautiful images of themed vintage stamps for invitations. I was obsessed and honestly, the first thing I did when we got engaged, was buy vintage stamps on etsy. I told myself that if the usps had ever released seashell stamps, it was a sign and I had to do it. sure enough, seashell postage was released in 1985 and then next thing I knew - I had to have the white crane, the alligator, and a floral love stamp for good measure.

Friday, February 17, 2017

a rare friday five

I haven't done a weekly reading in ages and I wanted to bring you guys up to speed with what I've been up to lately - so here I am doing a friday five, which I've never done before. happy friday everyone, here's what I've been up to these days!

image via cyclebar

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

what I read in january

I am a huge fan of jodi picoult, I've read a lot of her books over the years so I was super excited to find out that she had a new book recently released. then when I learned it was about race, I was nervous. I just didn't know what to expect, not to mention, I finished the book just before martin luther king day and it's just such a relevant topic lately. it also lead me to google quotes by MLK and now I'm even more in awe. one of my favorites is, "in the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." I've also been watching the people vs. oj simpson and they talk about bringing up race in the courtroom, which was a topic of this book as well. quite interesting. and now - onward with the book review... linking up with steph and jana, thanks for hosting ladies!

small great things by jodi picoult
ruth is a labor and delivery nurse with more than twenty years’ experience. during her shift, ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. the parents are white supremacists and don’t want ruth, who is african american, to touch their child. the hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while ruth is alone in the nursery. does she obey orders or does she intervene? ruth hesitates before performing cpr and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. kennedy, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. conflicted by kennedy’s counsel, ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. as the trial moves forward, ruth and kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see that what they’ve been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong. {}

my take: A
where to start... first, I have always been a fan of picoult. she takes popular and difficult topics, while writing in an approachable and non-intimidating fashion. I'll admit, sometimes pieces feel slightly cheesy but it works. the topic is race is so sensitive, in my opinion. this book and picoult's author's notes at the end of the book add up to a meaningful tackling of the topic. I enjoyed the book, but really felt most moved by her author's notes which explain the research that she did prior to writing the book and her desire to cover such an intense and warranted subject matter. hats off to picoult, in my opinion.

have you read small great things yet? are you a picoult fan? thanks for stopping by, I look forward to seeing what you've read this month!

Friday, February 10, 2017

chocolate shadow cake

we usually celebrate birthdays at my parents' house with dinner and cake and presents, and lots of champagne. my sister has a january birthday and this year, I offered to make the birthday cake. my sister has actually made a few of my birthday cakes over the years and I thought it would help alleviate some of the cooking my mom had on her plate [see what I did there] if I made the cake.

when my sister told me she wanted chocolate cake with white frosting, I'll admit I did not have a standby recipe on hand already. I did lots of research and fell in love with this gorgeous chocolate shadow cake. I was pretty impressed with how it turned out in comparison to the photos... no pinterest fail here, people!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

super bowl LI tablescape

to be honest, I don't really want to talk about the super bowl. for obvious reasons. but I can't miss the chance to talk about my super bowl sunday tablescape, so I am begrudgingly writing this post while still nursing a broken heart.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

how to make a spirited football field table runner

I'll be the first one to tell you that I'm not that into the NFL, but when I realized my atlanta team was close to playing in the super bowl - I was suddenly a huge fan. call it bandwagon, call it hometown pride, whatever you want! the next thing I knew, we were having guests over for the big game and I wanted a football field table runner. I saw some cute paper ones that were actually pretty pricey and I figured that making my own would be cuter and lower cost.

I had a vision and started at home depot. home depot, like the usps, is a place that usually makes me feel quite dumb and intimidated. I don't know about the majority of their products and am sure they carry a ton of products that I could really use, but I just never feel comfortable browsing the aisles because I don't know what to look for. I'm also certain it takes me like five times the amount of necessary time to walk to walk out the door with what I need. this time, I knew I was looking for astroturf. I made my way to the huge reams of flooring options and decided on a nice grassy choice. luckily, I struck up a conversation with another customer who was much more familiar with NFL games and advised me to go with a different astroturf option. his recommendation was cheaper, looked cheaper, and was absolutely the right choice since it best resembled a pro football field. when you go to your local home depot, just pick the cheapest astroturf and you'll get the right one! 

Friday, February 3, 2017

valentine's table // two ways

I don't normally do too much for valentine's day around the house but I recently repurposed some antique gold candlesticks that I was so inspired by, I just had to do something to bring them out for their debut. over the past few months, I've been gathering random brass candlesticks from goodwill and I finally found enough to spray paint and use for a tablescape. speaking of tablescapes, there are still so many pieces that I'm waiting [not so patiently] to receive from our wedding registry such as napkins and new silverware, but I still wanted to have fun with what I have now. so I decided to put together a table for two and a galentine's brunch table. it's worth noting that I recently got my wisdom teeth removed so I found myself with a little bit of extra time around the house, in between resting and taking pain pills, and setting the table sounded like fun... it's not like I actually got to eat anything though.

a valentine's table for two makes total sense for a romantic dinner at home; however, it also makes total sense when your home is in shambles and you need to hide the other half of the dining table. we recently had a small leak in our kitchen ceiling [don't get me started] and there's a huge ladder in our kitchen along with some drywall and other not-so-beautiful items. it has actually been quite an eventful last few days in our home... so a table for two it is! 

Monday, January 30, 2017

the southern scents of bon vivant

if you're like me, you love most southern things including the sayings of the south - you know, for instance "bless your heart." so naturally, I fell in love with the new line of southern bon vivant candles with the most southern sayings and sweet southern scents to match such as gardenia, magnolia, peach, and pear. I tried bless your heart and love to all y'all, and loved them! 

I placed love to all y'all in my guest bathroom when we had company over and it definitely drew some attention. my friends loved that the candles are from macon, georgia. you can read more about the candles here, be sure to check out all the scents including some of my faves such as I do declare and do go on.

Friday, January 27, 2017

soup swap lineup 2017

the second annual soup swap went off without a hitch, with lots of new soups to taste and swap this year. this was the first year to host it in our new home, which was nice since we had more room to spread out. the weather has also been unseasonably warm in georgia so we also got to sit out on the deck and enjoy the weather after swapping soup!

Monday, January 23, 2017

guest bathroom update

confession: when I am not 100% happy with something decor-wise, I swear all hell breaks lose in my mind, creating a total fixation that must be dealt with immediately. anyone else out there? it's so silly because there are a lot of things that are not perfect or organized in my house (ahem, the office). some things just matter more at any given time, like say for instance, the guest bathroom off the kitchen the week before we're having guests over. of all the things I needed to plan for (like food and booze), the most important first thing to do was to redecorate my bathroom. I will admit that even I recognized it was slightly insane, but we all have our issues right?

you may remember the first time that I shared our guest bathroom on the blog, I love the curtains that my mom made for us, but somewhere between the watercolor picture of atlanta and the teal-ish guest towels, something was not working for me. of course, my OCD kicked in and I made upwards of four trips to target to find a new rug and guest towels, and finally, after a couple more trips to other stores, I am now happy with the bathroom. phew, that was exhausting.

Friday, January 20, 2017

wild rice and mushroom soup

last weekend, I hosted the second annual soup swap and this year, I decided to make wild rice and mushroom soup. how did I decide on wild rice and mushroom? wellllll, we moved to minneapolis, minnesota when I was in the fourth grade and let's just say things are different up there. not different bad, just different. for instance, casseroles are a big thing. namely, chicken and wild rice casseroles. my mom used to make that dish back in the day and it's a super comforting and tasty dinner, perfect for cold evenings.

I wanted to bring that same feeling to life in a soup, without chicken - so wild rice and mushroom soup was the perfect choice. I will say that I have never cooked with so many different types of mushrooms - I could only find the dried mushrooms at whole foods, so FYI on that ingredient. I love mushrooms, so I was happy to make the trip to find four different kinds. I will definitely be making this recipe more often!

Monday, January 16, 2017

30th birthday bucket list

2017 means a milestone birthday for me, the year I will turn 30. most of my friends have already hit this milestone and while I realize that maybe nothing completely changes overnight, it's still kind of crazy to think about.

so many people have published their bucket lists for turning 30, affectionately titled "30 before 30" or "pre-baby bucket list." I have never really written down these goals, but they have been in my head for sure and it turns out that I have more than 30 to-dos. while I've already accomplished a good amount of these items - with six months left until I turn 30, I still have time to make some of them happen! so many of these are travel related, and luckily we have plenty of time to see these places over my next 30 years (cue the tim mcgraw song). 

1. travel to asia
2. travel to australia
3. travel to europe
4. travel to south america
5. travel to south africa
6. buy a house
7. have the amount of my annual salary in liquid savings
7. travel to charleston, south carolina
8. travel to seattle
9. eat a veggie-based diet and cook tofu at least once
10. complete a home improvement project (hello, laundry room!)
11. earn my MBA
12. find my soulmate, marry him and relish every moment of the planning
13. attend a blogger conference
14. travel to greece
15. travel to iceland
16. travel to new zealand
17. ride a camel in dubai
18. start a blog
19. start a business
20. grow my own vegetables
21. go kayaking
22. travel to the amalfi coast
23. serve on a philanthropic board and find a new local charitable organization to volunteer with (haven't found one since moving in june)
24. publish a photography book
25. find a job I love
26. refinish our bedroom armoire
27. own a full set of china for entertaining and use it regularly
28. buy a king bed
29. learn to sew with my mom
30. travel to cuba with my mom
31. find a daily workout plan that I love
32. organize our home office and make a functional work space for myself
33. become a certified instructional designer
34. attend a conference about learning management systems and become more of an expert on the technical side
35. drive on a race track (I definitely won't accomplish this - but it would be badass)
36. go on a cruise
37. read this book

did you write a 30 before 30 list? if so, I'd love to see it!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

caramelized onion and mushroom omelet

I'm traveling on a work trip this week and really thought I would be able to finish my december book, small great things by jodi picoult, in time for the monthly book club link up yesterday! go figure, I finished the book about 24 hours too late so my recap will have to wait until next month. luckily, I have something else for you up my sleeve and it just so happens to be a yummy and healthy breakfast which is the perfect balance of comfort food for cold january mornings and that "new year, new you" mentality!

over holiday break, we had a couples date with some friends over at the new tupelo honey cafe for brunch. stephen ordered the debutante omelet, tupelo honey's self-proclaimed "daintiest" omelet. the debutante came with basil, havarti and caramelized onions and was really good. stephen got a few laughs from the guys for ordering a dainty omelet, but I'm so glad he did - because the next weekend, we decided to recreate it at home! I've always liked eggs, but lately, I have been on a major egg kick. I've been routinely going to morning spin classes on the weekends, and afterward, I crave starbucks and eggs. eggs are so filling and are full of nutrients, like high quality protein, vitamin B2, selenium, vitamin D, B6, B12 and minerals such as zinc, iron and copper {source}. this caramelized onion and mushroom omelet is the best kind of healthy, yet indulgent-feeling, weekend breakfast.

Friday, January 6, 2017

at home with 2017 pantone color: greenery

is anyone else thrilled to hear the 2017 pantone color is greenery? I am so excited. even though the 2016 colors were sweet, I was not as inspired by rose quartz and serenity. greenery, I can work with! a couple days before the pantone color was announced, I just so happened to find a set of eight leafy salad plates made in italy... from my local goodwill. I can't wait to use them and create a greenery inspired table in the future. 

I love that pantone describes the color choice of the year as a snapshot of what we see taking place in our global culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude. according to pantone, greenery is a refreshing and revitalizing shade, symbolic of new beginnings. greenery is a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew. greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate, and reinvigorate. coming off of 2016, I think a lot of us agree that this prescription is fitting.

Monday, January 2, 2017

brezza's kale salad

recently we went to ponce city market's brezza to celebrate a friend's dinner. I've had drinks there before, but hadn't had dinner. there are two salads on the menu: gem lettuces, pears, candied pecan, gorgonzola, bacon or JW kale salad, pecorino, breadcrumbs, anchovy dressing. the first salad sounded so yummy since it had so many ingredients, while honestly, the kale salad seemed kind of boring. we asked the server which salad was better and he said definitely the kale. I even asked if there were any other ingredients in it because the gem lettuce salad sounded better. apparently, that was a rookie mistake. the server retorted that it's the chef's, jonathan waxman's, absolute specialty. oops.

so we ordered the kale salad, in fact, our table somehow ended up with about five orders of the salad and they were all eaten by the end of the night. we looked up the recipe and luckily, it's super easy!