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.