Sunday Night Dinner

Weekday dinners for us usually consist of a protein and two veggies.
When we get positively wild & crazy, it's a protein, a veggie, and beans.
Craaaaazy, I know!

Sidenote: I make a side dish with cannelini beans, rosemary, white onion and olive oil that Ian absolutely adores.  Last night we had that along with Mediterranean tilapia and a big salad, and after dinner I heard this strange sound coming from the kitchen.  It was Ian standing in the middle of the kitchen, eating the remaining white beans right out of the pot with the wooden spoon.  Hilarious.  And such a compliment!

On weekends though, we go for carbs!

I almost never make pasta, but this past Sunday I did Chicken Parmesan served over bowtie pasta (fitting for all of those tuxes we saw on Oscar Night!).

I originally was going to make Giada's recipe until I realized that it contained no breadcrumbs.

Ummm, NEXT!

The recipe I decided on was one that I found on Ziplist, and it fit the bill perfectly.

I seasoned the chicken cutlets, sprinkled them with flour, dredged them in heavy cream (we were out of eggs, whoops!), and then coated them in a mixture of Italian breadcrumbs and panko with a few extra dried herbs added in.

Both sides got a quick browning on the stove in some olive oil, and then into the oven they went after getting smothered in marinara sauce and cheese.  We had havarti on hand, so I used that ... a good choice, as it is a quick melter!  I also topped it with some fresh shredded Parmesan cheese.  I baked it with some fresh rosemary.

This was such a yummy comfort meal and the perfect way to send off the weekend.


Wednesday Confessions

Sometimes you just gotta put it all out there.
Time for a little "I Confess" session!

I confess...
If you open my closet, you will see that 90% of it is kept neatly.
The other 10% consists of clean clothes stacked up in a messy pile on the floor.
What, I'm running out of hangers! (aka: I buy more often than I donate)
I then end up re-washing the wrinkled, clean clothes.  Wasteful.

I confess...
I love to slip a few ice cubes in a glass of white wine.
Very rarely at a restaurant.  Rarely, but not never.
Many times at home.  Many.

I Confess

I confess...
I've killed more plants than those I've kept alive.
This thumb is just not green. 
Working on it.  It's a process.

I confess...
Sometimes, a lot of times, I wish I had been a teacher.
Elementary School.
Or a dermatologist.  Or a masseuse. 
I also would love to work at The Fresh Market.  Check-out lane girl.
(A fancy-schmancy grocery store to those of you who don't have it.)
Am I alone in these confessions?
Please humor me ... let me know!
Linking up today with Confessions of a Northern Belle.



A Stroll Down Worth Avenue

Yesterday I flew in to West Palm Beach.  {wahoooo!}
As soon as I hit the jetway on the plane, I was met with a huge gust of warm, humid air.

I haven't felt that kind of warmth for a loooong while.

I shed my pashmina and prepared for my hair to go from straight to wavy.  That happened within about, hmm, FOUR minutes flat.

Ian had been to Palm Beach before and told me that it would be worth my while to check out Worth Avenue ... the "Rodeo Drive" on the East Coast.  I saw it was just a quick drive from the airport and headed that way.

Worth Avenue has all of the best and high-end shops ... you can get your Valentino dress, your Jimmy Choo shoes, your Hermes handbag, and your Bulgari jewels all in one short strip of shops.

(It goes without saying that I kept it to an afternoon of browsing and window-shopping)

There were also great courtyards all around with lush greenery, more shops, fountains, and statues.

One of my favorites, Calypso, was down in this little courtyard.  Love this fun store!

The jewels in the windows were staggeringly beautiful.  Good gracious, I could hardly walk by a single window without stopping and looking at each piece.

One of my favorite stops was the J. McLaughlin store. 

We have one in Charlotte, but it took a trip to Palm Beach for me to fall head over heels!

They have the cutest tunics and dresses, and the fabric they use for many designs (called Catalina cotton) is the most comfy, stretchy fabric ever.  Like wearing a dress made out of soft, stretchy yoga pant fabric.

Here are some of their cute items:

J. McLaughlin

Have you ever walked down Worth Avenue and perused these amazing shops?


Land Of Oranges

Happy Monday, and a quick hello+goodbye from me ... I'm off to the airport yet again!

To Florida I go!  Land of sunny skies, orange groves, and Lilly.  Although this trip will be all business for me (well, as much as I'll let it). 

I've got my iPad loaded with a fun movie and I'm all set.  Comfy shoes, pashmina, sunglasses, rental car reservation.  Check!

Back soon with some awesomely amazing recipes I made this weekend.


I'm Still In Love With...

One of my most favorite things to glean from blogs is advice. 

Fashion, makeup, skincare, organization, relationship advice.  Sometimes I find myself wondering -- does she still think that mascara is the best?  Does she still swear by that recipe, or has it been replaced with a better one?

So from my perspective, here are items I've blogged about before, that -- if you're curious like I am -- I'm still in love with.

Originally blogged January 2013 in Beauty Experimentation
I love using Aquaphor ($6) all year long.  Best moisturizer.  I literally use it from my face to the soles of my feet.
Source: via April on Pinterest

Seche Vite
Originally blogged January 2013 in At-Home Gel Manicure Review
Seche Vite ($8) was a revolutionary product for me to try.  I don't know how I made it 31 years without using it.  At-home manicures are now 100x better and easier with this product.  My nails have less air bubbles, less dings, more shine, more of a professional look.

Source: via April on Pinterest

Originally blogged November 2012 in If You Cook, And If You Grocery Shop
This app makes my life so much simpler.  If you're one that always has your phone with you (and always forgets to pick up that one item at the grocery store!) this will make your life simpler.  I promise it.  Grocery lists on the fly, and items in your cart can be removed from your virual list with the swipe of a finger.  Did I mention it's a free app?

Garnier BB Cream
Originally blogged July 2012 in Two Things I Love
I use Garnier BB Cream ($12) daily.  To me, it gives my skin the perfect primed base coat for makeup. 

Source: via April on Pinterest

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
Originally blogged January 2011 in Cold Weather Smoothie?
Pumpkin is filled with fiber and nutrients -- the perfect start to a day. I love this in chilly weather.  The canned pumpkin can be purchased on sale and used for several days in this smoothie -- just refrigerate it and cover the can with some foil.

I hope you liked this round-up of things I'm still crushing on. 
Have you tried any of these?


Hair. Debating. Always.

So I've got a much-needed haircut scheduled Friday at Carmen Carmen, and I'm so antsy to get it done.  Way overdue!  I've been barely surviving on bang trims alone, and my last proper haircut was in (eek!) November.  Between the holidays and the busy travel season, this appointment can't get here soon enough.

As always, I'm having the longer v. shorter debate.

On one hand, I like having long hair, I like the flexibility it gives me for wearing it up (topknots, ponytails, braids).  Ian loves it long.  I can put hot rollers in or wear it stick-straight.

On the other hand, I'm just not sold on whether my hair is thick enough to merit a long length.

So thank goodness for the InStyle Hairstyle Try-On app on my iPad (along with a good dose of boredom and a glass of wine)!  I "tried on" a few styles and got a kick out of it.

Um, this could never be my hair, but I sort of wish it was.  Thick, long, layered, subtle highlights.  Gorgeous.

The style above has a lot more volume at the top than I could probably muster, but I like the layers and length.

I love this hairstyle!  Pouf at top, soft curls and layers.  Hmm.  If only I could get my hair to hold a curl like this.

This one is probably my favorite of the mid-length styles.  I like how modern it is, and those long bangs are so cute.  I'm unsure if my bangs would lay that flat.

And same style but in blonde!
Hmmmm.... I think not.

Have you used this tool before?  It's great for a laugh with some girlfriends!


In The Name Of Beauty ... Would You?

Name Of Beauty

When it comes to beauty, I've always been intrigued about what some people consider a must.
Getting a little deeper than the "you must try this drugstore mascara!" depth ... what would you do that's a tad bit more extreme?
Botox, juice cleanses, pricey salon hair extensions. 
I'm curious what you'd shell out the cash for. 
Here are my answers:
Botox: Yep, I'd give this a try.  Not a big fan of needles or the pricetag, but I'm also not the biggest fan of my forehead wrinkles.  I read recently that in an interview of ten dermatologists, all ten do use Botox but in very small amounts (like 10 units for all of you connisseurs).  Anti-aging without the harsh Joan-Rivers results.
Juice Cleanses:  I'll pass on this.  Losing a few pounds and toning up is an ever-present goal of mine, but I'd get too bored with juice all day for a week, and I think I'd be missing out on other essential nutrients.  Skip it!
Salon Hair Extensions:  Ehhhh, I'm iffy on this one.  I have really fine hair, so I'd love the boost in volume, but it can be so expensive and I have a fear that it would look too fake in my hair.  Like I was trying too hard.
So, your turn ... would you?


Love Day Twenty-Thirteen

I've already confessed to being a hopeless romantic, and now I'll take it a bit further with this confession:  it kills me when people say Valentines Day is just a "Hallmark Holiday."

My thoughts, though -- what's so wrong with a holiday that makes you reflect a bit on the love you get and the love you give?  It's never wrong to reflect on that.  Because we could all use a boost now and then.

And if you don't want it to be a "Hallmark Holiday" then don't buy a Hallmark card!  Make one yourself out of construction paper and highlighters.  There.  You've shown them!

(And for the record, my card shop of choice was ... ohmahworrrd they have such a fun selection!)

We sat at the dining room table for dinner (which is an anomaly -- you can usually find us in front of the television, no judging pretty please!)

I had rose petals on the table as well as the roses Ian gave me and a few other fun decor pieces.

For dinner we had filet, lobster tails, and sauteed spinach.  We didn't do gifts this year, just cards, which I think is the best part anyway!

Dessert was a mini-version of a salted caramel brownie which, um, left a bit to be desired.  #bakingfail

Good thing Ian had snuck some chocolate-covered strawberries in the fridge for us!  We tossed the brownie and just had the strawberries.

I know Valentine's isn't for everyone, but I'm just a true sap I guess.  :)  This life is so short, why not use this day as a reminder and an excuse to show the love and appreciation you have for a significant other, a friend, a parent, a sibling, a neighbor, a coworker?

What about you, did you get into celebrating Valentines Day this year, or do you gloss over it?


Monday's Top Five

Coming off the heels of an amazing weekend ... and starting a brand new week, chock-full of travel!

Today I head to Phoenix, AZ, where the high today is 75 degrees.  I'll take it.

Here are a few things that get me jazzed about returning home to my sweet Charlotte home:

Shrimp Stuffed Avocados
These are a must-add to the dinner rotation.  I'm thinking Sunday night.  We're already a huge fan of grilled or broiled cheesy avocados, but the addition of shrimp, red onion, lime juice?  I think we're going to be all over these.

Washi Tape Drink Markers
Last week I used washi tape as a wrap-around on my iPhone charger (so cute!) and then recently I saw this idea for wine glass markers.  Ultimately, they'll be perfect for supper club, but I think this weekend when I'm back home I'll add one to my glass that says "job well done, A." or "travel is almost over" or "hang in there."  My days of travel are almost coming to a close, and not a moment too soon!

Long Knit Sweaters
When the weekend hits, I live in leggings, boots, and long knit cardigans and sweaters.  Such a welcome departure from slacks and heels.  I'm loving the print on this fun and inexpensive one.

Source: via April on Pinterest

Everyting About This Look
Can I just be her this weekend?  Maybe for one dinner date night with my husband?

Inspired Cocktail Stirrers
After this long work week, I have a feeling a fun cocktail is in my Friday night future.  We've had a lot of luck with our rosemary, and this would be the cutest addition to a lowball glass.

Source: via April on Pinterest

Weekend + Valentines Day updates coming soon.
Wish me safe travels!


Saturday Sip & Shop XVII



Source: via April on Pinterest
Banana Republic Faux Fur Vest, $99.99
Looks like the perfect pairing for a weekend escape to the mountains ... what say you?


Hot Cheesy Mushroom Dip Recipe

When I was little, I told my mom that mushrooms tasted like footprints.

I think that was pretty profound, don't you?

And now ... the joke's on me -- I can't get enough of mushrooms! For the past 6 months or so, I have developed an intense craving for shrooms.  I recently made a really delicious dip from a recipe I found on Pinterest.

Pin It!

Hot Cheesy Mushroom Dip
(makes 2-4 servings)

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour - 1 hour 20 minutes

• 1 tablespoon oil
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1 medium onion (sliced)
• 1 pound mushrooms (cleaned and sliced)
• 1 clove garlic (chopped)
• 1 teaspoon thyme (chopped) {April's note: I subbed rosemary here for ease}
• salt and pepper to taste
• 1/4 cup white wine (or broth)
• 1 (4 ounce) package cream cheese (room temperature)
• 1/2 cup sour cream
• 1/4 cup mayonnaise
• 1/4 cup mozzarella (grated)
• 1/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano (grated)

1. Heat the oil and melt the butter in a pan.
2. Add the onion and cook until it starts to caramelize, about 20 minutes.
3. Add the mushrooms and saute until they start to caramelize, about 20 minutes.
4. Add the garlic and thyme and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
5. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Add the wine, deglaze the pan and cook until it has evaporated.
7. Puree 1/2 of the mushrooms in a food processor.
8. Mix the mushrooms, cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, mozzarella and parmigiano reggiano and place in a baking dish.
9. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until bubbling and golden brown on top, about 20-40 minutes.

Um ... amazing.
We devoured it.
I think we all scorched the roof of our mouths because we just couldn't wait for it to cool off.

Here's the original Pinterest recipe I worked off of:

Looks to me like he topped his with a little extra cheese and some mushroom slices, which makes it look quite a bit prettier.

If you're needing a break from your tried & true dip recipes (spinach & artichoke, crab dip, buffalo chicken dip), this would be a really great option. Happy shrooming, ya'll!

Pin It!


My Valentine: How We Met & Fell In L-O-V-E

Happy Valentines Day from your resident hopeless romantic, and in true predictable fashion, this post is going to be about L-O-V-E.

It's not all sunshines and rainbows, but it will be the truth; at least, the truth about how it all went down for Ian and me.

Here's the story about how we met.

The Previous Relationship
For the main part of my post-college life, I was in a different relationship, a 4-year long relationship.  The guy that I dated was a true sweetheart and he treated me very well.  We had fun, we had a lot of adventures, but something wasn't just clicking like we needed it to.  A large part of this is that I always felt like my family didn't connect with him.  This was positively heartbreaking for me.  If you've ever been in a relationship and didn't have the support of your family, you have felt this pain.  My girlfriends now tell me that they weren't sold 100%, but that they loved him because I did. 

The Break Up
I broke up with that boyfriend in early November of 2008.  I think he thought it was temporary.  He tried SO hard to get back with me at first.  Finally, he agreed that we could be just friends with no romantic ties.  But after a few times of finding love notes on my car windshield at work, I knew that he wasn't considering us as "friends."  I called him, and through tears, asked him not to contact me at all anymore.  He didn't have a lot of friends and I was truly concerned about disconnecting totally with him, but it was too painful for me to be in limbo.  I often felt incredibly lonely and spent several quiet Saturday nights alone.  I realized that I should have been better about keeping up with my own friendships.  I told my mom that I just wanted to focus on being single for a long time.  (Hmm, that didn't really happen)

Single Girl Fun
I was single all through November, but by December, my girlfriends were already starting the "You should really meet..." game.  I wasn't feeling it.  I did promise to make some weekend outings, and while I may have flirted a little bit, I was all about the girlfriends.

On December 5, 2009, there was a big party downtown that Friday night (and my friend Kerry happened to be in town from Greenville for a half marathon the next morning).  She came by to say hey to me that night at the hotel party and our plans were to go out the next evening after her race.

The Night We Met
That Saturday night after Kerry's half marathon, she and I were getting ready to go out to Nolen Kitchen. My friend Meg asked me to please stop by Ed's in Dilworth and say hello ... just for five minutes.  Even though Kerry and I were in more of a champagne and stilettos mood rather than a beer and pool-table mood, we stopped by this little bar.  What I didn't know -- Meg's husband had called his friend Ian earlier and said "There is a girl who you need to meet.  She is newly single but she won't be single for long, so come meet her tonight." 

Ian was at that bar, and I didn't know it was a set-up, so I did meet him but we basically just exchanged names and then Ker and I headed out to get our champagne.  I guess you could say I sort of blew him off.  A relationship just wasn't really on my radar at that point.

The Next Meeting
That next weekend, on Saturday night, the 13th, I went to a Christmas party with some girlfriends.  After the party, we went to Dilworth Neighborhood Grill to meet some friends.  Ian was there again and we were going to try to set a girl in our group up with him.  (HA)

Next thing I knew, he and I started chatting up at the bar and we just clicked on SO many levels.  We talked all night without stopping.  His best friend Casey was right there, and at the end of the night, he asked for my phone number right in front of Casey.  It was sort of awkward but it felt very honest -- so I gave it to him.  He wanted to take me out to dinner.

The First Date
Meeting someone around the holidays is really difficult.  My calendar was just about completely filled.  He got my number Saturday the 13th - I had plans on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and then on Friday I was leaving town for the holidays with my family.  Monday was the only day I was free.  I went ahead and let him know that my schedule was crazy and Monday was it until after the 1st week of January.  He said - no problem, let's go out Monday.  He called me that day around lunchtime to confirm that I was still on and let me know what time he would pick me up that evening.  He picked the perfect restaurant, let me select the wine for us, and let me taste his entree.  So sweet.

My Thoughts On Dating
I was not single for a long time -- maybe 6 weeks?  That's a blip on the radar after coming out of a long-term relationship.  I wasn't in the mindset to meet someone at all.  But it happened.  You just never know when that moment will come.  I'm glad that I was open-minded enough to continue meeting people, and I'm thankful to my girlfriends for making sure I didn't stay at the house on a Saturday night in yoga pants with Oprah on DVR.  That could have easily happened.  :)  All relationships are different, and sometimes it takes no time before you meet the one -- sometimes it takes much longer.  One of life's most romantic mysteries!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...