Thursday, December 23, 2010

meeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrryyyyyy chriiiiiiiiiiistmaaaaaas!

merry christmas, peeps! nick and i are off to spend the holidays (and my dad's birthday!) with family and i couldn't be more excited. i'm even a tiny bit excited to have some cold weather, believe it or not. although the 82 degree temp the other day was awesome, i really miss the prospect of a snowy christmas and a big coat and mittens while packing the car full of santa's surprises.

i'll be taking a little blog hiatus to enjoy time with my loved ones (you're loved, too, just in a different way), getting some much-needed r&r, and working on some big DIY projects (blog posts to come). wishing you the merriest of christmases and here's to a very happy 2011. i'm looking forward to what the new year will bring.

see you in january, loves. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

ps. don't worry, it might look like emilio is unhappy in his elf hat, he's really ok. he even fell asleep in it until the bell on top rang him awake.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

stripey mcstripes a lot

sam edelman shoes (dsw), loft jacket, club monaco tank, forever 21 necklace, forever 21 skinny jeans

laaaaaasssst day of work, people! i am sooo pumped for a week and a half off. don't get me wrong, i luuuuurv my job, but i luuuuurv time off even more.

this jacket is a new purchase from ann taylor loft and i just can't get enough of it. i've worn it three times already and have only owned it for about two weeks. repeat offender to the max. oh, i should confess that i bought both the jacket and the shoes for my sister for christmas and decided to keep both for myself. my christmas shopping motto? "one for me, one for me." sorry, laura, better luck next time.

ps. there are tons of the jacket in store but it isn't online...not sure why. loft is awesome about shipping from other stores, though, if you can describe the item. it is regularly priced at $98 but i got it for 40% during one of their holiday promos.

pps. this was my first time using the "burst" mechanism on my camera timer, meaning it'd take three photos in a row within a few seconds of one another. this is how bad i was at it...yep, i wasn't even standing there for some.

and in others i look like i'm daaaaancing.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

recipe: alton brown's shepherds pie

my hangover on sunday left me craving chinese food and comfort food. since i was too lazy to leave the house (it's cold!) in the evening to get pork fried rice i decided to whip up a version of alton brown's shepherds pie. it gave me an excuse to make my ultimate mashed potatoes recipe and use my kitchen aid mixer so i didn't mind the work. it was delicious.

mashed potatoes ingredients:
  • 1 bag of red potatoes
  • two heaping spoonfuls of cream cheese
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • about 1/2 cup milk
  • three heaping spoonfuls of sour cream
  • a few dashes of garlic salt
meat ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil (i used olive oil)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced small
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen english peas


preheat oven to 400 degrees.

boil a big pot of water and drop in cleaned potatoes. drain once a fork slides in easily, about 20 minutes. place into mixing bowl with all ingredients and "mash" with the mixer until smooth. tip: if you want them to boil faster, chop potatoes into chunks before boiling.

while the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. place the canola oil into a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. add the garlic and stir to combine. add the ground beef, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes. sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. add the tomato paste, chicken broth, worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.

add the corn and peas to the beef mixture and spread evenly into an 11 by 7-inch glass baking dish. top with the mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula. place on a parchment lined half sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown. remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Monday, December 20, 2010

countdown to christmas

hi guys! can you believe that christmas is THIS week?! i am flabbergasted by the whole thing.

nick and i spent the weekend doing some really fun things. we went out for dinner friday night followed by a trip to the super wal-mart for a few essentials (that place totally grosses me out). saturday we cleaned, nick smoked up THE BEST RIBS EVER and did some more christmas decorating in preparation for an impromptu gathering at our place that evening. we spent that night outside with the firepit, wine, cornhole, s'mores and some really great friends. sunday was reserved for finishing our christmas shopping (we're done!), wrapping and prepping for shipping, cooking and watching movies (scott pilgrim vs. the world...meh).

here's to a short week at work before nick and i head home to celebrate the holidays with our family. woot!

Friday, December 17, 2010

if i were sitting on santa's lap...michael kors, please!

there are many things on my christmas list (as to be expected), but one thing i haven't blogged about yet is this michael kors horn chronograph watch ($195). i've had my eye on it for quite some time and i just can't get over it. sure, i'd rather nick size down his cartier tank (please?!) for little old me, but this little gem would certainly tide me over. i still love the michele watch i've been rocking since 2003 but i really could use a break since i've worn it every single day since i brought it home...too bad the MK horn is backordered til jan. nick, i reaaaaaally hope you scooped it up before it was too late!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

chambray and pleats

zara skirt, banana republic chambray shirt, forever 21 necklace, banana republic earrings, forever 21 tights, seychelles wedges

and another set of dusty photos...i swear i'm going to dust it, i swear...but i took these photos before i realized how dusty it is. anyway, this is another zara purchase from when i was supposed to christmas shopping. it's hard to see the details from my bad photos but it's pleated with 3 or 4 criscrossed tiers. i paired it with my banana republic chambray shirt to make it a little more casual for work.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

nena von on etsy

y'all know i've been spending a lot of time on etsy since moving into our new home. i came across this shop, nena von pillows, when looking for chevron curtains and i can't get enough. such lovely fabrics in classy prints.

below: 84" designer panels, $150 (available in a range of colors)

below: 18x18 pillow, $35

Monday, December 13, 2010

dusty birds

zara blouse, jcrew jacket, forever21 necklace, old navy jeans, kors shoes

after putting this blog post together i realized that i REALLY need to dust the mirror in my bedroom. forgive me...

i picked up this blouse from zara last weekend while i should have been doing some christmas shopping. it reminds me of miu miu's bird print, which is too expensive for this little lady to own, so zara's rip-off version will have to do.

promise i'll bring the tripod back soon.

ps. hope you guys had a great weekend! nick and i took a little trip to san antonio for an overnight getaway. it was really fun to get out of town without an agenda. we filled our time with a good mix of things - some christmas shopping, some wine-drinking and some touristy stuff. sad to see monday come so quickly.

Friday, December 10, 2010

recipe: mexican rice

one of my new favorite recipes is actually a side dish - mexican rice. i love making it alongside enchiladas or fajitas.

1 cup long grain white rice
i tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 fresh jalepeno pepper, finely chopped
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
1 cube chicken boullion
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped

cook rice in a medium saucepan in the vegetable oil for about three minutes, stirring regularly. pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil. stir in the remaining ingredients and bring back to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and let cook for 20 minutes. Fluff with fork and it's ready to go!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

it's that time again - the gift of growing

this time of year the smith and hawken aisle at target turns into a wonderland of bulb kits. i picked up three (yes, three) last week so i'd have a couple of hostess gifts on hand for upcoming holiday dinners and parties. i decided to keep one for myself and planted it over the weekend in between boxes of tissues, cough drops and harry potters. i love these kits - they're inexpensive (on sale for $7) and super easy to grow. there's a different version online here.

below: the contents of the kit.

below: my favorite line in the instructions: "ornamental bulbs are not for human consumption." but they're ok for animal consumption? weird.

below: soaking the dirt for planting.

below: all planted and soaking up the sun on the kitchen windowsill. i'll post pics once it starts to grow!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

DIY: dark and scary to light and airy

i spent most of the weekend home sick and got a great night's sleep on saturday, so woke up sunday energized and ready to do something aside from sit on the couch. hence, this little craft project that's been on my to-do list for about three months. i bought this frame from ikea on a whim with no idea where or how i'd use it, but i decided to do my own version of this idea from joi over at nuestra vida dulce.

first i gathered all of my gear (just the frame, a cardboard box and some white spray paint) and did some early morning spray painting.

then, while that dried, i gathered supplies for the inside of the frame - yellow scrapbooking paper and some gray/silver patterned wrapping paper.

i traced the inside of the frame onto the wrapping paper and cut out the oval.

then used the ol' laptop to trace "a + n" onto a post-it, and did some more tracing onto the yellow scrapbook paper.

THEN i broke the glass for the frame. yep, broke it. DANG!

so since i didn't have the glass to keep everything in place, i had to use tacking spray to stick the wrapping paper to a cardboard backing and the letters onto the wrapping paper. i still have sticky stuff all over my nails, oops.

and voila! the finished product is all ready to be hung in the guest room. i'm not ready to hang stuff on the walls yet, so it's leaning nicely for the time being. i'm pumped about the final product!

Monday, December 6, 2010

starting to decorate for christmas

hope you all had a good weekend! this past weekend my baby cousin in ny turned one, i sat on the couch with a cold and sore throat watching harry potter marathons on abc family, and the christmas spirit officially took over the united states. i participated a little bit by putting up some window candles and a wreath on the front door. hopefully this weekend we'll get the rest of the christmas lights up - and maybe even a tree!?

Friday, December 3, 2010

some friday toms love

anyone who sees me regularly knows that i love me some toms. i was too wrapped up in other things recently to take part in the special austin edition and the special movember edition (they had a tiny mustache on them, swoon!), but i don't think i'll miss out on these gold glittery tweed edition. they're all the rage for the holiday season so get yours before they're gone (and they'll give a pair to a child, too!). it's like wearing slippers, seriously. toms gilded herringbone classics, $54.