Dinners As Of Late

No travel for me this week means more time I'm able to spend in the kitchen.  I feel so happy when I can create a dinner for us that is both health-conscious and cost-conscious.

Now, with that said, Ian and I do have a place around the corner that we like to escape to occasionally for the most delicious blackened wings, celery & bleu cheese, and beer (him) and white wine (me).  It's dark and "neighborhood-y" and chill.  And no dishes to clean up afterwards. 

When we do cook at home, I love a mix of tried-and-true recipes with some new ones too.

Sunday dinner

Sunday night is usually a splurge night for us.  As I've mentioned before, we usually keep the carbs to a minimum during the weeknights (or at least opt for complex carbs).  This past Sunday we had chicken piccata, sauteed green beans, and yellow rice. 

The green beans are my favorites to buy -- they are from Trader Joe's and available in the frozen section.  They are so inexpensive and tasty.  I just pull some out of the bag, throw them in my little pink colander, and thaw under running water. 

Monday dinner

Monday night I used my favorite kitchen app to help me plan dinner -- Allrecipes.  It's free and a lifesaver.  You can search for recipes easily and scroll through the reviews to check for modifications.  I had chicken thawing in the fridge while I was at work, and I found the below recipe for Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken.  We loved it, but next time I'll reduce the amount of breadcrumbs it calls for as there were a lot left over that I just had to toss.

Once I find a recipe I like, I just email it to myself so I can quickly pull it up while preparing dinner.  Easy!

I didn't want to go to the grocery store, so I made more green beans.  This time I sauteed a white onion first, then added the green beans in, and gave the dish a good dash or four of balsamic vinegar.  Very yummy.  Ian also had a small salad with his dinner.

Last night I baked shrimp for us and served it alongside green beans (see a trend here?!) and another side dish that I just made up ... sauteed halved cherry tomatoes, chickpeas, and green onions.  I added some spices and sea salt and then topped the dish with parmesan cheese.

I had half of a can of chickpeas left over, so I used my trusty Allrecipes app to find a roasted chickpea recipe.  I'm snacking on them now!  I coated mine in olive oil, cumin, curry, and cinnamon and added a little sea salt.  Next time I'll increase the roasting temperature or time to make them a little crunchier than they are.

What's your go-to weeknight meal?


Our Guest Bathroom Makeover

So, it's not done-done but I did promise you last Friday that I'd share the updated guest bath in our home.

We started off with a pretty typical room: off-white walls, mirror, vanity, potty, tub. 

Not long before we moved into our home, I won a giveaway with Elizabeth Ann's Recipe Box (a wonderful source for yummy recipes, by the way) for CSN Stores -- which you may now know is Wayfair.  Lots and lots of home stuff, and at great prices.  With the gift card I won, I chose a new shower curtain and got it for mere pennies. 

It's still available on the site if you're interested, but backordered currently.  Here's a link to it.  Only $22.99!

After we moved into our home, I decided it would work perfectly in the guest bath.  I just love the bamboo trellis pattern.

Our bathroom still looked a little generic, so we decided to have it painted at the same time that we had the crown molding put up, caulked, and painted white. 

I'm pretty good about picking out paint colors -- quick and decisive.  Other decisions (art, furniture, etc) take me months of mulling!  For this room, I wanted either a punchy coral-pink or a darker beige.  We ended up with five color swatches and left them taped up on the wall for a few days to observe.  We purchased two coral-colored sample paints a few days later.

After a unanimous agreement on the painted swatch on the above left, we bought a gallon and waited on pins and needles to see it up on the wall.

And the finished product -- check out the pretty crown molding too!

We both like it a lot.  The other paint colors in our home are rather muted, so this is our funky, flamboyant bathroom. 

The wall that you see in the picture below is bugging me in these pictures.  I love my little sun glass collection, but it's just way too dinky for this wall.  I think I'll move it to a tinier wall and put a larger piece of art here.

You may notice the hand towels that coordinate with the shower curtain -- the curtain was a little long for the placement of our curtain rod, so my sweet mom hemmed it and used the leftover fabric to add to plain white towels.

This wall cabinet houses all of my bath salts, oils, and bubble bath.  A girl's gotta have her R&R!

And here's the shadowbox I posted about.

The black and white picture below -- yes, it's real.  And it's me.  And my cousin.  In an outhouse in Georgia.

I love having paper guest towels in this bathroom.  These are Caspari, and it's hard to tell, but the tree branches are metallic gold. 

My favorite spots to find Caspari on a great deal are TJ Maxx and Tuesday Morning.  The mother of pearl guest towel holder is from Bed Bath & Beyond.

And this wastebasket is from Target.  The light blue interior sold me!

The crown molding really gave this room a perfect finishing touch.  We had it put in two bathrooms, three rooms, and a hallway.  A small investment for such a nice finished touch.

Any fun ideas for that large wall that currently houses the sun glass?  I'd love some antique ceiling tins with a chippy white paint finish or maybe a fun piece of art.


A Mountain Escape

After a low-key Friday night, we piled into the car with our friends, two dogs, and some ski coats and headed for the mountains.

We first stopped in the sweet town of Blowing Rock, NC, where we walked the dogs through the downtown area.  It had just started to snow lightly.  The dogs sniffed each and every fire hydrant and pole in the downtown area and even got some compliments and head-pets from strangers.  They are such a funny pair -- a young boxer and an old husky.  The odd couple, for sure.

Back in the car we went and we headed to the downtown area of Boone.  It's a fun college town that houses Appalachian State and patchouli-loving hippies.  We spent a little bit of time in an antiques shop and then had a spectacular lunch at Char.

I ordered the oyster po' boy and Ian had the fried green tomato BLT.  He asked me if I wanted to "go halfsies" with our sandwiches and boy, am I glad I did.  That sandwich he ordered was divine.

After we were finished, we stopped at our favorite wine and beer store in the area, Peabody's.  They have the best customer service and lots of fun finds.  Then to the mountainhouse we went, and our tough guys got in some target practice.

Be very, very afraid.


We girls stayed in the safe indoors and opened up a bottle of red -- One Hope wine, where some of your purchase price goes to charity.  The cabernet benefits autism awareness.  A great reason to pop a cork.

Around 4 that afternoon, we headed to Hawk's Nest to check out the snow tubing scene.  Lindsay and I decided we were down for it.  The guys stayed up top in the lodge and waved to us and took our pictures.

Tubing was actually a lot of fun!  It's $30 for 2 hours, but Lindsay and I talked our way down to paying just $20. 

It was quite windy once we ended around 6, so we got the guys and headed to the grocery store to pick up dinner ingredients.

Linds and I made ground turkey enchiladas, and they were delicious.

After dinner we broke out Taboo and played guys vs. girls.

The night may end a little fuzzy, but I'm pretty sure the girls dominated.  :)


Corralling Objects In A Shadowbox

Wheeeeeeeee!  It's Friday!  This has been one heck of a long week, and I can't wait to relax. 

Nothing, absolutely nothing, is on the books for tonight -- and that's so exciting.  You'll most likely be able to find Ian and I lounging on the couch watching Dateline and eating take-out.  Love it.  Tomorrow we will be waking bright and early and heading up to the mountains.  We've talked about going skiing or snow tubing tomorrow and I think we're leaning towards the latter. 

We've done a lot of work to our home recently, which includes painting the guest bathroom.  I can't wait to share pictures with you soon!  The color is ... well, full of life.  :)

For the wall in that room, I put together a fun project that I thought I'd share.

From family trips to Mexico, I'd built a small collection of these painted tin hearts.  I was immediately drawn to them as they reminded me of some of my most favorite Latin American art.  Being a Spanish major with a Latin American concentration, I fell head over heels in love with the art of Frida Kahlo.  Check her out; an interesting life story and breathtaking art.

In my old apartment, I'd just hung them from the wall in a group, but I wanted something that looked a little more polished for our home.

Enter my friend, the shadowbox.
I scored him 50% off at Michaels.

It was plenty thick to accomodate the width of the tin hearts.

The only issue I had with it was the black felt backing, which looked a little cheap to me and didn't really mesh with the colors of our home.

Burlap to the rescue!  I had a small amount in my fabric collection that I'd purchased from the remnants area of Hobby Lobby.  I ironed it on a low setting to get the wrinkles out from where it had been folded.

Then I just wrapped the burlap right over the black felt backing and secured it on the back with tape.

From there, I used the pearl pins that came with the shadow box to hang the hearts in the shadowbox.

I'm so happy with how it turned out.  Next week I'll give a peek of the guest bath with this new addition and the very lovely new walls!


New York, Here We Come!

I am beyond thrilled for a trip that is a mere 22 days away ....
The exciting and always fun-filled bustling city of NEW YORK!

A very lucky girlfriend of mine attended an event where she won an expenses-paid trip to the city.  Airfare, upscale hotel, and even $500 to support NY's lovely economy!  Needless to say, she's having the Hermes vs. Louboutin great debate as we speak.

So two quick phone calls later, and she had two eager "YES" answers from myself and another girlfriend of ours to join her.  We're heading there in March.  I'm not quite sure the stores are ready for us.

I've been up several times already, so I'm fairly familiar with some of the most fabulous spots to visit, but I'm always up for suggestions in a city that is constantly changing and having great restaurants and shops to open their doors.  So, questions for you girls...

1) What are our shopping must-visit stores/areas?
2) Restaurants we'd be crazy not to try?
3) Anything else we should put on our to-do list?


Quatrefoil Obsession

I don't know about you, but I'm certainly drawn to quatrefoil.

I've added quite a few fun pieces to my shop that showcase this fun style!

And for you, my friend, a surprise one day sale.  Enter coupon code "Tuesday20" at checkout for 20% off the price of your newest and most fun accessory.

Peony Pink - $16

Lime - $16

Tangerine - $16

Violet - $16

Oh, and these ivory and gold beauties?
I've got them as well as some clip-on earrings and a few necklaces in the shop as well.

Ivory & Gold - $16

Happy {sale} shopping!


Q&A Monday with Shasta and Megan

First, let me say this.

Marriage is a compromise.

A true compromise.

So, when you see the ECU Pirate figurine behind me on the bookcase -- Ian's bookcase, mind you -- then you will know why it is there.  My bookcase, which is on my other side but out of sight of the camera?  It is super pretty.  Stationery, colorful books, and a metallic elephant.  So, there.

And with that said, I'm linking up today with Shasta Anne and Pretty in Pink Megan for Q&A Monday.

If you want to play along, here are the ten questions:

1. What is the best advice you've ever given and received?
2. Type of music you like most?
3. Shoe size?
4. Who sent the last text message you received?
5. If you could meet any one person (from history or currently alive), who would it be?
6. Have you ever been fired or “let go”?
7. What's under your bed?
8. Do you believe in love at first sight?
9. What is your middle name?
10. Do you think that you are a good singer?


Friday Randoms.

Some random thoughts for you this Friday...

Last weekend, Ian and I decided to have friends over Saturday afternoon.  We'd planned to have a low-key dinner at home after they left, and I'd already bought the ingredients for us to have Buffalo Chicken Tacos, another recipe that was blowing up the Pinterest world.  I'd heard it was amazing. 

We were having so much fun with our friends ... the girls all feasted on appetizers and did a blind wine tasting while the boys enjoyed the newest addition to our family - a ping pong table in the garage!

Bean dip I made ... just puree canellini beans with garlic, EVOO, s&p in a food processor.

Wine #3 got our unanimous vote!

Next thing you know, the friends were still over, and it was time for dinner!  A quick thaw of extra chicken that was in the freezer and a doubling of the recipe ... and thank goodness for that spare can of refried beans in the pantry ... and I'd gone from cooking for 2 to cooking for 8.  EEK!

The recipe from How Sweet It Is was an instant hit.  You just add your diced, dredged chicken in some olive oil and brown it.  Then, toss with buffalo wing sauce. 

We served the buffalo chicken with soft tacos -- our favorite -- and shredded lettuce, avocado, and shredded cheese for the toppings.  Delicious!

This past week I traveled for work to Manning, SC.  This is a pretty small town with a small selection of restaurants -- and they're all fast-food chain restaurants.  Needless to say, I packed a dinner to bring to the hotel!  On my way home, though, I stopped for lunch with a client at Wen Lily's in Summerton, SC.  Ya'll, this place is amazing.  I had a mango chicken salad sandwich on a croissant with Asian slaw as a side.  The restaurant doubles as a gift shop with lots of fun tea towels, jewelry, kitchen accessories, and home decor.

I can't wait for the weekend -- lots of fun things planned, and we're having more painting done at our house!  Luckily, we won't be the ones slaving away this time ... we hired this project out. 

Mom's coming up on Sunday so we can go shopping.  Her favorite shoe store, Marmi, is having a sale.  She wears a size 4 shoe, so locating a shoe store that carries her size is a good find.  Plus, this weekend is the grand opening of Lilly Pulitzer at South Park Mall!
Lastly, and speaking of LP, a big thanks to The Company She Keeps for the mention on your blog post today!  You are too sweet.  :)
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