Friday, August 31, 2012

Luv of Shopping ~ Giveaway!!

Who loves free stuff?! I know I do!!! My friend Marissa is having another AMAZING giveaway. Check out details by clicking the link below!

For the love of shopping!: Another Giveaway!! Say What?!

Foodie Penpals - August!!!

Do you LOVE getting packages at work? I do!!! I work really long days, so I usually have packages delivered to me at the office, so it's not sitting on my doorstep in the sun all day, and it really makes my day when I get a package. Of course when it's my Foodie Penpals package, it's like a little surprise party for my taste buds and I get EXTRA excited :)  The only downside is I never manage to get good pictures, coz I'm SO eager to sample the treats! I received my package this month from Amy at A Healthe Eater and it was full of deliciousness (that's a word, right?!) - some of which I am saving for our weekend road trip!
Again, sorry for the terrible picture, but it was a mere formality required before I could start sampling! Amy sent popcorn (yum!), Tazo tea, honey (her Grandpa's honey!), pretzel chips, sundried tomato spread, and two snack bars (which I have saved for our trip!). The funniest thing about Foodie Penpals is that I never provide much guidance, preferring to be surprised and so far, both penpals have completely guessed things I LOVE and sent things I have wanted to try but haven't had a chance to. The sundried tomato spread and pretzel chips made an appearance at a tapas style dinner my hubby and I shared earlier this week, and we loved them (saved a few pretzel chips for the car too...)! The rest of the item were spot on - I love a cup of tea with honey, have never tried a larabar but always wanted to, and love quick and easy popcorn for a snack :D Thank you SO much Amy for the lovely box of surprises!!! Looking forward to seeing what next month will bring!

Want to see what I sent to my penpal? Pop over to Taralyn's blog a little later, and I'm sure she'll tell you all about it!

Think that Foodie Penpals might be something for you? You don't have to have a blog to join - pop over to The Lean Green Bean and check it out!

The Lean Green Bean

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Oh the places you'll go...

I LOVE that Dr. Seuss book, one of my favorites :) And I LOVED this super easy pinterest project that I made my hubby for an anniversary gift. We don't usually buy each other gifts, instead we spend money on a weekend getaway together, but sometimes we make little things for each other. I had pinned this craft a while back, and it took less than an hour to complete.

I bought a few maps from Barnes and Noble, a heart punch, some scrapbook paper and a cheap from from Michaels, and got to work down in the laundry (where my crafting wouldn't be discovered :P)... I punched out the most memorable places we've been together, where we met, where we honeymooned, and other fun places, stuck them to the scrapbook paper in a grid using double-sided tape, and put it in the frame.

That easy!!! I have a few extra pieces of the same scrapbook paper, and since we hung it as part of the gallery wall in our office, I'm going to use the paper to mat a few other items I want to frame, for a more cohesive look. Pics to come, when it's done :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

They say slow and steady...

But this guy, who we encountered in a front yard while walking around the neighborhood this weekend, was moving pretty fast!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Rooftop Garden ~ tomato harvest

Well, so far tomatoes have been the most successful crop from the rooftop garden. Look at these beauties!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Party recap... finally!

Well, now that I have at least figured out how to work around Google Chrome's evil hijacking efforts, I can finally post about the two parties I threw during the week of sheer madness. The week of sheer madness resulted from the perfect storm of a combination of things. I was out of town the weekend before, had a work event on Tuesday night, and birthday party number one on Wednesday night.
One of my best friends was hitting the big 3-0 in August, and I had been planning a big surprise party for her when we both got the ultimate surprise - she was moving to Washington, and is it turned out, would be leaving the week before her actual birthday. So I moved the celebration up, changed the plan a bit, and ordered catering to make it easier on myself since I would be coming straight from work to church, and then the party afterwards. The party ended up being lovely, it was intimate, memorable and fun... And put a smile on the birthday girl's face!

Here are the party details:

I am SO bad at remembering to take pictures of parties, usually because I'm busy doing something else, I definitely need to improve on that! Anyway, for decor, I went with a simple, bright color scheme. Turquoise is one of the birthday girl's favorite colors (by chance, she wore a dress that matched the party!), so we decorated with turquoise, using hot pink napkins and pink roses for accents. The picture below (from Pinterest) shows my color scheme inspiration :)
Pinned Image
I set up one long banquet table, so everyone could sit together, and added tea light candles for pretty lighting.

This is the important part, right?! :P Most of it, I ordered from Chicken Maison, which is yummy and an extremely affordable way to feed a crowd. Here's the menu for the dinner:

Caprese skewers**
Stuffed dates**
Stuffed Grape leaves

Main course
Rotisserie chicken - spicy lemon and original
Rice pilaf
Veggie kabobs
Pita and hummus

And birthday cake for dessert!!! Aside from the caprese skewers and stuffed dates (recipes at the end of the post) and the veggie kabobs, everything else came from Chicken Maison, and we just plated it and added garnish. 

I wanted to make sure everyone left with a little treat, a reminder of a sweet evening spent with the birthday girl. I had been thinking of macarons, but when I realized one of the guests attending has a severe nut allergy, I figured I'd save that for a future party. Look how cute that idea is!!
FRENCH MACARON PARTY FAVORS & TOWERS :  wedding black blue bridesmaids brown cake candy ceremony cupcake custom monogram dessert diy engagement favors french gold green ivory macaron macaroon orange reception red tower white Picture 4
Anyway, so macarons were out, and I immediately thought of yet another Pinterest inspired favor that seemed easy enough to pull off in the extremely limited time I had to do everything. 
These were adorable, easy to make, and I will DEFINITELY be using this idea again in the future! I put each oreo pop in a clear plastic treat bag and tied a bright pink ribbon around each stick, and by all reports (I didn't get to try one! But my hubby is my favorite food critic, and the fact that there were none left to try speaks for itself!), they were delicious! For a great tutorial, check out this website!!

So that's the first party recap! The second party recap will have to wait, as the few pics I took are on my other (good!) camera, which I am trying to use more! All in all, it was a lovely night and fairly easy to pull off on a work night :D 

Caprese Skewers
I love making these! They are easy, they look pretty, and people LOVE eating food on a stick. Even salad. It's TRUE! 
mozzarella cheese (cut into 3/4 inch chunks or buy the little mozzarella balls)
grape or cherry tomatoes
basil leaves
balsamic dressing (or just balsamic vinegar)

Onto each skewer, thread a tomato, then a basil leaf, then a piece of cheese. Keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, and before serving, bring to room temperature. Drizzle with balsamic dressing (or vinegar, I also add a little pepper), and enjoy! :) 

Stuffed dates
These are DELICIOUS. They might sound a bit odd, but the flavors go so well together, they are yummy at room temperature, or you can make them ahead and then put in the oven right before serving. I made extra of these, and saved some for our beach picnic birthday dinner the following night!
Dates (pitted)
Cheese (goats cheese, blue cheese, parmesan cheese, manchego - I've tried all of these, they're all good!)

Cut prosciutto slice into quarters. Stuff each date with a piece of cheese, then press the date closed and wrap with prosciutto. You can secure the prosciutto with a toothpick, if you'd like, I don't find that to be necessary. Put the stuffed dates on a tray, and bake at 400 degrees for about 5 minutes (or until the prosciutto looks a little crispy). Transfer to serving plate and enjoy!!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Eight years ago today, I married my best friend...
He makes the BEST things better, the worst things a little more bearable, and I am SO thankful for every day of the life we share!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Well I think...

I may have figured out how to fix this whole problem I've been having with posting - prepare to be inundated with posts :P

P.S. I think Google Chrome hijacked my computer...
P.P.S. I HATE Google Chrome!!! :(

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Technical difficulties...

For some reason, blogger is giving me some serious problems :( I can't add any pics of the fun parties I hosted, and I don't really want to post without pics. On the upside, the past two weeks have been crazy busy, so I have probably benefitted from a slight break... Although I really have no idea how to fix my blogger issues. Grrrrr.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tim McGraw feat Faith Hill - I Need You (HQ) Official

Playing on Pandora this morning ~ reminds me of the most romantic concert I've ever been to! Apparently my conversion to loving country music wasn't as out of the blue as I initially thought...

For the love of shopping!: Urban Decay Giveaway!!!

My friend Marissa is having a fun giveaway on her blog - if you'd like to enter to WIN this amazing eyeshadow set, click on the link below for more info. Winner will be announced on August 15th.

For the love of shopping!: Urban Decay Giveaway!!!

Update ~ a winner was chosen! Thanks to those who participated! :)