Monday, November 25, 2013

It's Holiday...Go Do Something with Your Fam

Hello people!

It's almost Thanksgiving. Mike's fam arrives permitting...knock on wood. As such, I'll be  off doing other things this week away from the computer. Get excited for a big recap next Monday. Quickly though, here are some things to tide you over til I return.

Win, Win, Big Ol' Win!

Yeah that's my dash. And you'll notice the break light is on, indicating that I was parked at the time I took this pic. Safety first. The light you don't see lit up is our check engine light. Our buggy fixed herself! Yay! No rants this Monday. All is well on the auto front.

Smallest Weekend Recap Ever

Yup one pic. I cooked up some yummies this weekend in preparation for Thursday. After all the baking was done I took a look around at the mess of dishes and ingredients and was ever so thankful I made the dessert ahead. Self five!

That's all I've got for ya.  Enjoy the week. Give Thanks. Eat food!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thanksgiving Prep Time! and Harry Potter 5 Faves

Hi Hello! It's Friday....and next week is Thanksgiving....and the week after that? December!

Holy moly I just can't get over how quickly the Holidays have shown up this year. We once again have the honor of hosting, this time with the Socie side as our guests. That means that this weekend will be full of lots of prep. My strategy for a low-stress Thanksgiving meal: make ahead AMAP (as much as possible). 

Here's a look at our weekend to do's:

Grocery Trip: Round 2

Mike and I already brought home most of the goods last weekend, but there were a few pesky items that require trips to specific shops, in this case Trader Joe's. On the top of our TJ list: crescent roll, pumpkin puree, and surprise, surprise Cowboy Cavier.

Make Ahead AMAP (as much as possible)

My two main targets for making ahead are the mashed potatoes and the layers for our Pumpkin Tiramisu dessert. 


Doesn't that dessert look divine?? We got a trifle dish as a wedding gift that I've been anxious to use. Bonus points for make ahead, no heat up required, AND fancy pantsy presentation :)

Cleaning and Sprucing Around the House

We've already done some serious fallifying around the house. Last weekend I added even more:

We ended up with extra watercolor leaves that I'm not sure what to do with. Mike seems to think we are toeing the line of going decoration overboard. He has no idea what I'm capable of. Muahahaha.


Don't worry, our plans aren't all work. We've got a HP marathon to finish up, starting with movie 6 tonight. In honor of the marathon I bring you my Harry Potter 5 Faves from around the web:

Click on the title links to be taken to the sources.

Favorite Apparel: Whorecrux Tee from Screened Lolz. Also love this tee that I gifted to my bestie Bee.

Favorite Experience: Warner Bros. Studio Tour - Holy dream vacay!! 

Favorite Stuck in Your Head for Daaaaaays: Potter Puppet Pals: The Mysterious Ticking Noise

Favorite Quote: 

Happy Friday! Have a magical weekend!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Potato Dinners and Easy Peasy Smashed Potatoes Recipe

Hello dear friends! Guess what day it is.....HUMP DAY! YEAH!

Can you believe Thanksgiving is just a week away?  The holiday season just started and it's already flying by! In honor of the upcoming holiday, I wanted to share with you one of my favorite quick and easy sides. 

I love these guys for a few reasons: 
1) They are totally easy to make and pretty foolproof in execution. 
2) They look fancier than they are (especially if you use red potatoes) 
3) They're POTATOES!!! What's not to love??

Let's pause for a minute and gather round into a nice little truth circle. It's confession time, and I'll go first. I may have called these guys a side above, and they're great for that. BUT that doesn't mean that I've never had them as the main course. In fact, they may have been my dinner last night. No judging remember, we are in the truth circle.

While I love cooking up something inventive and semi-complicated for dinner, more often than not I just want something quick and easy. Sometimes that means we are eating pasta with sauce from a jar. No frills. No sides. No salad first course. Just a quick and easy dinner. Even more often than pasta and sauce though, is the Potato Dinner. 

Back in October (can you believe that "back in October" is a real thing already???), Mike and I went to an orchard  and in addition to the apples, we bought a pretty large bag of sweet potatoes. Welcome to the era of sweet potato fry dinners. Yummy. After the sweet potatoes were all used up, we kept the potato dinners alive with grocery store bags of golden potatoes. Our preparation method of choice: Smashed! 

Here's What You'll Need:
2-3 medium sized golden or red potatoes per person
Salt & Pepper
Hot Sauce or other favorite seasoning(optional)

Smashed potatoes require a two step cooking process. First preheat your oven to 450. Next prepare your potatoes to be boiled. Place the potatoes in in a large microwavable dish. Cover with water to about 2 inches above the potatoes. Microwave on high for 12-15 minutes. Microwave time will very depending on the size of your potatoes. The goal is to get them to a point where they can be easily pierced with a fork but aren't crumbling apart. Usually this is around the time that they start to float in the water.

Potato hot tub...yummy.

If you don't have a large enough dish or would prefer to not use your microwave, you can boil the potatoes in a large pot on the stove.

Once your potatoes have been soften up, place them on an oiled cookie sheet. For easy clean up, I recommend lining the pan with foil.

Halfway there.

Now comes the fun part. Pull out the potato masher and smash each tatter into a flattened disk. A fork and a little extra muscle would work fine too.

This could also be a good stress reliever after a long day. Just imagine the potato is that annoying person's face.

Season your taters with oil, and salt and pepper to taste. I have a handy little oil mister that I use to get a thin layer of oil evenly over the taters. You could use a brush or just carefully drizzle and spread with a spoon or your Jesus spoons (fingers).

You can stop with the seasoning right here if you'd like, but I've been on quiet the spicy food kick for the past few months. Bring on the hot sauce!

Just drizzle over the potatoes as desired. Other fun topping ideas: steak seasoning, garlic and herbs, taco seasoning, chili powder...the possibilities are endless.

Pop that deliciousness into the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until little crispy brown edges start to form.

Behold, crispy, carb-y goodness.

Plate and devour!

Happy almost the weekend! We can make guys!

Monday, November 18, 2013

When it Rains, it Pours

Blerg, blerg, blerg...I'm grumpy. It's Monday. I apologize in advance for the general negativity of this post. Feel free to skip down to the nugget :)

I try to be a "look of the bright side" sort of person. I try really, really hard to not stress over small things and to find the nugget of goodness in whatever crap-tastic situation I've found myself in. But this week is already challenging the heck out of me.

Let me start by acknowledging that in the grand scheme of things what I am all in a tizzy over is nothing. First world problems at its best. But sometimes one small hiccup is followed by another, and then by another, and before you know it your camel's got a broken back. Are you following me? It's a rant. I apologize for lack of cohesion.

You know how they say that when your interviewer asks about your weaknesses, that you should name a weakness that can also be a strength? Well planning is my weakness/strength. I like planning. I'm good at planning. I can be very analytical and realistic. I can come up with a step by step game plan. I can throw in just enough creativity to keep things interesting. Cry me a river right? Here's the bad side: one teensy, tiny little hiccup with the plan...DEVASTATION!!! Nothing can be fixed. Forget everything. Failure. Abort mission.

And sometimes when the original plan was really well thought out, with noble intentions, chock-full of responsible behavior and self-sacrifice for the sake of a greater goal, that little hiccup can feel like a giant kick in the shin. Thanks a lot universe. Sorry for trying to be responsible. 

Bottom line, we are all safe and sound. Things could be worse. Side-note: anyone know of any mechanics looking to do some free work :D

Ok, one last blerg then I'm done. BLERG!

The Nugget of Good

Moving on to cheerier things. Here's a few exciting things that have gone down in the past week-ish.

1.) THREE different and unrelated couple friends of Mike and myself got engaged! Tis the season.

2.) One of my fave vloggers, Marie Bitsanclips, had her baby boy, and the name: Luca Matthew! Now, I'm personally partial to Luca Monster, but I suppose Matthew is better for babies of the human variety :)

3.) I finally got around to making the cover for our utility storage shelf! Much more classy looking.

I used an old table cloth for the fabric, velcro for easy access to the items on the shelves, and added box pleats to the front panels for extra flair.

Sigh of relief. Already feeling less blreg-y. Besides, it's almost lunchtime.

Cheers to tomorrow not being Monday!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Lots Can Happen in Two Days' Time

Hello Friends! It's Friday, Let's party!

So usually I don't need to do much re-capping until Monday, but man oh man has it been a crazy few days. Some of the news we had planned, but some was a surprise to us. I'm feeling a bit on the emotionally drained side of things. TGIF for sure this week. 

In honor of the craziness of the past few days let's start with the end....


They're baaaaaack! Yay. Totally my "It's the holidays when..." moment

My first red cup of the 2013 season.

I try so very hard to limit my trips to Starby's as much as possible. It is definitely a habit I'm not ready to pay for at the moment  But there are certain times when you just have to break your rules and do what makes you feel good. $6 might seem like a lot for a peppermint mocha, but what's the price of that giggly "omg, it's really Christmas time again" feeling. For a nice morning treat after a long week, $6 feels like a bargain.

Here's the other thing about the red cup: Nostalgia. This lovely red cup makes me think back to all my red cups of the past, but specifically my 2011 red cups. This was back when Mike was just my bf and I was working on a long-term project in NYC. It was a lovely time in my life. I was surrounded by friends at work. I was living in an awesome city. Everything was la la la, lu lu lu. And the Starbucks holiday motto that year: 


Now when the red cups first showed up with that motto I feel like my friend H and I gave each other long-distance googly-eyes. We both had boys that we suspected had rings in their possession...what a lovely hint, hint. "Look, even Starby's wants you to propose" Not as sly as we thought, but guess what? Before the year was up, we both had shiny new bling on our left-hands. There's magic in those red cups.

The Unexpected Surprise

Mike was tutoring Wednesday night. I was taking a luxurious pink bubble bath thanks to my lunchtime Lush run. And Luca was eating an entire pack of Trident. FYI the artificial sweetener, Xylitol, found in Trident and in most other sugar-free gums and candies is toxic for dogs. What resulted was a late night run to the animal ER where Luke stayed for the night, a not so restful night of sleep for Mike and myself, and a follow-up day stay with our regular vet. One massive vet bill later, Luca is 100% fine. Knowing that you can now giggle at his cone of shame pic.

The beautiful Luca flower in full bloom.

The Expected Surprise

This one's  a surprise for you, my lovely readers. Mike and I got inked up last night.

43.07423° N, 89.38793° W        

Curious where the coordinates land you? Overture Center, Main Lobby. The location of this glorious life event:

Special thanks to Rebecca at Studio Noveau for beautifully capturing our special day. Check out  more pics here.


As I said it's been a whirlwind week. Nothing a little Peppermint Mocha can't soothe.

Cheers to weekends, and red cups, and holiday memories to keep you warm.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sweater Weather!!!

Brrrrrrrrrr....We're freezing down here.

BTW freezing in the ATL means I had to wear gloves during the first 10 minutes of my drive so as to not freeze my fingers to the steering wheel. Rough life. Are heated steering wheels a thing? Maybe only in Cadillacs.

Anyway, winter is upon us and all things Christmas are anxiously waiting their turn in the limelight. Patience,  my loves. We'll get there. In the meantime, we've done some fallifying at our place. It may be too early to put up the green and red, but that doesn't mean we can't do any decorating. Let's take a look around.

Leaves in the living room.

Marvin the moose, looking really festive.

Leaves in the kitchen.

Turkey on the closet.

The picture on the right is from a street artist in Madison made on our wedding day and purchased by  my dad. The frame was used for the sign our flower girl carried down the aisle made by my sis-in-law and read "Uncle Mike, here comes your girl"

Gourds on the bookcase.

The picture on the right is of Mike and I at my undergrad graduation, drinking pitchers on Memorial Terrace.

Well that turned into a nice little mini apartment tour didn't it? Oh and the leaf garland still to be hung...I'll get there.

Tis' the Season

Today I'll be using my lunch break to run to a store for gifts for my sis-in-law. We've done pretty impressive job of getting the Christmas shopping done early, which was mostly due to the other sis-in-law sending out her list in October.

While at the store I'm going to do a little self giving and pick up a few things at Lush, a place I have recently been obsessing over thanks to Louise and Zoe. Hopefully I can show a smidge more restraint and not come home with one of everything. We'll see. If you're interested in seeing a haul/review of what I end up picking out, let me know in the comments below!

Happiest of Hump Days to You! Go put on a sweater!

Monday, November 11, 2013

And We're back!

Back home safe and sound in the ATL.

I was a bit worried that the trip to KC would eat up the weekend and leave me feeling uber drained this morning, but it was quite the opposite. Hip hip hooray! I think something about flying to and from a place in such a small time frame messed with our heads or something. Mix that with an active Friday night and an early Sunday flight and it was like we snuck in a long weekend. Score!

Friday after work I meet up with Mike and his classmates for some drinks at Ormsby's

Mike destroyed me in shuffleboard. What a jerk.

This bar is seriously awesome. They have darts and shuffleboard and a BAR! How cool is that?? Well, not as cool as the hook and ring game we ended up playing obsessively.

I think Dave is trying to coach me in the bottom pic. No luck.

If you aren't familiar with this one, let me break it down for you. There's a hook on the wall and ring attached to a string hanging from the ceiling. Your goal is to swing the ring forward and hook it on the hook. Now there's a very subtle art to this game, but the addictive part comes from the built-in rebouding every time you miss. It's like,"Oh you missed? No worries. Here, try again....and again...and again..."

Saturday we got into KC right in time for lunch and went with my parents to Fud in KC, MO

Check out the gold walls. Pretty snazzy.

An entirely vegan menu,Yay! The unanimous favorite dish was our appetizer, the nachos with jack chckn.

Om, nom, nom

And for dessert a Tiger shake: caramel ice cream with a chocolate swirl :)

After lunch and a quick stroll around the hood, we made our way back to the hotel. Our room was epic!

I've never had a corner hotel room before. That means two views, guys.

Campus and Kansas.

We were right on the Kansas campus (Rock Chalk Jayhawk). So much so that our room came with a sound machine and earplugs. Though neither were needed, check out the cute note on the plugs.

It was an awesome day for a wedding. Sunny and 60, a perfect fall day. Everything was beautiful  Mike and I were able to kick back, enjoy some drinks, and cut loose on the dance floor.

Oh and I still let out an "eeeeeeeee!" whenever I see my new name anywhere official.

Hope you had a happy weekend and made back to the week safe and sound as well!

Friday, November 8, 2013

My First OOTD: Look What I Made!

FRIDAY!!! And boy do I need it :)

Greetings bff's. Today I've got a special treat for you...My first ever OOTD!!!

What's an OOTD you ask? Outfit Of The Day of course! And this outfit is extra special because I made the dress myself! So without further ado...or bragging... here's how I'm looking today:

Schoolhouse Tunic dress pattern from Sew Liberated . Plaid fabric from Hancock Fabrics. Boots and tights from Target. (faux leather btw)

Easy bun and light make-up to finish it off.

I love how comfy this tunic dress is. I'm thinking I could have perhaps gone down a size, but I like the bagginess, and the pleating details on the skirt add some structure. As you can see it's super cute with tights and boots. I think it would also look great dressed down with leggings and converse-style tennies. Or I think you could dress it up with tights, flats, and a belt to cinch in the waist. I have a thin gold belt that I think would do the trick and would be festive for the holidays.

I'm wearing the tunic layered with a simple white cami, but there's plenty of space in bodice and sleeves to layer it with a long sleeve thermal or maybe even a turtleneck as I've heard those are back in vogue this season. Special thanks to Daily Grace for keeping me current on fashion trends.

Pattern and Class Review

First, a shoutout to Brooke at Beehive Atlanta for being a super awesome instructor. I'm confident that the dress would have had a few more boo boos without her help.

The pattern itself was really well made and super easy to follow, with only a couple steps that I needed guidance on. This was my first time completing what Brooke called an "independent pattern" meaning it wasn't from one of the big name pattern makers. Here's what I see as the major reasons to buy independent: 1.) Easier to understand instructions. 2.) Trendier styles. 3.) Supporting small business.

The class was awesome. It was my first time having someone professionally trained watch me as I sewed. I picked up a lot of great tips and tricks and definitely improved on my skill set. Last night one of the other ladies in the class mentioned how sewing isn't really a money saver the way it used to be, which is true. Fabrics and patterns can be pretty expensive, not to mention the cost of a class or two, but for me the class and sewing in general is an awesome hobby with totally usable results. See above ;)

Friday Forecast

Mike and I have a pretty exciting weekend planned. So exciting that it involves air travel! We are heading to Kansas City, Lawrence to be more precise, for my godbrother's wedding. It's our first time in KC and our first wedding now that we are on the other side :) Looking forward to kicking back and relaxing at this one.

Cheers to a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

To the Right, To the Right: Welcome to My Hobby Lobby

Hello Party People! It's mid-week ramble time.

My dear friend H (check out her blogy blog) and I are no strangers to the "Blerg, I hate my job" convos. In the past year we have both been lucky enough to make big changes in the career department. Big, but not monumental, life changing, new reason to wake up in the morning type changes. So here we are a year later, definitely happier but still not fulfilled in the way we would like to be.

What else do H and I have in common? Were are creative as all get up and aren't afraid to dream big. The result is that most of our blerg-y convos switch to "how cool would that be??" pretty quickly, and we have a decent sized list of business ideas stored away in the corners of our brains. Pretty fabulous coping mechanism if you ask me.


Until the time that H and I find ourselves in the same city and can throw caution to wind, I try to do what I can to let my right brain shine. Here's a secret about me...I don't love doing taxes for a living. Shocking! Where does my wake-up-excited-to-start-the-day energy come from?? Creating, always creating.

Here's another secret about me, I inherited my practicality from my mother (also an accountant). Translation: It's unlikely I'll be quitting my day job anytime soon.

So how do I cope with a stifled right brain rumbling around in my head all day while my left brain is busy crunching away at numbers? Hobbies. Projects. Classes. Pinterest breaks at lunch. Handmade holiday gift planning. Meal planning. Oh... and blogging!

Most recently I signed up for a sewing class at Beehive Atlanta to make this tunic. Now I'm no stranger to my sewing machine, but I'm definitely not a follow the rules kind of girl. Same thing happens in the kitchen, where recipes are really more of a suggestion :) Well, this class is all about learning to follow patterns. LET THE POWERS OF LEFT AND RIGHT COMBINE!! 

Ok it wasn't that epic, but it was pretty great. We will be finishing up our tunics tomorrow night. If all goes well I might be wearing it in to work on Friday!

Here's to finding creative junk to put in your trunk!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Weekend Recap: 5k's and Shopping for Chili with Cash Only

Hi Hello. Welcome back. How was your weekend?

Mike and I had a very lovely weekend that sadly we did not do a great job of photographing. 

Friday was all about kicking back and relaxing to a few of our FAVORITE shows: Master Chef Jr. and Shark Tank. I Looooooooooove Shark Tank. Kind of wish these were on a different night though. I'd like to not have anything encouraging me to stay in on a Friday. Though staying in ended up being a good thing because Saturday morning was race day!

I never mentioned it on here because I really didn't want to put any extra pressure on myself to train extra hard, but now that it's over I'm more than happy to tell you all about it. Originally we had a goal of completing it under 30 minutes. After not training as much as we had hoped and with the weird semi-cold I've been dragging around for over a week now, I was more than happy to cross the finish line at the 35 minute mark.

Mike and I both had a lot of fun on the day of the race and on our runs leading up to it. We made the decision in September to cancel our basically unused gym membership and to instead make an effort to get out off the house more. When we originally made the decision, I pictured "out of the house" meaning long walks in the park, casual tennis matches, or even a random trip to the indoor climbing gym. I think we were both surprised by how well the jogs around our hood fit into our schedule, and we've both agreed to keep it up best we can through the winter and into the spring.

Saturday night we met up with some of Mike's classmates to tailgate for the Homecoming game. Mike and I didn't get tickets, and by the time we were packing up to head home the sun had started setting and it was really cooling off. Back home we went to the coziness of our living room for more Netflix on marathon mode.

Sunday had only one item on the to do list: grocery shopping. It was also our first grocery run using cash-only. I think it might have been my only time EVER paying for groceries using cash. I've never been a cash person. So far 2 thumbs-up. We came out spending way less that I expected, were able to stock up on much needed essentials, AND still had money left for quick runs in the next couple weeks. Self five!

I don't usually find myself on this side of the peninsula

One of the meals we stocked up for was a big ol' batch of Socie Chili (Mike and Allie style). Mike loves making chili, and the weather was perfect for it. We also got to break in our new slow fancy.  In addition to the picture above, I filmed Mike, cooking show-style, just for fun. We watched the clips this morning and were both very concerned about how our voices really sound. I might try monkey-ing around on iMovie to see what I can do with it. As much fun as these posts and pictures are, there's something about a video that really captures a moment.

Happy Monday! Here's to a great week and chili for lunch!

Friday, November 1, 2013

November Already??

Hola! Welcome to November! That's crazy.

Does time always go faster as you get older? Does it keep getting faster and faster? Someday when I have kids and they are on a school year schedule will it slow back down or does the preciousness of each milestone make the moments seem to slip away even quicker? 

This Sunday is our 3 month-a-versary. Here's where time really gets all messy in my brain. How can something feel like it was soooooo long ago but not at all that long ago at the same time. Here's another milestone for you: I've been eating vegan for 7 months now. No cheese for 7 months, guys! When did this all happen?? Is 7 months a long time? Is that not a long time? I don't know anymore, but here's what I'm thinking...

When you start collecting long-term constants in your life, i.e. a husband, a job, a house, a baby (choose those that apply), time becomes this weird nebulous of lots of amazing moments that are at the same time part of the  mundane day-to-day of a bigger life story. And that's really what this blog is about, telling the story.

Deep thoughts to start your Friday, but here's my biggest question: How the heck is it already November??? I think Halloween helps to make November extra sneaky with its arrival.

Halloween Festivities

I have a love/hate relationship with the fall down here. September is horrible. All I want to do is book a one-way ticket back home to the Midwest. I HATE that I have to wait till the end of October for the temps to dip and for fall colors emerge. But then when we finally get there, and it's 75 on Halloween night, it kind of rocks.

Since we don't have any chilis of our own to dress up, we have to rely on the cuteness of other people's. With that goal in mind we went for a lovely fall stroll last night.

Dress Code: Fall colored long-sleeve t's

Right away we saw an all white cat...on Halloween...that has to be super good luck right?? 

That large black spider at the top moved its head from side to side...spoooky.

Best house decoration award goes to the house above. Rats on the fountain...Mike hated it hahaha.

Beautiful weather meant that we extended the walk into the park. Lovely.

Piedmont Park

The walk ended with pizza on the patio of Mellow Mushroom. Luca did a better than expected job chilling on the other side of the fence whiled we nom nom nom-ed.

We got home and watched Halloween episodes of Modern Fam and Big Bang, then as the finale: The Great Pumpkin.

Charlie Brown was cracking me up. Poor guy.

It was great :)

Oh and the plumpykins...not carved. They are part of our autumn decor now. 

Happy Friday! Hope you have an awesome weekend!