Home Sweet Home

Sorry my blog has not been filled with new craft ideas or delicious meals I have been trying lately! My recent life changes and updates are allowing me to have many more life adventures to share, and are taking away from the time I spend at home slaving away with a paint brush or spatula in hand. Fear not, I just got a new apartment and will be moving in and decorating for a while so the promise of such events should tide you over for a few weeks, and next week is the Masters (the culmination of everything southern and fabulous) so I will be blogging about such things as preparing for our party or my favorite Spring recipes, etc. But, for now, I am beaming with excitement at the thought of having my own space, entirely to myself to decorate and do with, whatever I please! Its almost like the “white room challenge” on HGTV except its over 700 sq. Ft of space I get to create and personalize and I can’t wait (maybe I missed my calling as an interior designer haha!) But the space is great, lots of opportunities for lots of things!

This is my den, which is larger but I couldn’t get the right angle to show all the space haha! But to the right side of the kitchen is a dining area, which is gonna be perfect for my little table and chairs! And for my den I got a Steal on this sofa (if you can’t tell, I like to bargain shop and then amaze people with the deals I am able to snag! So this sofa was originally almost $1600, but I went to a furniture store going out of business and they sold it to me for $499 and it folds out into a queen sleeper and has a serta mattress inside it. WINNING, and the pillows were included. The orange ones might not stay in the den but may make an appearance in my bedroom. The neutral ones aren’t my style at all, so I’m just going to…. accidentally forget to but them out. But other than that, im obsessed with this couch and can’t wait to put it in my apartment!

Then this is the little kitchen which has tons of storage and is perfect for entertaining because its not blocked off from the sitting areas. Win! 

Then my bedroom is ginormous, sorry I couldnt get the right angle to show it, I was also trying to show to awesomeness of the in unit laundry area which is IN THE BEDROOM, so you don’t have to drag crap all over the apartment when you are wanting to wash clothes, etc. Another plus for my new space. thank ya thank ya!

Then I have a huge bathroom, which is a plus if you have company or have friends over and people are trying to get ready to go out. People wont be bumping into each other trying to get ready, and there is enough space to have a little storage area for towels, since there is not a designated lenin closet.

And speaking of closets!!!! This one is large enough to put an extra bed in, and that is not even a joke. i dont think I have enough clothes to fill this one up, but I am sure I won’t struggle to make it happen. I will definitely be spoiled by having this monstrous space to keep EVERYTHING I own!

So, this is my blank slate, stay tuned the next couple months as I transform it into my new home! I move in at the end of April, so crafts are sure to be in the works the next couple of weeks! EEEEEK!

Whirlwind of a week

I didn’t die. I am sure some of you are wondering, since I have been blowing up your social media outlets almost everyday for the past couple months and seemed to have mysteriously dropped off the face of the planet this past week. No fear, I have just been having one of those hectic life moments filled with a full forced shove of my life into big girl world. In the past week  I have attended a second interview for a job, which I was offered, and have since accepted (sigh of relief) in Charlotte (yes that does mean my blog will soon be over come with posts of me decorating my new humble abode and stories about my life changes. Sorry bout it. Then after that I headed to Greenville, where I was in one of those GINORMOUS wedding with all the wonderful festivities to boot, for my college roommate Lauren, who undoubtedly was a stunning bride. Then I came home and almost died from exhaustion (not really, but  I have never been so happy to lay in my own bed). Then on Monday I unloaded and sorted through my storage unit to see what I have that is acceptable to take with my to the real world (aka not my crappy college metal shovels from my college dorm room freshman year) and that took a ridiculous amount of time and energy then yesterday I spent aboouuuut 6 hours apartment hunting in charlotte, which I thought would be fun and turned out to be more of a chore and a stressful one at that. People are so pushy, and I am soooo indecisive. Needless to say, I am not sure I accomplished a lot yesterday. Nonetheless, this is my list of excuses regarding my extended absence. Ok, now to the feature presentation, I am sure all of you want to know about weddings, because everyone loves a wedding!

So, the party started on Friday morning at a Bridal brunch with delicious food and cute gifts, and drinks, of course! It was at an old house in Greenville, which was so cute, and perfect for the giant bridal party and all the brides family to wine and dine together!
Then we spent the day hanging out, getting our nails done, shopping for dresses, watching our new favorite youtube video (aka our theme song for the weekend), skip the first 1:45 if you value your time and desire to see only comedy. And then, of course we spent an unfortunate amount of time avoiding the monsoon that descended upon the upstate throughout the day. Then we headed to rehearsal (which was pretty seamless for having an army of bridesmaids and groomsmen to organizes, snaps to the wedding planner) and the rehearsal diner. The dinner was delicious, prepared by the grooms brother. The drinks were much needed and the fondue dessert was just what the doctor ordered. Then the water works started as a series of speeches and a slideshow had the bride and groom in a teary mess, which I am convinced never really stopped until the wedding was over.

So, note to self, water proof mascara, tissues, and acceptance of myself crying in public are things I need to get before my wedding day, whenever that is.

Then it was home to bed, and an early AM wakeup call to prepare for the big day. After hair and make up were done, all we had left to do was calm the bride and her wedding day jitters… clearly not as simple as it sounds.
Then we were headed for the ceremony, which went off without a hitch, and even brought a few tears to my eyes as two of my favorite people shared their promises of a life of love and dedication to each other with a room full of about 300 of their closest friends! They were perfect, and they clean up pretty good, if I do say so myself.

Then we had group pictures…. which was great except the parts where no one knew what was going on, resulting in shots like this…fail.

But, we finally got it right, resulting in almost panoramic shots of the entire wedding party (just because there wasn’t enough space in a normal frame for all of our awesomeness)…. like this!

(I do not own the rights to this picture, it is owned by Jonathan at Magnolia Studio in Greenville, SC)

Then we were finally released from captivity to enjoy the epicness of  the open bar and the dance floor. And there was dancing…

…dancing….

… and more dancing

until THIS little gem showed up to pick up the bride and groom, providing probably one of the funniest moments of my life, considering they were completely clueless about said vehicle until it showed up at the door… PS the picture does not do it justice, nor does it capture the LASER LIGHT SHOW that came from underneath the car. HAH!

Yep, this is what wedding winning looks like.

Thanks to Lauren’s other bridesmaids, family, and Facebook friends who were kind enough to document this event for her, as I was selfishly enjoying the party (foops!) Congratulations to Lauren and Caleb and best of luck on a wonderful and happy life together! Thanks for letting us all be a part of your awesome day! Love you guys!

Movement Mondays – Wild is the Wind

This is a top overall solo from Move National Dance Competition choreographed and Danced by Hayden Hopkins. It was in my youtube news feed this AM and it is breathtaking and gorgeous! This girl is 14, if I had moved like that when I was 14 I don’t know what I would have done with myself, but I probably wouldn’t be sitting here posting videos of other people being awesome at dance, if ya know what I’m saying! I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I did. She has beautiful lines and suspension, and is super passionate about the movement. Perfection!

Meat Lovers Stuffed Shells

I made this for dinner the other night while visiting my boy friend and it received such accolades as “soooo delicious” and “This is hands down the best thing you have ever cooked.” So, with reviews like that, how can I not share this show stopper with all of you?! These stuffed shells are filled with everything delicious and wonderful and can be made ahead of time so all you have to do is pop them in the oven for 30-45 minutes when you get home. Easy, right!? Well, I have to give credit where credit is due, I found this recipe on someones blog, so its not all mine, but, I did make, it, and it was good, and now you don’t have to go searching for it! So, heres how to make “the most delicious thing I have ever cooked”

Ingredients:
1- 12oz pkg of Jumbo Pasta Shells
1 Tbsp of Olive Oil
1 cup of chopped yellow onions
1 lb. of sweet Italian sausage
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 egg
16oz Ricotta Cheese
10oz Frozen Chopped Spinnich (thawed and squeezed dry)
1 cup grated parm cheese
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of pepper
28oz of pasta sauce
1 cup of mozz. Cheese

Instructions:

  1. In a pot with water and salt boil noodles until al dente. Drain, rinse in cold water, set aside to cool
  2. In a pan heat the olive oil and add the onion and garlic.
  3. Remove the sausage from the casings and add it to the onion and garlic mixture separating it with a spatula as it cooks.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, beat 1 egg and mix with Ricotta cheese, Parmesan Cheese, basil, salt an pepper.
  5. When the sausage mixture is cooked, add it to the bowl with the Ricotta Mixture.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the shells and line place them in a pan.
  7. Once all the shells are filled, cover the top of them with the pasta sauce. sprinkle 1/4 cup of mozz cheese on top.
  8. Cover in Aluminum Foil and bake at 375 for 30 minutes
  9. Uncover, add the remaining 3/4 cup of cheese to the top and cook for 10 more minutes, uncovered.
  10. Let cool and serve (serves 6-8)

Inspired Design

Often when I am inspired by a craft I see somewhere else, I try my best to recreate it to a T, however, this most recent project turned into something completely different all together. I have decided that I never choose a project that could be simple in execution and take a couple of hours, I always manage to pick things that result in my needing a few days to complete, AND result in statements of my hatred for the project OR my desire for it to be completed without my participation, however I always manage to finish them, AND like them. So thats a plus, I guess. Anyways, I am going to post the inspiration project, and then my project so you can see how it obviously morphed into something completely different. Probably as a result of my perfectionist tendencies and my lack of ability to create block letters in script. Depressing, I know.

Inspiration:

Ok, so mine isn’t super different. It uses the same principle. Create a textured background with one focal point that is a word. The changes started when I wanted to stick to my neutral color scheme, so, as all good craft projects do, this one started with a trip to Michael’s, where I found my background items on sale! They are recycled paperboard cut into flower shaped pieces and they are in various shades of brown, which is perfect. After a few days of tedious work gluing the flowers on one at a time, I had covered the canvas with the exception of the word. After completing it, I did not like the way the word was situated on the canvas, I didn’t like that the letters weren’t perfectly symmetric, and that they seemed to be lost in the sea of paperboard punches. So, in my infinite wisdom, I decided painting the word teal to help it jump of the canvas was a good solution. This turned out to be entirely false. The bright color highlighted all the imperfections I hated before (that others refused to acknowledge, for whatever reason) and made them 10 times more noticeable, so I took back to gluing and covered the entire canvas in the paperboard cutouts. Then, I racked my mind for a creative slogan to slap across the center of the canvas. That turned out badly, as my inner granny settled on the word “Welcome” however, this little canvas with its perfectly symmetric wooden letters, painted teal, will go perfectly with my new teal table I bought a few weeks ago. You know what they say, alls well that ends well, right?

So, here is my project:
 

Not quite a replica of the inspiration, but hey, anyone can copy, it takes a true artist to create (not that Im an artist, I just say things like this to make myself feel better) Happy crafting!

Movement Mondays- Double Dipping

Ok, thought it was time to update you on my recent dance happening, so,  heres two pieces of my recent choreography, the first is a class combo we did last week to a fun up beat song, if you need a little cheering up on this drab monday back in the office. The song is Valerie by Amy Winehouse, annnd I just like it! The second is our performance from last weekend for a local public education benefit, its much more slow and…. exasperating, I actually feel like I am watching myself move in slow motion, its weird, but nonetheless, the girls worked hard on it so I told them I would post it, and because I also handmade the costumes so its  a double whammy for my creativity, right?!?! So enjoy your Movement Mondays, and happy dancing!

1. Valerie Combo:

2. Concrete Wall Performance:

Paint Party

I went with my friend to one of those “Paint this picture” classes where you go and pay a flat fee and you get a canvas, and all your supplies and someone teaches you how to make a replica of some painting they have already created. While at this class I learned a few things about myself. Primarily that my life is lame, as I did this on a Friday night as a form of entertainment, which is unacceptable for a young twenty-something like myself, fresh out of college. Secondly, that craft time, at least in MY world cannot be regulated by others and their desire to move forward or wrap up the class before my obvious creative genius has had the opportunity to fully express itself. Also, I enjoy the serenity of silent craft time, with no one asking me questions about my canvas or rushing me along or trying to make me understand something OR asking if I need help painting, no, in fact, I do not want to pay $20 for you to complete my project for me, thank you. Ok, I mean don’t get me wrong, it was fun, and we had a cute little painting, but I also think that I could have created potentially a similar painting for a much cheaper price on my own, so its like I paid $20 for the idea… and the pretzels I ate. So, I also learned that I could do this and scam people by selling my craft ideas and cheap supplies at a mark up and then just teach them how to make them, but then I would get annoyed, and have a lot of the same crafts, which would pretty much ruin my blog. But anyways, here are the pics me and my friend painted, I think they turned out pretty well. Mine is the one on the right… with the huge freakin dot on it, because I was listening to the instructor talk and didn’t realize how HUGE I was making it…. another issue with craft time distractions. Oh well, at least you all were entertained with the story.  My friend Ginny’s is the one on the left. She did a much better job of painting her dots to be proportionate to the rest of her art work. Clearly the much better multitasker.


Turkey Trifecta!

So my mom has this recipe for an oven roasted whole turkey, and its so simple but it makes SO MUCH. This is not like a Thanksgiving feast kind of turkey, although I would not be mad if it showed up on the table next year. But we make this periodically throughout the year for sandwiches and different meals throughout the week. This week we made one and we had it carved for dinner one night then the next day on Sandwiches, which I love, and then another night we had it in a Turkey Enchilada Pie, which was weight watchers friendly, because my parents are doing that now! It was great, so below I am including the recipe for the turkey and then the recipe for the turkey enchilada pie that we made with some of the left over meat, both are to die for!

1. Oven Roasted Turkey:

Ingredients:
 
1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/8 cup salt
1/4 cup pepper
1/4 cup oil
1 Thawed whole Turkey

Instructions:
 
Mix ingredients in an browning bag. Remove turkey innards and place turkey inside the bag with the mixture and seal. Massage the mixture into the turkey and then place turkey in a roasting pan breast side DOWN. Cook in the oven for 4-5 hours at 300 degrees.

2. Turkey Enchilada Pie:
Ingredients:
 
Non-stick spray
3/4 lb of uncooked turkey (12oz)
1 medium onion
1tsp. chili powder
3 tbsp. of all purpose flower
1 cup of fat-free skim milk
4 oz canned jalapeño peppers, drained and chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3 Large burrito sized tortillas
3 cups of fresh tomatoes chopped
10 Tbsp low-fat shredded Cheddar Cheese

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a large skillet with cooking spray. Heat skillet over medium heat. Place turkey, onion and chili powder in skillet and cook until turkey is browned, stirring occasionally to break up meat, about 8 minutes. Remove turkey mixture from skillet and set aside.
  • Place skillet over medium-high heat and add flour. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium; simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes.
  • Remove skillet from heat; stir in turkey mixture, jalapenos and cumin.
  • Wrap tortillas in damp paper towels and microwave on HIGH until softened, about 15 seconds. Place 1 tortilla in bottom of a 9-inch pie plate. Spread 1/3 of turkey mixture over tortilla. Spoon 1 cup of tomato on top and sprinkle with 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of cheese. Repeat layers with remaining ingredients ending up with 2 tablespoons of cheese.
  • Cover pie plate with aluminum foil and cook until cheese melts and filling is warmed through, about 15 minutes. Let stand, covered, 2 minutes before cutting into 6 wedges.

 3. Take that left over turkey and make a a delicious Turkey Sandwich, its like the day after Thanksgiving, but now you don’t have to wait a whole year! Obviously I am a turkey fiend.

Anti-Baked Goods

Ok, for all you mom’s OR overly involved students out there who might find themselves the victim of the dreaded bake sale to raise money for one cause or another, I feel your pain. I recently participated in a dance benefit fundraiser where each participant was responsible for brining 3 dozen baked goods to be sold throughout the day. (p.s. there were like 100 dancers, which means we had over 3000 baked goods, because I am sure some people didn’t bring them…but what are you going to do with all of those cookies?!?!) Ok, thats not the point, the point is that I refuse to become a slave to the kitchen to make 3 dozen baked goods… or 6 because I may or may not have volunteered to make someone else’s since they were making the silent auction baskets, I KNOW, I KNOW, I am a wonderful friend. Well, for two reasons I went ANTI-baked good for this little bake sale. 1. Everyone is all about some slice and bake cookies, so who knows how many of those were there and 2. Again, I am NOT spending all day in the kitchen to make something I don’t even get to enjoy (and I like to make things homemade, and last time I made homemade cookies for a friends bridal shower I forgot an ingredient and they just tasted like flour. OOPS!) Anywho, These two treats took about 45 minutes total to make (not including the cooling or setting time, which doesn’t involve human interaction), so they were right up my ally. So, next time you’re in need of baked goods for a class party, a bake sale, or whatever reason, here are  two good treats to make to minimize your kitchen time and maximize the level of deliciousness of your treats.

1. OBVIOUSLY Rice Krispie Treats.
These little squares of marshmallow and cereal deliciousness are always a hot item at the baked goods table, and though they are messy to make, it only takes about 20 minutes from stove to pan, then you just let them cool and and cut them into squares and serve up some smiles. Also, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can add little treats like sprinkles, chocolate chips, m&ms, or tiny marshmallows, ya know if you’re feeling fancy and are trying to show up the other moms (unless one shows up with cake pops, then your S.O.L) But here is my quick and easy rice krisipie treat recipe.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup butter
1 (10 oz., about 40) pkg. regular marshmallows or 3 cups miniature marshmallows
6 cups Kellogg’s Rice Krispies cereal

Instructions: 
In a large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add the marshmallows and continue to stir until the marshmallows have completely melted. Remove from heat.

Stir in the Kellogg’s Rice Krispies cereal coating them well with the melted marshmallow mixture.

Using a buttered or silicone spatula, press the mixture evenly into a 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan which has been buttered or sprayed with non-stick spray or lined with wax paper.

Cut into squares when the mixture cools.

Makes 24 large squares… or if you’re me, 36+ small ones!

 

2. Peanut Butter Stomper Bars.
Ok, FIRST of all these are not just for bake sales, they are a huge hit at parties, lake days, and family gatherings because my family is a bunch of peanut butter loving sweets eaters. SO, again this is no bake, and a great arm work out if you are NOT using a hand mixer and are in fact stirring the peanut butter mixture with a spoon. Again, everyone will love this treat as long as they have no allergies. My mom is famous for making these, and now were sharing the wealth. Lucky you. Ps. if you are on a diet or counting calories, this sweet treat is not for you, but it tastes good, as do most fattening foods!

Ingredients:
1 cup margarine
1 1/4 cups peanut butter
1 lb. confectioners sugar
1 2/3 crushed graham crackers
1 -11.5oz pkg milk chocolate morsels
Instructions:
Melt margarine in microwave safe dish. Add other ingredients, mixing thoroughly. Spread mixture into a 9×12 pan. Melt the morsels in a microwave safe dish on medium power for 2-4 minutes. Spread on top of base mixture. Chill for one hour, then cut into squares.