Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Perfect Holiday Party Outfit


With the holidays quickly approaching the hunt for the perfect party outfit is on. 

These are some beautiful and festive outfits that I'm loving (thank you Pinterest). 


THE DRESSIER LOOKS:









THE MORE CASUAL LOOKS:





And what would an outfit be without shoes & jewels?! Loving these ...




What will you be wearing to your holiday parties this year? I'm leaning toward a jumpsuit, but these ideas are surely acting as inspiration! 






Thursday, December 4, 2014

All The Rage This Holiday Season

It's the most wonderful time of the year ....

Until you become an adult and the holidays become stressful. Finding the time to buy presents for loved ones, wrapping them, dealing with the endless crowds at the mall and even worse - the madness of parking lots around this time of year.

I'm here to help make your holiday gift buying a little easier ... well actually E! is. I came across their 2014 gift guide and it's glorious!!

   

Check out their picks for the women or man in your life. Looking for more tech related presents not a problem, they've got you covered! Or how about something for the kiddos?!

They also have some great ideas for stocking stuffers, hostess gifts, your four legged friends and more. Check it all out here - thanks again E!

Happy shopping for whatever is on your wish list to give or receive this year!




Tuesday, December 2, 2014

workin' that photoshop

So I had my first real-life sighting of an overtly Photoshopped advertisement. It feels a little bit like an internet-using milestone. I found it on Pinterest, became suspicious of the clothing models ridiculously skinny upper legs, clicked on the link to Asos, and lo and behold, Photoshop.

wait, her calves are wider than her thighs...
I'm sure that this unsuspecting woman has perfectly lovely legs that would do a wonderful job of selling me Hunter fleece inserts (I totally need these, but that's besides the point...oh! something shiny...) but I just don't see why the post-production team felt the need to edit away her very-important inner thighs (I mean, how else would you warm up your hands, and wouldn't crossing your legs feel very strange?). Not to mention her square lady bits. Not natural, folks. I'm insulted that you thought you could pass this off as a normally-grown human body.

really?...really?
Have you happened upon a naturally-occuring victim of Photoshop? I'm always curious about those travel pictures on Pinterest with unnaturally vibrant colors. How did it make you feel? Have you ever Photoshopped something? I also did that for the first time recently. I had a very cute picture of Sally with a ponytail and the elastic was bright blue and she was wearing pink and black (hey, you know, sometimes you just use the first elastic you can get your hands on) so I went back and "color-filled" the elastic to appear black. It was awesome.

til the photo shops,
Em

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!



Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving. Take a moment today to reflect on all that you have to be thankful for! 




Tuesday, November 25, 2014

ketchup

see what I did there? November has been Biiizzzzzyyy...(with a capital B and alternate spelling...so you know I'm serious). I'm ketching (ha) my breath only to hit the road again in two days for the greatest food holiday that ever was.

Here are the finished princess peg dolls for the birthday girl. The younger birthday boy now has an urgent need for his own set, so an Elsa, Anna, Spider-man, and firefighter are on the docket. I mentioned in a previous post the Etsy shop that inspired my creations. I bought a little wooden box at Michaels, and that is where the peg gals live.

the girls from the front, and a hair detail shot
I went to my first-ever grown-up Friendsgiving potluck yesterday. Gosh, do I love friends (good friends, really good friends) and food (good food, really good food). I'd never had legit green bean casserole, so I adapted this recipe, slightly. I used organic condensed cream of mushroom soup and used milk to thin it out, no water chestnuts, and no bacon bits. I crushed the fried onion to a state slightly larger than a breadcrumb. Still crunchy, but no big chunks. Also made a slightly adapted version of this Parmesan Garlic monkey bread. I cooked them in two (disposable) pie plates and lowered the cook temp to 350. And I made these pumpkin cookies with maple cream cheese frosting. I used milk instead of the greek yogurt called for in the frosting, because I didn't have greek yogurt, but I did have milk. Gross story, I actually did have greek yogurt...I checked the expiration date and it expired in July. I looked on the inside, because sometimes yogurt is really resilient. This time, it was not, and I will not go into more detail than that. It was my first time making the casserole and the cookies, which always make me nervous, but both turned out well! As for some of the other potlucks - a kale salad (which I actually enjoyed, don't tell California), a shredded Brussels sprouts salad with cranberries and goat cheese, crock pot mac and cheese, and a deeeelicious creamy, yet crunchy, chocolate pie. If I were thoughtful and on top of things, I would have these recipes for you, but I don't. I have a plan to email for the recipes, but that plan has not yet been put into action.

For actual Thanksgiving, I bring pie. Not pumpkin pie, not apple pie, not pecan pie. Chocolate chip pies. Two of them, because if I only made one, there would be no leftovers, and that is a crime punishable by law. I found the recipe, oh probably 7 years ago, long before Pinterest, and long before I was into reading blogs, so I do not have a digital version. Here is a photo of my well-used, spilled upon recipe card. Please notice the "2 eggs, beaten" smushed onto the end of the first line of ingredients (must've been before spell check too). Obviously, I've adapted this recipe in several different ways, and through those adaptations, I've taken away its credential as a Kentucky Derby Pie. Though I added a copyright symbol back when I typed it, so it must not have been before copyright concerns (gosh, I'm a nerd). I like to do the half white sugar/half brown sugar bit. Brown sugar is just meant to go with chocolate chips. I omit the walnuts, because well, I don't really like walnuts, and I don't want them messing up a perfectly delicious gooey, melty chocolate chip pie. I make this recipe parve by subbing in Earth Balance for the butter.



Do you keep a holiday memory book? I got the idea from my mom. I'm terrible at journaling (that's a word, right?) but I do make an effort to write down each holiday. What was cooked, who was there, any activities, etc. And even when we did our big family vacation this year, the last morning during breakfast, I made quick notes of each day. Oh how I wish I had something that chronicled our time in DC. I do have pictures that tell a pretty good story, but sometimes words are worth a thousand pictures.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and get to spend some QT with the people that you love.

til the drum sticks,
Em

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thanksgiving Planning Part 2

As promised, I said I would be back this week to share some recipes. 

Here are some of my favorite appetizers for Thanksgiving or any other occasion. 

Spinach dip - this is a crowd pleaser! This is right off the package of the Knorrs Vegetable Soup Mix.  
  • I substitute the water chestnuts with sliced almonds and I do not add the chopped green onions. 
  • A fun way to serve this is in the middle of a round black bread, which you can pick up in the bakery section of your super market. It's also good with pita chips! 

Another go-to appetizer recipe is buffalo chicken dip

  • I start by boiling a package of chicken tenders. Once they have cooked (about 15 minutes) I shred them with two forks and put into a bowl. 
  • Next add a block of cream cheese and 1 cup of blue cheese dressing into a sauce pan and begin to let it cook and soften. 
  • Once the cream cheese and blue cheese are combined together add 1 cup of Franks Hot Sauce, then add the shredded chicken. 
  • Serve this with tostito scoops.  

One of my favorite Thanksgiving deserts are these Pumpkin cookies - I don't make mine with the icing, they are delicious without it!



What's on your Thanksgiving menu? I can't wait for some good eats!




Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thanksgiving Planning Part 1

With Thanksgiving now two weeks away, there's a lot of planning and prepping going on in my house. Let me start by explaining, I'm not hosting Thanksgiving on Thursday at my house, that's reserved for my Aunt & Uncle in NYC, but I am hosting family at my house on Friday.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and I do have to say, my family does it right! My Aunt & Uncle's apartment overlooks Central Park. Once we all get there it's drinks and appetizers as we finish watching the parade on TV. After we've all settled in and watched a bit of the first football game, we all gear up for our own football game in Central Park. We usually get in a solid hour or so before we get the phone call that dinner is ready. In my eyes Thanksgiving is perfect.

So back to what I'm planning for. We spend Thanksgiving with my Dad's side of the family, therefore on Friday we always get together with my Mom's side of the family. This year it's my turn to play host. We'll be about 20 people (kiddos included). Turkey is not the centerpiece of this day, it's very much the opposite, we stay away from all the traditional Thanksgiving foods that we just stuffed our faces with the day before.

I've already made and froze my chicken cacciatore, more on the appetizers, main course and desert next week. 

Today I'm here to talk about the fun stuff - the drinks and decorations!

Below are the three drink choices I'm deliberating. 

The first, an apple cider (white) sangria.













The second a honeycrisp (red) apple sangria 





















And the third option is a spiked spiced apple cider (say that 5 times fast). 


I'm also busy thinking of simple centerpiece ideas for the dining room table and the two bridge tables I'll set up in my living room. Which of these do you like? 

 


Be sure to check back next week for some delicious recipes for Thanksgiving or any other party you host. 




Tuesday, November 11, 2014

nap time today







This is what I worked on during the calm and silence that nap time bestows upon me. November brings with it a never-ending cycle of DIY projects. Kicking off the month with homemade Halloween (I talked more about this over in Merry-land) followed quickly by Graham's birthday, then our wedding anniversary then Sally's birthday then Thanksgiving and Justin's birthday. Food and banners and cakes and decorations and invitations and more food and more cakes.

These princess peg dolls will be my handmade birthday gift to Sally (Belle and Rapunzel will be later). I was inspired by this Etsy listing found on Pinterest. Each year I try to give the kids a handmade gift. Last year, Sally got a canopy for her bed, and Graham got a big poster with all of his first-year milestones.

Like Loni did last week, I feel like I'm due for a big ol' game of catch-up. (side note, Sally calls ketchup "check up" and it makes me giggle.). Stay tuned for that...in the meantime,

til the wind chills.
Em

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Follow Up Post

We'll call this the follow up blog. The follow up to things I've discussed in the past and decisions I've made since those posts.

We'll start first with my dining room. I already shared the awesome farmhouse table I selected, now I'm happy to show you the chandelier I found to complete the look.



What do you think?


To follow up about my Halloween costumer, my co-workers and I decided to be Thing 1 and Thing 2 and the Cat in the Hat ... our awesome costumes won us Group Costume of the year!


How was your Halloween? 

Now looking ahead, I'm getting super excited for Thanksgiving it's one of my favorite holidays. More to come on this in the upcoming weeks with decoration ideas, recipes and more as we get ready to celebrate all we have to be thankful for! 



Thursday, October 30, 2014

Puppy Love



Our family had to recently make the decision to put our 10 year old golden retriever/lab mix LILY down. 
 
 

After noticing some inconsistencies and abnormalities for a few weeks my Dad took Lily to the vet only to learn she had multiple tumors inside of her.
 
This news rocked our family – how could our sweet Lily be sick, there was no way!? 

My brother and I both came home that weekend to be by her side and give her lots of loving. It was hard to accept that things were going to happen so quickly, especially because she looked great and was acting so normal. A lot of tears were shed that weekend and Lily received some really great love and attention (as if this wasn’t the norm every time we saw her).

As the vet had predicted her health began to quickly decline and on a Saturday her breathing was becoming extremely labored. My parents had to make the tough call, as we had all agreed we didn’t want Lily to suffer.  

As you can well imagine our whole family took losing Lily very hard. If you've ever had a dog you know they become part of the family. Their unconditional love, excitement when you walk in the door and wet kisses are unmatched. 

Lily was a boat dog, we couldn't keep her out of the water, she sensed when we were getting close to throwing in the anchor and got super excited. 
 
 
She was a city dog, going into Philadelphia often to live with my brother for periods of time and strutting her stuff down the street.
 
Lily was a vacuum cleaner, helping clean up the floors before, during and after dinner. 
 
 
 
She was also quite the doggie athlete. She had the frisbee thing down and could catch just about anything in her mouth (food was her favorite). 
 
 
 
But most of all Lily was a lover. There was nothing better than being greeted by Lily at the door. Her excitement was like no other, tail wagging, crying with joy and circling you for love and attention. 
 
 
Lily had some unique markings on her that I will always remember. The tip of her tail was white, she had a white patch on her forehead and a freckle on her nose (I swear). 
 
 

My dear sweet Lily, you were such an important part of our family and you will forever be missed. We hope doggie heaven is full of peanut butter, tennis balls, socks and a pool for you to swim in. Thank you for bringing such joy (and wet kisses) to our lives for 10 great years. 


 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

foooooood

Dude, I don't know about you, but lately all I can think about is eating food. Healthy food, junk food, melty food, chocolate food.

Here are a few recipes that I've made recently that I'm still thinking about.

Raw Cookie Dough Bars from Averie Cooks


 
Quiche with Herbs and Goat Cheese from New York Times Cooking



Dim Sum Dumplings from Ali Babka




And here are a few that have caught my eye, either via Pinterest, or my Bloglovin feed.

Brownie Batter Dip from The Farm Girl



Homemade Honey Oat Bread from Bakingdom






White Pizza Grilled Cheese from Kitchen Treaty



Lasagna Soup from Cooking Classy




Now, go get a snack, because if you're like me, this has been a little bit like torture.

til the cinnamon rolls,
Em