Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Words to Live By

Everyone has a favorite quote or song lyric that they can relate to or that becomes their motto throughout life. Mine is from Billy Joel’s song Only the Good Die Young.

"They say there's a heaven for those who will wait
Some say it's better but I say it ain't
I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
Sinners are much more fun..."

Growing up I was a bit of a rebel, and these lyrics have always rang true to me “I’d rather laugh with the sinners, than cry with the saints, sinners are much more fun!”

Thanks to Pinterest I’ve also been able to gather some great quotes for motivation, and ones about life, love and friendship.

Here are a few of my favorites.

I am a firm believer in this expression!

No regrets … life is too short!

Always remember this!

Only YOU control YOUR own DESTINY

Thankful for my "good" friends!


If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will

True story!


AMEN!



Live each day as if it’s your last, tell someone you love then, hug your loved ones, be kind to others, worry less, dance in the rain, love with all your heart & enjoy this crazy ride called life - because you only get one go at it! 




Monday, April 28, 2014

Flowers make me happy

When spring rolls around I can't help but always have fresh flowers in the house. It's been a rough winter and now that there are flowers everywhere in the grocery stores and at farmers markets it makes it so easy to bring some color inside your home.





-Julie

Friday, April 25, 2014

sneaky mcsneakerson

you won't be able to wait either!
Zucchini, carrot, banana, whole wheat, flaxseed...my kids favorite snack! Just kidding, muffins with peanut butter are my kids favorite snack...what they don't know is that all of those things are in the muffins I give them. Bwah ha ha. I make these in mini muffin tins and my little dude with eat 3 or 4 in a sitting. My older dudette usually just eats 1 or 2, I think she's hip to my scheme (though she loves this ravioli which is chock full o'mushrooms, so I think we have an I'll-eat-the-healthy-stuff-you-sneak-into-my-food-as-long-as-its-still-delicious symbiotic thing goin' on here.) This recipe is easy (aside from the grating, but a food processor can make quick work of that), portable, genuinely yummy, and wholesome. 


{Carrot, Zucchini and Banana Muffins}
adapted from Delectably Mine via The Sweeter Side of Amy's Bread

Ingredients   
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour 
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
2 ½ tsp cinnamon
2 ¼ tsp baking soda 
¾ tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
3 cups carrots, peeled and grated
2 cups zucchini, grated
1 cup ripe banana, mashed
4 eggs
½ cup applesauce (maybe just ever so slightly more than ½ cup)
2 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions 
Preheat oven to 400°.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Sprinkle in some flaxseed meal for good measure. Set aside.
 
In a separate medium bowl (I usually just use the liquid measuring cup for the applesauce), whisk together the eggs, oil, and vanilla. Set aside.
 

In a large bowl, toss together the carrots, zucchini, and bananas. Add the egg mixture and fold in gently to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and fold in until just combined.
 

Scoop the batter into greased or lined muffin tins. Bake for 8 minutes, then rotate the pan and reduce the temperature to 350°. Bake for an additional 9-10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove muffins and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
 

Makes: 24 muffins or lots and lots of mini muffins



til the baby sits,
Em

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Vacation all I ever wanted – Vacation had to get away!

As the Go-Go’s sang about in their 1982 hit, "Vacation" it’s all I ever wanted!

Traveling is one of my most favorite things, but traveling to a beach destination is by far the best! Life is better in flip flops and that’s just a fact.

The sand between your toes, the sound of waves crashing, the warmth of the sun, and exploring a new places – does it get better than that? Well, to me it doesn’t!

I just returned home from a fun-filled trip to Key West, nicknamed “The Conch Republic,” or the “Southernmost City in the US.”


Also known for being the Key Lime “everything” capital – key lime pie, key lime wine, key lime salad dressing, key lime jelly, key lime martinis, chocolate covered key lime and so much more.

The island is about 4 miles long and 1 mile wide and we explored a great deal. We rented an electric car one day. I highly recommend doing this it was a great way to get around and see all that Key West has to offer.

The overall vibe on the island is very laid back, the people are super friendly (hardly anyone was born and raised there, it’s a big transplant island), the rum is flowing and Duval Street is where it’s at.

If you’re ever visiting I have some restaurant recommendations.

For breakfast:
-       Blue Heaven is a must – absolutely delicious breakfast and even more delicious mimosas. It has a cool island vibe, even down to the chickens and roosters running around. If you want to eat here be prepared to wait, but trust me it’s well worth it.
-       La Te Da Hotel has a great breakfast as well. The challah french toast was a hit!

For lunch:
-       Conch Republic Seafood Company is right down by the marina and absolutely worth trying for lunch, dinner or happy hour. The menu is huge and the drink selection is more than plentiful. 
-       The Commodore Waterfront Restaurant – has amazing local seafood!

For dinner:
-       Bistro 254 (part of The Westin) is a wonderful al fresco dining spot right on Mallory Square (gorgeous views and delicious food).
-       The Grand CafĂ© on Duval Street is not only a beautiful restaurant (make sure you check out the bar inside it’s awesome!) but the food is wonderful! It’s a great dining spot set right on the hustling and bustling Duval Street (perfect for people watching!)

Other great places to check out:
-       Kermit’s for chocolate covered key lime pie on a stick
-       Key West Legal Rum Distllery for a quick rum tasting
-       Garbo’s Food Truck
-       The Southernmost Point Buoy (take a picture here, everyone else does!)
-       Duval Street – an abundance of shops to pick up souvenirs, a plethora of galleries, more bars and restaurants then you’ll know what to do with
-       Mallory Square – one word “SUNSETS” (pack your camera!)

Whether you’re a beach person or not, Key West is a great place to visit, it’s rich in history, full of wonderful restaurants, friendly people, and you’re sure to make some great memories there.



Bon Voyage!



Friday, April 18, 2014

my imaginary guest room

yes, please
I have 2 children, a mortgage, several loans, and one-third of an acre of property. And yet, I will not fully feel like an adult until I have a guest room. Not a room that happens to have an extra place to sleep, not a room with a bed...and a desk, and crafts. A guest room. With a queen-sized bed and nightstands that have lamps - that serves one purpose - a room just for my guests to sleep. Then, my friends, I will feel like a real, live adult. As we are a few years away from that, I often think, nay, dream, about the contents of my future guest room. Indulge me as I take you on a tour...

{an empty dresser with a clean, flat surface} Somewhere to unpack, and set toiletries and make-up. When I stay somewhere, the first thing that I want to do is unpack my toothbrush and toothpaste so its on-hand whenever I need it (I have a small, tooth-brushing obsession, I can only hope I haven't passed on my weirdness to future generations). And unpacking your clothes from your suitcase is absolutely essential for feeling settled, rifling through piles time after time is a sure way to miss home.

{a luggage rack} Empty suitcases need a place to go, or you'll just end up moving it from surface to surface. I haven't come across one that doesn't look too hotel-y, so maybe I'd DIY one in an accent color. On second thought, I think that's a bit beyond my abilities, so maybe I'll keep my out for one to re-vamp...any excuse for thrifting, right??

{color} My default palette is neutral, so I'd love to use a guest room as a chance to bring some color - maybe with a patterned wallpaper? Who else became obsessed with big, bold wallpaper because of that one room in Atonement?! I sure did. (if I don't use wallpaper in a guest room, then I will when I have a little yellow sun room for reading and tea-drinking).




{a water carafe and cup} I don't know why, but I am obsessed with this. Well, I do know why. When I was little, I used to go to my friends grandparents house mansion on a farm, and in the guest room was a carafe and cup for water, and it was just about the classiest thing my 8 year old self had seen (they also had a huge farmhouse table *sigh*). Crate and Barrel seems to always have a style available, so I know where to go when the time comes.

{stripes} every room in my house has something striped - a blanket, a throw pillow, bookcase inserts, my closet...so I will of course have to carry on the theme. This rug, perhaps? 


Clearly, there will be other considerate items available - towels, spare toiletries, etc. But that is not the stuff my dreams are made of. What future rooms do you dream about? A greenhouse? A formal dining room? One without papers everywhere?

til the bed spreads,
Em


 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sangria - A Refreshing & Delicious Summer Cocktail

I know I'm not alone when I say there's nothing better than a good glass of wine ... Well that is until Spring/Summer rolls around and you're looking for something cold and refreshing to sip on. How about a nice glass of Sangria?

Red or white, both are deliciously fruity and fun to drink.

I'm a red sangria person and have revamped a friends white sangria recipe for my own drinking pleasure, which I want to share with all of you - I promise you won't be disappointed!

Recipe:

  • 8 cups of Burgundy or Cabernet Sauvignon (I typically use the Cabernet, but either will do)
  • 2 cups of orange juice
  • 2 cups of pineapple juice 
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup of sugar (can substitute  this for 8-10 packets of Splenda)
  • 1 cup peach schnapps 
  • 16 oz flavored seltzer (lemon/lime or orange are my two recommendations) 

Directions:
I usually have an empty jug from the last bottle of Burgundy or Cab that I bought so I use this to make my new batch of Sangria in. With a funnel add the wine, oj and pineapple juice, lemon juice, sugar and peach schnapps. Put the cap on and shake really well mixing all the ingredients together. Add the seltzer next and give it one final shake (not too much, you still want to hint of fizz from the seltzer). 

I usually cut up fresh oranges and apples in cubes to add to the sangria. 

Serve over ice and enjoy!