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Weekend Recap: On the Water

Tuesday, October 9, 2012
From the looks of my blog posts, it seems I'm working for the weekend these days. That isn't too far from the truth although much (MUCH) easier than tax seasons past. Eventually (hopefully soon), I'll get back on the regular scheduled blogging train.

Weekend Recap

Monday, October 1, 2012

Weekend Recap Part II - Lake Forest

Thursday, September 27, 2012
After a quick but quite enjoyable vacation in Chicago, it was time to kick-off the real reason that we were in Illinois-- Stacy & Eric's wedding! The weekend started off with a lovely cocktail party in downtown Chicago.

The next day we headed north to Lake Forest for the remainder of the weekend. After a delicious meal at the luncheon on Friday, I officially decided that I could be a lady-who-lunches... cheese souffle with tomato beurre blanc for lunch, sign me up!

The weather cleared Friday evening which made for a delightful dinner on Lake Michigan.

And then the wedding!!! Stacy was a radiant bride and it was just so much fun watching her and her new husband all night!

Weekend Recap Part 1 - Chicago!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Gah, it was hard getting back into the swing of things this week! We had a great trip to Chicago last week and it was back to reality on Monday. A wonderful wedding weekend got us to Illinois, but before we headed north of the city for the weekend, we took a few days to enjoy Chicago. It was Andy's first trip and we squeezed in a few sites!

First up, a boat tour of Chicago by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. It was very informative and quite enjoyable, especially since it was such a beautiful day.

The after diving into some deep dish pizza at Lou Malnati's, we walked off about one half of a bite of our lunch and strolled through Millennium Park. Of course, a flock of birds decided to take flight, right as dad was snapping our picture.

But they decided to leave mom and dad alone.

Of course I didn't snap any pictures because I was too busy eating and chatting but we had a wonderful dinner with one of my bffs from growing up who now lives in Chicago. Quite a treat!

Andy's only request while we were in Chicago was to go to a Cubs game so that we did. And we did it in style, bleachers style.

Next up, the wonderful wedding weekend!

Random Round-Up: Emerald and Lime

Friday, September 14, 2012

office image Sanity Fair // lamp Lucy Table Lamp // scarf Hermes Clic-Clac à Pois // reusable bag Baggu // sofa Jonathan Adler Kensington Sofa // shoes Tory Burch Patent Leather Eddie Ballet Flat // wallet kate spade carlisle street - stacy // vase Venini Fazzoletti Small Vase // earrings Kenneth Jay Lane Tassel Shoulder Duster Earrings // bike Public V7

The Boat

Wednesday, September 12, 2012
As I've mentioned, my parents bought a boat. I've been doing my best to learn the boating terminology, but in the meantime, I've been helping my mom with decorating (a bit more up my alley). Having a full time job, I'm a bit slow to execute, but we're making progress. Things have definitely changed along the way but a lot has stayed as originally planned. I had to work with all outdoor fabric which was a challenge, but I was pleasantly surprised by what was out there. I did get one exception... the multi-colored chevron fabric in the salon; it was just too perfect.

Smoked and Pulled Pork

Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Andy makes delicious pulled pork and since we hadn't had it all summer, I requested it for Labor Day. We hadn't made it since 2010 but had done a good job documenting and after making it again, I think the recipe is perfect (remember, it's not mine, it's Andy's so I can say that).

This makes a lot but the leftovers are delicious. We had sliders a few nights, then pork quesadillas and wish we would have made pork nachos. But the remainder of the pork was enjoyed by the boys while watching the Redskins. Perfect football food.

Andy's Pork Butt

Brine the Butt (Alton Brown’s Method)
2 quarts water
¾ cup molasses
1 cup salt

Mix ingredients together. Add the 6-8lb bone-in pork butt (aka pork shoulder). Brine overnight.

Make Barbeque Sauce
1 cup ketchup
⅔ cup cidar vinegar
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup tomato paste
1 T mustard
1 t cumin
1 t coriander
1 T chili powder
1 T onion powder
1 T paprika

Mix ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Slow cook the butt in the crock pot.
After the butt has been in the brine for 12-24 hours, remove it from the brine and cover it in the sauce. Place it in the crock pot on top of some onion slices. Pour remaining sauce over the pork. Cook for 6-8 hours on low.

Smoke the butt
Brush off excess sauce. Smoke the butt for 2 hours (or less if you just don't have time but don't skip this step!). If you don't have a smoker (and we certainly don't... maybe when we buy a house!), you can make a make-shift one. Soak wood chips for about 30 minutes. Drain the wood chips and place them in an aluminum pan. Cover the pan tightly with foil and poke holes in the foil. Place the "smoker" over direct heat on the grill and put the pork butt on indirect heat. Cover the grill and let the smokin' begin (which will take about 10-15 minutes).

Boil sauce
Into a saucepan, strain the onion and little bits from the sauce and pork drippings in the crock pot. Boil the sauce until it reaches the desired consistency (about 30-45 minutes), skimming the fat as you can.

Let the butt rest for 30 minutes – 1 hour before shredding with two forks or your hands. Toast some buns (we love it with Sister Schubert dinner rolls). Serve with the sauce.

And I'm back!

Monday, September 10, 2012
Well, I guess I thought I was European and the month of August was a holiday month! I've proven that I'm pretty good at taking unplanned blogging breaks. Kind of nice to be able to do that, since I still haven't found a way to take a break from real life. But I've missed y'all (and hopefully you've missed me!). It's hard once you're out of the routine to get back into the routine (haven't you heard that commercial.. a body in motion, stays in motion? well, a blogger not posting, stays quiet), and I didn't want to start back until I was ready to be consistent.

Not sure what it is, probably the change of seasons, but I'm ready! I love fall. I dare to say it's my favorite season, although spring is a pretty close second. I love fall clothes, fall food and fall weather (and the leaves!).

So I'll leave you wth what I wish I was wearing to ring in the new season (yes, I know it's not technically fall but it is in my mind!).

sunglasses Tom Ford Raquel // earrings Carly Stud by Kendra Scott // top Las Palmas by Rag & Bone // scarf Fontaine Scarf by Ash and Anchor // handbag Cobalt Leather JF Tote by MZ Wallace // bracelets C Wonder Signature Enamel Bangle, Bold Bangle, Gold Circles Bracelet // jeans J Crew Toothpick Jean in Pitch Black Wash // flats Aadan Ballet Flat by Tory Burch

Christmas in July

Thursday, July 26, 2012
Why not celebrate Christmas in July?! It's about time I actually post some projects on T&V since that's what I originally intended. Really just so I have documentation of some things. Otherwise, they get lost in the depths of my computer hard drive, never to be seen again.

This was a Christmas card that I did last year for some dear friends and I love the way it turned out! Of course, it's the picture that makes it so adorable, right?

PS - You might notice that you recognize these precious kiddos and oops, I got their names wrong! Actually, I always change up names (especially last names) when I show different items on the blog. Think it's only fair. So yes, I did help host Stacy & Eric's engagement party but no, you won't see my name on there!

Lake Houses... a girl can dream

Wednesday, July 25, 2012
I know, I know, I'm getting ahead of myself but what's new? We don't even have a primary home, so why am I even thinking about a lake house? Well, a girl can dream, right?

top left Beth Webb from Beth Webb Interiors & Nancy Pendergrast from Summerour Interiors featured in Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles 2008 Designer Showhouse // top right Interior Design by Lee Bierly and Christopher Drake, Bierly-Drake Associates; Builder: Ron DaSilva, Better Homes & Kitchens; Photography: Michael Partenio; Featured in "Easygoing Elegance" July/August 2010 New England Home Magazine // middle row Bear Hill Interiors Lake Hamilton Home // bottom left Designed by Meg Braff; Photo by J. Savage Gibson; Styling by Heather Chadduck; featured in Coastal Living // bottom right Burnham Design Great Lakes House

Good to Know

Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Everyone's on Pinterest, right? As Andy has said to me: "is that the only website you go to?". Not exactly true but pretty close. It's a great place to gather ideas from around the web and keep them in one place, while also getting inspired by friends' pins.

In the past few weeks, there have been more than a few "hmm, that's good to know" pins that I've repinned so I thought I'd share them here as well.

How to Set a Buffet Table


Who knows if it's Emily Post approved but it seems to make sense to me!

How to Set a Dining Table

Source: Mrs. Lilien

Always a good reminder! Seems to be missing the water glass but that doesn't surprise me considering it's from Mrs. Lilien!

Upholstery Yardage


Seasonal Produce

Source: The Food Lovers Kitchen

Grilling Times and Temps

Source: Visual News


Friday, July 20, 2012
TGIF! I'm starting to feel a bit refreshed after yet another unplanned blogging break! And I'm making progress on attacking my to-do lists... I've identified the #1 problem-- my couch. It's comfy and cozy and there's a windowsill right there where my wine glass sits in perfect reach for constant sipping. Up until now, I think that I'm still working, getting stuff done while I'm on the sofa-- I mean, I'm on my computer! But what I've been denying is that I'm on my computer, surfing Pinterest, reading blogs and generally perusing random websites (and constantly refreshing to make sure there's no breaking news). So I've now relocated my computer to the dining room table. There's still a spot for my wine glass, but at least I'm upright, in a chair and actually getting stuff done. I think Andy might favor this set-up seeing that he's settled into the center of the sofa quite well!

So I think the refreshing couple of weeks plus my new set-up will bring more inspiration and more blogging! I've just felt uninspired and being a perfectionist (with some things) doesn't help. It's quite debilitating at times. I currently have 17 draft posts- WHAT?! Time to knock those babies out. I'll be back next week with a recap of Andy's birthday dinner. All I'll say is creamed caramelized onions. Deliciousness. Thankfully we had leftovers that I served tonight with a side of kraft mac and cheese. Classy! There's also the wonderful baby shower we went to in Jackson for my life long bestest and an accompanying tasty cocktail recipe that's a perfect refresher for the muggy hot weather.

And because obviously a post without pictures is just not worth it, thought I'd share my newest favorite house product-- Method Laundry Detergent. I think my friends Brooke & Stacy introduced me to this and it's amazing. Well, really what's so awesome is that it takes up no space, which is key when you have no space. And there's barely any waste-- see that refill bag? Bye bye to the big huge plastic jugs being thrown away when they're empty.

TGIF! Have a great weekend.

Life in General

Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Do you ever feel like you're on a treadmill and just want to hop off for a breather? That's what I feel like these days. Now let me say this first-- I realize that my little treadmill is full of fun things! Things I love to do! Life is good... no great! But with that said, I've been having too much fun, not enough doing things that need to be done. Oops! As Andy has pointed out before, I tend to prioritize things I want to do over things I need to do-- he's so practical. But it's high time to heed that advice and get to work.

Have absolutely loved perusing Bailey McCarty of Peppermint Bliss's home! See her master, little girl's room, guest room, playroom and laundry room, family room and powder room, kitchen and bar, entry, living and dining rooms.

I'm in the process of organizing myself and getting my priorities in line. I've started using the Reminders on my iPhone again... let's see if I keep that up! I probably should make a cleaning schedule a la Jenny of Little Green Notebook.

A Colorful Park Avenue Apartment in House Beautiful // Designer Christina Murphy // Photographer Jonny Valiant // found via i suwannee

I feel like I'm doing spring cleaning (albeit in the middle of summer) of life! And no, these pics have nothing to do with this post but how boring would this be if I'd left them out?

Summer Vegetable Bake

Wednesday, July 11, 2012
It's become apparent that I'm the type of person that gets more done when I have more to do. Obvious statement of the day? What I mean is that when I have tons going on (say, at work), I'm able to keep up that momentum and get lots of other stuff done (like at home). But when I am not very busy, I tend to waste time and wonder what in the world I've been doing for 3 hours. The last few weeks have been examples of that. I've fallen off the blog wagon because I don't mentally schedule it in and then it never gets done. Yada, yada, yada. That's all going to stop now.

At supper club last night, one of the girls said "if I don't write it down on a list, it doesn't happen because I look at my list, don't see anything and think I have nothing to do." That's totally true for me too. I tried for a while not to keep lists... heard it would keep your brain from turning to mush. Well I'm just going to have a mushy brain but I'll be getting stuff done!

Now for a total 180... a summer vegetable bake. I saw this receipe on Pinterest (obvi) which is sort of like a list, right? It was perfect because I had some zucchini that I'd received from someone's garden. I'm not typically a zucchini person but this was delicious.

Summer Veggie Bake
Adapted from For the Love of Cooking

I probably would not have made any changes to the original recipe, but I was rushed. Worked later than expected, hadn't eaten all day, got home and wanted to order take-out but we had everything we needed at home. I didn't have time to saute the onion before hand and I wanted it to cook as quickly as possible.

1 zucchini
1-2 yellow squash
1 medium yellow onion
1 russet potato
3 plum tomatoes
½ grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup Panko bread crumbs
Olive oil
Garlic salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash all the veggies. Slice the zucchini, squash and potato into very thin slices. Slice the tomato and onion into about a quarter inch slices. You may have to half or quarter the potato and onion slices so that each piece is a uniform size in diameter.

In a greased round baking dish (a pie pan would also work for this), overlap the veggies as you go around the outside of the pan. Continue until you fill the pan. Season with garlic salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.

Bake for about 25 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and Panko and drizzle with a little more olive oil. Continue to bake until it's browned, about 20 more minutes.

Random Round-Up: Rifle Paper Co.

Friday, July 6, 2012
Rifle Paper Co. is one of those companies that I just love everything they do. Anna Bond, the owner and creative behind the company, is so talented at creating pieces that are warm, a little bit vintage yet still modern and clean.

left to right, top Botanical Coaster Set // Animal Alphabet Chart // middle Floral Burst Birthday Card // Market Shopping Pad // bottom Canary Botanical Journal // Hanging Garden Recipe Cards

Avocado Toast

Thursday, July 5, 2012
I don't know why it took me so long to become acquainted with avocado toast, but I'm certainly glad I am now! When we were in the Hamptons a few weekends ago, we ordered avocado toast as our breakfast appetizer (yes, you can have appetizers at any meal). Um, delicious.

This is the perfect breakfast or afternoon snack-- filling, nutritious, and most importantly so tasty.

Avocado Toast
Inspired by La Bodega in Montauk, NY

½ Avocado
1 or 2 slices whole grain or Cuban bread
Red pepper flakes
Kosher salt

While you're bread is toasting, lightly smash the avocado. Top the toast with the avocado, drizzle with honey and sprinkle with kosher salt and red pepper to taste.

Weekend Recap-The Big D

Tuesday, July 3, 2012
So it's another iPhone camera weekend recap. I promise it's not replacing my DSLR but it's just so easy and good!

Orzo with Artichoke Pesto, Grilled Corn and Tomatoes

Thursday, June 28, 2012
If the skirt steak and chimichurri is my new easy summer dinner, then this is my new summer go to dish-- Orzo with Artichoke Pesto, Grilled Corn and Tomatoes.  It's a great light dinner, side dish (with grilled chicken would be yum) or the perfect lunch.  Neither Andy nor I are big artichoke people-- love the flavor, not keen on the texture.  Well, this solves that problem since the artichokes are pureed in the pesto.

Orzo with Artichoke Pesto, Grilled Corn and Tomatoes
Adapted from Giada

Artichoke Pesto
1 (8-ounce) pack frozen artichoke hearts, thawed or 16oz jar of artichoke hearts in oil, drained
½ bunch flat leaf parsley
A few sprigs of fresh basil
½ cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1 lemon, zested and juiced
3 cloves garlic
Few glugs of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined.

Orzo with Artichoke Pesto, Grilled Corn and Tomatoes
4 ears corn
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1⅓ cups orzo

Prepare orzo according to the package directions for 4 servings (224g uncooked).

Shuck the corn and rub it with a little olive oil. Place the corn directly on the hot grill and cook for about 4 minutes, turning to grill all sides. After it's cooked, cut it off the cobs.

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked orzo, corn and tomatoes. Top with pesto and toss until combined.

Summer Supper

Tuesday, June 26, 2012
We enjoyed a great dinner on the roof on Saturday, but this could easily be a week night dinner. I need to remember that skirt steak is the perfect match for a week night dinner. It doesn't have to be marinated and it cooks in 5 minutes.

Skirt Steak with Chimichurri
Inspired by Everyday Occassions

Half bunch of flat leaf parsley
Few basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
½ cup olive oil
4 tsp balsamic vinegar
½ lemon, juiced
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
Skirt steak

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until combined.

Season skirt steak with salt and pepper.  Cook on a very hot grill for 3 minutes on one side, flip and 2 minutes on the other side.  Let rest for a few minutes before slicing, on the diagonal, against the grain. Serve chimichurri sauce over the steak.

Inspired by Camille Styles

Corn, either frozen or fresh
Edamame, shelled
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Red bell pepper, diced
Vidalia onion, diced
Salt & Pepper
Fresh basil

Have you noticed I'm not that great with measurements?  I'm fine with it for baking but cooking? Um, not so much.  I think it's because it doesn't really matter.  Really like edamame? Use a lot!  Prefer corn? Double up.

In a large skillet, melt some butter and saute the onions until translucent.  If you're using any frozen veggies (e.g. corn, edamame), add those and cook until heated through.  Add any fresh veggies (e.g. corn that's been cooked/grilled/boiled/baked, red pepper, and tomatoes) and saute until heated through.  Season with salt and pepper.  Right before serving, squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the dish and add fresh basil.