Monday, June 9, 2014

Recipe: Summer Steak and Salad

Since I started working out, I have been craving steak like nobody's business!
Thankfully, my totally awesome husband is fully aware of this and pulled some out of the freezer when he got home today to thaw (Brag alert!). I was starving when
I got in the door so this is a thrown together recipe which just happened to be one I'd like to be able to repeat (ask Jay and he'll tell ya I never make quite the same dinner twice).

I didn't take step by step pictures because I'm just not that good but it was super easy to prep...

2 steaks... beat to hell with a meat tenderizer so they're flat enough to roll. (you could probably make the veggies stretch for 4 steaks, increasing where need be and throwing the extra in around them)
2 tomatoes (chopped)
1red pepper (chopped)
Handful of spinach (chopped)
2ish ounces of cheese (flavor of the day is horseradish Cheddar, but any cheese you like could work)
Onion (diced fresh or dry flakes)

Lay flattened steaks out and season with salt and pepper (add garlic, Italian or steak seasoning if you so choose). Layer cheese, peppers, and spinach inside then roll up and secure end with toothpicks.
Splash a teeny bit of olive oil in a small baking dish then place steaks. Surround with tomatoes and any remaining pepper (I had 1/2 pepper left after rolling). Sprinkle with salt pepper and onion then bake at 350° until the steak is done to your liking.

While the steaks cook, throw the salad together...

1 tomato (chopped)
1 cucumber (chopped)
1-2 handfuls of spinach (chopped)
6-10 Basil leaves (chopped)
2ish ounces of cheese (chopped or shredded)
Stir all ingredients together and season with salt, pepper, and if you're feeling crazy, squirt a little lemon juice on top. Yum!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Friday Favorites Taking it Easy and Missing my Husband

Happy Friday loves!! I hope you have something amazing planned for the weekend... we have no big plans... which in itself is amazing! A little dance recital action late tomorrow morning for our niece and then a gloriously open day... Ahhh I LOVE THAT... especially because I've been holding down the fort with Blitz the last few days while Jay was in Harrisburg at a conference.

I've been trying to get up and work out every morning before work... it's way easier when Jay's home and can kick me out of bed when the alarm goes off. I feel a million times better, physically and mentally and I have so much more energy, which is great! It does cut into my "getting ready" time but it's totally worth the sacrifice! (I've only been seeing a trainer for a week and I'm already down 5 lbs!)

The easiest thing I'm loving for my shortened morning routine is the top-knot (formerly known as the messy bun). It is my go-to hair style, and has been since about 1997) because it's super simple. I LOVE my long hair! I HATE when it sticks to me and as the weather heats up, the top knot keeps me cool and from going crazy. This post came through my news feed this week, which quashed any thoughts of changing it up :)
All it takes is mascara and a necklace to look pulled together,
which is great when I'm running on coffee and endorphins!!

Speaking of coffee... I'm addicted... but not really... I just love it... I can stop drinking it any time I want...

I love the time I get to spend with Jay in the morning and our ritual of taking turns brewing a pot then enjoying them together. This is our time to catch up and relax and chat and plan (which I've really REALLY missed this week). He's crazy-busy with his new firm, so sometimes it's the only time we get in the day to actually spend a few uninterrupted moments together. I know it won't always be this way, but for now, it's "our thing" and I love it. I think he does too, because he's always surprising me with little things to make it special... this week's it was a pound of Starbucks Brezza Blend, he got it on the Sunday breakfast run.
Starbucks® Brezza Blend

He knows I love good packaging and said the bag just screamed "Eileen"!! Bonus! It tastes delicious!
We usually buy our coffee in bulk at Costco because we go through it like water and they sell bigger bags, but sometimes it's nice to splurge and a little gift from a super thoughtful husband is always welcome in my book!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Father's Day Gift ideas

I pride myself on being a great gift-giver. I seriously start Christmas shopping in June just because I'm completely crazy about finding "the perfect gift"... the last person to check off my list, year after year, always seems to be my dad!

So with Father's Day just around the corner, I've been trying to come up with some ideas... He's a blue collar man, so ties and cufflinks don't do it for him.

 A few things that do...

This smoker from Cabela's - my brother and I got him this a few years ago for Christmas (but also a GREAT Father's Day gift, especially if you want to do something jointly with your siblings).

Another reason this is great... it's the gift that keeps on giving! You'll get to enjoy smoked meat all summer (and winter) long! It also sets you up for future years' gifts, a la accessories:

Estancia Hat
Orvis Sun Hat
My dad is the king of the straw hat in the summer. He burns easily, so he covers up with a big ol' hat...

"The Tourists" circa 2010

The other old stand-by for my dad is Home Depot gift card. This will probably accompany anything we give him for Father's Day this year since his van, filled with so many of his tools, was stolen (right our of their driveway!! ahh, not Cupcake Land anymore) a few weeks back and he's been replacing things left and right.

For the not-as-difficult-to-shop-for-Dads, I think these make great gifts!

Daddy-O Tee (discounted via Brickyard Buffalo),

We are not parents yet, but if I was buying stuff for Jay, these are all things I would get for him. I racked my brain for him at Christmas, and the biggest hit of all was the collection of limited edition beers. He still raves about a few and is dying for them to be released again.
If you're buying for a "beer guy" but don't have a clue what you're looking for, just hit up your local bottle shop (or Whole Foods) and ask to talk to the beer manager, those guys are pretty damn knowledgeable and will be able to point you in the right direction.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Currently - A Spring/Summer Edition

Loving: this weather! It hit 90 degrees today and I got to enjoy the last bit of sunshine before we got nailed with a pop up thunder storm. The good news is, it's already passed and I'll get to enjoy the evening too!

Reading: The Honest Life by Jessica Alba, and I'm totally loving her easy writing style. This book is chock full of great recipes and simple ideas for healthy living that don't make you feel like you need a Chemistry degree to figure out. I highly recommend it!

Waiting for: a special delivery from West Elm! I ordered the shower curtain for our hall bath and I can't wait for it to get here so I can finish decorating in there!

Excited about: my personal training sessions! I just started with an AMAZING coach and so far, so good... ya know, that good my-muscles-I-didn't-even-know-I-have-are-sore feeling? I have that... it's awesome!

Trying to: get all the half finished projects around our house, fully completed. We're so close!

Working on: artwork for the hall bathroom - the promised reveal is coming soon, I swear!

Enjoying: Infused Water... I've been putting all kinds of fruits/veggies in my water these days and it's such a refreshing change of pace! It makes drinking the 100 ounces I need every day much more "fun"

Using: Moroccan Argan Citrus Mint Shower Gel. AH-MAZING. it smells great and my skin (which was so dry from this abusive winter) is finally feeling human and not alligator again! I picked mine up at Marshall's.

Wearing:this ring and this bracelet. I am currently obsessed with the Alex + Ani bracelets and I couldn't resist this little guy when I was out shopping last weekend... the good news is, for the rest of June, the bumble bee charm bracelet is $5 off!

Planning: a much-needed night out with our friends who we almost never get to see! I can't wait to see them this weekend! It's been wayyyy too long!

Needing:  order and organization in my life!

Learning: how to sew! Jay got me an amazing sewing machine for Christmas, but I have no idea how the heck to use it... enter my amazing mom... she's the best!

Listening to: Eric Church Pandora station

Doing: procrastinating... hardcore.

Dreaming of: babies... I've got the fe-vah!

and for this little gem, you are welcome!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

#____girlproblems... indecisiveness

If you've been following along, you know our house has been "under construction" for a little over a year now. It's been a rough year as we are doing more to the house than we had originally planned, doing everything but taking it down to the studs, which in some spots... we have... and in other spots we should have... there's not a single square corner in any of our rooms and we've had to cheat our way through big time! Things we thought we wouldn't get to for a few years have all been started (and some completed) since and we've been living in what I call the construction-storage unit. 

In this same year: we've planned a wedding and got married, my honey ran a campaign and got elected, he also went out on his own and started a law firm... all the while our poor house has been torn apart and slowly put back together.

I am so happy now, as I watch the projects that we've been working on forever finally coming together! You would think, that with all this time on my hands, I'd already have decisions made on how to decorate...
Truth is: I don't.

First, I have to defend myself because I had no trouble deciding on oil rubbed bronze, the hardware, faucets, etc. I knew I wanted this light before I picked anything else for the bathroom. I knew I wanted a taller vanity that was wider than our old one (which only came to about 6 inches above my knees) with lots of storage. I knew I wanted white subway tile. I dreamed of a bright white bead board ceiling with pretty moulding.

I waffled a bit on the floor tile. Originally, we wanted slate (way too expensive for our not-forever house). Then I really loved the wood plank tiles, but I couldn't decide on a finish (dark, light, gray, weathered? too many choices). Then we couldn't agree on a pattern, I wanted herringbone and Jay did not. Then we couldn't decided if the "wood tile" was too trendy and if we should do something more traditional. Back to slate "look"... finally, we settled on th Aspen Sunset glazed porcelain, and I love it! It pulls so many colors that we we could have painted our bathroom green, tan, blue, rust, gray... practically any color swatch we laid next to it looked nice. You would think that would make it hard for us to choose, but Jay knew exactly what he wanted as soon as he looked at the swatches I brought home. (I waffled again... going back and forth between gray-blue or gray-brown... I really liked this MS thunderhead, but love the color we went with, perhaps that color would work in the kitchen though).

Now, the bathroom is *almost* done and I cannot decide on a shower curtain or artwork or accent towels/baskets etc.

I love this rugby striped shower curtain and the fun pops of yellow in the rug and towels for the summer.

 But then.... I think this is so "us" and it's hard to resist this clean and classic blue-gray-white combo.

Ugh... I suck at this game.

The curtain rings are from Bed Bath and Beyond.
Our towels are from Pottery Barn and they are seriously the BEST! They are super soft and wash well, I also love white because they can be bleached, which makes me feel like they are super-clean.
Last, I got a similar trash can at Marshall's for $9.99... it's the same shape as this one but has a broken zig zag design around the top.
Shower curtains and rugs pictured are all from West Elm.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Friday Favorites - Dress Obsessed

The one thing I hate is spending money on "work clothes". I can be running around like a mad woman or folded up at my desk, my work day is unpredictable like that so I want to look cute but feel comfy. I also like clothes that can pull double duty so I don't come right home and change, which is hard on the laundry lady (aka, me) and I almost never buy/wear things that need to be ironed or dry cleaned.
Ain't nobody got time for that! 
So when I find something I love, and it actually fits (I'm tall so sometimes dresses look like shirts on me), I go a bit overboard. Enter Gap and Old Navy. I've been a long time fan but when I was younger, I didn't mind dresses and skirts being short... but times have changed and mini-skirts just don't always work. Almost all of their clothes come in petite, regular, and tall... which makes this girl SO happy.  Vast selection and no hoo-ha flashing! YAY!!

I got a bunch of Gap dresses around this time last year and they have easily become the most-worn items in my closet. I cycle through them for work and although they have held up great. There's one bright pink sweatshirt dress that is my favorite... which I wasn't expecting at all. I get tons of complements on it and it's so ridiculously comfy. I wear it with my coach slip-on sneakers, flip flops, over leggings... it's super versatile and did I say comfy? It is the best! Of course, it's the one dress I didn't get in multiple colors.

The good news is that gap has a bunch of great dresses that fit the bill this season too! And they're on sale!

via Gap

I got this one in 2 colors...

via Gap
and this x 2 as well...

via Gap

and definitely got this one in both colors... it can double as a cover up, duh!

via Gap
the only reason I didn't get these striped dresses in both colors is because they were sold out of my size...

via Old Navy

So I went a little crazy... but the last thing I want is to feel like I do with my pink dress... wishing I would have bought it in every color.

However, I subscribe to the Jessica Garvin "Cost Per Use" Philosophy.
Consider this shopping spree justified.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Decisions, Decisions... final touches to the Hall Bath

I'm having a hell of a time picking the decor for our hall bath... hence the delay in the big reveal. I just can't seem to decide on a shower curtain. Which means I can't decide on the rest of the bath accessories.
We painted the walls with a custom mix... a cross between Behr Amphibian (slightly lighter) and Nature Retreat (a bit darker).

I absolutely love the color. It's super dark but looks awesome with the slate tile. With the bright white subway tile, counter top, and bead board ceiling, it all just pops and looks so crisp.

We want to add a shower curtain and accessories that amplify this look and really tie it all together. As usual, we're having trouble agreeing on style/colors and my indecisive nature isn't helping AT ALL...

West Elm
West Elm

Pottery Barn

Pottery Barn

Pottery Barn
P.B. Teen




Bed Bath & Beyond

Bed Bath & Beyond

These are the ones I've "narrowed" it down to... we all know how terrible I am with decisions. I will pick everything else to go in the bathroom once I have a firm grasp on the shower curtain. We already have these amazing towels in white, so I don't need other hand towels, but I sure would like some as an accent.

I'm totally digging these bath mats from West Elm... so whatever I end up getting will probably match them... maybe?


Zig Zag

Horizon Stripe

Friday, May 23, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend and Friday Favorites

I want to send a humongous THANK YOU out to all the service members! I am eternally grateful for everything these brave men and women do to protect our great nation. They sacrifice so much so that our freedom stands unwavering. It is an amazing blessing to have such wonderful, selfless people put their lives on the line for the rest of us. There are not enough words to express my gratitude.

That said, we'll be celebrating one of my favorite retired Sgt. Major's birthday this weekend and I just cannot wait to see him! We also have a big 6th birthday to attend for our beautiful little niece.This weekend is going to be chock full of fun, and loads of time spent with family and friends.

A few of my favorite festive things - totally worth snatching up because you can use them 3 holidays in a row :) Who doesn't love that!?

Red, White and Blue Headband, Star Headband, 4th of July Headband, Memorial Day Headband
Via SolaBowtique
There are plenty more sweet headbands and clips where this came from... I adore this sweet little sparkly one, though, and couldn't resist getting it for little Miss Peyton (my best friend's baby girl). She's such a little doll.  

Painted American Flag
via Pottery Barn

We got this beauty from my Aunt and Uncle as a wedding gift and I just love love love it! We are just finishing up our kitchen and we CANNOT WAIT to get it hanging in there!

I'm hoping that we'll be able to have a party for the 4th of July so that I can also go nuts buying all this stuff!

I will be rocking this dress all at some point over the weekend... 

And last but not least, my not-so-little brother will be home from Colorado this week! Can't wait to see him. He called me earlier this week to see if I'd be able to pick up shoes at the mall if he ordered them. Turns out, these Vans are super popular and sold out everywhere... and he needs wants them for a party that he is going to on Sunday, which means no time to wait for the 6-9 shipping days.

Van Doren Authentic
Lucky for brotherman, I am an expert online shopper :) I found them at Revolve for the same price, but their free shipping was 2-3 day... BOOM!

Hope everyone enjoys this long weekend :) Remember why we're celebrating and thank any active duty, reservist, or Vets you might come across in between BBQ's and fireworks. They're the reason we all have the freedom to do so!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Should have been a Teacher...

Without fail, when Memorial Day weekend rolls around, I always find myself longing for Summer Vacation.

I start to kick myself and think, "I should have been a teacher!" 
Don't get me wrong, they have it tough and I give major kudos to all those dear souls cut out for the job. Really, the only reason I ever think I'd try to hack it is when I start to see my friends posting on Facebook about gallivanting around town at Christmas time, beach pictures from some amazing spring break,  and general fun all summer long while I'm sitting in my no-window-having cramped office.

Ah... some day. For now, I am going to just enjoy my 4-day weekend and keep dreaming of summers off...

And with that, I need a cocktail...
Citrus Paradise

How yummy does this look!?! I cannot wait to hit our local farmers market tomorrow and pick up some juicy strawberries (may need more than I thought now that I've come across this recipe) and a carful of other fresh goodies!

Looks like I'll also be stopping by the liquor store... and boy am I gonna need it after a fun morning at the social security office... Jay's going to divorce me if I don't get my name changed (especially since next week we will hit the 6 month mark! holy crap! where does the time go!?!?!)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

'Tis the Season... Red, White, and Blue

You know I love a good (and super easy) festive addition to any weekend... I especially love Memorial Day as it serves as the kick off to summer... which now seems to be friend-season. 

We're all so busy with work, family, kids, life, that I welcome this time of year with open arms. It's like everyone just has a little less on their plates and more time to get together... that and it's not frigid outside so you actually don't mind leaving your house.

These patriotic fruit skewers are perfect for BBQs on Memorial Day and 4th of July. #funfood #patriotic #FoodSaver
Via Pinterest
This couldn't be any easier and is super cute for breakfast, or stood up in a galvanized bucket for a festive flag display.

Of course, if I can swing it, I will be making Jessica Garvin's delicious Red Velvet Pancakes... They are just too good! Sidebar - I love how I can make them for just about any holiday, just by switching up the fruit -and- I'll be honest for a minute... she is the queen of festive made "easy"! She has sooo many inexpensive, easy ideas for every holiday.

Besides spending some much needed time with our family and friends this weekend, I also have big plans for tackling our gardens (and eliminating some of the poison ivy/sumac that has come creeping along our creek bank)

pretty composition of flowers in pots
via Pinterest

I'm thinking some pretty red, white, and blue (or purple) flowers may be just the ticket.

If you need some more festive ideas, check out my Patriotic board on Pinterest :)

Friday, May 16, 2014

Friday Favorites

Ah, Friday! FINALLY!!!
I have to admit, this was one crazy week and it did FLY by but I'm always so happy when the weekend rolls around, even if it is a super rainy, yucky day.

Days like today I'm happy for warm (if not totally crappy) weather so that I can wear sandals to work. No worries about squishy shoes around the office. Days like this are even better when you have NEW shoes to wear. Target has these babies on sale for 20% off!
OPI Unfor-Grreta-bly Blue, T-Shirt Maxi (Old Navy - last summer)
similar here

Is it ok to put "finished projects" on my favorites list? I'm going to anyways!! We finished our bathroom renovation this week and I COULD NOT BE HAPPIER with the final results! (big reveal coming next week after I really finish... you know, shower curtain, towels, decorations)

sneak peek!

Spending the day with the world's most awesome kiddos! Tomorrow is West Norriton Day and I'm totally looking forward to spending the afternoon with our nieces and nephew! Moon bounces, pony rides, face painting... I'm all over that shit!

Our Wedding Video... I can't get enough! Thank you Saltwater Studios for your amazing amazing work! I watch, and re-watch the video and look at all the pictures over and over again... all the time... I just love it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

DIY Spring Green Wreath

I've been on the hunt for a wreath for our front door for Spring/Summer.
I love the preserved boxwood wreath but our front door has southern exposure and gets direct sunlight all day which is brutal on my wreathes... it's been known to melt hot glue and kill live wreathes in a day... so I can't justify spending that much money right now.
Home Decorators Collection

 West Elm
West Elm

  To be honest, though... I kind of have a thing for making my own so that I can create exactly what I want. I also really like the feeling I get when I walk up my front stairs and get to admire my handy work as I unlock the door... and no, my elbow isn't getting sore from patting myself on the back... at least not yet...

So off to the craft store I went. I hit Joann on my lunch break and picked up this wreath form and these 6ft boxwood garland.

I started by pulling each piece off the strip of garland then wrapping wire through the little hole. I probably could have just wired the whole garland to the wreath but I'm anal so I didn't....
ooh look at my chippy polish. yikes!


Once all the pieces were ready, I started wiring them to the wreath form. I started with the middle but if I could do it over, I'd have started on the inside and worked my way out.

I ran out of greens so I need to make my way back to Joann and get one more string of garland but this is what it looks like for now. A little on the wild side compared to the other boxwood wreathes but I kind of love that.
 I haven't decided if I want to add a bow or anything to it yet, and I'm thinking about swapping out my current wreath hanger for this black one so that it matches our oil rubbed bronze hardware better.

Finally,  I REALLY love having apps on my phone to keep track of all my favorite stores... and I never have to worry whether I remembered to grab the coupon off the printer/counter/desk (or where it got buried in my purse) because it's right on my phone. I saved 40% just by opening up the app while I was browsing.