Monday, January 31, 2011

valentine's day look

hmmm, how do we feel about the valentine's day theme to the blog?

Recipe Week - #1 the only way I can eat porkchop

This week, I am going to share with your some of my favorite recipes - some easy and quick, some I save for special occasions. 

The first is Pork, Lentil & Apple Soup from "Better than Mom's Slow Cooker Recipes" (a cookbook I got on the bargain aisle at B&N).

Now, the book calls it a "soup" but with all the apples, pork-chop hunks and lentils in it, it's more like a stew.
I personally HATE pork-chops - I think it's a texture thing - so stewing them down to super tender meat in a stew is just about the only way I will touch them.

The recipe is pretty easy and it involves my favorite kitchen gadget - the crockpot.

Ingredients:
1 pound lean pork-chops
1 cup dry lentils
3 apples (I use 4)
1 teaspoon dried Marjoram
2 (140z.) cans of beef broth (3.5 cups)

Directions:
1. Brown pork-chops - they don't have to really be cooked all the way through, just browned on the outsides
2. Cut pork-chops into little 1 inch pieces (directions actually say 1/2 inch pieces, but that's pretty tedious)
3. Peel, core and chop up apples into little pieces (I chop each apple slice into about 5 pieces so they're less than a 1/2 inch thick)
4. Transfer meat and apples to crock pot then add lentils and Marjoram over them.
5. Pour the beef broth over the other ingredients and stir
It should look something like this:

6. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or high for 3 hours (I actually cook mine almost 9.5 because I turn it on before I leave for work then off when I get home, and it does fine). 
7. Enjoy!

Marjoram is on the spice aisle and Lentils are little dried bean things found with the bags of Lima beans and the like.
It makes about 4 servings and only takes about 15 minutes to make - so it is certainly a winner in my book.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fashionable Friday: Must you tempt me Lilly?

Have you SEEN the spring 2011 line at Lilly Pulitzer? 
le sigh
I completely die over the "Optical Confusion" print as seen in several of the below items that I am salivating over. I am thinking that all the Belk cards I got for Christmas (since clothes couldn't be bought at the time for el prego) may go towards a few of these times, and by a few I mean two.

Clare Dress in Silk Jersey in Shorely Blue Optical Confusion - $258
Conrad Sweater Printed in Shorely Blue Optical Confusion - $158
Shauna Tunic Printed in Bright Navy Optical Confusion Novelty - $198
My abosolute favorite (and of course one of the priciest) Whitaker Dress Printed in Shorely Blue Optical Confusion - $258
Penelope Tunic Short in Green Bean Daisy Darling - $68
Foxi One Piece Swimsuit - in Green Bean Daisy Darling - $128

And course I am still wanting the Anders Dress in Silk Jersey in Bright Navy Booty Caw $238
 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sneak Peak at Bachelorette Weekend 2011

So my bestie is getting married this September, which means a bachelorette weekend is a MUST.
We've decided that the bride and nine of her closest friends will venture to Charlotte for a fun-filled weekend of shopping, bar-hopping and eating at lovely restaurants.

I chose Charlotte for the party locale because I thoroughly enjoyed the scene at Charlotte's EpiCenter when I went to a conference this past June for work - even though I couldn't actually par-take in many of the activities since I was pregnant. The restaurants, bars and clubs were so unique, and all located within minutes from one another that I thought it would be the ideal location for a bachelorette party. Not to mention the mall is amazing.

Okay, I do not want to spoil the "TA-DA" moment of opening an invitation or getting something new, but here is just a sneak-peek at the theme and things that will be part of the party weekend.

Graphics from the invitation



Possible t-shirt design
Buttons for the ladies

Gift bags for the ladies
1. Softlips chapstick - so amazing
2. A funny little tag that says "If found return to Courtyard Marriot" that will come with a safety pin (like to say if a bachelorette party member wanders off)
3. Pack of bandaids for any high-heel induced blisters and injuries
4. One of the buttons
5. An itinerary for the weekend
6. Advil - you know.
7. Gum
8. Personalized koozies

So I think we're almost set for the weekend, just have to handle booking the hotel, coordinating travel plans and actually make/order the necessities. So excited and can't wait to celebrate with my best friends

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Cuddling with death

These guys look so snuggly, I wish they weren't so mean so I could give one a giant "bear" hug. 





But then I see pictures like the ones below....and change my mind.


 
I think I'll just stick with this little bear instead...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Why "so busy"?

So why am I so busy at work?
Because our district is entering into the accreditation process, which involves focus group meetings at some of our schools, participants completing surveys and local community members and parents giving us feedback on our proposed mission and vision.

So I spend a lot of my day trying to decipher horrible hand-writing, grammar and spelling so I can tabulate survey results...

....record the feedback given in the breakout focus groups session

.... creating packets for the facilitators of the focus group sessions

.... writing and re-writing instructions on how to actually chart and record feedback

.... and making changes to our presentation and handouts according to feedback

And I am doing this on top of my other duties, so needless to say: I'm busy.

But don't you love the "Mapping the Future" theme? You have no idea how many print screens, pastes and such it took to get that map in the background to look right.

Monday, January 24, 2011

so busy

so busy at work and not enough time for everything I need to get done, so this week may be slacking in the blogging department. have a great week though!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fashionable Friday: Falling-Apart Flats

Brace Yourself.....



First of all, try to ignore the gross-ness of my swollen feet - just observe the distress of my poor gold flats.Their soles are being held on with Gorilla Glue and prayers and the insides are absolutely disgusting.

But I still keep them because 
1) i am not buying any new shoes until my feet no longer resemble those of elephants
2) it is so freakin' hard to find plain gold flats.

Seriously do you know how difficult it is to find flats with no accents, pleating, bows, gems, grommets, or any other embellishment?! Extremely.

I've looked high and low for a flat that is gold, but not bronze. I want a plain pair since I usually wear gold flats with my costume gold jewelry, which is loud enough without needing a busy pair of shoes paired with it.


Usually, the only one I can find are WAY out of my price range, for example:

Kors by Michael Kors "Olympia" flat $165
and 
J. Crew "Cece" cracked metallic ballet flats $118


But thank God for Ebay because I have found a few possibilities there:

Ebay "Mary Jane" starting at $19.99 (plus S+H)

Same Ebay seller - plain gold flats starting bid at $12.99

These are actually the exact pair I currently own by Max Collection, with a buy it now price of $9.75

Have ya'll seen any plain gold flats around that are less than $30?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Honeymoon Memories (long post)

Don't worry, I am not going to tell you everything that went on during our honeymoon, but lately I have been really nostalgic about how awesome my and Joshua's trip to St. Lucia was, so I figured why not blog about it?
It all started when hubs and I went on a Royal Caribbean cruise with his grandma, granddaddy, brother, mama and daddy in 2008 to the southern Caribbean islands including St. Maarten, St. Lucia, St. Thomas, Antigua and Barbados that set sail from San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

Mr. Scott, Mrs. Ethel, Jordan, Josh, Me, Mrs. Vivian and Mr. Mike
We had an absolute blast and enjoyed every island we hopped to, going on shore excursions like under-water walking in St. Thomas..
Josh and I with our under-water helmets on - I was freaked out and looking for sharks the entire time
and hiking in the rain forest in St. Lucia (which even Josh's 78 year old Granddaddy did, including jumping off the waterfall at the end)
our steep trail in the St. Lucian rainforest
 Well, Josh and I loved St. Lucia so much that we decided to honeymoon there, and I am so glad we did. 

We chose to stay at the Sandals Regency La Toc, the biggest of the three Sandals resorts located in St. Lucia. At first I was a little wary, I didn't want some touristy, all-inclusive, cheesy place but oh my god, it was amazing. We didn't have to worry about where we were going to eat since there were nine different kinds of restaurants on the resort AND we could eat at any of the other resorts too. And the best part? NO KIDS ALLOWED.

We enjoyed Japanese, British, Italian, French, Caribbean and several other different kinds of cuisines. 
Josh and me at the "La Toc" the french restaurant
The Piton's restaurant, which served St. Lucian cuisines
The Pavilion, which had a buffet for breakfast and lunch then you could come in and order things for supper while enjoying the shows, loved that it was indoors and outdoors
Josh and I before eating at Kimonos
Kimonos, the Japanese restaurant
Josh enjoying a drink at the Arizona Grill, which had food ALL the time.
Josh even surprised me one night with a moon-lit dinner on the beach, just the two of us with our own personal waiter.
our table with out little menus
in our private cabana :)
We did several excursions including a horse-back trail ride that ended with a beach barbecue (that sadly my stomach did NOT agree with), zip-lining through the rain-forest and a Land and Sea Adventure where we toured botanical gardens, explored the Piton mountains and the sulfur spring and enjoyed snorkeling off the catamaran.
ziplining
horse-back riding (this was before my stomach rebelled against the unusual food)

hate this picture of me, but LOVE Josh's face haha
silly snorkelers, my mask was WAY too big
In front of the Sulfur springs (stinky, stinky)
The resort also had plenty of fun activities, every night there was an amazing show that we could listen to from outside by the pool or at a table inside and they had water equipment to rent too.
you've already seen this one, but Josh and I after canoeing (which ended in a fight because I thought we had paddled out too far)
enjoying a fire show one night
listening to the steel drums one night, pool side.
 Josh and I also splurged on an absolutely mind-blowing massage package called the "Scrub-A-Dub-Rub" where we got a couples massage accompanied by an exfoliation that ended with a dip in an amazing bubble and flower filled jacuzzi. 

It was so amazing, even if I was rocking my knee brace. 
note the knee brace, so sexy.
I hope that we can take a trip like that again one day, maybe for our 5 or 10 year anniversary.