Monthly Archives: January 2012

Have you seen my?? (clutter)

It’s amazing what a little organizing can do for convenience. Over the past weekend I took a little time to go through my vanity drawer (seen below) and medicine cabinets (not photographed). It was time to get rid of some of the junk that builds up over time and I’m so pleased that I don’t have to dig through the clutter as I get ready each day. It also looks much more appealing  🙂

Before:

After:  I found these heavy plastic containers with compartments for $8-$13 each at The Container Store

I have a lot more organizing to do around the apartment, I will use this as my inspiration! Any suggestions or ideas on keeping the clutter to a minimum?

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Food Find, arugula salad

We recently ate lunch at The Cheesecake Factory and they have the largest menu I’ve seen! Every time I’ve eaten there (4 times now) I’m unsure what to order because there are so many choices. This time I tried the arugula salad on the “smaller plates and snacks” menu and fell in LOVE. So delicious and I couldn’t wait to pick up the ingredients so I could make it at home!

This is my version of the salad:

Here’s my rendition of this salad that I’ll call, Golden Arugula Salad 🙂

Ingredients:

Baby Arugula (blend or just arugula)

Sweet golden tomatoes

Golden raisins

Marcona almonds

Lemons for squeezing

Olive oil

Parmesan cheese

Cracked black pepper

In a medium bowl, toss together desired amount of arugula & desired amount of each of the following: golden tomatoes, golden raisins & marcona almonds, set aside. In a small bowl, mix desired amount of lemon juice & olive oil together, then pour onto salad. Using a peeler, shave desired amount of parmesan cheese on top and add fresh cracked pepper. Finally, ENJOY!!

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Nailed it

Finally, the search is over (I hope)!! After searching, buying, trying, researching and a bff review, I think I nailed it.  I love nail polish and keeping my fingernails playfully polished but the upkeep can be time consuming. Keeping the polish from chipping one day after a fresh manicure has been an ongoing battle. SO after only 4 top coats later, I found a keeper.

Coming in an easy 4th place is “Won’t Chip” by Orly, that’s about all it did do, chip…maximum “Won’t Chip” time ONE yes I repeat ONE day @ about $8. Sadly, in 3rd place “No Chips Ahead” by Essie (one of my favorites for color choices)….maximum “No Chips” time was 2 days @ about $8. At an impressive and surprising 2nd place, “Insta-Dri Anti Chip” by Sally Hansen, the “Insta-Dri” was on point and the maximum “Anti-Chip” time was 3-4 days @ about $5. Scroll down for the keeper!

And coming in at #1 is “Out The Door” by INM (thanks Bonnie for your first hand review)…”Out the Door” in about a minute with the instant dry effect, maximum anti-chip effectiveness, 5 days and counting @ about $5! This includes rinsing dishes for the dishwasher, 3-4 days out of the 5, bathing a stinky Boston Terrier 1 time, showering 1-2 times daily (including washing hair 3 days out of the 5)….I truly am impressed and excited. To go from polishing my nails from 3-4 times a week to 2 will be awesome….I know I know, I’m nuts about nail polish but I can’t help it!! If you have any success stories with top coats, please share!

RESULTS, my friends, RESULTS:

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Birthday Love!

Over the weekend we celebrated my birthday ( my 22nd of course 😉 here in downtown Austin. My best friend Bonnie came into town and we met up with a group on Saturday to try out a new to us restaurant, but more on that later.  I’m planning on a much more detailed post specific to January birthdays, let’s put it this way, I’ve been celebrating birthdays ALL month long. It’s been fun and we’re about 1/2 way through the month; until then, here’s a sneak peek at some of the BIRTHDAY LOVE I received this year 🙂

Dave & I toward the end of our evening:

Some of my favorite gifts I received, I really do have great friends and family:

Dave made sure to surprise me at the office on my actual birthday with these deliciously warm cookies & cold milk delivered from

Tiff’s Treats:

Very sweet cookies, very sweet husband, very sweet birthday!! -xoxo

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Lightly salted caramels, YES PLEASE?

A party just isn’t a party without favors! This weekend we celebrated my birthday and I had to make sure there were yummy favors for my guests. So I decided since salted caramels are one of my favorite treats that we had to have them.

Here’s a few pics of the process & try the recipe below….it’s hard to mess up, Patience is key 😀

I love all things home made and handcrafted so I LOVE the brown parchment paper, which I had to search for and found it a Sur La Table (then later discovered it at Sprouts:)

Then  in order to personalize the favors I used little treat bags, stamped my initials and tied them with a bow! (Thanks for your help Bonnie)

My only change for next time is to add just a bit more sea salt on top!

In order to prepare for executing the “perfect” caramels on my first try, I searched online for the best recipe and found it on “Baked Bree Blog”:

These tips are so very important:

1.  Have everything ready and prepped before you start cooking the sugar.  Prepare your pan, measure out all of your ingredients.
2.  You may not stir your sugar.  You can swirl it a bit in the pan, but if you stir it, the sugar will crystallize and then you will have to start all over.
3.  Use a thermometer.  Candy making is scientific and you need to reach the correct temperatures to ensure the correct end result.  If you do not use temperatures, then your caramel will either be too hard or too soft.
4.  Make sure that your full attention is on the caramel.  Step away and I can assure you that it will burn.  Hot sugar is very dangerous. Give it your undivided attention.

Ingredients:

5 Tablespoon butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
sea salt for sprinkling

Line a 9×9 baking pan with foil and spray it liberally with cooking spray.  Set aside. Melt the butter in a saucepan.  Add the heavy cream, vanilla and salt.  Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently, and take off the heat.  Set aside.

In a large saucepan, mix together the sugar, corn syrup, and water.  Boil on the stove over medium-high heat.  Do not stir. Keep a cup of water and a pastry brush next to the pan to wipe the sides down so sugars do not crystallize.  Boil until the sugar turns a light golden color and reaches 310 degrees.

When the sugar reaches 310 degrees, add the heavy cream mixture.  It will bubble and boil.  You can stir at this point and let it cook until it reaches 248 degrees. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Let the mixture set for 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with sea salt.  Let cool completely. When the caramel has cooled completely, peel away the foil.  Using a sharp knife coated with cooking spray, cut the caramels into small squares.

Wrap in the cutest way you like and enjoy! **Beware, if you share you will get more friends**

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Little inspirations….

Some of my most favorite things about life are “little”; the little things that inspire creativity whether it’s food, clothing, design, music, the list can go on and on and most importantly, the things that make you smile!

Here are a few “little” things that make me smile (& satisfied):

A dinner that Dave just “throws” together at a moments notice that tastes AMAZING!  I called this simple one “The 3 Little Pigs”, he prepared pork chops, bacon & chorizo as the entree. The side of white rice enhanced with fresh mushrooms was a great pairing with the pork. Last and never least, a fresh green salad!

An adorable and colorful scarf that I found (on sale) at Target, couldn’t believe they had Missoni left 😀

This delightful smelling Avocado & Mint candle (the packaging sold me) from Anthro

Some sparkly make-up from Victoria’s Secret to dress up any night on the town!

The finale of this “little” inspirations post is one of my favorite birthday gifts of the past, this “Retro Pets” framed print of an adorable Boston Terrier, a nod to my Scarlett! (Thanks Amanda):

Here’s my one and only, Scarlett:

Oh and speaking of birthdays, tomorrow is mine YAY another year wiser!

What “little” things inspire you?

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Weekend photos….what’d you do this weekend?

Weekends go by so quickly, don’t they?  I failed to mention a few posts ago that during the holiday break I ended up with bronchitis 😦  I’m fighting the tail end of it and should (hopefully) have it beat within the next few days, dang cough and headaches. Anyway, I was determined not to let it ruin my weekend as it did parts of my winter break. Here’s a peek at what we did over our, gone in a flash weekend.

The unseasonably 75 degree weather gave us an itch to grill with friends. LOVED these veggie kabobs!

Me & Dave watching the Cotton Bowl at Collin’s:

Saturday night Dave and I went on a dinner date to celebrate his new gig, Congrats love, I’m so proud of you! Here’s some of the yummy goodness we ate at a new to us Italian place called Andiamo.

Warm cheesy bread, there were onions too, a bit overpowering:

Perfectly seared scallops:

Our refreshing salads:

I had penne pasta with Italian sausage and a creamy parmesan sauce, it was as good as it sounds:

Dave had the veal scallopini, he was disappointed in the quality of the veal 😦   :

Our delicious wine:

The finale was worth it, made from scratch desserts. Dave had the white chocolate cheesecake:

I had the tiramisu:

We plan to revisit Andiamo again sometime, overall 2 thumbs up! Hope you had an enjoyable weekend!!

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