Thursday, June 28, 2012

Chef Branner...

...and his cupcake creation!

Things I'm Loving Thursday

Ahhhh, the Thursday before vacation. Charleston is finally within my reach! I have a million things to get done between now and Saturday, but I cannot wait to get (back to) the beach to feel the sand between my toes and hear the waves crashing on the sand. A few other things I'm excited about this week...

...this pin. I love Summer, dont get me wrong, but how am I supposed to sun myself in 100+ degree heat? I need a portable misting fan.

...this dip recipe from Paula Deen. Definitely plan on trying it next week!


...this necklace. Every time I wear it I get stopped and complimented. I bought it from my friend, Amy's, online shop. Mine is turquoise, and I think I'm going to order pink, too! I bought it to replace my first generation J. Crew bubble necklace that has completely fallen apart. So disappointing! Hope they are better made these days.

{Buy Here in Pink}

...this cocktail recipe. I will be enjoying champers all week at the beach. Definitely can't wait to try this!


Well, I'd better get to packing! Hope everyone can stay cool these next few days!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

July 4th Dessert: Berried Treasure

Found this gem of a recipe on Pinterest (shocker, I know), and am now planning to make it for our July 4th celebration dessert!

Berried Treasure

1.5 cups of crushed graham cracker crumbs (equals 1.5 sleeves of graham crackers crushed)
1/2 c sugar
1/3 c butter, melted
**Or you could take the lazy way out, like I am, and buy a pre-made graham cracker pie crust**

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well. Press firmly in a 9x13 baking dish. Bake for 8 minutes at 350. Cool.

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 c sugar
2.5  c + 2 T cold milk
16 oz Cool Whip, thawed
1 pint strawberries, halved
1 pint blueberries
6.8 oz instant vanilla pudding

Beat cream cheese with sugar and 2 T of milk until smooth. Fold in half of the Cool Whip. Spread this over the cooled crust. Arrange berries on top. Mix pudding and remaining 2 c milk, beat until smooth. Pour pudding mixture over arranged berries and chill for several hours or overnight. Spread with remaining Cool Whip before serving. Enjoy!

**Note: I will buy 2 pie crusts and divide berries and the pudding mixture between them**

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Bachelorette


Why haven't I done a post on this yet? WHY?! There is just so much great material here. And by material, I mean material for snarky comments and thoughts.

I don't normally watch the The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. But, if you're me and a show is being filmed (only for 10 days, BTW, totally false advertising) in the city in which you live, you feel an urge to watch. Add to that the facts I have several social connections to Emily and we're "friends" on Facebook. Plus, my BFF just had her nails done beside her at "our" nail spa two weeks ago. They talked. Then, I ran into her at Phillip's Place the same weekend. This totally means I'm BFF with Emily now, don't you see? Charlotte's a small "big city", ya'll (yes, we in the south who grew up in small towns consider Charlotte a decent-sized city).

Before I get down to business, I have to say, I like Emily. I'm rooting for her. I just can't refrain from making bitchy comments about the show...

My Observations from the 6/25 Episode In No Particular Order
A blouse, a blazer, shiny lace shorts and...cowboy boots? Huh? WTF?!
How do they find all of these dumb touristy sites in each country to write on/draw on/rub/make a wish/etc. at? Over it.
Are sequins a requirement for every outfit Emily wears? Seriously, the trend has been beat to death on the show.
How many "illegal" visits/chase downs do we need to have? One for each of the final three?
I want to like Jef. I really do. It's his haircut and the fact that he is 27 and rides skateboards holding me back.
Chris is so unattractive. And a whiny douche.
Does everyone from West Virginia have a Southern accent?
John is so freaking boring.
Arie is my favorite. Major chemistry between him and Ems.
Why was she so pissed (for 5 minutes) about him dating one of the (not cute) producers for a hot minute ten years ago?
What the hell went on in that untaped conversation between Emily, Arie and Cassie? Why the hell wasn't it taped?
OK, I like Jef now. Still like Arie better, though.

Would love to hear your thoughts and comments on the show!!!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

House Inspiration

No closing date yet, but a few things that have caught my eye on Pinterest for the new house! We've hired my good friend, Lauren, for design help. I'm so excited to see what she comes up with! 


Master Set-up

Artwork Inspiration
Source: via Ashley on Pinterest

Playroom Art Grouping

Den Set-up

Just a few of the many things that have caught my eye. Decorating/buying furniture is going to be an ongoing project for us! Who knows when we'll finally feel like the house is "done"?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Current Read


Time to dust off the old Kindle and start diving into a book (or two) to get back in the reading habit for our upcoming vacay! Decided to go with Mrs. Kennedy and Me by Clint Hill. Will let you know how it is! What are you reading right now? Any book suggestions; especially good beach reads?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer, Summer, Summertime!


It's officially summer! YAY, my very favorite time of year is here! I love to make a bucket list each season of things I'd like to do/take Branner to do/do as a family. We've already spent one week at the beach, but are going to Charleston for a week starting next Saturday. With everything going on with our new house, that might be the last family vacation for a while (other than the week my sister-in-law, Kendra, and I plan to spend with the kids in the mountains). Not to mention Barry is a straight workaholic, so I highly doubt we could convince him to take more than a day or two more off of work, anyway!

To-Do This Summer:

*Go to church more*
*Spend lots of time by the pool*
*Get back to our family tradition of having breakfast at Phil's on Sundays*
*Soak up the sunshine*
*Take naps*
*Take Branner to Tweetsie*
*Go to the Farmer's Market often*
*Eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies*
*Try new recipes*
*Make homemade ice cream*
*Take the boat out more*
*Learn to wakeboard???!!!*
*Go on a picnic*
*Potty train Branner (waiting until after move—too much turmoil right now, although he's VERY interested!)*
*Phase out the paci*
*Take Branner to see an outdoor movie*
*Go to POPS in the Park*
*Take Branner to Discovery Kids*
*Take more pictures*
*Look into enrolling Branner in an art class*

I'm sure I will have tons to add to this in the near future. This is just what popped into my head today. What's on your summer bucket list?


Truer words have never been spoken...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Chicken Pie


I know, I know! I've posted this recipe before over on my old food blog, but I promise—it's that good! This is my signature go-to, super-easy recipe. If I'm bringing you a meal, there's a 95% chance, this is what you'll be getting! I highly recommend you try it for your family. If you do, let me know what you think!

Chicken Pie

3-4 cups cooked chicken breasts--chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup (I'm using low-fat)
1 can chicken broth
1 stick melted butter (I'm using 8 T of Smart Balance margarine instead)
1 1/2 c milk
1 1/2 c Bisquick

Spray a 9x13 in casserole dish with Pam, and place the chicken in it. Mix together cream of chicken soup, chicken broth and melted butter. Pour over the chicken. Mix milk and Bisquick. Pour over chicken mixutre. Bake at 375 for 45 mins or until golden brown on top.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Weekend Recap

Well, we're (mostly) moved out of our "old" house. It is currently being cleaned and prepped for it's "new" family. What a whirlwind of a weekend we had! Gigi visited to help us pack, and we are so (so, so, so) thankful! Here's a little glimpse into what our weekend looked like:

  • We packed, packed, packed, then packed some more. I have never been so thankful I clean Branner and I's closets out on a semi-regular basis.
  • Visited our new house! Yay!
  • Met some of our new neighbors. Yay again!
  • Met the current owners of the house. They are very nice! Loved meeting them!
  • Went to dinner.
  • Got some Pinkberry.
  • Had an Emily Maynard sighting.
  • Had a glass of wine with my BFF, Jen.
  • Moved. Moved more. Moved even more.
  • Unpacked things at our temporary home.
  • Made a trip to Walmart. Was reminded why it's been two years since I was last there.
  • Had sushi take-out for Father's Day dinner.
  • Fell asleep during RHONJ.
Whew! Words cannot express how glad I am that we are almost done with move #1. We only brought clothes and toys to our temporary house. Everything else is in storage until our big move; whenever that may be. No later than August 1st is what we've been told.

Poor Barry's Father's Day was consumed with the logistics of the move and the actual act of overseeing the movers. So, we made a family decision that we are postponing our Father's Day festivities until next weekend. Let's face it, for all he does for B & I, the man deserves to be spoiled. We are going to make sure that happens!

Hope everyone has a fantastic week! We're off to the pool to soak up some rays!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Our New Home

Not the greatest pic, but you get the idea!

WE HAVE A HOUSE! We are under contract for a house we love in a neighborhood we adore! While this whole experience has been quite interesting (and crazy), everything worked out in the end! The way this all played out, it was definitely meant to be. We'll be moving no later than August 1st. Now, off to pack more!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Fashion Friday On Wednesday—Birthday Blues

This post was supposed to go up last Friday, but I got sidetracked. Funny, now that I'm procrastinating on the packing I magically found time to put it up! 

I present to you my birthday celebration outfit. I love, love, love mixing patterns right now! I ordered this dress from ModCloth to match these shoes, and to my delight, it ended up being perfect! I plan to wear this to a wedding in July, also.

We celebrated my 31st having dinner at 5Church followed by a Hemingway Daiquiri at Capital Grille. It was the perfect night! If you live in Charlotte, or are in the area, I highly recommend a meal at 5Church!

We're Moving (!)

Well, y'all, my wish has come true. Of course, not exactly the way I planned it, but it is. WE. ARE. MOVING. To where? Your guess is as good as mine. We haven't found a house yet. What we did find were renters. Yes, we are now landlords. We (finally) decided to wait out the market for a few more years and, in the meantime, to keep our house as a rental property. 

This was all a very sudden occurrence. Barry, as a test, put an ad up on Craigslist late Friday night with a few pictures. By Saturday morning, we had three rental inquiries; one of which wanted to come look at the house ASAP. So, the sweetest, cutest little family came to look. They loved the house. They got back to us immediately. Great, huh?

Well, here's the kicker: We have to be out on the 18th. As in less than a week at this point. CRAZY, right?! It's insane over here right now. Between packing and looking at houses, my head is spinning. We will be moving into a friend's house in the interim (he is temporarily living in Wilmington for work), and possibly finding a corporate rental if we don't find a house we love soon. So far, no luck. But, we have an appointment to see a house in a neighborhood we love tomorrow morning. It's not technically on the market until then, and we are the first ones to see it. I'm trying to stay optimistic. Say a little prayer for us, will you?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Beach Trip, Part II

Nothing says vacay like a glass of wine with lunch!

Evening boat ride.


Water walk.

Swimming in the baby pool.

Mr. No Pants on the dock.

Late, late boat nap.

We heart water.

Things I'm Loving Thursday

We're back from the beach, and back to reality! I swear, I could live at the beach from May-September. I might just do that one day. For now, here's what I'm loving this week...

...this lotion. I picked up a bottle while on a sunscreen run at the HB Walgreen's, and it is to die for. The perfect summertime scent!

...this look on Kate. She nails it. Every. Single. Time.

...these flowers I bought myself at the market set up outside of Mueller's, where I lunched today. Gorgeous!

...this chicken salad recipe, which I am making this weekend!

Speaking of the weekend, I hope everyone's is fabulous!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Quinoa Summer Veggie Stirfry

Fresh Veggies!

My current food obsession: quinoa. It really is the perfect food (if you aren't a low-carber)! You can do so much with it, and it is just so darn good for you! Last night, I modified this recipe to make a delicious stir-fry.

Quinoa Summer Veggie Stir-fry

1 c quinoa, cooked according to package directions
1/2 yellow squash
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 handful of fresh green beans (or asparagus) trimmed and broken into small pieces
1 c baby bella mushrooms, chopped
1 1/2 cloves garlic, chopped
sea salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes
dash of hot sauce (I used )
1/2 T soy sauce
1 T balsamic vinegar

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, cook until translucent. Add garlic, cook for about a minute. Add remaining vegetables. Season with sea salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. Add soy sauce. Stir-fry until tender. Spoon in quinoa and add balsamic vinegar. Stir to combine. Again, season with sea salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. I served with a simple salad. Enjoy!