Monday, April 30, 2012

Cucumber Salad

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This cucumber salad is a great side dish for a week night dinner or weekend barbecue.  It's simple and easy and light, yet packed with flavor. 


1 pound cucumbers (about 2 cucumbers), peeled and thinly sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 Vidalia onion, very thinly sliced (I leave these out because I don't eat onions at all)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


In a large serving bowl, toss together the cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, onion, parsley, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper, to taste. Let the salad stand for 10 minutes before serving.


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What is it with me and stripes?
I seem to just be attracted to them when I'm shopping these days. 
I've been told since I can remember that you should avoid horizontal stripes unless you are model thin - we don't want to draw the eyes wide, but rather vertical, to get a slimming effect.
But I love all of the striped things I'm seeing for Spring and Summer.
Although I'm far from model thin, I think I can still get away with it if I keep it long so that the eye is still drawn from top to bottom. 

This dress from J. Crew is fabulous.

Raspberry Lemon Drop

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  • 2 oz. Grey Goose Vodka
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 6 raspberries
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • Splash of 7UP or Sprite


Muddle raspberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a shaker. Add vodka, Sprite/7UP, and ice. Shake and serve in a sugar-rimmed martini glass. Garnish with raspberries and enjoy!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Strawberry Honey Butter

Pinned Image  Wow!  This looks so good!
I'm thinking, spread it on a nice warm bagel...
....or toast....
....or croissant...

Or just grab a spoonful and shove it into my mouth? 

1 pint strawberries, hulled
3 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened

In a food processor purée the strawberries and force the purée through a fine sieve into a saucepan. Add the honey and the lemon juice and boil the mixture, stirring, for 3 minutes, or until it is thickened. Let the strawberry mixture cool to room temperature. In a bowl cream together the butter and the strawberry mixture. Let the butter stand, covered, in a cool place for 1 hour to allow the flavors to develop

recipe courtesy of

Today I Wore...

Top and Tank - Target
Pants - NY&Co

Pony Tail Weather

As the weather gets warmer, I often find myself wanting to wear my hair up.
The trouble is, when I pull it into a pony tail, I often feel like I look...well, like I just threw my hair up and ran out the door.  I never feel like it looks put-together and sophisticated like the pony tails I see on celebrities.
Ladies Home Journal had this slide show of polished up-do's on their site today and I thought I would share!

Polished Ponytail

First things first: for a sleek pony, it's best to start with a smooth blowout and center part.
Tease the crown to give hair volume and create a sexy Brigitte Bardot bump.
Leave a strand out of your ponytail to wrap around the hair elastic.
Extra-chic final touch: Cinch the ends with an elastic and loop under, anchoring with hairpins.

Jennifer Aniston

Bump It Up

A little extra height on the top gives your ponytail a sophisticated feel. Pull out a few pieces to frame your face. Hey, if it works for Jennifer Aniston...

Fishtail Braid

Internet Famous Style

Don't be afraid to experiment with more technical creations. Search YouTube (type in "cute ponytails") to find instructional videos.

Low Pony tail

Everything in Place

What makes this low ponytail extra special? Her part is deep, her hair covers her ears, and the tail is placed on the nape of the neck. (Oh, fab earrings help, too.)

Side Pontail

Take Sides

If you haven't worn a side ponytail since 1987, please listen up: You've got to keep it low and flat against your neck to avoid the cheesy cheerleader effect.

High Ponytail

Age-Defying Tail

A high ponytail can make you look younger (well, at least for a few hours). Pull it tight and your eyes, forehead, and cheeks get a teensy bit of a lift.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

White Chicken Enchiladas

10 soft taco shells
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
1 (4 oz) can diced green chillies

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan
2. Mix chicken and 1 cup cheese. Roll up in tortillas and place in pan.
3. In a sauce pan, melt butter, stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add broth and whisk until smooth. Heat over medium heat until thick and bubbly.
4. Stir in sour cream and chilies. Do not bring to boil, you don't want curdled sour cream.
5. Pour over enchiladas and top with remaining cheese.
6. Bake 22 min and then under high broil for 3 min to brown the cheese.


As much as I love high heels, they just don't love me.  Grace is not my middle name.  I don't walk well in heels and I look so awkward.  I do much better in a wedge.  Maybe it's psychological but I feel a little more stable in a wedge.  These are a few I love for spring and summer.

 Steve Madden

Stewart Weitzman

Nine West


Chinese Laundry

Table for Tulle

What a gorgeous idea for a table in a little girl's room.  This looks so easy and inexpensive.  The tulle could be attached with a hot glue gun or even a staple gun.  It adds a uniqueness to the room and dresses up a plain table. 

Eye Wrinkles, Anyone?

So I admit it!
I have wrinkles.

I don't have crows feet, or the type of eye wrinkles that Botox can fix.  I have wrinkles up under my eye where no Botox needle can go.  It's frustrating.  I tried eye creams by Roc, Estee Lauder, Lancome, and others I can't even remember and nothing helps. 

Then yesterday, while at the dermatologist with my son, I ran into the aesthetician who does my microdermabrasion treatments and I asked her what to try.  She handed me this little gem and the hefty price tag that went along with it. 

But, who can put a price on beauty, right? 

So I am giving it a try. 

This cream goes around your entire eye, not just on the wrinkle.  It's supposed to provide a lift along with a firming of the skin.  The product promises to restore the elasticity around the eye and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  Exactly what I need! 

The ELASTIderm Eye Products are only available through your skin care professional because they contain powerful, yet gentle ingredients:
  • Bi-mineral complex: Includes zinc and copper to help restore elasticity and build collagen
  • Malonic acid: Patent-pending Obagi formulation that helps stimulate the production of skin cells
  • Blueberry extract: Provides antioxidants that help eliminate free radicals
  • Penetrating Therapeutics™: An Obagi technology that helps drive the ingredients deep into the skin
 I just started using it this morning so I'll keep you posted with the results.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Today I Wore...

Top - Love Stitch (from Haute Closet in Charleston SC)
Tank - Express
Pants - The Limited

Skinny Cargo Pants

I have to find me some of these!!!  Regular cargo pants made their appearance in the 90s and have evolved in the last 2 decades, but let's face it: the large pockets only add width and most of us women would rather die than add width.  I do like the military-ish feel of the cargo, though, so the skinny is an awesome alternative!

Caramel and Sea Salt Topped Shortbread

caramelsb1OMG I could just about lick this picture.  Caramel is my weakness.  I would take a good caramel over chocolate anyday! 

While this recipe may look complicated and time consuming, I assure you, it isn’t. The worst part is waiting for it all to cool so that you can cut it up and eat it!

Caramel Topped Shortbread Bites

makes about 64 one inch square bites
Shortbread Layer:caramelsb2
  • 10 tbsp. salted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Zest of half an orange
  • 1 egg yolk, whisked
  • 1 2/3 cups All Purpose flour
Caramel Topping:

  • 14 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. orange extract
  • Sea salt flakes, to top

Prepare an 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper with the edges of the parchment hanging over two of the sides. This allows you to remove the bars easily once cooled.
Combine the melted butter, sugar, salt and zest with a fork in a large bowl. Add the yolk and again combine with the fork. Add the flour and stir with a heavy spoon or your hands and combine the dough until it is well combined. Place the dough in the prepared pan and press down evenly with your hands until the pan is covered. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to one hour. Remove and bake at 350 for 25-28 minutes, until very lightly browned. Allow to cool while you are preparing the caramel.
In a heavy bottomed pot, such as enameled cast iron, combine all caramel topping ingredients save for the extracts. Bring to a boil and stir until sugars are dissolved and the mixture is well combined. Using a candy thermometer, watch for the goal of about 230 degrees. Remove from heat and stir in the extracts. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes, then pour over the shortbread base. Sprinkle with sea salt, then refrigerate for several hours. Once chilled, cut into small squares, serve and enjoy!

Monday, April 23, 2012

So totally my house!

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I love you, Jaimie!

Poppyseed Chicken Casserole

Picture from
Our family loves this casserole.  The recipe came from my Uncle Ray's stepdaughter, Tamala (I think).  It's especially a favorite with the kids.  It's creamy and flavorful and the crunch of the Ritz Crackers on top give it a great texture.  Best of all, it's SO EASY! 
2 1/2-3 lb. chicken, boiled and deboned
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 c. sour cream
1 stack pack Ritz cracker crumbs
2 tbsp. poppy seeds
1 stick melted butter

Cut chicken into bite-size chunks or shred it (I usually shred). Mix in poppyseeds, soup and sour cream. Place in square baking dish about 9x9 which has been greased. Top with cracker crumbs and melted butter. Spread over chicken mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Kids picture

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This is such a cute idea for a kids picture!  I wonder if I get get my Rowan to lay still long enough to actually focus and snap, but it's worth a try. 

This would also be a great photo op for a kids party!

Friday, April 20, 2012

How to Grow Your Hair Long

Growing your hair long in ten simple steps

long hair healthy 1 How to have long hair and healthy
So you’ve decided that you want to grow your hair long. Good for you – I once read somewhere, and agree wholeheartedly, that long hair is one of the nicest things you can do for yourself. You’ll need a lot of patience to get there, and this is part of the reason why long hair is so highly prized. So what are the necessary steps you need to take in order to get that long, luscious mane you desire? Read on to find out.

1) Have a goal length. At the beginning of every journey you must have a goal, and growing your hair long is no different. Decide whether you want your hair to be bra strap length (BSL), waist length or longer. Imagine what you will look like with hair that length. Make that image your focus, and choose to think about it during times of
‘hair boredom’ (and yes, these will arise). Make a solemn vow to yourself that you will reach that goal.

2) Assess your hair’s damage. This step is by far the hardest as it is now that you may have to cut your hair shorter in order to grow it longer. Check out your hair’s ends; are they split? If so you’ll need to have a trim because split ends weaken the hair’s shaft and can ultimately cause splits in the surrounding hairs, meaning that your hair is slowly but surely getting shorter. Tell your hairdresser that your eventual goal is to grow it long, and she’ll (hopefully) cut it in a way that looks good growing out.

3) Take a look at your diet. Are you eating enough fish, eggs, red meat and leafy green vegetables? Protein-rich foods such as these are necessary to get your hair looking, and growing, at its best. As hair is essentially dead protein, a diet rich in protein will boost its natural growth rate. The healthier your body is on the inside, the better your hair will look.

4) Vow to exercise more. Increasing the oxygen in your blood circulating around your body will also increase your hair’s growth, as it is providing an extra boost of oxygen to your hair’s follicles. Exercising at least three times a week allows for healthy, shiny hair, in much the same way as a good diet does.

6) Give yourself regular
scalp massages. Aside from being relaxing, they stimulate the hair’s follicles and make your scalp feel ‘alive’. Various long hair sites on the Internet – the best (in my opinion) being The Long Hair Community - advocate scalp massages as an added benefit to exercise when it comes to stimulation of the scalp.

7) Up your vitamin intake. While you don’t need to invest in expensive
hair vitamins, you can get some added growth through taking Biotin, Zinc or Omega 3 tablets. A multivitamin every day works just as well.

Take good care of your hair. Internet hair experts say you should treat your hair as though it were a fine piece of old lace – i.e. with the utmost care. Be gentle while you wash it and never brush your hair when it is wet, as hair is at its most fragile when wet. Use quality combs and hairbrushes, and if a ponytail holder comes out of your hair with more than three hairs attached to it, throw it away. And one last thing: never use rubber bands to tie back your hair! Rubber and hair do not work well together.

9) Be patient. Remember that long hair is a commitment to yourself, and you’re not getting it cut because you are determined to one day be a long-haired beauty. Although regular girls (i.e. not celebrities) are starting to use hair extensions, keep in mind how expensive they are and how tacky the cheaper ones look. When you one day have the long hair you now desire, you’ll feel extra confident in knowing that it’s all yours.

10) And finally, the most important step – don’t cut it! It may seem obvious, but after your initial trim you’ll need to stay away from the hairdresser for a while. Magazines will tell you that you need a trim every six weeks, but going this often will only stunt your hair’s growth, as you’ll be cutting it as fast as it grows. Keep trims to once or twice a year, and take good care of your hair, and you’ll have a long, flowing mane in a few years’ time.


To My Sweet Daughter

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Today I Wore...

Top - Lauren Conrad for Kohl's
Pants - American Eagle

April is National Grilled Cheese Month

Wow!  How did I miss that this was National Grilled Cheese Month?  I mean, the month is almost over and I'm just hearing about this! 

I'm not going to lie, I love grilled cheese sandwiches.  I love them with 2 slices of white bread, some American cheese slices and lots of butter.  But I've come across lots of ways to jazz them up a bit.  Here are some suggestions.




No. of Servings: 4

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 8 thick slices firm white bread
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces Wisconsin Brie cheese, sliced

Make dipping mixture: Whisk 2 eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg in wide bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Peel potatoes and cover with cold water in pot. Season with salt. Bring to a boil; lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes; turn off burner and let sit 15-20 minutes. Drain; rinse potatoes with cold water. When cool, grate with the large holes of box grater. Heat heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, over high heat. Add canola oil; heat. Spread shredded potatoes evenly over skillet bottom. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes or until brown on bottom. Do not stir or disturb potatoes while cooking. Using a wide spatula, flip potatoes over and brown other side without stirring.

Fry bacon in skillet until brown and crispy. Remove; drain on paper towels. Return skillet to stove over medium heat and fry remaining 4 eggs. Remove eggs to a plate. Keep warm.

Heat griddle or skillet over medium heat and add butter. Remove dipping mixture from refrigerator. Rewhisk to blend well. Dip the bread slices, one at a time, in mixture. Grill one side. Flip. Brown second side. Top 4 slices each with 1 ounce Brie, a portion of the potatoes, 1 egg, two slices of bacon, and another ounce of Brie. Top with another prepared bread slice. Continue to grill sandwiches briefly to heat the Brie, being careful not to overbrown bread. Serve with maple syrup on the side, if desired.

the new american grilled cheese

  • 4 cooked andouille sausages, sliced lengthwise in thirds
  • 3 tablespoon(s) butter, softened
  • 10 ounce(s) extra-sharp orange cheddar, 6 ounces shredded, 4 ounces sliced
  • 8 large slices sourdough bread
  • 2 tablespoon(s) Dijon mustard
  • 4 ounce(s) (about 1 cup ) Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

  1. In a large nonstick skillet, cook the sliced sausages over moderate heat, turning once, until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer the sausages to a plate and wipe out the pan.
  2. In a bowl, stir the butter with the shredded cheddar cheese just until combined. Spread the cheddar-butter on one side of each slice of bread; arrange them buttered side down on a work surface. Spread the mustard on the bread and sprinkle the Monterey Jack over the mustard. Top four slices with the sausages, and the sliced cheddar. Close the sandwiches, pressing lightly and tucking in any stray cheese.
  3. Place the sandwiches in the skillet, cover, and cook over moderately low heat until golden on the bottom, 3 minutes. Press with a spatula to flatten slightly, then flip the sandwiches, cover, and cook until browned on the bottom, 3 minutes longer; lower the heat if the bread is browned before the cheese melts completely. Transfer the sandwiches to a cutting board and let rest for 2 minutes, then cut them in half..


These babies have been a part of every family get-together, baby shower, housewarming party, etc we have had for years and they are always amazing.  They are a great, savory appetizer or finger food.


  • 8 ounces good white crabmeat, picked free of all shells
  • 1 (5-ounce) jar Cheddar-horseradish spread (recommended: Kraft Old English)
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
  • Dash hot sauce or cayenne pepper
  • 8 large toasted english muffins
  • Directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine crab, cheese spread, mayonnaise, garlic powder, butter and hot sauce. Divide mixture evenly over bread rounds and spread. Score each round into quarters and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake until topping is heated through and golden brown on top, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Serve hot. These freeze and store well for drop-in company.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Today I Wore...

Cardi - Delia's
Top - Old Navy
Pants - NY&Co

Simply Stashed

Finally, an organizer you won’t want to hide behind the door. With contemporary prints, and hand-selected colors that blend with any décor, these stylish organizers can be used for so much more than shoes. Organize your kitchen, kids’ rooms, craft room, laundry room and more.

An ingenious built-in sleeve allows you to custom label each pocket, with no messy stickers to run and peel.

Bring vertical storage out of the closet with
Simply Stashed.


I have been wearing this Estee Lauder Double Wear Maximum Cover Foundation for a while now and I just love it!  I have some broken capillaries in my face and a very uneven skin tone with lots of red undertones so I like something a with a lot of coverage.  Trouble is, it's difficult to find something full coverage that isn't so heavy you can literally feel it on your face.  Then I found this Estee Lauder.  It's light and doesn't make me feel like I've got a ton of make up on.  I get the coverage I need without the heaviness.  The consultant recommended I use a foundation brush to put it on and talked me into spending way too much money on a brush that I literally used once.  The brush did make it feel heavy and I thought it looked heavy, too.  I was never able to get the brush to apply it in a way that looked natural.  So I switched to a sponge (I like the Laura Mercier teardrop-shaped sponge) and that worked so much better!

Classic Strawberry Shortcake

Growing up, our Strawberry Shortcake was usually served on a sponge cake bowl bought from the grocery store.  Remember these?

I did NOT like these.

They were dry and tasteless.

Then one day I had a strawberry shortcake dessert where the sponge cake was replaced with a light, fluffy homemade buttermilk biscuit.


It's amazing the difference that biscuit made.

Now, in a perfect world I would make my own biscuits from scratch, use fresh strawberries and homemade whipped cream.

But this is not a perfect world.  This is a world where I have to work 8 hours a day, go pick up my daughter from daycare, and slide by to get my hideous eyebrows waxed before i go home and cook supper.

So I used Pillsbury Grands Buttermilk biscuits, frozen strawberries in syrup ( I bought the store brand), and RediWhip (because I just love that stuff). 

And they were AWESOME!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Strawberry Vodka Lemonade

Oh, I can just see myself sitting out by the pool with one of these in my hand!  I am so looking forward to those days.  Since we don't close our pool for winter, I have to stare at it day after day just waiting for it and the weather to warm up enough.  Shouldn't be too much longer now.  When it does get warm enough, I'm thinking about having the Bunco girls over for an afternoon of lounging and lemonade!

2 oz. strawberry infused Svedka vodka
2 oz. simple syrup
2 oz. fresh lemon juice
Top with sparkling wine
Garnish with strawberries and mint

Cookie Truffle Cups

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3 oz semisweet baking chocolate
1 tbsp shortening
Cookie Cups:
1 box Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
1/4 cup butter, soft
1 egg
2 cups dark chocolate chips (12 oz)
3/4 cups heavy whipping cream

Heat oven to 375°F. Lightly spray 24 mini muffin cups with cooking spray.

 In medium microwavable bowl, microwave semisweet baking chocolate and shortening on High until smooth and melted. Pour onto ungreased cookie sheet. Using spatula, smooth chocolate into a thin layer; set aside to harden.

In large bowl, mix Cookie Cup ingredients until a crumbly dough forms. Shape dough into small balls; place each into muffin cup.

Bake 10 to 11 minutes or until set and very light golden brown (dough will puff slightly). Using end of rolling pin handle or spoon, press indentation in center of each cookie to form cup. Cool completely in pan, about 15 minutes. Remove cookie cups from muffin cups to cooling rack.

Meanwhile, to make curly chocolate shavings, use metal spatula to scrape a thin layer of chocolate from metal cookie sheet by sliding spatula edge quickly just under layer of hardened chocolate.

In small microwavable bowl, microwave dark chocolate chips and whipping cream on High until chocolate is melted; stir until smooth.

Spoon filling evenly into each cookie cup. Press chocolate curls gently into center of each cookie cup. Let filling cool completely before serving.

Twist on a Reuben

Last night I finally got a chance to use my new Pampered Chef grill pan and grill press.  I wanted to make a Reuben panini, but I'm not a huge fan of corned beef so I decided to go with roast beef.

Just regular ol' deli sliced roast beef!
I warmed it up in the grill pan a bit first, then constructed my sandwich on Sourdough bread.  I spread Thousand Island dressing on one slice of bread and layered my roast beef.  Next, I added Swiss Cheese and the other slice of bread and grilled it in my grill pan with my press.  I made some cole slaw to add on top after it was complete and served it with chips.  It was AWESOME!  Even Jaimie loved it.  We will definitely be making these again!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Today I Wore...

Top: Flourish (Dillards)
Pants - NY&Co

Necklace Organizer

I absolutely love this idea for organizing necklaces.  I have sought a way to hang them so that they don't get tangled, but are still visible and easy to find, for years.  I think this would work beautifully. 

Install a towel rack to a wall in  your closet or by your dressing area.  Hang shower curtain hangers to organize necklaces.


Twice Baked Potato Casserole

I'm always looking for side dishes.  Admittedly, I open a can of something or other most times to serve with the entree I've so carefully prepared.  But side dishes shouldn't be an after-thought.  This recipe is Paula Deen's, and in my opinion she can do no wrong.  Bring on the butter!  The great thing about this recipe (besides it's taste) is that you can make it ahead of time and refrigerate it until you are ready to bake!
8 medium baking potatoes, about 4 pounds
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 pint sour cream
2 cups ( ½ pound) shredded sharp cheddar cheese (divided use)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup chopped chives, for garnish
6 slices bacon, cooked crisp, drained and crumbled, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 F. Pierce potatoes and place on baking pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until very soft.

Peel and mash potatoes in large bowl with potato masher or back of fork. Add cream cheese, butter, sour cream and 1 cup of cheddar. Stir well. Add garlic, salt and pepper, and stir again.

Spray a 13x9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place potato mixture in dish, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate casserole until ready to bake.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 F, remove plastic wrap and bake casserole 30 to 35 minutes until hot. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup cheddar over casserole and return to oven for about 5 minutes, until cheese melts. Garnish with chopped chives and crumbled bacon before serving. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Friday, April 13, 2012