Monday, January 30, 2017

Window Treatment Inspiration

In an effort to makes things bright on this Monday morning, I am bringing you some inspiration that I have my heart set on for our dining room! It's a blank slate with white walls and dentil moulding, and one large double window. In order to energize my blue and white, and traditional dishes and crystal, I am thinking about a leopard {or similar print} drapes. Check out these spaces! 

If my budget allowed les touches, I would be all over it ;)

I found two fabrics on Ballard Designs that just might fit the bill. They have a cool tool that lets you see the fabric in the style drape you are interested in, and they also sell the fabric by the yard. I would probably have to go the fabric by the yard route because it's hard to fork over that money for something I could make! PS- not sponsored to mention them, guaranteed ;)

I ordered samples for these two fabrics {but of course one is backordered until late February!}

I'm thinking I could almost call a dupe on this next one for les touches. Ok, not a dupe but a really similar vibe.

And if you want to go the les touches route, I found this etsy seller that does custom drapes in many different fabrics as well. Her work is gorgeous!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Date Night Planning + A New Watch

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I wanted to share some of my goals for the New Year. Instead of making out a list in one post, I might just go into detail about each one, when the time is right. One important thing on my list for the year is to make sure that Stephen and I sneak in date nights. As everyone knows, it is so much harder with two kids {or one, or ten} to devote that much needed time to your relationship. Two years ago we made a plan in January to do one special date night a month and that plan pretty much fizzled. The deal was that we would alternate months planning something out of the ordinary for the other. Maybe it was too high of an expectation but we both just kind of forgot about it. So, this time around I would like to reinstate the monthly date night, but instead of insisting it's something out of the ordinary and unique, we will just be happy to sneak away for any old date! Over the last few years I have learned that sometimes the simplest things are the very best things.

This last weekend we used up a gift card for a one night stay at a local hotel that was given to us one year ago- it was due to expire in a few weeks, in fact! Nothing like the last minute :) It was such a treat to drive five minutes down the road and be on a mini vacation. We went to a wine bar, had a delicious dinner and then stopped by another restaurant on our walk back to the hotel for a bit. Still in bed by 10, (9 most of the time!) requirement these days if you know what I mean.

 Not the best picture with bad lighting, but I will take it! 

 - my top -

Jord watches contacted me a with an opportunity to review one of their watches a while back, and I thought now would be the perfect time for this, at the beginning of the year as we begin our date nights again. I was excited to share the chance for this with Stephen and we both agreed we really liked the Fieldcrest Sandalwood Watch. The watch came beautifully packaged {packaging is everything, am I right!} which made it feel like such a cool watch to give. These watches are right up Stephen's alley for his "weekending" wear. He's a little more casual and relaxed, looks so cute in his slightly skinny jeans {don't tell him I called them that!} but always looks polished. I think the wooden watch is a perfect fit for these kind of days. A little more relaxed, but still looking good.

I have a few watches but none that I have grown to love wearing everyday. I love the idea that these women's watches are in an affordable price range for a person like me who might want to wear a watch occasionally and not feel bad about that! {My favorite is the Koa + Rose Gold!}

Here is the fun part, Jord is offering a $100 on their site to one of my readers, and additionally, each entry will grant you $25 towards a watch. All you have to do is enter the giveaway here.
 ** Update- this giveaway is closed and Caitlin - you should have received and email!} **

Watch Gift Ideas

Thank you to Jord Watches for providing this watch, and to my readers for supporting my collaborations. All opinions are my own.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Time to use giftcards!

This weekend I treated myself to some new items via my Christmas gift cards. Gift cards are so satisfying, am I right? First up, J.Crew was having additional markdowns and I finally got the vest that was sold out in November I wanted so badly! Looks like it currently is available in black, but stock always seems to change with items like these so keep an eye out for the camel! {Love the black too!}

I also got this deck striped t-shirt...because I can never have enough striped tops! It comes in several colors too...

I purchased this top back in December since it was festive, yet could transition into Spring well. I love a top like that! Plus, if you are like me sometimes you just don't feel like wearing sleeves, so this is a nice change for winter.

I also went to Ulta yesterday for some much needed items, like a new tube of mascara and deep conditioner. I received this mascara as a bonus back in November and have loved it!! It is definitely a new favorite of mine. They still had some remaining "ornaments" in a smaller tube size so I grabbed that since I was getting several other items. I haven't tried this deep conditioner before but am hopeful it will be a new favorite. I need to use a deep conditioner about once a week. I also thought it would be fun to try the Essie Gel Couture buy the special polish and top coat for a gel like finish. I'm hoping this will turn me into one of those girls who always has her nails painted ;) The color I picked up is "Fairy Tailor" and it is somewhere between a really pretty pale pink/nude. Last but not least, since I am so pale, I am trying these sublime wipes {cheaper link!} because I keep hearing good things about them and they are cheap!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Recipe: Panera Copycat Tomato Soup + Homemade Croutons

Usually I don't do two food posts in a row but this one was a definite keeper from last night! I love a good tomato soup with grilled cheese in the winter- it is one of my absolute favorites. This is a breeze to put together, making it even better! 

1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp crushed garlic
1 14 oz can chicken broth {or 2 cups}
2 Tbsp sugar
⅓ cup butter
1 cup heavy cream
15-20 Basil leaves, chopped

1. Combine the tomatoes, broth, and garlic bring to a boil and let boil for 10 minutes.
2. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the sugar and butter and mix until they are dissolved, melted and well combined.
3. Very slowly pour in the heavy cream while simultaneously stirring until all the cream is combined and the soup is creamy. Make sure you pour slow and mix each time!
4. Stir in the basil.
5. Serve hot with grated parmesan cheese and homemade croutons {recipe below}.

My special touch is that I add homemade "croutons" to the top of our tomato soup. For these, all I do is take whatever bread we have on hand {preferably fresh made bread from the bakery, not your typical white sandwich bread} and chop it up into crouton size pieces. I sprayed them lightly with Pam, threw them in the pan next to the grilled cheese with a tad bit of butter, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Just get them lightly toasted on all sides and they are delicious! Last night I used ciabatta bread and they were fantastic!

As you can see I made three different types of grilled cheese last night, for three different tastes. I sprung for ciabatta, Stephen with the white wheat sandwich bread, and my Dad joined us as well with sourdough. I used a combo of sharp cheddar and baby swiss and they were sooo good.


Friday, January 6, 2017

Welcome 2017 + Winter Weekend Food

Well this week just flew on by, am I right? We had a wonderful long, stretch of the holiday season spanning from several days before Christmas to New Years Day, and then boom! Back to normal, and a week just flies by. We all did ok adjusting after the long break {Wednesday felt like a total Monday, actually} but I can't say that I am sad to see the weekend here again!

I am excited for a New Year and a fresh start...sometimes I get those feelings at the beginning of a new year, it and sometimes I don't. What about you? So, it is fun to be looking forward to the year to come! 2016 brought us many, many blessings but not with out some hard times as well. Having the year ahead of us gives me lots of hope and goals to meet that I am going to try for. Hopefully I will get around to sharing some of those here on the blog in the next few weeks!

We are in the South and like most every other southerner, glued to the weather report for this weekends winter forecast! It looks like we won't end up getting much at all, but that didn't stop me from getting a winter menu planned out for the weekend.

I've already put Natalie's White Chicken Chili together for tonight and I'm super excited. We are big White Chicken Chili fans and although I already have several go-to's I enjoy trying a new one as well! I love her idea to serve with Cornbread Croutons, a fun twist!

I am also throwing a pork loin in the crockpot tomorrow to make April's Pulled Pork salad. Y'all this salad is insane! It is so incredibly easy too, you will think you missed a step. It has been a big hit in our house each time I have made it for different crowds. The leftovers are fantastic for making tacos for lunch, nachos, and Weeks enjoyed them too. Love, love!

Last but not least, this may be Sunday's dinner - My Chicken Meatballs. I haven't made them in a while and I am so ready for my fix! If you haven't tried them, a cold winter weekend is the perfect time to whip up a batch!

Stay warm this weekend!!