Thursday, May 31, 2012

What's for dinner?

One of my very favorite (and incredibly simple) things to make for dinner are paninis. You really can use what every you would like to create a delicious hot sandwich panini.

Schmidt from New Girl reference, anyone?

On the menu tonight are turkey, tomato, brie and pesto paninis.

Step one: Gather your ingredients.

-Bread of choice
-Turkey
-Thinly sliced tomato
-Pesto
-Thinly sliced brie



My favorite bread to use for paninis is the "take and bake" ciabatta from the Target grocery section. While I have used other locally baked breads, I find they tend to be too crunchy for my taste after they are grilled. The "take and bake" bread claims to be partially baked but it really seems fully baked to me. The grilling step gives the bread the perfect golden finish. Every now and then I can snag a slightly under baked loaf from our local grocer (they stock breads from a local bakery and I really do try my best to support local businesses) but, for now, we will go with the Target ciabatta.

The ciabatta really is delicious and a regular in our household. On second thought, any bread is a regular in our household. I know that bread is hardly a healthy food item but it is delicious and I try my best to eat it sparingly. In my opinion, there is almost nothing better than the simple pleasure of warm, fresh bread.

Brady and I have been known to lurk around the bakery section of our local grocery store if we see they are finishing up a batch so we can snag a warm one. Let's pretend that isn't embarrassing.
 
 
For those of you in the Northwest, this this why Duke's Chowderhouse is one of my favorite restaurants. Not only do they make a delicious strawberry lemon drop and have a killer Happy Hour, they serve fresh, warm sourdough bread and butter with their meals. I die. It is such a perfect, savory treat.
 
 
I digress, back to the paninis.

 
There are a variety of ways you can grill your panini. I choose the somewhat awkward method of using the George Foreman. If you have a panini press, even better. If you don't have a George or a panini press I have heard of people using a frying pan and setting a warmed cast iron skillet on top to act as a press. The good part is there is no wrong way to eat a Reese's grill a panini.

 
Step two: Apply pesto to bread, add generous amounts of turkey, brie and tomato. I had basil on hand so I added a bit of that as well.


Step three: Grill! And try not to burn your fingers.



 
Step four: Devour immediately.



- C

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

While Pinterest is good for quite a few things (mainly wasting time and planning your dream closet/home/life) is is also quite good for motivation. I plan on spending my Wednesday's sharing bits of motivation, wit, wisdom and inspiration that I have stumbled upon.

If you are anything like me, you focus on being positive. I believe that there are far too many negative bits floating around out there and people spend too much time focusing on the bad rather than the good. However, everyone has rough days, myself included.

I keep clips of inspirational artwork or sayings as the home screen on my phone. Just when the days seems to have taken a serious turn down hill, I can whip out my phone and be reminded that things really aren't that bad.


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The image above is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Not only are the little birds darling, the statement is quite true.

This reminds me of a quote that is one of my sister's favorite:


"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
Eleanor Roosevelt


It is easy to let the world get you down. Advertising towards females focuses so primarily on us not being tan/skinny/tall/pretty enough that it is easy to look at a situation and think you can't do it.

You can! You can do anything you please.

Don't let anyone make you feel inferior and don't ever think you aren't (fill in the blank) enough.




Friday, May 25, 2012

High Five for Friday!

To celebrate Friday I am participating in a link up with From My Grey Desk . I have been an avid follower for quite some time and am very excited to share my own High Five for Friday list.

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1. Hello three day weekend! Brady and I have been so busy lately, it will be bliss to have three days off together. The last few nights we have taken some time to ourselves to do lots of this...


With this...


Unwinding with him is my favorite part of the day.


2. H&M is definitely a go-to store, especially for trendy items. While their prices are already quite budget friendly, I have never been one to pass up a discount. Recently, they provided their newsletter readers with 35% off of one item. I used my to snag a blouse I had my eye on for a great price!

The offer is good until the 27th, here is the link!


3. During a trip to Target this week I stumbled upon a treat for myself, salted caramel hot chocolate mix! While I have a deep love for Starbucks, I do not drink coffee. My favorite treat is a salted caramel hot chocolate in the fall. It is far too delicious to be a seasonal beverage! It has been wonderful to enjoy at-home salted caramel hot chocolates this week.

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4. Playing catch with this girl is a highlight of my week, every week.



5. Thanks for making my Thursday, Target! I just love getting packages in the mail! This particular one contained a new pair of pewter colored sandals. I needed an immediate replacement after my favorite pair (which were several years old) met an unfortunate demise earlier in the week.



I am seriously ready to get this weekend started! We will be out and about in Seattle on Saturday night to celebrate the recent college graduation of a close friend. I am looking forward to a night on the town with the girls (and boys). On Sunday Brady and I are headed to Bellevue to celebrate my step mom's birthday. I already have out fits planned for both events!

I hope you have a lovely weekend!

- C


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Target for the win

Online shopping has become an addiction a hobby for me in the last several years. It really all began when I was living in a small college town. The closest decent mall was about an hour an a half away. Let's face it, turning to online shopping was necessary. My online shopping style is really more online stalking. I will look and look at an item for weeks until I finally break down and make the purchase.

My latest stalking victim was this pencil skirt over at the J. Crew Factory. I was head over heels for the color and knew I would wear it non-stop. However, the return policy for J. Crew isn't great (seeing as you have to pay shipping both ways) so I was quite hesitant considering I wasn't sure if I would like the fit.

I was this close to making the big purchase a few days ago but decided I would think it over at work the next day.

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Enter one of my typical lunch time shopping trips to Target. What do I find? This skirt! It is seriously the twin sister of the J. Crew Factory skirt. While the color in the photo appears quite orange it is really coral in person.

The best part of all is that the skirt was on sale for a whopping $11.

You never cease to impress me, Target.

I will be sure to post an outfit photo with the new skirt soon.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Happy Friday

Brady is absolutely obsessed with bulldogs. Obsessed.

When I stumbled upon this photo on the Flickr website I knew I had to send it his way as a "happy Friday" treat.

Now you guys can enjoy this darling little pup as well.

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Isn't he just too precious?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Summer shopping

Since it appears that summer has finally graced us with its presence, it is time to switch gears when it comes to dressing.

Seeing as I live in western Washington, most of my fall, winter and spring clothes revolve around the thought "how would this look with a raincoat?" or "can I tuck these pants into my rain boots?". It is such a refreshing feeling to be able to fore go the jacket!

I have officially begun the yearly ritual of packing away my strictly winter items and bringing out my summer items. I would love to have a closet large enough to house all of the clothes at once but that won't be happening any time soon.

During the closet switch-a-roo I noticed some glaring gaps in my summer wardrobe. As we progress into the full swing of summer, I will be putting my shopping focus on adding a few re mixable pieces to my closet.

Naturally, I turned to Pinterest for a bit of inspiration.

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I am loving the basic neutrals with touches of color, such as pastels and neon, or classic pieces, such as nautical stripes.

Summer dressing is definitely a departure from winter dressing. In my opinion, there is so much more you can get away with and focus on more simple combinations. I am especially drawn to the very trendy combination of white and chambray. It is such a clean look that screams summer.

I can't wait to get to shopping!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Perfect summer days

Let me just go ahead and say that Western Washington has been experiencing some sort of weather phenomenon over the last week. It is NEVER this nice this early in the year. Being a Washington native, I am used to waiting until sometime in July for continuous summer to really kick in. However, it has been absolutely gorgeous and so warm! Needless to say, Brady and I have been loving every second of it. This past weekend we celebrated with a barbecue, several rounds of ladder ball, a treat at Frappy Hour and lots of time outdoors with Snickers.

Such a beautiful day!


Even better with a vanilla coconut frappucino in hand!


Snicks loves nothing more than to stick her head out the window!
(Don't worry, I was stopped when I took this)


After a day of soaking up the sun, I picked up some marinated chicken to grill from our favorite local market. Seeing as they also have the best produce, I also picked up the necessary items to try a salsa recipe I have been anxious to try. I stumbled upon the recipe over at Brilliant Sugar and knew the Avocado and Mango Salsa was right up my alley.

I am a fanatic for Mexican food, especially any kind of salsa. Seeing as salsa is such a breeze to make and can be made with nearly any produce you have left in your fridge, I really enjoy whipping up batches on a regular basis during the summer.


Just start with the basic produce; I used onion, mango, avocado, tomato, garlic, cilantro and jalapeno. After dicing everything up to itty-bitty pieces (which I will admit, can take a while) add the juice of one lime, salt, pepper and a bit of olive oil and you are done!

If you are going to give this recipe a try, be super careful after touching the jalapeno. I finished up the salsa and absent mindedly touched my eye because my allergies were driving me crazy. Long story short, a case of jalapeno eye isn't for for anyone involved.

We served ours with the chipotle cilantro lime grilled chicken from the market.


The picture does not do the dinner justice, the chicken is seriously SO GOOD. I think my next project in the kitchen will be attempting to recreated the chipotle cilantro lime marinade.



Monday, May 14, 2012

Best Mom Ever

I have the greatest mom ever.

Not only is she everything I could ask for in a mother, she is a great friend, she provides endless support, encouragement and advice, she is a fantastic shopping partner and she always knows how to make me smile and laugh. I am so lucky she is mine!  


To celebrate my amazing mother, I got her the greatest Mother's Day gift ever. I stumbled upon the website The Vintage Pearl a while back and knew that my mom would love one of their personalized necklaces. How handy I discovered them just before Mother's Day. After looking at all of their beautiful necklaces, I chose this one for my mom. I had it personalized with my name and the names of my brother and sister.


The truth is I would really like one for myself. However, I do not have any children and I do not think Snickers will buy one for me...




Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pineapple Bliss Cupcakes

I am an avid follower of the website Skinny Taste and, after several days of lusting, gave the Pineapple Bliss Cupcakes a try. Let me just say right up front that these are some of the most delicious cupcakes I have ever had and they are so simple it is unbelievable.


Start out with your ingredients: one box of yellow cake mix, two 20-ounce cans of crushed pineapple, one 8-ounce package of reduced fat cream cheese and a can of marshmallow whip.


Combine your cake mix (just the powder mix) with one can of pineapple and mix well.

It really is as simple as that, your batter is done!


Finish by filling 24 cupcake liner two-thirds full with batter. This was the perfect amount, I had just enough for all 24 (with a spoon full or two of batter for myself, of course). Bake the cupcakes as recommended on the box of cake mix.


For the frosting, mix your room temperature cream cheese with 3/4 cup of marshmallow whip and one can of very, very well drained pineapple.

Draining the second can of pineapple was the most difficult part. While the recipe specifically states to squeeze the juices out really well, I did not squeeze mine well enough. My frosting came out a bit runny but delicious none the less.


I served ours out of their cupcake lines with a heaping spoonful of the frosting on top, they were quite delicious. I can't wait to try this recipe again soon!

I recommend going over to Skinny Taste and giving these treats a try. Not only are the as simple as can be, they are the perfect fix for your post-barbecue sweet tooth.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mint madness

After seeing endless photos on Pinterest of how trendy the color mint is for spring, I decided to give it a try in nail form. I typically (and by typically I mean every single time) chose to paint my nails in some shade of pink. I am a bit embarrassed to say that, even in my substantial collection of polishes, this mint is the first time I have branched out from a shade of pink or red. First nail polish, next is mint denim.

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I snagged this Sally Hansen nail polish in Mint Sorbet as an impulse purchase, at Target of course. Target always yields at least one or two impulse purchases. I am lucky enough to have not one but two Target's within a five minute drive of my office. Perfect for browsing during lunch.


The polish was actually a higher quality than I thought it would be. It covered well and only required one coat.



What are your thoughts on mint polish?

- C


I left my heart in Pullman


Has it really been a year?

Saturday marked one entire year since I graduated from college! It is wild to look back at the last year and see all of the incredible changes that have happened in my life. Even though it feels like I have been living this life forever, my college and high school days feel like they were just yesterday.


I have adjusted to living in a new city with my fantastic boyfriend, Brady. I have settled into a new job which I will celebrate my one year anniversary at on July 1st. Most importantly, I have started an entire new chapter as an adult! As terrible as that may sound (am I really that old already?!) it is a very exciting new phase, one that I am looking forward to taking on with my boyfriend by my side.


I still miss these days though, my heart will always be in Pullman!

- C