28 August 2012

so many projects, so much fun :)

I tried a new pinterest project a couple weeks ago! I tried over and over and over again to make this work but COULD NOT make it happen. Finally I was very patient and it paid off. If you can't tell that's a block of wood that I transferred a picture on to. I LOVE the final product! I'd really like to try it in sepia also.. FAB!!! 

We celebrated Tara's 26th birthday over the weekend!! WOO HOO!! We went to eat at Sushi Cafe, delicious as always, and then had ding dong cake from two sisters. I think of gross when I think of ding dongs so I wasn't prepared to like this cake... but It. was. amazing.  

So I left the birthday celebration Friday night and drove to the lake to meet Brian, Daniel and Wendy. Then went down earlier in the day while I stayed to birthday celebrate! We spent the whole weekend, relaxing, eating good, spending time on the lake, and loving life! Saturday morning Brian and I went to the fruit stand next door and got tons of veggies and such for dinner. I made my favorite kind of salad (the sweetest Mr. Keeney of Keeney's in Malvern gave me his awesome recipe) and let it marinate all day... it was AMAZING!! We added some more cucumbers and tomatoes and took the rest home for the week. I LOVE!!!   

Hope everyone had a fabulous weekend! Tomorrow is my last day of work at the Senators office. I'm so excited to move but it's exhausting thinking and doing all the things I have to get done! But it will be worth it and I will love my new home. Until next time... XOXO 

27 August 2012

Updates!

Sooo.. lots has been going on! With trying to finish up my current job to trying to find a place to live in Little Rock.. I feel like i need a vacation!! :) 

This past weekend I finally found a place to live! I'm so excited, I think I will enjoy the complex and I already know I love the area of town I'll be living in. AND... my closet is HUGE! So I know this is going to be the beginning of something beautiful. 

Anyway, a little life update... 2 weekends ago our friends Stephen and Laura got married. Beautiful service, super fun reception! Here's Brian and I at the reception. I have a very handsome boyfriend! 

OH and I just found these pictures on my camera I wanted to share. About a month or so ago, Brian and Stephen decided they were going to try to smoke ribs on a grill. You see, you have to have a special grill, with the flip up on the side.. you put the wood chips on one side and the ribs on the other. The whole thing was like a 7 hour process but they were good!! They were tender and had good flavor! Here's the grilling team and the final product! Yuummm... 


On to another project... SUSHI!!! I made this a while back and I'm so proud of the outcome! One day while in Barnes and Noble, I decided I wanted to become a sushi chef. Brian I buy sushi all the time from Kroger (LOVE IT) and I figured it couldn't be that hard to make, right? Well... wrong. I've watched countless youtube videos on how to make it, the right technique, all the options to fill your sushi with, etc. I bought the starter kit- it came with my rice spoon, bamboo rolling board, chopsticks, cookbook and dvd. So I bought the seaweed and rice from Kroger, some rice vinegar and then I went with imitation crab. Not my favorite but Kroger didn't have sushi grade fish, so we learn to compromise :) Add avocado and cucumber to the mix and I was ready to roll. Does anyone know how sticky sushi rice is.. OMG! My first attempt wasn't bad but wasn't really good either. Here is the final product on my second... and it didn't taste half bad. That makes it sound like it wasn't good.. it was good but it didn't look as pretty as the pros. 



TA DA!!! I need a good sushi knife to cut and I think I'll be in business :) I'll be back later with this past weekends happenings

XOXO, ARH



21 August 2012

New city, new job... so much excitement!!

Sooo.. I fell off the blog bandwagon for a short period of time. I even forgot my 2nd installment of "Things I love Thursdays." But I have good reason... I've been so busy and I have HUGE news to share!! 

I'M MOVING TO LITTLE ROCK!!! I'm so, so, so excited!! (If you couldn't tell by the million exclamation points I just used!) I've been wanting to move for nearly 4 years! But I've been blessed beyond measure with amazing jobs so I can't complain. These past four years have prepared me so much. I have experienced things in the last few years I couldn't imagine, I've learned a lot and I've come to know so many great people that I'm forever thankful for. 

It's funny, you go off to college to study for 4 years.. you pick a major, pick a career path and assume you will graduate, get a job, and love it forever. In my life, that wasn't the case. I went to UCA as a business major.. marketing to be exact. My dad owns his own Marketing/Advertising/PR firm and my mom owned her own small business .. I've always been great with people and totally obsessed over office supplies from a very young age.. it just made sense. I was totally ready to skip the classes required of you as a freshman so I jumped in to my business classes as soon as possible, and now I am so glad that I did! I HATED accounting, seriously hated it. I was horrible at it, I tried so hard but I couldn't make sense of it. Finally my mom told me to stop trying to figure out the why behind it and just memorize how to do it... I dropped the class the next day and decided business was not the path I wanted to take. 

So I did some research... enter Communications. I had a sorority sister at the time, Mallory Hardin, who was in the field and more or less hooked me. Finally, I LOVED my major, I was good at my classes. I graduated with a 3.9 in my field. Problem is, I graduated in 2008 and the economy was a huge mess. I sent out resume tape after resume tape to stations all over America! My first job offer was in nowhere, Texas with a whopping salary of $15,500. Pretty sure my mom said she'd pay me more to not take it. About 10 months later I took my first job as a television reporter at KTVE, my local station out of Monroe, LA. I was always embarrassed that I was working in El Dorado, like it wasn't a real TV job, like I wasn't a real reporter. I was always working for myself, it was tough, covering bank robberies, house fires, etc. I went to bed at night and had nightmares. It became too much and took over my life. Don't get me wrong, there were amazing parts and I tried to make myself love it, tried to make myself want to stay in the field but at the end of the day my heart wasn't in it. I felt like a failure. Did I really go to school all this time to spend a year and a half at the station to quit and have no clue what to do with my life?! 

I took an amazing job that I loved next at the local hospital. Still, great job but I was unhappy with the location. I loved the people I worked with, loved there was always something going on, my boss was like the perfect hip cousin or whatever you never had. We got along great and I loved working for her... until newly elected Senator John Boozman's state director called me one day. I'll never forget.. I was in the elevator at work and my phone rang.. I was like are you kidding. I've been here 4 months, I love this, I would never leave. But I did leave... for an amazing job! Seriously... not many people can say they worked for a UNITED STATES SENATOR. That's awesome. There are 100. period. Who does that? Who has 3 back to back amazing jobs in a terrible economy?! 

ENTER... today. I've accepted a job with the Arkansas Department of Rural Services in Little Rock as a grants coordinator. I'm sooo excited. I'm thrilled really. I know this job will be the perfect fit and something that I can stay at for a while and make a career. I feel great to go to work and know that I'll be helping people. And I get to do some other cool, fun things that I'm good at. I've always been an outgoing person, I'll talk to a stranger more than they probably want me to, I'd probably talk to a brick wall if they were the only one around.. so I'm excited to work with so many great communities around Arkansas. 

I'm so thankful. I'm so blessed and I'm extremely fortunate. I don't want to sound like for a minute that I haven't appreciated all of my past jobs. They have taught me SO much and I'm the most thankful for all the people along the way. The coworkers, judges, mayors, chambers.. people who aren't just my colleagues but more my friends. 

And lastly, I'm soooooo excited to be back in central Arkansas near my friends. I'll miss my family in El Dorado and be sad to not have lunch with my mom everyday but I know she's so extremely happy for me and I'm sure she wanted this for me far worse than I wanted it for myself. Now, if I could just find a place to live.. everything would be more than peachy :) 

So now.... on a completely different note... I tried a new pinterest recipe tonight.. Pizza dough!! Made from greek yogurt and flour and it was delish!! I topped my pizza with light marina sauce, ham and pineapple, and a sprinkle of cheese. SO GOOD. 



Hope you have a good evening.. I'll be back soon. I've got to update you on my weekend and another amazing thing I tried to make.. SUSHI!! (I actually did it!!) xoxo, love. 

Happy Birthday Hayden!!

I can't believe I forgot to post a special happy birthday blog to my favorite 1 month old, Hayden!!!


HAPPY BIRTHDAY (on the 17th) to my favorite girl!! Don't you love her sweet birthday outfit? Present from auntie Alex :):) xoxo

09 August 2012

Things I LOVE Thursdays :)

Hello!! And HELLLOOOO Thursday!! I feel like I've been waiting forever for Thursday this week. This might be my favorite day, reason being.. I get to see Brian on Fridays!!! :) Call me corny, I don't mind. 

Anyway, now that my pinterest project is over I figured it was time for a new idea for the blog. Enter "Things I Love Thursdays," a list of 10 things I'm loving right now... Enjoy!

TEN.
Have you had Honey Bunches of Oats lately?! I bought some last week (with strawberries) and I don't think they have ever been so delicious! I'm addicted now! 

NINE.
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Who played this growing up?! Please tell me I wasn't the only one. I still play to this day. I LOVE this game. (for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about- it's a game you play in the car- you have to find every letter of the alphabet on a billboard, road sign, etc.) These are always the reason for the game to stop. I hope this sign really exists. This is hilarious! 

EIGHT. 
How cute are my new shoes?! LOVE!! You can buy them --> HERE.

SEVEN. 
Aly Raisman poses with her gold medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games on July 31. Photo by REUTERS/Brian Snyder
OLYMPIC time! OMG, how amazing is Aly Raisman?? I've always loved gymnastics and you better believe I signed up to take gym after watching the Magnificent 7 take gold in Atlanta in 96. When I watched this video of her floor routine the other night, I was amazed! Just watch it... after that first pass you KNEW she was taking home the gold! 

SIX.

Sophia Grace & Roise. I love these two!! SO GOOD! I can't wait til they come back to the Ellen show.. that way I can have tons more videos to watch :) If you are bored sometime, watch them all. I love when Ellen sends them shopping or to a red carpet, precious! 

FIVE. 
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I'm totally loving this look for fall. Over sized sweater/shirt and skinny jeans. Add some boots and that's what I call perfection! 

FOUR. 
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Monograms! Everything monogrammed! I got a new phone cover, guess what.. the back is monogrammed! I'd buy the necklace if I wasn't being so cheap, I'd prob get one of those adorable rings also. PS. I'm totally going to make this for my bedroom. 

THREE. 
Have you heard of Katie Ledecky? Y'all... she is 15 years old and killed the competition in the 800 meter freestyle. I actually watched this race and she finished nearly 2 body lengths ahead of the 2nd place finisher. Second fastest time in all of history.. and get this, the record holder was in the race with her.. finished 3rd! This is what the olympics is about... awesome race, total domination! 

TWO. 
The number of hits my blog reached from Tuesday night at 9PM til 10AM the next morning. I don't think that many people read my blog in the first year I had it. Honestly, I don't know why I started a blog, I never imagined people would read it, much less.. compliment me on it. THANK YOU! 

ONE. 
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Amen. Remember this. 

Hope you enjoyed my first Thursday. I'll be thinking of my top 10 all week and I'll share it with you next Thursday. Hope you all have a fab weekend! Brian moves to Little Rock this weekend so I'll spend the majority moving (YAY)

XOXO, ARH

08 August 2012

Follow me!!

I'm just now realizing I didn't have the little box on my blog so that I could have followers! I look so sad and pathetic with only 2 followers SOOOO... I'm making this post to encourage you to follow me, please :) 

(btw- the follow button is on the right sidebar.. under the picture of Brian and I.) 

XOXO, thanks! 

07 August 2012

Pinterest Project COMPLETE!

Y'all... I finally made good.. I FINISHED!! not only did I finish but I went above and beyond :) Okay, kind of.. I cooked a lot and some of my projects were minor/major busts! But.... I have 11 new projects to update you on. I didn't do the ones I had originally planned, someday when I have tons of time I will get to those :) 

Day 28- Baked Quinoa Broccoli Casserole 
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I totally forgot to take a picture of my casserole so the pinterest one will have to do. I had never had quinoa before and this turned out pretty good! It is less than 200 calories a serving and a great side dish! I def recommend making it :) 

Day 29- Mercury Glass Lamp
This was such a bust that I can't even bring myself to post a picture. I took an old lamp, followed the directions perfectly and all it looked like was a silver lamp that got wet and when the water dried it looked dirty. I tried over and over again, even looking up different techniques. Now all I have is a silver, metallic lamp. SAD FACE.

Day 30- Photo on Wood
This is what I call a minor bust. I'm having a hard time with the water rub down part. As you can see... part of Whitney's face is missing and Sydney has lost her right eye. I'm going to try again though.. until I get it right!! This could be really neat if I can just get the technique down. 

Day 31- Burlap Door Hanger (LAST DAY!!!)
Y'all... how cute it this?! I LOVE how it turned out! It's way easy and I just want to brag for a minute one how awesome my razorback looks. 1st one and I'm pretty proud. This is actually for Whitney and I know it will look fabulous on her door during football season! 

Brownie Mug Cake
So this link give you tons of options to make... I went with the brownie. Mainly because I didn't have eggs.. or really anything for that matter in my kitchen. I was craving chocolate so I went through the recipes and delicious is what came out! Don't cook it too long, I actually like to under cook just a bit so it's gooey. Next time I really hope I have ice cream... YUM! I think I'll end up making all of these once I'm finished. 

Garlic/Brown Sugar Chicken
I made this over the weekend with some potatoes (you will see in a minute) for Brian and it was pretty yum!! My regret would be that I used chicken breasts over tenderloins. No good reason, just personal preference. A breast seems so large and I feel like you lose so much of the flavor since you just "sprinkle on top." However, this chicken was quick and easy and delicious overall. 

Butter Steamed Potatoes 
All I can really say is YUM! These are my very favorite kind of potatoes. They serve some like this at Fisherman's Wharf in Hot Springs but I promise you.. mine are 100 times better. Don't judge me for the amount of butter used in this dish.. just try it! You don't actually eat all of the butter. SO delicious! 

Oven Baked Corn
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TOTAL let down! Seriously, I guess I had it figured out in my head that this would taste just like corn on the grill would taste.. and boy was I excited. I sort of hyped it up to Brian before we ate it... we were both defiantly let down. I wonder if I should have let it cook longer? I don't know... Maybe my standards are set too high for corn. Nothing beats grilled corn on the cob from the actual grill. 

The MOST Amazing Carrots of Your Life. Trust Me. 
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Please promise me sometime in the next week you will try these. I am so serious... you will fall in love. I don't even like carrots!! I know Brian does so when I saw this on pinterest I figured it was a win-win. I like zucchini, he does too and he likes carrots.. ding! Words can not explain how good this was. Anyone can make these. Just follow the very simple directors on the link! (btw- I used old bay for my seasoning, along with salt and pepper- also, just spray the bottom of the pan with cooking spray, the oil is a little much in my opinion) These carrots are amazing and I'm totally a carrot fan now...they sort of taste like sweet potato fries (which I'm not a fan of either) JUST DO IT. 

Cucumber Snack
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If I had to choose one food to eat for the rest of my life it would be cucumbers. I don't know that you can understand how much I love a good cucumber and those English cucumbers... heavenly. So when I see recipes dealing with cucumbers I have to try them... plain and simple... I did not like this one. I don't think paprika belongs on cucumbers, I had to thrown the whole thing away. Which was awful for me. I'll take a plain cucumber over this recipe any day. 

Canvas #2 for Hayden
How precious is that?! I saw this, sent it to Whitney... she loved it as much as I did so I made a girl/larger version for my favorite 3 week old. I just love it. She's the cutest kid in all the world. 

So what do you think about the finish of my pinterest project? Did I redeem myself for finishing late? I hope I will keep my crafting up. I'm always open to new ideas if you want to pass some my way. I'd be happy to try them or make something for you!! 

I'll keep you posted on my crafting adventures :) XOXO, ARH

02 August 2012

How to cook for a new mom....

Hello! I think you all should know by now that my best friend Whitney had her first child about two weeks ago. I can't imagine being a new mom! Between taking care of your newborn, healing, no sleep and everything else that comes along with motherhood... when do you have time to shower or cook.. much less, eat! 

So I did some work to figure out easy meals that could freeze, would be super delicious but would also be super easy for Whit to heat up. So I came up with 5 dishes, 4 entrees and a dessert :) I might not be the best person at this (was my first time) but it was pretty easy AND the good news is... I only spent 3 hours in the kitchen and less than 75 bucks! You can do it!! 

-Chicken Spaghetti
-Taco Soup
-Poppy Seed Chicken
-Crockpot Pot Roast 
-Oreo Layer Dessert

First I got all my recipes together and made one large shopping list! You want to make sure you have all the fixins to go along with what you cook. (some things I already had in my pantry but I included them on this master list)

2-5 pound pot roast
5-6 large chicken breasts
1 lb ground beef or ground turkey 
1 can stewed tomatoes 
1 can mexican flavor stewed tomatoes
3 cans condensed cream of chicken soup
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 can hot or regular chili beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can whole kernel corn
1 small can black olives 
1 small can mushrooms
1 can cheese whiz
8 oz dry spaghetti
1 package taco seasoning mix
2 packages dried ranch dressing mix
1 italian dressing dried mix
1 brown gravy package
poppy seeds
powered sugar
sour cream
milk
olive oil
butter
1 large box instant chocolate pudding
8 oz cream cheese
2 8oz cool whip
1 package oreos
ritz crackers
instant rice
1 bag fritos or chips (for soup)
1 green bell pepper
celery
carrots
6-8 red potatoes 
3 onions
*you'll probably want to pick up 3 disposable casserole dishes, 9x13. A large rubbermaid for the soup and freezer bags if you don't already have them. 

OKAY, now that you have all the goods, it's time to cook!! 

I started by browning my beef and cooking my chicken. For the chicken I cut up an onion added it to some water in a large stock pot and threw the chicken in. 

While my meats were cooking I started cutting up all my veggies. Potatoes and Carrots for the pot roast. Diced my two remaining onions, the bell pepper, and celery. 

*Taco soup- once I finished cutting my onions, I added one to the ground beef and browned, then drain. Then add the taco seasoning mix and ranch dressing mix into the meat. Stir. Then add the following- without draining- both cans of stewed tomatoes, corn, all beans, stir. Simmer for about an hour. 

Whitney ate this meal the day I made it so I left it in my stock pot, took it to her and she could just heat it up and eat with fritos, top with cheese, sour cream, anything you please. You could also transfer the soup into a large rubbermaid bowl and deliver. 

Once my chicken finished cooking I took all 6 breasts out of my stock and cut them all into small cubes. Half you can throw in a 9x13 casserole dish and wait, the other half.. just hold on to. In the meantime, you can go ahead and boil your 8oz of spaghetti. 

*Poppy seed chicken- With your cubed chicken already in your casserole dish... stir together the 2 cans of cream of chicken soup and 1 cup sour cream. I like to add a few extra things just for more flavor (if I have them) 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp mined garlic, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Then pour this mixture over the chicken, I like to mix it up a little. 

In a separate bowl, stir together 2 cups crushed ritz crackers, 1T poppy seeds, and 1/2 cup melted butter. Sprinkle over the chicken mix. 

Cover, use sharpie to write cooking directions. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes until brown and bubbly. You can serve over rice or plain. 

*Chicken Spaghetti- In a very large pan or another stock pot go ahead and saute the rest of your onion, bell pepper and celery mix in olive oil or butter. Add chicken after veggies are limp, black olives, and mushrooms to the mix. Cook. Add cream of chicken soup and cream of mushroom and about half a jar of cheese whiz (to your liking- I usually use a little under half)

By now your spaghetti noodles should be ready, drain and then add the pasta to the mix and stir. Once the whole mix is ready, add to a 9x13 dish and put a lid on it! Use your sharpie for directions- bake 30 mins at 350 until bubbly. 

So now all you have left is the pot roast and oreo dessert. No real cooking left. You are almost there!! 

*Crockpot Pot Roast- Grab a freezer zip lock bag and add the following-- your cut up potatoes and carrots, top with the roast and then pour over that the rest of the dried packets, ranch mix, italian and brown gravy mix. Seal the bag. Sharpie time-- Dump in Crockpot, add 1-1 1/2 cups water and cook on low for 6-10 hours until veggies are tender. Could it be any easier? 

*Oreo Layer Dessert- First off, you want to crush the whole package of oreos, you can use a food processor or just crush them in a ziplock bag. Put back 1/2 cup to sprinkle on top when finished. Pour the rest of the oreos in the bottom of a 13x9 pan. Melt 1/2 cup of butter and pour over the oreo crumbs, stir and press crumbs to bottom to make a crust. 

Make chocolate pudding according to the package and let it set in the fridge. In a mixing bowl blend cream cheese (8oz softened) until smooth and then mix 1 cup powdered sugar. Then, fold in one of the 8oz packages of cool whip. Top oreo crust with cream cheese mix, then a layer of pudding, then your last 8oz tub of cool whip.  Sprinkle the rest of your crushed oreos on the top, cover and refrigerate! 

And that's it! It's so easy and your friend will really appreciate it! BONUS, you get to deliver it and spend quality time with the baby :) Which I have done two weekends in a row now... guess I'll share some pics now! 

Whitney sent this to me last week and I just feel in love!! How can you not think this is the sweetest thing EVER?!

Baby Hayden fell asleep in my arms Friday night. 

Good morning world!! I'm wide awake! 

Saturday morning we did some lazy time. Check out Hayden holding auntie Alex's hand. I'm so in love!! 

And I have to try to add this video! It is precious... that smile!! I don't know what the quality is going to be like but we'll try. 
video
Have a great rest of the day and if you are feeling down, just come back and look at this pics. LOVE!!! xoxo

01 August 2012

FAB 5!

Unless you've been living under a rock then you know the USA women's gymnastics team won the team gold last night!! WOO WOO, Fab 5! Off subject, but we'll come back to it... today I got online an looked at some pics from a beach trip with my best friends from last summer. 

Have you ever heard of dropbox? It's pretty cool. You can download it to your computer and share pictures/files with your friends. No emailing, no making CDs (that never get made) just drag and drop. 

So anyway, Laura shared all her beach pics with us yesterday. I think my favorite is this one.... 
This is what one would call a "pink dance party" 

So it got me thinking about friends and how things change and people move and it's a constant struggle to always stay close to your friends. Back to the fab 5... a name I would like to give some of my very best friends....
Whitney Garner, Sydney Milby, Rachel Martin, Me & Tara Wittenburg

Over the past year we've all been all over the place. I've been living in El Dorado, Rachel moved to Kansas City, Whitney got married and had a baby, and Tara and Sydney no longer live together. That in itself makes me feel like someone died. So.. in an effort to keep in touch and thanks to technology I created a thing called "Happy Tuesday." A weekly group iMessage between what I'm now calling the fab 5! 

And what I love so much is that the weekly chat has turned into group messaging nearly once a day, if not multiple times a week. I always know when my phone starts vibrating uncontrollably I can pull it out to find 30+ texts from these girls. No kidding, one time I was in a movie only to get out and have 58 texts waiting on me from Sydney and Whitney. These conversations are instant smiles and day changers. 

Every time Rachel replies with a laugh I can hear her loud gremlin like laugh as if she's in the room with me, when Tara sends an emoji it makes me smile because I know she just copy and pasted it from someone else, I can always count on Whitney to be the first one to respond or send some type of silly picture from pinterest and I know Sydney will forever send the poop emoji after every text she sends. 

I hope you all have something like this in your life. It's the best and I hope it never stops :) And if you are reading this Sydney, Rachel, Tara or Whitney-- I LOVE YOU and thank you for always being a friend. 

XOXO, ARH



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