31 December 2015

#2015bestnine


I've been seeing all these #2015BestNine photos online, it took me a minute to figure it out and once I did... it showed 5 pictures from 2014!? So I did a little research and finally got a redo! So here it is.... Brian, door hangers and New York-- oh yeah.. and a tiny appointment ;) 
I'm sure there was a lot in between but I think that sums it up about right. What a great year :) Let's do this 2016! 

30 December 2015

Happy Christmas!

It's always sad to return from work after a week of Christmas fun. This picture was taken Christmas Day at my parents house in El Dorado. I always love looking back at the pictures I take of their tree every year. So much love and good memories. 

And just like that.. it's over... 



29 December 2015

#custom

Sooo.. I made my first massive, HUGE, gigantic canvas last week. Y'all, I can't believe I finished this. And I know I'm just being dramatic but look at the amount of words, letters, words, paint, the letters... Oh. My. Okay, I'm kind of kidding. 

A lady from etsy, who lives in Benton, contacted me a couple weeks ago about putting this project together. Her husband is actually having heart surgery today and she wanted a little something sweet to hang on their bedroom walls. This song is the first song they danced to when they first started dating, awwww. right? Yes. 

It's a 4 x 5 footer--- barely fit in my car. This is a picture of it in it's new home. So much love in one canvas. Prayers to the Rushing family today! xoxo 

22 December 2015

Christmas in Hot Springs Village

We spent the last weekend in Hot Springs Village celebrating Christmas with the Middlekauff side of the family. Lots of good food, family and fun :) We also got to finally meet our sweet cousin (once removed) Jameson! 


Looks just like his big brother. What a handsome little fella! love, love! 


21 December 2015

STL + WICKED WEEKEND

Who doesn't love an array of random pictures pulled from snapchat?! That's pretty much the only proof I have from our girls weekend trip to St. Louis. That, some facebook photos and super fun memories.. those will last foreva! 

When you express a dream to be covered in nothing but a million shopping bags from a super successful day of shopping to your girlfriends... they make it happen. Even if you only bought your co-worker a pair of earrings and your husband socks and have NOTHING to contribute to the photo. See above. 

And below.... madness. Extreme madness is the only explanation. This is a combo of Wendy and Lindsey's purchases. I don't even see that my socks made the photo! 


Eyes closed, waiting on uber... SR Photo Session.. where you at Ashton?! My professional photographer. 

Still... waiting on uber.  

Uber arrived...we made it to WICKED!!! <3!!!  

Because only cool girls read at the bar. I can't even express in a blog post how much fun I had with these two during our weekend trip. Such a good time! Wicked was just as amazing as it was 6 months ago and too much fun. It's really hard trying to keep your chill and just watch without standing up and busting out Defying Gravity! 

Christmas on Beverly

 It happened! I finally talked Brian in to getting a real tree. So. Much. Fun. And it smells so fabulous. We stopped by Larry's Tree on Cantrell the Monday after Thanksgiving to pick out our perfect tree. I call this the tree farm for city folk. 

It's beautiful, perfect, lovely... all those types of words. I must take new pictures now that our card holder is full and such :) I'm sure I'll be back to share Christmas decorations soon. 


20 December 2015

Merry + Bright

I've been MIA for far too long. So while I'm here with a little bit of a break.. I'm just going to throw the missing posts atcha! Starting with this adorable door hanger I made for my big, Therese! (DZ love and mine :)) 


So I slightly misunderstood the order-- and though I was supposed to paint "Merry & Bright." OOPS, I still wanted to share this picture because I still think it's adorable! And then below is the finished product! Ta-da! To die for :) 


27 October 2015

happy (almost) halloween!

How adorable are these pumpkins I made for Brian's boss?! I love them! They look super cute on her front doors.. next time we might need to double the size though ;)  

I love fall SO MUCH. So I figured I would leave you with a couple of my favorite pictures from my Nonno's farm.. enjoy! XOXO. 



22 October 2015

MEXICO 2015

Brian and Alex take Mexico 2016! We just got back from a few days in the Gulf of Mexico and had a great time! 5 days of relaxation never hurt anybody ;) 

  

21 October 2015

Pumpkin Errrrrrthing


I think the fall pumpkin EVERYTHING obsession has gotten totally out of hand. All I want is pumpkin bread or muffins and the occasional PSL.  Pumpkin chili, oreos, the list goes on and on... I don't want any of that. And no disrespect for those of you who are into that kind of thing BUT I just want a little with my fall. 

Anyway, last year Brian talked me into trying a Pumpkin Spice Latte. I've never been a coffee fan but I really liked it! So I was really looking forward to the PSL coming out this year, major letdown. I think as my taste in coffee (and less sugar!) has increased... I don't like it near as much. HOWEVER, something came over me as I was grocery shopping the other night. STARBUCKS VIA was just there and before I knew it, it was in my cart. 

Now I have tried everything for latte's, the flavored coffee, k-cups, recipes on pinterest.. etc, etc. Nothing tastes the same. So why I spent like 10 bucks on 5 VIA PACKETS, is beyond me. 

Anyway, I tried the packet Tuesday morning since I was running late and had no time to brew coffee... I am shocked at how good it was!!! I like it way more than the PSL in stores. Don't add anything to it. Just add the packet to 8oz of hot water and go. Trust. It's so good! This might be my new addiction. And looks like Starbucks has the packets cheaper than the store. Six bucks for 5 vs. 4.18 for one. SOLD! 

20 October 2015

i. love. october.


There is nothing I love more than fall! I love shopping for fall clothes, a lot. The colors are so pretty, everything has a sleeve (i love sleeves!) and the patterns are so fun! 

I've always been a huge LOFT fan but the dress selection lately hasn't been the best. I walked in last week to return something I ordered online and spotted this ADORABLE DRESS. I immediately bought it and wore to work the next day. I got so many compliments and I can't wait to wear with leggings, soon! PS. Linking the fabu Kendra Scott necklace HERE


15 October 2015

it's fall y'all...

..and so happy it is! Buy this cutie on my ETSY STORE by following THIS LINK. I really love this one!!!

14 October 2015

Mama's Chicken + Rice

 Have y'all seen the show A CHEF'S LIFE on PBS? Brian and I are really into it. It's so good and educational, too. I really like Vivian, the chef, on the show. It's cool to me that they showcase one type of food each week. I know I said it already but you really learn so much! 

I've learned that Vivian's mom wasn't that bad of a cook herself. One episode showed us Vivian and her mother making her homemade chicken and rice. Mouths were watering. So I made it.. and it was so good! My first time cooking a whole chicken and it was amazing! AND of course, I didn't take an after picture. By that time I was busy devouring the finished product! 

Scarlett's Chicken and Rice
copied from A CHEF'S LIFE
Simplicity is actually very hard to pull off. There are some recipes you just don’t mess with. Check Vivian’s blog for a sad tale of one such incident.   

1 large chicken left whole (best case scenario, this would be an old tough bird/laying hen) 
cool water to cover

1 yellow onion (peeled and split)
1 bay leaf 
3 sprigs thyme 
kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper
2 cups white rice (mom swears by Uncle Bens, I like Carolina Gold) 

3 Tbsp. butter   

Put your bird, the split onion, thyme, and bay leaf in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Cover the bird, just barely with cool water. Add 2 Tbsp. salt and 2 tsp. black pepper to the pot. Cover and bring it all up to a simmer. Cook for about an hour or until the bird, in my mom’s words, is “falling to pieces.”   If this is a typical young chicken this should not take any longer than an hour and a half. If it is a laying hen, it could take up to 5 hours. I know that is crazy, but a hen will provide a much better broth.


Once the bird is “falling to pieces” turn off the heat and let her rest in the broth for 30 minutes. Remove and reserve the bird. Discard the onion, bay leaf, and thyme. Tear the chicken meat into medium pieces and add it back to the pot. Bring the broth and the chicken up to a simmer. Add the rice. If you are a rice rinser, resist the urge here, as the starch helps make the broth homey and rich. Cook the rice for about 12 minutes, depending on the variety or brand the time could vary. The rice should be just cooked through and should absolutely hold its shape. Turn off the heat. Add your butter. Taste for seasoning and adjust with additional salt or pepper.   


I like to add a little lemon juice for balance, but my mom would never approve of this behavior.  

Check it out, it was so good! And check out the show while you are at it. We watch on the PBS app from our Apple TV. Love! 

13 October 2015

anniversary, love.

Well, I'm officially one month late on the Anniversary front. Brian I celebrated our one year anniversary last month. The cake was disgusting but the company was the best of my life. Love this man more today than I did a year ago... cheers to MANY, like hundreds, more ;) 


12 October 2015

#bridetribeatx

A few weeks ago, I left the natural state for the lone-star state and #BrideTribeATX.. otherwise known as Austin, TX for J Ram's bachelorette party. I always love to spend time with my wifey! 

 A little shopping in Dallas-- these were everywhere! I'm surprised anyone else in Texas could get their hands on gourds. I feel like the mall bought every single one in America. 

 Pit stop at the Magnolia Market... sadly, Chip and Jojo were not there. 



 Dinner Friday night on Lake Travis in Austin at OASIS. 

 Lunch Friday on Congress at HOME SLICE PIZZA. It was SO hot! 

i love you so much at Jo's Coffee on Congress. 

10 October 2015

crockpot gumbo love.

Flashback to 2012 when I found this simple crockpot gumbo recipe. I was nervous Brian wouldn't like it, since it came from a crockpot and he's a big lover of gumbo and all. So I just made it without telling him in hopes he would love it. Mission accomplished... he LOVED it! Asked for it over and over again and now we look forward to this goodness all the time. 

You might remember we included this recipe in our WEDDING FAVOR COOKBOOKS. It's for real good when we pick it for a top ten! Anyway, here's the recipe. Try and LOVE! 

PS. You can really make this as simple or complicated as you wish-- when I'm in a hurry I use mainly frozen everything. I also have a jar of DARK ROUX, I'm sure I have talked about this before (because it's amazing!!!) 

CROCK POT GUMBO
1/4 C canola oil
1/4 C all-purpose flour
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces (I use breast meat, too)
1/2 lb Andouille sausage, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 medium to large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 C frozen cut okra (or more if you’re an okra lover)
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 small can mild diced green chilies, undrained
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp sugar
black pepper to taste (but be pretty generous)
1 tsp Creole seasoning, such as Zatarain’s (If you happen to have it. If not, you’ll be fine without it.)
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and cooked

In a medium, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat (closer to medium than high), combine oil and flour to make your roux. Whisk constantly for 3-4 minutes, until the roux becomes fragrant and just begins to darken. Turn heat down to low and whisk constantly for several more minutes, or until the roux is about the color of peanut butter.

Pour the roux into the crock pot. Add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT shrimp. The mixture will seem all raw and gross at this point. Trust. Stir and cover. Cook on low for 7-9 hours. 

When you have about 20 minutes to go, add the shrimp. Serve over rice.

Enjoy! :) xoxo. 

destin 2015

Just a few snaps from our trip to the beach in August.....






08 September 2015

that time i tied an air bow on live tv...


Last Friday morning was an interesting one. I took off an hour toooo... wait for it, go on the Fox 16 morning to show to demonstrate/talk about my door hangers. Yes, it sounds silly. (You can watch the full video, HERE)

So you probably know or have seen that I post these things all the time. On INSTAGRAM and on FACEBOOK. So my sorority sister and friend, Mallory Hardin Brooks called the week prior asking if I would come on the Fox 16 morning show for the new "This is How We Do It" segment. Sure, ok. 

I begged all my local friends with door hangers to borrow so I would have examples, loaded them up and here I am.... 

Part of the segment was to teach the anchors-- so I left dots for them to fill in. It's a 3 minute spot, what am I supposed to do?! Anyway, it was kind of fun. And I included the video at the top of my brightest moment. "Do you make these bows?" Yews, Yews... (country) and then I tied an air bow. Really? 


 Both of the above photos I stole from Fox 16 Instagram account. And below-- with Mallory! Who took home the most adorable HOGS DOOR HANGER. OR shop all designs, HERE




28 August 2015

Taupe Less Beach + Watch = LOVE.

Scallop edge + Tan-gold watch + Shellac = Love. I never get manicures.. like once a year. I love how they look but feel bad about getting them for some reason. Last week I decided I'm getting one ASAP but wanted a very subtle yet fall color. Enter my boss with her pretty colored nails on Wednesday. It's like she knew what I was searching for!! 

If you live in Little Rock, you have to go to CHIC NAILS! My last shellac manicure I got from them lasted FIVE WEEKS. FIVE. The only reason it ended was because I had major nail growth. No chips! Then they soaked it off for me, gave me a manicure and didn't charge me anything. Wouldn't even take a tip. Just do it. 

So, I love the color. It's OPI Taupe Less Beach. I snapped this picture on the way to work Thursday to share. ALSO, my new fabu watch from NORDSTROM. It's so pretty and looks expensive... but it's not. You won't believe the price. And I just love this skit from LOFT. Only a little bit longer to wear whites so I'm taking advantage. And that scallop hem = adorable. 

And one more thing about Thursday-- it was a good day. It was a GREAT day because I came home to this..... 
Full disclosure: one of these came in broken so it's been sitting in my car to take back and my car smells like heaven. I might never take it back. 
XOXO


27 August 2015

Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore and a bottle of Red

I made this, eh... attempted to make this Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore recipe from SKINNY TASTE this week. I say attempted because this dodo didn't quite use the crock pot right... mine ended up cooking on the stove-top a little more than I would like to admit. 

I also found myself adding additional flavor.. it was a little bland for our taste but by the end I had it fixed up just right. My picture looks nothing like hers but that's ok, I chopped my chicken and my husband said it was good... so mission accomplished. 

Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore
www.skinnytaste.com
Servings: 8 • Size: 1 thigh, 1/2 cup sauce, veggies • Old Points: 3 pts • Points+: 4 pts*
Calories: 126.2 • Fat: 2.8 g • Protein: 13.9 g • Carb: 9.2 g • Fiber: 0.6 g • Sugar: 4.1 g
Sodium: 271.6 mg  (without salt)

Ingredients:

8 chicken thighs, with the bone, skin removed
28 oz can crushed tomatoes (Tuttorosso my favorite!)
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced into strips
1/2 large onion, sliced
1 tsp dried oregano 
1 bay leaf
salt and fresh pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh herbs such as basil or parsley for topping

Directions:

Quick method: Season chicken with salt and black pepper and place in the slow cooker. Pour tomatoes over the chicken, top with onions and peppers, add oregano, bay leaf, salt and pepper, give it a quick stir and cover. Set crock pot to LOW 8 hours or HIGH 4 hours. When the timer beeps, remove lid and keep the crock pot on HIGH one hour to help it thicken.

Better method but requires more prep:  Heat a large skillet over medium-high, lightly spray with oil (I use my Misto) and brown chicken on both sides a few minutes, season with salt and pepper. Add to the slow cooker. To the skillet, spray with a little more oil and add onions and peppers. Sauté until juices release and the vegetables become golden, a few minutes.

Add to the slow cooker. Pour tomatoes over the chicken and vegetables, add oregano, bay leaf, salt and pepper, give it a quick stir and cover. Set crock pot to LOW 8 hours or HIGH 4 hours.

Remove bay leaf, adjust salt and pepper and enjoy! 

25 August 2015

this is weight watchers?


(first of all, why do my peppers look florescent? And they should have been cut smaller but you see, I was in a hurry. AND I never claimed to be a good photographer.)

I made a really good lunch today, like really good. I read on "Eat Yourself Skinny" about a pita bread pizza for lunch and thought I would give it a try. But it didn't have meat and.... ya girl needs meat.

So I worked up my own. I bought those flatout things at Kroger.. they were only 100 calories so they had to be ok, right? I cooked a boatload of shredded chicken this past weekend... have I told y'all about this. It's really a genius idea. Crockpot on low for however long, I just eyeball... chicken breasts, chicken stock, onion and all your favorite seasonings, shred and save for the week. It freezes so easy.. trust. 

Anyway, back to the pizza-- I used a little pizza sauce, topped with chicken, spinach, red bell pepper, a little italian seasoning, and mozzarella. I calculated this at 7 WW Points Plus. Yeah, that's amazing.  And I always calculate on the high side so I don't go over so.. who knows, it could be 6... or even 5. Let's not get crazy. 

Point being, try it. It was good. Goodnight. :)  
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