April 30, 2013

Life Lately

April has flown by. I am having a hard to grasping that it is almost May, and that in less than twenty days I will be married. As ready as I am, I know I am going to miss wedding planning (don't tell Will). Deciding on all the big and little details has been great. But, I am ready to see final vision come together. Hopefully, everything goes smoothly I can just enjoy the day.

First: Picking out a dress for the Rehearsal Dinner (none made the cut) // Cocktails on the patio
Second: Working on Wedding Programs // First baseball game this season at the new stadium
Third: Ina turned 1 last week! // Bah Mi goodness 
Forth: An afternoon pick me up // Homemade pasta 

April 29, 2013

In the Kitchen: Lemon Bars

I always seem to crave lemon bars when the weather warms up. So last week on a very warm and sunny afternoon I decided it was time to indulge. After browsing through multiple cookbooks for a recipe that suited me, I instead turned to the internet where once again the Smitten Kitchen saved the day. Her desserts are always great, and she knows a thing or two about baking so I knew the crust would turn out well. If you're craving lemon bars this season, give this recipe a try. It will not disappoint. 

Lemon Bars 
Inspired by Smitten Kitchen

Crust: 
1/2 cup flour 
1/4 cup sugar 
1/8 teaspoon salt 
4 tablespoons butter cut into chunks, and more for greasing the pan 

Filling:
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 
1 tablespoon lemon zest 
2/3 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice 
1/2 cup flour 
pinch of salt 

Method:
Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, and salt. In a food processor combine flour, sugar, and salt. Then, add butter and pulse until mixture resembles sand. The mixture will be very fine, but will hold together when pressed. Press dough into an 11x7 inch greased baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes until crust is slightly browned. Allow to cool. 

In a large bowl combine eggs, granulated sugar, lemon zest, lemon, juice, flour, and salt and whisk until combined. Pour mixture over cooled crust. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes until top is almost set, but still a little loose in the middle. 



April 23, 2013

Dark & Stormy


On a warm, sunny afternoon it is always nice to have a cold drink in your hand. Will and I made these cocktails last week to enjoy on the patio. We are both huge fans of ginger beer, but we rarely touch rum, so these drinks are a nice change from our usual gimlet. Just make sure you have a tall glass, lots of ice, and a touch of lime to enjoy these drinks. A nice afternoon snack does not hurt either. 

Dark and Stormy 

1 1/2 ounces black seal rum 
6 ounces ginger beer 

Method:

Fill a highball glass with ice. Add dark rum and ginger. Stir to combine and garnish with a lime wedge. 


April 22, 2013

Weekend Recap


This past weekend was filled with wedding related parties. We celebrated our engagement on Saturday night, and I had a bridal shower on Sunday afternoon. It was great to see our family and friends, plus it was a nice reminder that our wedding is just a few weeks away! All of the wedding parties are over, so it is back to the real world today. I hope everyone is enjoying their Monday. 

April 19, 2013

Friday Favorites: Party Dresses

ONE // TWO // THREE // FOUR // FIVE

The countdown has begun: in 29 days I will be getting married, but in 28 days I will be at my rehearsal dinner, and I don't have anything to wear. I've been on the search for the perfect white party dress for months now, and nothing has caught my eye. So I'm changing directions and looking at neutrals. To me, they still seem "bridal", but are a little more wearable. Plus, how many white dress can I seriously buy before it becomes overdone. I'm particularly found of FOUR, I've been eyeing the DVF lace dress for a while so I think I may finally buy one. How do you feel about the bride not wearing white to the rehearsal dinner? 

April 18, 2013

Botanical Gardens


Skirt: H&M (similar) // Tee: J.Crew // Belt: J.Crew // Heels: Banana Republic (similar) Bag: Kate Spade // Sunglasses: Karen Walker

I bought this skirt at H&M a few years ago, but it has not gotten a lot of wear. I typically feel like shorter styles look best on me so purchasing this piece was a stretch. The weather has been so nice in Birmingham, that when Will suggested we make a trip to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens I knew it was time to put this skirt up front. It was a lovely spring day outside, and this light skirt fit in perfectly. I'm not sure how much more wear it will get, but I'm glad I've held on to it all these years. 






April 16, 2013

Jamaican Vacation Essentials


Confession: I've never traveled outside the US. So, I am extremely excited about our upcoming honeymoon to Jamaica! It is going to be the perfect trip: sandy beaches, clear water, and lots of fun beverages. When going to the beach I think it is best to keep it simple. A bikini to match the water, gold sandals to wear around the resort, and a cover up that doubles as a dress is all you need. Now, I just have to decide which magazines I am going to bring. 

April 15, 2013

Life Lately


This weekend was the last normal weekend we will have for a while. I spent last weekend at my bachelorette party, and this weekend we will be traveling to Mississippi for our engagement party and my bridal shower. After that, our time will be filled with last minute wedding details, so it was nice to spend some time exploring Birmingham and sleeping in.

First: Fresh Strawberries // Enjoying Domino's Small Spaces specialty issue 
Second: Pink Champagne at my bachelorette // Packing for Nashville 
Third: Vanderbilt University // Handwritten letters 
Forth: Two Chocolate Bunnies are better than one // Simple lunch at home 

April 12, 2013

Friday Favorites: Fair Sunglasses

ONE // TWO // THREE // FOUR // FIVE

I love sunglasses, but I normally stick to the same pair over and over again. My Karen Walker's get a lot of wear, and for good reason. They are neutral enough to go with anything and stylish enough to keep season after season. But, for the warmer months I'm thinking of switching it up with a pair of light framed sunglasses. I'm a huge fan of FOUR, but ONE is more in my budget. And since they probably won't get that much wear after summer, I should probably go for the less expensive option. Will you be buying any new sunglasses this season?

April 11, 2013

Denim Days


 Dress: Madewell (similar) // Jacket: Forever 21 // Shoes: Madewell // Sunglasses: Karen Walker // Purse: Kate Spade // Bracelet: J.Crew (similar
The weather has been perfect in Birmingham this week. Just warm enough for bare legs, but kind enough for a light jacket (in a few short weeks, that possibility will be gone). I have been debating a denim jacket for a while, but could not find one I like. They were either to boxy or stiff, or too pricey. I'm not sure how much wear I will get out of it so I did not want to spend too much. I picked up this jacket from Forever 21 after work the other day and it was perfect. Soft and a little giving, with a nice little price tag. It is the perfect jacket to throw on after work. I can see myself wearing all spring and into the fall. 


April 10, 2013

In the Kitchen: Strawberry Crisp

 When it comes to fruit I'm usually a purist. I enjoy mine raw and at room temperature. When berries are in season, all I want to do is eat them straight from the container because honestly, they do not need any adjustment. But, every once in a while it is nice to switch it up. I had originally planned on make a strawberry rhubarb crisp but I found out the hard way that rhubarb is scarce in Alabama. The crisp was still sweet a delicious without the rhubarb, and reminded me of strawberry shortcake. Make sure to put vanilla ice cream on top to give it an extra kick. 

Strawberry Crisp 
Adapted from Ina Garten

1 1/2 pints strawberries, quartered 
1/2 cup granulated sugar 
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch 
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/2 cup oatmeal 
1/4 cup sliced almonds 
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter diced 

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In a large bowl combine strawberries with 1/4 cup granulated sugar. In a small bowl whisk together orange juice and cornstarch, then add mixture to strawberries. Pour the strawberry mixture into am 8 x 11 in baking dish. 

For the crisp topping combine, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, all purpose flour, vanilla extract, salt, oatmeal, and almonds in a medium sized bowl. Add diced butter and begin to cut mixture with a pastry cutter until butter is pea-sized. Sprinkle topping over strawberry mixture. Bakes for 35 minutes or until golden and bubbly.  



April 9, 2013

New Year, New You: Gallery Wall

ONE // TWO // THREE // FOUR // FIVE // SIX // SEVEN // EIGHT

I designated a wall in my living room for a gallery wall when I moved in last summer. The wall is still blank. I'm not sure why, but I am terrified of putting one together. I have a few pieces I've designated for the wall through local shops and garage sales, but I still need a few larger pieces. With so many great online print shops, there should be nothing holding me back. It is my new goal to have it completed by this summer. Now, I just need to figure out which print I really love. I'm thinking the  champagne bottles

April 8, 2013

Charlottesville

A couple of weeks ago, Will and I took a road-trip across the southeast. Our final leg of the trip ended in Charlottesville, Virginia. I grew up in Virginia, but in the tidewater region which is flat and extremely muggy. My Grandmother lives in the Piedmont region, which borders the mountains, but it had been years since I had seen the Blue Ridge Mountains. We spent Friday touring The University of Virginia, and Saturday we made our way to to Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards with old friends. The scenery was breathtaking. Perched in between the Mountains, we had gorgeous views and good wine and cheese to take it all in. If you are ever in Charlottesville I highly recommend it. Hopefully, it will not be long before we are back for another visit. 


April 5, 2013

Happy Friday!


Happy Friday everyone! This weekend I am in Nashville to celebrate my bachelorette party, and I could not be more excited! I cannot wait to see what my lovely ladies have up their sleeves (they are all so creative). I know it will be filled with a lot of good food, drinks, and maybe a night on the town. 

I feel like this image adequately depicts my life right now. I have been traveling nonstop over the last few weeks, and it is not stopping anytime soon this spring. Maybe my summer will be a little more relaxing... Until then I am going to enjoy the open road, if only I had the cute car pictured above. 

April 4, 2013

April Showers

 Dress: J.Crew (similar) // Trench: Banana Republic (similar) // Sweater: Gap (similar) // Rain Boots: Hunter // Necklace: Banana Republic 

April showers bring May flowers... right? That is what I'm really hoping for. Even though rainy weather is not my favorite, I do love wearing my rain boots. They are perfect in the winter with leggings and a long sweater or during the warmer months with a dress. I wore them constantly when I was in college, so they are well worth the investment. Put on a sweater and trench coat if the temperature is a little cooler, and call it an afternoon. 



April 2, 2013

In the Kitchen: Ratatouille

After a week of traveling it is refreshing to get back in the kitchen. It is especially refreshing to make a meal that is vegetable rich after a few days of constantly eating out. I enjoyed our travels and getting to see different parts of the south, but being home and in the kitchen is great. Ratatouille is the perfect vegetarian meal. Easy prep and assemble, this version is a one dish wonder. Plus, any meal that reminds me of a cute pixar mouse is a winner in my book. 

Ratatouille 
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 small can tomato sauce 
2 garlic cloves sliced
1/2 yellow onion finely chopped 
1 tablespoon olive oil 
1 medium zucchini
 2 small yellow squash or 1 medium 
1 red bell pepper 
1 teaspoon herbs de Provence 
Salt and Pepper
Sour Cream for serving 

Method: 
In a medium sized oval baking dish pour in tomato sauce. Top the tomato sauce with garlic, onion, olive oil, salt and pepper, and stir until combined. Thinly slice zucchini, yellow squash, and red bell pepper. 

Arrange the vegetables on top of the tomato sauce so that they are overlapping, but edges are sticking out. Sprinkle the vegetables with herbs to Provence and top with aluminum foil. 

Bake at 375 for 40 minutes and an additional 10 minutes with foil removed. Serve with sour cream and your favorite grain, I chose couscous. 

April 1, 2013

Life Lately

I spent last week doing a lot of traveling. It started with a trip home to Atlanta to assemble wedding invitations and do a little shopping. Then I was off to Mississippi to finalize a few wedding details (I think I am almost finished!) After all of that, Will and I hoped in the car and made our way up the east coast to visit law schools and family. It was a whirlwind of a week, and I am so glad to be home and out of the car. I hope everyone's Monday is off to a good start! 

Saying goodbye to the Blue Ridge Mountains // Dotty pants at the office 
Drinks at the Crunkleton in Chapel Hill // Dying easter eggs 
Pippin Hill Vineyards in Charlottesville // A well styled J.Crew mannequin 
Car rides with Ina // University of Virginia School of Law 
A whole braised fish // Ombre Eggs 
 

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