Saturday, January 29, 2011

Red Velvet Cheesecake Blast

Oh my, our friends at Sonic have done it again!  They certainly have concocted a tasty ice cream confection that I was not able to pass by.  Two of my favorites, red velvet and cheesecake, swirled together in a fantastical frozen treat was too good to be true! 
At the very least it was "Sonic Good"! 
What are your favorite treats of late?

Bangers and Mash

The Barefoot Contessa, one of my favorite Food Channel personalities, is the author of one of my Christmas gifts this year, her How Easy is That? cookbook.  I had been looking forward to trying one of the delectable delights within its pages and at the same time realized that I had quite a few potatoes in my pantry.
Therefore, I chose a recipe that would include mashed potatoes, the British favorite Bangers and Mash.  I had not heard much about this dish as I recall although the name did have a ring of familiarity as I glanced through the pages.  This recipe for mash was specifically mustard mash and it did not disappoint.  Although I had dreams of uses chicken and feta sausages, these things of dreams did not exist at my local HEB, but the sausages I found were yummy enough.  Now do not get me wrong, we have several fine HEB establishments where I live, but the ingredients for the dish did make me long for a Central Market or Whole Foods nearby.  One of the ingredients was creme fraiche, which I modified with a little bit of cream and buttermilk.

Needless to say this recipe might not be on the top of a lowfat menu, but it is devine and full of flavor.  Perhaps next time I will plan a strategic trip to Austin or Dallas for the true, more accurate ingredients and try again.  And, if you are wondering if the title of the book is true to the recipes within, I will leave you with the photo I took of the finished product:   
I did add my own Green Giant single serve broccoli and cheese for a little veggie, but the rest is all Ina!
How Easy is That?! :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fun Fashion Friday

Hi Friends!  Yesterday, I wore a dress to work, which I am known to do on occasion, and remembered an amusing anecdote about said dress that I thought would be particularly "blogworthy".  This dress is one that I found when my precious friend Megan was visiting earlier this fall.  We went to this great boutique call Roots, which just has fabulous clothes and I saw this dress and fell in love.  It is so versatile and can be worn just about year round.  I love the frills and the purple color. 
I even decided to wear it as my party dress for my birthday!

Here I am with my cousins at Thanksgiving wearing said dress with a black long-sleeve and leggings for the cooler temps. 
I have to admit that the thing I love most is the pinafore-like sleeves with the ruffles that stand up.  It  was the detail that first drew my eye to the dress in the store.  Well, after further review, I now know that I am not the only one who chose a ruffly pinafore-like dress for her birthday...

Oh, Molly, I guess it wasn't my idea after all.  You see, Molly was my very first American Girl doll.  I still remembered how I agonizingly pored over each page of the Pleasant Company catalog trying to decide which doll would be the right one.  Since as a second-grader I had recently gotten glasses myself, I decided Molly would be the perfect choice.  I loved reading all about her adventures during the World War II era and had such fun adding to her wardrobe and accessories.  Anyway, seeing that picture brought back fun memories!! 

Hope you all are having a fabulous Friday and a Happy Weekend to all!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

River Rocks and Winter Garden

I took down my Christmas decor and replaced it with a more neutral palatte.  I hope that it is also soothing. :)
When I went to Hobby Lobby to get my necessary materials for my jewelry board, I saw that river rocks were on sale.  I had been trying to come up with something new to put in my apothecary jars before I put in my exciting find for Spring that I obtained from a journey to Canton this Fall and thought the river rocks would be perfect.

In other news, I did finally finish Winter Garden and it was wonderful!  I highly recommend it.  It is such a wonderful story of mother/daughter and sister bonds with a good amount of history to boot.  Have your hanky ready because it is an emotional journey, but definitely worth the taking.  Now, I have started reading The Help and it is even better than I could imagine.  Hope you have had a wonderful week!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Keeping up with the Jones's (and a Few Others)

This weekend was so much fun!!  The Bears and Lady Bears were both playing on Saturday, so Mom drove down for some basketball fun. :)  She got to town at lunchtime on Saturday and we enjoyed a fabulous lunch at Amelia's.  Then, we went to Lane's and looked at sweet outfits for Little B!  After shopping, we headed to the Ferrell Center.
The men played at 3.  Here we are at halftime.  After the men's game, we had a little time before the women's game, so we were able to meet some of the Bears after their game!!

Fred Ellis

Anthony Jones and Nolan Dennis

Melissa Jones was just arriving for the Lady Bears game and was so gracious to pose with us!

Quincy Acy and AJ Walton

Perry Jones III

It was so fun to get to see these guys in person and was so nice of them to stop and take pictures with us.  They played a great game and so did the Lady Bears -- 2 Big 12 victories!!  What a great day for Baylor Basketball!!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Jewelry Update and Other Tidbits

After the last post, I realized it might be fun to show you my jewelry organizer with some actually jewelry on it!! :) Here is the finished product:

Here is a close up of the pin I stuck through the fabric into the foam board.  As you can see, you can also just poke earrings in the board, too!

Then, you hang the necklace on the pin.

Or the bracelets. :)

Here's a closeup.

For some reason this picture is sideways, but you can hang dangly earrings as well.

Here's another sideways photo, but I wanted to show you the beautiful necklace my brother and sister-in-law gave me for Christmas.

And the adorable frame, too!!  I can't wait to put a picture of my nephew in it when he arrives!!  Yes, it's a boy!!!! :)  I'm one thrilled soon-to-be Aunt!
Edwin and Megan also gave me some incredible earrings, but I happened to be wearing them when I took these pictures.  :)

Here's a little "c" from the parents.  I heart initials!

My Auntie Di and Keen gave me this beautiful candle and I recently purchased the little tray in the background to hold my perfume!  I just love the gold pattern on the candle and the delicate charm!

Well, friends, I'm off to read more of The Winter Garden.  It was our book club book and we met last night to discuss it, but I am still determined to finish it!  I think I should add finish books before book club to my New Year's Resolutions!!  I don't know what our group is reading next, but I hope I can dive into The Help very soon!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Craft Project

I don't know about y'all, but sometimes I find myself in a jewelry rut, wearing the same pieces over and over.  I came to the realization that I might do this because the jewelry I just wore is always out right where I left it when I took it off the night before.  So, I decided to do something about it!  I've wanted for sometime now to have some sort of organization system where my jewelry is displayed in a way that I can see it, so I can better choose what to wear with my outfit.  After a little inspiration from Etsy, I thought a type of bulletin board might be fun, so I could hang necklaces, bracelets, and earrings, so I set to work.
Here are my pieces: fabric, frame, foam board, and pins.
Fortunately, Hobby Lobby was having a sale and I think everything I purchased was on sale except for the pins!  The foam board I bought had adhesive on one side, so all I had to do was cut the board to match the frame, cut the fabric to fit the board, attach the fabric, and put it in the frame.  It was so easy and this was the finished product:

I'm really enjoying having this piece on the wall next to my vanity.  It's so fun to choose my jewelry by seeing it all organized rather than going spelunking in my jewelry pouch, wondering what is in each pocket.  :)

Oh, and I also had enough fabric and foam board left over to make a little bulletin board for my desk!

I hope you all had a great Tuesday!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Lady Bears Game

Saturday night a few friends and I headed to the Ferrell Center to watch our #1 Lady Bears take on the OSU Cowgirls.  It was also family day and at halftime the families of the players and coaches were introduced.  It was so fun to see the people who I know must be so proud of their family members!!

Here we are in the stands. 
I always love to see this sign at the end of the game!!

We had such a fun time!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Siesta Scripture Memory Verse 2

"But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peacable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy."
James 3:17 NRSV

Well, I feel like I'm really challenging myself with this one.  The first verse I chose sort of echoed itself, but this one has lots of words to remember and the challenge doesn't stop there!!  Not only is it challenging to memorize, but I think it is a challenging one for my life.  What wisdom am I pursuing?  It really makes me think.  When I read verses like this I am so overwhelmed with the depth and richness of the Bible.  What a wonderful gift from an ever-loving God.  Praise His name!

It is a chilly, rainy day where I am and I sort of LOVE this weather, especially when you don't have many items on the agenda.  Sleeping in and waking up to rain pattering on the windowpanes is such fun!  This afternoon, I had a wonderful lunch with a friend and it was so nice to visit that two hours flew by before we realized it!  Then, I went to Hobby Lobby to buy some materials for a little craft project I have in mind.  Hopefully, I'll have a post about that soon!   

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, January 14, 2011

I Heart Schubert!

Over the holiday break, I had the joy of rewatching one of my absolute favorites, The Young Victoria.  I think this movie starring Emily Blunt is just fabulous!  I could watch it over and over again.  As I watched I noticed that I loved the soundtrack that played behind much of the film.  In one scene Prince Albert declares how much he enjoys Schubert, so I thought I should start a Schubert Pandora station.  This idea, my friends, has been brilliant because the music is glorious.  In between Schubert pieces, they also play some Mozart, Chopin, Schumann, and others -- wonderful pieces!  I am sure Albert and Victoria would be amazed at how accesible the music is these days.  We can hear entire sonatas with the touch of a button whereas in their time the music would have been live and on the piano or pianoforte.  Part of me cherishes the thought of a live performance, but another part enjoys the beauty of the music floating in the air whether on cd, computer, or ipod. 

I also must admit that I love that Queen Victoria had a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Dash!  I think that is one of my absolute favorite kinds of dogs!!!  If I were to have one, I would name him Bingley after Mr. Bingley from Pride and Prejudice.  Maybe someday!!  Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Lost and Found

Hi Friends!!  It is a little chillier than normal here in Central Texas, but I know it is nothing compared to what so much of the nation is encountering.  I have to admit that I LOVE the winter, but I think I would truly have to experience a Nebraska or Idaho winter to really claim that fact!  Hope you are all staying warm. 

Now, for the very fascinating experience I had this morning.  Since I am not so used to the cooler temps, planning my daily wardrobe has proved to be a little more of a challenge.  As I sat snuggled under my warm duvet this morning, I planned my outfit, trying to utilize my warmest options.  I decided on a cream sweater with dark red cords, so I good wear my very warm boots.  :)  Then, as the clock was nearing time for me to jet to work, I added a fun necklace purchased at Forever21 (love the accesories at that place!!) and remembered a ring that I thought would add the perfect touch.  Lo and behold, what did I find when I finally found my ring buried in a pocket of my Vera jewelry pouch?
Yes, it is a precious little gold heart necklace that I've had forever.  I really think I must have received it when I was a baby.  Anyway, I cannot tell you how many times I have thought about this necklace and wished I could find it because I think it would be just right with this or that outfit.  I have explored every nook and cranny of that Vera Bradley jewelry pouch to recover my long lost treasure multiple times, but to no avail.  Then, when I least expected it, here it is.  I wasn't even looking for it.  I just love when God blesses us with sweet moments of discovery.  I know that this is a silly story, but it really made my day!

It also reminds me of some black plastic hoop earrings that my friend Megan and I watched blissfully go down the drain of the sink at GA camp.  I wasn't too stressed over losing them, but what did I find in the bottom of my purse when I was unpacking at home?  The black hoop earrings!!  Megan and I still don't know how it happened...

Have a wonderful Thursday!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Clean Sweep!

I just love January and the way it inspires me to clean things out!  I've spent the weekend on a mission to declutter my apartment and I am in the stage of "it gets worse before it gets better". :)  Hopefully, by this time next week, my apartment will be more streamlined and clutter free.  I purchased a tool yesterday to help me with my mission and I feel like it has been a good choice:

It is the Shark Light and Easy Steam Mop and I feel so much better knowing that the floor is really clean!

In other clean sweep news, I want to give a shout out to Baylor's Men's and Women's Basketball Teams who both had clean sweeps in the W column on Saturday's opening conference play.  Sic 'Em!!!

For those of you who have beautiful snow on the ground, enjoy it for me!!  Stay warm! :)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Fun with Friends and Family

One of my favorite things about the holidays is getting to catch up with friends and family that I don't get to see on a regular basis.  This holiday season did not disappoint!! :)
I was able to meet my friend Megan for dinner at a darling restaurant downtown.  I had such a good time catching up with this lifelong friend!  Don't you just love friends that you can just pick up with right where you left off like no time has passed?  

My friend Lacy and I met for lunch at a yummy Italian restaurant and picked up some after-Christmas sale items at the Hallmark.  She is another precious lifelong friend and it is always so good to hear the latest!  In fact, she has inspired me with all of her beautiful Christmas ornaments and I am starting two Hallmark ornament series for the first time in my life!
Then, I got to travel to downtown McKinney to see my precious college roommate Elaina!
We met for dinner at a cute restaurant called Spoons.  It was so delish!!

Here was a fun Christmas tree on my walk to the restaurant.

It was such a blessing to catch up with this dear friend!

Of course a trip home for Christmas is not complete without extensive shopping excursions to Northpark.  Mom and I helped Muvie pick out several new fashion items at Talbots. :)
Before Christmas I had the joy of a road trip home with my friend Cristen and we were able to meet our friend Lindsey for lunch at a truly heavenly place: The Chocolate Angel.
Oh my word, if you have not been there, please promise me that you will go soon.  Do not pass go and do not collect $200!!  It is fabulous and of course, I had to take a picture of the food!!  I had a grilled jalapeño pimento cheese sandwich and a cup of tomato basil soup and I'm still dreaming about it!  I cannot wait to go back!  Maybe next time I'll try to choose a less filling entrée, so I can try one of their delectable desserts!

After lunch we shopped at several adorable stores.  It was so good to catch up with these gals!!

Please excuse the super intense "happy" on my face, but it was such a treat see my dad's younger brother and his family after Christmas.  Here I am with my sweet cousins Caroline and Rosalie.  We were watching the Kennedy Center Honors on TV that night and it was such a wonderful tribute to incredible talent.  It was so good to catch up with them and hear about their plans for 2011!

Hope you have happy weekend plans!  
I'm planning to watch the #1 Lady Bears open their conference play against Iowa State.  
Go Bears!! :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Christmas 2010 Recap

Christmas was so fun this year.  It was such a wonderful time to be with precious family and friends and reflect on the true meaning of the season.  Here are some pictures from this sweet time!

My parents' beautiful tree.  One of my favorite things to do when I am home is get a book and sit in the living room with the Christmas tree. 

The stockings are hung by the chimney with care. :)  Mom and mine are on the left and Daddy and Muvie's are on the right.  My stocking is the Santa one on the far left and Muvie made it.  Mom's is her's from childhood and her Aunt Katherine made it.  It is so special to have these stockings crafted by loving hands.

Holiday M&Ms :)

Special ornaments

An olive wood nativity scene that Mom bought on her trip to the Holy Land
Mom's collection of nutcrackers

Christmas morning Mom made the fabulous McKay House french toast.  Yummy!!  After breakfast, we opened our stockings and what wonderful treats from St. Nick we found!  Then we got ready for lunch.
We were so thrilled to be invited to Christmas dinner at my Auntie Di and Keen's house.  Everything was delicious and it was so fun to be together!
Will, the expert carver

Beautiful Auntie Di working her magic in the kitchen!

Cousin pic with sweet Brinley the maltipoo :)

Auntie Di's gorgeous tree

The "kids'" table

Sweet nativity

I love this Santa.
Three Magi

Another beautiful nativity
The "grown-up" table :)

I love the ceramic trees and nutcracker accents.

Beautiful Mom in a winter wonderland

Grandmommy and Auntie Di's Baylor tree



Travis and Me

Lauren and Anna

The "grown up" table

Cool picture that Will took :)


I am very brave putting this pic, but I'm just being totally honest because it is my dessert plate!  I just struggle so much with big decisions like dessert, so I end up getting a little bit of everything!! :)

Mom's yummy red velvet cake

When we went back home, we opened our gifts Christmas night.

We sure found a lot of goodies under the tree!! Thank you so much Santa and my sweet family for all the wonderful treats.  It is always a blessing to be with you, especially at this special time of year!