Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Strawberry Salad

This delicious concoction will have your holiday parties bustling all season long. People won't believe you've whipped up such a fabulous and semi-healthy side dish. Save the dry mix and separate the dressing, and leftovers are served. Enjoy!
Hearts of Romaine (4 chopped for a large salad)
1 carton strawberries, chopped
1 cup bacon bits
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup light evoo
Poppy seeds
1. Mix olive oil, poppy seeds, vinegar, and sugar together well with a whisk. This dressing settles easily so mix and pour right before serving.
2. Mix lettuce, bacon bits, pecans, and strawberries in large salad bowl.
3. Toss and serve!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Scarf Day

Be reassured that just because I wear a scarf, my day isn't necessarily a bad one.

Some days are just bad days. We all have them. We can maintain a positive outlook on life and they will still come our way. They might continue to come again and again for a very long time. It might be because of the weather, a family emergency, or our health, you get the picture. We women (and men) have the responsibility, yes, responsibility of somehow rolling out of bed and finding a way to pull ourselves together. When those bad days are here, the life-saving accessory is the scarf. If I could have a rack of these hanging on the wall next to automatic defibrillators, I surely would.

You must wake up every morning and be your best self. How ever you have to do it, make it happen. People are waiting outside your door to pull you down. Many cannot wait for their next negative opportunity. How are you going to handle this? Will you pull it all together or wrap up in your sorrow? The other night, I heard a profound quote on television, "You are what you believe to be." When life takes a wild turn on us, what are we to do? Most often, the easiest thing is to let our self-worth slip away. We lose the feeling of who we used to be, how we used to look, and why we used to care. When we have to take the hard road, we must not forget about the value of our self. We must try, try, try to keep it all together somehow. Don't wait for a better time to look better. You can't spend your whole life waiting for things to improve so that you can make yourself over.

Start small with a solution to your problem, the scarf. Really, wear any accessory you choose. When a bad day comes, pick up that thing, put it on and move on. Save yourself the worry about your wardrobe. When you see it during your day, let it remind you of you. No matter how bad things get, you'll be fabulous, suave, and simple. When one of these said days rolls my way, I try to make the best of it. I pull out my scarf, sweep up my hair, add some basics and out I go. I can't and I won't let gloom linger over me.

Consider the scarf a classic staple in your wardrobe. A variety of solids, prints, and textures are a must. You can find these gems at all sorts of places, so keep those eyes peeled. Throw one of them on with jeans or sleek dress pants, a sweater, and a top, there you go. Oh, the possibilities of little pick-me-ups. We've all got leggings, long dressy t-shirts, cardigans, skirts, and boots. These will all go perfectly with cowls, snoods, ascots, mufflers, and the like. Literally, a 1-2-3 outfit concept. If you went to your closet right now, you'd probably find numerous new outfits that are completed with just one scarf. Then, you'll be forced to hold your head high. You must. You will.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Honey Fruit Salad

Do you need some fruit in your life? Why, of course! This recipe is courtesy of allrecipes.com, and when a precious friend requested it, I thought I might as well share it with my readers, too! Who says this can't be a side this Thursday? I make my own rules. Happy eating!

2 medium firm bananas, chopped
2 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups fresh raspberries
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
5 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon poppy seeds

1. Don't be limited to just these fruits!!
2. In a large bowl, combine the bananas and berries. In a small bowl, combine the honey, lemon juice and poppy seeds. Pour over fruit and toss to coat.

3. Double as needed and remember that a little more honey never hurts!
4. Chill before serving

5. I never measure recipes like these, I just throw them together until it tastes how I want. You heard me, I'm a rebel.

A Revival from Last Year!

Who doesn't need a friendly reminder of what to wear this Thanksgiving? Read my post from last year and you'll be good to go! This blog post has been one of my most popular of all time. How fun is that? Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Care of Clothing

Call me crazy, but I love laundry. It is my favorite chore and proves very soothing. I'm obsessed with clean smelling laundry detergent and dryer sheets. Currently, my two loves are for UP and UP Lavender Laundry Detergent (Target Brand) and UP and UP dryer sheets in Clean Linen. I love these two scents so very much because they make my clothes smell heavenly. Is there really anything better than inexpensive items that work the best? Maybe one thing, people complementing me on my new shirt when it is really something I've owned since 9th grade. So, let's get to the point and talk laundry.
I try my very hardest to keep my clothes as pristine as they were the day I bought them. A couple of nights ago, I scored this Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day book at TJ MAXX for $3.99. I LOVE this brand of cleaning products. They smell HEAVENLY, aren't overpriced, and usually have $1.00 off coupons on each bottle. My favorite product is the Lemon Verbena hand soap. It retails $3.99 and has a $1.00 coupon. Back on topic, I have really enjoyed reading this little book so far. It makes several great points on cleaning clothes and some that I have been following before this book ever came on my radar screen. In case you have questions, here is a little list (WHOOHOO FOR LISTS) of my own personal suggestions and favorites from this book.
1.) Know your common clothing fabrics:
(Ok, I'm a fabric snob. I prefer natural ones, but shop as you wish! Just review these to find your favorites.)
a.) Rayon-Rayon is not a natural fabric. It is made of cellulose. Most times, it does care well in cold water and a low heat dryer. It drapes well on a variety of shapes and sizes. However, it can sometimes lose its shape with bad laundering. These days, it seems like everything I see is made from Rayon. Of course it is, because it isn't that expensive to produce. Be wary of 100% Rayon. If I buy it, I try to buy a blend.
b.) Polyester-Ok, I just don't like this fabric. It doesn't breathe whatsoever. I'm already hot-natured and I don't need a fabric that makes me want to faint. Polyester is also another one of those synthetics. If you're cold natured, it is the fabric for you. It may lasts for a thousand years, but I really don't want to go there when it comes to knowing how my uncle's suit from the 70's still looks brand new on my 2011 boyfriend dressed as Sonny for our Halloween get-up. Some things are best left undiscussed. Polyester is sometimes washed, sometimes dry cleaned. Look on your care labels.
c.) Cotton-Ahhh...nothing but sweet fields of white perfection come to mind. I love me some cotton, y'all. I'm a southern girl and I want to be able to fathom where my clothes come from. Cotton is the ultimate comfort, my wardrobe staple, and extremely easy to care. Cold water and cotton go together like two peas in a pod. Want your cotton a little smaller? Try medium dryer heat and warm water. It really is the fabric of my life.
d.) Silk-Silk is the luxury fabric. It comes from tiny worms that spin the silk fibers together. It is really a fascinating process. YouTube videos about it if you are curious. Silk is dry clean only, or instructed to be. You can carefully use mild detergent to HAND wash it, but be careful and think before you go there. Mrs. Meyer's recommends swirling it around a few good times, wrapping it in a towel and then hanging it carefully to dry. Look for it on sale, it will look classic for many years to come!
e.) Wool-I love sheep. They are one of my favorite animals. We used to have some and they were the cutest! Usually, merino wool can be washed in the washer because it is more shaved than 100% wool. For that, dry cleaning is best. You don't want your wool items stretching out, and washing/drying will do it!
f.) Modal-Modal is a cellulose from beech trees. It is extremely soft, but sometimes pills. It is washed in the washer and dried on low.
g.) Corduroy-I love it. Wash it on cold and hang out to dry to prevent wrinkles in the fine lines. Most often, it is another form of cotton that is perfect for the winter.
h.) Linen- I have the same love for linen that I do of corduroy in the fall. It is cotton, so refer back to it if you missed how obsessed I am over it. Never put linen in the dryer. Always iron it with starch, and dry clean it if need be.
2.) The Washer and Dryer and Hang It Up Rack:
I ALWAYS wash clothes in cold water and ALWAYS dry them on low. I hardly ever dry any clothing item. Yes, I did say above that you could dry, but I don't. I'm just picky like that. For example, if you have a pair of jeans that are brand new, you need to turn them inside out when you wash them. You don't need to put them in the dryer except on low because higher heat will shrink those babies in no time. Most cotton jeans have a partial blend of spandex, which will shrink with continued heat exposure. To really keep your clothes looking bright, remember these little slogans I made up for you because you are so fabulous, "Cold water makes you look Hotter," and "No dryer means I'll look flyer." Man, I am just too good.
3.) Pull out that iron, it's time to get busy:
Ironing isn't my favorite thing in the world, but when I get in the mood to get it done, I will iron for days. ALWAYS iron your clothes inside out just in case your iron leaks with tinted water. Also, ironing on the inside of clothes will ensure that no marks come out on the visible part of your garments. (Rowenta is the iron brand that I swear by-it is a little more pricey but SO worth it-sometimes they have them at TJ Maxx/Amazon and I will NEVER buy another iron than this brand-AMAZING!)
4.) Fold your clothing:
Nothing is worse than what I call a hanger horn. Those pesky little bumps that form on your clothes when they've been in the closet too long. I try to fold everything I can. I NEVER hang up sweaters, cotton tees, or cardigans of any sort. If you do put something on the hanger and it starts to form one of these, it is a good idea to take it off and fold it across the hanger. This will help your clothes keep their shape and avoid pulls/holes.
5.) Lavender or cedar, take your pick:
Nobody wants moths eating through their wardrobe staples. Mrs. Meyer's recommends using either one of these scents to keep pests away. I'm already obsessed with lavender, so no problem for me! Combined with my favorite detergent I spoke of, it's a lavender paradise in my closet!
6.) Make dry cleaning worthwhile:
I love the service of dry cleaners, but I don't always like the harsh chemical smell that comes along with them. In the colder months, I try to wear a dry clean only item three to six times before I have it dry clean. That being said, I ALWAYS sanitize it each time before I wear it again. I turn the garment inside out and steam it with my iron. Steam is hot enough to kill bacteria and it is the same thing that is done at the dry cleaners just without harsh chemicals.
7.) NEVER put bras in the dryer:
This one is simply stated. You will ruin bras of all types with dryer heat and movement. Unless they are 100% cotton bandeaus, DO NOT DO IT! You've already spent enough on them anyway!
8.) Sanitize the washer with vinegar.
Mrs Meyer's recommends doing this once a month to prevent mold, mildew, and dirt from forming where your clothes are getting cleaned. Pour a few tablespoons of white vinegar into the washer and run through a hot cycle to clean.
9.) Light colors with light colors and dark colors with dark colors.
No cheating!
10.) Try not to mix towels in laundry baskets with clothes or with clothes in the washer. Towels are often soiled when put into laundry baskets. If they begin to smell before you have time to wash them, so will your clothes. They can bleed onto clothing and of course, ruin them. If you do mix towels together in either way, try to at least have them hanging dry before you put them in the hamper.

Any other concerns or advice? Write me a comment! Happy Wednesday!


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Dr. K's Layered English Pea Salad

This is a salad I am crazy about. Throw it all together in a bowl, and it becomes a true masterpiece! You can bet this makes it on our table at almost every dinner party. In fact, at one I had Friday night, I ate it and remembered it hadn't made the blog, yet. What a crime! It is perfect to take to a covered dish party!! Hope all of you have a great week. Sorry for the lack of posts lately! My life is just passing me by these days!
1 small head of lettuce, shredded
1 small onion, sliced thin
1 large can drained English peas
1/2 pint light mayo
1/2 pint light sour cream
1 1/2 tbsp. Dry Ranch
Parmesan Cheese
Bacon Bits (real ones!)
1. Make sure lettuce is dry
2. Mix sour cream, mayo, and dry ranch to make dressing
3. Layer in the following order as much as you wish in a two quart bowl:
English Peas
Bacon Bits
Parmesan Cheese
4. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Yields 6/8 servings