Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chicken and Vegetable Crescent Rolls

These little cuties are for dinner tonight! Another tride and true recipe of mine, quick and easy! Sorry my pictures aren't the best, this dish is a little messy to put together and doesn't require Canon Rebel as an ingredient. Enjoy!

1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can crescent rolls
2 cans of canned chicken (drained)
1 bag sharp cheddar
1 bell pepper chopped finely
1 medium onion chopped finely
olive oil

1.) Sautee onion and bell pepper together on medium to cook off the water in the vegetables. Add salt and pepper to speed things along.
2.) Mix chicken and 1/2 bag of cheese together in a bowl.
3.) Lay out crescent triangles and wrap up a large spoonful of cheese and chicken starting at large end.
4.) Continue to roll up all eight rolls.
5.) Mix drained veggies and soup in a greased casserole dish. I use a glass brownie pan.
6.) Lay rolls on top of soup mixture.
7.) Top with cheese.

Recipe Note: If you have chicken and cheese left over, place it in pan also or, make another batch for the week.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hooked on Home

I search Etsy with the best of 'em. I found these beautiful handmade cast iron hooks at $4.00 a pop at the shop Furnacebrook. Scott Hawley is the owner of this get-up, based in Vermont, a place I've never been, but definitely want to go. These hooks are perfecto in my home housing everything from aprons to towels to rain coats. He even sent screws so they were ready to install. MADE IN AMERICA, people. Get on the bandwagon.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Five Must-Do's

Five things you can do right now to boost your self-confidence, self-worth, self-esteem, whatever you wish to call it:

It's not cheesy. It's not something you can accomplish later. It's a START to the PROCESS. It's now.

1.) Confront the negative: Use your words to tell others that are hurting you to stop. Make it a positive interaction such as, "It will help me if you..." Don't beat around the bush. Say what you mean and get it over with. The sooner the better for your own sake.

2.) Focus on your features: Look in the mirror and decide on your best physical and mental features. Every time you see yourself, car, store, house, look at that feature and embrace it. It is good to see your own beauty. Stop looking at your "worst first." Doing so will never get you anywhere. Have a positive ego, not overt and not vain.

3.) Stop laughing about it: Stop laughing off your insecurities. Making jokes about your brains, looks, etc. is useless. Laughing and joking about your thighs doesn't make them shrink. Ger serious about why you're laughing and work on it. Ready, set, go.

4.) Have your security items: Men AND women have beauty products that enhance self-security. Keep a small bag of these things with you at all times. Then, those confidence boosters, lipgloss, body spray, or chapstick are always there to help you. No more, "I would do this but I don't have that," shall be had. You know you like yourself when your primping, enjoy it more often.

5.) Make a change: Outfit, make-up, hair, shoes, location, lifestyle, what can you not do? Mark Twain once said, "As I see it, there is nothing that cannot happen today." Change is often inexpensive, once you make the small effort to get the ball rolling.

Life is not about when you will do things rather, how.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Stewed Okra and Tomatoes

Holy moly! This is an age old tradition in my family. We love this dish. I made it Wednesday night for dinner and about had a come apart when I realized I'd never blogged it! What in the world is wrong with me! If you love okra, tomatoes, and onions, this is for you. If you don't, this is for you. Super simple, super fun, super-de-dooper, indeed.
1 bag frozen chopped okra or 1 1/2 lb. fresh chopped (my preference)
2 cans Hunt's Diced Tomatoes or 1 large can
1 large onion chopped finely
1 tbsp. flour
1/2 cup Splenda
Few pinches of salt
Drizzle of olive oil

1.) In a medium size pot, drizzle olive oil and allow to heat to medium.
2.) Sautee onion in pot for a few minutes.
3.) Add okra and sautee for a few minutes.
4.) Pour tomatoes on top and bring to medium boil.
5.) Add flour, splenda, and few sprinkles of salt all to taste.
6.) Serve hot. I often eat this as an entire meal. It is a Weight Watchers Recipe.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Two Foodie Finds

I've found two great places to shop local in Huntsville. Try something new for a change, you won't be disappointed! Who doesn't love small business AND fresh ingredients, too!?!?! GO LOCAL OR DON'T GO!

1. European Market:
This little hideaway is located very close to Parkway Place mall. It is right across the street from the Ethan Allen furniture store. The market has all types of German food. Literally, I thought I was in Epcot at first sight. There are so many neat things here! I bought some vanilla sugar for $.99 and it smells divine. I cannot wait to use it for a cake or cookies. When I do, you'll be hearing from me. Also, I bought some German Crystal Light, the best way I can think to describe it. For $3.21 total, I've got two new surprises! When I got to the register, I noticed they have fresh bread and pretzels everyday. Yes, please. Next time, I'll be back very early in the a.m. for some of those! Please visit here if you can!

2. Ayer's Farmer's Market:
I love this sweet find! It is also on Memorial Parkway just a few minutes past Parkway Place mall (mall on right store on the right). This sweet little lady runs the store and she clearly loves her job. I am local ALL the way. If I drive by a place like this, you better believe I am turning right around. I bought okra, green tomatoes, and cherry tomatoes for a vegetable dinner. Who knew vegetables like this existed in February? I am in love! I will be back to this place again and again, a new love for sure. I can't even begin to think of what these people will come up with in the summer and fall! Please visit here, too!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Massive Mattress

This picture is hilarious to me in so many ways. I am striving for an industrial slash shabby chic decor. I want a mix of old and new, so here's the story of this ensemble.
This white iron bed belonged to my great-grandmother. It was her very first piece of furniture and has held up to say the least. This full size bed is a little snug for me at an inch less than six feet tall. Dr. K says, "Well, people were shorter one-hundred years ago." Although its a close fit, I love this bed because of its sentimentality.
I needed a box springs and mattress to go with it. So, the clearance shopper headed out to find a good one on sale. I bought this one in Huntsville and it arrived today. Dr. K says, "They didn't have pillow toppers one-hundred years ago." Haha! She has truth in every word. We have laughed and laughed about this, because I can give people Swiss Alps tours from this view. If you come visit me, it will be a $1.00 charge for the snow white mountain top tour.
I'm not worried about making things work because they will work out on their own. It's all a fun process and I don't want it to end. Design is after all, what you make it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Famous Furniture

Happy Valentine's Day! I hope all of you are spreading the love today!

I am in the process of moving to Huntsville with a bed frame, a mirror, and a desk, that's about it. I am faced with the task of purchasing furniture. I want the things I buy now to last, which, has become somewhat of an overwhelming job. I have a clear vision of what I want my home decor to look like with budget and quality in mind.
I made a list of the pieces I needed and went out on the hunt with "buy what you love" on my mind. Last Saturday, I antiqued around Florence with Dr. K. I saw many things I liked, but just couldn't fork over the money because of the love lack. At our last stop of the day, I stumbled upon this deep jade steamer trunk. I loved the color, the wear, and the initials on the side. Coffee table? Yes. Check it off the list.
I opened it up to see that it had Howard Killen Private USMC WWII written on the inside. Hmm...all the more meant to be because of my sweet Billy and his Marine Corps background. I love history and this piece instantly had meaning to me. It was a total steal at $60; I could not resist. A conversation piece for the ages, of course!
I brought it home and decided to do some research on Howard Killen. I wanted the story behind this Devil Dog and I knew Google would reveal something.
Although he passed away in 2004, Killen lived a full life. If he were alive today, I would take my pen and paper for coffee and interview him. We have quite a bit in common, a love of basketball, history, writing, southern culture, dogs, and the Marines at that. Mr. Killen hailed from where else but Killen, Alabama. During World War II, he was a member of the Marines 3rd Division War Dog Platoon in the Pacific. These dogs and their "owners" went forward into enemy lines to scout out potential combat. His dog Jeep, "saved his life a few times." In fact, they became so attached that after the war, Jeep was retrained as a pet and brought back to Alabama where he lived until 1954. In the black and white picture above, Killen's hand is shown holding the dog as they meet famous WWII journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner Earnie Pyle. His story is also highlighted in the book Always Faithful, which I plan to read.
I love the history of this trunk! There is much to be said for the rustic, rugged and raspy side of interior decorating. I love the old and the new mixed together. So, when I get things all set, I'll be sure to show you how I've used this gem. In the meantime, remember that more is there than what meets the eye.

P.S. I know that many of you from this area might have known him, which is another neat connection for me. Comment if so!

Read his dog story here:

Friday, February 3, 2012

Never the Same Face

“I don’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little – if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that’s the day she has a date with destiny. And it’s best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.”

--Coco Chanel

I love to explore makeup fashion. Having makeup that enhances your outfit is very important for a pulled together look. By no means do I call myself a makeup expert. Rather, I find it fun to study what women wear and how they transition their look through the day. I read make-up books, watch make-up tutorials, and read make-up blogs for a hobby. This post is a little about my two cents worth on lips and eyes. Switch it up a little! Let your look be for 2012, not 1983. Once you've found a NON-ORANGE base, powder, and SOFT blush that match your skin perfectly, stick to those as staples for awhile. Have summer and winter base shades, even. Let the lips and eyes be the play zones for new things. Choose a bright eye and a soft lip or vice versa.

If in the past you've chosen a bright red lipstick with a bright pink shirt, oh goodness. This is a mere example of how careful you must be with your tones. You don't need to look like Kathy Kinney in The Drew Carey Show. The shades on your face MUST coordinate with the shades of your skin, hair, eye color, and clothing. Don't let this overwhelm you. Experiment. Don't wear the same look everyday. Most of us have multiple eyeshadows and lipsticks/glosses so, we NEED to mix things up. There's no point in letting all that beauty product go to waste. One thing I like to do is buy a eyeshadow palette such as this one from Stila. I bought it on sale at ULTA. Usually, they have some type of combination pack like this for a very reasonable price and they last. This one has thirteen colors all in natural tones which, I love. You really can't go wrong with a palette of soft tones, because you can blend them very easily with brushes or Q-tips.
  • Application Tips for Eyes:
  • Putting a little bit of base on your eyelids will help your shadow and liner stay on longer.
  • Always use a neutral highlighter shade to go all the way to the top of the brow. This can even be your quick fix-up with some eyeliner and mascara.
  • Put a small amount of the same highlight shade on the inside corner of your eye (Carmindy's trick)
  • Dust a small amount of matching eyeshadow or brow powder on your eyebrows to smooth out the hair.
  • Always blend over the top of your finished eye with a brush for a smooth look.
  • Black mascara looks best on everyone. Look sharply down or sharply up into a mirror (your preference) to put it on and roll the wand as you go.

These days, you can pull of just about any eye shade regardless of your eye color. Start out by picking one on the more neutral side of the spectrum and go from there. Here are some of my favorites:

  • As a brunette, I love deep purple and plum tones with soft gold highlight. They look great for day and night.
  • For blondes, soft greens are lovely and transition well through the seasons.
  • My mom has salt and pepper hair. She looks great in darker blue tones.
  • Redheads look great in brown, gold, and light copper tones.

For lips, I love C.O. Bigelow My Favorite Lip Balm in 100% natural shea butter (Bath and Body Works). I haven't found a lipstick or stain that this doesn't look good with yet. It is clear, tastes great, and adds just enough gloss to a statement lip. It is also my nightly moisturizer. Again, lips are all about tones, as you already guessed. I have some neutral and red favorites listed below. As for more statement colors, like pink, fuchsia, and plum, I recommend getting advice from a makeup artist. These make much more of a bold projection than even eyes do, so be careful of your choice.

  • Application Tips for Lips:
  • Apply base to lips for long lasting colors.
  • Use a cheap lip liner as a stain and add gloss on top (literally a $2 lip).
  • Blot your lips using a piece of paper in between your lips instead of straight onto them. This will keep lipstick off of your teeth and prevent dull lip color.
  • Chapstick at night, ALWAYS.
  • NEVER be without these and a compact mirror, they are necessities for the entire day.
Neutral/Red Favorites:
  • Neutral:
  • I've mentioned my love for Sephora Cream Lip Stain ($12) several times.
  • My tone is 02 (Classic Beige).
  • I recently gave two of my blonde friends 05 (Infinite Rose) and it looked great on them. One has darker blonde hair and the other one has light blonde hair.
  • Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm
  • Bobbi Brown Uber Beige
  • MAC Sheen Supreme Lipstick in Blossom Culture

  • Red:
  • Anyone can wear red lips, it just depends on the blue/red contrast in the shade.
  • Darker hair colors can pull off more blue/red tones. Mine is Always Red by Clinique
  • Lighter hair colors need less blue.
  • Redheads need true red, right in the middle of the color spectrum.
  • MAC Pro Longwear Lipcreme in ProLong

This spring, neon makeup and nude lips are very trendy. Have fun playing with these, you can do it!
Bobbi Brown has some great application videos on her website: HERE
Check out this video of Bobbi Brown on the Martha Stewart Show: HERE

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Start Sorting

This winter has turned out to be one of the weirdest ones I can remember. Back in September, I hauled out my winter clothes early. I couldn't wait for scarves, sweaters, boots, and tights. I'm one of those people that gets so excited about cold weather that I start mixing in warmer pieces as soon as possible. I'm putting on tights with shorts, turtlenecks under dresses, you get the idea.
Much to my disappointment, I have not been able to wear most of my heavy duty get-ups. I'm bundled up on a Monday and Tuesday through Friday, I'm in short sleeves. I can't decide whether to iron clothes out of my winter stock pile or sort through my spring storage.
Last night, this struggle got the best of me. I did an entire revamp of my closet. I organized shirts, cardigans, dresses, skirts, and pants all in categories. I ironed everything that needed ironing (WHEW!) and folded what needed to be folded. I took out old things I don't wear to sell on Ebay or give away. It was a chore, but the satisfaction of it all had me on cloud nine. I wish people realized how much I love to organize wardrobes. When they say, "I wish you could come help me with my closet," I can't convince them of how much that would thrill me. I'd have people catwalking all kinds of outfits around their house. I'd show them what should and should not stay. I'm typing faster and faster at even the thought of sorting and styling someone on a complete revamp like this. I put friend's ensembles together here and there, and it is a thrill. As weird as it sounds, I try to rarely wear the same thing twice and I tell other people to do the same. I don't shop every week, I just buy smart. Let's say you've got two skirts, two cardigans, and two blouses all in neutrals that GO together. That's several outfits right there with only six pieces (SB, help me with math, here!). I think it's eight outfits from what I can figure. Less is more! You've got eight work week outfits right there. Think about adding two more pieces of each of those items and magicaly, half a month's ensembles are ready! Focus on building an outfit from start to finish every single day. Don't keep going back to the same combinations over and over each Monday. And, P.S. I am writing these positive words to gear up for my first class at Drake State which is: Obtaining an Excellent Image on February 17th!
I am guilty of not always having every little item prim and propper in my closet. I find things I've been missing. I find things that go with other things. I realize I can make more and more outfits with fewer and fewer items. "Out with the clutter," I say!
I try to re-organize at the start of every season. Although the warm weather got the best of me this year, I had a lightbulb moment. It really isn't the changing of the season that's got me in the Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day mood. Instead, I'm focusing really hard on what I'll take with me to Huntsville physically and mentally. I've got to be practicing what I preach, above all.
Has it been years since you sorted? Are you clinging to clothes from middle school? You've got to let go of wardrobe clutter to look your best. Make time for yourself. Be functional, practical, and fabulous in one pretty package. If whipping your closet into shape saves you ten minutes in the morning, then so be it. You'll save precious time not trying things on, taking them off, and throwing them back on the stack. This can be an evening project or a weekend one at that. If you have a shared closet, then you have all the more reason to start fresh. Reward yourself with your hard work. Please do what you must to make your life easier and if all else fails, call the closet clothes horse.