Friday, February 25, 2011

Win an American Eagle Gift Certificate

I love all these contests from Polyvore (obviously, since I put them on here all the time!).  They are so easy to enter and let you play around with all the new styles for the season.  Just use the items in the editor below to make a set featuring at least two items from American Eagle's new styles and enter to win a $250 gift certificate.  All you have to do is hit "enter contest" to go to the editor, once you finish the set, just click the small "enter contest" button.  Good Luck!  Just a hint, the more you put in your set, the better it looks.  You can add text and backgrounds as well in Polyvore.  I love the style of American Eagle, it just keeps reminding me that the lazy days of summer will be here in no time.

Get your own Mini Editor from Polyvore

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dear Upholstery People...

It is NOT necessary to staple fabric every millimeter when securing material to wood!  Holy Moly.  I finally started on the rocker that was given to me to redo by my friend, Paige.  I love this rocker.  The design of the frame is so cute.  However, it has chicken fabric on it.  I don't think there would ever be a time that I thought, hmmm...this chair is cute, but it could really use some chicken fabric.  Seriously?  Who does that?  Plus, I think this was a recover job.  So if you are going to put fabric like that on something, please don't staple the heck out of it because some point...WILL recover it.  After several hours, millions of staples, blisters, and some blood, I finally got the material off.  Now I have to decide how to redo it.  I'm torn.  Do I paint the frame white or stain the wood dark?  Do I do a patterned material or leave it somewhat neutral and use fun pillows to keep it versatile?  Decisions, decisions.  At least I got the hard part done.

Seriously, I should name him Shadow.  Every time I turn around, there he is.  He's actually snoring in my lap as I type this.

I was working on some silhouette art using Ruby's picture.  I guess she figured she needed to model for me.  Ridiculous.  I'll post these once I get them done.  I think they are going to turn out really cute, and soo easy!

Moving on up

I have been made fun of for years for still using a Caboodle.  That's right, I still have a cobalt blue, fully glittered Caboodle.  I LOVE IT.  However, I finally felt the need to grow up and move on.  I told my mom it was time to retire her and she gifted me with a new shiny, silver, adult train case to house all my makeup for my birthday.  It is kind of a big deal to rid my bathroom of the big blue box, but don't worry, she is getting a new home in my craft room to organize all my notions, bottles of glass glitter, rhinestones, etc.  I wouldn't dare throw it out!  I'm pretty sure I've had it since I was in middle school or early high school.  Needless to say, I've gotten my money's worth.  On a positive note, (at least in Clay's eyes I'm sure), it is too big for me to take in my car and forces me to get my makeup done at home instead of doing it while I drive to work.  Yeah, that's me, the girl next to you at the stop light doing my eyeliner in the rearview mirror.  I will admit, I used to do my eyeliner while I was driving.  Now I'll at least wait for a red light.

And of course, you can usually find one of the furbabies hanging out with me in the bathroom while I get ready...

Sparkle and Shine

Back when I did my craft room update, I bought a bookshelf off Craigslist that I loved.  However, it had a door on the front of it that was a little too crafty looking.  So, I just took it off and left it as an open shelf.  However, I kept that door just in case I could figure out what to do with it.
I started with this:

With a little paint, some lettering from Michaels, and some nails...know I can see all my jewelry!  I still have to dig out more that has ended up in purses, drawers, and boxes and add it to the wall of bling so I can see everything at once.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Spring into Color

spring into color
spring into color by raheckmann featuring wrap around dresses

Spring is almost here!!  I can't wait.  It is my favorite time of year.  I was literally drooling over my last InStyle magazine that featured all the bright hot colors that are big this year.  I love bold color in small bits or mix and match for a big pop.  That dark bright blue is amazing and I don't think there is ever a time that I don't like hot pink.  Its beginning to feel more and more like winter is leaving which means sundresses and flowers in the flower beds are right around the corner

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentines at Home

Poor Clay, my birthday is two days before Valentines so he gets a double whammy.  However, we decided a long time ago that we really didn't want to fight the crowds at a restaurant and to just have a nice dinner at home.  And you know what the best Valentines present was?  He went to the grocery store for me.  I didn't have time yesterday and I would've had to try and race through after work so I emailed him a list and he braved the aisles for me.  Our dinner turned out great.  We had steamed mussels in a tomato/garlic broth, filet mignon, red potatoes, green beans, and what was supposed to be my attempt at crossing off baking  a successful souffle off my list.  Big fail on that one...

Ohh, I love mussels.  They are so easy to make and always look fancy.

I always love when Clay cooks.  He made a great mushroom sauce for the steaks

We normally call it Rachel's Cafe when I cook at home but since Clay cooked with me, last night it was the Ellis Eatery :)

Have I mentioned that I'm horrible at baking?!  My souffle turned out more like a flourless cake.  It wasn't too bad when I topped it with sweetened strawberries but I definitely can't cross it off the list yet.  

Monday, February 14, 2011

I Survived!

This weekend was amazing.  The weather was great.  The sun came out and cold disappeared.  Clay and ran errands on Saturday and then headed out for a small dinner and night out on the town with friends for my birthday.  I keep telling everyone that I haven't had that much fun in forever.  We definitely have gotten older.  The first bar was got too loud and crowded so we quickly made a move across the street.  The dj played some oldies but goodies (to us at least) and tons of booty shaking jams.  We were bummed on Saturday when Clay called the golf course and the earliest time we could get for Sunday was 12:12p.  That ended up being a blessing.  We weren't too spry on Sunday and noon even came quicker than we would have liked.  I was really second guessing my great idea to play golf.  However, the weather made up for the tiredness and we had a great afternoon together.  I tuckered out by the 16th hold and became the official cart driver.  I'm really glad we went and enjoyed these few days a year that it isn't cold or blistering hot.  Plus, I love playing golf with Clay.  However, my game was not at its best which caused a little more aggravation than desired.  That just means I need to play more!  So here's to 30, bring it on! 

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Sight to Behold

I couldn't help but grin from ear to ear when I saw this on the news:

Starting on Sunday, seventies and sun.  I hear a golf course calling my name!  If you haven't realized it yet, Texans are babies when it comes to cold weather.  We can't take it!  I hope all of you are starting to thaw out.  Hope you have a great weekend!  Oh, and I'll post my potsticker making experience tonight.  All I have to say is that it is totally worth it to make them at home.  I couldn't stop eating them!

Winter Relief

I guess I should have posted this sooner than now since hopefully, winter is almost over.  I just wanted to do a quick product review of some things that have saved my skin and hair through this harsh winter. 
#4  Burts Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream

This stuff is awesome.  It has a nice light lemon scent and is not too greasy.  My cuticles tend to get really dried out and sometimes crack or get hangnails.  It also helps keep my nails from splitting.

#3  Johnson and Johnson 24 Hour Moisture Lotion

As far as lotion goes in the winter, it's pretty much indispensable.  However, I hate being greasy and oily all day.  I found a trial size of this lotion and gave it a try.  This is the best daily lotion I've ever used.  It soaks in quickly and leaves your skin feeling like silk.  The scent is very faint and smells great.  All those scented lotions from Bath and Body Works, etc usually don't actually moisturize enough and I'm not that big a fan on overally scented lotions.  But that's just me, I hardly ever wear perfume either.

#2  Pantene Replenishing Mask

Every now and then I'll break down and buy salon shampoo.  The longer my hair gets, the better products I've had to use to keep it healthy.  Before using salon grade products (on sale of course), I was always a Pantene girl.  I love the way it smells and the conditioner makes it possible to get a comb through my wet hair without pulling out a huge hair ball.  The strengthening shampoo and conditioner from Paul Mitchell that I've been using has worked.  I've noticed that I don't lose as much hair as before but the conditioner isn't always conditioning enough.  That's where this little pot of  magic comes in.  I bought it after the Tough Mudder race because my hair was wrecked from all the mud that had been caked in it.  Even after I had washed it a few times and let the conditioner set in, my hair was still frizzy and the ends were terrible.  I bought this and thought I'd give it a whirl.  After one use, my hair was back to shiny and smooth.  A little goes a long way and it works best to concentrate it on your ends. Since my hair is usually a bit drier in the winter, this has helped keep it in much better condition.  I great buy.

#1  Palmer's Skin Therapy Oil- MY ULTIMATE FAVORITE

I blogged about this sometime last year, but I have to reinterate how amazing it is.  I was using it before pretty sporadically, but over the winter season, I've used it daily and now can't live without it.  I've found that the easiest way to use it is to use a body scrub of some sort in the shower to slough off any dead skin and apply the oil.  Rub it in, and then after a few minutes, lightly towel off to get any that didn't soak in.  I've been using it at night before I go to bed and sometimes again in the morning.  My eyes have been really dry and itchy because of all the wonderful central Texas allergens so I've even put the oil around my eyes to keep them from getting red and dry.  I'm prone to breakouts and I haven't had any even putting it on my face.  If you have any healing wounds or scars this also helps you heal quicker and scars will diminish.  Truly a wonder product.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Breaking out from under the ice

This past week the weather has been crazy.  I mean downright CRAZY.  When the weather gets crazy, we get really busy at work (which explains the lack of posting).  I have a ton of stuff to post, just hadn't had the time to do it.  Working for a water and fire restoration company means that with a freeze comes busting water pipes.  I think a lot of Austinites learned their lesson when it happened last year because this time around wasn't as bad.  It usually just doesn't get that cold here.  Last Wednesday through Friday, we had temperatures in the teens and twenties and then by the weekend, it was sunny and in the 70s!  I took full advantage of it and went for a long run on Saturday and then took my stir crazy Boston Terrier for a walk (which turned into a run by his doing) on Sunday.  Then, another arctic blast comes in on Monday night making the temperature plummet back into the twenties.  By Saturday, it's going to be sunny and back in the 70s again.  No wonder everyone is getting sick!  With my schedule being so crazy, I really needed some quick dinners for this week.  Since I'm still squeezing in workouts at night, I started doing most of the prep work before work in the mornings so that it's halfway done when I get home.  The little Everyday Food cookbooks from Martha Stewart are usually full of easy and quick recipes that pack a bunch with flavor.  I don't have the recipe in front of me, but I think I remember it...

Turkey Pineapple Wraps
1-turkey breast (I got the Jenni-O pack of two)
1-pineapple (I got the kind that is already peeled and cored)
1-small red onion
3/4 lb. of tomatillos (husks removed)
1 fresh jalapeno
wheat tortillas
2 small avocados
1 bunch of cilantro, stems removed (I don't mind using cilantro stems)
1 cup of low fat buttermilk
cajun spice mix (I used the magical mix I found at our local Stuffed Cajun Market)

This is the way I made it which is different from the original one:
The following steps I did in the morning...
Preheat oven to 375.  Rub the turkey breasts with a little olive oil and season with cajun spice.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until its done.  Take out and let cool to room temp.  Wrap in foil and place in the fridge.
Place the whole tomatillos and jalapeno (I did cut this open and scraped out some of the seeds, you never know if you're going to get a super hot one.  Also, make sure to cut the stem off) in a medium saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil for 5 minutes and then reduce the heat to medium and cook about another five or until the vegetables are tender.  Once cooked, remove from the heat and strain out from the water.  The original recipe calls for the red onion to be added raw, but that tends to give you onion breath all day.  Instead, I roughly chopped it and cooked it until it was lightly carmelized in the skillet.  Dump the cooked tomatillos and jalapeno, the half of one avocado, buttermilk, cilantro, and cooked onions into a blender or processer and blend until smooth.  It says to add salt in Martha's recipe but I don't think you need it.  If you need some acidity, add a squirt of fresh lime juice instead.  This makes a lot of sauce but it would be great on chicken, eggs, sandwiches, etc so keep the extra to add a little punch to other meals during the week.  Put the sauce in a tupperware and once cooled, place it in the fridge.
To assemble that night:
Remove the turkey from the foil and slice into thin medallions.  Toss in a hot skillet to warm it up.  It won't take long at all.  Slice the other 1 1/2 avocados into thin strips.  Remove the turkey from the skillet and put in a bowl and cover with a towel or foil to keep warm.  Slice the pineapple into thin strips longways.  Put them in the hot skillet and cook until lightly browned and carmelized.  Warm your tortillas in the microwave.  Place a handful of turkey, some avocado, two strips of pineapple, some freshly chopped cilantro if you like, and a smothering of tomatillo sauce.  Add a side of baked sweet potato fries and you're good to go. 

Stay tuned: I'm making homemade shrimp potstickers tonight.  This should be interesting...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Domestic Diva Fabric Deal

I have loved this collection by Emily Taylor forever!  Fat Quarter Shop has a deal right now for 50% off any fabric from this entire collection (the link takes you to everything included in the sale)!  I've ordered from them before and they are super fast on shipping.  They actually ship right outside of Austin, so if you're in my area, you usually get your package in a day or two.  Make sure to enter coupon code "diva" at checkout to get your 50% deal.  If you are a quilter or craft/decorate with designer and novelty fabrics, make sure to friend Fat Quarter Shop out on Facebook.  That's where they post all these great coupon codes.  This deal is on until February 4th.

I ordered this fat quarter bundle:
And a yard of this to make myself a quilt one of these days.  Maybe it will be one of the three I'm bound to finish this year!  I love these colors together.
 Here are some more examples are super cute yardage in the collection. The first one is my favorite.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Get Me To The Greek!

About a year ago, I finally started cooking lamb more often.  I was in the protein rut of chicken, fish, and beef.  I've expanded since then and lamb is one of my favorite loves.  It has the texture of beef with a little bit more exotic and gamey taste without tasting like you just cooked something that got run over on the road.  Clay and I are huge fans of Greek food and this recipe was just up our alley.  It was pretty simple and made for a great dinner.

Lemon and Oregano Lamb Chops- from
Freshly grated zest of 2 lemons

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
Freshly ground pepper to taste
8 lamb loin chops (1 1/2-1 3/4 pounds total), trimmed
1/4 cup tahini (see Tip)
1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt, preferably Greek-style
1/4 cup diced seeded cucumber, peeled if desired
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1-3 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Combine lemon zest, oregano, 3/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the mixture onto both sides of lamb chops and set aside for at least 10 minutes or refrigerate for up to 1 hour.
My note- I think this marinade would work a bit better if you pulsed it in the blender or processor with a little olive oil and put it in a ziploc with the chops overnight.
Meanwhile, combine tahini, yogurt, cucumber, lemon juice, garlic, parsley and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Whisk in enough water to thin the sauce to desired consistency.
My note- The sauce was good, but this needs to be pulsed a bit too and made a day ahead so that the flavors can meld.  If you make it right before you serve it, the flavors aren't as pronounced as they should be.
Heat oil in a large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the lamb chops and cook until browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Turn them over and transfer the pan to the oven. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into a chop registers 135°F for medium-rare, 8 to 14 minutes, depending on thickness. Serve the chops with the tahini sauce.
My note- YUM-OLA!
I served it with a Greek salad with feta, peppers, and a great Greek dressing I found.  Hummus and pita bread on the side would be great too.