Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Favorites: August 15

Favorite Netflix Binge: United States of Tara
The cable went out one night this week during a massive thunderstorm and Aaron was out for the evening at a trivia night, so what is a girl to do? Rekindle my loving relationship with Netflix of course! I remembered that my sister raved about this show a few years back, so when it popped up on my recommendations, I decided to give it a try. I have already finished season 1 and am well on my way through season 2. It's witty and smart and will make you cringe a bit at the awkward situations, but you won't want to stop watching!

Favorite cookware brand: Le Creuset
I had seen Le Creuset pieces on cooking blogs and TV presentations every so often, but I guess I never really paid attention. Boy, do I wish I added one of these beauties to our wedding registry! This week I have been diving in to learn all about cooking with Le Creuset and I have decided that I am going to treat myself to a classic Round French Oven for my birthday. Now I just have to decided which color!!! Ahhh!!!

Favorite meal this week: Grilled Chicken Al Fresco
Last night was a raid-the-fridge-leftovers-for-dinner night so and we decided to pull out the leftover tzatziki, Trader Joe's naan, jasmine rice and hummus and then grill up a few pieces of chicken. I threw together a marinade (olive oil + lemon zest + lemon juice + minced garlic + dried rosemary + dried oregano + salt + pepper) then grilled them up after 30 minutes in their lemony herby soak. Perfecto! The weather was perfect, there were not too many bugs buzzing around and life was sweet.

What was your favorite thing this week?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Recipe Test: Baked Mediterranean Chicken

Mediterranean flavors and cuisine are always at the top of my list. Zesty lemon, fresh herbs, salty olives, yes please. I have been trying to learn more about Mediterranean flavors by trying new recipes like this Baked Mediterranean Chicken. I already had a few olives left over from tacos that I made late last week and a couple of chicken breasts in the freezer, so only had to pick up 1 red onion and some feta (which I found on sale at Lowes Foods, score!).

This recipe was easy to make and came together quickly. After 35 minutes the chicken came out of the oven cooked perfectly, but the best part of this dish is really the bed of lemony sweet red onion slices and olives. I severed this chicken along with Israeli couscous and a simple homemade tzatziki sauce.

  • 2 lemons
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Red onion, cut into thick slices
  • 1 cup pitted kalamata olives, whole
  • 2 to 4 medium chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp. Paprika
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Crumbled Feta for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 450º
  2. Zest one lemon. Place zest in a large bowl and add 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Add in the red onion slices and kalamata olives. Toss to coat. Place onions and olives in the bottom of a baking dish
  3. Season chicken with salt, pepper and oregano then place on top of the bed of onions and olives
  4. Squeeze the juice out of the zested lemon over the top of the chicken and onions
  5. Sprinkle paprika over the top
  6. Add the zested and squeezed lemon rinds to the pan
  7. Bake uncovered for 35 minutes
Serve on a bed of spinach, topped with feta cheese and with extra lemon wedges for squeezing. Optional accompaniments: Roasted red peppers, pita bread with hummus, cucumbers or couscous.

Adapted From

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Favorites: July 25

Favorite Web series: Idiotsitter
A "straight-and-narrow" young woman is hired to babysit and tutor the daughter of a mega-rich couple who turns out to be a woman child who has been left alone in her daddy's mansion under house arrest. It's harsh. It's graphic. It's fast. It's hilarious. Also, T.J. Miller guest stars.

Favorite Summer Concert: Monumentour Fall Out Boy and Paramore
AMAZING show! I will post more details and photos next week once I get a chance to edit them down. Seriously, so many pictures. My phone's memory card has the itis from all of the great photos Aaron shot during both sets.

Favorite Accessory: LC Lauren Conrad Pyramid Stud Earrings
I am a big fan of enamel stud earrings especially when they have a little bit of sparkle! I always go back to the LC line at Kohl's and find great enamel pieces to add to my collection. I picked these up in white last weekend and have worn them every single day this week!

What are your favorite things this week?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

links: mermaids

Mermaid Birthday Party | pillow thought This is one lucky 4-year-old. Her mama went above and beyond to through her a beautiful mermaid birthday party complete with a scaly ombre cake, aquarium Jello jars and a treasure hunt! Also  crabwiches. Just too good. Making mental notes for future party planning (for my birthday parties of course...).

Sous La Mer | Teepublic I really don't need any more t-shirts ever, but maybe as a print?

Anna Paquin Dons New “Mermaid” Hair Color | Refinery29 Yes, I am a True Blood fan. No, I am not a Sookie fan, but I am a fan of her new mermaid hair. I'm jealous.

How Glenn Casale Helped The Little Mermaid Find Her Feet | Huffington Post Only a few more days until I get to see TLM here in Raleigh! I have been hoping to see it live ever since this first came out on Broadway. I know it will be fantastic!

13 Secret Mermaid Confessions From Whisper | Buzzfeed Pretty much!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Birchbox Modern Mermaid Review + Coupon Codes

Earlier this month I was looking up reviews for the limited edition Walgreens Ariel cosmetics collection and I ended up finding a review for the Birchbox Limited Edition: Modern Mermaid. I had never placed an order with Birchbox before, but after reading through the box description and watching a few Modern Mermaid reviews on YouTube, I decided to take the plunge.

RUFFIAN Endless Summer Collection – Nail Polish Trio If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen a photo from when I was testing this polish trio. I rocked the multicolored nails for a few days and even got a compliment from one of my coworkers! I really like these polishes. The blue and pink only need one coat, but my favorite color, Sahara, needs 2 coats.

Vasanti Kajal Extreme Intense Eye Pencil in Electric Navy The smooth, creamy formula goes on easily and doesn't smudge all over the place. It's a bright electric blue. Good for highlighting a certain pair of blue eyes...

Anastasia Beverly Hills Lash Genius Waterproof Topcoat It's a waterproof topcoat for your existing mascara. I don't need water resistant mascara very often, but it might come in handy for a teary eyed moment.

Stephanie Johnson Mermaid Mirror This is really what sold the whole box for me. I really like this mirror and couldn't wait to get it! It replaced a small PB&J mirror that I have been carrying around since my freshman year of college. The purple sheen is more prominent in person, but the green iridescence really pops in the right light!

Atelier Cologne Cédrat Enivrant Cologne Absolue This cologne is actually one of my favorite items in this box! It has notes of lime, juniper and mint. I'm a big fan, but Aaron is not. He is not a fragrance fan at all though. It's a light scent and stays put through the day (I just sniffed my shirt to check that).

Captain Blankenship Mermaid Mane Sea Salt Spray This is the first sea salt spray that I have ever tried. I haven't had a chance to play around with it much, but I like the smell. Time to experiment!

COOLA Liplux SPF 30 Original Formula 2nd fav in the box. It is colorless and it smells mildly like almost every other SPF chapstick I have used, but it brings big time moisturization to my lips! It has a happy home in my bag next to my original Chapstick.


Final Thoughts // I am very pleased with my first Birchbox purchase. The checkout process was easy, shipping was fast, the packaging design is well done, all of the products arrived safely and I can actually use everything that came in the box. The compact mirror is beautiful, the perfume is very nice, the nail polishes are lovely and I love the lip balm. I recommend this box to anyone who wants to add a little mermaid magic to their beauty routine!

Coupon Codes // Use one of these codes to save 20%: first20off, WELCOMEOFFER20, MOBILE20, LETSGO20. Also, don't forget to add the Bonus Shop Mystery Sampler Pack free with your purchase.

Have you tried Birchbox or any of these products? 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Favorites: July 18

Favorite YouTube Playlist: Cutthroat Kitchen - Behind the Scenes
Join my #1 favorite Food Network host, Alton Brown as he gives a behind the scenes look at Cutthroat Kitchen. Follow him on set, discover some of his favorite evilicious sabotages and find out what 3 words you should NEVER use to describe your food.

Favorite body care product: Sweet Citrus & Sugar Body Scrub
After dinner one evening, Aaron and I stopped in to our local Earth Fare where I discovered the Biggs & Featherbelle body care line for the first time. They have big pots of sugar scrubs and bath salt soaks that you can stir around, smell and scoop into containers to take home. There are also pre-packaged containers and soaps. So far I have tried the Lime & Sea Salt and Sweet Citrus & Sugar scents. I cannot get enough of the citrus one!

Favorite movie soundtrack: Wish I Was Here
After seeing the Kickstarter online backers screening, I have been listening to this album on and off all week. The best way to listen before you buy a copy for yourself? Stream the 'Wish I Was Here' soundtrack with exclusive commentary by Zach Braff.

Favorite daydream activity: Planning weekend trips around NC
Using a combination of Google maps + Trip Advisor + Groupon I plan dream getaways full of places to stay notable food destinations and entertaining activities to discover more of our adopted home state. Now I just need the budget to fund my weekly getaways...

What are your favorite things this week?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

DIY Home: Easy Kitchen Island Hooks

We are settling into our new home a little more every day. Since moving in we have been taking on small projects here and there every weekend. Small projects with big impact such as installing a peep hole in the front door, a new screen door to the deck and this project, installing a set of hooks on the kitchen island.

The idea spark for this project came from three needs 1. my interest in styling the island 2. a place to hang a dish towel to dry hands after washing in the sink, and 3. my oven mits that once lived atop our toaster oven no longer had a home because we got rid of the toaster oven and have yet to replace it.

I perused Pinterest and a few design blogs for awhile, but wasn't really finding the inspiration that I was looking for. Finally, I just Googled: "How to style a kitchen island" which resulted in a link to a slideshow called 26 Great Ideas for Kitchen Islands on the Country Living website. The title is spot one, there are a bunch of great ideas for kitchen islands, but there was one photo in particular that caught my eye.

This photo became the inspiration for this little DIY project. No, the answer here isn't "add puppy to kitchen and everything will be perfect!" even though I wish that was true. It's the hooks on the side of that rolling kitchen cart!

You can see in the "before" photo of our kitchen that the side of the island that is facing the table is completely flat. The parallel side has a horizontal outlet and is also where we have our kitchen trashcan.

We picked up 4 Command hooks in brushed nickel at Walmart. They are easy to install and easy to remove one day when it's time, no drilling holes into the island needed. Aaron used a laser level to make sure they were all sitting at the same height and we let them settle in for a few hours before hanging anything on them.

The finished hooks with a dish towel and pot holders.

Close up shot of the cutest pot holder and mermaid trivet from the Maryland RenFest.

Top of the island with our micro basil plant from Logan's and Porcelain Red Pomegranate Vase by NewMoonStudio on Etsy.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Links: Misc

Baton Rouge 'Mermaid' makes a splash | NBC33 TV A Louisiana mom dons a beautiful custom mermaid tail at her local community pool and hopes to promote LA coastal preservation. Not sure how much she is really doing to help the environment, but the tail looks great! I'm not sure I would be so brave to wear a tail at our pool...

Movie Mashup Game: Fourth of July edition | The News & Observer Since discovering this game last year, Aaron and I get excited whenever a new edition is released. The object: The blurbs listed combine titles of two or more well-known movies or popular TV shows. For this edition at least one of the titles in each item has an American theme in the story or title. Can you guess the new mashed up movie title? Watch out! This link has the answers!

Raleighwood Melon-tini | Our State Magazine Summer is the season for this refreshing cocktail made with pureed fresh watermelon. This quick and easy cocktail recipe is a no-brainer! It's a great way to use up a huge NC watermelon and best served along side a summer evening grilled dinner. Also, it's very forgiving so you can easily swap out the liquor if you can to add another flavor layer or if you're not a vodka fan.

Zach Braff Breaks Down 'Wish I Was Here' Soundtrack Song by Song | Rolling Stone The actor-director offers his thoughts on tracks by the Shins, Bon Iver, Paul Simon and a duet between Coldplay and Cat Power. Aaron and I are Kickstarter backers for 'Wish I Was Here' and we "attended" the online backer's thank you screening on Friday night. We were sent a direct link for a single showing of the final cut, which will be released later this week. The music Thoughts on the film to follow.

Tobacco, tar heels and tulip glasses — NC's craft beer boom | CNBC 25 Traditionally known for its tobacco, barbecue, college basketball and the squealing tires of stock car racing, one Southeastern state is blazing a new trail for its name. "North Carolina is the hottest emerging state for craft beer right now," said Marc Levit, associate at the Demeter Group, which advises alcoholic beverage companies.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Favorites: July 11

Favorite New TV Show: HBO's Silicon Valley
Aaron and I just finished watching the first season of this HILARIOUS new comedy (you can easily binge watch the 8 1/2 hour episodes in one day this weekend, trust me, it's worth it!). Silicon Valley tells the story of a group of guys (including T.J. Miller who makes any show worth watching!) in Palo Alto, CA who are living together and working together on creating a company centered around a breakthrough app universal compression called Pied Piper. You don't need background knowledge of programming, Java, or the tech world to enjoy this show, but being familiar with the industry terms makes the jokes even better. Can't wait for the 2nd season!

Favorite Web series: Emma Approved
It's not a brand new web series, episodes 59 and 60 aired this week, but since I haven't blogged about it yet, I wanted to include the latest web series produced by Pemberley Digital. Emma Approved is a multi-platform series based on Emma, a novel by Jane Austen. It follows the success of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries which I was hooked on watching last year. Emma Approved is more focused and slower paced that Diaries, but I like it just as much! New episodes are published every Monday and Thursday. It's not too late to catch up on the story! Plus, there are links for each episode to character blogs, social media accounts and weekly fashion files.

Favorite Beauty Purchase: Birchbox - Limited Edition: Modern Mermaid
How perfect is this box?! This is the first time I have ever placed an order with Birchbox, the online monthly beauty subscription service and I could not be more pleased with my purchase. I am not a huge makeup lover, but when you wrap it up in a mermaid theme, I just cannot resist! The packaging design as well as the product selections are fantastic! I have already found a permanent spot in my bag for the mermaid scales compact mirror and I am wearing the COOLA Liplux and the Atelier Cologne today. If you're interested, snag this limited edition box before the end of summer!

What are your favorite things this week?