March 30, 2012

Lovely things

I've run across a few things today that have just plain warmed my heart. There is a lot of junk on the internet that is not worth our time, nor is it good for our minds. But there is also a lot of wonderful-ness - genuine people with beautiful stories. Here a few of my recent faves:

a soldier's precious welcome home

Some inspiration on loving our husbands. I just met Nicole today on her blog The Neesby Lookbook, and she is just so cute and encouraging! I can't wait to get to know her more as I follow along with her blog. She has a blogger button that she created as a way to commit to loving our husbands and building them up whenever we can. How convicting! I know I do not do this enough so from now on I've decided to join in on some Hubs Lovin'! I am mainly going to work in this in real life (encouraging him and speaking highly of him to my friends), but don't be weirded out if I brag about my hubby on this blog. I'm his wife and I shouldn't be afraid to tell everyone how much I love him! I've also added the button to my blog's sidebar.

The Neesby Lookbook

Joy the Baker and her adorable, heart-warming personality. I've heard some buzz about her but never checked out her blog until this week, and I'm so glad I did! If you haven't yet, watch her video to get to know her and follow along to see all the wonderful things she bakes! She also recently published her own cookbook and I'm just dying to have it. Too bad my birthday just passed... I like random presents too! hint hint...

Running across the recipe for a beautiful Strawberry Brown Butter Banana Bread. Doesn't it just look delectable? I can't wait to try this.

There you have it! A collection of this week's findings that have warmed my heart and just gotten me excited about life. I feel encouraged and ready for the weekend. I certainly hope you do too. Happy Friday!

P.S. I just added a "pin it" button button to my blog. It's right at the bottom of the post and if you click it, you can "pin" to Pinterest whatever you want from the blog post you are reading. So if you see a recipe or a craft on here that you like, pin it and share the idea! I thought I would also share the link that showed me how to do it so you can add it to your blog too! :)

March 29, 2012

Crescent Roll Breakfast Casserole

The other day I posted about my girls weekend, and how we had this casserole for breakfast:

It was truly delicious and I knew I needed to share it with you! I made it Thursday night, froze it, and then it thawed on the 4-hr drive up to Blacksburg (since it was frozen, it remained cold and I didn't have to bother with a cooler). I put it in the fridge overnight and then took it out as soon as I woke up, so it would warm a little before baking. This worked really well and made it so easy not to have to worry about cooking anything that morning! That just gave us more time for talking over coffee :)

Crescent Roll Breakfast Casserole

1 can crescent rolls
1 lb. sausage (I used turkey breakfast sausage)
1 small onion, chopped
1 green or red bell pepper, chopped
8 eggs
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Brown sausage and onion; drain if necessary (my turkey sausage didn't really have any grease to drain). Spray/grease a 9x13 pan and lay down the crescent roll flat on the bottom (leaving all triangles intact). Layer sausage and onion mixture on top. Add chopped bell pepper (if you'd prefer not to have crunchy bell pepper, saute these with the onion and sausage in the first step). Layer the cheddar on top. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, adding milk and salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture over meat and cheese. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until bubbly.

adapted from: Pearls, Handcuffs, and Happy Hour, found on Pinterest

March 26, 2012

Weekend with my girls

Yesterday I tearfully drove home from an amazing weekend with my bestest college friends. It's kind of funny that the most central place for all of us to meet is the home of our glory days: Blacksburg, VA. I was excited to see them, but spending time with them was way more fun than I anticipated. We stayed in a cabin at Mountain Lake (where they filmed the movie Dirty Dancing) and it rained most of the weekend, but that didn't matter. We talked about everything under the sun, and under the moon, too. We laughed, drank wine, hiked a mountain, ate great food, talked about our recent life discoveries, and laughed some more. It was so refreshing to spend time with those girls, and I am so thankful for each and every one of them. I dearly cherish the moments when we can all be together - our time is so much more precious now than it was in college. I'm already looking forward to our next trip! Here are a few snippets of the weekend.

breakfast in our cabin

dinner at Boudreaux's on Main Street

one of the great things about Blacksburg - cheap gas and cheap drinks

Gillie's Special - my most favorite brunch in the world!

March 23, 2012

High 5 For Friday!

It's Friday! Linking up again with Lauren and here are my top 5 things this week:


1. Looking for a new home! All week I have been driving around downtown Raleigh looking at neighborhoods and trying to figure out where exactly we want to live. I'm so excited to move to an area that has more to do right within our reach. Daydreaming about our new neighborhood has also been a daily activity!

2. The incredible weather we've been having. I haven't worn a coat in weeks! Also we had some pretty awesome thunderstorms the other night. I am a super heavy sleeper, and I was woken up at 6 am Tuesday morning by thunder that must have been right on top of us. It was LOUD! That part wasn't really that great, but hearing the thunder throughout the rest of the day was pretty cool! There's something cozy about hearing a raging storm outside while you're safe and sound inside.

3. My new Toms shoes. I know they have been around forever, but I have been wanting them for just as long and I finally decided on a color. I love the tan burlap I chose!

4. Babies everywhere. Ev-ery-where. I keep seeing photos pop up all over Facebook (I guess it's baby season?) and I love it! Every time I see a newborn baby it just makes me so happy. I mean, a whole person was just brought into the world!! They weren't a part of it one moment, and the next they are in it! A whole entire human being with his or her whole entire life to live. It's amazing to me. Congrats to all the new mommas out there!

5. An amazing girls weekend ahead of me! I'm meeting up with my best college girlfriends for the weekend and I could not be more excited to see them!!! The only thing that would make it better is if we were all driving in the same car to get there, like our good ol' college road trippin' times.

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you have a great weekend :)

March 22, 2012


I've been having a lot of fun with some design inspiration lately. Back in February, my friend Blythe gave me this amazing book for my birthday. It seriously is one of the best gifts I've ever gotten! Are you infatuated with Design*Sponge like I am? If not, you should be! There's nothing I love more than perusing unique DIY projects or looking at some awesome Before+Afters. I love that the homes they reveal on this blog are all so different and anti-mainstream. It's opened my mind up to realize there are so many other facets of design than just the rustic + clean Pottery Barn look (which we all LOVE, but do we all really want all of our houses looking the same?). Having all of this wrapped up in a book is simply amazing!

We are actually planning on moving this summer when our lease is up, so you can guess that I am SO excited to decorate a new space (impatient is probably the better word)! The next few months are going to be full of driving around neighborhoods to figure out exactly where we want to be, and hopefully finding something with tons of character and charm within our price range. We are also still trying to weigh the options of renting or buying, which is obviously a bit stressful. Even if we rent, I WILL be painting the walls. I hate that I didn't do that when we moved into our apartment, because I've ended up living with blank white walls for two years. I'm ready for some splashes of color! Once we find our new home, I can't wait to show it to you and document the entire moving and decorating process! Get excited!

March 18, 2012

Redecorating the hallway

So I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but on March 18 my Christmas cards were still hanging up in my hallway...

I've been debating about what to do here for a long time, and I finally did something about it Sunday evening. I didn't have anything up here before the Christmas cards, so it felt silly to take those down and not put anything up on the huge bare wall, prolonging the procrastination. On the opposite wall, I had hung these wedding pictures pretty soon after we had moved into this apartment.

I bought a couple wall hangings at Jo-Ann Fabrics about a month ago, and have been trying to figure out what to do with them. I switched things up a bit, and here is what my hallway now looks like!

My view from the kitchen sink

Despite the hallway being so white and bland, I feel like it looks so much more together now! The larger picture frames fit the bigger wall space better than the smaller square pictures. While I love looking at photos of our wedding, it's also nice to switch things around so I have a different view when I wash dishes. Maybe one day I'll be looking at real flowers out of a window above the kitchen sink!

Did you switch anything around in your home this weekend?

March 17, 2012

Grasshopper Pie

When I emailed my grandma to get this recipe (yes, she has a laptop computer - she's so with it), she told me that the original recipe calls for crushing Oreos to make a pie crust, but that was "much too much work - just buy a chocolate pie crust" (as if this recipe needs to be simplified even more). Not to argue with Grandma, I bought an Oreo pie crust and whipped up this pie in about 10 minutes. The hardest part was finding a place in my freezer that was level! This pie is minty and chocolatey - one delicious combination.

Grandma also mentioned that she's making two of these pies for a couple of "St. Pat's parties" with her friends, and she even has a green hat ready to wear. I would love to be half as social and fashionable as her when I'm 81!

Happy St. Patricks' Day!!

Grasshopper Pie

2 tbsp. Creme de Menthe Liqueur, or 1/4 cup Creme de Menthe syrup*
7 oz. marshmallow cream
8 oz. whipped cream/Cool Whip, thawed
chocolate pie crust

Mix Creme de Menthe and marshmallow cream well (the liqueur I bought was green, add food coloring if you'd like it to be more green). Mix in the Cool Whip. Pour into the chocolate pie crust and freeze firm. Warm at room temperature 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

*I could not find the syrup at Harris Teeter. I had to go to the ABC store to buy the liqueur. I read online that you can maybe find the syrup at World Market or a specialty grocery store that sells a lot of gourmet coffee syrups.

March 15, 2012

Healthy hair

We've all done it. We've started growing out our hair with high hopes of having those luscious locks that match the ones we see on magazine covers and in movies. And then it gets a few inches past our shoulders, and it starts to bug us. The ends are splitting, it looks dead and lifeless, and we put it up in a ponytail half the time because we can't think of anything else to do with it. So after all that time spent growing it out so that it will be long, we have the sudden urge to chop it off so our hair just feels healthy again. Of course once we do, we instantly miss our long hair, thus restarting the viscous cycle.

I have been growing my hair out for about a year now, and it's starting to get to the length that I want it. Over the past few months I've noticed that while I have oily hair, my ends were getting really dried out causing breakage and split ends. And I don't even do a whole lot of heat styling. I have done 2 things to remedy this, and by golly, it seems to be working!

1. Not washing my hair every day. I have read so many articles (here's one) recently on how damaging it is to your hair to continually wash it and strip it from the natural oils your scalp produces to protect and hydrate it. If you have super oily hair, I understand this may not be an option for you. But just do an experiment to see. If you currently wash your hair every day, your scalp is used to producing a lot of oil to keep up with the shampoo that's constantly drying it out. Try going a few days without washing it and the next time you wash it, see how long it takes to get oily. Do this a few times if you really want to be sure your scalp has gotten used to the change. If it's sticking to your face by the end of that day you washed it, you may just need to wash it every day and use a very hydrating conditioner. But, chances are your scalp will not be as oily once it gets used to being washed every other day (or even less) and your hair will be healthier.

2. Using Moroccanoil. I got this tip from Colleen at Ordinary Tales and I'm so thankful she shared it! Every time I wash my hair, when it's damp I smooth about a nickel-sized glob of this Moroccanoil throughout, mainly on the ends. It feels greasy at first, but it is all natural oils so your hair will absorb it and I promise you won't even notice in your hair. This is totally different than a smoothing gel, which merely coats your hair. Your dried-out ends will literally drink this stuff up and thank you for it by shining beautifully! My hair has felt so much healthier since using it and while it's a tad pricey, I could never go back!

March 13, 2012

It's easy

Unfortunately all the family time on our beach trip this past weekend allowed a stomach bug to pass its way around. Michael got sick on our drive home and stayed in bed all day yesterday. I felt so bad for him - he was pale, running a fever, and couldn't keep anything in his stomach. Not to mention he felt miserable. I made up a cozy bed for him on the futon so he didn't pass the bug to me, brought him water, took his temperature, and made sure he had everything he needed. I didn't mind waiting on him when he looked so awful. I wanted to help him get through this horrible sickness!

On my drive into work yesterday I realized something. It's so easy to be patient with my husband when he is sick. I don't expect anything out of him because I know he feels terrible and I want to do whatever I can to help him get better. The true test of patience is when we are both well and able, because that is when I set expectations for him, often too high. When we got home Sunday night, I unpacked his suitcase along with mine, did a few loads of laundry, and cleaned up the apartment, because it was easy to serve him when I knew he needed it. On any normal night, my thoughts usually go like this: "why should I fold his laundry or cook him dinner when he hasn't taken out the smelly trash in 4 days?" or "he can clean up his pile of mail, and I'll just work around it until he notices it's bugging me" (which, by the way, he doesn't ever). I'll get home from work on a Tuesday and have lots of energy and want to get some chores done, expecting him to have the same amount of energy as me even though I know he's worked a long day (and maybe didn't get that afternoon caffeine jolt like I did). If I have something on my to-do list, I expect him to know it's on there and to do something about it.

Why do I set these uncommunicated expectations when I know I will only be disappointed? My job as a wife is to serve my husband. Period. Regardless of what I get in return. Keeping score in a marriage will surely start fights, this I have learned. I'm thankful for this little lesson in patience. I'm sure I'll get a good many more over the course of our marriage, as it seems I am so quick to forget!

March 9, 2012

High 5 for Friday!

So glad it's Friday! I'm so ready to get some rest this weekend. How about you?
I'm linking up again with Lauren at From My Grey Desk Blog for some High 5 For Friday fun!


1. I'm loving my red accessories today. They're making this gray day a little more fun!

earrings: gifted; ballet flats: Mossimo from Target

2. Tuesday night I spent the evening on myself and it was so nice. Michael went out to dinner with friends, so I changed into sweats when I got home from work and sat on the couch for the rest of the evening. I watched TV, caught up on my favorite blogs, and did pretty much nothing else. I usually have a to do list for myself every night, but I decided to ditch it. It was wonderful just relaxing!

3. I'm slowly but surely getting to know my coworkers. It's been interesting because we don't have a ton in common, but it's caused me to stretch outside of my comfort zone and it's been really great.

4. Springing forward this Sunday. I know, it's going to be so hard Monday morning when that missing hour of sleep really hits me, but I'm really looking forward to having more sunlight in my evenings! I don't think I appreciated sunlight as much until I started working full-time. In the dead of winter, the sun will just be coming out on my drive into work, and on some nights it's already out of sight on my drive home. I'm excited to have longer days!

5. You're going to think I'm crazy, but tonight I'm heading down to the beach again! Last weekend was a random opportunity for my family to come down, but this weekend trip with Michael's family has been planned for a while. I'm excited because we haven't all been together since Christmas!

Have a great weekend! :)

March 6, 2012

Turkey Meatloaf

Meatloaf is definitely underrated. I didn't grow up eating it, but I've realized in my adult life that I really like it! I had some ground turkey that I needed to use, so I tweaked this recipe a little so that I could use what I had at home without having to go to the store. It turned out delicious! And it doesn't contain any bread, so it's completely guilt-free :)

Turkey Meatloaf

1.3 lbs. lean ground turkey
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup ketchup, + 2 tbsp
1 large egg
1 tbsp minced onion
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, mix turkey meat, oatmeal, ketchup, egg, minced onion, oregano, and salt.

The easiest way to do this is to use your hands.

Place into an un-greased nonstick loaf pan. In a small bowl, mix 2 tbsp ketchup and Worcestershire sauce and brush onto the loaf.

Bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes at 350°, or until cooked through. Add ketchup when served if desired.
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I served it with sauteed red potatoes and a fresh salad. A pretty good meal for a Monday night!

source: adapted from Skinny Taste

March 5, 2012

Relaxing weekend

My weekend flew by. How about yours? I got to spend it with my family at the beach, which was so, so nice. Michael was away for a friend's bachelor weekend, so it was the perfect time to leave the apartment for the weekend and get some family time. Since it rained for about 24 hours straight on Saturday, we spent a lot of time watching movies, playing Bananagrams, and watching season 2 of Downton Abbey. We basically relaxed all weekend and it was fantastic. Thankfully it was dry enough to walk on the beach some on Sunday, even though it was still a tad chilly! What can you expect in March, though?

One wonderful part of the weekend was the food. Saturday morning we baked this delicious French Toast Souffle that I had made the night before. We dug in so fast that I forgot to grab a picture, and the photo from the recipe source certainly does not do it justice!

French Toast Souffle, via Tomatoes on the Vine

Driving alone can get quite boring, but thankfully I had some huge beautiful rainbows all through Wilmington to brighten my drive home. I'm pretty sure I drove under one at one point!

Sunday evenings always leave me longing for the next weekend. Does anyone else feel this way?

March 1, 2012

A good Thursday morning

Some things that are making me happy this morning...

a sunny drive to work

the way my clothes smell with my new laundry detergent

pants that I don't have to get hemmed and fall at the perfect length

we finally booked our flight for our vacation in May (!)

posts like this one and that one that remind me to love and to love well

prayer and the power that's behind it

adorable pictures like this one!

via Katelyn James