Wednesday, May 30, 2012

quick phone dump

What's up y'all? I hope everyone had a very happy and long Memorial Day weekend! We unplugged, relaxed, and spent a some time at "home" with family and friends. Mr. M played a little golf, we logged some pool time, and we grilled out EVERY day. It seems like I completely forget about technology when I'm at home (love the country life), so I literally took less than 10 photos all weekend. Oh well- here's a very brief look at what we have been up to lately. Hopefully I'll make time for a real post soon. Until then-

Happy Summer!

Jack's breakfast is a tradition when we head to the hometown. So delish! And I'm digging the neon cups!

All done with "Insurgent" and I loved it! Can't wait for Book 3! Until it comes out, I've got a list a mile long of things to read next.

Weekend nails - fun sparkles!

Got some snuggles with this little lovebug!

Pool fun!

You know it has been a successful holiday weekend when you come home 100% burnt out on grilling out and just want- SUSHI!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

rewind: new yaaaawk

Not many places capture my heart the way New York does. Every time I visit, I fall more and more in love with that city. As I have mentioned, I recently planned a quick trip to NYC to visit my friend Katharine. She lives in Brooklyn and works in Manhattan, and as luck would have it, my trip coincided with her birthday celebration. Below you'll find a recap of our weekend. Unfortunately, this post is a little light on pictures- I didn't do my best at remembering to take pictures and several places we visited did not allow pictures at all. You'll just have to take my word for it that it was a fabulous trip!

I arrived in the city Friday afternoon around 3pm and grabbed a cab to Kat's apartment. She lives on such a cute and charming little street in Brooklyn. I got settled in and we did a little catching up before we headed out the door, bound for Manhattan. Knowing my obsession with the 50 Shades books, Katharine had planned a little surprise outing before dinner. We met up with a couple of other girls (also fans of the books), and attended what we will just call a 50 Shades-themed cocktail party. Further details on the blog might be unbecoming, but it was definitely a fun (and interesting) experience.

Cocktail Party - the sole picture

Next, Kat, the girls, and I headed to Cafeteria for our dinner reservations. I love this place- it's so young and hip and quite the celebrity hotspot. In fact, an episode of Sex & the City was filmed there once. And can we talk about the mac and cheese spring rolls?? This appetizer is served with a smoked gouda dip and Comfort food heaven. The parmesan truffle fries are also to die for. And don't miss out on the Prickly Pear Champagne Mojito - great girl cocktail!

After dinner, Katharine and I had tickets for Sleep No More. This was an experience like no other. How do I even describe it? Essentially, you and the rest of the "audience" are in the show/play. You wander throughout a hotel with 5 or 6 floors and witness various scenes that are loosely based on "Macbeth". Now, I'll be honest- the concept itself was very cool, but I found the actual scenes a little strange and couldn't quite connect how many of them related to "Macbeth". While some rooms had actors carrying out scenes, other rooms were just "sets" filled with props. Audience members were free to wander around, open up drawers, look in closests, pull back bed sheets, and essentially touch anything they wanted. When you first entered the hotel, you began your journey on an elevator. They encouraged people to split up and experience the journey alone, so the elevator conductor made sure to sneakily let me off on a different floor than Katharine without us realizing it. We both followed different actors and gathered pieces of the story, until we eventually stumbled upon one another in a random room. Once you followed a few different actors and learned their story, some things started to click and scenes started to fit into a story. I think a person would benefit from going back more than once to fully see everything and understand the entire story. While a little strange (and a little disturbing at times), it was a very unique and cool concept and a great experience.

All guests were required to be masked for the duration of "Sleep No More".

Saturday morning, we slept in a bit then picked up a delicious bagel from a deli near Kat's apartment. We enjoyed our bagels beside the water with a gorgeous view of the Brooklyn Bridge and the city skyline. After breakfast we had tickets to a Brooklyn Heights home tour. The tour was made up of five houses, and it was so interesting and fun to see how each home was laid out. It never ceases to amaze me how different homes are there versus here in Alabama. I loved elements of each home, but my favorite was one with breathtaking views of Manhattan. As we roamed the streets, I thought it was so cute to see families having "stoop sales" instead of "yard sales". Unfortunately, the Brooklyn Heights home that Sarah Jessica Parker just bought was NOT on the tour, but we did do a little street-stalking.

After the tour, we explored DUMBO (Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass). This area has a lovely park (complete with a beautifully refurbished carousel) and so many cute shops and restaurants. According to Kat, DUMBO is becoming so hip that Ann Hathaway recently purchased a place in the area. After a full day of walking, we decided that a margarita was in order. We found a cute little Mexican restaurant called Pedro's and recharged our batteries with margs and gaucamole.

After freshening up at the apartment, we met several other girls for a dinner reservation at Park Avenue Spring to celebrate Katharine's birthday. I have wanted to dine here for so long- talk about breaktaking ambiance! The restaurant not only changes its menu with the seasons, it completely changes the decor as well. It closes down for about a day and a half at the end of every season to revamp and reopen. The spring decor only lasts a little longer (until the first of June I believe), and then the restaurant will shut down for its summer transition. Katharine and I shared the escargot and gnocchi appetizer, and then I had the Halibut with Black Truffles for dinner. Absolutely divine! For dessert the table shared a Goat Cheese Progression and the Birthday Girl's Chocolate Cube. No doubt- the cube was everyone's favorite! However, my favorite part of the dining experience was my before-dinner cocktail called the One in Ten. It was a gin and tonic based drink infused with Shishito peppers,which created the perfect amount of spice. So good!

The Birthday Girl and Me with the Chocolate Cube

After dinner, we hit a couple of bars, and I had the pleasure of trying a Basil Tomato Martini at one place. Without a doubt, we had a fun night on the town celebrating the birthday girl!

Again on Sunday we slept in, then eventually hopped on the subway for brunch in the city at The Dutch. There's nothing like a good bloody mary and a mushroom frittata to start the day. After a leisurely brunch, we spent most of the day shopping in Manhattan. Doesn't get much more fun than that! I loved Chelsea Market - reminded me so much of The Ferry Market Building in San Fran. There were tons little shops and lots of gourmet foods and pastry items. We also walked The High Line, which I had never done before. Just as the sun was setting, we headed over to The Frying Pan to unwind and have a beer. This is a seasonal outdoor bar located at Chelsea Pier. The boats and water make the location very scenic, and Coney Island Mermaid Pilsner can't be beat!

The K's need to step it up. We went in so many stores that had things 10x cuter than Dash.

This cookie shop in Chelsea Market even made Hunger Games cookies for the big premiere!

High Line

Frying Pan

After a full day of shopping we had worked up an appetite. Our next stop was Taka Taka for dinner. This place combines two of my favorite things- Sushi and Mexican food! Sound strange? Take it from me- delish! And the coolest part, you got to select your food from a conveyer belt! You can pick something from the menu that sounds good (each item is numbered) and then look for that number to come around on the conveyer belt. I can't tell you how many times something "sounded" good (especially sushi), and then when it came out and I actually saw it- gross. This way you can read the description and actually see what your food will look like. It was a lot of fun and really yummy!

That about sums up my visit to the Big Apple! Katharine was a wonderful hostess, and the trip was over entirely too fast. Aready ready to return!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

Link up with Jamie!


I love it anytime that work allows me to work in town, but this past Monday I loved having the opportunity to work in downtown B'ham. Since I was only a block from Mr. M's office, we carpooled to work. I felt a little bit corny, but it was so nice getting to spend that extra time together. We also met and walked to lunch together- it's the little things people!

I'm not sure if it's my Smash-induced Marilyn obsession or if it's my impending excitement over Nicki's summer concert, but I'm loving the track "Marilyn Monroe" by Nicki Minaj! Speaking of Smash, I'm also loving the news that Ellis has been axed from Season 2. I'll miss some of the other characters who are not returning, but it's a small price to pay to be rid of Ellis's eavesdropping and whining.

I'm loving that my refrigerator is currently littered with family graduation invitations and a precious birth announcement! Who doesn't love getting mail from special people?


I'm a sucker for cute pajamas, especially in the wintertime, but sometimes you just can't beat a t-shirt and shorts. I'm loving my Luke Bryan "pajama top" from last night (aka- my tshirt from the concert last week).

I finally finished "Divergent", and I'm loving book 2 "Insurgent"!

I'm loving that today is REVENGE FINALE DAY! Eeeeee- can't wait to see what happens tonight!


With less than two weeks to go, I'm loving that the birthday countdown is on!

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

rewind: cinco de may'all!

Hola amigos! The promised Cinco de Mayo post has finally arrived. Simply put, the motivation for this party all began as a way to trick my Mexican-food-loathing husband into indulging me in a night of southwestern goodies. While that alone would have made me happy, it was also another great excuse to do a little party-planning and spend an evening with friends!

Things kicked off with an awesome gift certificate to Shutterfly, where I basically got these Erin Condren Fiesta Invitations for next to nothing. Love Shutterfly!

Using my invitations as inspiration, I enlisted Candace to help with some printables: a banner, guest nametags, and food tents. She did a fabulous job, and Kinkos helped me bring her design to life.

My first project: Fiesta Flowers! I used this tutorial.

Next, I tackled some party flag banners. I used this tutorial and this tutorial.

I had a few wedding flashbacks as I spent some time browsing Etsy...until I stumbled upon these mustache straw-huggers. Amanda was a great seller to work with- check out her store.

Used some of my favorite wrapping paper as a table runner (idea from here). Strung up my "Fiesta" banner and since we still have no drapes in the dining room, I fashioned a cheapo tablecloth as a colorful window treament.

Homemade margaritas
Mexican beer varieties: Corona Light, Dos Equis, Tecate, and Modelo Especial
Fresh salsa and fresh guacamole with tortilla chips
Chicken Enchilada Dip
Veggie Sticks with Southwestern Ranch
Taco Wonton Cups
Mexican Casserole
Spicy Chicken Tortilla Rollups
Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins
Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips
Glazed Margarita Cake
Mexican Chipotle Brownies
Sopapilla Cheesecake Squares

Below are some more photos of our fiesta fun!

The Margarita and Dessert Table

All guests had to use the nametags below to display their Spanish names for the evening.

One of the beer coolers - pick your poison!

The pinata was stuffed with some adult treats. It was a fun late-night-hit!

Our sweet guests were very gracious and kind, but since I seemed to get the most compliments on two particular dishes, I wanted to share those recipes.

::cHiCkEn eNcHiLaDa DiP::
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breats (cooked and seasoned with fajita seasoning, then shredded)
1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1 (8 ounce) package shredded Mexican blend cheese
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles
1 jalapeno pepper finely diced (I added two because I like a little more spice)

In a medium bowl, combine shredded chicken, cream cheese, mayonnaise, shredded cheese, green chiles, and jalapeno pepper.
Transfer the chicken mixture to a medium baking dish.
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.


::sPiCy cHiCkEn tOrTiLLa RoLL-uPs::
1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cooked and seasoned with about a 1/2 tsp of cumin and 1 tsp of chili powder, then shredded)
1 can Ro-tel diced tomatoes, drained
12 ounce cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp garlic salt
6-8 large tortillas

In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, drained tomatoes, cheese, spices, and garlic. Mix until well blended. Add cooled chicken and stir together.
Lay out tortillas and divide mixture evenly in the center of each.
Spread into a thin layer leaving the edges clean.
Roll each tortilla tightly, but do not fold in the ends like a burrito.
Cut the rolls into 1" slices, discarding end pieces if needed.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Thanks to all our friends who came out to celebrate!