Sunday, April 28, 2013

Food for Thought

Because I'm doing such a stand up job maintaining this internet domain, my handsome man friend and I decided to launch a joint food blog! So this weekend we sat down, brainstormed a name and got to work. So, without further ado, come take a look at Happily Wed Happily Fed! Like us; love us; make delicious food. I'll still update this ye olde blogge - well, you know, as much as I have been - but this one will have a special place in my heart because of the influence of that stud muffin and such.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Not-So-Basic Basics

I'm all for having the essentials onhand at all times - eggs, sugar, flour, cream of whatever soup, some sort of protein in the freezer for spur of the moment dinners. I've come to realize, however, that my pantry must-haves aren't quite so basic, but they get major use in my food prep.

1. Nutella - I read an article in Fitness, Shape or Women's Health recently (love all these magazines, though, sometimes I think they just trade articles) that one strategy to eat less bad food is to stock your cabinet with them rather than avoid them. The reasoning made sense - if you're used to them being readily available, you're less likely to see them as a treat and binge on them in one sitting. Instead, you just sort of forget that they're there. This can be said of Nutella. In years past I would get maybe a jar a year, and it would last roughly three days. I'd Nutella the crud out of just about anything. Then I started buying it more regularly, and I don't think about it a lot. BUT, I love adding Nutella to my baked goods. It's the perfect somethin' somethin' to swirl into my homemade chocolate chip cookie dough or smear on a graham cracker before making a s'more cookie. I reach for my Nutella often, but I never overdo my consumption anymore.
2. Hunt's Fire Roasted Tomatoes - If there is one product I use right now more than almost anything, it's fire roasted canned tomatoes. I swear these kick every single thing up a notch. Name an entree, and I can promise you that fire roasted tomatoes will make it better. Without a doubt I never leave Target or the grocery store without a can or three of these in my cart. Not only are the coupons readily available, but I probably use two or three cans a week. At least.
3. Kale - So, if there's one thing that I use more of than fire roasted tomatoes, without a doubt, it's kale. In the mornings I've been on a kale smoothie kick (frozen kale, banana, frozen berries, chia seeds, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, spoonful of Greek yogurt, peanut butter). Pretty much every night I'm making kale chips (kale, olive oil, sea salt, pepper, cajun seasoning, parmesan in the oven at 375 for 10-15 minutes or until crisp). Between Trader Joe's and Harris Teeter I nearly always have three varieties on hand - Trader Joe's chopped frozen kale (the best to throw into a smoothie), Trader Joe's bagged fresh chopped kale (the best for kale salads) and Harris Teeter loose leaf kale (big ole leaves that are the best to transform into kale chips).
4. Flavored Oils + Vinegars - On a whim a couple of weeks ago, and after a particularly stressful week for my main squeeze, I stopped at an olive oil boutique nestled beside Trader Joe's to scoop up a couple of luxe oils as a surprise. I'd passed it several times and considered popping in but always thought better of it. Y'all, I can't recommend these little shops enough. I left armed with coracina olive oil (a peppery variety), blood orange olive oil (to die for) and maple balsamic vinegar (heaven). Recently I've been toasting walnuts and throwing them, some feta, some dried cherries and kale in a big bowl, then mixing the blood orange olive oil, maple vinegar and champagne vinegar together and tossing it through the greens. The great thing about kale is that it's so hearty, the "dressing" can sit on it indefinitely without the kale burning and wilting. I like to make it at night then eat it for lunch. It gives the kale great flavor and softens some of its natural bitterness. If you have an olive oil boutique near you, definitely give it a whirl.
5. Tony Chachere's Cajun Seasoning - If you haven't tried it, you just need to. It literally makes everything it touches better. If it's not Tony's, it's not good. Don't try to fool me with other Cajun seasonings, y'all. I add this to every savory thing I make. Vegetables, meat, grains... everything.

What are your not-so-basic must haves?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Rub Down

When you produce worship experiences for a church that sees more than 26,000 people come through its doors for Easter, you're pretty wiped out after the holiday. In fact, after all holidays you're drained and emptied, but usually in the best ways possible. This past weekend was no different. So, when Little texted me to let me know she'd scheduled a massage for me the day after Easter, every sore muscle and pinched nerve rejoiced. 

When I got to the masseuse, she instructed me to take off everything except my underwear. But, if you've been following this blog for much time, you'll know that I pretty much never wear underwear. Instead of just letting her know that with the yoga pants I had on, I'd decided to skip the undergarments, I panicked. When she left the room, I stripped down and weighed my options. Like any McGuyver out there, I expertly stepped through the straps of my sports bra and arranged the material just so, so that it looked like I had on a nice pair of briefs from behind. The front was a different story, and the whole situation left me more tense than when I came in. 

I'm still pretty sure she had no idea. My mom, on the other hand, after hearing the story, has decided she needs to find another masseuse, stat. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Things That Go Slurp in the Night

Last night I was in bed by 9:27. This never happens, but my body is basically on shutdown going into Easter, so, there it was. I awoke with a start at 1:00 and grabbed some water and relieved my three-sizes-too-small bladder. I crawled back in bed, curled up around my sleeping hubbers and started to drift off. A few minutes later I heard the slurp-slurp-slurp of the little blonde cocker spaniel sneaking a drink from the commode. I felt too tired to reprimand her and started to close to my eyes again. Until I remembered that in an effort not to wake anyone up I hadn't flushed. I leapt out of bed, pushed her of the porcelain and immediately made her drink a full glass of water (yes, I did give her a glass, and yes, she did drink it) to flush out her system. I'm still disturbed. Especially when she licked me this morning on the face. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Nary a Post in February

Nary a post in February was written, which seems about par for the month. But, it's time for a monthly cleaning out and post. This month: my favorite beauty finds of late.

As a newly-minted couponer, I've discovered that my brand loyalty quickly tilts in favor of those names who offer my coupons regularly. This has allowed me to try out new products with less risk ($2 off is freaking $2 off, y'all). Additionally, I've also, finally, in my 26th year, developed a skincare routine that seems to be working. So, a few of my faves:

1. Biotin - I only really choose the supplements and vitamins that the hubbers and I consume based on coupons, which may or may not be medically sound, but when I can, I always try to have biotin on hand. It really has done wonders for my skin, nails and face. 

2. Garnier Moisturizing Gel - only recently did I figure out that girls with oily skin need moisturizer too. And, hey, the more regularly I moisturize, the less oily I actually am! My skin can just take a freaking break and stop trying to self-medicate. This Garnier moisturizer is my favorite because it's a gel... it goes on without any mess and absorbs quickly. I love the texture it leaves my skin. I tend to product-hop a lot and try several things (just come see how many different shampoos and body washes I have), but this one is going to be a staple.

3. BB Cream - I resisted BB cream for months, because, well, I just don't have the energy to follow the latest crazes in cosmetics, but a couple weeks ago I had a CoverGirl coupon and grabbed their version to try. Last week I had an Olay coupon and grabbed theirs. So far I've only tried the CoverGirl (I hate having too many of the same thing open at once... something about the satisfaction about finishing a toiletry is just too great), and I like it. It definitely improves the look of my skin and evens my naturally-pink hues. I'm not positive I'd buy the CoverGirl again, but I am eager to try Olay and Maybelline when that coupon rotates through.

4. Benefit Primer - I'd buy this junk even without a coupon. Thankfully, though, Ulta is generous with their savings, so I'm able to splurge on this a couple times a year. This primer is perfect for helping makeup stay throughout the day and look fresh and flawless. I don't wear it every day, but for those times I want to look a little bit prettier, I reach for this in a heartbeat.

5. elf Concealer + Highlighter Stick - at just $3 I don't even need a coupon for this wand, but with Target savings I just can't help myself. I've only been using this puppy for a week, but I'm really enjoying the inexpensive difference with my dark circles (I'm horrified by their appearance, but working 80+ hours a week will do that too) and the highlighter adds a little dewiness to my face. Did y'all watch the Bachelor this season? Lobster and I became obsessed with AshLee's glowy skin. How do I get that?! Hopefully this little find will put me one step closer.

6. elf Eyelid Primer - Due to my oily skin, my lids tend to crease my eyeshadow pretty quickly... like, by 10:30 it's invisible. But welcome this $1 treat to my makeup bag and voila, all day shadow. I just dab this on pre-shadow and liner, and I'm set all day. Literally. The only thing that disrupts it is a nightly face washing or a hot yoga class. That, my friends, is a dollar well spent. 

7. Double 'Scara - Any ole brand will do, but currently I'm pairing swipes of CoverGirl WhateverIHaveACouponFor and Maybelline WhateverIHaveACouponForWaterProof for better than ever lashes. I just apply the first non-waterproof then follow it up with a waterproof application. It makes my lashes look fuller and longer than with just one, and they survive hot yoga... y'all, you can't beat survival through 2 liters of sweat. You just can't. 

What else should I be trying?

Also, I read this this morning and have already sent it to all my best girls and posted it on Facebook. Please read and process. I know I am. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

All or Nothing

So one time, I had to change the password of the email address I use to log into my blog. That happened 11 months ago, and I always try to enter my original password, and Gmail always kindly reminds me, "You changed your password over 11 months ago." I know this should be helpful and friendly, but it makes me feel judged and moronic. Like, you are NOT better than me Google. My password is whatever I want it to be. So that by the time I log in and set to post something new, I feel like a shell of a person and probably much like a real writer... tortured and haunted.

Anyways. As a live events producer, I oversee the planning, creation and execution of large scale creative elements. Much of the time, this includes purchasing necessary supplies. I know everyone at Target by name (obviously this because of my penchant to shop there professionally, not the least bit because of personal habits), frequent Hobby Lobby, Michael's and AC Moore. When I'm tasked with making a white spandex tent for two aerialists to hoist to a remix of Ellie Goulding's "Anything Could Happen" in order to house 8 dancers... what?! Yeah, that's what I do.

For a recent element, I needed to procure about a thousand yards of black grosgrain ribbon. So, I began my typical route through local craft and fabric stores. When I got to Michael's I hit the ribbon jackpot... spools and spools of it. So I loaded up my cart, thrilled that I could make fewer stops than I originally planned, and headed to the register. When I got there, the cashier looked at my cart, then at me, and I expected the typical questions about what I'm doing with that many whateveritemsIwanttopurchase (pipe cleaners, a billion yards of canvas, a trillion small stones... you name it, we've bought it). Instead she looked at me accusingly and simply stated, "You can't buy all that." Perplexed I stared back and being positive that I was misunderstanding her said, "What do you mean?" "That's all our ribbon. There won't be any left." "...." "If you buy it all, no one else can." "Riiight," I answered back, struggling to keep the condescension low. "This is a store. You sell ribbon. I am a customer. I want to buy ribbon. I want to buy all of it. And I can pay for all of it. I didn't know there was a quota reserved to share." "Well, it's just not considerate," she begrudgingly muttered as she began scanning ream after ream of the grosgrain. I was stunned, but also suppressing laughter. I mean, dang greedy capitalism that allows me to purchase goods from your store to make you money... ??? Am I right, y'all?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What's Left to Ponder?

The last time I tried to buy a pack of lighters, so that I could have the ability to instantaneously light the multitude of candles in each and every room of my house, I was carded. I couldn't figure out why I needed to present my poorly-complexioned identification for the purchase, but the cashier explained to me that since you have to be 18 to buy cigs, you have to be 18 to buy lighters since they light them. Uh huh. So does that mean I have to be 21 to buy a koozie because it could house beer? 21 to buy a lime because I could be pairing it with both gin and tonic (ohmygoshgivemeoneofthoserightnow)? Those thoughts, of course, led to deeper and deeper pontifications, resulting in the big question of the day: do you have to be 21 to buy O'Doul's**? It's nonalcoholic but housed in the beer cooler. Looks like beer, smells like beer, gives you a gut like beer, probably tastes like beer but without the best part of beer - the buzz. My goal for the week is to find someone in high school, send them into the store and see how successful they are.

**my high school/college boyfriend's dad was nearly addicted to O'Doul's. We'd go over to his parents' house and find his dad on the couch in the bonus room, shirtless, with O'Doul's cans scattered around. He was like a non-alcoholic drunk, which was probably sadder. I wonder if he ever knew there wasn't alcohol in them. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Things I'm Not

A lot of people argue that bloggers must be pretty self-involved, and I agree with them to an extent... you spend your own time writing about yourself for other people to read, loading the best pictures of you, with details that you don't even tell your mom in your daily phone conversations and giving your opinion on things that don't matter. It's like Facebook on crack. But I don't blog because I want people to virtually love me. I blog because it's good for me. It's good for me to have a little corner of somewhere to just... do. To just share. To document. 

The reasons I'm not a very good blogger:
1. This blog doesn't have a theme or direction. It's not a house blog. It's not a wedding blog. It's not a mommy blog. It's certainly not a fashion or beauty blog. It's not inspirational. It's not about fitness. It's not very funny... it may used to be, but it's not anymore.
2. I update as often as Jennifer Aniston doesn't wear black... meaning, rarely. 
3. I don't have a great camera. Any pictures that I bother to load are iPhoned (yes, it's a verb) and usually with an Instagram filter.

But, I'm still here years after I launched it. Not even sure who, if anyone, still reads. Alas, here's what's on my mind on this Monday in Charlotte.

1. Are skinny jeans ever going to be out again? This child-bearing hipped girl is just tired. So tired of swathing my lower half in a style that isn't actually very flattering to anyone. Except Miranda Kerr (I hate how much I love her). I went shopping a couple of weeks ago for some trouser or wide legged jeans. I found one lone pair on a clearance rack at Gap. Naturally, they're the best fitting jeans I've maybe ever owned. I asked the salesclerkette if they had any more, because you know I'd have bought all of them. Wouldn't you know it? The cut is being discontinued because they aren't in style anymore. Kick me in the face. And the hips. 
2. In the same vein, am I the only one that can't find gems at Forever 21 that it seems like everyone else can? Maybe I just don't see the potential in things. Maybe I assume it's a grown up version of Limited, too. I want to love it. I really do. But I get so overwhelmed. There's SO much inventory. 
3. Check out my favorite crockpot recipes lately. They've been saving us the past month:
Curry Chicken Vindaloo
Fiesta Chicken
Chicken Tikka Masala
4. And some desserts!
Chocolate-peanut butter whoopie pies
Coconut lime sugar cookies
Snickerdoodle brownies
5. Y'all, really, this is the lamest. What do y'all want to read about?

Monday, January 14, 2013

In the Heights

In 2013, I'm focusing on time in our marriage. It's a commodity that is precious and rare for us in the season that we're both in. Working bizarre and opposite schedules can take a toll. Thankfully we're both incredibly committed to maximizing the time we're together, but in 2013, I want us to be creative. I don't want to fall in a complacent routine of Redbox, couch time or each doing our own activities. So on Friday, we had a rare day off together and hopped in the car to journey to Asheville. 

Asheville is an easy 2 hour drive from us, and we got to enjoy great conversation on the way to town. We had a truly wonderful day - first stop was Tupelo honey for breakfast (fried egg BLT for him, and, most probably the culinary win of the whole day, a pimento cheese, maple pepper bacon, jalapeƱo cilantro pesto and asparagus omelet for me). It was cloudy and chilly for our start, so we spent a few hours strolling along, popping into different shops and galleries and generally oohing, aahing and making fun of various wares. 

We stopped for a late lunch at Lab, a delicious brewery and restaurant in downtown. We shared kale chips drizzled with honey and house made chorizo sausage nachos and each sipped a house brewed beer. When we were sufficiently satisfied, which wasn't hard, because it was delicious, we mosied back to our car and headed to Odd Fellows, a local antiques and architectural salvage shoppe (naturally, that's the sort of joint that requires fancy spelling). 

We finished just in time to get to Highland Brewery where we enjoyed a few more brewskis and a tour of this regional favorite. It was fascinating to learn about how beer is made and how such a seemingly small operation is actually a big player in the craft brew market. Another short drive up the road brought us to the Biltmore for a glass of wine in the estate wine room. 

Finally, we ended our trip at Curate, a new Asheville hotspot serving eccentric Spanish tapas. We scored a seat at the counter, so my chef hubbers could survey the exhibition kitchen below. We loved everything we ordered... I couldn't even actually tell you what it was. Though, standouts included the calamari sandwich and the almond cake dessert that featured rosemary and olive oil ice cream. Sated and tired and happy we headed back to Charlotte. 

Despite all of our wanderings and stops we only managed one picture at the end of our breakfast. I was excited to head to the highlands and try out a current Pinterest fave of red plaid and a fur vest. I was more excited for a truly delightful day with my love, and I can't wait to find some more destinations near us. A 2013 replete with these day gems is just what we have in mind.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

This One Time I Used to Blog

One of my 2013 goals is to refurbish this dusty little blog and bring her back to her once semi-shiny glory. But, seeing as it's the 10th of January and this is my first post in months, well, it's progress.

So here's where we are in life:
- This Monday will be our 9 monthiversary of marriage... I cannot believe how quickly the time is flying! I also can't wait for the next 900.
- I'm learning so much about the way I process stress... or, don't process it, whatever.
- I'm a freak about coupon. I have to self moderate so I don't become like Mama June, stashing away 3 years' worth of Beenie Weenies. Except for me, it's shampoo, conditioner and mascara... uh huh.
- I'm revamping my wardrobe. Thank you, Pinterest, for being the ultimate fashionable time suck. Our office dress code is very casual, but I realized that somewhere along the line I just got sloppy, and I hated how I felt. Now, I just cut and paste other people's stylish creativity and VOILA. Instant feel good.
- 2012 was the year of the Om. I fell head over heels in love with yoga; however, the madness of working 100 hour weeks in the end of 2012 had me falling off the wagon, and now I'm struggling to crawl back to the mat.
- I can't stop crock potting. My lovely little chef husband knows every time he walks in the door, there will be something brewing in that slow cooker. I'll be sharing some of my favorite recipes in the coming weeks (you know, because I'm a goal achiever, and I WILL post. Dang it).

Meh. Probably a vanilla showing my first post out of the gate, but alas, here I am. And I'm back. Mostly. Well, for now.