Monday, April 30, 2012

sugar hand grenade

...okay, so the title of this post is really just two song titles smashed together. but it kind of works, right? at the very least it is intriguing. i've been listening to two songs on repeat the last couple of days.

ONE
"sugar" by the horrible crowes is another one tree hill find. i'm not quite sure how to describe the tone of this song. listen to it and tell me what you think.



TWO
i first heard "hand grenade" by the almost coming through my fianc√©'s laptop speakers one night. his itunes library was on shuffle. i LOVE this song and may or may not have listened to it on repeat for a 40 minute drive over the weekend.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

meridith + will

{@ the smithsonian zoo, 2008}

my beautiful friend meridith is getting married today! i've already had two wonderful evenings at her lingerie shower and rehearsal dinner and i can't wait to celebrate her all day today! hopefully we won't look this horrified when we see the groom. ;)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

RECIPE: Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Shells

I never used to like 'hot' foods... even a little spice terrified me. I couldn't even handle mild sauce on my wings. I could only stand honey bbq or some equally not-hot-in-the-slightest sauce. Ever since I made Buffalo Chicken Dip last April, I've been steadily growing more tolerant of hot things. Dare I say that I even enjoy them now?

I found a recipe for buffalo chicken stuffed shells on Pinterest (where else?!) and thought it might be something fun to try out! Brandon loved them and I thought they were pretty good. Give these a try and tell me what you think!


BUFFALO CHICKEN STUFFED SHELLS (serves 4)
16-20 large pasta shells
2 T olive oil
1 lb ground chicken
1/4 t garlic powder
3/4 c celery, diced
1/4 c + additional tablespoons Frank's Red Hot sauce
1/2 c park skim ricotta
1/4 c + 2 T blue cheese crumbles
1/4 c + 2 T fresh parsley, chopped
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta shells as directed. Drain shells and keep in a big bowl of ice water until time to stuff them. (I think the idea here is that the cold water will keep them from rolling up and being difficult to work with.)

Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until brown, about 5-8 minutes. Add garlic powder and celery and cook another 3-4 minutes until celery is tender. Remove pan from heat and stir in sauce, ricotta, 1/4 c blue cheese crumbles, and 1/4 c parsley. Taste and add salt if necessary along with additional hot sauce depending on your heat preference.

Use a spoon to fill each shell and place them in a glass baking dish. Sprinkle tops with remaining blue cheese crumbles and parsley. Bake for 25 minutes or until tips of shells begin to crisp and brown.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

life lately

it is my intention to one day begin a series of weekly posts about my life... because i'm sure you're all dying to know what i spend every hour of every day doing. *snort* still, it's a good way to record my days and hopefully give you something interesting to read! i had this idea a month ago and have been so busy that i haven't really gotten it off the ground.

so, here's a recap of my life lately...

at the end of march, brandon and i celebrated our one year anniversary. as part of our celebrations, we paid a visit to the moose cafe at the nc triad farmer's market. i tasted apple butter for the very first time and it was delicious!


to continue our anniversary celebrations, we spent an afternoon in boone. i hadn't been back to visit since i moved away last july and it was really nice to visit some of my favorite places! we made a stop at the mast general store in valle crucis and loaded up on some old fashioned candy.


my family decorates gravestones for easter, so on good friday i paid a visit to a local nursery with my mom, brother, and grandfather. i was surprised to find these cool, moveable tables that the flowers were on. if you needed to walk down an aisle, you cranked a little handle to slide the tables to the left or right. so clever!


i enjoyed a bowling outing with dianna and her co-workers. bowling wouldn't have been complete without a pomegranate margarita!


i had my bridal portraits taken week before last and while i posted about making my own bouquet, i didn't share this funny "before" shot. mom and i decided to do my hair ourselves. we used lots of curlers & clips and LOTS of hairspray!


as a member of the melting pot's club fondue, i received an email about stopping by for a free cheese fondue in honor of national cheese fondue day. brandon and i were more than happy to take them up on the offer.


while shopping at a shoe warehouse near my apartment, i found these ridiculous santa claus flats. if they hadn't been nearly $50 i would have snatched them up for future tacky christmas parties!


brandon and i have been enjoying playing tennis together on mornings when we don't have to work. we've progressed to being able to play an actual match, but i wouldn't consider us pros by any stretch of the imagination.


this sweet gal is getting married a week a half before me! i enjoyed attending her wedding shower, thrown by the groom's mother.


a dinner at chili's ended with this. 'nuff said.


i don't have photos about my life right now because it's being spent working on final papers for school. speaking of, i'd probably get back to that!

adventurous bird


Monday, April 23, 2012

music from the oc


i posted last week about music from one tree hill. this week, i'm switching gears to cover the oc. i'm not sure how this idea never occurred to me before. the oc was my absolute favorite show for many years and it was a huge influence on the genre of music i still love today.

much like one tree hill, the oc incorporated a music venue where the characters on the show often went to see bands play. death cab for cutie, rooney, and the killers are just a couple of the bands that were featured live on the show.

i love so many songs from this show that i literally had to cut my list by more than half for the final 15 songs i chose for this post. i've seen each episode so many times that i can still clearly see exactly what happened on screen while each song was playing. oh, how i miss the oc.

here are my absolute favorite tracks from the oc:

1. "california" phantom planet | this is the theme song for the oc
2. "orange sky" alexi murdoch
3. "salvation" black rebel motorcycle club
4. "kreuzberg" bloc party
5. "fix you" coldplay | this song premiered on the oc during the season 2 finale. i can't get enough coldplay!
6. "we used to be friends" the dandy warhols
7. "insomnia" electric president | possibly my favorite song from the entire series
8. "champagne supernova" matt pond pa
9. "hide and seek" | there really aren't words to describe how great this song is
10. "the world at large" modest mouse
11. "worn me down" rachael yamagata
12. "wonderwall" ryan adams | a beautiful, haunting version of the oasis original
13. "go sadness" shout out louds
14. "paint the silence" south
15. "life's a song" patrick park | the last song ever played on the oc!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

DIY: bridal bouquet


i had my bridal portraits taken last week by the wonderful snyder photography. i wasn't planning on having bridal portraits done, but i won a contest on their facebook page and i'm so glad that i met up with pam and her daughter, olivia. i viewed the proofs yesterday and they are amazing!

i'm trying to keep expenses low for our wedding, so i decided it might be fun to make my bouquet for my bridal portraits. why spend a lot of money on a bouquet that will be used for an hour? i found a bouquet guide on the knot and got to work!

follow these steps to make a beautiful bridal bouquet:

1. PURCHASE FLOWERS
i went to the local harris teeter and snatched up 7 bunches of yellow & white flowers. total cost? $28. store them in a cool place, in water.

2. GATHER ADDITIONAL SUPPLIES
you'll need sharp scissors (for cutting ribbon), crafting/gardening scissors, thick ribbon of your color choice, rubber bands, floral tape, or thin wire, and straight pins.

3. TRIM & PREPARE
cut thorns & extra greenery off of flowers. keep the stems long while you're assembling the bouquet and then trim them evenly at the end.

4. ASSEMBLE
begin with 4 flowers of the same size. hold them together in a square. this will be the center of your bouquet. add flowers around the outside until you've reached the level of fullness you want.

5. SECURE
secure the bouquet firmly with rubber bands, floral tape, or wire. start about 4 inches from the base of the flowers. i expected to use rubber bands, but decided that wire was a lot stronger. my dad helped me wrap the wire around the the base in several spots. we twisted it and cut it with pliers.

6. MAKE IT PRETTY
leave your completed bouquet in a cool place, in water, until you're almost ready to use it. when ready, trim the stems to an even length, about 7-8 inches long. pat the stems as dry as you can get them. now you're ready to wrap! grab your ribbon and start at the top. tuck it in to your rubber band/wires/stems and wrap it around downward until you're about 2 inches from the bottom of the bouquet. twist the ribbon and wrap it back up. cut the ribbon and tuck it into the same rubber band/wire/stem where you started. secure with a straight pin. add any pins or extra details.

{i love dogwoods and wore this pin in my friend meghan's wedding in 2010}

7. ENJOY YOUR CRAFTINESS
i am very proud of the results of my bridal bouquet and i've even decided to make the bouquet for my wedding day as well! the total cost for this project is around $30 + 30-45 minutes of your time. a bridal bouquet from a florist will run at least $80 and most likely over $100. if you're not sure you want the responsibility of creating your own bridal bouquet, you could always make bridesmaids bouquets or experiment with making boutonni√®res!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

chef #56: turkey breakfast cups

for easter this year i offered to cook breakfast for my family. because i was sleepy and didn't want to get up early, breakfast turned into brunch, which i actually served around 1 pm. my easter brunch included: hash brown casserole, blueberry muffins (from a box... gotta cheat sometimes!), fruit cocktail, and turkey breakfast cups!


TURKEY BREAKFAST CUPS (makes 24)
1 pkg. turkey sandwich meat
12 egg whites, whisked
salsa (optional)
shredded cheddar cheese
green onions, chopped

spray muffin pans with cooking spray and preheat oven to 400 degrees. place a slice of turkey in each cup. add 1 T salsa to each cup (i only put salsa in half of mine... i left the other half without). fill each cup with 3 T egg whites. sprinkle with cheese and a couple of green onions. bake for 12 minutes, until edges of turkey begin to brown and egg puffs up. serve immediately.

feel free to experiment with different fillings and toppings. these would probably be great made with ham as well!

Monday, April 16, 2012

music from one tree hill


one of my favorite television shows ended week before last, after 9 (really 8.5) long seasons. one tree hill first aired when i was in high school and it followed me all the way through undergrad and into grad school. the story lines were kind of crazy at times, but for the most part it was such a wonderful, heartfelt show... especially in the last couple of seasons.

one thing that made me tune in each week was the soundtrack that was carefully selected to match the feel & tone of the show. one tree hill had great music! over the years, one tree hill had many, many bands play live on the show at the local club, tric. some famous musicians (pete wentz, tyler hilton, kate voegele, etc.) were even incorporated into the story line outside of their musical performances.

here are a few of my favorite tunes from the show.

1. "i don't wanna be" gavin degraw | this is the theme song for one tree hill
2. "the funeral" band of horses
3. "the mixed tape" jack's mannequin | thank you, one tree hill, for introducing me to one of my favorite bands
4. "you dance" eastmountainsouth
5. "gonna make you mine" olin and the moon | this band tweeted me after i mentioned hearing this song on the show!
6. "hear you me" jimmy eat world
7. "when the stars go blue" tyler hilton + bethany joy lenz | bethany plays haley on the show. these two (and many others) went on tour for one tree hill one summer
8. "fake empire" the national
9."return to me" matthew ryan
10. "world spins madly on" the weepies
11. "timshel" mumford & sons | thank you, one tree hill, for introducing me to another one of my favorite bands
12. "always love" nada surf
13. "i and love and you" the avett brothers | i was so proud of my boys when they debuted on one tree hill
14. "your love is a song" switchfoot | this is one of my favorite songs of all time
15. "half moon" blind pilot | my favorite song from the series finale

do you know other tv shows with good music? what are your favorites? next week, i'll post about music from the oc!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

honeymoon dreamin'

it's that time of the semester when i get bogged down by the massive amounts of work i have to complete in the next three two (!!!!!!!!) weeks. sigh. as i procrastinate (like a true college student), i dream about my honeymoon to pass the time.

after spending our wedding night in charlotte, brandon and i are going to DISNEY WORLD! anyone who knows me fairly well knows that disney world is my favorite place on the planet. there are literally thousands of ways to vacation at disney world and there's something for everyone. i've been bugging brandon to go almost ever since we started dating! he was never really a fan of the idea. i think he even became less of a fan because i talked about it constantly. "where do you want to go to dinner?" "disney world." "what do you want to do this weekend?" "go to disney world." etc. etc. etc.


towards the beginning of our wedding planning i was feeling pretty down one day and brandon asked me what would make me happy and excited. "disney world." he said, "ok, i'll give you 5 minutes to convince me why we should go to disney world for our honeymoon."

it worked! in 5 minutes i convinced him that we should visit disney world for our honeymoon. needless to say, i am really excited. brandon is excited, too! we will be staying in a waterfront room at disney's coronado springs resort.


we'll spend the next several days visiting each of the disney parks, relaxing at our resort's pool, eating lots of amazing meals, and even playing a round or two of disney miniature golf!

{mayan themed resort pool}

{disney's winter summerland miniature golf}

we even happen to be visiting during epcot's annual international flower & garden festival. there are topiaries of disney characters and beautiful flower beds around the park.


on the way back to nc we've decided to make a pit stop in savannah, georgia. neither of us have been to savannah so we're really excited to visit this historic town. we'll be staying at the marshall house, the oldest hotel in savannah (built in 1851). 


i am really looking forward to this special vacation... especially since it will be with my husband! have you visited disney world or savannah lately? any tips or suggestions?

Friday, April 13, 2012

things i love: slatkin & co. candles

a couple of fridays ago i found myself browsing through candles at bath & body works. i had come to pick up a few new wallflowers, but my eyes were averted by jars and jars of colorful candles lining the wall. slatkin & co. has a new line of tropical scented candles and wallflowers available for this spring/summer and i LOVE them!


there are over 20 scents to choose from in this collection and they're great! i'm currently burning mango beachwood and can't wait to use coconut water next. my only complaint is that these scents aren't available in lotion form! if you want to try out a few new tropical scents, the large (14.5 oz) candles are 2/$20 for a limited time! 

enjoy some beachy scents. summer is just around the corner!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

chef #55: hannah's lemon rosemary cream sauce

i mentioned a couple of weeks that i attended the wedding of an old co-worker of mine, amy. it was a morning wedding and then lunch was served with some of the most delicious grilled chicken and sauce i've ever had. i quickly emailed the management at carrigan farms to see if they would be willing to share their recipe with me. it never hurts to ask, right? i received a response from one of the owners who told me that she doesn't really use measurements but she gave me the list of ingredients to work with.

i know that many people consider it the mark of a good chef to never cook with measurements, but i'm not quite there yet! i like the comfort and structure that an actual recipe provides. therefore, i'm nervous to walk into the kitchen and just start throwing stuff into a bowl. i was determined to re-create this sauce, so after browsing lots of similar recipes online i took the ingredients from carrigan farms and created my own version.


HANNAH'S LEMON ROSEMARY CREAM SAUCE (makes enough for 4 chicken breasts)
3 T butter
2 T flour
1.5-2 T lemon juice
3/4 c white wine
salt & pepper to taste
pinch of cayenne pepper
4 T fresh rosemary
1 c heavy cream

melt butter in a pot over medium-low heat. add flour and stir to make a roux. allow to cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. add all ingredients except cream and allow to cook for a few minutes on medium heat. add cream a bit at a time and continue stirring. add more salt & pepper if necessary. heat through and serve over grilled chicken or fish.

*note: i felt that mine was a bit too lemon-y at first. start with 1.5 T of lemon juice and add more if you want. i also found that i added a lot more pepper than i did salt.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

floats your boat


Silly Little Love Songs

I am getting married ONE MONTH from yesterday. One month! With my wedding heavily on my mind it is no surprise that my music post this week revolves around my absolute favorite love songs and songs that make me think of marrying Brandon.

The O.C. started it all. Jem appeared on the season 1 finale of my favorite television show to perform her cover of Paul McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed" at the wedding ceremony of two main characters. I've loved it ever since. Over the next few years I added the Fray's "Look After You" and The Avett Brothers' "Swept Away (Sentimental Version)" to my dream wedding playlist.

My current list of ULTIMATE FAVORITE LOVE SONGS is as follows:

1. "Us Against The World" Coldplay
2. "No One's Gonna Love You" Band of Horses
3. "Come Away With Me" Norah Jones
4. "Songbird" Rosie Thomas (Fleetwood Mac cover)
5. "The Luckiest" Ben Folds
6. "I Will Follow You Into The Dark" Death Cab For Cutie
7. "Be Mine" David Gray
8. "Love You 'Til The End" The Pogues (can't find the original of this on YouTube to save my life!)
9. "Desire" Ryan Adams
10. "A Thousand Years" Christina Perri
11. "Come What May" Ewan McGregor + Nicole Kidman
12. "Love and Some Verses" Iron & Wine
13. "Where the West Wind Blows" Green River Ordinance
14. "God Gave Me You" Michael Henry + Justin Robinett (Dave Barnes cover)
15. "Now That I've Found You" Paul McDonald + Nikki Reed (wrote about this recently)

I also incorporated lyrics from "Murder in the City" by The Avett Brothers and "Sigh No More" by Mumford & Sons into our wedding stationary, so they're special to me as well. Why choose a song about murder, you say? "Always remember there was nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name."



Sunday, April 8, 2012

he is not here

"WHY DO YOU LOOK FOR THE LIVING AMONG THE DEAD? HE IS NOT HERE, BUT HAS RISEN."

however you chose to celebrate easter today, i hope it was wonderful. i spent time with my family and with my (soon to be) other family. i didn't eat a single cadbury egg and the easter bunny didn't visit me. that's ok, though. i'm currently sitting on my couch wearing bunny ears and i have terrible allergies so i keep sniffling. maybe i actually do look like a little rabbit twitching her nose? cute bunny photo alert:


i (mistakenly) assumed that i could find the easter liturgy from church this morning online. i planned to post it here as my testament to easter being about more than just bunnies and chocolates. *sigh* my search resulted in utter failure. the easter liturgy is my favorite of the entire year, so i intend to hunt it down and share it at a later date. 

in the meantime, enjoy a beautiful spring week and don't go into a sugar coma from discounted peeps and jelly beans.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

things i love: milner's

as part of my new blogging schedule, i want to post on fridays (note, today is saturday. i'm not off to a great start!) about things i love. this week, the choice is CLEAR:

I LOVE MILNER'S.


at the beginning of the week, i called to check in with the restaurant that was hosting my wedding reception. i hadn't received a menu in the mail as was promised and i wanted to make sure that everything was ok. when i spoke to the manager on the phone, i was told that renovations would keep the restaurant from opening in time for our reception.

while i understand that renovations are a pain for everyone and they often take longer than expected, my real shock was over the fact that nobody called to notify me! i just happened to call and find out on my own, a few weeks before my wedding. yikes! mix that with a very unapologetic manager and i was "not a happy camper," as my mom would say.

enter milner's. brandon and i dined at milner's last fall. we loved everything about our experience there: the restaurant was gorgeous, the service was top notch, the food was delicious, and we even happened to go on half price wine night (bonus!). they have a private dining room and i had even considered them when i made my initial list of reception venues. i chose the other venue mostly because it was within walking distance of the ceremony.

on tuesday morning i called milner's and spoke with the manager, lauren. i explained my precarious situation and she could not have been more gracious and helpful. within an hour, we'd made the decision to book milner's for our reception. what a relief!

my parents have never been to milner's, so my mom and i decided to drop by for lunch yesterday. the lunch menu was just as impressive as the dinner menu! we chatted with lauren for a bit and found out that even the small things we were worried about would be completely taken care of at milner's. i liked milner's before this week but now it's safe to say that i really, really love it. i'm looking forward to our wedding reception and also to many return trips on our anniversary.

{my cute mom, testing out the cheese dips}

if you're around winston-salem, i highly recommend grabbing a bite to eat here. milner's is located on stratford road and they serve brunch, lunch, and dinner. when you're picking out a side item, mom recommends the mac & cheese. i recommend the green apple blue slaw. my favorite menu item, however, is the appetizer trio of cheese dips. 

have you dined at milner's before? did you like it? what's your favorite place for fine dining?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

chef #54: perfect pomegranate margarita

i've been loving everything pomegranate lately. i've never eaten the actual fruit (too messy!), but its deep color and unique flavor make pomegranate drinks just wonderful! i tried the pomegranate margarita at my favorite local mexican restaurant and i'm hooked. i decided to attempt to re-create it at home the other night. mine was too strong, so i've adjusted the measurements accordingly:

PERFECT POMEGRANATE MARGARITA (single serving)
sugar (for rimming the glass)
1.5 oz tequila
2 oz triple sec
1.5 oz lime juice
3 oz pomegranate juice

directions aren't really necessary for mixing drinks, are they? shake up the ingredients and pour over ice in a cute, sugar-rimmed glass. the end!

Monday, April 2, 2012

fun. and formatting

yes, i like to have fun and... i format things from time to time? however, the title of this post is for the band fun. (yes, with a period) and the band the format. music mondays, here we come!

i posted about fun. a few weeks ago when i wrote of my obsession with their song "we are young" that was covered on glee last fall. little did i know that i'd soon be hearing it on the radio and in almost every store i set foot in. their new album, some nights, is doing very well on the charts and as soon as i finish writing this post i'm hopping over to target to pick up my own copy! look at these snazzy guys!


what some of you may not know is that lead singer nate ruess also fronted another of my favorite bands, the format. have you heard of the format? that's okay. not many people have. the format released tons of "poppy" songs, though they are very different from the tracks on fun.'s most recent release. i always want to dance when i hear the format, with one exception: a song that makes me cry every time i hear it. here are my favorites from the format:

OCEANS


SHE DOESN'T GET IT


ON YOUR PORCH



THE FIRST SINGLE (YOU KNOW ME)


on your porch gets me every time! i'm totally tearing up over here! other tunes to check out if you like what you heard: sore thumb & let's make this moment a crime. i also can't stop listening to the title track of fun.'s album! i'd love the chance to see fun. in concert and i'd really, really love the chance to see the format in concert, should they ever reunite. what band would you like the opportunity to see that doesn't record together anymore?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

new

i am proud to officially unveil the newly designed FLAMINGOS IN RAINCOATS! click around to check out my new tabs and read some older posts if you wish!

you can expect to begin seeing standard posts about food, music, and things i love... as well as week(end) recaps and maybe even a few guest posts! thanks for reading my little blog!