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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Recipe: Eggplant Chicken Pizzas

My Froworker (friend + coworker) Finley  has shared a few recipes here on the blog before and when another froworker brought in some eggplants from her garden I consulted Froworker Finley (henceforth FroFin) on the best way to cook it and she recommended trying Eggplant Chicken Pizza.

If you've not heard of FroFin before, she primarily eats a Paleo/Primal diet. (which basically means no grains or legumes). So I was really excited to try these mini eggplant chicken pizzas. Mine turned out pretty good. I will say that I opted to cook my eggplant in the oven instead of grilling it and it was still a little mushy. Next time I make them, I will definitely cook on the grill or at least cook them longer (and maybe even broil for a bit) in the oven. Other than that, these were great! Click the picture below to view the recipe on FroFin's blog "Play Paleo". Also, she added veggies to her pizzas...which probably makes hers superior in all ways. I'm still skeptical on most veggies, so I opted to keep my veggie as eggplant and just do pepperoni, chicken, cheese and sauce. :) Enjoy!

http://www.playpaleo.com/poultry/2014/7/22/mini-eggplant-chicken-pizzas





Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Emmy's Best and Worst Dressed (Red Carpet Recap)

It's awards season...well at least on the blog anyway. I feel it my personal duty to keep my readers informed as to the fashion goings-on of the celebrity world...and awards shows are the best way to do so. :)

Best Dressed


Yes January Jones! Work it girl! I'm consistently impressed with her fashion sense. And she's so beautiful!


My obsession with Uzo's OITNB character might have swayed me a bit but I think she looks beautiful and this dress fits her PERFECTLY.


LOVE the dramatic nature of this dress. Y'all remember her on Mean Girls? She's come a long way... :)


Michelle Dockery is usually always on my best dressed lists. She is flawless and amazing.




Finally! I love Melissa McCarthy but I have wanted to strangle her stylist for the last few awards show appearances. This dress is fitted in all the right places and makes her look like a million bucks!



Debra is always flawless. This ensemble (plus her awesome hair and makeup) is no exception.



I'm obsessed with this color and I think the fit of the dress is perfect! Great job Viola!



Worst Dressed 



I'm kind of over Lena. The dramatic, attention-getting outfits are a snooze at this point because it's all we see from her.


This kind of looks like 2 dresses in one...but it doesn't work for me.
 


I think this gold color washes Taryn Manning out. She's a pretty girl, but the color of the dress should be lighter, her hair should definitely be lighter (instead of that goldish hue) and no black shoes. No ma'am. Oh and I want to see her in lipstick!



I get it. Mayim is a genius and kinda nerdy...but that doesn't give her an excuse to wear a Regency-period costume to an awards show in 2014.

photo credits

What did you think of the fashion at this year's Emmys?






Monday, August 25, 2014

MTV VMA Red Carpet Recap

The MTV VMAs were last night and while I don't normally love this awards show (because the label of MTV quite frankly gives people an excuse to act and dress a fool) I was pleasantly surprised at the fashion choices by most. A couple of stars had me underwhelmed and others just had me wondering what decade...cough Katy Perry cough. But I get it...the VMAs are supposed to be edgier than other award shows. So with that in mind...

Best Dressed


 
Both of the Jenner girls are coming into their own fashion/style personality but for me, Kendall takes the cake. This pantsuit is amazing.
 
 
Kylie Jenner was also stunning with her dark dress and thigh-high slit!

 
Dang. No words. JLo just gets better and better with age.

 
I actually liked this look from Jessie J. The green/citron color is fresh and it looks great with her skin and hair.



Worst Dressed

Katy Perry, MTV VMA's 2014
 
I can't believe I wasn't the only one who thought this was a worse cheap bad knockoff of the original power couple denim suit, right? Katy is so pretty...she should do better.
 
 
I have no words for Miss TSwifty. I love her new song but this just looks like a bad Olympic gymnast costume.
 
 
Seems that the VMAs had a lot of impersonations this year. Amber Rose's look was very similar to the Rose McGowan look in 1998. This makes me slightly sad because these are not clothes...this is just an attempt at a lot of publicity. And young girls are probably eating this up. Do better, Amber Rose.
 
 
I love me some Ariana...however, this was just...underwhelming and dated. I would expect a pop princess of the 90s or early 2000s to wear this. I wanted to see her in something dramatic and glamorous...not club wear circa 2002.
 
What were your thoughts on the VMA red carpet looks?
 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Blog Search Keywords

Happy Friday, friends.

I figured it was about time for a check-in on my blog search keywords. What are blog search keywords?? Glad you asked. :) These are the words or phrases that people enter into a search engine and are linked to your blog from. So, if you typed in "blonde girls with cardigan obsessions" into Google and clicked on my link from that search, it would show up in my blog search keywords. Occasionally these make me laugh...other times they make me cringe...and sometimes...I just wonder how on EARTH someone got to my blog using that particular internet search.

 
Comments and links below:
 
1. Probably due to my LBD outfit posts.
2. I seriously have no idea. Black people relationship goals twitter?? What does that even mean? Any ideas??
3. From this post where I explained the difference between a cookout and bbq.
4. Duh. This is kind of a gimme. I'm obsessed with cardigans.
5 & 6. I appreciate that people think my fall fashion posts are for the average person and not the average runway fashionista model. This is my most recent one.
7. I'm surprised that this post continues to get hits from the ol' Internets.
8 & 10. I also am suprised at how much my Disney fashion posts continue to drive traffic to my blog.
9. No idea on this one either. I've never reviewed a side table on my blog before. Very strange.

Have you ever looked at your blog's search keywords? They are quite interesting!




Wednesday, August 20, 2014

2014 Fall Fashion Trends

Fall is so close, I can almost taste it. And by close, I mean, 2 months away for us here in the Carolinas. However, it's never too early to start dusting off those tights and coats because the cooler temps and frosty mornings will be here before you know it! (And football...and bonfires...and all the other good stuff about fall.)

There are lots of fun fashion trends this fall. A few are...well...expected? I mean, it's colder outside so people gravitate towards warmer fabrics...right? A few are...well, see for yourself!

Knits
 

Seen here, here and here. There's nothing that really says "fall" more to me than a warm nubby or chunky knit sweater. And cableknit? I die. Look for knits in unusual things like leggings, shells/tanks and even shoes! Knit fabrics are no longer just for scarves and mittens.

60s/Mod



Mentioned here, here and here. The 60's mini dress or mod-inspired patterns are making a huge comeback this fall. While this isn't a trend that I can necessarily get excited about, I know lots of people that will.


Shearling/Sheepskin


Mentioned here, here and here. But let's be nice to the cute baby sheeplettes and use faux shearling? Kthxbye.

Color Trends

Sangria, Aurora Red, Mauve Mist, Radiant Orchid, Cypress, Bright Cobalt, Royal Blue, Cognac, Aluminum and Misted Yellow.



What are your thoughts on these trends? Are there any that you like?




Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Great Art Debate Part 2

I posted a couple of weeks ago about my search for wall art for our house. Since that post I've added two more art pieces to my home but it only intensified an itch that was just slightly there before. :) I'm obsessed now with beautiful and meaningful art things to put in my house. Below are (bad iPhone) photos of the two paintings I purchased on my Charleston trip this past weekend at the farmer's market. (because I am obsessed with local art)



After perusing Etsy/Pinterest I got a hankering for a subway style/personalized date art piece for somewhere in my house. I wanted to try my own hand at making one that used M and my dates. I kind of like the graphic and bold look of them. I think it could work either in our living room or our bedroom. A friend suggested doing the one with just numbers in our bedroom since they are obviously only really intuitive to us...but...I'm up for suggestions either way. :)


 
I'd also posted before about street name art that I think is really awesome. I did something for both Charlotte and Wilmington (cities I've lived in as an adult...HA!) and I think they are pretty cool. They have more of a graphic feel than the Charleston paintings I have in the house.


 

Right now, I just only have the digital versions of the street name and personalized dates art but I really want to get those printed and framed. I wonder if I should use one set or the other (either street names or personalized dates) because they might be too much. Thoughts?




Monday, August 18, 2014

Rants & Raves

A quick few rants and raves for today...since Monday seems to be the best day to be annoyed...right?



1. Ice Bucket Challenges - let me just get this off my chest. First of all, I think it's great that people are actually donating money to a very worthy cause. However, why chain-letter people into dumping cold water on themselves? Why not just donate money to a worthy cause because you WANT to? Also, how many people are actually donating money to ALS organizations and how many are just posting funny videos of themselves getting dumped with cold water? I did hear that the ALS society has had their annual donations increased to like 4 million dollars or something. So that's good. But I just kind of abhor the trendiness of these videos and literally seeing everyone I know post them on social media. #stahp

Also, side note...this idea originally became popular about 6 months ago...but it's now popular again?

I don't know, y'all. I have mixed thoughts about this but mostly I loathe extremely trendy things so this turns me off. And if any of you tag me I will cut you. The end.

2. Pilling clothing - Are you supposed to shave your clothes? (sweaters, pants, etc.) I have a few that are pilling like crazy.

3. "Good Quality" clothes that fall apart. I have a pair of pants that are from New York and Company. I consider their clothes to be of good quality since their pricing usually reflects it. AND I've been shopping there for years and have had clothing last forever! However, I have 2 pairs of pants that fit great and I love...both of which are less than 6 months old...and both of which have had the hem fall out. I've had to fix the hem in both pants and one pair is ripping on the sides...it's so weird. Am I going to have to find another place to buy pants now?!?!

4. Allergies. Mine have been especially bad this week/weekend and I'm OVER THEM.

5. Loud neighbors. Again...done with them. I can't wait until M and I have a HOUSE to live in and can't see or hear our neighbors at all. HAHA!



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Recipe: Pulled Pork in the Crockpot!

 
I've seen pins all over Pinterest for making pulled pork (BBQ) in the crockpot but I must confess I've been way too intimidated to try it. Heck, I'm too intimidated to try my hand at anything pulled pork BBQ, quite frankly. I think this mostly lies in the fact that I was born, reared and live in the two states that could realistically be called the BBQ capital of the US...so...good BBQ is a way of life and bad BBQ...is for chain restaurants. (sorry?) Southerners BETTER know how to cook pulled pork BBQ if they attempt it...otherwise there's probably some sort of regional shunning that will occur.
 
Anywho, M and I decided to try our hand at cooking pulled pork in the crockpot and it turned out great! Very easy and not nearly as intimidating as I thought. Making it in a Crockpot was even better because you could leave it all day while you work or whatever. Side note: Crockpot is a brand name slow-cooker. I will call it Crockpot, because in the South we call things by their actual brand names and not generic names. (Coke, instead of Soda...for example.) So, just know when I say Crockpot, I mean any slow-cooker.
 
Also, second side note: I may use incorrect names for things like the proper cut of meat. Sorry.
Third side note: M and I both consulted our parents before making this. My father, the cook of our family and a bonafide Southerner, verified the exact cut of meat to use. M's mother, the cook of his family, and though not technically a Southerner by birth, has been indoctrinated simply because of her delicious pulled pork recipe, also provided some consultative advice. Also, dang that was a lot of commas.
 
Ingredients:
1 Boston butt, bone-in
1 jar of your favorite bbq sauce (see below for the one we used)
Water
Apple Cider Vinegar (this was not in our original recipe, but I would have added it if we had it)
 
Directions:
1. Unwrap and rinse off Boston butt
2. Place into a Crockpot. Make sure your Crockpot is large enough to comfortable hold your butt in with the lid on.
3. Cover the butt with enough water that it just covers the top of the meat. Here is where I would add a couple of tablespoons of the apple cider vinegar, for flavor, but it's optional.
4. Cover with lid and cook on high for at least 4-5 hours. Depending on the size of your butt, you may need to adjust the cooking time. Ours was about 5 hours and when the meat started to pull away from the bone, I figured it was done. Even if it's not completely done, it will be at the end.
5. Move butt to a large dish or cookie sheet and remove bone. (Ours literally just slid right out.)
 

(See?? Bone on cutting board and meat in dish.)
 
6. Taking smaller sections of the meat, "pull" with two forks. See the picture below for reference. Hold one fork on the meat and the other to sort of "scrape" against the grain of the meat and you'll see it start to pull into pieces.
7. Pull all of the meat, carefully separating and removing the fatty pieces. The fat on this looked white and gelantinous (I know, gross) so we could easily scrape it off and throw it away.
 
 
8. Put all of your pulled pork into a casserole dish that is oven-safe.
9. Preheat your oven to 400 degress.

 
10. While the oven preheats, add some of your favorite BBQ sauce. (See what we used below...being an SC gal, I love me some mustard-based sauce!)
11. We added a little less than half of the bottle before we put the dish in the oven to prevent it from drying out too much.
12. Mix in the BBQ sauce and put in the oven for about 15 minutes.

 
13. Remove BBQ from oven and add remaining sauce. Stir until sauce is completely incorporated and it's ready to eat!



That's it! So easy! I can't believe I was so intimidated to do it before. It almost seems ridiculous to dedicate an entire post to this, but I wanted to document it for future use. :) Enjoy!




Monday, August 11, 2014

Happy Shark Week

Working at an aquarium gave me great access to sharks. (amongst other awesome animals too) This also helped to change my opinion on these amazing creatures. Sharks are one of the most misunderstood "predators" in the animal world. And they are being killed at an alarming rate by horrible practices like finning. We definitely don't want to be in a world without sharks. Why?

"In other words, without the sharks to eat the species that prey on the algae-eaters, those algae-eaters will decline, leading to an accumulation of biological refuse that eventually chokes out almost everything else, such as colorful reefs and everyone’s favorite marine animal: the sea dragon. A great, slimy oceanic bog instead of a thriving reef lorded over by sharks. An improvement?" via

"Thus, Dalhousie University found in a study in 2007 that the unusual decline of the shell catch at the US East cost was connected with the dramatic decline of the large sharks there. The numbers of sharks that eat rays, and in particular cow-nosed rays, and other small sharks, declined, and those animals in turn eat shells and crustaceans. Without predators, rays and small sharks were able to reproduce without limitations, and their attacks on the present shell population grew accordingly. Where cow-nosed rays used to form groups of 400 to 800 animals, their shoals now can include more than a million animals. This also affects the shell population, like locusts would devastate a vegetation zone. Out of 13 shell hunters that were examined, twelve profited from the missing large predators. The water quality of these sea areas of course also suffers from the lack of filter feeders and reducers." via

This week is Shark Week. If you have time, I encourage you to watch some of the programming. Shark Week (though it often does air some highly dramaticized shark attack stories and plots) does a great job of raising awareness about these animals. Often, we are so afraid of what we don't know...and there's a lot we still don't know about sharks. For example, we often thought that sharks are solitary hunters but the opposite is actually true. They are usually social creatures that travel in groups and are very curious and inquisitive. Did you know that the bull shark is seen as more aggressive than the great white shark? Or that some sharks can even be handled and touched? If you venture down to the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, you can touch bamboo sharks! (shameless plug to my old employer) :)

Sharks are not the man-eating hunters that humans portray them as. Actually, it's kind of the opposite...


For more information on how Shark Weeks aids in Global Shark Conservation, visit the Pew Environment website. Test your shark smarts and learn which sharks have gotten an unfairly bad reputation.







Thursday, August 7, 2014

High Cotton

A trend in decor as of late is raw cotton. Like, cotton on the seed and stalk still. By "trend" I mean, it's probably been popular again for many years but it has only recently caught my eye. I pass lots of cotton fields on my trips around the Carolinas (once I get out of the major cities) and it's SUCH a sight to behold!

bouquet-de-mariee-original-fleur-coton

lace + cotton backdrop // photo by Michele Beckwith // http://ruffledblog.com/the-notebook-inspired-wedding

Such a cute alternative to flowers.  I need some of these.  Natural Cotton Stalks 27" Branches $5.99 each / 3 for $5 each

A Dreamy Cotton Field Engagement| Photo by: Holly Frazier Photography we ♥ this! davidtuteraformoncheri.com

cotton field...Soooo happy cotton will be blooming in the field around our venue!!

Natural Cotton Plant Branches - Cotton Bolls - Raw Cotton - DIY Cotton - Wedding - Home Decor - Gifts. $15.00, via Etsy.

Large Cotton Centerpiece - I can have all the fresh picked cotton I want! Lucky me!!!!!

Images via Pinterest 

I'm loving the idea of the the cotton and lace photo backdrop and how gorgeous are the cotton centerpieces/bouquets?! What do you think about this look?



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