I did not intend for it to be a double entendre, so please don't be offended.
In case that wasn't clear, I did not, and will not, write about my hoo-ha on this blog. Thank you.
After seeing so many lovely (and functional) landing strips on the shelter blogs I decided I had to have one. At the time we were saving up for our house down payment, so buying an expensive table or cabinet was out. Then I remembered I had an old model stand hanging around from design school. So, model stand + wood top + paint and stain = cheap table!
Then (still in the planning phase) I decided I needed some art to go over the table and, again inspired by the shelter blogs, I fell in love with the idea of a plate collection. I picked up some random plates from thrift stores, Etsy and even Urban Outfitters. While I was out thrifting, I grabbed some accessories to sit on the table and work their organizational magic.
So I've had the plates and accessories for months now, but me and the hubby finally rolled up our sleeves and got the table finished over the weekend then hung the plates Monday night! So without further ado, I present my new landing strip!
view of the plates with slightly more even lighting
close up of the table top
vintage bowl and plate, from Etsy
However, if your guess was "You sat on your ass playing with Legos while you half-paid attention to the Olympics" then ding, ding, ding we have a winner!
That's right folks, I'm just as dorky as you think I am. Saturday morning I went to the mall with the intention of buying some not-too-ugly maternity clothes. On my way to Cows-R-Us, I got distracted in the Lego Store.
You see, several months ago I read a press release about the upcoming Lego Architecture Series.
Naturally I almost peed my pants with glee.*
Now they are available for purchase and I just couldn't stop myself from buying a mini-Lego Guggenheim. I bought my clothes, ran some other errands then went home where I promptly tore open my new toy like a 6 year old hopped up on birthday cake.
Go ahead, admire my mini-monument in all its nerdy, toy glory.
Here it sits, atop a stack of Arch Record, on my desk at work.
If any of you happen to have 100 bucks lying around, you can feel free to send me a Lego Fallingwater to add to my collection.
I have finally eaten my way through the various treats I got in Christmas goody bags and I saved these for last. They are none other than Dewey's famous Moravian Cookies. This particular pack is Vanilla Walnut, but all of their flavors are delish.
As I mentioned before, they don't have stores outside of NC, but you can always order the cookies or their other delicious desserts online in the comfort of your own pajamas.
Me? Not so much. I like to relax and unwind by pretending to play a plastic guitar. That's right folks, I play Rock Band.
me: "Hi, I'm Allison and I'm a nerd."
NA:* "Hi Allison."
This game sounds absolutely ridiculous but it really is fun to play. The only downside** is the instruments take up quite a bit of space.
enter the GUITAR HANGER, stage left
I can just imagine one of these in my coat closet holding my axe. Wow. I can't even type that with a straight face. I guess you could use it for a regular guitar, too. If you're LAME.***
*NA is nerds anonymous. Clearly.
**Other than the pastiness and crippled social life.
***And by lame I mean way cooler than I'll ever be.
My favorite part of hosting is always the food! I meant to take pictures of the table all set, but then I didn't. Bad blogger! Any who, here's the menu:
Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings prepped and grilled by the hubby
Lil' Smokies (aka Cocktail Franks in Jelly Mustard Sauce) recipe by Brettany
Hot Artichoke Dip
Port Wine Cheese Ball
Mozzarella and Prosciutto Roll store bought
Fresh Orange Slices, Grapes, Strawberries
Chips & Salsa
In my humble opinion everyone enjoyed the food. The wings were a little labor intensive, so the hubby focused all his time on those. I made everything else and each menu item is delicious without being crazy hard to make. In fact, nothing had more than four ingredients! In fact, they're so simple I think it couldn't hurt for you to have them in your Party Food arsenal!
- 1-2 lbs cocktail franks or cut up hot dogs
- 1 jar jelly, approx 12 oz (I used Strawberry Black Currant)
- 1 jar yellow mustard, approx 12 oz (I improvised with 8 oz yellow and 4 oz dijon)
- brown sugar and/or barbecue sauce, to taste (optional)
- This can be made and served in a crock pot, or made in a saucepan and served in a warming dish.
- Combine mustard, jelly, brown sugar and barbecue sauce and heat on medium until jelly melts and ingredients are well mixed.
- Add cocktail franks, stir until franks are hot.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
The beauty of this recipe is that you're not really 'cooking' just mixing and warming. You can totally improvise the jelly sauce. Feel free to experiment with jelly and mustard flavors. And since the franks come pre-cooked, you just have to make sure they're warm.
Hot Artichoke Dip
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 14 oz canned, quartered artichoke hearts, drained
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 C parmesan cheese (you can totally get away with the powdered kind if you don't have the freshly grated stuff)
- Crackers, bread slices, pita wedges for serving
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl and beat with hand mixer on medium until well blended. Note: The artichokes will start out in big chunks, but they will separate as you blend. Don't panic.
- Spoon cheese mixture into greased 2 quart casserole dish. Note: If you are using glazed earthenware, you don't need to grease it.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 30-35 minutes
This is a great make-ahead dish. I prepped this Saturday night, following all steps except the baking. I let the dip sit out for 30 minutes before going into the oven so it wouldn't go from cold to hot too quickly. Again, you're not really cooking any raw food here, so it's impossible to mess it up.
Port Wine Cheese Ball
- 1/8-1/4 C cheap port wine (If you're making this for non-winos, go easy. A little port goes a long way.)
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 2 C shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 packs sliced or chopped almonds
- Crackers for serving
- In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and wine. Note: Over the years I have figured out the best way to do this. Don't bother with a hand mixer, wooden spoon or whisk - you will just frustrate yourself. All you need is a fork, table knife and rubber spatula. Pour wine into mixing bowl. Cut cream cheese into 8 cubes. One at a time, add a cube to the mixing bowl and drag the fork through the cheese. This spreads it out and allows it to mix with the wine. Once the cheese is nice and 'mushed' add another cube. Periodically scrape the bowl with the spatula to keep all the cheese together.
- After wine and cream cheese is mixed, add the cheddar cheese. Continue mixing and folding with the fork until the cheddar is fully incorporated.
- Spread the almonds evenly on a sheet of wax paper or aluminum foil. Set aside.
- Use the spatula to scrape the cheese mixture to the bottom of the bowl - it should start to form a ball. Pick up the ball and work it with your hands to get it as round as you can.
- Roll the ball in the almonds until coated.
- For best results, chill at least one hour before serving.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
This is also great for making ahead, as it will keep for several days. You could also make it into a cheese log if that's your thing.
- 3 cans frozen lemonade
- 4 liters lemon-lime soda
- Read the instructions on the lemonade can, using soda instead of water.
- Stir and serve.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Yields: 3 batches
It really is that easy. Being Southern, I've been brought up knowing you can't host people without serving punch. This is super simple and doesn't take any time. Also, if you make this just before guests arrive the lemonade and soda are still cold from the freezer and refrigerator, so you don't need to serve it over ice unless that is your preference.
1) I am not posting my outfits because I think I look awesome, pretty, well-dressed, etc. I just wanted to show you how I have been experimenting with my wardrobe. And yes, I know I look chubby. Cut a pregger some slack.
2) Excuse the TERRIBLE lighting. Since it's winter, it is dark when I get dressed and it is dark when I get home. I would prefer natural light but I had to shoot these in my room with - god forbid - the flash on. I'm not brave enough to walk outside my office, tripod in hand, and take pictures of myself on the sidewalk. Ditto on getting someone else to take it for me.
Inspired by a recent guest lecture on dressing well in the cold, I decided to try my hand at what I learned. After a bit of experimentation I found I can layer thin long underwear under open weave tights. This look works as long as my boots are tall enough to cover the bottom of the long underwear.
As I sat down to write this post I realized I have been much braver lately, thanks to the ladies of Academichic. Because of their tutelage I have been bold enough to try:
photo via Academichic
How I wore it: I started with a foundation of mixed browns - t-shirt, wrap dress, textured tights and slouchy boots. To punch it up I layered on a peacock blue sundress and my DIY orange summer scarf.
brown on brown
photo via Academichic
How I Wore It: This outfit was built around the patterned tights. I wanted to let the pattern be the star of this ensemble so I added black ankle boots, a black cotton summer dress and my black boyfriend cardigan. It needed a splash of color, so I grabbed my purple scarf. The whole thing looked too slouchy so I thought I would add a belt. That was too much look, but I remembered I could belt the scarf to unify the accessories and avoid the attention grabbing battle of scarf vs. belt.
photo via Academichic
How I Wore It: This look started with the sweater skirt. The colors are technically 2 shades of blue, but I've always found I like pairing it with grays for a subtle palette. I topped it with a gray turtleneck and added gray tights, layered over black leggings, for warmth. To mix it up I wore my cognac brown boots and wore a caramel belt to reinforce the addition of browns. I am now a huge fan of pairing warm browns with black and gray.
I never noticed this while reading Academichic, but in pulling inspiration photos I realized I relate much more to A's style than that of E or S. But I do really enjoy seeing fashion from their three different perspectives because it offers more to learn from.
In an effort to step up my fashion game, I also started following the 'Daily Wear' photostream of Whitney from Darling Dexter.
The biggest thing I have learned is to rethink how I see my clothes. An item doesn't have to only be a 'summer top' or a cocktail dress. If I play with how I wear it I can get so much more use out of my existing wardrobe.
What about you guys? Any fashion lessons you're putting to the test?
My favorite bin is my trash can, cleverly disguised as a storage bin. Do you know what I hate? Having to carry the dryer lint to the kitchen trash can. Some little fluff of lint always breaks free to join its dust bunny brethren* on the floor. This way I just pop the lint in the trash bin and empty it once a month or so.
In other laundry news, remember this post where I repurposed a shoe caddy? Well that laundry organizer is back in action, but instead of hanging on the door it hangs from the peg board. I use it to store dryer sheets, lingerie bags, clothespins and other small laundry items that might otherwise get lost in the big bins.
So what about you guys? Any great (or small) feats of organization going on at your place?
*Yes, I admit I have a few dust bunnies. Even with regular sweeping and vacuuming dust bunnies are bound to happen with 2 full-time indoor cats.
After Saturday's breakfast the hubby and I took a walk around the neighborhood to get some fresh air and exercise. When we got back I made homemade hot chocolate to enjoy in front of the fire.
I used a recipe I found at online at Cooks. This is super quick and easy. I had to plan ahead for the milk, but most everything else I keep stocked in the pantry. Since it was just the 2 of us, I halved the recipe but there was still plenty for seconds!8 C milk
3 C water
1/2 C cocoa powder
1 C sugar
1 t vanilla extract
-Combine water and dry ingredients; bring to a slow boil.
-Add milk and stir until steaming.
-Add vanilla just before serving. Serves 10-12.
I served mine with mini-mallows and crumbled bits of semi-sweet chocolate. Enjoy!