A blog of personal style, wonderful surprises, and chance encounters to encourage and inspire.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Waffley Goodness

I have been wanting a long time, a really long time - like since I was a kid long time!  I'm not really sure why the delay in making the jump and actually purchasing the waffle maker, but all these years I've been longing for that delicious crispy, sweet goodness.  Well, this weekend my husband decided it was time, and he surprised me on Christmas morning with my very own waffle maker!  I literally screamed with excitement!

Doesn't it look like it would make the most delicious waffle concoctions?  Well, last night we gave it a try, and  it was everything I hoped it would be and more!  This particular model was super easy to use - when you plug it in it turns on, it lights up when it is ready for batter, it lights up when the waffle ready.  

I found a really delicious recipe for Oatmeal Cinnamon Waffles over at Shutterbean (an amazing inspiration for all things foodie and delicious by the way!).  The original recipe came from Sunset Magazine.  This is how it went:

1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 cups quick cooking rolled oats*
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups low-fat milk
1/2 cup butter melted
2 tablespoons vegetable oil**

*My husband informed me after we ate that I might should have cooked the oats before adding them to the mixture. I'm not sure if this is true for all oats, but I just used regular oatmeal and precooking probably would have helped.

**The vegetable oil is not for the mixture, but to grease the griddle.  I used non-stick cooking spray and it worked excellently!

Mix all your dry ingredients together in a large-ish bowl until combined.  And yes, this is the largest bowl I have, so if you have an extra...just kidding.  

In a separate bowl mix your wet ingredients until combined.  Add your wet to your dry ingredients and mix until combined (but don't over-mix, a few lumps are good).  See how a larger bowl would have come in handy?

Now it's time to get that baby ready.  Get it warm and ready (if yours takes a while to warm, you might want to preheat it while you are making your batter).  Also, we keep our syrup in the fridge, so I let it sit by the waffle maker during the whole process to warm it up a smidge.

Once it's heated and ready, brush the vegetable oil (or cooking spray) on the griddle and pour in your batter, then close and let the magic work.  My maker had it own measuring cup for making sure you poured the right amount of batter on the griddle.  If yours doesn't have one, 1 cup of batter would be fine.

Serve with a bit of butter and warm maple syrup and enjoy!  And yes, they really were that good!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Oh, Murphy!

 I think it is part of Murphy's Law that when you have plenty of money, you can't seem to find anything you like/want/need.  BUT...when the fundage is running low, incredible deals and must have's seem to flood my browser.  For instance, there I am mindlessly perusing my normal web favs when I come across an announcement that Aldo is having a sale!  What?! Of course this would come at the most inopportune time, as I am trying desparately to stick to my budget!  I mean, I guess I can dream, but purchasing is so much better than dreaming.  Well, should the financial situation change, these are the selections I will be purchasing...



Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dreaming in White

Last year, my sister was on the prowl for a winter white pea-ish style coat.  We searched high and low, places near and far, and no such coat existed (at least that we could find).  She found several that were just okay, but never the one. Flash foward to last week, I am frantically looking for shoes to wear at my best friend's wedding and what do I see?  It's the very coat that illuded us only a year earlier.  I had seen the perfect selection for her in a department store and was searching to find it online when I discovered there is quite the selection of winter white coats out there.  So, here is a taste of some of the best (and most affordable) options I available.  

All of these coats are $200 or less, and while this may seem like a lot to spend on one item (especially if you have a particularly tight budget), I do want to mention one thought.  In my opinion, winter coats are an investment.  Think about it, you will most likely wear it several times a week, if not everyday, for most of the winter season.  If you do this for say two years (at least), then your cost per wear becomes so little that you are almost getting paid to wear that beautiful coat!  Also, I have found that I have never regretted spending more on a coat to upgrade to better quality, but I have always regretted spending less.

So, without further ado, here's the goods...  

I am in love with those rosettes on the collar.  The overall shape of this coat is very feminine, but that detail just gives it the extra umph! to make it really special.
Kensie Coat
This option is a little more casual, but that ruffle bib and the ruffle on those sleeves...Loving it!

This style is a little more classic, yet trendy at the same time.  I'm usually not a fan of double-breasted styles, but the gold buttons help me not mind so much.  Also, the double hem at the bottom seems to be reminiscent of the ruffle hemmed coats that graced the Fall Runways.
This is the most casual option, and while it is quite basic, it is also very classic.  This could easily be worn for years.  It also has an excellent price tag...$65.  It would be perfect on the weekends with jeans and a thermal or cozy flannel button-down.

This is one of my favorite selections.  I love the oversized buttons, the bracelet length sleeves, and that big collar.  It is so feminine and would look equally well with dress clothes going to work and jeans on the weekend. 
In my opinion, this color is the most practical.  I have a tendency to spill things, rub up against things, etc.  I had a stark-white puffer coat a few years ago that would stay perfectly white for about as long as it took me to put it on and walk to the car (about 10 feet).  That coat lived at the dry cleaners more than it lived in my closet!  I digress.  The "spice" in this coat would defnitely help those who are more inclined to spillage. 

You may be looking at this and thinking it is not the most practical option, and you're right, it's not.  But, imagine it over your party dress for a wedding or even with a pair of highwaisted jeans and heels.  I love that it is such a cute alternative to just a regular coat. 

 Pins and Needles Ruffle Front Lady Coat
I really love the shape of this coat, and the ruffles and pleating give it just enough without going over the top.

Alice in Autumn Sweatercoat
 This is more of a sweater option, but is still adorable and totally worth mentioning.

DKNY Hannah Coat
This might possibly be my favorite option.  I know it's very simple, but I think that is why I like it.  It is just classic enough to last for years, yet it is not simply a boring pea coat.  The empire waist seaming and pleats would be ultra-flattering on almost any body shape.  If you are looking for a classic yet feminine coat for this year, this one just might be the ticket.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A War Eagle Graduation

This summer my youngest sister, Stephanie, completed her bachelor's degree and graduated from Auburn University.  She looked absolutely gorgeous, and I was so proud of her accomplishment!

My beautiful sister and my wonderful parents outside the coliseum.

Isn't Steph adorable?  She wore the classiest shoes of any of the girls there...TRUST me!

Me and the graduate. Here's what I'm wearing:
  • Dress - strapless black/white polka dots with ruffles, Forever 21
  • Sandals - Old Navy (my favorites)
  • Necklace - pearl multi-strand; yardsale find
  • Bag - Red woven, worn as clutch; thrifted
  • Sunnies - purchased in the University bookstore as I left my fav pair at home
My adorably classy sister.

Yes, my parents really were that excited!

The original Auburn building - Samford Hall.

Congratulations, Steph!  I'm so proud of you!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fort Lauderdale: Grand Lux

While in Fort Lauderdale, we went out to eat to celebrate my sister's birthday.  We decided to go to the elegant Grand Lux Cafe'.  It was just as beautiful as it was delicious; everything your taste buds want to taste.  It was the perfect place to host a birthday dinner.

Everything we ate was absolutely delicious, the service was superb, and we had an excellent time together as a family.

I ordered the Mahi Mediterranean, and it did not disappoint.  It was the most juicy melt in your mouth Mahi covered in a tomato, artichoke, capery hash that complimented the fish perfectly.  All of this was sitting on top of a mound of the most creamy and savory mashed potatoes I have ever tasted.  

For dessert we ordered the Molten Chocolate Cake, and it was the most delicious chocolate explosion cakiness we had ever consumed.  We only ordered one serving as we just wanted a bite of sweet, but once we tasted it, we were fighting for the last bites!  Really, it was that good.  

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fort Lauderdale: Show Preview

One of the main reasons my family and I went to Fort Lauderdale was to visit my middle sister and watch the preview of her show.  My sister has danced all of her life, and has made her passion into her career.  She works for a cruise line performing in their various entertainment and variety shows.  Each contract begins with a rehearsal time period of several weeks, concluded by a final preview of the show before it is opened on the cruise ship.  We were able to visit her while they were doing their show previews and were able to catch a sneak peak of her current project.

My sister's incredibly talented cast before their performance.  This is the preview of their show done in their rehearsal studio in front of the office staff, fellow performers, and friends and family members (such as us!).

My sister Julie is the one in the middle...isn't she gorgeous! 

The performance had a western theme, so much of the show was done with the men wearing wranglers, and the entire cast wearing the incredibly fashionable cowboy hats.  While we were waiting back stage, my Dad decided to give the props a test run.  While I'm not sure it's the best look for him, it did make for a nice photo.

This is my family - (L to R) My Dad, My Mom, Julie (middle sister), Stephanie (youngest sister), me, my aunt.  This was the back stage area/lounge located in their rehearsal studio.  It was such a nice facility and we were so lucky to have been able to view this normally cast members only space. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fort Lauderdale: Beachy Nights

We were so fortunate to have been able to make a super quick trip to Fort Lauderdale to visit my middle sister. We were there for only a couple of days, and lost a lot of sleep, but it was totally worth it.  And don't worry, we definitely made time for some excellent beach-side beverages...

So there I am, enjoying my absolutely delicious fruit filled concoction, and I notice something unusual swimming around the bottom of my glass.  After a quick careful observation, what do my eyes behold?

Yes, that's right it's a piece of paper.  I decided that if this paper was important enough to have made into my cocktail, maybe it had an important message, so I fished it out.  And what was written on this note?  It was my receipt!  HA!  I mean, talk about making sure the customer gets their receipt at the point of purchase!  While quite disgusting (and obviously they re-made the drink) I thought it was absolutely hilarious!  

Later that evening we took another stroll along the boardwalk and took in the ocean breeze, and completely our first amazing day in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  

Friday, September 3, 2010

Fort Lauderdale

This summer I had the wonderful opportunity to escape away to visit my sister in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  My other sister and I decided to go at the last second so we were able to arrange a little surprisery for our middle sister.  Once we arrived at our destination, we made immediate plans for beaching all day!

Our first order of business was a little seafood ala' beach side.  We found the most adorable (and delicious) little seafood haven on the boardwalk literally feet away from the sand.

Just as a side note...I wore my husband's button down's all summer to the beach, pool, etc. instead of a traditional cover-up.  It was ultimate in comfort and coolness, and definitely something I will repeat next year.

If you are ever in the Fort Lauderdale area, I have one word for you...Vedu's.  It is delicious, on the beach, and the service is excellent.  We had a wonderful time!

Thursday, September 2, 2010


So, my sister and I are driving down the road, and all of a sudden we here a thump!  We look and what do we see?


Yes, that's right a frog.  I guess he just decided he needed a lift and our windshield looked like the perfect landing spot.

That little guy hung on for dear life, but he was no match for the windshield wiper.  Don't worry, we did make sure there were nice bushes nearby for landing ground.  So, just make a mental note.  When driving in the rain, frogs may feel the need to jump aboard!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Down by the River

Our city is fortunate enough to be literally down by the river, so I have been able to spend a good bit of time relaxing by our gorgeous riverside in style.  This particular night I was milling around with some friends at the pier.  It was an excellent night of friends, conversation, and a few drinks.  So, what am I wearing?

  • Hat: TJ Maxx - if you don't have one of these, get one NOW!!  They are the perfect solution to less than fabulous hair, and an easy, put together look.
  • Earrings: Forever 21 - I've had these forever, and they've been the perfect staple. 
  • Romper: Target - I really loved this on the hanger, not so sure I love it one me, but it was fun and comfortable on that day.
  • Bracelet: necklace, found at an estate sale
  • Sandals - Old Navy - I found these at the very end of last summer for $.99 and have worn these almost every day this summer.  

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Maroon 5...and others!

I had an AWESOME! weekend at my very first concert!!  Yeah, I know it's lame that I am just now going to a concert for the first time, but I guess the opportunity just never presented itself.  Well, it definitely presented its VIP self this time.  Yeah, that's right...VIP, baby!  My sister had a very good friend who was unable to go, so I was the lucky one who got to fill the seat. 

V.V. Brown opened the show, and let me just tell you...she totally rocked it!  Have you heard her new song Shark in the Water?  A superb hit if I might add.  If you haven't downloaded this song,
I suggest you get on that...Pronto!

Next up, a little hangin' around and waiting...

Kris Allen was up next, and he stole the show...well, almost.  He was very good, and quite the performer.  One of my favorites was The Truth which is quite a good number for sitting around and drinking a glass (or a few) of your choice beverage.

And finally, Maroon 5!!  I don't even know what to say, except for they were just amazing!  They opened with Misery, and it was even more impressive live.  I don't think I will ever listen to that song the same way. 

My sister and I decided that the key to an excellent concert is knowing the songs, and I think we probably sang every syllable of every single songs.  There was even some unmentionable dancing by our fellow concert mates that kept us quite entertained distracted.  

We danced until our feet and legs were little aching with the pain of an superb party combined with less than superb shoes (in terms of comfort, not style) but it really was a blast.  We drove back to the city playing my sister's Maroon 5 mix and reliving every hilarious and amazing moment.

My sister and I had so much fun that we decided we would concert every year, and I'm pretty sure I'm already thinking about who were are going to see next.  If you have been to a concert lately (or ever if you are like me) I whole heartedly suggest making the move.  I am so thankful that G decided he couldn't make it, and that I was able to party with my sister Maroon 5 style!