Monthly Archives: December 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all of you!! Hope you have amazing plans tonight with people you love. Take a minute to reflect on 2011 and then say hello to 2012!! This is sure to be the best year yet…

I am ringing in the New Year with these beauties (and an amazing shoe photo shoot thanks to my oh-so talented hubby!!). I can’t wait to get my dance on, hope these shoes can last as long as the party does tonight…

What are your New Year’s Eve plans? Oh, and what are you wearing on your feet?!

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Appetizer Time!

Phew, it has been a mad rush of holiday events, but I am back! Christmas was fantastic, as usual, and it was a shock this week being back in the real world (and not filling myself up with fudge).

One of my favorite things about holiday parties is being able to bring appetizers to share with friends and family. I love making new things and I especially love seeing people enjoy the foods I made (and laughing on the inside as people enjoy the gluten free items unknowingly – gluten free can be amazing too!). Here is my newest adventure in the appetizer world: Goat Cheese, Cranberry, and Walnut Canapes; perfect for your next party or even a fancy night in!

Goat Cheese, Cranberry, and Walnut Canapes

I am in lust with Whole Living magazine. Phenom. Awesome ideas, inspirational stories, and delicious foods! This recipe is from Whole Living online.

Ingredients

8 oz goat cheese
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
24 slices of a baguette
fresh thyme
salt and pepper
olive oil

Directions

Go crazy and chop up some walnuts. You want them to be big enough to use as toppers, but small enough to fit in one bite. Toss them with the cinnamon, some salt and pepper, and olive oil until coated. Layer on to a baking sheet and toast for about 8 minutes at 350° to 375°. I used 375° for about 5 minutes, but I think that lower and slower might be better!

Slice your baguette thin and layer on the same baking sheet once the walnuts are out of the oven. Wipe generously with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Pop these in the oven for about 12 minutes – careful not to burn! Crunchy is good but just a few minutes too long could be disastrous. (See below, I was close to disaster!)

While the baguette is toasting up, mix the cranberries, chopped thyme, goat cheese and a few tablespoons of water in a large bowl until smooth. This recipe called for 1 teaspoon of thyme but I did not think it was enough; use your judgement!

Once the bread is cool spread the goat cheese mixture on each slice and then top with walnuts and thyme. Refrigerate if making ahead or serve immediately. Be sure to taste one (just one!).

Update: For those of you who are gluten free, I used Schar Baguettes and they worked perfectly!

Pinterest Wednesday

Pinterest Wednesday! So happy to be back, it is like coming home after a long trip! Pinterest has blessed me this holiday with food ideas, Christmas gifts, and distraction during the loooong days of waiting on the man in red (Santa!).

What Pinterest ideas are you loving now? I am linking up with The Vintage Apple for Oh, How Pinteresting Wednesday!

Source: google.com via Rachael on Pinterest

Source: data.whicdn.com via Asia on Pinterest

Source: flickr.com via Maryann on Pinterest

 

Pinterest Wednesday: Bucket List

Pinterest Wednesday rounding out the new year! We have only two Wednesdays left in 2011 and I am already thinking of resolutions! With New Years resolutions comes a list of wonderful things I would love to do. Here are some fun pins about amazing things I want to do some day! Linking up with The Vintage Apple for Oh, How Pinteresting Wednesday!

What is on your bucket list?

Source: life123.com via Tanya on Pinterest

Source: google.com via Meggs on Pinterest

Source: google.com via Rachel on Pinterest

Source: etsy.com via Angela on Pinterest

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Versatile Blogger Award

First, thank you thank you to Ashley at Lifevesting for nominating LeahMarieV for this award! Oh Happy Monday, definitely put a smile on my face!

The rules for the Versatile Blogger award:

  • Nominate 15 fellow bloggers.
  • Inform the bloggers of their nomination.
  • Share 7 random things about yourself.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  • Add the Versatile Blog Award logo on your blog post.

So… 7 random things about me? Here goes!

1) I have a problem throwing magazines away. I purge everything, but magazines? No sir, can’t part with them. I try. I organize in to keep and throw piles… and then I can’t do it!

2) I shop online a lot. I fill up my cart with wonderful goodies that I don’t need and then I leave them there. Just the shopping makes me happy – I rarely buy. (but I always begin the extravaganza thinking I will buy!)

3) I am too afraid to ride my husband’s motorcycle. I was on it once just down the street and I can’t get back on.

4) I love olives of every kind. Stuffed with cheese. Spiced up with garlic and oregano. Kalamata. I could eat an entire jar. Every day.

5) I talk to my dog like she is a person 90% of the time. I ask her questions and tell her my thoughts. I am happy she doesn’t respond.

6) I will make an extra trip up or down the steps to make sure the light switches are facing the same direction. Drives me nuts when some are up and others are down!

7) I only use natural cleaning products in my home, including laundry detergent.  I am not sure when this started, I just noticed that one day that is all I had in the house. Seems like a good habit!

Sending love to 15 amazing bloggers and nominating them for the Versatile Blogger award also:

Jessica from Little Baby Garvin
Stacie at SmartyPosh Blog
Michelle from The Vintage Apple
Emily, writer, author, chef at Dish&Tell
Jenn, host of Party of 3
Claudia from Casa de Berry
Erin from Olive Our House
Stephanie (who did a guest post at LeahMarieV here!) from Femmena Mala
Liz Marie from Liz Marie Blog
Helen from Travel With Laughter
Christin from A Classy, Southern Wife
Sarah at SkinnyRunner
Holly at eight six eleven
Erin at The Sensitive Epicure
Last but not least, Miss Honey and Nutmeg, from Honey and Nutmeg!

Guest Post: DIY Christmas Wrapping

Holy smokes it is Christmas! Well, almost. What does that mean? Time to get in to a frenzy and wrap those presents. Ready. Set. Wrap! Tired of the same old paper and stick on gift tags? Then hold on tight!

I have a treat for you today: my friend for years and fellow blogger, Stephanie, is dropping by from Femmena Mala today for a guest post! She is super creative and her blog is nothing but fun. Check out her post on her amazing Christmas Wrapping (just in time for the holidays!) and be sure to stop in at her blog and say hello!

Thankful Thursday

It is so easy to get caught up in the whirl wind of the holidays and forget to take a minute and look around. I am working on remembering to live in the present – sounds silly, right? Think about it, how many times have you built up an experience, hoping it will be great, only to realize you were too focused on the outcome and missed the experience itself?

Maybe you don’t do this – congrats! I however need to work on this. Instead of always looking to the future and “what’s next?” I need to live. Right here. Right now.

So this Thursday I am taking a minute to remember the things I am thankful for and stop for a second to reflect on life, take a breath, soak it up, and smile because it is a good life.

I am so grateful for my family, husband, friends and the blessings we have been giving this holiday season. I am able to spend time with everyone this year and have even finished all my shopping already! I love the warm feeling in our house as the Christmas lights twinkle and the cats play with the bows on the gifts under the tree.

I am amazed at where I am right now in my life. Had you asked me where I would be even six months ago, I wouldn’t have guessed here. I have been able to travel and gain amazing friends this year and I have never loved a job like the one I have now. The experiences I have had this year are enough to be thankful for in a lifetime and it is important to stop and focus on those instead of the not-so-great things.

I am so lucky. I have the best husband and fur babies anyone could ask for. We are not ready for kids just yet, but this little girl makes me smile everyday. I need to remember to soak up every minute that I have to spend with my husband and our babies curled up on the couch, taking a walk, or raking leaves – the future doesn’t matter as much as enjoying these moments as much as I can.

Stop and take a moment to recall what you are thankful for today and remember to take in every moment as it comes. What takes your breath away?
Thankful Thursdays Button

Linking up with black tag diaries for Thankful Thursday.

Pinterest Wednesday

Pinterest Wednesday? Is that you? Could it be, are we half way through the week already?! Christmas leaves me wanting to give and give and give, but it also (I am embarrassed to say) makes me want presents too! My husband tried to get me to exchange our gifts this weekend and I almost gave in! Ever since I (hesitantly) said no I have been eager to find out what is under the tree and I almost can’t handle keeping his gifts secrets either. So here is a lusty Pinterest Wednesday post filled with things I want. Right. Now.

Linking up with The Vintage Apple for Oh, How Pinteresting Wednesdays!

Source: katespade.com via Leah on Pinterest

Source: etsy.com via Sarah on Pinterest

Source: westelm.com via Leah on Pinterest

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Casting Call!

Calling all bloggers with imagination, creativity, and an urge to write! I am on the look out for guest posters – just like you! Looking for something new and different for the readers and a way to connect with fellow bloggers?  You have found it! Drop me a line for some deets here – can’t wait to chat!

The Bar is Raised

I know, you’ve been waiting. Almost too long. But here it is – the big reveal of the breakfast bar and backsplash! I was hoping to wait and show you a picture perfect, clipped from a magazine kitchen but time has gotten away from me. And suddenly the kitchen has been sitting for weeks without new paint on the walls. I still think you will be impressed.

Do you remember what the bar looked like before? Check out the demo here.

Beautiful. Not!

So we ripped her out and put in a new one. Out with old and hello, baby in with the new! I decided to embrace the green (ish) hue of the counter and picked out a fancy new tile.

What do you think? I am in love. It is almost too pretty to use. Almost. The wainscotting or beadboard backsplash turned out way better than I even expected it to, and so cost effective!

We added crown molding which I highly suggest to anyone looking for a cheap way to add character to any room. We hadn’t thought of adding it before, but once we got on a renovation kick we couldn’t stop. Well, until we did.

Before and after:

It feels so fancy compared to what it was, but the molding calls for new paint on the walls to make it really pop.

Our windowsill is finally a sill and the trim detail around the window is perfection. My little plants will have room to breathe!

Simple touches and a lot of hard work and we have a brand new kitchen! We finished painting the bead board after I took this photo and the trim is now crisp white. I plan to paint the walls some sort of beige and one wall with a bright color to bring some crazy to the kitchen. What color would you choose?