Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving Recap

I freaking love The Biggest Loser. Can I just say that??? Jillian is such a rockstar.

Now onto the recap.

Doug and I headed to Ft. Worth for a quick two and a half day trip home for Thanksgiving. It was sooo great to spend time with family, see some friends, and eat some great Tex Mex food that we'd been missing out here. It was great.

Looking ahead: Doug has 2 more weeks of class, then finals, then we are heading to FLORIDA for Christmas! Yea!

As promised, my friend Rach posted the pics from the girlfriends trip we had a few weekends ago. Indulge me as I post a few of my favorites:

The END!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Comfort Soup

It's been quite the weekend. Doug and I had some great quality time together after he got back from the real estate competition in Austin. (His team placed third, yeah!)

Sunday as we were driving to church I saw a text message from a former co-worker and friend saying that another co-worker and friend, Debbie, passed away that morning. I first mentioned about her here and since that time her health somewhat turned a corner, but never fully.

Heavy, heavy, heavy.

Crazy to think how life changes so suddenly, unexpectedly.

Several years ago, Debbie shared a fantastic tortilla soup recipe with me that I have made over and over. I haven't served it to a single person who didn't love it. I actually randomly made it Friday and we ate it all weekend. I have always thought of Debbie when I make this soup and I always will. I actually have a pot on the stove right now simmering because there's a soup lunch cook-off tomorrow at work. (By the way, it's so easy, as long as you have a can opener you can pull this recipe off.)

Sometime over the holidays make this soup and share it with people you love. I firmly believe good meals shared with friends can be healing and that life happens around the dinner table!

Debbie's Tortilla Soup
3 large cans chicken
1 small onion, diced
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups water
2 cans tomato sauce
1 can Rotel tomatoes with green chiles
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can Ranch style beans (any combination of your favorite beans works here)
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 tbs ground cumin
2 tbs chili powder
salt and pepper to taste

Add all the ingredients in a soup pot, and bring to a boil, stirring to blend ingredients. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until onions are clear (about 20 min.) Serve with your favorite tortilla chips and top with cheddar or jack cheese and avocado slices. It's even better the second day. :)

*Sending love and prayers to the Puett family.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Happy Birthday Calvin Klein!

Today Calvin Klein turns 68. Now, I don't consider myself a fashionista but I do think it's worth noting the influence he's had on pop culture. So to celebrate, dust off your old pair of Calvins and wear them proudly!

Does anyone else remember when this was THE perfume to be wearing in high school?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Quick Weekend Recap/

This should be more accurately titled, "a smattering of my thoughts in no particular order."

I am currently consumed (only slightly) with jealousy because Doug hopped a flight today back to Austin. He and a team from the biz school are competing in a real estate competition hosted at UT. (University of Texas, not Tennessee.) He called and said he introduced his buddies to Hula Hut for lunch today (yum). So I am a single gal for a few days. Why yes, I am currently watching coverage of William and Kate. :)

To recap the past few days: my long weekend staycation was soo needed! It was great to be with my girls. We hit up many of the tourist-y things Nashville has to offer: Pancake Pantry, Belle Meade Plantation, took line dancing lessons at the Wildhorse Saloon, laughed at the wanna-be stars doing karaoke downtown, shopped in Franklin, saw Morning Glory, and went to the Gaylord Opryland the day it re-opened after the floods. It was fabulous, every last second. I am a terrible blogger because I literally took 3 pictures the entire weekend. One of the gals Rach is a professional photographer so I will post hers when I get them back! We took about a zillion photos.

In the meantime as soon as the girlies left town it's like Nashville decided it was winter. I am so glad I bought those rain boots because they have come in handy this week. Doug surprised me for my birthday with the London Fog cheetah rain coat that I had been eyeing. There is nothing that makes gray cold days more bearable than fabulous winter accessories.

Since my family is traveling for Christmas (nothing says Merry Christmas like Mickey and Minnie at Disney World) we are going minimalist on the presents this year. I was browsing for different things to add to my wish list. I've been looking for several months now for the perfect faux fur vest and lo and behold today I found it!

Don't get too attached, Gap made this vest for babies and this adorable dress that would be perfect for New Year's was made for girls! Boo, Gap. The search continues...

While it's cold out in case you were already thinking ahead to spring, the color gurus at Pantone released their hottest shades for 2011 during New York's fashion week. Here they are in their glory:
Love them all. Happy evening everyone!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Early weekend + a Texas-sized blog shout out

Good morning everyone! I couldn't be happier because it's like today is my Friday - I am taking off tomorrow and next Monday to be with my girlies who are coming in town today!! We have a few activities lined up and plenty of time to just do nothing.

Today, hop (or click) on over to one of my favorite bloggers, Allison from Smart and Sassy with Sprinkles. She featured me on her "Happy Lately List" so show her some blog love! Allison is on her own adventure with her husband, earlier this year they moved from Texas 2 Chicago. I just adore her attitude and of course her style! I feel honored to be on her blog!

I am feeling like today is a two cup of coffee kind of morning. Anyone else? Happy Friday err, Thursday!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


You know how there are like a zillion online contests out there to sign up for? I am the person who will enter every contest because, hey, you just never know. Well, today was my lucky day because my favorite photographer/slash/designer, Kayla Barker of Spink Studios, picked me to win free custom-designed Christmas cards! Hooray! And if you've been reading this blog, you know I've been writing about Christmas cards since September.

Kayla is a fabulous graphic designer and a wonderful photographer...plus she sells Stella & Dot and has a t-shirt business, there's really nothing she doesn't do! She's based in Midland but pretty much travels everywhere, destination weddings included! We had her design our wedding invitations, programs and save the dates. She knew exactly what I was looking for in the design:

Kayla also took anniversary pics for Doug and I. We had a blast hanging out with her and her husband in Dallas one afternoon for the shoot! You might recognize some of these photos I've used on my blog before.

Kayla is super fabulous and I can't wait to have her design us some Christmas cards! Check her out: www.spinkstudio.com

Monday, November 8, 2010

Chattanooga: Scenes from the Weekend

When arrived at our hotel in Chattanooga Friday night (which I will say wasn't the fanciest and we didn't pay top dollar for), we were pleasantly surprised to find they had upgraded our room to one with an in-room jacuzzi and they had left candy bars and a birthday card for me. Thanks, Courtyard by Marriott!

Saturday morning we started our day of Tennessee outdoor-ness with a trip to Ruby Falls. It's an underground cave with a giant waterfall at the end.

Before the adventures started.

Plus or minus 1,000 feet underground.

Stalactites and stalacmites. Quick, can anybody tell me the difference?

This was the waterfall at the end of the underground hike. Pictures don't really show how awesome it really is.

At Lookout Mountain.

There were a lot of Chilean miner jokes made on our underground tour. I just liked the pink hat!

Pretty or what?
The hat was not for style, it was COLD!

Switching gears, after Ruby Falls, we continued up the mountain to Rock City. Doug wants me to point out here that Rock City is in Georgia. He got a kick out of that! The state line runs literally through a neighborhood along a street going up the mountain. Anyway, the name Rock City is misleading, it's WAY cooler than it sounds, and it's much more than rocks. Think gardens and cliffs that lead you up a mountain to a view of 7 states all at once on a clear day.

Can you see 7 states in this picture?

They were starting to put up their Christmas decor at Rock City.

Fat Man's Squeeze

The lookout point. That area part way down with the railing is called Lover's Leap. #nothankyou

Another cool waterfall.

And more Christmas decor!

Then we headed to the Chattanooga Nature Center and did a drive-through nature trail. After several hours of walking and hiking, driving was nice.

Random bamboo in Tennessee along the drive.

Later Saturday night, we had dinner at a tapas restaurant that was quite delicious. I thought Chattanooga was going to be more or less small town country, but I was impressed with their downtown area, and the lofts and restaurants they have. Thumbs up all around! Sunday morning we headed to this crafts fair before brunch. Twist my arm... This doesn't really show it well at all but it was all very hip and etsy-like art. I got a necklace made out of recycled t-shirts. She made it for me on the spot after I requested the colors I wanted.

Modeling my t-shirt necklace.

We ate brunch at Food Works. $1 mimosas and cinnamon apple-stuffed pancakes. YES please! The food was picture-worthy:

Just before heading home! We had a great time!