Since My Last Post....

Wednesday night on my break at work I fell in love with this little guy! He's an Australian Labradoodle, and is such a little lover. The breeder was pulling him and another pup around in a little red wagon, and I was instantly in love! CAhusband is not such a fan of this fluffy breed, but I swear if he met him he would have been in love too. Unfortunately this dog is about as unfriendly to our bank accounts as a dog could be, so we're temporarily out of luck. : ( I still keep thinking about this sweet little guy though.
Me holding "Reilly's little brother"

Thursday morning we participated in a 5K walk/run (we walked, duh) for the local soup kitchen. There were about 1000 people who walked and we had perfect weather. It got to 80 degrees on Thanksgiving which was a change for us, and it was a wonderful day. After the walk CAhusband and I headed home to watch the parade and make my SIL's famous fondue to take to my parents. We then had a fabulous feast prepared by my mom and dad, and after dessert headed to some friends for cocktails to round out the night.

Me, CAhusband, my dad, and my mom in the Beer Gardens after the
walk on Thanksgiving Day
Friday and Saturday I was in retail HELL, enough said.
Sunday CAhusband and I had a fabulous day! After doing a serious deep clean on our apartment we went to lunch at Bouche Fine Food and then bought our first Christmas tree!! Although the sentiment in a real tree is nice, we just aren't real tree people (sorry) and found a great deal on our 7.5 ft pre-lit tree! Once we got home we set up the tree (CAhusband set it up, and I did the fluffing, which apparently is the "girl's job"), made Christmas sugar cookies, and watched UP. It was a fabulous day!
Fluffing the tree!
Today I ate about 7 sugar cookies and set out to complete our barren tree. I went to my parents and picked out my favorite ornaments to add to our tree, then had a great afternoon running errands with my mom. Our tree is now complete with matching glass balls, candy canes, a tree skirt (which I'm taking to get monogrammed tomorrow), a few new ornaments, and several nostalgic ornaments from my childhood.
Our almost finished tree
(Now that I see this picture, I'm realizing it's a little crooked)

I hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!


Recipe: Peanut Ginger Chicken

This recipe came from my MIL's friend Deb R. at one of my bridal showers. I've been dying to make it for awhile, and last week we finally got around to it!

1/2 c. boiling water
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
1/4 c. bottled chili sauce
3 T soy sauce
2 T cooking oil
2 T vinegar
4 cloves minced garlic
1 T grated fresh ginger
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
2-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Marinade: in a small bowl gradually stir the boiling water into the peanut butter. Stir in the chili sauce, soy sauce, oil, vinegar, garlic, ginger, and cayenne pepper. Cool.

Place the chicken in a plastic bag, pour marinade over chicken. Seal the bag; turn to coat chicken with marinade. Marinate in refrigerator for at least 12 hours or up to 24, turning the bag occasionally.

Cook on grill on using your preferred method for cooking chicken.

Not such a special picture, but this chicken was really yummy! We had rice and my favorite Trader Joes Birds Nests (they are essentially tempura battered and fried veggies).

-This recipes makes a lot of marinade. We only made 2 chicken breasts and I easily could have cut the recipe in half!
-We only had about 10 hours to marinate the chicken and it was fine and still very flavorful.
-This recipe also came with a Fresh Peach Salsa component that we didn't get around to making. I think it would be really good though!


A Desert Hike

Yesterday morning my mom took us off into the desert for a morning hike! As I'm sure you predicted I was a little apprehensive because I'm the farthest thing from a "hiker" that I can think of, but it was so much fun! We left around 9 a.m. and it was a perfect Sunday morning.

We followed the trails through the desert mountains for about an hour and a half on what was a perfect beginners hike. I think we definitely want to get back out and follow some other trails again in the future. CAhusband and I both really enjoyed it, and who knows, maybe it was the beginning of a new hobby for us to enjoy together!


Monday Randomness

Well, this is a post of total randomness, so here goes nothing!

-I'm a little devastated that Carrol Hannah came in 3rd on Project Runways finale last Thursday! I honestly think everyone did a good job, but she is just so darn sweet I really wish she would have won! Further proof that I'm not the only one who covets her designs; check out Carrie Underwood's outfit from the AMA's last night, which is oh-so similar to one of Carrol's finale dresses! Yes, a little revamped with hot pants for better Cowboy Casanova dancing, but super cute nonetheless!

-Now that we're entering the holidays, and it is almost January, I am currently daydreaming of the upcoming American Idol season! Yes, I used to HATE this show, but my mom and in-laws got me hooked, and now I'm obsessed. If you read this little bloggy, and do not like American Idol, you might just want to remove me from your favorites, because I'm planning on giving a full rundown of my favorites, votes, etc. every Wednesday and Thursday! (Don't judge)

-We finally purchased a table and chairs last night and are super excited! That is all you'll hear about it though (no seeing allowed) until it's all set up and decorated just for your viewing pleasure.

-Next week I plan to devote my blog to my every Christmas wish and desire! Yup, the kid in me who circled every item on almost every page of the American Girl catalog is back! Next week each day will come with a specific theme! I'm excited already!



Project Runway Finale Tonight!

Although I feel that this season of Project Runway has been pretty boring, I'm pretty excited about the finale tonight! I don't know if the challenges just weren't as exciting or outrageous, or if the characters weren't as fabulous (hello Christian Siriano), but this season has left me longing for the days of seasons past.

Anyways, despite the lackluster season we have watched over the past few months, I'm pretty pleased with the final 3, and am confident I picked them all from the get-go ; )!
Tonight, my pick Carol Hannah, is also a fan favorite (she's way ahead in all the fan polls on who will win). I love her girly and whimsical dresses, and I think she definitely has mass appeal. Althea and Irina are both great too, but Althea's style and mine don't quite align, and Irina is a B.I.T.C.H!

This is Carol Hannah's design that was chosen as her "judge's favorite" from this season!

Part 2 of the Project Runway season finale airs tonight on Lifetime! I'm super anxious to see who will win! Any other readers out there watching? Who do you think will win??



4 Months In...

As of today CAhusband and I have been married for 4 months! Again, I'm amazed at how quickly the time has gone, and it's been a great month!

-We still haven't made too much progress in the furniture/home decor department, but we have at least finally purchased a media stand!! We have made huge strides in deciding on a table, chairs, and bar stools; and are hoping to get an order placed this weekend (especially since I just got a 15% off coupon for Crate and Barrel with our newest catalog). If all goes as planned I'm hoping to have pictures of a table and chairs by 5 months!

-We're looking forward to our first Thanksgiving and Christmas as a married couple, and are excited to start our own traditions together. We've already purchased a few small Christmas gifts, and are looking to make some serious progress in the gift department soon! Luckily most people have actually been giving us gift ideas which makes it so much easier. (If you're reading this and know we'll be purchasing a gift for you and you haven't given us any ideas- this is your cue to do so, and do it promptly).

-Unfortunately my work schedule has shifted to mainly evenings, so I haven't been cooking quite as much as I would like to. In another upcoming post I'll explain how my work situation will be changing soon, so I'm hoping that this holiday season I'll be able to get back to my cooking/baking practice (yes, we're still calling it practice). Luckily, CAhusband is very helpful in the kitchen, and has been happy to start dinner for us on my way home most evenings.
The next month will mean big things for us as we enter the holiday season, so stay tuned!
Happy Wednesday everyone, and thank God Modern Family will be back on this week!


Christmas Ornaments

Okay, well now that Thanksgiving is almost here, CAhusband and I need to start thinking about Christmas decor. We majorly failed when it came to Halloween decorations and didn't even carve a pumpkin, but I'm seriously hoping we'll follow through with our Christmas decor plans!

First off, we need a tree!!!! I'm not looking forward to dropping a few hundred dollars (do they really cost this much? I heard they do!) on a plastic tree, but we can't NOT have a Christmas tree, and at least they last for years and years. Then come the lights, tree skirt, and ornaments!

Now, the ornaments are where we really get excited! We have about 3 Christmas ornaments that I can think of, 1 I got from my Grandma Briggs last year, 1 we got as part of a wedding gift, and 1 we bought in St. John on our Honeymoon. Now, don't get me wrong, I have years and years of ornaments that currently reside in my parents ornament box, that I will be ransacking shortly, but here are a few ornaments I saw recently at Hallmark that might be worth adding! : )

CAhusband and I both love the movie Christmas Vacation, and I laughed out loud when I saw this ornament at Hallmark last week. Not so sure the whole RV as an ornament thing is the look I'm going for, but it's funny nonetheless!
This one is a definite must have! This ornament is an open book that has a Wild Thing and Max coming off of the page. I have a similar one that I got from my Grandma last year that is of Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar, so I must add this one to my collection. I know it's a kids book, but I love it, and I can always use them in my future imaginary classroom if I want.
Last week I stopped at Home Goods in hopes that I would be able to find lots of cute ornaments for cheap, but they were all hideous and obviously left over from last year for a reason. I'm thinking about hitting up Target and Crate and Barrel soon, but do you know of anywhere else that has good ornaments? Our future tree is in serious need of some bling....


We Need Some Doggy Xanax

As if Reilly being afraid to walk outside of our apartment wasn't annoying enough, we now have a new problem. A HUMMINGBIRD FEEDER! Yes, you read that correctly, our 68 lb. boxer is now petrified of a hummingbird feeder outside of our window!

About a month ago, while making a some random purchases at Target, we found a cute little glass hummingbird feeder, and thought it would be perfect to hang in the tree outside our window. We have quite a few hummingbirds around our place, and the tree is right outside Reilly's window (where she sits and looks outside), and we thought she would love to watch the little birds. Turns out she did love it, she would eagerly watch the birds and follow them happily... UNTIL YESTERDAY!

Now I'm not sure what went down with the hummingbirds and feeder yesterday while we were away at work, but now Reilly WILL.NOT.EVEN.WALK.OUT.THE.DOOR!!!!!!!! We literally have to DRAG her out the door to go to the bathroom, and even then she's scared to death and goes to the bathroom as fast as possible, then RUNS back inside (while shrinking down as low as she can and looking the other way when we walks past the hummingbird feeder).
Seriously, I no longer think we have a 4 year old dog on our hands.... we have a GIGANTIC CHICKEN!!!!

We've since moved the humming bird feeder, but it's not helping! I think a trip to the vet for some anti-anxiety medicine is our next step.... Grrrreeeeaat!



Recipe:: Chicken and Goat Cheese Pizza with Fresh Herbs

Okay, this is a major blog FAIL because there's no picture with this post! My justification for no picture is simple- there wasn't one with the recipe on the website (which I hate), and by the time we finished it and I yelled, "wait I need to grab my camera to take a picture," CAhusband was so hungry that waiting any longer to eat simply wouldn't be tolerated!

Despite no picture, this pizza was so good I just had to share it. Just imagine a pizza with pesto and lots of goat cheese (ahhh, goat cheese).

Here's the Recipe for Chicken and Goat Cheese Pizza with Fresh Herbs:
from Health magazine, via myrecipes.com

Vegetable cooking spray
1 pound whole-wheat pizza dough
1/2 cup (1/2-inch-thick slices) portobello mushrooms
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup bottled pesto
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup skinless, boneless, shredded rotisserie chicken
1/2 cup fresh sweet corn kernels
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1. Preheat oven to 425°.
2. Lightly coat a round perforated pan with vegetable cooking spray, or put a pizza stone in the oven while it preheats. Place pizza dough on a lightly floured surface, and roll it into a 12-inch circle. Place dough on prepared pizza pan or stone, and bake for 5 minutes.
3. While the crust is baking, coat a small nonstick skillet with vegetable cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, 4–5 minutes or until softened and lightly browned; set aside.
4. Spread the pesto over warm crust, leaving a 1/2-inch edge. Sprinkle pepper evenly over crust, and top with chicken, corn, mushrooms, and goat cheese. Bake 12–15 minutes or until crust is cooked through and cheese is golden brown. Remove from oven, and sprinkle with basil. Cut into 8 wedges; serve hot.

Our adjustments to the recipe:

-We used a pre-made thin crust pizza crust that we love in order to save time! This altered the baking time, we just followed the directions on the crust we purchased.
-We added some sliced red onions to the mushrooms and also added a little butter to help saute them and give them some flavor.
-We used about 3 ounces of goat cheese, instead of 2! We love ourselves some goat cheese, and since there wasn't any other cheese on this pizza, it wasn't overwhelming at all.
-We also just bought sweet corn kernels in a can, instead of fresh corn. It was just as good!

(hahah, funny that all of our adjustments likely made this pizza more unhealthy)




My Footwear Obsession!

Ohhhh, they're back!!!

I have been obsessed with these JCrew slippers every year (well, the last 2 years) and I'm so glad they're back this winter. They always release them in different colors with a different kind of bow. Although I like the look of last years slippers a little more, I'll definitely be stocking up on another pair soon! I literally wear these slippers to death. If I'm at home, I am in these comfy slippers until the second I walk out the door. I love them so much that I accidentally wore them to school last year, ha!

Now, how to decide on the color. I really like this pink color, but am not really a "pink" girl, and I'm afraid that they'll stain and look "worn" a little sooner because of the lighter color.

Shearling Mocs with Metallic Bow in shore pink, $50
Maybe I should stick to the darker camel color again. I think they'll resist staining a little more!

Shearling Mocs with Metallic Bow in camel, $50

This next pair of slippers is super cute too! I love the look, but something tells me that without a shearling lining they wouldn't be nearly as comfortable!

Metallic Wool Ballet Slipper in heather dusk, $58

Unfortunately, JCrew has made both of these styles online/catalog only this season, which is a major pain! I think I'll try to wait it out a little longer though, because these usually go on sale. Especially since they're online only this year, I would expect these to be way cheaper by Christmas!



Recipe: Grilled Fusion Chicken

Despite the large number of cookbooks that I now have, I find myself loving myrecipes.com and epicurious.com! You can use both of these websites to search for recipes from popular magazines, and can then hold them in your online recipe file. Myrecipes.com provides all of the recipes from Cooking Light, Sunset, Real Simple, and more; while epicurious.com features the recipes from Gourmet and Bon Appetit.

This recipe for Grilled Fusion Chicken is from Sunset, and was found by searching "chicken recipes". Those of you who know me well probably are laughing right now, because chicken has been one of the few staples in my diet forever! What can I say, I like chicken, and it's the one thing I'm comfortable cooking!

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup garlic-infused olive oil (you can also use 1/2 c. olive oil with 2 teaspoons minced garlic)

2 tablespoons each tequila and fresh lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground dried chipotle chile
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
Chopped cilantro (optional)

1. Pound chicken to 1/4-inch thickness. In a shallow dish, whisk oil, tequila, lime juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire, ginger, chile, and salt. Reserve 1/3 cup of this marinade, then put the chicken in dish, turn to coat, and marinate 30 minutes.
2. Grill chicken on a charcoal or gas grill over medium heat (you can hold your hand 1 to 2 inches above grill level only 4 to 5 seconds), turning once, until cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes total.
3. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, simmer reserved marinade until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cream, then remove from heat. Serve chicken drizzled with sauce and garnished with cilantro, if you like. Serve extra sauce and a green salad on the side.
This was actually a really easy recipe, that both CAhusband and I enjoyed!

The Winter Wear I Won't Be Buying!

I have always loved when winter clothes come out, and I would search for one really cute coat, gloves that were so cute I couldn't possibly lose one of them, and an amazing scarf! Last year I wouldn't let myself splurge on any of these things (or really buy them at all) because I knew we were moving to the desert the following year and I simply wouldn't need any of them. This year is obviously no different... I can adore these super-cute coats, gloves, and scarves all I want, but purchase I CANNOT.

Here are the items I would be buying, given an imaginary unlimited budget and a much cooler and snowier climate!

Cashmere Squiggle Scarf, from Anthropologie $98

Elsa Gloves, from Anthropologie $78

I hope you're enjoying your cool (but hopefully not cold) November weather wherever you may be!



Fall Movies I Can't Wait to See

I feel like the whole movie scene has been pretty lame lately, as there haven't really been any movies that I've been dying to see (except for Where the Wild Things Are, which I've heard very mixed reviews about). Now with the holidays approaching, some great movies are premiering! Here are the movies I can't wait to see between now and Christmas Day!

Precious- Premieres November 6th: Although I'm so over Tyler Perry and Oprah (who are both behind this movie), I can't wait to see this movie. I've heard it's quite the emotional roller coaster, but ends well, and has Oscar worthy acting through and through, so this one is going on my Must See list!

The Blind Side- Premieres November 20th: Sandra Bullock has been playing some pretty strange rolls lately, but I think the role of a mother from the south actually suits her in this movie. The story in this movie seems so heartwarming... I can't wait to see it! CAhusband might actually see this one with me too!

New Moon- Premieres November 20th: I didn't really care much for the movie Twilight, although I'm a sucker for the vampire drama in the books. Who knows if this movie will be better than the first, but I still definitely want to see it just to check it out!

It's Complicated- Premieres Christmas Day: From the second that I saw this movie being discussed on Entertainment Tonight a few months ago I thought it looked great. Something about it seemed very reminiscent of Somethings Gotta Give to me, which is one of my favorite movies ever, and I instantly wanted to see it. Little did I know, that the writer/director/producer (something like that, 2 out of the 3) are from Somethings Gotta Give, so we might just be in luck for another great and funny film!

What fall/holiday movies are you dying to see? I'm curious about Jim Carey in The Christmas Carol, but can't really get a good read on it, because all of the previews are about 10 seconds long and just show a fully make-up-ed Jim Carey flying through the air in a night gown.