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Thanks in advance and hope you are having a fabulous weekend!



thoughts for friday

Happy Friday!  Last weekend was a wonderful recharge for me and it was so needed before this LONG week of projects, meetings, interviews, etc.  Fingers crossed for another recharge weekend full of relaxing, checking things off the list, and CELEBRATING EASTER.  


As a brief aside, my perspective on Easter tends to get so skewed as a student- I inevitably wind up looking towards exams that are coming up in a few weeks instead of focusing on what I consider to be the most important holiday in my faith.  Let me just say that while I have loved the flexibility that being a student has afforded me, I am super excited to re-join the "real world" and hopefully to focus a little more on the things in life that mean so much more than any test or paper.  

With that perspective in mind, here are a few things that have brought a little extra joy this week, that I highly recommend trying, or that I am contemplating trying myself.  I bit of a mixed bag of "friday finds" and "thankful thursday" items if you will.  

Dogwoods are BLOOMING in our neighborhood.
Makes those chilly walks so much nicer!

photo credit to josh...xo

Tried to "recreate" the feeling of vacation with a little french patisserie visit in Raleigh.
My croissant didn't come with a view, but it was still a delicious mid-week pick me up.

paris  // j'taime

I LOVE these blue earrings and am contemplating them as a treat for myself.
Thanks to the ever stylish Lauren T for introducing them to me!

stella and dot

New workout tanks that wick but aren't too tight.
Why didn't someone think of this sooner?!


Delicious...no DELICIOUS rosemary sea salt bread.
Run to Fresh Market and grab some...it has made an appearance with most meals this week!

Happy Weekend everyone!  I hope it's a wonderful, relaxing time to focus on what matters most to you.


kitchen dreams

Hello Dears!  As you may know, we are moving back to Florida in May.  We have a house under contract and we could not be more thrilled.  Though the house has lots of wonderful features, it is also an older house that needs a little updating.  While many of our initial updates/improvements on the house will be not so fun (think new roof, attic insulation, etc.) I can't help but dream of an updated kitchen one day.

Luckily for me, I love looking for inspiration pictures and a fairly consistent theme has emerged over time.

I love gray and white granite with white cabinets...

wide plank, dark wood floors...


stainless steel appliances...

and a beautiful backsplash and unique lighting.

Any favorite sources for house inspiration?  I have a ways to go before our kitchen looks anything like these, but I love this period of planning and looking at beautiful pictures to get some ideas!



wedding registry: emile henry

Hello!  Sorry for the late post today.  I got my first taste of what the real world will be like after graduation when I had to be at a breakfast meeting in Raleigh at 8am.  I am going to miss my student schedule where my first class doesn't start until after 9am...

Continuing on my theme of wedding registry favorites, today I am excited to share Emile Henry bakeware.

emile henry

We added this to our registry on a whim and I am SO thankful that we did!  I use it almost everyday and it is so easy for cooking, baking and it is even cute enough to use on the table for serving. The color selection is great and the line has multiple shapes and sizes of bakeware to fit any need.  I especially love their bread pan- it is deep enough to make a large loaf of bread and the bread always bakes evenly.

emile henry

We registered for our Emile Henry at Williams Sonoma, but I imagine it is available at multiple kitchen stores.  Any other great registry items to share?



barefoot contessa: mustard and swiss batons

Staying with the theme from last Tuesday, today I give you another great appetizer recipe from Barefoot Contessa's Foolproof.  I will say that I did not follow the instructions exactly for this recipe (I am not a huge fan of measuring), but I think it would have been helpful- at least for the amount of mustard to use.  If you are like me (and you don't measure exactly) and your batons still need a little kick, just serve with a side of mustard dipping sauce.  Let me know what you think!

Mustard and Swiss Batons
Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa, Foolproof

  • Flour for dusting cutting board
  • 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed and very cold
  • 3 Tbs. dijon mustard
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tsp water for egg wash
  • 3 ozs. swiss cheese, grated (original recipe calls for gruyere, but due to expense, I used swiss)
  • 2 Tbs. parmesan cheese
  • Flaked sea salt for sprinkling
  1. Unfold sheet of puff pastry on a well floured board and roll it into an 11x13 inch rectangle with a rolling pin.  
  2. With a shorter end of the pastry closer to you, brush the lower half of the pastry evenly with mustard, leaving 1/2 border around the edges.  Brush the border of the pastry with egg wash and fold the top half over the bottom half, lining up the edges.  
  3. Place pastry on sheet pan and chill for 15 minutes.
  4. Place the pastry on a board and trim the three irregular edges with a sharp knife.  With the folded edge away from you, cut the pastry into 1x6 inch strips.  You should have 10-12 "batons."
  5. Brush the top of the batons lightly with egg wash (don't let it drip down the sides) and sprinkle evenly with swiss, parmesan, and 11/2 tsp. seal salt.  Chill for at least 15 minutes.
  6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400.
  7. Bake the batons for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown and puffed.  Allow to cool on pan for 3 minutes and serve warm.  


weekend scenes

After my post last Friday about using the weekend to knock some things off the "to do" list, I am thrilled to report that I made a dent!  Worked on my bar application, almost finished my financial management project...check and check.

The best part of the weekend was that I had time to ENJOY it.  It was one of those weekends where you just take a deep exhale because you are staying home for the first time in a while.  It was one that I hope will recharge me for this week.  

Here are a few of the highlights:

Had to leave the house for a few hours for our buyer to come through with a contractor.  Perfect excuse to try out the new bakery in town...Rise.  It was delicious and as you can see, we had a tough time making a decision.  Since I am trying to "limit my sugar intake" (something I do such a great job of as you can tell), we literally tried a bite or two of each and then called it a day.  Worth the sugar rush for sure...but I still couldn't tell you which was my favorite!

chocolate pudding with toffee :: pineapple with basil cream and pistachios ::  apple turnover :: chocolate coffee cake
After we hit the bakery, we still had some time to kill so I ran into Target.  All I can say is run don't walk to your nearest store- they have these shirts in lots of colors- can we say splendid knockoff?  I got the yellow, but I am thinking I will go back for more- you know me and buying things I love in a variety of colors!
don't mind the look of intense concentration...still trying to master the art of photographing myself in a mirror!
Saturday night we headed to Raleigh for dinner with our newlywed friends Orla and Dara.  They just moved into an adorable house near downtown and we loved getting to see a little bit of their new life.  We had a delicious dinner and got caught up... AND we even found a new crowd-pleasing white wine- definitely worth a try.

orla and annie

kim crawford :: sauvignon blanc

Sunday after church it was cold and raining and Josh and I decided to treat ourselves to brunch.  We finally got to try the french restaurant we tried to go to a few weekends ago and it was excellent.  Sunday brunch is definitely the way to go- sweet and savory options, good coffee, and fresh french bread means you can't go wrong.

crepe breton with egg and goat cheese
All in all it was a great weekend.  My Barbri books did come in the mail and as I mentioned in an instagram post...no filter in the world can make these look better.  To temper my dismay at how high the books stack, I grabbed these chocolate bars at Fresh Market.  Chocolate makes everything better and these just might be some of the best I have had in a long time- snag some next time you are in the mood for a treat (and then email me to ask how my cutting back on sugar is going!)

no caption can make this look better either...


How was your weekend?  Did you do anything to help you recharge for the week?



friday randoms

Happy Friday!  I am so thankful for this weekend, but probably not for the usual reasons.  I can't wait for the weekend because it marks two whole days without meetings or other distractions- two whole days to get down to checking some of the major things off my "to do" list.  First order of business, starting my bar exam application.

I'm not sure what it is, but this week has sucked the energy out of me.  It could be that we are one month until exams (which also means one month until major life transitions like graduation and moving,) or it could just be that I am desperate for some spring weather.  Whatever the case, this week has been a massive effort/attempt at remaining positive and energetic.  Here are a few of the things I have been using to help get me through:

pellegrino and lime
Not sure what it is about the combination of sparkling water and lime, but one sip makes me feel calmer...almost like I'm on a beach somewhere...almost.  

image / image / image
While I haven't employed this technique yet, I am loving the idea of navy blue eyeliner.  This was big several years ago, but I think it is the perfect pop for spring.  I will be getting some this weekend to disguise my tired eyes...look for a review in a few days.

Strange as it sounds, using brightly colored pen/markers makes almost any task more enjoyable.  I literally use them everyday- and in every class or meeting.  From writing a grocery list, to editing a paper- doing it in hot pink or lime green just keeps things interesting!

Finally, I love this quote.  It is simple, true, and so important to keep in mind.  This is definitely my mantra for the next few weeks.

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!


sugar and beauty?

Hello!  We are waking up to possible flurries (albeit, very small flurries) today and I can't help but think WHAT?!?!  It's spring, it's March, and I am ready for flip flops.  C'est la vie.

I will never claim to be a beauty expert, but I have been thinking lots about skin care lately.  I think I come by it honestly though having fair skin, freckles, and growing up in Florida.  I know lots of friends who are raving about Rodan + Fields products, I have tried Obagi, and lots of people swear by nothing more than a bar of dove soap.

While I certainly can't claim to have a magic formula, I did hear something on the radio last night that I want to put into practice- cutting back on sugar.  The report I heard said that eating excess sugar can lead to more rapid aging and wrinkles.  Apparently, if you can limit yourself to one sugary treat each day, you can reverse the effects of excess sugar in as little as two months.  While I can't back this claim up with real research or personal experience, I think it is an interesting proposition for overall health that has an added skin bonus! What more could I ask for?!

I will say I am also intrigued by Caudalie lotions.  I got a tiny sample of some of their anti aging line premier cru and my skin has never felt so smooth and hydrated.  While I am tempted by it, the price tag is steep and not something I can bring myself to do quite yet.  For now I am loving every little bit of my sample size and dreaming of the day I when I might make a salary...


Do you all have any great skin care tips?  I am most interested in anti-aging products, but I would love to hear how any tips about how you all stay looking gorgeous!



wedding registry: cutting boards

Good Morning.  For the next few weeks, I thought I would share some of my kitchen favorites during the wedding registry series.  While there are TONS of fun kitchen items to put on a wedding registry, items in the wedding registry favorites are tried and true and will remain in my kitchen for years to come.

To kick off the "favorites" series, I give you Williams Sonoma Flexi Cutting Boards.  There is seldom a meal I make that does not require a cutting board, and these are the best.  They come as a package of four, meaning you won't need to stop during a meal to wash your cutting board.  As an added bonus, they are made of flexible plastic and they can be thrown in the dishwasher to ensure a true clean.  (Not something I ever feel certain of with some of my wooden options.)  Last but not least, they have a sticky grip on one side so they won't slip while you are slicing and dicing.


Brides, add these to your registry today.  They are an excellent price point and they are something you will use constantly.  What are some of your kitchen favorites?



barefoot contessa: tuscan mashed chickpeas

Good morning!  As promised in yesterday's post, here is one of the delicious appetizers I made for our long weekend in the mountains.  My mother-in-law has been raving about the newest Barefoot Contessa cookbook, Foolproof, and I flipped through her copy while we were in the mountains.  One of the recipes that immediately caught my eye was this delicious spread.  I had to make a few changes/adaptations since I didn't have all of my kitchen gear (against Ina's firm directions), but it still turned out great and was a definite crowd pleaser.  Give it a try next time you need a quick, warm appetizer.  

Tuscan Mashed Chickpeas

  • 2 (15 oz.) cans chickpeas
  • 1/2 C. chicken stock (I used chicken broth)
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • 2 ripe, medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (I used the pre-minced kind from the grocery store)
  • 1/4 C. parmesan cheese (I actually forgot to add this in the original taste test and it was still delicious.  So, if you are dairy free- feel free to exclude.)
  • 3 Tbs. minced parsley
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • Grilled Country Bread
  1. Pour chickpeas into a collander and rinse them under cold water.  Drain well.  Place chickpeas in the bowl of a food processor.  Add the chicken stock and pulse until the chickpeas are coarsely chopped but not pureed. (I used a blender very briefly and it turned out great.)
  2. In a medium saute pan, heat 3 Tbs. of olive oil over medium high heat.  Add tomatoes and saute about 3 minutes, or until tomatoes are soft.  Add garlic and saute 1 minute more.  Add the chickpeas, stirring to combine with the tomatoes and garlic.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until warm throughout.  
  3. Transfer chickpea mixture to a bowl and add chopped parsley, parmesan, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.  Drizzle with olive oil and serve warm or at room temperature with grilled country bread.
Grilled Country Bread: heat a gas or charcoal grill and toast bread for 2 minutes each side, until it's lightly brown.  (I did this on a griddle pan and just pressed down on the bread with a spatula to create a flatter, more grilled look.)



last spring break

Good Morning.  Last weekend was a big one...my last spring break as a student...ever.  I think it's finally safe to say I will be done with my schooling when I graduate in May, so this really was my last random break for the time being.

While I can't say I spent my break living it up on a beach somewhere, I had the most wonderful week and I am so thankful for the time I got with dear friends.

As a quick recap of the last week:

  • Put our house in North Carolina on the market...went under contract the first Saturday of break
  • Spent time in Florida with friends and family
  • Spent lots of time in Florida house hunting
  • Spent time in the mountains with law school friends

outdoor fire / mountain sunset
The last part of break was a great time to hang out with the law school friends we have made over the past three years.  While all of us will be in different states after we graduate, I am confident that we will remain close friends.  (The bonds formed during weeks of an 8:30am class and the stress of exams are quite enduring.)  

As a quick recap of our weekend celebration:

swiss mustard batons / saturday night dinner / beef tenderloin / tuscan chickpeas and grilled bread

We ATE, ATE, and then ATE some more.  As a result, salads and veggies are going to become VERY prevalent in our household over the next few weeks.  Check back for recipes soon.

wine tasting / whiskey tasting / a new find
Josh organized a blind wine tasting on Saturday night.  Each couple brought a bottle and we blindly tasted and ranked each.  While it was a close race, a malbec won the day.  The boys (and a few girls) were also so excited to do an "irish whiskey tasting" at the Old Edwards Inn in Highlands.  I'm still not sure how we talked the hotel into opening the tasting to us non-hotel guests, but we were thankful and the boys loved the free whiskey.
After all of our eating, we attempted to be active with a hike up Whiteside Mountain.  I can't say I am in the best hiking shape, but the views (and friends) made the climb worth the trip.

shopping in highlands / pj quadruplets / out to dinner / hiking

I couldn't help but post this collage of "girl pictures."  We laughed all weekend that we must all be friends - we kept showing up in almost identical outfits (including the pjs featured in this post.)  Great minds think alike ladies!  In all seriousness though, I am so thankful for all of you- the last three (and two KK) years would have been a much different adventure without each of you.  Love you all!

Last, I have to leave you with this picture of our mountain pup.  He was so happy to spend some time in the mountains and let his ears fly free!  Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!