Recent Posts

Friday, May 27, 2011

Salted Caramel Butter Bars

I spotted these salted caramel butter bars on Pinterest a few months ago, and had been waiting for a excuse to make them. I finally got the chance last weekend for the girls trip, and am pleased to report, they are just as wonderful as I had hoped. They're like a soft shortbread sandwiched with salted caramel... mmmmm, so good! Definitely rich, these bars are best served in small squares. Recipe and photos courtesy of Cookies and Cups, click here to try them yourself!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Free Printable Wedding Stationary

You know I love me some paper goods, and these free printables from The Wedding Chicks really hit the spot. They've partnered with fabulous designers to bring you fully customizable wedding stationary... for free! From save the dates to full invitation suites, menus to escort cards, they've got you covered. And the best part is, you can completely customize every aspect of the design, from type to graphics, to fit your exact color scheme! You just type in your info, select the colors for each aspect, and voila! Their system generates a high-resolution image with your details. Then you just right-click and save to your desktop, after which you can send the file to your printer. Seriously, this is a dream come true for brides on a budget. Take a peek at some of the designs!

And there's more fabulousness where that came from! Check out The Wedding Chick's download section for their full range. Many of the designs are available with coordinating save the dates to unify your wedding theme. Don't forget to drop by their DIY section, there's more great printables along with some fantastic projects. They've also got a lovely blog, so be sure to say hello and thank them for the free designs!

Of course, these printables aren't just for weddings. In fact, I've got my eye on the Sweet Love suite for a shower coming up!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Smokey Slow-Cooked Ribs

 I made these ribs for our Easter dinner, and have been dying to share them with you. So good, and so easy! I always forget to use my crock-pot for actual cooking (I mostly use it to keep food warm), but I then I make a recipe like this and fall in love with the fix-it-and-forget-it method. It's extra perfect for holiday dinners, when you already have a million and one other dishes to prepare. Not only are they ridiculously easy, but they are so good, really, crazy good. The hours in the crockpot serve to make them fall-off-the-bone tender (I mean it! I saw it happen!), and they are immersed in flavor. All that to say, make them. You won't regret it.

Smoky Slow-Cooked Ribs

3 1/2 lbs pork loinback ribs (also called babyback ribs)

1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
3 T. Liquid Smoke (Hickory flavor works well)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
1 medium onion, sliced
1/2 c. Coca Cola
1 1/2 c. BBQ sauce

Spray inside of 5-6 quart slow cooker with cooking spray. If necessary, remove inner skin from the ribs. In a bowl, mix together brown sugar, pepper, Liquid Smoke, garlic, and salt. Rub mixture onto all sides of the ribs. Cut ribs into 4 inch pieces, then layer ribs and onion in the slow-cooker. Pour Coca Cola over everything. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours, or until ribs are tender. Remove ribs from slow cooker, and discard liquid and onions. Pour BBQ sauce into a shallow bowl, and dip each of the rib pieces into the sauce. Return the ribs to the slow-cooker, and pour any remaining BBQ sauce over them. Cover and cook on low for 1 hour. Serve and enjoy! Serves 6.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Weekend Glimpse

The beach weekend with the girls was simply glorious. We relaxed, ate good food, enjoyed the hot tub, the beach, and each others company... a perfect min-vacation with no schedule to keep and no chores to worry about. It has been unanimously decided to make this trip an annual event.

The view from our little beach cottage...
calm waves, warm sun, cool breeze.

At Taco Boy in Folly Beach... apparently the place to party, judging by the neighboring groups. (which included a stuffed monkey wearing a sombrero and someone who found a bar stool very difficult to maneuver.)

Girl time often turns into a hair-braiding party.

 Our fabulous bronzed + burned group... love these girls!

Shopping in downtown Charleston, found a magnificent Urban Outfitters.

Breakfast at the Lost Dog Cafe in Folly Beach...
we waited nearly an hour to get in, and it was worth it.

Not pictured:
- good talks
- funny beach house decor
- late night run for ice cream + aloe
- fascinating eavesdropping on our beach neighbors
- silly stories and lots of laughter
- peanut butter M&Ms
- amusing incidents that I am not allowed to relate
- complete relaxation

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Happy Weekend!

My weekend is starting a little early, as I'm off for a mini-vacation at the beach with the girls! I am SO. EXCITED. We're going to have a blast enjoying the sun and sand, with plenty of late night chatter and giggling thrown in. I'll be back on Monday with some photos for you!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mane Message

I come to you today with a very girly subject: hair ties. I wear my hair in a ponytail about 80% of the time, but I'd never given much thought to these basic accessories. Then I spotted some beautiful handmade ones on Pinterest, and suddenly re-thought the lowly hair tie. Let's face it, scrunchies gave it their best shot but ended up looking kinda silly. Why not infuse little aspects of our life with beauty? So I clicked over to Mane Message, and dove into a sea of prettiness. See for yourself...

Fabulousness abounds! So not only are these accessories lovely, they are luxurious too... made of silky soft elastic. But the best part is, these hair ties are incredibly comfortable. They grip your hair securely without pulling or leaving harsh dents. Seriously, I didn't even realize how uncomfortable my old hair ties were until I tried these. Now I can never go back... plus I need one in every color! Good thing the prices are reasonable. ;-D

From Olivia Hayward, the creator of Mane Message:
Mane Message's hair ties transcend run-of-the-mill drug store hair elastics. They reinvent what it means to wear your hair up, thus making your overall look special, creative and noteworthy. Mane Message specializes in tie dye hair ties, tie dye headbands, solid hair ties, solid headbands and other bohemian-chic elastic hair accessories that double as bracelets. Mane Message hair accessories are handmade out of soft stretchy elastic that doesn't leave dents in your hair.

Check out the Etsy shop here!

I'll get off my soapbox now. This isn't a sponsored post, I just really love these hair ties and had to share.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Handmade Nation

It's starting to be that time of year... Indie Craft Parade time!

We are very excited to announce a special screening of the independent documentary, Handmade Nation!

Handmade Nation documents the new wave of art, craft and design that is capturing the attention of the nation. It is the feature film debut of director, author, artist and curator Faythe Levine. Levine traveled to 15 cities and covered more than 19,000 miles to interview artists, crafters, makers, curators and community members.

Director Faythe Levine captured the tightly knit community that exists through websites, blogs, and online stores that connect to the greater public through independent boutiques, galleries and craft fairs. Interviews were conducted on-location in artist studios, homes, boutiques, offices and craft fairs, giving the public an exclusive and rarely seen look into the lives of these creative individuals.

This screening is hosted by Indie Craft Parade in collaboration with Greenville Forward and The Warehouse Theater. Join us on Tuesday, May 31 at 6:30 pm; admission is $10 and space is limited! Reserve your tickets online here, or by calling 864-233-8443.

Birthday Glimpse

Technically, my birthday was the middle of last week,
but the partying went on for days, so I'll use this as my weekend post.

Cory made sure I had a marvelous birthday... he let me sleep in extra late, took me out to lunch, got me blush pink roses and my favorite FiggyWhigs cupcakes, and showered me with presents. Powdered food coloring! A whole stack of washi paper tape! A food scale! (He considered these things very silly, but it's what I wanted.) And I didn't take any photos, so just imagine it for me. It was all quite lovely.

Heather hosted a perfect little party with the girls, and she and Annie made these most scrumptious treats: Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes topped with whipped ganache and fresh blackberries.

 Heather made a marvelous dinner and had a very pretty table.

And then more lovely presents, including my new favorite scarf. But best of all was just hanging out with the girls... we have so much fun together, and I just love them all to pieces. We laugh so much, it should be illegal.

Other weekend festivities, not pictured:
- helping friends move, yay for new houses!
- porch-sitting
- music volume up and windows down
- bunny-watching
- planning
- glamorous ICP work (data-entry, woohoo.)
- laundry

Friday, May 13, 2011

Happy Weekend!

I hope you have a lovely weekend planned! 
Now that Blogger is fixed, I can relax and enjoy mine. ;-D

Source: via Erin on Pinterest

Fancy Fashion Wishlist

I seem to be gravitating towards a a cleaner look in fashion... or at least in my fashion wishlist. These items are mostly beyond the reach of my pocketbook, but a girl can dream!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Chalkboard Typography

Beautiful type makes my heart go pitter-pat,
and when it's on a chalkboard... I swoon.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Food Photography

One of my goals for this year is to improve my food photography skills. I love my camera, but I mostly sit back and let it do the work without any clue what is going on or how to make things better.

This is where Hélène Dujardin's new book, Plate to Pixel, comes in. One look at her marvelous food blog, Tartlette, and it's clear she is a master of food photography. Besides creating scrumptious recipes, she styles and shoots them perfectly. I haven't had a chance to start reading the book yet, but if it helps me to gain even a smidge of her talent, I will be delighted.

Check out this lovely video about Plate to Pixel...

Plate to Pixel Promo Video from Taylor Mathis on Vimeo.

Also! PW announced a FREE online food photography class for this weekend by the fabulous Penny De Los Santos. Penny is a very experienced photojournalist for Nation Geographic. Here's a couple shots from her extensive portfolio...

The class will air this May 13 – 15, 2011 from 1:00 - 8:00 pm EST each day. It's free to watch live, just register here. (If you can't watch live but still want to see the class, you can order a DVD for a fee.) I'm so excited about this, I'm going to try and catch as much of the workshop as I can.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Burgers

Allow me to introduce you to my new favorite burger... this baby is about to make your summer a whole lot more exciting. Moist and flavorful with a little kick of spice, just right for the summer heat.

Buffalo Chicken Burgers


1 lb. ground chicken
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 c. breadcrumbs
2 T. green onion, chopped
2 T. Louisiana-style hot sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1/4 tsp. salt

Basting Sauce:

3 T. Louisiana-style hot sauce
2 T. ketchup
1 T. butter, melted

In a bowl, combine all ingredients for burgers, mix well. Shape into 4 patties. Place on wax paper squares and refrigerate, covered, for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for basting sauce, mix well. Set aside.

Lightly oil grill. Preheat grill to High, then turn down to Medium heat. Use the wax paper squares to flip the burgers onto the grill, then peel off the wax paper. Cook for 10-12 minutes, flipping once. Brush the basting sauce onto each side while burgers are cooking. Serve hot on hamburger buns with a blue cheese or ranch dressing. Yield: 4 burgers.

- Ground chicken is a lot more fragile than beef. The breadcrumbs and egg help it to hold together, as does the refrigeration. The wax paper makes sure they don't fall apart as you place them on the grill.

- Make sure you use medium heat, a high heat will cause them to dry out.

- The burgers should not be pink inside. Safe internal temperature is 165 °F.

- Ground chicken is a little difficult to find (I get mine at Publix). Most grocery stores should have a small section of it, you just have to look hard. I promise it's worth the hunt! Though if you can't find it, I'm sure ground turkey would be fine. 

- I shape my patties using a 4 inch round cookie cutter as a mold... perfect size every time!

- These would be great topped with bacon or cheese!

- Parmesan Garlic Rolls pair perfectly as the buns.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Weekend Glimpse

Sorry for the lack of posting, it's been a little crazy around here lately. I have lots of lovely posts lined up for this week to make up for my slacking last week!

The past weekend was a baby shower for a dear friend. She wanted it to be relaxed, and a family affair, so we held it at the beautiful Legacy Park here in Greenville, which was the perfect setting. Her family handled the barbeque and dessert, and a few friends and I did the rest of the food. All the guests came with spouses and children, and we played lawn games and chatted in the perfect spring weather. I did simple tissue poufs for decoration, along with some garland, and covered the tables with brown paper and provided crayons for spontaneous drawing. Since they're not finding out the gender of the baby, we went with a rainbow theme for the decor. It was such an enjoyable gathering, I had a great time and I think the parents-to-be did as well.

 I did pink lemonade with slices of grapefruit, lemon, and oranges, and ice water with lemon and lime.

 The guests starting to arrive...
Isn't the cabana lovely? You can reserve it here.

 One of the five tables... greens, blues, red/pink, purples, yellow/orange.

 Time to eat! Concrete counters built into the cabana came in handy.

 I did a fruit tray along with my favorite fruit dip...
It seemed to be a hit!

The grill-masters working on chicken kebobs and turkey burgers.

My version of a caprese salad... so yummy and pretty too!
It's very simple to prepare, I'll share the recipe soon.

Delicious cake!

The father-to-be's mother took great photos, and she's kindly allowed me to share some here...

 The gorgeous mommy-to-be!

Opening presents, and modeling the lovely quilt made by her mom.

 Cory wrote out a phrase from the classic kid's book, Love You Forever.

Not pictured:
- my little sis graduates from college!
- little sis moves out after living with us for 3.5 years! This is a very good thing. ;-D  I was glad to have her, but it's great that she's moving on to the next stage.
- mother's day! I love my mom and my mom-in-law dearly, and it was wonderful to spend time with each of them.
- lots of good food
- sinuses
- sleeping in
- kitty cuddle time
- eating the first of the sugar snap peas! SO. GOOD.
- grandparent time! We were able to see Cory's wonderful out-of-town grandparents, as well as visit with his lovely great-grandmother and grandmother