Friday, March 29, 2013

high five for friday

Even if I'm working this weekend, it's finally Friday and time to celebrate the weekend.

My Friday five are...

1. Opi Bubble Bath plus one glitter nail makes me a happy girl. I've never done the one nail trend before, but I love it.

2. Lots of hours spent making decisions and planning for Europe.

3. Juicing: the easy way (from Earth Fare). This was loaded with veggie goodness of carrots, beets, spinach, apples, and a few others. I love the juicing craze and really want to purchase a juicer. Any suggestions?

4. My first stitch fix came this week. I'll be sharing everything that came in my package next week for Wearable Wednesday.

5. After seeing so many people use and recommend Urban Decay's Naked Palette. I decided to take the plunge and splurge on this baby. I'm excited to try different shades and combinations than I usually do.

Linking up with Lauren

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Planning for Europe

There is so much to think about when traveling to a new place, especially when it's European cities that are full of history, culture, and unbelievable eats. I thought it would be fun to share with you my research for our European vacation.

I'm a big planner and want to have an itinerary for every day that we're there, so I've been scouring blogs and TripAdvisor as I plan for each city. I love traveling and it's been fun to share the excitement with Brooke and Ashley who are also taking European vacations this spring and summer. I'd love to know more people who have traveled or lived abroad and their advice in this planning process.

I want to see and do as much as we can in the few short days we have in each city. And I've also been thinking of ways to not overpack, which I always do.

So I'll be starting a planning and prepping for Europe mini series here. Hope you enjoy reading it during the next few weeks, and I can't wait to learn from you as well. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Warby Parker

I love the idea TOMs has about buying a pair and giving a pair of shoes.

Warby Parker has the same idea except with glasses. I love this concept because I'm super blind without my glasses, so I'd love to give a pair to someone else with my purchase.

I love Warby Parker for a few reasons...

1. They are very affordable at $95 per pair with the possible $35 extra if you have terrible eyes like me and need the recommended slimmer glass.

2. Warby Parker offers a wide, stylish variety of glasses.

3. You can order five In-Home try on pairs for five days. Here are the five that I chose...


I currently wear a black pair of glasses that are smaller and more rectangular, so I was looking for something a little more hipster. My friends help push me outside my style box, so I went for it.

Which one do you like best?

I placed my Warby Parker order and hopefully will be getting my new frames soon!

This is my own opinion and I wasn't sponsored to write this post.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Thai Chicken Satay

One of the dishes I missed most while I was a veggie was chicken satay, so I was excited when EMeals  sent us an easy chicken satay and peanut sauce recipe. 

This one is slightly spicy but not overpowering with the sweetness of the peanut sauce. 
Recipe from EMeals: serves 2 
1/2 stalk lemongrass, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 t cayenne pepper, 1 1/2t curry powder
1/2 t agave or honey
1/4 t fish sauce or soy sauce, 2T olive oil
12 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2'' strips

Dipping Sauce:
2T chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 stalk lemongrass, peeled and chopped
1 small red Thai chili pepper, seeded and minced
1T peanut oil
2T natural chunky peanut butter
1/4c water
1 1/2t agave or honey
Wooden skewers soaked in water

3/4c brown rice

Marinade: combine 1/2 stalk lemongrass, 1 clove garlic, cayenne pepper, curry powder, 1/2t agave, fish sauce, and olive oil. Add chicken and marinade at least 2 hours

Dipping Sauce: saute onion, 1 clove garlic, 1/2 stalk lemongrass, and chili pepper in peanut oil. Add peanut butter, water, and 1 1/2t agave. Stir and simmer until sauce begins to separate.

Cook rice according to package directions.

Preheat broiler for high. Thread chicken onto skewers and broil for 3mins per side. Serve chicken over rice with dipping sauce on side.

And I promise, next week's dinner won't be on a skewer.

Linking up with Jessica and Ashley

Monday, March 25, 2013

Guest Bedroom Re-Design

I'm thinking about and planning doing a guest bedroom make-over. Last summer, we moved from a one bedroom apartment to two and since then we have worked on finishing the master bedroom before starting the guest.

We've picked out quality pieces of furniture for both; however, our guest bedroom is a little bare and needs some love.

So far with our apartments picks, I've been pretty conservative and classic with the choices for furniture and decor. But for the guest room, I want something that is bright, bold, and a little different than what I normally choose.

I love the color combo of navy and coral shown in this photo.

And recently, I've been dying for a little spot to make my own for blogging and projects. I love the white desk and the frames above it with the organization of the bookshelf.
While I'm not sure that white is going to be the exact match for our current bedroom furniture, I'm willing to try it since the desk won't be in the guest bedroom for ever. Just until we buy a house, then it'll find it's own space.

Thoughts or suggestions that I can add to my bedroom project board for this make over?

Linking up with Molly and Carly

Friday, March 22, 2013

high five for friday

1. My mom and sister were in town, so the chef and I made these strawberry shortcakes for breakfast, and they were quickly added to my Yummy Keeper Recipes on Pinterest. They were so tasty. 

2. I was ecstatic when I received this hand painted card from my sweet friend Emily asking me to be a bridesmaid in her August wedding. Now I want to find the perfect frame to keep this card. 

3. I love spring (even though it's been cold lately) and having fresh flowers in the house for when my in-laws arrive today.

4. My bridesmaid's dress finally came! One of my college friends, Brooke is getting married in three weeks and will be featured on TLC's "Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta" so be sure to watch for her wedding. I can't wait to see her get married! 

5. I wish I had known about Blissdom earlier this year because I'm wishing I was there. It is now on my list of to-dos for 2014.

Linking up with Lauren

Thursday, March 21, 2013

It's happening...European Vacation!

I have some very exciting news to share with you...

Our tickets are booked!

We are heading to Europe for our vacation this spring. I could not be more excited for this trip that has been in the making for over a year. 

Our first stop is London. I have flown through London numerous times but have never actually seen the city. Sad, I know. We want to tour the city and see our friend, Peter who lives there. 
Vienna is next and this is the spot I'm most anxious to see. I am beyond excited to be back home and see all of the old places I knew growing up. I can't wait to share with the chef my favorite spots, take a carriage ride around the Ring, and share a piece of Sachertorte (famous Austrian chocolate cake) at the Sacher Hotel. There couldn't be a more perfect way to start 26 than by sharing it with my love in the city I love most. 
Germany and good friends will be the third stop. My friend, Jenna and her husband Craig have been stationed in Germany for the past two years. And for two years, I've been dying to visit them. I cannot wait to see the village they live in and travel with such fun friends.
And lastly, I have been dreaming about visiting Paris with my husband; I can't wait to see the Eiffel Tower with him. Isn't it amazing that I grew up in Europe and never had the chance to see it?
And if we can pack anything else into the two weeks, we would love to go wine tasting in France and possibly catch a flight to Rome.

If you have any suggestions, places to see, or budgeting tips, please tell me in a comment! I'd love to hear your advice. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Easter Wear

The days are getting longer, the sun is warming us up more, and there are scents of spring on its way.

This year for Easter, I'll be working, but if I wasn't I would love to wear one of these cute dresses to church on Easter morning. 

(Well, I might still go but don't judge because I'll be wearing scrubs and have tired eyes from night shift). 

I love this precious mint dress that looks so comfy and light, plus if you haven't heard mint is the color for spring this year.  
I love the lace on the hem of this dress; it's a little bit dressier for afternoon lunch with family and friends.

While black might not be everyone's first choice for Easter morning, I can't help but love the chevron and how classic the white and black are together.
I'm usually not a huge floral girl, but I love this fun, bright dress. It would be perfect for Easter morning.
And who wouldn't want their Easter date to be dressed to a T as well? I'm loving Vinyard Vines' bow ties, especially this Easter bunny one. I'd love to see the chef in one for Easter service


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Lamb Skewers

I cannot wait for the day that we have a grill and can make dinners on it, but for now in apartment living we've found a great oven recipe for skewers. We can pretend it was made on the grill right? 

From EMeals
4tsp + 1tsp olive oil, divided
1tsp balsamic vinegar
1tsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 small clove garlic, crushed
1/2tsp salt, ground pepper to taste
2tsp lemon juice
1/2 lb lamb, cut into 2'' cubes
4 shallots, quartered
4 plum tomatoes halved
Wooden skewers, soaked in water

3/4 c Israeli couscous
1 shallot, minced
1 T chopped thyme
1 T olive oil
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Cook couscous according to package directions, add shallot while cooking. Toss with thyme, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Combine 4tsp olive oil, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Pour marinade over lamb and marinade for 2-4hrs.

Heat oven to 350F. Place shallots on baking sheet, Drizzle with 1tsp olive oil and back for 15mins. Place lamb, shallots, tomatoes on soaked skewers. Drizzle with reserved marinade. Heat broiler to high. Broil 2-4mins per side.

This Greek fare is one of our favorites, plus the chef said it was easy to create (I just set the table). I loved the juiciness of the lamb combined with the fresh taste of the lemon and couscous along with the crunch of the shallot.

Linking up with Jessica

Monday, March 18, 2013

Baby Headband

Hope you had a great weekend! I'm ready to start this week, and I wanted to share a diy project.

A few weeks ago, some of my friends and I hosted a baby shower for our co-worker/friend Sarah. I have been wanting to share a super easy tutorial in case you're invited to a baby shower this spring.

I love baby girl headbands; I think they are the cutest. I saw a few on etsy but didn't have time to buy and have it shipped before the shower, so I decided to make my own.I read a few tutorials online and saw some ones on how to make felt flowers. But as you'll see I took the easy way out.

Items you'll need:
Soft flowers
(all from Michael's)
hot glue gun (already had)

Hot glue the back of the flower. 

Cut the felt in a circle to match size of the back of the flower. It doesn't have to be exact. I just eye-balled it. Put hot glue on the back of the circle.

Then hot glue the flower to the headband and then hot glue the felt circle to the headband to protect baby's head from the flower backing. 

 And viola!
There you have it: an adorably sweet baby headband that took minimal effort and money.

This week is packed full of fun posts and some exciting news!

Linking up with Molly

Friday, March 15, 2013

high five for friday

1. Aida snuggled with me this week when I wasn't feeling the best.
2. Strawberry pistachio salad is my new favorite. I can't get enough.
3. Successful brunch with my family. I love it when they visit.
4. I'm so excited that my new blog design was finished this week and ready for lots of posts.
5. I don't think I've ever been so inspired by a book like this. I'm so challenged to learn, grow, and make changes in my life. And apparently now there is a study guide...anyone interested in starting it with me?

Linking up with Lauren

Thursday, March 14, 2013

On My Bookshelf...or Kindle Menu

I found this book through another blogger and thought it looked interesting, so with the one touch on Amazon (it's seriously dangerous to be able to purchase a book with one click) I bought it and started reading. 
I'm not a mom yet, but Melanie had me laughing from beginning to end with stories about learning to be a mother and how much work and joy it is to be one. The book is written by a blogger and so it flow more like a blog (I thought) than a novel or biography; it was mostly little, short stories. I would definitely recommend this read even if you're not a mom because it was sweet, hilarious, real and simply a fun read. 

What is on your nightstand or kindle menu? I'd love recommendations! 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Spring on the brain

These sunny days are getting me in the mood for spring and starting Wearable Wednesday!

I have done some browsing and there are a lot of cute picks this season.

I'm a huge sucker for anything coral and lace. This dress would be perfect for any spring or summer event: a wedding, baby shower, wedding shower, or birthday party.
I'm usually not very bold with my choice in shorts. As in, I usually wear plain colored shorts, but these blue and white ones might be a good addition to make my outfit a little more dressy for those summer date nights or grilling by the pool dinners.
I have loved wearing my chambray button down shirt this winter, so I'm loving this chambray dress. I like this particular one because it's slightly fitted, so it doesn't hang like a potato sack like most of the chambray dresses I've seen.
I'm so glad that colored crops, skimmers, and pants are back again this season. I am in love with colored pants and just might have to get these cute canary yellow ones for spring.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

How to Survive a Miserable Cold

For the past week, I have been a little more than down and out. I haven't been this miserable with a cold/virus/whatever this is in forever. I'm a nurse, so my immune system is really great, but this one has really done it to me. 

Here is what I've been loving over the past few, sick days. 

1. I'm loving the DayQuil NyQuil combo. They have been my lifesaver. The best was on Saturday morning, the chef brought a glass of water and two DayQuil tabs to me as soon as I stepped out of bed, that is love.
2. I have been drinking one cup of tea after another and my favorite is Numi Rooibois chai tea with a splash of milk and a squirt of honey. It's soothing, calming, but has a little bit of spice without the caffeine, so I can still take an afternoon nap. 
3. I stocked my kindle with books to keep me busy. I just finished one that I'll tell you about later this week. 
wow, I wish I had this view instead of my living room and slippers
4. I ran out of DVRed shows and wanted to catch up on a few we have missed, so I downloaded more Nashville from iTunes. 

5. And while I can't fully smell it, I couldn't help burning my favorite candle: Marshmallow Fireside. It just makes me feel nice and cozy. 
6. Aida has definitely been the best companion while the chef has been at work. She never leaves my side and lays around all day with me except for the occasional nudging to give her a bone. 
Here's to feeling better and looking forward to my sister and Mom coming this weekend! 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Sea Scallops

One of my New Year's goals for us was to eat healthy and save more money. I feel like one of my constant goals is to try and save on the small things in order to spend on big things like a house or vacations.

After seeing Heather's promo about E Meals, I decided to give it a try and ordered the smallest package of three months. There are a few reasons why I love E Meals: they send me a grocery list with each meal plan, the hard part of deciding what to make is removed, we try new clean things, and we've stopped wasting so much food because the recipes are for two servings.

All of that to say, I'm going to start blogging at least once a week about our favorite meal we (read: the chef husband) has made.

If you follow me on IG (aileenpp), you know that the chef made sea scallops with a barley pilaf with cranberries and pecans.

Not only was it pretty to look at but the scallops were seared perfectly and the pilaf had crunch and sweetness.
From EMeals
2 Tbs olive oil
3/4 lb sea scallops 
salt and pepper

1 c barley, cooked
1/2 c dried cranberries
1/2 c pecans, toasted and chopped
1 1/2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
2 green onions, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbs fresh chopped tarragon 

Heat oil in a skillet over medium/high heat. Season scallops with salt and pepper and brown scallops for 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown. 

Make ahead: cook barley according to package directions. Cool and combine with cranberries, pecans, olive oil, vinegar, and green onions, season with salt and pepper. Allow salad to stand and serve at room temperature topped with seared scallops and sprinkle with tarragon. 

I can't wait to see what the chef makes for dinners this week!