"She makes others happy...She leaves a little sparkle wherever she goes..."

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Oh, How Pinteresting Wednesday!

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                                  Linking up with The Vintage Apple for Pinteresting Wednesday...

So what's new in my Pinterest this week....
What is your acne telling you? This is pretty much amazing!  1 & 2: Digestive System — Eat less processed or junk food, reduce the amount of fat in your diet, step up water intake and opt for cooling things like cucumbers.  3: Liver — Cut out the alcohol, greasy food and dairy. This is the zone where food allergies also show up first, so take a look at your ingredients. Besides all this, do 30 minutes of light exercise every day and get adequate sleep so your liver can rest.  4 & 5: Kidneys —...
What is your acne telling you? Actually very interesting because it's allllways the same break-out spot.

USA olympic swim team....
Ummm...hi #1 reason to watch the Olympics. Make that probably the only reason I'll watch. #Murica

Essie "topless and barefoot"...Fresh and clean
Essie Topless and Barefoot. I'm not really into the acrylic nails, so this may be a good wedding option.

Shadow box of things from your wedding ~
Yeah, we're totally gonna be "those people" who have wedding artifacts all over our house. I aint even mad about it.

Gotta keep telling myself this...it's completely true though!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Nautical Door Swag

Pin It One of the Bridal Shower gifts that I received was this fabulous doormat.

Navy and white= classic

I love all things nautical (I'm fairly certain that I was supposed to be born and raised on the coast of somewhere), so this was the perfect gift. 

However, now I feel as though my front door is kind of bare and lonely, and this obviously calls for a Pinterest project!
Nautical Wreath Blue Red and White Yarn Wreath 14 by KikiWreath, $32.00
How cute is this?! If you aren't a DIY'er, you can purchase this here
I think this would be a super easy project to knock out one afternoon, and I like the touch of color with the red!

Summer Nautical Wreath - Beach Wreath - 14 Inch Yarn Wrapped Wreath with Starfish, Sanddollar, Felt Flowers, Pearls and Anchor Buttons. $43.00, via Etsy.
Courtesy of WreathinkGifting

I think the details on this one are so cute...buttons, pearls, and the starfish and sand dollar!

Have you ever made one of these wreaths? They are so super easy, and relatively inexpensive. You can purchase foam wreaths from Michael's, Hobby Lobby, or any craft store, and color of yarn, a glue gun to attach the yarn to the wreath, and whatever other supplies for the details. For the flowers seen above, you can purchase little pre-cut felt squares in various colors. 

Once I decide what I'm going to make, I'll post some DIY detail pictures for a little tutorial.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Weekend Recap/Musings on a Monday

Pin It Happy Monday! After an absolutely lovely weekend, I'm feeling ready to conquer this short work week!
1) Our old stomping ground, Illinois State University!
2)Medici...our fav!
3)Another favorite stomping ground, Maggie Miley's!
4) Cutesy faces in Redbird country!

Friday, Damien came home from work and said that we were headed somewhere fun for dinner, so I needed to be ready in about 30 minutes. We ended up going to Normal, Illinois, which is where Illinois State University is located (our alma mater) to have dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Medici. This restaurant is beyond cool, and it has this HUGE tree that goes right up through the middle of the restaurant through the roof-top deck! It's artificial, but a very cool affect, nonetheless. After a delish dinner of a little Margarita pizza and a mint mojito, we decided to take a little walk through Uptown Normal. They have made so many awesome improvements to this area since we were students there, so it's always fun to take a jaunt down memory lane. A trip up to ISU is never complete without driving down Willow Street, which is where our old sorority house was located. Lots of very fond memories in that house, including my Initiation into Tri Sigma. My Instagram was being bogus so I wasn't able to snap a pic of this house. It appears to be uninhabited at the moment, so I'm not sure which Greek organization will be moving in...might have to research that! ;-)

1) Little Frances Bean enjoying the lovely Saturday morning weather (and a few strips of bacon!)
2) Abraham Lincoln's law office...right across the street from our outdoor seating for breakfast.
3) part of the beautiful view for breakfast. Illinois's Old State Capitol.

Our Saturday morning routine of hitting up the Farmer's Market and then breakfast was especially nice this Saturday. The weather was actually cool and pleasant, so we were able to eat outside and enjoy the weather, people watch, and allow Bean to keep an eye on the mean streets of Springfield. 

We also made some amazing appetizers for my sister's birthday dinner at our dad's house. Super easy, super inexpensive, and super tasty!

Strawberry Mango Salsa

Caprese Dip

YUMMMM right?!

Some additional thoughts/musings on this Monday:

1) The Bachelorette Finale: I was so so sooo happy Emily picked Jef! I was a fan of Jef's from day 1, and they look like they could not be more happy. In other news, Ari, you're mega sketchy with that whole flying to Charlotte/leaving your diary on Emily's doorstep thing. You need to get it together.

2) I decided it's time to stop purchasing summer clothes, but I'm really struggling with this one, guys. Everything is so inexpensive right now, and I keep trying to justify my purchases by saying that I can wear them in Key West for the wedding. I need to get my act together.

3) I wish we were going to Key West todayyy. Waaah.

Friday, July 20, 2012

High Five for Friday!

Pin It Happy, happy Friday, friends! Here is my weekly High Five for Friday installment:

1.  I'm obbbbsessed with the two new J.Crew-inspired bubble necklaces (ps,love this trend right now!)! that I purchased this week. I bought the yellow and black, and at a FRACTION of the J.Crew price!


2. As much as I hate to give this a Friday High Five, I have to, because as much as it is a beast, it is absolutely kicking my butt in a fantastic way. So here is to you, Shaun T, creator of Insanity. Thanks for making me curse your name each and every day in the name of workin on my fitness! 

3. Today's Friday, which means that tomorrow is Saturday, which means D and I will do our fun Saturday Morning Routine of going to the Farmer's Market to load up on yumminess for the week, then breakfast downtown with little Bean. Nice little fam morning!

4. Next week, I'm headed to St. Joseph, MI for a Family Reunion and I'm sooo excited. I haven't been in a few years due to various conflicts, but it is so pretty there! Can't wait for some beach time!

5. And last, but not least, my little sister is turning 22 on Sunday! Happy birthday, Tay. Keep kickin booty. 

photo courtesy of Jen Wallner.

Happy weekend, kiddos!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Perfect Summer Dinner

Pin It As hot and steamy as it has been in Central Illinois this summer, the absolute LAST thing that I have wanted to do is fire up the old oven/stove to cook dinner. It's just too hot to stand over that heat!

I came upon this recipe in the August InStyle Magazine Issue. This is the absolute perfect summer dinner: light, refreshing, fun to make. WARNING: I was a bit skeptical about some parts of it, but was so pleasantly surprised with the finished product!

Watermelon Salad with Feta, Arugula, and Serrano Chile Vinaigrette
Fried Green Tomatoes with Pickled Shrimp and Ranch Dressing
 (don't freak about the pickled shrimp!)

Watermelon Salad:

Serves 4
6 tbsp Serrano Vinaigrette (recipe below)
1 medium seedless watermelon, skin and rind removed, and cut into squares (or just cubed, which is what we did).
1 serrano chile, thinly sliced
1/4 lb baby arugula leaves (about 5 cups)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 lb feta, cut into slices (or cubed, which is what we did). 

For Serrano Chile Vinaigrette
Makes 1 cup

1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tbsp Champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
1 serrano chile, thinly sliced
1/2 tbsp chopped thyme
1/4 tsp kosher salt

1. Shake Vinaigrette vigorously.
2. In a large bowl, toss watermelon, feta and arugula, sprinkling the serrano chile. 
3.Mix in vinaigrette.

The Vinaigrette all mixed together. 

The finished product. DELISH!

Fried Green (or Red) Tomatoes with Pickled Shrimp & Ranch Dressing

For Pickled Shrimp
serves 4 (make a day ahead)

2 tbsp Old Bay seasoning
1 lb shrimp, peeled
1/4 tsp ground celery seeds (we omitted these)
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1 tbsp sea salt
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 garlic gloves, minced
6 fresh bay leaves or 12 dry
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, minced
1/2 medium Spanish onion, thinly sliced

PHEW! Enough ingredients?! I look at this recipe as an "investment piece' because we definitely did NOT have about half of these items on hand!

Sooo many ingredients
1. Prepare an ice bath by filling medium bowl with half water, half ice.
2. Bring large pot of water to boil. Add Old Bay seasoning and shrimp to pot and immediately reduce heat to low. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until shrimp are pink. 
3. Plunge them into the ice bath to cool down. 
4. Drain and place in the fridge.
5. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Stir.
6. Combine pickling liquid and shrimp in a large resealable bag and let sit in fridge for 24 hours.

Shrimp and pickling liquid in bag...looks gross but it's yummy, i promise!

For Fried Green (or red) tomatoes
** we used red tomatoes because D doesn't like green ones!**

serves 4.

12 slices tomato, 1/3 inch thick
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 cup all purpose flower
3 eggs, beaten with 1/4 cup cold water
1 cup fine yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup olive oil, or vegetable oil
1/2 cup ranch dressing (we used light)
1 lb pickled shrimp (see previous recipe)
1 handful arugula leaves

1. Season tomato slices with salt. Set aside.
2. Find three similarly shaped shallow baking dishes or bowls, and create an assembly line for dredging: flour in first dish, eggs in dish 2, and cornmeal in dish 3.
3. One by one, flour tomato slice on both sides, dip in egg and then dip both sides in cornmeal. 
4. Stack finished tomatoes on a cutting board or plate.

5. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat oil of choice over medium heat. 
6. Being careful not to crowd the skillet, fry tomato slices in batches until golden, 2-3 minutes per side.

7. When finished, lay on a plate lined with paper towels.

post-dredge, post-fry
8. Spoon ranch dressing on plates, put fried tomato slices on each plate and top with a handful of pickled shrimp, and garnish with arugula! 

Ok, some tips: 
*if you aren't into super spicy food, I would use half as much pepper as it calls for. Serrano chile's are super spicy. 
*make sure the tomatoes that you get are firm and don't "give" too much when squeezed. You don't want them to fall apart mid-fry.
* the pickled shrimp doesn't taste like pickles...more like really well seasoned shrimp.

Overall, this was delish! I think we both picked up some tricks and ideas for the next time that we make this, but you live and you learn, right?!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Think Lovely Thoughts

Pin It I woke up today and was in an exceptionally good mood. No apparent reason, just feeling good in the hood.  Some things making me smile on this Tuesday:

1. One of my first Pinterest projects, and one that makes me smile each time I walk by it. This hangs over our bed. One of our favorite songs is Jason Mraz's "Lucky", so this is sort of an homage to that cutesy little song.

2. Who doesn't love a cute flowerpot filled with every color of Sharpie?!

3. Another of my favorite Pinterest projects, hanging above our couch. They are simply pieces of scrapbook paper that have been attached via spray adhesive to boards of a corresponding size. People always ask me where I bought them when they come into our house. Hollerrrr...made them for under $20!

4. This is sort of a trifecta of favs: 

  • How can you not smile at the cute little Princess Bean!?
  • I'm totally loving these new polka dot pillow cases I found for our accent pillows. Found at Walmart (of all places) for $2 each!
  • The cute, summery duvet cover (under Princess Bean). This was a bridal shower gift from D's aunt. It's part Bollywood/part Pottery Barn and I looove it. 
I hope that all of you are having a delightful Tuesday!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti!

Pin It As someone who is trying to get her booty in shape for her upcoming wedding which is in 3 months, and as someone who LOVES her pasta, this whole diet thing has been FOR THE BIRDS! 

Until...the discovery of Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti. I like a good butternut squash soup in the fall as much as the next gal, but I was very unsure about this dish. I had never cooked with squash, and I really approached this dish with some serious apprehension and ready to order pizza from the Corner Pub if it was a fail.

However, this was absolutely DELICIOUS, super easy (read: even I could cook it by myself), and super healthy. An ideal alternative to pasta. So, I'm paying it forward and sharing the recipe with you, from
 The Steamy Kitchen.

baked spaghetti squash with garlic and butter

Servings: 6 Prep Time:5 Cook Time:60

I tend to under-bake the spaghetti squash just a bit, so it still retains just a slight crunch. Baking time really depends on how big your squash is - try to get the smallest one, especially if you’re only feeding 4 people. It’s ready if you can pierce the squash with a paring knife with little resistance. If you’re a garlic love, don’t be shy - use more!
Alternatively, microwave the whole squash for 2-4 minutes (to soften enough to cut lengthwise). Place squash cut-side down on baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes until tender.


1 small spaghetti squash (about 3-4 pounds)2 tablespoons butter2 cloves garlic, finely minced1/4 cup finely minced parsley (or basil)1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese


1. Preheat oven to 375F. Pierce squash a few times with sharp paring knife (to let steam escape). Bake spaghetti squash for 60 minutes, or until a paring knife pierces easily through skin with little resistance. Let squash cool for 10 minutes.
2. Cut squash in half, lengthwise. Use a fork to remove and discard the seeds. Continue using fork to scrape the squash to get long, lovely strands. If the squash seem difficult to scrape, return the squash to bake for an additional 10 minutes.
3. Heat a large saute pan with the butter and the garlic over medium-low heat. When garlic becomes fragrant, add parsley, salt and spaghetti squash strands. Toss well, sprinkle in the parmesan cheese and taste to see if you need additional salt. The spaghetti squash should have a slight crunch (i.e. not mushy) - but if you like it softer, cover the pan and cook 2 more minutes.

Friday, July 13, 2012

High Five for Friday!

Pin It Fiiiiinally it's Friday! It felt like this week was a lengthy one, probably because last week had that nice little break in it for the 4th! So, here is the first of my little high-five for Friday tradition! Congratulations on getting through the week!


1. All this fun Wedding shower loot! Even though it was a beast to put away, it was fun to get all this fun new stuff!

2. My go-to bevvy this week.

3. I won one of these fun David Yurman-inspired bracelets on Accessory Auction! Have you checked it out yet? If not, check it out here. Every Monday and Wednesday at 8pm CST, they host an on-line accessory auction for cute and AFFORDABLE jewelry! Be sure to check it out!

4. My AMAZING Lilly Pulitzer-inspired Bridal Shower! Here are my 3 of my 4 bridesmaids, (we are missing my dear friend Anna! Check her out at My Semi-Charmed Life.

5. And lastly....99 days until I am Mrs. K! I can't believe we are into the double digits!!!!!!

Hope you all have a delightful weekend!

Current Wedding Inspirations

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Sooooo, I'm getting married 99 days from today! We are at double digits! I absolutely cannot wait. So much to look forward to. Since the days is getting closer and closer, I've been scouring Etsy and Pinterest on the daily looking for little detail items that I am considering incorporating into the big day. This week's top contenders are:

(LOVE) Groom's nightstand picture... Now that's so much better than a boudoir shot, its actually able to be displayed...

I love this as a cute little shot as a gift for the groom. So many brides get boudoir photos taken prior to their Big Day, but, I mean, let's be real, who is going to feel comfortable with a picture of their bare booty on your man's nightstand?!

This is a must for #kapburnwedding2012!

I loooove this idea. As a proud sorority woman/bride who is inviting many fellow sorority women to her wedding, I love this little tribute!

"maid of honor" shot :) absolutely in love with this.  Bc no matter what..they still mean the world to you

I also love this photo idea. My sister is my MOH and also my best friend. She is also very close to my fiance, so I think this is super cutesy!

Piano wedding cake topper decoration gift keepsake

I saw this cake topper on Etsy and it is absolute perfection for my musician fiance and his adoring-#1-fan-bride-to-be! You can find this on annacrafts etsy shop !

Wedding Party Pinwheel Bouquets and Boutonnieres -- Set of 4

This maaaaay be my favorite detail of our wedding. I'm not so much into all the flowery crap with weddings. Don't get me wrong...beautiful, but it's just not really my personality. BUT...these fun pinwheels? TOTALLY! My bridesmaids are going to carry these instead of bouquets. They will coordinate to their dresses, obvi. I'm thinking my little groomsmen will wear little mini-pinwheel boutonnieres. You can find these gems on designsbymarygrace. 
Pin It Kate Spade, Quote

Hey y'all!

   Welcome to my little corner of the inter-webs! After much hemming and hawing over starting a blog, I decided now was the perfect time to do so. There have been lots of changes in my life over the last few months, and many more to come. People are always asking for all these updates on the "newness" and I think this will be a great way for me to:

  • share all the little joys of planning my upcoming wedding
  • share the trials and tribulations of my current "healthy lifestyle" endeavors
  • blog about all of the above and more to relieve stress, provide a creative outlet, and help me to focus on:

The Art of Being Happy

"The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things."
--Henry Ward Beecher

This is a quote that I have kept on my fridge for the last 2 years, and also one that I keep on the desk of my home office. It's a great little reminder to not sweat the small stuff.

So, I hope that you'll stay a while and stop by again!
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