Tuesday, September 30, 2014
I'm just about drooling right now, that's how much I love these things. I grew up eating these pigs in a blanket at least once a month and I'd even go so far as to name them as one of my favorite foods. They're just that good!
So you can imagine my shock/sadness/disappointment upon moving to Chicago and finding out that they do not sell Eckrich Smoky Links ANYWHERE in the city. Nor in the suburbs. I couldn't find them and trust me when I say that I looked everywhere I could think of. Sure, we tried mini hotdogs and all kinds of other things as substitutes for the smoky links but they just didn't compare. We were forced into giving up our beloved pigs in a blanket for our 4.5 years in Chicago but I'm happy to report that the drought is over.
Yes, some of the best things about being back in Michigan are being closer to our family, having a home to call our own, the ease of suburban life... oh, and having access to smoky links! Our first grocery trip after moving included buying 5 packages of these bad boys, just in case you know. We've been enjoying them every weekend now and are in pigs in a blanket heaven!
Eckrich Smoky Links, Original
American Cheese Slices
1. Preheat oven to whatever temperature your crescent rolls call for.
2. Unroll crescent rolls and place half a slice of cheese and one smoky link in each roll. Lots of rolls/rolling going on ;)
3. Roll up and place on a baking sheet.
4. Bake for whatever amount of time your crescent roll can calls for.
Linking up with Kate, Mary, Susan and Kristen
Monday, September 29, 2014
And when did they get more exhausting than the week days? Seriously, I am b-e-a-t this morning. We went nonstop from Friday-Sunday night and I might be hard pressed to get anything done today!
It was beautiful weather on Friday night so we took advantage of it and had dinner outside at a new restaurant near our house. The best Friday's call for sparkling wine...
And good food :) Nick and I both really enjoyed our meals and it was so nice to just sit outside, relax and unwind from the week.
Since the temperature was still in the low 60's when we got home, we decided to have our first bonfire in the backyard! S'mores were on the menu and they did not disappoint. The more chocolate the better.. it's my life motto.
Saturday was a work day. We had made a weekend to do list and I think we might start doing that each weekend because we got SO much accomplished.
One of our main tasks was to paint the entryway. It took me forever to pick a color in here but I finally did and decided to go dark! I went with Texas Leather by Benjamin Moore and while I was really worried that it would make the room feel closed in, it seems to get enough natural light and the dark color makes all of the white trim/doors pop.
We still have one more coat to do and then some touch ups before it's complete... by the way, any tips on how to paint the edge up by the ceiling?! Sooo hard!
Another thing on the to do list was go car shopping for me... obviously my favorite to do to check off! I think we've decided on the GMC Terrain... hopefully I'll get to bring this baby home real soon :)
After a few more errands, we headed home so I could keep on painting and Nick could mow the lawn. I whipped up these easy pigs in a blanket for dinner (recipe coming tomorrow!) for dinner and then we were off to our volleyball team meeting.
Nick and I have played co-ed volleyball in Chicago for the last few years and have had so much fun with it so before even moving to Michigan, we looked for leagues in our new city. We found one that started this fall and luckily, were placed on a team... a competitive, 4 person team (yikes). Before our first game on Sunday, the captain of our team wanted to get together.
We met up with him and our other teammate Saturday night and he basically discussed strategy and positions and things that were WAY over Nick and I's heads, ha. It was pretty obvious right then that this wasn't the "beer leagues" anymore. We left the meeting
Sunday was another busy, busy day. We headed up to my families home in Holland to pick up furniture that they aren't using anymore. Free stuff? Yes, please!
We spent the day driving, packing, unloading, unpacking... you get the picture. THEN, we still had to go play 2.5 hours of volleyball...
And it was pretty much what we expected. College level volleyball... haha. We got our butts kicked and it wasn't pretty. Not to mention, one of the guys on our team was slightly annoyed that we weren't professional volleyball players (not that he was either...) so it wasn't the most fun night. Hoping things get better going into the next game now that we know what to expect. Hoping being the key word.
To make ourselves feel better, we hit up Tim Hortons for comfort food on the way home :)
Linking up with Leeann, Carly and Biana
Friday, September 26, 2014
Our first official Friday of Fall and it's supposed to be 80 degrees and sunny here in Michigan today! The summer weather is still holding on and I don't hate it :) Nick and I have big plans to try out a new restaurant and have our first official bonfire tonight and I can't wait! Can you believe I haven't had a single s'more this year?? So sad. Hoping you all have a wonderful weekend ahead of you, too.
Thursday Night TV
Easily the best night of TV. Scandal, Parenthood and now Shonda Rhimes newest creation, How To Get Away With Murder. Love it all! I'm so happy Olivia Pope (and her clothes) are back. It's been a great week of TV... what's been your favorite show?
After my post on Wednesday, many of you suggested finding a cleaning spreadsheet that would direct me to clean certain areas of the house each day. Genius. I went straight to Pinterest (naturally) to help my overwhelmed, unorganized self. I found this awesome spreadsheet by IHeart Organizing that I can already tell is going to be a life saver. Check out the whole post here, SO much great info.
Caprese Prosciutto Sandwiches
Another Pinterest find, these grilled caprese sandwiches. I added prosciutto to them and they were divine. I was going to write my own post to share these but let's be serious, I can't take a proper picture of a sandwich so I'll just direct you to the original recipe here!
The Fault In Our Stars
I finished it. And I loved it. I actually finished it while flying home from New Orleans and it took everything in me not to cry... I figured that would be a bit awkward for the two men sitting next to me. Now I want to see the movie but I'm scared. Sometimes the movie ruins it, you know? Is it worth seeing?
I totally suck as a blogger and forgot to announce the winner to my one year of blogging giveaway!!! Congratulations to Lindsay of Lovely Life Styling! Gift cards coming your way :) Thanks to all who entered!
Happy Friday, friends!
Linking up with Karli, Lauren, Jennie and Rebecca
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Confession posts are some of my favorites mainly because they show that we don't all lead perfect lives. We craft these blogs out of the highlights of our lives.. the vacations we take, the recipes that turned out perfectly, the fabulous outfit we put together. And I love to read about all of those things -- I really do -- but sometimes it's nice to know that we all have the occasional bad hair day, burnt dinner or ridiculous argument with our husbands. It's nice to know we're all human.
Here's my random assortment of things I'm 'fessing up today...
Paint colors are taking. over. my. life. I've always considered myself a decisive person.. I can make pretty quick decisions and don't really doubt myself.. but choosing paint colors is kicking my butt. As my husband keeps pointing out (because he's annoyed of me), painting isn't permanent so if I don't like something I can just re-do it. And the rational side of my brain knows that, but the irrational side needs the perfect color the very first time!
Painting is the main reason I haven't done a single ounce of job searching. I can't even squeeze anything else into my brain because I'm too busy thinking "texas leather or sparrow or carrington beige... maybe I should use Valspar instead... eggshell or satin... what about the trim?" It hurts my brain. First world problems.
And job searching just sucks, so there's that.
Sometimes I do think I should just get a job so I can hire a cleaning service because cleaning this house is NO JOKE! Coming from my little apartment -- that I could clean in an hour and a half, max-- I should of known I was in for a rude awakening. If anyone has any tips on keeping on top of cleaning a house, I'd love to hear them!
We have our first volleyball game this Sunday night and I'm a little nervous. Nick and I were randomly placed on a team... on a competitive 4's team. We played recreational 6's in Chicago so this is going to be a bit more intense, ha. Our teammates also coach volleyball so talk about intimidating! We'll see how it goes. Hopefully I don't come home with a broken nose or something.
Have any of you seen the show Jersey Belle on Bravo? The finale was this week and I'm so sad it's over. I really enjoyed the show and it was a nice change of pace that the main characters were a real group of friends, unlike the Housewives shows. Watching Jersey Belle made me realize that the Housewives cattiness is getting a little old. Let's see some more shows on real women with real friendships!
I am so beyond overdue for a haircut/color and eyebrows but I just have no idea where to go here in Michigan. Trying to find new people that you trust to take care of these important life matters is hard. I'm thinking about going to the Benefit eyebrow counter at Ulta.. anyone tried these before?
We are still dealing with our water problems (ugh) and yesterday, we had the city over to grab another test sample. The old homeowners are footing the bill on all of this since it wasn't resolved before we closed (which is nice) and yesterday, the husband wanted to be there for it. Talk about awkward having the previous owners over! Luckily, he was super nice and even joked about us painting over their "ugly" wall colors, haha.
Sorry that was so long but it's nice to get it all off my chest! Happy hump day :)
Thanks to Kathy at Vodka and Soda for hosting.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
FALL is here! And I know it's here because it was 40 something degrees this morning, brrrrr. I was trying to hold on to summer as long as I could but I think it's time to officially say our goodbyes. I'm now ready to embrace all the things that come with this wonderful autumn season -- soft scarves, warm drinks, cozy sweaters, delicious smelling pumpkin candles. Here are some of my must have's for Fall...
Starbucks Chai Tea Latte with Pumpkin
If you aren't a fan of the infamous PSL, try adding pumpkin to your chai tea latte. I'm going to be dramatic and say it's a life changer, it's that good.
Forever 21 Ribbed Cowl Neck Sweater
A couple of bloggers have raved about this sweater. And for the price? I'll take it in every color.
Bath and Body Works Pumpkin Pecan Waffle EVERYTHING
The soaps, the candles, the lotion... give it all to me! My favorite Fall 2014 pumpkin scent.
Frye Melissa Button Boot
I bought these babies on sale at Nordstrom at the end of last winter and can't WAIT to break them out again! They're the perfect cognac riding boot. So far, I say they were worth the money but if you're looking for a cheaper alternative (I don't blame you!), the Sam Edelman Penny boot is pretty great, too :)
Apple Cider Donuts
One of my favorite things to do in the Fall is to visit an apple orchard. I don't go for the apples or the cider or the photo opportunities ;), I go for the DONUTS! Here is an easy recipe to make them at home. Dangerous is all I'm saying.
Madewell Buffalo Check Shirt
Buffalo check is my new obsession. This Madewell shirt would look good with leggings or jeans, with a military jacket, under a sweater... the options are endless.
So that's what I love about Fall. What are your favorite things?!
Linking up with Chelsee and Tiffany
Monday, September 22, 2014
We're back from the Big Easy! We had such a good time and as always, it was so fun to explore a new city. This weekend was spent detoxing from New Orleans -- I ate my weight in seafood and drank more drinks than I usually consume in one month -- and sorting through our pictures. I won't subject you to a recap of that but hopefully you'll enjoy our trip recap! Word of warning: it's long. I couldn't help myself!
This little vacay was born out of a work conference that Nick had to attend. We figured that we should take advantage of the fact that I'm not working right now and have a wide open schedule that allows me to tag along. While going away two weeks after moving may have made life a little crazy, you just can't turn down a practically free trip :)
We flew out of Detroit since we were in town for a wedding on Saturday night so that worked out perfectly. We arrived in New Orleans on Monday morning and after checking into our hotel (the Crowne Plaza/Astor Hotel), headed to check out the French Quarter. Our first stop was Pat O'Briens on Bourbon Street for one of their infamous Hurricane's. Woof, those babies are strong.
Since we were starving (and knew we couldn't drink anymore without getting food in our system), we stopped in to Napoleon House. We shared a muffaletta and tried out a Pimm's Cup that they're known for. The sandwich and drink were new to us and we enjoyed both of them!
Around 2pm, we headed back to Canal Street to grab the St. Charles streetcar. A $3 pass allows you to use the streetcar all day which is a great deal. We took it over to the Garden District which is known for it's gorgeous and historic mansions. I had wanted to do a walking tour (check out Free Tours by Foot... tip only tours in plenty of cities) but we just couldn't fit it into our schedule since I "planned" our trip so late. It was okay though, we just wandered up and down the streets taking in all of the seriously amazing homes.
Loved the stained glass windows
One of my favorites
Apparently they close the cemetery at 3:30pm everyday but we managed to sneak in just as they were closing. One of the gatekeepers gave us a 15 minute tour and it was really interesting to learn more about New Orleans culture... I could of walked around and read the gravestones all day long.
The skies were threatening rain so we headed back to the French Quarter on the streetcar. We hid out in the hotel room while it rained for a bit and then we were off again to Royal House Oyster Bar. We went pretty early as we wanted to keep things casual and we were starting to get wiped from our early morning and traveling.
I had a fried fish po'boy and I forget exactly what Nick had but both of our meals were delicious! The best part about Royal House was being able to sit on the balcony. It made for great people watching and we were able to enjoy the live street music.
After dinner, we had to walk off our meal so we headed over to Bourbon Street where things were starting to get a little wild :) We stumbled upon Musical Legends Park where they were playing live jazz in a beautiful, somewhat quiet (and clean) courtyard. We grabbed drinks and just took in the music for a bit before calling it a night.
Tuesday morning started off with breakfast at The Old Coffee Pot. Yes, we do choose our restaurants based on places that have been featured on the Food Network :) Breakfast was delicious and if you ever get in there, try the Calla Cakes! So good.
Our next stop was to find the New Orleans Convention Center so Nick could set up his trade show booth for the show that began the next day. I tagged along and it was fun to get to see what he does when he goes to these conventions.
It took us a couple hours but things went smoothly and then we were back to playing tourists! The Convention Center is right next to the Riverwalk Outlet Mall so we walked through there but didn't really see any stores worth stopping at.
The skies were starting to turn dark when we got out of the mall and next thing we knew, it was pouring rain! We hid out under a store awning for a bit but it didn't look like the rain was going to stop anytime soon so we ran to the nearest restaurant to grab lunch, The Crazy Lobster. The highlight of this restaurant was that we got to sit outside and overlook the Mississippi River... but that was about it. Nick and I split a mahi mahi sandwich (which was SO spiced that I couldn't even it) and was ridiculously overpriced. Not worth wasting a precious meal here!
My mouth was on f-i-r-e!
Luckily for us, our next stop was Cafe du Monde for dessert :) I was all ready to wait in line but we walked up to the "to go" window and there was only one person ahead of us! This was Nick and I's first time eating beignets and they were soooo good. Honestly, little bites of heaven. What I would give to have one right now....
Upon stuffing ourselves with fried donuts, we spent the next couple of hours exploring more of the French Quarter. My favorite stop was for drinks at the Carousel Bar located in the Hotel Monteleone (another Double Jeopardy spot). Yes, it is literally a carousel bar. It spins, slowly of course, and it is the coolest thing! I enjoyed a Moscow Mule and Nick had a Gimlet and we had the best time there. A highlight of the trip and definitely a must do in New Orleans.
Dinner that night was at Irene's, thanks to Elise for the suggestion! I had tried to get a reservation for the two of us before leaving with no luck. However, Nick's coworker arrived into town and wanted to join us for dinner so I figured I'd give trying to get a reservation for three a chance. It worked out and we were able to snag a 6pm table! Since it was a work dinner, I couldn't be snapping pictures (haha) and only got this one but let me assure you, the food was exquisite. Best meal of the trip, hands down.
After dinner, it was back to Bourbon Street. That place really does come alive at night! While we weren't trying to go too crazy with the partying, it was fun to enjoy drinks there each night and you can only imagine the people watching. We grabbed beers, thanks to another Elise suggestion :) and headed back to our favorite Musical Legends Park for more live jazz!
Wednesday was the first day of the trade show Nick was in town for. We got breakfast at Mena's Palace (good but nothing special) and then parted ways for the day. He headed to work and I headed to the pool :) I spent almost the entire day laying out and reading The Fault In Our Stars. I know, last person on Earth to read this book! I managed to get quite the sunburn on my shoulders and chest so I considered the day a success.
Nick and I met back up in the hotel room about 4:30 where we got cleaned up for the night. We had another work dinner to attend but before, we grabbed a drink and fried alligator (another first, yum!) at Le Bayou on Bourbon Street.
Next stop was the work dinner at Red Fish Grille, upon recommendation from a local. Dinner was good but the highlight of the meal was the dessert - Flaming Banana Foster Ice Cream Cake. Oh my word. I could have eaten the entire thing myself.
After dinner it was -- yep, you guessed it -- down Bourbon Street for us. Since it was our last night, we decided to keep things really classy and get Hand Grenades. Haha they were quite strong but also quite delish! We popped in a few other bars but ended up at our favorite park again for some more live jazz. Musical Legends Park was our most favorite thing about New Orleans. We had the best time there and I loved that the show was different each night.
Since it had been about two hours already since we last ate (and you just can't go that long while on vacation), we decided to give Cafe Beignet a try to see how it compared to the famous Cafe du Monde. We grabbed some to go and took them back to our room so we could eat them in bed... talk about a gigantic mess. But the conclusion? Nick and I both agreed that Cafe Beignet was WAY better! Maybe we just had a bad batch from du Monde but Cafe Beignet blew them out of the water.
The next morning, we were rocking a beignet/hand grenade hangover so we slept in a bit. Nick headed off to his final day of the work conference and I checked us out of the hotel. I spent the rest of the day shopping and exploring areas we hadn't seen yet, like Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest active cathedral in the United States. The park was beautiful but I stopped into the church and it was breathtaking. The pictures don't do it justice.
After the trade show was over, Nick and I met back up for our last Louisiana meal at Bourbon House. The crab fingers were especially delicious.
From there, it was on to the airport and back to Michigan. We had such a great time but after a week of the heat, drinking and eating, it was also really nice to be home :) Thanks for a wonderful trip, New Orleans!a Rafflecopter giveaway
Ps. My one year blogging giveaway ends tonight at midnight! Don't forget to enter!
Ps. My one year blogging giveaway ends tonight at midnight! Don't forget to enter!