Friday, April 29, 2011

The Little Kitchen Print

I am just about done with decorating the living room (I am waiting anxiously for my last art piece to arrive), so I've moved on to decorating the kitchen. I found this print at Lilygene's etsy shop. I really loved the Beatles's song lyric, and I was attracted to the overall design of the print. I decided to make it yellow to match the butter cream color of my much beloved kitchen aid mixer that my mother gave me for Christmas. I love this little piece, and it really brightens up the kitchen. Even Adam has mentioned several times how much he likes it, and he never pays attention to anything I do design wise.

Song of the Day: Bible Song by Lori Mckenna

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

The best bits from one of my favorite books A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Own Life by Donald Miller.

On Heaven:
I thought about heaven, about how if we were shooting a movie about heaven, at the airport, we would want to shoot it there, and how in the movie, people would be arriving from earth and from other planets, and when the angels picked us up, they’d put us in their cars and drive a million miles for a thousand years, and it would be miserable until you got to where you were supposed to stay, where you would see your family and the girlfriend you had in the second grade, the girl you always believed was the only one who really loved you.

On Expectations:
When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are. And when you stop expecting material possessions to complete you, you’d be surprised at how much pleasure you get in material possessions. And when you stop expecting God to end all your troubles, you’d be surprised how much you like spending time with God.

On Significant Others:
She said she and her husband believed they were a cherished prize for each other, and they would probably drive any other people mad. But then she said something I thought was wise. She said she had married a guy, and he was just a guy. He wasn’t going to make all her problems go away, because he was just a guy. And that freed her to really love him as a guy, not as an ultimate problem solver. And because her husband believed she was just a girl, he was free to really love her too. Neither needed the other to make everything okay. They were simply content to have good company through life’s conflicts. I thought that was beautiful.

On Suffering:
He (meaning God) said to me I was a tree in a story about a forest, and that it was arrogant of me to believe any differently. And he told me the story of the forest is better than the story of the tree.

Song of the Day: Blue Skies by Noah and the Whale

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Egg Dyeing

We dyed eggs this weekend for Easter, and these are the pictures from our second attempt. That's right we failed at our first attempt. Who fails at dyeing Easter eggs? TWO YEAR OLDS CAN DYE EASTER EGGS. But apparently we fail at dyeing Easter eggs because we couldn't get the tablets to dissolve right, and then I added too much water, so when we dropped the eggs in the dye, nothing happened. So anti-climatic. I was so sad about it that Adam said we could buy another kit. DAY SAVED. They turned out great the second time around, and we even tried to get fancy by doing some multi-colored. So fun.

I hope everyone has a lovely Easter weekend. I know we did. 

Song of the Day: Uncharted by Sara Bareilles

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Only in Southern California...

As seen at our local grocery store, you would never see that back in Alabama. Happy Weekend Everyone!

Song of The Day: Be OK by Ingrid Michaelson

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mock Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits Recipe

Adam and I love to eat at Red Lobster, and we eat there a little more than I'd like to admit. He lives for their chicken fingers, and I live for their lobster rolls and those addictive biscuits. I figured in this modern age of google, I could find a substitute recipe, which I did, and I will post it here, but I want to give credit to the original recipe which is found here. They turned out really, really delicious, and they taste just like Red Lobster biscuits.  The only thing I would possibly do differently is bake them in cupcake tins to keep them from spreading out so much.

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Baking Ingredients:
 2 1/2 cups Bisquick baking mix
 3/4 cup cold whole milk
 4 tablespoons cold butter
 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
 1 heaping cup grated cheddar cheese

Brush on Top Ingredients:
 2 tablespoons butter, melted
 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
 Pinch of salt
 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley flakes (optional)

 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
 2. Combine Bisquick with butter in a medium bowl using a large fork. Don't over mix, allowing chunks of pea sized butter to remain. Next, add cheddar cheese, milk, and 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder. Mix by hand until combined, but don't over mix. 
 3. Drop 1/4 cup portions of dough onto cookie sheet using an ice cream scoop.
 4. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until light brown on the top.
 5. Once biscuits are out of the oven, melt 2 tablespoons butter in the microwave and stir in garlic powder and parsley flakes (optional).   Brush garlic butter mixture over the biscuits, using up all the butter. Makes approximately a dozen biscuits.

Song of the Day: A Table Away by Sunny Sweeney

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Weekend

Flowers at Fresh & Easy

Homemade Cheddar Bay Biscuits

DIY Monogram Letters for Living Deco by Me
This weekend was the weekend of the Long Beach Grand Prix, so the town was crowded and we could hear the buzzing of the race cars all weekend long (sounded like a hive of bees).  Since Adam and I are allergic to crowds, we spent the whole weekend mostly hanging around the house, other than running a few errands. On Friday, I cooked us up a banquet, I'm not even kidding. I made chicken stuffed with cheese wrapped in bacon, homemade mashed potatoes, and homemade mock red lobster cheddar bay biscuits (I'm going to post the recipe later on this week). Plus, we had two chocolate cupcakes for desert! Even for a cheat day, that was a whole lotta food. We felt like stuffed pigs, and couldn't even get up off the couch.

On Saturday, I went to Michael's to pick up some supplies that I needed to complete a project. Michael's is potentially dangerous for my mental health, since I spend a lot of time in that store talking out loud to myself like a nut job. Not even kidding. What is it about Arts & Crafts stores that unleashes my crazy? Once I got home, I set about painting our monogrammed letters that I bought and wanted to hang in our living room, while watching the movie Country Strong.  The movie was really good, but let's face it I only watched it to see what hair piece Tim Mcgraw was wearing this week. Although I was highly disappointed because it hadn't changed much since he did The Blind Side.  Love the man, amused by his hair piece (they should write that on his tombstone).

Oh and I napped a lot and played a lot of De Blob 2 on the Xbox. I'm not a gamer, but I love that game. Think animated coloring book.  All in all it was a fab weekend.

Song of the Day: Ours by Taylor Swift

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

California Bucket List

{Picture Via Polli}

It's no secret that as a couple our life plan doesn't include living in California forever. We like some things about living here (there is always something to do, beaches nearby), but we just aren't big city people. We are small town Southern/Midwestern people. We want to live around family and the majority of our friends, and one day own a home that we didn't afford by selling our souls (like we would in SoCal). But we will stay here for the next few years as I complete my internship and take my licensing exam, but there are a few things I would love to do while we live here. Hence the California Bucket List! 

1. Disneyland
2. Whale Watching
4. Dinner at Medieval Times (Buena Park, CA)
5. Raging Waters Water Park (San Dimas, CA)
6. Long Beach Mystery Dinner Cruise
7. Universal Studios and Universal Studio Week
9. Hearst Castle (San Simeon, CA)
10. Venice Beach
11. Santa Monica Pier
12. Live Taping of Hot in Cleveland (see Betty White in Person)
14. Griffith Observatory (Hollywood, CA)
15. La Brea Tar Pits
16. Wine Tasting

Sounds like Fun. 1...2...3 Go!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Beach Walk

I've been feeling a little sorry for Sarah lately because of the last few weeks she has had. For her, they have been full of bladder infections, vet trips, tons of medication, and a trip to the kennel.  She is doing so much better now. Earlier in the week, I had decided I would take her for a walk at the beach on Sunday. I woke up on Sunday really, really tired, but I keep my promises, even if they are only to Golden Retrievers.

So I hauled my butt out of bed, strapped Sarah into her harness, and headed down to the beach. Well, at least the park by the beach. They do not allow dogs on the beach (I call shenanigans! or at least discrimination).  The park is a really pretty with beautiful homes, palm trees, beach views, and statues (the lone solider memorial statue is pictured above). And I decided to stop and take pictures because my oldie goldie needed to take a few rest breaks. Heck, it was over a mile. When we got home, Sarah was exhausted but so happy. It was a great end to a relaxing weekend.

Song of the Day: Home by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Anti-Hallmark Cards

Adam recently informed me that he is not a huge fan of the traditional, sappy greeting cards. That was a surprise to me because when we were dating and doing the ever fun long distance relationship thing, I would often send him care packages complete with candy, boxes of Kraft macaroni & cheese, and always a card. And usually they were the cards that blasted music when you open them, which apparently (according to Adam) are the worst offenders of all.  Not to mention they can scare you senseless.

So I knew for our anniversary I didn't want to get him your standard everyday card, and while looking around on the web, I came across E's Custom Cards. I thought her cards were so fantastic. So I ordered him one for our anniversary. I told her I liked taking photos, he like gaming, and that we have a Goldie. This is what she came up with. I love it, he loves it, and I am framing it for our desk.

I guess you can say I got a little card happy because I also ordered one for one of my best friends from college, Anna. She is so awesome about sending out cards and gifts, and mailing out cards is one of those "adult" things that I can never seem to get it together enough to do (along with turning in library books on time).

I wanted the card to represent something that was important to both of us. So I had her draw the college we met at Mississippi University for Women (MUW), and we are decked out in our school colors. Yeah, I came this close to keeping this one for myself. She loved it! And there is nothing that makes me happier than doing special things for the people I love.

Song of the Day: You Get a Love Song by Lori Mckenna

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Second Anniversary & Hotel Roosevelt

When we were deciding how we should celebrate our 2nd anniversary, I told Adam all I wanted to do was stay in a nice hotel room and have a nice dinner. I didn't need to go anywhere or do anything, I just wanted to be pampered a little bit. I have always loved hotels, the thrill of walking into a pristine room, and how everyday you are there you can step out for a bit and come back to a totally clean room. Is it any wonder why as a child I dreamed of being Eloise? We choose to stay in The Hotel Roosevelt in Hollywood because it is beautiful and it is historical (and maybe haunted). The hotel hosted the first ever Oscar ceremony and our room was right next to the room where Marilyn Monroe stayed, and she supposedly haunts the place!

On Monday (our anniversary) we got up early and dropped Sarah off at the kennel (where she ran off to play with her friends, without even so much as a glance back), and then we hopped on the metro to make it down to Hollywood. The hotel and our room were so beautiful, and within ten minutes after our arrival we were in the gigantic pool. And guys I'm pleased to announce that Adam actually knows how to swim. You see, in the near five years we have been dating/engaged/married, and in the 10 odd years I've known him I could never get him to go swimming. So I would often tease him that he didn't know how to swim. So I was beyond please to get him in the pool.  We swam for over two hours acting just like kids, turning somersaults, racing, doing underwater hand stands, and flipping each other off of the rafts.

After swimming, we put on our pretty clothes and went downstairs to have dinner. Yep, that's right we didn't even leave the hotel. I didn't feel the need too, I've done the Hollywood thing. Twice. And you know what else? We had a burger and fries, and I drank a spiked banana foster shake.  On our anniversary night. I'm kind of a foodie, and I love fancy food and I love trying new things. But I really love me a burger too.  So even if it is our anniversary night and we should go fancy, if we want a burger we are going to have a burger. We're pretty no frills, no fuss people, and we gotta be us. So we got our burgers at 25 degrees and they were amazing. So amazing in fact that we went back there the next morning for breakfast, and I wish I could have their banana and walnut waffles every morning for the rest of my life.

After dinner, we hung out by the beautifully lit pool, Tropicana bar, and fire pits. Later, up in the room we ordered the best New York Cheesecake with Oreo Crust from room service. Room service totally helps me fulfill my fantasy of living the Eloise life style.

We were sad to leave the next morning, but excited to pick up our Goldie. Who was so excited to see us, but so tired. She doesn't get to nap 22 plus hours a day at the kennel, and she fell asleep in the car on the way home. I'm pretty sure Sarah spends all her time at the kennel bossing around the other doggies because she has always behaved like the alpha dog at the dog park. Breaking up dog fights, and keeping the other dogs in line. I'm not even kidding.  

We went to Hollywood on Monday as Newlyweds and came home Oldyweds. Time is flying. It was such a lovely anniversary celebration though, and a great mini-vacation. But now it's back to real life and work and papers. Le sigh.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Cotton Anniversary

Today we have been married two years. This means we are no longer newlyweds and that officially ends any shot I ever had at being on The Newlywed Game (that had been my dream since childhood). I can't help but be nostalgic about the time we've spent together. If anyone told me just a few short years ago that I would be living in Southern California and married to the man I first meet when I was 14, I would suggest they check themselves into a mental asylum. But life is funny because that is exactly what happened. I am so happy. Happy Anniversary to Us!

Song of The Day: Feels Like Home by Chantal Kreviazuk

Friday, April 1, 2011

Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Friday is my day off and the kick start of the weekend, and I couldn't decide how I wanted to spend it. I thought I wanted to go shopping or get a pedicure. Then, I thought I wanted to stay home on my lazy butt. But then it occurred to me that I hadn't used my beloved kitchen aid mixer in quite a while. So I decided baking something sounded fun. I am practically obsessed with banana flavored foods and drinks, so I decided to bake banana cupcakes with chocolate chips and chocolate icing. I found the recipe from The only tweaks I made was I used a banana and a half, and made banana creme instant pudding from a mix. I also used whipped chocolate frosting. I cooked mine at 350 for 23 minutes per 12 cupcakes.

 They turned out so tasty, and I put them in these cheeky little monkey cupcake tins to amuse me.  And amuse me they did.

Song of the Day: Gone in The Morning by Newton Faulker