Lately

Well, we are coming out of it around here. Ellie is nearly potty trained after just 2 months of hard labor. We’re almost not completely terrified to take her out to eat without a pull-up on. Success! Again, I didn’t snap as many photos as usual this month, since most would have been taken near a portable potty. 

Here she is in all her glory – Queen of the Ethnic Food Festival. I like how she looks a little like a warrior princess here.

Untitled

I’m sure this happens to you to when you try to get a group shot with your friends. I love how a few of us are laughing, some are smiling and others are talking. This picture pretty much sums up our trip to Sedona.

sedona 040

These gorgeous flowers were outside of my client’s office. Does anyone know what they are? The blooms are about 6 inches in diameter and absolutely stunning.

Untitled

My husbands’ company raises money for charity each year by hosting a silent auction. A lot of the items are experiences donated by officers within the firm (concert tickets, wine nights, etc.). We won (along with a crew of other people) a gangster tour of Kansas City. If you’ve never done something like this, I highly recommend it. It was fascinating. After the tour, we hit up Anthony’s. Their lasagna alone is worth the trip, if you’ve never been.

gangster-tour

Continue reading

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

Tomatoes and Ricotta Toast

tomatoes-ricotta-toast

Last week, I was watching The Chew as I made my lunch for the day. Michael Symon was roasting tomatoes and serving them over ricotta smeared toast. It looked delicious, and I was ready to make it almost as soon as I saw it. He had added a bit of basil, I believe, but I wanted to keep it really simple, since I knew I’d be serving this to Ellie.

While Keegan was away, she and I feasted on burst, cherry tomatoes and ricotta toast with lightly scrambled eggs and fresh fruit. It was the perfect summer meal, but I think it would also make a lovely appetizer for an evening with friends.

cherry-tomatoes Continue reading

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

Explore: Sedona, Arizona

And, I’m back. Last week, I was struck down with a monster virus, which is why I was absent from the blog. It was not pretty.

But, I’m happy to report Sedona is very pretty. I mean look at her. Gorgeous, right?

sedona

Two weeks ago, I joined five friends for a long weekend in Sedona. It was my first time traveling to the Southwest, and I was immediately struck by how beautiful it is there. Today, I’m sharing some of my favorite things from the trip.

girls-trip-sedona

GO:

Pink Jeep Tour – We did a Pink Jeep Tour our second evening in town. It is a fun way to see Sedona, and I would recommend it to anyone.

Sedona Rouge Spa – The girls who organized the trip set us up with appointments at the Sedona Rouge Spa. I chose a facial and shea butter wrap. They were both absolutely lovely. One of the great perks of choosing this spa over some of the other options was that they gave us access to the their pool.

EAT:

Elote Cafe – This place has some of the best Mexican food I’ve ever eaten. Wait times are really long, so know that in advance. However, I’d wait a hundred years for their elote (fire roasted corn with spicy mayo, lime and cotija cheese). It’s that good.

L’Auberge Restaurant on Oak Creek – I had heard this restaurant had great views, but I was pleasantly surprised when we arrived and were seated a few feet away from a creek. The menu is pricey, so I’d recommend checking it out for brunch or lunch. Don’t miss the burrata or the cocktails.

STAY:

VRBO – Since we had a large group, the girls secured a great VRBO house for us. It was the perfect fit. We had a full kitchen, so breakfast could happen at home. Our particular spot had a shaded deck, so we spent one afternoon eating cheese and crackers and drinking some wine, while learning how to nae nae. Good stuff.

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

3 Ingredient White Bean Dip

white-bean-dip

Last Thursday afternoon, I headed out for a much needed vacation with some close friends. It was wonderful and relaxing, and I can’t wait to share the details with you next week.

But now, I’m back to reality and having a difficult time getting into the swing of things. Catching up on work and groceries took up my Monday. A power outage last night derailed my plans, which included laundry and #RHONY reunion. So if you were to visit my house, you’d see it is quite messy right now. But, I don’t think you’d mind too much when I served you this lemon spiked white bean dip. Nope, I think you’d forget about the mess fairly quickly.

Cannellini beans are whirred together with lemon zest and juice to create a dip that makes vegetable eating more fun. Trust me. This three ingredient dip has both Ellie and I eating cucumbers. It’s that good.

lemon-white-bean-dip

This is the sort of thing you could make and keep for several days. Tucked into lunchboxes or end of the season picnic baskets, you need this in your life.

Continue reading

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

What’s In

ellie-farm-pond

Ellie fell in this pond twice in 24 hours. Here’s a quick look at what I’ve been into lately:

Listening – I am not a crafter, but Elise’s podcast Elise Gets Crafty is one of my favorites. She shares business insights perfect for a #girlboss like myself. I’ve been listening to it on early morning walks and am hooked.

Wearing (almost) – I picked up this shirt last weekend in black and have already gotten the army green too. Right now, it is too humid for sleeves, but soon, I’m sure I’ll be wearing it everywhere. It would be perfect with jeans, dress pants or a skirt.

Going – Have you been to T. Loft in KC? I feel like everyone and their mom tried it long before I did, but last week, I was there twice (once for a juice and again for lunch). I am hooked.

Wanting – So many things. This is not an understatement. In particular, I’m craving these boots, this necklace and this cape jacket.

Making – Would you describe yourself as having a zucchini problem? Well, I would. This chocolate zucchini bread recipe from Simply Recipes is fantastic. Make it, and you won’t regret planting zucchini quite so much.

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

8 Things You Should Know About Car Maintenance

car

My husband loves cars. He grew up working on everything from farm equipment to race cars with his dad and brothers. So, anytime we are even thinking of getting a new vehicle, he gets very excited. He will log months of painstaking research to find the perfect fit. It is his hobby. On more than a few occasions, he’s promised me a Sonic Blast and then, driven me to a dealership when I thought we were heading home. The man is tricky.

But, this doesn’t come without rewards. He is my mechanic and takes care of all things auto. Over the years, I’ve picked up a few tricks from him, so I asked him for his favorite car maintenance tips. I’m not afraid to admit I didn’t know many of these, but number 4 is still my favorite.

8 Things You Should Know About Car Maintenance.

1. Oil Changes – When you take your car either to a dealership, Jiffy Lube or local auto shop to get your oil changed, beware of the upsell. Nine times out of ten, they will find some mysterious issue with your car that needs urgent attention. Instead of the $35 oil change you planned for, you could walk out with a $300 bill. So, no matter what, write down the issues they’re describing and then, take your car, along with the notes, to a recommended or trusted source and have them verify the problem is legitimate. Just remember, if you drove it in, you can drive it out.

2. Auto Part Stores – A little known fact about auto parts stores is they will change your wiper blades and replace your battery onsite for no additional charge. If you need either replaced, go there. They will help you find the right parts and then, install them.

3. Check Engine Lights –  When your check engine light comes on, you can figure out what is wrong for less by taking it to an auto parts store. There, you can tell the clerk your check engine light is on and ask to rent the code reader. They will usually help you plug it under your dash to get the error code. You can use this information to diagnose what’s wrong with your car. Take the error code and use it along with your car’s make and model to search for the issue online. Arming yourself with this information means you can feel confident you’re having the right problems fixed instead of racking up extra fees on items that aren’t broken.

4. Car’s Fuel Door – Bought a new car or driven a rental and been unsure where the gas tank is as you pull into the station? If you look at the fuel gauge on your dash, there is a small arrow or triangle by the picture of the gas pump. It will point to the side your tank is on. (Genius.)

impala

5. Nail In Your Tire? – If you have a nail in your tire, it may not need to be replaced. Any good repair shop can usually patch or plug a nail hole. This should cost between $25 – $40 instead of hundreds buying on a new tire. That being said, this fix won’t work if the nail is in the sidewall or if it is within a 1/2 inch of the edge of the tire.

6. Tires – Here’s a quick trick to see if you need new tires. Take a penny and turn it upside down. Insert Abe Lincoln in between the tread of the tire. If Abe’s head doesn’t touch the tread, your tires are too worn and ready to be replaced.

7. Battery vs. Alternator – Your battery starts your engine, and your alternator keeps your battery charged.

A. If your car won’t start and you’re able to jump it (and keep it running), then, you need a new battery. Take it to an auto parts store where they will install one for you. Keep the car running until you arrive at your destination.Otherwise, you won’t be able to start it again.

B. If you jump your car and it dies after a few minutes, you need an alternator. You’ll likely need to have it towed to your favorite mechanic. (Yuck.)

8. Jump Start – Here’s how to jump start your car. Point the two cars so they are facing each other. Make sure the healthy car is running. Open the hoods and connect the batteries with jumper cables. Make sure the red clamp goes on the red terminal (knob on the battery). Match the black clamp to the black terminal (knob on the battery). Wait 5 minutes. Then, you should be able to start the other car and keep it running if the battery is the problem. Keep the car running until you arrive at your destination. Otherwise, you won’t be able to start it again.

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

Fast Food: Pork Chops with Grilled Plums & Bacon, Goat Cheese Corn

pork-chops-potatoes

After wrangling Ellie into her seat and glancing at the table, Keegan said, “You made all this in about 45 minutes?”

Yes, yes I did. I am a wizard.

pork-chops-plums-corn

Okay, maybe not, but the key to fast dinners is using ingredients that can be prepared quickly. Pork chops take between 10 and 15 minutes to grill, so they are perfect for weeknight meals. Corn is ready in minutes, and adding small pieces of bacon brings lots of flavor, but only a little more time. Mashed potatoes are ready in around 30 minutes when you don’t take the time to peel them (which is how I always make them).

corn-bacon-tomatoes

For this quick meal, I grilled plums alongside pork chops, as the main course. The sweet, salty combination is really wonderful, but the real star of this plate is the corn. Fresh corn kernels are stirred together with sliced cherry tomatoes, pieces of bacon, scallions and goat cheese.

It was so good Keegan and I finished off Ellie’s plate after she pronounced she didn’t like tomatoes (a lie). When opportunity knocks, open the door.

pork-chops Gameplan

  1. Start the mashed potatoes.
  2. When those are on the stove, prep the ingredients for the corn, halve the plums and start your grill.
  3. Add the pork chops to the grill.
  4. Start on the corn. Continue reading
facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

How To Wear Flares

Skinny jeans are still in fashion, but flares have become the new darling of the fashionable set. Fashion bloggers, It Girls and off-duty models have all been seen in them, and after finding the perfect pair, I’m completely on board too.

Flattering and (gasp!) comfortable, I had forgotten how lovely it can feel to put on jeans that aren’t skintight. You should try it. You will quickly be converted.

With any new(ish) trend comes the question, how do I wear I them? So today, I’m showing you how to wear flares. I’ve pulled-together two looks using a pair of jeans I snagged at the Nordstrom sale and a simple white tee. Then, I switched it up with jackets and accessories. That being said, this is just a jumping off point. the possibilities are endless. I also love flares with just a crisp, white button-down and heeled booties. So chic.

how-to-wear--flares

The Basics
White Tee, Splendid
Flare Jeans, Joe’s

Look 1
Black, sweater jacket, Banana Republic
Layered Necklace, Madewell
Burgundy tote, J. Crew
Leopard heels, Calvin Klein (These are my go-to shoes. They are insanely comfortable.)

Look 2
Metallic clutch, J. Crew
Rose gold choker, Nordstrom
Pink moto jacket, Banana Republic
Black heels, Nordstrom

I’d love to know. Are you a convert yet? Have you picked up a pair of flares?

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

At the Farm

ellie-flowers

If you’ve met my husband, he’s probably at some point mentioned to you that he grew up on a farm. It is a piece of his personal history that defines him completely. He’s proud of his background and happy to share it with you.

impala

Before we get to far into our trip to the farm, I should probably tell you I came face to face with the other woman. She’s a 1963 Chevy Impala that my husband is head over heels for. Her name is Marilyn. She is pretty, but a little high maintenance.

boys-walking

Our second night in town, my in-laws hosted the extended family at the farm to celebrate a few birthdays. There was food for 700 people, frogs, kittens, fireworks and water balloons. Fun was had by all.

Continue reading

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail