Sunday, November 4, 2012

enjoying salad

Salads aren't usually my go-to meal, but this particular one I've made for a lot of different people and it's always a crowd pleaser. It's a spin on a recipe my friend gave me a few years ago from, I think, Eating Well magazine. The other night, Dave and I had it as our dinner - not a side. We just added shredded chicken and it was both tasty and filling. The salad has also made a few appearances on my blog, but never as the main star. You've probably seen it here or here.

- Spring Mix of Greens
- Finely chop one apple
- Finely chop one pear
- Finely chop half of a red onion
- Top with crumbled goat cheese (Trader Joes is my fave. I suggest using about half the container...though I usually get carried away and use the whole thing.)

- 8 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. maple syrup
- 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar 
- 1-2 tbsp. mustard (I love Grey Popoun Honey Dijon)
- a sprinkling of ground pepper
*Shake or whisk together* (I never cover the whole salad, just allow everyone to drizzle on their own dressing).

Saturday, November 3, 2012

ties and mustaches

Halloween was simple and fun this year. At work, all us girls (like 30-some of us) dressed up like businessmen, adorned in ties and mustaches. Here's a few of us from the PR department. My stache kept falling off though. Lame.

That evening, Dave and I went to our friend's house where we hung out in the driveway passing out candy, eating delish homemade nachos, tacos and caramel apple slices drizzled in chocolate (they tasted as good as they sound). And we had a few strawberry margaritas. It was our second annual Halloween at their house, looks like a new tradition for us. :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

three things

Today, I'm thinking back to my fab weekend. On Saturday night, Dave's Aunts threw us a wonderful engagement party. So fun and loving the beautiful flower arrangement they had on display and gave me to take home! Also, finally caved and made my pumpkin nutella muffins (seriously can't stop eating them). And, we finally (it only took two weeks, but felt longer) got our engagement photos back, which we absolutely love. 

my beautiful engagement party bouquet

um, yum

one of 195 photos. we love almost all of them! (by o'grace photography).

Saturday, October 27, 2012

friday night relaxing

Sometimes after a hectic week, Friday evenings are the perfect time to veg out. After a relaxing mani/pedi, it was time for some takeout from LGO and a glass of red while I perused pinterest, flipped through my latest magazines and caught up on my current read - The Happiness Project. It's the small things that make me happy. :)

yes, that is almost a half eaten pizza for one. it's that good.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

pumpkin + nutella lovin

Okay - anyone that knows me, knows about my love for Nutella. Did you know there is a Nutella truck and it's coming to Phoenix in Nov. as part of their breakfast tour? I'll be there! (more details here). Anyways, I also love pumpkin desserts during fall so this Nutella and pumpkin combo is clearly epic in my mind. 

Last year, a colleague of mine turned me on to these delish Pumpkin Nutella Swirl Muffins from Real Mom Kitchen. Everyone that tried them fell in love with them and I'm anxious to make them again, now that the cooler weather is finally kicking in.

Here's my photo:

But I suggest you visit Real Mom Kitchen for the recipe + photos that will actually make you want to make them. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

three things

On Mondays, I often find myself reflecting on the past week and noting the little things that are making me happy. I'm currently loving the fall flower bouquet on my kitchen table, which I got to take home from my ad agency's 30th anniversary celebration last week (also feeling lucky that I have such a great job!). Thinking about Vanessa's baby shower and how great it was for all us old high school friends to hang out this past Saturday and look forward to meeting baby Ava! And lastly, loving my Trader Joe's cinnamon broom that makes my house smell a-mazing.
Beautiful centerpiece for the fall

All five of us, Megan, me + Cami, Vanessa (with the cutest little baby bump ever), Sarah & Michelle
(photo via Fashion Lush blog)
Cinnamon Broom! If you're doubting it, try their mini version for just 99 cents.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

life reminders

Some days, you just need a few little reminders to start the day on the right foot, turn a bad day into a good day or to take a moment to truly appreciate all the fabulous things in your life. Here are a few of my pinterest "thoughts." 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

dress shopping

After spending the past few weekends hunting for the perfect wedding dress, I finally found it! It was quite the search. My mom and I, often accompanied by friends and family, went to five difference places and visited one of the places three times! This past Saturday, on my third visit to Lillian Lottie, we got the dress! I had been in the weekend prior with my mom, her friend of 25 years Bernie, my friend Melis, my dad and my brother and we had it narrowed down to three dresses. But I ended up leaving in tears. It's hard when everyone loves different dresses and you're not sure which your favorite is. I showed tons of people the pics that week, trying to get a feel for which looked best on me. Then I came to the realization that I didn't think any of the three dresses were for me.

So, when I came into Lillian Saturday, I showed Becca (the most awesome person ever) pics of some dresses I had pinned early on in my wedding planning that I just loved. She found some that were similar and turns out the very first one I tried on, was the one I loved. I almost didn't want to try on the other 8 or so dresses, but I did. And was still in love with that first one. Everyone else loved it too. And - it's like it was meant to be...they only had the dress in for that weekend. Someone had wanted to try it on, so the shop had called to get in a loaner for that weekend only. Perfect.

Becca even had tears in her eyes when I realized it was my dress. She's never cried for a bride before. :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

fun happenings

This past week was a crazy, busy one. After jetting to Vegas and back on Tuesday for work, on Wednesday, my fiance and I had our engagement photos. After working a half day, I got my hair and makeup done and made it just in time to our 3:30 appointment at the beautiful  Hyatt at Gainey Ranch for our photo session.

As soon as I met my photographer, it was a huge relief. We love her and are so glad we booked her. The entire two hours she spent with us, she gave us photo tips, wedding vendor recommendations and kept us entertained with her stories. We had lots of laughs and then afterwards, Dave and I stayed at the resort for drinks and dinner. What a fun little Wednesday night!

Now we're really anxious to see our professional photos! Here's an iphone pic while we were sipping our pre-dinner drinks.

Monday, October 1, 2012

a little girl time

I love weekends spent with girls, even the busy ones! This past Saturday, my mom and moh/bff/Sarah came with me to help me find the perfect wedding dress. My mom and I had been to a few places, but finally found a good selection of dresses with exactly what I was look for: lots of beautiful lace at the lovely Lillian Lottie in Old Town Scottsdale! It was so fun and there are about six amazing dresses we found. Lots to be decided but at least it was a productive dress session.

Sunday, I met up with Sarah for coffee and then we made our way over to Anthem for Michelle's surprise birthday party (she was really surprised, yay!). We gabbed and munched on pizza, and took turns holding Miss Camdyn. We've known each other forever (Sarah since freshman year, Michelle since middle school and Megan since our early elementary days) and it's sometimes strange to see how grown up we are. It's just a reminder of how quickly the years go by and the importance of making the most of every moment. 
Sarah, me + Cami, Michelle & Megan

Camdyn fell asleep on Megan and then I stole her for some cuddle time :) 
~ Love ~

Thursday, September 27, 2012

some weeks...

Thursday happy hours are very necessary. Gotta love the rooftop dining at Del Frisco's (the mac & cheese and cheese fritters are awesome - clearly I enjoy cheese way too much!). 

Some work friends enjoying some wine and tapas.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


I can't believe we've already been back from Europe for a month. Feels like just the other day it was Dec. 2011 and we were booking out flights! Here's a look back at Antwerp, Belgium, one of our favorite places!

We loved:

  • The architecture. Plus the cobblestone, windey roads and old wooden doors
  • Our B&B was a-mazing. A big comfy room, with an large attached sitting room and huge bathroom - all to ourselves! The welcome drink really was perfect too.
  • Delish breakfasts on the patio
  • We arrived on a Catholic holiday so no one was working and everyone was out enjoying the big market
  • De Koninck - Antwerp's beer
  • Our leisurely lunch
  • View from the Mas
  • Ice cream there is unbelievably good
  • Sunflowers in the middle of town
  • Stumbling upon the big food and drink festival

Saturday, September 22, 2012

birthday weekend

I turned the big 2-8 yesterday. But I don't mind getting older when I feel so lucky and blessed to be surrounded by my amazing fiance, friends and family. Friday morning, my coworkers surprised me with my fave Starbucks coffee, cookies, a cupcake and other goodies. Then a few of them took me lunch at Christopher's which was delish. If you haven't been, it's a must try. I had only been for happy hour before, but their food is exceptional. Dave and I topped off the day with a fun dinner at the new Del Frisco's Grille at the Esplande. I love that restaurant week always falls on my bday! The night before, Dave took me to the Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean concert for my early bday present. We had a great time (after we finally got there) and realized it was our very first concert together!

Today, the celebration continued. My family took me to lunch at my favorite Mexican food place - Macayos (because I'm obsessed with their baja sauce). I got the best cards ever and my parents gave me my favorite shade of old fashioned roses, plus a perfect Kate Spade picture frame for Dave and I. Can't wait to have a wedding photo to put in the new frame!

 concert time, d's eyes + iphone flashes = bad combo

am birthday goodies from my awesome pr coworkers

loved my smoked salmon blt at christopher's and topped it off with dessert. 

 del frisco's 

 family lunch

 my fave roses and a beautiful kate spade frame from my parents


Monday, September 10, 2012


August 11 marked my first trip to Europe and my first two week vaca with my fiance. I was a little unsure of what to expect - but the entire vacation was better than I even imagined!

Our first stop was London. When we got on the plane and were given cocktails, a delish steak dinner with wine, dessert and the waiter kept telling me I was 'grand,' I knew it was going to be a fun trip. Lots of new movies and great tv episodes to watch on the plane, and I had about four books with me and several magazines. The flight there was great, until about the ninth hour. Then I was ready to land already. 

We had a great time - enjoyed our quaint b&b, climbed more than 500 stairs at St. Paul's, toured Westminster Abbey, saw Big Ben and Houses of Parliament, toured the Tower of London, walked across the bridge with the Olympic symbols and walked around the Notting Hill area.

The food was not so great and we weren't fans of the warm beer. It also took us awhile to get used to the time change - one night we were up until 2:30am. And then exhausted the whole next day. Oh and there was a moment on the metro where I had a bit of a panic attack when we were stuffed in like sardines and I couldn't breath. But other than that, we enjoyed London...although the next two countries we loved even more.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

simple sunday

I love Sundays with no plans. It's so nice to have the time to clean, cook, shop, etc. One of my favorite things to do is peruse Trader Joe's for no real reason other than to discover new things which is just so much fun to do there! I found my new fave snack there today - fresh figs halved with a dollop of mascarpone cheese and topped with a sweet and spicy pecan. It may not look amazing, but if you like fig, you will love these. Snacking on these and flipping through a stack of magazines I had to catch up on made for a great cap to the weekend.

healthy dining

After eating our way through France and now focused on getting fit for our April wedding, we're really sticking with our healthy eating kick. The other night we made teriyaki chicken with brown rice. Super simple week night meal and not terrible for you. Just slice and cook up whatever veggies you want, steam some brown rice, dice up chicken and cook it in your fave teriyaki sauce. Then you're done!

let them eat cake

A few days before we left on our European vacation, we celebrated Dave's 34th birthday! We celebrated early with his family with a barbecue and I brought the dessert - Whipped Cream Cake. It was a hit and so easy to make. My mom has been making it for years! The  next day we celebrated on his real birthday, just him and me. We went to dinner at Sidedoor and had our favorite $2 Pastrami Sliders and drinks. A birthday on a budget but still fun!

Here's the Whipped Cream Cake recipe from my mom's Joy of Baking cookbook with a few changes: 

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
*Sift 2 cups of cake flour before measuring
*Resift twice with 2 3/4 teaspoons double-acting baking powder and 3/4 teaspoon salt
*Whip until stiff 1 cup whipping cream
*Fold 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar into the cream and add 1/2 cup water and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla gradually, stirring gently until smooth
*Whip 3 egg whites until stiff but not dry
*Combine the cream and the egg whites. Fold the sifted ingredients into the cream mixture, about 1/2 at a time. Bake in a bundt pan for 25-30 minutes.
*For the frosting, I just use the basic butter-cream frosting on the back of the powdered sugar bag. You'll have extra frosting which always great for dipping graham crackers in. Yum.

That's it, super simple and delish!

Monday, September 3, 2012

mom's bday

The long weekend has been a great time catching up with girlfriends and my family. My mom's birthday was earlier in the week while they were at their cabin, so yesterday, I was cooking up a storm making my mom the annual tradition of German Chocolate Cake. I decided to make brunch as well and it just so happens, that Cupcakes and Cashmere recently did a post on Pancetta and Caramelized Onion Quiche that looked amazing, so I tried it out. Everyone loved it so I'll definitely be making it again (my dad ate three slices!). Highly recommend it and it really is easy!

Cooking up the frosting - my fave part of the cake

Frosting is done!

Pancetta and Caramelized Onion Quiche

Brunch time!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

back to basics

We're finally back from our European vacation. I'm looking forward to sharing all our photos and adventures in future posts. For now though, I'm recovering from the nine hour time difference, getting back into the swing of things at work and working on eating healthy. After two weeks of indulgence (think lots of cheese, croissants and wine - not to mention all the multiple course dinners), I'm craving fish and veggies.

Well, thanks to my MOH's blog, Wake Up Smiling, I discovered the amazing website Food on the Table and made this for dinner tonight. It seriously makes life easier. Thanks Sarah! :)

Right before I put the Lemon Pepper Salmon Steaks in the oven, yum!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

railroad park

The last few Sunday evenings have been spent at the McCormick Railroad Park in Scottsdale with Dave's family for their free concert series. At first I didn't know what to expect - but this park is seriously the coolest park I've ever been to. Lots and lots of families showed up for the concert and there are all kinds of activities for kids to take part in - train ride, carousel, playground, various exhibits, a snack shop that operates out of a caboose and Hartley's General Store with souvenirs and food. The music was great too!

Dave and I treated ourselves to some mint chocolate chip ice cream on a sugar cone this last time around.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

perfect saturday evening

A few Saturdays ago, Dave and I decided to spend the evening driving neighborhoods. Checking out other areas we might like to live other than where we each live now. We had so much fun picturing our future and imagining where we might end up. After our little house/neighborhood hunt, we dined at Spinatos - one of my favorite pizza restaurants ever. His first time! And he loved it. We will be back for more soon. Our fave combo is sausage and pineapple, yum.

Monday, July 9, 2012

all-american fourth of july

We spent our July Fourth evening at the Dbacks game with my future in-laws. Baseball, hot dogs, nachos and fireworks...doesn't get much better!

Here's Dave with his niece, so cute! 

afternoon coffee date

Coffee dates (well, actually ice tea dates) are a regular occurrence with my bestie. These days they're even sweeter since they now include baby Camdyn. What's better than two hours of gabbing on a lazy Saturday afternoon and holding the cutest little newborn ever?

This last time we met up, Sarah gave me a beautiful engagement gift too! So sweet! A homemade decorative "S" for Schmitt, champagne and a frame with a picture of my fiance and I that says "Fairy Tales Do Come True." So thoughtful and perfect.