Soup for Days


Soup is one of my favorite things to make. It’s easy, I can leave it the crock-pot and come home to a fresh meal after work, and most of all, it’s delicious! On Sunday, S and I through a Soup-er Bowl party. I got this idea from some friends, the Walsh family, back in Salt Lake City over the Christmas Holiday. Granted, they had about 8 different soups at their party, our party for 12, did not call for as much variety. If you are ever seeking great recipes, I seriously recommend this family’s blog, The Walsh Cookbook. I got two of my soup recipes for here: Crab and Brie Soup and Bacon & Jalapeño Corn Chowder from this lovely family blog. I promise you won’t regret checking out these recipes. S also made an awesome chili with a middle-eastern flare. Here is the recipe for that:

S’s Chili

What you’ll need:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 6 slices of thick cut bacon, sliced into small pieces
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can red beans
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 1 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 medium white onions, diced
  • 10 garlic cloves, halved
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 3 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese, for garnish
  • chopped green onions, for garnish
  • sour cream, for garnish


Sauté bacon in a sauté pan. Once cooked, drain all but 2 Tablespoons of the grease. Add brown sugar and raisins and let caramelize. On the side, in a large soup pot, heat the olive oil. Season the beef shoulder all over with salt and pepper, add it to the pot and brown it. As it’s browning stir in the chili powder, coriander, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, oregano and cinnamon. Add bacon and raisin mixture. Lower the temperature under the meat to “toast” the spices. In a food processor puree the onions, garlic, and tomato paste and add it to the pot. Increase the heat to medium to steam vegetables a little. Drain and add beans. Add enough water to cover by 1 inch, about 1 quart, and add tomatoes with their liquid. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the meat is fork-tender and comes apart with no resistance, about 2 hours. As it cooks down, add more water, if necessary. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish each serving with the shredded Cheddar, green onions, and sour cream.




Sunday Savings

Happy Super Bowl Sunday! S and I are hosting a SOUP-er bowl party. I will be sharing some awesome soup recipes on Tuesday, so definitely stop by again to see those. For now, here are some of our favorite sale items of the week. Enjoy!
Sunday Savings

True Life: Rug Hunting is Hard

As someone who’s been on the hunt for the perfect rug for no less than an entire year, I’ll be the first to tell you, there’s no lack of atrocious and boring rugs out there. They’re everywhere! I quickly discovered that a rug is a serious investment piece worth waiting for. My requirements are (sorta) simple:

1. Rug needs to be large enough to have presence in a large room. Twelve foot ceilings tend to drown a 3’x5′ rug.

2. Rug needs to be colorful and stain resistent. As much as I’d love a crisp white rug, our three dogs would love even more to roll ALL over it.

3. I don’t have a zillion dollars to buy my dream over-dyed, hand-woven, vintage Turkish rug. Sad fact. Must be within budget.

Luckily, I’ve found some inspiration to give me hope that rugs meeting my qualifications really do exist. I’m definitely feeling the scandinavian x southwest vibe.


The Friday Report


Kale and Blood Orange Salad from A House in the Hills.

Ahhh, I have some links I am so excited to share with y’all today. Not even going to pause to write a quality introduction. (You’ll forgive me.)

A four-year-old reviews (fancy) food. With his face. Prep for an explosion of cuteness.

Mashed Potato Cheddar and Chive Waffles. NOM.

These easy ombre Valentine’s packaging DIYs are making our hearts beat a little faster.

Loving this wedding by Jose Villa. So many great little details: the branding, the bingo, the groom’s navy suit, and more!

A food-centric website and newsletter? We say YES, PLEASE to The New Potato.

One of my favorite Pinterest-ers around: Sarah Tucker.

The best donut shops around. Warning: don’t click while hungry.

A flashback to Furbys and Tamagotchis.

This contest might make you a billionaire. No basketball knowledge needed, just luck.

Favorite Instagrammer: @SarahYates

Best Sale: Hampden

Favorite Design Blog:  HEY LOOK

Need to know:  Pay off debt faster.

Best Useless Information: #RichKids of Beverly Hills (a TV show inspired by Instagram)


Creating a Wedding Website

With W’s wedding almost 6 months away (EEK!) and mine almost 8, W and I have been busily preparing our save the dates and wedding websites. There are so many options for wedding websites out there, some that are designed just right and others that are far from it. It can be difficult to choose the right site to go with. Much of it can depend on your overall programing and design abilities. If you are a programing wiz, you may want to simply program your own site, or use one that offers customization through various codes. Here are some of W and my favorites:

Appy Couple

Are you and your future hubby techy? Glued to your smart phones and tablets? This could be the right choice for you! Appy Couple has some adorable templates that work with your very own wedding app.

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Riley and Grey

Are you looking for a Wedding Website that is as gorgeous as your wedding will be? Riley and Grey could be right for you if you are willing to pay the fee. It’s a little bit pricey, but these templates are beautifully designed and easy to set up as well!

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Wedding Jojo

Are you a Martha Stewart Weddings Lover? Wedding Jojo is what she recommends. These templates are simple to set up and adorable for the right couple.

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Sitting In A Tree

Looking for a simple, lovely design, but don’t want to pay the price for Riley and Grey? Sitting in a Tree has some great design options, and is only $100 for six months!

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This is what both W and I went with. Wix is not exactly meant for weddings. It simply has free website templates. We love knowing that our wedding websites will be one of kind with the customizable elements on Wix. Plus, it’s easy to use as well!



Easy Mexican Frittata

These individual frittatas are not only delicious, but also pretty as well. When I saw these “As Seen on TV” pans I definitely thought they were silly, but they make the perfect form for these frittatas. I served them individually and topped each with a dollop of sour cream and salsa and drizzled with the same cilantro lime dressing from the chorizo corn muffin recipe from last week. Enjoy!

What You’ll Need

  • 8 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup Pepper Jack Cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup instant pancake mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup chopped country ham
  • 4 oz can of diced green chiles
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce of choice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray pans with non-stick spray.

In medium size bowl, using a fork, blend together eggs, pancake mix, cheese, pepper, and salt. Heat a non-stick saute pan over medium high heat. Add butter to pan and melt. Add bell peppers, ham and chilies to pan and saute for about 5 minutes. Let cool. Pour into egg mixture into and stir with rubber spatula. Pour into pans, filling about 3/4 of the way full. Of course, if you do not own these pans, muffin tins work great as well. Just adjust the bake time to around 15 minutes.

Place pan into oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned and fluffy. Remove from pans and let cool for about 10 minutes. Flip over onto serving dishes and top with sour cream, salsa of your choice and the cilantro lime drizzle. Feel free to add hot sauce to taste. These also taste great with a warm tortilla on the side. Enjoy!


Try this at Home: Mantle Styling by Room

When M and I moved into our current home built in 1870, I was ecstatic to have not one, but FIVE fireplaces. Growing up, our mantle was always well decorated, particularly around the holidays (shout out to mom for always having a beautifully decorated home). When I finally got the chance to decorate my own, the creative juices started flowing. First, I took to Pinterest (logically) and found plenty of inspiration for the different rooms in the house.

The brainstorming process was not one without frustration. My search resulted in a lot of this (uhhh, thanks for the inspiration…), not mention my budget was not a single penny, so those beautiful, fresh (or faux) flowers would have to wait. In the end, I came up with three styled mantles each tailored to its respective room. I love decorating my home because it’s a constantly evolving process. Once you’ve got the basics (a bed, a sofa, a kitchen table, etc.), you can add to your collection over the years as you find the perfect pieces. That said, the following mantles are a work in progress so all advice and ideas are welcome.

Disclaimer: It’s a rental, paint colors can’t change. Also, I’m not a photographer. Not even an amateur one. You’re lucky these pictures weren’t taken with my cell phone. Finally, I’m not the designer half of this duo, so be nice ;).

The Living Room:

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Our living room mantle is one of the first things you see when you enter the house. The room is often sunny and bright so I tried to mirror that with the decor in the room. I used Merimekko fabric to make pillows for the sofa, so I replicated those bright, cheerful colors on the mantle. Print is from Thimblepress by the talented Kristen Ley out of Jackson, MS; metal letters are from Anthropologie; mirror is from Crate & Barrel; white vase is from T.J. Maxx; I created the gold-dipped smaller vases using old bottles.

The Office:

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For the office I used the mantle as a creative space for ever-changing inspiration. The bulletin board (from Hobby Lobby) showcases some extra goodies from Thimblepress and calligraphy practice for the Skillshare class I’m taking from Molly Jacques. Other items include vase from Anthropologie, print from Outtake Illustrations, jewelry bowl from an estate sale, and The Southerner’s Handbook from Garden & Gun. Can we discuss how much I would LOVE to repaint the pink part of this fireplace? It needs to be done.

The Bedroom:

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For the bedroom I wanted something a little more simple. Remotes and knick-knacks are collected in the vase on the right, created from a vase purchased at T.J. Maxx and gold stripe added using painters tape and gold Rustoleum Spray Paint. Tealight vases from Crate & Barrel. Mirror from Ikea. I keep a lot of essentials (lip color, moisturizer, etc.) in my purse so it’s nice to have it on hand and accessible in the bedroom.

Sunday Savings

This weekend has been crazy for S and I . We officially finished our wedding registry, a long, fun, tedious and, at times, stressful task to say the least. It feels good to be done and ready to move on to the next steps in wedding planning. Sorry for this coming to you so late today, but I hope you enjoy some of our favorite sale items from this week!
Sunday Savings

Steven & Colleen’s Southern California Engagement Session

Today, we are happy to share S and C’s engagement photos with you. These beauties were shot by the lovely Jessica Peterson at Malibu Creek State Park this past November. C focused on using personal touches when setting up her table arrangement for S and her to enjoy some tea and cupcakes during the session. For those of you who have been following for awhile, you may remember this DIY Glitter Banner. The “I Do” and “Me Too” forks were a special gift to S and C for their engagement and made the perfect addition to the table. Enjoy!


Photographer: Jessica Peterson | Location: Malibu, CA | Red Dress and Printed Coat: Anthropologie | Coral Dress: Diane Von Furstenburg

A New Spin on Super Bowl Appetizers

When I think of the Super Bowl, I think of the basics: burgers and hotdogs, chips and dip and chili. All of these things are delicious, but why not try to step it up a little bit this year? Here are some recipes that won’t leave you slaving away in the kitchen, but will leave your guests full, happy, and, most importantly, impressed!

Corn Muffin Chorizo Bites with Cilantro Lime Drizzle

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What You’ll Need:

  • Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Melted Butter
  • 8 oz. Chorizo
  • 3 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Cilantro
  • The Juice of 1 Lime
  • 2 Tablespoons Real Mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

Preheat oven as directed on Jiffy Mix box. Spray mini muffin tins or tart tins with non-stick spray. Bake corn muffins as directed.

In the meantime, remove chorizo from casing. and sauté in a pan until fully cooked. drain fat from chorizo and set aside.

Once the muffins are fully cooked, but still hot, create small divots in the muffins. I used a turkey baster to poke the holes. Let the muffins cool and remove from the pans.

While the muffins are cooling, prepare the cilantro lime drizzle. Finely chop cilantro and mix with salt, pepper, and lime juice. Add olive oil and mayonnaise and whip the ingredients together.

Spoon chorizo into divots in the corn muffins. Layout chorizo corn muffins on a display tray and drizzle cilantro lime mixture over top. Pour cilantro lime mixture into a side bowl for extra dipping.


Lemon, Cranberry and Pistachio Chèvre

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What You’ll Need:

  • 16 oz. Chèvre  Log
  • 10 oz. Jar of Lemon Curd
  • 1 cup chopped roasted and shelled Pistachios
  • 1/2 cup Dried Cranberries

Using an Electric Mixer, whip chèvre and with lemon curd. Once the mixture is smooth and creamy. Pour mixture onto a plate and form into a nice round form. Mix pistachios and cranberries and evenly distribute over the top of the  chèvre mixture. Serve with crackers.


Herbed Goat Cheese, Flank Steak and Roasted Red Pepper Crostini

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What You’ll Need:

  • 8 oz. Herbed Goat Cheese
  • 2 Jars Roasted Red Peppers
  • 2 Thin Loaves of French Bread
  • 1 lb. Flank Steak
  • Flank Steak Marinade: Fresh Cracked Pepper, Sea Salt, Balsamic Vinegar, Garlic Powder, Olive Oil

Thoroughly defrost flank steak. Generously rub pepper, salt and garlic Powder on all sides, making sure to fully cover the meat. Evenly pour about 1 cup of balsamic vinegar and 1 Cup of olive oil over the meat. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 2 hours.

In the meantime, Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice the french bread into about 1″ slices. Brush olive oil on top and lay out on a cookie sheet. Bake bread until golden brown and crispy, about 15 minutes. Remove bread and set aside. Slice roasted red peppers into thin slices and set aside

Turn grill on LOW and let heat up before grilling steak. Grill steak for about 10 minutes on the first side and 5 on the other side. I prefer my steak rare, but cook yours to your preference. Remove steak from the grill and let sit for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

In the meantime, begin assembling the Crostinis. Spread a generous portion of herbed goat cheese on each piece of toasted french bread and top with 2-3 thin slices of roasted red peppers. Once the Flank Steak has settled, slice very thin pieces going against the grain. Top each crostini with one slice of flank steak. Top with a pinch of freshly cracked pepper.