Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Styling for a Classy Teacher


I know several wonderful teachers who are headed back to school either this week or the next to prepare their classrooms for another year of success. These men and women who mold future generations definitely deserve to look and feel their best. I put together a simple, classy outfit inspiration for those of you who want to be comfortable but not compromise your style. Neutrals like navy and camel can easily transition into fall with some tights and boots. This dress is shortsleeved so even if you have plans after work, you can ditch the cardi and show off your cute and casual dress! Good luck on a new school year!

-Laurie


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Coconut Rice



A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of celebrating a bride-to-be/my new sister-in-law in Nashville. Our dinner reservations were at Virago as sushi was the bride's request. Let me tell you....This was my second visit to Virago and it was even better than the first. Our reservations were for their second floor, outdoor seating area; the food, drinks and view were top notch. I felt like such an old woman as I pointed out the Union Station Hotel in the skyline and reminisced about the night my man and I spent there (almost 4 years ago!) and Laurie's wedding (almost 2 years ago!)....Old woman.

Anyway, Virago was amazing. And so is their coconut rice!! You must get it if you are ever there. Like, whoa. I had to figure out if I could recreate this side dish so when crock-pot curry was on the McQuain dinner menu the other night I found this little gem. I will say it doesn't have the wow factor that Virago's has but quite good I will say. I increased the amount of coconut cream as the original recipe left my rice a little dry. And when I say coconut cream I used coconut milk as I couldn't find cream at the one store I stopped at. If you get original coconut milk there is enough cream on the top to use in this recipe (don't shake the can before opening). You might also want to save the remaining milk to add to any extra rice that you reheat at a later date. It will dry out a bit in the refrigerator overnight.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Musical Monday: Puss N Boots




So, Norah Jones has a special place in my heart. She is the perfect amount of class mixed with dark, edginess that can't be beat. I just love her last album and if you never heard it you should educate yourself

With a little help from Jimmy Fallon (link to their performance), who has the most interesting musical guests ever, I recently learned that Norah is a member of a new project called Puss N Boots. They have a new album out and it is quite good. And quite country. But Norah's smooth, signature sound is not lost. Her piano is though. She has learned how to strum a guitar. 

Sidenote: Has anyone else noticed that Southern culture is the hott new "thing?"

Norah has started playing with a couple of musician friends, Sasha Dobson and Catherine Popper in 2008 that later birthed this record. Sasha and Catherine are both musicians worthy of praise too. I loved watching this video and hearing about these amazingly creative women trying something new - a little out of their comfort zone - to create something the rest of us can enjoy. It is a good reminder that people you see on stage and in the spotlight are just like the rest of us. We are all human. We should all be exploring our creative interests. You never know where it might take you. 

Happy Monday!

-Alison

Friday, July 25, 2014

TGIF: Thank Goodness I Found...Pineapples



The sweet goodness of bright yellow pineapple slices scream summer. I have been craving a wonderful juicy pineapple lately, but not just to eat. Pineapples are popular again, from bathing suits to manis to home decor. We searched for our favorite pineapple Pinterest pins (say that five times fast!) just for you-TGIF posts are always a curation of things we love from Pinterest. See our page on the Pinterest link to the right and have a happy, sunny weekend.

I created this fun little guy above because, well, he's a happy pineapple with sunglasses. What more do you need on a summer Friday?

-Laurie & Alison


 



Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Revamping the Office



Hemnes shelving from Ikea | Moroccan Style Shag Rug from World Market | Wall Frames from World Market | Wingback Desk Chair from PBTeen | Non Bookcase Lighting | Nate Berkus Magazine Boxes

You may remember photos from my home office when I first moved into my house a few years ago. The color pallet throughout my house downstairs is a lot of greige, linen and teal. My living room walls are dark and everything else is a linen color. The only room that didn’t get painted (with the exception of the hallway, which really needs it!) when I moved in was the office space. While I do like the room’s mix of modern and antiques, I don’t really love it anymore. I used to use it for my business more often than I do now. I would love to have a more polished space where I can meet with brides rather than meeting in my dining room simply because it is more elegant. After a recent trip to Ikea in Atlanta, I fell in love with their wall units and knew I wanted to create my space around that. I think this will be a slow work in progress, but I wanted to start here with a mood board. I still like my curtains from World Market that have beautiful colors and the perfect pop of teal that I have throughout the house. My husband wants a desk in his man cave rather that in the office, so we will most likely only have one desk in that room, which is an antique table from Mississippi that is large and in charge. I currently have an oversized comfy yellow chair in that room as well from my college days. It’s the best reading chair but I’m thinking she may have to get some new upholstery…our little Oliver kitty has been sleeping on that chair a lot lately so I will have some white cat fur to contend with!

I want the revamped space to be comfortable, sleek and organized with a neutral color pallet for the most part. I think this is a good start for some items that will fit well in the space I have envisioned. What do you think? 

-Laurie

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Dragon Fruit & Papaya Sea Scallops



Summer fruits are one of my favorite things about this time of year. I ran into Publix the other day (I’m usually shopping for groceries at Kroger), grabbed a peach for a snack  and noticed a hot pink spiky fruit just hanging out amongst the apples. Naturally, I was drawn to it because of its color. Also, why was it with the apples? The little sign read “Dragon Fruit” which I had seen before and knew of but hadn’t really paid much attention to it. Perhaps that was because I have always seen it already cut, with its white meat and tiny black seeds. If you have never tried it before, it tastes similar to a kiwi with a lighter taste. So I googled it to see what the heck people do with these weird things and saw a recipe for a salsa on a fish topping. I didn’t even look at the recipe, resolving to be adventurous and make up my own. My husband sometimes gets a worried look on his face when I tell him I’m doing that…things have gone badly in the past so I guess he has good reason for it. This time, thankfully, it turned out well. I had also picked up a mysterious “strawberry papaya” that oddly looked like a gourd. Apparently my grocery runs have made me adventurous and wanting to try weird fruits. I don’t typically like papaya by itself, but it was a nice addition to the topping. Overall this was a pretty simple recipe and didn’t take long at all to make, perfect for a hot summer evening.


Ingredients:
1/2 Dragon fruit, diced
1/4 Papaya, diced
Zest of 1/4 Lemon
1/2 Tbs Whole Grain Mustard
Lemon poppyseed dressing
2 Tbs Onion Flakes, or more if desired
Salt & Pepper to taste
Garlic powder to taste
1/2 Lb. Sea Scallops

Season sea scallops generously with garlic powder and pepper and set aside. Drain off any excess liquid that is in the scallops. 

Combine all other ingredients and mix together, mashing the fruits down with a spoon to release juices and to create a salsa consistency. 

Sear sea scallops until they are opaque, about 2-5 minutes per side. Remove from heat and spoon topping on to the scallops.

Serve with a side salad with spinach, chopped bacon, dried cranberries, almonds, parmesan cheese, asparagus and fingerling potatoes and vinaigrette.  

-Laurie

Monday, July 21, 2014

Travel Well



When it comes to traveling, I like to be as organized as possible. It just makes the trip that much more relaxed when I’m at my destination and I know where everything is. Smaller items or ones that multitask to cut down on suitcase space are perfect to keep in your travel arsenal. The Wash & Wear Lingerie Bag from Kate Spade keeps your undergarments protected from getting squished and also keeps your pretty things tidy. I like to cut down on my daily hair products and use uniqONE Hair Treatment because it detangles, protects, smooths and all that good stuff that you have to achieve with multiple gels and sprays. There is also a shampoo version if you want to take just two hair products with you-trust me, it’s worth it. Flying always makes me feel groggy and run-down but on my last two flights I took a capsule of doTerra OnGuard and felt great when I landed and went about my day. To keep yourself entertained and plugged into the life you left behind (even if momentarily), an iPad mini is the best size to put in your carry-on. On our cruise earlier this month, we came across  Benetton Underscore Luggage that amazed me. The colors and designs were so fun, but the best part is that it was so lightweight. Clip a cute little Off We Go Luggage Tag from Kate Spade onto it and start jet setting!

-Laurie

Friday, July 18, 2014

TGIF



We apologize for the lack of posts this week. Life just got us! Alison has been busy preparing for a family wedding and I have been busy preparing to make a book of samples for invitations to showcase to brides because I'm running out of table space! This is definitely a good thing, but a time consuming project to gather everything and have them all printed up again. We will be back in full swing next week with new posts and hope you will enjoy your weekend. Check out our Pinterest account just for fun!

-Laurie

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Lemon Asparagus Chicken Flatbread



I’m always looking for healthy recipes of updated favorite foods like pizza. When I saw a similar recipe in this month’s Self magazine I knew I had to try it out, modifying a little by adding protein, my own spices and some extra cheese. The result was light and summery with the perfect amount of cheesiness, fresh ingredients and savory flavor. It is a great dinner option for a hot summer day when you want to be filled up but not miserably full-feeling and is a much better alternative to high-calorie pizza. At under 500 calories, you can feel good about what you put in your body with this recipe. I will definitely be making this again soon!

-Laurie

Ingredients: 
1 roll of frozen puff pastry, thawed
Water
1 Egg, beaten with 1 tsp reserved
1 Cup ricotta cheese
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
Rosemary, to taste
Dill weed, to taste
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Olive oil
Asparagus spears (about 1/2 the bunch)
Lemon oil (I use doTerra)
Chicken

Season chicken with oil and desired spices, cooking at 350 for about 15-20 minutes. Remove and cut up into bite-sized pieces. 

Heat oven to 425. Roll out puff pastry. Roll each end over and brush with water along the edges. Using the same brush, spread the beaten egg over the entire pastry.

Mix 1 tsp beaten egg and ricotta cheese, adding 3-5 drops of lemon oil. Spread mixture on top of puff pastry evenly. Arrange asparagus and chicken as desired across the surface of the pastry, then cover with a layer of sprinkled rosemary, dill weed, salt and pepper. Top that with Parmesan cheese and another layer of spices. 

Bake for about 20-25 minutes until brown and bubbly. Cut evenly into six pieces and enjoy! 

Friday, July 11, 2014

TGIF: Thank Goodness I Found Cobalt Blue!






We have perused Pinterest this week for bold cobalt hued inspirations. From regal gowns we dream of, everyday summery ocean shades to adorn ourselves with and beautiful pops of blue in nature, to cities that are nothing but blue. Find a little inspiration this week in with our cobalt curated boards and find your own beautiful blues on Pinterest as well. Always check our page for the latest pins to see what we are loving and to go back to the original postings of these photos. 

-Laurie & Alison 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A 1st Birthday: Mustache & Bow-tie Style



I was recently invited to document a sweet little boy's 1st birthday party and his momma had the cutest ideas! I knew my Paper Pearl friends would love to see them and find out where you can find some of this party cuteness. And who doesn't love looking at a sweet little one like Hayden?!

Hayden's momma, Katie, had an idea of mustaches and bow-ties a few months ago and found a ton of great ideas and vendors with the perfect items. Guests were greated with their very own mustaches and bow-ties, they ate mustaches and ties and there was even mustache wrapping paper! We all know 1st birthdays are more for the parents, grandparents and friends so why not make it super fun for everyone? Katie kept the food as simple as she could and even recruited help from her mom, step-dad and sister-in-law. Katie and I are both in love with Zoe's Kitchen so no party would be complete without some of their chicken salad and hummus. She even had festive brownies! All you need is a box of brownie mix and a cookie cutter. Same goes for the tie sugar cookies. So easy and so fun!

Now to the star of the food table....that incredible cake! The Bakery in Athens, TN created a delicious cake that wowed everyone.

Katie is a huge fan of Etsy. Sweet Hayden's hat, outfit, party posters and his photo timeline all came from Etsy vendors. Katie also got some help from Hobby Lobby, Party City and Home Goods.

Happy 1st Birthday to Hayden! And thanks to Katie for letting me share her stylin' party!

Check my photography site for more photos from Hayden's big day!


Hayden's friend, Mason, rockin' his bow-tie




Katie's sister-in-law made the cutest molded chocolate party favors!




It got real ya'll

-Alison

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Let's Talk About...



It’s usually a time we don’t like to deal with…that time of the month. It messes with our minds, our emotions, taste buds and our bodies. We overeat, we cry for no reason, we bloat, we feel tired and cold (what’s up with that?). Generally during this time I tend to say “people are stupid today, I cannot deal with them.” That’s not true of course, all the little PMS monsters are saying that to me making me believe it and try my patience. Life doesn’t stop just because our bodies make us irritable, though. There are several ways I like to deal with the nuisance of this monthly gift other than lamenting that “Aunt Minnie has arrived,” the not-so-endearing term my best friend and I used to use when it was embarrassing to admit we were on our periods…now we just don’t care and use it as an excuse to eat Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter. Aside from indulging in this treat (spooning it straight from the jar, yes), I have discovered some monthly essentials that ease the icky feelings of Aunt Minnie’s arrival and let you live your life with reduced affects. Since starting to use doTerra essential oils, I love the Clary Calm essential oil blend. It grounds me, uplifts my mood and lessens any cramps I may have. Throughout the day and evening I try to get rid of the unescapable bloating that seems to always occur for me by switching between Cranberry Weightless tea and Raspberry Leaf tea which also helps with general PMS symptoms. While I know that working out is supposed to make you feel better, I tend to take it a little lighter and focus on long holds and stretchy yoga poses so that I don’t dread my workout and convince myself I just need to veg out instead. I like Self’s Yoga Relief for PMS yoga positions to accompany any other workout activity. At the end of the day, it’s totally fine in my book to pamper yourself with a nice long bath soaking in Himalayan sea salt. The salt gets impurities out of your body and relaxes you as well. Nothing is better than a good laugh if you’re feeling a little bleh and I am really into catching up on The Mindy Project. I just jumped into this past season, so I would love to go back and indulge in the first two seasons to get me up to speed! If you have to give in to those chocolate sugary cravings, go a healthy route with a cupcake recipe for one from Chocolate Covered Katie. You’re allowed to not share right now, so enjoy your cupcake and kick PMS in the pants. 

-Laurie 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Summer-Bright Mani/Pedis



Nothing makes a summer tan look better than a bright manicure. These are some of my favorites either that I own, have had on my nails in the past or have seen in a salon firsthand. I currently have “Jackie Oh!” on my toes and every time I look down it makes me happy! I think the color may be a bit too bright for dear Jackie though. “Delirium”  and “Hot & Spicy” I have in my own nail polish collection and used to have “Dating a Royal” until that was all used up. Would Harry approve of such a bold color? It matches his fiery hair nicely, don’t you think? “Need Sunglasses” has graced my toenails once before and “Age of Aquarius” and “Bikini So Teeny” are next on my color to-try list. 



Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Alison's Balsamic & Veggie Orzo Salad



I'm grilling again on this Tasty Tuesday! We have fantastic neighbors. And sometimes they want to borrow our grill which means we have a hot grill to share and some time to chat while we wait. It is such a luxury to be able to cook a full meal while not heating up your kitchen during these summer months. Grilling is the best. 

This side dish is perfect for the grill and perfect for your July 4th picnic or grilling party! I made a small version of this dish because I was in a hurry. But you could double your amount of orzo and veggies and have a huge side dish for a party. You will probably notice that you do not use all of your eggplant and zucchini with this recipe and that is because I didn't cook enough orzo to support all the grilled goodness. Just grill everything and cook more pasta. Or, as I will do, cook the extra veggies and use them for another dish like veggie lasagna. And toss some cherry tomatoes in with your veggies about 5 minutes before they are done to have some yummy pops of color in your dish. Throwing in some feta or mozzarella cheese is never a bad idea! Yum. 

Enjoy your fresh sides this holiday week! Happy and safe celebrations to you all!

-Alison

P.S. Need a refresher on photographing your fireworks displays this week? I shared a few tips last year that might be helpful.
 

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