Friday, September 28, 2018

30th Birthday Wish List

Happy Friday, friends!  My big 3-0 is in less than a week, and since it's such a special one, why not come up with a list of things I'm loving right now!
Gummy bears are the way to my heart, and this Sugarfina birthday set looks so cute!!  I've always wanted to try their champagne gummies, and the birthday cake caramels in the set are calling my name!

Rewined are absolutely my favorite candles, and it's just about time for this one to come back into stock for fall.  For those who don't know, Rewined is based here in Charleston and not only makes candles in old wine bottles but also the scents to match.  This time of year, I love their spiked cider.  I'm linking to one I found in stock online for all of you non-locals, but if you are local, you can shop for them in the City Market or Candlefish (for much cheaper)!

I've been wanting a smart watch forever, and rose gold is my favorite!  I seriously know nothing about these watches, so if anyone has a favorite, please let me know.  I'm looking for something that can do heart rate and track my mileage when running as well as daily steps.  Right now, I am lookingat the Galaxy watch or this Fitbit

Speaking of running, Nike's newest running collection is great.  Everything is so light and comfortable!  I have this bra and this bra already as well as this tank in every color I can find.  Right now on my radar is this sports bra and these comfy jogging pants

I am obsessed with this Holbrook style of sunglasses.  I never like sunglasses that let in peripheral light, and these wrap around just enough to be stylish and comfortable.  This blue and iridium lens combo is awesome!

I need something pretty and rose gold to go with my watch, right?!  I love long pendant necklaces, and I definitely need a new bag.  I make Mike carry around all of  my stuff when we go out. 

Last, but not least, I am obsessed with these sneakers.  I have mint (on sale for $30 right now), gray, and pink.  They wash so easily, but I would also love this blue and maroon, too!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Italian Rainbow Cookies

Good morning!  I'm really excited to share this recipe with y'all today and really upset because I ate the last of these cookies this weekend!  Recently, I shared a post (here's the link) about our trip to Florida two weeks ago.  While we were there, we went to the best Italian market and bought my favorite cookies: Italian rainbow cookies.
These are sometimes also called Neapolitan or Italian flag cookies and are layers of almond sponge cake sandwiched with raspberry jam and covered in chocolate.  Well, I'm Italian and my love language is clearly food, so as Mike started the outdoor prep for the hurricane last week, I took care of the indoor prep (including baking).  These cookies are a bit time-intensive (including sitting in the fridge overnight), but they're so worth it, and make a bunch!!
- 1 cup sugar
- one 8-ounce can almond paste
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 4 eggs, separated
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 cups flour
- red food coloring
- green food coloring
- ½ cup raspberry jam
- 1½ cups semisweet chocolate chips, melted
- chocolate sprinkles
You'll also need: non-stick cooking spray, parchment paper, three 9x13 baking pans, plastic wrap, and cans or weights
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. Spray all three pans will cooking spray and line them with parchment paper
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine sugar, almond paste, and 1 stick of butter on medium speed.
4. Once fully mixed (without any lumps), add the other 2 sticks of butter, followed by 4 egg yolks, milk, almond extract, and flour.
5. Once all ingredients are well-mixed, remove from the mixer.
6. With a hand mixer, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form and fold into the batter.
7. Separate the dough into 3 equal bowls.  To one, add green food coloring, to a second, add red food coloring, and leave a third as is.
8. Evenly spread each color dough into its own baking pan.
9. Bake each sheet pan in the oven for 11-13 minutes, or until just set.
10. Allow the pans to cool fully before spreading one half of the jam evenly over the green cookie layer (while it is still in its pan).
11. Place the white layer on top of the green layer to sandwich the jam, and spread the other half of the jam on top of the white layer.
12. Place the red layer on top of the green and white layers to sandwich the second layer of jam.
13. Cover the fookies with a layer of plastic wrap and top with another sheet pan.  Weigh down the cookies with weight (cans, plates) in the refrigerator overnight (at least 12 hours) to help the cookies form together.
14. Remove the weight and plastic wrap from the cookies and spread half of the melted chocolate chips on top.
15. Place the cookies back in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set the chocolate.
16. Flip the cookies onto a plate and spread the second half of the chocolate on top of the cookies.  Finish with sprinkles. 
17. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes.
18. Cut the edges off the cookies (so that all cookies are uniform on the edges) and slice into squares.
This recipe makes a whole bunch.  I dropped off a few boxes to neighbors and had plenty to eat over the long weekend, staying at home!  These would also be awesome for other holidays.  Since each layer is the same flavor, you don't have to do red and green, so you could coordinate for a birthday party or do orange for Halloween!

Monday, September 24, 2018

Fall TV is Here!

Happy Monday, friends!  Today starts one of my favorite weeks of the fall - fall premieres!  I am definitely a tv > movies kind of girl.  Ask me if I've seen a movie, and if it isn't 13 Going On 30 or made by Disney, the answer is probably no.  However, I DVR all the shows out there.  Our DVR will be filled will series recordings in a month, I'll decide what's worth watching, and usually the rest get deleted after the pilot.  So, here's what I am really excited for:

Manifest (September 24 on NBC) - This show looks crazy; their plane took off in 2013, experienced turbulence, and lands in 2018.  No one has aged, and they've all been presumed dead for 4 and a half years. 
Big Bang (September 24 on CBS) - I have to admit, I haven't usually watched "new" Big Bang as we catch a lot of it on TBS with reruns.  So, I'm not exactly sure where they are with the plot, but hearing this may be the last season, it's been set to record all new episodes on the DVR.

New Amsterdam (September 25 on NBC) - I haven't watched a medical show since House, but this one looks good.  A new doctor comes in to take over the hospital, fires an entire unit for over-billing, and sets off to make medical care about patients again. 

Modern Family (September 26 on ABC) - Another one that may be on its last season.  But seriously, what happened to Lily at the end of the last season?  I have always loved the show, and I hope they wrap it up right.

BoJack Horseman (September 26 on Comedy Central) - This show has actually been on Netflix for a few years, but Comedy Central now has the exclusive television rights and will be broadcasting all episodes in order each week.  Seriously, this show is hysterical!
Law & Order: SVU (September 27 on NBC) - SVU has always been my favorite Law & Order.  Seriously, how can you not love Olivia?!  Even with all the cast changes over the years, I think the writing has always been great, and I can't wait to see how many episodes do not "depict any actual person, entity, or event."

Saturday Night Live (September 29 on NBC) - This is always one of my favorites! 

House of Cards (November 2 on Netflix) - This will be the final season of HoC, and I can't wait to see how they've killed off Kevin Spacey's character and how Robin Wright will be as the soul lead.  I will definitely be binging the last season next month before this is released!
Last but not least, if you're looking for things to watch on demand or on streaming services, these have been a few of my favorites this summer: The Sinner, Alone Together, and Better Call Saul.

What will you be watching this fall?

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Anniversary Reflections: Year Four

Today marks four years since Mike and I said "I do."
Seriously, this one's been a good one.  I don't know how to describe it besides to say that everything seems to have just perfectly fallen into place.  We have our home-life balance (where I do the laundry and you do all the dishes - haha), weeknights of kickball, dinners cooked together, weekend adventures, and cuddles with our cats.  We don't have a ton of traditions, but we have made sure to keep our photo one going again this year!
As with our first 3 years, we had plenty of amazing trips together.  It started with Mike surprising me with a trip to DC for my birthday, and it continued when I returned the favor for his birthday in Dallas.  Besides that, we have traveled to five of the seven weddings we're attending this year and drank a lot of beer along the way.
But to be honest, the trip I will remember the most was our rainy weekend in the Smoky Mountains.  We climbed 6,500 feet up Mount LeConte in the pouring rain, and I can remember after climbing the 8.8 miles up the mountain, Mike telling me how proud he was of me.  It was quite an adventure, and I can't wait to go hiking again soon.
Happy four years, Mike.  Thank you for always pushing me to be better, encouraging me in everything I do, and always being there to sing a song with my name in the lyrics!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Going with the Flo(rence)

I am thrilled to say that we have weathered Hurricane Florence.   This time last week, we really thought that there would be a Cat 3 or 4 direct hit to the Carolinas, with a storm 1000 miles wide.  Schools cancelled, starting on Tuesday, mandatory evacuation orders were made, and the state reversed the highway to get as many people out as possible.  Since the storm wasn't expected to hit until Thursday, we decided to wait it out a bit but still prepare.  This was the slowest moving hurricane ever, and with every 3-hour update, it was tracking more and more north, away from us.  There are a lot of people in and around Charleston saying that the governor took too many precautions too early, but really, they gave us 48 hours from its expected arrival, and I appreciate them really taking it seriously. 

Well, it took an extra full day, until Friday, to hit in North Carolina, and all of my prayers go out to our neighbors to the north.  At landfall, the storm was moving at 2 mph, so it has been raining and raining near Myrtle Beach and north.
By Wednesday afternoon, we were going pretty stir crazy, so a few of us took a walk downtown to see what everything looked like and get some fresh air.  Honestly, you could tell that people already knew it was most likely going to slide north because there wasn't nearly as much prep as there was before Matthew or Irma.  
Before the storm got here on Friday, we even set up a little impromptu kickball game because all scheduled sports were cancelled due to the evacuation. 
Over the long weekend, we ate a lot of food, played a lot of cards and Mario Kart, and even braved the storm for some rain tennis when we couldn't sit inside anymore.  We got truly lucky with this storm.  We were fully prepared for the worst, had our hurricane shutters up, and were prepared to leave if need be.  Again, prayers to North Carolina as they begin to recover, and if you would like to make a donation to relief efforts, here is the link to Michael Jordan's NBA Cares website, where you can choose a variety of charities from which to donate.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Five on Friday: Florida Getaway

Happy Friday, friends.  We are expecting Hurricane Florence to hit us today, so much of this week has been about prepping and waiting.  I've seen a meme a bunch of times on social media that says, "waiting for a hurricane is like being stalked by a turtle."  So true with this one moving at 10 mph - haha!  It was supposed to be here yesterday morning, but it's kept slowing as it approaches the coast.  

For my Friday post, I thought I would throw it back it last weekend, when we were visiting my aunt in Florida.  Her back porch looks out onto St Pete Beach, and it is seriously my happy place!  Here's what we were up to during our long weekend.
1 ||| On the way down, we stopped in Orlando at Disney Springs to see all of the Halloween decorations.  They now sell Dole Whip in Disney Springs, so that was a must as well as the "millennial pink" champagne at Amorette's Patisserie.  It absolutely lived up to the hype! 
2 ||| While in St. Pete, we visited a couple of breweries: Green Bench Brewing and Cycle Brewing.  Cycle was definitely known for its stouts, which I appreciated but aren't quite my style, while Green Bench was more about IPAs.  They do a rotating FLIPA (Florida IPA) series, and when we were there, they had the Key Lime Pie version: tart, citrus, and a little cinnamon. So good! 

3 ||| On our way back from the brewery, I spotted the cutest mural!  Sunshine is so perfectly Florida, so of course we had to stop for a photo!  I decided to Google and see if there were others in the area, and it turns out that St. Petersburg has an awesome outdoor art scene.  We stopped at a couple more on the way back, and we will definitely make a whole tour of it next time we're in the area.
4 ||| Of course, we also made a stop at my favorite Italian market ever: Mazzaro's.  It's a cheese shop, wine shop, coffee bar, bakery, prepared food and deli counter; and they make their own pasta, pastries, and mozzarella.  I brought home some of my favorite cookies (rainbow cookies - in the bottom corner in that case below), a few dinners for the weekend, and my aunt bought an entire pastry bag filled with cannoli cream to pipe our own cannolis all weekend.    
5 ||| Last but not least, we visited another new ballpark!  This was city #11 for us, and we were excited that the Tampa Bay Rays were finally in town on one of our visits.  Tropicana Field is a dome and just turned 20 this year.  Nothing really stands out in terms of food or atmosphere, but the Mister Softee was really good, they have a sting ray touch tank, and I got a photo with their mascot, Ray!  Plus, there was no one there, so we were sitting in the fourth row by the fifth inning.  I was so excited that my parents could finally join us for one of our stadium adventures, too.

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