Friday Happies


Fun weekend plans?

This week has seemed extra long and I think it's because we have a special weekend ahead- look for a post on that next week!

I don't have any deep thoughts for you today, just some pretties that are making me happy...enjoy!

All can be found and sourced on my Pinterest HAPPINESS! board!

Have a great weekend!


Mac & Cheese Cups

Happy Hump Day, friends!

I hope you're all having a wonderful Wednesday and week!

On my end, this kids have seemed crazy this week!  I think having the 100th Day of School on Monday got them so excited that they've had a hard time calming down since then.  Hopefully today will be better!

I'm so glad to say that Bryce and I have been sticking to our meal planning goals for 2014.  We both love to cook, but in the past, have been really bad planners.  The last thing we would want to do after long days at work was a) pick a recipe, b) go to the store, and then finally, c) cook.  Now that we have been planning ahead, though, cooking together has been so enjoyable and also means I can share more recipe finds with you!

Today, I am sharing a Mac & Cheese Cup recipe, that I actually made last week for my girl's Bachelor Night, hosted by Erin.  A post with more details about our Bachelor viewing sessions, is definitely in order, but the short version for now is that we are divided into two teams (Juan Direction and Don't You Juan't Me Baby?) and compete in a format similar to Fantasy Football.  The teams alternate bringing food and it has been fun for me.  It has also been a challenge, because Mondays are our kindergarten team meetings; so usually by the time I get home, I am short on time and try to come up with something based on the ingredients I have on hand.

That being said, we always have plenty of pasta and cheese in this house, so I thought last week was the perfect chance to try my hand at Mac & Cheese Cups!

You can find the original recipe here; I am posting my tweaked version!

  • 2 cups uncooked pasta (I always like to opt for a fun noodle in my mac, so I used my favorite, cavatappi.)
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 3 cups of cheese (Change it up according to your mood, we had Mexican, mozzarella, and parmesan cheeses in the fridge, so that's what I used!)
  • 1/2 cup Panko
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Seasoning of your choice (I used salt, pepper, paprika, and an Italian herb blend.)
  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Grease a muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray (I sprayed the heck out of the pan to ensure the cups would come out easily!)
  • Stir together bread crumbs, seasoning of your choice, and olive oil in small bowl. Set aside. (I used the Italian herb blend to season the panko.)

  • Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente, still a bit firm.  Drain.
  • Add in butter, egg, and milk, mixing until well coated.
  • Stir in cheese, setting aside about half a cup.  (Here I added in the Mexican and mozzarella cheeses)
  • Season (I added salt and a whole lot of black pepper & paprika!).

  • Spoon into muffin tin.

  • Sprinkle remaining cheese and panko on top. (This is where I used our really yummy, fresh parm!)

  • Bake for 30 min in oven, or until lightly browned on top.

  • Allow muffins to cool ~5 min, so that the cheese can set and cups will hold their shape.
  • Enjoy!

This recipe was surprisingly easy...honestly, the hardest part was waiting for them to come out of the oven.  The whole house smelled like cheesy goodness as they were baking!

What are some of your go-to finger food recipes?

Are you as big of a fan of mac as I am?

Have a great day!


Epic Weekend

Happy Monday readers!

I am feeling tired on this Monday morning.  Our weekend was one for the record books!  We had tons of fun, but probably didn't get as much sleep as we should have.  That's what being young is all about, though, right?

Friday I stayed at school until almost 6:00 with another teacher on my team.  We were busy preparing for the 100th Day of school today.  After all our hard work we decided happy hour was necessary.  We headed to Cafe Caturra and indulged in a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and some pimiento cheese (theirs is one of my favorites!).

Bryce had also met a friend for happy hour, so afterwards, we both met up and went to Mexican before heading to some friends' house for Cards Against Humanity.

Miami Vice:  Half Pina Colada, Half Strawberry Margarita, WHOLE lotta yum!

I enjoyed this more grown up (and raunchy) version of Apples to Apples, although some of the cards were a bit extreme for my taste...

Saturday, Bryce had a pheasant hunt so I used the day to get some stuff done around the house and run errands before our double date plans with some of our newest friends Erin and Ryan (read her blog here)!  I also took some time to primp, painting my nails and trying my new Clinique Chubby Stick in Pudgy Peony!  I love this fun, yet subtle pink color!

I was thrilled the weather was warm enough to wear short sleeves!

Erin and Ryan came to our house for a cocktail before heading to The Roosevelt for dinner.  We had all been dying to try it and actually had planned to go on our first double date, but weren't able to get a reservation.

One of my errands of the day had been a Target run.  I'd been dying to scoop up this fab wrapping paper and knew it would be a fun way to switch up my lucite ice bucket for cocktails that night!

Erin is the sweetest and brought us this cool tray as a hostess gift.  What's funny is I had bought the exact same Fancy Pants bottle of wine at Target for us to drink!

After a cocktail, we headed to The Roosevelt.  Located in the historic Church Hill neighborhood, it is one of the newer, up and coming Richmond restaurants.  We'd all heard rave reviews!

LOVE this girl!

The menu did not disappoint!

We started with their Southern Poutine and Smoked Chicken Wing appetizers.

they were...incredible!

For entrees, Bryce and Ryan both got the New York strip, Erin got the scallops, and I got the mahi!  We all shared and took tastes off each other's plates:  Every entree was spot on!  

The mahi had a curried Virginia peanut sauce which gave it a Thai flavor.

The scallops were so succulent!

My favorite was the steak and I took quite a few bites off of Bryce's plate!

As you can imagine, our bellies were quite full so we skipped dessert and decided to head to The Grill, a bar close to our houses.  Prior to this past weekend, I don't remember the last time I stayed at a bar until last call.  We had a blast, and needless to say, things got a little silly!

Sunday we slept in and headed into Carytown for brunch and a stop at the Farmer's Market.  It was a gorgeous day and we spent much of the day outside!

Looks like spring is coming!

Thought this little trike I saw on our walk was so cute!

Finally, we ended Sunday night with baking and Downton Abbey!

Cupcakes for the 100th Day celebration!

Did you have a good weekend?

Was the weather warm where you are?

Have a great day!


Girl Power

Is it Friday yet?

This week has really d r a g g e d on!  I am excited for the weekend and to get some sleep...I feel like I have been perpetually tired lately and have had a constant to-do list running through my head.  I am looking forward to turning the alarm off this weekend and getting some rest!

As a disclaimer this will be a wordy, intellectual post. If you're not in the mood for that, I understand: Come back next week or peruse some recent posts you've missed!

Today I wanted to share my musings on a Forbes article I recently read:

The article opens with a quick discussion of the glass ceiling and the fact that even now, in the 21st century, women earn less than men.  It then goes on to list 7 factors that affect this gender gap and provides recommendations for parents to help prepare their daughters to reach their dreams, whatever those dreams may be.

Without getting into all the specifics (you can read them here), I'll just quickly list their 7 talking points and then share my thoughts and reflections on the subject...

1.  You teach her to be polite and quiet.

I do believe in teaching kids to be polite and use manners, but I equally believe in teaching kids to have a voice and not back down from their beliefs and dreams.  

love this!

2.  You buy her gender-specific toys.

I personally think this one should be amended to:  You only buy her gender-specific toys...

I was the ultimate girlie-girl, 

I also grew up doing boy things...

3.  You tell her she's pretty...to the exclusion of everything else.

Teach her that her worth extends far beyond her appearance.

4.  You indoctrinate her into the princess cult.

Okay...maybe loving princesses isn't so bad, BUT, teach her about all the important work that princesses actually do!

5.  You give Dad all the physical tasks around the house.

Rosie did the work...and looked good doing it!
Love her polka dots and thick eyelashes!

6.  You only let her spend time with other girls.

I love it when my girls choose the blocks center or, on the flipside, my boys choose the kitchen center.

7.  You criticize your own body, and/or other women's bodies.  

Society puts enough pressure on us in terms of body image:  Rather than add to that, instill healthy habits in your daughter so she will have a strong, healthy body...not just a skinny body.

Okay and now for my really deep thoughts...get ready!

This article really spoke to me, because I have always been someone that has felt pulled in different directions in terms of womanhood, feminism, career, family...

I'm competitive and driven.  Throughout college I considered pursuing marketing, PR, law, public policy, international affairs, and more.  I thrive in high pressure situations and could see myself being very happy in the "business world."

On the other hand, though, I'm nurturing and absolutely love kids.  I like to hug them tight and let them know they're loved.  I like to see their eyes light up when they are excited about learning something new.  I like finger painting...and cutting...and gluing.  You can see the contrast, yes?

Similarly, I'm conflicted when it comes to gender roles.

I aspire to be domestic and ladylike.  I want to be admired for having a beautiful home, cooking gourmet meals, and being able to throw a great party. I want to be pretty and wear lots of pink.  I was the little girl that spent most of my free time playing house and dress-up.  I like being taken care of and having a man to help with the heavy lifting.

I also aspire, though, to be admired for my mind and ability to share my thoughts and opinions.  I want to be seen as the girl that can get all dressed up, but also isn't afraid to get down and dirty and be real.  I want to be respected as someone who is confident and sure of herself.  Bryce has told me that his favorite thing about me is the fact that I'm fiery...I know who I am and don't let others push me around. I love that he admires that quality.

Since reading this article and in turn reflecting on myself, my take home message is balance.  I think for my generation feminism is about being able to choose.  Be the woman in the board room wearing pink. Let your man be a knight in shining armor, but make sure that he also knows just how capable you are...and help him when he needs it.  I think that gender roles are very much shaped by society, but I also think there are inherent differences between men and women.  I don't think that's  a bad thing.  I think we should embrace our differences and capitalize on them.

As a future mother, I will take Forbes's 7 suggestions into account...in fact, I'm quite impressed by their ideas.  I want my future daughter to know that she can be whatever she wants...whether that means being a fashion designer or an aeronautical engineer.  She can do everything the boys can do...but she also has the choice whether or not to do the same things that they do.

And finally, as I was writing this post this commercial came on (how apropos!) and I think it is the perfect closing:

So now...if you've made it this far, what are your thoughts?  I've found that I tend to learn the most from listening to other people's opinions.

Have a great day!


Lilly Spring Favorites

Happy Tuesday readers!

Good Valentine's Day?

Mine was so nice...Bryce came home from work early, we grocery shopped together, and cooked a fabulous dinner!  We had lobster bisque to start, sole with sides of asparagus and fettucine alfredo as our main course, and ended with brownie sundaes!  I'm getting hungry just thinking about it now!

Today I'm excited to share my Lilly Spring favorites!

I know I'm a little late with these, but honestly, I'm just now starting to get spring fever.  When I received the spring catalogue a few weeks ago, I wasn't quite ready to trade in my cozy Uggs for Jacks...now my friends, I am feeling ready!  And what better way to prepare for Spring than with some new Lilly?

So, without further adieu...here are my faves:

How fun and flirty is this dress?

I'd like to add another Elsa or two to my wardrobe and I am loving this bold color!

I live in easy "throw on" dresses during the Spring and Summer months and have a feeling this one would quickly become a staple.

I bought my first romper last summer (a Lilly, no less!) and fell in love...so in love, that I think I NEED this one!  I can already imagine it with gold and turquoise accessories!

Have you checked out Lilly new arrivals yet?

What are your favorites?

Are you ready for warmer temps or still embracing the cold?

Have a great day!