Thursday, January 31, 2013

#InstaClaus Revisited

Do you remember my #InstaClaus post last month?  Once I posted it I was shocked at what great feedback I received. Thanks again to everyone who participated! If you took part in #InstaClaus take a look at this video and see how your Instagram pictures helped so many children get the Christmas they dreamed of. I even made an appearance, check out 1:06. I show up for about 1.5 seconds wrapping some gifts.  

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Our First Look

I was all for getting pictures done before the reception on our wedding day.  I knew once the ceremony was over T and I would want to start the celebrations, and so would the rest of our bridal party.  We still wanted to have a special moment with the two of us that day, so we decided to do a first look.  I absolutely loved that we did this.  It took away all most of the nerves I had about walking down the aisle.  I wasn't nervous about the marriage itself, just having 300+ eyes on you- that scares me. 

T and I decided to forgo wedding gifts.  While it is a great tradition, it is also an expensive one.  I did surprise him with a small gift though, and decided to make it a part of our first look.  If you know T, then you know that he is a HUGE Clemson football fan.  I was able to pull some strings and get him a football signed by Clemson's coach Dabo Swinney.  He absolutely loved it.

I loved that our photographer and videographer also arranged to have a first look with my dad.  That moment was just as special, and I'm so glad that we have the moment captured on film!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I'm not big on making New Years resolutions, mainly because I have a really hard time sticking to them.  I always go balls to the wall for the first 2 weeks then just fizzle out.  Although I don't believe in making New Years resolutions per se, I did decide to try to get healthier this month.  The beginning of 2013 just happened to be a convenient time for it.  Wedding planning is over, T and I are both settled into jobs that we love, our crazy travel has finally calmed down a bit, you get the picture.

This week I finally bit the bullet and joined a gym.  We have free workout facilities at work and in our apartment, but its obviously not working for me.  We've been in our apartment for two years now and I've made it to the gym lest than 10 times.  FAIL. I'm thinking if I actually pay for my membership, I'll go.  If I don't go, I'll be wasting money- a cardinal sin in my book. 

I've never been a big runner.  Even during my two-a-days phase during college when I was in great physical shape, I still couldn't run for more than 5 minutes at a time.  I've always wanted to be a runner, it just hasn't worked out for me.  Last week I decided to try out the Couch-to-5K program, and I've really enjoyed it.  It's a 9-week program that helps you pace your self and slowly build up the endurance to run a 5k.  There are three 30 minute workouts to do each week- pretty doable. 

I decided to download their app, and splurged for the $2.99 version rather than the free one.  Well worth it.  It makes it so much easier to keep up with your intervals, and you can run Pandora or listen to your iTunes simultaneously.  Here are a couple of screenshots from the app.

You get to choose your trainer.  I've kept the default one, but I'm very intrigued about the zombie trainer.  Maybe I'll change it to switch things up a bit. 

There is a description of the workout for each day.  So far I have completed all of week one and the first day of week 2.


The log tracks your distances and times as well.  It's a great motivation to always out-do your last workout.  I've been doing this on the treadmill, but once the weather gets warmer I hope to move outside.  Another feature that I really like is that it will work with your phone's GPS and calculate your distance.  Pretty cool, huh?

I've decided to go ahead and sign up for a 5k this spring to hold my self to it.  Wish me luck!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Weekend Wrap Up

This weekend we took a trip to Charlotte to visit my sister April and her husband.  Saturday afternoon, they took us to some local breweries in NoDa.  We went to the  NoDa Brewing Company and Birdsong Brewery.  I had no idea that Charlotte had so many local breweries, and their beer was so good!  You've got to try the Jalapeno Pale Ale at Birdsong- it's so unique.

Later that evening we made our way to the Bobcats game where the boys just had to get a picture with the cheerleaders. We stayed at the game for a bit, then made our way to dinner at Ri Ra, an Irish Pub uptown.

What a fun weekend!  Hope y'all had a happy Monday!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Snow, Sips, and Strokes

Hope everyone has had a great week!  We've got some crazy winter weather in store this afternoon- well crazy for South Carolina.  It's supposed to snow for a couple of hours this afternoon and I cannot wait to see my first snowflake of the year. I'm still having trouble with the realization that I'm not in school anymore, and people still work when it snows.   

Why can't everyone have a snow day?

Last night I did one of those BYOB painting classes with some of my girlfriends from work.  A few weeks ago a deal came up on Groupon for Sassy Paints in Greenville, and we jumped on it. We had such a great time.  This was my first time doing one of those classes, so I was a bit apprehensive.  I consider myself a crafty person, but not a good artist in the least.

We sipped on our wine, snacked on appetizers, chatted, and followed the instructor as she painted.  The hardest task was to remember to dip your paint brush in the water not your glass of wine.  Easier said than done when you're a few glasses in!

Hope y'all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Jarty in your Jeans

I've been entertaining the idea of trying this denim on denim thing.  I usually love embracing new trends, but for some reason I'm having a hard time with this one.   I keep on having flashbacks to the time when denim on denim was something you wore as a joke.  For example, this jean party jarty I attended back in 2009.

But if I am going to partake in this trend, I think there are certain parameters I need to stay within.  

#1.  Make sure the denims are not the same color
#2. Mix and match textures/weights of denim
#3. Pair this look with neutral leather accessories 

So tell me, what's your take on the joutfit

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Crazy Combination

This summer my sister April of A. Liz Adventures posted about a recipe of Ina Garten's for Roasted Sausage and Grapes.  I must admit, the thought of combining sausage and cooked grapes grossed me out.  I thought not only would the flavor be off-putting, but the consistency of the two main ingredients would just not be right.  Well, I stand corrected.

Over Christmas we went to my Aunt Karen's house for a few days. For our second night there, we went with a Mediterranean theme. Part of the main course was Roasted Sausage and Grapes.   She gets her sausage from a local pork shop in Raleigh, and boy was it a sight.  I've never seen a link of sausage so big, we had to take a picture to capture the moment. 

Once it was served I took a portion to be polite, and then I quickly went back for seconds.  The flavor was absolutely amazing.  Sweet and savory at the same time, but not overly sweet.  What a combination.  Here's the recipe if you want to give it a try.  You won't be dissappointed!

Roasted Sausages and Grapes

1 package sausage, sliced diagonally
3 cups red or green grapes
1 T. unsalted butter
Few glugs red wine
Few glugs balsamic vinegar


  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
  2. Melt butter over medium heat in a cast iron skillet, and when it starts turning golden brown, add in the grapes and stir with a wooden spoon to coat them.  Slightly raise heat and add red wine.  Stir for a few minutes while the wine reduces.
  3. Add sliced sausages to the grapes and stir together.  Transfer immediately to the preheated oven.  Roast 20 minutes, turning once midway, until the sausages are brown and the grapes are very soft.
  4. Put your skillet back onto the stovetop, and over medium heat, add the balsamic vinegar.  Allow juices to reduce.
Recipe Courtesy of A. Liz Adventures

Friday, January 11, 2013

Happy New Year!

For the past two years Mr. T and I have gone very low key with our New Years Eve celebrations.  We've done the whole formal deal several times and usually end up being disappointed with our decision.  This year we decided to go to Mac's Speed Shop in downtown Greenville, mainly because they have good beer and big TVs.  The Clemson bowl game was on that night, and Mr. T made a special request that we go somewhere that we could watch the Tigers play.

We met up with two of our friends Joseph and Allie.  We had such a great time with them last year on NYE and decided to make it a tradition.  The guys had a great time swapping high school golf team stories while Allie and I had some great girl talk. 

We celebrated Clemson's big win, saw the ball drop and had our champagne toast, then shortly after headed back to our place to continue the party with some karaoke. The guys had a blast until I had to shut down the show at 3:30.  This little girl needed her sleep!

Happy 2013!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Easy Eggplant Parmesan Stacks

As one of our new year's resolutions, Mr. T and I are both trying to shed the pounds that we put on over the holidays.  One bandwagon that I've decided to jump on is Meatless Mondays.  I was a vegetarian for a year in college so this is a pretty easy transition for me, but a little bit harder for my meat and potato lovin' husband.  I've tried to find hearty vegetarian recipes that still leave you satisfied.  One of our absolute favorites are these Eggplant Parmesan Stacks.


Eggplant Parmesan Stacks
1 medium eggplant
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons milk
Dried Italian bread crumbs
Olive Oil
6 oz. tomato paste
6 oz. red or white wine
Pinch dried oregano
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1/2 lb mozzarella, sliced (the stuff from the deli, not fresh)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400  degrees F.  Slice washed eggplant 1/2-inch thick.  Dip slices into the egg mixture and then into the bread crumbs, coat well.  Grease a cookie sheet with olive oil.  Arrange each slice of coated eggplant in one layer on the cookie sheet and drizzle each piece with olive oil.  Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes.  Check that the slices are golden brown, turn them and drizzle olive oil over the tops.  Bake for another 15 minutes.  They should be browned on both sides.  Set aside.

In a small saucepan dilute the tomato paste with wine.  A good mix is a can of paste and a can of wine.  (This is the perfect use for that bottle of wine you have that is a day or two past it's prime, it's still okay to cook with)  Add the oregano, salt, pepper, and crushed garlic.  Spread 2 tablespoons of sauce on each slice of eggplant.  Layer each eggplant with a slice of mozzarella and top with Parmesan cheese.  Bake for 20 minutes. 

These are great served on their own, but also go well served over a pasta with red sauce.  They do well leftover, too.  Just pop them in the oven for 10 minutes at 375 and you're good to go.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Christmas Goodies

Christmas 2012
Christmas 2012 by lslappe

1. L.L. Bean Vest- looks very similar to the J.Crew puffer vests, but cheaper
2. A long gold chain that I'll be able to wear with my monogrammed pendant
3. Coach Tunic (in pink)
4. Rebecca Minkoff Tall Doll Boots (my Chrismtas gift to myself)
6.  A trip to NYC!

I got several other things for Christmas this year, but these are some of my faves.  Yes, one of the purchases was a gift to myself.  Don't judge, it's the only way I could justify it. Mr. T and I decided that instead of giving gifts to each other this year, we'd use that money to pay for a trip to New York in the early spring.  NYC here we come!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Christmas Recap

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!  I know we sure did.  This was our first married Christmas, which made it extra special.  This year we did our rounds and made sure that we got to spend time with both of our families.  We started our Christmas break at Mr. T's house.  I was able to take the entire week of Christmas off this year so we got to spend several days with each family.

Mr. T's family always goes to Christmas Eve church service, and I'm glad I've been able to join them on that tradition for the last two years.  I love singing Christmas songs at church and the candle lighting is always so beautiful at the end.

Before Christmas Eve Church Service
After church we went and ate dinner with T's uncle and his family.

With my MIL and FIL

Christmas morning we woke up, packed up, and headed down the road to my house. We had just a few hours of opening gifts at my house and then we packed up again and headed to Raleigh to see my extended family.

Christmas Morning, mimosas in hand

Christmas Eve and Christmas day were such a whirlwind, but it was all so worth it.  It was great being able to see everyone at Christmas time.

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