Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Grant Opp

Today was the first day all summer I really had a reason to get up and look semi-professional.  I still have 3 weeks, folks, I'm going to enjoy them.  Today, my pastor, and two friends from church, and I attended an informational meeting on a grant we are applying for.  We are praying we get the grant; it would allow many of our ministries to branch out and reach more of the community through use of a community pool providing workout classes, water therapy, etc.  Keep us in your prayers if you're of the praying sort, puh-lease!

This is what I wore...
Shirt:Target, Crops: Gap Outlet, Shoes: bargain shop in Asheboro (and because I don't have $ to burn my glasses are from GlassesUSA**)

Watch: Silpada
**Disclaimer: I'm not employed nor receiving financial gain from GlassesUSA, but if you are still buying your eyeglasses from your eye doctor, you either a. have more money than you know what to do with (if this is a problem, feel free to contact me and I can assist you with it), b. don't know any better, or c. are just plain crazy!  These glasses cost me a whopping $28 (including shipping!) and my hubby got his specs from Zenni for $9.99.  We like nice things for small price tags.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Easy Scratch Alfredo

There are some things that just don't taste as good as homemade no matter what brand you buy.  Jarred sauces being a big one.  Also, for the record, it is so much cheaper to make your own sauce and it always tastes better.  On top of all that, I have never tasted a jar of alfredo sauce that I truly liked.  If you have, please, share below what kind you like.  Even Newman's doesn't do it for me.

After some trial and error, I have come up with the most delicious alfredo I've ever tasted...and my hubby doesn't complain either.  Using the simplest ingredients (parmesan cheese and heavy whipping cream), it is easily thrown together.  Growing up we called parmesan cheese shaky cheese so for now on, that's what I'm calling it - enjoy!
Don't ask why the picture is b&w; just call me artsy
So all you need to do is put one part shaky cheese to two parts whipping cream.  In other words, if you're using one cup whipping cream, you add 1/2 cup shaky cheese to it while it warms on the stove.  Heat the sauce up while constantly stirring to melt the cheese (*don't let it burn or bubble) and voila!  Alfredo from scratch.

We like it on any kind of pasta, particularly lobster or mushroom ravioli or tortellini.  Sometimes, to be extra fancy shmancy, I add cooked bacon to the sauce.  Yum.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

#ifeelweirdandoddlystilltired

I've felt strange the last few days;
more tired than usual,
a lingering headache,
unlike myself.

Today, I took a luxurious nap,
and dove into the good book.

Sometimes, the Word is the
best medicine.

I also came to realize and accept
that I have become a 2-cupper.

Eventually, I will be okay with that.



Friday, July 27, 2012

Copy Cat Friday

I love link ups and, now, copy cats because it encourages me to dive into my closet and figure out what I have and what I can do with what I have.  I've been pinning outfits onto my board titled, "The stuff in my closet could be styled this way..." like craaaazy!


This would be great for a casual Friday at work.
blazer: JC Penney, tee: Old Navy (old), Necklace: My Grandma's
jeans: Levis, shoes: Old Navy (old)
FrillsforThrills CopyCats
I paid my husband back for taking my pictures by ironing 3 of his shirts this morning.
Just call me The Good Wife.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Magical Fruit

I have been a busy little beaver, or whatever animal eats beans as opposed to trees, this week.

Some wonderful friends of mine made me gave me the opportunity to pick beans out of their garden with them.  I didn't realize what work that was!  I ended up going home with two 5 gallon buckets full of beans.  To say I was overwhelmed with all those beans is quite the understatement!
If you've never canned before (or gardened) make sure that you are willing to commit TIME to it before you spend some money on it.  Me, I'm one of those 27 year olds that has an "old soul."  (A nice way to say that I'm a fuddy duddy??)  I would love for our household to be mostly self sufficient (I'm not going out and milking a cow, now.)  So I sew, cook, garden, and now....can!

Canning actually isn't all that bad; it's the prep work you must do to the beans before you can them that is time consuming and leaves you with pruny fingers that would have had you kicked out of the swimming pool at age 10 in a heartbeat.  You must clean them over and over again to be sure there is no dirt and then snip their ends off.  Doesn't sound like much, but did I mention I had two 5 gallon buckets?!!?!?!  I know it doesn't seem it, but I would definitely do this again and I really did enjoy it.
I have to share with you this recipe for blackened beans that I adapted from one I found online.  I kept some of the beans fresh for steaming, etc. and decided to copy blacked beans that I had at a restaurant many moons ago.  They are delish!
First I blanched the green beans.  (If you don't know how to to do this, it's simple: boil beans for 3 minutes then plunge them immediately into a bath of ice water for 3 minutes.)
I combined (2T)paprika, (1t)cayenne pepper, (2t)garlic powder, (2T) parmesan cheese, (2t) kosher salt, (1t) black pepper, and tossed the blanched beans into the mixture.  Once completely tossed, I put the beans in a frying pan with a little EVOO (olive oil) until the spices turned black.  Voila!



Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Garden Soup


We love vegetables in this house
and with our diet of minimal processed foods,
we have to plan ahead for the busy months when we are both working full time.
So, every summer I throw together what I started calling Zuchinni Soup,
but now am going to start calling Garden Soup.


Ingredients:
1 lb. ground sausage *cooked* (I always buy local - it tastes best)
2 Lg. cans of diced tomatoes 
1 onion
1 green pepper
zuchinni
*Any veggies you want to add, after all, it's your garden soup. 
(This year I added green beans because I have been blessed with amazing friends that allowed me to go to their garden and pick 2 5 gallon buckets of beans!)

Simply bring everything to a boil and then let simmer until the veggies are tender.

**I divide this up into freezer bags once it has cooled and pull it out for those evenings in the fall/winter that are consumer by school functions/board meetings/laziness/etc.

Enjoy!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

50 Cents

50 cents can't get you much.
Not even  candy bar these days.

At the thrift store the other day,
50 cents got me this orange blouse
that was about four sizes too big for me.

I debated getting it.
It was supposed to be $2.50.
It would also take some restructuring to fit.

The lady saw me second guessing,
and blessed me by giving it to me for 50 cents.

Since that day,
I've restructured it,
and worn it three times
receiving tons of compliments.
Shirt: thrifted (refashioned), skirt: me

Shirt: thrifted (refashioned), jeans: Levis, shoes: thrifted

Shirt: thrifted (refashioned), Shorts: American Eagle (old), shoes: Old Navy (old)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Style Guide for Fall '12: Wardrobe Additions

Despite the fact that I have learned a lot about my closet and how to rework outfits with what I already own, I still feel there are things that I need to add to my wardrobe in order to enhance it for the season.  Like, Audrey, I am learning to purchase items that can be worn several ways so that there is potential for multiple outfits.

First and foremost, I want so badly to bring a lace pencil skirt into my closet.  I have been eyeing the tutorial for one over at Elle Apparel for weeks now, but have not discovered any lace that I love.  And since lace is so expensive, I can't just settle.

I also want to incorporate some big statement necklaces.  I am in love with almost every single one Anthropologie has out!
Last, but not least, I really want to get a cross body pocket book.  I almost purchased one in this little boutique in NY while I was home, but the price tag was too much for something that wasn't leather.  I found this one at Ruche that I love, but I'm thinking I would like it in a more neutral color so that I can wear it for years to come.
There aren't a whole lot of items I need to add to my wardrobe.  I have done a really good job this summer refashioning/thrifting items so that I won't have to go on a spending spree before school starts back up.

However, here in NC the first weekend in August is tax free weekend and I do intend to hit up JC Penney to pick up some of those shoes that I have been dreaming about.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Style Goals for Fall '12: Trends

I tend not to follow trends because I don't have the expendable income as a teacher to wear things for brief periods of time.  However, I am discovering that there are certain trends that can be attained through thrifting and refashioning.

Here are some of the fall 2012 trends that I intend to incorporate into my wardrobe this year:

1.  The color red.  Yesterday at the thrift store I almost purchased a red blazer for $4 and I put it back on the rack!  I'm headed over there today to pick it up.  I can't believe I second guessed it.
It's so easy to style.  I think what got me second guessing was my red hair, but I need to step outside my comfort zone with reds and pinks.  I also picked up this great red jersey pencil skirt this summer for $3 at a thrift store.


2.  Black and white prints.  Already, this summer I added a black and white striped pencil skirt to my wardrobe using some fabric I got at a thrift store.
I also own a beautiful white blouse with black polka dots.

3.  Bohemian print.  I love bohemian print.  I have several items in my closet already that would be considered this including a dolman sleeve top I made earlier this summer and I recently purchased fabric at a thrift that I intend to make a skirt out of with a Navajo-ish print on it.




The next two are trends that I'm hoping stick around through the fall; they will be in my wardrobe anyway because I'm just recently hopping on the bandwagon.

4.  Turquoise anything.  I love this color.  It looks great with my red hair and it's fun and vibrant without being "day-glo."  I recently got my first stitch fix and got this amazing dress!
If you love the dress, you must check out stitchfix by visiting here.  It is glorious!

5.  Men's wear.  I believe this trend is sticking around for fall 2012 particularly in the area of hats, footwear, and structured jackets.  I am very excited about this as I have just added these lovely duds to my wardrobe after a thrifting spree in NY.

As stated before, I'm no trend guru.  However, I do love to look and feel good in my clothing so I've gotten excited about several of these items.  Check back tomorrow for items I need to add to my wardrobe to complete it.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Style Goals for Fall '12: Footwear

So I feel as though since I've started blogging I've become much more aware of the options my closet provides.  However, I have done myself an injustice in the form of footwear.  I do have several very nice pairs of shoes, but rarely do I wear them.  I tend to live in my Rainbow flip flops and Mizuno running shoes.  Fashion faux pas 101. 

I have several style goals for fall 2012. 

Being a teacher, I need to have comfortable footwear because I'm on my feet almost 8-10 hours every day.  So, one goal is to incorporate more wedges into my wardrobe. 
I love these Aztec print wedges.  I need to broaden my horizons by adding patterns and color to my footwear wardrobe.

I need some wedge sandals to wear with skirts and dresses in the summer/fall in NC.

Navy is a color I definitely do not own in footwear.  The small wedge is professional, but comfy for long days.

I love the low wedge and nude color.

This would be great for weddings.
I LOVE turquoise!

All of the above shoes are from JC Penney.  I love their new product/sales pitch.  Everything is bright, fun, and extremely affordable.  If you haven't checked out the new and improved JC Penney, you are missing out.

I haven't been doing much shopping this summer aside from thrifting and refashioning.  I intend to do a "back to school" shopping spree the first weekend in August.  If you don't know, that weekend is tax free weekend in NC!  Boo-yahhhhh!!!  

Stay tuned for more style goals for fall 2012.




Wednesday, July 18, 2012

VBS: Survivor Style


I am so blessed to be the Vacation Bible School director at my church, Freedom Family Church.  If you live in the area (Piedmont Triad, NC), you need to check it out!  We aren't just an ordinary church; we are a church for the rest of us.

This week is our VBS and the theme is Survivor.  VBS is so important to me because as a teacher, I have learned that not all kids are as lucky as I was growing up.  I know that I brag on my parents a lot, but its because they did a pretty darn good job raising me and they deserve it!  I didn't take it easy on them all the time.  Not all children have this luxury.  Some kids go days, weeks even, without getting a hug or hearing "I love you."  Some have parents that aren't present or are consumed by drugs and alcohol.  For some kids, my smiling face is the only one they see each day.  Then summer comes.

Summer equates inconsistency and hunger for a lot of kids.  Hunger for food, hunger for attention, and hunger for love.  I can't provide these things for kids during the summer except through VBS.  Thank God, I've been given this ministry so that I can rest assured that every child that attends feels God's love in one way, shape, or form. So many children do not learn the values of Christianity - I'm not talking memorizing bible verses - I'm talking what truly matters.  The roots of Christianity.  In my opinion (forgive me if I'm wrong), what truly matters is that kids grow up doing the right thing by God's standards, displaying unconditional love, and modeling that love and desire to do good to others.  Once those things are established, bible reading, verse memorization, and prayer add icing to the cake.
Faces and kids like this are why God has given me this ministry.
Here are a few pictures to show what we're up to at Freedom Park Sunday - Thursday from 6:30-8:30 p.m.  The excitement and competitive spirit in the Survivor Challenges is palpable.  The hearts being touched are warming.  And the praise/worship being displayed is energizing!  To God be the glory!

"In all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us." Romans 8:37

The week's scripture

She tie dyed her shirt the colors of her tribe



Ready to dye their shirts for the Survivor Challenges
Worshiping God and giving Him the glory

I am the Game Maker; a.k.a. I tell everyone what to do in the Survivor Challenges.

Zebulum Tribe is currently in first place!

Gilead Tribe is ready for battle at Survivor Challenges

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Stripes

A few days ago, I headed out of town to hit up a particular yard sale only to drive by and see that it had packed up early.  Rather than just head home, I decided to scope out the thrift stores that I tend to pop into once a month or so.

Again, I hit the thrifting jackpot, but this time with fabric.  I bought a yard of jersey in mustard yellow, three yards of jersey black/white striped, and two 1/4 yards mustard yellow jacquard for $4.25!!

Today I followed Merrick's tutorial for a jersey pencil skirt and used some of that black/white striped jersey to make myself one.  I liked it so much I started working on one in the mustard yellow jersey as well.
 skirt: me, top: h&m
skirt: me, tank: a.n.a. c/o JC Penney, blazer: JC Penney

Friday, July 13, 2012

On Trend

I'm not one to follow trends.  I can't really define my style; it's not trendy, classic, or bohemian.  It's eclectic I suppose; a mixture of all three.  However, I'm also rather cheap when it comes to clothing, particularly clothing items that are trends.  Reason being, they just don't stick around long enough for me to spend what little fun money my teaching salary allots.

I've had this tie dye maxi dress in my closet for a while now, but the last time I wore it was on my honeymoon (2 years ago) so I've had it in my repurpose basket for some time now.
I've had my eye on those dresses/skirts for a while now that are shorter in the front than they are in the back.  I had considered making the dress into one, but I really don't wear strapless that often so I decided to turn it into a skirt.

First I cut all the elastic out of the dress careful to save it for future projects.
The fabric has so much stretch in it that I didn't think it was necessary to put an elastic waistband in so, I just gave the top a waistband by folding it over twice and sewing.  I, then, cut the skirt to the length I wanted in front and back and folded the hem over twice and stitched.
I'm pretty pleased with the way it came out.  It will definitely be a fun skirt to wear to a concert in this southern heat.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Nifty Thrifty

While on summer vacation I utilize a lot of my time thrifting and repurposing/refashioning items I've found at thrift stores.  Recently, I've randomly decided to go into a few thrift stores and hit what people like me (I think there are other people like me out there...) would consider the "gold mine."

This Ralph Lauren sweater and red jersey pencil skirt were found at a thrift stores called Cozie's in Liberty, NC.  This was my first time ever walking into Cozie's and I must say it will not be a thrift store I frequent primarily due to the fact that it is the most unorganized clustermuck I've ever tried to shop in.  However, with the time, energy, and desire for a good hunt, there are some treasures to be found.  Just not a place to pop in and browse.
When I went to VT to pick up my hubby, his plane was delayed so I was stuck (sigh...such a miserable place to be stuck - VT has no sales tax on clothing) with nothing to do for a couple of hours, but hunt around the local thrift stores and TJ Maxx.  Woe was me.

In Goodwill, I scavenged and found a pair of Seven jeans for just $7.  For those of you familiar with this brand, that is like 150% savings (disregard my mathlete skills) so I immediately snapped them up and prayed I could fit into a size 27.  Hallelujah!  They're mine.
Last, but not least, my mom took the hub and I thrifting and antiquing around town on our last day at home.  We love going through thrift stores, but it was really hard to do this so far from home because we knew we couldn't take home all the goodies we would find.  We have been on the hunt for a china cabinet to display our wedding china for almost a year now with no such luck.  Everything we've found has either been too expensive, too big, or too in need of work.

Anyway, in a thrift store in Essex, NY, I found a pair of shoes that I had on my feet before the lady that owned the place had even finished greeting us.  I've been eyeing shoes in this style for months now, but hadn't found a pair that a. fit me, b. are in my price range, and c. are in decent condition.  All until I walked into ReNew.  These shoes were labeless and sizeless, but they are made of real leather in Brazil and cost me $3.




So excited with my new finds!  I also found a fantastic dress at TJ Maxx to wear to a wedding I am in in October.  The stipulations from the bride were for it to be plum and along my typical style guidelines.  I think I found a gem; she agreed.  I'm sure I'll post an outfit pic or 25 from the wedding.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Have no fear!  I'm alive and well.  I've been visiting my hometown for the past week and a half.  For those of you that don't know, there are still areas of this country that do not support WiFi, cell service, or at times gps!  I had the luxury of growing up in one of said places.

You may sense some sarcasm in that, but I have to say, I thoroughly enjoy my time at home because it provides me that time away from my laptop/cellphone/kindle leash that I've tethered myself to. (Or that society has us all tethered to.)

It hit me several weeks ago that I had not been home since Thanksgiving.  And it broke my heart until I turned to my hubby who immediately fixed the problem by saying, "Well, let's go!!" Just one reason why I love him so.

There are so many reasons why I love going home:
1. Already mentioned: unavoidable inaccessibility
2. Family. I'm huge on family and miss them all so much it hurts.
3. The view.  I grew up in the Adirondack Mountains on Lake Champlain.  It doesn't get any prettier and as much as my father in law tries to argue, it really is God's country.
4. Friendships that have lasted and will continue to last a lifetime.
5. Sharing my childhood memories with my man.  He gets to share his with me all the time because we live not far from where he grew up.  It's nice for me to get to show him around.

As soon as I got home, mom and dad's dog jumped on my suitcase and demanded I never leave...
I will have to tell you the story of how they got Brandi some day...it's a good one.

I drove up to NY by myself stopping first to spend 3 days with my brother in Syracuse where he treated me like a queen.  I spent a day with my aunt who also loved on me.  Then I trekked up to the ADK.  Justin wasn't able to get as much time off work so he flew up later in the week and I rode the ferry over to Burlington, VT to pick him up.
While home I caught up with friends I haven't seen in entirely too long and spent precious moments with the family I love so much my heart swells just thinking about them.  And I always make sure to stop and visit my cousin, Sgt. Justin Wrisley Garvey's, bridge.