January 23, 2015

Weekend Links We Love



We hope y'all have had a wonderful (and hopefully short) week! Can you believe it's almost the end of January? Usually January seems to go by so slow, but both of us feel like the past few weeks have flown by.

This weekend's list is full of inspiration - for travel, for our home, for our kitchen, and for our careers.   And, we threw in some fun links for your weekend perusal as well.

52 Places to Go in 2015 - New York Times. We're dreaming of visiting so many places on this list, including hotspots across Europe, South America and across the States.

30 Instagram Pets That Colored Our World in 2014 - Mashable.

Kale Salad Bowl Recipe - I Will Not Eat Oysters blog. This kale salad is chock full of sweet potatoes - healthy and satisfying!

Southern Living Associate Travel + Culture Editor Lacy Morris - The Everygirl.

The Brain On 23 - Huffington Post.

10 Quotes About Creativity - Brit + Co. One we love: "Foster creativity and aspire to create unexpected joy and fun."

January 2015 Issue of Matchbook Mag.

January 21, 2015

In Our Kitchen: Breakfast Acai Bowls

Both Katie and I are big breakfast people. Of course we have to start with a cup of coffee, or two,  but we always make time for a healthy meal to start the day. It's necessary when you're working all day!

Lately, I've been loving making my own "smoothie" bowls full of fresh fruit and Greek yogurt. Although I often resort to scrambled eggs in the morning, these smoothie bowls really do make starting the day a little bit brighter (maybe it's just the bright colors that make me happy...it's the little things when you're waking up bright and early!). After the holidays, and all the rich breakfast foods you might have partaken in...maybe those extra pieces of bacon or cinnamon rolls are coming to mind, this is a great way to start of your year on a more nutritious start.

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Today we have a recipe that we're both swooning over. It includes Acai berries + hemp seeds, which I've been trying to incorporate in my diet. For an extra boost, I like that the recipe includes protein powder - it saves me from feeling hungry for lunch circa 10 am!

INGREDIENTS

Base
4 packs frozen Acai berry puree
2 cups coconut water
2 bananas
1 cup frozen strawberries
2 tbsp hemp protein powder

Topping
1 cup granola
2 handfuls fresh berries
4 tbsp hemp seeds

DIRECTIONS

Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse until thick and creamy. Add more milk if you prefer.

Pour the blend into two bowls, top with granola, berries and hemp seeds and serve immediately!

January 20, 2015

Fair Isle Sweaters

In the winter, I especially am drawn to oversize sweaters in all colors and patterns. The fair isle sweater is one of those sweaters I love to wear during these cold months. It's one that never seems to go out of style. I can't pinpoint exactly why, but this wardrobe staple reminds me of curling up by the fire, mug of hot chocolate in hand, and watching the snow fall outside.

Although we don't exactly see a lot of snow in Alabama, we can pretend right? Here are our favorite ways to wear the iconic winter sweater. My personal favorites? The ones in neutral tones that can be worn both to the office and on the weekend.

Work
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Weekend
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At Home
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Lunch Date
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Running Errands
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January 19, 2015

Blonde Hair Don't Care

Confessions from a semi-fake blonde...
**Note - some products are applicable for brunettes, red heads and all the colors in between!

I'm what is considered a natural blonde, but as others with similar hair face, my hair has seemed to darken with age. Oh how I long for my toddler days when my hair was almost platinum. In an effort to keep my hair its golden color, I do get partial highlights. However, living on a budget and a busy schedule do not allow for regular monthly colorings or the necessary regular cuts (and I am not the type to color my hair myself or use something out of a box - I'll leave my hair care to the trained professionals). Thus, I have several products that I use daily (or weekly) to help keep my hair healthy and as light and blonde as possible for as long as possible. Check out my top five favorite hair care products for strong, healthy hair (colored or not)!

1. Shampoo/Conditioner - Joico K-PAK Color Therapy: I use this shampoo and conditioner once a day. I am trying to spread my hair washes out to every other day to help with hair growth and strength, but find myself washing every day more so than not. This shampoo and conditioner is great for colored hair because it contains advanced Quadra├čond Peptide Complex® of peptides to help keep color vibrant and hair moisturized and healthy.

2. Mousse - Big Sexy Hair Root Pump: This product comes out as a spray and turns to a mousse, helping to get the product straight to the root. I apply to damp hair and blow dry with a round brush for maximum lift. I like this product because it gives my hair the texture it needs without making it too sticky. 

3. Color Extender - Blonde Idol Custom Tone Conditioner by Redken: This is a great way for blondes to extend their color in between touchups. Use it starting a week after your color treatment and adjust the dial based on the strength of the color deposit you need. This helps neutralize brassiness and condition hair after a color treatment. 

4. Moroccan Oil: My Moroccan Oil actually comes straight from Morocco, but you can get your own right here in the states. I apply to the ends of my hair after towel drying. I have to be careful to only use a very small, dime sized amount to avoid an oily look. This product helps condition split ends and can also help tame fly aways. 

5. Repair Treatment - SeaExtend Ultimate ColorCare Silkening Oil by Aquage: This stuff is amazing. I use it once every week or two to help restore nutrients to my hair. This helps build stronger, more moisturized hair. The product uses advanced technology to mend the hair at the cuticle for smooth, healthy hair that lasts. 



January 16, 2015

Winter Home Inspiration

Happy Friday!

With all this chilly weather on the forecast, I've been looking forward to coming home from work and curling up with a blanket on the couch. (Yes, it really doesn't take much for me to get excited these days). Even if Alabama has yet to see snow, which confession: Katie and I don't like all that much, the evenings and mornings have been freezing lately! Brrrr, y'all.

Here are some of my favorite finds for your home or apartment that will hopefully spruce up these next cold couple months. It was hard for us to put away all our holiday decor, so we're hoping to incorporate a few of these things into our space within the next few weeks!

Furry throw 

I love the faux fur trend, not only on vests and jackets, but as a blanket! I would love adding one to the end of my bed.

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New candle

Swap out those holiday scents for a fresh, clean candle like this one from Anthropologie. You can't go wrong with this blue color either.




Tea kettle

Lately Katie and I have been drinking a whole lot of tea throughout the day, partly to keep warm. We have a bright red teapot sitting on our counter that I adore, but this one is an adorable find! It also doubles as a fantastic little entertaining piece.

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Cable knit pillows

Whether you add one to your bed or your sofa, these instantly bring warmth (and comfort!) into your room. Sticking with white or off-white is always a good option so that they'll match regardless of what furniture you own down the road.


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January 14, 2015

DIY Peel Off Mask

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Alright ladies... and gentleman.. all barriers (and concealers aside), I still struggle with blackheads! My nose and chin seem like breeding grounds for these facial imperfections, and my pores seem like sand buckets at times. I've scrubbed, squeezed, pinched and more to try and get these pesky black things out of my skin.

One remedy I love is a DIY peel-off mask. I love the refreshing, clean feeling I have after a nice peel away mask. I found a simple, easy mask on Living Traditionally that seems to help. This one always leaves my skin feeling soft, smooth and my pores clean! It only takes three ingredients and is super easy to mix up and apply!

Ingredients

1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon gelatin (here)
2 tablespoons organic milk

Directions

Clean your face thoroughly and then steam to open up the pores.
Beat the egg white lightly.
Mix gelatin and milk together and heat on low, constantly stirring, until the gelatin dissolves completely. Transfer to a bowl.
Let the gelatin/milk mixture cool. 
Once cooled, add the egg and mix well.
Spread the mixture over your face and let it set for 20-30 minutes.
Peel off starting at the chin and moving upwards.
Rinse with warm water and splash with cold water to close the pores.

January 11, 2015

A Meal for the Stars - Golden Globe Edition

What has Julie and I buzzing with excitement today? Awards season is in full swing and tonight the 72nd Golden Globe awards take center stage. Two favorites, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey (literally the one I wish would play me in a movie of my life) host these iconic awards which recognize the best in television and film, both domestic and foreign.


From the fashion, to the stars and all of the hot topics being talked about on the red carpet, it is sure to be an evening full of entertainment. Which obviously means Julie and I are doing a little entertaining of our own. A few friends will be coming over for appetizers, dinner and of course champagne. Take a look at our Golden Globe menu:

Champagne Spritzers

You Will Need:
Champagne
Cranberry Juice
How To Make It: A glass of champagne and a splash of cranberry juice


Artichoke Dip

You Will Need:
2 Cans of Artichoke Hearts
1.5 Cups Mayonaise
1.5 - 2 Cups Parmesan Cheese
Dash of Garlic
Dash of Paprika
Crackers for Dipping
How To Make It: Drain and dive up the artichoke hearts. Grease up a baking pan and fill with the hearts, mayo, garlic and cheese. Top with paprika and bake at 350 degrees until bubbling. Serve warm with buttery crackers!

Garlic Chicken with Orzo

You Will Need:
1 Cup Uncooked Orzo
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic
1/4 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
2 Skinless, Boneless Chicken 
Salt to Taste
1 Tablespoon Chopped Fresh Parsley
2 Cups Fresh Spinach Leaves
Grated Parmesan Cheese Topping
How To Make It:  Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add orzo pasta, cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente, and drain. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the garlic and red pepper 1 minute, until garlic is golden brown. Chop chicken into bite size pieces. Stir in chicken, season with salt, and cook 2 to 5 minutes, until lightly browned and juices run clear. Reduce heat to medium, and mix in the parsley and cooked orzo. Place spinach in the skillet. Continue cooking 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until spinach is wilted. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

Old- Fashioned Chocolate Cake

You Will Need:
3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
2 Cups Sugar
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Table Salt
2 Cups Hot Water
3/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
2 Tablespoons Distilled White Vinegar 
1 Tablespoon Instant Coffee or Espresso Granules (optional)
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
Glossy Chocolate Icing
How To Make It: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 8x2 inch round cake pans with non-stick spray. Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Combine water, oil vinegar, instant coffee and vanilla in large measuring cup. Add to dry ingredients and whisk until just combined (a few lumps are OK). Divide batter between pans and bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes. Cool for about 15 minutes and then invert on a rack to cool completely. Once cooled, ice to your liking.