Friday, October 24, 2014

'Aint no thang but a Chicken Wang + Beer

I love celebrating birthdays (most specifically mine) but also for my people. I also love to host gatherings and see nothing wrong with having a house full of friends and their children on a regular basis. My husband on the other hand..... well, he's not always such a huge fan. He enjoys having friends over but there's always a bunch of work that has to be done around the house to get party ready and for some reason we seem to decide to do projects around the house beforehand and that eats into the prep+cleaning time and then we're scrambling on the day of.

However, despite his not so serious protests we cleaned up the house and gathered some folks for a fun afternoon of all the things my man loves. Food, friends, football and of
While our wine palates have grown in the last few years, I've never been a fan of beer. I've "tried" a few over the years and have immediately shaken my head and looked for something else to wash it down with upon tasting. But my man likes beer, rather, he enjoys beer and the many varieties thereof. I'm not mad at that.
I've had it in the back of my mind for some time that I wanted to host a wine / beer. Particularly since we now have the space for it. So what better way to combine my long awaited party ideas with his love of beer, football and celebrate his birthday in a low key way?

When I first dreamed up the idea all I could picture was kraft paper covering the table but I was wavering on what to serve when Sweet Pea suggested brunch and then I thought "Yes! Waffle bar! But wait, does that go with beer? We need something savory..." Thusly the chicken + waffle beer bash was born. I'm not going to lie, I tend to get a little over-excited when it comes to party planning and had to remind myself that this was a 'man-bash' and therefore could not be covered in golden sparkles.  So I decided to keep things really simple for myself and and stick with a neutral theme and let the food take center stage.

Of course Pinterest played a key factor in giving me ideas on decor, set up and even invitation wording but mainly for recipes. Because I know my limitations and have learned from the ghosts of parties past, I decided I would only make 3 things the day of, the sausage and waffles. I purchased the chicken wings from Albertson's (my fried chicken struggle is real) as well as chicken tenders for the chicken + waffle sliders.

You may remember my excitement when the Witt + Delight collection for Target hit stores, as they had a tasting kit already created! One less thing I had to make!  All we had to do was open and set it up! Done and done! The fellas were impressed with the set up and I was impressed they actually took the time to write down their opinions.

For some reason I like to try out new recipes when I'm entertaining and I never think about what could go wrong or what I'll do if it doesn't turn out, well, not too much anyway. So I decided to bake mini Apple Cider donut holes. The recipe seemed easy enough and while they didn't exactly look like they did in the original recipe, they were damn delicious. I will be making more this week.

(recipe note: I subbed coconut oil for butter and they turned out great!)

And of course we had to have some kind of dessert!! Y'all know I love to bake somebody happy and hosting parties is pretty much an excuse to break out a new cupcake recipe and I have about a million on my list left to try. However, this was  manly bash and I didn't want to do anything too overwhelmingly sweet or girlified that would clash with the vibe. So maple bacon cupcakes were definitely in order. The combination of the sweet & savory candied bacon, maple buttercream frosting and butter cake were spot on with chicken and beer.

I also made a banana pudding poke cake for my man because he LOVES banana pudding and cake. And well, I don't like a banana nothin' and have been promising to make this cake for at least the last two years. But I always somehow 'forget' or we end up making something else and I've been feeling kind of bad about that. Well, this past Sunday it finally happened. He was thrilled to say the least and even offered to share some with his friends, which was even more impressive. 

I have to say, we have a great group of friends who always show up for my man and I love how everyone can come hang out and not have to be 'entertained'. D kept wondering (aloud) what we were going to do with the kids while the guys were watching football and I just shook my head. I keep it old school, so if you're little and you come to my house, just know you're heading outside if the weather permits (and let's face it; this is southern California, it's rare that you can't be outside!) so be prepared to get dirty!! Ha! It was a glorious day for hanging with friends and I couldn't have been happier. Dirty floors, house full of folks and kids running everywhere but my heart was full to burstin'. This is what I love.

Happy 38th Birthday D!!!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mama Monday: Making the Most of Moments Creative Galaxy

Thank you Amazon Studios for sponsoring this post. Find inspiration for new art projects and fun by checking out the new episodes of Creative Galaxy on Amazon Prime!

We are in the throws of toddler hood around here and it's been a challenge to find things to do that are not only inexpensive but educational and capture the attention of the Baby Ninja. He's a very busy boy and loves to play and recently has shown interest in more artistic endeavors so I was happy to hear about Creative Galaxy on Amazon Prime Instant Video.  We already love our Amazon Prime Instant Video app and the boy knows how to navigate through to what he wants to watch and that has saved our sanity on more than one occasion. Our recent trip to San Francisco proved our Tiny Tornado had a passion for creative exploration and I have no problem letting him quench his thirst.

In a technological age I'm all about exposing my kids to art in every way possible. Even if that means using technology to do so. What we love about Creative Galaxy was that it encourage the viewer to create alongside Arty and Epiphany while reminding us that art is in everything and surrounds us every day. The show, the brainchild of Creator and Executive Producer Angela Santomero, who's also worked another favorite around here; Super Why! , is an interactive art adventure series for preschoolers and aims to inspire creative thinking through crafts, music and dance.
Okay so I know what you might be thinking, "It's TV (sort of) .....and  aren't we trying to get away from plopping our kids down in front of a device to keep them occupied?" Yes.  But Creative Galaxy isn't like that. It's a fun half an hour thing we can do in the mornings when it's still too cool to head outside and gets our creative juices flowing for the rest of the day. Also, I don't know about you, but I'm not always the best with toddler friendly crafts. This helps remind me it doesn't have to be Pinterest pretty  or perfect to be fun or educational.

One of the first episodes we watched was particularly timely as we've been celebrating D's birthday so we decided we should make him a birthday card like Arty made his invitation. I was sweating bullets about bringing out glue, glitter and the like we kept it simple with stickers and crayons and I think it turned out just great.
As a work at home mom, I love that this is something he can do under supervision in my office while I work and he watches an episode and then we figure out if we want to do the craft shown or make something similar. He likes to keep crayons and paper handy while watching just in case he inspiration strikes.

I'm so happy we were able to try this app and can't wait to see what else we can create and what more they come up with for us to explore!

Are there any apps or programs for kids, that you love?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Currently Crushing: Midi Skirt + Crop Top

I'm still committing to not shopping for the season (minus a few items I've already planned to purchase ) but that doesn't mean I don't have my eyes on things!
Lately I've been quietly obsessing about crop tops. I know what you might be thinking.....isn't she like a 35 year old HOUSEWIFE? Why would she wear that? But, I think I really want one and have in my head how I want it to look, I just haven't found But it's out there, I'm sure of it. 
I'm also equally obsessed with midi skirts. As someone 5'4 it's always a bit daunting to find the correct length skirt for my body type and while I love the midi it's almost always shown on someone who is at least 4 inches taller than me. So I worry. Admittedly this was a trend I wasn't initially too keen on as I've never really been a fan of skirts that hit below the knee since I didn't think they looked right on me. But, it's starting to grow on me. The itch began way back in April around Lucky FABB. There were so many midi skirts on a variety of body and personality types that it got me thinking.
Then summer showed up with all it's promise of hot days of living in cut-offs and loose dresses and I forgot all about it.
 But then I cam across this floral look on ASOS and I just absolutely fell in love. 

Completely out of my regular style zone, it meets all my mental requirements of the crop top + midi combo. I love that the top is bit more boxy and not too fitted, and the dark moody floral print lends itself to the cooler temps of the season and I can see wearing this for several occasions both together and separately. Generally I don't have many opportunities to pull off a full skirt (what with all the toddler chasing) but I think I can make this work as more of an investment purchase and play around to see how I could wear both items with other pieces in my closet.

And then there's this killer ensemble from River Island also from ASOS. (Seriously that place is dangerous for me!)  I can totally see this on a more dressed up date with the hubs or even a hip evening wedding. I love that it's both simple yet dramatic and still not too over the top trying-too-hard-to-wear-a-trend ensemble. It exudes a sexy sophistication without screaming "look at me" and I think, it's a kind of a classy version of the trend. I mean yes, the stomach baring top will require a few more crunches and a little less beer, but I feel that the length and fit of the skirt balances it all out. Look at me justifying. I don't know why I feel the need to do that, guess trying to validate my lust for this particular trend. Even though this particular top is decidedly more fitted than the previous selection , the shape makes it interesting and the cut is flattering and feminine allowing it more wears than just pairing it with a midi skirt.

Both of these ensembles are sitting in my cart just waiting for me to pull the trigger before they're sold out in my size. I really want to but I'm a bit scurred to step so far out of my zone, but then again, if I don't try it, how will I ever know if it's truly in my "zone" or not?

What are you crushing on lately?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Daily Style: A Vested Interest

A few weeks back I was waxing poetic on my desire to not shop so much this fall season and how I was only interested in a few key basic black pieces. Well, lucky for me, on a BTS shopping trip with Sweet Pea I scored two pieces from my black list at Old Navy. Y'all, I can't even begin to explain how excited that made me! I know it seems silly but when the things align and I find stuff on my closet wish list, well that kind of makes my heart skip a beat. You know I'm a big believer in working your closet but I also fully believe in having a closet that is functional and works with your lifestyle. That's part of the dream right? Effortless dressing and all that. I'm happy to say that these additions fit beautifully into that category and work well in my current season of life.

Jumpsuit: Old Navy (similar) / Vest: Old Navy (similar) Sandals: Sam Edelman / Sunnies: DVF 

I've been wanting a more casual black jumpsuit for the longest but the ones I've found are usually a little too pricey for my modest budget or, are lacking in some way. This one is profoundly perfect. It's super light weight so even on the tail end of a heat wave in a house with no A/C I was nice and cool. The roomy cut was also a blessing as I ate myself into oblivion as I'm want to do at family gatherings. Originally, it comes with straps that can be buttoned to adjust the length or taken off. I knew I would be chasing Baby Ninja around the yard and wanted no parts of a strap situation. Pairing it with the blessed cargo vest was a last minute idea as I figured it would give the jumpsuit a fun layer to play with and take it from a casual thing I was throwing on, to a full fledged ensemble.

These are the types of pieces I'm only interested in purchasing right now. Sure, there's always something to tickle my fancy and get my wheels turning as to how I would rock it, but the reality is, I need a wardrobe that is both fashionable and functional full of classic pieces that I can build upon and make my own. I think I'm getting there but it's still a bit of a process.

Hope you all had a great weekend!


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