Monday, September 26, 2011

A Little Bit of Lately

I thought I'd throw up some pictures from the last week or so to give you guys a small taste of what we've been up to lately! I know the personal photos have been few and far between, but we've just been so busy!

Last week Zach and I attended the second week of Advance, our student worship service on Sunday nights. It was so awesome! I am so proud of our student ministry team and all the time and love they have put into preparing for this year. I'm so excited to see what this year holds for our FHC students!

On Friday Zach and I went mattress shopping. Our backs have been yelling at us for a few weeks now to get something a bit more supportive. Unfortunately we fell in love with a new (and expensive) memory foam one, but while we were doing our plush vs firm tests, I snapped this adorable picture of Zach. Even with a beard he is so handsome.

This weekend I was back in the Art Studio teaching the story of Moses and the Israelites to my preschool audience. Here's me rockin the Pharoah headdress I used to impersonate the mean king who made the Israelites make bricks all day! Is it just me or is it totally awesome my job involves fun costumes? :)
I was also able to sneak into the adult worship service and snap this photo of Zach leading worship. I am so proud of my husband and humbled to see how God is using us here in Charlotte for his glory alone.
This Sunday was also really unique because the President of Burundi was at FHC speaking. Here he is with his interpreter.
FHC has a focused passion for helping the people of Burundi and spreading the love of Jesus there. Our pastor has a special relationship with the leaders of this country and we were glad we could host them this weekend.

In addition, we passed out Mana packets. What's a mana packet you ask?
Headquartered here in NC, Mana is an organization committed to helping resolve the devastating effects of malnutrition around the world. These little packets of "ready to use therapeutic food" can be easily distributed to children on the brink of death and after a few weeks of regular consumption, revived to normal nutritive levels. In addition to handing them out in our adult service, we also gave them out to our elementary-aged kids so they could experience what a good, nutritious meal is for most the children in the world. It's definitely an eye-opening experience for most of them and adults too!

Lastly, on my stroll back to the house today I noticed the first few physical signs of fall and had to snap a few shots. The leaves are falling, slowly, but surely. Oh how I love fall.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Movie Review

Zach and I recently saw the Academy Award winning movie "The Kings Speech" starring Colin Firth and Geoffery Rush. If you haven't seen this movie you need to rent it, ASAP, because it was the best film I've seen in a long time.
"The Kings Speech" is a British historical drama about King George VI (Queen Elizabeth's father) during the late 1930s and the beginning of World War II.

Watch the trailer here! (turn off music player below)

I really wish I had seen this in the theatre because the cinematography is truly remarkable and just... so incredibly beautiful. The film is not only a great story, but a fabulous work of art. Everything is so exquisite from the spaces to the costumes to the lighting to the camera work to of course the acting. Love me some Geoffery Rush... well at least in this role and not as Captain Barbossa!

Anyways, I hope you check this out if you haven't seen it because it makes for an AWESOME movie night! Thanks for the recommendation J. Scott!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Week Two

Week two of my new recipe challenge has produced 2 new recipes! I was in the mood for some fall-ish comfort food so last night Zach and I tried both these recipes and really enjoyed them. I hope you do too!

Grown Up Grilled Cheese

Ingredients:
 - sourdough bread
 - bacon
 - mashed avocado
 - apple slices
 - pepperjack cheese (we used a New Zealand sharp white cheddar instead)

Directions:
1. Butter outside of two pieces of bread. Layer mashed avocado, apple slices, bacon, cheese, and top piece of bread.
2. Grill sandwich on griddle or panini press on both sides until golden brown.


Maple- roasted Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:
 - 4 sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
 - 1/4 c maple syrup
 - 1/4 c EVOO
 - 2 tsp salt
 - 1 tsp pepper
 - 2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced (recipe actually called for 4. I thought 2 was plenty)
 - 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, combine sweet potatoes, 2 tbsp syrup, 2 tsbp EVOO, salt, and pepper. Mix until potatoes are evenly coated.
2. Arrange on a greased sheet tray and roasted until caramelized and golden brown, approx. 20 - 30 minutes. Be sure to check them after 15 minutes and flip over.
3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute shallots in remaining 2 tbsp of EVOO on med- high heat until they start to caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add remaining syrup and balsamic vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Lower heat to medium and cook until caramelized, another 5 minutes. If pan gets dry, add 1 tbsp of water.
4. Combine sweet potatoes and shallots in a bowl and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Delectable Dots

So last weekend Zach and I were headed to dinner with some friends and we stumbled across one of the most exciting and amazing things I've seen in a long time.

A Dippin' Dots store.

Yes you heard me correctly. A whole entire room dedicated to selling this delicious ice cream of the future I have loved for almost two decades. I thought Dippin' Dots were special treats only available at special places, like Braves games, Sea World, and the FSU Union, but NO!

This is quite possibly the best news I've heard in a long time.

Check out our fun first visit to a real Dippin' Dots store!


Brotherly love
I got my standard, half chocolate, half cookies and cream

Z trying Dots for the very first time! BAHAHA

If you've never had this treat before you are missing out! I love you Dippin' Dots and I'm so happy you are here in Charlotte! This town just keeps getting better and better!

Friday, September 16, 2011

One a Week

So I've recently set a goal of trying one new recipe a week. To some this might seem over zealous. To others, easily achievable. I've noticed that I tend to make the same things week by week just because it's what I can quickly pull together at the grocery store since I haven't had a lot of time for meal planning.

I am actually really excited about this new goal because if I stick with it I will hopefully have close to 50 new recipes in my cooking arsenal in just a year's time. :) Wahoo! My goal is to share the good ones I discover here on the blog so all our friends and family can benefit from my cooking experiments. :) My primary goals are to find really spectacular recipes that:

  • have few ingredients
  • are fairly inexpensive
  • are mostly healthy
  • are fairly simple to prepare

This week's recipe fit the bill and is from an Everyday Food magazine I've had since 2005.

Zucchini-Scallion Fritters


Ingredients:
1 lbs. zucchini (coarsely grated)
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 large egg
2 scallions finely chopped
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c vegetable oil
sour cream for serving (optional. I did not like it with sour cream, but Zach did)

Directions:
1. Place zucchini in a colander set in the sink and toss with 1 tsp. salt. Let drain 10 minutes pressing out as much liquid as possible. (I actually will squeeze the zucchini in my hand in small bunches to drain the water.)
2. Whisk egg in a large bowl; mix in zucchini, scallions, flour, and 1/4 tsp. pepper until combined.
3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Drop mounds of batter (approx. 2 tbsp. each) into skillet; flatten slightly. Cook turning once until browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate; sprinkle with salt. Repeat until batter is all used up. Serve immediately with sour cream (optional).

Serves 4
Total prep time: 35 minutes

Enjoy!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

B + T Tie The Knot

This past weekend I had the honor of being a part of my friend Brenae's wedding. Brenae was my last roommate prior to marrying Zach and I could not be more thrilled for my dear friend and her new husband Tyler.

When I wasn't doing my bridesmaid duty, I was taking every opportunity to capture the special moments with my camera. Here are a few of my favorites from the weekend.

The bridal luncheon was at the very lovely Swan Coach House in Buckhead.

The rehearsal dinner was at Luciano's in Johns Creek. I love the faces reflected in this glass!

Centerpieces getting prepared for the reception
 A glowing bride and a beaming mom

Gorgeous bride!
Once I was IN the wedding I couldn't lug my big camera around. Luckily my bridesmaid's dress had pockets so I could use my iphone during the rest of the evening! Wahoo!

Brenae has the most adorable grandpa!
The happy couple


To see the rest of the photos I took visit Urban Cotton!

So happy for you Brenae and Tyler! I hope you have a great honeymoon and enjoy married life just as much as me and Z!!! It's awesome! Love you guys and hope to see you soon! :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New to Norcross

So while I was in Atlanta last weekend I got to visit with my sweet friend Jen Daniel. Jen and I met through mutual friends back in 2009 and I treasure any time I get to spend with this kindred spirit of mine!

I cannot believe we took NO pictures together this past weekend (Blast!) so this one from March of 2010 will have to do :)

Jen recently moved into the cutest cottage apartment. I wish I had taken more photos of it as well because it is seriously adorable and Anthropologie-ish. It even smells like Anthropologie in there!

Cute pillow, art, and tailored sofa
Wall-mounted night table with cute lamp shade and bird print
While in Duluth/Norcross, Jen and I enjoyed blueberry, sour cream, and chocolate glazed donuts from Sara Donuts, a local donut shop. Delish!

We also went to Bleu House Market, a must-go-to lunch spot and small grocery/ specialty products shop if you are out in downtown Norcross. It was so cute and ridiculously tasty.
Fresh produce
Teas and lemonade
Organic nut bars
Cute peacock bags
Jars and lids
Sugars and such
This is a super cute book for keeping a record of where you eat out. Love it!
From the ready-to-eat section, I got a meat and three (love the south!). What's on my plate you ask? Flank steak with pineapple-mango salsa, sweet potato souffle, sauteed veggies, eggplant roll up, and cheesy focaccia bread. Umm... yes please.
It was sooo good! And Bonus! We ate on the porch and enjoyed the gorgeous day and lovely weather! I loved the pew on the porch. :)
Thanks Jen for hosting me and showing me Norcross and all your favorite spots! I love you friend and am SO thankful for your friendship!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

These are the Things

Bright and early Sunday morning I was driving up I-85 headed back to Charlotte. I had spent the weekend in Atlanta for the wedding of my dear friend/old roommate Brenae (more details on this celebration soon!). I was anxious to get back to town to see Zach and attend the 11:15 church service so it had not even crossed my mind it was September 11th. (I know, I must live under a rock.)

On this day 10 years ago, I was a freshman at FSU getting ready for class in Gilchrist, my beloved dorm of two years. I remember the news being on that morning and me and my roommate Melissa standing in total shock and disbelief as the towers fell. I remember the erie feeling on campus as I walked to my first class and quickly walked back as the university cancelled all classes and closed that day. It was weird- everything was weird, and full of a heaviness that lingered like a smoky haze.

As I was passing through Spartanburg, SC on this monumental anniversary, an incredibly beautiful sight caught my eye off exit 75 and left me speechless.


There were easily 50 people on this overpass that morning, just quietly waving their flags to all the passerby. I was so overwhelmed by this gesture, this obvious compulsion to show such affection, commitment, and support of our country that it brought tears to my eyes.
I was quickly reminded that these are the things- these small, yet amazingly powerful movements of loyalty and love that make America great. Even among all our convoluted financial problems, economic problems, political problems, and just all that is the US government right now, Americans are faithful and never forget.
A big thanks to all those folks off exit 75 for making my morning and restoring hope and loyalty in this American heart.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Theatre for Thursday

Aaand let the good times roll! :)

So last night I decided my special Thursday treat would be to go to the movies.

Before meeting Zach I use to LOVE going to the movies alone. When things were stressful at work or I just wanted to get my mind off things, the movie theatre was my form of therapy. Since Zach and I have been together I haven't gone to the movies alone because I always want to be with my man.

This week provided me a narrow opportunity to delight in this cinematic solitude I use to love so much. And it was just as relaxing and therapeutic as I remember. :) Since Zach has been away I haven't been sleeping well and my routine has been totally off. Ick. I have felt restless and weary. It was so nice though to leave the theatre feeling so refreshed after my two hours in movieland.

I also may or may not have given into temptation and savored some forbidden fruit while enjoying my movie. :)

Zach and I actually don't go to the movies much, but I had been wanting to see:


Ya know I've never wanted to visit Paris due to a traumatic layover experience back in 2002, but this movie totally changed my mind! Paris looked simply marvelous- full of soft light, warm colors, charming bistros and shops, and just... palpable perfection at every corner. It was as though every speck of Paris was covered in magic. I won't ruin the movie for those of you who haven't seen it, but the film opens with the most beautiful views of the city. Strangely enough I had my phone in my lap so I busted it out to try and capture some of the allure of Paris.





Oh Paris, how I hope to meet you one day and become lifelong friends! I just know your enchanting spirit would suit me. :)

And thanks Park Terrace for a fun night at the movies! It certainly was a fun Thursday night treat!