Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Let's spruce things up.

I’ve been pondering a new blog design for a bit now.  Seeing as how my photoshop skills are nonexistent, I can’t do it on my own.  You know all about my financial woes though, so I’m left in a bit of a conundrum.

I absolutely adore Meghan’s new design, but Lulapalooza is a bit too pricey for me (although $120 for an entire re-design is starting to look on the cheap side of things).  Meghan did suggest a couple of other  options for me:  Creative Index actually has the same rate for a full blog re-design, and unfortunately Wonder Forest's work didn't really align with my style.  And point being, I just didn’t love any of them as much as I love Lulapalooza.

This brings me to a few questions for you lovely readers…

1. Is it worth it to spend money on a customized blog design if I a) I have a difficult time consistently posting and b) I don’t actually make any money on my blog?
2. Based on speculation, will a customized/better design attract more readers (not that my basis/goal for blogging is to have tons of readers)?
3. Tell me who you’ve used for your blog designs!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Lipstick virgin no more.

Remember a little bit ago when I mentioned wanting to try lipstick?  Well I broke out of my little shell and tried a couple.  

I didn’t want to start with anything too expensive in case lipstick just wasn’t a match for me.  I wasn’t sure what would look good with my skin tone/hair, and I just wasn’t sure how often I would wear it.  I initially went out and bought two colors, a fushia and a coral/orange.

I thought I would try the coral first since it wouldn’t be as much of a jump into the world of lipstick.  I chose Sonia Kashuk Coraline.  I did not like it at all on the first try, so I ended up starting with the fushia.

I chose Covergirl Spellbound.  I ended up really enjoying it.  It made me feel grown up and like a lady.  Then I tried the Coraline again, and ended up really liking it.  I also found that this one lasts the longest compared to my others.

[Ignore those crazy eyes!]

I loved lipstick so much after my first two, I decided to try out another.  I chose Revlon Sweet Tart.

[Super stylish in the bathroom and rain coat]

Since Raleigh is not the epitome of fashion and style (and who am I kidding, neither am I), I try to go for casual clothes when I’m breaking out the lipstick.   I like the way lipstick makes me feel though.  My one qualm (and I assume this can primarily be attributed to the fact that I got “cheap” lipsticks) is that they don’t last!  Obviously I’m only putting on lipstick when I am going out, and going out involves eating and drinking.  

How do you get your lipstick to last?  (Oh and I think I also need tips on taking self-portraits?!)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Veggie living :: Tomato soup and grilled cheese.

I posted a picture to Instagram recently of one of my favorite meals, tomato soup and grilled cheese.

Claire requested the recipe so I figured I’d make a post out of it.  I’ve found that homemade tomato soup is one of the easiest things ever to make!  My recipe is basically inspired by this soup which I initially found from Cup of Jo and pinned to Pinterest but the original recipe is from Smitten Kitchen.

Here are the basics for the easiest tomato soup ever.

Roasted Tomato Soup (recipe cut to serve two):

Ingredients –

1 ½ pounds plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large unpeeled garlic cloves (kept the same as I love garlic)
½ teaspoon of finely chopped or ¼ teaspoon dried thyme 
¼ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper (also remained the same and adds a nice spiciness)
2 cups vegetable stock


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  
Wrap garlic cloves in a tight foil packet
Cut tomatoes length-wise and place half-side up on a foil-wrapped cookie sheet
Sprinkle generously with approximately ½ tablespoon of salt and any pepper to taste
Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil

Place garlic packet in the middle of the pan
Roast until tomatoes are brown and tender, about an hour.  Cool slightly.

Unwrap garlic packet and peel garlic.
Transfer garlic cloves, tomatoes, and any juices to food processor.
Pulse until tomatoes are a chunky puree (I pulse mine until pretty smooth because I don’t like tomato “chunks”).
Transfer mixture to a medium pot; add thyme, red pepper, and vegetable stock
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

Cook uncovered for about 25 minutes until thickened.

I don’t find that I have to make any adjustments to spices when it’s done, but taste and make to your liking.  I do find it to be pretty spicy which D and I enjoy.  Cut back on the red pepper if you don’t like spiciness.  

Finish off the meal with a couple grilled cheeses and you’re golden!

Monday, February 20, 2012

My two cents :: Babies

Ok, I went through this phase where I was anti-weddings/marriage back in 2007-2009?  Fast forward to 2009, D and I got engaged.  I’m still pretty cynical of weddings for a number of reasons, which explains why D and I “eloped.”  I like to think I’ve matured a bit and have come to enjoy weddings as a time to drink have fun.  
D and I attended quite a number of weddings last year.  I can not exactly remember how many weddings, but I think we ended up counting six?  

 [KD's wedding in June 2011]

[B&M's wedding]

They keep coming, but we’ll go to significantly fewer this year than last.  Just when I thought weddings were dwindling and we were coming into an era of enjoying newlyweds and less wedding gifts, it begins.  The era of babies.  Now my thoughts on bringing another living thing (pets included) into our little family remains the same as it did two years ago.  I’ve bitched on twitter  quite a few times about the overwhelming amount of ultrasounds posted on facebook recently (although I genuinely thank CAP for not posting hers), and don’t even get me started on the scariness that is 3-D ultrasounds.  Between real-life friends, blogger friends, and social media, I think half the people I know are pregnant.

I should have seen it coming.  I should have been prepared.  Nonetheless, I’m not.  I’m not ready for crying babies to be taking over hang out time with friends.  I’m not ready for beer tastings with D to be accompanied by babies.  I’m not ready to be continually bombarded by a million pictures of babies on every social media outlet I have.

My bitchiness aside, I actually do enjoy watching the changes in those with babies.  Claire has the cutest family, and I genuinely enjoy reading about the ups, downs, and in-betweens of her life as a stay-at-home mom.  I even enjoy watching her little one grow and develop.  I am excited to attend my first baby shower for CAP and her little one on the way.  I hope I can find the time to make something for the little babe.  It can be amazing to read birth stories (although they still sometimes make me cringe a bit and continually increase my fear of ever birthing a child) and hear how mothers’ hearts grow ten times that day.  I guess I am maturing a little bit and accepting the age of the babes in my life.

Don’t get me wrong though, I’ll enjoy the tiny ones in others lives…D and I are quite content spending our income enjoying beer and travels for now.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A pyramid of cheese.

My oh my.  I know how you love that I give you all these grand ideals that I’ll be back with lots of blog posts within one week.  Sadly, work is really super stressful right now and overwhelming my life.  This has been a really trying few weeks.  I’ve stopped crocheting and blogging.  I’ve turned to alcohol and TV watching.  Luckily, D has become much more fitness motivated and is keeping me heading to the gym most days.  I’m lucky to have him!

We were able to enjoy a really simple but fun Valentine’s day this year.  We did the same thing we would on any normal day but with a few extra perks.

[By perks, I mean reservation cards.  Yeah, Tasty Beverage doesn’t do reservations.  We know people.]

I had been dying to try this pyramid of cheese, and it didn’t disappoint!  We chowed down and ate the entire pyramid.  Plus crackers and beer of course.

[Um, yeah.  That's a pyramid of cheese.]

Then we hit up our favorite Asian restaurant to top off the night.  Pretty perfect Valentine’s if you ask me!


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