Christmas Time

The holiday season always catches me off guard.  I'm never ready for the rush at work and the rush at home.

I meant to post a lot this month and it just passed me by; however, now our Christmas cards are out so...here you go!

Nick and Lauren!!!


Boot Watch 2011 is OVER

That's right folks.  I found and purchased my new boots.  I LOVE THEM!

They are very comfortable and stylish.  I also love that they are wide calf....I used to be a jump-roper and was in marching band so my calves are large and in charge.  At any rate, here they are.

I bought them on clearance at DSW!


Carrot Cake

I made my first carrot cake this week.  Let me just say it was amazing!  Here are the pictures.

Carrot Cake- Williams-Sonoma Cooking at Home

Unsalted butter for pans
2 C. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking soda
2 t. baking powder
2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. ground allspice
4 eggs, at room temperature
3/4 C. canola oil
3/4 C. sugar
1 C. firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 C. buttermilk
3 C. lightly packed shredded carrots

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans and tap out the excess flour.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and allspice. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, granulated and brown sugars, and buttermilk until well blended.  Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture just until combined.  Fold in the carrots.  Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and smooth the tops of the batter with a rubber spatula.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, about 40 min. Let cool in the pans on wire racks for 15 min. Invert onto the racks, turn right sides up, and let cool completely.

Place 1 cake layer, top side down, on a plate.  Spread 1 1/4 cups of the frosting over the top.  Place the second cake layer, top side down, on top.  Spread the remaining frosting decoratively over the top and sides of the cake.  Serve right away, or cover with a cake dome and refrigerate for up to 2 days.  Bring to room temp. before serving.

Cream Cheese Frosting- Williams-Sonoma Cooking at Home

1 lb cream cheese, at room temperature
6 T. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 C. confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract

In a large bowl, using  an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until smooth.  On low speed, add the sugar and beat until smooth.  Beat in vanilla.

Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week, then bring to room temp. before using.

I followed both of the recipes and it made an amazing cake.  However, I would recommend putting parchment paper on the cake pans because my cake stuck a LOT!


The Boot

So, I have been hunting for a good boot for this year.  I have a boot from last year, but it is kind of small and let's face it my jeans don't fit well inside it.  Here are some great options Piperlime is offering.

I really like the buckle on this one by Chinese Laundry.

I like the tiny heel on this boot and the slouch by Steve Madden.

I like the clean lines of this boot along with the heel by Very Volatile.



As I have mentioned before, work is very very busy lately and I've been there more than my fair share lately.  To get myself woken up in the mornings, I've been trying to listen to more music.  It isn't as distracting as T.V. while trying to get ready and it just gets me in the right from of mind (mostly because I'm too busy singing along to grumble about work).  Here's what I've been listening to...


Recipe Cards

I mentioned in my birthday list that I wanted to design recipe cards and fill them up with all of my favorites.  I accomplished this task a while ago, but never shared.  Here are some pictures of the cards I designed.  I still need to make dividers for the recipe box, but other than that I am very happy with how they turned out.

I got the recipe card box from The Container Store.


Banana Nut Bread

I don't typically make a lot of bread, but Banana Nut Bread is something that gets made about 4 or 5 times a year.  I LOVE it!  I have been using my mom's recipe forever, and to be honest, I do not know what cook book it is from, but here it is.

Banana Nut Bread- from my mom

1 C. Butter
2 C. Sugar
4 Eggs
1/4 t. Salt
2 t. Baking Soda
4 C. Flour
6 Bananas- mashed
1 C. Chopped Pecans

Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition, mix dry ingredients together. Add dry mix to creamed mixture, stir in bananas and pecans.  Pour mix into 2 greased loaf pans, bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours or until toothpick comes out clean.

Just for an FYI I used one large and two small loaf pans.  This way I can share the small ones, because Nick and I wouldn't be able to eat two full loaves.


Day Off

Folks, today is my day off this week, and while that means I work all weekend, I'm excited about having the morning to myself.  

I get to do whatever I want this morning, and Nick has promised that I can continue being in control of the T.V., Nook or whatever it is I want when he gets home this evening.  I'm pumped!

So right now...

1. I'm deciding what color to paint my nails: it's between 

2. I'm waiting for my butter to get soft so I can make Banana Nut Bread (pics to come later this week)

3. I'm trying to pick what movie to watch while I crochet my blanket (that's right, I'm so not done yet lol)

4. I'm listening to Pandora (playing Joshua Radin's You Got Grown' Up To Do) and drinking coffee

5. I'm sitting in a nice shirt with my new pajama bottoms on, because they are short so I can paint my toes 


T.V. Shows

So, I have been watching a lot of T.V. lately.  I have not abandoned my go to shows, but I have added a few to the mix.  So here is a weeks line-up.


How I Met Your Mother- CBS 8PM

The Sing-Off- NBC 8PM

Castle- ABC 10PM


The New Girl- Fox 9PM


Modern Family- ABC 9PM

Happy Endings- ABC 9:30PM

Revenge- ABC 10PM


The Big Bang Theory- CBS 8PM

Bones- Fox 9PM

Grey's Anatomy- ABC 9PM

The Mentalist- CBS 10PM


Grimm- NBC 9PM

Supernatural- CW 9PM

Blue Bloods- CBS 10PM


Once Upon A Time- 8PM ABC

Don't get me wrong, 9 times out of 10 I'm not home to watch these shows.  However, I do catch them online if I miss them.  What do you watch during  the week?



I have been desperately hunting for new pillows for our sofa.  The ones we have are the same color and fabric as the sofa.  While they are comfortable, I am in the need for a new, fresh look.  Here are some of my favorites.

I think the top combo is my favorite, but I'm still on the hunt.


Welcome to November

Do you know what happend to October?  Because I sure don't.

Lately, I have been living week to week or work schedule to work schedule.  I don't make plans anymore either.  Mostly because my schedule is so unreliable.  I am looking to change this habit and or just starting living to live to have fun.  

At any rate, I am also going to try to blog more this month.  So...here is an update as to what is going on with us...

I am still reading the Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Ruthfuss. I am now on the second book A Wise Man's Fear. Nick has begun reading the first book.  I am still in love and have a great time talking with a friend at work about it.  We almost have our own little book club (which is a dream of mine).

I am also working hard on my crocheted blanket.  I have over half of it put together and plan on finishing it this month; especially since I am going to start making Christmas stockings and a tree skirt soon.  

Beyond those projects.  Nick and I are waiting for a good movie to hit theaters.  We are tired of the releases as of late.  

Oh, and the face wash I have been using for over a year now has disappeared from shelves.  I was using St. Ives Blemish and Blackhead Control Apricot Face Wash. It took me a long time to find a good face wash and product line in general that works well with my skin.  I have very sensitive skin.  It likes to break out for odd reasons or have rashes.  I'm allergic to Snuggle and need to be careful to not use Dial soap on a regular basis.  Basically, my skin is picky.  So I am on a hunt for a new line or at lest new face wash.  A blogger that I follow has recently switched to natural skin care products, and I am thinking of following her lead.  I'm in research mode now, but please let me know if you have any suggestions.



So even though today is Friday, and I should be very excited about the weekend ahead...

I'm not.

I work a double today at work and the dinner shift tomorrow.  I want to sit at home and crochet and read and watch movies.  Or go out and pick pumpkins and go to the movies and out to dinner and have fun.

But, in the meantime, I am going to dream of...

Apparently I have homes on the mind.



Fall has always felt like home to me.  I'm not sure if it is the cold, which creates a need for blankets, or if it is the idea of hot drinks and good books.  Either way, I always feel more comfortable in my skin.  



Things I have learned in October:

1. If I thought September was busy, I never dreamed of October!

2. I love whipped cream cheese on an everything bagel.

3. Coffee keeps me alive.

4. Making food with friends and hanging out is more relaxing than watching T.V. by myself.

5. I want a comfy oversized sweater... like this one from Gap:

6. Fall/Autumn feels like home.

7. I get wrapped up accomplishing lists and forget to blog. 


On Our Nightstands: #7

The month of September has been very busy work wise.  Usually, I go on here to blow off steam and spend my spare time.  I, however, have been reading like crazy instead.  

A friend of mine at work shares a passion for reading with me, and we talk books often.  For my birthday, she gave me a list of books she thought I might like.  And, boy do I ever like this book.

I started reading The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss just two weeks ago and am currently more than half way through the 700+ page book.  It is amazing, so far.  It is the first book in the Kingkiller Chronicles, so I do not know how it will end, especially since only two of the three books are out now. 

The book is one man's life story told by him to another character in the book who is recording the story for him.  It follows his progress through Rothfuss's created world where demons live among us and magic can be done by knowing the name of the elements. 

I cannot wait to continue readin this book and moving on to the next one.  Thanks to my friend from work for recommending this amazing book to me!


Birthday List

So apparently, I am obsessed with lists.  This is not a new trend in my life though.  I have always loved lists, mostly the checking off part.  At any rate, I've been trying to come up with a birthday list.  I have seen them around a lot lately.

The goal is to come up with 25 things to do before I turn 25.  I would like to have the list made this as soon as possible, so I have a lot of time to accomplish my list.

1. Create my own calendar.  (I am really really picky about my calendars, so making one solves that problem)

2. Write down the recipes that I love on the recipe cards I made.

3. Perfect my granola recipe.  (I love granola, but my homemade granola needs some help)

4. Figure out the criteria Nick and I will use to buy a house (budget, appliances etc.)

5. Finish the blanket I have been crocheting for over a year. (Here's the deal, I got it just about done and then it started falling apart, like from the middle, so I gave up on it :(

6. Finish the Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss (at least the ones that are out)

7. Get into a better workout or jogging schedule (three times a week)
     (after March and April, I think it counts as a schedule)

8. Try Yoga

9. Buy Big Boggle (for Nick, for myself, for fun lol)

10. Try string art

11.  Collect wine bottle corks and use them for a project

12. Watch all of Dawson's Creek 

13. Have a Star War's marathon

14. Blog 3 times a week for a whole month (I want to blog gobs and gobs but work has been getting in the way lately) (MARCH)

15. Go on a long weekend trip with Nick

16. Have a slumber party with my girls!  (it actually turned into dinner)

17. Go see 10 movies in the theatre
      (Reel Steel, The Three Musketeers, The Rum Diaries, Breaking Dawn Part 1, The Muppet Show, Tintin, We Bought a Zoo, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, This Means War, Safe House, The Hunger Games)

18. Research a new camera (Photography Blog has significantly helped me in my search for a new camera; however, for the time being I am going to stick with my old Canon PowerShot A540 and iPhone.)

19. Go kayaking

20. Sleep under the stars

21. Go to The Container Store

22. Get a Poang chair from Ikea

23. Crochet a baby blanket

24. Bake a new cake
       (Carrot Cake)

25. Bake three loaves of bread
      (Banana Nut Bread, Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread)

26. Have more fun (not quantifiable but a good goal)



Alright, so I have not been able to post at all this week.  Mostly because I am working my fourth double today.  I will be back soon though I promise!  Here is a quote to keep you going though:

P.S.  Thanks for the birthday wishes.  We had a great time!


To Do Lists

Last week and this week have been filled with To Do lists.  I have been working a lot of crazy hours with several doubles and only one day off a week.  So, I have to make that day count.  Here are some things I've been working on:

  • Cleaning
    • Bathroom
    • Bedroom
    • Kitchen
    • Dusting
    • Sweeping
  • Work
    • Organizing tests (I'm a trainer where I work)
  • For me
    • Hair cut
    • Birthday Shopping
    • Paint nails
    • Take the car back to the shop
    • Call friends for updates on life
    • Mail friends birthday card
  • With Nick
    • Grocery shopping
    • Quality time
    • Library
  • Home
    • Bills
    • Laundry
  • Crafts
    • Create a calendar
    • Gift for a friend
    • Recipe cards
    • Bookmark
    • Inspiration for Dining room art
    • Dining room chairs

All in all, it has been busy!  I'm okay with that though.  I do have the evening of my birthday off (YAY! for Friday), and hopefully we will get to go out with friends and maybe invite a new addition to the friend group (one of my best friends is due this week!).  

Here's looking forward to Friday night!



So, folks, birthday week has begun!!!

Nick and I spent the weekend running around Indianapolis.  We went to our favorite spots, and Nick bought me flowers.  

Aren't they lovely?


Photo Editing

When I posted the new pictures of our bedroom, I was a little ashamed.  Not of the bedroom itself (it is my favorite room), but of the photos.  They just were not good.  Despite my ability with Illustrator and In-Design, my Photoshop ability and knowledge is very very limited.  So, I typically do not edit my photos, but I saw somewhere that iPhoto had a decent photo editing option.  Here are the bedroom redo pictures again, but better!

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