Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving Leftovers!



It's official: I cannot help myself. The next time Adam gripes and moans about how every time I want to host something I turn it into a production, I'm going to just nod politely in agreement and resignation. Case in point: taking time to make decorative holiday leftover boxes. In my defense, it required only 3 materials, and served a practical function; disposable containers allow me to not have to hunt my Tupperware down from friends and family for weeks after Thanksgiving. Practical and cute? Done deal.

This would be a great Christmas idea as well, so for future reference, the boxes are from Michael's in the cake decorating section, and black herringbone ribbon can be found all over Etsy. Finish it off with any seasonal sticker, and you're good to go.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Copycat Chipotle Corn Salsa



I probably should be thinking about something seasonal, what with it being Thanksgiving week and all, but no... Still stuck on corn, apparently. Since the last recipe I got around to posting was a little bit time-consuming, I figured I'd follow up with one that is crazy simple. I'm a big fan of Chipotle, and while living in Baltimore I absolutely ate way too many burritos and burrito bowls than any human should consume. Now that we're living in Texas, Chipotle has gone a bit by the wayside in favor of abundant Tex Mex alternatives, but I do still crave their delicious corn salsa from time to time. This recipe makes a big batch of salsa (though I'm not sure it's technically salsa) which I saved in the fridge for my own homemade burrito bowls and salads. It may not be a perfect knockoff, but I think it's definitely close enough.


Copycat Chipotle Corn Salsa

Ingredients

12 oz. bag of frozen sweet corn, thawed and drained
3/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/3 cup chopped red onion
2 jalapeƱos, seeds removed, chopped
Juice of 1 lime, plus some zest
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

Directions
 
Combine all ingredients. Hard, I know.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Wedding Invitations: Vintage Stamps



Remember that time I got married? And then I barely posted any photos from the entire event? I remember that too.  You see, the thing is... I loved my wedding day with all of my heart; every last second of it, and every detail too. How could I possibly sum it all up in a quick once-over? I can't. But, I also won't inundate my blog with thousands of wedding images.

One wedding keepsake that I find myself staring at time and time again is our beautiful invitation envelopes. Sure, this is an often overlooked detail, and probably rarely considered a keepsake, but I think it's an underused avenue for showcasing the overall feel or vibe of the wedding. I'm a total psycho and stickler for details, so the calligraphy had to be personal and just so, but there are tons of awesome calligraphers on Etsy that will address yours for you!

The real star of the show, however, is the mismatched collection of vintage stamps. Once again, Etsy came to the rescue; I perused lists and lists of stamps to find enough that fit my general color scheme and theme. It took some extra work to be sure, but the result was everything I had hoped for and then some. This would be a great idea for more than just weddings. Can you imagine how gorgeous your holiday cards could be? Check out some awesome calligraphy and stamp resources below.



Calligraphy Resources


Vintage Stamp Resources

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Nashville: Printer's Alley



Today is the first truly chilly day in Texas since our move,courtesy of a rare cold front sweeping through. Since, as Adam would say, I've gotten "soft" since moving to Austin, I'm already anxious for it to pass through. I discovered a drafted post that I never finished about our trip to Nashville, and I'm wearing jean shorts, which prompted this eagerness to return to typical sunny Austin days. We stayed at a great hotel in Nashville called Hotel Indigo (we had stayed at one in London as well, and both were great) located in Printer's Alley, a very cool little part of the city. It's a small area packed with fun bars and restaurants that are off the tourist-beaten path, and was a great spot to explore some Bourbon Street Blues as well as some hearty pints at a proper English-style pub. Really, just look at this sign; how could you  not love it?


Monday, November 11, 2013

10 Tips to Stress Less



I am by no means an expert on this subject; in fact, I'm more of an expert at letting stress overwhelm and eat away at me until I lash out. Healthy? I'm guessing no. However, I stumbled upon a few different ideas for stress reduction as I entered into my weekly "Sunday Funk", a term Adam and I use to describe that dreaded, uneasy Monday Eve feeling, and the ideas resonated with me as small things I could do (read: attempt) to lower my overall anxiety levels. I'm not going to go all Namaste here, and I definitely am not pushing exercise, but rather just sharing some simple ideas that resonated with me as doable and constructive.
  1. Have a backup stash of cash in the house. You never know when you'll need it, or why, and you'll be so happy you have it in that clutch moment.
  2. Keep stamps on hand. Same idea, but who doesn't panic when you need them and don't have them?
  3. Treat your gas tank as if 1/4 tank is empty. This is a tip from my dad, ages ago, that I've always remembered (but don't do a great job of following).
  4. Take a minute each time you have a hot beverage, to remove the lid, and take a deep breath of the hot aroma. Studies actually show this helps, plus it just feels awesome.
  5. Keep your keys in the same exact place, every day. I know, it's a no-brainer, but almost no one successfully does this, and it always comes back to bite you. Always.
  6. Take a break to follow some of these full-body stretching exercises. This quick routine can be done easily before work, or even during lunch, and goes a long way toward feeling calm.
  7. Hug a pet. We've all heard that pet owners have lower stress and blood pressure, but we don't always take advantage of that fact. If you have a pet, spend just 5 minutes of your day (at least!) doing nothing but cuddling them. If you don't, then give that eager dog walking by a big old rub on the head.
  8. Immediately when you get home from work, sit on the couch and close your eyes for just a few moments. No TV, no cell phone, just sitting; I promise, it feels really good, and you do have the time.
  9. Lay your clothes out for work the night before. This means everything: outfit, underwear, a bra that actually works with that shirt, shoes, and especially a hair tie and bobby pins if you use them regularly.
  10. When all else fails, head to this Buzzfeed, which will make you smile every time.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Ravello, Italy



Have you ever tried to start a journal, trip diary, or any similar form of documentation? I've tried about a million times, and I fail every single time. There's something about staying on top of things that just doesn't sit well with my semi-adult self. The same goes for blogging; some things just never end up being posted, and I wish they had. In light of this aspect of my personality, I've decided to turn Thursdays into a #TBT of sorts, and share some of my favorite things about which I'd like to reminisce and relive a bit... like a day spent in the breathtaking town of Ravello, Italy.

During our honeymoon on the Amalfi Coast, Adam and I took a day trip to a small town located high up on the cliff side above the coast, which stakes claim to the most spectacular views of the region. I am so thankful we made the decision to visit, as it was one of my favorite days of the trip. From espresso in the quaint piazza, to the must-see attractions of Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo, and an unforgettable lunch towering over the sea (check out that view in the final photo!), it was a day to remember always. We even got to watch a beautiful Italian wedding, which filled us with nostalgia so soon after our own perfect day. If you're ever fortunate enough to visit this area of the world, please take the time to stop by Ravello for a truly awe-inspiring aerial perspective of the famed Amalfi Coast.




Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Chipotle Corn Cakes with Goat Cheese and Roasted Vegetables



This really was supposed to be a summer recipe, what with fresh corn aplenty and all, but hello November! Where did you come from? I have no idea. I've been toying with this recipe idea in my head for a while, but I didn't realize it had been that long. But, no matter what the season, this recipe is freaking awesome. 

I've never made anything remotely like this before, and I was worried my meat and potatoes husband would turn his nose up at the concept, but we both absolutely loved this meal. I will warn you, the recipe looks a bit daunting, but I promise it comes together easily. And, it's worth a little effort it in the end. I can't get over how fantastic and out of the ordinary this truly was, and it was just as good reheated for leftovers the next day. I'm already brainstorming new variations on this dish to try next time, because I have a problem with refusing to repeat anything. Finally, check out the recipe for chipotle sauce I've included here as well, because it's to die for. I promise.


Chipotle Corn Cakes with Goat Cheese & Roasted Vegetables
Makes 4-5 Cakes

Ingredients

Corn Cakes
  • 1.5 cups corn (preferably from 2 ears, could be canned or frozen)
  • 1/4 red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/3 - 2/3 cup yellow cornmeal, plus extra for work surface
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 t. baking powder 
  • 1.5 T. honey
  • 1 T. sauce from chipotles in adobo
  • 1 T. lime juice
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 T. olive oil
Roasted Vegetables
  • 1.5 cup zucchini, cubed
  • 1/3 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup tomato, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1/4 t. salt
Topping
  •  2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
  • Chipotle sauce, optional (see recipe below), or chipotle Tabasco sauce
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish
Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and dust working surface with some yellow cornmeal.
2. Toss zucchini, onion, tomato, and jalapeno with olive oil and salt. Roast 20-25 minutes.
3. For the cakes:  heat 1 T. olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook 5 minutes. Stir corn into onions and cook 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and transfer to mixing bowl to cool.
4. Add flour, 1/3 cup yellow cornmeal, baking powder, egg, honey, chipotle sauce, lime juice, salt, and cilantro to bowl and stir to combine. Add more cornmeal until consistency is thick enough to form patties.
5. Divide batter and form 4-5 patties on cornmeal-dusted work surface, lightly coating both sides.
6. Fry approximately 5 minutes on each side, until both sides are lightly browned.
7. Top corn cakes with roasted vegetables, crumbled goat cheese, and cilantro for garnish.
8. Drizzle with homemade chipotle sauce (below) or chipotle flavored Tabasco.



Chipotle Sauce

3 T. Greek yogurt
3 T. light mayo
2 t. sauce from chipotles in adobo, or more to taste
1/2 t. hot sauce
Pinch of cumin
Pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients, and drizzle over dish. I used a small plastic icing bottle, but you could also use a plastic bag and snip off a small corner to create the drizzle.



Monday, November 4, 2013

One Outfit, Three Ways

sweater // skirt // clutch // shoes
In preparation for the move from Baltimore to Austin, I decided that a truly monumental closet culling session was in order. Countless garbage bags full of poor purchases and hangers-on from college days were sent to Goodwill, and only the bare minimum made the cut... or so I thought. After settling into our Austin apartment, the culling only became more ruthless as I realized how little I liked my wardrobe. The end result is that I'm focusing on buying smarter pieces, that are versatile for a variety of occasions, and can be transformed with accessories into different looks. 

Circle skirts are coming back around, and a sweet, feminine neutral like this one is infinitely adaptable. Paired with a simple neutral sweater, this look can be transformed with just a bag and shoes, and we're not even delving into jewelry. I'm a little bit in love with all three, and still can't decide which is my favorite, so I'll check "all of the above".

bag // shoes
bag // shoes

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Skeleton Halloween Nail Art



Nail art is definitely one trend I have steered clear from in my adulthood; however, we all know that holidays offer a get out of jail free card for attire, decor, and pretty much everything. This quick and easy manicure is a simple way to participate in the holiday, without having to look like one of these chicks at the office. You only need black polish (or any color, really) and a white nail pen. Simply paint two coats of black and allow to dry completely, then freehand a skeleton with the pen. If you need to fix any edges, you can dip a toothpick in the black polish and cover your tracks. Happy Halloween!



Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Smashing Pumpkin Halloween Cocktail




Say what? Is this a Gingersnaps post? Why yes, yes it is. In my infinitely fluctuating decision process of continuing this blog, or saving time and money on a simpler lifestyle, it seems that I always choose the route of maintaining a creative outlet. Hmm... Are black sanding sugar and plastic pumpkin head skeletons a necessity? Of course they are! Anyway... I have a lot of posts lined up, just waiting to be shared. After walking away from Gingersnaps for several months, I caught the site of some travel photos I had shared, and I fell in love with them all over again. 

I rushed to post this before Halloween, because I just had to share this delicious cocktail before the season passed me by.  It's simple, delicious, festive, and packs a serious punch; what more could you ask for? Adam and I are hosting friends for a Halloween dinner, and I can't wait to serve up this tasty but deadly treat.


Smashing Pumpkin Cocktail

Black sanding sugar
1.5 oz. good quality bourbon
1 oz. canned pumpkin
Juice of 1 clementine
1/2 oz. Cointreau
1/2 oz. maple syrup
Sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice, or nutmeg

Directions

Create small pile of black sanding sugar on a flat plate. Wet rim of glass with water, or for a longer lasting stick use corn syrup. Dip in black sanding sugar.

Combine remaining ingredients in shaker with ice, shake, and strain into cocktail glass.

Garnish with Halloween decor, if desired.







Monday, August 19, 2013

Style Me Pretty Wedding Feature


After two months of waiting with bated breath, we finally have our wedding photos! Our photographer decided to submit our wedding to the amazing wedding blog Style Me Pretty, and asked that we not post any of our images until after the feature. We are so excited that SMP selected our wedding, and had such nice things to say about our perfect day. It has been so bizarre and exciting to open Pinterest over the past week or so and see images of my own wedding pinned hundreds upon hundreds of times. I'm so happy to think that people may use ideas from our wedding as inspiration for their own. You can check out the beautiful feature here, and I'll be sharing more details of the day in the near future.


Monday, August 5, 2013

Procida, Italy






























Creating this post was so difficult for me that I literally put off posting anything for days. Why? Because I. Could. Not. Narrow. Down. the photos! The island of Procida, off the coast of Naples in southern Italy, is the most magical place I have ever seen. I cannot begin to tell you how much I recommend spending a day on this unforgettable island if you are ever so lucky.

At only 1.5 square miles, this tiny place packed more jaw-dropping punch than could possibly be captured on camera. Largely untouched by tourism, it is primarily an island of small fishing villages and pastel homes decorating the landscape. A quick 20-minute ferry from Naples landed us at Marina Grande, where we sipped cappuccinos while watching fishing boats and the sea...

From there, we began to walk steeply uphill toward Terra Murata, an old medieval town located on the highest point of the island. We walked through utterly charming village streets,  and enjoyed breathtaking views from the top.

One of my favorite parts of the entire honeymoon was Spiaggia Chiaia, an isolated and stunningly beautiful cove boasting a quiet, sandy beach and unparalleled views. The beach is bordered by a panorama of Terra Murata and Marina Corricella to the left, rock cliffs dropping to the sea at our backs, and a towering stretch of nearly untouched landscape to the right. La Conchiglia, the family-run beach club and restaurant, offers what many consider the island's best food, and almost certainly the most idyllic setting.




















































We continued to walk around the island, through tight village roads, and followed many offshoots toward the sea offering panoramic vistas. Finally, we landed at Spiaggia Chiaiolella, the busiest and largest beach on the island. Lined with beach clubs and colorful umbrellas, this area was significantly more lively and busy, but still unquestionably beautiful. After spending an hour or two here with a Peroni in hand, we caught a cab back to Marina Grande and soaked in the last moments before the Ferry carried us away from this magical and unforgettable place.