30 October 2012

The Dude Gift Guide: First Anniversary

First Anniversary Dude Gift Guide

First Anniversary Dude Gift Guide by gesshoo on Polyvore

In a Father's Day gift guide I posted earlier this year, I discussed the dearth of male gift guides for men like my husband.  Most gift guides are for men who are a hybrid of hipster/prepster/dapper.  M does not fall into any of those categories.  His category is more "Boy Next Door."  He likes beer, bacon, sports, and doing stuff.  Stereotypical heterosexual male.  

As I approached our first anniversary, it was important to me to stick with the traditional first anniversary gift of paper.  But naturally a quick Google search for "traditional first anniversary gifts for husband" came up with some truly horrible suggestions.  So once again, I'm doing the heavy-lifting for you ladies with men in your lives like M.  I present to you The Dude Gift Guide: First Anniversary edition:

  1. A certificate for an Orvis fly-fishing school.  This was my original gift to M, but after the engine incident, we had to scale back on our plans {read: spending}.  Hopefully we'll be able to make this happen next year.  I've attended the one in Vermont and they are so much fun! 
  2. An autographed picture of his favorite sports hero.  I gave M an autographed picture of his other sports hero, Ray Lewis, as a wedding gift and I'm not sure I'll ever be able to top that gift. He loves it. 
  3. An e-Reader.  I thought this was a punny play on the idea of a paper gift.  Plus M is always stealing my Kindle to read whatever I've got on there, so it's about time he gets his own!
  4. Your DirecTV bill, showing him that you've paid for a season's worth of NFL Sunday Ticket.  I know it's pricey, but I figure M would be at a bar every Sunday spending at least $50 on wings and beers, so in the end, it's cheaper just to spring for the TV package.
  5. Tickets to a pro sporting event.  M got hockey tickets last year for Christmas and he was thrilled. I've found that a lot of guys would rather receive experiences as gifts, rather than things, so this is a great option for the guy who has everything.  Now if the NHL can just work out its issues...
  6. The New York Times History of [Insert His Favorite Sports Team Here].  This is what I ended up getting for M and it could not have been a bigger hit.  I got him the History of the Baltimore Orioles, and coming off of their historic postseason run, this was such perfect timing.  It's so fun to go through and read the really old newspaper headlines.
  7. A cheeky money clip filled with cash.  If you're in a household like mine where the wife is in charge of the money, sometimes it's hard for me to make M feel like he's not on an "allowance".  I know he would love for me to hand him a big ole wad of cash and tell him to spend it any which way he chooses, no questions asked.

22 October 2012

This or That

We're attending a black tie, late afternoon wedding in December.  I've narrowed down the dress to this style, but for the life of me, cannot decide which color.  I prefer the blue {sapphire stone}.  M prefers the purple {berry zinfandel}.  Which one do you think?

19 October 2012

Friday Favorites

Can we talk about these AMAZING Jimmy Choo 'Vamp' look-alikes, found on Zappos for $80?! They are the spitting image of the Duchess of Perfection's go-to evening shoes.  Yes, please!

At the risk of veering into cliche-blogger territory, I have belatedly hopped on the NEST candle bandwagon.  I am usually skeptical of expensive candles, especially ones that I haven't smelled first, but oh wow.  The Pumpkin Chai candle arrived yesterday and I was seriously tempted to bring it with me to work today just so I could keep it burning nonstop.  SO GOOD.

Just in time for our one-year anniversary {one week from Monday!}, our sweet stationer, Ashley, relaunched her Lemon and Lavender brand and featured our wedding suite on the new site.  Have you checked it out yet?  She's also hosting a Save-the-Date or Holiday Postcard giveaway on her Facebook page right now, so go enter!

I'm checking out of blogland next week so I can hole up here with M.  We are in serious need of some time away and since I'll be working on our actual anniversary, this will be the perfect place to celebrate.  Cannot wait!

Happy weekend!

17 October 2012

Dog Snob

For two coonhounds who were rescued from the middle of nowhere, Jake and Ozzie have taken to their hippie/yuppie/preppy lifestyles like ducks to water. Especially Ozzie.  In the two months that we've had him, he's become quite the discerning canine. 

He sniffed out these fancy-schmancy treats on his first trip to Petco.

And only Kong Wubbas pass muster for his dual-purpose toy needs: snuggling and decapitating.

In just 8 short weeks, he has developed a serious "to the manner born" attitude. But considering his start in life, we're OK with indulging him a little.  And forgiving him when he does this:

Apparently our IKEA sofa didn't measure up to his high standards.

12 October 2012

Boo Hiss

I got nothing today, y'all.

It's cold, I'm tired, M has made me watch more baseball in the past week than I've watched in my entire life, I still don't have my car back, and Ozzie ate the tassels off a pair of my Lanvin knock-off Tar-jay Belgians.  Waaaaaahhhhhhhh.

This weekend, all I want to do is dive into a vat of this {allegedly "The Greatest Queso That Ever Lived"} and not come for air.

At least it's Friday?

10 October 2012

Yes, I'm a Dork

images courtesy PBS and ITV

Happy birthday, Cousin Matthew {Dan Stevens}!

Cannot WAIT for Downton Abbey to return to the States.

09 October 2012

Horse Stable turned Cottage


Have you seen this breathtaking renovation by Missi Ervin in September's Southern Living?  I am ready to move right in to this place.  It is totally my style.  I'm especially obsessed with that guest bedroom done head-to-toe in toile.  It reminds me of another of my favorite Southern Living bedrooms:

We're I'm using these two images as the main inspiration for our master bedroom.  I know some of you probably look at these pictures and think those rooms are ugly as sin, but I LOVE them.  As Mae West said, "Too much of a good thing is wonderful"!

What do you think?  Love or hate?

08 October 2012

Menu Monday

Busy week in our kitchen!

Hawaiian Ham Quesadillas {Budget Bytes}
SO FREAKING GOOD.  I happen to adore Hawaiian pizza and these quesadillas dipped in warm marinara sauce tasted so similar.  GAH.  I want 10 more right now.  These would be a great snack for football games or tailgates.  I can't wait to make them again!

Did not like this at all.  The pilaf was awesome {I used sliced almonds instead of pine nuts}, but the salmon was SO bland.  Which is strange since salmon AND sun-dried tomatoes are both strongly flavored.  But I just found this to be so boring.  Will not be making again.

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese {Elefantitas Alegres}
Please go make this.  It was just the perfect, comforting fall dinner.  M ate 3 bowls in one sitting and then had leftovers for breakfast and lunch the next day.  

Slow Cooker Potato Soup {Budget Bytes}
I didn't have time to prep everything to go into the crockpot before I left for work, so I just made this on the stove.  I sautéed the carrots, celery, garlic and onion in a little olive oil for about 5 minutes.  Then I added the potatoes and chicken stock, brought it to a boil, and simmered for about 30 minutes.  I added the milk and flour mixture and let it simmer for another 5 minutes, then mashed and served.  So yummy!

The Best Whole Chicken in a Crockpot {100 Days of Real Food}
I made a couple of changes to this recipe.  Here's my adapted version:
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne (red) pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1 lemon
  • Half a head of garlic
  • 1 chicken (3-4 lbs)
  1. Combine the dried spices in a small bowl.
  2. Loosely chop the onion and place it in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  3. Cut the lemon in half lengthwise. Cut each half into quarters.  Put half of the quarters into the bottom of the slow cooker with the onion.
  4. Remove any giblets from the chicken and then rub the spice mixture all over. You can even put some of the spices inside the cavity and under the skin covering the breasts.
  5. Stuff remaining lemon quarters and garlic inside of the chicken cavity.
  6. Put prepared chicken on top of the onions in the slow cooker, cover it, and turn it on to high. There is no need to add any liquid.
  7. Cook for 3 – 5 hours (for a 3 or 4 pound chicken) or until the chicken is falling off the bone. 
Maybe not the most flavorful chicken in the world, but it still hit the spot on a chilly fall evening.  It was worth it for the chicken stock!

I used the juices at the bottom of the crockpot and combined them with water, the chicken carcass, a few carrots, a few stalks of celery, some whole black peppercorns, 2 bay leaves, and a few garlic cloves to make homemade chicken stock.  I just stirred everything in the crockpot, put the lid back on, turned it to low, and let it cook overnight.  This morning I just strained it and divided it into Tupperware containers for the freezer.

Bon appétit! 

05 October 2012

Friday Favorites

I don't care how much of my inner fat kid/redneck this exposes, I am freaking excited that McDonald's Monopoly is back! I know, I know...corporate industrial fast food and all that jazz that goes against my hippie-yuppie food values, but you guys...game pieces!  Being "rewarded" for eating Filet O' Fish and drinking Diet Coke! No shame.

Can we talk about this Blackwatch tartan goodness that's happening at Target right now?  I would ditch the belt with the pants, but otherwise, preppy perfection for cheap.  I will be getting a lot of use from the blazer.
I'm not really a cereal person, but on Wednesday night I had THE most intense craving for this particular cereal.  I had two bowls for dinner that night and then had it for breakfast for the rest of the week.  What's up with that?  Have y'all tried this?  Apparently it can be hard to find, but it is just SO good!

Hello, my love.

Last but not least, the O's have a one-game play-off against the Rangers tonight.  We will be watching and rooting on M's hometown team.  Go O's!