Thursday, December 2, 2010


One of my favorite beverages, easy to make at home!

Chai Tea Mix 
For optimal enjoyment of this trendy flavor-packed drink, be sure your spices are fresh.

Prep: 14 min 
Yield: 5 1/2 cups mix


  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened instant tea or decaffeinated instant tea
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1 cup powdered nondairy creamer
  • 1 cup French vanilla-flavored powdered nondairy creamer
Combine spices and tea in a food processor or blender. Blend 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture becomes a fine powder. Pour into a large bowl. Add sugar to food processor or blender (without cleaning it), and process until superfine, about 30 seconds. Add sugar to bowl of spices. Stir in milk powder and creamers; blend well. Spoon mix into gift jars, if desired.

To serve, stir 2 heaping Tbsp. Chai Tea Mix into a mug of hot milk or boiling water.

Chocolate Chai Mix: Add 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa along with dry milk powder to the blend above. Follow serving directions above. (We recommend milk here.)

Chai Shake: Blend 1/4 cup Chai Tea Mix, 1 cup milk, and 3 1/2 cups vanilla ice cream in a blender.

White Chocolate Chai: Add 1/4 cup finely chopped premium white chocolate (such as Lindt or Ghirardelli) to 1 cup Chai Tea Mix. Stir well. Follow serving directions above with 2 heaping Tbsp. per cup of hot milk or boiling water. 

Christmas with Southern Living 2007,
Oxmoor House, June 2007

Find this and thousands of other delicious 
recipes from Southern Living,  Cooking Light
and more at 

Friday, June 4, 2010

I heart lamp

A While Back...
My friend Kristi and her hubs moved into a new house a few blocks away from our humble abode.
In the process she, like the rest of us, wanted to get rid of a lot of clutter.
I was helping her move when I spotted this pair of lamps.  They were brown, hideous, and Kristi was ready to trash them.  I asked if I could keep them.  
You know, one man's trash...

You see, I had been looking for a great pair of nightstand lamps.  Normally, I'm not one to go all matchy-matchy.  Rather, I like to find unique pieces that coordinate with each other.  But I knew that if I found some really great lamps, with great shape and scale,  I would be willing to try a matching pair.

Red was to be the chosen color.
2 lamps with oversized shades = FREE
1 can primer/2 cans red spray paint = $19

Fabulous lamps = One less thing that I have to look for/register for

  And, the best part... it's a PAIR of cherry red lamps!!

TGIF, y'all!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Yawp for help!

Anyone who can tell me what movie I am referencing gets a brownie point!

But, seriously, I need some help.  I have the serious itch to garden, and we have some beautifully mature trees in our front and back yards.  I only have one flower bed, in the front yard, that gets 5+ hours of sun, and it's over run by weeds and dead plants.  I need to know plants that can deal with this clay-like Alabama soil, like the shade, and will still bloom. 
I almost cried when I took the gardenia bushes back to Lowe's.
No, really.  I had to fight back tears.

So, can anyone help me?!?!

In other news, YB graduated with his Rocket Science degree Saturday.  The actual name is too complicated for me to think about right now.  Caffeine is in the blood stream, but hasn't made it to the brain yet.

My only brother graduates from High School this Friday.
I remember the day he was born...I am going to be a crying mess Friday night. 

Also, YB and I are trying to merge our cellphone plans. 

He's t-mobile, and we both like the Motorola Cliq Slide phone

I'm AT&T (So is his Mom, my parents and brother) and we would both love an iPhone.

I would put a picture here, but we all know what those look like :)

Happy Hump Day everyone!
More pictures to come soon!

Friday, April 23, 2010


Hey y'all!
This is a quick update, but a worth-while read!

As a Southern gal, I grew up having thank you notes at hand.
We write them for EVERYTHING!
I honestly met a lady once who kept them in her purse so that she could write the hostess for an event a thank you note before she left.

I'm not quite that devout, but I try to stay on top of them.

Now, then, I found a give away that would make any proper southern gal dizzy with excitement.  
My friends over at Dreamy Whites found a give-away at

Um, YUM!!  These note cards are so dreamy, that you will absolutely melt!!
My personal favorite is the "Sunny Botanical" personalized notes!

See?!  So sweet! 

Plus, my "E" would work before I'm married or after :)

Any-who, that's all for today.

Go write someone a thank you note today.
Trust me, it will make their day!

love love!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Happy 3 years!!

Today,  YB and I celebrated the fact that we have been dating for 3 years.  Also, 3 days ago marks the fact that, we have been ENGAGED for 6 months!   

Our Story:
I was working at Macaroni Grill.  YB and his mom had come in for lunch and I was their server.  YB was so completely focused on his mom that he paid virtually no attention to me.  
I found this refreshing!
He paid for his mama's lunch (major brownie points)  and I thought he was his brother-who I had grown up going to school with...he was not, obviously!
About a month later, I was at the Jazz Factory (a restaurant that no longer exists) to visit some friends and, unfortunately/fortunately, a guy who I had previously dated was there.  He started acting like a meany-head, so I went to the bar to spend time with the nice friends. 
Next thing I know, this hunka-hunka-good looking man a few seats away started chatting with me, knew my name, and was really nice.  Initially, red flags flew...
Eventually, I remembered him.
You know, growing up, "they" always said that it wasn't a good thing to meet a boyfriend in a bar...yeah, I remembered that as I was chatting with YB, my future hubby.
We literally spent allllll night talking. We went to Waffle House when the bar closed.  The sun was up when we finally left to go back home.  It was the most amazing night I had experienced yet.  
We both knew within the first month that this was something different.

Here are some pics of us during our first few months:

We were celebrating my friend Casey's 21st Birthday at a restaurant (The Jazz Factory) here in Huntsville.  

This was taken the first night that two of my best friends met YB for the first time!  He was brave and asked to have them over for a cookout (that he prepared!)!!

We went to the fair and he won me a stuffed Scrappy Doo!

Also:  within the first year that we were dating, we fully catered a wedding together (just the two of us) for one of his family friends. 
 I caught the bouquet.  His mama went ballistically happy.  I took that as a sign.

I can honestly say, that even with all of the ups and downs we've gone through, I love YB more today than I even thought possible.

Happy Anniversary, Honey.
Now, go install that invisible fencing ;)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Friday Favorite!

Our dog.
Our only child.

She is our baby girl, and she now has a backyard.
(shhh...I was a bad mom & couldn't find my camera this afternoon while she was frolicking. OOPS)

I made it through years of living, on my own, without a dog.
But, as we all know, when you grow up with animals it's hard to live without them.  

2 years ago, YB and I adopted Jovi from the HSV Humane Society.
I had convince YB to spend a gorgeous spring day playing hooky with me, and I decided that that was the day to go "window shopping" (psha, right!) for a dog...
We walked through, looking at all the cute shoe destroying puppies, then I saw her.  She looked up at me with big brown eyes, flopped her ears out, and started wagging her whip-like tail. 
"Are you my Mom?!"
The volunteer brought her into the conference room for us to meet, she ran (galloped, really), hopped up into my lap with all fours, looked up at me, and licked the bottom of my chin.

I was a gonner.
"YB, make room in the car, she's coming with us."

It's been a fun two years so far; she's still just as full of surprises. 
She got a new collar the other week (after destroying her old one).  She thinks that her collars are her "jewry"-hysterical to watch her freak out when you jingle them!

The normal look...'specially if I'm cookin' up a storm!

At her obedience graduation.  She was the only one to not scratch off her cap!!!

Anywho, that's all from this peanut gallery.

Now, go check out my 'pal Hillary over at The Other Mama!

TGIF, y'all!

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Friday Favorite

Or just a mild obsession. You decide.

so, there's this part of my life that I don't even try to hide.  My absolutely fervent chocolate obsession.  It's serious, y'all.  If a doctor ever told me that I couldn't eat chocolate again without dying, there's a very real chance that I would carry my butt over to Lawren's, buy a huge box of Godiva truffles (MMMMM), stuff them in my mouth (all at the same time) and tell the doc' "welw at reast ll die huppy" (translation:  well at least i'll die happy).

With this in mind, and my brand new shiny gym membership, chocolate isn't fond of those trying to get in shape.  However, I found an ally.  This new friend, lifesaver, and diet help is a carton of milk.  But, not just any milk, lowfat, organic CHOCOLATE milk.  I know, you must be thinking that milk is a long time dieters' friend.  But this milk, this is special. It is rich, creamy, and an 8oz glass truly is satisfying.
This is what the half-gallon carton looks like.  It normally retails for about $2.99, but is totally worth it.
Horizon is totally on point with this milk.  It also comes in convenient "milk box form"  (kind of like a yoohoo).

This stuff is a life-changer.  I drink at least a glass a day.  But really, if you want your diet to stay on track, stick with the 8oz glass serving suggestion.  It will satisfy an intense chocolate craving.  

Also, you're getting a two for-one today.  My friend Hillary, over at The Other Mama,  turned me on to Lisa Leonard designs.  Seriously, how precious is this bracelet?

and this necklace?

Tell me what y'all think.  

I'm going to get on up out of here, and drag my behind over to Lowe's or Home Depot.  This is the first day that I've been able to dig in my new garden!!  Pictures to follow!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hey y'all, 

Long time, no blog.  Sorry about that.  

First things first.  YB's 27th birthday was today (wed.).  Normally I would make a cake, but I've been working like crazy this week, so that obviously didn't happen.   Gigi's cupcakes happened; and, good lord, was that some UHmazing chocolate butter cream!!  The gym will come far too early in the morning.

We are finally completely moved in, completely out of the apartment, and 2/3s of our stuff is still in boxes...  not so happy about that.  One of my dearest friends, and one of my bridesmaids, and her hubby are about to move into a house a few miles away from us.  Kristi, I cannot WAIT for all of the shenanigans!

We're still crazy busy, and it's only about to get even more busy.  YB graduates with his Aerospace Engineering degree (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) this May, and my younger brother (Jesse) graduates High School the very next weekend!  Then, he's off to the Honors Engineering dept. at The University of Alabama!  RTR!

Wedding plans have begun to pick up a little bit more.  I think that we've decided on YB's home church (his only real request), and a date.  The reception site is my next decision to tackle.  Any suggestions?  Trying to keep it in the downtown Huntsville area, but we aren't vehemently opposed to other areas.  Still working on the wedding website.  I'll keep you posted. 

Another one of my bridesmaids just landed an AWESOME internship in L.A., aka: L.A.-la land, and I can't wait to hear all of the adventures!  Kylie, you're going to rock it out at the Tennis Channel!!

 Until now, I never realized just how much laundry two people can produce.  It's absolutely astounding.  I also didn't realize just how much crap we had accumulated over the last few years.  Spring cleaning will definitely happen this year, more than likely, along with a yard sale.    

Since we're first time home-owners, does anyone have an extra lawn mower, rake, yard stuff, etc. that you would be willing to let go of/give away/sell for dirt cheap?  We desperately need to clean up our back yard, but have none of that stuff.  I've been watching for sales, but it still slips my mind that we actually have to think about this stuff now.  We have quite the stand of Bradford Pear trees in our neighborhood, and it's driving my sinuses bonkers!  There was no way for us to know this, since we bought the house during the winter.  Hmmm... lessons to be learned for the next house.
However, we already have daffodils appearing in our flower beds and it makes me smile. <3

Stay tuned for more updates; hopefully, that will include pictures.

Goodnight, Moon.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Long time, no post.

Today I'm at home sick, YB's at work, and the dog and I are curled up on the couch together.

Work has been busy for the two of us, and money's been tight.  I'm beginning to understand that that's our new way of life.  Dave Ramsey will start to become one of our best friends!  As soon as we get some time, we'll be painting some spaces in the new house.  But, until then, I'll be a bargain hunting maven!! 

However, since I'm stuck in the house today, I've been doing some online "window" shopping...
I am LOVING this candelabra from Wisteria.
Also from Wisteria:

I really want this Chicken Note Holder for my office!

And, I stumbled across these glasses today.  But, a few years ago, I purchased some that are very similar for a dollar a piece at a local antique store.

Aren't they adorable?!

Also, I would like to give a HUGE shout out to Kelly at Much To Do With Nothing.  I can see that her blog will serve to be a great source of inspiration for me while decorating.

Here's my current problem:  YB doesn't like painting wood.  Well maintained, pretty wood, gets expensive.  You know this, I know this, YB does not.  Taking him thrifting with me probably wouldn't work (he doesn't think about furniture the same way I do).  I should also mention that I would be more than willing to do all of this work since our new house has an ART STUDIO!!  Well, technically I'm sure it's original purpose was as a storage room, but I'm the new queen of the castle!!  Since YB's an engineer, and he's excited to be able to build things, we'll be building a work bench for my studio.  Plus, there's plenty of room for me to set up an easel. 

In other news,  the pot roast I made last night was a resounding success.  I can't decided if it should, more accurately, be called a stew vs. a pot roast.  
1. You take a big hunk of roast, dredge it in seasoned flour.
2. Sear it off (fat side first) in some olive oil in a large pot.  Once all sides have been seared and have a nice crust...
3.  Heartily slice 2 onions and put them in the bottom of the pot with the leftover olive oil 
4.  Dump 2 (16 oz) cans of diced tomatoes (any variety you like)
5.  Chop 4 carrots and 2 sweet potatoes & toss in pot
6. Add water/beef stock until roast is completely covered. 
7.  Simmer for at least 4-5 hours on med low.

With all of the above veggie chopping, you should be able to get out all of your day's aggressions.  So, at this point, kick back on the couch with a great glass of wine :)

It is now time for some Hot and Sour of my quick-sick-fixes!!
Adios, y'all!


Monday, February 1, 2010

Home is where the heart is...

and, where all of your money goes...

Before I get started, I did have a reader ask me if I knew I had misspelled my blog name.  It, in fact, was intentional.  You see, I have an obsession with dessert.  No, really.  Especially chocolate AND Eclairs.  :) Get it?  An old roomie of mine used to call me her food therapist.  That's how much food means to me.  Life without dessert seems like it would be no life for me.  It is always time for pastries, it's always o.k. if dessert comes first in a meal, and I agree with Paula Dean that mint on a dessert plate should count as a vegetable.

OK, so I promised pictures of the house.  We are still in the process of painting and decorating.  But, I finally found my camera cord, so I figured that I would update y'all.  My computer was taking forever to load all of the individual pictures, so I cried uncle and just did a link to a FB album.  Please forgive me.  It's a 3 bedroom/2 bath home with a HUGE back yard.  I mean, our back yard is the size of Ann Sather's Cinnamon Buns ... only bigger.  I have yet to take a decent picture of the front or back of the house, but it WILL happen, eventually.  Pinky promise.

Also, I'm currently obsessing over this necklace holder, and this chair (I have a throw pillow with similar fabric on the couch).  AND, I keep finding my favorite stationery on sale all over the area... this is not helping me or my budget.  We have a house to pay for, by golly!  Next on the home improvement list is painting the walls in the master bed/bath and my office.  When it gets warmer outside, I'll be updating the kitchen cabinetry and hardware.  Eventually, YB and I would like to update the counter tops in the kitchen, the showers in both bathrooms, as well as the flooring throughout the house.  Again, I must stick to my budget to make this happen. 

Ok, time to get back to work.  The longer I sit at the computer, the more I have to avoid online shopping.  That thar's some dangerous territory for me right now. 

Goodnight moon!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

wolf in sheep's clothing

Good morning!  If it weren't for the miracle that is coffee, I doubt that I would be cognizant enough to be typing right now.

Last night, YB and I went to our new house to get some cleaning done.  Little did I know what we were getting ourselves into.  When we purchased the house, it looked to be in fabulous condition.  The home inspection confirmed that.  What I failed to see, was all of the dust and I mean, ALL of the dust.  The master bath?  Yeah, it took me 3 hours to clean the light fixture, door, base boards, toilet and mirror.  You should have seen that light fixture... Oh dear Lord, I swear to you right now that I will never be that negligent to our new home!  One hour.  That's how long the light fixture took.  Yeah, uh-huh, you read correctly. 

So today, YB's mom and step-dad are giving us a fridge, and he's going to retrieve it while I attempt to clean the kitchen.  It's a really good thing that our lease on our apartment expires at the end of March, because, it might take me that long to get the house under control...  Just kidding, but really.  It was that dusty.  While he is installing the fridge, I'll be trying to get base boards clean so that we can put painter's tape down.  

There are pictures, but I haven't had enough coffee to remember where I put my camera cord.  As soon as I locate it, you can see how darling the house is.  It is 25 years old, so I knew that it would need some updating (eventually), but it looked so clean...  did the sellers pull the wool over my eyes!  I can't wait for the weather to warm up so that I can actually do more on the house. 

Is all of this normal when purchasing a house?  I never thought to ask that when we were putting offers in.  Do sellers typically leave a house dirty after they move out?  I mean, it makes sense but, it's so rude... gracious!  I used a new sponge last night when I started cleaning.  Let's put it this way, I need to bring a new one with me when I go back today. 

Maybe this is our initiation into the world of home-ownership.  If it is, I suppose it could be so much worse.  The house hasn't fallen apart on us, so we're fortunate. 

Lord, honey!! I can't wait for the spring time, though.  We have an amazing back yard/deck, and I cannot WAIT to have people over!

Alright, y'all.  It's back to work.  We're looking at, at least, a 12 hour day. 

Friday, January 29, 2010


Hey y'all!

Ok, so we're going to try to avoid this initial awkward moment. You know, that hard part of the conversation, the intro to a disliked essay, or the first sentence in a letter to someone you haven't seen in years. Yes, that moment.

This part is really important: I'm Southern. Born and raised. So is my fiance. We're from Northern AL. The non-redneck part.

I'm engaged to the Love of my life, who shall be known as Yogi Bear (aka, Y.B.), and we just bought our first house. As in, less than a week ago, just bought it. I wanted a way to document the big changes in my life, and this seemed to fit the bill. I love cooking for others more than I enjoy cooking for myself. Don't get me wrong, I Lu-HUV to eat, but I would rather see others enjoy the meal I prepared. Plus, I get full tasting the food along the way. I'll probably post musings, recipes, pics of progress on the new house, pics of our dog.