Wednesday, March 28, 2012

on recent thoughts...

(a result of taking self portraits while practicing manual mode on my camera)

Loving\\ How beautifully Sebastian is flouring in his speech! It gets me all excited. He has been working hard at it for a good two years now. As a parent it is such a great feeling knowing that after all the help we are getting for him and all the learning on our part that it's truly doing wonders. It's so funny that in our lives everything is revolved around speech.  If you lived with us you would most likely think we have some screws loose! We emphasize on language in every aspect of our lives. For Sebastian it's the matter of slowing words down. Once the word is slowed down he has no problem saying it back. We are trying to build on that knowledge and do all that we possibly can in order for him to be right on track for the start of school. Kindergarten. I'm shaking in my boots just saying that, since Kindergarten is only a couple years away. Holy shish kabob. 

Anticipating\\ Me and my fella's one year anniversary! I cannot believe it. Not to mention this year is going by crazy fast. I mean April is already basically here and May shortly behind it. We are planning on going on a elongated weekend of R&R. We chose this lovely bed & breakfast on the Eastern Shore in Maryland. We found out about this b&b from my parent-in-laws that introduced it to us last year and of course I was instantly swooning over it. Alas, us deciding on celebrating our first year of marriage there. It will be located on the other side of St. Michael's and so we will be having ourselves many ferry rides across the water along with: bike rentals, a sail boat ride, a photo shoot and food devouring! 

Listening to\\ Anyone obsessing over I Heart Radio as much as I am? Particularly the Snow Patrol station. Oh you are? Good I thought I was the only one. Not sure what it is but I have my stations under my thumb, man. I tell it what to play and that's what it plays. No if, ands or buts. I'm boss. No really, I heart, I Heart Radio. 

Eating\\ A PB&J sandwich. Don't judge. With a tummy ache that is all that I ever want. Although a girl can dream and desire some of these great looking foods 1\2\3

Wishing\\ I could transport myself back to the Northwest. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

on pork teriyaki stir fry...

I love making, and let's be honest, eating Asian food. It' amazingly yummy in my tummy. Just saying. Last night I made a wonderful Pork Teriyaki Stir Fry. It's not going to be one of those quick dinner meals since it has a few extra steps but really people you won't be disappointed. Guaranteed. 

1 pound pork tenderloin
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 head of cabbage (about 3 1/2 cups), shredded
1 carrot shredded
1 bunch of broccoli 
1 red pepper
1 bunch of cilantro
1 cloves garlic
1/3 cup store-bought teriyaki sauce
1 tablespoon black bean sauce 
1 cup cooked rice

You want to cut the pork tenderloin in to small strips. Combine flour and salt, give it a quick stir with a whisk. Coat strips of pork in flour and shake of the excess. 
In a large non stick skillet heat 3 tablespoons of oil. If I had a Wok I would of been using that (mental note: buy a Wok). Spread a single layer of meat on the skillet and let it cook for about 3 minutes or until the meat is crisp & brown, then flip to the other side. It took me two batched on the skillet. Once it's done transfer to a bowl. 
I used my food processor and pulsed cabbage, carrot, cilantro & garlic together. Add all that into the skillet with another tablespoon of oil along with the chopped broccoli & peppers. You can use whatever veggies you like!! Be creative. 
Once your veggies are sauteed toss the meat right in there with them and add your teriyaki & black bean sauces to it and cook for another 5 minutes. All you have to do is make some rice or noodles and garnish with some wontons & almonds and there you are! All set to chow down. 
Oh and don't you forget about leftovers! Chop up some lettuce and on goes some pork teriyaki goodness  and you have yourself a Asian salad. Nom. Nom. Enjoy :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

on a slice of Baked Bree...

I can hardly contain myself and have been so excited to share this with all you beloved readers of mine! Alright let's set the mood. One of my goals for this year was for me to be more outgoing and social around the blogosphere. I'm sort of shy around these neck of the woods. I know it's hard to believe if you know me in person, but really there are so many wonderfully talented bloggers who intimidate me. Like a lot. There, I was totally down about how much of a blog loser I am and took a chance on reaching out to a few of my favorite bloggers. 


So without further ado I'd like to introduce Bree from the blog Baked Bree. Applause. Sit back, enjoy this little interview with the charming Bree Hester!!! 

1\\ First things first, can you please share with my readers how your blog Baked Bree was born? How long have you been blogging for and did you ever imagine it would be what it is today?!
Baked Bree was born a little over two years ago. I was at my best friend’s house after she had her third baby. It is a long story, but I ended up starting it on her couch when we were snowed in. I thought that maybe she and my mom would read it. I had no idea that it would grow like it did.

2\\ As much as I adore Baked Bree you also have a personal blog that I swoon over too! You have such a beautiful family and two lovely blogs I've got to ask how do you do it?! Any secrets or tips on balancing family time & your blogs?

Oh, thank you. I sadly neglect my personal blog. I always say that I am going to get there, but sadly, it seems to fall low on the priority list. I started my personal blog years ago, it was the easiest way that we could stay in touch with our families. I also run another blog called The Creative Mama ( that is a collaborative blog. I love it over there too. 
I am very organized, and have a lot of lists. I also don’t sleep a whole lot. I genuinely love what I do, and I think that it helps motivate me to get it all done.

3\\ What are some of your favorite online resources for inspiration in the kitchen? Is there anyone in your life or on the world wide web that you look up to or seek encouragement from? 
I get inspiration everywhere. Pinterest is becoming the place that I go when I need some inspiration. A lot of my kitchen inspiration comes from my mom. She is an amazing cook, and a lot of my childhood memories stem from her cooking, and traditions that she did with us. I also love cookbooks and magazines. I read them in bed at night like a novel. As for bloggers, Kristen Doyle from Dine and Dish ( reached out to me when we moved to Kansas, and I am forever grateful for that. And my friend Alison Bickel from this homemade life, ( she inspires me to eat better, and challenge myself with photography. Hers is stunning.

4\\ Speaking of your kitchen, what are your most beloved tools/gadgets to use when you're cooking and baking your divine creations?
I love my Kitchen-Aid mixer. I actually just had to replace my first one. I bought it for my 24th birthday and used it almost daily for 12 years. My new one does not hold a candle to that one. I also think that anyone spends time in the kitchen should invest in good knives. I honestly believe that a good cook can make an amazing meal with whatever tools they are given. 

5\\ Out of everything, what are some foods that you enjoy cooking and eating the most?!  
 I love to make and eat a roast chicken. There is nothing more comforting than a roast chicken. And the smell is nothing short of amazing when it is wafting through the house. I also love to make bread. I don’t do it very often, but there is nothing more rewarding than starting with some flour, water, and yeast, and producing a loaf of bread.

6\\ I know you do a lot of freelance photography work. Has your love for food influenced your photography? And, because I am super curious are you a self taught photographer or schooled? 
Absolutely. Food is very hard to not be inspired by, it is so beautiful. I will admit, shooting food was really hard for me to get good at. It is a lot harder than it looks. So many elements need to work together, and it took a long time for me to be comfortable shooting it. 
I am a self-taught photographer for the most part. I did take a few classes in college, and on and off throughout the years, but I think that I learned by shooting all the time.  Every single day. I had a portrait business for a few years, and had wonderful clients. With all of the moving that we do, it is hard to start over all the time. 
The only way that anyone will get better at photography is by shooting all the time. It takes practice, lots of practice. I shoot manual 100% of the time. That helps a lot too. Your camera is a tool, you are the artist, and having complete control allows you to make the art that you want to make.

7\\ On a totally different note, other than making drool worthy goodies and taking photos, any other hobbies that you like to indulge in? Maybe something that most of us don't get to  see on your blogs. Come on, dish! 
I wish that I could say that it is running... 
I love to read. It is such a luxury to be able to read for pleasure. But in all honesty, photography makes me the most happy. It is my hobby first and foremost. I have always had a camera in my hand, and love everything about it. 

8\\ A while back I came across your Blog with Bree- Blogging 101 E-book and have bookmarked it! It's such a wonderful reference and  tool that has really truly given me some great advice. I feel like you have a wonderful voice for sharing knowledge! Would you ever consider putting together an E-Book for the ins & outs of photography? Because I would totally be on that like flies on...PIE ;D
Well, thank you! I am glad that you found it helpful. Blogging changed my life, and I wanted to share what I know to help people get started. You can download it here: (
Yes, I am currently working on an e-course with my business partner Stacey Woods. ( We are starting with a basic photography class through The Creative Mama ( Details coming soon.

9\\  When you first started out with Baked Bree how did you go about being social among the blog world? I find myself having a hard time becoming more outgoing and in a way feel awkward when reaching out to people. Any guidance for all of us newish bloggers?
I am terrible about this. It takes me a little while to warm up in a crowd. I think that most bloggers are just a little socially awkward. I think that it is why we are the most comfortable behind the screen. I am very fortunate to have a very loyal fan base. The same people comment all the time. If I don’t hear from them in awhile, I notice, and will look around for them. My advice. Try to leave a few thoughtful comments a day on the same blogs. It is a good way to develop relationships with other bloggers. Most people are generally good, and will help you if you ask. If someone asks me a question in a comment or email, I take the time to answer them. Build relationships with a few people, and from there, you will be able to build more relationships. Also, do not forget to network in the real world as well. In Kansas City, we have a blogger group that gets together once a month. We go out to dinner, and get to talk face to face. It has been such a good thing for me. Seek out groups like these and become involved. 
I also adore instagram. I feel like I have gotten to “know” a lot of bloggers because we see the ins and outs of our daily lives. I like that it is smaller, and the conversation seems a little more personal.  

10\\ Last but not least, a fun question for you Bree, take a look around you (where you are right at this very moment, probably in the kitchen! Am I right or am I right?!) Name five objects that catch your eye! 
It is 1:18am on Sunday night. I am sitting in my office. The Soup is on my iPad, I am drinking out of my favorite coffee mug from Anthro. I have my son’s preschool application next to me and Joy the Baker’s cookbook is to my right. My dog is sleeping on my feet, and I headed in that direction now too. 

Thank you so much for dropping by my little piece of the web and for taking the time to allow me to pick your lovely brain! Is there anything you would like to add or share with all of us that you would like us know about yourself or your blog Baked Bree??

I just want to thank all of my readers for reading, and taking the time to leave comments and send emails. I appreciate all of the support, and could not do it without them.


This was so exciting for me and loved every minute of it. Big, huge, gigantic THANKS to Bree (I swear she's the next Pioneer Woman!!). Learned a ton and the inspiration of it has me all giddy :) 


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

on a happy spring...

Hurrah! Spring has sprung. Well, actually Spring has made an appearance here in the Philadelphia area for the past couple weeks. I mean come on, it was 75 degrees today. Huge smile. Although we had a pretty peaceful winter I am beyond happy that the sun is shinning and the evenings are brighter. 

For me there is nothing more blissful than cooking in my bright kitchen with the back door open and the birds chirping. In honor of today here are some Spring inspiration...

Time for fun Spring shoes. How do you like my new oxfords? They make me happy. 

It's back to grilling season. Here is thirteen things you didn't know you can grill. Must read!

Dresses! I currently have my eye on this one

These yummy shakes. Cannot wait to make some tasty smoothies and shakes with my new blender that's on it's way!

Red Velvet's new Spring time scarves. I need to snag me one of these. 

Does anyone else have a lady crush on Ree Drummond-- The Pioneer Women. 'Cause I do! I need her lovely new cookbook for some new recipes. Go here and enter to win it. Giveaway closes this Thursday, so go now! 

Currently loving all things coconut. So I will be trying out this sweet treat very soon! 

Happy Spring. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

on being in the moment...

Sometimes it's about the things in the moment. The here and now. I'm starting to believe that it's the most important thing in this life. Cherished moments. The moments that make us happy.

Today Sebastian and I went out on a little day date to the Elmwood Park Zoo. It's no Philadelphia Zoo. Alas, we love it for it's simplicity more than anything. It was a beautiful day for it and so thought the rest of the our area because I swear the whole world and their zillion children were at this zoo! Bizarre since it is always so quiet there. I had to make my own parking spot on the grass...yeah, no parking people! My thought was oh god what did I get myself into..But it turned out to be such an amazing day. I sit hear writing to you, and feel this overwhelming joy that I grabbed this day by the horns and made memories with a boy that really is so magnificent. 

Even though now and again throughout our adventure my heart would skip a beat realizing that my Canon was not on my shoulder to capture all that was done today but you know, sometimes you just have to get out there and enjoy yourself and not succumb to such things (although I did take a few phone pics!). So, that's what we did. Had fun seeing some animals. You know Sebastian got a kick out of the barn full of farm animals to pet. Yes, we washed our hands especially after the one goat pretty much made-out with my hand! Whhooa Mr. Goat. Calm down. Sebastian was dying of laughter. We made a quick round of seeing all the animals and spent the rest of our time at the play area. Not to forget transforming half of Sebastian's face into Spiderman. We had to do it. When it comes to things like that my inner child comes out and is begging for a fierce lion on my face. 

Most beloved event of the day was when Sebastian's urge to use the potty was exhibited by a little jig. When I ask him if he had to go pee-pee his reply was yes! and then quickly ran to the nearest bush and was almost successful with pulling down his pants and relieving himself (I wonder who taught him that niffty trick?!). I say almost because I  was quick to grab his hand and say ohh no buddy we need to find the restroom, as I glanced around me to check if none of these other parents had witnessed what my child attempt to do. I got a questioning look like what mom, this isn't okay... So we hurried ourselves to the front of the zoo to where the restrooms were, which honestly they should totally put one towards the back for situations like this one, and en-route we sang songs and speed walked. Which is my secret way of keep his mind off of letting go of the five cups of juice he insisted on drinking. Can you just picture us speed walking and me singing a total made-up song about not peeing our pants? Alas, we made it!

Other things that are in the moment:

1\\ I used the last few Amazon gift cards that I got at my bridal shower on a fancy new blender and a fun split pea colored french press.

2\\ Do you listen to music when writing? I always do. With having two very very loud boys in my house it's nice to get in the zone with some tunes. Here are the songs I listened to when writing this post 

3\\ Almost done with Stephan King's 'Salem's Lot. It's not the most thrilling read but King just really grabs my eyeballs with his writing. I love it! What should my next book be? Any suggestions?

Alright that's me being in the moment. Get happy and be in the moment too. Hope everyone is safe out there and enjoying their St. Patty's Day. I celebrated with some fabulous green colored nails and a green colored pie (more to come on that).


Thursday, March 08, 2012

on who I am...

...head over heals with my current nail polish color. I went to my local nail salon and treated myself to a manicure. My nails are painted this color. Feeling fancy.

...beyond loving this weather we are having today. Beautiful sunny day of 69 degrees! Holly Batman. It's a bit windy but that didn't stop us from spending the early afternoon outdoors. Drew with some chalk. Played with toys and took a trip into the jungle to be Tarzan (Sebastian has quite the imagination!).

...excited for Spring being just around the corner. I'm always excited for the days to get longer and brighter. I always being able to enjoy cooking dinner in the daylight. It's more festive :)

...looking forward to a date night with my fella this Saturday. We are planning on a early evening adventure to one of Bobby's favorite go-cart places. Winner picks where we eat dessert. So, ya'll know it will be an epic battle!

...eagerly waiting for a new hair cut on Saturday as well. Nothing better than looking forward to a new do! Sticking with my blonde and cutting it shorter. I need a bit of a change and I feel my hair desperately needs to be cut after the change from red to blonde. It seems like it put a damper on my hair. Nothing too short, just to my jaw line. Perfect Spring cut!

...on the hunt for a blender. Anyone have a great blender? Do tell. Smoothies are in my future people!

...adoring my owl slippers and cute accessories my little itty bitty sister sent me. I have a necklace to wear every day of the week! We always love fun packages that turn up on our porch with goodies inside from our Northwest lovies. Le sigh. 

...finished a lovely book The Language of Flowers. I urge all of you to read it. It was beautiful. 

...giddy about planning our one year anniversary. We are looking into spending a weekend in a sweet Victorian bed and breakfast along the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. R&R here we come!

...very much a morning person. I wish it was morning all the time. Weird, I know. But I just love waking up to the sunshine. And honestly, I think the birds like the morning the best too because they are always singing with I open my eyes. We always sleep with our windows open, mostly because Bobby and Sebastian are always hot and the brisk air that floats into our room can put that skip in my step like no bodies business. I swear. It's true. 

...confused by people who feel the need to say or write unnecessary things. Like really, what are you saying?? Because honestly no one in the whole universe is listening to you. 

...always asking Sebastian for a kiss in return. Mommy, I want juice. Kiss please. Mommy, I want a cookie. Kiss first. Mommy I want...Kiss me foo. I'm getting as many kisses out of this kid while I still have a fighting chance!



Tuesday, March 06, 2012

on dijon maple crusted chicken...

This week is a short work week for muah. My fella is taking some classes for work and so I had to take off today and also Thursday. No complaints here my friend. I'm got plenty things down around the house. Like laundry-- I hate folding clothes. Super sucks. Anyways, here's an easy dinner that will be sure to please! Dijon Maple Crusted Chicken.

4-6 chicken thighs, skinned 
1/2 cup of Dijon mustard 
1/4 cup pure maple syrup 
1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary, fresh if you have it! 

This store that I shopped at didn't have already skinned chicken so I just went ahead and skinned them myself. It's super easy but if you like the skin keep it on. 
Salt and pepper thighs. You can use other seasonings if you'd like but sometimes with dishes like this I don't like to take away from the favor of the sauce we will be making. 
Mix together the Dijon mustard and the maple syrup. 
Then go ahead and smother the chicken thighs with all of sauce. Put it in the oven for about 40-60 minutes. It's nice to keep basting the chicken throughout it's duration in the oven. Also, if you plan this meal ahead of time make the sauce and let the chicken marinate over night in a storage ziplock bag. Guarantee it will be even better in the end! Serve with a nice tossed salad like we did...
 If you had a long day and looking for something quick but full of flavor this is your ticket right here! Bon Appetit.


Thursday, March 01, 2012

on some recent projects...

Lately posts have been a little scarce around here. Well, I've been busy alright! Last weekend we threw my mother in law a surprise 50th birthday bash. My sister in laws and I were planning this secret for two and a half weeks and through out that time my anxiety was spiking! I get like that when planning events. I'm really great at party planning or planning anything for that matter but I do tend to stress out a wee bit. Anyways, I was off doing all sorts of things and actually I handmade the invites for this shindig!
I handmade 25 of these bad boys and I was pretty happy how they turned out. The party was a nice size too and the best part about the all of it was that we had the party right in her own house! HA. If you don't think that is talent then I don't know what is...and she had no idea what so ever. You should of seen her face :) It was a success and I was so happy be a part of it. 

Another project, as slow as it is going, is my chevron afghan that I've been crocheting. With planning the party I put this project on the back burner and so now I'm hoping to nip this thing in the butt and go all crazy. 
This is what I've got so far. I will show you the finished product in about a year. Just kidding. I really love the colors! Don't you?! What sort of crafty things are you working on? Get out there and make something. 

on eleven things...

I saw this fun little idea passed along from one blog to another. I originally spotted this over at Danielle's blog Sometimes Sweet and even though she didn't tag me on this little shindig (since most likely she doesn't even know I exist!) I'm going to take it upon myself to just hop on the bandwagon. 

There are five rules:
1. Post these rules.
2. Post a photo of yourself and 11 random things.
3. Answer the questions set for you in the original post.
4. Create 11 new questions and tag people to answer them.
5. Go to their blog/twitter and tell them you've tagged them.

11 random things:

1\\ I not a huge fan of fruit. I know, weird. But I've never really been a fan. However, I'm starting to broaden my horizons and so far I've gained a liking to pineapple, cantaloupe, raspberries & blueberries (but only in blueberry pie). 

2\\ I beat up shoes like nobodies business. I'll wear a pair of shoes until there are serious holes in them. And I do it with no shame. I think it's because I get sort of attached to my shoes. I walk in them everyday and so I don't really want to let them go. It's a problem. 

3\\ I have dreams of the future and I'll wake up to realize that whatever I just dreamt is so perfect! Not sure if that even makes any sense at all but for example, I dreamt a couple weeks ago about my hair salon that I opened (something that I'd like happen in the future) and when I woke up I remembered the name of the salon  and the entire look of it and loved it! Loved it so much that it's embedded into my brain. I've even written things down so I don't forget. Weird huh?

4\\ Have you ever just look at someone and wanted to know what their about? I look at people and wish I could just go up to them and be like hey, tell me your life story. And do it with out being arrested. One of my life goals is to just do that once, grab someone who looks really really interesting to me and just have coffee with them and really talk about everything. 

5\\ I have this slight obsession with all my TV shows. I have a very long list of TV shows that I watch every week and if I don't get to see them on TV I will watch them online. It has to be done or my universe will be upset and I will just shatter. 

6\\ While others go to Vegas or tropical & exotic islands for a getaway I'll be the one to choose a bed & breakfast by the bay in Maryland or a rich earthy cabin in the woods or just go on a fishing trip.

7\\ I'm always more comfortable in plain skinny jeans and a hoodie. Always have been. 

8\\ I have a crazy memory. I can remember everything! It's like a super power. 

9\\ I wear glasses and need them all the time. If I take them off I am, what I call, blind! 

10\\ When I'm in my kitchen cooking or baking away I like to pretend I have my own cooking show. No big deal. It's quite awesome and I'm sure you all wish you could be a part of my audience. 

11\\ Like before I said I can remember things & take stock of tons of memories well, I keep memories too! I hoard them but in an organized way :) I've kept all of Sebastian's artwork ever since he has started daycare & preschool. I have a huge plastic storage container that I keep everything in and I also label every craft or picture with the date & his age. I'll do this for all my children. 

Danielle's 11 questions:

1. If money, schooling or time was no obstacle, what career would you choose?
I would become a journalist. I would love to write for a magazine or newspaper about important issues or travel the world and share important knowledge with people everywhere. To a make a different with my words has always been a passion. 

2. What's the one thing you look forward to every day?
Coffee. Sorry but when I read this question coffee was the first thing that popped in my head. Gahh, how horrible is that!? Anyways, I work with coffee and am quite addicted to it. I love the taste, the smell and how happy it makes me!

3. What is your number one, all-time, favorite blog?
The Dainty Squid. Kaylah is such a cute gal. She just has the perfect blog! Full of color and cheerful things and she always manages to make me smile. If you haven't seen the latest from her cat, you have to check it out. I seriously laughed out loud. No joke. 

4. Biggest online pet peeve?
Too much information. It bothers me when people, especially on facebook or twitter, announce every single little thing their doing. Or when people voice really controversial opinions when it's really not appropriate.  

5. What is your all-time favorite book?
The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series by J.R Ward. Chalk full of vampire goodness!

6. What would your "last meal" be?
This is a hard question and such a good one! I love food...But most likely I would have my father cook me some of his goulash. It's his signature dish and I feel like like if I had only one meal left I would want something that would have me feeling blissful.

7. Do you believe in love at first site?
Bobby and I are proof of love at first site :) 

8. What would your ideal Sunday morning consist of?
Being able to sleep in until 8am!! That's all I ask for. 

9. Why do you blog?
Because I love to blog. Should there be any other reason?!

10. If you had to choose one color to wear forever, what would you pick?
It's a toss up between purple or teal. I adore both so much.  

11. What is your all-time favorite band?
Foo Fighters. 

Here are 11 question from me: 

1\\ What's your favorite TV show?
2\\ Do you believe in forgiveness?
3\\ What are you wearing today?
4\\ What is your guilty pleasure?
5\\ If there you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be?
6\\ Salty or sweet?
7\\ What is something that you've always wanted to try to do but have been afraid or nervous? 
8\\ What's the most cherished and valuable thing you own?
9\\ If you could change your name, what would you change it to?
10\\ One goal that you want to accomplish this year is ______?
11\\ What makes "you" you?

And YOU. Post your answers in my comments!! Go now!