Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pinterest Salmon + Brownies

I got home from work last night and had no idea what to eat. I knew I didn't want to go out and I knew I had a million different things I could cook in the freezer. Soo, what's a girl to do but open the Pinterest app in the elevator of her building? And then I found this pin. GAME CHANGER.

IMG_3713I keep a running top 5 recipes list. This one easily makes it. I followed the recipe exactly (except for subbing Greek yogurt for mayo, but only because I had no mayo and had Greek yogurt) as it was and I had to stop myself from running back to the kitchen to stuff my face with more salmon.

A food blogger I am not but seriously – this salmon was INCREDIBLE. I did things mildly backwards – I cooked the salmon in the whole marinade sauce rather than marinating it but otherwise… ya’ll. I’m just disappointed that I don’t have more salmon. I will most certainly be cooking this again.
If you don’t want 18 lbs of sriracha cream sauce, you might want to cut the recipe in… 10th’s. Or, you could make it as is and smear it on every single thing you put in your mouth over the next 5 days. To each their own.

IMG_3719So then, because I felt that my luck had not run out, I attempted another Pinterest recipe. Brownies. It’s pretty much impossible to go wrong  with 2 1/4 cups of sugar and 2 sticks of butter. And instead of Nutella, I used Trader Joe’s cookie butter because I just happened to have it in my kitchen. (Sometimes my annoying food hoarder tendencies drive me nuts, but today they served me well. I didn’t go to the grocery store for a single ingredient in either recipe.)

I forced EV to eat a brownie with vanilla ice cream and then got a text that said “that brownie was so amazing i feel mildly ill.” She’s a tough judge so I consider this a major success. I pretty much inhaled my brownie. They were moist, hot, chocolatey, and pretty much perfect. Delicious brownies, you’ll be entering my rotation immediately.

And really, I also have to give a special shout out to my kitchen sidekick, Mr. Bubbly. Thanks for keeping me company!


Monday, January 28, 2013

Goin' to the chapel

For some people it's 24, for others it's 29, but apparently for me it's going to be 27.

That is, the year that it seems like every single person I know gets engaged and/or married. It's awesome and exciting and I love every minute of it.

One of my best girls from college got engaged last summer and is marrying her one true love in March, so we skipped town last weekend for her bachelorette party in Asheville, NC. The whole thing turned out to be fabulous, but really what I want to tell you about are the lingerie shower favors. 

First of all, when trying to figure out what type of favor I wanted everyone to have, I took to the internet and found my inspiration. These were the PERFECT favors.

A quick trip to Walmart and I had some cheap, pink wine, lingerie washing bags, and gift bags. Perfect! The process for making the wine bottle corsets was relatively time-consuming but certainly manageable. I just took black cardstock, punched identical holes along each side, and then laced the ribbon. It took me a couple of bottles before figuring out the best way to lace the ribbons, but ultimately I sat on the floor indian-style and held the 2 sides of the paper together with one hand and laced with the other. It worked for me, but I'm sure everyone will have their preferred strategy. Working with 1 hand also left me more able to make sure my ribbon was perfect since it wasn't just plain ribbon.

The girls LOVED the wine bottles and I have to admit, I was pretty stinkin' proud of them, too. To my other engaged friends... these might be making a reappearance. Sorry, but a good idea is a good idea no matter how many times it's executed!

Have you been to many bridal or baby showers? Any great favors or games? I have a feeling there will be a few more of these in the near future!

Friday, January 25, 2013

My favorite kitchen appliance

I’ve lived with EV for 18 months now, and when she moved in, she brought a lot of kitchen stuff that we already had. She had also basically fully furnished a kitchen in her last apartment, so between the 2 of us we now have what one might call an excess of dishes and kitchen appliances.


She came with one thing that has easily been her greatest contribution to the condo to-date (aside from her fantastic roommate skills and friendship!)  A Cuisinart Griddler.

Seriously, if you don’t have one of these, run thee to Costco immediately and purchase. Or wait until you get another 20% off Bed, Bath & Beyond coupon and then purchase. Either way, purchasing is the key outcome.

I cook 3-4 nights a week, and we probably use this at least 2/3 of the time. Steaks, sandwiches, fish, chicken, quesadillas, bacon, sausage, hamburgers, hot dogs, basically you name it and I’ve probably prepared some portion of a meal on the Griddler. It sits on our countertop, that’s how much we use it.
My favorite part is that the plates are reversible, so you have flat plates or grill plates. Plus, they go in the dishwasher. This is really less of a plus for EV since unloading the dishwasher ends up being her chore more times than not but still, it’s convenient.

When my parents were visiting, my mom fell in love with it, so guess what she got for Christmas last year? Yup – now she has one in Florida AND at the lake because she loved it so much. I was talking about it at work the other day, too (standard professional conversation, you know) and 3 (THREE!) other people heard me raving about it and chimed in that they too love their Griddler.

Seriously, this thing has a reputation that can’t be beat. Totally worth the $100 – you’ll love it. It’s also now my standard wedding gift. Registry shmegistry, in typical Katie fashion, I clearly know better than you what you want, friends.

Happy faux-grilling!

PS – this might seem like a paid advertisement, and believe you me I wish it was, but it ain’t. Just a really rockin’ kitchen appliance.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Í dag ætla ég til Íslands (that means that today I'm going to Iceland... in Icelandic).

Back in October, one of my best friends decided to go to Iceland for work. I laughed at him. Spending the better part of winter in Iceland? When your real home is South Florida? ARE YOU NUTS?


Then he said, "Katie, you should come visit." I'm pretty sure my immediate response was "LOLZ DO YOU KNOW ME" and he said "yup, so come visit!" If that's not true friendship, I don't know what is.

So I hemmed and hawed. Somehow I convinced myself that this sounded like an okay idea. And once he found out I was leaning towards a yes, he really laid it on thick. I'd be the best friend ever for coming to visit, we'd have the best time ever, he'd be so sad if I didn't, on and on and on. He even sent me links for things we could do! I claimed that I caved just to shut him up but between you & I, the idea of going somewhere totally unexpected kind of grew on me and plus, some of his ideas for entertainment sounded pretty dang cool.

So, $900 and 2 flights later, BOOM, I was going to Iceland in January. Then I received this email (pictures not included in original email):

Subject: Legendary Weekend v1 (draft -- for discussion only)

6:40 – Katie lands in Iceland
7:30 – Katie gets picked up from the airport
8:15 – Arrive at Icelandair Hotel Natura

8:30 – Free/nap time -- NAP was crucial
1:00 – Katie wanders the streets of Reykjavik, gets acquainted with the city

5:00 – Depart hotel for brewery tour! Beer!

7:30 – Head to center for dinner -- Caruso was delicious, I recommend the snails!
9:30 – Late night fun

9:00 – Early wake up! Let's see Iceland while it's actually light outside 
10:00 – Depart for Golden Circle
  • Þingvellir
  • Swim in a random hot spring – below photo is pre-hot spring swimming but I did strip out of that ginormous coat and into a swimsuit in freezing temperatures, and it was 100% worth it!


  • Geysir – We have video of the Strokkur Geysir erupting but the below picture is the  Litl Geysir!


  • Gulfoss – Just a waterfall – reminded me of Iguazu but on a much smaller scale


  • Blue LagoonNo photos because it was real cold and there was nowhere to keep my camera but the water was as blue as any picture you find on the internet and they served beer. Success!
9:30 – Dinner at The Fish Market (We actually both got the cod, which I highly recommend. My friend went back again and got a different dish, and wished he'd gotten the cod.

Also, this may be quite controversial, but I decided to try the minke whale. It was tasty, I'm glad I opted for a dish so unique to Iceland, but I'll be leaving the whales to swim in the sea from now on!)


9:00 – Breakfast in the hotel
11:00 – Leave for Snowmobiling (as inspired by this)


5:00 – Return to hotel (& rest because we have been going NON-STOP)
7:30 – Dinner
9:00 – Leave for dogsled tour
10:00 – Dogsled / Northern lights tour

IMG_3594 IMG_3574 IMG_3539 IMG_3538 IMG_3533 IMG_3546
8:00 – Breakfast in the hotel
9:15 – Katie gets picked up for horse riding
10:00 – Horse riding
12:30 – Katie heads back to hotel
1:00 – Katie back at hotel
2:00 – Katie departs for airport
5:00 – Time to fly

I actually ended up sleeping in on Monday morning and jumping out of bed with barely enough time to rush downtown, pick up some souvenirs, grab a bite to eat for lunch and make it back to the hotel to get on my bus to the airport. Certainly not how I planned it, but you win some, you lose some!

What I included here actually ended up being our final schedule rather than the 1st draft but honestly, it wasn't much different than what was originally sent to me. We crammed a LOT into the 3.5 days I spent in Reykjavik. My friend had a car the whole time we were there, which probably contributed to how much we were able to do in a few days. I don’t know how much car rental is but that could certainly be an option if you are feeling brave. It gave us a ton of flexibility, which I appreciated!


We (obviously) stayed pretty close to Reykjavik but others I know have ventured to the north part of the island. I felt quite satisfied with all the things we did and it left me wanting just a little bit more. My friend has already made plans for other adventures that we heard about while dogsledding or snowmobiling, so there is certainly plenty to do if you wanted to stay longer.


The cost for food and drink on top of our activities was astronomical. This may be where booking through a tour company makes sense because at least you know exactly what you are getting for a certain price. I never quite figured out the exchange rate so I just threw down my credit card…not my best decision. We ate at some of the best restaurants in Reykjavik, which had it’s perks and it’s drawbacks. I am sure it’s possible to dine in Iceland on the cheap, but that wasn’t how we rolled this time around.

I’m SO glad I went. It felt a bit spontaneous, a bit out of character, and was a really great way to kick off 2013. I got to spend time with one of my favorite people, I got to explore somewhere I’d never dreamed of going, and we had an absolute blast. I think I may have found a new travel buddy, and certainly found a place that I can’t wait to re-visit.


Could you imagine yourself in Iceland?

Monday, January 14, 2013


We all have at least one guilty pleasure TV show that we know is killing brain cells but we can't stop. Right? Or is that just me?

Mine is most certainly the new 90210 (returning for the second half of Season 5 on Monday, January 19!). I also loved Melrose Place but The CW went and cancelled that. Broke my heart. But back to 90210 and why you should be watching: it's just fantastic! The acting is almost too bad to believe, which just perpetuates my belief that this isn't a TV show and is in fact real life somewhere. Somewhere that I want to be! Similar to the original 90210, it follows the lives of Beverly Hills high schoolers beyond high school and into "real life" which is not really anyone's real life. The cast encounter jealous ex-boyfriends, porn and then car theft rings, in-vitro fertilization, recovering drug addicts, and so much more. It's pure TV gold. Late last summer I'm pretty sure EV and I plowed through several full seasons and now I'm finally caught up. Now that Gossip Girl is off the air, I'd strongly encourage you to consider 90210 as your new TV show of choice.

Seriously, this should be reason enough:

Friday, January 11, 2013

So I heard you were moving...

I ran into a friend recently that I hadn't seen in a while, and she asked me when I was moving. I gave her kind of a strange look, and she said, "oh, I heard you were moving to Texas!"

My first reaction, surprisingly, was embarrassment as I shook my head and said, "No, I'm sticking around here for a while. Definitely no truth to that!" I was embarrassed because someone thought I was going to "move on" with my life, take a risk, take the next step; I was going to take a chance on the unknown. Well, real life couldn't be farther from the truth, which I guess is why I felt that way.

My second (delayed) reaction was to wonder why other people were talking about me. Surely there are more interesting things to talk about than a girl who overshares about how great her job is and posts on twitter about the crazies she encounters via online dating. But then I caught myself. It's so easy to assume that people are being malicious, that they have bad intentions, and I am sure that wasn't the case. My friend was excited for me, wanted to hear about my new, albeit non-existent, upcoming challenge, and for that I am so thankful. It took me a second, but I realized no one was chasing me out of Atlanta. On the contrary, an old friend was excited for me about a new opportunity, one that she thought was exactly what I wanted. What more could I ask for?

Perhaps my life is a little mundane with a dash of crazy thrown in every now and then, but I guess that's what makes it interesting and makes me happy. I don't need to move to another city or make a huge career move to be successful. I am unquestionably happy right where I am.

I am always reminding myself, both personally and professionally, that more times than not other people have good intentions. And taking it a step further, I'd even say they have my best interest at heart! So, I encourage you, invisible internet friends, to think the same way. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and I promise you won't be disappointed.

PS - shout out to said friend, who also asked when I was going to start blogging again :) not only did you inspire me to pick it back up, but you were also the inspiration for a post. xo!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

These Are Things

I love, love, love buying gifts for other people. The feeling of satisfaction when you know you've found something they'll love, the anticipation and nerves leading up to when they open it, and the excitement when you realize that you did, in fact, pick out the perfect present.
photo: me, Christmas 2010, loving all my presents

This was one of those presents. I don't know how I found it. When I visited Philadelphia in October, we came across a small art shop selling Orkposters. I fell in love and immediately knew I had to have them. Unfortunately when I researched a bit more, I realized they didn't have the cities I wanted. Side note: how do you have Denver but not Atlanta or Miami or anywhere else south of the Mason-Dixon line? So then I had to take my quest elsewhere. I knew that there must be someone out there who produced beautiful maps of the cities I call mine. I guess that's how I stumbled upon these are things and fell equally in love with their product. It didn't have quite the creative spin that Orkposters did, but the coloring and size was perfect.

I purchased a map, and it was mailed to me 4 days later. I pulled it out and immediately squealed - it was everything I wanted! I realized I needed a frame before I could gift it so off to Michael's I went. I found a (cheap) frame, packaged that bad boy up, and off it went to sit under someone's Christmas tree.
Atlanta Neighborhoods Map by These Are Things
Atlanta Neighborhoods Map by These Are Things

The verdict? Major success, loved by me and the recipient, and already hung for visitors to see.

The prints are a little pricy, I'll be the first to admit, but they are so unique and exciting that I thought it was a worthwhile spend. What's the best gift you've ever given or received?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


2012, you taught me things and offered me experiences that I never could have imagined. 2 weeks in Australia, 2 years at my beloved job, a lake house that I have dreamed about, relationships that made me laugh and cry, trips across the country and around the world in all directions. What a journey, in only 365 short days.
2013, I am so excited for you. I'm making a new 101 in 1001 list - stay tuned. I've got 3 international trips in the works, 4 weddings already on the books, and a job that will take me wherever I want to go. There are questions that remained unanswered, friends to dream with, and adventures to be shared.
I want to fall in love this year. I want to know myself. I want to spend on what's important to me and save on what's not. I want to keep my fingers and toes painted and my hair done and decrease the number of days I spend on the couch. In 2013, I want to open my eyes to the world around me and explore.
It all feels so whimsical, so light and airy and fluffy. That is my hope and dream for 2013 - live on a whim, be whimsical.