Rear View

What does one do on a weekend with blue skies and 90 degree temperatures?

1. Grills Burgers and “Guitless” Fries – (sliced red potatoes, 1tsp olive oil, sea salt and black pepper – baked at 425 for 1/2 hour) with homemade sweet pickles (courtesy of Gaga)

2. Sunbathes on the deck (flip-flops: similar style here, Apple iPad; hat: Target)

3 & 4. Cools off after a music fest on the river with Bourbon Caramel Gingersnap Gelato

5. Whips up fresh guacamole with leftover avocados and fresh cilantro from the herb garden. Guacamole – two avocados (peeled, pitted and smashed), chopped cherry tomatoes (I used 1/2 cup), 3 tsp lemon juice (I was out of lime), 1 tsp garlic salt, black pepper to taste, 1/2 tsp Worcestershire, fresh cilantro

6. Preps an herb garden (pots: The Home Depot; chalkboard labels: Martha Stewart for Staples)

7. Arranges a bouquet from her favorite rose bushes

8. Smiles at the first hydrangea bloom of the year

9. Catches Baby Jack and J snoozing after a fun-packed weekend of yard work, planting a vegetable garden, cooking, baking, going to a music festival, seeing The Five Year Engagement with good friends, catching some sun and starting a new kettle bell workout.

spice it up

With my strong aversion to mayonnaise, I’ve never imagined a day when I could enjoy pimento cheese sandwiches. Recently, I thought about substituting the mayo with cream cheese to make a smooth spread instead of the typically chunky Southern staple. To my surprise, a few other folks had thought of that, too…thank you, Google! Then I decided to add a little excitement with hot sauce.

Place 1 pound of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, half pound of shredded pepper jack cheese, 7 oz jar of pimentos (drained), 8 oz package of cream cheese and 2 tablespoons of your favorite hot sauce (add less if you don’t enjoy a kick to your taste buds) in a food processor.

Then, spread onto toasted french bread, fresh vegetables, crackers or pita chips for tasty snack.

This recipe makes more than you’re likely to enjoy, so package some up to share.

easy glider


Jeans: 7 for All Mankind; Top: Unknown; Scarf: Burberry (old, similar style here); Earrings: Unknown; Ring: Kate Spade (unavailable, similar style here); Sunglasses: Thrifted; Shoes: Charles Philip Shanghai

Shave Time

In a perfect world, I wouldn’t have to go into work until noon. Now, don’t get me wrong. Start time at noon wouldn’t mean leaving at 5PM; that would just be the time I’d have a bite for lunch. I can easily burn the midnight oil; unfortunately, working in the professional world doesn’t allow for such an off-beat schedule. Waking up before the sun Monday through Friday is the greatest challenge I face. It’s likely because I loathe actually getting out of bed. I set my alarm early enough each morning to allow myself one solid hour of snooze time. Honestly, from 5AM until 6AM my iPhone blares “Blues” every nine minutes until the coffee begins to brew (automatic start, of course!). This hour of 9-minute interval sleep allows me a chance to actually start waking up. I won’t bore you with the rest of my morning routine, but getting to work by 8AM is by far, the most difficult responsibility of each day. Oddly enough, in my former professional life, I could make it to work by 7AM on tape days…the perk was the 10AM start on off days.

With seven years out in the “real” world, I’ve found a few ways to keep my eyes closed a little longer while getting out the door a little faster. If you’re a night owl like me, I hope these may help you meet your morning deadlines, too

1. Pre-pack: Pack your breakfast and/or lunch the night before. Every working girl needs fuel to start her day, so breakfast is essential. I keep my single cup Kuerig coffee maker in my office so I have something exciting waiting for me when I arrive. The night before, I prepare my yogurt, granola and fruit ahead of time in this. Mid-day, we all need an energy boost. Without being prepared, we’re tempted to have an impromptu date with the vending machine. Plan ahead by packaging your lunch in this.

2. Forget the shampoo: Don’t get grossed out just yet. Your hair will thank you later. Dry shampoo works wonders to absorb oil and add volume to your mane. I call this my Day Two Look…and it NEVER fails that this is when I get the most compliments on my hair. Wash your hair every other day. If you color your hair, this will help to extend your shine and keep your hair healthy. Before your morning shower, pull your hair up in a bun (it’s okay if it gets a little damp). Afterwards, pull your hair down, apply some dry shampoo, work through the strands, then style as usual. If you have thick hair like I do, this can save up to 45 minutes to your morning.

3. Go Natural…Sort of: We’re not talking ALL natural here, we’re professionals! Looking our best doesn’t mean we’re entering a Texas Beauty Pageant each morning. Find your daily foundation for your face that allows your to play up your look for after work drinks with that cutie you met last week or a benefit for your favorite cause. Tinted moisturizer with SPF combines three steps in one, then add a little powder to set your look…blush, mascara, lipstick…DUNZO! In less that 5 minutes your face will be perfect for the power day ahead of you.

4. Match Maker: I’m not talking about setting up your BFF with your guy’s buddy. This is MUCH more important. Quit allowing yourself to leave the house feeling frumpy. Match ALL of your outfits no later than the night before. If you’re me, you prep EVERY SINGLE DETAIL for the week on Sunday evening. I’m talking all the way down to undergarments and accessories. Every Sunday night, I block an hour of time to pull seven outfits for the week. With only five days of office work, I pull seven outfits to give myself two backup plans depending on my mood, a change in weather, a new agenda item, etc. On the outside of my closet door, I hang all seven outfits and accessories…with my shoes lining up beneath. After MANY years (I’m talking since kindergarten here, friends), I’ve found a system that eliminates my stress and worry of what to put on to give me more time in the mornings and more confidence throughout the day. P.S. I also keep a recipe box of outfits in my closet, but my organization addiction is severe.

5. Find a Home: Of course your have a roof over your head, but do you have a home for all of your stuff? Have designated spot for all of your daily must-haves: sunglasses, keys, phone, etc. Collect your belongings the night before and always put them in the same place. You’ll remember this the next time you’re half way to work and realize your phone is still at home.

I hope this morning tips help all you power girls out there climbing the ladder. We’ve got to support each other during these early years. What are some of your own helpful tips for getting ready?

champagne + strawberries

One of the best combinations, Champagne + Strawberries just got better…with cupcakes! I made these a while back for a wedding party for dear friends. The cupcake recipe was very simple, and I may have added a bit more champagne to the icing recipe! After baking and icing the cupcakes, I garnished each with a slice of fresh strawberry. Then, my creative brain dediced to  fill half of the cupcakes with strawberry jam for a flavorful punch. By punching holes into the center of each cupcake with a straw, I squeezed the jam into the center with an icing dispenser. Then, I decorated the tops with champagne icing.   I made over 100 cupcakes, and I was very pleased to take home empty platters.