Sunday, July 31, 2011

{life} toasting to change

It is that time of year again. 

The most horrible time of the year.

Moving season.

People are leaving Tallahassee for good, or moving to a new place.

Luuuckily, I somehow convinced two of my friends to move in with me! I don't have to move! WOOHOO!

I moved into my dorm the summer before my freshman year of college. Moved out of my dorm six weeks later. Moved into a different dorm one week later, before recruitment started. Moved out of my dorm at the end of that year back to Tampa. Moved into my first apartment during recruitment week. Moved out of that place last summer and into my townhouse. WHEW. Lots and lots of moving. 

I'm a pro now, lemme tell you.

With moving season comes new roommates moving in and old ones leaving. 

I already miss my roomie Lauren so much. She moved out right after her graduation in order to start a fabulous internship in North Carolina with The Biltmore.

But with her leaving meant I got to live with Jess again! She subleased from Lauren last year too so we were already friends. Picture is from Jess & Lauren's 21st!

Jess isn't the only roomie I gained from Lauren moving out.

Meet Charles. 

This is when he was a little nugget.

Now he is HUGE (in puggle-speak at least.) 12 lbs of fury. But he still likes to snuggle with his momma.

I love him. I'm so glad Jess is only moving a few townhouses away. :)

The next chapter of my roommate-life is living with these two wonderful girls.

We are already planning out dinner parties and themed nights, as well as weekly "family dinners."

Um, perfection? 

Are y'all having to deal with hassle of moving right now??
If so, I wish you luck. :)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

{blog love} my first giveaway :)

So, I am TOTALLY excited that  there are 100 of you out there that liked my blog enough to follow it. Sending lots of love to all of you! I'm even more excited that my 100th follower happened to be a lovely blogger I "met" on Tumblr a while back! She just started her Blogger blog - you should definitely check it out

I'm not sure if any of you saw on Twitter, but I had been thinking about hosting a giveway if I were to ever get to that elusive 100 mark. The day has come and I have made up my mind.

It is giveaway time!!! Drum roll please..........

So, since my blog started as a wannabe foodie/cooking blog back in 2010, and has since transformed into more of a lifestyle blog this summer, I thought that these SUPER ADORABLE monogrammed aprons had to be the perfect gift to giveaway to one of you. 

Apron will be purchased from Girly-Twirly.
[1] Monogrammed pink & white stripe Fish apron.
[2] Monogrammed navy & white stripe Lobster apron.
[3] Monogrammed pink & white stripe Shrimp apron.
[4] Monogrammed light blue & white stripe Crab apron.
Click on the numbers to see the pictures in more detail.

Every girl needs an adorable monogrammed apron like this in her kitchen. 

I want one. 


If you don't think this apron is for you, still enter! It would be an adorable hostess gift. :)

And now for the not so fun stuff....

Rules for entering: 
(Please read carefully. I will omit your entry if you do not follow.)

You must have a working e-mail in order to win. I will announce the winner on Sunday, August 7th on my blog and it will then be your responsibility to e-mail me at cookingloveandlife [at] gmail [dot] com. I will then ask for your monogram and apron preference!
  • To enter, do any of the following. First one is mandatory and the rest are extra entries!
    • [1] Follow my blog and let me know which of the aprons is your favorite! [Mandatory]
    • [2] Follow me on Twitter
    • [3] Tweet or blog about this giveaway. Include the link in your comment! Feel free to use the photo in this post on your blog.
    • [3] Like Girly-Twirly on Facebook!
  • The easiest way for me to figure out the winner is if you leave a comment like this:
    • 1. I follow your blog and I adore the crab one.
    • 2. I follow you on twitter.
    • 3. I tweeted/blogged about your giveaway! Check it out here: xyzURL.
    • 4. I liked Girly-Twirly on Facebook.
  • ALSO:You must be currently residing in the United States. I am paying for this giveaway myself and it is just not in the funds to ship out of the country currently. Sorry y'all!

The lucky winner will get a personalized apron of their choice with their monogram on it!

See how much I love y'all?

This giveaway will be open until Saturday, August 6th. You have ONE WEEK to enter. 

Good luck!

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with or am being compensated by Girly-Twirly. I am purchasing this apron with my own money and shipping it to the winner on my own time. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

{recipe} crescent-wrapped baked brie with preserves

Sorry that it is so blurry! It was night-time! No natural light.
(aka the BEST and easiest appetizer!)

Blogging this recipe mainly because I haven't posted a recipe in a few days. 
We could all use a fun idea for a dinner party every now and then right?

I made this baked brie as my friend-dinner Easter appetizer. I also made a dessert - carrot cake/cheesecake bars. They didn't turn out that well. I think I made the recipe a bit wrong. Um. Oops. 

Oh well, this brie MORE than made up for it. 

Ashleigh, Kels, Me, Amanda S., & Amanda B.

Since none of us could go home for Easter (THANKS A LOT FSU FINAL EXAM SCHEDULE) we all decided to get together and make dinner as a family. Ashleigh brought her homemade honey-baked ham and rolls, Amanda S. brought scalloped potatoes, Kelsey brought green bean casserole, and Amanda B. brought cupcakes and jellybeans. The boyfriends brought their charming personalities and appetites. ;)

This appetizer is incredibly easy to make and a sure bet to impress your guests.
Brie can get a little pricey in your local supermarket, but if you have a membership to a store like Sam's or Costco, then take advantage of their wheel of brie savings!

I served mine with grapes, apples, and Italian bread. Yum.

Crescent-Wrapped Baked Brie with Preserves
- One crescent roll tube.
- 1 wheel of Brie, brought to room temperature. (Keep the casing on. It is edible and makes baking the cheese easier.)
- 4 tbsp preserves (I used cherry)
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp water

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Cover baking tray/sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and coat evenly with Pam.
3. Place Brie on tray and start spooning preserves on the top.
4. Once completed, begin to cover Brie with the crescent rolls. They will separate, but just pinch the dough together to fill in most of the gaps on the cheese. Tuck remaining crescent section under Brie and place back on tray.
5. Beat the egg and water in a small bowl and brush it over the crescent roll.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown.
7. Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes before cutting into it.
8. Serve with Golden Delicious apples, grapes, crackers, and a sliced baguette.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

{life} happy birthday momma

I'm headed home today to celebrate my mom's birthday in Tampa! 

Mom & I on Mother's Day this year!
Sooo, my mom is kind of the best mom ever.

One of my best girlfriends from high school recently admitted "when I get older I literally want to be just like your mom. And have a husband like your dad. Your parents are so adorable.
Yup, fan club right there.

My friend couldn't have said it any better. I always say that I want to be just like my parents when I get older. They rarely fight - except over who is going to do the dishes. Except it isn't in the "I don't want to do the dishes, you do it" kind of way. It is in the "Honey, you go sit down, I'll get the dishes." Precious, right?

My parents when they were still dating!
My parents a few weeks ago in Seattle!

My mom is literally the most selfless person ever. You need something? She is on it right away. She also seems to know ALL. (A talent of all moms I suppose.) I never wanted to listen to her in high school. Now I can't go a day without calling her and asking for her opinion or her help on something.

Freshman year Parent's Weekend
Dad, Mom, big brother, & me my freshman year.
Sophomore year Parent's Weekend
I can't even explain how much I have learned from my mom. How to host the greatest dinner parties. How to find the best bargains. How to be responsible, organized, and driven. How to plan fabulous vacations. How to be a classy, well-spoken woman.

My friends always get jealous of the great deals on pretty clothes my mom finds for me.
This Lilly shift? She got it for a super reduced price at TJMAXX a few years ago. 

There really aren't enough words to describe how thankful I am for everything she has done for me throughout the years. I can only hope to be half the woman she is when I am her age. 

Happy birthday Momma. I love you.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

{blog love} What I'm loving Wednesday.

Linking up with Jamie!

I'm loving that I have 97 fabulous followers. I had about 15 for a full year, so this is a huge thing!
PS. There is a blog giveaway in the works if I somehow make it to 100 followers! :)

I'm loving the wonderful people I have been "meeting" on Blogger. 

I'm loving these pretty pictures from Pinterest:
This couldn't be more applicable to my life right now.

I'm loving these pretty dresses:
[1] [2] [3] [4]

I'm loving that I get to see my parents tomorrow!
Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska

I'm loving that I will finally be living with these girls in a week and a half:
Don't mind our outfits - it was an American themed 21st birthday celebration. :)

And finally, I'm loving that I will picking up this pretty fantastic guy from the airport next Friday.

Don't forget to link up with Jamie! :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

{travel} Alaska - a day at sea and a formal night.

I haven't been keeping up with my travel posts, Alaska edition!

The first day on the cruise ship was a day at sea. I spent much of my time exploring the ship, catching up with my cousins, aunts, and uncles, and trying to not think about how seasick I felt! We were completely in open water since we had to travel all the way from Seattle to Glacier Bay!

[1] Nikki and I totally got ripped off on those drinks! Apparently the cup was a souvenir. 13 dollars later...
[2] My cousin Lauren & I walking the deck. It was a bit cold out on the open water.
[1] My cousin Michelle standing on the balcony of the room Nicole, Lauren, & I shared!
[2] So beautiful and serene.
My beautiful cousins and I before our first formal dinner.
[1] The view was beautiful.
[2] My fabulous parents & I. I'm kind of tall if you haven't noticed yet. 5'8" barefoot, >6' in heels!

Nikki and I drank lots of wine with dinner...
...and then I proceeded to act completely ridiculous.

Although it seemed like the day was never going to end (time out in the middle of the sea seems to go sooo slowly), I'm glad that we were able to get our bearings and relax before the excitement of the port stops.

Coming up soon is a cooking class, a day by the glaciers, a whale watching experience, and a zipline adventure. :)

Have you ever been to Alaska?

{blog love} Tuesday Ten!

This week's theme is Ten Places I'd Love to Visit!

St. Tropez
Rocky Village - Vernazza, Italy
Santorini, Greece
The Great Wall of China
Venice, Italy
Tahiti, French Polynesia
Havusu Canyon, Grand Canyon
Zion National Park, Utah
Portofinos, Italy
Charleston, SC

...just to name a FEW places. Can I travel for a living please??


Link up if you'd like!

Monday, July 25, 2011

{life} oh, we went out last night.

I went to Gainesville this weekend to celebrate one of my high school friend's 21st birthday!
Felicia, Chelsea, Laura (birthday girl!), me, Krista, & Lindsey
Does my shirt look familiar?! :)
Happy 21st Laura!
How were your weekends??