Monday, May 30, 2011

{holiday} Happy Memorial Day!

Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue - Toby Keith

American Girls and American Guys
We'll always stand up and salute
We'll always recognize
When we see Ole Glory Flying
There's a lot of men dead
So we can sleep in peace at night
When we lay down our head

Chicken Fried - Zac Brown Band

I thank God for my life
For the stars and stripes
May freedom forever fly,
Let it ring.
Salute the ones who died,
The ones who gave their lives so we don't
have to sacrifice 
all the things we love.

God Bless the USA - Lee Greenwood

I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free. 
And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me. 

Never forget the reason for this holiday.
Have a great day everyone!

xo, Jen

Sunday, May 29, 2011

{recipe} pan-fried shrimp with tropical slaw

I love utilizing seasonal vegetables and fruit. Corn is sweet as can be right now, and mangoes and pineapple are always delicious summer treats. I found this recipe in my Cooking Light “5 ingredient, 15 minute recipes” cookbook. It is a fabulous cookbook FILLED to the brim with easy, well-balanced, and yummy recipes. I boiled my corn for 7 minutes in a covered pot.  I hope you enjoy!

Shrimp Ingredients:
-          1 cup Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
-          2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
-          1 lb extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 15)
-          ¼ teaspoon salt
-          ¼ teaspoon black pepper
-          1 large egg, beaten
-          2 teaspoon water
-          2 tablespoons canola oil


Combine panko and cilantro in a food processor; pulse 2 to 3 times or until cilantro is finely minced. Transfer to a shallow dish.

Sprinkle shrimp with salt and pepper. Combine egg and water in a shallow dish. Dip half of shrimp in egg mixture; dredge in crumb mixture and place in a single layer on a plate. Repeat procedure with remaining shrimp, egg mixture, and crumb mixture.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp, and cook 2 minutes on each side, or until done. (After the first few, be careful of overcooking the shrimp due to the heat of the oil.)

Tropical Slaw Ingredients:
-          3 ¼ cups packaged coleslaw
-          ¾ cup chopped fresh mango
-          ½ cup chopped fresh pineapple
-          2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
-          ¼ teaspoon salt
-          ¼ teaspoon black pepper
-          1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl; toss well. Cover and chill for 15 minutes. Stir in cilantro.

Friday, May 27, 2011

{life} TGIF!

So excited for this weekend! Two of my good friends from school are back in Tallahassee for the weekend to celebrate Memorial Day weekend. We are going to happy hour in a bit at our favorite bar and then headed off to a sports bar for more beer and to watch the Lightning game.

I don't watch hockey often. Okay, make that ever. But I'm a Tampa girl and I can't resist jumping on the bandwagon when a Tampa team is doing well! They are in the running for the Stanley Cup. Go Lightning! :)

Tomorrow we will be lounging by the pool if it doesn't rain like it did today... Sangria + Sunshine + Best Friends = one spectacular Saturday.


Not sure what we are doing for Memorial Day yet but you better believe it will include barbeque, booze, and patriotic colored fruit.

Have fun this weekend with your loved ones! Make sure to remember the ones who made it possible for our freedom. <3

xo, Jen

Thursday, May 26, 2011

{fashion} Summer Essentials

Sara from Pearls, Curls, and a Southern Girl is guest posting today! 
Make sure to check out her blog - she is one of my favorites. 

Hey y’all!
I am SO excited to be doing this “blog swap” with Jen today! Since we both write totally different blogs, we decided it would be a fun change of pace to swap! My post today is going to be SUMMER ESSENTIALS! I've written about “Sara’s Essentials” before but I hadn't gotten to doing summer yet so here it is!

1.       Croakies- Who wants to lose their favorite pair of sunnies at the beach? NOT me! Croakies are not only functional, but also fashionable! The ones pictured are Vineyard Vines but I am also a fan of Southern Proper, Southern Tide, and TUGS!
2.      Sunglasses- While I favor Ray-Ban aviators, make sure to find a perfect pair of sunnies! The sun is blaring and let’s face it, squinting is not a good look on anyone! I’ve been able to find the best pairs at Sunglass Hut and also Target for a cheaper pair.
3.      Beach Towel- No one wants to take just a boring towel to the beach or pool! I love Vera Bradley beach towels because they are super soft AND also keep their color and softness. Target also has cute beach towels.
4.      Koozie- These are an absolute must! You need to keep your hand dry and drink cold! This one is Lilly Pulitzer!
5.      Beach Tote- It can be hard to find a functional beach tote that is big enough for all of your stuff AND also fully lined but have no fear, trusty Vera Bradley did all the work! This “On A Clear Day” tote is perfect!
6.      Clinique Dramatically Different- This moisturizer is perfect for taking care of your skin if you get a little burnt!
7.      Cooler- If you’re going to the lake, beach, or a cookout, a cooler is an absolute must. If you’re artistic, go ahead and paint one! You’ll get tons of compliments and get to show off one of your talents!
8.     Hipster bag- These are my absolute favorite bags for summer. It’s already super hot outside so do you really want to fuss with having to hold or have a purse on your shoulder? Nope. My favorite hipsters are from Vera Bradley, Coach, and Kavu.
9.      Nail Polish- I LOVE Essie nail polish, especially these two shades! Painting your nails a fun color will add in instant summer look to any outfit.

1.      Summer “party dress”- Every girl needs a fun, summer party dress! I’d aim towards one that is either one shouldered or strapless, in a thinner material!
2.     Simple sundress- This is also a big must-have! During the summer it is so much easier to throw on a dress than a full outfit so definitely keep a few simple, cotton dresses in your closet!
3.     White V-Neck tee- I love white v-necks because they go PERFECTLY with nike shorts, jeans, and also chino shorts! They’re super light-weight and make you look tanner!
4.     Wedges- If I wear heels during the summer, they will ALWAYS be wedges! You can find them in the cutest colors/patterns. I love these Steve Madden ones because they have a super cute bow!
5.     Rainbow Flip Flops- Do these even need an explanation?! Rainbows are the perfect flip flop for summer because they go with anything and everything!
6.      Nike Tempo Shorts- Not only do these come in the coolest colors and patterns, they are also made of a dri-fit material that wick away moisture! Pair these with a white v-neck and rainbows to make a casual summer outfit!
7.     Chino shorts- Old Navy and J.Crew make the best shorts ever! They both offer various inseam lengths and colors. Chino shorts look great with regular tshirts, polos, and tank tops!

I hope y’all enjoyed this post about Summer Essentials! Be sure to check out Jen’s post on my blog, Pearls Curls and A Southern Girl!


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

{blog love} What I'm loving Wednesday

I will be in this beautiful place in exactly two weeks!
Bowen's Wharf - Newport, RI

Taylor Swift's new music video - Story of Us. Watch it here!

This microplane herb mill. The purpose of it is to prep herbs easily and without bruising or blemishing the fragile leaves.

Hope y'all are having a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

{recipe} roasted spice-crusted salmon with pineapple-red onion salsa

Obsessed with this bookazine. Every recipe is extremely simple but innovative, as well as healthy and well-balanced. I have tried multiple recipes already, but I won't stop until I've tried them all! This time, I decided on the roasted salmon with a pineapple-red onion salsa!

Prep: 3 minutes 
Cook: 20 minutes

Pineapple-Red Onion Salsa:
I recommend making this prior to the salmon so flavors have time to intensify.
- 2/3 cup chopped pineapple
- 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Handful of chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
*I'll probably add a little bit of finely-chopped jalapeño next time I make this salsa!

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Stick in refrigerator while you prepare the salmon.

Roasted Salmon:
-2 (6oz) salmon fillets (~1 inch thick)
- Cooking spray
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Pineapple-Red Onion Salsa
- Lemon wedge to squeeze on fish right before serving

Prepare oven to 350 degrees. Arrange fillets on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray.

Combine cumin and next three ingredients (through salt). Rub spice mixture over tops of fillets. Coat fillets with cooking spray.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. (Notice the color change?)

Serve fillets with pineapple-red onion salsa, corn-on-the-cob, and rice.

Click through for recipe without photos.

{fashion} Navy, Coral, & White

Loving navy and coral, as usual. I would definitely add all kinds of accessories to these dresses / tops but they are pretty much perfect as is. If you haven't checked out Vestique or Ruche yet you definitely should. If you want to win a giftcard to shop Ruche (I promise, you will!), then check out my sorority sister's giveaway! I just bought the first dress from the left in the second row. SO excited for it to arrive in the mail!

Monday, May 23, 2011

{recipe} Homemade Marinara & Turkey Meatballs

Marinara Sauce
Recipe Adapted from Chow
Total: 15 mins, plus 45 mins cooking time
Makes: About 6 cups

2 28-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more as needed
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh basil and parsley (optional)


Using a food processor or a  fitted with a blade attachment, pulse the tomatoes and their juices, in
batches as needed, until coarsely chopped (about 10 pulses). Heat the oil in a large saucepan with a tightfitting lid over medium-high heat until shimmering. 

Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds more.

Push the onions and garlic to one side of the pan and add the tomato paste to the empty side of the pan. Cook the paste slightly to remove the raw flavor, stirring occasionally, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir the onions and garlic into the paste to incorporate. 

Add the chopped tomatoes, red pepper flakes, basil, parsley, and a few pinches of salt and ground pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low,cover, and simmer for 45 minutes to meld the flavors. Taste, and season with additional salt and red pepper flakes as needed.

Quick Turkey Meatballs
Recipe from Momtastic

1 lb ground turkey
½ onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 egg
1/3 c breadcrumbs
4-5 shakes onion powder
a hearty squirt of ketchup

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix together using a fork until well combined.

While the sauce is heating up, roll a palmful of the meat mixture into a ball about 1” in diameter. 

Carefully place the meatballs in hot sauce and simmer, with the lid on, until they are cooked through, at least 12 minutes or so. Serve over pasta!

We served our pasta with roasted asparagus. :)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

{blog love} Getting to know you post

Linking up via MannLand5!

Found this through Pink and Green Everything's blog! Thought it would be fun. 

the q's.

1. what's your favorite rainy day activity? Reading, blogging, movie marathons, and lounging around with my roommates.
2. what time do you go to bed? Usually obnoxiously late.
3. how many magazines do you subscribe to? One. Health Magazine. My mom surprised me with the subscription!
4. did you sell all your belongings because you thought the world was ending yesterday? Nope. lol I didn't even think about "the end of the world" actually.
5. what's your beauty obssesion? Mascara - can't live without it.
6. if you could only wear one designer/brand for the rest of your life...what would it be? Lilly Pulitzer. For sure.
7. what's your summer must have? A cute beach bag. Loving these in a post by Southern Curls and Pearls!
8. do you make weekly dinner menus? Not typically. Trying to do it this summer! My roommate and I went to Publix yesterday. This week it is (aka recipes you can look forward to!):
- Roasted salmon topped with homemade pineapple-red onion salsa, corn on the cob, and rice.
- Pan-Fried Panko-Crusted shrimp with a mango salsa, corn on the cob, and rice.
- Chicken Fajitas
- Stir Fry

{recipe} Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you missed this week's Prep Talk, here is my recipe for the week! I found this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, Eat Live Run. The browned butter addition to the recipe for traditional chocolate chip cookies was just too good to pass up. Sure enough, these cookies did not disappoint!

1 ¾ c all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
4 tbsp unsalted butter (1 ¾ sticks)
½ c white sugar
¾ c packed brown sugar (recipe suggests dark brown, but light brown is also acceptable)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
½ bag chocolate chips

First, preheat your oven to 375 and line two sheet pans with parchment paper or tin foil.

Whisk together 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour and 1/2 tsp baking soda in a medium sized bowl.

Set aside and prepare your butter. Drop ten of the fourteen tablespoons in a large skillet over medium/high heat. The goal here is to brown the butter, not burn the butter. Be careful!!! Once the butter melts, start swirling the pan like you’ve never swirled before. When the butter starts to turn golden, keep it going just about ten seconds longer. You want a really rich caramel color. 

Take it off the heat quickly and immediately pour it over the remaining four tablespoons of butter in another large bowl.

Add 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp salt to the butters. Whisk to combine and then add one egg yolk + one egg. Whisk to combine again. The end result should be thick and creamy.

Add the flour mixture to the butter/egg/sugar and stir gently to combine.

Add your chocolate chips.

Form mini ping-pong balls of dough, press down gently, and then bake for exactly twelve minutes.


Click through for full recipe without photos.

{life} nostalgia - and I haven't even graduated yet.

My beautiful hΦMe

Summer means missing my best friends and sorority sisters endlessly. I just want to be able to go to my sorority house and watch hours upon hours of Say Yes To The Dress and Glee and The Singing Bee (among countless other TV Room favorites.) Here are a few pictures of my absolute favorites from the past year.

Part of my pledge class in our second to last recruitment EVER! Say whaaa?!

Celebrating Amanda's 21st after chapter!

My faaavorites <3

Sisterhood Retreat at Stone Mountain!

My little and grand-little at Phi Mu HQs!

Celebrating the Homecoming parade with my fam!

Love this girl so much.

Phi Mus + Jake Owen!

Roomie loveee

We should have never been roommates but I'm so glad that we were.

Another 21st came and went - Kelsey's Cinco de Drinko waltz!

Spring Break in the Keys with a seester!

Spring means lots of pool days!

Formal happened on my 21st birthday!

I've known her since 2nd grade. Best friends then, real sisters now.

My best friends and I on my 21st MRS. Degree Waltz!

Last night out for spring semester.

I can't wait for everyone to come back!