Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Swirlz

My friend, April, recently had her birthday and we celebrated with a fun girls night at Swirlz. Swirlz is one of those places that seem to be growing in popularity where you particpate in a painting class. You can bring in your own food and drinks if you would like and attempt to be creative. I am someone who doesn't have an artistic bone in my body so it was a lot of fun but frustrating to me at the same time. Thankfully fun friends and good wine made the night really enjoyable!
Here's how it all began...

...and the progression



My finished product!



My friend, Mandy, and I sat beside one another and spent most of the night laughing!


April & I are on the far left


All the girls!


I decided I wanted to hang the painting where people wouldn't be able to look at it up close and see all the imperfections. I found the perfect spot!


What you don't see in the previous pictures that was taking place at Swirlz was this!

Lifetime Television Network has been at Fort Campbell filming a new series called Coming Home. April's was one of the families selected to be a part of the show so they were at Swirlz filming. Marlie & I also helped make signs for April's husband before he came home and they were filming that. There's a good chance that we will be on the show so I hope we don't look ridiculous! It made me nervous enough just having the cameras around for brief periods. I quickly learned that I could never handle actually being followed for something like that!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Country-Style Barbecue Ribs & Sweet Corn and Zucchini

This was our dinner a few nights ago. I love the ease of using a slow cooker but often don't like the end result. These ribs are pretty good and the corn & zucchini as a side is healthy but has a good flavor.

Sweet Corn and Zucchini
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings

2 cups coarsely chopped zucchini
1/2 cup diced sweet onion
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups fresh corn kernels
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
2 teaspoons taco seasoning mix

Sauté zucchini and onion in butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes. Add corn kernels, chives, and taco seasoning mix; sauté 5 minutes or until tender.

Country-Style Barbecue Ribs
Makes 6 ribs
Prep 15 minutes
Slow Cook 6 hours on HIGH or 9 hours on LOW

1 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
4 pounds country-style pork ribs

In a small bowl, stir together ketchup, molasses, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, mustard, hot sauce and liquid smoke.
Place pork ribs in the slow cooker insert and pour 1 cup sauce over top, reserving the rest for later. Cover and cook on HIGH for 6 hours or LOW for 9 hours or until very tender.
Remove ribs from slow cooker and brush with reserved sauce.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Brave New World: Introducing the Spring/Summer 2011 Collection!

Stella & Dot has released their new 2011 Spring & Summer collection. Here are a few of my samples of the new line with a note from our Chief Creative Officer explaining the inspiration behind it.


(Every order arrives packaged this nicely!)

What an exciting week! Our brand new line was unveiled to a VIP crowd of our company’s top Stylists. The excitement was palpable at our high-voltage runway show! I’d like to take a moment to share the inspiration behind our 3 collections that make up the Spring/Summer 2011 lineup. We are calling this season a “A Brave New World” due to its a bold, joyful spirit that is so Stella & Dot.

Our first collection, Destination Morocco, is all about a boho chic vibe, rich with textures and combinations of unexpected materials. The collection was inspired by a trip that I took to Marrakesh when I was living in Paris. I was really drawn to all of the filigree patterns in the architecture, as well as the rich layers of paint on the doorways in the marketplace. There is a trend towards the 'global eclectic' in fashion, which is all about mixing ethnic and tribal references with really sophisticated materials and techniques. The Casablanca Bib Necklace and the Revival Tassel Necklace are all about the juxtaposition of natural materials with more dressy sparkly materials - these pieces have already been shot by top magazines. Check out the Revival Tassel Necklace in InStyle magazine this month!

River Lariat


Medina Bib Necklace


Revival Bracelet


Next, we’re off to South America for our Viva Brazil Collection. I had the joy of spending my honeymoon in Brazil and was inspired by the spirit of the people of the country. It seemed every Brazilian woman I ran into exuded a sexy, self-confident vibe. You could just sense each woman’s bold, individual style. This collection represents pure exotic sophistication to me. It has bursts of bright, festive colors (and just the right amount of sexy!) that give it that wear-everywhere appeal. The Bamboleo Necklace is the signature piece of this collection and will be featured in InStyle next month. The Rio Coin group is perfect to wear over the bold, sexy bright clothing that was all over the runways this season.

Camilla Ring


Carnival Stretch Bracelets


Rio Chandelier Earrings


Finally, we return stateside with the Palm Beach Collection. This collection is quintessential Stella & Dot: fun color combined with whimsical motifs and the perfect balance between vintage and modern. Don’t be afraid to wear these pieces with fun prints, like the Milly green and white strapless dress we showed on the runway with the turquoise La Coco Bead Necklace and Paradise Brooch or the orange and white striped tank we paired with the Birds of Paradise Necklace.

La Coco Turquoise Bead Necklace and Paradise Brooch



I hope you enjoy wearing these pieces as much as we’ve enjoyed creating them. You can preview the new collection online, but, really, the best way to see each piece is up close and personal at a Trunk Show – it’s a great way for you to get the look you love gratis!

Xoxo,
Blythe Harris
Chief Creative Officer, Stella & Dot

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Funny Face Pizzas

My mom got Marlie a subscription to High Five magazine which is from Highlights. We've have gotten 2 issues so far and she loves them. One of the magazine had a kid friendly recipe called Funny Face Pizzas. I let M make them for dinner one night and she thought that was so much fun. Here she is with her culinary creation!


Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Another Round...

Our snow seems to be never ending this year. It's funny because we got the worst snow in Germany the year Bryan was deployed and this is the most snow we've had since we lived here. We have a lot outside as I type this but these pictures are actually from a couple of weeks ago. This was the most fun we've had in the snow yet because it was "warm" (think mid 30s) outside and no wind was blowing.


Monday, February 07, 2011

Adventure Science Center

For MLK Day, my neighbor and I took our girls to the Adventure Science Center in Nashville. We actually bought a membership the last time we were there, but it had been a while since our last visit. Like the zoo, I've learned that the best way to experience the center is to just let Marlie lead the way and not try to steer her to see all the exhibits. This way makes everyone much happier. Marlie had a great time and enjoyed being the big girl who got to show little Hannah around.





Thursday, February 03, 2011

Gymnastics

I decided a while back that after the new year, I would let Marlie participate in an activity through the SKIES Unlimited program here on post. SKIES offers a wide range of activities for newborns to 18 year olds. When a parent is deployed, the children are able to participate in these programs for free. I was torn between ballet and gymnastics, but decided to start with gymnastics since I know she enjoys it and I wouldn't have to buy shoes & leotards right away. She participates in a mommy & me 3 year old class for 45 minutes one day a week and loves it!








The bars are by far her favorite!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

A Visit to the Dentist & A Toddler Bed

During the first week of January, Marlie had her first trip to the dentist. I scheduled our appointments back to back so that she could watch me and get comfortable with everything. As soon as I was done with my check up, she was excited for her turn. She climbed up in that chair and never looked back! She was 100% cooperative and never even flinched through the whole appointment. I was so proud of her and she is ready to go back again!



The hygienist told me that she typically doesn't do flouride for a small child's first appointment, but Marlie was such a great patient she went ahead and gave it to her.


M looks like she is grimacing here, but she actually thought it was really fun to vacuum the water out of her mouth.


That evening I finally converted Marlie's crib to a toddler bed. She has done great in it so far and I think she's actually ready to be in a true big girl bed!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Jump-O-Lene




As I've previously mentioned, Marlie's big (literally!) Christmas gift was the Jump-O-Lene. With all the time we spend inside during the winter, I loved the idea of having something that M could burn off a lot of energy in. If you consider buying one of these, you definitely need a high powered pump of some kind. The Jump-O-Lene takes up a lot of space but so far I still think it's a good deal - especially since I used my Amazon gift cards from SwagBucks to help play for it. It wasn't very expensive and Marlie has had a good time on it. Whenever a friend comes over to play, they get so excited to play on M's bouncy. I just look forward to having a house with a playroom (or something similar) that we can put it in - rather than half our living room!