Thursday, November 29, 2007

Coffee table chicness

I really love looking through big art and photography books, especially the hardbound or vintage ones. They also look really nice on a coffee table or shelf as decoration (very Pottery Barn-esque).

Here are a couple you might like for yourself or to give as a nice Christmas or hostess gift.

This new one from Phaidon looks pretty awesome and is relatively inexpensive at $29.00.

The Great Masters of Italian Art - $15.98, Wonders of the World - $19.98, and Italy: Antique and Modern Genius - $9.95.

And my personal favorite (that I will have someday!) The Art of Florence - $138.75.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Great costumes ... that I never posted

These alien twins were pretty hilarious (good job Ashley and Jamie!)

(where do you find a blue spandex bodysuit??)

But the all time winners are my parents dressed as Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne - wigs, tattoos, and all - classic!

(doesn't my dad look thrilled!? It's so disturbing, yet so hilarious I can barely stand it)

I already have a halloween costume picked out for Chauncey next year, he's going to be a Rabbi with a little yamakah and all. Fun stuff.

Monday, November 26, 2007

TWO years in a ROW!

Ah, the smell of victory. For the second year in a row the better school has won the annual Lone Star Showdown - Texas A&M 38, Texas 30. I must say it felt pretty great to send the Longhorns home to mama with 88,000 Aggies singing the War Hymn to them on their way out. Yes, it was a great day.

The gang at Kellye and Paige's apartment before the game (Jared's getting in the spirit!)

Pre-game in our AWESOME SEATS (thanks Jared!)

Class of 2004 and Class of 2006 - WHOOP!

Melissa's sweet kicks! She actually had toe surgery on both feet the day before and still stood the whole game - they call that the 12th man!!

Jared and I trying to stay warm.

The best student section in college football.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Flash excitement

My new flash should be here any day now!! I'm so excited I can barely stand it. It's funny because when I finally bought my new digital SLR camera I thought for that amount of money I would be ready to go as a beginner photographer. No, no. I soon found out that a shoe-mount flash was absolutely necessary to do any kind of real work - and that they aren't cheap. So I've been saving and, largely due to the first wedding I got to shoot a few weeks ago (pictures coming soon), I got to order it this week!

I also ordered a Gary Fong Lightsphere which is pretty cool. It makes the flash not look so "flashy" and diffuses the light to make it look much more natural and even.

I loved doing the wedding and reception a few weeks ago, but I really loved taking pictures of all the little kids that were there! So I think I may lean toward child and family photography in addition to weddings, it is just so much fun.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ciao Bella

Just ran across this gelato and sorbet company with a fabulous name! It's sold at Whole Foods and Central Market (I'm severely depressed about not having either in College Station) and it looks delicious! There is a special place in my heart for gelato - the real kind though! There's so many places that sell "gelato" but it always turns out to be just ice cream - boo. This looks pretty fantastic though.

If anyone tries this you have to let me know how it is, I must know!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Website Stalker Syndrome

There are a few websites that I love to check every once in a while, so I'll share mine if you share yours. Deal?
  • Love the blog "How About Orange". She is a graphic designer who posts everything from free new fonts to download to awesome do-it-yourself projects that aren't "crafty" looking.
  • My friend Megan's blog "New Big Idea". Her kids are the cutest and she always has something fun going on to blog about (like go see Dan in Real Life!). She also is my photography inspiration so I love looking at the pictures she takes.
  • Two Glamour magazine blogs that make me feel uptodate on beauty products and fashion - "Suze on Style" and "The Girls in the Beauty Department". Plus I love to read about people who actually get to live in New York City, jealous.

  • Anthropologie sale rack
  • Scriptures online - genius!

Your turn!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Gift cards.... yay or nay?

There is a great debate on whether gift cards are appropriate as gifts (ie. Christmas, birthday, wedding, etc.) or if they are a cop out/didn't know what to get you kind of gift.

I, for one, think a gift card is a great gift to give, or receive. To some the gift of shopping is a better present than an actual object (speaking from experience here), to others it may not. I guess the key here is to know which kind of person the receiver of the gift is and give appropriately.

At our wedding we got TONS of Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond gift cards - it was so fun to go shopping and load our carts (yes, plural) to the max and not be out a dime. It's probably the only chance we'll get to do that for the next few years, so it was that much better. My aunt Deanna in Houston gave me some restaurant gift cards for my birthday and called them "date cards" for going out on dates with Jared - love that! Such a good gift for married couples on a tight budget.

Here are some gift card ideas I think you can never go wrong with:

*Great gift for college students, newlyweds, or anyone with in need of a room makeover!

*Always a safe bet - you can pretty much get anything from groceries to home stuff, beauty products to sports equipment.

* This is a favorite of mine. You can choose any year long subscription from
the 50 listed inside! There's stuff for girls (InStyle, Real Simple, etc.) and guys (Sports Illustrated, Men's Health, etc.). It's the gift that gives all year!

* Not one you would think of as exciting - but they have more than just 30 gallon jugs of Hershey Syrup and 100 count boxes of granola bars. My mom found some AWESOME patio furniture there and I've had my eye on a set of Apothecary jars that look exactly like the ones I want from Pottery Barn.

* Also not one I would think of off the bat - but their dishes and cookware are awesome. Everything is pretty much always on sale so, with a gift card, a little goes a long way at Kohl's.

What do you think? Do you like giving/receiving gift cards or does it seem insincere?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Basil, my love

Basil makes me happy. I love the way it smells and tastes, and the way it looks on my back porch! I grew these from little seeds and look how big they are now, I'm so proud!

I used Genovese basil which is supposed to be the strongest smelling and the best for pesto. It really is the strongest smelling basil EVER - even if I just brush my hand against it while I'm watering I can smell it on my skin when I go inside. So I made a little ritual of touching it on my way out to the car in the morning so I can smell the freshness, it's my favorite.

And it happens to be your lucky day my friends - I am sharing the pesto recipe I got in Italy when I studied abroad with you, the best pesto ever! And if there's one thing I know for sure it's that Italians know their pesto. Molto bene, buon appetito!

Fresh Basil Pesto

  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp grated Pecorino cheese
  • 1 clove chopped garlic
  1. Mash basil into a fine paste (best to chop first, then grind with mortar and pestle, or just chop a lot!)
  2. Add olive oil, pine nuts, cheese and garlic. Mix well. (add extra olive oil if needed)
  3. Serve on hot pasta or chill for pasta salad.

Me, back in the summer, hoping my little basil seeds will grow!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

How to get free magazine subscriptions...

Yes, I have a small addiction to magazines. I currently have subscriptions to Glamour, Lucky, Allure, Bazaar, and Real Simple. So maybe it's not exactly a small addiction - don't judge me.

But the great thing is that all but one of these I got for FREE!

I joined this online survey group called e-Rewards Opinion Panel (for free) where two or three times a month I fill out surveys about everything from car insurance to what printer I prefer, and in turn I earn "reward dollars" that I can exchange for lots of different things - I choose magazine subscriptions. I don't get any spam and the surveys are really quick, it's awesome.

Click here to check it out, enjoy!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


That's what we have with our little Chauncey, he is definitely a dog trapped in a cat's body.

  • He fetches anything from his toy mouse to hair clips, if Jared and I are both there he will take turns bringing it back to each of us, I guess he's trying to be fair.
  • He drags around this toy cat like it's his prey, all the while breathing through his mouth so it sounds like a dog panting.
  • And he can open just about any door that's not shut all the way (he either wedges his arm through until it pushes open, or he puts both paws underneath and pulls it open).

Quite a piece of work, and pretty much the funniest thing I've ever seen!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Dear Santa

I'm in desperate need of a new watch. This is difficult because I get very attached to my watch and struggle to find one that I like. But mourning the loss of my watch I've had for eight years or so (Kenneth Cole men's watch that was perfection!) has been made much easier by discovering this little lovely!

Love this little ID case, cute and small.

I was stuck in an airport a few months ago when I wandered in to a Brooks Brothers store and fell in love. A good button down shirt just really does it for me, but a non-iron button down - STOP IT! I wanted to scoop up an armful right then and there but they are a little pricey, so I've admired from afar. There's just something about a crisp white button down.

One of my family's Christmas traditions is a bottle of new perfume in our stocking (and cologne for Dad!). I look forward to this every year, these are some scents I'm loving right now.

Love these nature necklaces. The acorn one is J.Crew and the leaf one is Urban Outfitters - both under $50!

I also like this little red bracelet from Kitson, can you tell I need new jewelry!?

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Dessert to die for - Panna Cotta

Kellye likes it too!

This dessert is one of my favorites of all time, it's kind of like custard - but better. The best part is you can top it with just about anything you can think of (chocolate sauce, fresh berries, candied lemon zests, blueberry sauce, you name it!) So you can make the plain panna cotta and have a buffet of toppings for everyone to add their own, definitely a way to impress your friends or family (and it's easy!).

Be sure to make it the night before and let it refrigerate overnight. You'll need some little ramekins like these to make it, you can use large or small ones depending on the portion size you want.

Panna Cotta

  • 1 pkt unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/8 cup sugar

  1. Pour milk into a small bowl, stir in gelatin powder. Set aside.

  2. In a saucepan, stir together heavy cream and sugar over medium heat. Bring cream to a simmer, whisking occasionally until sugar has dissolved completely. Pour gelatin and milk into the cream, stirring until completely dissolved. Cook for one minute, stirring constantly.
  3. Pour into large measuring cup with a pouring spout (or something with a spout) then pour into ramekins or custard cups.
  4. Cool the ramekins at room temperature. When cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or overnight).
  5. Turn ramekin over onto plate to remove panna cotta, finish with topping of your choice!

I like mine with strawberries and a little sugar sprinkled on top.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Kellye's birthday weekend

Tyler was so much fun last weekend! We got in town just in time for Kellye's birthday dinner with the fam and a few of Kellye's friends and it was so good - no one does steak and potatoes better than my mom!

(I have a very serious family, can't you tell?)

Now this is what you call a birthday cake!

And what kind of party is complete without a towel fight. This is actually a pretty common occurrence at the Murray house during "clean up time", keeps you on your toes!
(and never without a towel, or you're in trouble)

I think Paige won.

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