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a recipe: chicken pesto pasta

Posted on: 2.20.2017

this weekend was one for the books. it went on forever in the best kind of way, we got a lot done and also did a lot of nothing. what a beautiful conundrum. Friday night, I felt awful after work so I stayed home and just rested and it paid off, by Saturday morning, I woke up feeling much much better. Saturday morning was absolutely gorgeous in Cincinnati with so much sunshine. You could just tell that everyone was in a better mood, walking their dogs and eating lunches outside. Not that we had a hard winter at all, but still... it was in the 60's all weekend and so so glorious. I cleaned the apartment and scrubbed the floors and ripped all of the sheets off of the bed and washed everything. All the windows were open and the house got aired out for hours and hours. Once I had the house cleaned, I ventured out to bargain hunt (have you been there? it's insane. you'll love it) and found new sheets and a throw blanket and maybe a candle or two. (does anyone else hate lighting candles when the windows are open? like you're wasting your good smells because they're flowing outside? maybe I'm alone on this.) Sunday was spent by having brunch with Andrew's parents and then a trip to good ol' Ross to spend some time with my family. By 5 o clock, I couldn't wait to get home, curl up with that new throw blanket, and order Chinese. thank you to whoever invented food delivery. After two million fork fulls of lo mein, I fell asleep on Andrew's lap and the weekend was officially over. It was a good one. Full of nothing in particularly special but it was exactly what I needed. Anyway, over the weekend I made this pasta. It's stupid easy but oh so good and maybe not super healthy but it could be worse? maybe? anywhere here it is:

1/2 a box of vermicelli, cooked obvz. 

1 1/2 cups pesto 
about 10 roasted cherry tomatoes 
a handful of fresh spinach leaves 
half a chicken breast, cooked and sliced 
a handful of goat cheese crumbled  

mix and devour! 

have the best week, you! 

last week in photos & fun stuff around the web

Posted on: 2.17.2017

Pam from The Office can finally enjoy Chili's again.

Harambe in the news! 

Lady Gaga and her perfect bod. 

who doesn't love girls nights AND the dollar store?

my brush finally (after 24 hours. ha) and i'm so excited to start dry brushing

my best friend, the welder

Posted on: 2.14.2017

for years, people thought that Jon and I were nuts for continuing to live together after we broke up. A little background for anyone new to this little corner of the internet- Jon and I dated for 2.5 years, split up on my birthday 3 years ago (no seriously, we broke up on my birthday. looking back, it's funny. but that night was pretty terrible) and since we had a spare bedroom (and let's be honest, we both loved our apartment) Jon basically just moved down the hall. We continued to remain the best of friends for years and while there were times that our dynamic made little to no sense, I don't regret much of it. (for the first year after breaking up, we didn't have new boyfriends or girlfriends over. This rule ended when Jon brought home a girl that we later hosted a holiday dinner with. Both mine and Jon's families and his new girlfriend... all sitting around a holiday table. Worst idea ever. To say I drank that night would be the understatement of the year!) Our story raises a lot of eyebrows but I've never been one to lead much of a conventional life so why wouldn't I live with my x boyfriend for years? We shared the bills, talked about most everything, stayed close with each other's families and have remained friends through everything life has thrown our way. he's my go-to person when I need someone to be brutally honest with me, in a gentle yet stern way. When you can rely on a person to tell you when you are in the wrong and when you need to straighten up, it's nice.

I've watched Jon slowly blossom for years, finding his place in this city as an amazing bartender and someone that people recognize most anywhere. He's known for having a great personality, knowing how to make a great drink, and making his bars a fun place to be. So when he told me a few months back that he would be taking on a new field alongside his dad, I nearly fell over. I would be scared out of my mind to leave what I know and venture into a new world of things to learn so I gotta give the guy credit. Jon is still bartending but in what little spare time he has, he's working alongside his dad and learning the ropes of welding. His dad does some of the most beautiful work locally, as well as all over the country, and you've surely passed by a railing or stairway that his hands built. It's so cool to know that Jon is working on these projects now, too. I love to document anything, so when Jon invited me to come down to his dad's shop to shoot a little bit, I was more than happy to come by. I'm glad he has a few photos of himself starting this new journey and I want to leave them on here for safe keeping. So proud of you, Jon! and let me know when I can expect my new bookshelf! 

how to: homemade mini heart bath bombs

Posted on: 2.10.2017

let me begin this post by saying… i am a beginner in the world of bath bomb making. i learned a lot in the past few days of making these and i'm here to share a little know how with you, my fellow "too broke to afford lush on the daily" friends. all of the mini bombs i made (about 35) cost the fraction of the balls you can get at the mall, but these aren't nearly as fancy. Mine smell amazing and will make your skin baby soft and your bath water pretty but they aren't full of glitter or confetti or flower petals or anything else crazy. They're just a nice, mid week bomb for your average consumer. Hands up! 

my idea was to make a million of these, in all the same colors as those Valentine's day heart candies we all know and hate and pass them out to my girlfriends. They aren't too time consuming except for the waiting part and purple, as it turns out, is the hardest color to make so i'll be perfecting those a little bit BUT we're getting there, people! these were my first trial run and I just thought it would be fun to share in case anyone out there wanted to make some of their own for friends or for yourself this Valentines! 

i like these mini bombs because 1. i think they look cute in a variety of colors and crammed into a jar and 2. i have no patience to wait for amazon to ship me my sphere mold and Michaels had mini heart molds. so there ya go! most of the ingredients that go into these are probably already in your cabinet at home (except citric acid… my god, that stuff was a nightmare to find. Cincinnati people- they have it at Clifton Natural Foods and that was where I found it after searching at Kroger, Target, Meijer and Wal Mart. It was a fun hunt, let me tell you. But the citric acid, I assume, is the star of your show that creates the fizzy goodness soooo it's pretty crucial. 

you will need:
mini heart mold pretty similar to this one
bowl & spatula

4 oz. baking soda
2 oz. epson salt
2 oz. corn starch
2 oz. citric acid

1 1/2 tsp. water 
1 tsp. essential oil (i've used lavender and sweet orange. both are yum)
1 1/4 tsp. melted coconut oil
a few drops of food coloring, optional but recommended. 

combine all dry ingredients. 
combine all wet ingredients
sssssllloooowwwwlllyyyy add your wet to your dry, stirring with a spatula to combine. if you start to see fizzing, you're pouring too quickly. slow it down. once all of your liquid is in your bowl, continue to mix. you'll get a nice, clumpy texture… think wet sand. you should be able to pick it up, squish it in your hand, and it keep its shape.

add your mix to your molds and pack. them. in. tight. 
let your bomb molds sit for about 15 minutes to set.
then, flip your mold over and gently (like petting a baby butterfly, gently) push the hearts out of the mold. if they don't come out easily, or pieces stick inside of the mold, they aren't ready. give them a few more minutes (this happened to me maybe 15 times. you can just take it out, add a baby bit more of water and try again. or just crush it up and have a nice bath tonight. whatever)

let your mini hearts sit out on the counter over night or for about eight hours to make sure they are completely dry and then yay!! 
some. will. be. ugly. it's cool. they work the same. they smell like a dream and fizz and make your skin soft so it's fine. but just so you're warned, those grey looking ones? they're supposed to be purple… also, they aren't supposed to look like shit. but, i added waaay too much water while i was trying to make purple and they turned out looking like ugly little heart shaped rocks. but ironically they smell the best so what are ya gonna do?
anyway, they're fantastic and cheap and easy and will make great gifts for years to come. i have a sphere mold on its way to me as we speak and i plan on getting pretty brave with trying out scents and what not sooo report back!! 

The Candle Lab in OTR

Posted on: 2.08.2017

you have a better chance of finding two matching snowflakes than getting my three best friends in the same room at one time. Between noncorresponding schedules and everything else that life throws at us... well... I rarely get to see them, especially together. So when I was able to corner them with a birthday guilt trip, I took full advantage. No shame here in playing the "but it's my birthday" card. and a few weeks back, I drove by the cutest little candle shop in OTR that I googled later and fell in love with. The Candle Lab is one of OTR's newest and greatest treasures that offers the yummiest soy candles in more scents than you could imagine. (old books? leather? lemongrass? all delicious) So when the opportunity came up to do an evening with them, I rallied up the ladies and headed for a night of candle making!! 
so here's the scoop on how it works. Yes, they have rows and rows of candles you can purchase, smell them all to your heart's desire and ring them up at the counter. OR you can get reeeeally crazy and - listen to this- CREATE YOUR OWN. Which is exactly what we did. We went up and down tthe rows in the shop, picked out our favorite scents and got to combine three of them into a unique smell for us to each take home. How cool is that? You choose everything from the jar to the smells to the freaking label and it's a scent you made yourself so it's extra special. Ashley went with the manliest of choices and combined bourbon and straight razor and it literally smelled like what you want your boyfriend to smell like. I'm pretty sure Maria came up with some sort of peach and peppercorn combo? I think? I can't remember but that girl has better taste than anyone I know so I'm sure it turned out perfect. I played it safe, as I tend to do in situations like this, and went with some of my favorite staple candle smells: Peppercorn, rosemary, and patchouli. You know that saying "too much of a good thing?" yeahhhh that does NOT apply when it came to combining peppercorn, rosemary, and patchouli to make a candle. This candle, though I'm biased, is the best candle that has ever lived in the apartment and I love it so much. They had the nicest staff to help guide us through the quick and painless process and now we each have hours and hours of burning time to enjoy!

 ^ once you pick the scents, you take a little whiff of all three together, making sure you love them. brilliant.
^ after pouring your candles, they sit for about an hour and a half. just enough time to walk down to a nearby restaurant for a drink, some pesto and french fries. 
this post was sponsored by The Candle Lab

a birthday trip to las vegas

Posted on: 2.06.2017

 it has to be getting annoying to the world at large, but i talk about how amazing Andrew is from sun up to sun down and this year, for my birthday, that guy did not disappoint. he surprised me a few months back and told that he booked us a trip out to Las freaking Vegas for my birthday and it's been the longest couple of months ever in anticipation. i'm lucky enough to be dating someone that makes a trip to the grocery store a fun experience, but I knew that a four day getaway to Vegas would be a chart topping experience and yes, I was right.

We left for the airport on my actual birthday, the 31st, after a full day at work and had dinner in the airport. We spent the flight sipping our staple vodka & tonics and while I wish I could say that once we arrived, we went out that night and got crazy in Vegas, we most definitely did not. the evening was spent in our room at about 10:30 at night (cut us some slack, there's a 3 hour time difference AND we had worked that day!) to change into sweatpants and watch Friends in bed unit we passed out! I never did get used to the time change, as I was up at 6 am every morning and tried my damnedest to stay quiet while Andrew slept. BUT! the trip was amazing. Wednesday, we got up and went on the Neon Museum Tour which I highly recommend. (Remember when cousin Vicky and Audrey dance on signs in Vegas Vacation? Yeah, we were there!) and ended the afternoon with a walk thru "Old Vegas" which is totally my style. Picture Roseanne and when she went to Vegas. The good kind of people watching. You know what I'm talkin' about. And then Thursday, Andrew's friend gifted us with tickets to Cirque Du Soleil Beatles Love show and it was absolutely incredible. Obviously, we stayed on the edge of our seats, praying none of these crazy acrobats fell but the show was jaw dropping. Soooo bummed that I couldn't take pictures in there! And on Friday, we went to the Daniel Tosh stand up show and I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard. My cheeks actually hurt when we walked out of the theater.

Each day was spent with afternoon naps, cleaning up the hotel room (does anyone else love straightening up their hotel room? putting the shoes in rows against the wall? laying their makeup brushes out on the counter in size order?? maybe it's just me) We ate soooo much food  in so many neat restaurants and drank plenty of booze but I gotta say, we were in bed every night by midnight and spent maybe 15 minutes in the casino. I pull down the slot machine knobs like a boss, let me tell you. It's a crazy world out there in Vegas and while I can't imaging heading back any time soon (it's a little more of an MTV scene while I"m sort of an HGTV kind of gal) I'm so lucky that Andrew took the time to make my birthday weekend so special and fun and different. 29 is already off to a pretty damn good start, I gotta say!!

^ my first time to sprinkles. i hate to say they were the best cupcakes i've ever had.
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