Monday, August 29, 2016

meatless monday: tortellini tomato salad

one of the best things about living in a neighborhood is having neighbors! often times, when we don't have weekend plans, we'll plan a casual dinner and people will bring sides. since I'm a vegetarian, I am always bringing the veggie sides! a couple weeks ago, our realtor gave us a beautiful cookbook holder for our housewarming party and I immediately added a cookbook to display. I randomly turned to this page with a photo of tortellini tomato salad. it looked delicious! I didn't realize that it would inspire me so much that I would end up making it a few days later.

I also like this recipe because it was very portable in this case, for neighbor dinner. I mixed up the dressing in a mason jar and only had to bring tortellini, tomatoes, and basil in addition to the dressing. easy peasy! I would definitely recommend this recipe for a quick, easy, and yummy side dish that comes together in about 20 minutes. not only that, it's super colorful and all the guys liked it too. 

I just threw this little mason jar in my bag and put this dish together in no time at our neighbor's.


-18 oz. of frozen or refrigerated cheese tortellini
-1/2 c. olive oil
-1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
-3 T. lemon juice
-2 garlic cloves
-1 t. worcestershire sauce
-1/2 t. salt
-2 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
-1 c. corn kernels (I used canned)
-1/2 c. green onions
-1/2 c. roughly chopped basil
-salt to taste


1. prepare the tortellini according to the package.

2. meanwhile, process the olive oil and next 5 ingredients in a food processor until smooth. (I just shook them all in the mason jar). 

3. toss the olive oil mixture with the hot, strained tortellini in a large bowl. add tomatoes, corn, and basil.

4. season with salt and pepper to taste, serve.

Friday, August 26, 2016

atlanta home tour: entry way

happy friday!! another friday means another home tour post. oddly enough, the first thing you see when you walk into our home was the absolute last thing that we furnished! we left our entry way open for the first couple of months while we decided exactly what we wanted. it was also helpful for moving since there was no furniture in the way. this entry way was really built around the rug. both stephen and I love the look of a bright red persian-type of rug, but we did not want such a bold statement in our living room. we completely fell in love with the beige and light gray rug we found for the living room but were ready to make more of a splash with color in the entry way. 

our leisurely search for a red runner began and I wasn't making much progress until we randomly visited the dump one saturday. I found an amazing karastan on major sale that I snatched up, until I stumbled upon this thicker red beauty. while it was more than we wanted to spend, we acknowledged that it was exactly what we wanted. if you know us, we can justify just about anything.

and so we had the perfect rug and nothing else. since our hardwoods are so dark, I wanted to keep the rest of the pieces lighter. over the next couple of weekends, we finally found a gray mirror and a light brownish-gray distressed console table. then I struggled with a super traditional rug and somewhat farmhouse chic furniture. I needed more traditional lamps to pull it all together. 

sitting on a plane to chicago on a monday morning, I ordered two lamps from wayfair and was pleasantly surprised when I came home thursday night to find the lamps were perfect!

my next task was to add one final piece on the table between the lamps. stephen decided to be high maintenance (never!) and proclaimed that he didn't want any fake plants. we also thought candles were a no since we already had lighting covered with the lamps. what to do??

randomly on my lunch break one day, I visited my local pike's nursery to see about succulents and house plants. it was there that I found this amazing glass jar with a base that I had to have. I added some moss and a baby plant and voila. simple pieces balanced with the loud red rug. I love how it turned out, what do you think?

table, kirkland's
mirror, homegoods
plant with jar, pike nursery

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

love, labels, and charitable donations

we have our big wedding planning meeting coming up in just a few weeks! during this meeting, we will sample wedding cake, taste our full menu that we've picked out (yay for florida grouper!), plan the floral arrangements, and more. we also have hair and makeup trials the same weekend. it's going to be intense and awesome at the same time, lots of decisions to make. I'm also looking forward to designing our paper menus once we finalize the wedding meal. I love love love paper goods including invitations (if you know me, you know paper > digital), programs, thank you cards, and more. one part of wedding planning that I have truly enjoyed is picking out all the paper goods and sourcing special stamps to go along with invitations.

something I have also thought a lot about lately is favors. since our wedding is a destination for most people, we are somewhat limited in favors since liquids and carry on space may pose constraints. while stephen and I haven't officially decided, I am leaning strongly toward a charitable donation in lieu of favors. for how much weddings cost these days (if you choose to go that direction), I feel like it's a nod toward reality to give a little something to a deserving cause. it doesn't have to be a lot, but to me, just giving something is better than nothing and what better way to draw attention to a cause that the couple cares about?! when wedding paper divas reached out to me about their 100 unique wedding favor ideas, I fell in love with all their gorgeous labels, especially those for donations.

maybe it's because at an early age, my grandmother began sending us cards for our birthdays and holidays that said a donation had been made in our name in lieu of a gift - but this idea has always been near and dear to my heart. as a child, I will admit, it was sometimes frustrating to receive a gift that wasn't actually a gift for me. as an adult, I am so completely on board and am grateful for the exposure that my grandmother gave us at an early age. of course, to each their own because I'm also a huge fan of presents as well.

you can check out all the gorgeous favor ideas that wedding paper divas has to offer on their interactive tool which allows you to sort by category (hellooo, sweets... ahem, s'mores are are a do!). there are so many good ideas, I wouldn't know how to choose just one. here are a few of my favorites...

current wedding paper divas offers include:
free shipping with code FS16

this post was written in collaboration with wedding paper divas

Monday, August 22, 2016

banana pudding jars

I think I've told the banana pudding story on the blog before... 
my sister and my mom have the same birthday and my mom usually makes my sister a cake, one year I decided to make my mom a separate birthday dessert. I knew she'd told me once that she liked banana pudding, so that's what I picked. I found the perfect recipe and made the most delicious banana pudding to surprise her with! turns out, my mom is not a fan of banana pudding. I don't know where I came up with this in my head, now that I think back, maybe she said tapioca pudding. can't remember... while I did not impress my mom that day, I at least discovered an amazing banana pudding recipe.

we recently had some friends over on a weeknight and stephen said he wanted to serve dessert. I wanted to do something different and banana pudding came to mind. the perfect late summer, light yet sweet treat. I made them a few hours ahead of time in mason jars so I didn't have to fuss with serving them out of a trifle bowl. not only did they turn out to be adorable, this banana pudding was just as good as when I made it years ago for my mother.

Friday, August 19, 2016

atlanta home tour: dining room

happy friday, friends! I'm back for another installment of snaps from our new home. I hope you enjoy these posts. today, I'm sharing some pictures from our dining table room area. our kitchen cabinets and hardwoods are very dark, so this honey colored table really helps to brighten it up along with the cream upholstered chairs.

I took these pictures while we were getting ready to have a dinner party, which is why the table is set. you may remember when I traveled to cuba for a week with my mom and fell in love with their mismatched place settings. shortly after our trip, my mom gave me a ton of mismatched china that I just adore. I paired them with natural fiber chargers to casualize it a bit, given that we were serving burgers on a thursday!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

5 must-have natural indoor wreaths

everyone loves a good wreath, I have several that I switch out on my front door for seasons and holidays. I'm especially excited about the texas a&m + auburn house divided wreath that my sister gave me at our engagement party, c'mon football season! but what about indoor wreaths? my mom has used indoor wreaths for ages as decor, and I've always loved them. especially a very dainty pussy willow she has in her bathroom. I have a driftwood wreath in my guest bathroom and a dried eucalyptus wreath that I found at homegoods, final resting place tbd. give me all the wreaths!

it's safe to say that I'm in love with indoor wreaths, I think a whole wall of natural wreaths would look awesome. magnolia wreaths have been made famous with HGTV's fixer upper, it's amazing what gorgeous varieties of wreaths you can find on etsy or diy. here are some of my favorite indoor wreaths, they're also versatile - I could see the driftwood used for the holidays, pussy willow for easter, lavender for mother's day, and the list goes on. do you have indoor wreaths in your home?

Monday, August 15, 2016

my mom's famous mac and cheese

in our family, macaroni and cheese is the main course. I hate it when macaroni is served as a side dish. ok, obviously I don't hate it because I could never hate anything to do with macaroni and cheese. but as a side, it usually puts the main course to shame in my opinion. you want a side dish? go with broccoli. macaroni and cheese deserves the main stage.

this deliciously cheesy recipe is my mom's famous version and I end up making it quite a bit. the only time this dish is served as a side is for thanksgiving and christmas. otherwise, grab a warm bowl of mac and a glass of red wine - dinner is served.