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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Things We Love: Miracle Products

I really love nail polish. All colors, doesn’t matter.

For years, this love has only been on display on my toenails, because I seemed to be incapable of giving myself a decent manicure, preventing it from smudging, or being able to wear it for more than a day or two without chipping it.

That, my friends, has changed.

Let me introduce you to my new best friend:

This product is a total game changer.

A great manicure now takes me less than 15 minutes from start to actually being able to use my hands ago. Before I would sit for about an hour, afraid to touch anything, and still somehow manage to screw up my nails. SO annoying. Now all I do is this:

  1. Put on a layer of base coat. Wait about a minute.
  2. Put on 2-3 layers of nail polish back to back. Wait two minutes.
  3. Put on a layer of this top coat. Done

Technically, this is supposed to have your nails dry to the touch in 30 seconds (!), but I err on the side of caution and go for 5-10 minutes, or until whatever tv show I’m watching is over. Easy.

The best part? Most of my manicures now last about a week before chipping. Which means that it’s all actually worth my time.

Love it.

More information available here


Foodie Friday: Orzo Salad

I have a really, really bad habit. I buy my lunch every day during the week. Which means I spend a lot of stupid money that I don’t need to. While some of the meals I eat aren’t too bad, others, like my Chick-fil-a addiction (they know me by name) aren’t so great.

The main reason I do this is because I really just need to get out of the office for that hour. I pick up my lunch and sit in my car and (nerd alert) read my Kindle and it makes me happy.

I’m hoping to start making large amounts of things on Sunday that I can pack up and eat 3 to 4 times through the week (Chick-fil-a will so still be happening sometimes), and this easy and yummy orzo salad is one of them. I might add some tuna to it for some protein, but the recipe is perfectly tasty as is.

Orzo Salad (I think it’s a Giada recipe originally)

  • 1 pound orzo pasta
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries (or cranberries)
  • 12 fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (sometimes I leave this out. Those suckers are not cheap)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cook the orzo until al dente. Drain it, and then spread it out on a large sheet pan. Drizzle with 3 tbsp olive oil, stir gently, and set aside to cool.

Once the orzo is cool, transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss gently to combine. Season to taste. I often add more lemon juice, but it’s a personal preference.

Perfect for a picnic, as a side, or as something to allow your mornings to remain a little lazy during the week.

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today, Josh asked me to marry him. In honor of that completely awesome occasion, I thought I’d retell our engagement story.

The story: Josh had suggested we go to our favorite Indian place, which I’m always up for, so we headed that way, only to find out once we got there that they’re closed on Monday nights. Bummer. Instead, we went to our favorite restaurant ever, The Red Pony, where we proceeded to have an incredible meal. Probably our best one there. We lingered over drinks and I had no clue anything special was going to happen, since Josh was as cool as can be.

After dinner, we decided that, since it was a little stormy and a little warmer than it has been lately, we’d go up to the Natchez Trace bridge. Our very first date, Josh took me up there to watch a storm, not knowing that one of the few things on my “list” for my future husband was someone to watch storms with. I told him that story about a month or so after we first started dating, and he loved it. Anyway, we went up top and walked out on the bridge in the dark and just huddled together and enjoyed the view and the silence.

Then Josh started telling me how much the past months had meant to him, and how much he loved me, and how excited he was for our future. Then, he said “Allyn Abigail Sossaman, will you marry me?” and knelt down and pulled the ring box out of his pocket. It was pitch black dark, so I couldn’t even see the ring, but through the tears and laughter, said YES! He stood up and hugged me and kissed me.

Then the cops showed up.

The bridge is closed to pedestrians after dark, and we’ve always known this, but it’s never been an issue before. The cop asked if we’re just making out, or if we’re going to jump. I wipe tears away and say “he just proposed!” The cop still asked for Josh’s liscense, and while he checking it in his car, I look at my GORGEOUS ring for the first time. By the lights of a cop car. Classic. The cop came back, pulled out his flashlight, looked at the ring, and said “this will just make your story better.”

He was right.

The very first picture of my bling

Foodie Friday: Spicy Steamed Mussels


I never knew just how amazing mussels were until I had them at The Mermaid Inn in New York a few years back. I instantly fell in love, to the extent that Josh now knows that when we go out to dinner, if steamed mussels are on the menu, there’s a 99% chance we’ll be ordering them.

Hey, I know what I like.

For some reason, they always seemed way too intimidating to make at home. I’m not exactly sure where I got this idea, since this meal is one of the easiest things we’ve ever made, and oh so delicious. 

The original recipe calls for 1 pound for two people.

We made 2.5 pounds, and ate every bite. With bread.

We decided the easiest way to do this was to sit on the floor of our living room and have a picnic while watching our latest obsession, Friday Night Lights (one of the best shows ever). The reason the photo above is so bad is because immediately after taking it I threw my phone to the side and dug in.

I have priorities.

Recipe from here:

Spicy Steamed Mussels

  • 1 pound mussels (Get Prince Edward Island mussels if you can, and think fondly of Anne Shirley)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 tablespoons Italian parsley, minced and divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Salt

Place the mussels in a bowl and cover them with cold water. Mix in the two tablespoons of flour and allow to stand for 30 minutes. This will allow the mussels to release any sand. Next, drain the mussels and pull the “beards” off. If the mussels are dirty, scrub them, removing any dirt and be sure to discard any that aren’t tightly shut.

In a large saute pan, melt butter over medium heat. Once melted, add the shallots and garlic; cook for 3-4 minutes and until translucent. Add 2 tablespoons of Italian parsley, crushed red pepper and white wine. Bring to a simmer, reducing liquid for 5-7 minutes.

 Transfer clean mussels to the pot and cover with a lid, steaming them for 2-3 minutes. Holding the lid down, give the pot a shake one or two times; this will make sure the mussels at the bottom don’t burn. You’ll know when the mussels are done when they’re all open, throwing away any that refuse to open. Scoop mussels into two separate bowls, and ladle liquid over each bowl. Serve with bread.

Single Girl’s Valentine’s Day

I find myself a single girl, despite being married, this Valentine’s day. Here’s a great way to spend the evening without feeling sorry for yourself.

After work stop at the store and pick up some supplies for dinner. While you’re there, pick up some flowers for yourself. You’re worth it and they will brighten up your space.

Source: via Portia on Pinterest

Once you’re home, open a bottle of your favorite wine and make yourself some delicous pasta. I recommend The Pioneer Woman’s Penne a la Betsy. Its creamy and delicious. You can worry about your diet tomorrow.

Put your pasta in a bowl, grab your glass of wine, and curl up on the couch to watch Downton Abbey.

Afterwards be thankful for who you are and that your entire future isn’t in the hands of male relatives.

Accidental Couples Therapy

Just in time for Valentine’s day my husband and I stumbled upon a couple’s therapy method. A few weeks ago one of my favorite local photographers posted that they needed models to test out some new methods and equipment and I volunteered my husband and I. On Friday we spent the afternoon posing and staring into each other’s eyes. Afterwards Bryan and I were talking about how nice it was to be so close and just start into each other’s eyes for a while.

We’ve been married nearly four years now and together almost six. While we’re really happy together, its been a long time since we just held each other and were close. Life gets in the way after a while.

Stop what you’re doing one night this week and just snuggle and gaze into each other’s eyes for a while. It might seem a little weird at first, but trust me, you’ll like the results.

Foodie Friday: Roasted Vegetables

This is hardly a recipe. More like a reccomendation.

You trust me, right?

If any of you refuse to eat brussel sprouts, you need to change your mind now and make this.

I might have eaten thirds. Maybe.

Don’t judge.

One of the most popular things we cooked for our Christmas feast were brussel sprouts.

Now I’m even more obsessed with them than ever, and this combo is pretty dang fantastic.

Please try it. If you don’t like it, I’ll… well, I won’t do anything but be sad for you.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Friends

  • Brussel Sprouts
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 large yellow (sweet) onion
  • Olive oil
  • Salt (I love sea salt)
  • Freshly cracked pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with aluminium foil. Trim the outer leaves and bottoms of the sprouts and quarter them. Cut the squash into small pieces (I put mine in the microwave for about a minute to soften it before I ever attempt to cut it. I like my fingers and intend to keep them for a long time). Cut the onion into whatever sized pieces you’d like. Just not too small, or they’ll get burned.

Toss the veggies in olive oil and lots of salt and pepper, spread out on the cookie sheet and cooked for about 30 minutes, stirring once or twice while cooking. It’s done when the squash is tender and everything is delicious and amazing and life changing.

We served this with, well, I don’t remember. Probably a lamb chop or pork chop. I just remember eating lots and lots of this.