Mardi Gras Traditions!

If you live on the eastern half of the US, then I'm sure your day has been just as dreary and wet as mine... it also kinda feels like it should be Friday {what a busy work-week}. Good thing tomorrow is a half-day for me... cause I'm packing my bags and heading south for Mardi Gras, y'all!  It's kinda fun to share your birth place with that of moon-pies, king cakes, beads, masks and revelries... that is none other than Sweet Home Mobile, Alabama!

My Dad's crew celebrates their 20th anniversary this year - nothing compared to some of the groups that are celebrating well over 250 this year - but it's still one of the best ball's in town! I promise to actually take lots of pics this weekend, so I can share next week. But today I thought I would share some things we're looking forward to most this weekend.

Pollman's King Cakes. One of the oldest bakeries in Mobile {and our wedding cake bakery} Pollman's is just about as old-school as they come and so are their king cakes. But, it really only feels right to have one {or a few} of these bad boys for the weekend!

Zapp's!  ...and not just any Zapp's... but Mardi Gras Zapp's and VooDoo Gumbo!   eeewwww-wweee, I can almost taste them!

The Mobile Excelsior Band. These guys know how to play some tunes!! Want a taste of your own - you can almost feel like you're in Mobile.

Mud Bugs Craw-tators!!! I'm ready for a big 'ol sack of Bayou la batre craw-tators.

Parades... and moon-pies, and beads, and cheesy stuffed animals, paper flowers, footballs, plastic cigars... and all the other junk you scream your head off for, just to give back to my Dad to thrown again next year. But, hey - it's kinda fun to act like a kid!

Most importantly, look forward to spending time with these folks....

Laissez les bons temps rouler!!! 


What to buy at Trader Joe's?

Just about everyone I know loves shopping at Trader Joe's.. It's like Whole Foods for half the price and twice the flare. :) Real people can actually afford to shop there on a daily bases... and some of the products are actually cheaper than your local Piggly Wiggly {believe it or not}!

We finally have a Trader Joe's within a close driving distance {1hr, 15min}, so yesterday the hubs stopped by on his way home from the airport and picked us up some goodies. He told me to send him a list, of course I said - 3 buck Chuck. Because frankly, thanks all I really know to buy there. But I know they have tons of great stuff, so I did some research and found lots of cool items. Also, many thanks to this article from CBS news, I found the top 6 things to buy at Trader Joe's are {in no particular order} chocolate, flowers, toilet paper, trail mix & nuts, cheese and maple syrup. Random, huh? But - they are the best quality items at the lowest cost.

Since we're pretty stocked on TP and I wasn't sure cheese would make it home... I requested wine, chocolate and Mango Passion Granola cereal.

Doing some research, I came across this blog... and maybe it's just me, but I have never {ever} read a blog written by a guy {unless it's fraternity blog, which then - my husband would be a culprit}, but I was intrigued... he's pretty funny, and was exceptionally amused by his love of this granola.

As for chocolate, according to taste test done by SeriousEats.com Trader Joe's brand chocolate chips beat out both Nestle and Hershey's to take the crown. I'll have to let you know how they turn out in my next batch of cookies.

Next, in my research I learned a great deal about "3 buck Chuck"... The best, the worst and some other fun drinks you can make with it. This article is a great read if you have time.

I had him pick up 3 bottles of Cabernet {said to be juicy and jammy} and 3 bottles of Pinot Grigio {think Asian pear & kiwi}.  Since we can down a bottle by ourselves on any given night of the week, I decided having a couple bottles laying around wasn't such a bad idea. I will say, if you're in the market for a fun Stock the Bar shower gift, a case of 3 buck chuck would be awesome - because they will actually drink it. How many of you still have bottles of wine in your wine chiller from your wedding or engagement party. Yes, that would be me - raising my hand.  Now, we got a fair amount of wine during our engagement year at various parties and what not... but, I feel like it's a waste to pull out a $25 bottle of wine on a Monday night to go with shrimp stir-fry.  Don't you?  Maybe this year our goal should be to find a special occasion to drink each bottle - and re-stock with 3-buck Chuck?  Sounds like a plan to me.  Anyways... back to the blog.

What are your favorite items to buy at Trader Joe's? Please do share!


Honeymoon Scrapbook!

I finally finished this back in the fall, but I keep forgetting to share since it was on my "30before30" list. Today I also added the monogram letters to the front. They turned out so pretty! I used Ashlyn's Alphabet cartridge, which I was given for Christmas 2011 - I know, I'm asking myself the same silly question, no idea why I haven't used it. But, I will start putting it to use a lot more now.

The scrapbook is very rugged... But I wanted it to authentic. Nothin fancy when it comes to Antigua. We loved every minute... And are counting the days until we get to go back!

I enjoyed flipping back through it today... while I'm home sick. {blah}. It brightened my day, hope it does the same for you!

Who else is ready for some beach time??


Snow Day Fun

Happy Snow Day & Friday!!! 

Since I am one of two people left in the office today I decided to share some of my favorite snow day traditions....

Watching pretty little birdies search for food. This morning a cardinal tuckered down right outside my window while the snow started pouring down. His bright red against the white snow was so pretty!

Snow Angels!  Now, who doesn't love watching someone make their first snow angel. For me... that was only a few years ago. When was your first angel?

Who doesn't love a good excuse to dress like they live at the north pole??

Hot Cocoa ~ good for the soul. 

...and a little something to warm up your tummy!  

What do you have planned for your snow day/weekend?  I'm hoping the roads are clear in the morning so I can scoot up the road to help some of my chapters with recruitment. Wish me luck!

Stay warm! 


Cupcakes for 2

If any of you have a huge sweet tooth like me or this one... more often than not, on any given night after dinner, I think to myself, man I sure would like something sweet right now.  Not just candy {even though dark chocolate Dove is my go-to} but something homemade, decadent and full of calories!  Last week on a whim I decided that I just had to have a cupcake - I promise I'm not preggo - but if we lived in a city, that request could have been easily solved by the dozen or so cupcake shops on every corner. But, not in lil ole' lex. So I opened the pantry and decided I was going to make my own. But, just for 2 - because lord knows if I had made an entire batch I would have eaten way more than my share.

So, cupcakes for 2 it was!  I thought this could also scratch off #24.

One Bowl Vanilla Cupcakes for Two
serves 2
1 egg {I used a small banana since we were out of eggs}
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla (yes, a full teaspoon or more if you wish!)
1/4 cup flour
1/4 heaping teaspoon of baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tablespoons skim milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with 2 liners.
In a bowl, add egg/banana and sugar and whisk until combined. Add in vanilla and melted butter and stir until mixed. Add flour, baking powder and salt and stir until smooth. Stir in milk. Divide batter equally between the 2 cupcake liners.
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes, or until cake is set. Using the banana made it much more dense, so it took almost 20 minutes to cook. Let cool completely, then frost as desired. I used peanut butter since adding the banana made the cupcakes vanilla-banana cupcakes! 


Good Eats this week!

I had a bit of a Pinterest study session last week and decided I wanted to try out some fun new recipes... all of which were excellent and really easy to make!

Spicy Sausage Pasta
We cooked this recipe exactly like it read and it was awesome!! 

Original recipe and picture can be found here.

Lasagna Roll-ups
We modified this slightly, using ground turkey with lots of spice and adding some spinach and mushrooms to get some veggies in... they turned out cute, but were kinda hard to make. I ended up just putting the noodles in cupcake tins and layering the ingredients inside. They were pretty good.

Original recipe and picture can be found here.

Perfect Potato Soup
I forgot to take a picture, but they turned out so pretty! We used turkey bacon instead of the real stuff and it was just as good. 

Recipe and picture can be found here.

Hope you enjoy as much as we did - bon appetite! 


Friday Favorites

Today I decided to go with a traditional post and share some items I've come across this week that I have enjoyed and wanted to share!

Since the weather has been less-than-desirable this week, {zero points for sleeping in every day this week and making it to zero 6am workouts} I finally had a good excuse to break out my new Hunter Rain Boots from the hubs!

He picked out the color all by himself - the new Teal Lagoon Blue! Love them.

Also, on my top picks of the week, Flatout Foldit's! These suckers are delicious... and one Foldit has 7 grams of fiber and only 90 calories.  It's a great way to eat some more fiber on the go... and tasty too!

The Jean shirt.
So, for the past year I've been having a major mental conflict trying to decide if these are really back in style... and whether or not 'm ready to jump on the bandwagon yet.  Well this week, I found one at Ross for $14 and decided it couldn't hurt to add one to my wardrobe.  What do you think? Have you jumped on yet? I guess it will be a fun casual addition to the closet.

Mrs. Meyer's Hand Soap. 
I'm not sure where I have been for the past 10 years... but this soap is amazing!  I have had it at friends houses for years, but after hand washing every dish in the house... I now realize the quality behind a good hand soap. 

Uno - yes,  the card game. 
We're going old school here and throwing this one out there because last night, while we were "snowed in" we played Uno for hours on end... and had SO much fun! I just had to add it to the list today because I forgot how much fun a little bit of old fashioned games could be. 

So if you're looking for a fun relaxing night at home... invite a few friends over, have a delicious meal and break out some card games.  

It's the weekend folks... Cheers to RE Lee and MLK for Monday off! See you next week. 

xo, Trace


Happy Birthday Mal Pal!

Today, a shout out to one of my Mango's... Mal Pal turns 29!!!  Love you sweet friend!!!

I know you are having a fabulous Birthday in the Big Apple with your wonderful hubs... BUT I hate the Mango's can't be there to celebrate with you... so I thought it would be fun to share a few of my favorite memories {and a few laughs} with you...

Lynsey's Wedding... '09

Dance lesson from Mr. Jeff

Lyns' Rehearsal 

Mango 2012


Your B'ette!

Dot's B'ette

DI Mango

AU '05

SB '06

Beautiful Bride!

{Will you please look at my face - weird. ha!}

War Damn Mango's!! and HAPPPY BIRTHDAY Mal, I love YOU!!!!