Five On Friday: We’re Going to NYC!

May 27, 2016

It’s been a while since I’ve linked up for Five on Friday, but I have so many random thoughts in my head today that it’s the perfect opportunity to spill!

5 on Friday Logo - Final

1- A few weeks ago, Nick and I decided to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary in New York City (“the greatest city in the woooorld”) seeing, you guessed it, HAMILTON.

Thomas-Jefferson

We both have been obsessed with the show since November of last year so I scoured the internet and managed to find relatively cheap resale tickets to see the show. Unfortunately, finding a hotel room in New York has started to give me panic attacks. You see, I’m a little claustrophobic, so a tiny room won’t work for us. Unfortunately, a bigger room means a bigger price tag. Do any of you out there have suggestions for hotel rooms that are a little more spacious but aren’t super duper expensive?

2- Going along with those NYC hotel recommendations, we need suggestions on where to go and what to eat! We are huge foodies so we love trying out yummy places all over the city, and at all price points. I’d love to hear some recommendations in the comments below!

NYC

(Nick and I the last time we went to NYC, for like 6 hours in Dec. 2010)

4- Now that we have moved back to the Carolinas, we (namely, me) are chopping at the bit to buy a house. I’m constantly looking at houses on Trulia, Zillow, Redfin and any other sites. I don’t even want to decorate our apartment because I just want to focus on saving up and buying a house. More importantly, I’m ready to DECORATE my own place. Has anyone else felt this way?

4- I just want to say, all the praise hands emojis for our summer schedule at work. We work 8-5:30 Monday through Thursday, and then just 8-11:30 on Fridays. Getting that half day on Fridays is SO NICE and really gives me a chance to take care of things before the weekend starts. Last week I was able to go up to Charlotte and get my hair done (oh, by the way, I chopped my hair off! It actually looks longer in this picture than it actually is.)

Whitney New Hair

5- Last night Nick and I saw “X-Men: Apocalypse.” We did a Facebook Live reaction video and had a handful of people tune in to watch our thoughts! It was so much fun and we really enjoyed doing it. We’re thinking about continuing that for more movies that we see. Overall I loved the movie. I’m a huge X-Men fan so it was definitely right up my alley. Nick is doing a full review of the movie on his blog at some point today, so check it out!

Ready for X-Men

How are you spending your (hopefully) 3-day weekend?

Memorial Day Weekend Snacks:
Cheddar Bacon Ranch Dip

May 26, 2016

I don’t know about you, but I am counting down the hours until I get off tomorrow to start my Memorial Day weekend! (25 hours, 15 minutes, and some seconds, in case you were curious.) I’m spending the weekend at a cabin in the mountains with some of my best friends from college. I haven’t seen most of these ladies for over a year so it will be wonderful spend time with them again. There will be lots of food, drink, and laughter.

We aren’t planning any kind of official menu, but plan on whipping up some snacks to tide us over for the weekend. The first thing that came to my mind was this delicious Cheddar Bacon Ranch dip! And y’all, it’s so easy, I feel like I can barely call it a “recipe” at all.

I can’t take all the credit. I actually tried this dip sometime last year when a bunch of Houston bloggers went to Miller Outdoor Theatre and my dear friend Alice whipped this up right in front of us. We were all mesmerized as just how easy it was!

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Dip 2

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Dip

Ingredients:
1 – 16 oz. container sour cream
1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch Dip Mix (NOT the dressing mix)
1/2 pouch (or to taste) Hormel Real Bacon Pieces
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:
Combine sour cream and ranch dip mix in a large bowl.
Once combined, add in the cheddar cheese and bacon pieces.
Pair with your favorite chips and enjoy!
 

It really is that simple! I really like Ruffles with this particular dip (or any dip really) because it is thick and they can handle it. But I have to forewarn you, this dip is addictive. Be sure to have some friends around to share! Or you could cut down on the calories by using low fat sour cream or 2% milk cheddar cheese.

What are your plans for this Memorial Day Weekend?

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Dip

Blue Apron Review: Round 2

May 18, 2016

Blue Apron Review

Last month I had the opportunity to try out both Hello Fresh and Blue Apron at no cost thanks to their referral program and a very gracious friend who sent me free trials of each subscription. After the initial two week trial, I felt like I still didn’t have a grasp on Blue Apron and wanted to give it another go.

So last week, we received our second Blue Apron box and honestly it was a little bit of a surprise. I had forgotten to “skip” that week on my delivery schedule, so I didn’t have a chance to choose the meals I wanted to receive. Thankfully, everything that was sent to us looked good to me. We received General Tso’s Chicken with Rice and Snow Peas, Roast Pork and Mashed Potatoes with Molasses Collard Greens, and Seared Salmon Salad.

Nick and I both really enjoyed the Salmon Salad. We never really have salmon at home because I’m not a big fan of it, but I actually really enjoyed this. I might need to rethink my opinion on salmon! The combination of everything in the salad was very unusual (sunflower seeds, radishes, peas, and arugula) but it totally worked.

General Tso’s Chicken is Nick’s favorite take-out meal, so this is something we eat a lot of at home. We made it for lunch on Saturday after a 5-mile walk and it was very filling. In fact, it was almost too much food. I didn’t finish my rice or snow peas. To be fair, I didn’t really “get” the peas. You just cooked them for a few minutes in oil and to me it made the dish feel greasy. I probably would have left them out or cooked them with the chicken and tossed in the sauce.

Unfortunately there were a couple of snags. First of all, something happened to our box in transit and one of our ingredients (sambal oelek, or chili paste) had opened. Thankfully it was inside of a brown bag so it didn’t get on anything other than a few small bottles of ketchup and sesame oil.

But the biggest issue was with our pork. I’m not sure what happened, but at some point in transit, the pork loin got a hole in the packaging. We didn’t notice this until it was leaking juices in our refrigerator. Yuck. I contacted Blue Apron about the issue and they credited our account for 1/3 of the price of the box since the main ingredient of the meal was not usable. (And being the resourceful person that I am, I used the remaining ingredients for other meals later on in the week!)

Overall I probably would try Blue Apron again, especially since I have a $20 credit on my account. It’s fun to try a new recipe and to have the ingredients delivered right to your door. It’s almost mindless cooking!

Have you tried Blue Apron or another food subscription box? Did you enjoy it?

StitchFix Review May 2016

May 6, 2016

Before I get onto this month’s review, I have to be really honest with you guys: my last StitchFix box (April 2016) was not great. Nothing fit and I felt like nothing really reflected my style. I didn’t want to give up just yet, so I reached out to my friend Mia, who is another StitchFix user and stylist for the company. She gave me some really great tips on how to improve my boxes and I felt like it really paid off!

Stitch Fix Review May 2016

This month’s box was the best StitchFix box I have ever gotten. Seriously, I’m having such a hard time deciding what to keep, which is where you come in!

In case you aren’t exactly sure what Stitch Fix is, let’s review that before we look at this month’s box. Stitch Fix is a subscription box that is delivered at whatever interval you like (most people probably do monthly but you can certainly do more than that.) You pay a $20 styling fee and receive 5 pieces in your mailbox. It can be anything from shoes to clothes to accessories. Your $20 fee is applied to whatever you keep from your box.

Okay, moving onto the review!

Gilli Tahj Maxi Dress

Gilli Tahj Maxi Dress – $78

Initial impression: I have to admit, when I first pulled the dress out of the box I was very unsure about it! The bottom part of the dress is very silky and the top part is cotton. It’s probably one of the most comfortable dresses I’ve ever put on. I was surprised at how flattering it was on me. It is pretty long. I’m wear 4″ wedges underneath so it’s not perfect for a short person, but Nick (my gracious photographer) actually preferred the dress with wedges.

Verdict: I’m unsure about this one. It’s not exactly work appropriate but it’s perfect for summer and y’all know how I feel about navy… What are your thoughts?

Stitch Fix Daniel Rainn Brixton Ivy

Daniel Rainn Albado Crew Neck Blouse $58
Brixon Ivy Pinson Drape Cardigan $54

Initial impression: As soon as I saw these pieces in the box, I swooned. This cardigan is on my Pinterest board and I was so excited to get it in my box. (You can see how windy it was because the cardigan was flying all over the place!) This top is absolutely perfect for summer. I love the teal color and the floral pattern. So gorgeous!

Verdict: Right now these are my two favorite pieces in the box. I’m very interested in keeping them both, but let’s see how everything else turns out!

Market and Spruce Careen Dolman Knit Top

Market & Spruce Careen V-Neck Dolman Knit Top $48

Initial impression: Navy and stripes? My stylist obviously looked at my Pinterest board. I pretty much live in some combination of the two almost all of the time. This top is super soft and comfortable but not as flowy as I would typically like. I love the cut of it though.

Verdict: I’m extremely torn on this one. I can see myself wearing this a lot, but it is a little plain. Help!

Stitch Fix Papermoon Crochet

Papermoon Kalli Crochet Trim Knit Top $44
Brixon Ivy Pinson Drape Cardigan $54

Initial impression: I was a little nervous about the coral color of this top but I do love the crochet part on the bottom. The straps on the top are lace. Obviously we already know that I love this cardigan (worn with Daniel Rainn blouse above).

Verdict: To be honest, I probably wouldn’t wear this top on it’s own because it hits in some strange places but I really love it under this cardigan. I’m not sure if you can tell in this picture but it also gets really wrinkled and I can’t really ever be bothered to iron stuff. Thoughts?

Overall this Stitch Fix box is probably the best one I’ve ever gotten. I’m so happy that I took the time to work on my Style Pinterest board and leave some detailed notes for my stylist. It really seemed to pay off. I’ll definitely be requesting this stylist again. (Hi Lucy!)

*Disclaimer: I am a Stitch Fix influencer and there are affiliate links in this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

Queen City Bloggers: A Charlotte Blogging Community

May 5, 2016

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If you’ve been around the blog any length of time, you’ll know that connecting with other bloggers is super important to me. It’s why I began blogging in the first place and what has kept me interested in blogging since day 1.  Through blogging, I was able to learn more about Houston when I moved there and make friends that I still talk to on a daily basis.

Once I moved back to Charlotte, I was surprised that there wasn’t some kind of network created for bloggers in the area. So being the go-getter (aka overachiever and unable to say no) that I am, I decided to put together a Facebook group for Charlotte bloggers called Queen City Bloggers. (I actually did it last week but was really nervous to share it with you guys. But better late than never, right?)

Right now I’m just trying to put the feelers out to see where/who the bloggers are before we start planning any events. Not having a group like this in the area has been so strange to me, and I know there are bloggers in Charlotte who want to connect, so I’m hoping this allows us to get together and connect with like-minded folks.

This picture, while it might look completely unrelated to this post, really represents the connection you can make with other bloggers. My good friend Alice took some photos for me (before they were lost to the ages of my computer) back when I lived in Houston. My best friend Meg has also helped me out tremendously behind the scenes of the blog, whether it be for pictures, advice or moral support. It represents just one of the ways that bloggers can support each other (which Stephanie talked about on her blog today as well.)

If you’re interested, please visit the Queen City Bloggers Facebook group and request membership. I’d love to connect with you!

Queen City Bloggers square