Monday, October 20, 2014

Hearty White Bean Vegetable Soup

This weekend was a whirlwind!  I took a trip to Memphis to visit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.  

It was an inspiring trip and I'm never ceased to be amazed at what they do there! We toured the research lab and spoke to a doctor who is working on finding links between ALS and childhood cancer using fruit flies!  When we asked "why fruit flies?"  She said that we share the same basic DNA. Of course, our DNA differed enough though to give us hands and them wings to fly.  I feel a little gypped.

It is a truly wonderful place though.  Aside from the research being done and the live saving treatments, they work hard to make every child there feel "normal."  From the bright colorful murals on the wall, to the "make your cupcake station" in the cafeteria, to holding proms and graduations they treat EVERY need.

From St. Jude I headed home and geared up for the VBSPCA Walk for the Animals where I met "Socks" a 12 year old Pomeranian who was surrendered to the shelter after her elderly owner could no longer care for her. She has been through a lot...including loosing an eye...but she is the sweetest most loving dog! I could have held her all day!  Learn more about Sox here

A photo posted by Stephanie Taylor (@973stephanie) on

It was an emotionally fulfilling weekend and by Sunday night I was ready to relax and enjoy some comfort food :) That's where this soup came in...Hearty White Bean Vegetable Soup. 

Easy to prepare and just what I needed!  Here's the recipe

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Laundry Room Fun

Is it just me or did this past Labor Day weekend feel hotter than all of August combined?  My husband and I hibernated all weekend watching Orphan Black.  

I'm not into Sci-Fi or anything scary...basically I'm a wuss...and yet somehow I am now addicted to this show!

I had to take a break at one point though and be productive so I started to organize our laundry room.  Something I don't think has been done since we moved into our house!  I came across this on Pinterest and set out to make my own version

When I told my husband about this project he said "No, it should say Money Laundering"  Clearly he has watched WAY too much Breaking Bad
I've never seen an episode (again, I'm usually a wuss) but I admitted, it was a great idea.  We found a piece of poplar wood at Home Depot for $5.  I fell in love with the green down the front of it.  I planned to upcycle an old jar but I had to splurge on a $4 green mason jar to match.

I felt like it was missing something though...that's where all the pennies I found discarded in the laundry room came in

I lined them all up and started super gluing right at the kitchen table.  BIG mistake.  I ended up getting super glue on the table which took off the veneer in one spot!  UGH!  Any suggestions on how to cover this up?

I am happy with how the project turned out...even if I'll have a permanent reminder of it on my kitchen table.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Adventures in staycations

My husband and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary this year and decided to stay home and enjoy our first ever staycation. We figured we live at the beach, why not enjoy it?!

So we acted like tourists all week and if anyone asked where we were from instead of saying "oh we're local" we decided to be from Alaska :)  Hey- at least it explained the pale skin! 

Our adventure really started with a Dolphin Kayak Tour at the oceanfront.  It's so cool seeing the dolphins swimming all around you

The dolphins probably look even cooler now wearing the sunglasses we lost in the ocean.  On our way back in our kayak caught a wave flipping us over!  The kayak landed on my head knocking me under the water...did I mention I don't know how to swim?!  I've never loved my life jacket more.

Next up...we decided to try out the Adventure Park.  

This look says it all...what did I get myself into???
 It took me about an hour to complete the junior course... the junior one!!!
and when I got to the end there was only one way to go...down.  My husband...being a gentleman...jumped first.  Which we quickly realized meant I was left alone on the platform!   I stood on on top for what felt like another hour trying to get up the nerve to jump.  In reality, it was about 10 minutes.  Finally an eight year old and her Grandma joined me on the platform.  The little girl tried to encourage me to jump but when that didn't work Grandma pushed me off!!!  (Thanks Nana- I needed that!)
We kept it a little more low key the rest of our staycation.  Enjoying a little beach time
and taking our kayak out to Rudees Inlet
We took a tour of the Norfolk harbor
 and watched the sunset over the water

We checked out some old restaurant favs and a few new spots like Charlie's Cafe in Norfolk, Freemason Abbey, Tradewinds and for dessert...Doumar's! 

It was a great week and the best part... 

we don't have to travel far to do it all again :) 

Monday, April 7, 2014

ACM Awards recap

The ACM Awards were last night and Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan were back as hosts!

They had their own Ellen-style selfie moment
revealed who's behind Daft Punk helments...or in this case Daft Bluke
and took a swipe at Britney Spears

 Not all the music was live though

If you noticed Rascal Flatts lip syncing you weren't alone.  They said after the show “After having performed several shows earlier in the week, Gary lost his voice. So, instead of canceling our commitment to do the show, we made a last minute decision to lip-sync. We’ve never done it before, and we’re obviously not very good at it. We look 
forward to singing live again in the very near future!”
There were a ton of cool (and yes live) performances- Faith came out to sing with Tim.  

Lady Antebellum and Stevie Nicks teamed up.  Dierks Bentley and Sheryl Crow sang together. Then Shakira went country on a duet with Blake Shelton!

But my favorite moment of the night had to be the George Strait and Miranda Lambert tribute to Merle Haggard!

The big winner of the night was George Strait.
In his acceptance speech he said, "I've always said I have the best fans in the world. I heard this was a fan-voted thing, so I rest my case."

He may have missed seeing Miranda give him a high-five though while walking to the stage.  Hey if you're going to be left hanging by someone, George Strait is King.  

George wasn't the only one who left someone hanging...Twitter blew up with tweets about Miranda leaving Taylor Swift out of her acceptance speech.  Miranda mentioned the oversight backstage saying, “I forgot to say something about Taylor tonight. We all work our asses off, especially Taylor. She’s kind of like her own animal. She’s ridiculous. I was thinking about my friends at home [who] lost a baby, [but] I talked to Taylor and she’s cool"

All forgiven

Justin Moore won New Artist of the Year and on stage got a little choked up

But afterwards he opened up a little bit more with some things he couldn't say on TV...warning some NSFW language ahead!!

I saw a lot of people on facebook saying "but Justin Moore's been around for years. How can he get NEW artist?"  Well he talked about that backstage too saying, 
“I would have taken Female Vocalist had they given it to me. At this point, I really didn’t care what they called it. The trophies are all the same."

The other buzz of the gorgeous Miranda Lambert looked!! And she walked away with 2 awards: Single of the Year and Female Vocalist 
She glammed up and then rocked a simple tshirt and jeans

Plus, how cute are these two together?
She teamed up with another hot country singer, Keith Urban on "We Were Us" this year and they won Vocal Event of the Year and shared this photo of their tattoos! 
Ok let's talk fashion.  Miranda wasn't the only woman who looked amazing last night

No offense to the guys in the Band Perry but all eyes were on Kimberly when they performed.
Cassadeee Pope, Carrie Underwood, Kellie Pickler and Taylor Swift wowed on the red carpet
and Kacey Musgraves- hair, makeup and that color...perfect!
Not a bad night for either...she took home the ACM for Album of the Year.

all in all it was a great show! 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

DIY Fireplace Headboard

When I turned 13 years old I begged my Dad for a grown-up bedroom set.  My sister had just turned 16. She got a new (used) car and was growing up and I wanted to too.
So I picked out this "adult" bedroom set.  Gold accents, mirrors on all the doors...oh I thought it was so fancy.
Almost 20 years later it has followed me from every apartment to our first home.  If you look closely you can still see the rips on the furniture from where I taped up pictures of Jordan Catalano. 
My So-Called-Life...aaah memories.  

It was time to move on though so I found this DIY Fireplace Headboard on Pinterest and asked my husband if he could build it.  He was willing...anything to get rid of the "Grandma bed" as he called it.
While he was building the headboard I worked on the fabric portion.  I found the perfect fabric on clearance but it wasn't quite wide enough so I found another piece that matched and sewed it on either end to make it look like another stripe.  
To make the fabric part all you need is a staple gun. Cut a piece of plywood to fit into the opening.  Cover it in foam or a mattress pad and staple it to the back.  
Then cover it in a layer of batting.  Finish with the fabric layer. 
To save money we just bought a mattress pad from Kohls to use as the cushion for the fabric part.  It was cheaper- but the "crates" on it ended up making the stripes go wavy.  This MAY drive me crazy for the next 20 years but at least with the bed made you really can't tell.  
Now that it's finished we realized we didn't need the fabric portion to go all the way to the floor.  The bed covers half of it.  Oh well, lesson learned.  

Maybe in another 20 years we'll build a new one but for now we're sticking with this. 
Plus, now we can say we have a "fireplace" in the master bedroom :) 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Luke Bryan mania!

Luke Bryan concert tickets are going on-sale this Friday...
I've got your chance to Win 'Em Before You Can Buy 'Em on the Top 7@7:47 all week!  Listen to win! don't want to miss seeing this...

Do you??

Yeah didn't think so.

I've got Luke's new song "Play It Again" on the Test Flight this week at 8:50pm!  BTW how cute is this shirt? You might see me wearing it at the show this summer :)

And as much as we love Luke we can't forget some of our other favs!  So new music on the Test Flight from The Band Perry...
And Big and Rich
and new artist Joe Bachman
Hmm "Look At You" and "LookAtChu" I'm seeing a theme here! 

Speaking of looking...just try to not look at this face and fall in love
Cuto is our Pet of The Week and is up for adoption at the Peninsula SPCA.  Visit Cuto and his friends at the PSPCA in Newport News!