A few photos of me and the littles.

I love my little dog, Alabama.  I love my big dog, Winston.  In fact, I just love my dogs, so here are some funny photos of them from this weekend.

Stay Sweet,
Kem

TexMexMas (tex mex Christmas 2010)

A long time ago, myself and a friend were rummaging through a thrift store, when what to our wondering eyes, we stumbled upon stacks and stacks of old cooking light magazines.  This doesn't really seem like a great find, but to a couple of new brides looking to expand their cooking repertoire this was a gold mine.  

On this particular day, at this thrift store, anything you could fit into a paper sack was only a $1. We shoved all the magazines into two paper sacks and got away with tons of new recipes to try.  


Fast forward to Christmas 2010.  My dad and siblings always make sure that our dinner together for Christmas is NEVER Ham or Turkey.  Last year it was soups and mini sandwiches.  The year before homemade chinese food.  This year....Tacos...or as I am calling it TexMexMas.  The following recipe was gleaned from the Thrift Store shopping trip and has become on of my families favorites.  


The three bean mixture can be reheated if you have leftovers and put on top of chips with cheese and sour cream for a delicious taco salad the next day.

Three Bean Tacos
Yield: 12 servings (serving size: 1 taco)

Ingredients

  • 1  teaspoon  olive oil
  • 1  cup  diced onion
  • 1/2  cup  diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2  cup  diced green bell pepper
  • 1  tablespoon  chili powder
  • 2  teaspoons  dried oregano
  • 1  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 1  garlic clove, minced
  • 1  cup  canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 1/2  cup  canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2  cup  canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1  (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 12  taco shells
  • 3/4  cup  shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 3/4  cup  diced tomato
  • 1/2  cup  (2 ounces) finely shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2  cup  salsa

Preparation

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion and next 6 ingredients (onion through garlic), and sauté 2 minutes. Add chickpeas, beans, and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until thick.
Prepare taco shells according to package directions. Spoon 1/4 cup bean mixture into each taco shell. Top each with lettuce, 1 tablespoon tomato, 2 teaspoons cheese, and 2 teaspoons salsa



Stay Sweet,
Kem

Sweetness Overload

Along with all the friend and family time that the holidays bring, one should always remember to be thankful.  Not just in mind and heart, but on paper too!

A BIG thing that I learned very, very young, was a handwritten thank you note will take you far in life.  So make sure to pick up some pretty thank you notes while you are out spending your Christams cash or gift cards.  The people in your life that were nice enough to give to you should garner enough respect from you to know how much you appreciate them and their thoughfulness!

Here is an example of a outline for a Holiday Thank You:

Dear [Name of person],
Thank you for the [description of gift] [name of gift]. (Ex: Thank you for the fuzzy brown scarf.). [Sentence about the item.] Ex: It matches many of my clothes and I know I'll use it on my trip to Iceland.). It was so thoughtful of you to think of me.
Best wishes for the new year!
Love, (or Sincerely or Regards)


Stay Sweet,
Kem

Shoot for the Moon, land amongst the stars.

Yes, every new year I make resolutions.  Sometimes I get them checked off the list.  Sometimes, I make them knowing I will never accomplish them, but that is the fun of it...knowing that you should strive for newness or greatness. 

Resolute.  The dictionary defines this as
1. firm in purpose or belief; steadfast
2. characterized by resolution; determined: a resolute answer. 
I love this concept.  Being firm in purpose or belief.  Resolutions should be made in firmness with the mindset of conquering. 

2011 Resolutions or Things I want to accomplish :)
  1. Read the Top 100 Best Novels.  Some of these I have already read, but I will mostly re-read them as it has been years ago.  I love a good book! 
  2. Become a Big Sister.  (Finish application process)
  3. Revamp my kitchen and office space. The inspiration in the office is a bit of mary engelibreit mixed with vintage.  My kitchen wish is white walls, tin backsplash, jadeite collection and stainless steel shelves.



4.  Develop my "teeth" at photography.  With my new Canon Ti1, it should be a breeze.
    This list isn't long, but to me, it might take all 365 days!

    Stay Sweet,
    Kem

      Makeout Monday ~ Things I love this week!


      1. Stephen Webster Jewelry.  This jewelry is amazing.  It is classic with an edge.  (That is what I like to think my personal style reflects)  I first was introduced to this line of jewelry at Tivol in Kansas City at a Girl's Night Out function.  Needless to say, I fell in love with his collection.


      2.  Band of Horses.  Still in heavy rotation.  I love, love, love this band and their music.

      3. Moroccan Oil.  If you are not on this bandwagon yet, you need to get on it.  This stuff is great! I wasn't sure about this stuff before I tried it because, I am a blonde, and a lot of times oily products make my hair look greasy and just down right gross.  This product leaves my hair silky, shiny, and smelling wonderful!  Moroccan Oil has a full line of products, but this is the one I use and love the most:
      THE ORIGINAL MOROCCANOIL®
      OIL TREATMENT
      • Revives hair
      • Strengthens and conditions
      • Reduces drying time
       

      Vegetable Soup

      One of my favorite things to make is vegetable soup in a slow cooker.  The magic of this it that you just put a bunch a delicious ingredients in the slow cooker before work, turn in on low, and presto you have dinner ready when you get home!  Love it!

      Vegetable Soup
      1 carton of vegetable broth (you can sub chicken broth or beef broth of 4 cups homemade stock)
      1 can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
      1/2 c. frozen corn
      1/2 c. frozen peas
      1 can green beans, drained and rinsed
      1 medium onion, diced
      1 tsp minced garlic
      2 large potatoes, peeled and diced (or cheat and use canned potatoes, I won't tell)
      1 can tomato sauce
      1 tbsp tomato paste

      Add all ingredients to slow cooker and stir.  Add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with Italian seasoning and 1 bay leaf.  Turn slow cooker to low.

      This makes a LOT of soup, so either invite over some friends or prepare for leftovers!

      Stay Sweet,
      Kem

      Makeout Monday ~ Things I love this week

      Very few things get me really excited.  Very few.  One thing that makes me incredibly happy is coming home to find a HUGE Zappos box on my front porch.  Very happy indeed.

      After a long month of work in November, I was able to order some much needed, well deserved boots that I have had my eye on since as long as I can remember.

      Boots are my favorite fall/winter accessory.  What is yours?

      1. 20 eyelet Doc Martin Boots.


      2. Green Hunter Wellies

      3. Doc Marten Black Suede Boots
      Stay Sweet,
      Kem

      Makeout Mondays ~ Things I love this week

      There are a few things that will always, always grab my attention when I am out shopping.  One of them is jackets.  Or coats.  I love all sorts of outside "coverings".  From hoodies to swing coats, capes to down jackets.  I love them all.  Here are a few I have found.  Just add it to my lengthy wish list!

      This one comes in so many colors, you would be crazy not to want it!


      This jacket will stand the test of time,and the test of trendiness. 



      And last, but not least, Kate Spade.
      This coat is gorgeous!  I love the vibrant color and the slight military styling, making it a great find for Fall/Winter 2010.  The elements are not so trendy that it will be out of style next year.  It looks both modern and vintage at the same time.  That is a style that I not only love, but gravitate towards.

      Stay Sweet,
      Kem

      Makeout Mondays ~ Things I love this week

      1.  Belvoir Winery.  This is something I *HAVE* to check out.  It mixes two of my favorite things.  Wine and paranormal activity.  I don't really buy the whole idea of ghosts, but I do like to get scared and let me imagination run away with itself.  Apparently, this place is supposed to be haunted and I love that the address is on Odd Fellows Road.  The building that now serves as the winery, used to be at one time an orphanage, then later serving as a communal house for families during the great depression.  The website boasts a calendar of events featuring a tour then paranormal investigation.  Count me in!

      2. Sex and the City 2 on dvd.  Nothing will make you appreciate your girlfriend more than watching a little S&C.

      3. Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate at Starbucks.  This is a little piece of deliciousness in a cup!

      4. The Walking Dead on AMC.  I haven't watched all the episodes yet, but man they are good!  I have them dvr'd, but i think you can still watch them on hulu.com.  If you like zombie movies, you should check this mini series out!
       Stay Sweet,
      Kem

      La Dolce Vita III

      Last year, late in the summer, I stumbled upon an idea that has grown into a new lifestyle choice.  I was reading an article on things you can do to lift the spirits of others.  I am in no way a martyr, or am I trying to pat my own back, but I have to admit, that while this idea is small, it can make a great impact in someones life.

      Think about your own personal trip to the mailbox everyday.  You pilfer through piles of sales ads, junk mail, bills, netflix dvds, etc.  There is never anything in the mail that makes you smile, or lifts your day.  The basis of this article was simply each month write one small note or letter to someone in your family, or friends list, that you don't get to talk to often.

      I have been doing this for well over a year, and I would like to think that when these particular people open their mail, it makes them smile.

      One of my dear friends, Laura, and I have been "pen pals" for going on 5 years now, and I love getting little notes or photos, or small gifts from her in the mail.  It is exciting, and personal all at the same time.

      I think this is a great idea and would encourage everyone to give it a try.  Even if it is just to one person you know. 

      A wonderful place to get some beautiful paper or stationary, right here in Kansas City, is the Paper Source.

      Makeout Mondays ~ Things I love this week

      If you don't have one of these yet, or you are trying to find a great christmas present for someone, this is something you should check out!  I got mine last year for christmas, and love, love, love it.
      My list is short this week because I have been sick, so spending time with my amazon kindle is where it's at.

      What is your favorite thing to do while you are sick, well besides watch trash TV(Real Housewives of ______insert the latest city, anyone?)

      Stay Sweet,
      Kem

      Fashionista Friday

      Long Leather Gloves.  This is my new obsession.  I just got a very reasonably priced pair at Target last week.  They hit just below the elbow and would be perfect with a cropped jacket.  Maybe one with a little Mad Men Inspiration? 


      Here are a few other pair that I **love**.  If only money grew on trees.

      Check out the detailing on these gloves by Michael Kors.  I could just picture wearing these with a beautiful vintage coat and dark riding boots.


      Long gloves are my latest love in the fashion industry for fall.  What is your favorite thing(s) that you would like to add to your wardrobe this fall?

      Stay Sweet,
      Kem

      My new adventure

      After much consideration, Tim and I have decided to be a Big Brother and Big Sister.  By family origin we already are, but by choice we are joining the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of KC Organization.  I am actually pretty excited to be doing this.

       Tim and I made the decision to not have children, so I think this is a great way to add some true responsibility to our lives, as well as give back to the community.  Shortly out of high school I helped on several mission trips and was always drawn to helping the community with inner city youth.

      The application process is slightly intense, but I understand why.  Tonight I get to attend the volunteer orientation and cannot wait to report back as to what it will be like.

      I am still in the very beginning phase of approval, but can't wait to get started.

      Make out Mondays ~Things i love this week~

      1. I am thinking it is time for a re-do.  A kitchen re-do that it.  I am not quite sure, I am still on the fence with this one, but I may go for all white walls, white cabinets, beautiful light colored granite, with a tin backsplash and newly tiled floors.  The punch of color can come from some new stainless steel shelves displaying a lovely new collection of Jadeite. (source)
      This is going to take time and money.  Lots of time, and some money, so I am thinking this is going to have to just serve as a pipe dream, for now.
      2.  Style via Mad Men Inspirations.  If you haven't seen Mad Men yet, then well either Netflix it, or shoot yourself in the leg.  (Where have you been?!?!)  This show has not only inspired me to want to drink bourbon all day, but given me a new style icon(s) to follow.
      Christian Hendricks, the brazen red haired secretary, is one of my favorites! She is beautiful, sexy, curvy women and I love how she accessorizes everything!  It makes me want to have red hair, although, I am best as a blonde!
      As great place to integrate some 60's style fashion into your wardrobe is Target.  I know, I know, you are thinking "Target, really?".  Yes, Target.....really.  They have a Merona Collection line that screams Mad Men.  Most dresses are under $39.99, and that to me is a steal, considering its trendiness right now.

      3. The Cooking Channel.  Move over Food Network, here comes a better channel.  This is like a better version of Food Network.  I love Food Network, but I am so tired of watching "cooking challenge" shows.  I don't really care that so and so can build a cake that is 10 feet tall and shoots rockets.  What I really care about is new ideas of what to cook for dinner next week.  This channel show familiar show, with familiar faces like Tyler Florence and Rachel Ray, but it also introduces you to many other chefs with great points of view. Plus some good shows that showcase different restaraunts to try (Unique Eats) or up and coming items (Foodcrafters).  If you like to cook, then check out this channel!


      What are some of your favorite things this week?

      Stay Sweet,
      Kem

      Daily Candy

      Tattoos are my favorite thing in the world to purchase.  I love the commitment they inspire, I mean, they are a fun, permanent gift to yourself.  Tattoos are something I look forward to getting, unless, they are on the inside of your arm.  This is the most painful spot, along with the ditch of my elbow, that I have got tattooed, to date.

      On a lighter note, here are some new pictures!




      What is your next tattoo, or first tattoo, idea?

      Stay Sweet,
      Kem

      Sweetness Overload

      I opened my email today, and much to my surprise, there is a new store going into Zona Rosa, one of my favorite shopping centers in KC.  It is called Chocolaterie Stam.

      Here is some brief info on it: Chocolaterie Stam (Located next to Yogurtini in the Dillard’s District)
      As early as 1817, an ancestor of the Stam Family ran a bakery that over time would develop a reputation for pastries and chocolates. In 1913, Jacobus Stam, upon urging from his clients decided to specialize in chocolates exclusively. Hence, Chocolaterie Stam was created. In the late 70’s it was felt that America would appreciate the delicious chocolate treats as much as Netherlanders, and so it was. Now Americans can experience a nearly 100 - year Dutch tradition of fresh cream and nut filled chocolate bonbons from Chocolaterie Stam everyday.

      I *CANNOT* wait til this opens! I love, love, love chocolate, so I think I will be there as soon as the doors open.  It is also right beside yogurtini, and if you have been reading my blog, you know I am already in love with that place!

      My email only specified that it opens in November, so I am hoping Zona Rosa personnel mean November 1st!

      Stay Sweet,
      Kem

      Make out Mondays ~Things i love this week~

      1.  All I want for Christmas is a.......Canon T2i

      2.  The Wonder Years is now playing on HUB TV.  Apparently this channel replaced Discovery Kids (?), but really I don't care because it is showing old episodes of Doogie Howser, and The Wonder Years.  I *LOVED* these shows when I was growing up!

      3.  Band of Horses.  If there is anything else playing in my head, right now, besides Neko Case, it is Band of Horses.

       

      4.  Getting Tattooed! I am finally(!) finishing my sleeve this week.  You know what sucks worse than getting the inside of  your arm tattooed?........nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  I am not looking forward to this, but I am looking forward to it being finished!
      Stay Sweet,
      Kem

      Snack Attack Sweetness

      Right now, Kansas City is having beautiful weather. It is 61 degrees outside, a little cloudy, but a perfect fall day. I am having a hard time wanting to give up the bounty of delicious summer fruits and veggies, but there are a few things in the fall I really look forward to making and sharing with friends. One being warm fruit compote with maple whipped cream. Just thinking about it makes me hungry! This recipe is a great end to an autumn inspired dinner. Let me know what you think!


      Warm Fruit Compote and Maple Whipped Cream
      Ingredients
      2 cans of diced peaches
      2 cans of pear halves
      1 can of mandarin oranges
      1 8oz jar of strawberry jam (seedless)
      1 can cherry pie filling.

      Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Open all cans of fruit and drain off liquid into a reserve bowl. (Do not drain off cherry pie filling, that would be too hard and ridiculous) Place drained fruit into a 9x13 baking dish, along with cherry pie filling. In a sauce pan combine strawberry jam and a cup of the reserved fruit liquid. Turn on medium heat and let jam melt into fruit liquid until consistency of syrup. (You may want to add more reserved fruit liquid if you like). When heated through, add to 9x13 baking dish and stir into fruit. Place baking dish in the oven for 30-45 minutes. Serve warm topped with Maple Whipped Cream

      Maple Whipped Cream
      1/2 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
      2 Tbsp of Pure Maple Syrup

      Beat cream in a mixer until peaks start to form. Add maple syrup and mix until firm. ( *special tip* make sure your bowl and beaters are chilled before to ensure a great result with whipped cream)

      Stay Sweet,
      Kem

      Fashionista Fridays

      My latest obsession for fall: Capes or capelets!  These are out everywhere now.  I even picked up two new ones at Old Navy last week.   These are not traditional "capes" but they are shaped like a cape and come in wonderful colors.
      Here are a few more I am IN LOVE with!



      I would pair all of these with skinny jeans and my favorite lace up frye boots.  Do you have a favorite fall look right now?  What is inspiring your transition from summer to winter wardrobe?

      Stay Sweet,
      Kem

      Sweetness Overload ~ DIY

      You know when you are out at a thrift store, or a flea market, there is always that one section of dishware, that you can stare endlessly at and wonder "What could I do with all this stuff?"  Well, here is an idea. I like to think of it as a vintage treasure display.  Simply, it is vintage, mismatched china plates combined with mismatching taper candlestick holders or bud vases to create something new and fabulous!
      Really you could use these for anything.  Cake displays (maybe cupcake displays), jewelry displays.  I use mine to hold perfume and pretty bottles of face wash in my bathroom, and the one near my nightstand holds rings and necklaces.


      This crafty trick is super simple. Pick up an assortment of vintage china plates.  They can be mismatched, or even matching ones would be cute, especially in a group setting. Next, make sure to grab a couple of candlestick holders in varying heights and sizes.  Thrift stores ALWAYS seem to have these. Take all your treasures home to assemble.

      What you will need:
      • Spray paint.  (any color you would like to paint the candle holders.  I chose metallic colors in silver and hammered copper.)
      • gorilla glue.  *side note* I tried super glue and it did NOT do the trick, so gorilla glue it is.
      • Your assembly of plates and candle holders.
      First paint your candlestick holders and allow to dry.  After they are dry, you will want to make sure your plates are free of dust, dirt, and price tags.  Lay out an old sheet or drop cloth.  Decide which plates will look best with which candle holder by trying out several combinations.  Let your eye be your guide!
       Apply a small layer of glue around the rim of the candlestick and with the plate laying face down adhere the candle holder to the center of the plate.  *This is important do not move the plates or candle holders.  let them dry overnight, even if your think they are dry, they are not.  Turning these treasure right side up now, just to sneak a peak will encourage the smallest amount of glue to run down the candle holder and onto your very cute table runner and ruin it, I mean, cause drips.  Can you tell I know this from experience?*

      After you have let them dry, you are free to use them how you please.  I would love to see how you take this fun idea and make it your own.


      Stay Sweet,
      Kem

      Sweetness Overload

      Last year my friend, Bianca, gifted me the beginnings of a small obsession.  She introduced me to Penzeys Spices.  This company is a fairly small, family oriented company that qualifies itself on the basis of providing spectacular ingredients at a reasonable price.

      I have never really been a spice or herb snob, that is until Bianca gifted me a "Baker's Set" for Christmas last year.  It was all wrapped up in a cute little box and included Chinese Cinnamon, Natural High Fat Cocoa, Baking Spice, Double Strength Madagascar Vanilla, along with fresh nutmeg, cinnamon sticks and bay leaves.
      Not only does this company sell spices for baking, they sell just about every spice you can think of.  Even ones you would never think of.
      My pantry is now stocked with ONLY Penzey's Spices.  I have slowly, but surely, replaced all of my spice cabinet with these delicious herbs and spices.  Penzeys' offers their goods through stores scattered across the US and through catalog and online sales.  I love receiving their catalog because it is full of recipes submitted by fellow Penzey's Spice addicts. 

      Every time a new catalog comes out, they offer a new little treat with your order.  Sometimes it is a free jar of spices, sometimes it is a promotional offer on a set. Right now the are running a special on a 4 jar gift set that is perfect for the holiday season.  

      Make sure to visit their website  http://www.penzeys.com and start living "La Dolce Vita" (the sweet life) because usually if you ask me why my recipe was so good or delicious, its because I used something from Penzey's.

      Stay Sweet,
      Kem