Rolo Nuggets

These little delicious bites are what I made as a dessert/snacky item for Christmas day. They are so simple and were all gone by the end of the night! Finished them up while playing dominoes :)

Here's what you need:
  • Bag of mini pretzles, square shape if you can find them
  • Bag of half pecans
  • Packs of rolos (how ever many packs you buy, that is what the yield will be, 8 to a pack)
Tip: Buy the packs of rolos from the register counter so you don't have to unwrap the individually wrapped ones... much easier!

I butter toasted my pecan halves because I think that tastes better than raw.
  • 1 cup raw pecans
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • salt to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl toss the raw pecans with melted butter until evenly coated. Spread the pecans in a single layer on a non-stick or lined cookie sheet. Lightly salt to taste, and bake for about 8-10 minutes until aromatic. Stir them every once in a while and taste one to make sure they are right. Don't let them burn! Allow to completely cool before using and keep the oven on for the next step.
Now you:

Lay out your pretzles in a single layer on a lined baking sheet. Place one rolo on each pretzle and melt on 350 degrees for about 5 minutes. Rolos should be shiny, but retain their shape.

Pull them from the oven and quickly squish one buttered pecan half onto each rolo/ pretzle. Be careful not to burn yourself on the hot caramel or pan. If the chocolate cracks, they are not hot enough.

Let finished ones cool on the counter for about 10-15 minutes then put them in the refrigerator for a while. Once cool, transfer them to a container and keep them in the fridge until you are ready to eat. They will keep in a tight container for a few days.

Just remember to take them out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you want to eat them so they are soft!


What I Received for Christmas :)

Canon Powershot Purse Camera

Coleman "River Gorge" 6 person Tent

Fossil Ceramic Watch

Typewriter Key Necklace

I feel very lucky and spoiled this year! These are just the gifts from my husband, not even from my other family - he went all out this year! Obviously I'll be sharing the tent... and having a tent means I am ready for the zombie-apocalypse.

Speaking of a zombie-apocalypse, here are the first 5 things on my to do list should one ensue:

1. Get a tent - check!
2. Gather necessary supplies which means guns, bow and arrows, and food.
3. Learn how to shoot said bow and arrows.
4. Find an abandoned, fenced in, farmhouse with well-water and generator and set up a perimeter.
5. Start growing a garden immediately.

This post kind of got off track, but I have been obsessed with the show "The Walking Dead" lately. It is sort of the "Oregon Trail" of the future and if you haven't seen it, I suggest you watch! 

I have been catching up on all sorts of TV shows and re-watching Christmas favorites (Christmas Vacation, Bridget Jones' Diary, Love Actually, Old School... OK, so maybe Old School doesn't count as "Christmas") this break... it has been quite relaxing! Now I am back to work for a couple days and then to the mountains for the New Year! Can't wait to celebrate with good friends and a good bottle. Here's to the start of 2012! :)


What I Gave for Christmas!

 Angry Bird Pillow

 Pappy Van Winkle 15 year old Bourbon

Sustainable Glassworks - Recycled Wine Bottle Glasses

I love giving gifts to people. Especially if I feel like they will really love it, and I think I did a pretty good job this year! 

The angry birds head pillow was for my nephew. Ok, it was for me too because I also enjoyed throwing it at him intermittently throughout the night, but I think it was a big hit. He is six and loves anything that he can throw, punch, and jump on... and you can do all three to this pillow.

The next couple on here were the big gifts for my husby. The glasses were a no-brainer as he likes the punt in the bottom of the wine bottle in his glass design because it holds the ice cube up out of his bourbon. It is a really genius creation, plus I was buying local so that was a big deal for me too... I wonder if these glasses were made from any of my thousands hundreds of used wine bottles? haha

The bourbon is Steven's favorite. I can't tell if it is because it is so rare (comes out once a year) or if he really likes the taste that much better (I can't tell, because I don't care for Bourbon - almost strictly a vodka, beer, wine girl) but he was very happy and surprised to get it!

There is a small story to go along with the bourbon if you are interested:

I know that Pappy's comes out once a year around November, our Total Wine (like a Walmart for beer, wine, and liquor) would only get a case or two, and that case or two would be gone within the first hour of being delivered. That being said...

I started calling Total Wine every Wednesday (the day they get their shipment in) for over two months until it finally arrived in the store. I was so smug and happy and thought I was just the cleverest/ best wife in the world when I heard these words "It JUST got here, yes I can reserve it for you, if you get here within 30 minutes, you better hurry its not even hitting the shelves."

Good mood ensuing, I called my husband while ON THE WAY to the store and that is how this went...

me: Hey babe, how's it goin'?
SR: Good, I just got to Total Wine. I want to see if they have any Pappy's.
me: [fuming!!!] Oh, that is nice.

So, needless to say, he got there before me, bought two bottles, and he didn't even have a car that day! (mine was in the shop and he borrowed his brothers'), and then he got his additional bottle from me on Christmas.

I did feel like all that hard work and dedication and calling was kind of silly since he was able to just go and get the bottles... but it is the "giving" that is important! Plus, he was happy to have another bottle. :)


My Niece is Born!

My baby niece Shelby was born today, December 21, 2011! She weighs 7 lbs. - 2 oz. and is 20" long. Baby and Mommy are doing well! :)


I'm Dreeeaming uuuvv an Aaaaqua Christmas...

Just thought this picture was cute. No, it is not my house, but I do love that color! :)


A little Thanksgiving Cheer

The best thing about Thanksgiving is the food and family. And out of town family guests mean you have to complete the little projects around the house that you have been avoiding. That meant touch up paint on our door and a new hanging porch light for our house! I love it. :)
This was the first year that I have hosted Thanksgiving as an "adult." I am not a huge fan of turkey, but my coworker swore by this turkey [recipe] and it was actually quite delicious! I don't think I would add all the sugar and salt to the brine (maybe cut it in half?) but all the hard work was definitely worth it.

Now that is a huge dang bay leaf in the brine, an all natural grain-fed turkey, and the finished product!

I must say that my least favorite part was violating that turkey and pulling out some of the insides... not my greatest moment.


Star Treatment?

"Beyonce shrouds her expanding belly in a brightly colored tunic," says People.com

Where I am from, that $hit is called a "moo-moo"...


Some New Hat Designs

Jolee's Boutique starting making these adorable little flower appliques and they are very well priced and so cute! I thought it might give my hats something a little extra and save me some time [crocheting the flowers sometimes can take longer than the hat itself!].

Some of the designs below are available for purchase ($15). Let me know if you are interested! I can even do custom designs/colors/sizes... :)

Cornflower colored hat w/ lemon lime flower | 9-12 mo.

White colored hat w/ red rose | 9-12 mo.

 Pink & coral colored hat w/ coral/rhinestone flower | 6-9 mo.

 Coral colored hat w/ crochet pink rose | 6-9 mo.

 Aqua colored hat w/ crochet coral rose | 3-6 mo.

 Pink colored hat w/ cream rose | newborn

You can find more information about my designs at www.facebook.com/jprchitect


Breaking Dawn Opens Today!

I read all the Twilight books a few years back and really enjoy the escape to whatever place it takes me, even today. Maybe back to my childhood? This story is not a childhood even remotely like mine... we did NOT have boys that looked or acted like THAT in my high school.

Maybe the passionate love story? I don't like to think about it, because I KNOW that it can't happen because vampires don't exist. The whole idea of someone being able to protect you unconditionally, having the knowledge and manners of someone in their 100s, fierce good looks, and not even to mention a ton of money is a little bit intimidating. [I even heard some women went into a depression realizing that this life is not possible in our reality...]

I really and truly just love the stories, love that I am taking a HALF day from work with some of my female coworkers to grab lunch and a matinee, and love even more (although bittersweet) that we still have one more movie to be released!

Now, what is another series I can immerse myself into? Don't even say the "Something Borrowed" series. I saw that movie and it was a train-wreck...

I'll be sure to let you know how it is! :)


TV Critic Time!

This fall it seemed like there were a ton of new shows on! I decided to DVR all of them and then decide which ones I would keep in the queue... here are the results!

This is my favorite new show of the fall! It is a little more drama-y than I usually watch, but the steamy storyline, although somewhat unrealistic, couldn't be further than my life, and I just like to escape sometimes!

This is my new favorite comedy of the season. One of the producers is Whitney Cummings, and although her new show "Whitney" is TERRIBLE, this one is pretty good! Sometimes the humor is strictly sexual (and a little too much of it), which to me is a lot easier to do than other types of humor, but it does get a laugh out of me.

These two fantasy shows are also not my usual type either. "Grimm" is one I can actually get my husband to watch with me because it is "manly" enough that he enjoys it, but "Once Upon a Time" is strictly for girls in my opinion. Both deal with fantasy and how it relates to present day "real" life and I think they are pretty good!

"Up All Night" is good. It is pretty funny and I usually watch it if nothing else is on.

I HATE this show. Zooey's character is so annoying and it drives me into fits of rage only comparable to those when I am on the road with terrible traffic. I spent most of the two shows I watched wishing she would jump off a building. I know that sounds harsh, but her character.is.so.dumb. And I hate that.

Oh, and shout out to my old fave. "Modern Family" is still my favorite show on TV. I don't know how they do it, but their writing makes every character unique and special in their own way and I like them all!

Other oldies I am currently watching are "How I Met Your Mother", "Dexter", "Glee", "Raising Hope," and "Chuck."


Product Review | Essie Nailpolish

Grade: D - will not buy again
Cost: approx. $9.00
Color pictured: "Turquoise and Caicos"
Bought at: Bed, Bath, & Beyond

I don't think I will ever paint my toes any shade other than pinkish - redish again. I bought this Essie polish because I fell in LOVE with the color [it is admittedly my favorite color], but NOT on toes - big mistake. I know this is a personal opinion, but any color that could potentially remind you of mold shouldn't be there. I also don't think I will ever buy Essie polish again either...

For one, it is EXPENSIVE. I even had a $2.00 off coupon [the only reason I bought it], but the cost was still a little over 7 bucks even with the coupon.

It also doesn't cover very well, you can't go with just one coat. Shown above is two coats and I think it could have used a third.

And it has that terrible brush design that I don't like as explained [here]. Really, after using the Sally Hansen Salon line in that post, I don't think I could ever go back!

The only reason I didn't give it an F is that they do have a TON of gorgeous colors, but if they only look good in the bottle, I don't see the point.


Calligraphy Class

I recently completed a Calligraphy workshop here in Charleston, SC at the Charleston Museum and absolutely loved it! Calligraphy means "beautiful handwriting," and although I am not yet to "beautiful" I am on my way to "sorta pretty!"

A snapshot of what we did near the end of the workshop:

Here are some words specifically assigned for the purpose of the class. The "al" in alphabet and first "u" in cucumber are sub-par in my opinion, but you have to start somewhere. ;) The letter I had the hardest time with was "w."

I took the class with two of my favorite girls [I am on the far right]. We always have a great time since we love the same things and concluded the day with brunch, bottomless mimosas, and a quick walk around downtown Charleston.
 My perfect day...


New Phone + Case!

After 3 years of having an iPhone 3... I finally got a new phone! It is the white iPhone 4S and I absolutely love it. Siri beckons to my every call...

...and I even got a super cute phone case. 
A void has been filled in my life! Now what should I put on my Christmas list?!? haha


Creating Your "Online-Self"

Do you ever find that someone’s online personality differs greatly from their real life personality? That is, if you actually know them in real life? I get it, you can be however brave, witty, cool-under-pressure, as you want to be in your "online" personality because you could literally spend hours writing the-best-blog-post-ever, but it doesn’t change who you are in person.

I try really hard (why is it so hard?) to be myself on my blog, facebook, online whatever posts, and I find that I have grown as a person in being able to think before I speak, try not to judge, dare to not be cynical, etc., but is this really me? It might be more like the me that I want to be.

I feel really sorry for teens today. Do they even know who they really are in person? Forget who other people are, who are THEY? That is just a surface element when you consider cyber bullying, defamation, incriminating photos... I think back to my high school experience and definitely wouldn't want an unsolicited posting of my activities outside of the classroom.

The most recent episode of "How I Met Your Mother" discussed this topic when involved with the dating world. If you meet someone (in person or online), how many people look up their credentials first? This can create a pre-disposed opinion about someone. During the show, the character "Ted" made an agreement with his date that they wouldn't look each other up. He ended up clicking a link that said she was a billionaire/do-gooder and he instantly became intimidated, ruining the date.

Conversely, you don't want to meet up with a mass murderer either...

I am just lucky that I met my husband before he had facebook, in the conventional good old-fashioned way - at a bar with my friends. I guess I will have to add "online safety and privacy options for facebook" to the list of things I will need to teach my future children, but most importantly I want them to know who they are, in "real" life.


Things a Thirty-Year-Old Knows...

This picture just makes me laugh - you should never take yourself too seriously! 
This is "Contemplative Jo."

1. I feel like I am a lot smarter now than when I was 25. I hope in 5 years I will be a lot smarter at 35 than I am at 30 and so on. I think the whole idea in life is to keep learning and growing so it isn't a bad thing to not be as smart today as you will be tomorrow.

2. Worrying about the past is time that you are wasting in the present. Forgive, forget, and move on... even though this is a lot easier said than done.

3. Sometimes you can't choose your family, but you can choose your friends. Choose wisely because my friends can be the reason for the best days of my year and I also try to be a dependable friend to them.

4. If you don’t like who you are or where your life is headed, change it, one thing at a time and as quickly as possible. This is actually something in our world that is in your control, and life is short.

5. I realize now more than ever that no toy can ever replace the time I was able to spend with my parents as a kid. What we lacked in material goods was made up for in time, time that molded me into the adult I am today.


Cabo Review

Cabo San Lucas is located on the very tip of the Baja Peninsula and between this peninsula and Mexico's mainland is the Sea of Cortez. You have only 5% chance of a cloudy day so the weather is sure to please! You also feel very welcome and safe and could even drink the water right out of the tap at our resort (which came in handy with 3am cottonmouth resulting from too much tequila).

It isn't a cheap place to go, but not completely unreasonable either. The downtown isn't very large which makes it so nice because you know exactly where to go for great nightlife... Cabo Wabo! We also went to Gigglin' Marlin and had a great time as well. This is where they will string you up by your ankles and give you a tequila shot!

Cabo is a GREAT place to go offshore fishing. It takes no time at all to get to deep water and it is very reasonably priced. There was a blue and black marlin fishing tournament going on right before we got there and we had a blue on our line!... until the line snapped :(

I got to see a seal swimming by the harbor, baby sea turtles let go into the ocean, hummingbirds, giant moths, and a ton of fish, so the wildlife is abundant. If I went back I think I would want to go on a snorkel excursion in the sea of cortez. My husband and I spent excursion money on a couple's massage this time. ;)

All in all, it was a great way to see Mexico as an "adult" (I went to Cancun when I was 18, and that is the best choice for that age I am guessing! haha). I love seeing different places so I don't know if I would go back or not, but I would recommend it to anyone looking for a getaway completely different from where they live, but not too far away and not too much of a hassle.


Cabo Pictures!

 Our resort - Hacienda Del Mar
 Pretty trees outside our villa
 A walk along the coast - puffer fish! :)
 Right outside our villa
 Our villa - second floor balcony room
 Our room
Post tequila shots - haha
 Us with Aunt Barb and Tio Miguel
From Charleston, South Carolina to your computer. I hope you enjoy. :)