Chicken Taco Chili

DSCN0668IIIIIt’s Slow-Cooker Season!! Okay, maybe not quite–but almost. I found this recipe on Pinterest (one of those mysterious pins that go nowhere, but have the recipe in the comments) a few years ago before I had my own slow-cooker. You can easily make this on the stove–just cook the chicken beforehand. But man, if you have a slow-cooker–use it! They’re like magic. But we all know that already so let’s move on. I love chili, but after eating an entire of batch of my standard chili I’m so over it for the season, so this is a nice little twist on the classic fall-favorite. And since it’s not classic chili it feels August-appropriate. DSCN0635llYou need a chicken breast–about 1 pound, a can of corn, two cans of diced tomatoes, a can of tomato sauce and a can of black beans. You can add a can of kidney beans too to make it a bit hardier, but I opted out for the sake of being less chili-like and more August appropriate (aka I forgot to get them at the store). Season with one packet of taco seasoning. I like the less-sodium version, but I couldn’t find it at the store this week. You also need a little kick (not pictured above). I usually use a few teaspoons of chili powder, but I was all out so I threw in some red pepper flakes. If you’re not into the spicy thing you could probably do without. Dump everything in your slow-cooker and set on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-6. I consider it done when the chicken is cooked through and is bubbling. Take out the cooked chicken and shred it–shreds like a dream–then throw it back in and give the whole thing a good stir. I like to leave it on low for another 30 minutes or so after just for good measure, but you can serve it right after shredding the chicken too. DSCN0661As you can see by all the variations and options here–it’s really hard to mess this up. Top with shredded sharp cheddar cheese and crushed tortilla chips. And enjoy! 

Bathroom Plans: 3 Ideas

My bathroom actually falls pretty far down on the list of things to do and decorate in my new apartment. But as part of my whole minimalism/authentic living thing, I’m trying to only bring things I truly love into my home, which requires some thought and planning. And man if I love anything I love a good plan.

And I thought I already had a plan for my bathroom. I wanted to do all white with feminine and spa-like touches here and there. But when I set out to find all things white, feminine and spa-like for my bathroom I started finding other things I loved too. So here’s three possible décor scenarios—with the beigey color of my walls and the black and white floors.

White

First, the aforementioned lady-like, all-white, tranquil bathroom. I just love the idea of having all white towels. It seems so luxurious and classy. (I don’t know if you know this about me, but I’m all about the luxury and class ;)) I’ve always wanted to do something like this, but I’ve never had a bathroom that it would work with. In my previous WCs I’ve had to use bright, splashy colors to distract from the water damaged cabinets and painfully dated fixtures or simply the sheer tiny-ness of the space. But with my new bathroom I have plenty of room filled with updated, good-condition bath necessities just begging to be adorned it lush white classiness.
rich color

The older I get (can a 23-year-old say that?) the less color I wear. I like how I look in neutral colors and when all of your clothes are in the family of black, white and gray everything goes together. Its great. But when it comes to my home I’m all about the color (’bout the color, ’bout the color–no neutrals!). I found the towels here first. I was browsing through World Market for all things lush and white and these rich, bold beauties called out to me. And since one towel (ONE TOWEL) costs $16 I knew I’d need supplement with some trusty ($4) Target towels in that supple purple hue. Now…I don’t know if this actually qualified as bohemian–but it’s a nice piece of vocabulary and I didn’t know how else to describe the bamboo bath mat-metallic bath accessories combo.

blue yellowThis scheme is the meet-in-the-middle of the previous two. Crisp and clean white and blue with fun pops of bright yellow. I already have some pretty blue bath accessories. And I found this adorable pom-pom-trimmed shower curtain at Pottery Barn–but at $50 (on sale) there’s just no way. So I started searching for some similar options and found this striped version–and I’m a girl that can get on board with some nice stripes.  Plus–I can still get my lush white towels with this plan.
 What’s your fave?

Caprese Pasta

DSCN0619There is nothing revolutionary or creative about this recipe. But tried and true spice combos + in-season produce + fresh grated cheese = one deliciously simple dinner. I love pasta but sometimes it seems too heavy for the warmer months (not that it stops me from eating it) so I love to tossing it with fresh veggies and just a smattering of cheese. DSCN0605llI made just one serving, but you could easily make a bigger batch to serve a family or guests. DSCN0609Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Half a handful (about a 1/3 of a pint or so) and toss in the hot olive oil with Italian seasoning, garlic and basil. I had dried on hand, but it would be even better with fresh basil and garlic. While tomatoes are cooking, boil water and cook pasta. Once tomatoes start to wrinkle a bit remove from heat. Toss cooked pasta and just a tish of pasta water with the tomatoes. Transfer to a plate and top immediately, while still hot, with cheese.
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Bedroom Tour Part II: Plans!

I think this is my favorite part of decorating: updating and refining a room that is already “done”. If I’m being realistic here, by the time I actually get to refining my bedroom, after completing the rest of the things on my To Do and To Decorate list I’ll probably go in an entirely different direction. BUT if I were to update it today (with a rather large budget–because who likes to dream on a realistic budget!?) this is what I would do. bedroom plans

First off, the bed. I love my mix-and-match bedding, but my sheets could use a replacing. They’re a cheap-y set I picked up at TJMaxx and after less than a year they’re already pretty worn.  I want to stick with the fuchsia hue, but maybe go with a subtle print like these ones from PBTeen.

At some point I feel like I should really have headboard. After all, adults have headboards right? I love this simple gray one from West Elm and it would be bomb flanked with matching lamps. These ones from Pier 1 are on sale this month! I think about buying them every time I work.

Ok, let’s shift to my work space now. My little desk that I got for my very first apartment is working nicely, but I’d like to upgrade to a larger Parson’s desk. My current desk chair is adorable, but it has the ugliest cheap metal legs–and it’s not actually all that comfortable. This upholstered chair would complement the headboard nicely and a classic carpenter lamp would be a slightly-masculine touch to my very feminine bedroom.

Black and white is my go-to. For everything. I have black and white dishes, I had black and white bedding forever, and um, have you seen my closet? (well actually you probably haven’t–but there’s not much color in there). And since there’s really no place for it in my living room plans I knew it would be perfect here. Every self-respecting-hip-young-and-trendy furniture supplier has some version of this black and white stripped rug and it would be the perfect replacement for the shaggy gray rug I have now.

And finally that fabulous, oversize leaning mirror. I haven’t found a specific one yet, but I just love the idea of a giant mirror leaning against the wall in place of my teeny one. Tres Chic! (<— please. use a French accent when you read that)

 

Bedroom Tour

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Welcome to my bright, colorful bedroom–with a door and windows and everything! After living in a studio for a year, I so appreciate an actual bedroom. Plus it’s fun to have another space to decorate and dream about. As much as I love my bedroom, I almost feel as if it doesn’t warrant a tour. There’s not a whole lot of anything new or different from my studio (other than there not being a kitchen table near by) but I thought I’d give you a quick cruise anyway. My desk looks exactly the same as it did in my studio, but now I have a much nicer view (a tree-lined street as opposed to a dated, dingy, textured wall) and the afternoon sunlight is just delightful. 

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The only change to my bed is the throw pillow. The lumbar pillow I had in my studio was ripping at one of the seams, so I swapped it out for this guy who used to live on my loveseat. I used my old entry table/storage unit for the bedside tables. They’re the perfect height and I like to have room to keep a few books near my bed. I only kept half of the bookshelf from my studio and after a Half-Priced Books purge (I made $16 #happydance) all my books + office supplies fit snuggly inside.

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I’ve since popped my little dorm room TV on top of this shelf (I love watching SATC and Friends in bed), but it remains mostly the same. I picked up a new candle—that smells like fall, but doesn’t have a fall name (see what I did there, I’m sneaky like that)—and tucked it in with a few frames and one of my succulents.

{Sidenote: I did way cooler things–like take pics at Navy Pier and frolic about Dutch sunflower fields–when I was 18 than I do now, so all of my photos are really old}

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Ahh…it’s so nice to have a room that comes together just like that (insert air snap) when you move. Disclaimer: I never drink coffee in bed. #bloggerlies

I’ll be sharing my ideas and wish list for the space soon!

 


Living Room Plans

Slide1Oh my living room!  I get so excited when I think about decorating it. For the most part it’s a blank slate–well actually its a burnt orange slate with a sad slip-covered love seat and beautiful new floor lamp.

So here’s the story: When I signed the lease for my apartment I though that the accent wall was going to be a steely blue. Then I got the keys and skipped into my beautiful new apartment then just about lost my lunch when I saw the behemoth that was my new ORANGE accent wall. I’m not an orange girl. I’m a cool-colors-black-and-white-accented-with-BRIGHTS type of girl. The warm, burnt orange was not me.

Easy fix: I’ll paint! Well…my landlord told me I couldn’t. Psh who listens to their landlord: I’ll do it anyway! Well then my dad (who happens to apparently like burnt orange) came to help me move and convinced me that painting really wasn’t a very good idea. He also pointed out my love of all things fall and if that wall is anything it is a fall color. So I started to come around to the wall. And now that I’m a few weeks in I actually kind of like the wall. Okay. I really like the wall. It’s so cozy and man it is going to look FABULOUS with all the pumpkins that will be living in my apartment in a few short weeks.

So, as you can see above in my nifty little “color story” I’m going to go with a plum-y purple and burnt orange scheme with just the subtlest of green accents–mostly in the form of house plants. 
layouts
I had every intention of purchasing myself a new, adult couch from a real, grown up furniture store. Then I bought a car. So my couch purchase is on hold for a few more months. But the good news is that gives me more time to plan and shop and dream.

I was set on a gray sectional. And I found one that I loved but of course it was way over priced and had really questionable online reviews (I wrote this. Then I went to find the link for sofa and discovered it’s now 40% off…not so over priced now. Strokes chin contemplatively.) But a smallish sectional is still at the top of my list. Here’s the thing–I’m just one person and I live alone (bliss) so I feel like I shouldn’t have more than one piece of furniture to sit on. Is that weird? #girlcode.

Last weekend my mom got me a new floor lamp for birthday–which does wonderful things for the space already. Anyhow, on the box there was a picture of the lamp beside an oversize cream chair with a matching ottoman. It was calling out to me. So I’ve thrown the possibility of a couch and oversize chair combo into the mix. 

pillowsPillows. My favorite home decor item. Of all time. They’re fluffy, versatile, affordable and did I mention fluffy? I have the three on the bottom already and the two on top would round out my color scheme nicely while adding texture for visual interest. (<— that’ s lingo I use at my part-time retail job to make customers thing I know what I’m talking about. Shh…don’t tell.)
UntitledRefer back to the layouts above for just a second. See with the sectional I have a round coffee table with a floor pouf. I stole the idea from Inspired by Charm. I just love it. And Target has these fab poufs just spilling all over the place. They would make nice extra seating (because you know I have more than seven people at my apartment ALL THE TIME…) or a good foot rest. AND it’s like a mini dining room table (appropriate only for 20-somethings of course. Don’t worry I’ll get a real table sometime in the next seven years.)

Phew, I can hardly believe you made it through all that. *HIGH FIVE* Do you have any thoughts, or suggestions about my living room plans? Tell me! Tell me please! Did you just look at the pictures and skip all the ramblings? It’s okay I do it too. ;)

Reading Lately

I’ve been reading like a maniac lately. And some good stuff too! So let me tell you about it.

thumb.phpMe Before You by Jojo Moyes
I saw Me Before You on a summer reading list a while ago and I loved the cover, so I put it on hold at my local library. I barely skimmed the summary so I all I knew was that it was a romance of some sort. I wasn’t really expecting much from it, but man was it good. And man was it a tear. jerker. I’m pretty sure I sobbed though most of the last third of the book. The synopsis goes like this. Nice blue-collar girl loses her coffee shop job, takes job as a companion for a cranky 30-something quadriplegic. Ends up falling in love with said quadriplegic, no surprise there. But I’m telling you, you’ve got to read. It will make you think. And it will make you cry. And you will love it.

ISD StyleOutlander Series (Books 2-4) by Diana Gabaldon

My mom’s been a huge fan of these books for decades. I’ve read the first one a few times and it’s a pretty delicious read, but for some reason I never mustered up the energy to read any of the following books—and they’re a pretty serious commitment at 900+ pages. But after seeing my mom devour one on a weekend road trip earlier this summer, I decided I should probably dive back in. I started with the second installment, Dragonfly in Amber then followed with Voyager and Drums of Autumn. And finished each of them in about a week or so—serious page turners, I’m tellin’ ya! So here’s the deal: Claire accidentally goes back in time from the 1940’s to 18th century Scotland. Meets and falls in love with a super hunky Scot and adventure ensues over several decades and thousands of pages. It’s the perfect mix of historical fiction, romance, drama and just the tiniest bit of sci-fi. Oh and there’s a Starz series based on the first book coming out this month!

TOAO_100 1 3 (2)The One and Only by Emily Giffin
I love Emily Giffin, she’s very possibly my favorite author. I can always count on her for fun, easy-reading, good-quality chick lit. And I was sure that I would love her new book, after all I’ve zipped through all her others in just a few days. But it was just meh. It was about a sports writer in a football town in Texas—romances with a former college football player, a pro football player and a football coach (who is also her best friend’s dad…ew). It wasn’t bad and there were lots of good parts and as always the characters were wonderful. But there were also lots of parts about football, like pages describing plays and games. So if you love chick lit and you love football, you will love this book. But if your favorite thing about football is chilly fall weather and crock pot dips…then it might leave a bit to be desired.