July 22, 2015

Adult Coloring Group: “Color and Cuss”

Filed under: Culture,Current Events — Emily Reeves @ 9:13 pm

I jumped on the adult coloring book fad after reading articles from NPR, The New York Times and The New Yorker. I was embarrassed at first, but having now spent more time that I would like to admit coloring in my adult coloring books, I can not say enough positive things about it. When coloring, I find myself using the creative part of my brain, relaxing and generally feeling happy. For someone who feels like every moment in life must be spent being productive toward an end goal, finding happiness in coloring is truly amazing.

This past week, I was on a family vacation at the Buffalo River. Three of the six families brought adult coloring books and pens and pencils with them for use during the trip. And none had talked prior to know that coloring might be an activity that week. I was one of them.  Over the course of the week, seven adult women colored while sitting together and visiting.

My group of girlfriends, collectively known as The Boss Ladies, now all have coloring books and crayons courtesy of our friend Stephanie. Steph thought we could all use a little relaxation and mindless activity. Now, we find ourselves coloring together while drinking our wine and visiting.

My mom used to be part of a group of women who would get together to cross-stitch occasionally. They called their group “Stitch and Bitch.” They rarely stitched and always bitched, and I loved that my mom had found friends and a shared activity. Our recently found camaraderie through coloring has me thinking we should name our meetings “Color and Cuss.” You heard it here first.

IMG_6631

Favorite Summer Camera

Filed under: Culture,Photography,Travel — Emily Reeves @ 8:37 pm

41sEw91Wy1L._SY450_

I have a bad habit of buying new cameras regularly. I do take a lot of photos, but not enough to justify my extensive camera collection. One camera that has been totally worth the space it takes in my purse is the Fuji Instax. This cute pink instant camera has been so much fun on all our travels this summer. There is something about light and film that is flattering on all subjects. The old-school prints delight everyone who sees it. And my favorite thing about the photos is giving them away to the friends and family that we are visiting. This camera will continue to get a lot of use by our family. I am thinking about graduating to this fancier version at some point:

Summer Memories

Summer Memories

FullSizeRender

IMG_6510

IMG_6641

July 10, 2015

My Panties Are In A Bunch

Filed under: Style — Emily Reeves @ 7:46 pm

I rarely update my basic intimate wear. I typically decide one day that I need new underwear, bras or socks (yes, I consider them an intimate), then spend hundreds of dollars to replace all of them at one time. This week, I decided it was time for new underwear. For the replacements, I chose several pairs from Commando. They are amazingly comfortable. A good pair of underwear can do wonders for your attitude, especially when the old pairs had started getting uncomfortable. I highly recommend these undies! Feminine lace on the front and no-ride seams make them my perfect pairs.

July 7, 2015

Best of Shreveport, Louisiana Dining

Filed under: Culture — Emily Reeves @ 7:46 pm

Though I grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana, I have been living in Arkansas since I was 18 years old. However, I frequently go back to Shreveport to visit my dad and my friends.  When I go home, I definitely have an opinion about where and what I eat. And surprisingly, a number of people I know from Arkansas end up visiting Shreveport and always ask for restaurant recommendations. Here is my round-up of favorite restaurants in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Shreveport Favorites:

  • The Cub: I remember The Cub for its bar rather than its restaurant. But in my adult life I have come to know the restaurant, too. And it is good. This is a true hole-in-the-wall that has been a favorite Shreveport haunt for decades. The steaks are great and the atmosphere is cozy. Try to call ahead for a table as the restaurant is small and fills quickly with locals.
  • Herby K’s: You might think you are driving to a dead end of town, but when you hit Herby K’s, there is a party. Truly a hole-in-the-wall and truly tiny, a visit to Herby K’s is unforgettable. Poboys, gumbo and onion rings are great, but what you really need to order is the Shrimp Buster. It what they are known for and there is a reason for that. Sitting outside means you will be sitting a table with strangers and likely sweating. Sitting inside means you will have those who are next in line staring at you. Either way, it is a good time.
  • Johnny’s Pizza: Trust me on this: there is something different about this pizza and it is different in a good way. They are known for their “sweep the kitchen” supreme pizza, but all flavors are good. Get it to go and enjoy an evening on the couch with Johnny’s Pizza and a vodka freeze from one of the many drive-thru daiquiri stores around town.
  • Monjuni’s: This little eclectic Italian restaurant is now a chain, but I remember when it was just one location and I still only like to go to the original. Their sauce is sweet, which doesn’t appeal to everyone, but I love it. Rather than chips and salsa, they serve toasted bread and their sweet sauce. I like everything on the menu; you can not choose badly.
  • Strawn’s: My brother’s first job was making strawberry pies at Strawn’s Eat Shop. Growing up, we went here after soccer games, for Saturday lunch and any other time they were open. Now a trip to Shreveport is not complete for me until we eat at Strawn’s. The are famous for their ice box pies (my favorite is coconut cream), but they cheeseburgers and fries are greasy and perfect.
  • Superior Grill: Oh, the memories lost from their strong margaritas. You must have a margarita here and order a double. The bar and restaurant is always packed, so you will definitely be waiting for a table. They don’t take reservations, but have been known to move you up the waitlist for a well-placed tip. I don’t mind the wait though. The TexMex is good, but that’s not really why you are there.

Not every restaurant in Shreveport is a greasy hole-in-the-wall — though those definitely have the most character. For those looking for some “white tablecloth” options, here are the good ones.

Fine Dining:

  • Bella Fresca:  This romantic Italian restaurant has been known to host more than a few celebrities in town filming a movie. I’ve heard reports that Katie Holmes visited several times while shooting Mad Money. Did you know Shreveport has become a bit of a movie making hotspot?
  • Chianti: Authentic Italian and a Shreveport favorite. I’ve heard from a reliable source that Christina Hendricks ate there while shooting Dark Places.
  • Ernest’s: Regardless your age, but I can guarantee you will might be one of the youngest people dining at Ernest’s. It sits atop a hill, has an air of exclusivity to it and feels as old as the people regularly seen dining there. The food is good and it is a Shreveport classic. You really can’t go wrong with a meal at Ernest’s.
  • Superior Steak House: A classic steakhouse with the bit wooden bar and brass accents throughout, Superior is a fine meal. And, a scene from the 2006 Kevin Costner/Ashton Kutcher film The Guardian was shot in the main dining room.
  • The Village Grille: To be perfectly honest, this is one of those places that we went to with our prom dates. It feels fancy. But don’t let that diminish it as a great place to go. Valet parking, intimate dining and good food make this a place to visit over and over again. It also happens to be next door to the original Monjuni’s restaurant (see above).

Enjoy your visit to Shreveport!

July 6, 2015

Summer Reading Recommendations

Filed under: Books — Emily Reeves @ 7:13 pm

Are you looking for a fun summer read? Here are my five favorite light-read books from my 2015 library, so far.

Summer Reading July 15

Big Little Lies: Set in Australia, a group of women become friends when their children attend school together. There is a mystery strung throughout but you have to wait until the twisty ending for the big reveal.

The Knockoff: A Novel: A fashion magazines tries to go tech by kicking out the old and bringing in the young. And it all goes wrong.

Luckiest Girl Alive: A Novel: A young woman living in New York seems to have it all. However her dark past is revealed as the book progresses.

The Rosie Project: A Novel: A professor with Asberger’s Syndrome decides it is time to find a wife. So naturally, he approaches it scientifically. The Rosie comes along.

What Alice Forgot: A fall leaves Alice without her memory from the last decade. She awakes to the person she was 10 years ago, who was much happier (and nicer) than the person she has become now.

July 5, 2015

4th of July Food

Filed under: Food,Home — Emily Reeves @ 7:10 pm

We made a trip to visit my dad in Shreveport, Louisiana this weekend for our July 4th celebration. I knew we would have some visitors drop by throughout the weekend, and I was feeling a bit creative. So I made easy, hand-held foods in theme of the holiday. And I basically cooked all things that I love.

Patriotic Oreo Pops

Patriotic Oreo Pops

The ingredients.

Sophie helped make these on Friday afternoon. She loved it. We did have some trouble with melting the candy: I did not read the melting instructions and over-cooked one batch of red. Ours definitely did not look like the Pinterest image, but it all worked out in the end.

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Candy Melts in Red, White and Royal Blue
  • Oreo Cookies
  • 4″ Lollipop Sticks
  • Assorted Sprinkles

Directions:

  • Twist apart all of the Oreo cookies.
  • Melt the Candy Melts in the microwave in 30 second increments on DEFROST (this is important, it turns out), stirring until completely melted and smooth.
  • Drizzle a dollop of the white melts in the center of the white cookie filling and then gently press a pop stick into it and top with the other cookie half.
  • Holding the stick, lower the entire Oreo into the bowl of melted candy, spooning it over the top and sides to cover it completely. Alternate colors to have an array of red, white and blue.
  • Allow the excess melted candy to drain off and gently place covered Oreo on a piece of parchment paper to harden.
  • Top with sprinkles and drizzle with different colors of the melted candy. We did this by spooning the candy into a plastic bag and cutting the corner to make a pastry bag.
Separating the Oreos.

Separating the Oreos.

IMG_6501

IMG_6503

IMG_6507

 Truffle Deviled Eggs

I love, love, loved deviled eggs. But I have never made them before. I decided to try Truffle Deviled Eggs because one of our favorite restaurants in Little Rock have these on the menu and I am constantly craving them. Of course mine did not turn out as good as those at The Pantry, but we loved them.

My first time to make deviled eggs.

My first time to make deviled eggs.

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 12 eggs; cooked, cooled, and peeled
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp white truffle oil
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Ground paprika, for garnish

Directions:

  • Halve the peeled eggs length­wise.
  • Remove the yolks and place in a medium bowl, set the egg whites aside.
  • Using two forks, break apart the egg yolks.
  • Add the mayo, Dijon, truffle oil, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper.
  • Continue to mash until completely smooth, and season to taste with salt and pepper (we ended up using a whisk).
  • Using a resealable bag with the corner cut off – pipe the yolk mixture into the egg white halves.
  • Garnish with paprika.

IMG_6534

IMG_6535

Mac & Cheese Cupcakes

I cannot express how much I love macaroni and cheese. When I stumbled upon this “cupcake” recipe on Pinterest, I couldn’t resist trying it out.

The crust is made separately from the mac & cheese, creating layers in the "cupcakes."

The crust is made separately from the mac & cheese, creating layers in the “cupcakes.”

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dried macaroni noodles
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided in 2 and 1 cups
  • 4 eggs
  • 1.5 sticks salted butter, 1 stick melted, 1⁄2 stick cold and cubed
  • 1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
  • 1⁄2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup milk

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Cook macaroni, according to package and do the following steps while it’s cooking.
  • In a medium bowl, combine melted butter, crushed buttery crackers and 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese. Set aside.
  • In another medium bowl, beat 4 eggs together. Add milk, sour cream and cold cubed butter and combine.
  • Once macaroni is cooked, toss into a large bowl with a cup of cheddar cheese. Combine.
  • Add egg/milk/sour cream mix to macaroni bowl and stir together.
  • Use muffin tins lined with muffin cups. Lightly pray muffin cups with non­stick spray.
  • Press a spoonful of cheese/butter/cracker mixture into the bottom of each cup. Fill the rest of the muffin cup with the macaroni mixture.
  • Sprinkle any left over cracker/cheddar mix on top of each macaroni cupcake.
  • Bake for 20-­25 minutes or until cupcakes come out firm, golden brown and toasted.

IMG_6522

IMG_6523

IMG_6524

Hot Dog Rockets

These were super easy to make and displayed nicely on our table, giving our spread some height. And great for the kiddos.

Again, mine don't look as great as the Pinterest image, but they tasted great.

Again, mine don’t look as great as the Pinterest image, but they tasted great.

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 can refrigerated crescent roll dough
  • 2 packages of 8 hot dogs, 16 total
  • 1 block of colby cheese
  • 16 wooden skewers

Directions:

  • Stick skewers all the way through hot dogs leaving about an inch exposed out of the top of each hot dog.
  • Unroll crescent dough and cut each triangle in even halves. Then wrap each hotdog with a strip of the crescent dough, leaving spaces between each wrap.
  • Place the wrapped dogs on parchment paper and bake according to the package directions for the crescent roll dough. We cooked ours for 20 minutes at 350-degrees.
  • While the hot dogs are cooking, slice colby cheese into 1/4″ slices. Cut each slice into four triangles to make the top of the “rockets.”
  • After the hot dogs have cooled for 2-3 minutes, stick the cheese through the skewer at the top.

 

July 3, 2015

Binge Watch TV Favorites

Filed under: Home,Movie Review — Emily Reeves @ 3:48 pm

Rainy long weekends are perfect for binge watching a TV series (or two) on Netflix. Here are my recommendations:

Alias: Black-ops kick-ass spy with an element of the supernatural.

Jennifer Garner in a La Femme Nikita-like role. It is great fun watching her go undercover in various costumes. Because it is a J.J. Abrams series, the story eventually takes a turn to the weird and supernatural. My mom and I used watch this together, so it holds special memories for me. I can watch the series over and over again.

Bloodline: Complicated family drama in a beautiful setting.

A beach-front, hotel-owning family with four grown kids deals with a big brother black sheep coming home after the patriarch’s death. It has a character you love hating and a mysterious death foreshadowed throughout the season. You will be on the edge of your seat watching this one.

The Bridge: A Texas/Mexico version of True Detective.

A dark cop drama starring Diane Kruger in her most unglamorous role. The series is set in a Texas border town, with half of the time spent in Mexico trying to solve serial crimes occurring on both sides of the border. Kruger’s character has a dark and disturbing past that is revealed across the two-season series. Much like the True Detective series, you have to pay close attention to the details of the story to understand all the nuance.

The Fall: Irish serial killer being chased by a lady cop in high heels.

A serial killer that is way too good-looking to be a serial killer eludes a police investigator played by Gillian Anderson. This series is set in Northern Ireland, is dark and gloomy throughout, and will have you cringing but wanting more.

Fringe: Crime-solving mystery adventure with an element of the supernatural.

I missed this show when it originally aired. When my husband introduced it to me a few months ago, I was skeptical. But I am fan of all things J.J. Abrams is involved in producing, so I gave it a fair chance. And I loved it from the first episode. Every spare minute I had was spent watching Fringe until I made my way through all five seasons.

Luther: Sherlock Holmes-like cop in London.

Three seasons was not enough of this show for me. The character of Luther, played by Idris Elba, is highly intelligent with bad habits. Luther is a British cop show in which the title character is a detective that forms an unlikely friendship with a female serial killer. It is strange, gripping and smart.

The West Wing: Behind-the-scenes drama at the White House.

Oh, how I love this show. The President, played by Martin Sheen, is a good man making hard decisions. His motley crew advisors and staff come across as real people that everyone can identify with as they work in a high-pressure environment. The show is full of history, references to current events of its time and intelligent banter. This is another series that I can watch over and over again, never tiring of the stories.

To keep it cozy (even in July), here are a few of my favorite things.

Binge TV Board

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5

July 1, 2015

My Off-Time Shoes

Filed under: Shoes,Style — Emily Reeves @ 8:45 pm

As much as I love tall heels and strappy sandals, the two pairs of shoes you will most often see me in this summer during my off-work time are the Sanuk Yoga Sling 2 sandals and the OluKai Paniolo W flip flops. I have the Sanuk pair in black and the OluKai pair in brown. Both are extremely comfortable, super cute and easy on my feet at the end of a hot summer day in heels.

Both of these pairs (two separate occasions) were purchased after highly recommended reviews by friends and were purchased on my phone from Zappos while still in the presence of said friends. I love that my friends and I share tastes and have no problem all wearing the exact same pair of shoes, especially when we find a pair so great we have to rave about them.