July 6, 2015

Summer Reading Recommendations

Filed under: Book Review — 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.

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.

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 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.

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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.

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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.

June 30, 2015

My Go-To Lip Color

Filed under: Beauty — Emily Reeves @ 8:19 pm

I love a good bold lip in red or pink. I pull those strong lip colors out on a regular basis, but we all need that one go-to color that coordinates with your everyday makeup and whatever you are wearing. Mine is Chanel Rough Coco Ultra Hydrating Lip Colour in Mademoiselle. It is a neutral pink that is not too brown and not too pink. It gives me just the right amount of color to look like I tried without trying too hard. And I can put it on without a mirror because it is very forgiving.

June 29, 2015

Book Review: Leave Your Mark

Filed under: Book Review,Social Media — Emily Reeves @ 5:16 pm

This is a quick read, behind-the-scenes dish from the original DKNY PR GIRL on Twitter (@dkny) telling how she got her start, her secrets for success and her early leap into social media as a brand. I have enjoyed following DKNY PR GIRL for years (and been jealous of her adventures), but I never knew the story behind the handle. It was a fun read and one that I recommend to any fresh college graduate looking for a job in the communications business. From dress, to language, to attitude, Aliza Licht has advice for taking a career to the next level and embracing change along the way.

June 28, 2015

Totally About Totes

Filed under: Personal,Shopping,Style — Emily Reeves @ 9:17 am

I guess it is my type-A, super organized personality that attracts me to tote bags. It seems no matter the different styles of purses that I buy, I always gravitate back to my tote bags. In a tote bag, each item has its place, I can open it and see everything that is there and carry the things I need all the time (always be prepared!). These are my favorite tote bags.

This Longchamp Pilage bag is a good size for daily use. I use a bag insert to keep it more structured and organized.

This Everlane Petra tote is huge and great for travel or days when I need to carry all my regular needs plus work gear.

This Madewell Transport tote (I have it in brown) is more casual and its vertical orientation makes it less bulky in a crowd or when shopping.

This Tory Burch nylon tote is good when a more lightweight bag is needed. I use it to haul workout gear around.

 

June 25, 2015

Fly Me North For The Summer

Filed under: Current Events,Personal — Emily Reeves @ 4:22 pm

I think summertime is beautiful from inside my air conditioned house or car and behind my tinted windows or sunglasses. That is the only time I enjoy summer. The bright sun gives me a headache and I sweat profusely if exposed to temperatures above 75-degrees for longer than 15 seconds. I avoid sun exposure to my skin as if it were delivering the plague. I wish I were exaggerating.

The South is my home. I was born in Louisiana, raised in Louisiana, went to college in Arkansas and now live and work in Arkansas. I am no stranger to hot and humid summers. But that doesn’t make me any more tolerant of the heat.

When I get hot and start sweating, my mood degrades rapidly. I don’t want anything or anyone near me. I fret about my appearance as sweat runs down my face, back, stomach and legs. My shoes get tight. I literally can think of nothing else but how hot and uncomfortable I am.

To be perfectly clear: I hate summertime.

I would be completely happy spending my entire summer inside my house, working from my computer and accepting deliveries for all necessities, a la Sandra Bullock in The Net.

Why do so many people not understand my misery in the heat? No one really likes to be hot, but it seems everyone I know LOVES the summer for outdoor activities, water activities and long sunshiny days. I want overcast skies and cool, breezy temperatures.

Don’t get me wrong; I am not all “emo:”

“Emo has been associated with a stereotype that includes being particularly emotional, sensitive, shy, introverted, or angst-ridden.” – Wikipedia

I am a generally happy person. I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, and the summer typically provides more opportunity for these gatherings. As a result, I work hard to tolerate and be tolerable when the days are torturously hot. That means no makeup, lightweight and quick-drying clothes, and a lot of alcohol.

That's me on the golf course last summer, covered from head to toe in sun protective clothing. Note I am smiling. But for the record, I was not comfortable.

That’s me on the golf course last summer, covered from head to toe in sun protective clothing. Note I am smiling. But for the record, I was not comfortable.

I even went to Haiti in the summer of 2013. I have never been so hot in my entire life. Again, note that I am smiling despite the fact that my hair is dripping wet with sweat.

I even went to Haiti in the summer of 2013. I have never been so hot in my entire life. Again, note that I am smiling despite the fact that my hair is dripping wet with sweat.

So, there is proof that I am not a complete wretch when I am hot. But I can assure you, I am much happier in cooler temperatures. Forgive today’s rant, but 100-degrees outside today I can think of nothing but how miserably hot it is outside my air conditioned home right now.