Happy Halloween.

I’m actually not much of a Halloween fan.
But I am a fan of picnic-style dinners by the fireplace and pumpkin carving with my husband. So here are some photos of us getting festive.


^ Squishing it all up is kind of my favorite part. (Disclaimer: this photo almost certainly just made my sister feel the need to wash her hands)

When our kitty wasn’t busy being my assistant pumpkin carver (aka trying to lick the pumpkin top) she was sleeping by the fire.

I went with an S this year because we didn’t have a nifty pumpkin carving kit and I’m most likely going to try to convince Clint to take a “family picture” with the pumpkin to commemorate our first Halloween as Husband & Wife. We also bought that little pumpkin with intentions of carving it. Clint was going to do the Panther’s logo, but it turns out that little freak of a pumpkin is some sort of crazy breed that is actually more like wood. So we got the top off and on the other side are a few carved whiskers but it wasn’t worth the hassle so it’s just there to be cute.
We finished the night with some delicious hot chocolate, and I even made heart-shaped cool whip to top it off- and then ended up covering it up with more of that whipped goodness.

Seeing as we live on the top floor of our apartment complex and there are no children in our building or the one next to us I’m counting on not having any trick-or-treaters. And since Halloween candy is remarkably expensive I didn’t buy any. So tonight we’ll be locking the door and keeping all signs of Halloween to a minimum. And even though I didn’t buy the kiddos any treats, I did buy some Halloween cookies on sale at HT today so I’ll be baking those up and snuggling with my main man. (In reality, he’ll probably be working and I’ll probably be eating more cookies than one should eat in one sitting.) But at least we’ll be together :]

Happy Halloween!

Adventures In Antiquing.

Yesterday we had some lovely visitors up in Raleigh in the form of my grandmother, mom, and sister. We had a crisp fall day among us and made our way over to a little Raleigh gem, The Vintage Village to try our hand at antiquing.

What did you all do this weekend?

Let’s get cookin’: Macaroni & Cheese

A little while back I showed you guys how I’ve been cookin’ it up in the kitchen. Well today I’m going to share one of my favorite dishes that we’ve been enjoying in the Simpson household.

Until I started dating Clint I never knew that people actually ate just Mac & Cheese for dinner. And I certainly never knew that people made it from scratch! I grew up in a home where a box of Kraft was made on nights where we had hamburgers and hotdogs. My husband grew up in a home where macaroni and cheese was made by hand and a Thanksgiving staple. When we got married (almost three months ago!) and I started thinking of all the things I wanted to make, new and old recipes alike, I had macaroni and cheese at the top of the list. I went searching through one of the cookbooks I received as a shower gift and found a delicious recipe from Williams-Sonoma’s The Weeknight Cook. Their three-cheese macaroni was just what I was looking for, however, 2 out of those three cheeses were one’s I could hardly pronounce and they come from the fancy cheese counter. So me and my sweet husband came up with a more budget friendly mac & cheese and I think we’re giving Williams-Sonoma a run for their money.

So here, is Macaroni & Cheese…

What you’ll need to get cookin’

  • 3 Cups of Milk
  • 5 Tbl of butter
  • 3 Tbl of flour
  • 3/4 cup of Sharp Cheddar cheese; shredded.
  • 3/4 cup of Aged Swiss cheese; shredded.
  • 1lb of Macaroni elbows
  • Salt & Pepper

Let’s make it

  • In a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat, warm the milk. Remove from heat once small bubbles begin to appear around the edges of the pan.
  • In a large saucepan over low heat, melt the butter.
  • Add the flour to melted butter, whisking to mix it all together.
  • Raise the heat to medium-low and cook this mixture for 4-5 minutes, it should look golden.
  • Slowly whisk in the milk and cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until it becomes thick and creamy.

This is about when I start boiling my water and cook the pasta. But don’t strain it yet!

  • Add in your cheese, slowly whisking it into the mixture.
  • Stir the cheese until it is entirely melted, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Now you can strain your pasta (but don’t get rid of all that water!!)
  • When straining reserve about half a cup of that starchy-goodness water.
  • Add the drained pasta to the cheese sauce and stir together.
  • Add in cooking water to your preference- the more water, the thinner the cheese; the less water, the thicker.
  • Serve and enjoy!

I serve this easy peasy mac and cheese with corn. Partially because corn is my fav veggie and because I quite honestly don’t know what else to serve it with. But truly, the mac and cheese can definitely stand alone.

I hope you enjoy this meal as much as we do!

Let me know how this mac&cheese plays out at your kitchen table!!

FYI- I’m linking this meal up with Lauren over at Letters from Lala (Who has a lovely blog and a super cute [and expanding!] family) who is finding out everyone’s favorite fall fixin’

Letters From LaLa

Wish List Wednesday- Or the things I want but can’t have.

Although I think a more appropriate title for this post may be… Wish List Wednesday- Things that I like but everybody already has them so I don’t really want them anymore.

1,2,3

Sometimes, everyone thinks the same things are great. I will agree with the ranks of people who also like the things listed above, but I won’t be joining them. Because really guys, how fun is it to show up somewhere with that fab statement necklace on just to have the next girl over making the same statement?! Two outfits ruined, and now you’re stuck second-guessing putting that necklace on every time you go out. Of course you can’t help what other people buy and you just have to get yourself things that you like, but really, sometimes I think I might be the only person who doesn’t have one or more of the items above.

Whenever I see myself eyeballing someone’s arm candy it is almost always a Michael Kors watch. The man makes a beautiful piece of jewelry but I’m certainly more partial to things that everybody and their sister doesn’t already own.

The necklace… it is  e v e r y w h e r e. I challenge you to go on Pinterest and not see one. (And while you’re there you should go follow me). I of course see why people bought the beautiful baubles, and they come in tons of great colors, and really, they kind of always look fantastic. But, like I mentioned above, it’s not so great when your statement necklace isn’t the only statement being made.

This spiky bracelet has been worn by Rihanna, and since I sort of can’t stand her, and because every fashion blog I’ve ever read has this, I just can’t allow myself to indulge in this golden goodness. And ever since I first set my eyes on it I notice it more and more which just makes me want it less and less.

Do you guys ever do this too? Have you ever had something on your wish list and then suddenly realized it might be a good thing you don’t have it anymore?

What do you want but everyone else already has it?

The moment.

I’m going to share with you the moment. The moment that no one talks about. The moment that college professors should be counseling their students on now just to prepare them for. The moment that will knock every last ounce of air right out of you before you can even try to take your next breath.

The moment in unemployment where you’re convinced you’ve officially become a failure.
The moment in unemployment where you start to think of the other jobs you’d settle for.

Here is my moment.

With my grocery list in hand and my sunglasses propped on top of my head I set out on this beautiful fall day to get some things done. I’ve spent the morning poured over my laptop doing the daily search at those companies that I’d get payed pennies just to work at. My first stop is Bed Bath & Beyond to pick up a hand soap pump for our bathroom. We finally got that lovely 20% coupon in the mail and I’m excited to have our toothbrush holder and soap dispenser match. Taking in every last glorious rust color leaf as I walk into BB&B I notice a “Now Hiring” sign on the side pane of those smudge-filled sliding glass doors. Before I could even push the thought aside I could hear myself saying, I should ask for an application. I almost stopped dead in my tracks. Not to downplay the people who work these retail jobs (I was one of them through high school and some of college, and sometimes you just have to do what you have to do to make ends meet) but I’ve worked for more than that. I have a diploma with my name on it. I worked my butt off for four years of college. Hundreds of hours were spent with my nose in a book. Dozens of highlighters ran dry as I threw myself into every last assignment. Enough notecards were used to fill a Bed Bath & Beyond. Tears shed through the stress of approaching due dates. Hitting refresh on my final grades until my eyes finally believed I’d made straight A’s. None of these things qualify  me for a job behind a counter. With tear-filled eyes I numbly navigated my way through the store, purchased my soap pump and got out of there before they could even ask if I wanted the receipt in the bag.

I sent a text to my sister saying this…
“I need an intervention.. or a job.. I just considered asking for an application at bed bath and beyond.”

Like me, she went through a period of unemployment. I don’t think she’ll mind me sharing that. First of all because she did eventually land a fantastic job and is only getting more successful by the day. Secondly, because I think she found out a lot about her character through her unemployment. She’s been through the moment and came out the other side a better version of herself, one who ran a marathon. Her suggestion and her personal method for surviving this black hole that is unemployment is to focus on a hobby. Finding a job cannot be what my day revolves around.

So instead of driving around to finish my errands crying my eyes out like I so desperately wanted to, I came back home, put on some worship music to center my heart, and started writing. Because this is my hobby. Writing is what makes me feel better. I can pull every last emotion out of my heart, effortlessly let it flow through my fingertips and let it resonate here on this screen. This is my hobby and if somebody, anybody, would hire me as a copywriter I could turn it into my living as well. But until then, I’ll let the words come from my heart, as defeated as it may currently feel.

They don’t teach you about perseverance and self-confidence in college. They don’t teach you to love yourself enough to never settle for something that you could have had before the four years of 8 am classes and midnight cups of coffee. They seriously neglect to prepare you for the moment that you feel like a first class loser.

I kind of believe you should never say you’ve hit rock bottom, because inevitably things will just get worse, but I’ll say things look pretty dark down here where I am. I’m trying really hard to keep my eyes focused on that small bit of light though, and if someone throws a rope down to me to help me up that would be fantastic (this is where you tell all those charlotte-based advertising/communications people about a girl named Kelly) but until that happens I’m gonna take just a moment here alone (although I’m of course not even close to alone, I do believe I have a bit over 7% of the country down here with me) and I’m going to try to give myself a little pep talk. You know.. don’t settle for less than you believe you deserve, hold out hope that something unexpected will happen, maybe even a bit of slow and steady wins the race, to ease my mind of concentrating on just how long I’ve been this version of my unemployed self.

I’m declaring this pity party over… well.. I’m gonna give it the rest of the day, but I’ve officially had the moment, and tomorrow I won’t even let myself think that I’m anything less than fan-freaking-tastic, and I might stop interjecting freaking into words to get my point across, I’ve got to start speaking like a working-girl if I ever plan to be one. ;]