Snackin’ on a Sunday

Hey there! So, this past Sunday turned out to be one of those good ol’ lazy days. I stayed in my comfy clothes all day, sorted some laundry and scrolled through all of my social media accounts. With all of this energy exerted (ha!), I worked up a little hunger. I came up with this midday snack, just something to nibble on a few hours before dinner. 

You ever browse your fridge or pantry for something “good” and sorta end up disappointed? Or is that just me? Grocery shopping isn’t a joy of my life, so I only go when I really need to. However, Sunday was different. I actually had some good ingredients to throw a nice little charcuterie (Google this word, it’s also fun to say) plate together. 

Hopefully, this can give you some ideas of what to make for your own charcuterie plate/platter–perfect to enjoy alone, with your love or to entertain friends and family. The options are endless and creativity is key…and of course presentation. 

Ingredients used (pictured above): Salami bites, Prosciutto, Havarti cheese, Cheddar cheese, almonds and Raisin Rosemary crisps 

Happy Snacking! 

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Easy weeknight meal: Summer Stir Fry

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Last night, I came across the cooking site “The Comfort of Cooking” (via TheNest.com) which has some really tasty-looking recipes accompanied by some amazing imagery (I really need to upgrade to a better camera-DSLR, maybe?). Coming home from the gym, I always feel like I’m starving. So, I looked for something easy to throw together for dinner and the ‘Summer Stir Fry’ popped up. Who doesn’t love a good stir fry, especially one with fresh, healthy ingredients?

Luckily, I already had all of the ingredients on-hand (happy dance!) :

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 25-30 whole shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails left on
  • 2 whole zucchini, sliced on a slight diagonal
  • 2 ears corn, kernels sliced off
  • ½ cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley/basil/cilantro, if desired
  • **Crushed red pepper flakes (Not a part of the recipe, but I added since I love spicy food)
  • **Jasmine rice or Brown rice (This wasn’t included in the recipe either, but I added for a little more substance)

To see how to make this delicious recipe, click here.

I am happy to report the dish was very easy to prepare, it’s super colorful and full of flavor. This recipe yielded more than enough to bring for today’s lunch. This will definitely be added to my list of quick and easy meals — very pleasing to the taste buds.

What are some of your favorite recipes, that are easy to pull together quickly? Please share!

(Image taken by Alexis Young)

The “House Happy” series

My dining room area, featuring a Crate & Barrel buffet

My dining room area, featuring a Crate & Barrel buffet

If you are familiar with the famed interior decorator/designer Nate Berkus and his tv show, he had a segment featuring viewers showcasing their “proud design moments” in their homes. This was so interesting to see how other people around the country like to decorate their homes. A lot of times, this also served as inspiration! Well, I wanted to have my own spin on Mr. Berkus’ concept. The Lex of Hearts version will be named “House Happy”.

With this new series, I ask you, my lovely readers to show off your space! It doesn’t have to be your entire home, but perhaps your favorite reading nook, or your man cave or even an amazing, superbly-organized and well put together closet.

I will start things off with my ‘dining area’ that houses one of the best purchases I’ve made, a Crate & Barrel buffet. Although my house is still work-in-progress (even though it’s been almost 3 years), my buffet/console area is very much me. I actually try to switch out the decorative items occasionally, to spice it up a bit. I also love this piece for the ample storage behind the cabinet doors. I have a place for wine glasses, entertaining servingware, flower vases, extra decorative napkins (cloth & paper), candles, etc.

From my experience, HomeGoods/Marshalls/TJ Maxx are usually the best places to pick up quality, but affordable items for the home. Oh! And we can’t forget Ikea! (One of the best places on earth, next to Disney World, of course)

Here is a list of key items shown in my space:

  • Crate & Barrel Buffet – Craigslist find
  • Sunburst mirror – HomeGoods
  • Lamp – TJ Maxx
  • Black Greek Key box – HomeGoods
  • Silver Candlesticks – Ikea
  • Silver Bottle (on top of Greek Key box) – Marshalls
  • “Fashion Box” book – Urban Outfitters
  • Blue Box (underneath the candlesticks) – Tiffany & Co

What are your favorite go-to stores and/or online shops that you frequent to decorate your living space?

Would you like to be featured for the “House Happy” series? Email me. This will be fun!

Last-minute Valentine’s Day gift ideas

Valentine's Day printable tags

Valentine’s Day printable tags

In the spirit of “Cupid’s Day” in two days (this Thursday, to be exact), I decided to compile a list of last-minute gift ideas for the man or lady in your life.  I’ve engaged in some Twitter conversations, read other blogs and mags and found that although some people claim to be anti-Valentine’s Day, most would at least want to be acknowledged in some way that they are thought of, right?

So, here are some things you can buy or make last-minute, to make your sweetie smile…

Gift ideas for the ladies:

  1. A floral arrangement of either her favorite flower or an array of unique foliage, such as sweet peas or tulips
  2. A delicious meal – Even if you’re unable to snag reservations at one of the city’s finest restaurants, a home cooked meal would be just as thoughtful (accompanied by a great bottle of wine, of course!)
  3. Anything beauty-related – All women like to “beautify” so treat her with a gift card to Sephora or ULTA or to a spa/salon. She can pick out anything from makeup, to perfume, nail polish or she can get a mani/pedi — a small pampering session makes a woman feel great!
  4. A framed photo – A great candid photo of the two of you would be cherished forever. Especially if the picture is a bit silly or capturing a special moment you two shared
  5. “Greetings with Love” – A simple card, including a hand-written heartfelt message

Gift ideas for the fellas:

  1. Sports, sports, sports! – Since most men can’t seem to live without anything sport-related, get professional sports game tickets or an ESPN magazine subscription
  2. A home cooked meal – This was mentioned as an idea for the ladies, but this also applies for the fellas. Men are impressed by a ‘from-scratch,’ homeade plate of goodness. So, get in the kitchen and show your cooking skills!
  3. Music – A lot of men favor specific genres of music, so get him an iTunes card or even create a digital or CD mix of songs that remind you of him
  4. “Let’s get physical!” *cue the Olivia Newton-John oldies song* – And, no, I don’t mean physical in that way (well, not for this particular gift idea – see #5, below). However, I do mean gitfing a personal training session or perhaps CrossFit workout classes
  5. Lingerie – Definitely not for the man to wear. But, this is actually a double-sided gift, one that can benefit both parties, for a special night, partaking in special things *wink face*

BONUS: The worst (or, not-so-thoughtful) Valentine’s Day gifts? 1. Those cheesy cardboard heart boxes with assorted chocolates. I mean, can we all agree that the assortment isn’t all that great–you bite into them and just end up spitting it out. 2. This next one is courtesy of my Twitter friends –  Gas station roses. Okay, I understand ‘it’s the thought that counts,’ but seriously, those roses always look horrible! They usually look dryed out and are so tightly-bound in that industrial plastic that the poor rose can’t even breathe! 3. Lastly, simply coming up empty-handed, with a poor excuse. There is absolutely no excuse to not do anything for someone you care about. Use this day as your catalyst –no need to max out credit cards, just be thoughtful!

Let me know your thoughts! What’s a Valentine’s Day gift, that’s guaranteed to make you smile? Have you ever received a less-than-stellar V-Day gift?

P.S. That pic above of the printable Valentine’s Day tags? They’re FREE! Check out “My Sister’s Suitcase” blog to get the link. 🙂

Photo Credit via My Sister’s Suitcase blog

Wedding planning, Sangria & Caprese!

First things first, the wedding planning was not for me (insert smirk here), but it was for one of my very good friends. It was a blistering hot Saturday afternoon outside, but inside my cozy domain, it made for a very chill day. The bride-to-be, and a fabulous mutual friend of ours, my wonderful Mother and myself, recently gathered around my dining room table to hash out some important wedding details. I threw together an assortment of light snacks — fruit, salami, select cheeses and pita crisps along with chocolate-covered pretzels for something sweet. We also had salsa and guacamole with tortilla chips and…fresh caprese salad (deliciously prepared by the fiance of the bride-to-be). The cocktail du jour was a homemade red sangria, which turns out to be one of the most easily prepared, crowd-pleasing beverages. (In addition to my homemade version, there are also many bottled sangria versions sold in stores, which we also tried!)

Many magazines were strewn about, items from the to-do list were crossed off and more importantly, many laughs took place. Truth be told, wedding planning appears to be a bit daunting, no matter the size of the guest list.  However, with a few good friends, great food, a little music and a refreshing summer beverage, it was actually a stress-free, hilarious afternoon.

Have you ever been a part of a wedding and/or wedding planning?

(The collage above was created from some pictures I took from that afternoon)

*Images taken by Alexis Young

Life’s a Beach…at least with decor

During my lunch break yesterday, one of my good friends and I took an impromptu trip to the mall (not really that far-fetch if you really know me). While quickly perusing through our favorite stores, we made a bee-line into Pottery Barn. Although this store can be pretty pricey, they do have some select items that actually won’t break your pockets.

Since my friend is getting married this fall (on the beach), she pointed out the beautiful nautical tablescapes that were set up in the store. They definitely leaned more towards a rustic aesthetic, but I fell in love. So much so, I snapped a few pictures for inspiration. My favorite pieces were the large starfish and individual bottles of sparkling water at each seat. Gorg! Wouldn’t you love to be a guest at a festive beach-themed party like this? I sure would!

When entertaining at home, what are your favorite ways to decorate your table? What are your key items to make your tablescapes shine?

*All images by Alexis Young