5 on Friday (May Edition)

liaison capitol hill review

1. We had a great stay-cation at The Liaison Capitol Hill. The hotel itself was nice and the amenities were great- we enjoyed the rooftop pool (not the staff).... With that being said, we definitely would NOT recommend the hotel...

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thankful thursday (anniversary edition)


You may, or may not, know I celebrated my one year wedding anniversary on Sunday! I thought it would only be right to dedicate this week's Thankful Thursday post to my husband!

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Crock Pot Pasta


Two food posts in a row this week because today I'm guest posting over on Taylor's blog today!

Make sure you stop by and check out this super easy pasta that can be made in your crock pot!


the perfect snack (baked crispy zucchini)

I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! We celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary, but I'll post a bit more about that later. Some of you probably noticed (and already commented on this) this post accidentally went up last week! I was on a roll with recipes so I had three or four waiting to be posted and forgot to move this one. 

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Books For Your Summer Beach Bag (VOL. I)


This post is sponsored by BookSparksPR in honor of their annual Summer Reading Challenge. You can find all of the details here



The One & Only by Emily Griffin

About the book:
Thirty-three-year-old Shea Rigsby has spent her entire life in Walker, Texas—a small college town that lives and dies by football, a passion she unabashedly shares. Raised alongside her best friend, Lucy, the daughter of Walker’s legendary head coach, Clive Carr, Shea was too devoted to her hometown team to leave. Instead she stayed in Walker for college, even taking a job in the university athletic department after graduation, where she has remained for more than a decade.

But when an unexpected tragedy strikes the tight-knit Walker community, Shea’s comfortable world is upended, and she begins to wonder if the life she’s chosen is really enough for her. As she finally gives up her safety net to set out on an unexpected path, Shea discovers unsettling truths about the people and things she has always trusted most—and is forced to confront her deepest desires, fears, and secrets.

Thoughtful, funny, and brilliantly observed, The One & Only is a luminous novel about finding your passion, following your heart, and, most of all, believing in something bigger than yourself . . . the one and only thing that truly makes life worth living.

My Thoughts:
There were so many things I really enjoyed about this book-- including Giffin's writing style. It was the first book of hers that I've read so I wasn't sure what to expect but the story definitely hooked me right up until the end. I grew up in a household that loved college football and my brother played football all through high school so it's a sport I enjoy and am fairly knowledgable about. The book was heavily saturated with football talk, so if you're not a fan of sports I'm not sure how much you would enjoy it. 

Without giving too much away, I will say that the relationship between Shea and Couch Carr was a little off-putting to me. While that was the main romantic theme of the book, I felt that there was so much more to Shea really discovering herself and finally learning to step outside of the box a little bit.

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Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan

About the book:
Sixteen-year-old Josie lives her life in translation. She speaks High School, College, Friends, Boyfriends, Break-ups, and even the language of Beautiful Girls. But none of these is her native tongue--the only people who speak that are her best friend Stu and her sister Kate. So when Kate gets engaged to an epically insufferable guy, how can Josie see it as anything but the mistake of a lifetime? Kate is determined to bend Josie to her will for the wedding; Josie is determined to break Kate and her fiancĂ© up. As battles are waged over secrets and semantics, Josie is forced to examine her feelings for the boyfriend who says he loves her, the sister she loves but doesn't always like, and the best friend who hasn't said a word--at least not in a language Josie understands 

My Thoughts:
I would say this book is more about the relationship with Josie and her family-- mainly her sister Kate-- than about relationships or romantic love. There was a lot of dialogue, but I can't remember how many times I laughed out loud while reading this. It was witty and the characters were well developed.

I can hardly express how much I disliked Kate. I don't have any sisters, so perhaps it's difficult for me to understand the dynamic, but I really can't imagine any sister acting as awful as Kate was throughout the book. She's getting married, yet was behaving like a child, and it wasn't just a Bridezilla thing-- she was just cruel to Josie, and it made me sad. As an adult I could never imagine stealing a page from my younger siblings journal and using that as leverage against them! It really bugged me that no one ever really held her accountable for how she was acting-- because regardless of Josie not understanding love, I don't think it excuses how rude Kate was to her. (See I was really bothered by her!)

I enjoyed this book the more I read, and while the ending was a bit predictable it was still a really enjoyable read!

Have you read either of these books? 
Think you'll be adding them to your summer beach bag? 
What have you read & enjoyed lately?

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5 Fictional Places I Would Visit....

When I read Amanda's post on the fictional places she would love to visit, I knew I had to do a post as well!

1. Pemberley
I would love to visit the Chatsworth House in England, where some of the 2005 version of the film was set, but if I could visit Pemberley with Mr. Darcy I would in a second.

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Let's Talk...Foundations!


If you've read my last few beauty related posts you know I'm currently on the hunt for a new foundation or tinted moisturizer or something. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say I get almost 3 shades darker in the summer, so this in-between winter and summer phase is difficult for me to commit to a color. I really just have a hard time finding a color match in general as you'll probably be able to tell from how totally different the swatches are below!

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Calling All Book Lovers!

If you've followed my blog for a while now, it will be no secret to you that I love reading and just love books in general! I was so excited when Tiffany contacted me to see if I would be interested in working with her to create a summer book swap!

I am teaming up with Tiffany from Endless Bliss, Emily from Designs by Emily, and Lauren from Sassy Sweetheart to bring you the Blogger Summer Book Swap!

How to Sign Up:

1// Sign up by filling out this form. The book swap is open to anyone, including non-bloggers and international bloggers. Sign-ups must be submitted by Sunday, May 25th.

2// Follow your hosts TiffanyEmilyCarly and Lauren.

3// Pairs will be announced on Tuesday, May 27th. Keep an eye out for an email! After pairs are announced, you must contact your partner within 48 hours. If you are unable to contact your partner, please email Tiffany at tiffanykwhite[at]gmail[dot]com by Friday, May 30th, and we'll see about getting you paired with someone else.

4// Spend the next 2 1/2 weeks getting to know your partner! Talk about your favorite books, authors or anything book or non-book related. Take this opportunity to learn about what books your partner would be interested in receiving, and choose the perfect book for your partner! It will be your responsibility to obtain the address of your partner in order to mail the book you choose for him/her. 

5// You must mail your book by June 15th! Be sure to get a tracking number for your package so we will be able to confirm that your book was sent. 

6// If you're a blogger, write a post about your book swap (or maybe do a book review!) and link-up on any of the hosts' blogs on June 20th. The link-up will be open until the end of the month, so if you do want to read your book before you post about it, you'll have plenty of time. 

7// If you post about the book or swap to your social media accounts, be sure to use the official hashtag #SummerBookSwap. This goes for both bloggers and non-bloggers.

8// For bloggers, don't forget to grab the button below and place it on your blog post or on your sidebar! 

Feel free to spread the word about this swap. Everyone is welcome to join in on the swap, including non-bloggers and international residents. The more sign-ups we get, the more fun all of us will have!

Disclaimer: We are hosting this swap because we are all book lovers and wanted a fun way to share books with other book lovers; however, we cannot be held responsible for the actions of your partner. We like to believe that everyone will be respectful and responsible enough to fulfill their end of the swap, but that is not always the case. If you do have any problems with your partner what-so-ever, please let us know, and we will try to remedy the situation as quickly as possible.

Happy reading!
 
 
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There will definitely be a few more book/reading related posts than normal over the next few months, but I promise to keep posting my beauty, recipe, travel, and other random content regularly as well.
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Easiest Crock Pot Chicken Tacos


Last weekend I was looking for an easy recipe to make for Cinco De Mayo and came across this delicious chicken taco recipe! I did a quick google search and came across this recipe from Taste of Home- it seemed easy enough and have good reviews so I figured I would give it a try. 

Ingredients:
1 pound chicken breast
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 jar chunky salsa
1/4 cup frozen corn
1/2 jar black beans

Mix the lime juice with the chili powder and pour it over the chicken in the crock pot-- let it cook about 4-5 hours on low then take it out and shred the meat. Place the chicken back in the crock pot and add in the salsa, corn, and black beans & cook for another 30-45 minutes on low. 

It seriously takes like five minutes to make the entire thing and the hardest part is shredding the chicken-- which isn't hard at all! I recommend using a chunky salsa because then you have the onions and peppers mixed in without the hassle of having to chop them beforehand. 

You can top it with lettuce, cheese, sour cream, or whatever other taco toppings you enjoy! I'm on a low dairy diet currently so no cheese for me this time but it was delicious with lettuce!


Carly
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On Thursday we give THANKS

We've had 80 degree weather and I can't even put into words how heavenly it feels. DC gets HOT and HUMID in the summer. It can be pretty miserable, so even with all the pollen I've been enjoying the warm weather without the humidity. On Sunday we were walking to lunch for Mother's Day and I stopped and was like this feels so nice right now! This being the sunshine, seriously, how happy does it make you?


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Recent Reads

I had a recipe scheduled to go up today but my computer was not cooperating yesterday so I couldn't upload any of the photos I needed for the post. I'll hopefully post it Friday instead-- thankfully the photos for my Thankful Thursday post for tomorrow are already set & ready to go!


I've been reading some YA and Children's Lit lately, which is off my normal genre of books I would read-- sometimes it's just nice to change things up.

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If you could travel for free, where would you go?


I think most people would not only have a quick answer to this question, but an entire list of places they would love to visit if money was no object. I admit, I'm a pretty big homebody, but there is nothing I crave more than an amazing vacation. It doesn't matter if it's a trip home to see my family or a beach vacation- I'm happy either way.

If right here, right now you had to choose a destination to go on a vacation (that would be free to you), where would you go?

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Friday Favorites

Meet At The Barre
I'm so excited to linkup with Amanda today to share some my Friday Favorites. You're probably all following her blog already but if you're not, you need to- she's the sweetest! I know this is supposed to be more of a weekly favorites post, but this is more of a monthly or recent favorites for me!

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THANKFUL THURSDAY (may days)

Usually when Thursday rolls around, I can't believe the week is nearly over but this week seems to be taking forever! My husband's allergies have been out of control-- by that I mean he coughs all night long so sleep has been minimal this week.

Here's what I've been thankful for this week...

I'm trying to get off the winter and fall weight I put on- so I've been more creative with my salads in attempt to eat them more often. I'm back to loving the beets!

I'm not a bag person at all, but this cute little Ralph Lauren bag was a late birthday present & I'm a little bit obsessed with it. I actually don't own a small cross-body bag so I know this is going to get a lot of use!

 Flowering trees (even with all the pollen)- I love a clear blue sky against all the green from the trees! We've had a lot of rain so everything is looking extra lush.

I had been a little bit nervous to break in my new shoes, but I finally did and they are so comfortable! My previous tennis shoes were the dual fusion so a bit different from the free & I was nervous I wouldn't like them as much, but they're really nice.

Celebrating my nephews second birthday last weekend! My SIL made these cute bear cupcakes to go with the bear theme!

The first mojito from our mint plant! We've had it for a few weeks but finally remembered to buy limes and club soda.

What have you been thankful for lately? 
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Fashion Favorites (Met Gala 2014)

There's something so fun about seeing your favorite celebrities all dressed up for a big event. This year the theme for the Met Gala was Charles James: Beyond Fashion & required a "white-tie" for the men- extra snazzy!

images Getty 2014
1. I can't get over how happy Blake Lively looks--  she looked so stunning! Blake and Ryan were definitely my pick for best-dressed couple of the night and that's saying a lot because the

2. I can't get over how much I love Emma Stone's look. I honestly can't even think of a movie I've seen that she's been in, and I don't really like pink-- but for some reason I love this so much + her side braid. So perfect!

3. Ashley Olsen. I didn't care as much for Mary-Kate, which is why I cropped her out (sorry!) but for some reason I thought she totally pulled off this look.

4. Lily Aldridge looked gorgeous-- which shouldn't surprise me because she's a VS model. On anyone else I think the dark silver would have been too much, but she can pull it off. According to twitter Sonia Kashuk played a role in her makeup so I'm excited to see what products were used!


images Getty 2014
1. I almost always like Leighton Meester's red carpet looks and this one didn't disappoint. I was wondering where Adam Brody was though, no??

2. I'm almost afraid to say this because I feel like she might be getting a bit messy, but I've always really liked Selena! This color was perfect on her- it was an elegant but somewhat edgy look with the bold lip.

3. Cara DeLevinge is always someone who I don't want to like, but I usually do end up liking what she wears. This outfit is totally out there and definitely not the typical gown, but I like it!

4. Chanel Iman looked stunning as well-- from her gown to her hair & makeup.

Do you get sucked into red carpet events like I do? Who were a few of your best dressed from the night? Favorite celebs in general?

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spring/summer gnocchi recipe


This post was supposed to go up on Friday but when I realized it was still in my drafts I figured I would just save it for this week. So here's one of my favorite new recipes.

This is one of those recipes that I was certain was not going to turn out as I was making it. In theory it's super easy but we all know I tend to have quite a few cooking fiascos. I came across it on Iowa Girl Eats and you can find the original recipe {here}. I followed her recipe pretty closely, with a few modifications I've talked about below!

So my cooking problems all started when we were out of olive oil and instead of thinking to just use vegetable oil in its place I drizzled the last few drops of olive oil in the pan- that I overfilled with gnocchi while having the heat too high. It quickly started to burn and I started to panic because I couldn't flip the pieces over quick enough, but I turned the heat down & it was all good.


The next mistake I made was when I thought I would try and turn this into a one-pan dish. I put the gnocchi into a bowl and put the pat of butter straight into the same pan. Big mistake because it immediately started to burn and I almost started crying because I thought I had ruined one of our really nice pans-- sometimes I get overly dramatic when cooking... haha

I tried again with a fresh pan-- only it turned out to be too small so I transferred everything into a third pan and that did the trick!


As usual I hadn't measured out my vegetables exactly I just kind of eyeballed how much I was putting in and let them satay-- it smelled AMAZING and I started to have hope in the dish again.

I didn't have fresh garlic or basil so I improvised and used minced garlic & a little oregano. Not a huge problem-- the flavor was on point!

Adding in the half & half kind of freaked me out because I've never cooked with it before, and I honestly wasn't sure exactly what it was (I have since looked it up). If you look at Kristin's picture it doesn't appear creamy, so I wasn't sure what this stuff was going to do, but I went with it and I was pleasantly surprised!


It was delicious! Even adding in the half & half it still felt like a really nice light meal.  I will definitely be making this quite a bit through the spring and summer and think next time I'll double the zucchini & hopefully add fresh basil! I planted some a couple of weeks ago-- just waiting for it to pop up.

I'm trying to get back into trying new meals again, so hopefully I'll have recipes up on the blog more often!
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Thankful Thursday (birthday edition)


I look forward to this link-up so much every week but sometimes I feel like I measure my week in Thursdays :) I celebrated my birthday on Saturday and while it was a low-key birthday celebration is was perfect! My husband treated me to the perfect day full of all the things I love.


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