recipe:: tasty fall treat

Every year at work, we have a Halloween potluck lunch. I usually try to come up with something seasonal and festive, like monster cupcakes or a pumpkin/gingerbread/cool whip trifle. So I stuck with the dessert theme again this year (seems to be common when I’m bringing food for a group gathering) and made pumpkin bread and salted caramel rice krispie treats. I’m not a bread baker, so it wasn’t made from scratch — I have Trader Joe’s to thank for that mix. But you can’t beat it — they have the best seasonal bread/cake mixes! I love their gingerbread mix, too — makes amazing cupcakes.

Anyway, on to the tasty fall treat — Salted Caramel Rice Krispie Treats!! I happened upon this recipe on Pinterest late Monday night and after reading the lovely blogger’s post about making them, I decided I needed them in my life. Who doesn’t love rice krispie treats? And with salt and caramel mixed in? Match made in Heaven. So thank you to A Cozy Kitchen for the recipe idea!


1/2 cup of sugar

2 tablespoons of water

2 tablespoons of butter

1/4 cup of heavy cream

1/8 teaspoon of salt

3 tablespoons of butter

1 package (or 10 oz.) of marshmallows

6 cups of Rice Krispies

Combine the sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a medium saucepan. Don’t even think about using Splenda – it disappears as soon as you add water! I learned that the hard way. Do not stir. Cook over medium-high heat to a dark caramel, swirling as it begins to brown to distribute the sugar.  This will take several minutes — be patient. While the sugar and water are combining, microwave the cream until just warm.

ps — isn’t the little owl so cute? He’s a timer my mom gave me for Christmas last year. He’s a great kitchen helper.

Take the sugar mixture off the heat and add the room temperature butter.  Whisk the butter in, making sure it’s totally combined. Add your warmed cream and whisk vigorously, then add the salt. Set aside.

In large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat and add the caramel. Stir until thoroughly combined.

Add Rice Krispies cereal. Stir until well coated with a buttered spatula.

Using wax paper, evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 inch pan coated with cooking spray. Let cool. Cut into 2-inch squares. And of course, test one out, because you need to make sure they’re not poisonous before serving them to anyone. 😉 Happy Halloween!

celebrating 30 years of craig

Happy belated birthday to my favorite person and best friend! The past couple weeks have been busy busy busy with traveling to both Nashville and New Orleans, so this is a tad late…. but who doesn’t like their birthday to last all month?

Craig’s 30th birthday fell on Saturday, 10.20.12 — the day of the Auburn/Vandy football game in none other than Nashville, Craig’s hometown and one of his favorite places. It worked out perfectly for us to plan a weekend trip there with our friends, and surprisingly, most of them who came were UGA fans. Thanks, guys!

We got in some quality family celebrations for both Craig’s 30th and Cassie’s 13th birthdays before the weekend got started… they involved lots of delicious food and chocolate pies. We visited with his grandparents, got to see his cousin Torrie and her husband Chris, and also got to meet 2 new babies! It was so fun finally getting to see Craig’s long-time friend Pricey’s son Asa and Craig’s new baby cousin Bree.

The rest of the weekend consisted of a lot of honkey-tonks downtown, a freezing trip to the Vandy stadium for the Auburn game, and a fun downtown “living room” at Bailey’s, where we watched UGA pull out a win. We ended the trip with a quick breakfast at Puckett’s Grocery (had to) with Lauren and Drew. I love that place — so not healthy, but pretty good Southern food… and lots of high-priced groceries that I doubt anyone buys, but they’re fun to look at.

I always love going back to Nashville. Lots of family, friends, good food, and entertainment. I’ve still never spotted a country star, but I haven’t gotten my hopes up yet… Anyway, thank you to everyone who helped us celebrate Craig’s 30th birthday! It meant the world to both him and me to have so many important people there with us, and we had the best time! I think 30 is going to be an amazing year for my favorite guy!

a 30th birthday celebration & a restaurant review:: rathbun’s

Last week, we celebrated Craig’s 30th birthday a little early, as we were traveling to Nashville for the long weekend over his actual birthday. We have been to Kevin Rathbun Steak sevel times and love it, so we decided to try out the sister restaurant, Rathbun’s. The restaurant is in the BottleWorks Building and has a really industrial feel on the outside, but is dark and cozy inside. We had a great waiter who gave us what I think were pretty honset opinions on what to order… like when I asked about the special Krog Candy Bar dessert, he made a face and said that would not be the best choice, which was much appreciated!

I think if you’ve been reading any of my other posts about restaurants we’ve visited, you’ll know that my two favorite things at a restaurant are appetizers and desserts. So we started off with the flatbread pizza with carmelized onions, local chevre, and honey. It was super thin and crispy, and the flavors were really interesting.

Craig had the Sea Scallop Benedict on Country Ham Grits with asparagus and spiced hollandaise… he ate every bit. I had one of the specials from the “Second Mortgage” section — filet, grits, and charred corn with gouda cheese… so, so good! I’m a sucker for creamy grits with just about any meal.

The waiter brought Craig a birthday dessert on the house — Banana Peanut Butter Cream Pie — and he also ate every bite of that. Sensing a trend here? I don’t do bananas (except in banana bread), so I just sampled the cream on top, which was really thick, sweet, and delightful.  We of course had to try something else as well, so we got the Warm Gooey Toffee Cake with Jack Daniels Ice Cream, too. We gobbled it up! It was a fabulous way to start off Craig’s 30th birthday weekend…. and now on to our Nashville trip!

one of my favorite fall activities

I love it when fall rolls around… so many great outdoor festivals and events that allow us to enjoy the nice cool weather. One of my favorites is the Scarecrows in the Garden at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. This was the 3rd year in a row that I’ve gone, and it’s something that’s not to be missed in Atlanta. Every October, the Garden is decorated with more than 100 scarecrows handcrafted by businesses, individuals, schools and organizations. This year, the Center for Puppetry Arts made our first scarecrow, Mr. Jon von Hinespyder! He was the creation of several of my coworkers, and they did a fantastic job.

And every Thursday in October, you can celebrate the harvest season with seasonal brews and live music at the Fest-of-Ale. Our friend David Stephens and his band, Banjolicious, perform each week. Some fun favorites include “Banana Pudding,” “Krispy Kreme,” and “Wal-Mart Song.” Be sure to check him out for some good old fashioned banjo tunes!

Meet Mr. Jon von Hinespyder::

Some of my other favorites::

We also enjoyed the interactive scarecrows::

Although we went on this little field trip a few weeks ago, I have to give Karen a shout out today — it’s her 30th birthday!! Happy happy birthday to one of my very first friends from college!

And I’m really looking forward to going back to the ABG for Garden Lights, Holiday Lights when my parents are in town for Thanksgiving or Christmas. We went for the first time last year, and although it was FREEZING, it was really neat… sort of like Christmas lights on steroids. It’s supposed to be even bigger and better this year, so I’m excited to turn this into a fun family tradition!

patio progress – finally!

Sometime last summer, Craig decided to take on the area under our deck. He had dreams of a DIY project that would involve turning it into a patio with nice stone pavers so we’d have a useable space in the backyard. Well…. about 1/2 way through the project, we realized that pavers were not the most economical way to go, so he started looking into concerte companies that could just pour a slab and finish the job. Here we are about a year later, and the project is now complete!!

The company Craig hired worked about 11 solid hours on pouring the concrete and creating a HUGE patio area that extends well past the right side of the deck above it. Here’s a progress shot, which includes lots of trash in our yard:: 

And here’s the finished product!! It looks so good, and I’m glad we went ahead and just paved it. Now we have a couple of (much easier) DIY projects in the works that include a hanging pallet bed of some sort, planters made out of old wooden wine crates, white lights being strung from the rafters, and a small wooden table/chairs. Hopefully by the spring, it’ll be a nice outdoor living space that we can use in addition to our deck for the many festive parties and group dinners we plan to have in years to come.

Craig found these guys in a trash pile in our neighborhood… he’s planning to stain them to match our deck/fence. I love the burned-in logo on the sides.

Possible placement… imagine some pretty mums overflowing from the crates.

And our newest addition — a windchime that my mom made for us with shells from the beach in St. Augustine. Love it!

restaurant review:: local three

My dad was passing through town on Sunday night, so we went our for dinner at one of my new favorites, Local Three, which is just off West Paces and very close to the Vinings area. Good, interesting food, nice atmosphere, fun desserts, and close to home = A+ in my book. Oh, and they have a thing for pigs.

Here’s the restaurant’s philosophy, from their website: People Matter Most, Local Is Priority, Seasonal Makes Sense, Authenticity Rules, Quality Governs, Delicious Trumps, Pretense Stinks, Comfort Feels Good, Appreciation Tastes Better, Prudence Sustains It All.

Their menu changes often, but here are some of the things we tried and really liked….

They have lots of small plates and appetizers to choose from, and these two win a prize for funniest names:
Rat Toes (Shrimp & Cheese Stuffed Jalapeños Wrapped in Bacon)
Redneck Meze (a sampler plate with Pimento Cheese, Field Pea Hummus, Deviled Eggs, Country Ham, Pickles, Saltines)
For dinner, our table’s favorites were the Flatbread Pizza with Olive Oil, Goat Cheese, Parmesan, Fresh Herbs; Herbed Chicken Schnitzel that was accompanied by Mac-n-Cheese, Apple & Cabbage Slaw, and Grain Mustard Jus; and Crispy Duck Leg Cassoulet with House Bacon, White Beans, Fresh Herbs, and Crusty Bread. I got the Schnitzel, and it was good to the last bite! Mac n cheese was creamy and delicious — and not a drop of truffle oil in sight, which I really appreciated. I know truffle oil is all the rage, but it’s just not for me. Not at all. Another funny menu item = The McDowell: Two Angus Beef Patties, Special Sauce, Lettuce, American Cheese… sesame seeds…. I’ll have to get that sometime.
For dessert, we of course had to try multiple items. Gary’s Candy Plate consisted of 3 samples of sweet treats. My favorite was the mini red jelly-thing covered in sugar.  The “Twix” Bar (shortbread, caramel, white chocolate) was yummy, but incredibly sweet… as Craig’s mom says, “it makes my teeth hurt!” And our hands-down favorite was the White Chocolate Ice Cream Bar (sans kiwi sauce – that bright green stuff was WEIRD).

If you haven’t been yet, I’d suggest you hit up Local Three! It’s pretty hard to find, though, so beware. But it’s worth the hunt for the treasure at the end!

Stella & Dot’s Holiday Collection is here!

The Holiday Collection is here and it’s like Christmas in… October! This is my 3rd holiday season as a Stylist with Stella & Dot, and I just continue to be amazed at how they outdo themselves each time. We have tons of new pieces to please most everyone’s taste and budget. There are so many new products we’re offering, so many great gift ideas, and the packaging is irresistable. Here’s a sampling of my top picks! To see the rest of the collection, visit my personal website at

THINK PINK Boutique::
Breast Cancer is near and dear to mine and Craig’s hearts, and I’m thrilled and honored to work for a company that supports such a wonderful cause like the Noreen Fraser Foundation. For the month of October, 100% of the net proceeds from 5 THINK PINK items will be donated to NFF in the fight against breast cancer. I’m looking to do breast cancer fundraiser trunk shows this month around the Atlanta area, so please let me know if you or someone you know would be interested!

Bryant Park Scarf in Pink — $59

Hope Bracelet – $32
This bracelet features an angel wing in rose gold and is just so delicate and beautiful. It layers really well with last year’s breast cancer awareness bracelet, the Tribute Bracelet.
Mercer Zip Wallet in Pink — $79
I have this wallet in brown leather, and it’s amazing!! So many pockets inside, beautiful detailing, and a fun leather tassle on the zipper. Comes in a great box for gifting, too!
We are debuting our scarf collection with 5 beauties, and I love them all! It was so hard to choose just a couple for my sample display. I  chose this fun poppy one with the elephants, and I can’t wait to try it out!! Scarves are such a great way to update your wardrobe in the fall and winter. I love that all of our scarves are a great pop of color and pattern. We have a really fun video on our website showing several ways to wear your new scarf. We also have some pretty blue color palettes — check them out online!

Bryant Park Scarf in Poppy — $59
Bryant Park Scarf in Leopard — $59

Wallets/Tech Cases::
I’m swooning over these new wallets, tech cases, and iphone cases! The poppy (orange) with pink trim is so lush and fun and bright… and the snakeskin with gold interior (and a cute little message on the zippered section for coins) is gorgeous and elegant. The price range for these pieces is great, too. And the new iphone cases (for 4 and 4s only right now) are too cute! I got the poppy one, but love the little birdies in blue and green.

Mercer Zip Wallet in Snakeskin — $118
Iphone case (fits 4 and 4s only) — $29Designer Collaborations::
We have 2 exciting designer collaborations this holiday season!
Alice Temperley is a famous British designer,  known for combining femininity with cool Britannia sensibilities. She’s reigned over the London fashion scene for the past decade with an impressive celebrity following, including Beyonce and Kate and Pippa Middelton.

Fox Ring — $59 (limited edition)
This foxy ring is inspired by Alice Temperley’s son, Fox. She says the fox symbol is her lucky charm, so maybe it’ll bring you some good luck, too!
Wonderland Charm Bracelet — $98
Here’s the story behind what the charms mean:
Heart Charm – represents love; Bird Charm – one of Alice’s favorite motifs, it represents freedom; Fox Charm – a special charm for Alice’s son Fox London; Crown Charm – represents Alice’s British herritage; Key Charm – a popular symbol from Alice in Wonderland, the key opens doors to a world of possibilities.

Admiral Bracelet — $198 (limited edition)
Lara Bohinc is lauded for her innovative designs, and I just love her knot jewelry. This U.K.-based brand combines modern luxury with bold, classic style.

More Jewels::

Liz Drop Earrings — $59 (you have to go online to check out the back of these babies!!)

Suzanne Cocktail Ring — $39
Love Bracelet — $19
Swallow Studs — $19

Wesley Pendant — $98