Thursday, May 31, 2012

Foodie Pen Pal

This month I participated in a foodie pen pal swap.  I love food from different areas of the country so I thought this is an awesome idea!  It’s an added bonus that I got to meet and mingle with other bloggers. The Lean Green Bean hosts the swap every month, and this was my first time participating.  It was SO much fun!
This month my package came from Tracee at Yumzees!  She sent me the perfect gift.  I am in love Italian food and her package was perfect for me.  Check it out:DSC_0138DSC_0139DSC_0140
Tracee is from Wisconsin, and I’ve never been there, so it really is a treat to get to try foods from her area.  I cannot wait to try that tomato and bacon dip!!! Yum-o!
I sent a Proud Texan Package to to my partner Anne.  I sent Texas BBQ sauce, salsa, and rub.  As well as some quinoa.  I hope you like the foodie love from Texas Anne!
To join for next month, all you have to do is go here and sign up.  It’s very simple and super fun!  Let me know if you join so I can be on the look out for you!
The Lean Green Bean
xoxo Darby

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What I’m Lovin’ Wednesday: E-Shopping

Everyone who knows me, knows that I am a HUGE online shopper.  But more specifically (and importantly), I love to find great deals online.  I mean what could be better than shopping from home?!  You don’t have to go anywhere and then something shows up on your doorstep.  I love it!  Lately I’ve purchased some great things I wanted to share with you.

eShakti- I learned about this website from Pinterest (such an educational website hehe). EShakti is a great website for ladies clothing; I love how everything is customized for the buyer’s body type.  Even their slogan is “they design and you customize”. Perfect right? You can select the color, style, sleeves, neckline, length, and practically anything else you can think of.  When you receive your first order, they send a tape measure to facilitate future ordering.  Nice, right?! Despite being a customized website, the prices are really conservative.  These are the 3 dresses I ordered:
Ruffle Neck Cotton Dress in purple (even though this is in red)Ruffle Neck Cotton Dress
I have worn them all and really liked them!  The material is awesome for the heat of the summer.  I think my favorite part is that they all come with pockets.  AWESOME!  I urge you to check out their website because they’ve got an awesome selection!  And if you've ever wanted to be a fashion designer, here is your chance!

Pet Rider- I have seen these before on TV and I generally laugh (Sorry, but I do lol). However, we’ve got several long road trips planned this summer and the pups will be accompanying us.  We’re going to be vising several beaches and Roonie is in the middle of shedding his first coat, so Phil and I decided this would really help us on our road trips with the dogs.  Not to mention it’s super handy after the dog park when the pups are sweating all over the place.  Pet RiderWith it only costing us $10.95, we thought it would be really cheap material. We were happy to be wrong; it’s very strong and thick material. It’s also really easy to install, with just a few clips; there are even places for seat belt buckles. So if you’ve got some nasty (but happy) pups coming home from the dog park or beach and you want to protect your leather interior, I highly recommend the Pet Rider!  We ended up purchasing one for each car!Pet Rider 2
Target’s Supply Co. Tan Shine Floppy Hat- Everyone needs a hat for the summer, right? I purchased one last summer and it was great, but it has started to lose it’s shape and get a little too floppy.  I’ve been on the hunt for a new summer beach/poolside hat, and finally found this one at Target.  I love how it holds its shape and protects my face from the sun.
Floppy hat If you look closely, you will notice the gold woven through it; I love the sparkle in the sunlight :-)Hat 2
Thanks for letting me recap my latest shopping adventures with you.  Have you found anything great lately? Please share with me :-)
I was not paid for these reviews; everything written is of my own opinion
xoxo Darby

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The First Lady’s Thumb…

…was not always GREEN.  When the First Lady got to the White House she made it a priority to start a garden on the South Lawn.  Gardening at the White House is a tradition that dates back way before our time, but Mrs. Obama also wanted to teach her daughters about healthy living and meals that are locally grown.Out-Spring-2012-Michelle-Obama’s-Cookbook-American-Grown_VaXzine
This past April the First Lady came out with a new book, American Grown: How the White House Kitchen Garden Inspires Families, Schools, and Communities,  about her experiences with gardening and how she “grew” her green thumb.  She shares about the struggles and joys she found in her garden.Michelle Obama book jacket
If you enjoy your garden, you might want to check out this book.  And note, that all proceeds from the book go to charity; it’s a win-win GREEN situation ;-)
xoxo Darby

Monday, May 28, 2012

Hummus Monster

I have created a hummus monster in Phil.  Recently he has been on a hummus kick and we have been going through the containers of hummus like you would not believe.  So since I knew it would get eaten, I tried my own hand at hummus. DSC_0501I’ve got to admit, as much as this recipe makes, I’ve made it at least once a week for the past month.  I think it’s safe to say that your family will like it too!  Here is my hummus recipe, from my kitchen to yours :-)
From the Kitchen of Darby HawleyDrain & rinse three 15-oz cans of chickpeas or garbanzo beans (they’re the same thing).  Notice the 3 different brands of chickpeas? This is what happens when I go to the grocery store and forget to purchase all of the ingredients, twice!  lolDSC_0493 (2)DSC_0495 (2)
Blend the beans in a blender or food processor until smooth.  Slowly add in 1 cup of water as needed.DSC_0496
Mix in 3 tsp of garlic powder (or 3 cloves of garlic), 2 tbs lemon juice, 1tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. DSC_0498 (2) Stir in 1/2 cup of tahini sauce.  This was a HUGE challenge for me to find in my new grocery store.  I found it in the multi-cultural aisle; it’s a middle eastern sauce made from sesame seeds.  If you cannot find tahini sauce in your store, YOU can make it.  Though I have never made it myself, here is a sample recipe for you.  A jar costs me $6.99 but makes 3 large batches of humus; not a bad deal if you ask me.DSC_0494 (2)
Mix in 2tbs of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), and you’re done :-) DSC_0500 (2)That’s pretty easy, right?  You didn’t need more than a bowl and you didn’t even have to turn on the stove!  That is my kind of snack!DSC_0505 (2)DSC_0503
There are a lot of variations that you can make to this recipe.  You can add jalapenos, chilies in adobo sauce, or sriracha to spice it up.  I serve it with a sharp cheese, cucumbers, wheat crackers, carrots, grapes, greek olives, and/or pita chips.  It is a great light summer snack.  Hope you like this recipe as much as we do.533405_574512565870_81900238_31478393_1772639430_n
xoxo Darby

Friday, May 25, 2012

Graduation Weekend

I told you that about 4 million pictures were coming your way following graduation (here).  Today, I’m going to bombard you with pictures from that weekend :-) Buckle up peeps, I don’t want you to get beat up with this picture bomb lol
Waving goodbye for the last time without my doctorate.  I was a little nervous for the ceremony, if you can’t tell from the picture ;-)556732_575624377790_81900926_31484664_1667094918_n
Processing in and finding the fam in the audience. I was so happy to have my support team present to witness the day.DSC_0591
Being hooded Dr. Hawley on stage. PRAISE THE LORD!DSC_0616
Shaking hands with the president.DSC_0625
Showing off my latest hood :-)577644_575625066410_81900926_31484681_13141275_nMe with my sisterDSC_0646
Me with the Mr.DSC_0649
The fam who flew to Texas for my graduation.DSC_0670
After the ceremony the celebrating began with a delicious brunch and dinner out on the town in Houston!!!547937_575625166210_81900926_31484687_847673049_nDSC_0688This just might be my favorite picture of my dad :-)DSC_0689
I hope you didn’t think I was going to post pictures of the family and leave out my 4-legged children!DSC_0699DSC_0700

My sister snuggle’n with the pups.DSC_0702
Kellyn gave me this gorgeous monogrammed necklace as a graduation gift and I just had to show it off :-)  I sure do love jewelry and monogram. hehe Kellyn must know me pretty well ;-)DSC_0704
On Saturday we had a girls day filled with shopping, outdoor cafes, and pedicures! Whenever Kellyn is in town we always have to go relax at Tiny Boxwood (a fabulous french bistro; I highly recommend it to fellow Houstonians)DSC_0707DSC_0709DSC_0711DSC_0714
We also got delightful 2-hour deluxe pedicures in honor of my mom for mothers day.  Look at those pur-dy toes!DSC_0720
All-in-all graduation weekend was fun, relaxing and full of celebrations. :-)  I wish I could do it all over again, without the 5 years of degree earning of course hehe
xoxo Darby

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Football Cupcakes

On Monday I shared some pictures with you from our Super Bowl party (see here).  I wanted to start sharing some of those recipes with you.  Most of the comments I got about the party were about the cupcakes; so I will start there.  They really are SO simple to make and I’m sure you could figure out how to make these even without this post.  Y’all are just smart like that :-)
Step 1: Bake cupcakes and let them cool off to room temperature.  You can make cupcakes from scratch or from a mix.  I chose funfetti for the party.  Who doesn’t love funfetti cupcakes?!DSC_0579
Step 2: Once the cupcakes are cooled, take a star icing tip and fill your icing cone with chocolate frosting.  Squeeze the icing cone in a zig-zag motion for each cupcake.  Again the icing can be from scratch, though I recommend a buttercream icing if you make it from scratch so that it holds the shape, or from a can.  This will require more icing than you probably anticipate.  I had to send Phil back to the store on an emergency trip for more icing because I ran out right before our guests came over.DSC_0590DSC_0591
Step 3: I purchased some Wilton’s Ready-to-Use white decorating icing from Kroger.  The awesome thing about this icing is that icing tips will screw right onto the bottle. So all you have to do is draw some laces on your footballs.Wilton IcingDSC_0595
How easy was that?! 
There you have it: festive and delicious football cupcakes :-)  Not only would these be great for a football game, but also a boy baby shower, or a young little boy’s birthday party.  See the possibilities are endless!DSC_0613DSC_0614
xoxo Darby

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What I'm Lovin' Wednesday: Urban Picnics

After church a couple weekends ago Phil and I went on an urban picnic to Williams Tower.  Of all the places in Houston to picnic, this one is truly an unlikely place, but definitely perfect for a picnic.  We live near the Galleria (a HUGE shopping mall in Houston) and just south of the mall is Williams Tower.  This tower is the 4th tallest building in Texas.  No matter where I am in Houston, I can see this tower and use it as a compass.  I guess the sun is another good tool, but I chose to use the tower instead lol

Phil and I always said that we wanted to go walk around Williams Tower before we left Houston, so this was the perfect opportunity for us.  It was a perfect place for a picnic and definitely a good place for some photos. DSC_0362DSC_0421DSC_0364DSC_0407
DSC_0360DSC_0372DSC_0374DSC_0423DSC_0441Of course we brought the pups with us on your picnic!DSC_0368DSC_0377It was a little windy next to the water; my hair was out of control lolDSC_0403
The lawn next to Williams Tower is gorgeous.  If you’re in Houston check it out some time; it’s a great backdrop for photographs :-)
xoxo Darby
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