Thursday, January 31, 2013

Crispy Baked "Fried" Chicken

Fried Chicken is a southern staple and one of my personal favorite things to eat, but as far as your health goes, it's probably not the best meal to eat 5 days a week (though how I wish it was). When I was searching recipes recently, I was thrilled to find one that's an alternative to fried chicken while still emodying great flavor and a similar crunchiness (cue mouth watering and the beginnings of a craving for fried baked chicken). The best part is, you can eat this guilt free because it has more nutritious value than its fried counterpart and it involves a simpler cooking process which is always a plus in my book!

If you're in need of a new chicken dinner, try this recipe; MAC and I both loved it!

Because I'm feeling slightly lazy this morning and don't want to type out the whole recipe, just click on the link here and it will take you to the website.

Have a great Thursday y'all!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Bookworm Wednesday

It's no secret that I am a huge Lilly lover, so when my mom discovered a biography had been written on the fabulous life of Ms. Lilly Pulitzer herself, she thoughtfully bought a copy for her and one for me! I have been eager to read it, and now that I finished Harry Potter and The Kitchen House (this was well written, but had some troublesome scenes and was quite sad), I have begun this interesting story of such an American icon. Though I prided myself on my knowledge of Lilly trivia and thought I knew everything there was to know about her, I am learning all sorts of new things and she has quite an unbelievable tale.

What are you reading these days??

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


~I snapped this picture on my way home from work last week and thought it was a beautiful reminder of what a creative, awesome God we have~

Keep your focus on Me. I have gifted you with amazing freedom, including the ability to choose the focal point of your mind. Only the crown of my creation has such remarkable capability; this is a sign of being made in My image.
Let the goal of this day be to bring every thought captive to Me. Whenever your mind wanders, lasso those thoughts and bring them into My presence. In My radiant light, anxious thoughts shrink and shrivel away. Judgemental thoughts are unmasked as you bask in My unconditional love. Confused ideas are untangled while you rest in the simplicity of My peace. I will guard you and keep you in constant Peace, as you focus your mind on Me.

Jesus Calling Devotion

Friday, January 25, 2013

Strikin' My Fancy

A friend of mine owns this JCrew DoDo Case for IPad and I just adore it! It looks like this precious polka dot notebook, but its really a protective cover for your IPad. Chic and functional, what more do you need?!

Good morning and happy almost weekend to you! There have been quite a few items recently that have caught my eye and struck my fancy, so I in turn wanted to share those pretty gems with you and cause you to have some slight picture envy like myself. I'm so thoughtful, no? Enjoy ogling all the eye candy...your welcome :)!

For the first time in a while, I think the Mr and I are going to have a night in to ourselves this evening with some steak and a movie and head to Honeylake Plantation for a wedding tomorrow; so looking forward to this! In other random news, last night I went to dinner with 2 of my closest friends and I think we just may start up our own supper club/book club! I have ALWAYS wanted to be in a book club (I am prone to have "nerd-ish" tendencies) and I'm quite eager to get the ball rolling on this one! 

Hope you have a lovely weekend y'all!

We recently purchased the Illume candle line for our store and received them yesterday. Do you not swoon over the gorgeous prints and colors? That alone would sell me, but the scents are amazing as well. If you're a "candleholic" like yours truly, you have to try these out!

One of my childhood friends works for the stationary designer Ashley Brooke (who, btw, is incredible and if you're not familiar with her, do look her up) and when i saw her instagram photo of this coffee mug I about died! I seriously need this!

Wouldnt mind a bit if this Kate Spade "Things we love" Coffee Table Book was situated on my personal coffee table...solely for the fantastic cover!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Bomber Blue Secret Snail

I wore this outfit to a shower recently and loved that it was casual, yet put together and colorful to put a pop of cheer in these dreary January days. The printed blouse I have on is the Providence Top by Lilly Pulitzer in Bomber Blue Secret Snail (don't you just adore the print names Lilly conjures up), and though they are sold out of this particular one, you must check out the Elsa Top which is very similar and my favorite/most versatile shirt ever. It feels fancy because its a silk blouse, but I wear mine with jeans, shorts, skirts, heels, flats, really anything your heart desires, and it always looks just right for any occasion. My sweater (similar one here) and winter white/cream jeans are also Lilly Pulitzer and I have received a lot of use from both of them; I just love when I find functional pieces that are easily paired with color and a pattern to make an outfit with some character and flare!

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bookworm Wednesday + A Recipe

As I stated earlier this week, I finallllyyyyyyyy completed the Harry Potter series that I'd been plowing through since last September (7 extremely long books) and have now been able to choose a new one, The Kitchen House, from my ever growing list of "must reads". I have heard wonderful things about this novel, and though I just started it Monday, I can already tell it will be good and most likely, a little heart wrenching. Hopefully I will have my synopsis plus a new read for the next bookworm Wednesday! Anything new that you're reading and just can't put it down??

Excuse the lack of quality for the below pick, but I wanted to share a recipe I made last night for myself and the Mr that is easy peasy, and one of our favorites!

Jays Favorite Chicken
4 boneless chicken breast (we used 3 because that's what we had)
4 slices of Swiss cheese
1 can of cream of broccoli soup
1/2 a cup of milk
1 cup herb flavored stuffing mix
1/4 cup melted butter

Lay chicken in a 13x9 greased casserole dish. Top with cheese. Combine soup and milk, then pour over the chicken and cheese. Mix a cup of stuffing with the butter and sprinkle over the chicken. Bake @350 for 45 minutes.

How simple is that recipe and I'm telling you, it is so delicious; the soup mixture, plus the stuffing, makes for a yummy sort of "sauce" if you will, to dip your chicken in. You could use any vegetable as a side, but I chose okra last night due to my affinity for it and also because we haven't made some in quite awhile. To prepare that, I just poured about 1/4 inch of olive oil in a sauté pan, coated the okra in a teeny bit of flour, sprinkled it with garlic salt and regular salt, and then sautéed it over medium to high heat until I saw it start to brown (maybe 15 minutes total).

Y'all must try this recipe! Happy Wednesday and I'd love to hear any recipes that you are enjoying at the moment; do share!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Strive to trust Me in more and more areas of your life. Anything that tends to make you anxious is a growth opportunity. Instead of running away from these challenges, embrace them, eager to gain all the blessings I have hidden in the difficulties. If you believe that I am sovereign over every aspect of your life, it is possible to trust Me in all situations. Don't waste energy regretting the way things are or thinking about what might have been. Start at the present moment-accepting things exactly as they are-and search for My way in the midst of those circumstances.
Trust is like a staff you can lean on, as you journey uphill with Me. If you are trusting in Me consistently, the staff will bear as much of your weight as needed. Lean on, trust, and be confident in Me with all your heart and mind.

Jesus Calling Devotion

How easy it is to become anxious and worried about a variety of things that occur in this life on a daily basis, but what a calming, assuring reminder that we serve a God that doesn't let us go through it on our own and who helps to assuage those feelings by enveloping us with His peace and love. 

Hope you have a blessed day!

"Trust God from the bottom of your heart,
Don't try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for Gods voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
He's the one who will keep you on track.
Don't assume that you know it all.
Run to God;run from evil.
Your body will glow with health
Your very bones will vibrate with life."

Proverbs 3:5-8

Monday, January 21, 2013

Guns, Puppies and Books

~Bear being just precious~

Goodmorning! Happy MLK day to you and I hope the weekend was relaxing and enjoyable. The Mr and I took advantage of a travel free weekend and absolutely beautiful weather (such a tease because I know there is still cooler days to come, but I am already pining after those long days at the beach) by getting some exercise outdoors and also going to a shooting range. Though I have shot guns before, I had no idea how to load one nor get it set for fire, so MAC gave me a few lessons and tips on handling a gun and let me have at it with some targets. I got the hang of it pretty fast and loaded the clip myself with 10 rounds, set the action and once I felt good and ready, slipped the safety off and fired away (sound like a pro huh??). Surprisingly, on my second round, I actually hit 4 targets in a row (they are about the size of a head and 25 yards away) and I was extremely excited. We really had a great time and now I feel comfortable loading a gun and being able to use it...better watch out folks :)

That night we enjoyed a delicious dinner and evening out with some sweet friends and then spent yesterday at church (absolutely amazing service and if you're searching for a new church home in Tallahassee, come try out City Church), played with Bear (hadn't seen him all week and had to get my fix in), went to a BBQ at a friends to watch the game, and while MAC went to see Zero Dark 30, I FINALLY finished the last Harry Potter book (the series truly is incredibly written and I highly recommend you read them) while watching the premier of Kourtney and Kim Take Miami (I have a love/hate thing with this show, but just can't help watching it).

If you're off today, lucky you and hope you continue to enjoy your 3 day weekend!

~How could you say no to that face~

~One of his favorite toys to play fetch with~

~Scary, determined face~

~MAC enjoying his new toy...and how gorgeous is that sky?!~

~Armed and dangerous~

~Finished book and also just got a gel mani for the first time and hoping it withstands time and how rough I am on my hands~

Friday, January 18, 2013

Broken Hearted

My heart is completely aching and broken with news I received yesterday of a precious friend of mine who lost her boyfriend unexpectedly and tragically. I'm still in shock, disillusioned and overwhelmed with gut wrenching sadness for her and the family of the young man who passed away. I'm at a complete loss for words, but wanted to provide those of you that knew him or her with some scripture I was clinging to this morning because the Bible and prayer is the only place for me to turn to for true comfort, peace and hope. Please keep the family and friends affected by this tragedy in your prayers and I encourage you, as cliche as it may sound, to cherish each day you have on this earth, live it to the fullest, and spend time with those you love and hold dear. Life is a precious gift, though not guaranteed and I urge you to not worry about petty, trivial things that we all are so prone to falling prey to, but rather to spend your time and effort on what truly matters. To me personally, that entails serving and trusting my God (even when I don't comprehend the "why's" ) and living a life not about me, myself and I, but one that puts others first and envelopes them with pure love. 

God's a safe house for the battered,
A sanctuary during bad times.
The moment you arrive, you relax,
You're never sorry you knocked.
Psalm 9:9-10

Pile your troubles on Gods shoulders; 
he'll carry your load, he'll help you out.
Psalm 55:22

He heals the heartbroken
And bandages their wounds.
He counts the stars 
And assigns each a name.
Our Lord is great, with limitless strength;
We'll never comprehend what He knows and does.
Psalm 147:3-6

The Father is with me. I've told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakeable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart, I've conquered the world.
John 16:33

He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come our way, but no more so than the good times of His healing comfort-we get a full measure of that too.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thankful Heart

"Come to Me with a thankful heart, so that you can enjoy my presence. This is the day that I have made. I want you to rejoice today, refusing to worry about tomorrow. Search for all that I have prepared for you, anticipating abundant blessings and accepting difficulties as they come. I can weave miracles into the most mundane day if you keep your focus on Me.
Come to Me with all your needs, knowing that My glorious riches are a more-than-adequate supply. Stay in continual communication with me, so that you can live above your circumstances even while you are in the midst of them. Present your requests to Me with thanksgiving, and My Peace, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your heart and mind."

Jesus Calling Devotion

As I read this today, it brought words of comfort and truth, reminding me to begin the day with an attitude of thankfulness and joy. Simple, yet often overlooked. Hope you find encouragement in this devotion and it provides a morning "pick me up"!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

You've Got Mail

There is something just so wonderful about receiving mail, so when I came home Sunday to find TWO boxes waiting for me I was like a giddy child at Christmas all over again (the simplest things in life make me so happy). The first box I opened was a late Christmas gift from one of my closest friends, who knows me oh so well. Shes quite in tune to the fact that I'm obsessed with Emi Jay hair ties (that are now knocked off all over the place, including Target) so receiving another set of these fancy little things (with a gold sparkly one to boot) was just dandy. Being the thoughtful friend she is, she also gifted me that gorgeous Kate Spade bracelet to pair with my other gold bow Kate bracelet I was given for my birthday from my MIL; don't you wish your friend was hot awesome like her (sorry, random song reference right there that popped into my mind as I typed that out)??!! Thanks again JT, you da, you da best :)!

My second box (which also happens to be a birthday present from the same friend, sheesh she spoiled me) was my monthly Birchbox filled with all sorts of lovely goodies I have so enjoyed using! I've been receiving small samples of perfume in each box, and I know this is strange, but my favorite one so far has been Shimmer by American Eagle. It has hints of bergamot, peony and vanilla that are blended perfectly to be light and airy, yet it also emanates a noticeable scent throughout the day. Birchbox is so great for discovering new beauty products! 

I finally was able to stay at home last night, curl up on the sofa with a glass of wine and watch The Bachelor! This show is absurdly ridiculous, but is a guilty pleasure of mine; my favorite part is watching all these nutty girls make complete fools of themselves (is that bad I find enjoyment in viewing their demise?). I only watched the first episode and I was blown away at how many seemed loony and how few I liked! I mean, 50 shades of grey girl, wedding dress gal, girl who did flips out of the car and fell (you're in a gown for goodness sake, how did you think that would end well), and the cruise ship entertainer...bless their little hearts is all I can say. I'll look forward to watching the madness that I'm sure will continue to ensue! Any favorites or crazies you have picked out??

P.S. Excuse the fishing poles by our tv in the last picture...that's what happens when you live in an apartment with little storage with a man :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sneak Peek

While in the Coton Colors showroom last week, I spotted a variety of colorful, amazing new product that I just had to share with you! If you're familiar with the brand, you will notice new items such as the candlesticks, measuring cup, and the swap tabletop collection, my personal favorite and that which I so look forward to mixing and matching with my current dinnerware. In addition to great pottery and ornaments, Coton Colors is taking a step back to their roots and introducing a dazzling new line of beautifully patterned textiles, from everyday to season specific; dish towels, table cloths, runners, pillows and aprons are a slew of items that you will soon be viewing in a store near you. Coming from a gal who adores anything bright and cheery (ahemmmm, Lilly Pulitzer), I could not be more elated to merchandise these purty thangs in our store and also to bring them home with me. The new patterns and styles that are bursting with color make working a treat! 

I may be slightly biased, but don't you j'adore everything?! I'd love to hear what you're swooning over :)

Monday, January 14, 2013

On The Road Again

~My minute of fame...spotted myself on an advertisement in our showroom!~

At last, I do believe, that I am back to a normal schedule after much traveling and being on the go for quite some time. I left town last Wednesday at the crack of dawn (5 am to be exact, which entailed waking up at 3:45 to get myself together) with a few other gals to head to Atlanta for the gift show mart. I have experienced this particular market a few times years ago, but it was apparel and I was selling in the showroom, so my perception of market was literally 1 room and the elevators I traveled in to get to that room. If you have never been to market before and are completely clueless as to what in the world I am talking about, let me just tell you that it consists of about 3 buildings, 20 + floors high, with about 40+ vendors on each floor...aka a shoppers heaven. Though the amount of product I saw was completely overwhelming (sensory overload, WAY too many cute things) and made it extremely hard to focus (I could have stayed in one showroom for hours), I had the best time attempting to soak it all in, learning all the details and insight into buying, and assisting my boss in purchasing new items/brands for our store. Market is one of my favorite aspects of being a manager (I so do miss the Lilly mart), so I was very thankful and extremely thrilled that I was able to attend for a few days and I enjoyed my experience to the hilt. Coton Colors also has their own showroom where they display product for buyers from all over to view, so being able to see what new great items are coming in this year, watching our sales reps sell, and getting to know everyone a bit better after the showroom closed down, was quite a treat too!

I left early Friday morning from Atlanta to head to Tallahassee, to then quickly re-pack my suitcase (and pack MAC one too), to then hop BACK in the car again to pick the Mr. up in Thomasville to head to Savannah; I seriously spent the entire day in the car! We sure do enjoy wearing out that gravel  road between our house and his parents. I shouldn't complain though because it was all worth it to be able to stop in Warner Robins to see my sweet Mema for a bit and to spend the weekend celebrating my father in laws 50th birthday! Im thankful family is within driving distance and that we have vehicles to get us around.

Now that you're caught up on all my "goings on", hope you have a fantastic Monday y'all!!

~Laura (owner and designer of Coton Colors), along with her daughter Kyle (also a product designer, who I have quite enjoyed getting to know and hang out with) did a cooking demo with recipes from the Coton Colors Cookbook. They did a fabulous job preparing the tasty recipes and I especially loved being able to sample them once filming was over :) If you don't have this cookbook, I must insist you purchase it; the recipes are simple, wonderful and delicious ~

~The bright colors and unique pieces in this particular showroom immediately caught my eye~

~Illume candles are making a new home in our store; you will die over the lovely scents and beautiful packaging~

~Gorgeous, rich colors (that I selfishly can't wait to display in my own home)~

~I snapped this scary pic as I crossed over an all glass "bridge" from one building to the next; heights don't bother me too much, but this was a little high for my comfort~

~Leisure golf cart ride exploring the country after a much needed jog~

~Enjoyed the 70 degree weather with this marsh view~

~We walked down to River Street in Savannah so I could see the massive container ships leaving port; I have a weird fascination with these boats, so this thrilled me to no end~

~Enjoyed one of our favorite restuarants, Vinnies, before heading back to that man~

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Wedding Snapshots

Here are a few pictures I snapped during all the festivities last weekend! Happy Tuesday y'all!

P.S. Can you believe how bad Alabama beat Notre Dame?? The Mr. and I were completely bored by halftime and went on ahead to bed (we're such old fogies). I have to say that I believe it should have been Georgia in that championship game and I so should have tuned into the premier of The Bachelor instead of that lousy game last night (good thing my mom recorded it).

P.P.S I am still not on a completely normal work schedule yet and will be leaving extremely early tomorrow morning to head to market with Coton Colors! I'll return to normal posting next Monday and if you want to keep up with me, you can follow laurinashley15 on Instagram for picture updates!