Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Beaver Creek Ski Vacation

As did an absolute plethora of Texans, we spent our Spring Break week skiing at Beaver Creek. It was a wonderful family vacation. Which is no small task. The stress level of most families we witnessed was indeed higher than that, say, at a beach vacation. 

Skiing with children requires, to some extent, a great deal of both patience and perseverance. You cannot just relax or you'd never make it on the slopes. You must first persevere through the hassle of getting everyone dressed, obtaining your equipment {though I will say the ski valet makes this process much smoother}, inevitably waiting in one line or another, and eventually hitting the slopes. 

It is all a process. But well worth it. Once I actually make it to the top of the mountain my blood pressure immediately drops as I take in the gorgeous views and breathe in the fresh mountain air. In that moment, the hassles of the previous two hours simply fade away and I do indeed relax. 

I was so relaxed in fact that the majority of our vacation pictures were taken with my iPhone. Or, if the truth be told, my cute ski jacket simply didn't have big enough pockets to hold the camera and my iPhone. Priorities. 

Nonetheless, here's a little glimpse into our week: 

Our view from the the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa

The hubs and Boy Genius. 
The Hubs is working on his mountain-man look with the beard. 

Little Miss Thang ready for ski school. 

My view at lunch. 

Little Miss Thang and I enjoying "the best hot chocolate ever" 
at the Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gultch. 

My duo relaxing at lunch. 

Boy Genius throwing snowballs at trees {instead of at his sister}. 

The hubs and I feeling blessed to have this time away!

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This post is part of #iPPP (iPhone Photo Phun), 
where we link up photos taken from our smart phones. 

iPhone Photo Phun

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If you have not already entered, do not miss out on the opportunity to win a gorgeous 100% silk charmeuse poncho by Lesley Evers!  The giveaway is open until Thursday, April 5th. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Lesley Evers Giveaway!

This is not the first time I have openly gushed about Lesley Evers's gorgeous dresses. Some of you may remember {and a few of you were present} that fateful October day in 2010 when the words "dress to impress" finally came to fruition in my own life.

If you are not already familiar with my Riley debut, please take a moment to get acquainted with The Dress

{We'll wait}.

Yes, Riley has served and continues to serve me quite well. As has Tilda and Grace and a few other friends I've collected over the past few seasons.

Clearly, I'm smitten.

But not without justification! You see, the flattery did not cease after Riley's debut. Riley was not a flash in the proverbial pan. She remains quite effective {as recently as last week, in fact}. As do her friends. Every single time I wear a Lesley Evers piece I receive numerous compliments throughout the day.




"So what exactly is so special about these pieces?" you inquire with a skeptical grin.

First off, Lesley personally designs the vast majority of her textiles. As a result, each and every Candace and Sophie and Elsie is an original work of art. 

Gorgeous, colorful, unique works of art that stand out in a crowd! 

Additionally, the line is made right here in the USA! By utilizing the skills of local seamstresses Lesley can personally oversee production and manage quality control. The result: amazing construction.

And finally, Lesley's pieces are steeped in "modern nostalgia" as she calls it. The colors and graphics may lend a modern edge, but the silhouettes are absolutely timeless.

Yes, it's really that simple -- exquisite textiles, quality construction and timeless silhouettes; that is what makes a Lesley Evers piece stand out in a crowd!

And now for your opportunity to stand out in a crowd:  

To celebrate the launch of the Spring 2012 line Lesley Evers has offered to give one lucky reader a new {and quite possibly my favorite} piece from the collection:  Marley. 
Oh, isn't she just magnificent?!

Lesley's original art makes this 100% silk charmeuse poncho positively show-stopping. I have no doubt Marley will cause heads to turn and compliments to spill forth.

Absolutely no doubt.

So without further adieu . . .  

Giveaway details: 
Lesley Evers will provide one lucky reader with a free Marley poncho top in your choice of size and color {subject to availability}! 
Mandatory Entry: 
Visit Lesley Evers and leave a comment below telling me which Spring piece is your favorite.

Additional Entries:
Follow Lesley Evers on Facebook {one entry}.
Subscribe to Eat. Live. Laugh. and sometimes shop! {one entry}
Follow me on Twitter {one entry}.
Follow me on Facebook {one entry}.
Tweet or share this post via Twitter or Facebook {one entry each}.
For each action to count as an additional entry you must leave a separate comment below letting me know.
Rules (aka the fine print): You must be 18 years of age and a U.S. citizen to enter. Chances of winning are based upon number of entries received. The contest will run from Tuesday, March 27th through, Thursday, April 5th. A winner will be selected from all eligible entires using and announced on Friday, April 6th.

Disclosure: I previously purchased my own Lesley Evers pieces and extolled their virtues motivated only by my desire to share a good find. I am obliged to disclose, however, that I was provided a Marley poncho in addition to the Marley poncho provided for this giveaway. {insert picture of me smiling ear to earl!!}

 I wish you all the best of luck!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Dinner this week.

First off, let me say I am not renaming my blog "Dinner this week." I do plan to actually blog about something other than my dinner plans. 


Tomorrow in fact. 

But this feature has indeed helped me stay on course with my at least one of my Top 10 goals for 2012 -- meal planning. When I reviewed all my goals this morning I noted I was doing fairly well this first quarter. Which may, of course, be why this wittle blog has not received as much attention! Living takes time friends, and I've packed a whole lotta living in this first quarter.

So for today, more meal plans. 

But stick with me because tomorrow I am excited to announce a giveaway from the amazingly talented Lesley Evers!!! 

On tap for this week:

  1. Ina's Lemon Chicken - this is now a staple in our house. *Love* 
  2. Pork Chops - allegedly "the best pork chops you will ever taste." We'll see about that. 
  3. Baked Chicken Parmesan - yum. I'll eat anything topped with ooey-gooey fresh mozzarella. 
  4. Pappardelle with Braised Beef Ragu - This is amazing and simple and delicious and satisfying. Yes, it takes time, but not hands-on time. And no, I do not make homemade pappardelle.   
So, what's for dinner this week at your house?  If you share a link with me I may just add it to my repertoire and link back to you in the coming weeks! 

And remember to come back tomorrow to enter my Lesley Evers giveaway!!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Dinner this week.

Sweet and simple this week. That's what I need. With the exception of the risotto each of these dishes require only 15-30 minutes of hands-on time.  

Thank goodness because this week is setting up to be quite a doozy {oy, I sound old}.  

Anyway, I am back from an amazing family ski vacation and need to get us back on track and on schedule this week. The risotto will be reserved for Thursday night {no after-school activities} when I can open a bottle of pinot grigio and spend 45 minutes in front of the stove. It is always time well spent.  

I hope your week is off to a wonderful start! 
1. Skillet Rosemary Chicken, 2. Roasted Tomatoes with Feta and Shrimp, 3. Parmesan Chicken with Ceasar Roasted Romaine, and 4. Chicken Risotto with Spring Vegetables.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Art Break.

Just when you think you’ve seen it all . . . I run across Dutch street artist, Max Zorn, who uses only layers of brown packing tape and a scalpel to create portraits …

Utterly amazing.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Dinner this week.

My meal planning for the week only involves one meal. 

Source: via AmyEatLiveLaugh on Pinterest

I've read about it's simplistic beauty from numerous sources. 

I've been intrigued.


And curious. 

But now, with a ski trip looming, I need just one simple dinner. 

I certainly do not plan on grocery shopping for just one night. 

But luckily I already have all the ingredients on hand.  


I pride myself on my marinara. 

It's always homemade and always delicious. 

But this recipe has been described as "brilliant" and "magical". 

So without further adieu I introduce . . . 

Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onions

28 ounces whole peeled tomatoes from a can (San Marzano, if you can find them)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and halved
Salt to taste

Put the tomatoes, onion and butter in a heavy saucepan (it fit just right in a 3-quart) over medium heat. Bring the sauce to a simmer then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until droplets of fat float free of the tomatoes. Stir occasionally, crushing the tomatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat, discard the onion, add salt to taste (you might find, as I did, that your tomatoes came salted and that you didn’t need to add more) and keep warm while you prepare your pasta.

Serve with spaghetti, with or without grated parmesan cheese to pass.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Why I love construction.

I am not certain I have mentioned it in this space, but if you follow me on Twitter (@amyeatlivelaugh), you have heard about and / or seen pictures of the construction underway in my home.

We purchased our current home six years ago when our duo was only two. The kids' bathroom, while up-to-date, only had a huge whirlpool tub, not a shower.  When our kids were two and three that was perfect. When they turned four it still worked. For the last few years, though, they have showered in the master bathroom.  Every night. 

We knew it was time to remodel. 

But it's such a pain so we've procrastinated. 

For a few years. 

With a floor project underway downstairs {rendering our 1/2 potty out of service}, our long-awaited bathroom project began. 
downstairs floors coming along {w/a weenie dog inspecting progress}
Of course, the bathroom project is not a simple take-out-the-tub-and-add-a-shower project. No, that's not how we roll. It's a tear-the-walls-and-everything-out-and-start-over project. 

kids' bathroom after demo
We are now a month into the project and are just now beginning to sheetrock. {This is where you start feeling sorry for me}.  

During this time our entire family of four has been relegated to our master bath. And yes, I realize entire generations were raised in houses with just one bathroom. This is a first world problem, no doubt.

And we have adjusted quite well. 

I imagined stressful mornings. I completely resigned myself to "going" last each morning. I had even come to terms with the inevitable cold showers. 

Instead I've been faired much better than expected. 

And the glorious surprise in all of this is:  I now wake-up each morning with one or two kids snuggling in bed with me. It had previously been years since we've all snuggled. They are fairly self-sufficient now and generally get themselves ready and are downstairs before me. But because my bathroom is now their first stop, they come in my room all groggy faced and lay down for a little snuggle. I had not realized how much I missed those early morning moments.  

That is the thing about twins -- it all happens so quickly and then it's gone. You do not get a second chance to savor that time. You scarcely enjoy it before it passes. And then you never see it again {unless, that is, you are brave enough or fertile enough to procreate again}.

So yes, I now love our crazy-messy construction. I love that it has forced us to get back to basics. Yes, mornings are hectic. But when you start you're day off right -- that is, surrounded by the ones you love --  it is much easier to face whatever the day may throw your way.  

I'm linking up today at #iPPP

Monday, March 5, 2012

Manners for a New World.

In 1993 I was a fresh-faced college graduate navigating my way through the business and adult social worlds.  I spent days speaking with, dining with, or otherwise entertaining / placating a lovely, albeit very proper, assortment of quite wealthy widows. I worked at a trust company and was often the main client contact for those whose money we managed.

My life was instantly and shockingly more refined than my college days. Gone were the days of dinners with half price pitchers of beer {ok, not gone entirely, but certainly fewer and further between}. I often joined my boss and clients for breakfast at the Ritz Carlton and finished my day at a Junior League meeting sipping wine. 

Weekends were frequently filled with festivities for the bevy of weddings which ensued in those first few years after college. It was an exciting time, but I was constantly faced with new professional and social situations.  

I distinctly remember thinking keeping my elbows off the table and placing my napkin on my lap were the least of my worries. I had the basics mastered. It was all the rules I didn't know or understand that terrified me. 

Exactly how many shower / engagement / bachlorette gifts were expected before you were exempt from also purchasing a wedding gift? When writing business correspondence to a female client how do I address her -- Mrs. Husband's name or Mrs. Her name? 

It was during this time, and after dozens of calls to my mother, that I received {my first but} the Fifteenth Edition of Emily Post's Etiquette.  

It's pages are now well worn. And while many find it's advice antiquated, I believe it is not so much outdated as it is simply incomplete.  

I am still happy to set a proper table and truly enjoy sending handwritten notes. I do, however, also need to know how to appropriately end an IM conversation. It always seems awkward, no?! 

Well thank goodness Emily's great, great-grandchildren carry on the family tradition. 

Emily Post's Etiquette, Manners for a New World addresses new trends, topics and societal hot zones such as Facebook, social media, Evites and texting. Thank goodness.

This is not a tome of rules written to make you feel inadequate. Times have indeed changed. According to the Posts, however, "the principles of good manners remain constant. Above all, manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. Being considerate, respectful, and honest is more important than knowing which fork to use. Whether it’s a handshake or a fist bump, it’s the underlying sincerity and good intentions of the action that matter most."

I couldn't agree more.  

My copy is on it's way.  

Wouldn't the world be a nicer place if this was required high school reading? Or do you now think me a gentrified old bat?!

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