Road Trips

So we’re taking a road trip… not the shortest of road trips either. Christopher and I will begin our month long vacation to upstate NY on Sunday morning … a whopping 1,380 miles. A little background on me, I find myself saying the sentance “I go crazy when I’m not busy” this applies in my career, in my home on the weekends etc. anyone that knows me typically says “Lauren always needs a plan” so when it comes to road trips, 24 hours in the car together… with the plan of only, drive, get gas, eat, drive, get gas, eat… I get a little (yes, the word little is an understatement) bored & crazy.

Christopher and I in a car for this length of time is a true test to our relationship…I get bored usually an hour into any car trip and demand entertainment. THANKFULLY, Christopher bought a big pick up truck with a luxurious back seat – dvd player included! The dogs and I will more than likely be chauffered to NY!

Below is our PLANNED journey… we decided to take the Smoky Mountain scenic route versus the overly boring 95 North route… let’s see how this pans out! ImageThis is how excited Christopher is to spend 24 hours in the car with me 🙂 SUCH love Image

Ladies sure know how to put out a spread…

Sorry to disappoint… this isn’t a porn blog… Saturday night was the first of hopefully monthly ladies night dinner parties at Casa Manley. 12 chica’s arrived to Casa Manley and were welcomed by this: a very large spread of deliciousness. I’d like to point out one of my favorites were those balls… they are buffalo chicken balls. HEAVEN.

The recipe was found here > http://www.marthastewart.com/349216/mini-spicy-buffalo-chicken-balls-blue-cheese-and-hot-sauce good ol’ Martha…

the dinner table also looked fantastic if I do say so myself… 

The lesson to be learned to all ladies looking to entertain… invest in these items: 1. Cheese & Vegetable platters 2. Cute cheese spreaders 3. Fun napkins & napkin rings **a + if they are reversible**   4. Always have tooth picks 5. Create a pinterest account and 6. Find a liquor store that has great discounts for repeat customers 🙂

Give it a rest

I went to Zoo Miami yesterday and while enjoying ‘my babies’ I ventured over to see the newest baby, Titan – he is a 6 foot tall 130 lb. giraffe…not big? How bout if I told you those were his measurements AT BIRTH — yes, the female in this video is the mother of Titan, she also gave birth to Marlee just a few months ago. After watching this gentleman try to ‘court’ Kita… I secretly yelled at him to leave her alone .. she has given birth twice in the past 4 months and probably wants her alone time… I spoke with a friend who is a keeper at Zoo Miami and she said that Kita in fact WANTS it, that giraffes go through a postpartum breeding period where they feel that they need to be doing it again. The animal kingdom is CRAY.

Here are a few more pictures from yesterdays much needed Zoo visit:

Aiming for Healthy

So anyone that knows me and knows my Italian heritage knows my daily food intake MUST include, A. salad, B. Pasta, C. Bread… its just in my chemical make up… as we grow older our metabolism changes I know … BUT I REFUSE TO GIVE UP MY PASTA AND BREAD. I’ve learned to love whole grain! Here is a great meal: *quick *easy *delicious

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces whole wheat penne
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 medium tomatoes (about 1/2 lb.) chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 10 ounces medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/3 cup 0% plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Cook penne according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet with a lid, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add in garlic and red pepper flakes, cook for 2 minutes or until garlic begins to soften.
  3. Add in tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, or until mushrooms begin to release their water.
  4. Turn heat up to medium-high and add in shrimp. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until shrimp are pink and opaque. Remove from heat, add in spinach and cover skillet. Let spinach wilt for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the penne, Greek yogurt and pasta sauce. Stir until sauce is mixed well and all pasta and veggies are coated. Heat until just warmed through. Serve topped with parmesan cheese.
  6. MIX it , serve it, enjoy it.

Bakers dozen

 

 

 

My pants are tight. Snugas a bug in a rug, people. And does pinterest show me carrot sticks or offer to run with me? Oh no. Instead, they call my attention to cookie recipes on pinterest involving Oreos stuffed inside two chocolate chip cookies.My advice to you – make these. But make them right before you’re meeting a friend, dinner party or work meeting. So you can pawn them off on other victims recipients.

Recipe: Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 24 cookies
Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 13 minutes

Ingredients
• 1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter
• 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
• 1 cup sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• 3 1/2 cups flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 2 cups chocolate chips
• 1 package Double Stuff Oreo cookies

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.In a large bowl, cream butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together with a mixer until well combined.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.In medium bowl mix the flour, salt, and baking soda.  Slowly add to wet ingredients along with chocolate chips until just combined.With a cookie scoop, form balls with the dough.

Place one ball on top of an Oreo cookie, and another ball on the bottom. Seal edges together by pressing and cupping in hand until Oreo cookie is fully enclosed with dough.Place onto baking sheets and bake cookies for approximately 13 minutes or until golden brown.

Check up

We are very happy to announce…Aside from the fear in his face in this photo…Marley lived through his vet appointment!! Unlike his usual clawing his way out the door he was a big boy and took his shot with no tears, no howling and no problems! WOOHOO to our growing boy!

Image

Harbour Island

Well we just returned from a much need FANTASTIC R&R Vacation in Harbour Island. Harbour Island is a very small island in the Bahamas, their motto is “Home of the Friendly People” and it is JUST THAT! This place is only 3 miles long and all you do is eat, tan, read, jet ski, snorkel, play card games and RELAX because there are no TV’s, no internet, NO CELL PHONES, no phones.. NOTHING. While you might think to yourself, this girl has a twitter account, facebook, instagram, pinterest and a blog … why would she want to go there? The answer my friends, disconnecting. The art of disconnecting is a MUST when you work in the communications field. To be able to unplug and focus solely on yourself… is heaven.

Sunbathing Beaut

Our little ‘mama’ Hailey. Most of the time, Hailey is attached to our hips. Literally… we shower, she sits at the shower do, we do crunches (not as often as we’d like) and Hailey is sitting there to support us with kisses each time we finish a crunch.. but then there are the rare times that we catch her slacking on the job… like this one. Hailey is quite active, if shes not attached to our hips she is busy hunting, lizards of course. When she crashes though, she must always find the light that warms the carpet. THAT is where she parks it!

Superman style sunbathing