Saturday, August 27, 2011


One of my favorite parts of our wedding was the sendoff at the end. We left through a bunch of pretty sparklers and drove off in a vintage Rolls Royce that I just loved!

{wedding photos by Kelli Nicole}

While we were vacationing at South Padre Island a couple of weeks ago, my parents surprised us by bringing along all the leftover sparklers from our wedding! We took them with us when we drove out to the undeveloped part of the island for a picnic dinner, and after the sun went down we had some sparkler fun!

He's not crazy. I promise.

Holding them a safe distance away from my plastic cup of wine... haha (so classy!)

I so badly wanted to take some of those fancy spelling-letters-with-sparklers photos, but my point-and-shoot camera isn't fancy enough to allow me to manually control the shutter speed, so these circles were the best we could do:

We had about 50 leftover sparklers, so after a while we were just running out of things to do with them! We ended up sticking a bunch of them in the ground to create a sparkling heart:

So pretty!

Every time I start to think that we've finally gotten rid or permanently stored all of our wedding stuff, something else pops up! My bouquet, the sparklers... what's next? 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Oatmeal Chip Cookies

I made these while we were in South Padre, and they are just absolutely delicious. I'm really not a fan of oatmeal raisin cookies, but replace the raisins with CHOCOLATE, and oh, em, gee. Delicious.

Recipe adapted from here.

1 cup butter, melted
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Cream together the butter and sugars in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add to the sugar mixture.
3. Fold in the oats and chocolate chips.
4. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto a lightly greased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.
5. Bake at 350 for 11-12 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
6. Eat (for breakfast if you want, because you know they have oats, which means it's basically like oatmeal...hehe)!


Saturday, August 20, 2011

South Padre 2011

Every year my family takes a trip to South Padre Island, TX. It's been happening for 13 years now, and although the island changes a little every year, it's still such a nice tradition to go back and relax on the same beach and drink pina coladas at the same on-the-beach restaurant.

We went last weekend, leaving bright and early on Friday morning to maximize our beach time! My parents and sisters stayed until Tuesday, but we had to come back on Sunday night because I had four law firm interviews scheduled on Monday!

[Speaking of interviews, we just finished what's called "OCI (on campus interviews) Week," and I did 15 interviews with 15 law firms between Monday and Friday! Such a crazy week! The good news is that I've already received some invitations for callback interviews (longer, in-office interviews), so it's going really well!]

Anyway, we had a great time in South Padre with my parents and sisters! When we got there on Friday, we fixed some sandwiches and immediately headed out to the beach!

Mom & Kristen

Karoline & Jeff

My sister Kristen is a dancer. She's double-majoring in dance and business, which is super impressive, but what amazes me most is just the genuine beauty that she projects when she's dancing. Even when she's dancing on a beach in South Padre, in a bathing suit and cover-up. :o)

So pretty!

Mom & Dad

We had dinner Friday night at a restaurant on the beach that we go to every year. They have great burgers and seafood, and you can listen to the waves while you're eating. Just perfect!

Eventually it started to get late, so we walked back down the beach to our rented condo. Is there anything more gorgeous than moonlight on the ocean?

On Saturday we went out to the beach again!

This is Jeff while he was under the tent putting ice on his knee. He was out in the water, and a particularly strong wave knocked him into an unexpected sand bar, which resulted in his leg bending in a not-supposed-to-happen way. He went to the doctor when we got home, and it turns out he tore his ACL in his left knee. Apparently it's not a bad tear, so he's doing physical therapy to get his range of motion back. Fingers crossed that it works and he doesn't have to have surgery!

My parents and Kristen and Jeff played some sort of game with hoops and balls and a giant 8-sided dice-like-thing that told you to do stuff like throw your hoop from a seated position or something. I didn't really get it because I was too busy playing in the waves with Karoline!

We're like boogie-boarding experts. Yep.

Karoline and Dad built a fancy sandcastle...

Much relaxation was had by all...

Saturday night we drove out to the end of the island where there are no buildings and the road stops and it's just sand and dunes and waves.

Every year we find the tallest dune we can, and Kristen and Jeff and I race to the top of it. This year Jeff obviously couldn't participate due to the whole torn ACL thing, but Mom and Karoline decided to give it a try!

Run, run, run!

So high up!

Kristen and I tied for first place. :o)

The most fun part is the run back down!

Dad brought his little portable grill, and we grilled burgers for dinner and made a fire and cooked s'mores and drank wine out of plastic cups. It was a great evening! And of course, Kristen did some more dancing and although it was really dark so lighting wasn't working well, I got some more pretty pictures! 

While we're on the subject of Kristen dancing, I have to show you a photo from our South Padre trip in 2009. Isn't she amazing? This is one of the best photos I've ever taken, I think. I just love it!

After going to church Sunday morning at the cutest little Catholic church called Our Lady of the Sea, we had a delicious lunch at a place called Dirty Al's (fried shrimp, fish, chicken, and a bunch of yummy appetizers like fried zucchini and mushrooms!), and then it was time for Jeff and I to drive the six hours back home. 

It was a quick trip, but I think we both really needed a vacation, and it was so much fun to hang out with my parents and sisters. See you next year, South Padre!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Book Recommendation

I love reading. Back in the days before law school, I used to devour fiction books. Jane Austen is my favorite... I've read every single one of her novels. Now that I read so much for law school though, the last thing I want to do when I finally get done studying/researching is pick up another book.

Lucky for me, I finished up my summer internships last week, so I had a few days without law-related reading (of course, even though we don't start class again until next Monday, I'm already back in the swing of things due to an onslaught of "first-day assignments" posted via the Internet). I was so excited to finally have time to read a for-fun book because my aunt, Traci Bell, just published her first novel!

It's called Entangled, and it's a paranormal romance novel, and it's intriguing and funny and thrilling all at the same time. I promise I'm not just saying this because my aunt wrote it (in fact, I think that made me even more critical than I normally would have been), but I couldn't put it down and I absolutely loved it! I read the whole thing in one and a half days.

Here's the description from the back of the book:

When divorced teacher Cassie Miller dreamt about meeting her soul mate, her happily-ever-after didn't include threats of abduction to a parallel world to help him save his people from imminent destruction. Alexos de Werner, exiled prince of a land now under Republican rule, is searching for the woman that can help stop the disasters devastating his home province of Ennis, in his world of Caedmon. Alex will do anything to save his people, even if they don't want his help. Unnerved by the connection she feels with Alex, and the new abilities awakening inside her, Cassie refuses Alex's request. A nudge from her best friend and a demonstration of Alex's otherworldly abilities convinces Cassie to help him. Once in Caedmon, Cassie must learn to trust Alex and accept her gift before Ennis is lost. Can she open her heart and mind and become the student instead of the teacher?

Sounds fascinating, right? It really was very, very good, and don't worry - it's not uber-"romancey" if you don't like that sort of stuff. My dad read the whole thing! Haha. The characters are just so genuine and interesting and the whole premise of the book is really thought-provoking. 

Anyway, I'd strongly encourage you all to read it! You can get it on Amazon (and they have a Kindle version too), or (paperback or for the Nook).

I hope you all read it and enjoy it! If you hurry and order it now with Amazon Prime shipping you can get it in time to read it over the weekend! :o)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream

We're absolutely in love with making homemade ice cream. It just tastes so much better than anything you can buy at the store! Here's a tried-and-true recipe: classic chocolate!

I forgot to get a photo until Jeff was eating the last bit, so this was the best I could do! Haha!

Recipe from here.

2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3 egg yolks, beaten
2 2/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips, grated or chopped (I just put them in a Ziploc and crushed them with a rolling pin)

1. Stir together sugar and cocoa.
2. Add in egg yolks and mix well with a mixer.
3. Add cream a little at a time, beating well.
4. Stir in chocolate chips.
5. Put in an ice cream maker and freeze according to your ice cream maker's directions (I put mine in for 30 minutes).
6. Eat! :o)


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Strawberry Coconut Cake

This cake is delicious. I mean, all cakes are delicious, but this one is particularly delicious and summery and just lovely! The icing is a perfect cream cheese buttercream, and the cake is so yummy!

Recipe most made up but somewhat adapted from here.


1 box white cake mix
1 3oz box strawberry gelatin powder
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup water
1 lb fresh strawberries, hulled and finely diced
2 tsp vanilla, divided
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 8oz block cream cheese, at room temperature
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, at room temperature
32 oz powdered sugar
Extra strawberries and/or coconut to decorate the cake

1. Mix cake mix, gelatin, flour, baking powder, and sugar in a large bowl.
2. Beat in oil, eggs, water, and 1 tsp vanilla. Mix well.
3. Fold in 1/3 cup of the diced strawberries (save the rest) and shredded coconut.
4. Pour into two 8 or 9-inch round cake pans (greased and floured).
5. Bake at 350 for 18-25 minutes.
6. Cool cakes completely on wire racks before icing.
7. To make frosting, cream together butter, cream cheese, and 1 tsp vanilla until smooth.
8. Add powdered sugar a little at a time and mix until smooth.
9. To assemble cake, top the bottom layer with a coat of icing and the rest of the strawberries. Place the upper layer on top, and then ice the entire cake with the frosting. Decorate with strawberries and/or coconut.