Friday Favorite: Itsy Bitsy Bikinis

Photo from SouthBeachSwimsuits

My husband told me that we were going on a trip, but kept the location secret. I figured there would be a beach, and hopefully it would be relatively secluded. I decided to go completely out of my comfort zone and and buy some sexier bikinis. I immediately found the Vitamin A line. I tried the wrap-around top, although it fit the bill in terms of va-va-VOOM, it was a MAJOR wardrobe malfunction. (If you have anything up top, I would caution you not to get the suit unless you plan on remaining perfectly still the entire time.) I found two bikinis by Vitamin A that fit the bill- great quality, sexy, daring, but not too showy. The Vitamin A line tends to run fairly expensive, but I've found great deals on and ideeli. While I wouldn't wear the bikinis for pool parties or play dates, sometimes you need a little sexy in your life. Actually, a lot of sexy. Sometimes going outside of your comfort zone can be well worth it.

Vitamin A swimwear my Friday Favorite.

Love Thursday: Chaperones & Butterflies

I had another post all set for today. Then, my husband surprised me (well, our daughter) and I had to change it up. My husband works from home. He works from home pretty much all day-from the time he gets up to the time he goes to bed. Actually, all the guys he works with do. It's great because they are all focused on being successful and helping the company to be successful, but sometimes you just want him to turn the darn phone off. Anyhow...even though his schedule can be pretty flexible, he likes to stick with a schedule. Today our older daughter, Em has a field trip to the Butterfly Exhibit. Apparently her teacher impressed upon my husband the need for chaperones on this trip. Clearly, going to the Butterfly Exhibit is high on his list of things he'd like to do. An important note, he asked last night whether we'd been-um, yes probably three times as a family, twice with our extended family, and a couple times with friends. Clearly the Butterfly Exhibit is his favorite place to go, very memorable. Anyhow, he decided to take some time off of work to chaperone a bunch of 6 & 7 year olds today. It made our daughter SO happy to know that her daddy would be with her today. It made me happy to know that he made the decision to make time for her. That's the most important decision. To make time for those you love.

Happy Love Thursday. Today, make time for someone you love.

Coconut Shrimp: the Taste of Summer

Yesterday our good friend, T came over for lunch. In exchange for the delicious wine she brought, great travel stories, compliments (my bangs are apparently tres European! Who knew?), and bringing her N to play with our girls, we made what is fast becoming our go-to summer recipe, Coconut Shrimp.

I found this recipe in the amazing "On a Stick" from Matt Bites' Matt Armendariz. We've made a few minor modifications to create Coconut Shrimp perfection...well, as perfect as you'll get without a beach and tropical location!

Coconut Shrimp

12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined*

Salt and Pepper

1/4 cup all purpose flour

2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 egg

3/4 cup Sweetened coconut flakes

1/4 cup almond meal

1/4 cup panko crumbs (approximately)

vegetable oil

*The recipe makes plenty of breading & flour, you could easily make 20 shrimp with the recipe.

Combine flour, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and salt and pepper in a shallow dish; beat egg in a separate bowl. In a third dish, combine coconut, almond meal, and panko. Dredge shrimp in the flour mixture, shake each one off, then dredge in the egg, then dredge in the coconut mixture. Place each shrimp on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Repeat with each shrimp. Refrigerate for an hour. Preheat skillet (we've used both a fryer and a skillet and find a skillet with a small amount of oil works just as well as a fryer without so much waste). Lightly fry, turning once. Serve and enjoy.

Our whole family enjoys this meal. Once you have the ingredients, it's super easy to make. We've made with small shrimp without tails, but find that the larger shrimp retain the mixture and coating better. We've also made the recipe without almond meal and it still tastes fine, just substitute regular flour for the almond mill flour.

Please excuse the weird pictures, we had a pool playdate and I was more interested in eating and talking than photo styling!

Friday Favorite- BRITNEY SPEARS

I bet you thought today's Favorite was going to be Grand Cayman (it was totally awesome). No, today I am focusing on the concert I went to the night before our vacation...Ms. Britney Spears. Y'all-AMAZING.
I'm just a wee bit excited here. I have been a long time Britney fan, even when it was totally uncool to like her (I've never been accused of being cool). I'm a huge goofball dancer and love rocking out to her songs. When I tell people how much I love Britney, they inevitably say something about her singing. It's true, Britney is not the best singer out there, but she's a GREAT entertainer. Example 1: Celine Dion has a fantastic singing voice, but I don't have a single one of her songs on my ipod or CD and would never go to her concert, even if it was free; but I have ALL of Britney's songs and CDs and have been to two of her concerts. My friend and I saw Britney last year on her "Circus" tour and it was amazing. A true production. "Femme Fatale" was completely different and awesome-if not awesome-er. We went with our new co-worker (who is quite the concert goer) and we all agreed that Britney puts on one HECK of a show. She is pure entertainment. And, yes, she sings. What I love about her concerts is the fact that you never sit down. Her songs are all so danceable and singable, and shoutable so you just keep moving through the whole concert. As does she. The woman does not take a break the entire time. She earns her money.

We were all really impressed with Nicki Manaj, Brit's opening act. Nicki, like Britney, puts on a complete show. There is a storyline and songs that naturally flow. Her opening was sort of weird in parts and full of nasty language-Nicki has quite the potty mouth-but a really good show. Last year Britney's opening act was Jordin Sparks, who has quite a bit to learn about performing and opening a major concert series (good voice but meh presentation).

Britney's encore ended with "Till the World Ends" as she was singing aloft a floating platform in angel wings, with fireworks and glitter confetti going off. Of course. It TOTALLY worked. Because she's Britney, bitch. It was perfect. Take my word for it, go see Britney if you ever have the chance, you will not be disappointed. If you are going to her concert, make sure you see Nicki Manaj open the show (then take the 45 minute break! to get your concert t-shirt, they are super comfy).

Oh, and y'all, the outfits. OMG, not Brit's outfits, they were fine and a bit showy. No, the concert attendees. My word. I was DYING to take pictures-lots of short, tight, too small, ripped, and neon...why?! One lady was walking around in patterned tights and lingerie-no kidding. It did not look good. The bedazzling and glitter and chains, oh my! The wigs were pretty interesting as well.

Britney Spears concerts- my Friday Favorite

On Holiday-Cayman Style

Whoops, sort of left you hanging on the party details. Well, those will have to wait a few more days. My husband and I are enjoying sunsets like this one in the Cayman Islands! It's been wonderful and relaxing and tropical and delicious and great. I'm off to enjoy some more sun, sand, and maybe a few rum drinks. Hope your weekend is equally relaxing.

Super Superhero Party Invitations

Let's start at the very beginning...I like my girls' birthday parties to be as handmade as possible. It keeps it nice and low(er) key. I usually try to set the mood with the invitations. For the Wonder Woman/Superhero party, I thought about capes, lassos, or even cutting paper and making one that looked like the door sign I posted yesterday. The girls also practiced drawing a Wonder Woman image to use for the invitation like this one. I was bummed that I couldn't find or make exactly what I imagined in my head. But, time was running out and time was short, so I used the invitation that came in the One Charming Party package. I then packaged the invitation in glitter card stock to create an opening for the invitation and secured the invitation with a Superhero cut out (you could easily use stickers). The only additions I made to the invitation were: I called our home "Superhero Central" and had the parents contact me as "The Commissioner" with their RSVPs. I love little details like that; they really do make a difference. It turned out "super" cute and I ended up really liking it. It just goes to show me that, once again, it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful!

Most of the invitations said "Capes and Masks will be provided. Please bring your superpowers." This one must have been my first one!

Wonder Woman Party in Pictures

This Saturday we celebrated my (no longer quite so young) youngest daughter's 5th Birthday. She chose a Wonder Woman theme (YES!). I had so much fun coming up with decorations and activities; she had so much fun celebrating with her friends. I'll break the best (and the not so great) down step by step over the next few days. Until then, enjoy the first of the "Wonder"ful pictures.

Ten years

Today marks my husband and my 10th Anniversary. I am ridiculously proud of us. I just love him so darn much. I'm not going to get all sweetly romantic on you because my husband still hasn't found his way over here, so there is no use in writing a love missive to him. Anyway, that's not his bag. I will say that I love that man more than Buc-ee's kolaches, Buffy tv marathons, new shoes, and chocolate...possibly more than a Longhorn National Championship. That said, here are a couple snippets from our Anniversary:

Him "Do I REALLY have to get you a card?"
Me: "Yes."
Him: "Well, what if I get you the same card?" (This has happened MULTIPLE times)
Me: "Just look for the one with a 10 on it."

What I got- a card entirely in Spanish. "I knew I had not gotten you that card yet." -Nice.

At dinner, "our song" starts playing on the radio, but in French.
Me: "It's our song."
Him: "Really?"
Me: "Yes."
Him: "Did they play this at our wedding?"
Me: "Really?!"

Ah, Love. Happy Love Thursday.

Texas Sized News

Remember how I had a big project, perhaps the biggest yet? Well...

I welcome you to our little piece of Texas. My husband and I have dreamed about owning our own piece of ranch property for years and we finally found one that fit what we wanted and, better yet, our close friends bought right next to us.

Here she is...Casa de la Cougar (an inside joke not the real name).

I wanted something a bit more quaint, but we got rustic. That's OK, rustic has a claw foot tub, so we can work with it.

The obligatory Wide Open Spaces.

Believe it or not, that brown thing in the middle of the next photo is a pond. Once we get some (much needed) rain, we plan on stocking it with fish. Until then, our lovely neighbor to the North offered to let our family come fish in his pond, which thankfully has both fish and water right now!

Loved this metal and wood table, the axe laying around? Notsomuch...

There you have it, our little piece of Texas. Plenty of things to do inside and out. Y'all come back anytime.