Keepin’ It Real February 2014

Good bye February! You were a blah sort of month. Being neither long enough to make any decent memories or short enough to skip through. March is a busy month for me. I cannot decide if I am excited about that or if I will indeed miss the carefree easiness of February. February is in no rush. It is the baby sibling of all of the other months. No responsibilities go to it. It is just a wee little thing.

Edited to add: . My husband (the sweet eternal optimist) was horrified at my less than stellar review of his birthday month.

Sorry Sweetie! I will add some happy memories to February.

The highlights:

My husband’s birthday

Discovering three wonderful new restaurants

Happy Belated Birthday Auntie M!

My sweet mom surprising me with chicken pot pie

My amazing friend Jessica painted my bathroom (sharing soon!)

A night out with girlfriends around a firepit

True Detective

My husband surprising me by coming home again after all ready having left for work to give me one last good bye kiss for the day

The Lego Movie

Many snuggling mornings

My nephew had his birthday and sweet birthday party

A three hour phone call with a good friend

I got to hold a beautiful baby girl

And she liked me more than my sister*

Wow! I guess February was a pretty good month, afterall!

Okay, enough of that. Let’s get real!:


Look! The carpet at the Pantages Theater is Humboldt’s twin! Poor Humboldt. I can’t. I just can’t stop embarrasing it.



Outfit outtakes.


Tonight for dinner I made homemade biscuits with homemade macaroni and cheese with fruit salad.

But last night, the kids and I had Trader Joes frozen breaded chicken tenders, oven fries with the most amazing new sauce that I have recently whipped up after seeing it numerous times online. Oh, the guilt! But it was so good! If you cannot wait for me to ever get to that post (cause, I mean, my picture of it is so good. How could you wait for such a delicacy? I should totally be getting a call from Bon Appetite any day). And really, who knows when that will be? Here is the easiest dipping recipe.


My daughter and son have both been working on giant paintings of our dogs in their art class. I will update when they are both finished, because I simply cannot wait. Of course, I probably will not get them framed until next November when the framing deals happen again.


I’ve started a post that is going to take me a long time to complete. I will be reviewing and rating around twelve different mascaras. It might have to be broken down into two posts. We will see. Here is the first mascara I have started.

Why am I doing this? Well, I purchased a huge mascara sampler from Sephora and just now opened it. And I have always wanted to be a scientist. So. Mascara. Check. Experiment. Check. Scientist Jenni. ????


Remember when I bought my husband that ice cream maker that I he always never wanted for Christmas? Well, I finally got around to ordering containers to start making my ice cream this week. For friends and family this is great news, because I cannot possibly eat all of the ice cream I will be experimenting with. I hope to perfect them now so I can share the recipes in the summer!


And on Wednesday night I made two small batches of homemade ice cream. One vanilla and one cinnamon. Each one has a certain twist. Brynne, you can guess what that is! The only way I will make homemade ice cream…

Unfortunately (or fortunately for my diet), ice cream and my tummy do not mix. So I just get a small taste of the stuff before passing it along. Sigh.


I also remember promising certain posts in January’s Keepin’ It Real that never made it up in February! I wrote my children a different letter instead and Stick In The Mud will go up in March. Also, My Husband’s Secret is being posted on Monday!

I really did this update so I could do a screen shot of a screen shot of my blog. I find this hilarious. I might have a problem.

I liked doing two outfit posts a week this month instead of one. What did you think? Less or more outfit posts?


You know that feeling you get the night before Christmas? That is the feeling I am having about my year blog giveaway! It starts March 10th and I am so excited!

Did you have a good February? Are you excited about March? Any fun memories to share?

*This is unfortunately not true and was added just to razz my little sis. Which is the perfect way to end the little sibling month of February! ; ). I do love you, Mandi!

It’s The Little Things: Waterlogue App


I love a fun app! I have all ready done a post about another app I love here. But there is always room in my heart for more.

I first learned about this app from the blog One Can’t Get Over The Habit Of Being A Little Girl All At Once. It intrigued me. For $3 you can change your photos into watercolors. How awesome is that?

The app is called Waterlogue. It has quite a few different settings to choose from to change your pictures into dreamlike creations. My favorite picture settings in Waterlogue are Bold and Travelogue. Although, I really like them all.


Here is a picture of a tree I took.


Here is the picture Waterlogued.




Some outfit posts made more fun with the app.



My dogs turned into paintings!


This app is highly addicting. As an insomniac, I love it!

I may or may not also be spending my nights turning pictures of David Beckham into “art.” And he may or may not be in a certain state of dress. And I may or may not post this weird paragraph.

Is over-sharing a thing?

It’s the little things: making memories even more fun and special!

Have you tried this app yet? Isn’t it so cool? Do you have any other app recommendations?





Sometimes. Well, sometimes you just have to let go. Give into the music. The peace of the day. On days like that, I like to dress the part.

By the way, the only music playing here was the music in my head.

My soul is groovy, Baby.



Both of these Free People pieces were obtained from Nordstrom Rack for 66% off. I am not linking to the products (I believe the jeans were called Bali Discharge Flare and the top is the Rave On Tunic), because I think they are sold out. And Dude, I bet you can get them on sale like I did.

Which would leave you more money for actual music.

Of course you are always welcome to tune into the music in my head. Don’t let the voices scare you. They are there to set the mood…

At least that’s what they tell me.


Are there days when you just want to dress a part? When you just want peace?

Right on man! I dig it.

* P.S. I shared this on The Pleated Poppy!

Spaghetti Carbonara


Spaghetti Carbonara is one of those deceptively easy looking recipes. And it is easy. Except, I will say you need to have a bit of cooking experience to be able to execute it well. If not made correctly, it will quickly turn into a scrambled egg pasta.

The whole dish only takes about ten minutes to put together after the noodles have been boiled, drained and set aside. But the last two minutes makes you hustle.

I use Rachael Ray’s Spaghetti Carbonara recipe. I have tried many and I feel hers is the best. I tweaked it very slightly. I changed the amount of spice and garlic, because that is what my family preferred. And I use good ol’ bacon instead of pancetta.

I wanted to write the recipe down and add some tips because I have learned some things that will make this recipe go more smoothly:


1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 pound package of spaghetti noodles
4 slices of chopped bacon
1 minced clove of garlic (or 1 tsp. from a jar or one handy little pocket from the frozen packet available at Trader Joe’s)
1/2 cup white wine (whatever you are drinking. The recipe calls for dry, but I have used a Riesling and it is equally as good)
3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8-1/4 tsp. ground black pepper (start with 1/8 and see if it is enough)
1 cup reserved cooking water from the pasta


First things first. Freeze your four slices of bacon for twenty minutes. This will make it much easier to cut.


This part is purely optional: with the remaining bacon, I cook it in my oven with my oven bacon recipe while I prepare the Spaghetti Carbonara. My kids love to munch on the extra bacon with their pasta.

Boil a large pot of water. Add two Tablespoons of salt to the water once it is boiling. Add spaghetti noodles to the boiling water and cook according to directions on the package.


Separate egg yolks while spaghetti is boiling. This part is my favorite. It is so fun. Just crack your egg. Break it in half, keeping the whole egg in one half. Now pour the egg yolk into the other half of the shell. Keep doing this until the white has completely fallen out. Add the yolks to a small bowl and gently beat. Set aside.

Before draining the spaghetti, carefully reserve 1 cup of the boiling water.

Drain spaghetti. Set aside.


Chop bacon. Add to a large skillet and cook until crispy but not burnt. Usually this takes five to six minutes.


Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook an additional minute. Add wine. Let simmer in the pan for two minutes. Scrape up bits of bacon pieces. Turn off heat.


This is where you are gonna turn into a super hero. Are you ready? Well, it doesn’t matter because you are all ready at this part. There is no turning back. Go ahead and flip that apron into a cape.

No! Don’t really do that! We’re working with bacon here! Keep that apron on and just imagine it is a cape. You are free to implement your fantasy after this dish is on the table. And won’t that be fun?!

The next steps need to be done in order and pretty quickly.


Slowly add 1/2 cup of the hot cooking liquid you reserved from the spaghetti noodles to the egg yolks while you are continuously whisking them. Keep whisking until all of the 1/2 cup is added. You do not want scrambled eggs! Add your water slowly.

Now add your spaghetti noodles to the wine and bacon mixture.

Immediately add your egg yolks to the spaghetti noodle mixture and toss and toss and toss. Right before your eyes the spaghetti mixture will start to come together and turn creamy. If it is looking too dry and not easy to toss, slowly add more of your reserved cooking water to it while you toss.

Add salt, pepper, and cheese. Toss some more.

Serve promptly! If you did this properly, you will now have an incredible creamy white pasta with bits of bacon in it. Your family will swoon at your feet. If you did this incorrectly, you will have chunks of eggs and be thankful that you made some extra bacon. Just don’t tell anyone you weren’t trying to make breakfast for dinner!


Enjoy! This is one of my very favorite things to make. My husband requested it for his birthday dinner this year.

Do you love Spaghetti Carbonara? Have you made it yet?

Well, what are you waiting for? That cape ain’t gonna turn itself! ; )

P.S. I shared this on Savvy Southern Style.

And My Romantic Home.