Deters frozen custard

This year we got to go for a very special treat, Deter's frozen custard! Usually the store is closed over Christmas, but is year they stayed open! Once we found this out we knew we had to go. Deter's is special to us because the store is owned by B's cousin and it originates back to the family dairy, Deter's Dairy/All Star Dairy. Is nice to support to the family and enjoy something that has been in the family for so long!

I decided on a peach vanilla concrete. It was delicious and creamy... And reminded me I need to go workout!

If you are ever in the St. Louis or Quincy area you should stop in!




Happy Friday! It's been a busy week of Christmas everything! Christmas travels, Christmas food, & Christmas gifts! It's a great time of year, if you ask me. We spent the holiday with my in-laws this year... and we even convinced them to let us grill the turkey... and everyone was raving abut it for days. Success!

Here's some instas from this past week:

1. A rental car with satellite radio? Heck yes! I tortured B with Cosmo radio for a few hours. He secretly loved it. Luckily, we had a 12 hour trip so he got to listen to other stations too. But don't get me started on the gas mileage of the SUV when we requested a small car.

2. We went through Mississippi...

3. and Tennessee...

4. and Arkansas...

5. and Missouri.

6. I made this beautiful cowl from my Germany purchased yarn on the trip. I love it! I felt very productive to have it completed in 8 hours. But then what do I do for the last 4 hours of the trip?

7. ... then we finally made it to Illinois! Yes, that is what the signs says.

8. We played Settlers of Cattan (nerd alert) for hours... then again one game takes us over 2 hours!

9. A photo from our overseas flight I forgot to share. Thank you Air Canada for the delicious veggie lasagna, salad, and wine.

10. Some zen time with B at Panera.

11. Most amazing non-Christmas gift! B's aunt gave us an original Hudson Bay Company blanket. I screamed with excitement! What an amazing gift!

12. At the grocery store the day after Christmas they had already removed everything Christmas and were putting out Valentine's Day candy. Slow down world and enjoy the season!

Have a great weekend! We have more time in Illinois then a 12 hour trip back to Louisiana! See you next week for some pre-vacation blogging. Yes, another vacation!





An investment

I'd like to dedicate this post to my father, the guy who has previously invested in real estate and always love to check out how much houses cost in different places he goes. Well dad, I did some looking over seas and found some great places to purchase. Let me show you:

 Here's a 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom house with 3 cottages in the Lake District of England. Its only 1.5 million pounds...

We also found a 7 bedroom home in Dusseldorf, Germany going for 2.8 million euros...

Finally, we found a home in Cologne, Germany for 3 million euros...

I never said I was going to be realistic in my choices... kidding! But it is fun to see how expensive of homes you can find during your travels.



 How was your Christmas? Ours was excellent!
Just a bit more about Germany:

One evening in Germany we went to Schluters. It was just a few stops down the train line from our hotel and B had been before and really wanted me to go.

I enjoyed a chicken salad with red wine and tea for dessert. 

I highly recommend this restaurant if you are ever in Cologne. Its small and quiet but the service is great and the food is even better!


Cologne Christmas markets

One of the best parts of our trip to Germany was the Christmas markets. They last 3 weeks, are outdoors, and filled with food and gifts! They were very busy on Saturday evening but much more enjoyable during the week, partially because it was raining. In Cologne there are 6 different markets, I think I went to 4.

You can see we ate tons of brauts! I also ate a chocolate covered banana on a stick and drank gluhwein,  both were delicious.We also bought some Christmas gifts at the market and watched local performers.

Merry Christmas eve!


Fair aisle sweater inspiration

I have been obsessed with everything fair aisle lately. There was a specific sweater I had seen a few times on some fashion blogs that was exactly my style. I had never seen it in person because we do not have an H&M in Baton Rouge, but the stars aligned in Cologne, Germany as I found it on sale for €15! I cannot find the link on the website but here are some of the ways I have seen it worn by others online:

1 - 2 - 3

Here's how I plan to wear it first:


Okay, I have a confessions, I am already wearing it for our flight home. What a comfy and warm sweater for an 8 hour flight! I do not have pearls with me and it is too cold for loafers but overall the sweater will be a great addition to my wardrobe.



I have been missing my instafriday posts! I was so busy with the end of the semester and then on vacation but I am ready to show you some of my fave instas from my last 2 weeks in England & Germany. He we go!

A few days into our trip to England, Ameila was born. I was so excited to see this photo show up on my phone. I am already in love and all I know is her name and her face.

Driving on the left, NBD.

Trying on fair aisle sweaters in Topshop. I did not love any of them, which is great since I later found the perfect fair aisle sweater in Germany for way less!

SB in the Manchester airport. Where a venti latte was 5£. Think approx. $8USD. No morning latte for this girl!

Best download of the year: google maps. My iPhone navigation skills are complete again!

Check out this poster I saw in Dusseldorf. We do not sugar coat or censor anything in Europe I guess.

I love German Christmas decor. It is anywhere and everywhere. Being here at this time of year definitely got me in the Christmas spirit.

In flight photo from Mancaster to Dusseldorf. Always a must on a flight.

The wine glass that was never empty. I really wanted to switch to red but never had the chance. We were invited to the international Christmas party at the German Sport University and had a great time!

Next time I am in Cologne, I wan to stay here... across the street from the cathedral... in the middle of the hustle and bustle... I bet it's not cheap! Maybe I will just go for some tea instead.

I bought a toque in Germany. This is something you may never see again... but my ears were cold! It looks better than I expected. Maybe toques will become my thing.

We made many trips to SB in Germany. There were lots of comfortable seats and we know it is the best place for free Internet! Thank you SB.

My newest addition to my yarn collection from a beautiful yarn shop I found in Cologne. I plan to make a cowl to go with my new sweater. It shall keep me busy on the long flight home.

I never got to go to the famous bridge in Cologne with all of the locks, but I did take a photo of a photo. I love this shot!

Gluhwein at the Christmas market. My newest obsession! It's like a mix between red wine, tea, and spices. I need to find a recipe to make this at home! Delish!

We were lucky enough to be able to use the first class lounge in Frankfurt. My choice for lunch was red wine and gummy candy! Kidding... I also had a hotdog... because I did not consume enough franks in the past week already!


Have a great weekend! I will see you from Ilinois for Christmas next week!



Dusseldorf: a city with great shopping & great views. Do I need more? We spent last Thursday afternoon and evening in Dusseldorf. We flew in from Manchester and stayed overnight at the main train station. The location was excellent as we were close to the Christmas markets, some amazing stores, and even more restaurants.

We were starving by the time we arrived around lunch so we found an Italian restaurant to fuel our afternoon. I had penne with beef and mushrooms, still water, and tea. It was a great start to my German food experience... Lots of Italian, a few traditional German meals, and too many brauts to count!

After lunch we headed over to the river for some great views. Check this out:

All of these were taken from standing in one spot. It was a beautiful location! We also hit up the high end shops (but did not buy anything, of course) and wandered through the Christmas markets!

Being my first night in Germany, B got a restaurant recommendation from a friend and headed to Schumachers. We had schnitzel, potatoes, and peas as recommended by our waiter.

I loved all Dusseldorf offered us during our one day stop. Hopefully we will have time to go back so we can see more of this city. I can truly say I really appreciate the history in Europe. I love the traditions, especially at Christmas time!




During our trip we spent a few days in Lancaster, England. B was working, I was shopping and sightseeing. Typical.

For dinner one night we went to Bella Italia. I had the Quattro pizza with ham, mushrooms, salami, and artichokes... And some red wine! It was delicious!


The city of Lancaster was dressed up for Christmas with lots of lights, decor, and trees. during my shopping day I took a break at Whale Tail Cafe, one that had great reviews online. It was a vegetarian cafe with lots of great choices.

I chose to have the parsnip, sage, and Stilton quiche with a side salad. What a great combo! The salad was 4 different salad including: mushroom pasta, lentil, carrot, and curry chickpea. I highly recommend this cafe if you are ever in the area. By the way, it is down a little alley, around a corner, and up some stairs. The best places are never easy to find!

The only other things we did was go for a work dinner at Quite Simply French, a small French restaurant on the river. Unfortunately, you do not get any food photos as it was a work dinner and I did not want to look inappropriate. We really enjoyed the food. I also shopped and only bought things for B (a scarf and gloves since we could not find his before we left and something that is hidden in my suitcase!) and something for my mother in law. I know she is reading this but she will have to wait until Christmas to find out what it is!

From Lancaster, we took a train to Manchester and flew to Dusseldorf. In the Manchester airport a venti latte at SB was approximately $8USD! Nuts! Tomorrow, I will tell you about our day in Dusseldorf. What a beautiful city.



The day I changed...

Europe has changed me. Europe in the winter has changed me.

If you know me, you know I hate hats! I don't mind headbands but never liked toques. Well, guess what was purchased for €3 at H&M yesterday?

You may need to blink a few times. Yes, this girl bought a toque. My southern ears and chilly and maybe it will make a fashion statement. I think I have the toque look figured out, I needs to be too big and kind of floppy at the back. They call it boyfriend style. If you are lucky, you may even get to see a photo of me in it!

Hopefully, in the next for days, I will get to post about Lancaster & Dusseldorf! We are now settled in Cologne... and eventually I will share some photos from here too!




InstaFriday, I have missed you! If you do not follow me on instagram, here some some instas you have missed because I have not posted in so long. See # 7 for the reason why:

1. My new hot pink Lululemon wunder under crops. You can see me from a mile away with these! Thanks mom!
2. A melted cheddar and homemade satsuma marmalade quesadilla. Yum, sweet & salty.
3. Christmas decor at Town Center, now all we need is some snow. Yeah right!
4. I bought a snack box at the bookstore. It was just like the snack boxes you get in first class on United, not like I really remember those since it has been so long since we have had a first class upgrade. Lame. But the snack box was delish.
5. Bribing myself to study with a mint hot chocolate.
6. My new rainboots I ordered for Europe! So cute and so comfy!
7. The 130 papers I had to grade last week. It was an interesting experience. Lots of feedback for those...
8. Satsumas! This is just a small fraction of what we picked this year.
9. A great Starbucks promo! Buy 5 Christmas drinks and get 1 free!
10. B thinks I may be half French and half Mexican. I really wanted some blue cheese. The only vessel we had at home was corn tortillas. It worked!
11. Chipote. I love thee.
12. The amazing Christmas tree at Perkins Rowe. Next year, your Christmas photos will be here I hope!

Have a great weekend! Today we travel from Dusseldorf to Koln by train!



Am I finally posting our Thanksgiving photos? I guess so! I told you I was behind. Better late than never. On thanksgiving morning we went for a walk around the lake because it was such a beautiful day. Check out some of the photos I took:

This was my warmest Thanksgiving to date. It was +25C and I was loving life! There was tons of cranes in the lake on their trip south. Wait, we are in the south. So is this were the Canadian birds go for the winter?
Also, check out those turtles! I had to be very quiet and sneaky to get that photo! I love that the turtles suntan everyday along the lake.

For our friends and family up north, yes that is green grass and leaves. Just in case you forgot what it looked like!

We are still in Europe, today we fly from Lancaster, England to Dusseldorf, Germany. Tonight, we plan to go out for a nice dinner and check out the Christmas market. Although when you will be reading this, it will already be tonight for us! Hopefully next week I will have the opportunity to recap England!


A few days in Leyland

We spent the past couple days in Leyland, England staying with friends. We quickly got over our jetlag and found some time to see some local places. Pam took me to an antique market which was huge and filled with so many things I wanted to take home. I did end up buying a few small items as gifts that will easily fit in my suitcase. The guys went to watch the football game at a local pub.

For dinner one night we went to The Clog & The Billycock. The restaurant was a bit of a drive on a windy road. Too bad it gets dark so early here because there would have been a great view!

For dinner I had a hot pot which is a local specialty. It was lamb stew topped with sliced potatoes and baked in the oven. I also had to try the Christmas pudding with brandy sauce and rum butter. Christmas with the in-laws this year means I will not get any of my grandmother's Christmas pudding. This dessert fulfilled my yearly requirement! It was rich and delicious. But now I wonder, grandma, why do you only put rum in the sauce? I think you missed something in the recipe years ago!

One day we went to The Lake District to a town called Windermere. I would call it the British version of Banff. It was quaint, rustic, and overlooked a lake. There were lots of great shops, a great view, and tons of places to eat or stay the night.

Finally, on the way home from the lakes, while driving on the left, of course, we had some amazing views!

We had a great couple of days in Leyland. We have 2 days in Lancaster, England (where I am writing this from - I cannot wait to tell you about this part of the trip) then we are off to Germany!

By the way, our first 3 days in England were filled with sunshine and blue skies. I'd like to think we brought the sunshine!




The other night we went on date to Bravo Cucina Italiana. By the other night, I do mean 9 days ago. I am that behind in my blogging! We had a $15 off coupon that expired that day, and if you know anything about me, I needed to use that coupon! What a great deal. 

It was a delicious dinner date. We each had an entree and a salad, because we had to eat some vegetables. The service was great and the food was quick so I had no complaints. It was a great way to spend a Sunday evening! 

P.S. Check out the photo on the bottom right. That's what happens when I insist we go out for dinner on the night before B's students have a paper due that is worth 80% of their grade. Lol. I promise he was not on the phone the whole time.


Oh, Christmas tree!

I have been begging B to get a Christmas tree for many years. This year I had to choose between a tree and many trips over the holiday season. I opted for vacations! 

I did get some inspiration on Pinterest and convinced B to let me buy a couple strings of white lights and a timer at Walmart to make this beauty:

My very own tomato cage Christmas tree!

Its a great addition to our sunroom and shines brightly every night. Thank you, Pinterest, for making me look creative!


Vacation time

This morning we leave for Europe for 2 weeks! Its not fully a vacation; B is doing a lecture, I am presenting my research project, and B is teaching for a week. It going to be productive but fun, and hopefully we will have some time to relax too.

First, Lancaster, England:

Next, Dusseldorf, Germany:

Finally, Koln, Germany:

Some of the things I am most excited for include:
touring 3 new places
visiting with friends & meeting new friends
the delicious food
Christmas markets in Germany!

You may, or may not hear from me these next 2 weeks. It will all depend on internet access. Hopefully I will have updates with vacation photos, diy inspiration, and new fashion finds! Yup, I am excited to see some amazing European fashion.

P.S. It is gutsy to take our British friend my homemade satsuma marmalade? Is the UK not the birthplace of marmalade? I feel like the queen may have invented it.


My packing list: 2 weeks in Europe!

We are off to Europe tomorrow! I have been contemplating my packing strategy for weeks. I only want to take 1 carry on and 1 large rolling suitcase. We have quite a few flights and trains so I do not want to have too much stuff! Thank goodness for Pinterest and some of my favorite fashion bloggers. I have been looking at outfit ideas and have created a board with outfits I hope to take with me.

I used to just pick out pieces I wanted to wear and throw everything in a suitcase when I traveled. When I got there I would always say, I wish I had this ____ with me. Now, my strategy has changed. I now plan outfits with pieces that can be mixed and matched to get the most out of my suitcase space. Here are some ideas:

All of these outfits and their direct links can be found on my Pinterest board for Europe 2012! Go take a peek!

Here are some of the things on my packing list:
brown boots, new black wellies, & running shoes
brown winter coat
navy vest
jeans, black pants, leggings, & black skirt
black tights & blue tights
grey knit dress
camel sweater, navy striped sweater, green turtleneck & navy striped turtleneck
celery cardigan & black cardigan
blue gingham button down & blue oxford popover
black, grey, and white t-shirts

Now I just need to find time to pack!  Hopefully this list will have it organized and painless! I have one more final exam tonight to get through too!

P.S. The only things in my carry-on will be my purse, iPod, iPhone, iPad, all the necessary chargers, 1 small book, a blanket, passport, and a couple snacks.Organized chaos I like to call it. This week I downloaded a bunch of free books from iBooks to read but I always like to have a paper one in case my eyes do not like reading on a screen. Oh, and my Germany travel guide!


Packing according to Martha

Recently I had a chat with my pal Martha about parking for a 2 week trip to Europe. By chatting I mean reading this article and by my friend I mean Martha Stewart. She has been making frequent appearances into my life lately when it comes to cooking, making marmalade, cleaning, and now packing!

Here's an exact except from the link about what Martha told me to pack:

How to Pack a Suitcase for a Five-Day TripIn this suitcase, there is plenty of room for nearly a week's worth of clothing. The key is to keep everything in separate and neat bundles, while making use of the built-in compartments.
1. Sweaters: To maintain the shape of my knitted tops and chunkier sweaters, I line the back of each garment with a few sheets of acid-free tissue paper before folding. These items should never be stored on hangers, either at hotels or at home; doing so can cause the fibers near the shoulders to stretch.
2. Footwear: Shoes are usually the heaviest cargo in a travel bag. To prevent them from crushing delicate clothing, I tuck them around the perimeter of the suitcase. Each pair is kept in an individual drawstring-topped shoe bag. I stuff the toes of my pumps and other dress shoes with acid-free tissue paper; socks go inside sneakers and slides.
3. Assembled Outfits: To streamline both packing and dressing on trips, I plan my outfits ahead of time, complete with shoes and accessories. I put each outfit on a single hanger (unless the top is a sweater) and wrap it in plastic.
4. Accessories: In addition to packing my shoes in pouches, I also place belts in one bag, undergarments in another, and tights and leggings in yet another. This ensures that the suitcase stays organized, even in the rare event it is searched at the airport.

Tangle-Free Chargers: These days, traveling means toting around a lot of electronics. I pack each charger separately in a labeled resealable plastic bag so everything is visible and at my fingertips.

Computer Protection: Laptops have to be taken out of their cases at airport security checkpoints, so I keep mine in a jumbo resealable bag to minimize handling. The power cord goes into a smaller bag.

Light, Easy Reading: I carry my Kindle, which lets me scan an array of books and newspapers, and my cashmere scarf with me on every trip. I also bring my toiletries (in containers that hold less than 3 ounces), a change of clothes, and my contact lens container and solution, just in case I am separated from my luggage.

Uncluttered Carryall: A messenger bag is roomy, can double as a pocketbook, and holds everything I need. I rely on a few coordinating accessories, including a large, sleek walletlike clutch by Perrin, to hold miscellaneous items.

Instant Identifier: One trip to the baggage carousel is proof enough that nearly all suitcases look alike. A bright-green ribbon tied to the handle distinguishes each of my bags from everyone else's.

Security Measure: Many luggage locks are forbidden under security regulations. So I tie the zipper pull tags on my suitcase together with a piece of waxed twine. That way, I can tell if it has been opened.

To Relax or Exercise: Comfortable, breathable clothes are always good to have on a trip. I'll wear them on the plane during a long flight or save them for an impromptu hike or workout.

How to Pack an Ensemble for Traveling: My trips are always extremely busy, so I plan what I'll wear to each event to ensure that I don't take extra clothes. With this one-outfit-per-hanger system, wrinkles are minimized, and I can hang up items as soon as I arrive.
Step 1: Hang the bottom. First, you need a good dual-purpose hanger with metal clips and a secure grip. Attach a pair of jeans or pants or a skirt at the waist.
Step 2: Add the shirt. Slip the top onto the hanger, covering the bottom piece. If possible, keep all the buttons closed so that the shirt and collar will lie flat.
Step 3: Fold and wrap. Place the outfit facedown on a bed or a table. Tuck the pant legs under, creasing at the knees or in thirds. Then fold in the shirt's sleeves, and make a final fold at the bottom to fit inside the suitcase. Slip a clear plastic garment bag (you can use one from a dry cleaner) over the entire bundle, tucking in any excess plastic.

What! I do not think I own that many plastic bags. I mean, I know I am organized but this takes it to a whole new level. I find it kind of inspiring. Is that weird? Come back tomorrow, I will tell you how I am fitting 14 days worth of clothing into one suitcase with only one carry-on planned!

In the meantime, here are some great blog posts I have found on packing:


Happy Birthday dad!

Today is a big day, its this guy's birthday:

If you see him, let him know I told you it is his birthday.... but I am not telling how old he is... that would be a secret, and I know better!

Happy birthday dad!


Half mexican & half outdooorsman

Our meal plan always changes. Take Saturday for example. We knew we wanted to make tortilla soup because we had chicken to use up. When going to make the soup we also had no bread. Who has soup and no bread on the side? Not us! I quickly decided on cabin scones, a recipe I have been making for quite a while. There is no reason why you cannot have rustic cabin food with your Mexican soup. I do not discriminate. Here are the recipes:

Ernesto's tortilla soup
(recipe adapted from the resturant in PV... so excited to go in just over a month!):
12 roma tomatoes, chopped
2T oregano
6 cloves garlic
3 bay leaves
1t cumin
1t thyme
6 large peppercorns
2t small peppercorns
1T oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
4 c water
4c low sodium chicken stock
1/4c chicken, per serving
toppings: tortillas, diced tomato, diced avocado, cilantro, mozzarella cheese

Boil roma tomatoes in enough water to cover. Add herbs, garlic, and peppercorns, remove from heat, and let cool slightly. Remove bay leaves. Blend with immersion blender. Sautee onion. Add onion, water, and chicken stock to tomato mixture. Bring to a boil.
Place chicken and other toppings in bottom of serving bowls. Top with hot broth and serve.

cabin scones:
1c whole wheat flour
 1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2t salt
1/4c hard butter
1/3c skim milk

Mix together dry ingredients. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until crumbly. Mix in milk. Pat out on counter until approx 1/4" thick. Cut into shape of your choice (I usually do wedges or rectangles). Bake in a 350F oven for 15 minutes!
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