Monday, December 30, 2013

Meet Murphy

On Dec. 26, we brought a new little love into our lives - an 8-week old French Bulldog puppy named Murphy.

Murphy is the runt of her litter, and so even at 8 weeks, she's still under 2 lbs. She's on a constant schedule of eating and sleeping, playing and potty training, but she still finds time to gnaw on fingers, shoelaces and the bright green Mr. Hedgehog.

You can follow her adventures on Instagram (@murphrus), and here on Hey There, Friday when she pops up for a Murphy Monday!

Cheers to a very happy 2014!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Holiday Survival Guide

Christmas is a little bit of a production in our house. The weekend after Thanksgiving, the Christmas albums start on a specific rotation, the tree comes down from the attic, the boxes of ornaments are strewn across the living room, and it's officially the holidays.

For those of us who are bouncing around from home to home, working hectic schedules and trying to keep our heads screwed on straight, the holidays can seem less like a joy and more of a chore. Below are some of our tips to keep all of your days merry and bright.

1. Handwritten "thank-you" notes.
Whether you're a guest in someone's home for the holidays, or you're communicating appreciation for a thoughtful gift, a handwritten thank-you note goes a long way.

2. Keep the cocoa flowing.

I can't imagine a better holiday beverage than hot chocolate, loaded with a million marshmallows. Spike it, if that's your thing, but keep the chocolate hot and on-hand for Christmas light viewings, unwrapping gifts and late-night card games with the family.

Pinterest is flooded with recipes and ideas for hot chocolate, like these!

Nutella Hot Chocolate
Low-Carb, GF Mexican Hot Chocolate
3. Have a game plan, literally. 

When boredom kicks in and you have a house full of people, what's your go-to activity? Decorate ornaments together, play a massive game of cards or challenge your dad to a Scrabble duel, hang stockings or go sing carols to neighbors, but have something planned that all ages can participate in.

4. Know thy family/friends.

Neither side of my family can survive long without caffeine. My best friend hates goat cheese, my niece only eats eggs, my sister loves cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning and my husband needs the electric blanket wrapped around his feet all day long. You don't have to cater to every single whim of your family/friends this holiday season, but if you categorize the Christmas wishes that make everyone feel at home and tackle the ones that apply to the most people, you have a better chance of sliding right into the New Year with smiles all around. Maybe Aunt Erna's must-have fruitcake doesn't make the list, but if you organize time for her to bake sugar cookies with the grand kids, she'll be too occupied to worry about whether or not her dessert is on the table. What's that saying? "The needs of the many..."

5. Get a playlist going.

But lastly, kick back and have fun. And tell me - what are your tips for a wonderful holiday season?

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a blessed, beautiful New Year to you all!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Stormed In - Part 2

When I said to the Husband that we'd be stuck inside for a few days, I didn't really believe my own words. But on the third day of this ice storm, the temperature is still below freezing and there are inches of ice flattened onto our driveway. Tree branches are cracked and broken all over the place and I'm burning through episodes of The West Wing like my life depends on it. 

On our one venture outdoors, I couldn't get enough of how every leaf on every tree has been completely crystallized by the ice. The trees that are still standing are coated from leaf tip to branch base, decked in the remnants of freezing rain. 

The leaves in this photo were blown backwards and into the tree, whipped around like an icy cocoon, fallen and resting on the ground from the weight of everything. There's a poignant story in there somewhere. 

After a day of eating nothing but breakfast, I figured I should do something different for lunch on Saturday that didn't involve eggs (if only to give us something to eat on Sunday morning). I told you that I ate my Eggs Benedict recipe twice, and this grilled cheese phenomenon is also not a one-time occurrence. 

Last week I read something beautiful about a Lasagna Grilled Cheese that hung out in my head, begging for me to give it a try. The trouble is that grilled cheese sandwiches don't really translate to office microwaves, making this joy something that would have to wait until I was stuck at home with no other plans... oh, wait.

I was excited, I was pumped. I was ready to raid my pantry and Make. It. Happen! Except that I didn't have mozzarella. Or canned tomatoes. Or really any part of this sandwich. So, I played my favorite game... I don't have any of these ingredients, so how to I accomplish the same deliciousness without any of the items?

And I had a revelation. I also had goat cheese, turkey, spinach, tomatoes and delicious sourdough bread. 

You'll need:
- 1 Tbs butter
- 1 Tbs olive oil 

- Deli turkey
- Tomato
- Goat cheese
- Spinach
- Sourdough bread or a bread of your choice

Start by greasing a pan with olive oil and butter, setting the heat on low-medium. Spread chunks of goat cheese (a lot of it, if you're a cheese-o-holic like me) onto one piece of bread, then layer spinach on top of the cheese and put the turkey on top. Put tomato slices on top of the whole pile, and sandwich the pieces together. Put the sandwich into the heated pan, and cook until golden brown on each side. Slice open and enjoy the mess out of it, because this thing is delicious. 

Ice storm optional.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Stormed In

It's Day 2 of being completely ice-stormed in, and I've got a lot to be thankful for. We have friends and family experiencing power outages from ice and downed trees all over the metroplex, running off of generators and staying in hotels, crashing on couches and braving the horrible road conditions to travel to the store for supplies.

On Thursday, before the storm hit, I took the time to go by the store and pick up a few things. We live in an apartment, so a generator wasn't going to be much help, but aside from batteries, milk and bread, what necessities were going to get us through the next four days?

I stopped at the store and stocked up on my version of the essentials: breakfast stuffs.

I couldn't help it; I was powerless. I spent too much time on The Kitchn's website and had an unnaturally strong craving for Eggs Benedict after going on a poached egg pinning spree. And I have been cooking up a storm.

By combining two of The Kitchn's Eggs Benedict/Eggs Florentine recipes, I created the holy grail of at-home Eggs Benedict. It's been two days and I've had it twice, in addition to a killer grilled cheese that you'll get the details on tomorrow.

What kind of person would I be if I didn't share these luxuries with you? A horrible one, and I don't want that on my conscience.

I was lured into the promise of breakfast foods with this idea for Eggs Florentine in Hash Brown Nests from The Kitchn. I liked everything about it, except that I couldn't find any pancetta or prosciutto at the store (go figure) and I love bacon so, so much and I wasn't enthralled by the idea of wasting two of my precious eggs on a batch of traditional hollandaise. Plus, I wanted to subtract the calorie content of the sauce so I didn't feel so guilty about eating eight of these.

Just kidding. I've had three. One on Friday morning, and two for dinner Friday night.

In my search of the perfect hollandaise sauce (since I've never made it before), I came across this lighter Eggs Benedict idea, also from The Kitchn.

And helloooo breakfast. Of course, I had to play a quick game of, I don't have this exact ingredient, so let's see what kind of matches it from the items in my fridge, but no harm, no foul.

Here's my combined take:

I used frozen hash browns from Trader Joe's that I had thawed slightly and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese before cramming them into lightly greased muffin tins. I may have photographed one of these babies, but make no mistake... I had two. 

I poached an egg per the instructions I found (again) on The Kitchn, cooked up some bacon (you can microwave four pieces on high for 3 minutes and 30 seconds like I did, if you're especially impatient), put some spinach on top of the hash brown nest, and made the following tangy hollandaise as the perfect creamy topping. I didn't really measure any of this, to be honest. It truly depends on your personal tastes if you need to add more or less of any particular ingredient.

Hey There, Friday's Tangy Mock Hollandaise Sauce (adapted from The Kitchn's Lighter Eggs Benedict with Mock Hollandaise Sauce Recipe):
- A generous squirt of French's Spicy Brown Mustard
- Juice from 1/4 of a Meyer lemon
- Three large spoonfuls of mayo (light or regular, your call)
- Happy sprinkling of red pepper flakes
Mix together well with a fork and adjust to your liking. 

Happy Breakfasting!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Friday Favorites: Holiday Edition

It wouldn't be winter in Dallas without a full-fledged ice storm and city-wide meltdown (the residents, not the ice), so I feel that with this morning's events, we can officially declare the holiday season in full effect.

On Wednesday, I sat outside in short sleeves and jeans, and last night I listened to sleet pelting against my window. I've been a part of Texas' weather mood swings my entire life, but it never ceases to amaze me how bizarre it feels to go from one extreme to another. 

With the frigid temperatures and all of the ice glistening everywhere, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and I'm all kinds of in the holiday spirit.

This week's Friday Favorites include some holiday decorating ideas to get your home celebration-ready. Even though we're in an apartment and can't go all-out decorating because we're moving soon, I'm stockpiling ides for when we've got our own home.

For small-scale situations like we're in right now, I try to incorporate little bits of Christmas around the apartment, like our miniature tree, small holiday decorations on end tables and by changing up the centerpiece on our dining room table (the place where everyone seems to congregate).

Last year I stocked up on these antique-looking glass and mercury glass ornaments from Restoration Hardware (similar), and set them out in this rock-cut crystal Tiffany & Co. bowl  This, set a midst gold candles in crystal holders, gives off such a beautiful look on a decorated table, and could be set out just about anywhere for a little festivity.

Another centerpiece idea that I love? This one, found via Pinterest, has such a crisp, rustic look about it.

Another small-space solution? Here's a non-tree tree for a tree-restricted space. 

Table decorations, a mantle and a tree? You've got it all right here. I just can't get enough of the candles and the fresh garland. It looks like it just snowed in their living room:

Decorating a corner or a whole room? This gorgeous Christmas decor from Mandi at Vintage Revivals is all DIY-ed, and completely irresistible. 

I just love the holidays. What's your favorite way to decorate for Christmas? Do you use the same decorations, or do you revamp your holidays every year?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Shopping My Closet: Inclement Weather

Today, it's 75 degrees and sunny as all get-out, and I relished the chance to eat lunch outdoors. On Thursday, it'll be dipping into freezing temperatures and pouring rain. In the spirit of bracing myself for Texas' bipolar weather patterns, I'm planning ahead, all the way to Thursday.

The perfect way to combat wretched weather is with cozy, comfortable clothes that can make the stretch from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. without loss of enthusiasm. Come this rainy Thursday, I'll be wearing a warm flannel button-down, a waterproof trench coat, my favorite brown boots, a new pair of warm, textured pants from Hollister and a wide-brimmed fedora to keep my hair dry. That may be a prescription for hat hair all day, but hey, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do...

Rainy Friday Night

Monday, November 25, 2013

Friday Favorites #6

Man, holiday weeks are the best. I can see turkey and football in my future, crashing into blissful nap time while doped up on stuffing, cranberry sauce and kugel.

I'm surprised my credit card company hasn't called to report suspicious charges on my account since I've been shopping in some very unexpected places lately. I decided a few weeks ago that I needed a pair of maroon/oxblood jeans to complete my fall wardrobe, and just like your keys (or those 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife), it seems like searching for something is exactly what makes that something so impossible to find. I hit up all the usual suspects until, on a sheer whim, I walked into Hollister and found the holy grail of oxblood jeans. They are oh-my-gosh high rise, which I love, and even come in a 29" inseam so that they hit perfectly at the ankle.

Right now I'm trying to decide if I want to cut my hair back to just grazing my collarbones or if I'm happy with the current, just a little past my shoulder length. I love wearing it down and really undone, with barely-there waves and a little lift and grit, which is what this Bumble & Bumble texture cream does. To be honest, I've had this in my cabinet for almost a year, and hardly used it with my longer hair. Post-chop, all of my hair products just work a little bit better, and this one is now a must-have in my bag, even if I'm just gone for a day.

Ah, Nike Free, how I love thee... the go-with-everything flexibility of these sneakers cannot be overstated. I don't know how else to convince you - go get yourself a pair and then send me a thank-you note.

I'm also obsessed with super-long necklaces lately, and waited impatiently for this lariat necklace to come back in stock on BaubleBar. Even so, it won't ship until Dec. 3, but I'm convinced this will be worth the wait.

It's also beanie weather people, and I just want to put a hat on everything. These are like, $2 at Target, so you have no excuse. Put a beanie on it.

Continuing my obsession of all things gilded, this iPhone case from J.Crew is a fingerprint party, but I don't care. I love the glint of gold at the bottom of my purse... it makes it so much easier to find that bugger in the dark. Plus, it's a gold-tinted mirror for applying lipstick, mascara, what have you.

And last but not least, after weeks of rocking reds, deep purples and blacks on my fingernails, I think it's time for a holiday change-up, something along the lines of this color from Deborah Lippmann. Make your phalanges fancy.
Friday Favorites #5
Friday Favorites #5 by jlrey featuring Topshop

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Crock-Pot Dr. Pepper Pork Tacos & Apple Slaw

There's something about winter weather that makes me want to cook. Warm, delicious smells filling the kitchen, hearty spices and savory flavors blending together in harmonic perfection... I love to cook. But more than just whipping up something in the kitchen, I love cooking for a crowd.

This past Tuesday we threw a surprise birthday party for a friend (she had no clue, which is the best part), and I needed a soul-warming recipe that would feed at least 15 people and required minimal effort. Enter, Dr. Pepper Pork Tacos from The Pioneer Woman.

Full disclosure: I don't drink, or even like, Dr. Pepper. I'm a fully-leaded Coca Cola girl myself, and DP's never been my beverage of choice. But oh my goodness, does it ever make a great sauce.

Using the link above, I adapted The Pioneer Woman's recipe for the crock-pot, and fed a whole crew of people, plus made a tangy apple slaw that nicely complimented the heat from the chipotle peppers in this recipe.

Here's what you'll need:
  • One pork tenderloin, at least two pounds
  • Two 12 oz cans of Dr. Pepper
  • Two 7.5 oz cans of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (found in the Mexican food section of your grocery store)
  • One white onion
  • Salt & pepper
  • Tortillas
  • A crock pot set on low for at least eight hours
  • Avocado, for garnish
For the slaw:
  • One bag of Dole ready-made coleslaw
  • Two small or one large Granny Smith apple
  • Green onions
  • 1/4 C apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • One serrano pepper
  • The juice of half a lemon
Start by cutting your onion in half, then cutting those halves in half.

 Remove the outer layer of the onion and separate, lining the bottom of the crock pot with the pieces.

Then take your pork tenderloin out of the packaging or butcher's wrap, and set it directly on top of the onions in the crock pot. I hate the way raw meat looks, but there's so much deliciousness in its future!

Then crack open your cans of chipotle peppers. I can't vouch for any other brand, but I use San Marcos.

Pour both cans right on top of the meat, just directly onto it. Let it sit on there. I used a can per half. 

These suckers are spi-cy, but it's the exact kind of spice you want when it's bitterly cold outside. Once you've added the peppers, pour the two cans of Dr. Pepper into the pot. That delicious smell you're getting? It only gets better. 

Then, generously salt and pepper the whole concoction. I had some wedges of onion left over, so I shoved them in there around the edges. Set your crock pot on "Low" and cook for at least eight hours. 

I'm in a position right now where I can run home on my lunch breaks and check in on what I'm cooking, but if you don't have that luxury, just set the timer for as long as you'll be gone. There's enough liquid in here that your meat should be good and hydrated without drying out. I personally set it for six hours around 7:30 a.m., then came home at 1:30, set it for another five hours until I got home.

Eleven hours of cooking time may seem like a really, really long time to cook your tacos (at least, it did for me), but I promise you it makes a difference. All of that spice and Dr. Pepper flavor is soaking into the meat the entire time, and let me tell you... when I pulled the tenderloin out of the pot to shred it, it basically fell apart on my tongs. It was so soft, so moist, so freaking flavorful that I considered calling everyone and telling them the party was cancelled just so I could have a batch of tacos all to myself. 

Take the meat out of the crock pot and put it on a cutting board. Using two forks, shred the tenderloin. After all that time cooking, it won't be difficult.

You will get a ton of pork awesomeness out of this. Once you've shredded the meat, return it back to the crock pot on low heat or on "warm," then add some additional salt and pepper to taste. 

While the shredded meat is soaking in the juices, make the slaw.

In a big bowl, pour 1/4C apple cider vinegar and the juice of half of your lemon into the bowl and mix with a fork. Then, julienne your apple into matchsticks and let it soak in the juice while you dice green onions, de-seed and mince a serrano pepper. Then put your coleslaw into the mix and, while drizzling olive oil into the bowl, toss everything together with tongs. 

Now for the grand finale: Using tongs, serve yourself a portion of the meat onto a warm tortilla, top with slaw and diced avocado. Then revel in your creation and share with family and friends. Or don't, your call.

Crock-Pot Dr. Pepper Pork Tacos with Tangy Apple Slaw
Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Images Copyright of Jessica Reynolds & Hey There, Friday

Friday, November 8, 2013

Shopping My Closet: Weekending

As far as I'm concerned, Jenna Lyons can do no wrong. She made red lips cool for the masses, brought back geek-chic with her giant bifocal lenses in big black frames, and print-mixes like no one else I know. And while my budget isn't accommodating of the entire fall collection from J.Crew, I have turned to their famous Pinterest lookbook for more than one instance of style inspiration. I'll be honest, she just makes me want to dress better. So when it came to assembling this weekend's event wardrobe, I just had one question... What Would Jenna Lyons Wear?

Today's outfit is one that has to pull double-duty - a workday look for the 9-5 and something that transfers into an event and an after party.

Leather Pants
Leather Pants by jlrey
I picked up a pair of leather joggers at Urban Outfitters that were on sale and then some, and this is the first time I've worn them. Unfortunately they're sold out online, but here's a pair at Uniqlo for about the same price.

For sitting at a desk all day, I'm wearing Converse and a Korres lip butter in a really pretty Pomegranate shade, but for night I'll vamp up this look with a pair of lace-up heels and Revlon's lipstick in Really Red.

Saturday will be a day-long event, so I want to be as comfortable as possible, but that doesn't mean showing up in Adidas pants and sneakers, unfortunately. Instead of gym clothes, I've pulled a lightweight army green button down (excuse the corner of my cosmetic case in the photo) from Urban Outfitters, Madewell jeans, a striped tank, some of my favorite jewelry pieces and these ultra-comfortable TOMS desert wedges.

And now for the Jenna Lyons-esque finale: Saturday night will be officially print-mixed, featuring a navy & kelly-green striped shirt, a cool black motorcycle vest, leopard heels from Target, a pair of jeans from Hollister of all places, and a great necklace from J.Crew that I bought for my wedding. 

So while I'm out partying away the weekend, search out your own style inspiration and make some daring choices. Happy weekending!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Movember, November, Schmovember

I guess I blinked and October disappeared, but I'm all right with it. November is my favorite month of the entire year. Starbucks comes out with their red holiday cups, there's a hearty chill on the wind, I can wear boots without everyone looking at me like I've gone completely insane, leaves are falling all over the dang place and the heavenly smell of wood burning in fireplaces just fills every blessed breath I take.

Other perks? It's time for a new desktop wallpaper, and I've got some awesome options for you.

First up, this adorable design from Sarah Hearts. Who can possibly resist glitter-dipped feathers? Not me, I tell you.
Image via Sarah Hearts
All of her wallpapers are amazing, and they come in versions for free download with or without a calendar. I especially like this one from September and this one from January, and these Christmas wreaths are going to be perfect for the holidays.

Up for something that's very "brown paper packages tied up with string?" This month's wallpaper from Sugar Paper is really great. Plus, their past wallpaper with gold confetti was a Hey There, Friday favorite for months. 

Image via Sugar Paper Los Angeles

Wondering what else is up around here? Check out my brand-spanking-new About Me page. 

I made a new mix for you! It's perfectly November and I think we all could use a little ear party to make us happy, happy, happy.

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Friday, November 1, 2013

Friday Favorites #5

Happy Friday, y'all! Sip some strong coffee, get over your Halloween sugar hangovers, stow your costume in the closet until next year, and get ready to peace out into the weekend.

But first, what would Friday be without some Friday Favorites?

Friday Favorites

1. Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer - I don't remember which blogger was touting the wonders of this highlighting concealer, but when someone starts talking about a cheap way to get the effects of YSL's Touche Eclat, I listen. And truly, I love this concealer. It lasts a long while and makes it easy to cover up dark circles, it's great for highlighting around the nose and under the brows, and I keep it with me in my purse for touch-ups. It's a buildable formula that doesn't leave you feeling like you've spackled an entire pound of concealer on.

2. NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Damned - I love lip pencils because I feel like they're more portable than lipsticks, and easier to use for touch-ups throughout the day. Damned is such a great deep, burgundy maroon. 

3. NARS Lipstick in Scarlet Empress - The name itself is enough to make you feel super-fancy, but this semi-matte blue-red is a gorgeous color that doesn't have any of the warm, orangey tones that would clash with my skin tone. 

4. NARS Nail Polish in Chinatown - If you're not up for the deep red lips, try this nail color in Chinatown by NARS. OPI has a similar shade called William Tell 'Em.

Not sure how to rock a dark lip? Check out Lisa Eldridge's video on wearing dark lips and still looking great, but good luck still getting work done after delving into her video archive.

I also just picked up this really great leather baseball cap from Forever 21 for just $10, and I can't wait to wear it this weekend. I've been hunting for one for so long, and I was relieved to not have to pay out the ear for it.

And for our last Friday Favorite, stock up on Sriracha and make some delicious spicy treats like this popcorn - perfect for snacking on while you watch college football all weekend long.

And that's a wrap! What are you favoriting this Friday?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

'Tis the Season to Don Beanies!

It happened. It wasn't intentional, but it happened. I listened to a Christmas song before Thanksgiving, and it felt so wrong, but so right all at the same time.

I got all pre-holidayed out, and went a little crazy looking for winter clothes, regardless of the fact that it's 70 degrees here and I feel uncomfortable in a sweater. What did I find? Beanies. And hats. 

First off, here's a beanie with the entire arsenal of a Bedazzler from H&M.
Then, if bling ain't your thing, the Sailor Cap Beanie from Free People comes in tons of colors and is pure awesomeness. 

Need ideas on how to rock a beanie? Check these out from my Accessorizing board

Structure seekers should get in on the wide-brim fedora trend, in a universal grey, also from Free People. I have one in navy and I wear it every fall/winter without fail. 

Or give yourself a $10 treat with a leather baseball cap from Forever 21.

If you need further proof that baseball caps are cool, I direct you to J.Crew's version, below. There's a whole lot of cool in this picture. I mean, come on, Jenna Lyons knows cool.

And now that we're on the subject of baseball, I can get to my real point. The St. Louis Cardinals play in Game 6 of the World Series tonight, and if you feel like cheering on my team with me, you're not just relegated to the standard jeans and t-shirt. 

Put on a pair of leather-coated skinny jeans, the requisite Cardinals t-shirt, an army jacket and metallic sneakers for a look that's a little luxe, a little "take me out to the ballgame."

Go Cards!

Go Cardinals