Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tin is in!

I found the most amazing deal the other day on Pick your Plum. Have you heard of it? It is a website that has amazing daily deals on popular household items, but you have to order quickly because the deals go fast! The deal I found was for 3 galvanized tin items for 50 bucks! I had been drooling over this 3 tiered galvanized tin from Pottery Barn forever. I think I might have even dreamt about it being in my craft room once, but I just couldn't pay $60.00 for it. Well Pick your Plum had this awesome deal, which just happened to include my 3 tiered dream. Instead of paying the $60.00 Pottery Barn wanted for it, I spent $20. Take that Pottery Barn! Here it is organized and pretty in my craft room.
I have already been brainstorming other ways I can use my new tins. Here are some fun ways I found...
Tin is in
Do you have any galvanized tin items in your house? How do you use them???
So we know tin is know what else is in? Bloglovin. Since Google Reader is on its way out after tomorrow make sure to follow along on instagram @ allie_renner and on Bloglovin.

*And if you want to enter to win yourself an awesome hammock! Click here!

Friday, June 28, 2013

High's FRIDAY!!

one: 1st pool day of the summer and definitely not the last.

two: Since my husband and I are both teachers and have some extra time since we are on summer break, we have been exploring new places in Cincinnati. Queen City Cookie in Northside was featured on Oprah and it didn't let us down!
three: One of my favorite things about summer is all the fresh fruit. I made Strawberry Bruschetta for the first time and loved every bite.

four: The butterfly bush right outside our front door is in full bloom and I had the fantastic idea to cut off some of the blooms and put them in a vase. They have been making me very happy!
five: My friend Alison recommended this book to me. Since I finished my last Kate Morton book I'm on to this one, The House at Tyneford.

Happy Friday friends!

*Don't forget to enter to win a hammock by clicking here!
Linking up with Lauren.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Colorado Packing List {GIVEAWAY!)

Next week I will be heading out to Colorado for a wedding and a little exploring. I've been working on my list of things to take with me and here are a few of my Colorado essentials... (one lucky reader will get the chance to win one of my essentials, see which one below!)

Colorado Packing List

1. Wild: I always love to take a good book with me on a trip and this one seems appropriate to take since we will be doing some hiking!
2. Cropped pants: These pants were 60% off at Loft and are comfortable to do some exploring in!
3. Aviator Sunglasses: Being that it is summer time I think it's obvious why I'll be needing these.
4. Keen Whisper Sandals:These are my favorite outdoor shoes to date. They will be perfect for hiking in the mountains.
5. Striped Racerback Tank top: A cute yet comfortable top for hiking.
6. REI Nalgene Waterbottle: To stay hydrated.
7. Hammock:To set up between some trees and take in the scenery on a hike!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Explore your city: {Live like a local}

For my 28th birthday, my husband took me on a birthday field trip around Cincinnati. He was inspired by a recent edition of Cincinnati magazine where it talked about living like a local. He told me I could pick a few girlfriends to come, but wouldn't tell me what we were doing or where we were going. At 8:45 on Saturday my girlfriends got to the house and Drew got out his hand drawn maps with all the places he was going to take us. Let's just say the day revolved around food and shopping...any girl's dream!
Here are some of place we stopped:

Stop #1: Echo in Hyde Park for breakfast. Echo reminded me of a New York diner. The food was amazing. I got the seasonal Honey Wheat Pancakes, but our favorite was The Flying Pig Sandwich which was French toast stuffed with ham, bacon and swiss served with powdered sugar and syrup.
Stop#2: Shopping in Hyde Park Square. Such a picturesque little shopping area!
Stop#3: An amazing local bakery, BonBonerie! We all got a sweet to hold us over until lunch. Bonbonerie is known for their amazing baked goods, but they also have an adorable cafe and tea room. I will definitely go back to eat at the cafe sometime!!
Stop#4: Shopping in O'bryonville. Some of my favorite shops were Kismet, 10,000 villages and Indigenous.
Stop #5: OTR for more shopping. My absolute favorite shop in OTR is Mica 12/V. They have adorable little trinkets and some fun Ohio clothing and art work.
Stop #6: Our last stop was for lunch at Taste of Belgium. Drew and I split the chicken and waffles so there would be room for dessert and I can't even describe how amazing our meal was. The chicken was breaded to perfection and the chicken and waffles were coated with hot sauce and maple syrup. That may sound like an odd combination to you, but it is something I now crave. The server got wind that it was my birthday so he brought out a special Nutella, white chocolate covered waffle, which we all devoured. I would HIGHLY recommend going to Taste of Belgium if you are a Cincy local or just visiting Cincinnati!
Have you ever lived like a local? I highly recommend looking up some well known places in your city and making the time to go check them out!!
Linking up with Shanna today.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Strawberry Bruschetta Recipe

I don't know about you, but I have been popping strawberries like candy. The taste of a strawberry in the summertime just can't be beat, which is why I am sharing this recipe with you. This recipe is incredible. It is refreshing and so easy to make.

Ingredients: (Serves 6-8)
2 cups strawberries (hulled and chopped)
1 Tbsp. Basil (chopped)
1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Balsamic
Pinch of Salt
Ground Pepper (to taste)
French Baguette
1. Hull and cut up the strawberries. To hull the strawberries I used a straw and it worked like a charm.
2. Put the strawberries, chopped basil, EVOO, Balsamic, salt and pepper in a medium bowl and toss. Cover and refrigerate for 30-45 minutes.
3. Cut up baguette and lay out on a baking sheet. Toast on each side for 5-7 minutes.
4. Top toasted bread with strawberry mixture and then just try to stop yourself for going back for more!

Original recipe from here.
Similar recipe (add goat cheese) right here.

Monday, June 24, 2013

{Birthday} Weekend Wrap-up

You guys...I've been extremely spoiled. #bestbdayweekendever I didn't just celebrate my birthday on Friday...I celebrated it 4 days in a row starting on Thursday night. I got to see so many of my favorite people, I ate the most amazing food and I felt so incredibly special.
Thursday: We celebrated my birthday and my sister in law's birthday with Drew's family.
Friday: I work up to birthday signs around the house and birthday pancakes. I also went out to lunch with my mom where we might have enjoyed a mid-day cocktail. Then Drew took me to the drive-in.
Saturday: This day deserves a post all of it's own, but my husband took me and my girlfriends on a birthday field trip (some of you got a sneak peek on instagram since I'm now iPhone official! Follow me on instagram @ allie_renner)
Sunday: To celebrate with my family we decided to go to our favorite dinner theater, La Comedia to see The Sound of Music. It was a fantastic show! weekend I've had in a long time! I hope you all had an amazing weekend too! 
Linking up with Sami.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

I FINALLY got....

an iPhone and holy cow... I am having way too much fun with it! I'm probably the last blogger in blog land to get one, but I finally hopped on the bandwagon. For some reason technology and I are slow to cozy up to one another. I got an Ipod and hardly ever use it (I'm probably one of the only people out there to still buy actual cd's), I bought a Nook and still read real books, but the iPhone and I are quickly becoming best friends.

I immediately got Instagram and my first App purchase was the A Beautiful Mess app, which I l-o-v-e! So pretty please follow me on instagram @ Allie_Renner and then leave me your instagram name in the comments so I can follow you too! I'm kind of obsessed.

My first iPhone pictures...
Now I need your help! Tell me your favorite Apps so I can go crazy. Haha. Ready, set, GO!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Birthday Pancakes!

Today is my 28th birthday and also the first official day of summer! To celebrate both of these things, my sweet husband made me these birthday pancakes this morning. We sat out on the porch and I wanted to cry. I am so blessed. It's safe to say it is going to be an amazing day!

Birthday Pancakes
(Makes about 12 pancakes)

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup yellow cake mix
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 cups milk
Assorted sprinkles

Combine flour, cake mix, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl and mix. Add 1 cup of milk, egg and vanilla and stir until smooth. You want the batter to look like regular pancake batter; not too thin, not too thick. Start with 1 cup of milk and add more if you need to.

Preheat a skillet on medium heat. Fold desired amount of sprinkles into batter. More sprinkles please. Pour batter in 1/4 cup measurements onto skillet and let cook until bubbles form on top, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for 1 minute more. Serve with vanilla glaze.

1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Assorted sprinkles
Mix milk, extract and powdered sugar until glaze forms. You may need to add a little more sugar or water/milk to reach desired consistency. Mix into glaze and drizzle on pancakes then devour!
This is definitely the BEST pancake recipe I've ever tried! Original recipe from here!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Birthday Wishes...

 My birthday is Friday and I'm pumped! Not only will it be my birthday, but also the first official day of SUMMER! Being that my birthday is right around the corner I thought I'd share a few things I'm wishing for...
Bday wish list

Chambray Top:: I still don't own chambray...can you believe it?
Smitten Kitchen Cookbook:: I follow this blog and really want the cookbook!!
Birch Trees Print:: I'm working on a gallery wall and this would be a perfect edition.
Iphone case:: Yes it's true...I'm finally about to join the world of Smartphones. What?!
Sunglasses:: I have one pair of sunglasses I absolutely love, hoping to make it two pairs!

Do you still make birthday wish lists? I am such a list maker that I just couldn't resist the opportunity to make one!
Linking up with Shanna today.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Cilantro Lime Fish Tacos

This is such a fun, fresh and delicious summer meal. I am always a fan of fish tacos, but add cilantro and lime and I'm an even bigger fan! These are a must try!

For the tacos and marinade you will need:
1 1/2 pounds mahi mahi or tilapia
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
Taco sized tortillas
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
1/2 jalepeno pepper, finely diced
Lettuce, sliced thinly
2 Roma Tomatoes, seeded and diced
Avocado, diced
1 Medium onion, diced

For the Cilantro Lime Sauce you will need:
1/2 cup buttermilk
Juice of 2 limes
1 Serano chile, seeded and mnced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
3 cups sour cream or plain yogurt

1. Start by making a marinade for the fish by combining lime juice and zest, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, vegetable oil and dry white wine.
2. Pat dry fish and add to marinade for 10-15 minutes (no longer or fish will begin to break down)
3. While fish is in the marinade, make the cilantro lime sauce by pureeing the buttermilk, lime juice, chile and cilantro in a blender then transferring to a mixing bowl and folding in sour cream and cumin. Set cilantro lime sauce aside.
4. Remove fish from marinade and season with salt and pepper.
5. Grill fish about 10 minutes, turning once.
6. When finished, flake fish into chunks.
7. Assemble tacos: Put fish in warmed tortillas add toppings-lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado...
8. Drizzle with the cilantro lime sauce.

Monday, June 17, 2013

A wonderful weekend...roof top dining, Super Dad and a welcome home!

It's summer break people...why can't I stay on top of things? I feel so behind...probably because I'm out in the sunshine 80% of my days lately. I'll get in my summer blogging routine soon, I promise.

This weekend was a perfect combination of fun, celebrating and relaxing. The weather was great and I spent it with the people I love most. Saturday afternoon I went to Washington Park for an amazing flea market called City Flea. The booths were full of vintage and homemade goodies and the natural popsicle I devoured was amazing. The smell of food trucks, the eclectic crowd and the ability to dangle your feet in the fountain when you need a break all made it a fun afternoon. I went with my friend Andrea and we will definitely go back. All you Cincy girls, check out the website here for future dates and mark them on your calendars!
That evening Drew and I went to Cock and Bull near our house and enjoyed some roof top dining. We tried some new beers, talked about our future and relaxed. We stayed put for at least 2 and a half hours. Total relaxation people.
Sunday we celebrated Father's day. We are blessed that we live close to both my parents and Drew's parents so we got to celebrate with both our dads! I cooked for my family (you know a Pioneer Woman recipe was involved) and then we took my Dad to see the new Superman movie: Man of Steel. We all LOVED it. I would highly recommend seeing it!!! Then we went to Drew's parents house where my sister in law had just flown in from spending almost 4 weeks in Italy! She came bearing gifts, which I'll share later and we enjoyed a nice Italian meal and then played some new songs on their amazing player piano. It really was a fantastic weekend! Can't wait to catch up on all of your weekends as well!
Do you see the perfectly formed smiley face in the dipping sauce?
Sami's Shenanigans

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Daddy's little girl

Dear Dad,
Happy Father's Day to the most generous man I know. Thank you for always making me feel loved and supported in all my adventures. You gave me some of my favorite traits like my love of all things outdoorsy, my love of being around people and my love of chocolate! Even though I didn't inherit your "chocolate eyes" I think I turned out pretty well.

You have helped make so many wonderful memories for me and I know there are many more to come. I hope you feel very special today. Thanks for being an amazing Dad! I love you!

Your little girl

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Mmmmmocha Brownies

Pioneer Woman never, ever lets me down. I was craving chocolate and found this recipe for mocha brownies from her first cookbook. Friends, these mocha brownies are incredible. I could have licked both the frosting bowl and the brownie bowl clean. Since I know you want to make them right this second, here are the ingredients: (Or if your Dad loves chocolate like mine does, he would love you forever for making these for him for Father's Day!)

For the brownies-
Four 1 oz. squares of unsweetened chocolate
2 sticks of butter (yes I know, but it's worth it)
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
3 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

For the Mocha Icing-
2 sticks butter, softened (yes you really do use 4 sticks of butter for this recipe)
5 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 to 3/4 cup brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature

Start by preheating the overn to 325 then spray a 8 inch baking pan with non-stick baking spray.

Place the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and melt it in 30 second increments. Set aside to cool.

In a medium mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar then beat in eggs. Drizzle in the melted chocolate while the mixer is on a low speed. Then add the vanilla extract and mix.

Add the flour and continue to mix until just combined.

Pour the batter into your greased baking pan and spread evenly.

Bake for 45-50 minutes.

Let brownies cool completely before icing.

To make the icing combine butter, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt and vanilla in large mixing bowl.

Mix until slightly combined then add the coffee and whip until icing is desired texture. Add more coffee if icing is too thick...icing should be light and fluffy.

Ice the cooled brownies. Spread the icing on thick and refrigerate until icing is firm.

I promise it is worth the whole 4 sticks of butter!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Five on Friday

ONE:: This week was an especially good one because it's officially summer break and I got to see 3 of my girlfriends from college. I hate that so many of us are so spread out now. College life was so easy because your girlfriends are all within a few minutes or even a few feet away. It would be easier if all of them just moved to Cincinnati. *hint*hint*
TWO:: I'm loving all the summer meals I've been cooking up. My favorite so far is this tin foil dinner. All you need is some Kielbasa sausage, zucchini, red onion and some different colored peppers. Chop up the ingredients and throw them together in some aluminum foil and toss on the grill or in your oven for 20-25 minutes. YUM! Best served with a cold Leinenkugel.
THREE:: Since I am "off" for the summer I am spending more time working on some creations for my Etsy shop. This is my newest custom creation for a gender reveal party. I love it!
FOUR:: Summer also means more time with my husband who is also a teacher. We made our summer bucket list and are crossing off our first item this afternoon by revisiting Findlay Market. I am hoping to stock up on some fresh fruit and veggies and find some other goodies while we are there.
FIVE::  I am loving my new kitten ice cube tray. I found it at Meijer and just couldn't resist! It is in the freezer freezing kitten shaped ice cubes as we speak and I can't wait to plop a kitty ice cube in my drink. Why that makes me happy I really don't know. It's the little things...
Happy Friday!!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Summer Bucket List

-Bike ride on the Loveland bike trail 
-Try out at least 3 new restaurants in downtown Cincy
-Read at least 10 books on my list 
-Use our canoe  
-Try out some new donut recipes
-Have a picnic at the park
-Go to the drive in
-Put together a photo wall
-Travel to a state we've never visited
-Find new places to hang our hammocks
-Make creamsicles 
-Go back to Findlay Market
-Do some of the DIY projects I have pinned 
-Find a way to give back/serve others
-Attend a few Reds Games and explore the Banks
What's on YOUR Summer Bucket List?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Rolo Stuffed Smores

The other night our small group had a bonfire and we busted out some Rolos to spice up our Smores as seen on Pinterest here. This has to be the easiest Saw it, Pinned it, Did it ever because all you need are the normal smores characters minus the Hershey bar. It's best to use a giant marshmallow because you will be squishing your Rolo inside. So all you do is squish the Rolo inside the giant marshmallow, cook it over an open fire and then put it between 2 graham crackers. The result my friends is delicious. You really need to give these Rolo stuffed smores a try! YUM!
Linking up with Katie and Steph!