Thursday, January 31, 2013

Butternut Squash Soup Two Ways

I know I've mentioned it before, but my parents seriously have a boatload of butternut squash. It seems to take over their vegetable garden every summer and now that I live closer to them, I get to take advantage of the fruits of their labor. Like in this dinner from last week. This past weekend, I roasted three small squash my dad brought to me and made two different soups: a traditional, creamy squash soup and a squash-tomato bisque. 

They both started with a similar base of roasted squash (bake 40 min at 350), chicken stock, cream, and purred garlic, onions, carrots and celery (gotta love food processors!). I added salt, pepper, roasted red pepper flakes and cayenne. I also like things a little salty, so I also added some bouillon. I think its a necessity in every soup, even if you use chicken stock. 

For the tomato bisque, I took the above ingredients and added two cans of diced tomato, a little more cream, italian seasonings like basil and oregano, and about a 1/3 of a jar of pizza sauce leftover from the weekend. Puree in the food processor, and that's it! Two different soups that are super-easy to make. 

Now, don't ask me the amounts I used of each. Y'all know I don't cook that way. I simply add amounts, seasonings and spices as needed. If you need more of a recipe, Martha has what looks like a good one here. Not sure how I feel about the OJ though. Might make it too sweet. 

The only problem, was the number of dishes I used. Eeeek! 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wednesday Wishlist: Military Inspired

I've always loved mixing tough and girly pieces, so I'm thrilled the military trend is back in (not that its every really out). This season, there's glitter and studding and and lace mixed in and I have to say I'm loving it.

Stud Camo Jacket $116
H&M Blouse $39
Camo Skinnies $80
Stella & Dot Bracelets $49-59
Studded Clutch $25
Rivet Camo Blazer $60

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Just a few of the little things I'm obsessed with lately...

My Clairsonic brush. My mother in law got me this for Christmas and it is everything I never knew I always wanted in a skincare product. I have allllllll types of skin issues, everything from dryness and sensitivity to perioral dermatitis and psoriasis. This little miracle device has virtually erased all of them in just a few weeks. My pores are smaller, my face is smoother and my sun spots are literally disappearing. This is totally the type of thing I never would have bought myself, but now I can't imagine my routine without it. 

My Justin Cowboy boots. I seriously love 'em. Just look at the beautiful stitching! Look at it! Are you for real? AND they have leather soles. Jeeeez. So legit. I swear I get this extra swagger when I wear them. They may or may not have to make an appearance at our farm wedding in 2049 (when we finally get around to getting married). And by "may" I mean "definitely". 

Breckenridge Distillery's Bourbon Chocolate Sauce. Holy cow. Bourbon+Chocolate =Libbie's version of heaven. So good on ice cream...or by itself. 

Shameless on Showtime. So I may be a little biased since I used to work at Showtime, but I'm pretty obsessed with all their shows. Homeland, Dexter and Californication will always be my favorites, but Shameless is quickly rising to the top of that list. Season 3 just started so get caught up already!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Instagram Foodie Weekend

My dad was in town this weekend for a convention, so Sev and I took the opportunity to take him on a culinary tour of Denver. It started with Pho and ended with homemade pizza and a lovely Sunday with a breakfast from my amazing fiance and not one, but two different kinds of butternut squash soups. We also had one of the best meals of my life at a new restaurant in our neighborhood, Populist. So delicious! Here's some photos I took on Instagram. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Butternut Squash, Spinach and Caramelized Onion Lasagna

Perfect. Winter. Meal. Hearty, rich and warm. That's the kind of comfort food I'm talking about. If you've got a garage full of squash from your garden, like my parents do, this is the recipe for you. I followed a loose interpretation of this recipe.  (fontina cheese? Seriously? You think the local ghetto-super sells that? Mozzarella and Parm will do just fine). Try it out the next time you need a meal to warm up this winter.
 One of my favorite cooking secrets. Garlic in a tube. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Michelle Obama Inaugural Fashion

I have a huge girl crush on Michelle Obama. And her inauguration looks this year were to die for! I've always loved how she takes risks with colors and patterns and mixes high end designers and everyday stores like J. Crew and H&M. Here are a few of my favorite looks from the Inauguration events. And her new haircut?! Love!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Beer, Cheese and Bratwurst Football Party

This weekend we had some of our Georgia friends over to watch the Falcon's playoff game. Nothing goes together like Brats, Beer, Cheese and Football if you ask me. It was a great game and although the Falcons didn't win, we still had fun. Maybe a little too much fun. 
 And more cheese. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Why I Still Love Lance...

Apart from conversations with friends and family, I've been pretty quiet about the whole Lance Armstrong doping issue. Mostly because just about everyone is quick to jump all over him and call him a cheat and a liar and a hypocrite. But let me first say that I'm not writing this post as an ESPN-watching sports fan. I am a cyclist. A cycling fan. And a huge Lance Armstrong fan. I've read his books, bought the Livestrong gear (wearing my yellow band proudly right now) and watched (and still watch) every Tour de France he won. I ride some form of bike and read almost daily and, hands down, my most prized possession is my vintage Tommasini road bike. Shit, I even started a Lance facebook fan page in college. Needless to say, I'm a little more than a "casual observer" of the sport. 

And through all of the finger-pointing and interviews and confessions, I can't help it. I'm still a fan of Lance Armstrong. I still believe he's for real. I still think he's an inspiration. Yes, he used PED's. But so did everyone else. Now that doesn't make it ok, but if it was the difference between winning and not, I'd do it. Chances are you would too. He won the world's toughest sporting event not once, not twice, but seven times in a row. And if everyone around him was cheating, he was the best of all the cheaters, right? I also think its important to note that he is the most tested athlete ever and never once during that time did he test positive for PED's or transfusions. And consider that many of the things he is being accused of doing weren't even illegal at the time. 

Bicycling, although a beautiful sport, is dirty. People have been doping for decades. What you put your body through over the course of a three week long bike ride through some of the toughest terrain in all of pro cycling sortof lends itself to getting help from "unnatural" sources. Am I disappointed in him? Absolutely. Does this tarnish his reputation in my opinion? Definitely. Am I glad he came clean? Of course. 

But, I'm still a fan. 

Now I'm not asking you to take my side or agree with my arguments about why Lance should still be considered a hero. I'm asking you to see, from the perspective of someone who has every reason to be let down by him, why he should still be considered a great athlete and inspiration to millions of people. 

So, here's why I still love Lance. 

Lance is the ultimate competitor. 
Call him an ass. A jerk. A bully. Call him what you want. When he was competing Lance had one job and one job only. He wasn't there to make friends with Thor Hushovd or play nice with the media. He was there to win. From the beginning, he's had every card stacked against him, from being raised by a hard-working single mother to getting cancer at an extremely young age, and its that chip on his shoulder that makes him the competitor he is, even if it does make him a jerk. He's smart, extremely disciplined, and he works really effing hard to win. Watch a clip of him giving Jan Ullrich (who was also found guilty of using PEDs, by the way) the now famous "Look" during the 2001 Tour and tell me that's not even a little bit impressive. Every time I have a tough climb on the bike, I'd be lying if I said that I don't pretend to be him, looking my competition in the eye, and kicking their ass.

And did I mention he won that race seven times?

He has raised millions for cancer research.
Since its creation in 1997, the Lance Armstrong's Livestrong foundation has raised over $470 million dollars for cancer research. And, unlike many other nonprofits, 81 cents on the dollar goes directly to its programs and survivor services. That's about half of what the Susan G. Komen foundation, which was created in 1982, has raised. Impressive? I'd say so. If you spend a bit of time on their website, you'll see that not only is it a fundraising powerhouse, its a phenomenal resource for people fighting cancer, as well as for survivors and family and friends of those afflicted. 

Everyone who rides a bike is safer because of him. 
Over the course of the last 10 years I've been riding, I've had my fair share of scares on my bike. Almost getting hit (more times than I can count), cussed at, honked at, you name it. I've even had some asshole throw a string of lit firecrackers at me. (Idiot pulled into a gas station a half mile down the road and we got his license plate number and called the cops. Sometimes karma works fast.) My dad has had people open their car doors on him and completely run him off the road into the ditch. I can't even imagine how much worse it would be if it weren't for Lance, and I truly mean that. I've heard people say he did for bicycling what Wayne Gretsky did for hockey. He brought it to America, popularized it and made it cool. Or, as cool as something that involves spandex and men shaving their legs can be...People now actually know what cycling is because of him. Even people in central Nebraska. They aren't as surprised to see me on the road. When I tell others I bicycle, people used to ask me "like Lance Armstrong bicycling". Yes. Like Lance Armstrong bicycling. I've never heard anyone ask if someone plays basketball like "Michael Jordan basketball." 

Finally, and most importantly, he is an inspiration to millions of people fighting cancer.
At the time of his diagnosis, he was given a 40% chance of survival. If that was the number I was given, I simply don't know how I'd react. He reacted the only way he knew how. To stubbornly fight it and for that reason many people look at him as the poster-child for being brave and strong and resilient in the toughest of times. He not only survived, he went on to achieve athletic greatness, PED's or not. Even if those same people who were inspired by him years ago, before the doping accusations and confessions, look at him now with anger and disgust, what does it matter? He, maybe in some way, helped them overcome at their lowest point. So isn't that a good thing? Isn't that worth something? They needed a real superhero to look up to, and Lance was just that. 

A few years ago, my mom was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. Throughout the ordeal, she was so brave and composed and I am so proud of how she handled the entire situation...just like the person she is, with dignity and grace. When she found out she was going to have surgery to remove the tumor, she didn't look to a picture of my dad or her friends or her family for inspiration. She framed the above picture of Lance, taken after his own brain surgery, and put it in a place where she could see it and be motivated by it, every day. 

Lance was her inspiration. 

That, above all else, is why I still love Lance. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Rob and BreAnne

I had the honor of shooting one of my best friend's weddings in Chicago last month. I've literally known Bre my entire life, so it was so fun to be able to document her and Rob's big day. They are a perfect match and that is so evident in the photos. Best wishes dear friends! And thanks so much for having me!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Dust off the old running shoes, its resolution time! Ahhh, good ol resolutions. I, like most everyone else, hate that word. I think it automatically sets you up for failure. I do, however, think it is important to start fresh at the new year and set some goals. Not a resolution, really. Just hitting the restart button. 

This year I'm keeping it simple. Well, kindof. Drinking more water should be pretty straightforward. Graduating from photography school and growing my business would be nice. And I'd like to do another full marathon, and, possibly get my Boston time (holler!), which means logging 30+ miles a week until that happens. And along the way I'd like to try to run a sub 6:00 mile (a first since high school). Lord knows that won't be easy. Or probably simple.  A lot of my goals are running-related which isn't a surprise to me. My running has kindof taken a spot on the back burner since I started school, but that will be over soon and Lord knows I'll need something to obsess about. I hope that by sharing my goals them on here, y'all will help keep me accountable. 

Here's to kicking 2013's ass!

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Freakin Weekend

Wow. What an amazing weekend! One of my besties came out to Breckenridge for a little vacay with her husband and (adorable, adorable, adorabe!) twins. We had a blast catching up and drinking too much wine, dining at some of Breck's finest establishments (Daylight Donut, I'm talking to you!) and, of course, skiing! 

One of the things I love most about Colorado is that it's a destination place for so many of my friends and family! Sure, people visited me when I lived in Atlanta, but when they come out west, there's so much to see and do.  I love crashing  visiting them on their vacations and getting to show them a bit of why I love this place so much. Thanks for letting me crash Whit!

Sunday wasn't too shabby either. A Falcon's playoff win, a home improvement project and a gourmet twist on one of my favorite dishes from my childhood. (recipe to come soon!)

 Photo wall. Part deux. 
 Bloodies. Cause no project in our household can be completed sober! 

This is me "helping". 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Man/Girl Behavior

As most of you know, I have three brothers, so while I do have some pretty girly tendencies, I can also be a bit of a dude.  My apartment has always looked like a bachelor pad (hello black leather!), I live for college football and have thirst for bourbon and Budweiser that could put any self-respecting man to shame. Needless to say, being raised by wolves with three bros, this has carried into my adult life. The funny thing is, there is often some crossover when it comes to my daily life. I call this man/girl behavior. Giving myself a manicure while watching the playoffs, listening to Christina Aguilera while driving a Ford F250, and, most recently, reading Sports Illustrated while taking a bubble bath. I can't help it. Its who I am!

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Real New Year's Day

I don't know if I've ever been this excited for a Monday. I literally haven't had a "normal" week since mid November when my grandfather got sick. I've been going non-stop since then, visiting and hosting family, shooting weddings, hotels engagements, families, celebrating the holidays and moving into a new place. So for me, today marks the first day of the new year. We are all moved in and I can finally get back to some sort of normalcy. I've got a new place, a new semester starting, a new year to conquer. Shoot, I've even got a fresh pair of contacts in. This is serious, people. 

Big things are coming in 2013 for me. Graduating and (finally) growing my biznaz, planning my wedding, getting settled in our new place, training for another marathon and trying my best to attend all eleven (yes 11!) weddings I've been invited to this year. (That must be some sort of record, no?) 

So this may be a bit late, but Happy New Year friends! I hope its the best one yet!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Be back soon!

Hi friends! So sorry for the lack of posts lately. I hate to make excuses, but it has been a busy few weeks for me. First I felt like I was on my death bed with some sort of horrible cold/bird flu/virus hybrid that kept me almost bed-ridden throughout my birthday and Christmas, then we were entertaining family until about, uh 5 minutes ago, now Sev and I are in Houston for a photoshoot! Wheew! Oh and I start a new job Friday and move in to a new place this weekend and start my FINAL quarter of school on Monday. No big deal, right? Uhh...Someone put me out of my misery now. 
Soooo....obviously I'll be back to my normal blogging self soon. Kisses!