Archive for November, 2010

You Just Never Know…

November 30, 2010

They say the one major rule of blogging is to have a purpose and a defined audience that you’re trying to reach.  Uuuuh….I have neither.  You really never know what’s going to come sneaking out of my mind and land onto the computer screen for the world to see.  I’ve attempted to set a few goals for myself that were blog related:

-Cook once a week and post the recipe
So this isn’t happening.  I tried.  I really did.  It’s close to impossible to have any type of stability when you don’t even know what state you’ll be in next and when.  I do apologize if you were sticking around for my culinary expertise.  I’ll get there one day.  As for now, I’ll just post random food posts now and again.

-To explore Dallas once a week and blog about a new local treasure
Yea, about this.  Well you see I have no excuse but the truth…time isn’t on my side.

-Write more
Now this is something I plan on doing on a more consistent basis.  Writing is a good discipline to work on and there are always thoughts running through my head about pretty much everything.  Will it be organized and down to a schedule? Ha! Um no.

I guess the one thing that will always be regularly appearing is music.  Now that is something I could post about each and every day.  In fact, here’s the song I’m currently listening to on repeat/repeat/repeat/repeat…..


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

All of that to say, if somebody ever asks you ‘what in the world does Laura Elizabeth Stephens blog about’ (because I know you get asked this question at least once every 75 years) just respond….well, you just never know.   That about sums it up.  I blog about what makes me happy in an attempt to bring a little joy to your life and also help my friends and family keep up with me.  That alone is a full time job.

Oh, good news!  I am getting a cute little blog button soon! This will make me a legit blogger, yes?  I also want to work on a cleaner and more organized approach to posting and work on keeping them in some sort of order (yeeeeeeea, well see).  Ahhh, I do love order.  That’s what happens when you’re 29 and live alone.  You like things neat and tidy and exactly how you left it.

Lastly, I’m posting this picture because it’s pretty and makes me smile (and happens to be my favorite color).  It also reminds me of how cold it’s getting and soon I won’t be on my pretty new bike as often as I’d like to be. 

{We Heart It}

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THANKSGIVING!

November 29, 2010

OhmystarsI’msobehindonblogposts!!!

Alright, freak out over with.  I’ve been in the land of impossible cell phone service and limited internet connectivity since last Wednesday.  I drove the two quick hours home to the place I grew up for Thanksgiving.  Yes, I grew up in the woods.  Don’t believe me?  Well take a look at some of the pics below from my parent’s house….the place where I spent my formative years.

{the playhouse my dad built}

{I think it’s magic}

{rope swing}

{cozy}

{where my imagination was cultivated}

It was such a wonderful holiday.  I always love going home to my parent’s house.  It’s beautiful, smells good, has the most comfie beds ever and is always full of good food.  I’m talking home cooking…none of this TV dinner mess.  Plus, my family is awesome.  They’re super funny and don’t even think about waking up before 10 am when you’re there.  Oh man, it’s heaven.

{home}

{this is Bailey…the dog my sister conveniently left at my parent’s house when she moved out}

{and this is Jade, the dog i conveniently left. whoops!}

{my dad!! he runs the place and i adore him}

It’s always fun going back to east TX because I get to catch up with good friends that I’m not able to see very often.  My friend Patrick just got a Harely so yea, I took advantage of that with the small amount of time available.  Disclaimer: he’s pretty cool without the motorcycle BUT it adds to the cool factor juuuuuuust a little.

{purr….pretty motorcycle}

{this is why it’s smart to not burn bridges with ex-boyfriends because sometimes they end up with fun toys}

I always love going out to Patrick’s parent’s house because it’s just
bee-yu-tiful and his fam is great.  I spent some time running about while the boy (I mean man) shined every inch of that bike.  No, he really did.  I’m talking 45 minutes worth but I can’t really blame him.  Plus, I like taking iPhone pics when I’m in pretty places (in case you hadn’t noticed) so I kept myself busy.

{tis pretty there}

Yes, I got to ride the motorcycle AFTER it was all shiny and stuff.  I’m already plotting my next visit where I can spend a few more hours on that Harely.  It’s so fun….srsly.

{modeling my new anthropologie sweater, of course}

Back at my family’s house, I helped my mom decorate the trees after a short fiasco.  We thought a squirrel had used the tree as it’s personal toilet when it was in storage because that thing had a funky stench coming out of the attic.  Luckily, we realized it was just an electrical malfunction with the lights (after my mom and dad crawled under the tree and wiped every branch with lysol, ha!!).  They cut out the lights, added some more and the tree was as good as new.

{yay, Christmas!!!}

I’ve gotta applaud my mom.  She cooked for our family, all of the extended family that came into town for my sister’s baby shower, decorated and took care of the shower.  Whoo! That makes me tired just thinking about it.  When the rest of my family got into town we piled into two vehicles and drove to Santa Land to see the lights.

{cutie pie cousins}

{Santa Land}

My family has the strongest southern accent you can possibly imagine.  I’ve worked really hard to leave that behind and I’ve done a purdy good job, if I say so myself.  On the way to Santa Land, in a car full of family, I told my 9 year old cousin Rachelle that I may not have enough money to get all of us in and asked what she thought we should do.  Without hesitation and in the craziest little Texas accent EVER she responds…

“When we get up there just strip down naked and start running!”

Uuuh…
Funniest
Comment
Ever!!!

I was dying.  Well we survived Santa Land (fully clothed) and even ran into some close friends.  That happens in east TX, ya know.  You’re always running into people.  It’s nice. 

On Sunday, my little sister had her first baby shower!! Look how ADORABLE she is! I swear, it’s impossible for this girl to look bad.  It was a blast seeing close friends and family and ooo’ing and aah’ing at the pink explosion of baby gear.  Little E left with some serious swag.

{stylish baby momma – Erin}

We had a wonderful holiday and I hope you did as well.  I came home to Dallas on Sunday afternoon and immediately started decorating my little cozy living space.  I’m pretty smitten with how it turned out.  Colors, yummy candles, pretty lights and Christmas cheer everywhere.  It almost makes me want to be a home-body.  (Is that how you spell that?)

{there’s a lot more where this came from….but later}

Currently listening to Iron and Wine and Deathcab for Cutie on vinyl, reading a book, journaling a bit then calling it a night.  Just in case you were wondering.  Goooooooodnight!

i {love} austin, tx

November 24, 2010

I flew home from Hartford, CT last Sunday and drove straight to Austin for a mini 24 hour roadtrip.  I sure do love that town.  In less than a day I did some sightseeing, caught up wiht my best friend, met a kindred spirit who I totally adore now, took some pictures, went vintage shopping, listened to good music and ate lots of good food.  It was a good day.

{Carli – my new BFF}

{coffee with Carli}

{storytelling with Carli}

{one of the reasons why I love Texas roadtrips}

{south congress}

{uncommon objects}

{south congress}

{south congress}

{austin java}

so.much.fun

Naughty & Nice Holiday Recipes

November 23, 2010

Hey there! I wrote a guest post for sweet Maryam at Pamplemousse1983 blog. Make sure you stop by her adorable blog and say hello.  I kind of like this guest blogging thing.  It’s f-u-n.  I decided to share the post with you guys and gals as well.  Happy Thanksgiving!! There’s  a lot to be happy about…I promise.  Below you will find the post (in case you hadn’t figured that out by now.)

{Daniel Davis Photography}

Hello! It’s Laura Elizabeth here from Sunshine and StarlightMaryam was kind enough to let me share a couple of my newest favorite holiday recipes for you to enjoy!  In true holiday fashion, I have a naughty and a nice treat.  Be warned, the first is not to be eaten while watching the waist line.  However, the second will help get rid of that guilty feeling you have after the 5th piece of grandma’s apple pie.  Oh man, I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. 

Perfectly Scrumptious Pumpkin Muffins (makes 2 dozen)

{from le iPhone}

Ingredients Needed
3 cups self-rising flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
4 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 (15 ounce) can of pumpkin
cooking spray
brown sugar (to sprinkle on the top)
Optional ingredients (which I highly recommend that you add, yum):
2 cups chopped dates
1 cup chopped toasted pecans

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
2.  If using pecans, place on cookie sheet and put in oven until toasted (about 5-8 minutes)
3.  Stir the first three ingredients together in a large bowl.  Make a hole in the middle of the mixture to pour other ingredients. 
4.  In a different bowl, stir together the eggs, oil, and pumpkin. 
5.  Add to dry ingredients, stirring just until it all turns a nice shade of orange.  Like this:

{le iPhone picture}

6.  If using, stir in dates and pecans.
7.  Place pretty paper cupcake cups into muffin pan.  You may spray these with cooking oil to keep from sticking, if you like.
8.  Spoon batter into cups and fill them about 2/3 full. 
9.  Sprinkle the tops with brown sugar.  Yes, you should taste the brown sugar just to make sure it’s safe. *wink*

{le iPhone pic}

10.  Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes.  Make sure you watch that oven because sometimes they can bake as quickly as 15 minutes.
11.  Remove from pans immediately and test to make sure they’re done!  I asked my cute mother for help on this step. 

{iPhone pic}

12.  Cool on wire racks or eat them while they’re hot.  Add butter if you’re feeling extra frisky. 
13.  Put them somewhere pretty and see how quickly they disappear!

{le iPhone pic of my dwelling area}

Tastiest Homemade Granola There Ever Was

(insert pic)

Ingredients Needed
2 cups of old fashioned oats
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup flaxseed
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 Tbs vegetable oil
1 Tbs vanilla
2 Tbs warm water

Optional ingredients:
1 cup grated coconut (from the baking section)
1 cup almonds
1 cup craisins
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
**Have fun with the optional ingredients! I usually only use coconut and craisins and it’s delicious.

1.  Heat oven to 275 degrees.
2.  Spray 9×13 pan with cooking spray.
2. Mix oats, wheat germ, salt and extra ingredients (except for dried fruit) in a bowl.
3.  Heat syrup, oil, warm water and vanilla to a simmer on medium heat. 
4.  Drizzle over oats and stir to combine.  Go ahead and enjoy the smell because I promise it will taste even better.
5.  Pour mix into prepared pan.  Squeeze mixure together to form clumps of granola.  This helps you get that granola texture.  Go ahead and clump, clump, clump. I like to imagine them as little mountains on a landscape.  No?  Alright then.
6.  Bake 30 minutes.
7.  Remove from oven and stir in dried fruit.  Bake 20-30 minutes longer until golden brown. 
8.  Watch carefully to make sure it doesn’t burn and get too crunchy.  Bake until desired texture.
9.  Cool and store 1 month in airtight container. 

**The granola can be eaten alone or along with vanilla yogurt and fresh fruit. It’s also a perfect snack to keep in your car or at the office.  Enjoy!

Hope you enjoy the tastiness! Much love to you and yours during this holiday season. 
XxoxX-
Laura Elizabeth

Into The Wild

November 21, 2010

I guess you can say that I read a lot. Well, I read a lot of new books and rarely go back to the same book twice. That is until I experienced the tragic beauty and honesty of Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer. It’s a powerful book and a gorgeous movie. Yes, I like it all a great deal.

{google image}

The message stirs something in me. I’m sure most of you have already read it but I’ve listed out a few of my favorite quotes below. So good.

“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure.”

“The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”

“You are wrong if you think Joy emanates only or principally from human relationships. God has placed it all around us. It is in everything and anything we might experience. We just have to have the courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and engage in unconventional living.”

“I know that I could not bear the routine and humdrum of the life that you are forced to lead. I don’t think I could ever settle down. I have known too much of the depths of life already, and I would prefer anything to an anticlimax.”

“The peculiar thing about Everett Ruess was that he went out and did the things he dreamed about, not simply for a two-weeks’ vacation in the civilized and trimmed wonderlands, but for months and years in the very midst of wonder…”

“…a challenge in which a successful outcome is assured isn’t a challenge at all.”

Ohmuhgawsh, I love it.

This afternoon, I just began reading a new book. I had finished “Into the Wild” and started to panic (yes really) because I forgot to bring a second book on my trip. I found it at the airport bookstore and can’t put it down! In fact, I will return to it now. Goodnight!

Greetings from Hartford

November 19, 2010

Hello there! I’m currently sitting in a downtown Hartford, CT Starbucks enjoying the Christmas blend coffee and listening to a mixture of The Black Keys and S. Carey.  Bliss.  Did I mention it’s **SO COLD** here?  THe “**” were supposed to be snowflakes.  That was to help you understand how cold it is here for a tiny little Texan.  Oh, I love it, don’t you worry.  It gives me an excuse to wear things like:

{me + fingerless gloves + bright colors}

Want to know what I was doing at 7 am ET this morning?  Being interviewed on the FOX News morning show with Andy Andrews.  Blaaaaargh, I’m trying to link up Andy’s name so you could visit his website but it’s not letting me do it.  Maybe later or I could do this –> www.andyandrews.com. (Seriously, check him out!) Aaaaanyways, we chatted about Women of Faith and why the event was in town and how awesome it is (and why YOU should go!).  Andy is one of the nicest/most hyperactive guys and a great speaker so I’m glad he was there to steal the show and calm my nerves.  TV freaks me out just a bit…maybe because I don’t watch most of it. 

Blast! It’s 5:27 and I have to be back at work in 3 minutes.  We go until 10:00 tonight so needless to say this is one long day.  Thank goodness it’s fun or I would be a grumpy panda right now.  Adios!! Send some energetic vibes my way because I’m feeling a sleepy moment coming on.

{gypsy soul}

November 17, 2010

(We Heart It)

The next few days are going to be a crazy travel whirwind full of roadtrips and airplane rides.  Here’s where I’ll be from today through Monday, November 22.

Dallas, TX –> Waco, TX –> Hartford, CT –> Dallas, TX (for one hour) –> Austin, TX –> BACK TO DALLAS AND NO MORE TRAVEL FOR SOME TIME!!

Well no more travel until my Thanksgiving roadtrip to Kilgore to see the fam, Springfield MO for a weekend vintage shopping adventure, back to East TX for the holidays, then road trip to Nashville TN for New Years!!

THEN it will be 2011!! Hooray!  Yes, you can say the travel bug has officially bitten.  Just peg me as the girl with a gypsy soul.

Ode To My iPhone Camera

November 15, 2010

I’ve found so many ah-mazing iPhone photo apps lately!  Needless to say, I downloaded them all.  I can’t stop!  Here are some random pictures from the weekend taken with my new favorite apps.  I love my iPhone…

{most obnoxious hotel decor ever….ever}

{arena shot from the Greensboro event – i actually got this pic from my buddy James and his panoramic app}

{backstage}

{random shots from the event}

{my freezing toes}

{naptime}

{Greensboro –> Dallas}

I used the apps to modify some older pics as well.  Hey, it kept me entertained on the plane.

{my purdy record player}

{home}

{Portland}

{coffee bar}

{slurp}

That is all!  Oh, I should probably tell you what the apps are!  Ok, the one that pieces more than one pic together is called Diptic.  The other app, and my newest social media obsession, is Instagram! It’s like Twitter but with pictures!! EEEEE!! Now that is fun. Follow me at laura_elizabeth.  Boom.

Look what I saw today…

November 14, 2010

I will never get tired of the beauty in a Texas sunset. Wow.

I’ll also never get tired of taking pictures with my iPhone. Have a great week!!

Greensboro, NC

November 11, 2010

I’ll be in Greensboro, NC until Sunday afternoon.  I hear they actually have fall there. 

{We Heart It}

{We Heart It}

{We Heart It}