Roasted Pumpkin Salad Recipe

For years now,  I've been topping my salads with walnuts, dried cranberries, and goat cheese. I think it's a winning combination. This time, I thought I'd incorporate pumpkin to turn my go-to salad seasonal. Pumpkin is also a low calorie veggie [more nutritional info].. It's a win-win!
  • Spring green mixture
  • Pumpkin (cubed)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Walnuts
  • Dried cranberries
  • Goat cheese
Balsamic Dijon Dressing
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon djion mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey 
  • Sale & pepper to taste
1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Spoon out the guts of the pumpkin, take skin off, and cut into 1" thick cubes. Place onto a covered baking sheet, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and season with salt & pepper. Toss to incorporate evenly. Bake for about 30 minutes, then rest to cool.

3.  Lay a bed of greens in a large serving bowl. Add walnuts, dried cranberries, goat cheese, and pumpkin to assemble. Top off your salad with dressing (recipe above).

backpack, backpack

My two-year wedding anniversary is next month. Last year, my husband and I went backpacking to celebrate. We always invite friends to tag along. This past year Ally and my Dad joined us for the fun. This year we decided to make it a tradition.

Happy 1-Year
I've heard it all before from reluctant first-timers “Where will I use the bathroom” and “a bear will eat me”. Let's get real - backpacking is amazing and it's cheap. And more than likely it will be one of the best experiences of your life, especially if you have little ones. Childhood camping trips are my most cherished memories.
I can't remember what we were doing here... morning workout?

I am a quality over quantity kind of person, so I like to keep my trips short when I am with new hikers – two night max. Here are some ideas on how you can plan your next trip:

Gearing Up:
I highly recommend becoming an REI member. It's $20 for a lifetime membership, it is not a credit card, includes 10% cash back on all purchases and you get amazing coupons.You can also rent equipment from REI if you are not ready for investing.

You can also check out the REI scratch and dent sale. These sales are held in the storage area of the store and include returned merchandise, merchandise from photo shoots and all kinds of other treasures for next to nothing. This is where I scored my sleeping pad ($10) and my road bike (still too much to admit).

If going to a store doesn't fit your schedule, has been a great resource for a lot of our gear, including the Big Agnes tent I got my hubby for his birthday.

Callie's Backpacking Checklist:
  • backpacking pack(have someone fit you properly)
  • warm clothes (including gloves, hat, etc)
  • a change of warm clothes including socks
  • sleeping bag
  • tent
  • sleeping pad
  • cookware
  • stove
  • utensils
  • cups
  • toilet paper
  • lighter
  • kindle
  • camera
  • water bottle
  • hand warmers
  • hiking boots
  • hiking socks
  • headlight or flashlight
  • axe
  • compass (blog post on how these things work to come. It's harder than I thought)
Learning to use a compass

Meal Plan:
Just like any vacation, your meals can make or break the trip. I have a go-to list of groceries I always bring, but you really have tons of options. After all, everything does taste better on the trail.

Snacks for the trail
  • trail mix
  • dried fruit
  • fresh fruit
  • jakes nut butter packets
  • water, water, water

On the Trail Dinner Recipe
  • sausages
  • buns
  • sauerkraut
  • ketchup & mustard packets
  • red wine
roast the weenies over the fire, adorn, pour the wine and thank God for all He created

  • marshmallows
  • dark chocolate
  • graham crackers
i think you know what to do here

Mountain Man Breakfast Recipe
  • bagels
  • spray butter
  • country ham
  • muenster cheese
  • instant coffee
spray the bagel with butter, toast on the stove, place ham on bagel with cheese and press until melted

Where to go:
A few of our favorite spots in N.C. are Siler Bald, Stratton Bald, Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forrest and Tsali Trails. Check out stay and play in the smokies for more places to camp. This year I am excited to bring our new puppy Siler.
Enjoying our wine at sunset

Where have you camped? Let us know where we should go next!

Easy Spray Paint Makeovers

In preparation for the Crabapple Festival, which is now less than 2 weeks away (ahh!), I'm in the works of getting everything together and finito! This weekend, I spray painted a tiered plate display. Sorry, I don't have a before photo, but this old thing used to be a dingy brass color. It's amazing how some spray paint can give something a brand new look!

  • $5.00 display from Salvation Army
  • $2.00 spray paint from Jo-Ann Fabrics
Black spray paint makes my display look good as new!

Last month, my fiance got a little DIY on some awesome, but rusty chairs from an antique store. He sanded them down as best as he could, primed them with white spray paint, and then spray painted the main part of the chair yellow. The transformation...

before after

Here are some other successful cases where spray paint has come to the rescue!  Diapers and Divas were able to do an entire kitchen table set! Pretty amazing what they were able to accomplish with their bargain hunting finds..

before after

Sparkly of My Very Own turned an ordinary lamp into a great piece for any room. Can't wait to do a lamp project like this myself!

after after

Artist Spotlight - East Atlanta Strut

This past weekend, we went to the East Atlanta Strut. There were so many talented artists on the streets of East Atlanta, so I want to share some of the ones I thought that really stood out.

First and foremost, we needed fuel. We began our early Saturday morning with breakfast from Octane - lattes and PB&J parfaits!

The Rep your Hood guys had a great spot at the festival, and were really easy to find.. all you had to do was follow the great music blaring from their tent! Callie picked up a couple of fabulous prints, and we got to hang out with them for awhile, which was a blast.

Photos from:
We were also introduced to Pat McNeely, a mixed media artist, who actually used to work at the same company as us! If I could describe Pat in one word, it would be FUN... and so is his artwork. As a Georgia Tech graduate and fan, Callie immediately fell for his BEE moods. Creative layers of acrylic on wood, and a play on words are fun and inspiring. Check out Pat's web site for a full showcase of talent.
Photo from
 Monica's Handmade Bath & Body makes a variety of all-natural products. Her soaps made me stop in my tracks. Her chai latte soap scent smelt just like my drink from Octane earlier that morning! Keeping it local, she even had soap made with Sweetwater beer on display! Her products are carefully handcrafted, and extremely affordable.
A gift for my nephew (L), and a little something for me (R)!
I spent a long time choosing artwork from Go Jump in the Lake, who screen print rustic signs on wood. Since all wood has a different texture and grain, each piece is bound to be unique in it's own way, and no two are the same. I have a sweet spot for the Beatles, so I had to buy an "All you need is love" sign, and I also picked up a little gift for my nephew. Go Jump in the Lake now produces artwork for more than 600 stores around the country, including the L.L. Bean store in Freeport, Maine.

The day wouldn't have been complete without a popsicle from King of Pops! Could you say no to lemon basil and coconut latte popsicles??!

East Atlanta Strut Festival - Be There!

Photo from:
WE LOVE FALL - And it's the season for outdoor festivities. With musicians and artists pouring into Atlanta just about every weekend, you should go out and support local artists and vendors. Call your friends, enjoy the crisp air, and grab a fresh brewski!

This weekend, we will be heading to the East Atlanta Strut to support our co-workers, the guys behind Rep Your Hood Apparel [see last week's post]. Entertainment will be going on all day, so we are ready for a boredom-free Saturday.

Some other festivals to also check out this weekend are the Atlanta Bar-B-Q Festival [YUM!] and  Festival on Ponce. If you're looking for something to do this weekend, you have no excuse!

We'll let you know what we find next week!

Is The Jean Jacket Back?

I received a text the other day from a dear friend asking for some fashion advice:
Q: Jean jackets - are they cute or are they dorky?

A: It depends. As long as they have an applique somewhere on them, they are cute….totally kidding. Please no appliques. Not even at Christmas. Ever.

What I HAVE seen that I think is totally adorable is pairing a simple jean jacket with a maxi dress for the summer. I love this look.  But summer is quickly dwindling and our first cold front has already arrived in the south. So how can we transition our staple jean jacket to fall? Below are 5 simple ways to keep the jean jacket going strong all winter long:

 1. Add a vest or scarf over a solid maxi, layering with a jean jacket

 2. Fall in the south is sprinkled with warm days to remind us of the fleeting summer.  Pair your jacket with a simple fall colored dress. A great casual date night look.

(Bottom Left: Madewell) (Bottom Right: The Frye Company)

 3. For a more formal look, dress up the jacket with a pair of fitted slacks or a black pencil skirt. This is a great way to add the jean jacket to your work wardrobe.

(L) Victoria's Secret (R) Gap
4. Over at The 128 Hours, we LOVE boots. Pair your jacket with your go-to Fryes, some skinnies and comfy tee and you're set for the weekend festivals and markets.
Love this one at Urban Outfitters

5. I tend to stick to neutrals and classic fits, but I also love to step outside of my comfort zone and wear something bold every now and then. Modcloth is great for those unique finds.
Tell us what you think! Is the jean jacket back? Did it ever go away?


Good Eats & Good Fun | The Black Lobster, Salem, MA

The Bay State is home, and I can never get enough of this place. My wonderful sister took me out to a belated birthday dinner at The Black Lobster in Salem, Massachusetts. The restaurant is located right on the water, and with the weather welcoming fall, it couldn't have been a more perfect night girl's night out.

We started the evening off right with some tasty calamari, and white wine sangria. The calamari was crisp to perfection, and the fruity drinks truly hit the spot.

My sister ordered the scallop and lobster risotto, and I went with the baked haddock. Both dishes were delicious, and portions were extremely generous. I was amazed at the amount of scallops and lobster were on that dish! New England never disappoints with their seafood.. they know how to do it right!

Enjoying our appetizer and drinks!
After our delightful dinner, we shimmied our way downstairs to where the cover band, Bar Flyz, was playing. Make sure to hold on to you receipt so you don't have to pay a cover. Regardless, the cover charge is only $5. You had three choices: sit waterside to listen to the band, stand with drink in hand to socialize, OR make your way to the dance floor... the Mah sisters like to dance! We may not have the best moves [I like to think we do!], but it was a total blast.. and we plan on returning for round 2 very soon!

Cover band, family, Octoberfest = winning combo!

Puppy Love: Meet Siler

Last night, Corey and I brought home our first Wachman family puppy. I have been getting lots of questions about my new love so I thought I would answer them here:

Age: 9 weeks

Breed: White German Shepherd

Weight: 19.5 lbs - he's going to be a big boy!

Parents Weight: Dad 130lbs, Mom 80lbs

What's his name? Siler Wachman. I am waiting for a creative middle name from my sisters. Valentino was our childhood dog's middle name and we aren't Italian.

Where did you get the name Siler? 
Corey and I have a favorite camping spot in North Carolina called Siler Bald. I have always loved the name and was excited to finally get to use it - sans the bald.

Why did you get a dog? 
My hubs and I love the outdoors including running, biking, hiking, swimming and camping. We now have a little buddy to tag along. He's an amazing little boy.

Why did you choose a German Shepherd?
They are known for their intelligence (much like myself hehe) and for their protective instincts. Having him at the house already makes me sleep better. The fact that he's all white is icing on the cake. My husband said it perfect - He's a mix between a bunny rabbit and a polar bear and who doesn't love bunny rabbits, polar bears and puppies, oh my!

Is he ready for play dates?
Of course! We want to be sure Siler is very social so please let us know. I know plenty of you have super cute pups too that I know Siler would love, yes that includes you Doogie (my moms Chihuahua who also stole my heart).

Love you Siler!

Get Me to the Festival - Week 5, stock up!

I've been selling jewelry in my etsy store for a full year now, and I've gotten a good idea on what's been really selling. By far, the most popular items are custom, personalized pieces. I need to make sure I have plenty of items in stock, and on hand to display to potential customers.

It's been hard trying to keep up with supplies because all personalized pieces are made to order. Most of the time for photos, I make samples I know I can give to a friend, so materials aren't wasted. I hope my girlfriends love them because it's what they'll all be getting for Christmas!

Apologies for the boring post.. I'm seeing the Z z Z z ' s I'm typing. Making the same thing over and over is just no fun, so neither is this post! Here is a little looksie at what my life looks like this week [right].