Thursday, January 28, 2016

Hannah's Homemade Gumbo

A couple weeks ago I started craving gumbo so I began browsing Pinterest and online for the best gumbo recipes. I found a few I liked and decided to tweak them a bit and create my own. The result: some pretty dang good, melt-in-your-mouth, Cajun gumbo! Josh said it was the best thing I have ever made and in his top ten favorite things he has ever tasted in his life. Score! It has now become a family favorite and I recently made it for company and they loved it too! I thought I would share the recipe with you all! Josh and I aren't big seafood fans so we omitted the shrimp but you can add it in if you like. 


3 large boneless chicken breasts 
salt and pepper 
1/4 cup of vegetable oil (I used olive oil) 
1 pound of smoked sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices (I used turkey sausage) 
1/2 cup of all purpose flour 
5 tablespoons of butter 
1 large yellow onion, chopped 
8 cloves of garlic, minced 
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped 
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce 
2 tablespoons of hot sauce (like Tabasco) 
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves 
1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning blend (I used Emeril's) 
1 (4-ounce can) of green chilis 
4 cups of hot water 
5 beef bouillon cubes 
1 (14-ounce can) stewed tomatoes with juice 
2 cups frozen sliced okra 
4 bay leaves 


Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed Dutch oven (or large pot) over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken until browned on both sides and remove. Add the sausage and cook until browned, then remove. Sprinkle the flour over the oil, add 2 tablespoons of butter and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until brown, about 10 minutes. Let the roux cool. 

Return the Dutch oven to low heat and melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Add the onion, garlic, and green pepper and cook for 10 minutes. Add your hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to taste, and green chilis. Cook, while stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Add 4 cups of hot water and your bouillon cubes, whisking constantly. Add the chicken and sausage. Sprinkle in thyme, Cajun seasoning, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes. Add tomatoes and okra. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Remove bay leaves before serving. Serve over white rice. 

Bon Appetit! 


Days of Late

Lately my days have been filled with community groups with our church, game nights with friends, taking care of trip details & planning, cooking new things, and just enjoying each day as it comes. Speaking of trip details, I made a visit to the courthouse (above) yesterday to get a certified copy of our marriage license. I am applying for a new passport (with proper documentation of my name change) and Josh is applying for his first one! Fun times. Not. I actually hate this part of planning a trip overseas but at least we will have them for the next ten years.

A friend told me about a girl she knew who took a trip to Paris with her husband and hired a professional photographer to take photos of them while they were there! What a marvelous idea! Josh and I have not had professional photos taken of us really since our wedding day! So, four years later, we decided we are going to splurge and make up for lost time in the City of Lights. I have already booked our photographer with Flytographer. If you ever plan a trip abroad or even in a larger US city, you should definitely check them out! I can't wait to capture our love in such an amazing city and have those photographs forever. Once in a lifetime thing for sure.

With every thing I book, Paris and Amsterdam become more and more of a reality. I still can't believe I am going in four months. So surreal. I'm trying just to soak up the planning phase because that is part of the fun of actually going, right?!? I love researching the best restaurants, hidden cafes, and must-see sights that you don't always hear about. 

Speaking of Paris, we finally got the map that Josh gave me for Christmas framed! I love the way it turned out and it looks perfect in our main living area. It makes me heart leap with excitement each time I look at it. I believe I even found the street our Airbnb is on! :) 

With wintertime comes nesting. I have been rearranging some things and simplifying. I am always finding new things to clean out, donate, and sell. I have a closet full of clothes and various things I need to place on eBay. That is always fun for me! I can clean out my house AND make some money at the same time! Win win. 

With it being so cold, we have been enjoying having friends over or going to friends' homes to play tabletop games. My husband has turned into an avid game collector so we have picked up some really good ones lately! I want to do a post sometime soon reviewing some newer board and card games we have come across! We love us some game night! It's a great way to have fun with friends and see their true colors shine! Haha :) 

There is a little tidbit of what's new in my life as of late. Just staying warm, making my space a little cozier, and keeping that little mug full. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Home Tour // Master Bedroom

I'm so excited to finally share my master bedroom with you all! I apologize for the delay since it has actually been completed for several months. I had decided last summer that I was tired of my dark chocolate walls and bright pops of color and wanted to do something very calm, minimal, and airy for our bedroom.
So I gathered inspiration and ideas and kept them in the back of my head for when I would finally make it happen.

The nice thing about a four poster bed is it's very versatile so if I no longer want a canopy overhead I can take down the beams  and do more of a simplistic look. I had been eyeing linen bedding for awhile and wanted to get some for our bed but could not justify the price tag. I finally found a very reasonable set at Ikea. It is actually very nice quality, 100% linen and I have enjoyed it so much. I also discovered that Ikea has linen curtains as well so I grabbed a couple sets of those for our bedroom as well. One of the many reasons I love Ikea is that they sell curtain panels in sets of two (like it SHOULD be).Who only wants one curtain panel? I'll never get that. To add some texture I placed a cozy throw (that doubles as a blanket scarf) at the end of our bed. 

I'm a huge fan of repurposing things you already have, especially if they have some sentimental value. My bedside lamp was in my grandmother's house while we were growing up. It was a very dull silver when I received it. I'm not usually a big fan of chalk paint, but for a small project like this I just sprayed it with a few coats of black chalk paint and it looks like a totally different lamp. 

The antique vanity was a steal from a local antique shop. I have a good friend who is a wonderful fixer-upper so I had her refinish it for me. I love the feminine and old world feel it brings to our room. 

The photos are ones I took when I lived in Scotland for a short time. I captured them on a trip I took with friends to the Highlands and they will always remind me of that very special time in my life. 

This tapestry was hand-made by one of my favorite girls I follow on Instagram. I love that a little app can connect you around the world to some of the most lovely and interesting people. 

If you are looking for some luxurious but wallet-friendly sheets then check out Ikea's. They are now my favorite sheets! So soft but durable. I feel like I am sleeping on a cloud. 

Sources (click on item to shop):  linen duvet coverlinen curtainsbeige pillow covers, West Elm grey throw pillow (no longer available), Ninelle's tapestryIkea sheet setblack candelabraPaint color: Falling Snow by Behr

Photography by Hannah Briggs 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

An Evening Reading of Shakespeare's Sonnets

Colonel Brandon. He wasn't the most dashing suitor a girl ever laid eyes on but he was the most loyal, kind, and gentle, not to mention deeply romantic, one. I remember seeing Sense and Sensibility for the first time as a young girl and was deeply moved by the love he had for Marianne. He was always there. He never once left her side. Out of all of Jane Austen's leading men I do believe he will always be known as the most loyal. 

The world lost a great actor today, and for all of us Austen fans it felt as if we lost Colonel Brandon as well. Alan Rickman will be remembered for many great roles but this one is definitely my favorite. 

This scene always gets me. After Marianne has her heart shattered to pieces, Brandon swoops in to rescue her from the pouring rain and cold, sends for her mother and sister when she becomes deathly ill, and eventually woos her by readings of William Shakespeare.  

I've attached a clip of Alan Rickman reading Sonnet 130. Farewell, Mr. Rickman. 
You will always be in our hearts. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Ten Classic Interior Styles I Love

My idea of a relaxing, creative outlet is browsing beautiful interiors and design styles while sipping my second or third or fourth cup of coffee of the day. Some days I surf the web, scroll Pinterest, or flip through magazine pages to gather inspiration. I thought I would share some of my favorite interior designs that I am loving right now and how all of them remain classic styles instead of passing fads. 
  • Floor-Length Curtains 
How gorgeous and luscious are these floor-to-ceiling curtains? I love the elegant and luxurious 
look they bring to a space.  

  • Herringbone Floors 
Searching Airbnb for a place to stay on our European adventure this spring, I have noticed a lot of this type of flooring in Parisian flats. I have really fallen in love with these floors! So chic and timeless. 

  • A Classic Chandelier 
One of my favorite things in our home is our fabulous chandelier hanging over our kitchen table. It makes ordinary meals feel just a little bit fancier and adds charm to our dining nook.  

  • Brass Candlesticks 
You can score some of these for fairly cheap at local antique stores, thrift stores, or eBay. I found a box full in my husband's shed when we got married, polished them up, and now have a small collection on our fireplace mantel. I also love to use them to adorn the dining table for gatherings or even a simple dinner for two.

  • Table Linens 
My friends who know me best, know I love some beautiful table linens. Last month for my birthday and then again for Christmas, two different girlfriends gifted me with some lovely linen napkins. Add a gorgeous flowing tablecloth, a few brass candlesticks or a fresh bouquet, and you have quite the fabulous table. It makes every meal quite the elegant affair.

  •  Marble Coffee Tables 
I spotted the one directly below from a photographer's feed I follow on Instagram. I wish you could see it better in the photo but I discovered that her husband made it for her! Too sweet. I know what Josh's next project is going to be. 

  • Makeshift Closets 
Limited on closet space? Make your own. I love this idea of displaying your favorite (and color-coded) apparel within arms reach. 

  • Portraits 
I obsess over a brilliant oil painting. My old soul craves them and loves spying them in eclectic homes. We recently added one to our cozy den and he has an uncanny resemblance to Josh which makes "Baron Von Briggs" seem apart of the family. 

  • Canopy Beds 
They are my favorite! Ever since I was a little girl, I always wanted one so when I moved to Alabama I broke down and made the purchase. Of course, my amazing bed came with me when I married Josh and moved into his home. I love the classic, simple lines of a canopy, or four-poster bed. I sometimes get bored easily and want to mix things up so this way I can keep it classic or fasten the beams to the post and hang faux leaves to create a romantic, whimsical haven below. Someday I would love to try the look below and hang yards of linen draped over the railings. Swoon. .

  • Mirrors 
I enjoy decorating with mirrors but have run out of room for them! There are so many unique, interesting, and intricately designed ones out there! I love how these rooms incorporated them into their aesthetic.

I noticed looking back that you can see several of these elements all together in many of the pictures. My interior design taste is ever evolving but currently, I am loving clean, simple, elegant, and European (specifically, French) style. 

Au Revoir! xo 

All photos were taken from Pinterest.