Because my bestie knows me best: holiday edition

I think I need to start a new segment on the blog called “because my bestie knows me best”, sort of like the meet my owl.  Seriously, if there was ever a person that knew me as well as Mr. Hall, it’s my bestie Gretchen!  We are quite opposites, but the same in so many ways.

Here’s a pic of us at a recent ODU football game.  Aren’t we cute? 

Getting back to the post, we exchanged holiday gifts today!  True to form, my bestie gave me two thoughtful gifts that were perfect.

I think everyone on the interweb and ODU now knows about my hip spasm, but only a bestie would give you a heating pad so you don’t suffer all day at work.  Bonus that it is small and purple!  I plugged it in as soon as I got back to my office.  Ah, happy hot hip.  That’s what I’m calling it now.  Hot hip. 

That’s me rocking it out at my chair.  It’s just the right size.  It is also discreet, so people walking by aren’t thinking I’m like an old lady with a big rectangle heating pad on my butt.  Did I mention it’s purple?  Cori, this may bring down my whining to a respectable level!

I haven’t unpacked my second gift yet, but it’s a fuzzy foot massager.  It makes me wonder if she talked to Mr. Hall and he told her that he was tired of: 1) rubbing my feet and 2) me sticking my cold feet under his leg when we are sitting on the couch!

I will be breaking that bad boy out tonight when I’m drinking on the couch.  What?  It’s the last day of ODU for another week and a half.  I’m celebrating!

So thank you, my bestie, for knowing me so well!


PT update: it’s going to be awhile…

It’s been some time since I posted about my PT with Cori, so I thought I’d give you all an update.

Things are going well, but SLOW.  I still have some major issues that need to be worked out.  Namely, I have ZERO control over my left leg.  I can’t jump.  And now I have a spasming hip. (sniffle)

Cori is patiently plugging along with me.  I have a to-do list for the holiday break, since I won’t see her for two weeks.  I was supposed to see her yesterday, which was sad.  I even texted her like a crazed stalking person and told her that I missed her.  Seriously, every time my knee makes a twinging sensation, I panic because I know I won’t see her for many, many days.

If you are reading this, Cori, I have an idea for when I am “all better”….a jump jump field trip!  There is a new place that has opened in Newport News and it’s basically a trampoline park indoors.  PLEASE CAN WE GO??????  pleeeeeeeeeeease

Here is the website:

It looks like this inside

It just opened in November.  I think this would be a lot of fun!

If I can really spend the spring semester getting myself rehabilitated and able to jump, then MAYBE  in the summer we can go? 


Bathroom progress update! Lighting and wallpaper

Over the weekend, I did something I thought I’d never do.  I bought a light fixture off of the internet without seeing it in person.


I’ll explain.

Mr. Hall and I have been mulling over the lighting choices for this bathroom for months now.  Every time we go to Home Depot or Lowe’s, there’s a trip to the lighting aisle.  There are a lot of lights that are nice, but just didn’t have the deco vibe I was looking for.  And for cheap.

Seriously, people, bathroom lighting can become ridiculously expensive quickly.  Especially when you’ve got a large light to replace.

Here is our old light.  Old lady style.

What makes this light horrible, besides the exposed bulbs, which I can imagine in a showgirl’s dressing room, is the fact that the light is the SAME light that was installed when the house was built 40 years ago.

It had to go, especially because we were going to wallpaper in a day.

As you may recall, the bathroom is supposed to have this deco-inspired vibe.  I have the white and grey marble floor and the deco geometric wallpaper in the silver/pewter pattern.  I couldn’t go and get a light that looked out of place. 

We hunted everywhere.  There were a lot of “contemporary” light fixtures at Home Depot and Lowes, but they just didn’t seem right for the new space.

I got desperate.  I started looking online and googled deco bathroom light fixtures.  I love the internet.  So many cool light fixtures out there, but ridiculously expensive when you try for deco style.

Then, I found  It was like the angels were singing just for me.

Besides getting my wallpaper for $20 a roll instead of $80, this may be the best purchase to date on this space.

I found a $375 fixture for $125.  And they were having a 15% off sale.  And there was no sales tax because it was out of state.  And free shipping. 

I paid $112 for it.  Never saw it in person.  Just this photo.

I love the pewter, which is a deeper silver than a chrome or brushed nickel you’d find at Lowes or Home Depot.  I’ve been obsessively tracking UPS since Friday.  It’s supposed to arrive today!

Onto other bathroom news, the wallpaper was a mess of a job.  Not physically messy, but mentally messy.  I selected a new type of paper that allows you to put it up by just pasting the wall so the paper didn’t have to be wet.  It made it so much easier.  The bad part was the pattern on the paper.  It had to match up JUST right.  Here are some shots of the paper application process.

When we put up the first roll, I have to admit I had a small moment of terror with the pattern.  I love it though.  It’s so different.  Very out of the normal for me.

We started over on the entrance wall and moved around the bathtub to the right because of the light fixture.  I didn’t want to take that thing down until the last minute.  Unfortunately, in many houses the wall corners aren’t quite even and ours is no exception.  The pattern started to move down on the wall.  We had to go back and move to the left.  Light came down and we worked by a small utility light, which was clamped on the door frame.  The picture below shows a larger shot of the paper, but it’s an odd lighting situation.

Here’s a sneak peak of the new space.  Still need to hook up the toilet, sink, and lighting.  It’s a little dark since the utility light is just one bulb, but you get the idea.

Kevin is going to get the toilet today.  You know you’re a grownup when you get excited about plumbing.

How to: Recycleable luminaries

This Friday, the Hall Hacienda is hosting a soiree with some friends!  As you know, I am always early with my preparations, so I started to get busy this weekend preparing.

I  hate to find my way to someone’s house in the dark, so I decided to make some luminaries for my driveway!

Most people think of luminaries and picture a white paper bag with a candle in the bottom.  Problems with this?  No matter what you do, the bag blows around or the candle blows out because of the decorations being so flimsy.  OR, you have a bag light on fire and burn down your lawn.  All of these scenarios are not good and I am most likely to burn my yard down.

Instead, I like to make my luminaries with glass mason jars!  They are recycleable for yearly use.  I can alot so I have many jars in the garage.

First, gather your supplies.  I got out 12 wide mouth mason jars, a couple packs of votive candles, some sand from my garage, and red velvet ribbon.  I like to use velvet because the ribbon is a little stiffer and holds up if it’s windy outside.


I recommend doing this whole production outside.  The sand gets everywhere.

Start by taking a measuring cup and scooping a cup of sand into each glass.


Then, add your candle into each jar.  I usually shove it in, then swirl and tap the sand around so it gets the candle nice and secure.

I don’t use tea lights, since they are small and tend to get dim.   Votives for me.

Then I take my velvet ribbon and cut a good length for each jar.  Maybe 15 inches or so.

Tie the ribbon around the jar and double knot in the front.  I like mine with the fancy edges, so I pretty up the ends.

Isn’t it pretty?  I love the holidays.

Here are all of my jars, finished and ready to greet my guests when they arrive!  I’ll place 10 up the driveway and then a couple by the front door.



Meet My Owl: Gilded

I’m on a roll this week with the owls!

Today’s owl is from my grandmother’s costume jewelry collection.  I’d estimate that he was worn probably in the 60’s or 70’s, so he’s an old hoot.

He’s a pretty big owl necklace.  I don’t wear him alot because he’s so substantial, but I love his look.  His head and tail are jointed on the body so he lays flat.  I’m surprised that he’s held up this well over the years!

Meet My Owls: Holiday Hoots

It’s been FOREVER since I’ve done a Meet My Owl post!  Today, there are two owls!   

My bestie, Gretchen, supports my owl obsession.  She brought me to owlie surprises last week!  These are actually ornaments, but I couldn’t help but keep them in the office to bring in some owlie holiday cheer.  I have one on my door and the other on my bulletin board by my desk.

Aren’t they cute?  The one on my door has that rustic vibe.  He looks like he could be perched outside of a log cabin.   Hot cocoa, please.

The other one is fabric and has the neatest little applique details.  Don’t you love his sequined wings? 


What to do with the leftover turkey from Thanksgiving

Every year, Mr. Hall cooks for Thanksgiving like an army is coming over.  Actually, he’s like that with most meals, but Thanksgiving is when he really goes overboard.  At least this year I convinced him to go easy on the turkey and just get a 14 pounder, as opposed to prior year 20 pound birds.  There’s only six of us, for christ’s sake.

I’m usually really good about getting the turkey used up into recipes and freezing them Thanksgiving weekend, but with the bathroom renovation last weekend it didn’t happen.  Instead, we picked the meat off the turkey and froze it.  About four pounds worth.

This time around, I made two things with my leftover turkey.  Cori, here’s another one for you!  I can’t promise it’s as healthy as the chili.

Turkey Enchilada Casserole

This has been my go-to recipe for the past couple of years with the leftover turkey.  I like the concept of a enchilada casserole because it freezes much better than rolled up enchiladas.  Anyway, here is my recipe below.  I doubled it, since I had so much turkey.

  • 1 1/2 pounds turkey
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano leaves or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 can (12 oz.) red enchilada sauce
  • 1 can black beans.  Note: make sure to drain and rinse these well!
  • 12 corn tortillas (6 in. wide)
  • 2 cups shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese.  I’ve done it with a Mexican blend cheese too.

Start by chopping up your onions.  I like mine in pieces that are small but not too small.

Then, I got busy with chopping up the turkey.  This is what takes forever.  I spent 30 minutes chopping up the bird bits.  By the time I was done, this is what I had left.

Anyone notice the owl sighting in the upper corner?  Well, hello Mr. Owl salt shaker.

In a 5- to 6-quart pot over high heat, saute up your onion, garlic, oregano, and cumin in olive oil.  Stir in 1 cup enchilada sauce. Add salt to taste.  (Note: This year, I added all of the enchilada sauce,  since I didn’t feel like layering the sauce).    Then, add in the black beans.  My doubled recipe filled up my 5 quart pot to the top!  I added a little extra sauce because I knew I would be freezing this up and the extra moisture would help.

Doesn’t that look tasty?  If you’d like, make it saltier or spicier.  I let it warm up on the stove for a few minutes, which gives me an opportunity to cut my corn tortillas in half.

Since I had a big batch, I used two large casserole dishes.  Layer a good amount of halved tortillas on the bottom of the casserole dish.   Then, get busy layering with the turkey mixture, then shredded cheese, then another thin layer of tortillas.  Repeat until it goes to the top.

Sometimes, I will do it a little different if I don’t mix all of the enchilada sauce.  Instead, I’ll arrange a fourth of the halves evenly over the bottom of the casserole, overlapping to fit. Sprinkle a fourth of the cheese evenly over the tortillas, then top with a third of the turkey mixture and a fourth of the remaining enchilada sauce, spreading each level. Repeat to make two more layers of tortillas, cheese, turkey mixture, and sauce; top with another layer of tortillas and sauce, then cheese.  Either way, it still comes out the same.  It’s constructed just like lasagna.  Serve the same way!

Here’s a shot of the layering process, then one finished and one in progress.

Cheese.  CHEESE!!!

Disclaimer for Cori.  I always buy the 2% cheese.

Bake in a 425° regular or convection oven until cheese is melted and casserole is hot in the center, 18 to 20 minutes.

Here’s what it looks like out of the oven.

I usually let it come back down to room temperature and put it in the fridge overnight.  Then, the next day I cut it up into my trusty Rubbermaid containers and freeze them.  I will get 5 meals out of what I just made above.

This year, since the amount of leftover turkey was still ridiculous, I had some leftover turkey enchilada mixture.  I decided to make my trusty nacho taco mix.  I basically just added in a can of corn and stirred it up!

What is nacho taco mix, you ask?  Well, it’s basically just like chili but not as runny.  Since the enchilada mix is almost like that, I decided to go ahead and put the corn in there.  Nacho taco mix is what Mr. Hall uses to make nachos or tacos.  Easy!  I just get pint sized freezer bags and label them…

Then, I put a few scoops of the mixture into the bags.  Flatten them out and seal.  From this mixture, I have five more meals!

To reheat the enchilada casserole, I just take it out and pop it in the microwave.

To reheat the nacho taco mix, just take the bag and put it in a microwave safe dish.  High heat for a minute.  Loosen the bag and pour the frozen blob into the dish.  Defrost on 60% for like 8 minutes or so.

Turkey in Mexican food=surprisingly delicious.