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Simple Hand-Drawn Noodles

Last week I got it in my head that I wanted freshly made hand drawn Chinese noodles. I've made these noodles once before, but I couldn't track down the recipe that I used, so I kind of just went off memory... and they turned out great!

I thought I'd write down the recipe for posterity, and share it with you! While this recipe is time consuming, it's not particularly difficult, and the results are divine.

I first developed a flavor for these soft, chewy noodles when visiting my sister in Philly. There used to be a little hole-in-the-wall place in Chinatown called Nan Zhou (they've since moved to a larger, swankier locale, but the noodles are still cheap and delicious), and it is a must-go whenever we are in town. I love the Duck Soup with Shaved Noodles, or the Peanut Pork dish with hand-drawn noodles.

This recipe is a bit of a mash up between hand drawn and shaved noodles. It's technically not a shaved noodle, but the shape resembles it. You'll see.

I use a kitchenaid stand mixer with the paddle attachment to form and knead the dough and I couldn't recommend this method more!



HAND DRAWN / HAND PULLED NOODLES

Noodle Ingredients:

- 2 cups fine cake flour
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups lukewarm water

1. Pour water into the bowl of the stand mixer. Alternate adding each kind of flour, salt, and baking soda until a shaggy dough forms.

2. Turn mixer to middle setting and let the mixer knead for about 15 minutes. The dough should feel like clay and not spring back to the touch. Add more flour if the dough is sticky at all.

3. Wrap in plastic wrap, and rest for at least an hour.

4. Put back into the stand mixer, and knead again for 15 minutes.

5. While you wait, boil about a quart of water, with plenty of salt.

6. When the dough has been kneading for about 15 minutes, prepare your workstation next to your pot of boiling water with a cutting board, a rolling pin, a pizza cutter or knife, and a dusting of flour. Remove dough from mixer and set to the side of your work station.

7. Pull a tennis ball size piece of dough and roll to about 1/8 inch thick. See this video. Roll into a long and skinny shape, flipping your dough often so it doesn't stick.

8. Using your pizza cutter, slice the dough long ways into 1/2 strips. See this video. Pull up one noodle at a time and stretch and "tap" the noodle down on the cutting board. If you kneaded the dough long enough, there should be nice long chains of gluten developed, making the dough stretchy. Even so, be gentle so that you don't break your noodles short. Long noodles are more fun!

9. Drop your noodles into the boiling water and boil for about 2 minutes. See this video.

10. Pull the noodles from the water with a slotted spoon (do not strain), and place in a bowl with sesame oil. Reuse the water until you've made all your noodles. This recipe makes about 10-12 servings of noodles, and the noodles store well in a ziploc bag with oil until you're ready to eat them.


PORK FRIED NOODLES

Ingredients:

- 1 lb ground pork (mild italian sausage works great in a pinch)
- 1 head of garlic (lots of garlic! not a clove... a whole bulb!), roughly chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- red pepper flakes to taste
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 1-2 cups broccoli
- 1-2 cups of Hand Drawn Noodles

1. In a frying pan, brown ground pork.

2. Once browned, add all other ingredients, combine, and cook on high covered for about 2 minutes, and then uncovered for about 5 minutes, or until noodles are crispy, and the broccoli is tender.

3. Serve immediately and ENJOY!!



Summer Bucket List 2018

I've been a long-time fan of Daisy Faye Designs, and I wear one of Kim's scarves almost every day. I'm excited to now be a brand stylist, and thankful to have received this scarf as a gift. Please use code ANNIKA15 to get 15% off your order. I can tell you that Kim almost never runs sales, so this is a big deal!


I can't believe it's already June! Time is flying. It's true what they say... the older you get, the shorter the years seem. Since summer is here, I thought I'd compile a list of must-dos, coupled with a few before-30 life goals. One of them is to try to have some semblance of a garden, so we popped over the Hewitt Garden & Design Center for some inspiration. I definitely didn't inherit my mom's green thumb {happy birthday, momma!}. but seeing these lush plants thriving had me inspired on so many levels.






Summer Bucket List {{Also, my 30 Before 30, because when the summer is over, it'll be my birthday!}}

1. Grow something in the garden
2. Have drinks and desserts on the deck
3. Do yoga outside
4. Get my first bikini wax (might need some hand holding on this one!)
5. Visit another southern state
6. Make a pie
7. Throw Alex a fun 30th birthday party // go on a boat
8. Catch a fish
9. Make popcicles
10. Hike in Percy Warner Park
11. Try three new local restaurants
12. Journal
13. Purge my closet
14. Sew something to keep for myself
15. Make pickles to gift to friends
16. Go to the zoo -- maybe even become members!
17. Make over my sewing studio
18. Find a pen pal
19. Go to a baseball game
20. Swim in a swimming hole
22. Make a farmer's market dinner
23. Start a gratitude practice
24. Master a bedtime routine
25. Go dancing
27. Jump on a trampoline
28. Pick strawberries
29. Paint the front door
30. Spend time with friends and family


Scarf: c/o Daisy Faye Designs. Use code ANNIKA15 to get 15% off your order!
Dress: Anthropologie, old. Similar here, here, here, and here.
Purse: Kate Spade
Shoes: Target


XO,
Annika

Why I didn't share about my second miscarriage

Last year, the week before my 29th birthday, I went in for my 7 week ultrasound, and I left with the news that my second pregnancy had stopped progressing.

I didn't really want to share with anyone because I was embarrassed. I had felt so confident that the second time around I could get it right, that after a short "pregnancy vacation" I would get pregnant again and see it through to the end. I felt that I had the power to not fuck this pregnancy up, and that it would finally result in a baby, instead of tears. That didn't happen. Everything I had imagined and planned for came crashing down right in the middle of my favorite season.

I didn't feel like sharing because I sort of felt like people had been so nice and so sympathetic, and that their reserves for me had been depleted. I felt like I had sort of played the miscarriage card already, and I thought people didn't want to hear it from me anymore. I felt that I only got one shot to complain publicly about my health and fertility, and I had used it up.

I know that the truth is that I shouldn't be embarrassed, it wasn't my fault, and that people had enough kindness to extend to me a second time around, but it didn't feel that way at the time. It felt humiliating and so crushingly sad, I didn't even know how to reach out and talk about it.

In case you do want to hear about it, I took the time to write down the second go round experience. It has been helpful for me to walk through it with fresh eyes, and I hope sharing this will be informative for anyone seeking to feel less alone.

Mac of the Month Club | Meeting One

Last Monday, we kicked off the new Nashville chapter of the Mac of the Month Club, a club that asks, can we eat macaroni and cheese every month?! And the answer, we hope, is yes.

I first heard about the concept of a Mac and Cheese Club from my sister, Lindsey. She belonged to a group in Philadelphia which met monthly at different restaurants to sample and rate their macaroni and cheese offerings. I love me some carbs and dairy, and I also love any excuse to hang out with friends, so I tapped Lindsey for the deets, pulled in my Nashville bestie, and all around restaurant and happenings spirit guide, Emily, to put the shebang together.

Since I'm a branding minded person who enjoys graphics, first thing on my list was making a scoring card to help evaluate our level of enjoyment. Feel free to nab the printable at the bottom of this post.

We brainstormed a list of the restaurants we'd most like to visit and came up with this ever-expanding short list: Merchants, The Sitllery, Peg Leg Porker, Publicity, Party Fowl, Mangia, Puckett's, Mile End, and Sambuca. We elected to try Peg Leg Porker first.

Here are the rules and guidelines to our local Mac of the Month Club:
1. You MUST order mac and cheese. {You may order anything in addition to the mac and cheese, but eating and rating the dish du jour -- which is always mac and cheese -- is mandatory.}
2. Reservations will be limited to groups of 8 for maximum bookability and minimum confusion. Reservations will be taken on a first come, first served basis.
3. Have fun!


Peg Leg Porker is a casual barbecue joint located The Gulch. Probably most well-known for its pulled pork, this cafeteria style restaurant boast cheap sides {only $1.95 each!}, a nice patio for when it's not raining, and super quick service. 

All four of us, of course, ordered a side of mac, but also doubled down on our sides opting for beans, potato salad, greens, and french fries. The meat eaters in the crowd also ordered some pulled pork sammies, and a basket of hot wings. Everything was delicious. I especially enjoyed my potato salad.

But we came here to discuss the mac.


Peg Leg Porker's mac and cheese side comes in a four ounce styrofoam cup, and costs just under two bucks. It's creamy, peppery, and really cheesy. Instead of elbows, Peg Leg serves their cheese with shells. Most voting members kicked their originality vote up a point or so for this twist, but to really get my attention for a unique twist, I'd wanna see some unusual ingredients. Still, for a pretty striaghtforward, classis BBQ place, this mac and cheese really hit the spot. My only criticism would be that it was a bit too "soupy" for me. I could have done with a bit less sauce, but other attendees enjoyed the extra liquid and used it for a french fry dip at the end of their meal.



All in all, our first meeting was a total hit! We stayed for long after the mac had been inhaled laughing and carrying on, and we can't wait for next month's meeting!

If you're planning on starting your own chapter, please let me know, and download our rating card to get yourselves started!


 
XO,
Annika

Fringe Benefits







Have you ever been shopping and your heart literally skips a beat? I came across this fringe jacket at the beginning of the year, and I knew I absolutely needed it, even though I had no where to go in it. It's just so me. I've always had a hard time defining my style -- when it comes down to it, I like what I like: color, fun, stretchy pants, kate spade everything, and lots of sparkle. It can't be categorized, but this lovely piece of outerwear certainly falls into it.

The one thing I do know for sure about my personal aesthetic is that I am a redhead. It wasn't always this way. I believe my first foray into gingerdom was in college and it just seemed to fit. I have really pale, fair skin, and my mom was a natural auburn-haired lady until she moved from Alaska to California and the sun bleached her hair a platinum blond... so I like to think that I carry off this fiery color. 

So when my genius hair stylist, Mallory, asked me if I wanted to kick my color up a notch, I was totally game. And check out these cute bangs she cut into my new, more layered style. I LOVE it!!


Fringe Jacket: Anthropologie
Turtleneck: Amazon
Jeans: Target
Sunglasses: kate spade


XO,
Annika

Introducing Hey Mavens!

The week after Christmas, I got this crazy idea: I wanted to change the name of my lingerie brand. I damn near drove my entire family crazy trying to brainstorm a new name, secure the proper URLs and social handles, and build a whole new website. It's about six weeks later, and I'm so excited to announce HEY MAVENS! It's everything you know and love about Married&Bright, only amplified.

Hey Mavens is bright, colorful, sparkly, and FUN!

When I first started Married & Bright, my naming strategy was twofold: 1, I had a blog which at the time was called Married & Bright at the time {so named as a pun on our favorite family phrase, Merry & Bright}, and 2, I truly believed I wanted to make bridal lingerie. At the time I started making lingerie, I was working as a wedding planner, and basically my whole life was all about weddings. 

The first modeled photoshoot I ever did with Married & Bright. So vastly different to what Hey Mavens has become, but still relevant for today's bridal customer.

But as time progressed, I started making lingerie that was less and less wedding specific. I was guided by my love for color, fun prints, body positivity, and powerful women. I started feeling less drawn to soft prints, white lace, and feminine styles. But I still felt beholden to my original vision, and bound to create matrimonial lingerie based on the name of my brand.

I remember thinking when I named my shop, "I'll change it as soon as I think of a better name."

I ran my business for over three years before I started feeling like it wasn't a good fit -- but no "better" name came to me. At the end of 2017, I was having a conversation with my friend and her boyfriend, when it finally started to click.

The boyfriend basically conveyed to me that he was wary of buying his girlfriend anything that had the word "married" on it. As an unmarried man, he didn't want any gift to be perceived as a hint. I also began to see how many of my current customers were single women shopping for themselves, and that I might be missing out on connecting with potential new customers who were also put off by the brand name -- thinking "this is for brides and married people. That's not me."

A shot from the 2017 Married & Bright bridal collection taken by Sparrow and Gold Photography, and a short from the 2017 Married & Bright holiday collection taken by As You Are Boudoir. You can see where the brand was starting to diverge.

So that was it. I made my decision. I needed to rebrand. But there was part of me -- a big part -- that wasn't ready to say goodbye to Married & Bright. A huge portion of that unwillingness to let go was my astonishment at the fact that I had been able to land and hold on to marriedandbright.com and the corresponding social handles. Plus, it wasn't like the name was altogether fighting against me. I had a successful business, and I didn't want to break what was actually working.

I figured the best way forward was to split my business into two parts: Married & Bright would continue on as a strictly bridal line, and Hey Mavens would embrace more deeply my quirky design sense and colorful aesthetic that I has been leaning towards, but feeling to shy to leap into full force.



Photo by Laura Quintero Photography from the most recent Hey Mavens collection: Palm Springs. 

I'm so excited to be able to focus my messaging on both of the brands. Hey Mavens won't feel watered down to appeal of elegant and classic brides, and Married & Bright won't feel like some part time wife. Being able to speak directly to my customer in separate categories aligns me for greater success and helps my customers find exactly what they're looking for.

XO,
Annika

How Bow Dah?



Last weekend, Alex and I escaped the freezing Nashville temps to enjoy couple days with family in the Florida sun. When packing, I opted for solid color, light, breezy pieces and threw a handful of these skinny scarves into my bag to add some interest to my basic outfits.

I have been obsessed with these scarves since Daisy Faye Designs released them because they really are so versatile, and easy to style. I have worn them around my neck countless times -- you can see the proof here, here, and all over my instagram.

For this outfit, I was going for a bow theme to match the sleeve detail, and the leather of my shoes, so I simply knotted the scarf into a bow and bobby pinned it into my hair. I think it's super adorable!







Dress: Free People
Shoes: Kate Spade
Sunglasses: Kate Spade
Bralette: Married & Bright


XO,
Annika
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