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Making the Old New

I hope this week is finding you well. Our house spent last week and most of this week sick. Of course, the weather was fantastic for a beautiful long run, but instead I was stuck at home in a never-ending Netflix show hole. Gracie and I did get to start a puzzle we have wanted to work on for the past couple of months, so that was exciting. Needless to say, I didn’t get much done around the house that I had planned. There is always this weekend, right?

Since I don’t have anything new or exciting to report to you this week, I thought I would go back to last week’s Decorating Wisely blog about moving the piano home and rearranging my furniture. Remember, I told you I moved the cabinet from the entry to the breakfast area? Don’t worry, it’s still there and I couldn’t be happier. I really am pleased with it and how much better it looks. I have always loved the cabinet itself, but felt like I never really did it justice or helped it live up to its fullest potential. Since displaying my china, crystal and a few beloved pieces from grandmothers in it, it has really changed the look and given it that “umph” it has missed for the past ten years! The best part is that I didn’t have to purchase anything to give it a fresh, new look. I was able to utilize everything I already owned. I also love being able to highlight my special pieces for no other reason than they just make me happy to see them every day. Isn’t that the point of special pieces…to bring a smile to our faces? They may not mean that much to anyone else, but they mean something to you and your family.

before afterOh, I changed one more thing. I felt like I needed something on top of the cabinet, but it is unusually tall, so not just anything would work. Trust me, I tried everything. I finally tried a couple of prints I purchased in New Orleans several years ago. The size worked great, but they just didn’t look right. In fact, I have never really loved the matting around the prints because I felt like it didn’t do them justice. It was sort of overpowering for the prints. So, again, after ten years I decided to change them. I know, I know there’s a pattern here. Rather than buying new matting, I simply turned the mat over to reveal the cream side. Wow! What a difference that made. I love them now! They really stand out and look like how they were supposed to look!

The moral of this story, don’t be afraid to switch things up, turn mats over, and for sure, don’t wait ten years to do it!


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Super Bowl Sunday

It is officially SUPER BOWL Sunday! It is such an exciting day because we get to gather with friends and family and come together over something that pretty much everyone can enjoy. I know what you’re thinking well I don’t care much for football.. guess what? You have the amazing commercials to look forward to and this year the tell all episode of This is Us on how Jack finally died. Besides who doesn’t love a perfectly good excuse to throw a party?

Okay, let’s start with the decorations. No matter who is playing you can’t go wrong with classic “football colors.” For example this year my New Orleans Saints (WHO DAT?!) didn’t make the cut, so I really don’t have a dog in this fight. If you’re like me go with some light blues and greens if you want to keep it neutral or you can just do a variety of both teams colors. However, I do like to avoid using the logos something about the simplicity of just the colors is very appealing to me. In a football situation some great go to decorations are streamers, balloons, banners, photo props, and cute football dodads here and there.

Thanks to the flu I am having to sit out hosting this year — these photos are from a previous Super Bowl party I have hosted.

What I loved about this party was how the streamers really brought everything together — they were super festive and also worked as a great backdrop for photos with my guest. You know us millennials love a good place to take an Instagram picture. Okay, back to the point the streamers were super easy to hang and really spiced up the party. I also placed a mason jar of photo props on the table for easy access to snag a photo while the action wasn’t happening.

Here I used my dessert as the center piece for the table. I was able to find this super cute football field table runner with no team logos on it to really tie the table together. I am a HUGE balloon fan — like I want to use them any chance I get — so of course I placed just a small bundle in the corners on a balloon weight that way there was a splash of color and festive feeling everywhere.

If you know me then you probably know that baking is one of my favorite past times. I think it is a great stress reliever as well as a fun way to make tiny creations that bring joy and happiness. My favorite thing about any football party is how easy it is to make a festive cupcake. Now these are similar to the ones pictured above, but these are the ones I made for the party I am attending today.

To make these I used the Wilton grass tip; which pretty much looks like a flat piping tip with a bunch of little holes in it. I like to make this icing a little bit thicker so the grass keeps its shape. ( I will include all recipes at the bottom of this post) I mix in a little green food coloring and get to piping. I don’t think it really matters how perfect the grass height is because you’re going to either finish it off with a football tooth pick or maybe a team logo pick. This year I did half with toothpicks and then I made a separate chocolate buttercream and piped on little hand drawn footballs and accented with the grass. Oh, and one not important detail — I made chocolate cupcakes because I like the idea of eating grass and biting into that dirt colored cupcake but vanilla would work just fine.

Of course, I had to make some chicken wings even though I don’t personally consume meat, but other people do and it’s all about getting together and being happy. So this year I decided to do half sweet and spicy bbq and half classic hot wings. I baked these in the oven to make them quick and easy as well as less messy.

For the cauliflower wings (now we are talking my language) I went ahead and did the same thing — half sweet and spicy bbq and half classic hot wing. I think the best part about these is that even if you do eat meat these are just as tasty and less than half the calories. Plus no animals.

Have a great Super Bowl Sunday!!

Ashton Nicole


Classic Buttercream:

1 1/2 Stick of Butter (soft to the touch, but not room temp)

1 TBS Vanilla Extract

2 1/2 C Powdered Sugar (have more on hand in case you want to sweeten it up)

1-2 TBS Heavy Whipping Cream (to only be used if the mix is too thick)


1. In an electric mixer combine butter and vanilla. Beat on high until a smooth creamy consistency.

2. Add in powdered sugar 1/4 C at a time. This creates less of a mess. Combining at a slow speed on your mixer. Once sugar is mixed turn up the speed and beat on high for 2-3 minutes. Really making sure it gets nice and creamy.

4. At this point you can add in any food coloring or cocoa powder to make this a chocolate butter cream.

If you notice the mix is too thick add in a little heavy whipping cream at a time.

Oven Baked Crispy Chicken Wings:

24 frozen or fresh chicken wings

1 C Whole Wheat Flour

1 TBS Garlic Powder

1 TBS Onion Powder

1 TBS Chili Powder

1 tsp Cayenne Pepper

1 tsp Paprika

1/2 C of your favorite bbq sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray’sSweet Baby Ray’s best)

1/2 C of your favorite hot wing sauce (Can’t go wrong with Franks)


1. Preheat oven to 450: cover a baking sheet with foil and grease well. I use Pam.

2. Rinse and lay dry your wings. If frozen make sure they are completely thawed out.

3. Combine flour and spices in a large bowl. Toss wings in mixture to ensure they are completely covered.

4. Place on tray close but not touching. Baking 18 minutes. Flip. Bake 18 more minutes.

5. Remove wings from oven. Place oven in broil. Brush sauces on both sides of the wings. Place tray of wings on the top rack and broil for 5 minutes.

6. Let cool and serve.

Crispy Cauliflower Wings:

1 Head Cauliflower

1/2 C Almond Milk (unsweetened and unflavored)

1/2 C Whole Wheat Flour

1/2 C Corn Flakes (crushed)

1 TBS Garlic Powder

1 TBS Onion Powder

1 TBS Chili Powder

1 tsp Cayenne Pepper

1 tsp Paprika

1/2 C of your favorite bbq sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray’s best)

1/2 C of your favorite hot wing sauce (Can’t go wrong with Franks)


1. Preheat oven to 450.

2. Cut cauliflower into bite size pieces.

3. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and place almond milk in a separate bowl.

4. Toss cauliflower in almond milk and then transfer to flour mixture. Coating evenly.

5. Place on a baking sheet close but not touching. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until crispy.

6. Remove from oven. Place oven on broil. Brush sauce all over cauliflower bites. Broil for 5 minutes. Let cool and serve.

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New Year, Old Piano

A couple of years ago my mom decided she didn’t have room anymore for the old piano that my sister and I learned to play, so she asked me if I wanted it. Of course I said yes, you all know how much I love old things that have sentimental value. Sentimental value is really the only thing of value, because it’s not an expensive brand or anything like that, it’s just valuable to me and my memories. I spent many hours practicing those darn scales and “How Great Thou Art”. I even have my old metronome that I hated so much as a kid…tick, tick, tick……

I’m not sure if you caught the first few words, “a couple of years ago”. Yeah, that’s how long it took Donnie to actually get it into the house. It’s been in storage this whole time! As much as I want to completely blame him, I can’t. I’ve been busy as well and I knew that moving it into the house would require moving a lot of things around and rearranging, so I didn’t push the matter too much.

cabinetI knew all along I wanted it in the entry, but then, of course, that led to what to do with the cabinet in the entry. You know, it is like a snowball effect; one thing leads to another and another and another. I’m happy to report that it turned out just the way I envisioned. I moved the cabinet to the kitchen/breakfast area where I revamped and actually put it to use of how it was intended—to hold china and crystal. I’ve had all that stored away in my cabinets, so now I’m thrilled to have them out for easy access. Donnie is even more thrilled to have the cabinet empty for all his water bottles and workout goo.
I still have to rearrange the office for another small cabinet I had to move into there, but overall I am happy with the much-needed change that didn’t cost me anything besides a little hard work. Well, I take that back, I did buy a vintage mirror from Traci Barnes to put above the piano, but I’ve had my eye on that for about a year, so I’ve really just been looking for an excuse to buy it anyway!

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Pastel Pink Turtleneck

Hello, hello! It is finally February, and it makes me beyond excited! I’ve always been a huge fan of Valentine’s Day, just everything about it! The colors, the puns, the food, the parties, everything! I’ve been pinning everything Valentine’s related no matter what it was. I found the cutest heart-shaped cookie cake recipe I’m so gonna have to make!

Since I’m so in the mood for the holiday of love, I thought it would be appropriate to write about the most gorgeous and insanely soft pastel pink turtleneck I was rocking yesterday. It’s from French Connection so, knowing me, it immediately was favored by me because the word “French” was in the name.

I received this sweater for a Le Tote campaign I was chosen for (more on that on a later blog post). If you don’t really enjoy shopping (or do), Le Tote is a great option for you! They handpick pieces to send to you every month and you wear it for as long as you want and send it back when you’re done. So cool!

Anyways, this sweater is perfectly form fitting and is just all around a winner! I paired it with simple skinny jeans and brown loafers. I opted to add a little flair with theses drop down earrings (also from Le Tote!!), and I even curled my hair. Curling my hair is kind of a big deal to me since I’m known for just brushing and leaving the house.

If this sweater doesn’t get you in the mood for Valentine’s Day, then what will?!

Check out our Instagram

(@livingwiselytimesthree) for updates and more!

Until next time,

Grayson E. Wise

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Veggie Stir Fry & Not So Miso Soup

Okay, so its Wednesday and normally by now I would have already shared a yummy “Meatless Monday” recipe with you. However, I have been plagued with the flu and my days are all running together. This week the meal is not going to be very exciting, but I promise it still delivers in the delicious department. I am keeping things short and sweet because frankly I am tired and have not had an appetite lately.

If you didn’t get the vibe last week that I am big into asian cuisine then maybe this week will really solidify that for you. Here is a super FAST and EASY way to enjoy some delicious asian inspired food without all of the guilt and MSG.


STIR FRY – 1 Serving
8 Fresh Green Beans
1/2 Red Bell Pepper (thinly sliced)
1/2 Zucchini (diced)
2 Large Carrots (thinly sliced)
Broccoli (chopped handful)
1 Clove Garlic (minced)
2 TBS Organic Veggie Broth
1.5 tsp Olive Oil
1-2 tsp Ground Ginger
Pink Salt (to taste)

1. Warm oil in medium pan. Heat garlic in pan until tender.
2. Place all vegetables in pan, stirring well. Add in organic veggie broth.
3. Cover pan to steam vegetables roughly 7-10minutes or until desired doneness.
4. Place in a bowl and enjoy!

Not So Miso Soup –  1 Serving
1 C Veggie Broth
4 Green Onions (finely chopped)
Salt and Pepper (to taste)

1. Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan.
2. Heat until warm and enjoy.

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Spin Class – It’s Wheelie Fun!!


So, it’s been awhile since I wrote a Training Wisely post, and I didn’t even take a picture tonight, so we’ll have to go with a cool stock photo instead. My bad. Hey, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working out. The Nike Training Club app has been really awesome! I’ve been doing some pretty great workouts (all free!!) on the app, and I can feel my strength building back to where I was before surgery, maybe even better! I’ve also been running, because let’s face it, running is the best.

With that said, I must say… I did replace my run day this evening with a… spin class! This was my first ever and let me tell you, it is so fun! I loved it so much I’ll be coming back every Tuesday and Thursday for the entire month of February for the class.

It was hard, and I could definitely feel muscles working I didn’t even realize I had. I took my class at the Mercy Fitness Center – Fort Smith, Arkansas, but I’m sure no matter where you are, you can find a gym that has a spin class! It is so worth a try, and you should try it out. This might even be my new favorite kind of indoor workout. Actually, it totally is my new favorite.

Keep reaching (or spinning) towards those fitness goals!

*cue Shia Labeouf*

Just. Do. IT!!


Until next time,

Grayson E. Wise

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Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler

The thing I miss most about living down South, besides the beach, is Mardi Gras.  If you’ve ever lived where Mardi Gras is celebrated to the fullest and all that it represents you will understand what I mean.  Tasting the Cajun cuisines, hearing the Zydeco music, and seeing the bright colors makes you want to experience it again and again.

Mardi Gras parties are steadily creeping up from the South and gaining popularity in the northern states.  Mardi Gras can be enjoyed a group of friends or a simple family gathering—either way it’s worth celebrating.

“What’s all the fuss about,” you ask.  ‘Mardi’ is French for Tuesday and ‘gras’ is French for fat.  This is the day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Christian season of Lent—46 days before Easter.  Many Christians fast during Lent, refrain from eating meat on Fridays, and/or rich foods containing, eggs sugar, butter and milk.  So Mardi Gras season is a time to eat decadently and feast anytime following the Twelfth Night after Christmas or another name for it is the Epiphany.

Mardi Gras themed parties are some of the least expensive and easiest to decorate.  Must haves for a party are masks, traditional colors—purple represents justice, green represents faith, and gold represents power—beads, beads, and more beads!

The food can be a bit more involved as many of the traditional cuisines require a lot of ingredients, but well worth it!  Traditional menu items are Jambalaya, gumbo, red beans and rice, and anything else Cajun.  My menu this year is consisting of Grits a Ya Ya, Jambalaya, red beans and rice, and, of course, a King Cake with a little tiny Baby Jesus hidden inside for someone to find.  The person who gets the baby Jesus will have good luck for the rest of the year.

I have compiled a few Mardi Gras family fun ideas for you:

  • Kids can make their own masks from paper plates. Cut eye holes and attach ribbon for tying on or tape on bamboo sticks for handheld masks before decorating.  All you need are markers, stickers, beads, and feathers along with scissors and glue.
  • Host a shoebox parade. Save shoe boxes or ask guests to bring a shoe box to
    shoebox float

    Photo credit:  LSU Health Sciences Center

    decorate.  Take the lid off and turn the box upside down to decorate.  Slip the lid onto the side of the box to create the back of the float.  Give the kids paint, glue, feathers, jewels, markers, and let them create their own Mardi Gras magic.

I hope you will incorporate a little Mardi Gras into your Fat Tuesday and laissez les bon temps rouler (let the good times roll)!


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It’s a Yoga Workout Kind of Week

I think this week’s training is going to consist mostly of yoga as I am easing back into working out after contracting the plague last week. Of course, this past weekend was one of those rare January weekends and it was a sunny 60 degrees both Saturday and Sunday. As I was laying on the couch all I could think about was what a great weekend to run, but instead I’m stuck here on this couch watching every series that I missed out on the past few months.

As much as I don’t like deviating from my training plan, I do think it is important to listen to my body and not overdo it when recovering from an illness or surgery. There is nothing worse than having a setback and it taking twice as long to get back at it. It’s also just as important to do something if you’re able. It’s easy to slip and fall completely off the wagon. Doing something easy on your body like yoga helps stretch you physically and helps you mentally stick with your training plan.

I’ll just take it day by day and hopefully I’ll be able to get in a few miles by the end of the week. Until then….namaste.


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Flu Season in Full Swing

It’s day 175 of the flu and I am pretty sure I’m not going to survive… okay, okay, okay so maybe it’s more like Day 3 but I am pretty sure it’s never getting any better.

I am not really one for big commercialized medicine, so Tamiflu isn’t really on my list of things to take. Obviously working out hasn’t really been something that I have been doing since Friday — when I came home from Friday evening my mom said “You look like death” and let me tell you I felt like it too.

So, here is what I have been doing to TRY and get myself better: I have been drinking Theraflu Nighttime Tea, putting on the Vick’s Vaporub like it’s going out style, Mucinex is my new best friend, Ricola Lemon Mint cough drops, and of course your standard pain relievers for fever and aches. I have also been trying to eat at least 2 cuties a day.. I mean vitamin C am I right?

If you are trying to protect yourself and your family from the flu or have the flu WASH YOUR HANDS, like all of time. Any physician will tell you how important this is as well as disinfecting everything and anything that way you can get rid of as many germs as possible. The flu and other sickness has been going around the newsroom lately, so it was only a matter of time before I brought it home.

Moral of my long pitiful flu story: wash your hands, take care of yourself, and don’t push yourself too hard if you’re feeling sick. Hopefully I will be better by mid next week that way I don’t fall too behind of the fitness schedule as well as posting. I promise you a still tasty vegan new recipe to have tomorrow, but it may be an old one. Don’t judge me okay?

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Day Trippin’

Hello, hello! First off, I must say that it has been a pretty productive, busy week at school, and I was really excited for the weekend. My science fair project is taking up a lot of time (in a good way, look out regionals!!) not to mention this being my first full week back at being able to workout. It’s been odd not having a schedule that revolves around dance, but it’s been refreshing too. I’ve had a lot more time to put more effort into other things that are important to me, like science fair!

So anyway, it is finally the weekend, and I am super excited to chill it down a bit. We originally had plans to take a day trip to Northwest Arkansas, but everyone’s been sick this week. We’re hoping it’s not the flu, and somehow I’m the only one that has yet to be affected yet. *rapidly knocks on wood three times* Hey, but it is okay with me to stay home this weekend, I can clean, (not my favorite thing to do, but definitely worth it) finish up my science fair research, and maybe even slightly binge some Netflix show that has been on my list for forever and a decade.

Although, I do still want to give a little day trip itinerary for Northwest Arkansas (NWA). Let’s get going!

To me, there is nothing better than going to an art museum. I love them more than almost anything. With that said, I would start the day off by traveling to my beloved Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. If you have never been, GO! If you have been, still GO! It deserves another visit, plus you never know what new traveling exhibits they may have or some other artwork you missed the last time you visited.


Just one of the amazing artworks you can see at Crystal Bridges. They house world-renowned artists, like this painting, by Keith Haring. 

After spending a couple of hours basking in the glory of art, I would hop in the car and head towards Fayetteville. It’s about a 30-40 minute drive to downtown from the museum. By now, I would probably be ready to devour a yummy meal from some local restaurant. I’ve never been here, but I’ve heard great things about Little Bread Company. They’re a little sandwich shop that home-makes all of their food! Seriously, this place looks de-lic-ious.

Next, it is only a three-minute walk to one of my all-time favorite bakeries, Alchemy Macarons. I could eat the entire case of delicious macarons they make. I can’t begin to explain how much I love a good macaron, and these do not disappoint. So. Good.



Since my food cravings have been delightfully filled, I would just walk around downtown to all the little local shops and definitely pop on over to Cheap Thrills. This place is amazing! Calling it a thrift store does not do it justice. All the clothes, accessories, and shoes are vintage and of really great quality. I got the most adorable dress that was made in the 50s from there and I wear it all the time. I even got senior portraits taken in it! So please, give this place a visit because it will totally be worth your time.


This is that gorgeous dress! Photo courtesy of John Sullivan

Well, guys, that’s my little day trip itinerary for Northwest Arkansas! If you have favorite places to go up there, let us know! We’d love to check out your favorite spots and things to do!

Until next time,

Grayson E. Wise