Twinkles Sparkle

At approximately 7 o’clock this morning, I made the call that I make every March 8th. When the voice answered the line I started with “Haaaaappy Birthday to yooooou.” The voice on the other line said “Gah-lee! Can you believe I am 26?!?!” I can not find it in me to feel sorry for her.

At approximately 7:05 this morning, I made the other call that I make every March 8th. When the voice answered the line I started with “Haaaaappy Birthday to yooooou.” The voice on the other line said “Gah-lee! Can you believe I am 26?!?!” Twins. I, also, can not find it in me to feel sorry for her.

At 28 I am clearly much older and much wiser than them… the twinkles. Although, my excitement over such simple things often makes me seem younger. Hey, I’ll take it.

They are the best two sister a girl from Spartanburg, South Carolina could ask for and I love them more each year. Last year I posted this about them and in keeping with tradition, it seemed only fair that I dedicate a post to my best friends and sisters… Emily and Erin.

This is what has happened (sister-wise) in the past year:

Riding in cars with the windows down.

Wandering farms in the summer afternoons.

Welcoming our nephew.

Celebrating the birth of our nephew.

Continue to celebrate the birth of our nephew at my favorite college bar… how appropriate?!

To splitting sammies at Kickin’ Chicken.

To celebrating Grandpaw’s 80th.

To me micromanaging… again.

I can’t forget jamming out to some Gotye in my car over Christmas Break.


To acting like idiots on Christmas Eve.

To being twins…

…and then just regular ol’ sisters.

With plenty of FaceTiming.

And even more FaceTiming.

Ok… an obsessive amount of FaceTiming.

Ok, hide your babies. The Vannoy girls have a baby problem. Well, maybe just a nephew disorder.

Ok ok… I’ll stop.

From visits to Atlanta…

…and making jam (and funny faces).

But mainly just being together.

I have to add my favorite picture of the three of us for the cherry on top.

Now, I would probably be a puddle of mud sitting here in my kitchen calling out “I MISS MY SISTERS!!!! if I didn’t have another sister visit to look forward to. But I am lucky and I get to see them tomorrow!!!! I am heading over to ol’ Myrtle Beach tomorrow to ring in their 26th year and hug ‘em and kiss ‘em.

Happy 26th Birthday Twinkles!

The Best Steak Marinade, Period.

I have been all about marinades this winter and I have found that a good marinade can really make the meal. After marinating beef in… just about anything that sounded good… I stumbled upon a recipe for beef that takes the cake. Just like any good recipe I never get a chance to blog it for months. I just cook it over and over and over again, completely forgetting that other people might want in on my delicious little secret.

John and I have a huge, life-altering, can’t-freaking-wait-to-do-dus trip planned for later this year and we are in penny pinching mode (well, the best penny pinching that I can do with a huge Bloomingdale’s blow-out sale down the street). So while attempting to be frugal I started cutting back at the grocery store. One way that I found to shave a couple of bucks off is by getting cheaper cuts of beef. Instead of splurging on a filet, New York strip, or ribeye I have been turning my attention to flank steaks and skirt steaks. These thinner cuts of meat are typically not as tender, yet can rock a mean marinade.

In my #febphotoaday Instagram challenge it was one of my photos for dinner.


Here is what we got:

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds flank steak


In a medium bowl mix together the soy sauce, vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire, dijon, garlic, and black pepper. Stir together to mix. Slowly drizzle in the oil to combine. Take 1/4 of the marinade and place in a separate bowl. 

In a large, shallow pan place the meat. Pour 3/4 of the marinade on top and flip steak to make sure each side has been coated.

Let rest in refrigerator for 3 to 8 hours until ready to cook.*

*If you do not have 3 to 6 hours (I rarely do): after placing meat in pan score with a fork (or stab a few times) on each side before pouring marinade. Leave out on the counter while it marinades for about an hour. This will help the marinade seep into the meat.

Preheat the grill to medium high heat and grill the steak on each side for 5 minutes. Discard the marinade that the meat was marinating in.

Slice steak on cutting board and remove to platter. Pour reserved 1/4 marinade on top. Serve!

Here this delicious marinade is on the weekend that my sisters were in town:


Yeah, we didn’t even bother to get down plates this time. We just kind of ate it like finger food.

Here it is another time when John and I made it for dinner during the week.


And here it is again served alongside some colorful rosemary potatoes.


Like I was saying, I have been making the crap out of this marinade and I suggest you do too. Not only is it a cheaper take a beef, but… I have to say… a more delicious one.

{For the printable version of this recipe click here}


A Weekend Away

John and I took off for Savannah on Friday afternoon. After a harsh Atlanta winter (hello lows of only 50 degrees) we deserved a much needed break from the hustle and bustle of the big city. The weather in Atlanta had been pretty balmy the past few days leading up to the weekend and Savannah saw highs of 80 degrees last week, so it seemed like the perfect time to head to the coast and get a taste of early Spring. Well, weather things don’t always go as planned.

In addition to the two of us, we also hit up Savannah with John’s step sister and husband. They are two of our favorite people to beach it with. We were ready. We couldn’t wait to get there. John made me drive.

As soon as we got to the house we whipped up some Shrimp alla Jack for an appetizer, lit the grill, threw on some steaks and let the music play.

We all went to bed promising to sleep in and get some rest, but if you know John like I do… and you know how much he loves Savannah… you know that we were up at 7:30 coffee in hand, headed out to the dock.

It was a beautiful morning. The clouds were thick, but the sun was trying to work its way through.

Stellar and Chum were just as excited as us to be there. They were also awake at 7:30 on a Saturday to head out to the dock. I am pretty sure that I was the only one who wanted a few more hours of sleep.

John always looks the most handsome in Savannah.

No matter what the temperature outside, my dogs want to play. Let me rephrase: My dogs want to swim.

Well, Stellar does at least. Chum is a fierce beast and no temperature of water can keep her out of it… although the height of the dock to the water proved to be too much for her. She stayed put, her fear chaining her to the dock.

Stellar would not be chained.

The one thing that stinks about playing fetch with the dogs on the dock is that someone has to be there to pull them back up. After about 20 times of doing it myself, John needed a turn.

Oh, what a turn it was.

As you can see he is reaching out to pull Stellar back up on the float. What you can’t see is a slippery film covering the float.

If you will notice his left arm directly below beginning to swing out for balance. His legs shifted to try to gain traction.

And because of screams of concern (ok ok… laughter) I missed the money shot, but did manage to snap him working his way back up onto the float after falling 1/2 way into the water… with his clothes on… with his iPhone in his pocket.

He claims to have sustained injuries. I have seen no evidence.

With bikini season just around the corner, Chum took it upon herself to workout while on our weekend away.

I took about 100 pictures of Chum carrying that dumbbell around in her mouth. Each one came out blurry due to her rapid tail wagging. She was so proud of herself. I was worried she would drop it on someone’s foot.

The beautiful weather turned ugly on Saturday afternoon. There were high winds, tons of rain, and tornado warnings. The bad weather brought with it a cold front… and a bunch of cabin fevered folks… so we headed out (in the rain) to a nice dinner.

We visited Ele. I had seen billboards of it for a year or so and it was finally time to try it out. It is an Asian fusion restaurant, which I am typically not into, but it did not disappoint!

I don’t even remember what kind of roll this is… some kind of lobster, but it was so freaking good that I am still craving more. John and I rarely order rolls when going out for sushi, but this baby blew me away.

I also ordered the best Tuna Tataki I had ever had in my life. I could have eaten plates of it.

{photo courtesy of Ele}

If you have even been to Savannah, one peek and you know that this is not your typical Savannah restaurant. Maybe that is what makes it so good. In a town filled with Southern, coastal cuisine… what’s a little fusion?

We headed back to the house after dinner… while it continued to down pour… for a little chill time before heading off to bed.

One great thing about Savannah is that you want to be at the house. It is the most cozy, comfortable, and fun place on earth. Also, after searching for a karaoke bar, we ditched our hunt and headed back to sing our own karaoke. Deana Carter anyone?

The weekend simply flew by and next think I knew it was Sunday morning. John woke me (again) at the butt-crack of dawn, but this time I took a moment to enjoy where I was.

It was another beautiful day but it was cold cold cold cold cold.

Since we hadn’t been out on the boat once since we had been there, due to weather and engine issues, we thought that we would brave the chill in the air and head out to Cabbage Island to let the dogs run and to hunt for shells.

The wind was whipping and the temp was dropping. It was the single most freezing I have ever been in Savannah.

The freezing weather just made me long for summer even more. John’s step sister and I have made a plan to spend as much time as humanly possible in Savannah this summer and I can’t wait. I have a feeling that this will be the SUMMER OF SAVANNAH! Now, it Summer could just get here already.