Friday, October 30, 2009

Party Preparations!

So Jake's 30th birthday party is tomorrow afternoon/evening. He wanted something super laid back because he's not really into being the center of attention, but obviously, I can't really do any parties "small". It's in my nature to plan, decorate and go overboard!! He got me to agree to no real decorations (gasp!), but I did get a few fun surprise things!

We're having people over around 4pm and J wanted to serve chili and get a half keg and then just watch football. Ummm, not really my idea of a fun party, but it's his birthday, so that's what we're doing. Of course, I had to get a little fancy and we're now serving 3 different kinds of chili - regular, a white chicken chili and a vegetarian chili. We'll have each kind in crock pots so people can serve themselves and then have a whole buffet set with different toppings for the chili - cheese, sour cream, green onions, tortilla chips, etc. I'm also doing cornbread (1 plain and 1 jalapeno cheese) and assorted appetizers. J is in charge of getting the keg and I made a really yummy mint ice tea last night, plus we got several bottles of wine for the girls.

We have like 24 people coming (a lot for our tiny little house!) including both of our parents and J's brother and his wife. It's also sort of serving as a house warming party, since we really haven't had alot of our friends over to the house since we've moved in. We've been working hard on decorating and getting stuff put away so our house looks cute. I think we're going to end up re-arranging some furniture in the living room so there's more space for all those people. I'm sure J will be REALLY happy when I tell him we're moving furniture around tonight - ha!!

So Happy 30th to my wonderful, adorable and fantastic hubby!!! I'll be sure to post pictures from the party! Happy Halloween weekend!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Trick or Treat!

I'm super excited this year for Halloween and to get trick or treaters at our house! The last two places we lived we didn't get ANY, but this year we live in a very kid-friendly neighborhood so I think we will get quite a few. I've already bought TONS of candy and it's ready to go in my fun pumpkin bowl, sitting by the front door (yes, I said I was excited!). We're also having J's birthday party that night, so it should be EXTRA fun!

The one bummer with trick or treating is that our front porch light doesn't work. I think I've mentioned that our house has some "issues" and apparently wiring is one of those issues. When we moved in, there was an old crappy light out there with no light bulb so we didn't really know what the issues were. We got a new cute light and J installed it this past week (after I nagged him to do it or we wouldn't get any trick or treaters!!). Well it still doesn't work, which means the issue is with wiring - when you flip the switch for the light, the entire front of our house loses power! Awesome. So I got really sad and worried that no kids would come to our house since there wouldn't be a light on.

Then I came up with an idea - luminaries!! I'm lining our whole sidewalk and front steps with them in hopes that it will bring on the kids! Plus it doubles as a cool decoration for our party as well! I got white bags and sand and I'm using those battery powered tea lights to make them a little bit safer than regular candles. I'm also going to tie orange and black balloons to our mailbox. J even made two tombstones out of cardboard last night to give us some extra decorations so the kids will know we have candy!
Happy Almost Halloween!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Birthday Perfection!

I had the most wonderful birthday, as you can see from the picture! I ended the day by eating a huge piece of red velvet cake in my pj's while watching Gossip Girl - heavenly! And the slippers I'm wearing are a birthday gift from Spencer - ha! Spencer has a thing for slippers and she's chewed right through FOUR pairs since we've had her! Now that the weather is colder and I didn't have a pair since she destroyed mine last spring, she decided she would get me a new pair for my birthday. What a thoughtful dog!

I also went for a relaxing 4 mile run yesterday, followed by a pedicure, a fabulous (and wine filled) lunch with my mom and then a long walk with Jake and Spencer at the park by our house to see the fall leaves! Basically my perfect day!

Jake's 30th birthday is SATURDAY!! Woo hoo! We're having about 20ish people over to the house for a small, laid back party. I'm so excited - but I just realized that I need to get my butt in gear and start planning the food/drinks/decor! Busy busy week!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Finally Friday!

Has this seemed like the longest week ever? So happy it's finally coming to an end (even though I work Saturdays, I still consider Fridays the end of my week - ha!). Unfortunately, the weather this weekend isn't looking too hot here (horrible rain and!) My poor bride for tomorrow and her outside ceremony - we've already moved to plan B (inside). 

But it is my BIRTHDAY WEEKEND!! My b-day is Monday...woo hoo! J told me last night that he was able to get Monday off so we can spend the whole day together!! Here's my plans for
Sunday and Monday (yes, I plan on stretching my birthday out to 2 days, obviously!):
Sleeping in!
Chocolate cake!
LOTS of wine!
Hiking and looking at the fall leaves!

Hope everyone has a fabulous fall weekend!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Traylor Papers!

I saw this on a couple of really cute blogs so I thought I would do it too!!
"Send us an email to with your name & address and we'll send you a free customized card with your name. Tell us your favorite colors and/or style (i.e., whimsical, classic, girly..., etc.) and we'll try to make you a match ;) BONUS: post this offer on your blog or wall, send us a link and we'll send you a few extra! Good thru 10/28/09!"

Here's some that I LOVE:

They have SUCH cute stuff - I will definitely be ordering from them in the future! I've been on the hunt for cute Christmas cards!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Super Thrifty

We have slowly been buying furniture for our new house. By slowly, I mean at a snails pace. While I would love to run out and purchase new EVERYTHING for the entire house, that's just not something my credit card would like right now. 99.9% of everything we have in the house is hand me down's. It's not my favorite thing ever, but if we didn't have such generous friends and family, our house would be EMPTY, so I'll take the hand me down's for now.

So we have budgeted and J has let me buy a few new things - yay! Of course, I had to promise to try and get good deals on everything and not just walk in Pottery Barn and drop a month's paycheck. Well ladies, I'm SUPER proud of my most recent purchase!

We have a small entryway/foyer and I had been on the hunt for something to put there for storage (coats, shoes, etc). I came across this beauty at Pottery Barn and fell in love:It's the Samantha entry way collection. The bench with storage and then the upper shelves to hang up coats - literally it's perfect and exactly what I wanted! However, I did not love the price - for the whole set, it would be $529, and that doesn't include any of the baskets or the cushion for the bench. Yikes, no thanks.

But then I found this:

SHUT UP!! Randomly I googled "entry way bench" and this came up at JCPenney - yes, for real! I have never really shopped at JCPenney before, especially for furniture. My mouth literally fell open when I saw this...and then I saw the pricetag - $199! Seriously, I about died. And that price INCLUDES all 6 baskets AND the cushions for the bench. I was still a little bit nervous, but the website had like 85 reviews of the product (and yes, I read every single one of them) and they were all positive. People said the quality was really nice and that it's basically the exact same as the Pottery Barn one.

You better believe I clicked "order now" as fast as possible. Oh yeah, and then I got FREE SHIPPING. I really think it might have been my lucky day. The only bummer - it's backordered until November...but we got such a good deal, I don't mind waiting. Once it's here, I will take pictures and post MY review of it! LOVE!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie

I love chicken pot pie - it's like the ultimate comfort food to me. When I was little, my mom would make it on nights when my dad would work late and it would just be the two of us. We would eat them while watching TV in the family room (which we never did when my dad was home) - making it even more of a treat.

Now that the weather has apparently bypassed fall and gotten right into winter (why is it SO cold - what happened to nice brisk fall temps?), I decided I would try to make chicken pot pie last night for dinner. I found a recipe in Kraft Foods Magazine...does anyone else get this? I LOVE this magazine - it comes for free if you just request it online ( (edit - I just checked and they are actually charging for a subscription to the mag! I definitely got it for free for like 2 years! I would just use the online version then instead of paying for it) There are TONS of really good, super easy recipes in it.

Anyway, the pot pie came out sooo good! I'm seriously really proud of myself, since it's my first time attempting to make this. I think J was in shock when he came home and saw what we were having - he really thought I bought it! ha! I would highly recommend the recipe, it was super easy, but looked fancy!

Here's the recipe (I made a few changes to it, which are in bold)

Zesty Chicken Pot Pie

12 oz. (1-1/2 pkg. [8 oz. each]) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, cubed
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 pkg. (10 oz. each) frozen mixed vegetables, thawed (I only used one bag of veggies and it was MORE than enough, I don't even think I would have been able to fit any more veggies into the pot pie)
1 env. GOOD SEASONS Italian Dressing Mix
1 refrigerated ready-to-use refrigerated pie crust (1/2 of 15-oz. pkg.)

PREHEAT oven to 425°F. Place cream cheese in large saucepan. Add broth; cook on low heat until cream cheese is completely melted, stirring frequently with wire whisk. Stir in chicken, vegetables and dressing mix.

SPOON into 9-inch pie plate. (I actually used a frozen pie shell for my base because I like my pot pie to have a crust on the bottom as well) Cover with pie crust; seal and flute edge. Cut several slits in crust to allow steam to escape. Place pie plate on baking sheet.

BAKE 20 to 25 min. or until golden brown. (I had to bake mine about 35 minutes to get the crust to be really nice and golden brown)
(recipe from Kraft Foods)

When they call this "zesty", they really mean it. It does have a lot of flavor (from the italian dressing mix) and since its a cream cheese base, it's definitely creamy. Some people might not like the change from a traditional pot pie, but we thought it was so yummy!

Friday, October 16, 2009

HAPPY Friday!!

Today really is a HAPPY Friday - I am off the entire weekend! AHHH - 3 days in a row! I haven't been off on a Saturday (not counting vacations) in at least 2 years! Since I worked ALL last weekend, I get a nice break from work and I actually get to hang out with my husband! We never have days off together, so I'm not sure what we will even do with ourselves. Unfortunately, the weather forecast is not looking good, but I would be perfectly content to snuggle under a blanket all weekend and watch movies. But even this yucky weather can't ruin my good mood today, knowing that I don't have to come back into the office until Tuesday!


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Things I love: Fall Edition

After sharing my love for the pumpkin scone from Starbucks yesterday, I realized there's tons of things that I love and/or want for fall! I got these last week from Target ($24.99!!) and I heart them so much. They are SUPER comfortable and since I wear flats to work pretty much every day because I'm running around all over the place, I have a feeling these will be my new fall shoe! I got them in that fab raspberry color, but I'm thinking I might need to go back for the black ones!

Decorating our house for Halloween! Yes, I'm a little bit late in doing this, but oh well. We're getting mums and pumpkins this weekend and I can't wait to turn our front porch into Halloween central! (even though it won't be anywhere near as good as Martha's!)

We got a wedding gift last week in the mail - a fire pit! I'm so excited about using it. We already decided we're going to brick out an area in our backyard to put it. We also got a wonderful housewarming gift from my godparents a few weeks ago - adirondack chairs! They will be perfect to use with the fire pit!

I guess I really am getting old - this is the ONLY thing on my birthday list this year (bday countdown = 11 days!!). Such a practical and somewhat boring present, but it's definitely what I want/need. Our fireplace doesn't have any sort of a screen, so we really can't use it until we get one. Love this one from Pottery Barn because it has the doors you can open while you tend to the fire...much easier than moving the screen every time you have to add a log to the fire.

What do you love or want for fall??

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Holy Yum!

Currently loving: The pumpkin scone at Starbucks. OMG - this is heavenly! I didn't expect it to be so yummy! I actually wouldn't really call this a scone because it's surprisingly soft and chewy on the inside. It has the most delicious glaze on top. And I decided to punish myself and look up the nutritional info - it's not great, but it's not horrible for an occasional treat. Too bad I've had 2 in the past week! ooops - oh well, a few splurges never hurt anyone!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Weekend Project!

My handy husband has struck again! Before we started working on the house, I had no idea he was so good with projects - I'm seriously impressed!

I worked some HEINOUS hours at work this weekend - as in, I was AT the hotel BEFORE the sun was up both Saturday and Sunday. Have I mentioned that I'm not a morning person? Having your alarm go off at 5:00am on Saturday morning so you can go to WORK is really not my idea of a good time. So needless to say, I was quite grumpy this past week and weekend.

To help make me feel better, the husband installed a mantle to our fireplace while I was at work on Saturday!! It was awesome to come home to Saturday afternoon - I was so excited! It was especially nice because I literally crashed on the couch as soon as I came home both days, so I got to lay there and stare at his handiwork! Ok, picture time!

The Before:

No mantle at all, just ugly old pieces of trim around the brick. We are also rocking the ghetto cable wire over the fireplace, compliments of the cable guy's "installation" when we moved in. Stapling cable to my wall does not count as installation in my book.

The After:

Fabulous new mantle and trim pieces! Isn't it beautiful? I can't wait to decorate the mantle and hang stockings this Christmas! J even hid all the cable wires under the mantle so we don't look ghetto anymore! I can't believe what a difference it makes - he did SUCH a good job!
Yay for handy husbands!

Friday, October 9, 2009

An Award

The adorable LuLu in D.C. left me a blog award! How fun! Definitely check out LuLu's blog - she went to Aruba on her honeymoon as well and stayed at the same hotel as us!! Fabulous!
For the award, I have to list 7 random things about myself...

1. I sleep on my back with my knees up. My dad sleeps like this too so I guess I inherited it from him. J thinks it's the weirdest thing ever, but it's SO comfortable! 

2. I hate fruity desserts - not a fan of apple pie, lemon meringue pie, etc. To me, a dessert must involve CHOCOLATE. 

3. I'm pretty much legally blind. My eyesight is SO bad, and I actually probably shouldn't drive at night (even with my contacts) because it gets alot worse at night. It's sort of scary actually. I absolutely refuse to drive at night in the rain - I will just not leave the house. Pathetic, but true. I've had to make Jake pick me up from places and switch with me in the car to drive because I can't see. 

4. I never really found wedding planning for our wedding stressful at all. I had one minor freak out the entire time (like 3 weeks out from the wedding) but that was it. Obviously most of that has to do with the fact that I do it every day for my job, but alot of my friends were expecting me to be bridezilla or be really stressed. I was seriously the complete opposite. I knew what I wanted from the beginning and luckily I was able to do it all, my parents were super generous and gave me alot of freedom with the planning. Loved it!

5. Even though I love where we live, our town, our house, our lives...I would LOVE to move someplace completely different and start over somewhere. I doubt this will ever happen, but I really do like to dream about just picking up and moving to a new town/state. It would be so fun to explore some place new, get new jobs somewhere, live somewhere where we don't know anyone! I'm pretty sure we're set on where we live now for a very long time, but it's always fun to dream!

6. I really really want to be crafty! I get awesome ideas in my head and I always find fun projects to try, but they never come out how I imagine. I could fill a whole closet with my craft projects gone wrong. I wish I could sew, paint, craft myself silly!

7. I talk to my mom on the phone every single day. I typically call her on my way home from work in the evenings and we chat about our days. When we didn't talk for the entire week of our honeymoon, it felt really weird. J made fun of me for wanting to call my mom on the honeymoon, but as soon as we landed back in the US, I called her right away. I just like to talk to her about everything and nothing. 

I tag anyone else who wants to do this!

Shiny and New!

My sweet hubby installed our new dishwasher last week and I think I'm in love! I can't get over how amazing it is - super quiet and everything is so CLEAN! Our old dishwasher (the original with the house) was HORRIBLE - nothing was clean when you unloaded it and the worst didn't have a silverware basket! Weirdest thing ever that the old owners either lost or took the basket with them??? Yeah, I have no idea. And Home Depot does not just sell a basket for dishwashers, you have to special order them. Umm special order a product for a 20 year old dishwasher? No thank you.

Once we started using all our new beautiful kitchen stuff that we got from the wedding, within 2 days, I was begging J for a dishwasher. It was horrible to watch my beautiful new Lenox everyday china come out of the old dishwasher dirty and gross. Since we were planning on replacing it this winter anyway, we decided to just bite the bullet and get it a few months early (thank you wedding money!). We shopped around and ended up finding a Kenmore at Sears for a really reasonable price. I seriously L-O-V-E it (and Jake for installing it so quickly)!!

I've been on a picture kick, so of course I took pics of the whole process!

Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of our old awful dishwasher. This was after J had already pulled the old one out. Just use your imagination to think of the ugliest, oldest beige dishwasher EVER!

The hole - new dishwasher about go to in! Please don't judge my ugly and outdated kitchen - YUCK! Hate the counters, cabinets, sink - pretty much the whole thing!!

And the nice new beautiful dishwasher! AHHHH so pretty!

I really never knew I would get so excited about a kitchen appliance!

My cute husband after completing his handiwork! I love him!

Happy Friday! Hope everyone has a nice relaxing weekend!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Lobster Mac and Cheese

The recipe was a success! It really was so yummy. It was surprisingly easy and I can even see myself making this again as our regular mac and cheese, without the lobster. Maybe I'm done with the blue box? (probably not!). I made a few small changes to the recipe - I've put my modifications in bold below.

So here's the recipe, courtesey of Barefoot Contessa (found on



Kosher salt
Vegetable oil
1 pound cavatappi or elbow macaroni (I used Rotini because I think it's prettier!)
1 quart milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (4 cups)
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (I only used 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg because some of the comments on the recipe said 1/2 teaspoon was too much)
1 1/2 pounds cooked lobster meat
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed) (I used Panko Bread Crumbs because I'm super lazy and didn't feel like making my own breadcrumbs. The panko was nice and light and worked perfectly)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. In a large pot, melt 6 tablespoons of butter and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. Still whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, the pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and lobster and stir well. Place the mixture in 6 to 8 individual gratin dishes. (I am not fancy enough to have small gratin dishes, so I just put mine into a large 10x8 pan and it came out fine)
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. (since I used Panko, I didn't add any butter to the breadcrumbs) Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

Of course, I took pictures of my masterpiece!
Since it's so yellow, it's not that attractive looking, but trust me, it tasted good!

My plate - we just ate ours with arugula salad because I didn't feel like making any sides!

The table! Nice romantic dinner!

Definitely not a diet meal in anyway since it does have 6 cups of shredded cheese, a stick of butter and an entire quart of whole milk! whoops! But definitely good for a special occasion or celebration. Highly recommended!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Since the wedding planning madness is now over, I'm pretty much obsessed with all things related to home projects and home decor. Our house is still a blank slate as far as decor (we do not have ONE single thing hung on the walls and we've lived here since May). We basically painted every room, moved our old hand-me-down furniture in and called it a day. Now I'm dying to decorate, hang curtains, etc. to make it seem homey.

I came across this picture today and I'm in LOVE!

(photo found on The Nest)

My favorite part - the letters over the bed! They must be mine!! This whole room is actually a pretty perfect interpretation of what I'd like for our room. We painted our walls a very light blue and I want to accessorize with tan and chocolate brown accents. I just love how clean and tailored it is.

So if anyone has any ideas where I can find letter prints that I can frame to put over our bed, let me know!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


I found this article this morning on CNN and while I found it pretty interesting, it also scared the crap out of me! The Center for Science in the Public Interest released it's list of the top 10 riskiest foods in America. As in, cause the most sickness, etc. based on the number of outbreaks for food poisoning. Here's the list:

1. Leafy Greens
2. Eggs
3. Tuna
4. Oysters
5. Potatoes
6. Cheese
8. Tomatoes
9. Sprouts
10. Berries

Umm that is basically a list of my favorite foods of all times. Umm ICE CREAM?? Are you kidding me? Apparently there's a problem with soft serve ice cream and samonella...yikes! I knew about the sprouts (growing up, my mom wouldn't even let us eat them! I thought she was weird at the time, but apparently there is a pesticide issue with them??).

Obviously, alot of these come with proper food washing before you eat something, especially with the produce items. I'm always anal about washing our veggies and fruit, especially berries. But I don't think this list is going to make me not eat ice cream - not gonna happen!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Happy 1 Month!

I cannot believe we've been married for 1 month today. Time really does fly! It's been a wonderful 4 weeks! Since I'm off today, I plan on being a good wife and cleaning the house all day and then making a delicious dinner!

I found the Barefoot Contessa's recipe for Lobster Mac and Cheese and I'm going to attempt it! Lobster is actually on sale this week at our grocery store, so we'll see how it goes. Typically I just make the Kraft blue box - ha! I've also never cooked lobster before....eeek! If I'm successful, I will post pictures and the recipe...

I'm also surprising J with a small cake from our wedding cake bakery - the lemon cake with the lemon curd filling (his favorite layer). We didn't save our top layer at the wedding because my cake lady is a good friend of mine from work and she said she will make us a cake whenever we want one (LOVE!). Even though our cake was mostly chocolate with chocolate filling (my fave!), I figured since I'm getting it as a surprise to Jake, I will get the lemon cake since he loved that one. Speaking of cake, I found a pic of our delicious and beautiful cake from the wedding:
Isn't it adorable? The letters were actually wooden letters I found at Michaels and painted green. The ribbon looks black, but it was navy. It had garden roses and dahlias on top. SO DELICIOUS - I can't wait to eat that tonight!

I'm also picking up my wedding dress today - I had it cleaned and preserved because I just wanted to be able to stick it in the closet and not worry about it anymore. Part of me is definitely tempted to try it on to see if it still fits...I sure hope it does after only 1 month!

Off to run my errands and clean the house - Happy Monday, enjoy this beautiful fall day!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Yay October!

Happy October - my favorite month! My birthday is now officially 26 days away! In celebration of the best month of the year, I've put together a birthday wishlist from J.Crew...

These entire outfits please --

This coat (the color is amazing!)This dress...perfect for work or dinner out!

I would also take a gift card to J.Crew so I could pick everything out on my own as well - ha! I love my birthday! (yes, I'm almost 28 years old and still obsessed with my birthday!)

So I just looked at my October schedule and the month isn't shaping up to be too bad! I actually have two FULL weekends OFF! OMG - that hasn't happened in...forever! J is turning the BIG 3-0 on Halloween, so I have that entire weekend off and we are having our first big party at our house! I'm so excited! I'll have to do a post on party plans soon - I just put the invites to the party in the mail today...yes, I'm a nerd and sent out real paper invites, I was just TOO excited!

We have some major house plans on the horizon for this month too ---- soooo happy about that. We bought a new dishwasher this past weekend and J is installing it tonight! We are slowly working on replacing all our kitchen appliances. The stove and dishwasher are just the fridge and a new over-the-stove microwave! We're taking our time with it and budgeting everything...slow process but we will finish! We're planning a full kitchen upgrade (cabinets, counters, etc.) for early next year...I've started collecting ideas already!

J has also FINALLY agreed to let me spend some of our wedding money. We put it ALL in savings, but it's literally burning a whole in my pocket! We're not going to spend all of it, but we are going to replace both sliding doors (living room and basement), as well as put in a new glass storm door in at our front door. We are also planning on installing a shelving unit in our basement, to create sort of a shelving/bar type of set up. J is dying for a "man-cave" type of space down there with a small bar area and I'm allowing it, with some provisions. We found this as C&B and I think it's a great compromise on a "bar" but still really nice looking and organized:

They actually carry this at our C&B store, so we're going to go look at it this weekend and hopefully spend our wedding C&B gift cards to put towards it! Love!

Sorry this is such a boring and random post! Yay October!

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