3.29.2012

snail mail wishes

It's a dying art, snail mail.
But while email is instantaneous, there's nothing quite like receiving a note the old fashion way.
Knowing that someone took the time to lovingly pen a message.
Spent their hard earned pennies on postage.
Took the walk down to the street to send their note on its way.

My brother married my best friend last year.  It ended up being a pretty good deal for me.
So I wanted to help them celebrate their first year of marriage.
But with so many friends living all over the world, a party wasn't in the cards.
So I decided to create a little project that everyone could help with!

Using their gorgeous wedding photographs, I created postcards addressed to Chris & Megan.


And sent one to everyone who had shared in Chris & Megan's special day.
Each person received a little note instructing them to share their favorite wedding memory and even some best wishes on their first anniversary.


And to just drop it in the mailbox sometime during the month of March.


Chris & Megan received a few postcards a day from around the world.
Wishing them happiness and joy and love :)

3.28.2012

grateful

This might be a bit vague.
But there have been a few too many tidbits of bad news over just a few days.
The kind of things that take you by surprise.
And make you give your life a second look.


Grateful.
That's how I'm feeling today.
For those simple things that we enjoy every day.


So while not every moment in my life is filled with joy, happiness and those I love, the majority of them are.
And that's something to be truly grateful for.

3.27.2012

home office

I'm getting that ache to paint again.
Again you say?  Didn't you spend the whole winter painting?
Hm yes, but that was trim.  And most of that paint ended up in my hair.

I'm moving onto bigger and better things.
Like my home office.
Which is next on my list to tackle.

Here is what it looks like today.


BRIGHTTTTTT yellow and not as clean.
It's become a catch-all for furniture that we don't really know what to do with.

But soon, it will be my office.  Where I can be creative, inspired and generally relaxed.
I've already purchased a desk, chair and bookcase via Craigslist that need to be refinished.
And have Adam's childhood dresser to act as a temporary file cabinet.

My biggest dilemma is what color to paint the upper portion of the walls.
Here's my current inspiration board for the room - any suggestions?  


I was leaning towards a light, greyish pink but am now wondering if a soft blue or green would be better.
I want the room to feel polished, but also a bit whimsical.
And if you haven't noticed, I love the color grey.
A lot.
 

3.26.2012

weekend

I had the greatest weekend with 'no plans'.
That ended up being a weekend without a minute to spare.
Even though I thought I needed a break, what I needed was a date night with my husband.  Over pizza and beer.  Just catching up on every moment of the week.  It flies by much too fast.

A day date with my girlfriends.
Sipping on sangria and cucumber water outside a cozy little wine bar.

 
Indulging in rosemary and goat cheese flatbread.


Watching the world outside and giggling uncontrollably at every word uttered between us.
We saw Hunger Games immediately after.
And may have found more humor in the movie than others did.

Adam and I managed to sneak an invite to some club seats at the Lake Erie Monsters game.
A nacho bar and free beer?
Talk about heaven for Adam.


And yesterday we made some impromptu home improvements.
By impromptu I mean we installed the new garage door opener that we bought almost eleven months ago.
And by we, I mean Adam and his dad.
They're quite the handy duo.


 Their hard work was repaid with an encore of this peach barbecue sauce.
 I'm eyeing a mango version for round three.

I have to say, for having nothing to do, this was one of the best weekends I've had yet.

3.22.2012

peach barbecue sauce

I have an abnormal love of barbecue sauce.
It goes on everything.
Even pizza.

So when Adam wanted to try making our own at home, I was elated.  An unending supply of barbecue sauce at my fingertips?  This was the life.


If you share my feelings you'll probably want to whip this up right away.
And put it on everything from chicken wings to pork chops.
And grilled asparagus.
And garlic-basil pasta.

Peach Barbecue Sauce

2 slices of smoked bacon
 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, peeled and diced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 cups ketchup
1 cup peach preserves
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoon ground paprika
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
 
Wrap the bacon slices around the sprigs of thyme and tie with kitchen twine to make a bundle.  Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan and saute the bacon/thyme for about 5 minutes.  Remove the bundle and untie to release the thyme sprigs.  Add a little bit of the thyme back into the saucepan.

Add the onions and garlic, saute for about 5 minutes until transparent but not browned.  Add the remaining ingredients and simmer on low for about 20 minutes.  Remove the saucepan from heat and place in the fridge for 2-3 hours once cooled.

Use generously on everything.
Our current favorite?  Pork chops seasoned with cayenne pepper and basted with peach barbecue sauce.

3.19.2012

so succulent

It's spring in Cleveland.
Well.  For now.
I probably just jinxed our 75 degree weather with that statement.
Chances are it will be snowing next week.

But while the sun is shining and the birds are chirping (missed those noisy fellas), I'll start dreaming of everything around me turning that fresh shade of green that radiates life.  I'm forever amazed at the earth wakening in the warmer weather.  It's such a beautiful time of year after a cold, grey winter.

While a full-fledged garden is not on the docket for this year, I'm considering starting a succulent garden so I can bring some green into the house next winter.


These little green plants are so simple.
Yet so unique from one another in the tiniest of ways.
I've been enamored with the idea of using these small potted plants as favors at a future party.  Planted in little clay pots, adorned with beautiful calligraphy.

So sweet and so simple.
So succulent.
 

3.16.2012

after work

I get home from work about an hour before Adam does some days.
I love it.
It's my time to unwind.  Take the dog for a longer than normal walk.  Create in the kitchen.
Get caught up on Pretty Little Liars (guilty pleasure)
 
 
Somedays the dog and I just play outside and enjoy the weather.
Somedays we plop ourselves in a chair and just relax.
 
 
 He protects the house from the squirrels.
And I indulge in a little light reading (Vogue).
 
 
And on days when Adam is late, we get to watch the sky turn from a brilliant blue to a soft pink.
It's one of my favorite parts of the day.

Hope you all have a fun weekend!  Happy St Pats :)


3.14.2012

tutorial: chalkboard wine glasses

I made these this past weekend for my SIL's surprise party.
They were quite the hit.  
Especially since no one had to guess which glass was theirs after they set it down.

These would be a great budget-friendly, DIY project for any birthday party, bridal shower or even for brunch!


wine glasses (I purchased mine from Walmart for under $1 each!)
chalkboard paint ($4)
painter's tape
paintbrush
chalk


Apply one thin coat of paint and let it dry for an hour.
Apply another coat of paint and remove the painter's tape carefully.
Let the paint cure for 24 hours.


Rub the chalkboard portion with chalk and let it sit for five minutes to condition the paint.
Clean off the chalk with a paper towel and your glasses are ready to use!

Based on the brand/type of chalkboard paint you purchase, you might be able to wash the glasses in the dishwasher.  I hand-washed mine just to be on the safe side.
 

3.13.2012

megan's 31st: a wine tasting surprise

I threw a party this weekend.
That's probably why you thought I fell off the face of the earth.
I assure you, the world is not flat.  Therefore, I'm still here.
But I didn't quite have time for anything other than planning for this very special surprise party.

See, my SIL turned 30 last year.
A fact that was greatly overlooked by the fact that she was marrying my brother two weeks later.
It's kind of hard to plan more than a cupcake with a lonely candle in it when there's a huge celebration going down in a mere 14 days.
So we nixed it, and brought it to life this year instead.

She thought we were going out to dinner.
Silly girl.


 We gathered all her friends and instructed everyone to bring a bottle of wine to share.


Which I might add is very budget friendly for the host.


I kept the decor simple.  A natural, silver color scheme with touches of plum.  White pillars, mercury accents and wine corks were scattered across the room.


The menu included eight different kinds of cheeses complete with descriptions and pairing suggestions.
Three different chocolates.
Berries, pears and apples.
Homemade pasta.  Spinach salad with cranberries, walnuts and feta.
And of course, wine.

[excuse the yellowish tone of some of these photos, our dining room light glows like the sun and makes photography a headache]

I even got all pinterest-saavy.  And made these chalkboard bottomed wine glasses so there wouldn't be any mix-ups during the night.  They worked beautifully - a great idea for any party with lots of people.  I'm thinking that I might try this on some Old Fashioned glasses for the future.

[Tutorial coming tomorrow!]

And took a page out of Martha Stewart's book and created this mural of photos in the shape of a '31'.

 
 Just in case she forgot how old she is :)

And my favorite little detail?
The favors.
Yes, I know that giving favors out at a small surprise party may seem odd.   But I wanted to thank everyone who made the trip to make Megan's birthday a night to remember.
I tossed around the idea of mini-bottles of wine, openers and glass tags.
But landed on something even simpler.


These pieces of oak were actually used in the wine-making process.  They are placed in barrels of wine for years in order to infuse toasty, oak flavors into the brew.
Afterwards, they are dried and packaged for another use.

Grilling!
Just soak a few pieces of oak in water, wrap in a tinfoil packet and place next to your meat on the grill.  The packet will smoke and infuse your meat with oak and wine flavors.
A perfect little token for a wine party.

Happy Birthday Megan - we love you lots! xo
 









3.02.2012

the fever

Our first close friends had a baby last week.
No big deal.  But she's pretty much the most adorable thing ever.  With a full head of hair.
I've been oohing-and-ahhing over her.
A little too much.
And then I realized.

I've got the fever.
The baby fever.

I can't help it.

My husband probably just turned white and fainted while reading this post.

disclaimer:
I am not with child.
Nor will I be with child anytime soon.
It's not in the plans.  Yet.
And it would put a damper on my summer volleyball season.

But hey, a girl can plan...
Well, kind of.  It seems like everytime I pin anything REMOTELY related to children I get at least three emails asking when I'm due.
Jumping the gun here people.  You'll be the first to know when it's time.

But daydreams of a sweet little version of Adam are sometimes the best daydreams.  Plus, if our first-born happens to be a boy, you know this will happen:


Can't help myself.  The boy will love boating and soccer.
It's in his genes.

Also, baby boat shoes might surpass leg dimples as the cutest thing ever.
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