Friday, March 30, 2012

Five For Friday

1. You barely batted an eye when I came home stocked up from Bed Bath & Beyond (had to make good use of that 20% off entire purchase coupon).
2. You didn't think I was crazy for laying out all of my clothes while trying to decide what to pack.
3. You were right there with a big hug when I was stressed out over a work project.
4. You picked up frog tape so I can work on a DIY project, now I just need to get one last piece to the puzzle.
5. Loved talking the whole way home from the theater about the Hunger Games movie and how we think they'll split up the next 3 movies.

One of your favorite pictures (me trying to tell you to smile for the camera, you had other ideas)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Elephant Love

If you followed me on weddingbee you know that my interest in elephants actually started back in elementary school when I wrote a report on the animal to win a papier-mâché version of it.

Vegas 2008

In all honesty, I really wanted to be Miss Zebra when I was first accepted but I'm so glad that I ended up with that cute little blue icon.

Wanting to incorporate a couple of elephants in our home decor, I was on the look out during a recent trip to Ross and Home Goods with mom. There was no shortage of options, but I was sadden that I couldn't find the elephants that I spotted late last year.

Maybe they will restock these

I narrowed it down to one larger ceramic white elephant...

 or two smaller jeweled elephants...

and left it up to Chris via picture texts.  He liked both options, but thought the pair of two would stand out more unless we painted the ceramic one.  After coming home and looking at these pictures, I decided to go back and pick up that white one too.  I think it could really make an impact in another room of our house and would be so fun to spray paint a bold color.

Have you incorporated any animals in your home decor?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Travelin' Tuesday: Fredericksburg

Wine is something I grew into after college (you know, the years of liquor and beer) and I was ecstatic that Chris planned a weekend trip to Fredericksburg, TX for my birthday in 2010.

It's a little over a 5 hour drive down to the hill country, and it's like a night and day change in scenery from our everyday.  The area is beautiful and so relaxed and was just what I needed during all of the wedding planning.  The best part of the trip was that Chris planned it all.  As a planner, I love to plan out our vacations - where we're going to stay, places to eat, what activities we're going to do.  But this trip was such a refreshing change where Chris did all of that, all I had to do was pack and enjoy.

We stayed at a cute little B&B, where Chris had arranged for champagne, chocolate covered strawberries and a couples massage.

We toured a couple of wineries and even had the opportunity to stomp some grapes!

We ate delicious breakfasts at the B&B, and Chris planned some fabulous dinners out around town.

Of course we couldn't leave without a couple bottles to go.

I love this birthday tradition of ours and hope to keep it going as long as we can!

Are you a wine drinker?  What is your favorite type of wine?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Five For Friday

1. You knocked off the last two Hunger Games book during our weekend getaway.  I loved reading the third book to you while you drove back from San Antonio.
2. You were so sweet to pick up paint samples for mom's half bath based on her paint chips on the wall.
3. Your eye for detail is going to be amazing for our house.  I loved your reasoning for picking the blown glass piece that we did.
4. You didn't get mad when I woke you up early on your last day of Spring Break thinking that you worked the open shift and not the closing one.
5. So happy that you're as excited as I am about seeing the Hunger Games tomorrow night!

From Corinne & Dave's wedding photo booth

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Reverse View On Curtains

I've never been a big fan of curtains.  I grew up in a house with mainly blinds (with the exception of the valance in my parents bedroom that matched perfectly with their bedspread, classic 80s) and have never really been inclined to do much more.  I may have even hated curtains when I worked at Kmart in high school.  I worked in the home fashions department and spent much of my time trying to fold and place the curtains back into the bags after customers took them out and left them all over the floor.  Fun times, let me tell you.

Because of this, I wasn't jumping for joy when mom asked if I would help her put up some panels in my dad's office.  I thought the blinds were enough and dad would never really notice so what was the point?  Well I stand corrected.  Those panels make such a difference in that room!  But I'm getting a bit ahead of myself.  Let's start with the before shot of the room.

As you can see mom is working with light golds, maroon and some black as the main colors in this room.  We are by no means experts, so putting up this curtain rod took some trial and error.  After a little reading of the instructions, some measurements and finally the break out of drill we were on our way.

We used the tips found on Love & Renovations and The Handcrafted Life to go a little higher and further out to maximize the size of the window. 

I'm really surprised how much I liked the addition of the panels.  I love what they do for the room and am now tempted to add some curtains in our future home.

What are your views on curtains?  Are you a big fan or are your windows fitted with blinds alone?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Travelin' Tuesday: St. Patty's on the Riverwalk

My first travel related 30 before 30, although number 2 will be close on it's heels.  It's road trip time!  Back in the day (almost one year ago!) after we got married we drove down to San Antonio for a little minimoon action.

We stayed at the same hotel that we spent our very first trip together, for sentimental reasons.  Well, that hotel happened to be doing a little construction while we were there, and by little I mean of the jack hammer variety.  We were still high off of the excitement and love from our wedding that we just overlooked it and made the best of our relaxing, newlywed days.

After returning home, I received one of those email surveys which I don't always fill out because most of the time I never hear anything back (I'm looking at you Ford!).  This time around I decided to take a couple of minutes to fill it out, explaining that the jack hammering was a little bit annoying even though we were placed on one of the top floors.  Well imagine my surprise when my phone rang later that same day with the manager of the Hampton on the other end.  She apologized for the construction, informing me that our stay was the end of renovations, and asked if she could send a gift card for a free return stay.  Who turns down a free hotel stay?  So I said yes, and promptly forgot about it until I found the card when we were packing up the apartment.

With the expiration looming, we decided to book a weekend stay coinciding with Chris' spring break from school which lined up perfectly with St. Patty's day.

We didn't have many plans for this 2 night trip, just get out of town and enjoy some downtime together. We made great timing leaving the house around 6:45 am and getting into town around 11:30, just in time for a couple of green beers.  After a round of those it was time for lunch and more drinks.

One of the cool parts of St. Patty's day is that they have a parade and dye the river green. 

With no real plans, we randomly came upon a glass blown store when this caught my eye.

So awesome!  We browsed around and learned from the shop employee that they were having glass blowing demos at the warehouse until 3.  Chris has always wanted to check this out so we made the trek over to the warehouse and watched as they went from this...

to this...

I won't pretend to know how they do it, but it was all completed in less than 30 mins and was amazing to watch.

They usually work on a couple of pieces at a time, so we also had the opportunity to watch as they added color and made this vase.

I loved the opening shape of the second vase and after walking around the showroom, we left with this candle holder.  When a candle is lit inside, the light that emits through the design spots and lines dances around the room.

With a mixture of spring breakers (college and younger), St. Patty's day, an Air Force event and a half marathon near the Alamo, the Riverwalk was packed Saturday night.  We knew we would have to wait for dinner, but at Casa Rio they weren't even taking names.  As in people were in line for 20-30 minutes just to put their names on the list and then wait another 45-60 minutes to actually get a table.  Once we learned this, we quickly exited the line and headed down the way to another Mexican place with awesome "yargaritas" to enjoy during our 15 minute wait. 

I made the mistake of ordering the grande shrimp quesadilla, and while it was so tasty it was also a little too big so I sadly left some behind (after making Chris eat a couple of pieces).

One other random happening during our trip occurred on our walk to see 21 Jump Street (which was hilarious!). Who can say no to free wine tastings?  Especially when they include wine smoothies?

Their wines are more tropical with fruits coming from Florida.  The employee was so nice, giving a great run down of all of their wines as well as some nice sized pours.

The wine smoothies were a big hit with us!  There are so many combinations that you can come up with based on the type of mix and the type of wine. 

We both loved the one in the middle which was a base of Pineapple Coconut smoothie mix with the Raspberry wine.  We picked up those bottles along with a Strawberry wine and the white sangria Category 5.

All in all it was a great get away, and we even had the chance to check out a couple of new things in a destination that we've been before.

Have you traveled to a repeat location and found something new and interesting about it?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

30 Before 30: Chris & Veggies

I didn't think I would see this day.  The day that Chris voluntarily ate a vegetable and then actually gave the go ahead to cook and eat it again!  And I have fondue to thank.

This past Saturday the family took my dad out to the Melting Pot to celebrate his birthday.

As usual we saved our appetite all day for the big night out and our favorite ying yang cocktails.

The big night out this time around featured an American theme with a Boston Lager Cheddar Cheese first course, a Wisconsin Wedge Salad for the second course and a Chocolate Wildberry Crunch for dessert (which was a take on the classic PB&J).  The main course featured items such as Old Bay Shrimp, Buffalo Chicken, Memphis- Style BBQ Pork Tenderloin and Lobster.  The item that I thought Chris would shy away from was the Wild Mushroom Sacchetti, which was a little pasta like package of mushroom and cheese.  I don't know if it was the fondue experience, but not only did Chris eat both of his mushroom sacchetti, he also ventured to try a mushroom cap which came with the bowl of veggies.

And yes he is sticking his tongue out because I told him I had to get a picture of this momentous occasion!

I was shocked when he went back for another! Although I didn't cook it, I'm going to mark that as a win on the 30 before 30 list and start looking for recipes that incorporate mushrooms so I can hopefully keep this veggie streak going.

Are you more likely to try something new when you're out at a restaurant?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Paint Chip Art - Pinterest Challenge

In preparation for a new home project mom and I are about to take on, we headed over to the paint department at Home Depot.  I day dreamed about colors for our future home, while mom looked into a new paint color for their half bath.  The longer Behr chips have a little punch out in the bottom left hand corner so you can make your own ring.  I now have a different ring for our potential master bedroom, one for the master bath, one for the family room and one for our laundry room color choices.

While punching out the little tabs, I thought it would be a waste to just throw them out.  They were a perfect uniform shape and after looking through some of my paint chip pins on Pinterest (Thanks for the inspiration Two Girls Being Crafty and  Blue Velvet Chair!) I thought it would be a great project for Katie's (Bower Power) and Sherry's (YHL) Pinterest challenge!  I quickly swiped all of moms warmer tones from downstairs to contrast the cooler tones that Chris and I are feeling for our colors.  After playing around for a bit, I decided on a pattern and grouped them together.

A frame on sale at Micheal's, a little glue and this is what I came up with!

We have several black frame/white mat combos currently in storage and plan to make a gallery wall in our house.  I made the design with a vertical hanging in mind, but I don't think the horizontal view is half bad.

And a little close up of the punch outs in action.

Not too shabby for a piece of art that cost a total of $7.50 plus tax (the frame was 50% off, plus a bonus coupon of 25% off).  We now have a beautiful piece for our gallery wall and have a clear view on the colors we want to paint the main rooms.

Do you have a gallery wall in your house?  If so, is it a mix of art and pictures?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Travelin' Tuesday: New Orleans

How much can you do/see in New Orleans in 16 hours?

This is something we found out when we went for my birthday in 2008.  Our trip was supposed to be 4 days, but thanks to the evacuation for Hurricane Gustav, we were back on a plane 16 hours after we had landed.

Thankfully the weather was beautiful during the time we were there so shortly after landing we changed and headed out on a walk around the French Quarter, see the sights and pick up a couple of souvenirs. 

We even had the chance to check out the beautiful architecture of buildings that we sadly wouldn't get to enjoy such as Cafe Du Monde, the Hard Rock Cafe and Muriel's.

Since our original plan was to eat at Hard Rock, which was already closed for the hurricane, we had dinner at Pat O'Brien's.

I'm not sure if it was a mix of the hand grenades (the drinks in those plastic bottles) or the food but during our walking ghost tour I wasn't feeling so great.

After our haunted history tour we headed back to the hotel not knowing what the status of the rest of our trip would be.  The news was warning of the impending hurricane and the town was starting to close down stores, restaurants and the trolleys.  Early the next the morning I woke up to find Chris not doing so well, which ended up being a blessing in disguise.  After checking on him, I turned on the lights to see that a letter of mandatory evacuation from the hotel had been slipped under the door.  I was quick to call American Airlines and get on the earliest flight out of town.

We were sad to cut our trip short (and even sadder that we forked over so much for airport breakfast), but we knew there was no taking chances with a hurricane in New Orleans.

The good news is that we were able to plan another trip there and had the chance to experience the town all over again.

Has bad weather ever ruined your trip?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Homemade Meatballs

A big thank you to Brandi over at Silver Pencils for this recipe for homemade meatballs!  After seeing this on her blog and knew that I wanted to give it a shot.

-1 lb Ground Beef (I used ground sirloin)
-1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
-1 Egg
-1.5 teaspoon Basil
-1.5 teaspoon Parsley
-1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
-1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
-1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper
-3/4 cup Panko Bread Crumbs (1/4 cup to mix into meatball, 1/2 cup to roll meatballs in)

In a bowl mix together the beef, cheese, egg, basil, parsley, garlic powder, salt, red pepper flakes and 1/4 cup of the Panko bread crumbs.  Once the meatball mixture was created, I molded into little sections and placed on wax paper.

You'll notice that they vary in sizes, which was not done on purpose.  I was trying to eye ball the 1.5 ounce portions that are suggested, but then realized that I had more than the 24 that could bake at one time in my mini muffin tin.  I didn't want to do two sets, so I started to combine them to get down to 24.

After you have portioned out all of the meatballs, it's time to roll them in the bowl containing the other 1/2 cup of Panko crumbs and place them into a mini muffin pan.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  I always fear that my parents older stove cooks differently than the stove we had in our apartment, so be sure to check the inside of the meatballs before serving.

I opted to make meatball subs with toasted wheat rolls, some heated marinara sauce and topping with Parmesan cheese.  

These meatballs were very easy to make and taste so good!  I will definitely be making these again, possibly for our next pasta night. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Travelin' Tuesday: Disney Part 2

Disney Part 1

Our second full day was split between Magic Kingdom and another stop over at Epcot for the main attractions.

It's interesting that the separate lands within Magic Kingdom open at different times.  This could be a pro or a con because it does mean that everyone tends to head in the same direction.  On the other hand, it means that we were able to get onto certain rides and were again in the beginning of the line when other lands opened.

We hit up all of the main attractions at Magic Kingdom in record time (I really thought this would be an all day park) and hopped on the tram back over to Epcot.  Going in April was pretty good timing, the lines were very manageable, most of which we breezed through in 15 minutes or less.  Soarin' was the only ride that I started to get a little antsy as we waiting in line for over an hour.  On the plus side, at least we were waiting inside of a building rather than outside like most rides.

Later that night we headed back to Magic Kingdom for a chance to pick up some personalized ears and see the fireworks.

Our last half day was spent on the rides of Hollywood Studios.

We only had a half day because we had to make it back to the airport to catch our shuttle down to Port Canaveral for our cruise.  We made the most of it by using the magic hours and fast pass options.

I was really happy with the dining package while we were in Disney.  Our package included lunch, a snack and dinner everyday.  We could eat lunch at any of the eateries and it included a drink and dessert from a selected menu.

Snacks tended to be ice cream while we tried to cool off during the day in the park.

Our dinners were in Epcot because it had the biggest selection of nicer restaurants.   Our meal in Canada was by far one of the best meals we've had while traveling.  I would go back for that meal in an instant!

It was a jam packed 3 days, but I am so glad we added a couple of days onto our trip to make this possible.  I am excited to return, hopefully with kids of our own.