Thursday, September 26, 2013

Things I Love Thursday // 09.26.13

  • The sound of the girls giggling and whispering to one another after lights-out ~ I can't even get irritated that they're not sleeping. The fact that they are having such a great time with one another is just too precious.
  • Every Day Counts: The art of making every day a special day ~ An IKEA coffee table book I just came across. It's full of beautiful pictures, great advice on entertaining, crafty ideas, and recipes. It's also pretty cheeky with the captions which is fun. AND it's only $8 if you have a (free) Family Membership. 
  • How to Get Flat Abs, Have Amazing Sex, and Rule the World in 8 Easy Steps ~ A great article about expectations and chasing the media-driven idea that "I will be happy when..." by Kate Bartolotta. Definitely worth the few minutes it will take you to read it. I've been thinking about this article off and on all week. Good stuff.
  • The Storybird website for writing books and poems ~ If you have school-aged children, I highly recommend this as an alternative (or addition) to consumer-laced, self-promoting "kid websites" like Disney or Nick Junior. I am even thinking about registering as a user myself and playing around with a story or two... 
  • iOS 7 ~ Listen, life is not static. Embrace change and get to the good stuff: enjoying this beautiful and user-friendly update. I'm not even sure about half the $hit my phone can do now--but I'm happy about what I've seen and I'm excited to figure the rest out. What I've played around with so far is fantastic! 
  • King of Pops popsicles ~ I've had the pleasure of Raspberry Margarita, Salted Chocolate, and Banana Pudding. Looking forward to Grapefruit Mint, Plum Ginger, and Vanilla Whopper (to name a few). 
  • Having Greg's dad (otherwise known as, Papa Mike) here visiting us this weekend
  • Hosting play dates for both girls this week and finding that the new classroom friends they've made this year are such great girls :)
  • My cozy Gap moccasins ~ that have been great "between season," daytime, go-to pair of shoes. They really do feel a lot like slippers. 
  • Busting out the crock pot again for late-evening, soccer practice, weekday-night meals ~ Tonight was Mongolian Beef over rice with stir-fried broccoli florets (a meal I prepared on Monday and stuck in the freezer along with Chicken and Dumplings, Thai Red Curry Beef, Broccoli Beef, Sloppy Joes, Pasta e Fagioli, Vietnamese Roasted Chicken, BBQ Beef and Beans, and Coq au vin). Have I mentioned this system of shopping, prepping, and freezing crock pot meals that my girlfriend Gretchen and I have been doing for about a year now? It's amazing. And 'tis the season to get busy with the prepping! 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Queen City | Festival in the Park

Today we enjoyed an absolutely beautiful day at the (46th Annual) Festival in the Park. Relieved that the storm from last night passed, we were joined by the Klemash family late this morning and were looking forward with anticipation to checking out the event. After indulging in freshly baked Miffy's Muffins, coffee, (and a little Bloody Mary sipping), we walked (and scooted) from our house to Freedom Park for the event. We were not disappointed. Sprawling throughout the entire park, the Festival was much bigger than I thought it would be. Overall, I found it to be just the right mix of art, kitsch, people-watching, family fun, "fair food," and carnival. The Carolina blue skies, sunshine, and gentle breeze certainly added to our enjoyment of the day. We came home with a couple goodies, mildly tired legs, sun-kissed cheeks, and full tummies. 
I was especially drawn to the creations by North Carolina artist, Deona Fish. We first noticed her work in our neighbor's house several months ago and I was so excited to happen upon her booth this afternoon! Her charming and sweet paintings burst with innocence and light and I fell in love with several things. 
Juggle Girl came home with us and I can't wait to show it to you when I get the girls room finalized.

Katie Crawford had a few delightful pieces available as well. I was very tempted by Toad Time (below).
Ultimately, we came home with Frank (below). I hope he'll be happy with his new family.
Cheers to our new city!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Things I Love Thursday // 09.19.13

  • The cooler (yet DRY) mornings around here hinting that fall (sweaters, boots, scarves, and coats) are just around the corner. I can't wait to see my favorite season done "East Coast Style."
  • Speaking of fall (soggy or otherwise), I am dying to bust these babies out! 

  • The fact that it is officially soccer season and I get to do something I love every Saturday: watch those monkeygirls play.
  • This Essie polish (No More Film) and my fancy new nail studs. I think it's edgy but no too young. Yes? 
  • The decadent online Kitchen/Food store that is Provisions by Food52. I want to live in this virtual space. I could spend hours (and buckets) on this site.
  • The fact that Uber is available in CHARLOTTE now! AMAZING service. So convenient. No exchange of money. Tip is included in your fare. sUriously good stuff.
  • Surprises in the mail! 
  • The outstanding Cobb salad I joyously discovered yesterday (sorry CLT, the salads y'all serve in this town leave this California girl seriously wanting). I had almost given up ordering salads in restaurants. I feel as though amazing salads are honored and celebrated on the west coast and the sad substitutes I've encountered out here have been nothing to cheer about. If you want a steak (and who doesn't love steak?) you're in the right town... If you want a great salad (at least a Cobb), head over to The Liberty in Southend. D'lish! 
  • Everyone is singing The Fox by Ylvis these days (guilty); however, I much prefer their racier, funnier, and more soulful ballad, Stonehenge. Do (if you're a grownup) give it a go. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Home Transformation | Guest Bedroom

We put the finishing touches on the guest bedroom a couple months ago but I haven't gotten around to putting together this post until today. You may notice that in some of the pictures, the rug is missing. That's because we only added the rug a few weeks ago (LOVE) and I took a majority of the photos (because I have really good intentions) back when we had 90% of the room done.
The bathroom only boasts a stand-up shower but the space is bright and cheerful.
I outfitted it with my new favorite hand soap and lotion--not just because the packaging is adorable and coordinates with the colors but because I actually love this stuff and want to treat our guests to one of my recent "things I love" items.
Another touch I loved creating was this desk organizer that I filled with reading material, stamped post cards, snacks (though any guest of ours is always welcome to raid the kitchen whenever they so desire), and personal notes.
I stock the organizer with local/southern reading choices that include Our State: North Carolina, Garden & Gun (after my initial giggle over the title, it turns out this is one of my favorite reads), Southern Lady (when I can find it--because really, how awesome is that title?), Edible Charlotte (local eats), and The Scout Guide (shopping).
And don't forget this little gorilla guy to light your yummy candle!
So let me know when you're coming!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Entertaining | Backyard BBQ (Y'all)

We had the pleasure of hosting Greg's meeting attendees this week for a (catered, thank goodness) BBQ in our back yard. It was so nice to spend more time with a few of the folks I had already begun to get to know and it was a lot of fun to meet the up-and-comers from other places in the region. Also, I like parties. I especially liked this one because I had a ton of help (Thanks, Emma!) and I delegated almost all of the food responsibility to the professionals at Mac's Speed Shop (who did such an amazing job!). 
I did get to have some fun making the cutlery bags, menu item signs, vases, and root beer floats. (All Pinspired, of course!)
Some people had a hard time choosing between the desserts. 
But who could blame them between the RB floats, banana pudding, and incredible chocolate chip cookies? (I suspect there may have been half a stick of butter in each cookie. Of course I had to do a lot of sampling to come up with educated guess.)
Cheers (again) to the close of Summer! Cheers to opening our home and lives to new friends! Cheers to the adventure (and may the stopping never start)!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Things I Love Thursday // 09.05.13

  • The 55 extra minutes in my afternoon now that the girls are riding the bus home from school
  • The fact that I don't have to feel guilty about this ↑ because the monkeygirls love riding the bus
  • Pretty Strips washi bandages - Sweet enough to make that booboo stop hurting! 
  • The hint of Autumn in the air and know that it is bringing jeans, sweaters, tights, jackets, and boots back into my life
  • The Whale by Terry Fan - 
  • Getting to know some of G's "work peeps" further and hosting a relaxing and fun BBQ for them last night
  • The fact that Martha's 2013 edition of the Halloween issue is now available - Never disappointing, the quick flip I've had time for revealed so many creative (and over-the-top) tricks and treats. The "Infested" section (pp. 42-53) is wickedly delightful. I'm swooning over the costumes on pages 66-67!
  • How hearing even a snippet of Fleetwood Mac on the radio immediately puts me in a better mood
  • The new "chores" (though, I'm not calling it that) lists (one for each monkey girl) that I created and more importantly, how they have been impacting our days ~ Download a "blank" version here for your own family.
  • Perrier's new Pink Grapefruit sparkling water in the mini cans--just enough bubbly goodness to refresh the pallet but not fill the belly!
  • How Richard Parker is so sweet to accessorize the dining room from time-to-time