Carpenters in the Making

Thursday, February 28, 2013
Pete and I have taken it upon ourselves to build some of the furniture for our home. After successfully completing Project #1, a side table for the living room, we agree that it was an awesome decision. Not only does Pete get to use tools (and purchase some for that matter), but it's a great way for us to bond while working on a mutual interest. Plus, we love that our table is original to us and no one has one like it. We imagined what we wanted in a side table, came up with measurements, bought the wood, cut the wood down to size, screwed it all together, and stained it. Now it's nestled between the couch and chair, like it's always been there.

Even if we aren't skilled carpenters yet, we're working on it. Next is a dining room table and some accompanying bench seating! 

Wedding Wednesday: Gowns & Suits

Wednesday, February 27, 2013
What could be more fun than picking out dresses and suits for the bridal party with your family and best friends? Last Saturday, Pete and I packed up our bags and headed to Southwest Virginia to do just that. Our mission was to scout out the dresses and suits our attendants would be wearing. Early that morning and with a large crowd in tow, we took over Bride's House in Roanoke. Lucky for us, there was a bridal suite in the back, which gave us the privacy and space we needed. My job was to orchestrate the dress-trying-on affair. For those of you with upcoming weddings, I have some tips to successfully choosing the right dresses for not only your concept, but for your bridesmaids too.
  • Know what fabric and length you want. This will automatically narrow down the selection of dresses. 
  • Have your wedding color palette in mind when looking at the fabric swatches, and eliminate the designeres that don't offer what you are looking for.
  • Keep your bridesmaids in mind and allow them to wear what they most feel comfortable in. It's important to remember that everyone has a different body type and everyone feels comfortable in certain cuts. Let them know what ideas you have and ask them to stick to those.
  • Go in with an open mind! You never know what is available and what options there are for color and dress mixing. 
    • Do you want all one dress style, a combination of dresses and colors, etc.
I must say, my experience was phenomenal and it couldn't have turned out better! Going in with the above mindset made the day run that much more smoothly. Giving the bridesmaids your guidelines for dresses, allows them to pick out something they are interested in and fits their body type well. I asked them to each pick out their top two dress choices after trying on an array of options. Using those decisions I found what combinations matched and thus was able to determine what worked. Because the dresses are by different designers, it was key to remember that the color in one set of dresses would be a different shade than the other dresses. Picking which dress would be in what color was easy once I discovered that one of the designers didn't offer one of the possible color choices. My bridemaids will be in two dress styles, one group in one color and the other group in another color.

After knowing what the ladies would be wearing, Pete and I finished up with picking the color of the vests and ties for the men. With black suits, we knew we wanted a color that would match both dress colors. And we settled on a charcoal for the groomsmen and ivory for the groom. Yep, that' right, Pete is wearing ivory. So what color do you think I'm wearing...

By the end of that day, I was feeling very content in the outcome and happy knowing that one more 'to-do' was checked off the list. Pete and I will have ten of our closest family and friends standing by our side the day of our wedding. Truly, we couldn't be happier or more blessed!

The tiniest brides you've ever seen! 
After making our final decisions and placing the orders, it was time to eat!
And we chose Mexican! 

A Bit of Sparkle

Tuesday, February 26, 2013
I'm easily a huge jewelry fan, and I am a firm believer that you can never have too many bracelets, necklaces, rings, or earrings. My collection is still budding and growing steadily. With a love for such a variety of stones, jewels, and intricate beadwork, I have found myself as a new stylist for Stella & Dot! I'm super excited to begin this journey with such a wonderful company and I'm so looking forward sharing it with everyone!  Come explore my personal page, look around, and indulge in a new statement piece that reflects you best. Yay for all that sparkles and shines!

A Family Affair

Monday, February 25, 2013
Yesterday was spent celebrating the life of Pete's grandmother. It was a beautiful day to remember her and come together as a family. With varying schedules and lives scattered throughout Virginia and Maryland, getting all the Hills together is rare, but when it happens it's an event to remember. Sunday was nothing short of just that and wouldn't have been the same without everyone there. 

Thankful for all that family loving and the quality time we had together!

Today Was THE Day

Friday, February 22, 2013

Notice anything about this picture?? Come on, look harder...oh wait you see it now? That's right my left foot is standing all on its own without any large boot or crutch supporting it! Today I was cleared of the boot by my doctor and I'm three pounds lighter (literally, that boot was not little). After seven weeks of recovery, it's safe to say I'm overjoyed to be rid of the space boot, the ace wrap, and gauze. My foot is free and it feels wonderful! I do have to admit, though, that I have forgotten how to walk. Or rather, that my left foot has forgotten how to properly take a step and instead would much rather limp along. The problem stems from a complete lack of ankle, calf, and toe movement while wearing the medical boot. Plus my knee didn't really bend much while walking. And thus, when I first tried to walk today there was a bit of a learning curve as I tried to get myself back to where I was before surgery. I'm still practicing and getting better. For now, I just have to live with the little bit of swagger I have in every step.

These Days...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013
...I'm obsessed with several things, like
  • bright, crisp blue (especially for family room accent pieces)
  • chevron & ikat 
  • Starbucks (well that's not new)
  • cocktail ottomans 
  • organization with simple, statement pieces 
  • acapella 
  • club chairs with buttons & desk chairs with nailhead edges
  • photo frames with some spunk 
  • succulents
  • cloches & apothecary jars
  • alternative music (like below, which I just can't keep out of my head)
1. Marchmain Club Chair from Joss&Main  2. Glass Cloche Jewelry Storage from Pottery Barn   3. Threshold Photo Frame from Target  4. Duralee Blue Ikat Pillow Covers from TrendyPillows on Etsy  5. Succulents from Lowe's  6. Lorraine Armchair from Pottery Barn  7. Mercury Glass Lamps from Pottery Barn  8. Voluminous Canisters from Pottery Barn

And a little alternative music for you to enjoy! You'll be singing this for the rest of the night...

Sushi, It's What's For Dinner

Tuesday, February 19, 2013
After a grocery trip in Charlottesville, Pete and I dined under the stars. Okay, so not literally, but more of the LED kind at a sushi restaurant. It's been forever since I've had sushi and it was time to break the streak. So we did just that and now I'm content and full.

A Challenge of Sorts

Monday, February 18, 2013
A few days ago I was talking to Pete (remember, my fiance) about my blog. We were discussing my purpose in blogging and my hopes for it in the future. At then, at the end of that conversation, he presented me with a challenge. Let me give you some background information before I give you the details...

Pete has been full of encouragement when it comes to me blogging and he's been an avid reader from the beginning. He was even the one to give me the final push to start writing. And here I am now, pouring out tales of our life and truly enjoying every bit of it. To know Pete is to know a wonderful man with a sweet heart, a lot of ambition, and enough goofiness to last a lifetime (can you see why I'm so in love with him?). He's also a numbers person and fittingly he is an engineer.  After explaining to him how many followers I have, his mind jumped right to the quantitative side of things. He proposed that if I can get to 70 followers by March 18th, he would surprise me with a weekend trip this summer. He's been hinting at New York and a broadway performance, or maybe something set on the beach. Either way, I am very intrigued and super excited. But, I need YOUR help! I need to double the number of followers I currently have! And let's do one better, let's succeed Pete's challenge and surprise even him! I have exactly a month from today, to reach the goal and then a weekend excursion is mine and Pete's to enjoy!

I Could Go For...

Friday, February 15, 2013
  • a grande caramel brulee latte from starbucks (there's no starbucks here and the withdrawals have begun)
  • a thunderstorm with booming thunder and brilliant lightning (it's true, i love thunderstorms)
  • a shopping trip with my mom and sister 
  • a ceramic pot full of fresh lavender
  • a bunch of lit candles, preferably lilac (spring is on the brain)
  • a date including dinner and a movie (that happens tomorrow night!)
  • a manicure and pedicure (the pedicure will have just have to wait until my foot is completely healed)
  • a trip/long weekend at the beach
  • fresh, cooked crabs from Savannah 
  • stracciatella lindor chocolate truffles (their cookies & cream version) 
  • the weekend....oh wait that starts in t-minus two hours! 

Happy Friday!!!

In Love With Love

Thursday, February 14, 2013
Today I am thankful for love, all kinds of love. I am blessed to know the love of a faithful God, wonderful family, great friends, and an amazing fiance. Because my life has been filled with each of these types of love, I've been left with a happy abundance of love. If I've learned anything in my twenty-three years, it's how to love unconditionally and with all that have. I'm lucky to know love, feel love, and give love. 

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Craft With What You've Got!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Today I got crafty with the odds and ends laying around the apartment. There were some extra large frames, a ball of cream yarn, leftover ribbon, old cardboard, and a stack of colored paper. Put that together and this is what I got (time 2) and what the dining room got too (they're now hanging to the left and right of the double windows). Want to know how it was done? Leave a comment!

Beef Stew for Days

Monday, February 11, 2013
Pete and I love cooking together, especially when we are trying something out for the first time or implementing a new recipe we have stewed up (get it?). Our favorite is rummaging through the spice cabinet and picking out the seasonings that would best suit the dish. Then we move on to whatever else the kitchen holds...will we add those canned veggies in the pantry, or what about the frozen chicken in the freezer? It can be a lot of fun creating a meal and that's exactly what we did for dinner last night. (Our beef stew recipe at the bottom!)
Beef Stew:
You'll Need:
    • 3 cans beef broth (we used Swanson)
    • 2 1/2 cups water
    • Pot roast (we opted for precut chunks)
    • 2 TBSP all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup cornstarch 
    • Olive oil for drizzling 
    • 2 good splashes worcestershire sauce
    • 1 medium onion
    • 4 small potatoes
    • 2 cups cut carrots
    • 2 stalks chopped celery
    • 2 cups frozen green beans
    • 1 TBSP salt
    • 1 tsp thyme
    • 1/2 tsp veggie pepper
What you'll Do:
    • Use the olive oil to drizzle in a pan. In a plastic bag, put the flour and cubed meat; shake to coat each piece. Place in the pan and cook until done. Then put into crock-pot off to the side.
    • Chop onion (into whatever size you prefer) and put in the pan previously used for the meat. Add one can of beef broth and let the onion cook until translucent on medium-high heat. Once those are cooked, add them + the broth to the crock-pot.
    • In the same pan add the remaining two cans of broth and combine with the seasonings and worcestershire sauce. Let that heat up and then add to the crock-pot. Add the 2 1/2 cups of water next.
    • After chopping up the vegetables, add them to the crock-pot. Let the stew cook on high for an hour. Once the hour has passed, cook it on low for approximately 4 hours. 
    • While the stew is cooking, pay attention to the thickness of the broth mixture. About two hours into the cooking process, combine a small amount of cold water with 1 TBSP of cornstarch, in a separate bowl. After stirring together, add the cornstarch mixture to the crock-pot (stirring while doing so). Repeat this as many times as needed to reach desired thickness.
    • Now make some cheesy biscuits and enjoy!