Saturday, January 29, 2011

thirty five years.

today is my sweet hubbys birthday... 35 years old! i am so thankful that he was born and that life brought us together! i wanted to plan a special weekend for this occasion, so on friday while he worked, i labored in the kitchen making david's favorite chocolate cake by ina garten... and my lord, was it amazing!!! HERE is the recipe if you're interested. the secret ingredient is a cup of hot freshly brewed coffee... and it seriously makes the cake so moist. so on friday, when david arrived home from work, the cake was sitting on the table with a '35' candle in the middle. i was pretty proud of my work.
that evening we met up with friends and had dinner at Chicora Alley in downtown Greenville. this restaurant has quickly become one of our favorites here, and i always get the same thing every time because it is the best thing i've ever tasted! all the dishes are loaded with flavors of mango and pineapple and all different sorts of salsas... just so delish! when asked what kind of food you would get at chicora alley, i am lost for words. so you all can be aware, here is what the menu reads:
"our quarters provide a cozy setting where you can enjoy a lively blend of caribbean reggae and southern jazz.  a place where the cuisine is a fusion of exotic island and good ol' southern home cookin'."
this was my dish - roasted chicken burrito with pineapple mango salsa and plantains.. so so  good!
and this is me and the birthday boy enjoying our night! (excuse the blur)
today, we had a slow morning, which is always lovely, then headed to Asheville to celebrate the day. i could celebrate every day in asheville, it is truly a town like no other. we had lunch and shopped, then ended our day at posana cafe, which is the greatest coffee and cocktail cafe IN THE WORLD. everything they serve is made fresh...they even make their own italian sodas, as well as their own chai. its all just amazing. HERE is their menu. and here are our drinks-
and here are just a few of the reasons that i love asheville... musicians on every corner, the friendliest people on earth, coffee shops and little specialty shops everywhere you look... i am very thankful that we live so close to all this greatness!

i am most thankful for my fabulous husband, who still amazes me every single day! happy birthday, babe!!! love you more than words!
Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ruffles Galore

So maybe you have noticed the new design... I've worked hard and long on dressing up my little slice of blog-land, and it has all (finally) paid off. I'm loving it!
My husband was out of town for a night this weekend, so me and mr. singer (my sewing machine, of course) had many hours of catching up to do. I started earlier this week making a project that I ABSOLUTELY CANNOT WAIT TO SHOW... but it's a surprise for someone lovely, so it'll have to wait. On a good note, I did make some great things that I will be sharing!
Project One.
First, I will admit of my obsession with tea towels. I just love them. So many different styles and colors and trimmings... and Anthropologie makes the ABSOLUTE BEST! Every time I go in Anthro, I wanna buy atleast three. (atleast)
Well, this weekend, I made my own version of a lovely little tea towel. I found a graphic recently that I've been dying to use, and I have had a stash of flour sack towels forever now, so I got to work. Here is how I made it and the materials you will need to make your own.

2 flour sack tea towels (the second is only used for the ruffle at the bottom, you could use any different fabrics if you desire)
Sewing Machine
Graphic of your choice
Transfer Paper for Light Colored Fabric

First step is to cut the bottom off of one of the tea towels. This will be the fabric used to make the ruffle. When making a ruffle, the rule of thumb is to cut the fabric three times the length of what you will be using it on. Once the fabric is cut to size, sew a stitch along the top. (don't back stitch at the beginning or you will not be able to pull the thread!!!) You should have something that looks like this -
To make the ruffle, you simply pull the string from the back of the fabric and gather. Yes, that's it.
Next step is to pin the ruffle on the second towel.
Now it's time to sew! You will obviously have to unfold all the fabric of the tea towel and sew only through the main front side. I forgot to take a picture of that part... sorry.
Now that your ruffle is sewn to the bottom of the tea towel, you could be finished because it already looks adorable, but I had that graphic I needed to use... I just mirrored the image, printed it out on fabric transfer paper and cut around my edges.
Iron the top of your fabric that you will be transferring on to removes any creases or wrinkles. Place the transfer face down and press with an iron for about 5 minutes. Remove the backing and you're all done. I couldn't be happier with how mine turned out! Absolutely lovely.
A project that took about 25 minutes to make and cost next to nothing.

Project 2 - Ruffled Tote

Tote Bag (you can make your own or buy one at Hobby Lobby or other craft stores for only a few dollars)
fabric for ruffles
sewing machine

I have had a Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic shower curtain folded in a closet for as long as I can remember. I would never part with it because the fabric was so pretty. I finally pulled that thing out and decided to use it for this bag project. My other fabric chosen was a simple off white muslin.
You make your ruffles the same way as before - pin them on your fabric and sew.
I had a long strip remaining from the piece of fabric I had cut out of the shower curtain... about 1 inch wide. I made a rolled flower and pinned it on the top. To do this, you literally roll and twist, using fabric glue as you go. I really love how this bag turned out... especially with the flower!
Thursday, January 20, 2011

pasta night!

I haven't really been able to taste much of the food I have eaten for the past couple days due to being sick... but today - VERY DIFFERENT!
We have had a pasta machine for two years, and have yet to even open the box... until tonight. We have watched Jamie Oliver make pasta countless times, and always say we will make it, but never commit. So this evening, we put the machine together, gathered our supplies, and had the BEST DINNER EVER!
HERE is the youtube of Jamie's episode showing how to make this simple pasta. David made one his fabulous sauces, and added chicken and broccoli. So so so so good... and it's so fun making dinner together! Now, if it were only 9pm so I could watch the Housewives of Beverly Hills finale... not an hour that will be shared with my husband! 
bon appetit :)
Wednesday, January 19, 2011

travel & illness & snowy days...

I have been SO sick for the past three days. The only good thing that came from this - I have slept about 65 hours, so I'm pretty much caught up. Running a fever as an adult is the worst feeling ever! When I left work, I was at 101.3. It was seriously all I could do to drive home. Now, the fever is gone and I'm getting back to normal. Last night I whipped up a hot toddy and I swear, it made me feel a zillion times better!!! Here is how I made it:
Boil the juice of one lemon with 1/4 cup of honey. Add that mixture to 1/2 cup of hot tea and stir. Then for the kicker... A shot of bourbon. Drink it up and you'll feel so much better! Promise.
Last week was spent in West Virginia with my family (where I caught this nasty illness) while my dad had his surgery. Honestly, I cannot believe how well he went through his recovery. Yes, he is still in the process of recovering, but he just did amazing! They removed the top portion of his lung, along with the surrounding lymph nodes, and they seem certain that they removed all the cancer!!!! For now, he is still on oxygen, but who would expect any different after losing a portion of a lung. I'm just so proud of him and so very grateful for this outcome. Some people aren't as lucky as he, and we all know that.
How did I spend my hours and hours of waiting in the hospital.... well, remember what I purchased to take home with me...
Well, I'm excited to announce that this is what I have started!!! 
Yes, it's a knitted afghan in green! Its gonna take forever to finish, but it will get done before next winter!
Before we left for WV, South Carolina got pounded with a snow storm (which made getting home all sorts of fun)! Here is a few shots I took before we headed out.
Our street looked amazing covered in snow... as did our yard! The rosemary and lavender looks very wintery, and our garden Buddha is almost covered. 
Our sweet pups could live in the snow! Here are some shots of them playing...
sweet emme... I loved this picture!
Sunday, January 9, 2011

a few of my favorite things.

Christmas is over... and the decorations are ALL put away in my home. (sigh) 
Things are back to normal around here, and I must say, I am remembering why I love a simple and classic home. One resolution this year between the hubby and I is to downsize our 'stuff' around the house and in closets and drawers. Donate stuff, give stuff away, and throw stuff away... I SENSE A YARD SALE IN THE FUTURE!
Since I stated in a previous blog that I would share a few of my favorite new things, I will use this time to do that. 
new china teacups from Anthropologie
they fit perfectly on my shelf
best. moisturizer. ever.
gift from hubby - bird necklace stand that i absolutely adore!
two new necklaces - the one with the bird was  from my soon-to-be sister-in-law!
another anthropologie goodie.
the ultimate gift... our macbook... "little mac" next to "big mac"
Some views around my home - 
So... after speaking of downsizing literally ten seconds ago... this lovely blue chair was brought home with us from Nashville. It fits PERFECTLY under the window and it's my new favorite spot in my house.
 Not many things in life make me happier than finding a blue mason jar. They truly make the perfect addition to anything.
the H now hangs on the wall
indoor bulbs are blooming... i'm dreaming of springtime!
Here in South Carolina, when snow is in the forecast, people really go insane. We are expecting a snow storm tonight and tomorrow, the day I will be leaving to drive 6.5 hours to WV. Let's hope the snow doesn't get in my way because I WILL MAKE IT HOME! My dad is having surgery on Wednesday morning, so I will be spending a week there with him. I am nervous, as anyone would be, but I have nothing but positive thoughts about the entire process. He has done amazing so far, and he will be with this, too! For those of us who know about surgery days... especially one as invasive as a lung removal, you know to go prepared and ready to wait and wait and wait. Here is what I have purchased to TRY and occupy a few of my hours - 
I won't say what I am making just yet... ya know, in case it ends up in the pile of all my other unfinished projects. Hopefully that won't happen!
Tuesday, January 4, 2011

a new year.

I can't believe 2011 is already here! We all know, a new year means a new 'you', so what will be my 'new' 'me' this year?!?! 
First, let me start by saying that we had another fabulous New Years! Last year we spent it with the Beaty's, so this year, we did the same! A number of amazing people showed up, Jess and Nick, Ethan and Kalle, and many many more... and we all had so much fun! I love Nashville so much it's ridiculous. Can't wait to live there. 
To pay a little respect to the grand year of 2010, I will share a few of my favorites... 
First off, I was given a new niece, Ava Victoria, which is a ball of joy and I love her so very much. Many wonderful trips were taken this year - going home to WV 4 or 5 times, a trip to NYC with crystal, our anniversary spent in Charleston, SC and also paying a visit to good ole' Savannah, a week at the beach in North Carolina, another week at the beach in South Carolina, a week long trip in California, touring through Northern Cali... ahhhhhh-mazing, a fabulous weekend in atlanta, and ending with a trip to Nashville. shew. 

Music... best albums of 2010... in my opinion. Let's see... (this is hard)
Judging by the entire record - 
1.  Band of Horses - infinite arms
2.  The Black Keys - brothers
3.  Arcade Fire - the suburbs
4.  Broken Bells - broken bells
5.  The National - high violet
6.  Ray LaMontagne, The Pariah Dogs - god willin' & the creek don't rise
7.  She & Him - volume two
8.  Jimmy Eat World - invented
9.  Kings of Leon - come around sundown
10. Andrew Belle - the ladder
11. Azure Ray - drawing down the moon

2010 Favorite movies of the year... again, hard. 
Inception, Alice in Wonderland, The Social Network, The Town... my favorite movies watched in 2010 were actually 2009 movies - away we go (my absolute favorite ever), 500 days of summer, nowhere boy. 

Resolutions: (grrrr)
1.  Live every day healthy. 
2.  Be as green as possible. (i'm growing the greatest garden this year... so please hurry, Spring)
3.  Start running. Atleast 3 times a week.
4. Yoga every singe week. 
5.  Save more, spend less. (i say this every year.... we'll see)
6.  Finally train for and take the million hour hike up Cold Mountain in North Carolina. (this was a goal last year... complete fail) 

It's gonna be a great year, I can feel it! So many things happening, so many weddings! Travels! We will be celebrating another anniversary SOON in CHICAGO!!!!! Then my baby sister will be getting married in the summer, then another wedding in Las Vegas, then another in California. Good thing I LOVE weddings! 

Happy 2011, ya'll... cheers to a fabulous year for us all!

Home for the Holidays - part II

Christmas Day - (and it was a white christmas)
David and I slept in (amazing), then went to Jason and Rhonda’s house to see all the goodies santa brought for the kiddos. We had lunch there and a great time seeing Reagan and Alyssa. Then we went to my families to open gifts and have dinner. Exhaustion had begin to set in around the evening time... We had the pups out in the snow playing, which they absolutely adored. All the kids were super excited... I was super excited because my wonderful family picked out some amazing gifts for me this year, along with my perfect hubby... I will share a few of my favorites later on... but I will say, Hope in a Jar by Philosophy... best. stuff. ever. And my mom got me the 8oz. container that was featured on Oprah’s favorite things... well, it’s my favorite, too!!!! I’ll be stocked for the entire year! Thanks, mom! 
beautiful Alyssa
reagan rocking out on her guitar
me and savannah, my snow angel
uncle D, holding ava for the first time
ava smiles :)
savannah smiles, too.
my boys, ethan and christian
 Christmas day came and went... but we still had another Christmas at David’s moms. Amy, Brian and Ellie arrived sunday evening, so Monday we were doing our christmas! We had a blast and the kids loved all their new toys...and Jane made a fabulous dinner. 
with ellie and reagan
david and reagan
ellie jayne
david with reagan and emme
oliver watching ellie play drums
 We went to say goodbye to my parents that night because we were leaving the next morning... and that’s when it happened. David got SICK SICK SICK. It happened in a matter of seconds. The stomach flu took over his body, and it was terrible. I think he finally went to bed around 6am, and slept the entire next day. I got someone to cover my shift at work so we wouldn’t have to drive home. I think in a total of 24 hours, he slept for about 20. But Wednesday, he woke up feeling himself, thank god! So we were on the road to South Carolina... Emme climbed on top of the boxes and slept with her head hanging over the front seat... the entire trip home. She really is precious, and Oliver was just pumped to have the entire back to himself.
Christmas this year was wonderful... and exactly spent the way I wanted... with the greatest family and friends. Hope everyone had a very merry christmas! And a white one, too!

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