Monday Must-Haves!

First of all, happy marathon monday! Hopefully,  you’re planning on live-streaming the marathon this morning. Secondly, I hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend (hopefully spent with family, faith and food!). My husband and I attended a new church this weekend and we really loved it’s mission:

“We seek to build a diverse, intentional, affirming community animated by joyful worship and called forth into social action for service to the greater good.

We seek to hear God’s call not only as individuals but also as a progressive, missional community striving to reflect the Kingdom of God in the here and now.

We embrace the rich history of the Reformed Tradition and the storied past of our once-prominent, center-city church, as we welcome a diverse, urban community of seekers –  young and old, gay and straight, rich and poor, of all races and ethnicities.

We are called into a meaningful, transformative community that values the unique blessings and perspectives of each member and offers a place of welcome and healing to weary souls.

We seek dynamic servant leaders who serve humbly, embrace change, and boldly challenge injustices in the wider community.

Most important, we seek to proclaim the Gospel in both word and deed, following the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.”

Screen Shot 2014-04-21 at 8.54.21 AMWe started off our Easter morning with some heavenly baked oatmeal. I used peaches and blueberries but you can use any fruit that your heart desires. I also swapped the milk for coconut milk. This was a hearty breakfast for us, would make a great addition to any breakfast or brunch spread if you’re cooking for a group!

10274073_10100821737852863_6451158762760251085_n

After church, we had lunch with my brother and his family, and our mom who came to visit. My nephew LOVED my first attempt at carrot cake (I’m the queen of not trying recipes before I make them for an event, so far so good!). He walked around asking for more cake from everyone after he finished the piece we were “sharing.”

Screen Shot 2014-04-21 at 8.54.39 AMA fine weekend if I do say so myself! The husband is off to Chicago this week and I’m headed to Boston for an overnight on Wednesday. Quick trip to finalize details on a project and then back home on Thursday for our last weekend before wedding season starts!  So, for my Monday Must-Haves:

Slide1

 

#1: FitBit – it doesn’t matter whether you have the FitBit One or FitBit Zip, or any of the other options, any of them will motivate you to MOVE. I have the “zip” and it calculates my steps taken, calories burned, and mileage for the day. You can add a food diary in your app which will help with the caloric data. You’re supposed to take 10,000 steps a day (or around 5 miles), having this little device attached to you will certainly push you to get closer to that number. I hook mine on my pants or skirt each day (or on my bra if I’m wearing a dress), it’s easy to conceal!

#2: Herbal Essences Naked Shampoo: You can grab this at any drugstore or Target. I picked it up over the weekend and couldn’t believe how clean my hair felt after using it. Also, the volumizing aspect is actually there. I usually use Aveda products to make my hair perk up (or Big Sexy Hair What a Tease Back Comb in a Bottle for special events), but for every day use, this shampoo does a great job. Highly recommend it for only $4 a bottle!

#3: Beach Body 21 Day Fix:  If you’re able to be productive while working out at home, and capable of jumping around, I highly recommend this workout system. You get 3 discs of workouts, including: cardio, plyo, yoga, pilates, upper/lower body and other variations. The workouts are only 30 minutes each, and that includes a warm up and post workout stretch. If you also follow the meal plan that comes with this system, you’ll certainly see results. If you can’t follow the diet but need a quick workout in your life, it’s still an effective fitness plan.

#4: J.R. Watkins Hand Soap: When we moved in our new house, I grabbed a couple bottles of the aloe & green tea soap from Target, not knowing what a hit it would be! Everyone who comes out of our guest bath comments on how excellent it smells. Plus, it’s in a cute bottle so you don’t even need to transfer it to a soap-dispenser!

#5: Shark Navigator: my mom got us this vacuum for Christmas and it has literally been a God-send. We use it CONSTANTLY (in lieu of sweeping). Having two dogs who insist on shedding year-round, this is the quickest way to spiffy up the house – and it has settings for hardwoods or carpet. (Thanks, Ma!)

#6: Brita Water Bottle: this guy is my constant companion. Easy for grabbing water essentially anywhere, including airports – and not feeling gross. You see, it filters the water before you drink it. No need to purchase water bottles anymore if you have this one, you can fill it up anytime and be on your merry way!

Happy Monday! Try to make someone else’s day happy while increasing your own happiness!

Full to the brim!

This year, we hosted our very first Thanksgiving at our home as a married couple. We celebrated the day with my grandparents, mother, brother, sister-in-law and nephew (and two scavenger dogs).

unnamed

Our menu consisted of:

  • Fried Turkey
  • Ham
  • Salad with honey goat cheese, cranberries and walnuts
  • Sweet potato casserole
  • Green bean casserole
  • Mac N’ Cheese
  • Cornbread stuffing
  • Deviled eggs
  • Gravy
  • Brownies
  • Pumpkin Pie squares
  • Chocolate Chess Pie

Is your mouth watering? Wait until you see the pictures!

My husband fried the turkey. It was not only his first turkey cooking adventure, but first time frying. We started with the marinade the night before all of which he mixed up. On Thursday, he put together the rub and covered the turkey with it and let it set for a few more hours before entering the fryer. At first he thought he had burnt the turkey when it came out but we quickly found out that it was DELICIOUS – and the marinade made it super juicy. Everyone devoured the turkey (almost wish we had bought a little bigger one!).

DSC_6957

My Maw Maw brought the ham (and brownies), which she had put a glaze on and of course this country mouse loved the ham. Who doesn’t love ham? I know Thanksgiving is all about the turkey, but I was thankful for ham.

409718_10100337229227033_1699532988_n

My sister-in-law (above) brought the Mac N’ Cheese and cornbread stuffing. Both were delicious and were much needed starches to the semi-healthy sides I tried to make.

unnamed-5

I had apple cider warming when everyone arrived. A simple recipe but was delicious and kept us warm on such a chilly day! Just add cider from a jug in the crockpot, 2 cups of water, 2 cups of rum, 5 cinnamon sticks, 18 whole cloves, zest of an orange and a lemon and cut up an apple in chunks. Bring to a boil and then keep warm while serving. All of our guests (even Maw Maw) enjoyed this warm drink!

My sweet potato casserole was a favorite of everyone. It’s such an easy recipe and is semi-healthy. It calls for 5 medium sweet potatoes (chopped and boiled to soften), mix 1/4 cup brown sugar, sweet potatoes, 3 tbs orange juice, 1/4 tsp cloves, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 cup low fat margarine together and layer in baking dish. Use marshmallows or pecans to top. Put in oven on 350 for 10-15 minutes or until top is browned.

unnamed-9While the main dishes were amazing, dessert was still (and always is) my favorite part. My husband made Chocolate Chess Pie at 8 A.M. to accompany my pumpkin pie bars (literally pumpkin pie cut into squares) and my grandma’s brownies.

unnamed-10I could not be more thankful for the family that we were surrounded with and the opportunity to spend that time with them. My heart is overflowing with love and gratitude for each and every one of them – including my husband. Not only did he cook, but he did most of the cleaning up post-apocalypse, I mean, post-Thanksgiving dinner. Feeling lucky & thankful to have him by my side, not just on Thanksgiving, but every day.

unnamed-11Happy December!

Weekend Wrap Up

How is it Monday already? I feel like the days and weekends are flying by and we are now one week and two months away from walking down the aisle. Holy mackeral! Friday, I met with our coordinator, who certainly helped put my mind at ease! I already appreciate that we have her and know that appreciation will only grow on the day-of. We also received our perfect wedding invitations! We are SO excited to work on getting these babies out and can’t wait to start receiving our post card RSVPs!

The rest of our weekend was fun-filled including breakfast with Cory, a VT friend, and his fiance, Inna from Ukraine. After breakfast, we jetted off to our nephew’s 1st birthday party and spent some quality time with the family.

1-weekend2After the party, we checked out VBGB at the Music Factory for dinner before seeing Matrimony and Langhorne Slim live! Both bands are excellent. We hope when Matrimony hits the big time that they still come back to their local hub for shows!

1-weekendWe also received these darling glasses that we had registered for on Honeyfund.com from our sweet, sweet friend, Brandy. I am completely and totally smitten with them! I had to put them away so I won’t be tempted to use them before the day that we are officially Mr. & Mrs.!
1-weekend3On today’s agenda is booking a cake tasting/dessert tasting so we can book our final “big thing” for the wedding. I will be so happy to have all of these things on our list checked-off so we can relax up until the big day. Ha, who am I kidding? We are going to be so busy but I know we’ll love every second of it. For more things that are going on with the wedding planning, check out my Carolina Bride Blog!

Happy Monday!

Baby in a Bowtie

Yesterday, amidst my last minute Christmas shopping, I stumbled over the most adorable dress for our three beautiful attendants to wear. Personally, if it came in my size, I’d be wearing it (probably not at the wedding, but at some function!).
jason_wu_dot-dress-433x650jason_wu_dot_dress_back

Seriously, is that not the cutest thing ever? I LOVE the lace collar and the big bow in the back! Plus, the beige color is perfect for matching with the guys suits. Unfortunately, after many internet searches, I discovered that this dress only runs up to a 5T – and all of our girls are older (and larger) than that. Bummer – but at least now I have an idea of what I’d like for them to wear, so the search is on.

I also came upon this piece of adorableness yesterday:

bowtie

How stinkin’ cute is my nephew going to be decked out in a bowtie? And how perfect is it that it’s our colors for the wedding? Ahh, love it! His mommy loved it too. So game on, the bowtie has been purchased and put in a special “wedding items” container where I’m collecting things as I come across them.

We’re working on our save-the-dates and wedding website now… so stay tuned for more gorgeousness coming soon!

PS… 4 sleeps til Christmas!