Friday, June 29, 2012

deck decor sneak peek...

I've got some of my best girlfriends from Chicago coming in for a visit this weekend. We're going to see Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw on Sunday and hopefully be spending the rest of the time here...

That's right the deck project is complete, our landscaping is in and it's ready for the big unveiling! I am so excited to share the whole project with you, but right now I've got to go make two different batches of sangria. Priorities, I know. So for the time being, it's just a brief look at the Target chairs and a sneak peek at a project I have wanted to do FOREVER.

Enjoy and have a great weekend! 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sorry for the silence...

lots of projects going on over here, but nothing fully completed yet, so nothing to post. 
In the meantime, I am going to share a couple of my favorite online obsessions with you: 

The fantastically funny tumblr packed full of hilarious gifs about life in the city. 

I*heart* this podcast. Yes there is often foul language and sometimes gross guy talk, but beyond that is a smart and funny podcast. He hosts a wide range of guests and has very logical and insightful views on politics, the economy, relationships and of course, stupid people who do stupid things. 

Ain't Nobody Got Time for That
Girl, who's got time for bronchitis? 
This year's bed intruder. I DARE you to get the song out of your head: 


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

healthy living...

I have become a statistic. The new bride who gains weight. The stars aligned to create the perfect storm of weight gain for me in the first year of marriage.

   Moving to a new city
   Living with my parents
   My dad's (full-fat and delicious) cooking
   Buying a new house
   Working from home
   Newfound love of frozen mini-candy bars
+ Preference for decorating my home over working out
   A little more to love

I'm determined to lose those pesky 10 pounds so I started eating better, cooking healthier for me and my husband, and working out more. Another thing I added to my daily routine is Jillian Michael's bloat banishing drink.

Bloat-banishing drink ingredients

Here are the details: 

I don't know if it's just upping my water intake or the dandelion root tea bag, but this has really worked. I feel awesome and my stomach is much less bloated. And, shockingly, feeling better makes me want to eat better. A groundbreaking revelation, I know. 

Since the water I buy comes in 128oz jugs, I just double the recipe and drink half a jug a day. It actually tastes delicious and I am a person who cannot stand tea in its usual incarnation. So if you're looking to lose a little extra water weight, I highly recommend Jillian's concoction. 

I am going to try and keep this healthy living train rolling, wish me luck! 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

is that bill shakespeare over there?

ryan and I were walking the bike trail along the river near our house and came across this van...

literally, down by the river. notice the window. genius.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

today is a very special day...

this cute little guy was born on this day.

and he grew up to become this wonderful man...

happy birthday to my wonderful husband. you are the sweetest, kindest person I know. 

Happy 10th anniversary of your 27th birthday! 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Healthy pad thai...

Since working from home, I've been bitten by the cooking bug. I usually take lunch right around the time the ABC show The Chew is on and have been inspired to try lots of new and different recipes.
Right after we got engaged, next to the same table here we sat on our first date. 
Ryan and I both love Thai food, in fact, we got engaged at the same Thai restaurant where we had our first date. So in my search for a dinner recipe, I wanted to make a thai meal I could "health up" so I decided on Pad Thai. Traditionally, Pad Thai includes noodles, spicy peanut sauce, egg, peanuts, cabbage, alfalfa sprouts, lime, cilantro and the meat of our choice, I prefer chicken.

To health it up a bit, I swapped out the noodles and replaced it with spaghetti squash. To be honest, I have tried spaghetti squash in a number of recipes, but this is the first one where I can honestly say, it was a perfect replacement for the noodles, it had the right consistency and held the flavor of the dish.

I didn't use a recipe for this dish, I made it up as I went, so here is a rough estimate of what I used.

(Serves 2)
3 chicken breasts
1 large spaghetti squash
1 cup of matchstick carrots
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1 teaspoon fresh ginger
1 bottle of Thai peanut sauce/marinade (whatever brand you prefer)
Juice of one lime
Chopped cilantro to top
Hot and spicy peanuts to top

(I prepared the chicken and spaghetti squash earlier in the day and kept in the fridge)
1.  Season chicken breasts with salt, pepper, olive oil and cook at 350 for 25 minutes

2.  Cook spaghetti squash per the directions on the sticker, but generally you cut lengthwise, place cut side down in a backing dish with a little water at the bottom and cook for 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

3. Shred squash with a fork to get the "spaghetti" and cut the chicken into bit-sized chunks.

4. Put the chicken in medium-sized pan and the squash in large pan on the cooktop. Cook both pans on medium heat, watch so the squash doesn't burn. Reduce heat if necessary. Both the chicken and squash are already cooked so this is just to warm through.

5. Coat both the chicken and the spaghetti squash with the peanut sauce to taste.

6. Add carrots to the squash pan.

7. Warm both pans through then add the chicken to the squash pan. Cook for a few more minutes to combine the flavors.

8. While the pan is cooking, in a separate dish combine the cabbage, lime, ginger and cilantro. This is the garnish for the dish. I tossed in a little peanut sauce too.

9. Remove squash and chicken mixture from heat and spoon into bowl. Top with cabbage mixture and sprinkle with hot and spicy peanuts. Add a wedge of lime if you choose. 

How delicious does this look?
This is the first meal we enjoyed on our new deck and, if I do say so myself, this was the best meal I have made in recent history. So much flavor you wouldn't even know it was healthy.
And it seems that my better half agreed! Two thumbs up. What more can you ask for?!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Funny...

Just genius. Like I needed to love this song more. 

More deck updates...

As I mentioned in this post, I've been on the hunt for a set of lounge chairs for our deck. We already have a table and chairs but we also want a place to just kick back and relax with a drink or a book.

I am obsessed – to say the least – with these Crate and Barrel chairs. 

But at $899 each, it is WAAAAAAY out of our budget. So back on the hunt I went. I couldn't find anything I loved as much and almost just pulled the trigger on some wicker chairs because I didn't think I could find anything better.

And then I found these on
They have the same square, modern design, neutral colors and oversized look. The only thing that is noticeably different is the metal leg frame. But if it sticks out too much, I might just spray them Oil Rubbed Bronze so they kind of disappear into the wicker. The best part is that the pair is more than half the price of just one Crate and Barrel chair! That is my kind of bargain. 

They should arrive in less than a week and our deck should hopefully look something like this soon....

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Family calendar...

one of the challenges about getting married in your mid-30s is that you get used to your way of doing things. I kept a calendar at work, but for personal stuff I just tucked it away in my brain and I always remembered. When I tell my husband we have something this day, or something that day, I just figured he'd remember. Not the case. So to keep us on the same page, we needed a family calendar.

UPDATE: To be clear, it's not that my husband doesn't pay attention, it's just that I have a ridiculously good memory. It's like a steel trap. I can hear something once and it's locked in. 

As intriguing as a yoga cat calendar sounds, I wanted something bigger and more unique than a standard wall calendar. Something that looked more like decor. After some Pinteresting, I decided to create my own using a picture frame.

It's very simple to do. All you need is a frame ( I chose 16x20, but you can use whatever size best fills your space), a calendar template, fabric, tape and permanent marker. The fabric is a great way to customize your calendar to fit in with your decor. I chose a green that matches my family room accents.

After removing the back of the frame, I wrapped it in fabric and taped it securely in place.

Then it was time to create the calendar template. After cleaning the glass, I used a page of my desk calendar and cut it to the size I wanted. I then taped it to the outside of the frame. This is important to do because it will allow you trace the grid on the INSIDE of the frame. This will protect it from rubbing off when you are writing on or cleaning off your finished calendar.

Flip it over to reveal the calendar page. 

Then using a straightedge and a permanent marker, trace the calendar grid onto the inside of the glass.

This is what my finished grid looked like. 

I then reassembled the frame to reveal the the fabric. 

After it was assembled, I wrote the days on the front of the glass with the permanent marker. It was just easier than trying to write them backwards on the inside of the glass. 

Now that you have a finished permanent calendar template it's time to break out the dry erase markers. Each month write on the dates and month name with the dry erase marker. This way you can keep this calendar year after year and it can evolve with your decor. I recommend creating the grid in a neutral, dark color but then using fun colors for your dry erase markers. Use a different color for each family member so you can easily recognize important dates and events. 

If your colors and style change, simply switch out the fabric for a different one. Or blow up a family photo on the computer, ghost it back to about 25% brightness or make it black and white, and use that as your background. It's so easy to customize and change with the season! 

This is how it looks in the room. The background doesn't work as well as I thought it would with the other accents. But I'm going to live with it for a while and decide what I want to do with it. I have been wanting to change out the fabric on the chairs, so I might wait until I make a decision on that. 

Regardless of the fabric, this new calendar will keep us organized, connected and hopefully eliminate the words "but I told you the other day..." from our vocabulary.