Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thursday Thoughts

There's no real theme for today's post. This is just a sampling of the random thoughts running through my brain this Thursday morning :)

1. Crazy About Pippa

(image from InStyle)

Maryland Pink and Green posted on Facebook this morning that Pippa Middleton will be getting her own TV special next month! Crazy About Pippa will air on TLC on August 9th at 9 p.m. ET. According to an article on InStyle, the show "delves into the younger Middleton sister’s life and work." I'm pretty excited about it! Are y'all going to watch?

2. Meg Braff in Southern Living

(images from Southern Living)

I was thrilled when I saw interior designer Meg Braff featured in the July issue of Southern Living.  I was reading the article last night and was surprised to find out that the house that is featured is Meg Braff's family lake house at Pickwick Landing on the TN/MS border. How many times have I gone to Pickwick in my life, never knowing that one of my fave designers might be vacationing nearby?

3. So You Think You Can Dance

Is anyone else addicted to SYTYCD like me? I'm not a huge reality TV show viewer - I'll watch bits and pieces of American Idol and sometimes get into a season of Bachelor/Bachelorette - but I love SYTYCD and rarely miss an episode! I used to dance, and I really enjoy seeing the new directions that dance is taking on the show. I'm still mourning the loss of Miranda this season.

She was such a versatile dancer, and I think she was cut way too soon. Since Miranda has left, I've been cheering for Caitlynn.

(images from Google)

I don't think the guys' performances have been as good this season so I havn't really been rooting for any of them. I'm predicting that Ricky will be cut tonight, but I have no idea which girl will be going home. Who do you think will be going home tonight? Who do you think is going to win it all?

4. New Arrivals at J. Crew

I got the new catalog from J. Crew last night, and I would like one of each of these please, please, please!

Fisherman's Henley Sweater

Stripe-breaker Sweater

Cailey Cord Blazer
(all images from J Crew)

What new items are you craving for autumn?

I hope that everyone has a wonderful weekend!!! We're headed to the beach, and I can't wait to feel sand between my toes :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Weekend Recap

It was blazing HOT this past weekend in DC which is to be expected in late July, but it seems like I never get used to it. This is the part of summer that I don't like - when I start to "glisten" every time that I walk out of my front door, when my swim in a sizeable swimming pool isn't very refreshing because the outside temp has heated the water to a nice tepid 80 degrees, when my glasses fog every time I exit my car because of the difference in temp between the air-conditioned interior and outside, etc., etc., etc. You would think that this weather would actually make me feel all happy and nostalgic since I grew up in Memphis where summers are generally unbearable, but I didn't really enjoy summer weather growing up in the South either. I love all of the things that come with summer - sundresses, the beach, sangria - just not the sweltering heat and humidity :)

On Friday night, I celebrated my friend, KJB's, birthday with our other friend, LRC, at the Cheesecake Factory. I always forget how much I like cheesecake until I go to the Cheesecake Factory again :) We were seated on the patio which is probably why I forgot to take any pictures since I was so boiling hot, but we had a lot of fun eating and chatting! I always love a girls night out with two of my favorite girls :)

On Saturday I visited a new produce stand in our area. It's called Gorman Produce Farm, and it's attached to a small family farm.

(image from Gorman Produce Farm)

I was a little surprised at how crowded the stand was (parking was scarce!), but it was really fun to look at all of the fruits and veggies on offer. I left with some peaches and a jar of local honey, and I think I'll return this weekend for some tomatoes and probably some more peaches. It was in such a pretty area too; I loved driving through some green countryside on the way there :) After running some errands, I returned home, and Peter and I went for a swim (in a pool that felt more like a hot tub!). I made Skillet Pork Chop Saute with Peaches from Cooking Light for dinner, and it was yummy! As was the Sangria Blanco from Southern Living that I also made to go with dinner :)

(image from Cooking Light)

On Saturday night, we watched Country Strong with Gwyneth Paltrow.

(image from IMDB)

Ugh!!! I had high expectations for this movie since I usually love Gwyneth and the previews looked really good (and I really like country music!), but this movie just fell flat. It could have been good; the acting was decent and the juxtaposition of the young couple just starting out on the country music scene and the older couple who were country music vets was interesting. The plot was confusing and unbelievable, though, and the ending was awful. Disappointing to say the least :(

Sunday was just a relaxing day at home after church. Nothing particuarly exciting, but we did get really involved in watching a nature program on a couple of orphaned cheetah cubs in Africa (Peter and I love our nature programs!) and we made some oh-so-delicious peach milkshakes for dessert. If you have never blended fresh peaches with vanilla ice cream, you need to do so ASAP. One of my favorite summer treats :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Pinnable Me Friday: Craft time!

I’m linking up with Stefanie from Paw Prints and Pastry Bags again this week! It was so much fun last Friday!

This week I'm exploring the many DIY projects shown on Pinterest. I consider myself to be a little "challenged" when it comes to craft projects, but I do enjoy them when I have the time. Pinterest offers me a lot of inspiration when I'm trying to channel my inner Martha Stewart  :)

(I still have not figured out how to embed images from Pinterest to my blog! I again apologize if an image isn't attributed correctly!)

Can you tell that the tray was originally a cookie sheet?! Clever and an oh-so-useful trick for parties! Not only do I love the chevron pattern, but I'm really digging the orange too :)

Use a map from your travels as the mat in a framed picture from your travels. Ingenious!

Did you know that you can dye any clear glass jars any color? I didn't so I was really excited when I found this project! I love the look of colored mason jars (especially blue ones!), but they can be hard to find in stores. Now I can just buy clear ones, dye them, and use them as vases, drinking glasses, etc. Problem solved.

I have tons of extra beautiful scrapbook paper, and these coasters would put it to good use! I could have coasters for different seasons, coasters that coordinate with party themes, monogrammed coasters, etc. All I need are some ceramic tiles and a few other supplies, and I'm good to go.

Such a colorful, fun mobile for a nursery! And not too difficult to do which is a huge plus :)

Want etched, monogrammed glasses? Now you can make your own! Easy peasy :)

This is probably the most ambitious project that I pinned, but I think it's within the realm of possibility for me. I love the look of painted dressers and the stenciling and fun drawer pulls add a really unique touch!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Etsy Finds

I've recently started browsing through Etsy during random moments of free time, and while I was totally overwhelmed at first because there is SO much to look at, I've found a few dealers who have some really fun stuff :)  I'm always blown away by how creative and talented people are (especially since I'm craft-challenged!)

1. Bridgman Pottery

(image from Bridgman Pottery)

I have to give a little shout out to a hometown fave, Bridgman Pottery. All of the pottery offered is handmade in Memphis, TN, and is safe to use in the oven, dishwasher, and microwave. The owner describes the pottery style as "slightly wabi-sabi," but I think these pieces would look great in any kitchen.

2. Ideal Bookshelf

(image from Ideal Bookshelf)

Ideal Bookshelf is Jane Mount's ongoing project. She paints "sets of books as a form of portraiture: a person's favorites (of all time, within a genre or from a particular period in their lives); the ones that helped make them who they are today." This, of course, warms my heart as a librarian, and I think I need one of these custom paintings pronto :)

(image from Note Trunk)

Looking for a unique address, kitchen, or wedding stamp? Look no further than Note Trunk :) They specialize in custom stamps that add "a fresh look to all of your paper-goods." They offer both traditional wood mounted and self-inking stamps.

(images from Winifred Studios)

How cute are those Adirondack chairs? Winifred Studios offers customized party and wedding invitations, stationery, gift tags, and calendars. They can basically cover all of your paper needs with fun, whimsical designs. So adorable!

(image from Tessyla)

I came across one of Tessyla's necklaces in the current issue of Southern Living and loved it! I made a beeline to check out Tessyla's Etsy shop and found many more lovely necklaces, earrings, and bracelets on offer. I'm going to have a tough time deciding which one I like best :)

(image from Bungalow)

Sugar scrub cubes? Raspberry lemonade scent? Yes, please! I think that these cubes made by Bungalow Bath & Body are such a great idea; instead of scooping a runny handful of scrub out of a jar and losing half of it on the shower floor, you can just pick up a neat little cube instead :) Bungalow also sells soaps, lotions, and lip balms in other yummy scents like pink grapefruit, coconut lime, and cake batter.

Thanks for shopping along with me today! What are your favorite Etsy finds? Do you sell anything on Etsy?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Weekend Recap

Happy Tuesday! I'm a little late with the weekend recap again this week, but I had a serious case of the Monday blahs yesterday and couldn't motivate myself to do anything that wasn't absolutely necessary :( I feel much brighter today, though, so here goes:

Friday was an absolutely gorgeous day here (75 degrees and sunny!) so Peter and I took full advantage of the weather after work and played tennis for an hour and then took a dip in the pool. For dinner, I made dirty rice from a recipe I got from Kate at Elefantitas Alegres.

The original recipe is so aptly named "I Heart Dirty Rice." Amen! I love me some dirty rice for sure :) After dinner, we read our respective Harry Potter books (2nd for Peter, 5th for me) in preparation for seeing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II on Saturday!!!

(image from IMDB)

As you can tell from my previous statement, I did not meet my goal of reading all seven HP books before the last movie came out :( I seriously considered putting off seeing the movie until I had read all 7, but this past weekend was the only time that our other friends/fellow HP fans could go with us so I just decided to go. And I don't regret that decision because it was pretty exciting to go see the movie on the opening weekend! The theater was packed, of course, and everyone was cheering for HP throughout the film :) After the movie, we went to Z Pizza which I had never tried before, and I highly recommend it. I discovered that I really like artichoke hearts on pizza :)

(image from Z Pizza)

Sunday was church and then a run to Target and the grocery store. I made the Tortellini and Tomato Salad from this month's issue of Southern Living for dinner. Yum!!! Two thumbs up for a nice, light summer salad :)

(image from Southern Living)

I realize that I included a lot of pictures of food in today's post :) Oh well! Peter and I certainly enjoy eating!!! I hope that you had a great weekend filled with good food too!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pinnable Me Friday: Decorating with Books

I’m linking up with Stefanie from Paw Prints and Pastry Bags for the first time this week! You should, too!

I'm a librarian so it should come as no surprise that I like to be surrounded by books at all times :) My dream house would definitely have a sizeable library in it (with a rolling attached ladder, of course!), but it would also have book shelves and cozy reading nooks all over the house. I've been able to find lots of "decorating with books" inspiration at Pinterest, and I've been a little surprised at how much life books bring to a room. They can be a little like art. Put some books in front of a white wall and - bam! - you have color and something interesting to look at :)

(I was having serious problems with the embed feature at Pinterest and had to end up just copying and pasting images so I'm sorry if a picture isn't attributed correctly!)

This room kind of proves my point about books adding color and interest to a room. This nursery is rather plain with white walls, a white crib, a beige chair, and beige carpeting, but the wall of books helps save it from looking boring. This baby is super lucky to have lots of great reading material too :)

Living room from

I'm impressed that the owners of this house have somewhat color-coded their books :) No paint, wallpaper, or artwork needed on this wall!

Staircase via Ceinwen Jones

This is such a clever use of space!!! Why have a smooth, useless staircase back when you can add shelves and books? I love that the owners have included a comfy chair and reading stool too in case a book catches their eye in passing and they must sit down and read immediately :)

Books are usually stored in attics in cardboard boxes, but this idea for an attic library is a much better storage solution! Especially if your attic has windows that let in so much lovely sunlight :)

Book nook via Lisa Harland

I would spend way too much time in this cozy window seat if it was in my house! I love that they added a bookshelf under the seat for easy accessibility to their favorite books :)

Library catalog from

Not books exactly but who couldn't use an old-fashioned library card catalog to sort a few odds and ends in their house? Love it :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

CSAs? Farmers' Markets? Produce Stands? (Oh my!)

(image via Google)

Growing up, my daddy always planted a backyard garden, and we delighted in homegrown tomatoes, strawberries, peppers, peas, beans, melons, and squash all summer long. There is nothing better than a tomato sandwich or BLT made with fresh garden tomatoes or strawberry shortcake or pie made with strawberries that you picked yourself :)

(image via Google)

Now that I've moved far away from home and live in an apartment with very little sunlight (even on the porch!), I can't enjoy homegrown produce so I've recently started thinking about alternatives to the home garden. Several of my friends have joined CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) arrangements at local farms where they receive a full or half-share of seasonal produce picked by the farmers every week or two weeks. I can see the benefits of supporting a local family farm and getting produce delivered, but CSA's seem a little pricey to me, and I'm not sure that Peter and I would actually eat all of the produce offered. We're not picky eaters, but there are a few vegetables that we just don't like at all and I'm afraid we would just waste them if they appeared in our CSA share. I also really like making recipes that I find in magazines, cookbooks, blogs, etc. as I find them, but if we had a CSA, I would be restricted to making only recipes using that season's produce. That wouldn't necessarily be a bad change to make to my cooking habits, but it would be quite a big change.

(image via Google)

There are also farmers' markets and produce stands to consider. I've visited our local farmers' market a few times, but I have to tell you, I don't really enjoy getting up extra early on Saturdays to make it to the market by 9:00 before all of the best produce is sold out :( The closest nice produce stand to us is a good  30 minutes away and their hours aren't the best either. And the produce at these places is also on the pricey side. I wouldn't mind paying a little extra if I knew for sure that it was worth it, but since we're on kind of a tight budget, I don't want to pay more for no good reason. As you can see, I have a lot of questions about this stuff, and I would love some help figuring all of this out!!!

So where do you buy summer produce? CSA? Farmers' market? Produce stand? Grocery store? Organic or non-organic (which is another big question for me!)?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Monogram Chick Giveaway from In This Wonderful Life!

Megan from In This Wonderful Life is hosting a giveaway for a $35 shop credit to Monogram Chick :) Monogram Chick is one of my favorite sites for all kinds of preppy, monogrammed gear. I'm especially fond of the monogrammed straw tumblers!

The winner will be picked randomly on Sunday evening (July 17) so head on over to Megan's blog soon to enter :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Weekend Recap

This past weekend, Peter and I made a pilgrimage to Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, home of the Philadelphia Phillies :) And I say "pilgrimage" because my husband is quite the Phillies devotee, along with the rest of his family (and the rest of Philadelphia)! Since I married into a family of such ardent baseball fans, I've become an honorary Phillies supporter too, and on Friday night I attended my first at-home game. The game was sold out (Phillies fans are known for their dedication!), and the crowd was just a mass of blue and red. I don't think I spotted a single Atlanta Braves fan (I would have been really scared to wear any Braves gear at that game!!!) It was pouring cats and dogs on Friday night so the game was delayed until 8:30 when the rain finally stopped; I was truly impressed that so many fans came out to the game in the rain and stayed until it started (it was sold out)!

Peter's brother was able to drive down from Boston and meet us at the game, and it was really fun to see him and catch up :)

We had really good seats, and it was an exciting game - especially since they won 4 to 3!!!!

I finally got to see the Phillies Phanatic in action, and let me just say - best. mascot. ever! My new life goal is to take a picture with this guy :)

On Saturday, we took a long hike with my father-in-law and ran some errands with my mother-in-law. My sister-in-law's family (who live in Lancaster County, PA) invited us over for dinner that night, and it was great to see them again! They live next door to an Amish farm, and while we were dining outside on their deck, we watched their neighbor work his fields with horses and an old-fashioned cultivator. I had never seen anything like that before so it was pretty neat :)

On Sunday, we went to church in the city and then enjoyed lunch with my in-laws before we headed home to good ole MD. On the drive back, Peter was already talking about how excited he is to watch the Phillies play in tonight's All Star Game :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tracy Negoshian Giveaway from Maryland Pink and Green!

(image from Tracy Negoshian)

The lovely Maryland Pink and Green is hosting a very generous giveaway from Tracy Negoshian :) Two lucky winners will receive their favorite Tracy Negoshian item of choice from her website.  The winners will be able to select their prize in any style and print available online from the current collection (which is fabulous, BTW!). Head on over to Maryland Pink and Green to read the entry rules and enter. The deadline is Tuesday, July 12 at 11:59 p.m.

Happy (Belated) 4th of July!!!

(image via Google)

I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday weekend :) I know that I did! Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. Cookouts, parades, fireworks, patriotism - what's not to love?

Peter and I have spent the last three Independence Day weekends with either my family or his family so this was our first Fourth at home in awhile. It was kind of nice not to travel and just to be able to relax and enjoy some downtime! Our community pool finally opened on Friday (they were building a new poolhouse and there were some delays) so we had a very refreshing swim after work and then we made homemade pizza. This was the first time that I made my own crust! Pioneer Woman's recipe was easy and excellent, and I highly recommend it (as if there was a PW recipe that I don't highly recommend!).

(image from Pioneer Woman)

After stuffing ourselves with pizza, we watched the third Harry Potter movie, Prisoner of Azkaban. I had finished the third HP book last week and wanted to watch the movie version. Peter had never seen the third movie, and he got really into it. So into it that he started reading the HP series on Sat. (Finally!) :)

On Saturday, we made omlettes for breakfast (Peter's specialty!), and then Peter headed off to work and I headed off to the local outlet mall for some shopping. Another advantage to staying local for the holiday weekend was being able to take advantage of some of the awesome holiday sales! I found several cute pieces for work so it was a successful shopping day! When we returned home, Peter and I played tennis for about an hour, and then I made a taco salad for dinner. Every so often I really crave taco salad and just have to make one. And I always laugh at myself because I end up making an enormous salad! I think we could have fed 8 people easily with the salad that I made :) We definitely had leftovers for a few days! We then watched the fourth Harry Potter movie, Goblet of Fire, at Peter's request. I think that I can safely say that he's an HP fan now :)

(image from IMDB)

On Sunday after church, we made BLT's for lunch (Yum!) and took a walk around our neighborhood which was cut short by a thunderstorm. So we read and talked with our parents while it rained. I honestly can't remember anything else we did that day! It was just a nice, laidback day at home :)

On Monday, I attempted to make scones for breakfast but accidentally added too much milk so they turned out rather "interesting." Edible but "interesting." We then headed to the store to pick up some groceries for a cookout later that day and to pick up some screws and nosepads for Peter's glasses which were sort of coming apart over the weekend! After that, we just cleaned a bit around the house, I ironed a mountain of clothing (I seriously thought I would never get through that pile! Ironing is one of my least-liked chores!), and Peter repaired his glasses. Then we went to our friends' house for a backyard BBQ which was a combination Fourth of July celebration and birthday party :) And then we went to our town's fireworks show which Peter and I had never attended. We were impressed! The finale was especially good :)

I'm really bummed that I don't have pictures from this weekend! My camera is only working about half the time now so I havn't been using it that much since it's such a hassle. A Canon Rebel is at the top of my birthday wish list for sure :)

(image from Amazon)