Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Anna Kate and Sarah in Raleigh

I got up super early to drive to Raleigh on Saturday morning so I could see my nieces!  They were staying with my SIL's parents while my brother and SIL were in Nashville enjoying an anniversary weekend! 

I loved every second of those 2.5 hours!  My goodness I wish I lived closer to them.

Sarah is literally the happiest baby I've ever seen.  She does not cry.  And she smiles all.the.time.  Doesn't she look like a doll baby?!  So precious!

Anna Kate and I played with my SIL's barbies from when she was a little girl.  Then it was ESSENTIAL that we go to Taaaarrrrrget to look for a Ken to go with Barbie.  We might have gotten a little distracted there and picked out lots of other fun things...including: a dog she named Cathy, a hot pink ball, a small baby she named Anna to give to Sarah, some thing you mold shapes with and sparkly sandals!  Everything in Taaaarrrget was "cute."  EVERYTHING!  Girl has got style yall!   

We enjoyed our time together and she knows just who to take to Target! ;)  How could I say no to her?!!!!!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Cheryl's Airport Baby Shower

On Saturday I cruised to Raleigh for a baby shower for my friend Cheryl.  We actually call her Churl so let's go with that! ;)

She and her husband both recently got their pilots license (how cool right?) and they are having a little boy so where is the most appropriate place for their baby shower?  An airport, of course!

It was at a small private airport where they give lessons and also have skydiving.  It was cool to see people all over the place falling out of the sky. 

Please pardon my terrible pictures....I didn't start taking until everyone had eaten ha! 

The most tasty cake for Conner!

Everyone wrote on a piece of colored paper a wish for Conner then folded it into an airplane.  The game was to see who's airplane would go the furthest.  How cute! 

Luggage tags were the favors.  Appropriate!

Churl opening gifts!

My friend Beth's lil girl Reagan!

Some of my girls from college!
Me, Holly, Katie, Brehyan, Carrie, Cheryl, Beth, Kelly, Suz

I had so much fun visiting and catching up with everyone!  And right after, I was back on the road to Charlotte!  Tomorrow I'll post about some other special people I got to see Saturday morning before the shower in Raleigh! 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Bullet Point Friday

 - My work computer had a run in with some (actually a lot) liquid yesterday.  Thanks to my Dad, rice in a sealed bag and my hair dryer it turned on this morning.  That would have been real fun to explain to work!  ;)

 - I've been on the road the past couple of days.  It's not even that fun to talk about any more since I do it every week.  Got a lot accomplished though so that's good!

 - Kevin and I are going to look at another house tonight after work.  We are both getting super antsy for a home.  He needs to be closer to his office and I need SPACE!

 - Last night we went to Cajun Queen for a tasty dinner when I got back in town.  We had a groupon or something like that which was going to expire in a couple of weeks. 

 - Tomorrow I'm going back to Raleigh to celebrate a friend's baby at her shower!  The best bonus - I get to see my nieces (they're in town with my SIL's parents)!!!!!!!!  AND I CANNOT WAIT!!!  It's been WAY too long.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Recipes from Sunday

Who likes easy recipes?  I do.  If a recipe is over a page long or has more than 7 steps, count me out.  These are easy as pie and make a great dinner or sides for a cookout!

Balsamic Chicken Recipe via

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing (I used Ken's light balsamic)
3 cloves of minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper (I omited)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Place chicken breasts in a zip-top plastic bag. Combine balsamic vinaigrette, garlic and crushed red pepper and pour over chicken. Seal bag and refrigerate for 1-4 hours (the longer, the better). Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove chicken from bag and place in a baking dish. Pour remaining marinade over chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until juices run clear. Alternately, grill chicken over medium heat for 5-7 minutes per side.

 *I always stick a fork in the chicken breasts multiple times so the marinate gets all in the inside of them.

Tortellini Vinaigrette (from my cousin)

9 oz. plain tortellini
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 red wine vinegar
1 TB dijon mustard
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 TB basil, crushed (I used dried)
2 TB dried parsley or 4 TB of fresh
4-5 chopped green onions
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1.  Cook tortellini al dente
2.  Whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard and garlic. 
3.  Transfer tortellini to large bowl and pour mixture over pasta, gently mixing to coat.
4.  Add the basil, parsley, green onions and cheese to pasta and toss together gently.
5.  Refrigerate until serving.  Can be served cold or hot. 

Corn Salad with Feta and Walnuts (via my friend Emily and Real Simple)

1 cup walnuts
4 cups fresh corn kernels (from 4 ears), raw or cooked (I sauted mine)
2 jalapenos, seeded and thinly sliced (these didn't even seem that spicy in the recipe)
2 TB fresh lime juice
2 TB olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup crumbled feta (2 ounces)

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until fragant, about 6-8 minutes.  Let cool and roughly chop. 

In a large bowl, combine the corn, jalapenos, lime juice, oil, walnuts, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper.

Sprinkle with Feta before serving.

*Note I left out the jalapenos and had them on the side in case anyone wanted them.  It was good without them too!

Grilled Okra (from my friend Fran)
AKA easiest recipe EVER.

1.  Buy okra at your farmer's market.
2.  Rinse okra.
3.  Season with salt, pepper and a little olive oil.
4.  Place in a basket on the grill.
5.  You have a green side to go with your dinner tonight. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wedding Wednesday - Make Up

From the beginning, I thought it was OUTRAGEOUS to spend over $100 on makeup for one day.  Actually, I still do.  But I'm coming to terms with it.

It's funny because I'm totally on board with making sure my hair is perfect.  And even that will be covered up by a veil for the ceremony.  But whatever.  I'm just a stickler on my hair. 

thank you google images for this picture

Back to makeup.  I started getting lessons at Clinique so I thought I could do it instead of spending the money.  Yall I'm terrible at makeup, especially eyes.  I don't wear a lot of it and it isn't something I spend 30 minutes on every day. 

So I reached out to a lot of people and I found a gal that will come to wherever we are getting ready.  Her prices for my girls and I are reasonable so I'm excited about that.  And her work looks fabulous!  Kymm with Who's the Fairest is who I went with. 

The best part - we can all just sit around getting pampered and I don't have to worry that my makeup won't be perfect, because it will be!  Pictures are forever!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

J. Crew

A few weeks ago I received a special looking envelope in the mail from J. Crew.  Very curious, I opened it right away. 

It was an invitation to visit the store and meet with their personal stylist.  I already go visit with Sarah occasionally so this wasn't a big huge crazy surprise.  But then...

I looked at the second sheet and it was a $50 gift card to use when you met with her.  Ummm yes please. 

So let's get this straight -

1.  Go meet with a girl who already helps me when I go in there (she's free to use - highly recommend!).

2.  Use a $50 gift card, no minimum purchase required.

3.  Yes I think I can handle that.  I'll be visiting with her later today for some clothes that can be used for work and play.  Best kind.

Will report back in! ;)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Weekend Round Up!

On Friday night we went to dinner uptown with Kevin's parents at Harvest Moon Grille.  They are thinking of having our rehearsal dinner there in two of the rooms uptown.  I think it'll be a great spot!

Afterwards, we met our friends Jenn, David and Michael at Nix for a bit.  It was actually a really late night!  I still got up the next morning and did my usual Saturday routine - Farmer's Market and grocery store.  Love it.

I prepped dinner and we got ready to take it to Kevin's parents.  Kevin had really been wanting to see his niece so that's what we did (his parents were babysitting her for the evening).  And I took a few things down for dinner - Tortellini Salad, a new corn recipe that I'll have to share, grilled okra (season with olive oil, salt and pepper) and Balsamic Chicken (Balsamic Vinegarette dressing, fresh garlic, salt and pepper). 

Sunday I got up and ran...too hot.  Then a bunch of neighbors went to Vivace for brunch.  Amazing and highly recommend to you Charlotte gals.  They have $10 mimosas, but after your first one, each is a penny!  They might have lost money on us! ;)

That afternoon I headed to the pool until late.  It had cleared out at this point and it was just so calm and low key.  We ordered Basil in and watched the Bachelorette.  Perfect evening.  Don't yall just love Emily and Jef together?!  I do!  And he's moving to Charlotte!

Let the work week commence!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Dinner Out

Kevin and I never go to dinner by ourselves.  I know that's crazy but we just don't.  We always have something else going on or go with others.  Not that we mind those things, but sometimes it's nice to just go the two of us. 

We had a groupon to Dresslers so that's where we went.  He got the Halibut, I got the Tuna.  Both were great.  We even got dessert which we never do, but you don't go to Dresslers without getting it.  The owner's Mom makes the desserts.  I felt so large when we left there.  So we walked into Best Buy and Target to try to walk some of it off.  Ha, it was worth it though.

In other news, I got attached by fire ants on a job site on Wednesday.  It has happened before about 7 years ago when I was on the IKEA site and the Arsley site in Charlotte.  My ankle has woken me up itching the past two nights.  Glorious. 

Got some miles in with Kristen this morning but it was so humid.  But hey at least we did it. 

Cheers to the weekend!

Thursday, July 19, 2012


I had a last minute work meeting in Raleigh on Tuesday and I got so excited because it meant I would be able to see a lot of my friends!

We met for lunch near NC State at a place called Porters.  It's always so fun to drive around the campus and re-live the olden days of when I was in college. 

Us girls loved catching up.  My how times have changed...Suz just had twins, Cheryl is 26 weeks pregnant and Beth has a one year old!  We used to be at sorority functions, now they are discussing how their children sleep and what to register for at Buy Buy Baby!  I just kinda listened and learned since I'm a little behind! ;)
Me, Suz, Cheryl, Beth
Then I went to Suz's house and held both babies at once!  Zach and Lucy!  They are adorable!!!

Just Lucy...

Then I got to see one of my oldest friends, Ashley and her sweet girl Jane.  And of course their pups George who just got his "summer hair-do!"  Ash and I grew up together but now she and her husband live outside of Raleigh.  I had never been to their home so it was certainly time.  I loved hanging out with them and catching up with Ashley!  She literally has the perfect lil family!

Then I scooted over and met Kelly at our sorority house.  She is on the house corporation and they just finished a large addition to the back (you can't see in this picture) so I wanted to check that out.  This home holds so many fond memories from college.  I met my best girlfriends and bridesmaids here.  Special place.

Kelly and I met her husband for dinner at the old El Rodeo then I drove about an hour further late Tuesday night and crashed at a lovely Hampton Inn.  Ha.  I had work stuff to do yesterday in Eastern NC and then I cruised back to Charlotte.  It was a treat to be in NC this week and not in the northeast! 

Forgot to mention, I had an awesome navy VW Passat as a rental car this week.  It was nice!  I want one now!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wedding Wednesday - Honeymoon is booked!

Some of you may know that we've been back and forth on the honeymoon. 

Before we got engaged we knew we'd go to Hawaii.  But then we didn't think we should take two weeks off work and also Kevin has some of his work trips next year that we had to take into consideration.  Plus it was outrageously expensive and the Hilton selection is pretty slim (aka I have LOTS of Hilton points but they don't go far at the Waldorf in Maui).  So no more Hawaii for all of those reasons.

Then we were onto Anguilla.  I had us the free flights but all the hotels that are decent enough for a honeymoon are like $600/night for a garden view room.  Plus we heard that food and entertainment was really high there too.  But the pro is that St. Martin is a direct flight from Charlotte and we'd just have to take a boat over. 

But....at the end of the day, after lots of Trip Advisor reading, travel agent calling, friend talking and a REALLY awesome girlfriend.......

Ritz Carlton Kapalua

We are going to Maui for a week!  And staying at the Ritz.  (remember I told ya a REALLY awesome girlfriend - yeah she hooked us up in a huge way!)

Honestly it kinda all fell into our lap on Sunday when I was stalking all of the websites again just checking for any deals. 

And I was able to use my miles for two first class tickets roundtrip.  Didn't even have to pay the "award processing fee" because of my status.  Crazy. 

And of course my friends at Hertz will be giving us a rental car whenever we would like one.  Lots of points!

Talk about luck right?!  And I also told Kevin that we're flying first class and having free rental cars because he doesn't see me for an entire week straight, ever.  ;)  AKA, thank you work travel for these fab perks!

But most importantly, thank you to my girlfriend!  We'll always remember this trip of a lifetime and feel SO incredibly fortunate to be able to go on it!

(And by the way, I've had a dream about this honeymoon every night since we booked it.  I wake up so darn excited and don't think it's real.  And it's the biggest.relief.ever - for some reason, getting it booked was stressing me out, ha!)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Ave Pool Party

Friday night I literally was in bed and asleep by 7:30pm.  I was toast from last week.  And I slept til 7am.  Thank you 11.5 hours.  I was to the Farmer's Market and Teeter and home by 9am with our meals planned for the week and groceries bought.  Productiveness.  Then I decided to be a crazy person and go to our gym on a Saturday morning.  No treadmills = changing of routine.  It was actually kind of nice to be forced to do something other than run.  Biked 5.25 miles in 16 minutes then I did run a fast mile.

That afternoon I lounged by the pool with Jenn and homemade mojitos.  First time ever making them and they were good.

Early evening we had a party at Fran and Matt's for his 26th birthday!  Why didn't I take any pictures?!

We zipped back uptown and had the Avenue Pool Party which got rained out at the pool so we hung inside. 

Old school Avenue crowd that has lived in the building from November 2007 on...

DJ Shy and his drummer Waylon played for us. Ever heard a DJ and a drummer that drums to the beat of the tune? It's awesome.  Fav ladies...

Cheers at 5 Church.  Didn't have the best experience at this place for the second time.  Not sure we'll be back even though it's across the street. 

Graeme and Christina.  He just got a killer job offer in Austin so they're moving.  We're sad to see them go but happy for their new adventure.  Speaking of which, she is studying nutrition and has started the cutest blog - Emma's Carrot.  She puts all kinds of great and healthy recipes up!

Kevin and I with Kevin and Elena!  Nice couple!

Yesterday was recovery day and get things done day.  I got ready for the week and we did something very exciting wedding related that I'll post about on Wednesday.  I was up all night thinking about it.  I was so excited!

Got my Monday off to a good start with a lil trot.  How about yall?!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Liquid Pleasure

Last night was ladies night out at Press and then Alive After Five to see Liquid Pleasure.  Here we are...Tara refused to get in the picture due to her appearance.  She's funny!
L to R - me, Emily, Kristen, Emily

Then Kevin joined us and crashed ladies night.  We kinda invited him.  We = me.  The girls said it was okay. 

They now have bikes for rental in uptown. 

Then we got to Alive After Five just in time to see Liquid Pleasure start breaking it down. 

They had on their purple sparkly jackets this time.  Last AA5, they were wearing blue sparkles.  Nice!  The three women added a great touch.  They aren't always with them.  I think it's essential that we have the woman for our wedding band come perform.  She is optional but I think she's totally worth it. 

Then we took a bike cab to Connollys.  Thank you guy behind us for messing up our picture!

Big night out last night and I was also out and about on Tuesday with some work folks.  Chaos I tell ya!  It's been a heckuva week.  Tons of fun though! 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Excel Spreadsheets

Maybe it's because I'm obsessed with excel spreadsheets, but I make one for everything! 

 - pros and cons of houses

 - figuring out if I should get a new car
in my dreams - via google

 - wedding invite lists

 - comparing photographers apples to apples

 - logging each workout - distance, time and with who

 - budgets for my spending

 - proposed budget for Kevin and I together

 - budget for our sorority chapter (I'm the financial advisor)

 - list for who's bringing what for a wedding/baby shower

 - cost breakdown to split among hostesses of a party

 - what markets have what stores for work

 - counting calories

 - quote sheets for Kevin's work

They make my decisions and life SO much easier. 
Tell me how you use excel spreadsheets!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wedding Wednesday - Wedding Location

Wedding Location was one of the toughest things I've encountered in wedding planning so far.  It's that first week after you get engaged and everyone is asking you when and where.  We had several options and here they are....

1.  Get married in Maryland where I grew up.  Would have been gorgeous but transportation was an issue as was finding a reception location that could fit our guest list number (which is still off the charts and has to be decreased by about 30%).  Yeah any ideas on how to make that happen, let me know. 

2.  Get married in Charlotte where Kevin and I met and live.  Obviously this is what we chose.  Both of us have lots of friends here, I know this town for wedding things since my other friends have gotten married here, we look forward to showing out of towners where we live and it just felt right.  Thankfully our Methodist minister is coming from Maryland to do our ceremony.

3.  Get married in Hawaii or somewhere else tropical and only invite each of our parents.  Sometimes this seems like a great idea - it would just be so easy and we could do it now instead of waiting another 9 months.  Our friends Jenn and David did this.  At the end of the day, Kevin and I couldn't justify standing up at that alter without our best friends and family beside us.  

Pros and cons to all options!  I'm sure you all encountered the same.  Do tell.  Or maybe some of you already know exactly where your events will take place.    

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Latest Lilly Loves

Just some of my favs from the latest Lilly goodies!

Janie (printmaster guru at LP) says this is going to sell out quickly!  Get it while you can!
The possibilities are endless with this one. Perfect for an afternoon wedding shower or dress it up with heels for a night out!
The last thing I need is another Lilly skirt but I love this sailboat print and the scalloped bottom.

This is another one of my favorite prints this season.  Chiquita Banana!


Raise your hand if you don't have any of the Lana Slub tops.  Okay go get one this instant.  I'm obsessed with the two that I have (one from last year and one from this year).  I wear them to work tucked into a suit skirt, I wear them with jeans in the winter with a fleece over them, I wear them with any shorts.  They are one of my most favorite versatile shirts ever.  They are dressier than the standard tee and spunk up any outfit.  I hope to add the below Lagoon Green color to my closet if it ever goes on sale.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Weekend - Shooting, Houses, Pool, Cookout

I'm a little light on pictures from this weekend but oh well.

Friday afternoon I was down in SC for work and got invited to a farm.  Where I shot guns.  2nd time I've ever done that.  It was fun.

I cruised back up to Charlotte (only about 45 minutes from where I was in SC) and Kevin and I had dinner with his parents at Cantina.  Then we had to zip out of there to look at houses.  We had an appointment to see this one below but they canceled on us on our way down. 

It was our first time in this neighborhood (where we were supposed to look at the above house).  This is one of the houses in the same hood.  Insane.  

We both decided the neighborhood was too flashy for us.  Not our style. 

Therefore, we are still back to our original neighborhood that we are obsessed with.  It's family friendly, super cute, good schools and has a pool, clubhouse, tennis courts etc.  We drove through it on our way home just to check out how things are on a Friday night.  Love!

Saturday I ran with Tara, did a few errands, went to the pool with Jenn and had another showing.  I made a couple dishes (7 layer dip and coleslaw) and we went out to Wendy and Josh's new home.  They used to live at Avenue with us and now they're in the burbs.  Their house is so pretty and they have lots of room!  Kevin and I learned what it will be like to move a 1 bedroom condo into a 4-5 bedroom house.  Should be interesting.

Yesterday was super low key.  Very necessary. 

Hope you all had nice weekends!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

July 4th

Well let's start with July 3rd first.  It was the date a year ago that we got engaged.  So I associate our engagement with fireworks since we saw lots on the beach that night.  So now I love fireworks more than ever, ha!  And it was July 4th weekend and we got to tell a lot of our neighbors/friends at the July 4th fireworks show in Charlotte on our pool deck.  We watched them in the same place this year too!

I prepped most of the food early in the morning.  Then I hung by the pool for a couple hours. 

Around 5:30 we grilled out...

Kevin's parents came up for dinner!

Dogs, pimento cheese burgers, pasta salad, corn, baked beans. 

And I made my first flag cake.  I think it turned out alright despite missing a few states.  Ha! 

Jenn also made a blueberry cobbler which I was evidently too busy eating and didn't take a picture of it.

Here we all are lined up on the 10th floor pool deck! 

Tara and I. 

Fireworks were great but it was quick to bed afterwards because it was a "school night!"

Hope you all enjoyed your 4th of July!  At least it's the weekend now.... 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Coldplay Concert

On Tuesday morning we rushed back to Charlotte to get home in time for the Coldplay concert.  I had gotten Kevin tickets for his birthday back in February and y'all he was so cute.  He was SO excited about this concert!  I loved seeing him so happy!

I was lucky enough to get our company box tickets for us and our friends Jenn and David.  They are huge Coldplay fans too.  The seats were actually perfect. 

When we entered the arena, they gave us these wrist bands that lit up by some electronic signal or something.  I'm sure my Dad could tell me.  But it was so cool.  Look at them all....they flashed and went along with the music.  Very nice touch.

To be honest, I didn't think I knew a single Coldplay song but I did recognize a few. 

And to be honest, the concert was so good that even if you hated Coldplay, you still would have enjoyed the show.  I was really impressed. 

But I still like my country music! 

These guys and mostly Chris Martin just put so much emotion and passion into their music.  It was pretty amazing. 

Our wrist bands.  Kevin gave me his green one so I could have pink and green.  ;)

Here are the four of us!  Dave and Jenn were so sweet to have us up to their condo (they are our neighbors) before the concert for tacos.  It was nice not to have to cook as we got back into town.

One of the nicest couples I know. 

Kev and I.  He says it was possibly his favorite birthday gift he's ever gotten.  Awwwww!

Next recap will be July 4th!