Friday, May 28, 2010

A Long-Awaited Weekend

It seems as though I have been anxiously waiting for this weekend to come for soooo very long... well, ever since the media leaked when the new Sex and the City 2 movie would debut! Though I know a lot of ladies went Thursday, we all decided to wait until Friday night {like we did for the first movie} and make a whole night out of it!
Tonight, we're headed to the Acorn Restaurant here in Nashville for dinner and drinks--which I am uber excited about because I have never eaten there! Afterwards, we're heading to the cinema at Green Hills Mall to see the infamous ladies for their 2nd go-around! 
Now I have been reading stalking a few critics' reviews of the movie, in which case they blabber on about "not living up to the name" BLA BLA BLA...but I never agree with the movie reviewer's notes anyways, so I am 100% sure I will be happily pleased with Michael Patrick King's direction for #2 as well =)

Cheers to seeing Patricia Fields' wonderful couture wardrobe for the girls, too...ahhhh I'm not sure I can wait 10 more hours!!!

As for the remainder of my holiday {3-day WAHOO} weekend, tomorrow we are hoping--crossing my fingers--to spend some time at the pool with friends! The forecast has scattered showers as a possiblity, but if the sun is out, you bet I will be taking in some much-needed rays! Then we're headed to the lake Sunday and Monday with Jeff's best man and his wife and adorable kiddos to spend some time wakeboarding and cooking out...I can't wait!

And remember, we get to enjoy Memorial Day because of all the Veterans that are out there, currently serving or have served our wonderful country. If you see a Veteran this weekend, make sure to thank them--it's for their sacrifices that we are able to go about our daily lives... and a special thanks to my Dad and Grandfather--love you both!!

Fashionable Friday... Sweet Summertime!

To me, Memorial Day welcomes all things summer... you can OFFICIALLY wear white--though I think the rules have changed and Easter is the go-to holiday to be able to sport white and seersucker--and it's when everyone gets their butt in gear to frolic in the pool, bask in the sun, and head to your local beach/lake/river/slip-n-slide to have some summertime fun!
With that in mind, I searched high and low for some of my favorite summertime necessities... for cookouts, for vacations, for anything and everything you can think of to get ready to relax and get your mind out of the "work" mentality.

Insulated Picnic Pack via World Market
Poolside Stripe Beach Towel via Pottery Barn
Margaritaville Explorer Frozen Concoction Maker via Williams Sonoma
Large Madaket Tote via JCrew

 Beverage Dispenser with Cooling Cylinder via Bed, Bath, and Beyond
Monogrammed Ice Bucket via Dabney Lee At Home
Cuisinart 2-Quart Frozen Yogurt/Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker via Dillards

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Fruit of the Loom

This morning, I just happened to stumble upon a wonderful article from Runner's World about all things fruit... since I am not much of a veggie person, I tend to eat A LOT of fruit, which I have to watch at times because all that sugar can really add up--though we all know its better than that ice cream I am really craving.
The article, Sweet Success, shows you different ways to introduce fruit into your diet or increase your consumption if you already eat it: take a peak at what I found interesting...

The  La Bouqueria (Fresh Market) I Visited in Barcelona, Spain!
"Spring and summer fruits are nearing peak ripeness. Aside from tasting great, they're rich in potassium, vitamin C, beta-carotene, and phytonutrients that speed recovery. Fruit also lowers risk for heart disease and cancer. To get your three to four daily servings, try these creative ways of preparing it. Your health (and taste buds) will reap the rewards.
GRILL IT
WHY: Cooking fruit over high heat concentrates flavors and caramelizes natural sugar. Any fruit sturdy enough to rest on a grill (like pineapple and mango) will work, as will fruits held together by their skin, such as plums and peaches.
HOW: Remove inedible skin (like banana peels). Cut fruit in half and remove pits or seeds. Soak fruit in water for about 10 minutes. You can infuse the water with mint or cinnamon. Brush fruit with a little melted butter. With the flame on medium, place fruit on grill and cook, turning, until browned.

BAKE IT
WHY: Fruit is water-rich, so it stays moist when slowly baked at a low temperature. Since the fruit and juices cook in the same dish, it retains much of its nutrients. Try baking a single type of fruit or a mixture, such as blueberries and raspberries, for different textures and flavors.
HOW: Place sliced, chunked, or halved fruit in a greased baking dish. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and crumb topping (made from chopped nuts, sugar, and flour). Bake at 350° F for 30 to 60 minutes until tender; the firmer the fruit and the larger the quantity, the longer it takes to cook.

POACH IT
WHY: Simmering fruit in liquid helps enhance flavor and soften texture; it's ideal for fruit that isn't quite ripe. Serving the poaching liquid with the fruit ensures you get most of the fruit's nutrients.
HOW: Place whole or halved fruit in a saucepan (keep edible skin on). Add juice, wine, or water sweetened with honey until liquid barely covers fruit. Add vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Simmer until soft (10 minutes for small fruit like cherries; an hour for large, hard fruit like pears). Remove fruit, cook liquid into a syrup, and then spoon over the fruit.

Raw Material
EATING UNCOOKED FRUIT ensures all of its nutrients remain intact. And its natural sweetness complements just about every flavor, making it easy to add to a range of dishes.
CHOP IT Make a fruit salad with less common fruits, such as black and golden raspberries, for new flavors and nutrients.
SLICE IT Add thin slices of pears or grape halves to sandwiches and wraps.
DICE IT Finely chop tropical fruits like papaya and mango and add to salsa—use to top fish and meat.
SHRED IT Add apple or coconut to coleslaw and salads.
PUREE IT Whirl berries with yogurt and honey in a blender for a recovery smoothie.
DRINK IT Blend lemonade and watermelon for a refreshing way to stay hydrated.

I also found a really interesting health quiz here... as I am always one to test myself to see how healthy my diet and exercise regime REALLY IS, I thought this was extremely helpful. It rates you based on your eating habits, whether or not you use supplements, your exercise routine, and your overall health choices and general health. I scored a WELL and received mostly thumbs up, though it looks as though I need to eat more beans {gross!} and decrease my intake of red meat {never going to happen} =) 

Back in Decorating Mode

Now that things are settling back down after the craziness that has swept through the month of May...hello flood, hello new fence, hello traveling to and from--I can finally start getting back to decorating the house and finishing details I have failed to complete in the past few months...oops!
I had a bunch of my blogging friends ask to see our bedroom progress since I put up curtains and here is the finished product...also see the new frames I just bought to sit on our wall ledge--still a few I need to change in and out and put pictures in, but you get the overall idea: 
And yesterday, I just happened to stumble upon a wreath to hang on our side porch...this has been a search for quite some time, though everything I found eas either bla boring or too uber: expensive and I refused to pay that much. Thank you Joann Crafts for having 1/2 off florals day so I got this lovely for a mere $18--my ALMOST finished side porch:
Now all we need are some outdoor pillows for the Adirondack chairs and it'll be done!!
FYI: Pardon my poor ferns, there is a bird's nest in one of them and I am trying to get these baby chicks out so I can hang them again

Other than that, we are anxiously waiting for Home Depot to get out here and put our new carpet in downstairs--and no, they didn't care to tell us our selection was on back order so we have to wait ANOTHER 3 weeks--oh that makes me mad and you better believe I called Customer Service to give them a little piece of my mind =). And, I am counting down the days until this new beauty makes its debut in my formal living room so I can get to work on our other "living space"!
The Buchanan Sofa via PB {ours will be the Washed Linen/Cotton blend in Ivory}

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wedding Wednesday... Flower Power

With the beau out of town on a business trip yesterday, I couldn't help but get back to all things planning... I sat down at my computer and got to work, updating our budget {oh, how it continues to expand}, refining the guest list, and checking my to-do list to see what is up next, based on guidelines via The Knot and other helpful resources.
Now that I have officially found my dress {swoon, my heart may fail because I really do love it THAT much}, I am ready to start working on other details to tie our wedding "theme" together....this list is a bit lengthy for now, so we'll focus on one BIG detail: find a florist!
To me, flowers can pull everything together--they can make a ceremony venue POP and have the ability to make a rather bland space seem awe-inspiring, inviting, elegant, and all together now "wonderful". With the endless list of talent scattered in and around Nashville, I know I will find a florist that meets all my expectations and can make my ceremony and reception beautiful.
Going back to all my wedding pictures/inspiration boards and what I envision, I really want bold, big petals and something different... I want to soften the "urban" feel of my reception venue with white blossoms with hints of black and white to tie my color scheme together and I most certainly want to use my favorite flower--anemones! This statement flower's popularity has overwhelmingly taken off and I am lucky to see other bride's taking advantage of just how gorgeous these blooms are... take a peek at this wedding via 100 Layer Cake.  
Here is my favorite bridal bouquet that I am absolutely loving!!
 
Mix this in for fun... feathers!
Finally, add my splash of color with a gorgeous brooch and call me done!
 By now, you know I am a bride that knows EXACTLY what she wants ;)
As far as ceremony decor, I have an idea of types of altar arrangements and pew flowers I want, though I am not as set in my ways on this detail...here are some ideas I am loving:
For our reception, I want variety and I want timeless gorgeousness--is that even a word?? I love the idea of mixing tall and low centerpieces to add heighth and volume and some of these have my name written all over them: 
And truth be told, I am thinking of throwing in some other "southern" details I recently found via Southern Weddings Magazine: Cotton--is this not incredible??
I guess that's enough wedding fun for one day, right??? Alright ladies, this is where you come in{I hope!!}--How did you find your florist? What questions should I ask when I am interviewing potential candidates? How do you tie everything together? And if you're a Nashville gal, I need names--our selection is GREAT, but a little daunting to say the least! Any help would be wonderful!! Oh, and Happy Wednesday =)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Recipe: Buffalo Chicken Dip

On Sunday afternoon, a bunch of friends and I gathered for an end-of-the-weekend cookout in the hopes we could put off all productive items until Monday morning... and trust me, it worked! I tried out a tasty new {well new, for me} recipe and it is one that EVERYONE loved--easy as pie, too!

Here's the recipe:
Ingredients
1 pkg. (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup crumbled shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup ranch salad dressing
2 12.5 oz cans Swanson Chunk Chicken Breast in Water, drained
1/2 cup FRANK'S RedHot sauce
Celery, chips, and/or crackers

Directions
Preheat oven to 350° F
Stir cream cheese in a pie plate with a fork or whisk until it's smooth
Stir in the dressing, pepper sauce, and cheese; stir in the chicken
Bake for 20 minutes or until the chicken mixture is hot and bubbling
Serve with vegetables and/or chips and crackers for dipping

Top 2 Tuesday... The Best Dates!

Back when Jeff and I first started dating, we used to have date nights all the time... we'd each pick a night, officially email/call the person to invite them to date night, and give them clues throughout the week to keep them guessing as to what we were doing, obviously without giving the details away to the other! This is a tradition we still continue--though now our dates are more like romantic back porch dates to save money with all the other spending we have going on consuming our lives--oh the joys of planning a wedding and owning a home! {although dont let me fool you, I wouldn't change it for the world}

Taylor's topic today is one of my favorites because it makes you think about all the fun you and your significant other have had together--oh the memories!
Top 2 Favorite Dates!
1. First and foremost, my favorite date Jeff and I have ever had has been our very first date...to Margot in East Nashville. He knew I had never been there before and was dying to try it out based on friends' reviews so he treated me to a romantic dinner complete with wine for our first night out. He picked me up at my apartment, opened my doors, and all the other southern gentlemanly things boys do in their efforts to swoon you =). It was the start of something incredible and I knew I had a keeper
2. My second favorite date that we have shared together was when Jeff surprised me for my birthday last year with a trip to NYC...he knew I was dying for a small getaway and this was just what the doctor ordered! We stayed at the famous Waldorf Astoria and I played tour guide for him all weekend because he had never ventured to the Big Apple before...we were like kids in a candy store, taking in all the sights and eating at the most incredible places--truly a fun weekend with my favorite person!



Monday, May 24, 2010

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

And indeed, this weekend we had major pee-in-your-pants fun! Forgive me in advance if I stray off track, for I have had a total of about 10 hours of sleep all weekend and I am starting to get a little bit jittery and delirious...I promise, I'll try to stay focused. 
Friday afternoon, my Mom and I took a lovely stroll to The Bride Room {the 4th store} to try on more wedding dresses! I was so excited to get back in all white that it went by like a flash of lightning, however, I am happy {ecstatic, overwhelmed, shocked, and highly excited} to say that my 3rd time was indeed a charm... I tried on the same dress for the 3rd time {yes, I know, I am not decessive when it comes to this part of wedding planning} and I will now be saying YES TO THE DRESS!
It's as though a light was shining on me giving me the obvious answer that "this is the dress you're supposed to get--I'm letting you try it on in 3 different stores just to let you know THIS IS THE ONE"! Mom and I will be going back to one of the salons in the next few weeks to place our order and I cannot wait--even better, her and I had a coffee date at Starbucks after our shopping excursion and she FINALLY told me that was the dress she wanted me to pick all along... great minds think alike, right?? ;)
And as an FYI: sorry friends, no pictures of the dress will be featured here--the "boy" does read from time to time, and I can't have him trying to figure out details so you'll just have to wait for the big day, too!

On Saturday morning, Meg and I headed to get her trial run makeup done for her wedding!! She looked gorgeous and loved the finished product. Then, we made our way to her other MOH's parents' home for her Kitchen Shower! It was a gorgeous day and we all had a wonderful time showering the bride with fun gifts...
The wonderful food!!
The Bride-to-Be
Mary and Meg
Meg's favorite gift {if I do say so myself}...her KitchenAid mixer from all of us bridesmaids!
Meg and her Mom, Marie
Meghan, Julie, me, and Bev
All the Ladies!!
Meg's Bridesmaids {minus Taylor, Hurt, Linsey, and Sarah}
Me and Best Friend!! OXOX
My Ladies!!
Meg with her Fabulous Hostesses {minus Taylor}

After the shower, we all drove back home to Nashville to get ready for Amber's Bachelorette Party! {and yes, for those of you wondering, I was running on pure adrenaline the entire day} We got back in just enough time to get ready and meet the ladies at The Wine Loft in the Gulch for dinner and drinks, which were great! We were the hugr group with 30 people and had the entire upstairs to ourselves, which was nice so we could celebrate in style!
Me, Katie, Shannie, and Amber
After dinner, we traveled to Hotel Indigo for Amber's Lingerie Shower with dessert and champagne!! She got some gorgeous lingerie and we all had a great time pre-partying before the pure craziness began, too!
Amber and Meg
Me and the Bachelorette--Love You!
We needed a Little Adult Pick-Me-Up Beverage, too!
Va-Va-Voom!! She Looked Beautiful =)
Ready to Head Downtown!
The Bride and Her Lovely Bridal Gear
Limo Fun
Amber and Her Sister Ashley =)
Breaking it Down at Decades
Yeah Hurt!!
I am proud to say we were in rare form that night and stayed out til a whopping 2AM!!! While waiting outside for my beloved Jeff to pick us up, I indulged in a little sidecart hot dog, which could've been the best $2 I have spent recently--it's the little things in life, right???
As for the rest of my weekend, we went to a friends' house for a Sunday afternoon cookout and roasted in the 90 degree weather {ugh!} and then settled back home to rest up for what will be another action-packed week...just crossing my fingers I make it through today so I can get a good night's sleep and wake up feeling like me again!!
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