Friday, July 30, 2010

Back and Better Than Ever!

So pardon me for jumping ship yesteday, but as you can see, my lovely little blog was getting a renovation of its own {still a work-in-progress with a few things to revise}, courtesy of Lindsey at Sweet Simplicity Designs--she is WONDERFUL to work with. I gave her tons of ideas for what I was looking for (colors, elements, patterns, etc.) and boy did she deliver... if you're wanting a little freshening up for your blog, I am telling you to talk to her!

Well, it's that day again... the day we all look forward to throughout the week--FRIDAY! But before I fill you in on weekend details, PLEASE tell me some of you watched the premiere of Jersey Shore last night?
HILARIOUS--I know they are pure trash, but I give in everytime its on and I will admit Jeff and I did a little fist pumping action of our own last night... their vocabulary and the words they come up amuse me so much--grenade, creep?? Don't know where they come up with this stuff, but I am a loyal fan. 

Today is Christmas in July lunch day at work... yes, I know, it may be 95 degrees outside, but in our lunchroom it smells like the holidays--gotta love it! I can't wait to get some comfort food and totally forget my healthy eating habits for one meal soI can indulge in the baked macaroni and cheese I made:
Ingredients
1 box Deluxe Mac and Cheese
1/2 cup Shredded Cheddar
1/2 cup of Sour Cream (I use light)
1 tsp. cayenne red pepper
1/2 tsp butter
8 ritz crackers

Directions
Preheat oven to 375.
Cook macaroni and cheese normally; add in cheese sauce
Spoon sour cream, 1/2 of shredded cheddar, and red pepper into macaroni mix
Pour mixture into greased 9 x 9 square baking dish
Mix together butter and ritz crackers and crush together; add on top of other ingredients
Bake for 20 minutes and enjoy!

After work, Jeff and I are headed out for date night...we've slacked a bit on entertaining ourselves as a couple lately and we both want to get back in the habit--on tonight's agenda, sushi and finally getting to see Eclipse! Can you tell I picked this date??
The rest of my weekend will be spent spray painting the guest bedroom furniture, picking out {yet again} more paint colors for the house, finishing up another calligraphy order, and spending time with the family celebrating my cousin's 21st birthday--oh how I remember the days!! =)

And just because I thought it was funny, check this post out at one of my favorite home decor/design/DIY websites--Young House Love... they were looking for a pop of summertime color in their living room and they added some bright yellow floral rosette pillows... and the interesting part is that I bought the SAME pillows for our bedroom because I wanted to add something bright and bold into our otherwise neutral palette--great minds think alike, right?
Their Living Room
My Master Bedroom
Happy weekend friends!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wedding Wednesday... Favorite Go-To Wedding Sites

For all those ladies out there planning your dream wedding celebration, this post goes out to you... I have a feeling a lot of you are exactly like me when it comes to stalking wedding blogs and sites--you just can't get enough! 
I think we are extremely lucky in the fact we are deep within the internet generation with all of these sites just a click away... in a snap, we can find local vendors, browse for color inspiration and DIY tutorials, outline your day for guests via individual wedding websites, and find looks to create beautiful inspiration boards so your "theme" can look cohesive and beautiful. 
In no particular order, here is just a small sampling of some of my favorite go-to wedding sites... hoping I can introduce a few of you to some outstanding bloggers/authors/sites and some exciting wedding fashion, fun, details, invitations, color schemes, and all things design... 
Elizabeth Anne Designs--A wedding and lifestyle site updated daily with tips and stories from real brides, newlyweds, and wedding vendors. The EAD blog is dedicated to the details and inspirations that make a wedding beautiful. The EAD Vendor Guide is filled with thousands of useful wedding vendor listings – from photographers to shops to stationers – and is designed to help every bride, no matter her location, find the vendors she needs to create her event.
Oh So Beautiful Paper--Daily inspiration from paper goods and wed­ding invi­ta­tions to inte­rior design, style and any­thing pretty. A perfect resource for any­one seek­ing infor­ma­tion about poten­tial ven­dors, including wed­ding invi­ta­tions, busi­ness col­lat­eral, and social sta­tionery

Project Wedding (Site and Blog)--Connects brides and helps them share ideas, advice, and vendor recommendations! It's a community of people that love to talk about weddings and share advice, a local vendor listing organized by rating and price range, a one-stop, organized source for vendor recs and reviews, an index of vendor reviews from across the web, a great place to brainstorm ideas for your wedding, and a tool to help you plan for your big day
The Bride's Guide Blog AKA MSW--Martha Stewart Weddings is the leading resource for the bride who wants a wedding that is beyond the ordinary. Guides couples through the entire wedding process, with a focus on helping them make their special day truly their own. Filled with fresh ideas, inspiring photographs, and how-to information, Martha Stewart Weddings takes readers from the engagement to the honeymoon and beyond.
100 Layer Cake--A wedding planning resource for and by thoughtful, crafty, modern women. Our vendors, projects, and weddings are hand-picked, and thoroughly researched with the hope that every single one is a truly unique addition to both your wedding and planning process. 
Style Me Pretty--A style savvy wedding resource devoted to the modern bride. They cover everything from gorgeous real weddings to up and coming vendors and seasoned pros in the invitation, floral, fashion, and photography industries. SMP features only the most chic and style centric wedding related content, continually discovering new and brilliantly talented vendors, brides with an eye for all things gorgeous, and the personal loves of editor, Abby Larson.
Wedding Chicks--Here to share everything new, classic, funky, hip, and just plain fun for weddings. Of course, they want to make sure your days are filled with inspiration and beauty as well. Let them help you find that perfect vendor and of course share all of their pretty things over at the WC shop.

And just to rack your brain with more goodies to check out--here are some of my other favs:
Ashley's Bride Guide (great for local girls in Nashville!)

So if I have left any fabulous blogs and/or must reads out, please don't hesitate to let me know!! I'm always looking to find new inspiration...have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hot and Spicy Corn Dip Recipe

This recipe comes to you from the old favorite Kraft Foods website... if you have people coming over and need something to place throw in the oven, this is my new go-to recipe--to put it nicely, there wasn't an ounce of this leftover after my guests left last week. It is amazing, easy, and oh-so-tasty!
Ingredients
2 cups Frozen corn, thawed, well drained (I used 2 bags which fed about 8 hungry people)
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Neufchatel Cheese, softened
1 cup Mexican Style Shredded Four Cheese
1 can Rotel
1/24 tsp. Chili Powder
1 box Wheat Thins/Triscuit Crackers

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F
Mix all ingredients except chili powder and crackers until well blended
Spread into 9-inch pie plate (I used a bakeable ceramic dish)
Srinkle with chili powder
Bake for 20-25 min. or until golden brown and bubbly
Serve hot with the crackers

The Writing Was on the Wall

Due to Nashville's scary thunderstorms and tornado warnings ruining my Monday night ritual of watching The Bachelorette--hey at least it wasn't the finale--I had a little bit of extra time on my hands. So what do I decide to do you ask?? Clean my house...ummm no, do laundry... absolutely not--rather, I take the time to go through my childhood bins and see what goodies my grandparents had loaded in there.
Since they are in the process of downsizing at their current house because they may be moving at some point, they decided to clean out my room {insert sad face} and make sure I had all my belongings at my house...and yes, for those that are wondering, I did have my own room at my grandparent's house--my Gran took care of me when I was growing up and after school so I always had a home away from home, too =)
So look at all the funny things I stumbled across:
My 1st Airbrushed TShirt and My Cathy's Dance Studio Pink Jacket
My Favorite Dresses--Both from Trips to St. Thomas and Hawai'i
{Obviously cute clothes was essential even at an early age--haha}
More Pink and Red--Those Were My Favorite Colors!
My Collection of Purses and Shoes Began Early, Right??
My Black "Slick" Shoes and 1st Walking Shoes
 Just a Sampling of Some of My Dance Recital Outfits--WOW
The older I get, the more I love to look back at all my childhood prized possessions and collectables and reminisce... I feel so lucky to have a family with such great memories from vacations galore to lots of fun birthday celebrations to always feeling the most loved. Trolls, Lisa Frank diaries, Cabbage Patch Kids, and Little Mermaid lunchboxes may not be cool now, but I definitely had my fair share of fun =)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Just Another Manic Monday

I'll give you shortened, condensed version of how my weekend went: (1) because it's not all that exciting, and (2) because I'm crazy busy again this week--both work and personally--so I need to pick it up a notch to make sure I get everything knocked out in time.
Friday Night--cookout with some of Jeff's work friends ended up with be babysitting my dear fiance because he just had to sample a few too many rounds of tequila shots--poor baby! I also made this FANTABULOUS corn dip that I will post the recipe for!!
My Little Grillmaster!
Saturday morning, we got up and headed to run errands all around town...and I am happy to report that we added a brand new coffee table AND throw pillows to our couch/living room--let's see the before and then the after! 
No Couch or Table
  
Bring On My Couch
And Introducing Our New Coffee Table and Sofa Pillows
Now that we are slowly but surely getting the furniture, we are going to start looking at accent pieces and art for the walls--can't wait to make it finally feel like a living room!
Saturday night, we headed to my parent's new house since they had just finished moving in...they did a great job picking out paint colors and the new furniture looks incredible, but my Mom would kill me if I showed pics before it was done so that'll come soon!
As for Sunday, I spent practically all day working on calligraphy...my hand felt like it was going to fall off, but I made a lot of progress
Last night, we met our friends Andy and Lauren {sorry darling, can't tag you here--hehe} for dinner at our favorite Mexican establishment and then headed to the movies to see Inception. So for my personal preference, was it as good as everyone made it out to be? No--but these are the reasons why: (1) it was FOREVER long, and (2) confusing as all get out. Now don't get me wrong--it was a great movie, but you definitely need to be ready to think and not just sit back and get entertained...VERY thought provoking!
Alright, back to work--Happy Monday friends!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Working for the Weekend

It's sad when one your friends says she got tired just by reading about your weekend plans via email, right?? Just when I thought I would have a weekend off, a multitude of things jumped up and bit me and stuck their tongue out and said "na na na na boo boo" in my face!
Not one to complain, I am going to make light of the situation and put on my happy face--maybe if I am good I will get a treat from Mr. Jeffrey =)
Here's what we have lined up:
Backyard BBQ cookout tonight at our house for Jeff's coworkers and friends...crossing my fingers I remember to post the recipes soon after, too!
Saturday morning: gym time, living room furniture shopping, and then to help my parents get settled into their new house!!!
Oh and then I forgot to mention I will be working on not 1, but 2 calligraphy orders this weekend... overwhelmed would be an understatement at this point, but I thrive under pressure and I love doing it--just wish they BOTH didn't have to be completed by next weekend--yikes!
Then comes Sunday... my saving grace day! We actually get to have some fun with Lauren and Andy for couples date night! Mexican at the best local place you'll ever find and then to see Inception featuring my Leo--yummy!
Happy weekend friends--hope you all have a GREAT ONE...and if you're anywhere near Nashville, stay out of the heat--tomorrow's high temp is supposed to reach 100 which means humidity, ugly hair, and trying to keep myself hydrated!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My 1st Thoughtless Thursday

So I have never participated in Mrs. Fulmer's "Thoughtless Thursday", but I am having one of those rando head-in-the-clouds kind of days so I figured why not play along... I mean, the overall point of the post is to air anything and everything and udder complete nonsense, right??

{And P.S. if you don't reasd her blog, you totally should!! She is completely adorable--she's from the other T--as in Texas--but I won't hold that against she... she is also prego and expecting their first baby boy this fall}

1. Why can't people follow instructions?? People who say they read something when you are helping them but then send you something completely WRONG just drives me insane--attention to details people!!

2. I bought the CUTEST Nike running skirt last night at Marshall's--and the adorable thing was a mere $15...always on the prowl for a bargain people!! It's just like this one, but it's fuschia with black polka dots
3. As I was driving to work this morning conversating with Mom--and yes, we do this at least 3 times each week--she made me ponder something... she was talking about how all the women in my family collect things, yet I am someone who likes a clean space with not much clutter---hmmm interesting... however, I do collect one thing: everytime we or my parents travel somehwere new, I always get a coffee table book! Sounds weird, but I've got quite a collection already including: San Francisco, Barcelona, New York, Napa, Paris, Rome,  Madrid, and Key West just to name a few!
We do agree on one thing though--she likes to collect antiques while I much prefer the look of a full crowded closet with my favorite dresses, coats, shoes, and purses.
4. I got my first non-human AKA mystic spray tan last night and let's just say I didn't use enough of that lovely barrier cream... otherwise known as "hello, my name is Natasha and I look like an oompa loompa"--thank the Lord I tried this out now instead of later when I had something important to look good for... I'll be washing my hands 10 times a day until this lovely orange fades =)
5. And Meg this is just for you: a friendly reminder that you will be Mrs. Aaron Grunke in only 23 days!! {don't get freaked out, I am just telling you this because I am soooo excited}... a weekend full of their friends and family with amazing wedding events planned--woo hoo! bring on the fun... love you the most!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Recipes: Fruit of the Loom

I am all about the fruit, especially during the summer when you can take advantage of all the goodness and variety of watermelon, strawberries, canteloupe, raspberries, peaches, and my favorite--blueberries! Fruit has the ability to make any homemade dish more unique, and adds that little bit of nutrition to even the deadliest pleasures...
here are some of my favorites from some stupendous foodie blogs:
Raspberry Citrus Slushie via Our Best Bites
Watermelon Salsa via Recipegirl
Blueberry Cobbler via Eat at Home
Mango Pico de Gallo via Our Best Bites
Strawberry Blackberry Shortcakes via Joy the Baker
Fabulous Orange Kitchen via Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Blackberry Habanero Lamb Chops via Recipe Girl
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