September 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom!

photo by Bella Pictures

Today's post is dedicated to my mom. She is such an amazing woman and I'm so thankful to have grown up with her as my teacher, my caretaker, my comforter, my confidante, my spiritual leader. Of course she is spending today doing flower arrangements and setting up a wedding for a good friend whose son is getting married this weekend  - that is just an example of how selfless she is. She totally rocks.

I hope you have a wonderful day, Mom! I love you!

photo by Blythe K

photo by Bella Pictures

September 29, 2011

October Goals

So I've never done a "Goals" post before, but I think it will help me to have it written down in public instead of on a sticky note that I can just throw away. There have been some things lately that I have been wanting to get done, but haven't still, and I feel like making them official goals will be helpful for me and keep me more accountable. You probably don't care about these but I'm going for it anyway!

My October 2011 Goals:
Start exercising again - go on a run or walk 3x a week
Organize our budget and start seriously saving
Keep up with my I Peter Bible study homework (time with the Lord at least 4x per week)
Finally get my wedding dress cleaned and preserved (I know I am so lazy... it has been what, a year and 2 months??)
Do at least one of the crafts that I have pinned on Pinterest
Work on being intentional with my time so I can accomplish what I want to, instead of not thinking about it and then at the end of the day wondering where the day went (this is a fuzzy goal and it will be interesting to see how this goes!)

September 28, 2011

Avocado Dressing

It certainly has been a while since I posted a recipe. Last night I had a ripe avocado I needed to use, and in my daily email from I saw a recipe for Avocado dressing! How perfect! The website had it paired with chicken tostadas, but I didn't have the ingredients for that so I decided to change it up. I cooked up some Costco salmon burgers (ever tried these?? they are delish!) and this dressing was an AMAZING topping. There is something about the sour cream and avocado mixture that is just perfect. I'm sure it would be a great topping for a number of meals. Check it out!

Avocado Dressing

1 ripe avocado
1/4 c. reduced fat sour cream
2-3 tbsp. lemon juice
3 tsp. canola oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until creamy and smooth. Top on a favorite salad, burger, tacos, fajitas, etc.

Adapted from

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September 25, 2011

United together

Last weekend, my church piled all of its campuses into the Durham Bull Athletic Park for a beautiful morning of worship and celebration of what God has done in our city through this church. Over 7000 people attended, with 300 getting baptized!! Jesus really showed off that day! For me, it was a pretty emotional day. Worshiping outside was so spiritual, and it was amazing to look around and see so many believers worshiping together. It made me so excited to do it in heaven one day. Check out this video to see what all went down:

If you happen to live in the Raleigh-Durham area, check out The Summit Church! There are campuses spread out throughout the area, where the sermon is broadcast to each one. So basically it's all the same church, while being reachable to all the areas of the Triangle. Not to mention it is completely gospel-centered. I really do love my church!

September 24, 2011

Hello Fall!

While it has remained to be high 70s this week, there is definitely an overall feeling that has settled upon us. Autumn is here and I am excited about it! I made it official by bringing out my fall decorations, which are not many but I'm okay with that. It really doesn't take much to make your home feel the change in season.

These flowers are from the local Harris Teeter. A mason jar makes a simple yet classy vase. And I picked up that adorable pumpkin at HomeGoods. I pulled out my fall placemats, and voila! I have a beautiful autumn tablescape.

We got this wreath last year in Blowing Rock, NC. It was so fun to pull it out again for the season!

We will be adding pumpkins to our doorstep once we take a trip to the pumpkin patch!
What are your go-to fall decorations? Have you decorated your home with them yet?

September 21, 2011

Rain is a good thing

Rain, 1945
Arthur Leipzig
It has been a dreary day week here in Raleigh. We had a cold front come in last weekend, and since it never got sunny again I keep thinking it will be chilly when I step outside... yet the temperature is well into the 70s and sometimes 80s. I kept feeling like I should be switching out my clothes for the new season, even though it's still pretty warm... I'm a little slow but starting to catch on.

I liked this picture because it pretty much sums up my week: the obvious rain, as well as the man in the picture who resembles Donald Draper. Now, if you don't know who Donald Draper is, you should get to know him. And to do that you need to watch Mad Men. Besides my usual commitments, literally all I've been doing this week is watching Mad Men. Michael and I are obsessed, to say the least. We are through season one and it just keeps getting better. While I do not condone all the behavior that goes on in this show, I highly recommend it. (It is clean in the sense that there are not any disturbing or graphic scenes, but the characters in the show have little to no morals, just an FYI.) If you are looking for something to do in this dreary weather, watch this show! If you really need to be productive, seriously don't.

I hope you are having a good week! How are you occupying your time while it rains?

September 17, 2011

Handbag Search

As fall approaches, I've been searching for a new handbag. My current purse has colorful flowers all over it... I think I'm breaking the Labor Day rule every time I take it somewhere. I want something simple, one that I can wear with black and brown, and large enough to hold all my stuff. I'm thinking a pretty gray or camel color. Here are some of my finds!

the Scout by Big Buddha, $90

beige hobo satchel at MG Collection, $25.50

Could I get away with wearing this brown purse with black?
Rose handbag by Fash, $23

I know I said I wanted it to be black/brown compatible, but who could not love this black and gold combo??
LUCCA black satchel by MG Collection, $35.50

I just love this woven look!
Urban Expressions Woven Satchel at DSW, $60

Which color do I pick?
Faux crocodile print satchel by NY&Co, $45

Flyer convertible satchel by Steve Madden, $50

And this not necessarily a purse but I just liked it... It's the perfect carry-on tote - expands for more storage!
Reisenthel Expandable Tote Bag, $25

September 16, 2011

Happy Mum Earrings

Aren't these earrings just happy? Well, the fact that they are FREE should make you happy, too! I ordered some today from Groopdealz, a website that has the same concept as Groupon and LivingSocial. These cute earrings are from an Etsy shop called FancyFab. The best part about it was that it was only $2.75 for 2 pairs of earrings!! Literally the earrings are free, and all you have to pay is shipping. It is Groopdealz's 1 year anniversary, and they decided to give everyone a gift! How fun is that?

I bought hot pink and white. What colors are you going to get?

Happy Friday!

September 12, 2011

Making a Diaper Cake

This is such a great gift idea for any mommy-to-be, and perfect for a baby shower. I first saw a diaper cake at my sister-in-law's baby shower a few years ago. Now my other sister-in-law, Elissa, is having her first baby in November, so I decided to give it a try. I looked up Youtube videos and it didn't seem too hard. After buying the supplies, following the steps from the Youtube videos was actually pretty easy. It turned out pretty cute and it was really fun to make! This is such a fun display to have at a baby shower, and the mommy will actually get to use it.

Here's the how-to!

What you will need:
80+ diapers (any size will do, I picked the ones that Elissa had registered for at Target)
rubber bands (lots of small and a few large)
something to fill the middle (ex. baby bottles or baby shampoo) and/or wooden dowels
something to use as a cake topper (teddy bear, bow, etc.)
any other decorations you want

Start by opening the diaper packages, and then individually roll up each diaper. Secure with a small rubber band.

Get a large rubber band and wrap it around your middle base. I used a bottle of baby shampoo from her Target registry. Then stuff your rolled diapers around the base.

The 1st tier, halfway done
Once the layer starts getting to the size you want it, wrap your arms around it and "hug" the cake to shape it into a circle. It is very easy for it to be a lopsided circle that is uneven around the base! Repeat these steps for 2 more layers (I guess you could do even more if you wish! I did a 3-tiered cake). Make sure to place them on top of each other to gauge the sizing and how it will look when you put them all together.

For the bottom layer, I ended up putting in a tube of Butt Paste with the shampoo bottle to fill it out more. Then I placed the 2nd tier of diapers over the bottom tier and made space in the middle for the Butt Paste and baby shampoo to come up through.

View of the 2nd tier

Have something smaller for the middle of the top tier as well. If it is taller than the diapers, this is a good thing! Push it through the bottom and secure it in the middle of the 2nd tier. This way you don't have movable layers. I also stuck wooden dowels somewhere in there (not pictured), which helped the entire cake stay together.

The next step is to use ribbon to cover up the rubber bands. I layered 3 different sized ribbons together and secured it with a hot glue gun. Don't glue the ribbon to the diapers! You want this cake to be pulled apart and used :)

I found these baby feet at Michaels! They have lots of baby stuff
After putting it all together, I realized I needed a base. I got a white piece of cardboard at the dollar store, and got my husband to cut it into a circle with a box cutter. I added ribbon to cover up the edge.

The rest is decorations. It is totally up to you to decide what to use! I decided to go with a theme of blue and gray - the colors of Elissa's nursery. It wasn't too hard to find a few cute things that matched. The lovie bear was perfect - I stuffed the blanket part in the top so I didn't have to use glue or string to attach it. I was pretty proud of the result!

Here it is all set up at the shower:

Family and the beautiful momma!

September 8, 2011

You are my Home

I just love this music video. This little girl is so precious. "Home is wherever I'm with you." How true... I'm so glad I get to live with my best friend!

September 7, 2011

Chicken and Corn Quesadillas

So tonight I wanted to make this recipe for Corn and Black Bean Quesadillas I had seen on Sweet Pea's Kitchen this week. I was all excited because I had all of the ingredients and didn't need to stop at the store. Let's just say I need to remember the phrase, "Don't count your chickens before they hatch." Or at least count on Murphy's law winning out. Whatever. My point is, I got home and realized I had no black beans. NONE?! If you know me, that is pretty bad - bad as in I desperately need to go to the grocery store. And I keep avoiding it. (Do I still qualify for the 2011 wife of the year award??) The black beans were pretty much the "meat" of this recipe, and if I just simply left them out, Michael and I would be hungry again in about two hours! So I improvised... or rather just created something totally different. I went with the corn idea since I had a can of that, and added whatever I found in the fridge. I was pretty impressed with how they turned out.

Chicken and Corn Quesadillas
4 wheat flour tortillas (8")
butter/oil/cooking spray
shredded cheese of your choice (I used Cheddar)
small pieces of cooked chicken (I keep a bag of frozen grilled chicken strips in my freezer JUST for the reason of needing chicken in a hurry)
1/3 can of corn (or about 1/2 c. frozen corn)
1 tomato, chopped
fresh cilantro

Grease pan and turn stove on medium heat. Lay down 1 tortilla, top with cheese, chicken, corn, tomato, and cilantro. Place a second tortilla on top, and once cheese is getting mostly melted and/or the bottom tortilla is browned, flip over. After that side is done, transfer to a plate and cut into fourths. Repeat previous steps to make another. Serve with sour cream and salsa.

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I was surprised at how yummy these were since I didn't add very much to them. I expected them to be a little bland, but the cilantro and fresh tomato really added something to it and I didn't even feel like I needed to top it with salsa or sour cream (although of course I still did!). Hope you enjoy these, too! What are your favorite quesadilla ingredients??

September 6, 2011

Local Favorite: The Lumina outdoor theater

This past weekend we did something really fun: we watched a movie outside! There is a theater in Chapel Hill that plays movies out on the lawn in the neighborhood of Southern Village. It is such a fun thing to do on a summer night! Everyone brings a lawn chair or a blanket and picks a spot on the grass to watch the movie. They are usually family friendly movies, but in times past they have played "Grownups" and "X-Men: First Class," and the new "Pirates of the Caribbean" is playing this September. So there are definitely some good ones! We saw "Captain America" this past Saturday, and while I only gave the movie a rating of "okay," the whole experience was really fun. We randomly invited another couple from our small group, Mark and Jenn, who have not hung out with too much before, and it was so fun! We actually stayed out on the lawn talking way after the movie ended! It was just the perfect night for that kind of thing.

If you live in the Raleigh-Durham area, go check out The Lumina before the season is over! At only $4 a ticket and you can bring your own snacks, it truly is the best way to watch a movie! Just make sure you get there a little before dusk so you can get a good seat :)
[I apologize for the bad picture - it's from my phone and it's the only one I have!
You get the idea though, right??]

September 5, 2011

The Master

Ok, so this project has been a long time comin'... I have toyed with tons of ideas, trying to find the right fit for our master bedroom. Out of all the ideas I hemmed and hawed over, I ended up choosing some pretty simple accents. And I love it! I am not too much for super flourishy decor, and since our Pottery Barn duvet cover is so busy, I ended up simplifying the rest. I would also have to say that this room still is not totally "done." There are some things I'm still deciding on and/or don't have the money for; one being an upholstered storage bench for the end of our bed. But for now, this room at least has pictures on the walls and a comfortable feel to it. For now, I am content!

Thankfully, we did not have to spend much on furniture. Michael's generous parents bought us this bedroom set for our wedding. I got to pick it out, though! We bought the mattress and an extra nightstand since only 1 came with the set.

Ideally I would love to paint our bedroom one day. Possibly a cool blue or light khaki. Since we are renting an apartment and are not sure how much longer we'll be here, I decided not to paint the walls because we'll have to repaint them when we leave. I sort of wish we had just done it when we moved in so we could enjoy it longer... but the ceilings are high so it would be a pain to repaint when we leave. One day we will have color on our walls!

I did not post any pictures of Michael's highboy dresser, because there is nothing fun on top of it. Still looking for something to decorate it with...

See what I mean about the curtains? They just hang there. Does this look good or do they need help?? (it's kind of hard to tell but they are blue - bad/blurry picture quality, sorry!)

Furniture: Consignment store and Target
Lamps: Target
Duvet cover and shams: Pottery Barn
Wicker clothes hamper: Ross
Above bed frames: Target
Dresser frames: Pottery Barn and Ross

If you want to see my living room, click here.

September 3, 2011


It's our first game of the 2011 season, and it's a little bittersweet. Seeing Lane Stadium on TV is really making me wish I was there watching the Hokies beat App State... it's so much different being there at the scene vs. watching it at home on the couch in an area where they only care about Tarheels and the Wolfpack! I'm really hoping we can go to a game this season. Until then, LET'S GO HOKIES!

Lane Stadium

Senior year - 2009 Season