Monday, July 30, 2012

Pregnancy So Far...

It is hard to believe that we are 16 weeks pregnant this week! The time has really flown by. Overall, I have been super blessed with a great pregnancy to date. Other than a few mornings of sickness, a couple headaches and the usual pregnancy fatigue, I have felt pretty good.

This week, baby Van (he or she, it's killing us!) is about the size of an avocado at 4.5 inches long and weighs 3.5 ounces, according to Baby Center. I've gained 5 pounds. A lot of my work clothes are feeling other words, the pencil skirts I love so much are most definitely out. Thanks to a sweet friend, I've got a really cute maternity wardrobe started.

A few welcome changes...(1) as silly as this may sound, my eyelashes have gotten fuller! I've always been unhappy with my sparse, short ones. Now they are a little thicker and filled in. Hey, I'll take it. (2) A growing belly. I am so ready to have that obvious baby bump, although I'm sure in a few months, I'll be a little uncomfortable. I really didn't think I had much of a bump at all until I looked at the picture above! (3) A healthier, more balanced approach to life. Growing a babe has forced me into making healthier decisions...whether it's waking up a little earlier to make a smoothie with some extra protein or taking stressful moments in stride. I've got to "remember who I'm housing," as my grandmother so wisely put it after reminding me that event planning is one of the top 6 most stressful professions behind soldiers, policemen, firefighters, tight rope walkers and something else... :)

A few not so welcome ones...(1) Bad skin. Thank GOD for makeup and for my doctor approving the use of my pimple cream. (2) Forgetfulness. I have done some of the most absent minded things during leaving my car keys inside my car...and there was something else. But, believe it or not, I've forgotten. (3) Headaches. I had a headache for 36 hours straight last week, awful! I have woken up with a headache in the mornings ever since probably 8 weeks, but I can usually manage to get it under control after 1/2 a small cup of coffee, doctor approved, and some water. (4) Fatigue. I am always on the go whether it's work or personal. I like it that way. Even though my energy level has increased in the last couple of weeks, I'm still not 100%. Once I get worn down, the recovery period is longer than one night of good sleep!

Exciting milestones ahead...(1) We have an appointment to find out the gender of the baby this Saturday! My vote is boy. Josh is leaning more towards girl, although I think he's really just trying to prepare himself for all the pink. Just in case. Which really, the same is true of me in regards to a boy. I've NEVER been around baby boys. All I know is you have to cover it up when you change their diaper. Of course, we will be stoked for either a wild boy or a sassy girl! (2) Feeling the baby move. My doctor said I may feel the first movement 1-2 weeks from now. At my appointment this morning, he checked out the heartbeat which was interrupted by what he said was a kick! I love hearing that swish-swish of the heartbeat. Just amazing. or blue?!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

50 Shades of Gray

My house is about to be 50 shades of gray in a very PG kind of way. Paint colors have presented us with quite the is so difficult! How in the world am I supposed to choose a color for an entire wall from a 1" x 1" square?! I really wanted to go gray, but not cool gray, warm gray. Which is tough. I think we've gotten there with lots of help from our designers and my mama. Josh is looking for some color, which I've promised to bring in with accessories. I'm in a very neutral state of mind right now, and it's a lot easier to add color than take it away!

All paint is Sherwin Williams. Here's what we're going with. Entry, living, kitchen and upstairs hallway/spare bedrooms will be Jogging Path, trim throughout is Alabaster.

This was the toughest for me. Probably because it is the biggest paint commitment considering it will cover most of the house. I really wanted to do gray, but the lighter shades seemed so cool and icy to me. This is a nice hue, I think, I hope.

Dining will be Griffin. We have some heavy wainscoting and trim work, plus some nice windows, so I wanted to go a little darker.

Our master will be Pavestone and the nursery will be Dorian Gray. I can't wait to find out what this little booger is so that I can start planning the nursery!

All of our interior doors will be painted Gauntlet Gray, which is also the exterior color of the house. I'm obsessed with the color and excited for my dark doors!

Here's what the exterior is looking like these days.

Think we've got the gray color spectrum covered?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Glowing Awards Dinner

This has been a wild week! With another event on the way tomorrow, I'm about spent. The event below was an awards dinner for 325 guests, held at the High Museum of Art. It was absolutely breathtaking...lit tables, ghost chairs, plexi-glass table numbers, pops of red and loads of lighting! 

Red roses framed the registration tables for a grand entrance. Because of the weather, we had to make a few moving a 100' red carpet runner and landing inside and setting up dessert stations super last minute. But, it all worked.

The reception before the seated dinner was in the Robinson Atrium. One of my favorite spaces ever with all the natural light. We added some red wall washes for drama.

A close up of the dinner set up.

And more...gorgeous perfection!

Come on, tomorrow!

All photos courtesy of the talented Ross DeLoach.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Find at Scott's

Scott's Antique Market is something that I always try to get to. It usually works out that I forget on that weekend, or have some other plans but I made it last Saturday. My girlfriend, Gaya, came with me for some shopping support. I'm thrilled with my find! I have an ongoing list of things that we "need" for the new house, although that list is being shuffled around for some baby stuff! Lamps are one thing that are always on my list. 

I have some gorgeous lamps that Josh's mom gave us. I had my eye on them when Josh and I were dating, but of course I wasn't going to jump in as the girlfriend and say "I want those lamps!" Well, we've got them now...I had them rewired and bought some great linen drum shades to top them off. These will go in our master bedroom in the new house. I even have the original finials which are so intricate and beautiful. There is a bulb in the bottom of the lamp too which really shows off all of the detail.

I've had my eye on the big wrought iron gate type lamps for a while. I love that they have a rustic flair to them, and they make a huge impact. I've just been scared off by the price tag. Boxwoods has some fabulous ones, but at $425 PER LAMP, they were way out of budget pour moi. I've also been coveting the below from Restoration Hardware, but at $329 a pop, they weren't much better.

Then I hit Scott's with lamps on the brain and picked up two of these beauties! The wrought iron is wonderfully worn with a little rust poking through that gray. These babies are huge and heavy! Each sits about 37" high. Sadly, one of them shorted out when I turned it on, but the seller is getting that corrected for me. I paid $190 for the pair of lamps and $45 for each shade. That is a steal!!!

These are going to be a nice statement piece in our family room!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Publix's Beef & Black Bean Enchiladas

These enchiladas have quickly claimed a spot in the dinner rotation at our house. A rotation that is a bit small these days...I keep telling myself that it won't be nearly as easy to run out and grab a quick dinner once the bambino comes, so I really need to do a better job of planning out our meals during the week. As much as I enjoy cooking, I've never been good at this, but I'm trying!

This is one of Publix Apron's Simple Meals. It is awesome...and makes for some good leftovers! I've done the enchiladas a couple times and the rice once. The rice is mediocre, but the enchiladas are to die for.

For the enchilada's, you'll need:
  • 1 (17 oz) package Publix Fully Cooked Homestyle Beef Pot Roast 
  • 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 2/3 cup Ortega Medium Salsa Verde (I can't read and bought regular salsa the first go-round, still good)
  • 6 Don Pancho Golden Blend Flour & Corn Tortillas (I love a blend)
  • 8 oz Publix Shredded Monterrey Jack Cheese, divided
  • 1 (15 oz) can Bush's Best Black Beans, drained & rinsed
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped green chilies, divided
To get the enchiladas started, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Microwave pot roast on high 2-3 minutes or until warm. Transfer gravy (from pot roast to medium sauce pan. Finely shred meat using two forks. Put in a medium bowl.

Stir tomato sauce and salsa verde into gravy. Cook on medium 3-4 minutes or until hot. Add 3/4 cup of the gravy mixture to pot roast. Spread 1/2 cup gravy mixture over bottom of 9x13 inch baking dish.

Spoon down the center of each tortilla: 1/3 cup beef mixture, 1/4 cup cheese, 3 tablespoons black beans and 1 teaspoon chilies. Roll the tortillas up around the filling and place seam down in the baking dish. Once you have all 6 complete and placed, top enchiladas with the remaining gravy mixture and 1/2 cup cheese. Bake 18-20 minutes until enchiladas have slightly browned. 

Yum! I love simple, inexpensive and comforting meals.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Swimming Lessons

Last weekend, we took our dogs across the street to swim in our neighbor's pool. It was hysterical! Buster has always loved the water. If there is a pond or a stream, he's in it. I'm sure we clogged the filter with all the dog hair...

Oliver was a trip. He's not exactly the swimming type of dog, but I was really impressed with his effort. He is quite the kicker. We praised him when he emerged from the water and he was very proud of himself!

Doesn't he look like a little white rat?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Our Favorite Room

The house is really coming along! As you can see, we now have a roof, windows and exterior walls.  We've got plumbing, electrical wiring and insulation. It's been really fun to see it take shape and make plans for each room. I've never claimed patience as a virtue, so I'm going to have to realize that everything can't be perfect at once. Once we move in, we'll have to slowly move from room to room, project to project.

The front porch is really something we are looking forward to. Our builder hunted down this brick for us. I was very specific with what I had in mind, and this brick is beautiful if I do say so myself. It looks really antique-y with nicks and crevices, and has more purple than orange undertones, which can be tricky with red brick. The house will not be yellow - this is just the color of the siding when it goes up. The finished product will be a dark gray with antique white trim.

Although the below picture does not look like much at the moment, it is probably the most special shell of a room in the house. Would you believe that this room is going to be little baby Van's nursery?!

We've got a bun in the oven!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Urban Chickens

One morning weekend before last, I got the biggest thrill. I had just woken up, turned on the coffee pot and gotten a sip of water when I looked out of my kitchen window and saw chickens scurrying around on my neighbor's back deck. At first, I saw only a white one and thought, "Oh my gosh, there is a dove in their yard!" Then, I saw a brown one, another white one, another brown one. There was no mistaking it, they were clearly chickens!

After seeing my friend Linsey's chickens and their amazing eggs...

I became obsessed with the idea of having my own. She lives on a beautiful farm in Alabama with cattle and lots of acreage. We live in town, in a neighborhood, in the city of Atlanta, on teeny tiny lots. So, I gave up on the idea of having any type of livestock a long time ago...or so I thought. Now that someone else in the neighborhood has a successful flock, I'm checking out coop plans for when we move!

The above is my absolute favorite. I want to live there! Unrealistic, yes. Cute, absolutely.

This one is nice, but quite large for my needs.

The below is more like it...and I love the cedar shake. We will have shake on our new house, so maybe I can talk Josh into building me a craftsman style coop!

The next two are serious. Like the Cadillac of chicken coops.

All images are from my Pinterest.

Question for all you chicken folks - what breed(s) should I get?! Can't wait for my little urban chicks!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Rediscovering the Panini Press

Recently, it has been all about simple meals. I haven't been much in the kitchen lately if I'm totally honest with myself but I'm trying to make a comeback. Last weekend, we were craving a dressed up sandwich so I whipped out the panini press and rediscovered why this thing is such a kitchen necessity.

I combined a few recipes I found online to make a chicken and roasted red pepper panini.

Here is what I used:
  • Rotisserie chicken (seriously, it doesn't get any better or easier that this)
  • 8 sundried tomatoes, packed in oil
  • 3 Tablespoons pesto (I bought already prepared rather than making my own)
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • Roasted red peppers (I bought them canned)
  • Artichokes, quartered
  • Provolone cheese
  • Whole grain sandwich bread
  • Butter, softened

First, pull the chicken off the bone...

Isn't this the cutest thing ever? I got this at Joss & Main and it's so handy to keep olive oil in. Rae - I hope you like this...I got you one!

You are going to make a sundried tomato mixture now. In a food processor, puree sundried tomatoes, pesto, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Boy do I love pesto!

Mix mayo with 3 tablespoons of the sundried tomato mixture. You'll use this as a spread on the bread.

Cover both pieces of bread (on one side of each piece of bread) with the mixture.

Then you'll just start piling things on. I layered the chicken, roasted red peppers and artichokes. Use 2 slices of provolone cheese on the other piece of bread and complete the sandwich.

Butter one side of the sandwich and put it butter side down on the panini press. Then butter the other side. I used Amish butter. This is basically butter with extra is delicious and can be found at most specialty food stores. It comes in an enormous log, so you can split it with someone else and still work off of it for a while.

Cook until desired crispiness and enjoy!

I need some more panini press ideas...we are hooked!