Tuesday, January 28, 2014

WIWW: Keeping it Real

It has been forever since I did a "What I Wore Wednesday" post. I simply haven't been wearing anything worth taking pictures of. I'm still not as you'll see, but I thought I would share anyway in the hopes that it would motivate me to put a bit of cute into my comfy.

The truth is, I've gained weight. Nothing fits quite right, so I've been defaulting to yoga pants and baggy sweaters so I don't have to think about the fact that my jeans are too small. I'm hoping that if I jump back into WIWW I will have to face facts, put down my bowl of ice cream, and get moving.

Tee: Boden
Scarf: Target
Jeans: Silver
Nasty old slippers: Born

Tee: Boden
Scarf: Target
Jeans: Silver
Nasty old slippers: Born
Vest, hoodie: The North Face
Jeans: Silver
Boots: Ugg

Tee: Target
Sweater: Old Navy
Scarf: Shade Clothing
Jeans: Old Navy
Socks: Fox River

So, before you ask… yes, I am wearing the same pair of Silver jeans in every picture. But in my defense, I may wear them every day, but I don't wear them all day. As I mentioned, I change into my sweats as soon as possible. 

Just keeping it real! ;)
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I'm linking up here:
pleated poppy

Friday, January 17, 2014

Valentine Mantel


I haven't always been the type of person who decorates for Valentine's. In fact, I used to try and ignore February 14th. It's not that I don't appreciate romance (quite the contrary, I definitely do. Chris, are you listening? Romance: good.) But after working as a florist for a half dozen years before the kids were born, I was so burned out after Valentine's Day that I wanted nothing to do with it. Valentine's Day just meant 16 hour work days, disgruntled customers whose tiny carnation bouquet wasn't quite the grand gesture their wife expected, and torn up fingers from handling hundreds {thousands?} of thorny roses.
I was a Valentine Scrooge.

Fast forward to 2014~ my kitchen is all decked out in red and hearts.
 What can I say, I'm a born romantic! 
Most of the decorations for this mantel are leftovers from Christmas. The bead garland bedecked our tree, ditto for the heart ornaments, and the pitcher of feathers graced the living room mantle. 


The wreath no longer spells out anything, like it did here but it's red ribbon transitioned perfectly into my Valentine decor.

This is the closest our poor non-functioning fireplace gets to a roaring blaze.


 I thought I was being so clever with this chalkboard fire made out of a piece of scrap plywood, but I didn't consider what it would look like from the other side of our see-through fireplace. 
It's been like that for months, and I've used several different things to try to hide it (including the "eyeliner" effect on Picmonkey to darken it in). The simple solution, of course, is just to paint the other side... 
I'll get right on that. Later...


So even though I still shudder at the thought of a dozen long stem roses, I am not averse to a few hearts in my home. Do you you decorate for Valentine's Day? Or do you leave the romance to the movies?
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I'm linking up here:
My Romantic Home A Stroll Thru Life
French Country Cottage My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Savvy Southern Style
DIY by Design
Between Naps on the Porch
DIY Showoff
Jennifer Rizzo
Under the Table and Dreaming

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Mid-Winter Living Room Refresh

I was so late in getting Christmas put away this year! Determined to avoid my usual packing method of cramming everything in too few bins, I resolved to not put it way till I could put it away RIGHT. That meant getting a lot more bins and purging the old, broken, and unused decorations. Everything got sorted, stacked, and labeled. It is a thing of beauty, I tell you. I don't know why I waited so many years to tackle that task. It feels good knowing that next year my decorations will be easy to find instead of buried in the bottom of a mislabeled, crushed cardboard box. 

Once all the holiday decor was put away, I could finally get around to refreshing the living room for the winter. I love the clean, fresh start feeling of January. It begs for greenery, so I was excited to find this boxwood wreath on clearance at Target. They had this size on sale with the Christmas decor for like $20 and an almost identical (maybe a teensy bit bigger) one at full price with their new spring line… for nearly $50. Guess which one I bought?
I'm so happy with the new rug (also from Target) that I got for Christmas. It adds a bit of warmth and texture to our cottage living room.
Speaking of texture, I kind of love the variety of it on the seemingly simple mantle. Between the old books, the burlap ribbon, and the fuzzy moss balls, there's such a nice lot of lovely contrasting textures.
On a sunny day, our living room is flooded with sunlight. It's roasting hot in the summer, but in the cold winter months, it provides the toasty warmth we all crave. Especially the dog, that's his favorite spot!
I think this mid-winter refresh will be a nice segue into the {heartbreakingly distant} spring months. For now, I'm enjoying the cleared surfaces, the touches of green, and the slanting winter light.
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I'm linking up here:
My Romantic Home A Stroll Thru Life
French Country Cottage My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Savvy Southern Style
DIY by Design
Between Naps on the Porch
DIY Showoff
Jennifer Rizzo
Under the Table and Dreaming

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Winter Comforts

In the midst of some of the coldest temps in two decades, there are few things that comfort like hearty food and a good book. I've found a few yummy new recipes I thought I'd share, as well as an update on what I've been reading. 

First up, the eats:
{most of these recipes I found via Pinterest, so follow along if you'd like to see more of what I'm pinning}
Olive Garden Alfredo Sauce
I LOVE pasta, and pasta with alfredo sauce is my version of heaven. I can't resist it. This recipe is super easy and soooo good. Definitely not diet friendly, but worth the calorie binge!

Lasagna Rolls
More pasta! This is just lasagna in a different shape, but for some reason my son loves it like this. He won't eat normal lasagna, but roll it up and bam! It's the best. Kids are weird.
Also? Why did I never think of boiling lasagna noodles in a skillet before? Worked way better than cooking them vertically in a pot where they got all folded up and stuck together.

Balsamic Pork Tenderloin

I've tried several different balsamic pork recipes, and they're usually all pretty good. But this one takes the prize. Delicious. Easy. Satisfying.

Now, on to the books.

I never really considered myself a fan of either YA fiction or post-apocolyptic series. But I made an exception for the Hunger Games and now I've gotten sucked into the Divergent series. 

I will say that these books feel pretty similar to the Hunger Games in a couple ways. Strong female lead characters, post-apocolyptic societies moving toward war, coming-of-age and first love themes… you get the idea. That said, I still devoured the first book (Divergent) and am nearly finished with the second (Insurgent). As with the Hunger Games, I don't like the second book as much, but I'm willing to finish the series, if only to find out what is beyond the fence outside the city. {Don't tell me if you've already read them!}

After reading Wolf Hall, I was kind of caught up in the world of Tudor England. A friend had recommended The Other Boleyn Girl to me a long time ago, but I never got around to it till last month. 
Loved it! This historical fiction novel explores the life of Mary Boleyn, who catches the eye of Henry VIII when she first comes to court as a girl of fourteen.  But when the fickle king’s interest wanes, Mary is ordered to pass on her knowledge of how to please him to her friend and rival: her sister Anne. We all know how Anne's story ends, but her journey to the executioner's block is filled with plots and power struggles, passion and betrayal.

The next book in the series, The Boleyn Inheritance, is equally good.
This time author Phillippa Gregory tells the story of Henry's fourth and fifth wives, respectively. There is drama enough in the history of this brutal period of history to make any story interesting.

That's all for today, but I'd love to hear what your favorite winter comforts are. Do you have a go-to hearty soup recipe or a book you love to curl up with by the fire? Whatever your favorite winter comforts are, I hope you're staying warm!
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