Friday, May 27, 2011

This Kind of Love: Getting Ready

The wedding recaps have officially begun!! Let me first give a huge shout out to our amazing photographer, Rachel of Glass 29 Image. She was so wonderful to work with, and she truly captured our wedding in the way it felt to be there. We couldn't have asked for a better photographer - if you live in Cincinnati, check her out!!

Everyone got ready for the wedding at the Radisson hotel in Covington, Kentucky (just across the river from downtown Cincinnati). We started just before 9:00 AM, and had a great time eating bagels, drinking orange juice, and getting airbrushed!

Don't you love this hanger?? My mom got it for me on Etsy. It couldn't actually hold the dress, but it's even more beautiful in person and we're going to hang it in our bedroom.

My beautiful sisters getting ready.

Getting my hair done!

Elizabeth from Makeup By Elizabeth did my make-up, and she was INCREDIBLE. I have never felt so beautiful, yet I still felt like I looked like me

Is Rachel not the most talented photographer ever??

A group shot of the bridesmaids and our sweet flower girl in our matching bathrobes! This is what I got them all as gifts, and they were so cute and comfy!

It was finally time to get dressed... and I needed a lot of help to get into my dress! It had to go over my head, and with perfect hair and perfect make-up, that wasn't easy!

The moment of truth!

This is one of my very favorite pictures!

My sisters zipped me in, and I was ready to go!

MEANWHILE.... the boys were getting ready, too!

Zac's cuff links

They didn't work quite as hard as we did to get ready!!

There are more recaps coming up... hope you don't mind a few days of wedding pictures!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Reading, reading, reading

I have always loved to read. When I was little, I was only allowed to read 5 books before bed, because otherwise, I would have stayed up all night.

My "for fun" reading fell off in college when I was reading so much for school, but it always picked back up in the summer when I had more free time. Heck, my summer job after high school was running the Summer Reading Program at our local library. I love to read.

Then Zac entered the picture. Zac loves to watch TV. And then Zac was gone a lot for work, and I was home alone a lot. And so I started watching TV for company, and to cover up the creepy sounds old houses make when you're alone. You know what sounds I mean.

My new goal for the summer is to get back into reading for pleasure. I have a list of books that must be a hundred long, and it's about time I get to more of them! SO.... my bold summer reading goal is:

Read one book a week!

I'm a pretty fast reader, so that isn't as crazy as it sounds. I may not make it every week, but I'm going to try. Any suggestions for my summer reading list? I've got a few that we'll be reading for my book clubs (yes, I'm in more than one), but I'm always looking for more great reads!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Derby Pie - YUM!

One of my very favorite treats is a traditional Southern favorite - Derby pie. I'm a few weeks late in sharing it with you, but it's so yummy and so easy to make that I think you'll forgive me!

I think it tastes exactly like a slightly undercooked chocolate chip cookie. YUM.

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup pecans or 3/4 cup walnuts (optional - I usually leave these out)
Unbaked pie shell

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Pour into pie shell, and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until top is brown.

That's it. That's seriously it. And it's super yummy served warm with a dab of whip cream... Enjoy!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Building a garden

Zac and I are both loving his new job. He's a lot less stressed than he was before, he is enjoying the work, he gets free samples of food from their vendors, and he is home on evenings and weekends!! This new schedule has allowed us to tackle home improvement projects that we've had on our list for awhile, but haven't had the time to get to.

Such as... our patio! This is a multi-part project, and we're only about halfway finished. But progress is progress, right??

The first thing we did was clear out dead bushes and extra dirt to prep the area that was the vegetable garden last year.

Then, we started building the raised planter box that now houses the garden. We loosely followed this video here, and chose ceder for the wood. The supplies ran us about $100, but the box should last at least 5 years. The carriage bolts that hold it together were almost as expensive as the wood!

Zac doesn't like it when I take pictures of him, but tough luck. I think he looks cute when he's building things! Our hard work pretty quickly turned into this:

The hardest part of the whole project was leveling the stinking thing. Nothing inside or outside of our house is level. That seemed to take forever. 

Once the box was (mostly) level, we filled it with dirt and then added a few inches of garden top soil so that the plants don't have to grow in our clay.  At this point, we were racing storm clouds that were quickly rolling in, but we finished just in time!

Here's the finished product:

Isn't it the cutest garden ever?? We planted Delicious tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, red bell peppers, green bell peppers, jalapeño peppers and zucchini. Yum!! Now we just have to wait for them to grow...

This was one of our more painless home improvement projects. It took a little while to put the box together, but it wasn't very difficult. If anyone is interested in a tutorial, I have enough pictures to put one together. Just let me know!

Part two of the patio renovation is scheduled for this weekend, so I'll keep you posted!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Our creepy basement, part II

When we left off, I had aired our dirty laundry (no pun intended) and showed you the worst part of our house. Our genius plan for awhile has been to build some shelves to make better storage and help us organized all of the things we need to permanently store down there. We have a teeny tiny kitchen, and things like our crock-pot, bread machine, etc. all have to live in the basement when they aren't being used.

Why did we choose to build shelves instead of buy them? Good question. It ended up costing us $80 for the wood and screws, which is a pretty considerable cost. Buying similar quality metal or plastic shelves would have cost almost as much, and we needed ours to be "custom." Our ceilings are so low and our floors are so un-level, that building made the most sense for us.

So... first step to building custom shelves is to buy a huge pile of wood at Lowe's. Second step is to find this happening:

She is crazy. It doesn't matter what new thing you bring into the house - if you set it on the floor, she wants to lay on it.

Firs,t we cut the wood. We loosely followed these instructions here.

Got distracted and had to take a picture of Zac. He's cute when he's building stuff!

We started by building these frames. Don't get too excited - these are NOT fancy shelves!

Then we added the second half of the frames.

The plywood goes on top to make shelves.

To give you an idea of where they go in the basement.

And of course, the cat helped, by snoozing on whatever old, dirty suitcase she could find. And giving me the stink eye when I tried to take her picture.

Here's the final product. Much better than the random pile that was laying there earlier! Now all we need to do is load them up!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Our creepy basement, part I

We had hoped to work outside last weekend, but the constant rain we've had here this Spring kept us indoors. As a side note, we have had 6 days of sun in the last 46 days. When I was complaining about not having 4 seasons in Cincinnati anymore, Zac said that we do still have 4 seasons, but Spring has been replaced with a Rainy Season. Ugh.

So... as promised, pictures of our scary basement. In our defense, this is not our favorite part of the house, and unless we're doing laundry or taking shelter from a tornado, we don't spend a whole lot of time down here.

It really isn't as creepy as it looks here in person.

It provides us with a ton of storage, even though the ceilings are about 5'6" and I even have to duck in places. Good thing my husband isn't very tall!!

There are basically three sections - a laundry area, a storage area, and this part where Zac keeps his workbench and tools.

The good news is that we did a lot this weekend to make it a little less creepy... pictures coming tomorrow!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Quilt Festival

This post is a little bit overdue, but I realized I never shared my pictures from the Quilt Festival with you!! My grandmother and I went to this event the Thursday before our wedding... as in, 48 hours before we walked down the aisle!

It ended up being a really nice break. We took a few hours to walk around, see the beautiful quilts, and even buy ourselves a few presents (well... Gramma bought us a few presents!).

The quilts were INCREDIBLE. Here are a few of my favorites:

These quilts are airbrushed, and then the artist journals in all of the free space. You could buy an 18 inch square piece for $600, and honestly, it was worth it. SO beautiful.

A close-up of the journaling.

Bad picture, sorry. This is a quilt. Not a painting. Not a picture. A QUILT.

Gramma looking at quilts.

This is one of my favorites. The dyed yoyos make...


I love portrait quilts.

There aren't even words for how beautiful this is.

And just so you can see what it was like to be there...

We had a blast - thanks, Gramma, for taking me!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mac & Cheese is my favorite...

I have a confession to make. I've kind of been avoiding you. It's not personal. It's just... we got this amazing camera for Christmas. And we don't know how to use it. So most of the pictures I take are blurry. And difficult to get off the camera onto my computer.

I'm just making excuses. Our life has also been kind of boring post-wedding!! I do have a few things to share with you, so if you can bear with the poor quality of my photo-taking skills, hopefully it will be worth your time.

For tonight, I'll bribe you back into being my blog friend by sharing the recipe for this awesomeness:

It's mac and cheese... and delicious. And not too terribly bad for you. Hey - it has 1% milk instead of heavy cream. I'm going to call that victory.

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion (about 1 medium)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk
  • bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (about 8 ounces)
  • Cooking spray
  • 2/3 cup (about 2 1/2 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 2/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add flour and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add Gorgonzola, 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, and salt; stir until cheeses melt. Discard bay leaf.
  • 2. Preheat oven to 375°.
  • 3. Cook pasta in boiling water 5 minutes or until almost tender, omitting salt and fat; drain well. Add pasta to cheese mixture, stirring well. Place about 1/2 cup pasta mixture into each of 6 (1-cup) ramekins coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with mozzarella. Top evenly with remaining pasta mixture. Combine remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano and panko; sprinkle evenly over pasta mixture. Spray lightly with cooking spray; sprinkle with black pepper. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until heated.

  • Add veggies and chicken if you want.... and then enjoy!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Another one bites the dust...

I was doing laundry this weekend, and when I went to put the clothes in the dryer, I was in for a shock. Apparently, the washing machine wasn't spinning, and all of the clothes came up soaking wet. Yikes.

We called a repair company, and $65 later were told we needed a new one. Bummer. Our current set wasn't fancy, but it was F-R-E-E!

Needless to say, we spent our evening at Lowe's picking out a new one. We got a good deal on a model from last year that was on clearance, and they're delivering it and taking the old one away tomorrow. Sweet. Because my husband is running out of clothes (I have way too many clothes, and could probably go another few weeks without getting desperate. Note to self: clean out closet).

So... hopefully tomorrow we'll have a fantastic new washing machine that changes doing laundry for the better. And if you're lucky, I'll share a picture of them. In our creepy laundry room. In our creepy 158 year old basement. Shudder.

It sort of looks like this:

Just kidding. But it's close!!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Thoughts on marriage

Happy one month anniversary to us!! I'm not at all purporting to be an expert on marriage after four weeks, but I thought I'd reflect a little bit on how our lives have changed since the wedding.

I DO feel different. Our relationship feels different. I can't exactly put my finger on it, but maybe like it's a little more valid? When I say "my husband," it makes me feel like I have a little bit more cred than before when he was just my boyfriend or fiancé.

I DO feel incredibly lucky that I met Zac when I did. I go to bed way too early to survive on the dating scene, and honestly, I wasn't ever very good at dating. I feel so blessed that Zac and I met when we did and that we're done with all of that.

DON'T want people to think that we haven't sacrificed anything by meeting when we did. I'm so glad that we met each other young, but doing so came with sacrifices and challenges. We're so lucky to have a wonderful house and great jobs, but those came at a price. We've both given up on things we wanted to do, sacrificed things in our careers, and changed our priorities to make our relationship work. Am I glad we did? Yes. But... it hasn't always been easy.

I DON'T feel like I needed this marriage to be complete. I don't think that my single friends are missing out on one of life's greatest pleasures, or that their lives are any less rich than mine. Being married has been awesome... but I don't think you need to be married to be happy.

What do you think? Whether you're married or not married... any reflections on marriage?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Wishing a very Happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers out there, but especially to my mom, who is nothing but wonderful.

Also a Happy Mother's Day to my wonderful mom-in-law. I am so lucky that my husband came with such a wonderful mother. She's the icing on the cake!

I'm also blessed to have two wonderful grandmothers. I'm one lucky girl with so many examples of strong, wonderful women who are fantastic mothers.

Hopefully I'll have some wedding pics for you this week... and I'll finally be back to blogging regularly again. Maybe. I'm trying!!!

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