Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Memorial Day Weekend

We had the most wonderful Memorial Day weekend spent in Alabama with some of the sweetest people you could ever know. It's become a yearly spring trip for us to go stay with some friends in Brundidge, Alabama and visit with our Goddaughter who is in school at Auburn. It's her grandparents that we stay with and she'll drive over and stay so we can all just have a blast together. This year, we worked in some side trips to Eufala and Troy as well and every year we go,  I just fall more in love with Alabama. It wouldn't be too tough to convince me to move there ;)



On the drive down, we stopped in Eufala since I've been wanting to see these Antebellum homes they are so known for for quite some time now. We ate at River City BBQ and it was delicious! I'd never tried the Alabama white sauce BBQ since I'm a North Caroline Q lover through and through, but I decided when in Rome and gave it a whirl. It was really good. I still prefer the vinegar based sauces, but I could be convinced to switch over every now and again.

I'll do a separate post on Eufala and Troy. I snapped so many pics of the gorgeous homes and we toured the Shorter Mansion in Eufala so I have quite a few to share from there as well.


Caroline fell asleep on the way down and back and I just couldn't believe it. She's never been a car sleeper so it's always a nice treat when she decides to take a snooze. 

Mimi and PauPau live on a beautiful farm and have horses and cows and a few ponds. Caroline's first request is always to visit the horses. They are so sweet and Plato, the one on front in that picture, stood and let us love on him for a good twenty minutes. He was the sweetest horse. 

We went to the neighbors farm across the road and Caroline got to see more horses, lots of dogs, guineas, peacocks and so many other cool things. The neighbors actually harvest their own honey and we got to take a bottle home with us. I making buttermilk biscuits for breakfast this weekend to have with it!


Saturday morning, we headed off to the pond to go fishing. Can you believe it was Caroline's first time fishing and she caught TWO fish! One with her daddy and one with her Aunt Lexi. She's just a natural. When Juston tossed the fish back into the pond, she gave him the dirtiest look and said "I was going to eat that fish. He was my supper." Then she looked at me all mad and said "Daddy threw my fish back, Mama!" It was hilarious. We're pretty sure that will be her take away from the morning. Not that she caught the fish, but that her Daddy threw it back! 


Caroline took a few trips around the farm with PauPau on the mule and she helped Mimi in the kitchen, played all sorts of games, we went shopping and sight-seeing in Troy, had a campfire, ate at our favorite Brundidge spot, Sisters and just had the most fun and relaxing weekend. We are so very thankful for all the great family and friends who we've adopted as family that God has put in our lives. 

 

And my girl is turning into the best little travel buddy we could ever hope for. This was the first long road trip we've taken since potty training her and she was a champ! We have to make two stops down and back each for her bathroom breaks that weren't already being planned on, but she did amazing! I was so proud of my girl.  Hope everyone had a fun holiday weekend.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

What's Cooking: Goulash


A lot of the food I like and make may not be the prettiest thing to look at, but boy does it taste delicious. I feel like that may be a pretty common Southern food thing. Casseroles may look odd, but be one of the best things you ever put in your mouth. This week, Juston was out of town for work, so I made Caroline and myself Goulash, a prime example of not so pretty, but oh-so-tasty. Caroline loves it as much as her mama and it's a great dish to make ahead and have on hand. If you've never had it, goulash is basically like homemade Hamburger Helper. 


The recipe I use is from the Deen Brother's Cookbook, "Y'all Come Eat". I sweat, it's one of the best cookbooks I have. I've never made anything from it that didn't turn out to be a huge hit. Mine's not exactly what the original recipe calls for, but differs just a tad. 

In a large pot, drizzle about two tablespoons of olive oil and brown a package of lean ground beef. While the beef is browning, dice a medium onion and add it to the pan once the beef is cooked through. Cook for about five minutes. Then add the following:

3 tbsp minced garlic
2 15 ounce cans of diced tomatoes
1 28 ounce can tomato sauce
3 tbsp lite soy sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
dash of salt and pepper to taste

Simmer this in the pot with the lid on for twenty minutes, then add two cups of uncooked Veggie macaroni noodles. Cook for twenty more minutes. Turn off stove, but leave goulash in pan for another fifteen to twenty minutes to cool then serve with shredded cheddar cheese on top. 


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

House Tour: Guest Room

The Guest Room in our house is one of the first rooms that I really started to decorate after Juston and I got married and moved in together. The house was full on Bachelor Pad. No pictures on the wall, white paint everywhere, tan furniture, surround sound speakers mounted in the corners of the living room, giant television. This was the first place I really added some color to Juston's life ;)
 
It's still not complete, I want an antique white iron bed frame for the bed, but those can be hard to find in the queen size we need. I may eventually size down to a full size mattress in here since it's a fairly small room to begin with.

 
All the bedding and curtains are Pottery Barn. I don't really love those curtains in here, but they weren't being used once I got past my yellow phase in the living room, so I moved them back here instead.


 
Guest Cottage sign and seagrass bench are Pottery Barn, server, television and VCR are antique ;)

 
I came across a furniture re-do on Instagram the other day that I'm going to try on our nightstand. It involves painting it white and changing out the hardware. I'm excited to try it.


Basket is Target, flower painting is from a boutique in Mt. Sterling and the Derby picture on the wall was taken by a local photographer and framed locally as well. Juston gave it to me for my birthday last year. 


We have house guests a lot, and I'd love to have a bigger space and an attached bathroom for guests, but maybe in our next place.  I always try to have magazines, books and some water in here as well for guests. It's not the Ritz, but I've never had any complaints :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

What's Cooking: Balsamic Pork Tenderloin

A few months ago, I started trying to incorporate a new recipe or two into our family repertoire each week and I have had so much fun trying out some new things in the kitchen, and quickly discovered some new favorites along the way as well. I wanted to share what is likely our favorite new recipe find so far as far as the slow cooker is concerned.  


Balsamic Pork Tenderloin Ingredients:

a 3-4 pound pork tenderloin or roast
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
a few dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon lite soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
a pinch of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1 tablespoon minced garlic

Place tenderloin in slow cooker on low heat. In a bowl, mix all remaining ingredients and pour into crockpot over pork. Cook on low for 7 hours or until meat has reached your desired level of doneness. 

I found this recipe via Pinterest. You can find the original source here. This is a recipe anyone would love. Caroline even gave it her stamp of approval. I served it with parmesan grits, green beans and cornbread muffins.  It was an amazing weeknight dinner. It's hard to beat crockpot cooking for the nights I have to work late. 



Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day Weekend

What an amazing weekend! I hope everyone had a great Mother's Day weekend. Our was filled with lots of food, fellowship and projects! I got so much done I can't even believe it. And I had the best right hand toddler a girl could hope for. More on that later though. 

I want to wish the happiest of Mother's Days to two of the best moms I know, my own mom and my sister. They are both rock stars and always help to keep me in line. Even when I don't necessarily want them to ;)



My husband's mother came up for the weekend as well. We all went out to church Sunday morning, then to lunch together afterwards. It was mine and my sisters family, my brother-in-laws mother and my husbands mother as well. Caroline was really into taking the pictures as you can tell. 



We were able to bribe her to take one good one in exchange for new pool toys and swimming with her cousins, which is what we spent our afternoon doing on Sunday. The weather was awesome and the pool was warm. Couldn't have asked for a better afternoon. 


I mentioned our Mark Kidd portrait that Juston got me for Mother's Day and we have it hung up already, right in the front room where everyone will be sure to see it. I'm so in love with it. I will cherish it forever. Happy Monday!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Five on Friday: Outfit Edition

I used to do a pretty good job posting outfits until it got cold and I lived in workout pants and sweatshirts for like three months. So I thought I'd share five outfits on a Friday :)
 
Dress: Lilly Pulitzer | Shoes: Rowen | Bracelets: Bourbon and Boweties | Necklace: Dede's Boutique
 
That is probably my favorite Lilly dress that I own and that's really saying something. It's such a figure flattering shape and it's a faux wrap dress, so not flashing people if the wind catches it ;) The colors are so bright and vibrant in person. And those nude Rowen shoes, I probably wear more than any other dress shoe I own.
 

Dress: The Blue Door Boutique | Shoes: Target | Bracelets: Bourbon and Boweties
 
 
I got the chambray button up dress a couple of years ago and it's super comfy. And I am just in love with the fringe booties I got from Target a few months back. They were only around $20.

Dress and Vest: J Crew Factory | Boots: Hunter | Camo Bracelet: Stacy Brown Designs | Bracelets: Bourbon and Boweties
 
A rainy day outfit above. The shirtdress and vest were both from last year, but they usually have similar pieces in stock for great prices on J Crew Factory.
 
Shirt and Shorts: Lilly Pulitzer (The shirt runs HUGE. This is the small) | Shoes: Jack Rogers
 
I was surprised at how large the shirt runs. I could have easily worn and x-Small (which is unusual given my wide shoulders) but they were sold out of that size. I do love the pink colony shorts! One the weather heats up, all my Lilly starts coming out! And boy has it been HOT around here this week. Like almost 90 degrees all week long! I love it, but I'd love it more if the pools were opened already.
 

Shirt and Skirt: Lilly Pulitzer | Shoes: Jack Rogers | Necklace: Dede's Boutique
Bracelets: Bourbon and Boweties
 
This was a super comfy look for running errands around town today. I just love the She She Shells print and this skirt is a great length. I don't feel like I'm flashing people when I'm fooling with Caroline.
 
Hope everyone enjoys their Mother's Day weekend! I think we're heading to the camper to hang out with the family tonight, working on some outside projects tomorrow and doing church and lunch with the whole family Sunday!
 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

House Tour: Master Bedroom

Spring always makes me antsy to start tackling projects and decorating around our home. I feel like as I grow and evolve, so does my taste, so I thought it would be fun to document some of our spaces as I get around to sprucing them up. I decided this past weekend was the perfect opportunity to snap a few pictures of our Master Bedroom since it was actually picked up and clean for a change ;)



You can typically find Dixie in that very spot standing sentinel over the neighborhood from the bay window. Speaking of that window, I'm planning on trying to make a fabric covered window cornice wrapped in blue and cream buffalo check fabric. I'm also going to sand and paint that brass chandelier. I kind of hate that thing, but I don't want to spend the money on a new one.
 







I'm also searching for some artwork to add to the walls around our bed but haven't found exactly what I'm looking for just yet. I want something that evokes Lowcountry vibes since that's my very favorite place. A couple I have my eye on:
 
 
 
 
 
 


Look at those babies in the wedding photo;) Seems like yesterday but it'll be eight years this summer...I think. That Rewined candle is one of my very favorites. If you've never tried one of them, you're missing out! I just picked up the Rose scent on our last trip and it is so amazing. The print of the pink house, The Palmer Home, we bought in Charleston when we stayed at the house last summer for my birthday. It was such a fun trip!
 


Speaking of Lowcountry, my nightstand has a few of my favorite Lowcountry things: Sweetgrass flowers we bought in the market on a trip, a Gordon Wheeler, a "Charleston" scented candle from the Preservation Society, my first piece of art I purchased for myself, an Erin M Art original and the book I currently can't put down, South of Broad by Pat Conroy.  I feel like aside from a few small projects, I have our master bedroom exactly the way I want it right now. I'd consider lightening up the blue paint on the wall a few shades if the mood struck, but I have three other painting projects I'm tackling first, so this one will likely just stay the same.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

My Mother's Day Picks

I already know what I'll  be getting for Mother's Day this year from Juston and it's the most perfect gift ever, a portrait of our sweet Caroline photographed and framed by the wonderful Mark Kidd Studios in Lexington, KY. 

But I thought I'd compile a list of other gift ideas in case my husband gets a wild hair to pick up another gift in the meantime :) Or in case anyone reading is still searching for some last minute ideas.




All of the art pictured above is by the fabulous Erin of Erin M Original Art. I own one of her small pieces already and I just love it, but I've been thinking about doing more of her work for a while. I just can't decide whether I want a few more smaller pieces for a space in the hallway, or a larger work for our bedroom. I'm saving up in the meantime while I decide. Everything she does is just gorgeous. I think art is a great gift for a mom on Mother's Day and it's something that can be very personal, so you don't feel like you're just giving someone a gift card or something impersonal.



Basically, anything off of my current Lilly Pulitzer wishlist would make for a happy Mother's Day gift. I have always loved clothes and shopping, so a these are a failsafe for a gift in my opinion. I know for as many people there are that love Lilly, there's an equal amount that don't care for it, but the bright colors make me happy. 

Travel and experiences together are one of our favorite things to do. For each other's birthdays, Juston and I do trips instead of presents and it's always so fun. Some of our favorites:


Red River Gorge in Eastern Ky. 

  Savannah, GA.

 Pilot Mountain, NC

Charleston, SC

Atlanta, GA

I hope everyone has a wonderful Mother's Day weekend and that you get to spend it with the people you love!


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Flowers Make me Happy

I spent the better part of the weekend sprucing up the outside of the house and getting the first round of my flowers planted. Few things make me happier than tending to my flowers and garden. I have a sign in my yard that reads "One is near God's heart in a garden" and I must say, I agree.


I basically just strolled into Lowe's and grabbed things without really thinking and planning, which I feel like I do every single year. I usually end up going three or four times for my landscaping by the time it's all said and done. It's less shocking spreading out the cost that way, too! I've tried each year to plant a least a couple of perennials so I don't feel like those are wasted money since they come back every year. 
I do have a lot of pots as well, though, and those I usually fill with annuals to keep things bright and it makes me happy to look at them when it's all said and done. I also really enjoy going out every morning to water and every evening to deadhead. Caroline is having a ball helping do those things as well, so it's fun to have that to to together. 


A lot of my pots need replacing or painted, but I figured I could get another year out of most of them. 


My hanging baskets still need some colorful flowers thrown in there. I somehow ended up with a really neutral scheme in them and I need some flash. 


I remember reading an article in an issue of Southern Living years ago that featured Charleston window boxes in all their splendor. There were four ingredients to achieving the look and they were a thriller (a tall plant like a spike), a spiller ( something that will grow trailing like ivy or creeping jenny), a shower (something bright and colorful) and something showy that would fill in the pot (think phlox). I try to ascribe to this when doing my pots and window boxes. They are never fully Charleston-worthy, but I give it my best shot. 


We're bringing out the pressure washer soon to clean up the porch, driveway and siding on the house. It seems like every year, I have to scrub down the back because it gets mold on it. I guess from where it's so shady and cool back there. Either way, I spent Saturday and Sunday mostly working outside cleaning and planting and there is still so much to do. I really enjoy working outside in the dirt and Caroline loves playing out there so it works well. The other day while I worked, I set her up a little station in the shade, filled some pots and pans with water and brought out measuring cups, spoons and some bubbles and she played for a solid hour splashing and pouring.  




One of my favorite additions from last summer was these lilacs I planted. They just smell like Heaven! I planted them right outside of the guest bedroom so the scent would come in when the windows are open. I think I may have to do some outside the master bedroom windows now, too because it is amazing how sweet the scent it! 

I had some great help while I worked outside all weekend!



Our pretty Lucy girl... 


Rotten little Dixie...


And this little cutie. Justo had to work for awhile Saturday and went hunting for the first half of the day Sunday, but Caroline made sure to keep him busy once he got home :)

One more thing for the day, Brittany Fuson is having a half off sale today only! I get some really cute paper goods from there occasionally and her art is just so adorable! I grabbed a luggage tag and a couple of greeting cards.