Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Feel the Love

Today is a wonderful day.
It means that people get to be truly happy and celebrate the love they have with their husbands and wives.  It means that all love is seen as love.  Equal love.


For those of you who have never met my big brother, Craig, these other photos are of him and my brother in law, Austin.  They were happily married in New York this past April!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Patio Door

Here's the before & after....

Action shot...hard at work!  The worst part of the whole thing was getting the old door out!

Finally done! It took all day so sadly this picture doesn't show the pretty view into the backyard, but I LOVE the new door!!

Of course, there is still some paint touch-up that we need to do to the wall inside, and the door is just prefinished white right now so once the weather cools a little bit we will paint it with regular white enamel.

Big thanks to my parents for coming up and helping with all the labor.

Another project checked off the list!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The newest house project

Well, it's about that time again.  Our old, sad sliding door that leads from the kitchen to our backyard is worn out.  It's such a pain to try to slide and when the dogs are going in & out several times a day to use the bathroom it gets even more worn.  The wheel that moves the door is completely broken and the track is getting all scratched, dented, and just plain torn up.  When Jake opens the door he literally lifts it up out of the track to move it sideways and then sits it back down.  I'm not quite that strong so I just have to lean and pull a few times to get it open about 12" so that the dogs can pass through.  So clearly, time for a new door. 

We both like the look of french doors much better, and since the cost is only about $100 more than a new sliding door, we thought that would be the way to go.  It will also be nice if we are ever moving large furniture in or out of the house to be able to go out a 6' wide doorway instead of having to maneuver to our front door, because if you've ever been to our house our little "entryway" opens right to our coat closet so it's not a nice straight-out-the-door angle when you're moving big furniture.  Also, it will keep the boys from damaging my pretty kitchen countertop, because when we still had our old laminate countertops they were moving a sofa in through the garage door and chipped the laminate.  I wasn't worried about it at the time because I knew we wanted to redo the kitchen anyway, but if they messed up my granite I might have a heart attack.

Here's something similar to the door we're getting:

We're opting for no grid frames because Kona tends to use the door to stand up on and I just feel like that would be something for him to scratch and tear up.  Plus, we have a private backyard and I don't feel like we need them.

We are planning to do this project with the help of my Dad on Saturday.  I'll post some before & afters once it's done!


Thursday, June 13, 2013

2nd Anniversary Trip to Nashville

Got things started off right...

We got into Nashville around 2:30 in the afternoon, got checked in at the hotel and took a nap, knowing that we had been up since 6am and were going to have a late night! 
Got up, ran to good ol' Target to get rain jackets because we forgot ours at home, ate a quick dinner at Backyard Burger, then headed over to LP Field!
[If you are planning to go to CMA Fest in the future, one piece of advice I can offer you is do not purchase their parking pass online.  It's $60+service fees making it around $80 for a 4-day parking pass.  They make it seem like there is no other parking.  Not true!  All of the businesses beside the stadium let you pay to park in their lots, and it's a quick and very well patroled walk across the street to the stadium.  We only spent a total of $40 for parking all weekend.]
Night 1:
National Anthem sung by Gloriana
Randy Travis
Kip Moore
Little Big Town
Hunter Hayes
Lady Antebellum
Blake Shelton
Randy Travis
Kip Moore...I tear up every time I hear him sing "Hey Pretty Girl".  Such a sweet and vulnerable song.
Little Big Town
They brought out Sheryl Crow as a surprise guest and sang a song with her.  Then she sang her single "Easy" by herself.  She was awesome and I was so excited to get the chance to see her.  I'm sure my dad is jealous!!
Hunter Hayes
Hunter brought out Jason Mraz as a surprise to sing a song with him that is on Hunter's new album.  It was pretty cool, although Jake didn't even know who he was! [Only country radio for my husband!]

Lady of my favorites!
How cool does the sky look in this picture of Storme Warren and his son?
Cool shot of the stadium
Blake Shelton, anothe favorite!
Things got a little bit delayed because of the rain, so Blake Shelton didn't even get on stage until around midnight.  We watched most of his set and then headed back to the hotel to rest up for our early morning.
Day 2
9am Celebrity Softball Game
3pm The Opry at Ryman Auditorium
Evening Concert Line-Up:
National Anthem sung by Brett Eldridge
The Oak Ridge Boys
Florida Georgia Line
Dierks Bentley
Kelly Clarkson
Keith Urban
City of Hope charity Celebrity softball game at the Nashville Sounds minor league stadium.  Lots of cool players, such as the boys from Florida Georgia Line, Chase Rice, Aaron Lewis [former lead singer of Staind], and many more.  They also had two child cancer survivors [since the charity raises money for cancer research] and two amputee Wounded Warriors.  So inspirational!
Lunch....can we PLEASE get a Famous Dave's somewhere near Charlotte?!  This place was mind-blowingly good!  I had pulled pork with grilled pineapple, and Jake had their pulled chicken BBQ plate.
Beautiful stained glass at the Ryman Auditorium
Us at the Ryman...sadly one of the only pictures of us all weekend!
Mark Wills...Jake and I both got chills when he sang "Don't Laugh at Me" oldie but a goodie...He is so talented!
Joey & Rory...I have loved them ever since they competed on Can You Duet.  Sweet, down to earth couple.
There were about 8 different acts in the show at Ryman.  Some were older country and bluegrass acts that I wasn't familiar with, and one was celebrating their 50th anniversary as an Opry member, pretty impressive!  Others that I did know of were Kristen Kelly, Mark Wills, Chris Janson, and Joey & Rory.
After this show we walked down Broadway street to check out some of the other festival-related stuff going on downtown.  We met up with some friends from college who now live in Nashville after we ate dinner at the Riverfront Grill. 
After dinner we headed over to LP field for Night 2!
Brett Eldridge.  He was so nervous but he is so good!  He's definitely on his way to the top!
[He sings "Don't Ya"]
Florida Georgia Line
Lenny Kravitz was a surprise performer, and he rocked it for the first 20 minutes of his set, with Jason Aldean who he brought out on stage also as a surprise to sing a couple of Lenny's more well known songs.  Unfortunately, he had to ruin that towards the end.  I think he forgot he was at CMA Fest and not Bonneroo....
We ended up leaving the concert shortly after Lenny Kravitz' set because we weren't interested in hearing Dierks Bentley or Kelly Clarkson.  It would have been cool to see Keith Urban, but not worth waiting around.  We walked back over to Broadway and went into Big Bang, their dueling piano bar.  It was really fun.  We sat there listening to the songs, and we wrote down some little promises/wishes/love notes for our 3rd  year of marriage on one of the song request cards, haha!  I kept it and it will end up in a memory box for the trip.  Then we walked to the car, got to see the Budweiser Clydesdales since they were in stalls set up for the day/night, and went back to the hotel. 
We slept in a little bit on Sunday [until like 9am..not very late but much later than the previous two days] and then got ready to go to Fan Fair X and our meet & greet with Duck Dynasty
Stayed there for a few hours going around to all the booths.  We got some EP's and CD's for new emerging artists, our favorite of which is Gary Ray who already sounds radio-ready.  I'm sad his EP only has 5 songs on it, we were listening to it on repeat!
After FFX we went to lunch at a cute rooftop place called Bailey's, met up with our friends again at the Wildhorse Saloon.  One of my friends/sorority sisters from college is married to Doug McCormick, so we went to watch his show...
Doug performing at Wildhorse
Wildhorse Saloon is so cool.  I feel like it's very similar to Coyote Joe's here in Charlotte, except way better and more professional. 
After the show we went back to the hotel and got dinner at J. Alexander's, a nice formal dining/steak place.  I got crab cakes, and they were to.die.for.  LOVED it there.  Kind of like an upscale Olive Garden/Red Lobster meshed together.
Then, LP field Night 3:
National Anthem sung by Lorrie Morgan and Pam Tillis
Lee Greenwood
Gary Allan
Brad Paisley
The Band Perry
Jake Owen
Carrie Underwood
Gary Allan
Brad Paisley

During Brad Paisley singing "Beat This Summer", everyone was supposed to take out their phones and use his new Light Show app, which picks up on his music and does a color changing light show.  Such a cool experience. It's crazy what people can do with technology these days.

Maisy and Lennon Stella, the sisters who play Rayna's daughters on the ABC show Nashville.  Loved them!!  They were surprise performers and sang a cover of "Ho Hey" just like they did on the show.
Carrie Underwood
Fireworks after the end of the show
Nashville, TN Skyline

We had the best time.  We both agree that we would love to go back to that festival in the future.  It was a pretty affordable trip to, I recommend it for anyone looking for something out-of-the-box but semi-local.

On our way home Monday, we Jake decided he wanted to relax and enjoy the ride home, stopping off at different locations wherever we felt like it. At first I was not into the idea at all, I wanted to get home to our house and our dogs and get settled in, but it was fun and a nice way to break up the 7hr drive.   We were going to go to the Knoxville Zoo but because of the time change didn't make it there in time.  Instead, we ate lunch at Calhoun's on the Tennessee River, which had a pretty nice view...
 Then we decided to stop at the outlets in Gaffney on the way home.  We treated each other to some new clothes/accessories...Jake got a pair of Costa Del Mar sunglasses and some new crocs to wear at the lake [he loves them, haha...camo of course!]  and I got a dress, skirt, and summery top from Loft.  Hey, your 2nd anniversary is supposed to be "Cloth" right?!

Hope you enjoyed this book.  Love yall!


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

So apparently my phone can take Panoramic photos!

Something that I discovered over the long weekend in Nashville...We are still settling in and having a very busy week, but I promise I'll do a full re-cap later.  For now, here's one of the fun shots I got during the concerts.  This was during Florida-Georgia Line's performance at LP Field...


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Country Song Inspiration

As promised, here are some prints to get your home festive for the summer!  Inspired by a few of my current favorite songs...


New Look :)

Whatcha think? I'm loving the summertime colors.

Be on the lookout for some new fun printables...I'm feeling inspired by my upcoming trip to Nashville [tomorrow?!!!]

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Pizza Pockets [or I guess that's what I'm naming them...]

Easy. Quick. Delicious.

You can really adapt this into anything that you want.  This was one of my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants creations.  Or, shall I say, one of my crap-I-need-to-make-dinner-but-the-fridge-is-empty creations.  A bare fridge will force you to be creative.  And creative I am!

So, what could I find to throw together?  Pillsbury rolls [always a staple at our house], pepperoni slices, chicken breasts, half-empty jar of Marinara, endless supply of shredded cheeses, miscellaneous salad dressings, spices....and, walla! Pizza Pockets were born:


...Beginning to assemble the ingredients...

Cut up and cook your chicken.  You can honestly put anything you want in these bad boys, but my husband is a lover of chicken & pepperoni pizza, and I aim to please.

[One thing you may have learned about me as a cook by now is that I hate cooking on the stove top with oil.  I used to, and the popping of the grease freaked me out a little and it hurt when it would pop up and hit my arm.  Therefore, I pretty much solely use some flavor of salad dressing.  My favorites are Italian, Greek Vinaigrette, and Roasted Red Pepper Italian.  The spices add so much to flavor the raw meat as it cooks.  You have the oil base, but the other ingredients help it not to pop up.  Plus, you get added flavor.  Total win in my book.]  Just because I felt like it, this time I used Honey Mustard dressing for a little bit of sweetness to contrast the tang and spice of the pepperoni.
Back to the recipe....While your chicken [or sausage or ground beef or veggies] is sauteing, get out a Pirex or corningware dish, do a light coat of Pam cooking spray [I like the butter flavor] and put your Pillsbury Grands Biscuits in it to bake as directed.  Keep an eye on the biscuits, because you are going to want to pull them out of the oven about 3 minutes early.  Early enough that they are pretty cooked through but not yet golden. 
Then, use a fork or spook to break open the center of each biscuit.  Don't break it all the way through to the bottom, just like little bowls or pockets.  Fill them with pepperoni slices, a couple tablespoons of Marinara or pizza sauce if you have it, and once your chicken is ready add that in as well.  It's totally fine if they are overflowing a little bit with chicken. Cause everyone likes chicken. 
Also, add on your seasoning. In our house, we swear by Cavendar's Greek Seasoning, and is has the perfect blend of spices you would want on a pizza:
It's full of flavor and you can pick it up at Walmart for about $3. 
It's also a big canister so it lasts a long time.
 Lastly, cover it with shredded cheese [Mozzerella or Kraft's Pizza blend are our usuals] and bake for about another 3-5 minutes so that the cheese melts and the rolls become golden.  Then, take out and enjoy!  An easy 30 minute meal for a work night....or any other night that you feel like impressing your hubby or friends but don't really feel like putting effort into it!  Let's be honest, it happens.

I'd love to hear about it if you decide to try this recipe, and how you adapt it to suit your taste!

What to serve it with?  I keep a constant stock of Birdseye Steamer veggie bags in our freezer.  Really, any of them are good.  Usually broccoli or the roasted potatoes and green bean mix are my favorites.