Monday, June 18, 2012


so last night, j and i made our dads some fried chicken to celebrate their day.  it was, in a word, divine.

good people, good fun, good food: can you ask for more? 

jordan's mama brought over some potato salad, we had a green salad, and a caprese salad...um, just now realizing that our entire meal aside from chicken was salads...hmm.

anyhoo- tonight we were heating up the leftovers and it dawned on me: what goes really well with fried chicken?  biscuits, duh.  

and?  yes, i made biscuits.

in my very limited defense, i only made a half-batch.

as for my justification? i need none.  all i know is that it was delicious, and made my husband smile.

so happy eating, friends.  hope your monday has started off just as tastily.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

that girl

i got to see DANA this weekend!

i don't know how we ended up going for so long without a visit {we're only 2 hours apart} and our phone chatting skills have been less than stellar these days- dah- thanks a lot, life...

but for a few hours on saturday, sitting on a very windy beach, while the guys chatted and had a beer, we were able to just be, which happens to be my favorite thing to do with this girl. 


 great to see you, my friend.

{i have to add a shameless plug for a friend: photo cred for ALL of the wedding pics you see on this site goes to dana's main man, nick...he is a slammin photographer with a great eye for catching a moment}

happy father's day!

...a big hug goes out today to all of our favorite guys who go by the name of dad!

my dad is just about the greatest.

i can count on him for anything, especially teaching me how to count on myself.  always ready with a life lesson, cleverly disguised in whatever activity we are involved with at the moment. 

my dad, i love ya.

before our wedding, looking a lot more calm than i felt...typical :)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

green clean update

just added another resource to the green cleaning post ...this one on the many uses of baking soda...enjoy!!

{link also found here}

Saturday, June 9, 2012

time for a new look

it's good to change things up a bit every once in a while- hope you like the new layout (: 

this photo is from our honeymoon, the view we had while eating dinner one night in rovinj

other changes i'm making this weekend:

painting a mirror

getting a game plan together to tackle 4 awesome wooden chairs i found at a yard sale this morning- they need some love

re-planting some plants {our peppers aren't doing too well}

and a nap.  i don't usually nap, but today it sounds delightful

have a great saturday, everyone! 

Friday, June 8, 2012

green cleaning

i don't know about you, but the thought that i need to wear rubber gloves to handle the stuff i use to keep our house clean does not sit well with me.  right now i'm not 100% without chemicals, but i'm working in that direction.

i'm lucky in that my mom has long been an advocate of chemical-free {or low chemical} cleaning, so i've been able to learn a whole lot from her...and now i want to share some of my favorite tips with you for a brighter, less toxic clean.

some of the main products you'll want to keep around for any and all cleaning are:

you will be amazed all the uses you find for 
this product...their website has some great ideas too

your average, distilled white variety will do

kosher salt
this one will surprise you (:
1 lb. box

castile soap
you can find this at target in more scents, but 
i found that trader joe's has better prices {just fewer varieties}
this can be used for cleaning
the home, as well as the people in it!
works well as a soap/ shampoo

some other products to keep on hand:
hydrogen peroxide {3%}
baking soda {buy the big box} 
various spray bottles {look for the kind with ounce markings 
on the bottle...makes for easy measuring}
bleach & ammonia {this is where i still fail at being sans-chemicals} 

so, here are some typical cleaning issues, and how to deal with them with less toxicity:

issue #1: ants
ingredients: borax, powdered sugar
directions: mix equal parts, leave in a line where you see the ants usually {perhaps against the back of a counter-top or at the bottom of your back door}...they will come for the sugar, but end up taking the borax back with them to their nest.  NOTE: this isn't toxic to animals, but it might make them sick if they eat it...don't leave where your pups/ kitties can get into it; that goes for kids too, of course ;)

issue #2: tub cleaning
ingredients: a solution of 2 parts water to 1 part hydrogen peroxide; baking soda
directions:  make your water-hydrogen peroxide solution; keep this handy in a spray bottle.  sprinkle baking soda on the tub {it helps if the tub is slightly wet}; scrub your little heart out.  make sure to rinse well when you're done scrubbing.  you will be amazed at how clean it gets. now, here's a tip i stumbled on by accident:  the hydrogen solution can be sprayed on the walls of your tub to get the grout clean, and just keep things fresh {rinse after about 1 hour} ...i sprayed this while i was scrubbing the floor of the tub and the combo of the solution and the baking soda seemed to {in my mind at least} get things even more sparkling...give it a try, let me know what you think (:

issue #3: all-purpose cleaner
i swiped the following tip from this article {also where i found the water-hydrogen peroxide solution}, and i have since tweaked it a bit
 from the article:
Heather's Helper (all-purpose cleaner)
directions: mix 2 teaspoons of vinegar, one teaspoon of borax and water into a 24-ounce spray bottle until it's nearly full, then add a quarter cup of castile soap.  {i upped the vinegar to three teaspoons and the borax to two teaspoons, otherwise, this one is great}
uses: takes on most surfaces in your house, from counters to mirrors, walls to toilet seats.

issue #4: copper cleaning

ingredients: lemons and kosher salt

directions:  cut your lemon in half, cross-wise...dip into a bowl of kosher salt, and scrub your copper pots

i cleaned one side of my copper tea kettle so you could see the difference

issue #5: floors
ingredients: vinegar, water
directions: mix a solution of 1 cup white distilled vinegar for every gallon of warm water...great for linoleum floors 

issue #6: toilets & windows
confession: i need my toilets to be clean.  you know it, i know it: there is nothing grosser than a dirty toilet.  so, yes: i do wipe down the toilet with a 10% bleach solution, then use these handy-dandy scrubbers to get the bowl nice and clean.  but i did just read that borax works well in toilets, so who knows, i might be turning over a new leaf soon ;)  as for windows, i'm looking for a new solution, but nothing beats the price of ammonia and warm water to clean that glass.  just wipe down with a dry lint-free rag after you've washed the windows and you'll be left with clear, clean windows at a much lower price than windex. 

i will make sure to add to this list when i think of more ideas...
in the meantime, let me know how these work for you!

Virginian-Pilot article tips and tricks using just a few ingredients
Queen of Clean this book has great tips on inexpensive, and environmentally friendly cleaning
Vinegar  your new best friend
Baking Soda *new*

Thursday, June 7, 2012

a garden DIY

do you like to garden?  we do too, and we definitely learn something new each year.

this year, we feel pretty good about things.  we have a sturdy fence in place to keep out furry animals, we did more research on which plants play well with others, and we were able to start a good portion of our garden from seed this year, which we've been aiming to do for some time.

box #1: tomato, snap peas, velour beans

box #2: jalapenos, green pepper, cucumber, squash, bush beans, more peas

so since we started some of these plants as seeds, i needed to figure out a way to remember which row has which plant...here's what i came up with: quick, easy, inexpensive garden markers:

what you need:  a permanent marker, bamboo skewers {don't use any treated wood products, only natural}, and wine corks {champagne corks also worked really well, if you need a reason to celebrate ;) }

step one: what are you planting these days?
step two: poke the sharp end of the bamboo                                                                         done!
        skewer into the bottom of the cork

here's how they turned out for us...happy gardening!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

new orleans

a few weeks back we were guests of a fabulous couple getting married in new orleans, louisiana- such a great place for a destination wedding!

the groom is a good friend of j's from way back when, and we couldn't adore his wife heather more.

for anyone who hasn't been to NOLA, it is a city unlike any other.  the culture is all it's own: part southern, part caribbean, ALL louisiana.  the food is amazing, the scenery is gorgeous, and i can safely say this city has something for everyone.

we had a few days to ourselves before the festivities, so we did what we do best: ate and drank whilst strolling, of course.  we spent our fair share of time in the french quarter, however the college kid in us has long since graduated, so we took some walks to other less-tourist populated parts of town, namely the garden district.

maybe it's just me, but i was blown away at the beauty and variety of the doors in this city.  yes, doors{do i need to get out more??}  anyway, they were amazing, so i snapped a few lot...hope you enjoy my little montage!

so much turquoise!  love it.

ah.  my silly husband.

the stunning bride...she surprised her husband with a song. and she is GOOD.

so that's my little walking tour of nola for ya...hope to be back before too long...

Friday, June 1, 2012

one for the books

i can hardly believe that a little more than a year ago, i was crying my eyes out in paris.

don't believe me?

what would i have to cry about, you ask?
   yes, i did just get married.
   why yes, he is the man of my dreams.
   i agree: i am in paris.

still in the dark?   allow me to fill in a few blanks.

on may 22, 2011 j and i took off from IAD for what could only be imagined to be the best 3 weeks.  ever. we were pumped.  i should probably mention that before we took off, i successfully negotiated our ascension through the ranks of the coach-class flyers to ::ahem:: priority coach class.  oh yeah.  extended leg room, don't mind if i do.  this little coup made me feel pretty good about the way the trip was shaping up - and we hadn't even left the states yet!  i should probably also mention that when we were upgraded so generously, our desk-clerk mentioned that since he had to print out new boarding passes, we would need to pick up our second leg pass in london to get to paris.  no problem.

fast forward a few hours and it's monday, may 23, 2011.  we're waking up to the captain announcing that our flight is getting into heathrow just a little late and that passengers with connecting flights should run, not walk to their next gate. {the gate for which we had yet to obtain our boarding pass, you may recall}  do you see where this is going?  we did too, but boy did we try to deny it.

and yes, we missed our flight.  not to worry though, right?  there are about 10 flights daily between london and paris.  we should be out of here in no time.

fun fact: while some of you might remember that icelandic volcano which erupted in 2010, i bet only a handful knew that there was a second eruption.  date? may 23, 2011.  oh yes.  all flights out of heathrow were on hiatus.   so we sit.  and sit.  and finally, late in the afternoon, we get a flight to paris.  YES

we arrive in paris.  woooo!!  our luggage, however, does not.  seriously.  we make our way to our hostel, trying to sort out what we're going to do.  what if {unlikely as it may be} our luggage never makes it?  what will we do?  to make things a little more fun, we have a deadline: our flight from paris to zagrab leaves in 2 days.

holy moly.

once the shock wears off a little bit and we're able to shower, nap and get a baguette, we begin to really think about things.  we have our computer, but the charger is in the suitcase.  dang.  while i did pack an extra pair of undies, that's it: no change of clothes.  truth: your mom really does know best.  slowly we start to realize that this dream vaca might be a little different than what we had planned.  and here come the tears.  with me now?

looking back, i can say without a doubt that this experience was wonderful.  wonderful in the sense that despite all of the major life changes, the big and the little tragedies, the stress of international travel, we both completely broke down and were able to experience that on which a large part marriage is based: vulnerability. 

making the most of it {day #3 of these outfits}

so...loooong story short: still unsure of the future of our honeymoon, we head to bed around midnight the night before we are supposed to catch our flight to croatia.  still mulling things over at about 2 am, we get a phone call from the front desk: "your suitcases were just dropped off." 

i could have kissed him. 

instead, when we ran down the stairs to pick up our ill-fated belongings, i gave that little french man the biggest hug i could.

{note: the staff of our hostel were truly a godsend.  not only did they translate for us with the airlines trying to get an update on our bags, but they actually fought for us...they even offered that if our bags came when we had already left for croatia, that they would hold them, no problem, no charge.  seriously.  i will forever be grateful for the kindness of strangers shown in this instance}

so there you have it: my reason for tears in paris.

ultimately we made it to croatia, had a fabulous time {i promise, pictures are on their way}, and now have a pretty great story to whip out at parties.  i'd say win-win.

now that you've listened to me for so long, tell me: what's your favorite honeymoon/ travel story??