Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Date 7: Downtown Hop

If you follow me on Instagram then you may have caught our date night last Friday. To celebrate Valentine’s Day and our seventh date we finally got out of the house and pseudo planned a night for a progressive dinner. This is probably our favorite date night idea, but it needs some planning because it's more costly leaving several different tips for each restaurant.

We drove downtown to our river front where it’s always bustling on Friday and Saturday night. We had no idea where we would start, but started walking and stepped into the first place that caught our interest. The Fortunate Glass. I’ve been excited to try this quaint little wine bar for some time after I opted out of my last girls night being nine months pregnant. Inside we grabbed a seat in the tiny cozy booth perfect for two. This is a great little spot for trying small portions of wine, beer and good food. We each ordered our drinks; a crisp Chenin Blanc wine for me and Bells Amber Ale for Mike. We sipped and nibbled on a little antipasto plate and vowed to come back to share a bottle of wine in celebration of a big milestone in the near future.

Our next top was for our main entree. We decided we wanted to go somewhere that was casual and friendly, where we could eat at the bar and just enjoy. We walked to Docks Oyster Bar which reminded us of Faidely’s in the Lexington Market in Baltimore. We found a couple chairs open at the bar and ordered a couple beers and put in our dinner order. By hoping around to different restaurants, it allows us to try several different foods and try different places all in one night. We split everything we ordered so we didn’t order too much food, preventing us from being able to make our next stop. At Dock’s we enjoyed oysters rockafellar and a steamed plate of crab, shrimp, oysters, mussels and clams. Since we live in a beach town it just felt so right to have seafood. This is the type of place where it’s perfectly normal and encouraged to get a little messy. The food was delicious and it definitely hit the spot as we’ve been needing a fix of seafood for a while.

After a couple drinks and laughing hysterically, we ventured off to find dessert.
Mike was feeling cheesecake and YoSake was about to start happy hour so we climbed the beautiful staircase to dine on a little sushi and caramelized banana fried cheesecake. By the time we were done with dessert and walking the streets of the river front, the bars were spilling with college students and twenty-somethings. We’ve always found it interesting to people watch and Friday did not let us down. While leaving one of the restaurants we over heard one girl complaining to another guy about how she deserves to be treated, she was venting about an ex boyfriend. When the girl finally took a long enough breath for the guy to get a word in, he desperately spits out “You know what I say? Every pretty girl deserves to go to a ball.” Mike and I were absolutely dying with laughter. We so badly wanted to shout YES MAN! as it’s clearly a line from the movie. And that’s how we knew that moment was our cue to leave. We no longer fit into the downtown scene as we are clearly parents who stay in on the weekends watching the latest flick that’s finally available at Redbox. We were aching to go home, hold our babies and go to bed. I think that’s the beauty of thirties, we are too old to do the whole clubbing thing anymore, but I’m so grateful for’s exhausting. Plus it’s more fun to bounce around restaurants for food and drinks rather than bars for drinks and lame pick up lines.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

be mine forever valentine

Valentine’s day sorta snuck up on us this year. I was planning and planning fun things for the kids to do all month and I felt like I still had so much time until it was here and I spent all my time planning and not doing. Luckily, our day of love was still everything it should have been and the kids didn’t even skip a beat.

The night before Mike picked up balloons and cards for the babes and I was busy putting together an easy make ahead french toast bake, which leftovers are still in the fridge for the morning. We kept things very simple and surprised Kensi and Finn with a box of cake pops instead of the usual heart day candy and stuffed animals. When the kids finally woke up Kensi’s eye was red, tearing and all sorts of yuck. My immediate fear was pink eye. Ugh! Not what anyone really wants to wake up to especially on a fun little festive holiday. Luckily, my fears were put to ease and instead of pink eye she got her first ear infection. Not bad for almost being five. I was happy to take an ear infection as it meant we could go on with our day as usual.

Kensi and Finn handed out little Valentines to their sweet little friends and played for hours with balloons in the playroom. It amazes me how each year and each holiday how much they grow, but so does their excitement. I adore how much they love to celebrate and decorate for each upcoming holiday. They’re the most festive little bunch of kiddos and I could just eat them up! Here’s to making so many more memories filled with so much love for years to come with my forever little valentines. We hope your day was filled with just as much love!


Monday, February 13, 2017

Date 6: Unplanned Illness

We were excited to mix up our date nights and try to plan something out of the house, but all hope was lost after Friday’s nap time. Friday delivered cold temps and our entire house had a slight chill. Kensi mentioned she was 'so cold' and decided to snuggle up on the couch with a cozy blanket. We knew something was up when she fell asleep because for her to actually nap is rare. Chills, napping...we knew she must have a fever and sure enough we were right. We were suppose to join some friends for dinner and had to cancel, which also cancelled any hope of leaving the house for date night. We were stuck homebound another week.

Mike decided to make the most of it and planned a steakhouse dinner in. We’re always trying new recipes and he stumbled across this filet +mustard cream with mushrooms. (Ours does not look like the photo at photo fail?!?) Better plating for next time! He paired it with roasted cauliflower, one of our favorite sides, and our go to red wine blend Carnivore. Dinner was absolutely declious and what Mike thought would a great night to watch It Follows on Netflix. Oh my gosh, so terrible! The movie was legit creepy, but the premise of the movie was just bad. So bad! So we started to binge watch a new Netflix series, Santa Clarita Diet. However, after a couple episodes we both fell asleep on the couch and woke up in a complete daze not sure where we were or what was going on. The absolute worst way to way up! We slowly made our way upstairs and  called it a night. Not exactly the date we had in mind for this week. 

So here’s to those unplanned dates, that go arye. The ones that are so casual that it becomes increbily evident how much you truly love the crazy person snoring on the couch next to you. The ones that include a happily sleeping infant in your arms. The ones where the kids get sick and the plans unexpectedly change. The ones were where the expectation for the date are so much and someone just can’t quite make it to bed. Everyone needs these dates just to remember that hey this is real life, this is our life, this is our family, our circus and our love. These dates are sometimes my most favorite of all. 

But we’re totally getting out of the house this next week! 


Friday, February 10, 2017

Kitchen Cabinets: Halfway There

Today seems like a good day for a little kitchen update. If you’ve been following along with us we’re currently making over our builder-grade cookie cutter house in coastal North Carolina. We purchased our new home the end of 2013 and added very minimal upgrades during our design studio appointment. Nearly all our upgrades were structural, not cosmetic. Fast forward three years later and here we are making our house our home one little project at a time. We started painting our kitchen cabinets in November and built our own custom box to frame the refrigerator. The upper cabinets are done and now we’re working on the lower cabinets.

We recently found this perfect little drop down farmhouse table at a local consignment shop. It was pretty much love at first site. We love the natural color and imperfections and plan to add wheels to the bottom to easily roll it out of the way and use it throughout our living space. As for the projects in the kitchen we’ve accomplished quite a bit, but still have a ways to go. So far we’ve added trim to the bottom of the upper cabinets along with new crown moulding, pulled the cabinet above the fridge out, removed the microwave and painted the upper cabinets. 

With it being January our temperatures fluctuate between warm and cold which keeps us on our toes about which phase we can work on each weekend. We had planned to paint the lower cabinets over Super Bowl weekend, but our temperatures dropped, preventing us from painting. Instead we decided to move forward with wrapping our lower cabinets and peninsula with 1/8 inch plywood (6 inch wide strips) for a shiplap design. We decided instead of painting the cheap material already there we may as well cover it and saw a perfect opportunity to add more character and design into the space. Every little piece helps our cabinets transform from generic and basic to a more customized piece as a whole.

We are loving the transformation even if it moves slowly. There's a certain kind of pride that comes with taking these projects on ourselves and finishing them  all on our own. Of course it would be wonderful to have this whole kitchen done quickly and steadily, but there's a big trade off. So as we continue to work one weekend at a time we are constantly looking ahead at the next step and know we will soon have this project complete.

To the another weekend of painting, sanding + moving one step closer to the finish line!
Happy Friday friends.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Current Book Favorites

Every season we rotate our books in the playroom and kids’ bedrooms along with toys. It’s always exciting when we’re ready to switch them out because older books now become new all over again. I  enjoy being able to add a new book or two every few months as well since sometimes the books become so loved they may fall apart and need to move on. I recently added a few Valentine books to our shelves to celebrate the month of love and will keep them out a few more weeks before switching over to spring and Easter.
Mixed into our Valentine stash a few books related to winter and snow are hiding along with a couple new ones I plan to keep out all year long. The kids are so excited and are loving them page by page.
Scroll down to see a few of our new favorites.

Bunny Slopes by Claudia Rueda | I came across this book during one of our many trips to the book store. I fell in love with the book as soon as I read the second page. This book is interactive and encourages the kids to be silly and takes them on a ski adventure with a bunny. The kids are asked to help create snow by shaking the book and helping the bunny down the slope by tilting and turning the book around. It’s SO CUTE! I know this book will have to be replaced eventually because it will get handled more than a typical book. Kensi and Finn LOVE this book and get so giggly every time we read it.

Pancakes by Lotta Nieminen | This is also another interactive book. I always enjoyed reading books that included pull tabs, flaps and pop-ups. Pancakes is a children’s recipe book that encourages them to get in the kitchen and try making one of our all time favorite Saturday morning breakfasts. It does have a small pancake that can be removed and put into different places throughout the book. It can easily get lost, so I’m constantly checking to see if it’s put back to together. 

Love is a Truck by Amy Novesky | Mike and I gave this book to Finnley for Christmas. He loves trucks like most little boys, but I was immediately drawn to the monochromatic illustrations created by Sara Gillingham and the simplicity of the story. They’re absolutely darling. Kensi knows there's also Love is a Tutu and has asked for it several times since Christmas; maybe it will end up in her Easter basket this year.

Happy Reading!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Date 5: Date Night Foot Soak

We were in much need of a night off from everything, but that’s never possible here. 
Whether a guy likes to admit it or not, there is no doubt he enjoys being pampered. It was my week to plan our date and I wanted to create something relaxing without and allowed us to stay home. All we really wanted to do was take a night off so I knew a night of pampering would be ideal for this week.

One thing many don’t know about Mike is he LOVES to be pampered. He thoroughly enjoys foot soaks, body massages and pedicures, all of which I enjoy giving to him. It was a perfect night for just that, so instead of heading to an expensive spa for the evening I recreated our very own in our living room.

I decided cooking was completely off the table this week and we put an order in for takeout. I sent Mike to go pick it up and while he was gone I gathered every candle we own and scattered them throughout our living room. Sometimes I daydream about eating chinese food while being pampered so I figured why not. When Mike got back he walked into a dark house only lit by candles, wine and a hot foot soak waiting. 

After we had finished our food, we rubbed a YESto Miracle Oil mud mask (form Target) on each other’s face and pressed play to begin our movie. Date nights don’t have to be all about fancy food and overly adventurous. It’s good for the mind, body and soul to have relaxing dates in that can still be fun; although we are so due to get out of the house and be a little more adventurous....hmmmm thinking up something fun for next week!

Below I shared how I created our stimulating and relaxing foot soak. I used Young Living essential oils and not only did it feel great, but it also smelled amazing. Mike loved it and asked if we could do it again the next night, a definite win for a date night!

Date Night In: Foot Soak Recipe
1/3 cup Epsom Salt
4 drops YL Peppermint Essential Oil
2 drops YL Lavender Essential Oil
2 drops YL Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
1 drop YL Patchouli Essential Oil

In a large tub or bowl, add epsom salt and essential oils. Fill with hot water to cover feet. Soak and enjoy the sweet aromas as you escape from the chaos of the day! 

So why did I choose these particular oils for our Date Night In?

Peppermint \\ This oil is naturally soothing and elevates + opens the sensory system.

Lavender \\ Always one of my favorite go to oils for literally everything! Lavender promotes health, love, peace a sense of well being.

Ylang Ylang \\ This is THE go to oil for DATE NIGHT! Not only is Ylang Ylang calming and relaxing, but it influences sexual energy and enhances relationships.

Patchouli \\ Naturally digests toxic material in the body. It is also sedating, calming + relaxing which allows it to reduce anxiety. Perfect for washing away the day’s stress.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Resolutions: February

The month of what feels like ten weeks long is finally over and I happily welcome February. January always seems like the never ending month. To think we celebrated Christmas just a month ago seems insane and forever ago. I’m ready for a new month, a fresh start and to begin another healthy habit for the year. Many of you have followed along as Mike and I have shared our weekly dates and it’s very humbling that several of our friends, family and neighbors have reached out to us and shared how our simple resolution inspired them to do the same. We had no idea our little idea would spark so much interest and we are so excited many of you are wanting to invest in your own relationships!

February always gets me ready for spring. It triggers a love for cleaning, purging and organizing. Earlier this week I went through the kids’ toys (again) in the playroom. It’s shocking how many little things we accumulate without even realizing it. Whether it’s stuffed animals, trinkets or the never ending drawings and stickers. We are swimming in drawings and stickers. How we keep all of it under control and not let it take over our lives, well that’s for another post, another day. 

I may love cleaning and organization, but I’m faulty in the fact I am not consistent. Some days it seems as if there’s just so much that’s piled up and it’s easier to turn away and do something else. Case in point, our laundry. 

I actually enjoy gathering the dirty laundry, loading it into the machine and switching it over. It makes me feel accomplished and that I have my act together. My biggest downfall is after it’s dry. I hate folding it and putting it away. Absolutely hate it and I don’t really know why. Most days if you walk upstairs to our hall it will be littered with clean laundry, sorted into each person’s pile, but rarely folded. And it will sit and sit and sit for days. It’s a terrible habit and I like to blame our lack of closet storage on this, but the reality is I just don’t like doing it. However, when I get enough motivation and courage to tackle the mountains of clothes, fold them and put them away I literally feel like Super Woman. It’s the best feeling. Doesn’t that sound ridiculous? You may very well be thinking I’m a crazy nut who is seriously complaining about putting laundry away. It’s such a simple task, but we all have our downfalls. I don’t know what yours is, but mine is laundry. 

I’m using February as my starting point for getting my laundry regime down and under control. Because I want to feel like Super Woman every day and not let my high be stolen because of a pile of clean clothes. So friends and family, any and all tips for how you keep your laundry routine simple and easy to manage whether it be how you fold, organize your closet, or schedule to wash....please share and send your tips my way!

Happy February and may organizing be ever in my (and your) favor.
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