Homearama 2014

Homearama 2014

If you know me personally, or read the blog on a regular basis, then you know I am a bit of a dreamer and one of my very favorite subjects to daydream about is home building and home decorating.  Sunday afternoon Tim and I went to Homearama, one of my favorite events since I was a little girl.  Last year I attended one also at Carriage Hill, the same community as this year’s only with nine new houses being showcased this time.

Homearama 2014 - Carriage Trails

Homearama 2014 - Carriage TrailsMy dad owns a tile business and I remember visiting his worksites when I was a little girl.  He did a lot of corporate jobs, but he also laid the tile in many elaborate single-family homes too.  Some of them were seemingly even larger than the golf course club houses we passed while driving into the job site.  I loved watching these houses be built from the ground-up, and the simple details like crown molding, jack-and-jill bathrooms and breakfast nooks complete with sunlight filled bay windows have stuck with me ever since.

Homearama 2014 - Carriage Trails

Homearama 2014 - Carriage TrailsI think these early years of being exposed to building a home really set a passion in me for decorating and home building.  I am obviously still young and am not able to include everything I wish I could in my current home, but hopefully one day I will bring my childhood dream of designing my own home to life.

Homearama 2014 - Carriage TrailsHomearama 2014 - Carriage TrailsAlthough things like crown molding, a jack-and-jill bathroom and bay windows remain at the top of my want list, 5,000+ square foot homes and elaborate designs no longer interest me.  In fact, my taste has changed a lot over the years.  I prefer simple and smaller.  Now that I have my own home that is 2,100 square feet, I couldn’t imagine cleaning one of those monstrosities…No thank you!

Homearama 2014 - Carriage Trails

Homearama 2014 - Carriage TrailsMy dream home is more along the line of 2,500 square feet at the very most and I like classic designs with craftsman-style character.  My goal is to build a new home that suits my taste and still has a hint of that old-school charm I love.  As cool as a basketball court would be in my future basement, I am still not 100% sure if that is a necessity on my wish list!

Homearama 2014 - Carriage TrailsHowever, I do have to say that this craft room really caught my attention!  You all know that I love to make wreaths and crafts, and wouldn’t you know that I found the best wreath-making room I have ever seen!

Homearama 2014 - Carriage TrailsPretty cool, huh?? 

My end impression of Homearama was that I once again was reminded that I don’t want a huge home and that I have a much more simplistic taste when it comes to design and décor.  It is always fun to gather ideas though from each home that you can use for inspiration, on a smaller scale, in your own home.  There is another local Homearama coming up this fall that I am hoping to attend as well!

Conversation Time.

  • Have you ever been to a Homearama?  What was your experience?
  • What does your dream home look like?  Would you ever custom build a home from scratch?
  • What are the three most important things in home design you would include in your dream house?  An amazing kitchen is definitely the most important for me!  I also love the coziness fireplaces bring to a home and an outdoor space for entertaining would be nice as well.
Welcome Home Dinner

Welcome Home Dinner

Look at me sharing two posts in a row!  It is almost like the good old days of blogging when it was a daily thing.  As much as I love blogging, I think it is easy to wear yourself out if you get too obsessed, just like so many things in life.  I wish I could blog everyday again, but for my own sanity I cannot at this time.  It seems like 2-3 posts a week is going pretty good lately so I am going to keep on that schedule as long as it keeps feeling like the right choice.  If I want to blog more than I will, and if I want to blog less than I will!  It is all about finding that balance for both myself and my family right now, and I hope you all will stick around and keep reading as long as I’m writing!

It has been awhile since I shared a full day of eats, but Sunday’s eats were too good not to share!  After a busy day Saturday that was full of activity, I woke up Sunday morning feeling hungry and ready to eat.  I found myself craving salt so I made a classic breakfast of two eggs over easy, smoked gouda cheese, a thick slice of bacon (real bacon…not turkey…and it was amazing!), and two slices of whole wheat bread.  I piled the eggs, cheese and bacon on top of the toast and ate my sandwich halves opened face.

Eggs, Whole Wheat Toast, Bacon and Smoked GoudaThis. Was. Amazing!  Sometimes you don’t need anything too fancy, just simple, good ingredients can do the trick.

After going on a run / walk with Tebow Sunday afternoon I made myself an easy fruit smoothie filled with three ingredients: 1 cup water, ½ cup frozen cherries and a half a frozen banana.

Smoothie - Water, Frozen Cherries and Frozen BananaSince Tim was coming back from Denver Sunday evening, I knew a welcome home dinner would be a great idea that he would love.  I decided the menu would be pizza, collard greens and his favorite dessert, so I started prepping early in the day to ensure everything would be ready to assemble and bake when he was on his way home.

For the pizza, I prepped the dough, made with white whole wheat flour, in my bread maker which took about an hour and a half.  Afterwards I separated the 2 pound batch and saved half for Sunday’s pizza and the other half went into the freezer for future use.  I also browned the Italian sausage and sliced the fresh mozzarella for the pizza, and I washed and sliced the collard greens as well.

Tim’s favorite dessert in the world is key lime pie so I decided to whip up a recipe I thought he would love.  It all started with the graham cracker crust, which I made earlier and baked for five minutes then set aside to let cool.

Homemade Graham Cracker CrustI will be sharing my key lime pie recipe (including the crust!) next week so make sure you are on the lookout for it!  This pie turned out so good and was even layered with a little heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla mix…three ingredients I can definitely get behind!

Here was my plate, which included a little pizza (plus two more slices) and collard greens cooked with bacon.

Homemade Pizza with Italian Sausage and Fresh MozzarellaI also had a slice of key lime pie for dessert.  I loved the pie, but I am not going to lie, I think my favorite part was the graham cracker crust.  Store-bought crust just can’t compete!

Easy as Pie: Key Lime PieThanks to Jenn for hosting WIAW!  Stop by her blog to find more blogs to read and delicious recipes to make.

Conversation Time.

  • What is your favorite way to eat eggs?  Over easy?  Scrambled?  Hard boiled?
  • In your opinion, what is the epitome of a classic breakfast?
  • What’s your bacon preference: turkey or pork?
  • Favorite pizza topping, ready…go!
A Weekend to Myself

A Weekend to Myself

If you follow me on Instagram, then you already know I had a pretty busy weekend.  Tim left for Denver Thursday morning at 6, so I had the rest of that day, Friday, Saturday and Sunday until 7ish all to myself.  I knew the time would go fast if I was active and made plans, so staying busy is exactly what I did.  If you want to see what a long weekend looks like when it’s just me, keep reading!

I worked Thursday 8-5 and took Tebow on a walk when I got home.  Graeter’s Ice Cream hosts ‘Dog’s Day Out’ the first Thursday of each month in the summer and since it was canceled the week before due to the July 4th holiday, I decided to treat Tebow to a walk and a Frosty Paws since the weather was beautiful.

A Weekend to Myself :: Graeter's Ice CreamWe got our exercise in both to and from Graeter’s and enjoyed a little sweetness in between: A scoop of Strawberry Chip in a sugar cone for me and a dog-friendly treat for Teb. We sat outside the store until we both finished our ice cream and then headed back, fueled by a bit of a sugar rush.  All-in-all the trip took us about an hour and when we got home I wrote Friday’s blog post about my Dining Room makeover, had a little leftover dinner of quinoa salad, and watched the modern-day version of Footloose, which I’ve seen at least five times and love it!  Just another thing you do when your husband is out of town, watch movies he’d prefer to skip!

A Weekend to Myself :: FootlooseI went to the gym early Friday morning and had the afternoon off work, so I came home around noon to take care of Tebow and have a green smoothie for lunch before meeting my mom for a little window shopping at the mall and facials at our favorite spa, Woodhouse.

A Weekend to Myself :: Green SmoothieAfter our girls day we met up with my brother and dad for a little family dinner at Spaghetti Warehouse.  My mom and I split the lasagna + chicken parmesan option, and my dad and brother shared the Ultimate Feast for Two.

A Weekend to Myself :: Spaghetti WarehouseIn reality I think this could have fed our entire table of four!  It had everything from lasagna and chicken parmesan, to ravioli with alfredo, pasta with meat sauce, garlic bread, sausage and meatballs.  We haven’t had dinner with just the four of us in a while and it definitely felt a little nostalgic and sweet.  I am so thankful to have such a close-knit, loving and supporting family, it’s such a blessing in my life!

Saturday was busy from start-to-finish as well as I met my friend Sam at a cycling studio that has been open only about 6 weeks called Cycle-Logik and from 8-9:30 was one of the concert series classes.

A Weekend to Myself :: Cycle-LogikBasically we cycled for 90 minutes while watching a Lady Gaga concert on two projection screens.  The lighting was dim besides the colorful light show in the studio, the music was pumping and we all had heart rate monitors, which showcased our stats on the flat screens located at the front of the room.

A Weekend to Myself :: Cycle-LogikI have always had a really slow heart rate, typically resting around 40, so I was only mildly  surprised to see I came in 18th out of 19 people in total ‘points’ earned during the class.  After I warmed up my heart rate only made it to about 60 while others were already at 100+.  I guess if I can’t win the competition, at least my heart is efficient!  I finally made it to about 150 a couple times, but that was really hard for me.  I literally thought I would fall over if I pedaled one more time so thankfully I know my body well enough to be aware of when to push it and when to back off!  Other perks included water fill-ups by the employees of Cycle Logiq during the class so you didn’t have to get off your bike, and a fresh cold towel delivered to each individual after the class while you were cooling down on the bike.  It was amazing!

After class I made and ate breakfast and then took Tebow on a walk to get him a little exercise while also stretching my legs.  It was pretty warm so I tried to make it a quick one!

A Weekend to Myself :: Walk with TebowI headed to the library after getting Tebow and I plenty of water after our walk, and then I drove to Meghan’s for a little pool time.

A Weekend to Myself :: SwimmingIt was a cloudy afternoon, but we made it work with some chatting, reading and a little sleeping.  I made it home about 7:30 in time to take care of Tebow and eat dinner before heading to bed.

I slept-in Sunday morning until 9:30, which meant I got 12 hours of sleep the night before.  Let me tell you, when I am tired and need rest my body certainly lets me know.  I relaxed with a little coffee on the couch until about 11 and then started working on Tim’s ‘welcome home’ dinner.  (I will share more about it tomorrow!!)

I took Tebow on a 45 minute walk / run to the park while the laundry was going and my bread maker was doing its thing.  We even did a little off-leash training and yes I was scared to death!  I waited until we were about done though to make sure he was nice and tired.  Catching a tired dog would have to be easier than catching one who just started to run, right?

A Weekend to Myself :: Working with Tebow off-leashHe did so good though and although it will take a long time for him to be off-leash without me worrying, I would say this was a good step!  When we got home,  Tebow cooled down with a little ice water and nap on the cool tile in our kitchen, I did some housecleaning, linen washing, vacuuming and dish washing.

Tim’s flight landed about 3:30 and he drove to Costco for a few groceries before heading home.  Tebow went berserk when Tim walked through the door; you would have thought he had been gone for months!  That is one of the beautiful things about sweet pups, they always make you feel like the most important and special person in the world!  We ate dinner as a family, went to Kroger to grab just a few more items we needed that Costco couldn’t supply, and went to bed early.

Overall it was a great weekend filled with me time, but Sunday evening with my husband and sweet pup was truly the icing on the cake!

Conversation Time.

  • If you had a whole weekend to yourself, what would you do?  When was the last time you had time to truly do what you wanted?
  • Have you been to any awesome fitness classes lately?  What is it about a class or studio that makes you come back for more?
  • What did you do this past weekend?
  • Do you have a favorite spa you like to go to as a special treat?  What makes it so great?
My Dining Room Reveal

My Dining Room Reveal

Remember when I shared my master bathroom remodel back in January?  Well, I discussed in that post never feeling as if the room was complete with the decorating and finishing touches so I put off sharing the end result with all of you for months and months.  Taking a house and making it a home can take plenty of time, money and hard work.  Although we are more than willing to put in the effort, it’s the time and money that can sometimes leave us limited.

Dining Room Makeover :: Happy Wife Healthy LifeWe finished painting our dining room a couple months ago now, but I haven’t felt comfortable sharing the reveal just yet.  We would still like to get a rug for under the table, a new centerpiece, finish painting the baseboards and hanging the curtain tie-backs, but life is short and I don’t want to wait even another day to show the progress we’ve made so far.  I don’t have any great ‘before’ pictures, but I thought the following would give you a glimpse into the dark gold paint that was in the room before and the new brighter blue we have now.

Dining Room Before & After :: Happy Wife Healthy Life

Dining Room Makeover :: Happy Wife Healthy LifeWhen I started researching paint colors for the dining room, light blues started standing out as a color I was drawn too.  For the most part, our downstairs is filled with neutrals of tans, beiges, whites and gray, so adding a bit of color was a new concept to me.  Although I still consider this more of a neutral canvas since it is so light, I love how it took a darkened area and completely brightened up one of my favorite rooms in the house.  Plus, the light blue is a breath of fresh air by adding a subtle pop of color.

Dining Room Makeover :: Happy Wife Healthy LifeThese table linens from Pottery Barn were the inspiration behind finding the exact blue I wanted for the walls.  I loved the classic design on the placemats and napkins, and the light blue within the pattern was the perfect shade so we just ran with it.  I purchased these linens for 40% off and am obsessed with the way the design ties the room together.

Dining Room Makeover-Pottery Barn LinensI found these ivory cotton window drapes at the Pottery Barn Outlet for more than 60% off a couple years ago and have been saving them ever since.  At first I thought they would look a little boring, but with the blue walls and patterned table linens it brings back a nice basic and neutral canvas to the room.

Dining Room Makeover :: Happy Wife Healthy LifeAlong with the blue, I really wanted to keep a southern and hint of coastal theme tied to the room.  I found this huge sea grass mirror at Home Goods and completely fell in love.  I was looking for a large rectangular mirror with a coastal appearance and it did the trick.  The best news of all though was that it was only $60! A similar mirror that is half the size at Pottery Barn is $200+.  This mirror is one of my favorite home finds for both look and price to date!

Dining Room Makeover :: Happy Wife Healthy LifeAnother favorite find of mine is this bronze curtain rod with decorative pineapple ends.

Dining Room Makeover :: Happy Wife Healthy LifeI wanted a rod with character and this one definitely has what I was looking for.  I fell in love with the subtle Southern twist it contributes to the look!  It’s funny how much charm something as simple as a curtain rod can bring to a room.  I found this rod at Target for around $40.  I purchased one for the dining room and one for my living room, which is right next to the dining room.

Dining Room Makeover :: Happy Wife Healthy LifeOther pieces I already owned includes my Crate and Barrel wine rack, which was a Christmas gift from my family that was on our wedding registry, the table and chairs set, and the pot rack my dad made for me as a Christmas present last December.

Dining Room Makeover :: Happy Wife Healthy Life

Conversation Time.

  • Are you a Home Goods shopper?  Tell me about the best piece you’ve ever found while Home Goods shopping!
  • What color pallet is your home?  Do you stick to neutrals or do you like to add pops of color to your rooms?
  • Tell me about your dining room and what you either love or would like to change about the look?
July 4th Weekend

July 4th Weekend

This past weekend was filled with family and friend time; two of my very favorite things. The three-day weekend was complete with few responsibilities and plenty of memory-making moments.  I decided to use the time off to simply let go and let be.  In fact, I almost lasted the entire weekend without any chores or cleaning, and if you know me that is a big deal!  Finally around 4 pm Sunday evening I couldn’t take it anymore and had to be a little productive by running the vacuum throughout the house and doing a few more household duties.  What can I say, I am a creature of habit and I love nothing more than starting my work week with a fresh perspective and a clean home.

Other than that though, my 4th of July weekend was filled with good old-fashioned care-free fun.  Thursday night we headed to Columbus for Red, White and Boom with good friends.  Although I lived in the capital city throughout college, I had never been to the annual fireworks event before and I figured there was no better time than a perfect summer evening, (which truly felt more like fall than July…)!

Red, White and Boom 2014

Yep, I was wearing a long sleeve shirt to stay warm in the middle of summer.  I originally brought a tank top to wear with my maxi skirt, but it was a little chilly so thankfully the chambray I wore to work that day worked well as a makeshift jacket.

Red, White and Boom 2014

Saturday morning I grabbed a latte and an egg white breakfast sandwich with my girlfriend before we all laid by the pool and had an afternoon cookout.  I brought a batch of this recipe for a Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Quinoa Salad and I think it is one of my new favorites!  I am obsessed with Caprese style recipes, so anything that pairs three of my favorite ingredients is bound to be good.

Two of my sweet friends surprised another friend and I with Alex and Ani bangles.

Alex and Ani Bangles - July 4th Weekend

I had heard of these ‘positive energy’ bracelets before, but had never had one myself.  The girls chose the pineapple charm bangle for me which means welcome, warmth and friendship.  I have been obsessed with the pineapple trend lately and recently purchased two curtain rods from Target complete with rubbed bronze pineapple ends, so to say they know me pretty well is an understatement!

July 4th Weekend

Seriously, there is just nothing like spending time with good friends.  Knowing I have these girls as lifelong friends makes the journey and experiences along the way that much sweeter!

Friday night we had another cookout, this time at my parents’ house when we stopped by to pick up Tebow since they watched him for us while we were away.  We drove towards home around 9 and attempted to watch some of the local fireworks on our way.  We didn’t want to get too far into town and get stuck in traffic, so we watched from a local church parking lot instead.  The trees blocked the view a bit, but being home within five minutes more than made up for it and by that point in the weekend I had definitely seen my fare share of fireworks.

I had been wanting to go to a farmer’s market all summer so Saturday morning we headed south to the city of Montgomery’s Farmer’s Market first and then to the Findlay Market in downtown Cincinnati.  We didn’t stay too long because it was so crowded, but after we walked around the city for a bit we went to find a little lunch.  We had heard good things about Bakersfield and its tacos, so we ordered a few varieties to try including pollo verde, fish and short rib.  The true star in my opinion though was the guacamole appetizer, which had huge chunks of avocado and fresh from the fryer tortilla chips for dipping.  So, so good!

Bakersfield Guacamole and Chips

We left downtown and stopped by the mall on the way home.  I practiced restraint though in thanks to my new shopping approach and simply window shopped instead.  It’s not near as fun as spending money, but my bank account sure appreciates the self-control!

The rest of Saturday evening was spent casually sitting at home eating ice cream and watching movies with my two boys. Perfection!  Sunday was a pretty gloomy day so I spent a majority of it being lazy and relaxing while trying to catch up on my rest from the busy previous few days.  By evening though I had to be just a little productive so I vacuumed, did laundry, baked a berry cobbler and ate a grilled dinner outside on our patio.  I love summer if not only for the fact that dinners are so easy and basically mess-free when prepared on the grill!

This season has been crazy so far and this week is already shaping up to be a pretty busy one, so bear with me!  I am hoping to stop in at least one more time for a new post to share with all of you.

Conversation Time.

  • How was your July 4th weekend?
  • Who else is having a busy summer?
  • Have you been to a farmer’s market yet this year?