Thursday, May 31, 2012

All Hands on Deck COMPLETE!

It may seem like forever ago (or maybe just to me) when I first shared that we were getting our deck redone. But I'm happy to report it's all finished!! My wonderful friend did a fabulous job repairing the issues we had and putting down beautiful wood for us to admire this summer.

Here's a look at the before, just to jog your memory...





And here is the final result....








I'm excited to start using this deck with summer parties with family and friends. We need to do a little bit of landscaping and maybe buy some additional seating for those friends' bottoms but I'm just so glad it looks 100% better (plus issues are fixed). :) Yay for summer!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Holy Sweet Tooth Batman

Today continues our lovely vacation....what was on the agenda? Downtown Frederick. We've been here several times, each time we've had an awesome time. Usually it'll involve eating at a little restaurant. Like the last time we went, we ate at a cute little Italian restaurant and had an amazing meal! {Getting hungry just thinking of it}

This time my hubby wanted Cuban. So to Downtown Frederick we returned for another amazing meal. And it wasn't just the lunch we had that kept us, it also happened to be the cute neighborhood & tons of amazing SWEETS!!

Here's the Cuban restaurant we went to for lunch. I had a steak sandwich {no, I didn't take a picture of the meal} and fries. YUM!



And just in case you were wondering, I was sporting a new outfit too. I don't usually do the long shirts and tights, but today I was feeling a little risky! ;) Whatta think??


And here are the sweets I'm talking about. We went to another candy shop {there are about 3 or 4 in downtown} called Sweet Memories. It had all sorts of candy from my childhood. Included were the tiny size Chiclets, Fruitstripe gum, Mambo {OMG, LOVED THOSE}, salt water taffy, candy cigarettes {I realize it's terrible to say, but I really did think they made me cool when I was younger} and more! Definitely brought make some 'sweet memories'. ;) 


And if that wasn't enough, we also went into a cupcake shop! If you know me, you know I can't avoid going into a cupcake shop where there is one. And today's sweet treat from the cupcake place? Chocolate Raspberry and Red Velvet.


That was pretty much our day. We walked around downtown and I scored a couple cute photos {see below} but then we went home and watched movies all night.



Pretty picture of the door!

Loving this entry way...

These bars in front of the windows are super cool.
 
It was an awesome day; nice relaxing, just what the doctor ordered!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day Festivities

Did everyone have an awesome Memorial Day?? I sure did! In addition to having the day off of work {which is awesome in itself} we traveled to Maryland to visit the in-laws. See it was my SIL, Amy, birthday and we came to celebrate!



In all honesty, we took this entire week of for vaca and have a lot of activities planned. Amy's b-day kicks off the festivities. ;) What did we do? We went to the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum. Now I'm not usually a person for museums, in fact I typically only like art museums, but it was all about Amy so we went where she wanted to go. It actually ended up being pretty cool!

We saw the plan that was used in transformers, the stealth Lockheed Blackbird. Don't remember which plane that was? Here's a video from the Smithsonian that shows clips of when the movie was actually in the museum.

video


How cool is that? The video was actually taken in the museum. There were tons of Transformer type items on display.


But here's the actual plane on display. The pictures don't do it justice, the plan is ginormous!


So I learned some pretty cool stuff regarding this plane. Did you know that there is no reconnaissance aircraft in history that has operated globally in more hostile airspace than the Lockheed Blackbird? It's the world's fastest jet-propelled aircraft! On its last flight Lt. Col. Ed Yielding and Lt. Col. Joseph Vida set a speed record by flying from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., in 1 hour, 4 minutes, and 20 seconds, averaging 3,418 kilometers (2,124 miles) per hour! Let's take a moment to think about how fast that is......WHEW! That's freakin' fast. And at the conclusion, they landed at Washington-Dulles International Airport and turned the airplane over to the Smithsonian.

I also happen to find this guy pretty fascinating. It's a flying machine designed for one person & he/she would lean {that's right, LEAN} in the direction you want to go & the machine will go that way!



Here's the family during our activities at the museum. Some were willing participants of the camera and some {hubby} were not. Oh well! ;)

The entire place had airplanes everywhere, including the ceilings. We also caught an iMAX showing of the Hubble Telescope, which was pretty cool. And continuing the space mention, there was an entire section dedicated to space travel. Including...

Yup, that's right. The discovery! :)
All-in-all it was a pretty terrific day. For dinner my wonderful mother-in-law made Dr. Pepper soaked ribs {that's right, Dr. Pepper soaked} and her homemade macaroni salad. All I have to say is I'm thankful (in many ways) for my sister-in-law Amy being born. ;)

So what did you do for Memorial Day?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Pinterest Inspired Cake

So the other day I pinned this awesome Kit Kat Cake from Made in Melissa's Kitchen. A girlfriend of mine commented on the pin stating that she had made it & really enjoyed it. She alluded that it was super easy to make; and since I didn't have anything super pressing to do today, I decided to try it!



I see so many people take something they've seen on Pinterest and make it; it turns out so well & they feel accomplished. So I took a stab at the kit kat cake and I'm pretty impressed with myself. Obviously it'll never look as awesome as the picture above, but mine isn't too shabby (if I say so myself). ;)



All you do is take your favorite cake recipe, bake and let cool. A little secret to have a moist cake is to stir the batter until your arm feels like it's going to fall off (no lie, it's several hundred mixes) and then cover the mixing bowl with a kitchen towel for about 5 minutes. It's the secret ingredient to help make it extra moist. A friend of mine shared that little tip with me & I promise you it works! Try it....



Anywho, back to the cake. Before frosting, make sure your cake is shorter than a kit-kat bar, if not trim some off the top to leave room for the M&M’s. Frost with your favorite frosting.

Take a bunch of kit-kat bars (about 4 large packages), cut or gently break each bar into two sections. Place the bars on the cake, gently pushing into the frosting. Tie with a ribbon and fill the center with M&M’s (about 1 large bag). Ready to see my cake??



I'm pretty excited to try this little guy. Good thing I ran 6 miles today, I'm going to be on a sugar rush after having a piece of this!! Have you tried something you've seen on Pinterest? How did it turn out?


Friday, May 25, 2012

Orange-YOU Surprised?

Like that title? Well, after seeing me rock this outfit you might understand why I ask! ;)

For an upcoming work trip I'm going to be sporting a new color...orange. I work for Homes.com and the main color for the brand is orange. So we'll be rockin' orange all the time! In anticipation for that event I've started going shopping for orange attire options I can wear. I went to TJ Maxx and scored some awesome accessories; I also went to Anne Taylor Loft (my favorite store) and found a beautiful striped top. I decided to sport it yesterday at work and wow, I couldn't have dreamed all the wonderful compliments I received as a result!! So many that I wanted to show it off for all to see...




So I bought this orange striped shirt from The Loft. I paired it with a light blue dress I bought at Anne Taylor years ago and it just looked super cute. With nude pumps and my Michaels Kors purse, this outfit got the attention of everyone at work. I received so many compliments from co-workers which made me feel extra special!

My beautiful bangles from TJ MAXX
Hand on the side, rocking the bangles with some sass!

Who you looking at? Me? ;)

Loving the color orange this summer


Later I still wanted to rock this shirt, but sans dress so I paired the shirt with a cotton tank top and my comfy khaki pants.  Add my new orange necklace and I still received tons of compliments on this look.

Here's the beautiful orange shirt worn for a casual outfit.

The orange necklace I bought from TJ MAXX
So the striped shirt was a hit and, as you can see, works for dressing up or dressing casually. The orange color and fabric are perfect for this summer. With a lot of different picks this summer, including colorful shoes and new dresses, I'll be sporting a lot of color in my wardrobe. And I look forward to wearing this shirt & my other orange picks all season long! :)

What do you think? Is there a color you're particularly fond of for summer?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Coffee Table Delight

On my recent trip to iKea I mentioned that I splurged on a new coffee table. It was more than I would ever dream about spending on a coffee table, but when I saw it I instantly fell in love. So this past weekend we ended up putting it together which was super easy since iKea provides easy to read directions.

Of course the pops was willing to help out. :)

Apparently the coffee table parts serve dual purposes as hitting devices. Yes, they started smacking each other....

Let's try another angle...

I am giddy with excitement as it starts to come together!

About to put the drawer in.


So this is the finished product once it was put together, but alas it needs to be prettied up! :)

Now that the building portion is complete, it's time for the female to make it pretty! I have a lot of beachy type things in my house (not a touristy type of beach, but simple beach touches everywhere) so it was my turn to put those accent pieces into my new coffee table/display area! {Insert giddy smile again}

Side view of the new coffee table

Filled with Coastal Living Magazines and shells

Another angle, told you it's HUGE!

Living room from the stairs

View from our loft style bedroom, Bailey cheesing for the camera!
There it is! My lovely splurge & I couldn't be happier. :)

I'm really glad we got this coffee table. It was something I  knew I was going to regret if I decided to be "logical" or frugal and not purchase it.....so I'm glad we did. It looks divine in the space. Although bigger than I thought it was, every time I look at it I'm happy that we got it! :) Next up on the living room agenda? Painting the wooden bench white (and maybe distressing it a bit). It's never ending.... LOL

Monday, May 21, 2012

Office Makeover: Gillian's Desk

Spring is here which means it's time to get my act in gear,  meaning I need to get myself organized. And one space that desperately needs it is the office. As I said in my previous blog, Ryan typically uses the office for his stuff but I'm about to invade the space (don't you just LOVE "personal space" in married life).

On our trip to iKEA a few weeks ago, we picked up some items to completely makeover our office. Boy am I excited to share the change as it's extremely exciting and relieving when a room comes together in a more functional and inspiring way. The first up for our office makeover? My desk...

While shopping at iKEA, we found office displays that had desks assembled with a top and various legs. You could select the color top and the style legs to create your own desk. Ryan wanted black and I wanted white; since I was the intruder, I compromised on the color. (I really wanted an apple green workspace, but that was quickly shot-down! So I pushed for a "traditional" color.) I asked my father to come over and help us assemble and he so willingly agreed (for a price, of course...hugs are the best & free to give out)! ;)

It's good to have a Dad help you

Drilling the plates for the legs

Every homeowners best friend

Two legs down, two more to go!

Ta DA! Here is my cute little desk.

Very pretty, can't wait to get it in the office.
Remember the before picture, when I didn't have any space to myself because of the dog's recliner or entertainment stand we needed to get rid of...



Well, here is my little home in the office. It's small but cute; I only need space for my laptop and this desk offers that perfectly. It'll be located right next to Ryan's, which will be the first time he and I will share a workspace in the 8+ years we've been together (WOWZERS).





I love my little area, very simple with the black and birch but can be given an extra punch with some accessories. I don't need much space on the desk itself because I'm going to have plenty of other options for storage (hint, hint). Stay tuned for the next up in our office makeover...storage cubes!! :)