Monday, September 28, 2009

Ruff life

We puppy-sat this past weekend for good friends while they went up to Alabama for a fun football game. While our pup enjoyed the company and constant wrestling, I have to say this was one of my favorite moments of the whole weekend...

(Shh! Don't tell Brodie's mom he was up on the couch - he is not allowed in his own house, so I was shocked when he gave me a pleading look and hopped right up on the loveseat with me, only to pass out in my lap not two seconds later. Guess he had had enough playtime! Jax, being the jealous girl that she is, couldn't be left out, so she climbed right up and joined us. It was a very sweet, much appreciated calm moment from an otherwise busy weekend!)

Not so newly?

It's been almost a year (!!!) since Ryan and I tied the knot. I can't believe how the time flies and how much love can grow for a person over a year. With the countdown to our anniversary ticking away, I am beginning to wonder if I am not so newlywed anymore. When exactly does that end? And, bigger question, should I be changing the name of the blog?! Hmm, decisions, decisions. What do you think?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Napa-inspired meal

So, Ladies' Cooking Night was again a success. Katie, my co-chef, and I whipped up a Napa-inspired meal to commemorate the time of year when wineries harvest their grapes. We found some great websites for recipes and divided the meal so I made an appetizer (pesto and sundried tomato crostinis), a salad (beet and goat cheese...sort of) and the main dish (pancetta and herb stuffed turkey breast) while Katie made the side (roasted veggies) and dessert (pineapple and raspberry upside down cake).
To be honest, I am more pleased with how the decor all turned out than how my own dishes tasted,I used a square vase and filled it with corks, with cut flowers in water in the center of it. Then, I used corks for the placecards as fun little accents on the table.
We had a bit of a timing issue because the turkey took longer than expected to hit its final temperature, so we started with the salad, which left the main dinner a little sparse. The beets I worked so hard on boiling (the sneak peek photo), peeling and marinaded were also a miss - I ended up leaving them out of the salad and keeping them on the side for those who wanted them. I was not one of them.
However, everyone seemed to enjoy the meal and was very sweet and complimentary. And this time we had all seven ladies, so it was nice to share a meal with the whole group.
Next month, it's on to Katie's house where she and Nicole will host a Halloween-themed dinner. Costumes are still to be determined...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ladies' Cooking Night

My home makeover couldn't have happened at a better time. Tonight, I am hosting 6 other ladies for our second monthly Ladies' Cooking Night. My chef-partner, Katie, and I will be whipping up a feast inspired by the harvest...of grapes, that is. Since it's the beginning of fall and the time of year that wineries begin their harvest, we decided an ode to Napa Valley would make a great menu.
Here is a sneak peak of one of the dishes I will be serving. I'll post all about it when we're done!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Designer's Challenge (...or My Mom, the Amazing Designer)

My mom came down from Atlanta for the weekend to spend a few days visiting and helping me transform my house. Ever since I moved in, I have felt that my stuff just got mushed in with Ryan's and nothing was cohesive. Well, that has all changed!
My amazing mom helped me pick a paint color to cover a huge space, worked with me all weekend shopping for fabric and supplies, painting, reupholstering 10 chairs (!), hanging new wall art, and overall decorating the space that runs from my front door all the way through to my dining room.
I could never have done all the work (or made any of the decisions) without her, so BIG thank you to my mom for all her help and hard work! And now, drumroll, please...the big reveal!
The foyer before:
Choosing a paint color - we had 5 different taupe/beige/mocha/latte colors that were all very close but also very different.The painting in progress...And, the finished product!Maybe my favorite project. We found a twin sheet set for super cheap and cut the graphic print into panels to stretch across 6 canvases. We changed the pattern up a bit and made two of each to keep things interesting.Another great find - placemats that now double as wall hangings.The bar stools, before...and an army of recovered stools after.The dining chair fabric before...And the beautiful fabric after.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Our good friend, Mike, turned 30 (!) last Friday and to help him celebrate entering a new decade, a group of 12 of our good friends went on a 3-day cruise to the Bahamas. We sailed from Port Canaveral, just a short drive from home, and hit the high seas on a gorgeous afternoon. Unfortunately, the weather didn't stay beautiful for us, but we didn't let that keep us from having an amazing time with good friends.
Here's a recap in pictures...
The whole group, ready to set sail!Me and Ryan, enjoying a cocktail on the way out to sea.This is what the boys spent their time doing most of the trip.Pulling into Nassau (we weren't alone!)Waiting for a cab to take us to The Atlantis.All the ladies, in the Atlantis casino, before leaving the boys to their games.A little pit stop at Senor Frogs before heading back to the ship.Ryan and I both got "yard" sized drinks - that came with clever warnings.What a good looking crew, all dressed up for formal night.We made friends with the piano man, Phil, who serenaded us each night.The third day, at Coco Cay, caught us in a monsoon and we ran for cover under a hut while the storm passed. So much for getting a tan!Our last night, getting ready for dinner.

A toast, to the birthday boy (on the right) and the other 30-somethings of the group. It was a great trip and lots of fun!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

HHI Recap

My grandmother's 80th birthday happened to fall right before Labor Day weekend, so the Laux side of the family got together to celebrate with a week in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Ryan and I made it up on Thursday night for a nice long weekend. It was especially special for us because it's been almost a year since we got married there and it was the first time we'd been back since the wedding.
We enjoyed lots of beach time with Bocci and bike rides, Ryan got to play golf and I got caught up with my family, which was a treat for me.My mom organized a tennis tournament on Saturday and we had 12 players competing for the grand prize. I haven't played competitively in a long time, but I loved it and had such an amazing time running around the courts (despite getting completely out of breath). I didn't win, but Ryan got second place and came home with an HHI Tervis Tumbler. A fantastic prize if you ask me!Even though we were there for three whole days, it still never feels long enough when I have a chance to hang out with my family. I love any opportunity I have to see them and only hope the visits can be more frequent! Thanks for a great time (and Happy Birthday Grammy!). xoxo

Backing up - Our Trip to Vero

Before Ladies Cooking Night, Ryan and I headed down to Vero Beach to visit his aunt and uncle (and spend weekend two of four in the sun). While the guys woke up bright and early to go fishing, Aunt Barb and I got sucked into the television and spent the morning watching the funeral service for Ted Kennedy. Wow, what an amazing family - regardless of party affiliation/preference, there's no denying that it's a huge crew that is incredibly involved!
We finally pulled ourselves away and headed to the beach club for a light lunch and some sunbathing. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans and while we waited for our meals, it started pouring! It let up long enough for us to run inside and eat in the dining room. We thought it had cleared so we headed down to the beach and no more than 15 minutes after I had lathered all up in sunscreen did we get asked to come inside because there was nasty lightning in the vicinity. You didn't have to ask us twice! We admitted defeat and headed right home. (I am getting increasingly freaked out by lightning living in Central Florida.)
The boys came home empty handed so we ended up taking everyone out to dinner at Captain Hiram's, including Ryan's grandmother. It was a nice low-key meal with good conversation and great company.
We wrapped up the weekend with a friendly golf game on the Harbor Course, which totally kicked my butt. I hadn't played in over a year and Ryan really needed to talk me into it, but I ended up enjoying myself and had a great time.
It's always such a treat for us to visit Vero Beach and we left already planning the next time we'll head over. Thanks to Aunt Barb and Uncle Phil for a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ladies' Cooking Night

Last week kicked off the first monthly Ladies' Cooking Night. The girls all decided that we were sick of the same old recipes and wanted to start trying something new. So, each month we'll get together to try a few new things and cook for each other. Plus, who needs a reason to get together to eat and drink?!
I helped cook at my friend, Lauren's, house and we had a "Farewell to Summer" theme with a southern-inspired feast. She made a beautiful cheese and fruit tray for apps, a colorful salad, and oven baked chicken. I added green beans, cheddar drop biscuits (a little burned on the bottom)and made a peach and plum crisp for dessert.
The meal was delicious (I was lucky enough to have leftovers for lunch the next day) and the company and conversation was fantastic! I am lucky to have such a great group of friends building in Orlando - all the wives and girlfriends of Ryan's circle get along so well and we all love to hang out.
Next month (wait, this month now! how did September get here already??) is at my house and my friend Katie is helping. We haven't revealed our theme just yet but I am really looking forward to it! Stay tuned...