Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spring Mantle

One of my absolute favorite things about my house (and the thing that most attracted me to it) is the floating mantle in the living room. It makes decorating for the seasons and holidays super fun, and I love scouting little bits and pieces to use on it everywhere from Target to TJ Maxx to the many thrift/antique stores in the area.

In the spring and summer it's relatively easy to keep fresh flowers around (so easy to simply pluck a few from my parents garden that Dani mentioned yesterday!), but right now spring has literally just sprung (and sadly, it's taking a short hiatus for a couple of days) so if I want flowers, I'm pretty much stuck with buying. Since this can get pricey, I was happy to be reminded of the idea of using lemons as a fresh accent (remember Jennifer Aniston's 12 lemon centerpiece in The Break Up?). They are super cheap, last a good long while, and look great piled into a vase or in this case, a terrarium. I did break down and buy the snap dragons because they were so gorgeous and only $5.99. Thank you, local GIANT! :)

I went with a yellow theme, and I love the result. Our entire living room feels brighter.

[Details: I snagged this mason jar from my Gramma's house when I tried (& failed) to make grapefruit jam. The candles were less than $1 at the Dollar General & the deer is a TJ Maxx find.]

[I found this little guy for $3.00 at a little shop in Charlottesville last year.]

[Details: The terrarium is Brigid's and the lemons were around $0.60 each at the grocery store. The necklace on the deer is J.Crew & yes I take it off to wear it occasionally:).]

It's the little things that make the biggest difference, I swear!

Have you decorated for spring yet??

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

how does my garden grow: inspiration

I am very excited to start a little series to document how my garden grows through the spring and summer this year!  I have never been able to have my own garden due to lack of sunlight on our previous property.  Now that we finally live in a place where our back patio gets abundant sunshine for most of the day we can grow our very own veggies!  I am a little nervous about how it will all turn out but I hope my green thumb shows up. 

Although there is a ton of garden inspiration on the internet, mine will always come first from my mom and dad.  Their garden (and back yard in general) is one of my absolute favorite places.  My parents have put so much time and energy into making their yard a beautiful and fruitful place and I hope to one day have a place like that of my own. 

I especially love to be there on a summer evening when everything is blooming and the firefly's are out.

At the end of last summer and through most of the fall we spent lots of time in my parents backyard, playing, picking, eating and enjoying their little oasis.
they even have this ridiculously heavy pig out by their garden...who wouldn't love that?!
my mom always encourages her grand-kids to water, pick & eat from the garden.  I love her for doing that.
Sommer was picking tomatoes and eating them right off the vine
 Where do you get your garden inspiration?

Monday, April 14, 2014

spring break

Friends, a confession (one that you may have already figured out):  I almost always write my Monday blog posts on Sunday night.  That little bit of information really has no meaning for you other than the fact that as I write this post on Sunday night, Annabel is sick with some sort of stomach bug.  So instead of writing something here for you, I'm taking the night off to hold my sweet girl and pray that she feels a whole lot better in the morning.  This is definitely not how I envisioned the start of Tommy's spring break week.  Here's to hoping that nobody else comes down with it!  I've been spraying everything down and washing things in hot water like a mad woman.  Wish me luck!  If you're on spring break this week, have FUN!  And don't get sick!  If you're not on spring break, wishing you a healthy start to this week!  I'll be back to post on Thursday with a hopefully healthy family.  Fingers crossed...

Friday, April 11, 2014

Photo Friday!

After lots of date/hotel negotiations, I finally just picked a weekend in late May and booked our (now) annual trip to Charlottesville! I am so excited and we've already got a countdown going. :) 
Thanks for reading this week & have a springy weekend! xoCarrie

We planted some of our patio garden last weekend and now Sommer's favorite place to be is sitting out back, watching her garden grow.  We can't wait for some little sprouts to pop up!
Enjoy what should be a beautiful spring weekend!
xo Dana 

 Annabel and I love soaking up the sun at Tommy's soccer practices - I sit and watch while she digs in the dirt and finds all the bugs.  The other day she asked me, "Why dis bug not movin', Mama?"  Then I had to explain what happens when you poke a bug one too many times.  Hopefully she'll be more gentle from now on!  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Little Italy

On Friday evenings, I tend to be a creature of habit. All day I look forward to 5 PM when I can go home, meet my roommate, get ready and go out for some sangria and tapas at our favorite local restaurant & bar. Brig and I have been going to Andalusia religiously for months now, and while I never seem to tire of their delicious food and drinks (patatas bravas, anyone?), every now and then you need to switch things up. So, last Friday we made reservations at Piatto, a local Italian eatery that I've somehow never been to. I am not super wild about Italian food, but I had eaten salad for dinner several nights in a row last week and a huge bowl of carbs sounded pretty appealing. It was a fun change-up to typical Friday night routine, and it even ended earlier than usual, with me climbing into bed with a Harry Potter book at 9:15. I'd call it a pretty fantastic evening. ;)

[portraits + bellini]


[lobster ravioli]

[spaghetti con vongole]

As far as food recommendations go, I would definitely order the bellini (it was perfect & not overly sweet), the panzanella (basically bread salad, in case you're not familiar) & the spaghetti vongole (spaghetti with clams, white wine, etc.) again. The atmosphere is great and as an added bonus, now that it's finally starting to feel tepidly like spring, you can sit outside on the patio with lovely Pomfret street as your background noise. If you're from the Carlisle area, be sure to check Piatto (& Andalusia) out!

[select photographs by Brigid!]

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Curried Egg Salad

I put the recipe for this egg salad in my book at least three years ago, and never got around to making it until recently. I have always been a fan of curry (see here for my favorite curry recipe) so its appeal was immediately apparent, but I pushed it to the back burner for things like onion and bleu cheese pasta, turkey meatloaf and even pumpkin quesadillas. But then a few weeks ago, I started seeing curried egg salad popping up everywhere - on a cooking show, on Pinterest and even in a healthy eating work publication! So I took this trifecta as a sign that I needed to give the recipe a try. I loved this (and so did my roommate) but if you're not a  fan of curry, beware. :) 

-4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
-1 tsp. white wine vinegar
-1/4 cup mayo*
-1/2 tsp.curry powder (or to taste)
-4 slices of your favorite bread
-2 tbsp. mango chutney**
-watercress or other lettuce for topping
-salt & pepper

*I have found that you can sub up to half of the mayo for plain Greek yogurt. You lose almost nothing in taste, and make the salad a bit healthier.
**If you can't find mango chutney (I couldn't), use something similar. I went with a roasted pineapple habanero dip and it was delicious.

-Combine the eggs in a bowl with the vinegar, mayo and curry powder. Season with s&p.
-Spread two of the bread slices with the chutney (or your choice of topping), layer on some egg salad, and top with he watercress (or other lettuce) and remaining bread slice.

[the egg-peeling gods were clearly not on my side]

Enjoy :)

Recipe Source:  Rachael Ray Magazine

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

a little change-up

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my favorite breakfast for cold, winter mornings.  I was eating oatmeal faithfully for a few weeks but decided after a while that I needed to try something new.  I was hoping that something fresh and filled with healthy greens and fruits would make spring come soon.  
So, off the the grocery store I ran to pick up some ingredients for a new and improved Green Monster.   Over the past couple of weeks I've been experimenting but keeping the base of the smoothie pretty much the same. 

Smoothie #1:
handful of kale
1 banana (frozen or not)
1/2 cup mango
coconut water (amount depends on your preference for consistency)
little shake of flax (optional)

I love the vibrant green!  And it was a huge hit with my girl.  My biggest issue is my blender because I always have little pieces of kale that don't get smoothed out.  

Smoothie #2
same as smoothie #1 but add a handful or so of frozen blueberries.
We didn't love this one as much but it might be a hit for you if you like blueberries in your smoothies!

 Smoothie #3 and my personal favorite.
handful of spinach
1 banana (frozen or not)
1/2 cup of mango
1/3 cup of pineapple + a little juice
2 spoonfuls of vanilla yogurt
3-4 ice cubes
Do you drink green monsters?  Any advice on a new blender?