Wednesday, August 31, 2016

housewarming brunch

to say that we went back and forth on whether to have a housewarming would be an understatement. we moved in to our home just over two months ago and it has been non-stop buying and decorating. to host a housewarming on top of all that just seeming daunting. my mom finally talked me into it and I'm glad that she did since this is our first home, it will be a memory that we'll have forever.

I was apprehensive about having a ton of people over in the evening on a saturday in the summer (people are already so busy) and I also wasn't too excited about a dinner menu either. I didn't want to burden people with another party since we've had both a CPA party and our engagement party already this year so we kept the invite list to local people so no one felt pressured to travel. then I landed on the idea of a sunday brunch. copious amounts of mimosas and friends in the afternoon sounded like the best day ever. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

meatless monday: tortellini tomato salad

one of the best things about living in a neighborhood is having neighbors! often times, when we don't have weekend plans, we'll plan a casual dinner and people will bring sides. since I'm a vegetarian, I am always bringing the veggie sides! a couple weeks ago, our realtor gave us a beautiful cookbook holder for our housewarming party and I immediately added a cookbook to display. I randomly turned to this page with a photo of tortellini tomato salad. it looked delicious! I didn't realize that it would inspire me so much that I would end up making it a few days later.

I also like this recipe because it was very portable in this case, for neighbor dinner. I mixed up the dressing in a mason jar and only had to bring tortellini, tomatoes, and basil in addition to the dressing. easy peasy! I would definitely recommend this recipe for a quick, easy, and yummy side dish that comes together in about 20 minutes. not only that, it's super colorful and all the guys liked it too. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

atlanta home tour: entry way

happy friday!! another friday means another home tour post. oddly enough, the first thing you see when you walk into our home was the absolute last thing that we furnished! we left our entry way open for the first couple of months while we decided exactly what we wanted. it was also helpful for moving since there was no furniture in the way. this entry way was really built around the rug. both stephen and I love the look of a bright red persian-type of rug, but we did not want such a bold statement in our living room. we completely fell in love with the beige and light gray rug we found for the living room but were ready to make more of a splash with color in the entry way. 

our leisurely search for a red runner began and I wasn't making much progress until we randomly visited the dump one saturday. I found an amazing karastan on major sale that I snatched up, until I stumbled upon this thicker red beauty. while it was more than we wanted to spend, we acknowledged that it was exactly what we wanted. if you know us, we can justify just about anything.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

love, labels, and charitable donations

we have our big wedding planning meeting coming up in just a few weeks! during this meeting, we will sample wedding cake, taste our full menu that we've picked out (yay for florida grouper!), plan the floral arrangements, and more. we also have hair and makeup trials the same weekend. it's going to be intense and awesome at the same time, lots of decisions to make. I'm also looking forward to designing our paper menus once we finalize the wedding meal. I love love love paper goods including invitations (if you know me, you know paper > digital), programs, thank you cards, and more. one part of wedding planning that I have truly enjoyed is picking out all the paper goods and sourcing special stamps to go along with invitations.

something I have also thought a lot about lately is favors. since our wedding is a destination for most people, we are somewhat limited in favors since liquids and carry on space may pose constraints. while stephen and I haven't officially decided, I am leaning strongly toward a charitable donation in lieu of favors. for how much weddings cost these days (if you choose to go that direction), I feel like it's a nod toward reality to give a little something to a deserving cause. it doesn't have to be a lot, but to me, just giving something is better than nothing and what better way to draw attention to a cause that the couple cares about?! when wedding paper divas reached out to me about their 100 unique wedding favor ideas, I fell in love with all their gorgeous labels, especially those for donations.

Monday, August 22, 2016

banana pudding jars

I think I've told the banana pudding story on the blog before... 
my sister and my mom have the same birthday and my mom usually makes my sister a cake, one year I decided to make my mom a separate birthday dessert. I knew she'd told me once that she liked banana pudding, so that's what I picked. I found the perfect recipe and made the most delicious banana pudding to surprise her with! turns out, my mom is not a fan of banana pudding. I don't know where I came up with this in my head, now that I think back, maybe she said tapioca pudding. can't remember... while I did not impress my mom that day, I at least discovered an amazing banana pudding recipe.

we recently had some friends over on a weeknight and stephen said he wanted to serve dessert. I wanted to do something different and banana pudding came to mind. the perfect late summer, light yet sweet treat. I made them a few hours ahead of time in mason jars so I didn't have to fuss with serving them out of a trifle bowl. not only did they turn out to be adorable, this banana pudding was just as good as when I made it years ago for my mother.

Friday, August 19, 2016

atlanta home tour: dining room

happy friday, friends! I'm back for another installment of snaps from our new home. I hope you enjoy these posts. today, I'm sharing some pictures from our dining table room area. our kitchen cabinets and hardwoods are very dark, so this honey colored table really helps to brighten it up along with the cream upholstered chairs.

I took these pictures while we were getting ready to have a dinner party, which is why the table is set. you may remember when I traveled to cuba for a week with my mom and fell in love with their mismatched place settings. shortly after our trip, my mom gave me a ton of mismatched china that I just adore. I paired them with natural fiber chargers to casualize it a bit, given that we were serving burgers on a thursday!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

5 must-have natural indoor wreaths

everyone loves a good wreath, I have several that I switch out on my front door for seasons and holidays. I'm especially excited about the texas a&m + auburn house divided wreath that my sister gave me at our engagement party, c'mon football season! but what about indoor wreaths? my mom has used indoor wreaths for ages as decor, and I've always loved them. especially a very dainty pussy willow she has in her bathroom. I have a driftwood wreath in my guest bathroom and a dried eucalyptus wreath that I found at homegoods, final resting place tbd. give me all the wreaths!

it's safe to say that I'm in love with indoor wreaths, I think a whole wall of natural wreaths would look awesome. magnolia wreaths have been made famous with HGTV's fixer upper, it's amazing what gorgeous varieties of wreaths you can find on etsy or diy. here are some of my favorite indoor wreaths, they're also versatile - I could see the driftwood used for the holidays, pussy willow for easter, lavender for mother's day, and the list goes on. do you have indoor wreaths in your home?

Monday, August 15, 2016

my mom's famous mac and cheese

in our family, macaroni and cheese is the main course. I hate it when macaroni is served as a side dish. ok, obviously I don't hate it because I could never hate anything to do with macaroni and cheese. but as a side, it usually puts the main course to shame in my opinion. you want a side dish? go with broccoli. macaroni and cheese deserves the main stage.

this deliciously cheesy recipe is my mom's famous version and I end up making it quite a bit. the only time this dish is served as a side is for thanksgiving and christmas. otherwise, grab a warm bowl of mac and a glass of red wine - dinner is served.

Friday, August 12, 2016

atlanta home tour: dining room accent wall

my obsession for ginger jars came on slowly and then all at once, it overwhelmed me. I actually think I would be okay with theme-ing (not a word) my whole place in ginger jars. there's just so many different ways you could go with these gorgeous jars. I decided to pair them with boxwoods on our accent wall in the dining room.

when we bought our place, there were four floating shelves in the dining room that we asked to ensure remained with the house. I was a little stumped in the beginning, determining my vision for these shelves. I've styled lots of shelves, but these shelves are a major focal point in the home, not to mention, they are in the dining area which ups the ante a bit. my souvenirs from foreign travels along with framed photos and books just didn't cut it in terms of creating a cohesive and elegant look on these shelves.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

what I read in july

these monthly book linkups really make me notice how fast time is flying. I feel like I just wrote june's reading list! I will say that the real upside of work travel is the ability to read. for some reason, I just cannot find time to read as much as I would like at home. chalk it up to moving in to our new home less than two months ago, I guess. always so much to do. in july/early august, I had a couple work trips to charleston and chicago and that made for ample reading time.

all you overachievers reading 10+ books a month, kudos to you, but it seems I am lucky to read just one. it's a good thing that I finished me before you alone in my hotel room instead of on the plane because I was straight balling my eyes out. like completely and totally sobbing. please, someone, comment and tell me the same thing happened to you. I also started to read a second book this month, stuck out to page 100 and decided it was perfectly okay to abort the mission. anyone else totally okay with not finishing a book you're not feeling? I was tempted to leave it on the plane. said book shall remain nameless.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

weekly reading, volume 11

I'm back in atlanta for a couple weeks, which makes me happy because there's quite a few things I want to bake and cook. we haven't gone to the grocery store in at least three weeks due to our travel schedules and I'm looking forward to making a nice long list and stocking the pantry this weekend. scones have been on my mind for a while and I need to decide on which recipe to try. I'm also looking to try ree drummond's black bean burgers.

image via

Friday, August 5, 2016

atlanta home tour: kitchen cafe curtains

as you know, we recently moved into our new home in the atlanta area. I'm excited to share a weekly atlanta home tour post with you over the next month and beyond. we've made lots of progress and I'm finally getting to the point where I can share, but of course, there is always more to be done. mostly all of our furniture is in place and now we're putting finishing touches on. one of the biggest finishing touches is curtains. curtains are way more than finishing touches really, in most cases, they completely make a room. lucky for me, my mom is super talented and makes curtains!!

the way that our house is situated, we don't get much in the way of sunset views. the only place you can see the sun set is in the kitchen, through the top three windows. so while I knew we needed curtains, I also didn't want to obstruct our already minimal view of sunsets. instead of a roman shade, we opted for cafe curtains which only cover the bottom of the windows. this choice has been awesome for us because the bottom windows can be covered to provide privacy from neighbors and sun while the top windows are unobstructed for a view of the sky.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

pineapple home decor obsession

maybe it was my recent trip to charleston, but I am really feeling pineapples lately. pineapples stand for hospitality and warmth and who doesn't love that. I picked up a sweet pineapple shaped dish in charleston for our guest room and my adoration didn't stop there. our housewarming party invitations featured a gorgeous watercolor pineapple and I found a white ceramic pineapple to use during the party. when I put it in my kitchen, I realized it was way too awesome to only be for the party and now it lives on the window sill permanently.

if you want to up your southern hospitality game, add a few nods to the pineapple in your home. I already ordered the garden flag and am contemplating the door mat. and what a great housewarming gift the wine glasses or napkins would make. I'm forcing myself to say no to the outdoor lantern posts. because obviously I do need them. we'll see how long I can hold out.

from top left, clockwise
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are you as enamored by the pineapple as I am? 

Monday, August 1, 2016

beach house reveal: sliding barn doors

I can't believe it's august and that summer is coming to an end! we only have one more beach trip to make this year and it will be a jam packed weekend with wedding planning wrapped in. I'm also excited to start sharing pictures of our new atlanta home, but before I start with that - I wanted to share another beach house reveal. if you're just joining the beach house tour, click here to start from the beginning.

it seems that sliding barn doors are on everyone's wish list these days and my parents used them in several places in the beach house. they also incorporated beachy colors to lighten up the doors and rooms.