3 Years

I never realized how true the phrase “time flies when you’re having fun” was until I married Jesse. Today is our 3rd anniversary and I dont understand how 3 years have already passed! It seems like just yesterday we were saying our vows and starting our adventure! And for some reason 3 seems like a big number, I know it’s not in the grand scheme of a lifetime together, but to other people 3 is like a more respected number. When people ask how long we’ve been married and we say 3 years they don’t call us “honeymooners” or “babies” anymore. It’s like we’ve crossed some invisible threshold into adulthood. We’re such grownups. ;) 1292249_10153292728620144_597244868_o (1)249869_10150598341080144_4248500_n223142_10150713065325144_619475_n247386_10150598384750144_4545313_n

We have plans to spend the afternoon together, open our last bottle of wine from Paris, and then head downtown for dinner. Happy Wednesday! :)

Weekend Recap and Happy Passover

Shalom and happy Passover everyone! Jesse and I are busy preparing for Passover dinner today, there’s a 9 lb. leg of lamb in the fridge and flat breads to be made, but I wanted to stop in and fill you all in on our fun weekend. That of course all started when I got home on Friday for Jesse and I’s surprise date night. When I got home he told me we were going to a baseball game, my first ever! So I threw on some casual pants and a baseball cap and we were off! surprise date nightBefore the game we swung by our favorite food truck in Richmond, The Grey Hill Cafe. If you follow me on any form of social media then you’ve definitely heard me rave about The Grey Hill before. Jesse went to high school with the owner and whenever we are in the city for lunch, or a quick dinner, we love to stop in for a sandwich. My personal favorite is the crab cake sandwich, it’s seriously the best I’ve ever had! On Friday Jesse tried the special, which was a blackened Tilapia Po’ Boy. It was all so delicious! date night at the Grey HillAfter dinner we headed to the baseball game where we snacked on french fries, peanuts and a ton of beer. The game was fun but we made the mistake of leaving at the bottom of the eighth because the Richmond team was down by 3 runs, and did not look like they’d be making a comeback. We got home and I saw on Twitter that they scored 4 runs in the ninth inning and won. Definitely wont be leaving a game early again! First baseball game I had a blast at my first baseball game and Jesse and I definitely plan on going back a few more times this season. We spent the rest of the weekend cleaning the house and planning the menu for our Passover dinner. I also spent a few hours slaving over the sewing machine to finish our pillows for the sofa. When I posted the living room reveal I was secretly hiding the zipperless seams of the pillowcases, but not any longer. I’ll have a post about adding the zippers later this week, for now, I need to clean up this mess! messy houseCan’t wait to dig into the delicious food tonight and finally have some wine! That’s right Lent ends today for me! Bring on the wine! I’ll also be back tomorrow with a few pictures of our table setup and the delicious food!

I hope you all have a wonderful Monday! You can check out more posts on Passover here and here.

Adding Art Around the House

Happy Friday ya’ll! It’s been a crazy week and I am so so happy the weekend is almost here! Jesse is taking me on a surprise date tonight after work, so I’m literally just counting down the hours until the day is over. Which naturally means it’s going to be a long day ;) It’s supposed to be a beautiful weekend so I plan on getting some projects done around the house. We also have some prep for Passover, which is Monday, to finish up.

Since I’ve been so busy during the week I haven’t had a ton of time for projects, but I did finish hanging some art around the house recently. If you saw my living room makeover, then you already saw the black and white pictures that I hung over the new sectionalLiving room sectionalEach of those photos was taken by either me or Jesse during our trip to Europe in the fall. We love having little reminders of our big adventure hanging up in the house. We definitely wont be going on a trip like that again until we are retired! living room artOn the back wall, above the sofa table, there is a picture of the Eiffel Tower at night and the entrance to the Necropolis in Glasgow. The Eiffel Tower picture makes us laugh because we were a little tipsy when we took it and had a hard time keeping the camera still enough for the long exposure. Paris and Glasgow photosAlong the side wall is a picture of one of the gargoyles on the top of Notre Dame overlooking Paris, Big Ben and a picture of the tree in Sycamore Gap in Northumberland Park. I specifically put the tree on the end so I could see it from my spot in the corner of the sectional. I’ve wanted to see that tree since I was a little girl, it was part of a scene from my favorite movie, and I still can’t believe I actually got to go.Paris London Tree photosIf you walk from the living room towards the kitchen there is an exposed brick wall that wraps around from our fireplace into the kitchen. For the longest time I had a piece of DIY watercolor art hanging there just to fill the space, but a few months ago my uncle made me a very sentimental piece of art to fill the space. Fox paintingFoxes are special to my mom’s side of the family because my Papa’s middle name was Foxx. I have a few other fox pieces around the house and they each serve as a little reminder of my Papa. It’s funny because my other grandfather used to collect owls, so I always try to have an owl or two out as well in honor of him. My uncle did a fabulous job and I love this piece so very much. The fox’s eyes are my favorite part, he looks so wily. Uncle's Fox paintingI purchased another piece of art for the exposed brick wall in our kitchen back in January from Onion Grove Mercantile. I thought one of her Locally Grown signs would be the perfect piece for a kitchen. Locally Grown signThe rustic look of the sign is perfect with the exposed brick and I chose grey and green for the sign colors to play off the colors in the dining room and the living room. Locally Grown sign on exposed brick wallAnd since we were talking about foxes earlier, I can’t help but show off my new K-Cup holder! Keurig stationWhen I spotted this fox cookie jar at Target a few weeks ago I immediately fell in love, but I didn’t have the money for him. Well a few days later he randomly appeared on my counter! Jesse had went back and got him for me! And now I think of my Papa every morning when I go to make a cup of coffee.

What kind of art do you like to hang in your house? Do you have a lot of sentimental pieces? Does anyone else have animals that remind you of family members, or am I just weird? Happy Friday! 

*Linking up at Serenity Now and Virginia Bloggers*

Mango Guacamole

Last week was absolutely gorgeous here in Virginia! It was in the 70s for most of the week, with an 80 degree day thrown in there too, so we enjoyed drinks on patios, ice cream dates and used the grill quite a bit. All this warm weather has me longing for when we go to cookouts almost every weekend and I can wear flip flops everyday. *Sigh*….

Since we fired up the grill this weekend I also thought it would be a great time to use this great recipe for Mango Guacamole that I got from the Farm Fresh website. You may remember the food trends that I talked about a few weeks ago, and one of them included people using more mango and avocado in their dishes, as well as making more dishes with simple ingredients. I already LOVE guacamole and I’m slowly coming around to dishes that are sweet with a little kick, so I was excited to try it out. And it was DELICIOUS! I seriously can’t wait to serve it at parties/cookouts this summer! Mango Guacamole

Ingredients 
*Farm Fresh is a VA/NC grocery store chain, so I used their Essential Everyday brand because I prefer saving money with store brands, but of course any brand of these ingredients will work.*
- 3 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled and chopped
- 1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
- 1/4 cup Thick and Chunky salsa
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- Juice of 1/2 a lime
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- 1 medium ripe mango, peeled, pitted and chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 cup Reduced Fat Feta Cheese Crumbles (not in the original recipe but an awesome addition!)
- Tortilla chips Mango Guacamole ingredientsSince it’s still a little early in the season only one of my avocados was really ripe we had to improvise a bit. I know this isn’t the proper way to make guacamole but to help get things creamy, but not over-processed, we threw the avocados and mango in a large plastic baggie with a little bit of oil and smashed them into the right consistency. smashing guacamole

Let’s Get Cookin’
- In a large bowl, combine avocados, jalapeno, salsa, cilantro, garlic, lime zest and juice; salt and pepper to taste.
- Using a potato masher or fork, mash to desired consistency. Add mangoes; continue mashing just until combined or desired consistency.
- Sprinkle feta cheese on top and serve with tortilla chips!

Guacamole with mango

 

I am loving working more with avocados and other fresh produce more and more since Jesse and I started eating better at home. I actually picked up some avocados for dinner this week and I’m thinking of serving them with salt and pepper and a little olive oil next to some grilled chicken. Yummm!

What are some of your favorite spring/summer recipes for cookouts? How do you keep it simple and healthy during the week? Has it warmed up where you are yet?

* I was not paid for this post. Farm Fresh supplied me with a gift card to purchase my ingredients, but all opinions are 100% my own.*

March Recap

It’s so hard to believe that March is already over and April is here! The weather here in VA is finally warming up, and staying that way the majority of the week, and the trees and flowers are starting to bloom. I took this photo in our front yard yesterday after work. Woohoo for flowers!

The great thing about April, warmer weather and longer days is that I have more time to work on blog projects! I slowed down a lot this winter, but now I’m in full swing finishing things up and taking names. Somehow I still managed to get a few things done in March though!

March recap 2014

 

Jesse and I have been experimenting in our cooking a little more and have started making a lot more quinoa, so I shared this recipe for Curry Quinoa Salad.

Early March also marks the beginning of Lent. Since I’m not Catholic I always get a lot of questions about why I participate in Lent and I wanted to answer them.

In an attempt to make the house feel more like spring I made a simple spring wreath for our front door. It could also be an anniversary wreath since I used our wedding colors in it.

Warmer weather also means that bikini season is just around the corner so I’ve started eating healthier and working out again, after taking several months off and gaining 10 lbs.

My main focus for March was working on our living room makeover. Our couch was delivered towards the beginning of the month, so I spent weeks sewing pillow covers, hemming curtains and buying accessories so I could show it off. I’m also so honored to have been featured at Serenity Now and DIY By Design this week!

On Monday I talked about the difficulties of snacking healthy and how Jesse and I have started ordering Nature Boxes to help us keep our snacking in check. The snacks are delicious, healthy and easy to grab in the morning on our way out the door. You can still get a referral code from me for $10 off if you’re interested in trying it out!

I cannot wait to jump head first into some more projects! I’ve got a tv stand to finish painting, a sofa table to finish building, a yard to mulch and a pantry that needs a makeover this month! What projects do you have in mind for the warmer weather?

Nature Box Snacks

One of the hardest parts of us changing our eating habits is to find a healthier way to snack. Jesse and I both struggle with afternoon snack cravings around 2 pm. It’s so hard not to splurge on a candy bar or potato chips when these cravings strike, so to help us out we decided to try out Nature Box snacksNature Box reviewWe ordered a box with 5 snacks, but they have larger boxes with 10 to 20 snacks in them. You simply go online, create your account and then pick your snacks. There are over 100 snacks to choose from, salty, sweet, gluten-free, dairy free, vegan, you name it Nature Box has it. The snacks that we chose this time around are the Honey Macadamia Pretzel Pops, Country Ranch Sunflower Kernels, Peppery Chickpeas, Cinnamon Spiced Almonds and Dark Cocoa Almonds.Nature Box Pretzel Pops and Chocolate AlmondsOn the back of each snack bag is the nutritional information and a little description of the snack inside. Nature Box Cinnamon AlmondsSince a large part of my watching what I eat includes counting calories I decided to divide all of the snacks by their serving side and put them in little baggies. This means that I know exactly how much of the snack I am eating and all I have to do is grab a bag and go.Nature Box portion controlI also cut the lid off the Nature Box for easy storage and placed it in the pantry next to our cereal/breakfast items. It’s so nice to have a convenient, and tasty little snack right there waiting. All I have to do is grab a bag and go!Nature Box snacksSo far we have been thrilled with our delicious snacks, the Dark Cocoa Almonds are my fave so far. And Jesse is a huge fan of the Peppery Chickpeas, which are kind of like salt and pepper potato chips. Another perk about Nature Box is their referral program. If I refer a friend both me and my friend get $10 off our orders. That being said, if you are interested in ordering a Nature Box, let me know in the comments and I will send you an email with the referral link (from my personal email). Nature BoxWhat are your favorite healthy snacks? Have you ever tried Nature Box or any other snack system before?

*I was not paid or compensated by Nature Box in any way for this post, I’m just really loving the snacks that I paid for.*

Living Room Reveal – 75%

I spent most of this weekend working on the living room and I’m so excited to show you all what I’ve got so far! I would say this room is about 75% done! All it’s missing are a few details, some which just aren’t in the budget right now and will have to wait. Enough blabber, you guys came for pictures!Living room sectionalThere she is, in all her sectional beauty! I am in love with this sofa already! It is super comfortable and it looks fabulous! Jesse has taken several naps on it in the past two weeks and I love sitting in the corner with a cup of coffee and my computer to do my blog reading and post writing. Or watching Frozen on repeat. I’m beyond thrilled with this sectional and I highly recommend it to anyone out there looking for one! It’s the Amalfi sectional in Charcoal from Haverty’s, you can read more about our love for Haverty’s in this post. If you’re local, ask for Jason! ;) The only change I made was recovering the pillows that originally came with it for a little splash of color.Living room pillowsThe red flowered fabric is actually a cloth napkin. I found four of them on clearance at Target and the were the perfect size for the pillows. They even have zippers! (More on those later this week). The grey circle and swirl fabric is part of the HGTV fabric line at Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts, it’s called Circling. The black pillows were on our old couch and I will probably move them upstairs to the guest room in exchange for a more fun solid color pillow. Maybe teal?Living room Europe picturesAbove the sectional are a few of our favorite photos from our trip to Europe this past fall in black and white. They aren’t really in any particular order, but Glasgow, Sycamore Gap, London and Paris are all represented. I’ve been working really hard to finish our photo book from that trip because you can get a free book on Shutterfly right now using the code STORYTIME. Living room sectional cornerAlong the wall behind the sectional is our very rough, unfinished sofa table. When I gave Jesse the measurements I forget to take the overhang of the curtains into account, so it needs to be cut another 5 inches length wise. We also want it to be a little taller since the cushions come up so high. I’d like to be able to set up a little vignette between the two lamps (from IKEA), but as of now you wouldn’t be able to see it. Once the table is done I plan on staining it the same dark walnut as our farmhouse kitchen table and nightstands.Living room cornerI know I originally said that I wanted curtains with a red pattern, but after looking for several weeks I wasn’t really seeing anything that I really liked. Last week we were randomly at Target and I saw these beauties, and they were on sale for $20, so I snatched them up. Funny thing, they also had them in red, but for some reason the blue spoke to me more. Go figure! For windows this large you really can’t beat $80 total for curtains. The rods are from IKEA and I got them last weekend when I went up to Baltimore with my BFF. I was super excited that IKEA had adjustable corner rod pieces too! Living room painted chairDown the line I’d love to invest in a fun armchair, or two, for this space, but the extra $300 isn’t in our current budget. For now I brought down the armchair that I painted a few years ago from the upstairs hall, and it’s working really well. The blue from the chair really pulls out the blue in the curtains. I love this chair but I don’t think it quite fits with the room for the long run, plus old school wingback chairs aren’t the most comfortable thing in the world for watching tv.Living room fiddle leaf figAnd last, but certainly not least, I bought a fiddle leaf fig tree at Home Depot! This little guys was $25, though I’ve heard rumors of them being marked down to $15 sometimes. He is my first ever houseplant, so fingers crossed I can keep him alive. This spot in the house is pretty sunny, so I hope he does well. It’s so nice to have something green and alive in the house. Makes it feel more homey for some reason. :)

I can’t show you the other side of the room because it’s a mess, but as soon as the weather warms up again I’ve got a 6 ft. long tv stand to paint. We picked it up on Saturday for $60 and I’ve already sanded it and put a coat of primer on most of it. But then the temperature dropped to the 40s yesterday so it was too cold to finish priming. TV stand - beforeI’m so excited to be crossing things off my living room to-do list, which looks like this now:

  • Curtains for the windows so they aren’t naked anymore. I’d prefer something with a red pattern that I can buy, but I’m open to making them if I have to.
  • Finish the sofa table we started this weekend. It needs to be about 5 inches shorter (length wise) and to be stained.
  • Finish sewing the pillows for the couch. It’s been a work in progress for weeks and I just need to get them done.
  • Hang art over the couch to fill in the space and make things more homey.
  • Find a new, longer, tv stand. Now that we moved some things around the living room is seriously lacking storage for DVDs and game system accessories, so I’d like a bigger tv stand. If you’re local, I’m looking for something 72″ wide and no more than 26″ tall. Now I have to redo the one I bought!
  • Get a chair, or two, a side table and a plant to fill the corner of the room opposite the couch.
  • Paint our mantel white, maybe add some molding to it, and secure it to the brick so it is more sturdy. I’d also really like to add a large mirror to the mantel to give the room the allusion of being deeper, something it lost with the large sectional being added to the room.
  • Replace the carpet. It needs it. I’d settle for a rug or two in the meantime though!

Woohoo for being 75% done with a room that has been a thorn in my side since we moved in! We spend so much time in the living room and it’s so nice now. Sometimes I think about sleeping down there.

What room is, or was, begging for a makeover? What do you think of ours so far? Any advice for taking care of a fiddle leaf fig tree?

Linking up with Savvy Southern Style, House on the Way, DIY By Design, The Turquoise Home, Remodelaholic, Serenity Now and Snap Creativity

Drowning – Living Room Edition

What an overwhelming weekend/week it has been and it’s only Wednesday! I put my nose to the grindstone all day Saturday but didn’t finish any of the projects I was working on. There’s plenty of stuff half-way done though, which are cluttering my house and kitchen table. Added to that clutter are the piles of picture frames, lamps and curtain rods that I got at IKEA on Sunday and haven’t had a chance to hang yet. And I’m super bummed that I struck out in the curtain department at IKEA. Curtains are really essential to “finishing off” the living room and it just looks naked without them. But at least we got the new sectional in!sectionalNow that the sectional is in we have an even longer to-do list though because there’s nothing like a new piece of furniture to show you what else your room is missing. And silly me I thought I was almost done. Now I need:

  • Curtains for the windows so they aren’t naked anymore. I’d prefer something with a red pattern that I can buy, but I’m open to making them if I have to.
  • Finish the sofa table we started this weekend. It needs to be about 5 inches shorter (length wise) and to be stained.
  • Finish sewing the pillows for the couch. It’s been a work in progress for weeks and I just need to get them done.
  • Hang art over the couch to fill in the space and make things more homey.
  • Find a new, longer, tv stand. Now that we moved some things around the living room is seriously lacking storage for DVDs and game system accessories, so I’d like a bigger tv stand. If you’re local, I’m looking for something 72″ wide and no more than 26″ tall.
  • Get a chair, or two, a side table and a plant to fill the corner of the room opposite the couch. It will be pretty and functional.
  • Paint our mantel white, maybe add some molding to it, and secure it to the brick so it is more sturdy. I’d also really like to add a large mirror to the mantel to give the room the allusion of being deeper, something it lost with the large sectional being added to the room.

I definitely plan on working my butt off tonight to finish the pillows and get some art on the walls, then I can show you all a little sneak peak. Trust me, you don’t want to see this hot mess right now. It’s more of a mess than Justin Bieber.

Five Fun Things for Friday

Woohoo for Friday! I don’t know if it’s because of Daylight Savings time, but this has been the sloooowest week ever. I am so ready for this weekend, it’s going to be jam packed and super busy, but I’m so excited for it!

#1 – Our new couch is coming today!! I cannot wait to add that lovely piece of furniture to our living room and really start transforming our living room into a room that truly reflects our, ok mostly my, style. I’ve been working on a few new throw pillow covers and will try to finish sewing those this weekend too. Amalfi sectional - in store

#2 – We’re getting back into building furniture! We have some great plans for building a sofa table to go with our sectional. I’m hoping to buy supplies and get to work on that tomorrow as well. We may also explore the possibility of making a storage ottoman. I think we can do it!

#3 – There’s a St. Patrick’s Day/30th birthday party with our friends this weekend. The weather should be in 60s on Saturday, so it’s perfect party weather!

#4 – On Sunday I’m driving the 2 hrs. up to DC for a day-date at IKEA with my college BFF Terri. She and I haven’t seen each other since our friend’s wedding in November so I’m super excited to see her! I’m also very excited to go shopping for a bunch of things for the living room! I need lamps, curtains, a few tchotchkes, maybe a rug and fiddle leaf fig tree too! Oh how I love IKEA! ash&terri

#5 – I’ll be hanging some artwork all over the house this weekend, including my gorgeous “Locally Grown” sign from Onion Grove Mercantile. Jen did an amazing job and I can’t wait to hang the sign on the exposed brick wall in our kitchen! Locally Grown OGM sign

Do you have any exciting plans for this weekend? I hope you all have a great one! You can follow along with all my fun this weekend via Instagram (@attemptsatdomestication)!

Spring Back [Into Shape]

I am so excited that it is starting to warm up and that spring (and summer) are just around the corner. Minus the fact that it’s supposed to snow on Monday, let’s just ignore that. I’m not excited about the fact that almost none of spring pants, Capri pants and shorts fit me anymore. Like I can’t get the button buttoned kind of doesn’t fit. It’s depressing. I basically took the entire winter off from working out, whether it was because of the holidays or health things, the point is I got lazy. Added to that laziness was that Jesse and I stopped watching what we were eating. This has resulted in me gaining 10 lbs. in the past four months, hence why my pants don’t fit me anymore. So part of getting ready for spring and doing projects around the house is also getting my body into shape. I don’t necessarily need to lose 10 lbs. but I do need to be able to wear the pants that I only got to wear for like 2 months last year.

First things first is watching what I’m eating. I’ve started packing my lunches the night before and getting my breakfast ready to go. This has actually really helped with my morning routine too. I feel way less stressed in the morning because all I have to do is grab my lunch and breakfast and head out the door. I eat my breakfast at work while checking my email and getting myself ready for the day. I’ve been eating Kashi’s version of Honey Nut Cheerios with a few dried cranberries, but I’m not a huge fan. Anyone have a good cereal option that doesn’t have a ton of calories or sugar? I wish I could eat oatmeal every day, but it makes kind of sick.

For lunch I’ve been eating these delicious salads made with spinach, arugula, cucumber, strawberries, feta cheese, walnuts and a splash of Balsamic vinaigrette. Most days I will also add a little bit of chicken for some extra protein. I also eat extra fruit and some baby carrots. Around 3 o’clock I will have a snack of some kind, usually a Quaker rice cake or two. spinach strawberry salad

Dinner has also been really simple for us lately. Most nights it’s grilled chicken, rice, and a few different kinds of veggies. We made Brussels sprout salad on Tuesday and that was really tasty. However, eating less has been a HUGE adjustment for us since we have been pigging out for so long, so we usually have to have a snack around 8 pm. We will usually make an egg or grab a handful of nuts and be good until the next morning. We also still eat our spaghetti, but now with whole wheat pasta, and make our Chipotle knock-off bowls, minus all the cheese and sour cream, but we are eating much small servings. brussels sprout salad

Some days this is a huge struggle, but overall I’m feeling lighter and healthier. Plus this will make eating out on the weekends even more of a delicious treat! Since I’m feeling better I’ve also started working out again. When the weather is gorgeous I will go for a run (even though I’m pretty much having to start completely over with the Couch to 5k program) or play tennis with Jesse at the local park. I also plan on starting Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred program again. I’d also love to run the Breast Cancer Awareness 5k again, this would be my 3rd year. It’s totally going to kick my butt. get fit spring 2014

Overall, I am really excited about getting back in shape and being able to wear my pants again. I took a “before” picture the other night, but I’m not brave enough to post it online since I was wearing just a sports bra and not a shirt, maybe I’ll take another so I can post them whenever I do updates… I’m so pumped for the warm weather to stick around and to make a bunch of improvements to myself, and the house.

Do you have any warm weather fitness goals? Or awesome recipes for salads and other low-fat meals? How about a new cereal/breakfast food recommendation?

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