Powder Room Refresh

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend! Jesse and I spent the entire weekend spending quality time together, going out to dinner, watching movies and just hanging around the house. It was so nice and much needed, especially with him starting school this week. The time at home also gave me a chance to snap a few pictures of our refreshed powder room. I will warn you, these aren’t the best pictures it’s almost impossible to get a good picture of such a small space! But lets’ start with a before picture, with the fleshy, dull walls. halfbath-beforeI painted the walls a blue-ish gray, which really updated the room and brightened it up. I ventured into new territory and also painted the ceiling the same color as the walls. I was always taught that would make the room feel smaller, but I think in this case it makes the room looks a little bigger. Paris themed powder room

I got the large piece of art from my mother-in-law. She bought it for her house, but it never worked so she gave it to me. I absolutely love it! And I got the shelves from the former Garden Ridge, it’s called At Home now. Bathroom refreshThe shelves are decorated with a few knick-knacks from around our house. The vase on the bottom shelf was made by my paternal grandmother and I got the Eiffel Tower statue when we were in Paris. It pairs very well with my new art too. small bath refreshI’ve had the little bird statue for about of year, it’s also from Garden Ridge. And I finally was a good little blogger and bought a succulent. It’s fake, but it’s still a succulent, so it counts. It was on clearance at Target after Christmas so I couldn’t resist.succulentsI’m very pleased with how the room came together, and it only took me two of my days off to bring it new life. This bathroom is the one all of our guests use during parties or just hanging out at the house, so it’s nice that I’m not totally ashamed of it anymore. Powder room improvementsThere are still a few “large” projects that need to happen in this room, but those will have to wait until we finish the guest bathroom upstairs. (Update on that: we finally replaced the subfloor and had to add a few supports where the giant whole was, but we’re making progress again!) On the agenda for the powder room is replacing the vanity top with something white, the beige clashes a lot with the new color palette, painting the cabinet and replacing it’s hardware and then either framing or replacing the builder grade mirror. I’d love something in a different shape for some more visual interest. Even though it looks interesting enough with my reflection squatting there haha.

How was your weekend? Did you get to knock any projects off of your to-do list? 

 

Hello 2015!

Happy New Year everyone! Long time no see! I hope everyone had a fabulous holiday season, I know we did. It was so nice to have some time off work, away from the blog, for hanging out with Jesse and our families. Things were so hectic for us after November hit that I was starting to feel like it took all my energy to just stay afloat. Jesse was finishing up 4th semester of grad school and was busy every night and I was still getting used to work and establishing a workout schedule and routine, plus trying to decorate for Christmas and buy all of the presents. By the time Christmas hit I was ready for a nap! But now the holidays have passed and it’s back to the real world. I’m back to work and Jesse is gearing up for another semester of school, and we both are already looking forward to our next break!

One of my favorite things about the holidays is all of the traditions that Jesse and I have established over our past 4 Christmases together. You probably saw on Instagram that we went to Busch Gardens for their Christmastown lights display, which we’re hoping to make a bi-yearly tradition because it was so fun and beautiful. Christmastown

We spent Christmas Eve morning at brunch with our friends that were still in town for Christmas, something we started doing last year and hope to keep going over the years. It’s so nice to hang out with friends before spending the next few days dealing with our crazy families. After brunch, Jesse started tackling Christmas Eve dinner. He decided to challenge himself this year and made a roasted duck for us to take to his mom’s house. I’m not usually a huge fan of duck, but he did a phenomenal job and I actually had seconds. Christmas Eve duck

Of course after dinner we went home and started a fire (even though it was 60 degrees outside!) and opened a bottle of wine that we bought when we visited Trump Winery in early November. We used this time to open our gifts from each other and to watch a few classic Christmas movies, while just enjoying the quiet and each other’s company. Jesse opening presents

Christmas Day was crazy, as usual. We spent the early afternoon with one half of the family, including my cousins that I only see twice a year. There were almost 20 of us packed into my grandma’s house having a grand ole time. After eating Christmas lunch/dinner and opening presents we went to my Nana’s house (my mom’s mom) for hor d’voures and more presents. The house is always packed and loud and it’s always so much fun. My Nana has been hit hard by dementia and some other health issues this year, so this Christmas was very precious because it will most likely be her last at home with us. Christmas family time

After Christmas we spent the rest of the weekend hanging out with all of the family from out of town and we took a little road trip to visit a few other family members that we didn’t see Christmas day. I also had all of the days between Christmas Eve and New Year’s off of work, so I used that time to work on some projects I’ve been putting off for the past few months, more details on those later in the week. Powder room facelift

Now to switch gears a bit, I announced on the blog at the end of October that Jesse and I were doing the Whole Life Challenge, kind of. We were following the dietary and basic guidelines, but we weren’t registered for an “official” challenge. Well, there is an official challenge starting on January 17th and we are both registered for it. The Whole Life Challenge is basically like Whole 30, but it is twice as long, and is point based. If you eat something you aren’t supposed to, then you lose a point from your daily total. You start with a base of 5 points to start with, and can also earn additional points for drinking water, exercising, taking vitamins and meditating. The challenge is set up like a game too, so you are competing against your friends to see who can earn the most points over the 8 weeks. There are also different levels to the challenge, so that you can do whatever is most convenient for you and make changes that you will keep after the challenge is over. If you’re interested in joining me for the Whole Life Challenge you can read more about it on their website. Jesse and I’s team name is All We Do Is Win, if you do sign up and want to compete with us! :)

In light of these changes that I’ve made to my diet, as well as going to the gym at least 3-4 days a week and doing a regimented workout, I’ve decided to talk about it a little more on the blog. Before you roll your eyes, I’m not a professional and I’m definitely not turning this into a fitness-centric blog, I’m just living this “new me” every day and so I want to share it. Trying to get in shape is one of the big reasons I haven’t been blogging as much because once I get home from the gym at 6:30/7 every other night and eat dinner and shower, I’m exhausted and ready for bed. The biggest change that you will see on the blog is my Wednesday posts. A few foodie and fitness blog friends of mine participate in this thing called What I Ate Wednesdays and I love reading their posts. It’s basically a recap of everything you ate on a particular day during the week, plus pictures. I don’t know why I love reading about what people eat, but I do, so I’m excited to bring it to my blog. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to share how the Whole life Challenge is affecting my eating habits and to hopefully help other people participating get some ideas for what to eat for lunch and snacks. I may also throw in a few workout/fitness posts, but only if I find something I really enjoy or that I’m working really hard for, like that I’m running my first 10k in March. Workout selfie

Of course, I’m not abandoning the original vision for the blog, but I’m just making sure it still fits me and my life. I’ve thought a lot about this recently and I’m not a professional blogger, nor will I be. Sure that’s the dream, but not while I have a full-time 8:30-5 job. This is a hobby and an archive of my life, so that’s what I’m going to focus on. This is about me and my ATTEMPTS at crafting, DIY, cooking, wife-ing (totally a word), being healthy and living in general.

Also, thanks to everyone for reading, commenting, following and everything else you do to support me. It keeps my blogging and creative fire lit and I love you for it! :)

Chalkboard Ornaments & Another No-Sew Tree Skirt

I can’t believe Christmas is this week! I want to thank all of you that have been stopping by my Christmas Home Tour! I absolutely love our decorations each year, so I’m glad so many of you enjoyed them too. One of my most popular decorations seemed to be the fun chalkboard ornaments I made for our loft Christmas tree. Chalkboard ornamentThese ornaments were super easy to make and are definitely my new favorite Christmas craft. They only took a few minutes, excluding paint drying time, and were super simple. All you’ll need is some acrylic craft paint in Christmas colors, chalkboard paint, a white paint pen and some wooden plaques. I got all of my supplies at my fave craft store, JoAnn Fabric and Craft for less than $20. Chalkboard paint ornamentsI started by attaching small picture frame hooks to the backs of the plaques, I got those at JoAnn too. This was to attach the plaques to the Christmas tree. After the hooks were in place I painted the sides of the plaques using my fun acrylic paint colors. Wooden ornamentsI also had some fun metallic paints from Modern Masters on hand, so I used the gold metallic paint on a few of the plaques for some added bling. After all, what’s the holidays with out a little bling? Modern Masters Metallic PaintOnce the colored paint was dry I painted the tops of the plaques using chalkboard paint. The paint instructions recommended using two coats of chalkboard paint, but I think one worked out perfectly. I don’t know if it’s because the wood is so porous or what, but I only needed one coat. Wooden chalkboard ornamentsNow, I know I used chalkboard paint, so technically I should have used chalk on my ornaments, but I cheated and used a paint pen instead. The look is way cleaner and crisper, plus the pen was easier to manage. I wrote a variety of Christmas-y words on the ornaments, like Merry, Peace, Joy, and Cheers (because who doesn’t raise a glass at the holidays ;) ). Merry chalkboard ornaments

After everything was dry I scattered the ornaments throughout my little loft tree using the picture hooks and some wire. With the gingham ribbon around the tree and the wooden chalkboard ornaments the tree has a little bit of a rustic vibe going on, but I kinda love it. DIY Loft Tree

While I was working on the ornaments I also decided to create a small skirt to go with the tree. What you’ll need for the simple no-sew skirt is a yard of fleece in a fun pattern, mine is a forest green and white houndstooth, and a yard of solid colored fleece, I used red. You will need to cut the fabric into a square and then trim the corners to make a circle, or as close to one as you can get. Then cut a slit from one edge of the fabric to the next. It’s best to do this with the two fabric laying on top of each other. No-sew fleece tree skirtAfter you have your circle-ish shape you go around the circle cutting 4-5 inch long slits every 2-3 inches and then tying the two fabrics into knots. Once you’re done you’ll have a super quick and easy skirt for a little tree. This approach would also work for a large tree skirt, but you’ll need a lot more fabric and a longer Christmas movie to watch while working on it. ;)  Fleece tree skirtI‘m super happy with the way the tree skirt turned out and I even had some extra fabric to make a small blanket for the couch. It’s tiny, but it’s great for a festive pop and it’s the perfect size for covering cold feet.

To see more fun holiday craft and gift ideas be sure to check out the hashtag #MakeItGiveIt and the JoAnn Holiday Hub!

I hope you all have a happy holiday season! I will be back to blogging after Christmas! xoxo!

**I was not paid for this post. I was given a gift card to JoAnn Fabric and Crafts to purchase my supplies, but all opinions and ideas are my own.**

Procrastinators Christmas Home Tour

Can you believe there’s only 10 days until Christmas?! I finally finished my Christmas decorations this weekend, just in time to join some of my fellow procrastinators for a little last minute home tour! 1475996_10204340289926236_7834465065840643007_nI’ve had our Christmas tree up since December 1st, every year we get a bigger tree, it’s an unspoken tradition. It’s the one thing I wasn’t slacking about this year. ;)  Christmas tree 2014I always decorate our tree using sentimental ornaments that we’ve collected over the years or have had since childhood. We got this ornament when we were in Paris last year and I love seeing it on the tree and thinking back on the fun we had. IMG_6945

Our fireplace is the focal point of our living room, because it’s ridiculously huge, so I always try to decorate it from top to bottom to keep it festive for the holidays. Christmas Home Tour

I gave our mantle a face lift a few months ago by painting it white and adding some crown molding. It definitely makes things more festive for the holidays and adds some contrast to the giant brick fireplace. It’s decorated with garland, glittery Christmas balls, candles, a white bottle with faux berries and a reindeer statue I got at Michael’s almost 3 years ago. My stocking is one I’ve had since I was little and I made Jesse’s stocking for our first Christmas. 

Christmas 2014 mantleI picked up this little Christmas fox at Target a few weeks ago. If you’ve been around my blog for a while then you know that I’ve got a special thing for foxes because of my Papa. This is my little way of including him in my holiday decorations. Christmas foxSpeaking of being sentimental, over the television is a garland I made out of old Christmas cards. The cards are from various members of my family that have passed away, or that I don’t see very often. The holidays are all about family for me, so this is my little way of keeping family close. Sentimental card garlandNext to our television I filled a large apothecary jar with ornaments and glittered pinecones, and added a poinsettia Whenever I can work live plants into my seasonal decor I go for it. I love to have live plants in the house. Tv stand decorI even added some decor to the sofa table behind our sectional. There’s more garland, ornaments, and a framed Christmas card, but Santa Yoda is my favorite. Have a holly jolly Christmas, you will. Sofa table Christmas 2014Next up on the tour is the dining room, aside from the living room we spend the most time in the kitchen/dining room, so it had to have a holiday makeover too. Dining room Christmas decorThe table is decorated with two little Christmas trees I got from the Dollar Spot at Target and a branch candle holder I got at Sweet Clover a few months ago. I love the romantic glow of the candlelight when the candlesticks are lit. Dining room candlelightGarland is a Christmas theme in our house, so of course the bay window is decorated with garland and lights, and another poinsettia. Bay window decorIn the corner on my bentwood chair, which I also picked up at Sweet Clover, you have the little snowman family I made from 4×4′s two years ago. 4x4 snowmenTo round out the kitchen/dining room decor there’s my little kitchen Christmas tree. I decorate the tree with mini ornaments and cookie cutters. Jesse doesn’t understand why I need a Christmas tree in the kitchen, but I can’t see our big tree from the kitchen so I needed a little one to stare at while I’m doing my Christmas baking. Kitchen mini treeI decorate our banisters upstairs with over 50 ft. of garland and 600 lights. It casts a warm glow over the living room and makes the house feel so cozy. Loft decorationsI snuck in another tree for the loft while my husband wasn’t looking. It’s the only spot with colored lights, which is what I grew up with so they make me a little nostalgic. Loft treeI made some adorable little chalkboard ornaments to decorate the tree and the tree topper is made of glittered branches from the floral department at JoAnn Fabric and Crafts. Behind the tree is a frame with a few Christmas cards I’ve received this year, and last, on display. Under the tree is a sleigh and a tree skirt I made using this knotting technique.DIY Loft TreeChalkboard ornamentWell, thanks for stopping by for my Christmas tour! Be sure to stop by the other blogger’s homes to check out their home tours! You can also find us at #15christmastours on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Petticoat Junktion
Farm Fresh Vintage Finds
One Project Closer
Create & Babble
Our Rosey Life
Major Hoff Takes A Wife
One More Time Events
Mommy Is Coocoo
Confessions of an ADD Housewife
Denise Designed
Time With Thea
Redoux Interiors
Dogs Don’t Eat Pizza
French Pemberly

And as a special treat to our readers Online Fabric Store and Farmhouse Decor Shop have agreed to do a giveaway! There are $50 gift cards to both shops up for grabs! Merry early Christmas to you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now, can I get anyone a glass of wine to enjoy in front of the wood stove? There’s plenty to go around! Cheers! Cheers!

 

*Linking up at Newly Woodwards*

JOY for the Door

Whoa! Two posts in one week! I told you the mojo was back! Something about Christmas really gets me in the creative spirit. I come home, turn on a Christmas movie and get to work on some new project. This week I absolutely had to finish my new wreath for the front door and I love how it turned out!JOY three piece wreath

I got my supplies at Michael’s last weekend, which were three 12″ wreaths, a wooden J and Y and some ribbon. I spray painted my letters red to be more festive, they were originally white. Of course the red wasn’t enough so I added glitter. It’s Christmastime, everything needs some glitter. JOY letter wreath

After my letters were done I nailed thumbtacks into their backs and wrapped branches around the tacks to keep them in place. Christmas letter wreath

Things were still looking pretty dull at that point, so I added some glittery berries and leaves to the wreaths with the letters and some snowflakes and Christmas balls to the “O” wreath to finish things up.

It’s huge and glittery and ridiculous and amazing all at the same time. Just looking at it makes me smile with JOY. Front porch holiday wreath

I especially like how it looks with all my Christmas lights on the porch. Speaking of which, I need to finish wrapping lights around the porch posts. I ran out of lights and had to put the decorations on hold on Sunday night. Front Porch decorations at nightI love how huge the wreath is and that it covers almost the whole front door. I make a new wreath almost every year, so now I’m wondering what to do with all the wreaths from past Christmases. What do you guys do with your old wreaths each year? I’d really hate to throw them away!

How are you decorating this year? Have you finished all of your decorating? I definitely still have more work to do this weekend!

 

Cooking for the Ronald McDonald House

Hey there! Long time no see! Sorry I’ve been MIA lately, time has just gotten away from me I guess. Now that Christmas decorating season is here though I have plenty of projects and things to write about, so I’m back! :)

While I was away I had the amazing opportunity to tour Richmond’s Ronald McDonald House and learn more about the phenomenal organization that gives families a place to stay while their children are in the hospital. The Richmond House is in a gorgeous older home on the historic Monument Avenue. I toured the house before Thanksgiving, and they were already in the Christmas spirit. Richmond Ronald McDonald HouseThe function of the Ronald McDonald House is to offer families a place to stay when their children will be in the hospital for an extended time. Rather than staying in a hotel the families get to stay in house complete with a full kitchen, living rooms, laundry, and a play room. Ronald McDonald House living roomI didn’t get a picture of the kitchen, but it was recently remodeled and absolutely gorgeous. Various groups and people volunteer to work in the kitchen each night to provide the families with a hot home cooked meal. There are also a variety of snacks and a fully stocked fridge for the kids.

This particular location has nine bedrooms for families to stay. There are also several rooms at the local hospitals for families to stay if they need to be close by for dire procedures or circumstances. Each room is simple and homely, though you wouldn’t think so after seeing all of the fabulous Christmas decorations. A local Christmas decorator (yep, wouldn’t you love to have that job?!) did all of the decorating before she got busy for the holiday season. Ronald McDonald House mantleNow, many people think that the Ronald McDonald Houses are funded by McDonald’s, but the fast food restaurant actually only pays for a fraction of their expenses. The rest of the money is raised through various donations and fundraisers. One of those is through can tabs. You can drop your tabs off at your local Ronald McDonald House, then the house will recycle them for money. Pop topsAnother fundraiser is through the sales of the holiday cookbook. The cookbook is put together by Southern Living and is sold exclusively at Dillard’s department stores. It’s only $10 and 100% of the proceeds go to the Ronald McDonald House. Ronald McDonald House cookbookWe decided to have people over to try out a recipe from the book, because you can’t write about a cookbook without taking it for a test drive! Since the book is by Southern Living there were plenty of southern comfort food recipes so we went super comfort and made chicken pot pie. Chicken Pot PieThe pie was made with chicken, potatoes, mushrooms, shredded carrots, onion, and peas in a cast iron pan. It was Jesse’s first time making a southern dish but he did a fabulous job. Southern Living made it way easier to follow the recipe by including refrigerated pie crusts. Plop one on the bottom and one on top after you make the filling and boom! Cast Iron Chicken Pot PieNow, I could just give you the recipe, but then you wouldn’t buy the cookbook and the Ronald McDonald House wouldn’t get your money, so too bad. ;)

We also made dessert from the cookbook, which were these amazing fluffy chocolate chip cookies with a chocolate Bourbon ganache. Oh my gosh. Southern Living Chocolate Chip CookiesThe recipe originally called for the ganache to go between two cookies, like a sandwich, but we preferred the drizzle. It was just the right amount of chocolate. Southern Living Christmas cookbookOur friends were big fans of the meal and even texted me afterward for the cookie recipe. They were seriously amazing. I’m definitely making these again as soon as the Whole Life Challenge is over! Chocolate Chip CookiesNot only is the cookbook filled with a ton of recipes for the holidays, from breakfast, appetizers, entrees and desserts, but it also includes a bunch of ideas for hosting other gatherings. There were a few pages on bridal showers, Memorial Day, and the 4th of July that even included ideas for place settings and centerpieces.

I’m planning on picking up a few of these cookbooks for Christmas gifts, because it’s killing two birds with one stone! I will be donating to a charity that I love and buying gifts for people that I love at the same time. I’m so efficient.

*I received a complimentary cookbook from the Ronald McDonald house, but was not paid or compensated for this post.*

Whole Life Challenge Progress – 1/3 There

Hey there! I hope everyone had a good Monday, or as good as a Monday could be. Jesse and I have started getting into the Christmas spirit and pulling out the decorations. I know some of you may be upset that I’m skipping over Thanksgiving, but I really see it as adding a little extra festiveness to both holidays! :)  Christmas time is hereAside from decorating for Christmas, and a bout with the flu last week, the main thing that we’ve been up to is the Whole Life Challenge. Yesterday marked the start of Week #3 (technically #4 for me) so we’re getting close to being 1/3 of the way through! It hasn’t been as tough as I thought it would be and I’m already feeling amazing! I’ve lost a few pounds, my jeans actually fit again, and I’m loving my time at the gym. I’ve gotten a few questions about what I’m eating on the Challenge, so I thought I’d share a few meals I’ve been eating. WLC ChipotleThe most important thing is that I have not given up Chipotle. I get almost the same thing, minus cheese and sour cream. My typical bowl is brown rice, black beans, fajita veggies, chicken, mild salsa, corn, guacamole and lettuce, and it is still absolutely delicious. Power Breakfast BowlI’ve also been spending a lot more time at Panera ordering off of their “hidden menu.” Everything on the menu is WLC friendly. Now I haven’t tried it all, but I do love the Power Chicken Hummus Bowl. It has spinach, cucumber, tomatoes and chicken topped with hummus and lemon juice. Panera also has some great breakfast options. Pictured above is the Power Breakfast Egg White Bowl with Turkey, which has spinach, roasted red peppers, egg whites, turkey and pesto. Yum! Homemade soupSoup is also a great meal, this one is tomato based with chicken, sweet potatoes and tons of veggies. Unfortunately Jesse got the stomach flu, so he is anti-soup for awhile. (Sorry if that was TMI) HummusHummus has also been a life saver! I’ve been eating it with veggies and on salads and with delicious sweet potato chips! Yep, I can have chips, but only veggie chips or sweet potato chips. Campus CafeteriaMy biggest challenge has been meetings at work. Since I work on a college campus, my office likes to go to the campus dining hall for lunch meetings and there are SO many options. There’s pizza, pasta, burgers, nuggets, desserts, it’s ridiculous. Last week I had a grilled chicken breast, sweet potato fries, a salad topped with hummus, quinoa and an apple. It was delicious, and I didn’t feel terrible afterwards, which is rare after eating at a cafeteria.

For breakfast, I usually have two eggs, an apple and black coffee. My snacks are usually nuts or fruit (especially if I want something sweet).

My favorite thing about the challenge so far is that I don’t get bloated after eating. That may seem small, but I was a “button popper” after meals and now I’m not. It’s liberating.

Weekend Recap – Happy Halloween

Happy Monday folks! Ok, it’s not really happy, but I only have a half day at work today so my spirits are up. ;) I hope everyone had a fantastic Halloween weekend! Jesse and I had Friday off from the Whole Life Challenge, so we took full advantage of eating candy, sandwiches and drinking delicious beverages with our friends. I even tried out a new local restaurant called Toast with a friend for lunch. I can’t wait to go back when the Challenge is over! Lunch at ToastAfter work I headed home to get on my costume for our friends’ Halloween party… and to pass out candy. I also recruited Jesse to help me finish decorating our yard for the trick or treaters. I made some floating candles using toilet paper rolls, led candles, paint and hot glue. I really love the way they looked hanging in the tree over the driveway. Floating candles for Halloween

While Jesse was hanging the candles in the trees, I was inside getting my costume together. I love dressing up for Halloween, party or no party.Death Eater costumeIn the past I’ve been Hermione, a character from Harry Potter (for you non-nerds), but this year I wanted to do something a little different. I pulled my inspiration from Bellatrix Lestrange, even though I wasn’t quite her. I ordered the tattoo (Dark Mark) from Amazon and the hat came from JoAnn, I owned everything else so it was a cheap costume. Jesse went as Captain Kirk, we were an unlikely pair. Captain Kirk and the Death EaterWe had a blast at a party with our friends after we passed out candy at our own house. We seriously have the best group of friends ever. Halloween partyThe costume winners of the night were definitely my friends K and D and their adorable baby. They dressed as the Incredibles and it was awesome. I didn’t snag a picture of all three of them, but I did get this one of K and Baby. Incredibles costumeOn Saturday we slept in and I spent the afternoon at a baby shower for one of my friends. We went to another local restaurant for dinner, called The Answer Brewpup. They have 36 different beers on draft and serve a variety of Vietnamese food. I had an amazing pork fried rice dish with a side of pho broth, which I didn’t get a picture of because I devoured it in less than 5 seconds.

Sunday was a cleaning/cooking day. I made soup and finished all of our laundry, which is never ending.

How was your weekend? Did your family have a fun Halloween evening? If you dressed up I want to hear about it! I love costumes!

Weekend Recap – Bonefish, Bonfires and Pumpkin Carving

Hey there! It’s been crazy around here lately! We are still working on the bathroom, Jesse is still working on his grad school, I’m trying to get in exercise as much as I can, and we started the Whole Life Challenge on Monday. Before we started our challenge we went on a fantastic date night to try out the new Fall menu at Bonefish Grill on Thursday. Bonefish Fall SpecialsWe met at the restaurant on our way home from work, so the date felt a little more special and out of the ordinary for us. We were both still in work clothes and had a ton to talk about over our happy hour cocktails. Normally we talk on the way to the restaurant and are pretty quiet during dinner, so it was a great change of pace. We also had a fantastic server, Mike, so if you’re local I recommend him at the Hull St. location.Date night selfieTheir fall menu looked delicious, more on that a little later, but we stick with the regular menu for appetizers. I know normally people go for the Bang Bang Shrimp at Bonefish, but Jesse and I love mussels so we went with the Mussels Josephine for our app. And we have zero regrets about that decision, they were delicious! Bonefish MussellsWe both wanted to check out the Fall menu for our entrees, because it was so full of delicious looking options. I was so jealous of Jesse’s roasted snapper with shrimp. It looked amazing! Pan Roasted Snapper and ShrimpI, unfortunately, have an allergy to fish (nothing else, just fish itself) so I got the Malbec marinated steak with shrimp with mashed potatoes and broccoli. I wasn’t really too sad about missing out on the fish after eating this steak though! The Malbec created a rich, earthy and sweet sauce that was great with the steak and the shrimp. Malbec Steak and ShrimpOne of the best things about Bonefish’s Fall Crush menu is the wine pairings they have to go with the entrees. Each meal is paired with a wine that compliments the flavor of the dish. For my steak that wine was the Dona Paula Los Cardos Malbec, big surprise since that’s also the wine in the sauce itself. I’m a HUGE fan of Malbec, so I thoroughly enjoyed it all. Bonefish Malbec specialI definitely recommend checking out the Bonefish Grill website to see if there is one near you, then treat yourself to a date night! And I also recommend getting the steak with Malbec sauce! OH! And for dessert we tried their pumpkin creme brulee! It was the stuff Fall dreams are made of! You have to try it!

We kept the good times rolling on Friday by going to our friends’ annual farm party. There’s nothing better than a crisp fall night with a bonfire and good friends. Farm Party 4.0My husband even pulled out his guitar and led the group in a few campfire songs, like Livin’ on a Prayer, Ignition Remix and Dashboard Confessional, you know the classics. The World's Handsomest HusbandWe also carried on our other annual tradition of carving pumpkins together this weekend. Jesse and I like to be a little complicated and a lot nerdy with our pumpkins, like you can see in 2012 and 2013. This year was no exception. Jesse’s pumpkin is the Deathly Hallows from Harry Potter, which actually ties into my costume for this year. Follow me on Instagram to see that on Friday! ;)  Deathly Hallows pumpkinI went the Disney route again this year and carved Olaf. Then I proceeded to prance around the house singing “Do you want to carve a pumpkin?!?!” The details of his face were really difficult and intricate and his mouth actually fell out. I used floral pins to hold all the details in place and it turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself. Olaf pumpkinSo, that’s what I’ve been up to lately! I’ve got one more project I want to finish before Friday (Crunch Time!) and I’m helping a friend decorate her house for a Halloween party on Thursday night, so things are going to stay busy this week. I’m definitely looking forward to a break soon!

How has your fall been going? Is it just me or does October bring a whole new wave of busyness that lasts until the holidays? Are you looking forward to Halloween?

 

Chic to Shriek – Frosted Mason Jar Lanterns

There’s nothing I like more than throwing a party. I love having guests over and preparing a fun environment to entertain them. Everything is better with decorations and a theme! I recently had a girl’s night at my house, complete with decorated wine bottles, napkins, and some fun lanterns for the front porchMason jar lettered lanternsI’m a firm believer that a party is the whole experience, which means that I don’t skimp on the decorations. Since I was hosting a fall/Halloween craft party I really wanted something to set the mood as people showed up at the house. It’s too early to carve pumpkins because they will rot, but these mason jar lanterns are pretty close to the same effect. Plus they were super easy to make! Opaque letter jarsWhat you’ll need to make these opaque lanterns is a couple of smooth mason jars (you want some without the label or texture), large letter stickers, battery LED candles, and some frosted glass spray paint. I recommend using Rustoleum, because it’s the best. When working with this stuff you’ll need to pause and shake the can to keep it coming out smooth. I have a few speckles on my jars from air bubbles in the can when I was spraying. Rustoleum Frosted Glass spray paintI started by cleaning my jars using rubbing alcohol. Sometimes tape and stickers don’t stick well to glass, but the rubbing alcohol helps with that. Plus it gets the jars really clean for when you spray paint. After the jars are clean, and try, add your stickers. The size of your letters will determine how many you can stick on your jars, but don’t make them too small or your guest wont be able to read your jars.Frosted glass jar lanternsAfter your letters are in place you’ll want to spray paint the jars using the frosted glass spray paint. It will take at least 3-5 coats for the perfect level of opaqueness. You’ll want to add the coats before the paint is totally dry, it looks better if you do wet coats. After you’re done with all your coats let the jars dry for at least half an hour before peeling the stickers off. Then turn on your candles, plop them in and voila! Glowing mason jar lanterns!Frosted glass lettered lanternsI added the glowing lanterns to my front porch with the rest of my decor to set the tone for my fall craft night. I also picked up a few party decor items, by Martha Stewart, at JoAnn to help decorate the snack table, like these awesome Halloween themed wine labels. Decorated wine bottlesAnd since no craft night is complete without food I also made some snacks for the occasion. I gave the food some super corny names on adorable tent cards. Three things to know about me: I love to eat, I like red wine and I’m really corny. Chic to Shriek batty bruschettaThis week I’m really looking forward to Jesse and I carving pumpkins to complete our front porch decor and finish getting ready for Halloween. I’m planning on buying some really gross candy, or at least candy I don’t like so that it’s not hard for me to resist since I’m doing the Whole Life Challenge.

What fun crafts did you work on this Halloween? Be sure to share them using #DIY4Halloween on social media and they could show up on the JoAnn share site! What do you think we should carve for our pumpkins this year?

**I was not paid for this post. I was given a gift card to JoAnn Fabric and Crafts to purchase my supplies, but all opinions and ideas are my own.**
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