29 December 2010

auld lang syne

hi, sweet readers! i hope y'all had truly wonderful christmases, wherever you are.  i spent christmas holed up in a cabin in the mountains outside of asheville, north caroline with my parents and my younger sister.  such a wonderful time, and especially nice since it is our last christmas just the four of us {next christmas, i'll be a mrs.!} we took a candlit tour of the biltmore estate {awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping decadent goodness}, went wine tasting, ate delicious food and drank homemade hot cocoa, watched about a million christmas movies, killed time browsing in darling little shops, and did lots and lots of wedding planning.

santa spoiled the beau and me rotten.  i got new orange torys {abbeys, not revas} and lots of fun kitchen gadgetry, including a gorgeous caribbean blue dutch oven. i've been wanting one for ages. the beau's parents got us a new blu-ray dvd player and between them and my sister, we've already amassed quite the little blu-ray movie and tv show collection. our families were way too generous, per usual.

we are off to sunny south beach for a few days of fun and warm weather to ring in 2011.  when i'm back, i'll be revealing a few changes to the ole blogeroo.  nothing too drastic, just trying to keep y'all on your toes! i hope you all have a wonderful new year's, whether your tickling champy at a black-tie bash or gorging on chinese food in your pj's {both sound pretty fun to me!}. see you in 2011!

25 December 2010

joyeux noel!

a very merry christmas to you, sweet readers!

16 December 2010

it's beginning to look a lot like christmas

that song has been playing in my head all morning, as it is pouring down the most beautiful snow here in small town, va.  the beau and i had to walk to work this morning because we couldn't get the cars out of the driveway.  but my office has a window that over looks a creek, so i've got a lovely view of the winter magic taking place.  the puppy boy was absolutely chomping at the bit to get out and play in it this morning.

we FINALLY finished our christmas shopping.  for the beau, i got him this luggage, engraved with his initials.  his current luggage options consist of a backpack {too small} and a duffle bag from his college lax days {too big}.  i also got him smartwool socks, because he has been begging for some for at least the past two-three months.  i got my mom a set of white porcelain pasta bowls, since she requests something new for her kitchen/entertaining stockpile every year.  my sister and i bought my dad one of those outdoor fire pits.  their neighbors got one earlier this fall and apparently, dad has had a major case of green with envy.  my sister gets a custom b-more ravens t-shirt.  for the beau's parents, i did an "evening by the fire" theme gift, which includes a big, fuzzy blanket, homemade hot cocoa mix, and a sack of fatwood.  and we got the beau's nieces a digital drum set {for the youngest} and a DIY personalized jewelry kit {for the oldest}.  there are lots of pretty packages under our tree and i can't wait to open the ones for me and give the rest away to the people we love!

i leave you with these gorgeous chanel shoes that i am lusting after for my wedding...

stay warm, darlings!

13 December 2010

bridal beauty HELP!

so operation wedding is in full swing and not only am i determined to get my body in the best shape possible, but also my skin.  it's not exactly in bad shape per se, but certainly not great shape.  i'm meeting with my dermatologist in february to get a program together, but in the meantime, i would really like to get a clarisonic.  i just got on sephora and there are too many options.  i am overwhelmed.  i've read a lot of good things about them in bloggyland, so please please please, dear readers, tell me which one to buy!  good experience with one model, bad experience with another, is the cheaper one as good?  i have no idea.  enlighten me!

10 December 2010

a few of my favorite things

last night after a nice dinner out to celebrate our big news, we went to anonymous university employer's chapel festival of nine lessons and carols.  church christmas services are in my top-three favorite things about christmas.  i went to my parents' church service last sunday and per usual, i was moved to tears.  they have a full orchestra play and the choir is singing and the sanctuary always looks so beautiful and i just get lost in all of the emotions of the season and before you know it, i'm a blubbering mess.  it doesn't really feel like christmas to me until i'm in a church with candles and readings and all the familiar christmas hymns.

what all are you lovelies up to this weekend?  we're going to aggressively finish unpacking/arranging the house, headed to the annual christmas party thrown by some of our friends in town {it is ALWAYS an affair to remember. and i'm making these glorious-looking treats.}, and then i'm spending sunday at home with my parents while the beau works.  which means christmas baking and decorating with my mama and wedding budget discussions {i.e the unfun part!} and maybe a little snow!

hope it's fabulous!

09 December 2010

a few of my favorite things

do you see the ring? no? me either.  it took me a few minutes to even see what he was talking about!

my proposal story!

the beau left town last thursday morning for a work conference and was supposed to be back early monday morning.  when i still hadn't heard from him at around 9:30am, i called to see what his ETA was.  he told me that his boss was sick and told him to take the day off {which wouldn't be unusual}, so he decided to stay in baltimore to do all of his christmas shopping {more options than small town, va} and would be home that afternoon.  he called that afternoon to say that his dad had wanted to have lunch, so he still had a few more presents to buy, but would definitely be home by dinner. 

he got home and brought with him this totally over-the-top christmas floral centerpiece.  he said it was for the dining room table in honor of our first home-cooked meal in our new house.  we had dinner and i got up to do the dishes.  while i was in the kitchen, he asked me to come in the dining/living room because he got me something in baltimore.  i figured it was an ornament or something.  i walked in the dining room and asked what it was and he nodded towards the centerpiece and told me that santa had it.  when i looked, he had placed the ring on the flower in front of santa's sleigh.  when i turned around, he was down on one knee and i started bawling.

it was the perfect proposal for us.  personal and private.  i was wearing running pants and a ratty long-sleeve tee, he was shaking and forgot 90% of what he planned to say.  our puppy boy was sitting there watching the whole time and it happened in front of the christmas tree.

i am we are in full-on wedding planning mode and i am loving every second of it.  i have basically had my wedding planned since i was 6, so this is way too much fun for me.  this blog is TOTALLY going to turn into a wedding blog over the next couple of months, so get excited.  thank you for all of your sweet congratulations and well wishes.  we couldn't be happier!

08 December 2010

a few of my favorite things

my grandmother's ring, now on my all-important ring finger!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

07 December 2010

a few of my favorite things: sensory edition


i'm a double-tall one pump peppermint, one pump white chocolate, nonfat, no-whip, extra hot white chocolate peppermint mocha kinda girl.  not high-maintenance AT ALL.



don't be hatin'. gwynnie just did an interview confessing her love for dolly.


06 December 2010

a few of my favorite things

monday is upon us once again. our house is slowly, but surely, coming together and i absolutely cannot wait to share pictures with y'all!  but in the meantime...all this week, i'll be posting about my favorite things this time of year.  let's kick off this new week with lots of pretties, shall we?

 i always love kate spade, but they are just KILLING it with what they're doing right now!  every image is pure inspiration goodness and every item calls out to me.  here's a sampling of what is making my heart go pitter-patter these days:

three french hens christmas cards.  i may need to order these for next year's cards.  i'm a total francophile and i love how witty these are.  tres chic!

jingle bell studs.  i had a {much less sophisticated} version of these when i was in elementary school, so i love the trip down memory lane these provide.  i'm a stud earrings kind of girl and sometimes it's hard to find festive studs.  problem solved!

adorable mittens? check. stylish tiger print? check. partnership to help women in war-torn countries? check.  chic AND charitable.  can't beat that!

 i squealed out loud when i saw these.  is it a total hyperbole to see i need these in order to keep on living?

i am a perfume junkie. BAD. and kate spade's foray into the perfume world, twirl, come highly recommended by michelle adams, of lonny.  good enough for me.

i'm WILD about leopard print. {hardeeharhar}.  and wallets that double as clutches are the best.

and speaking of leopard print, you can snag this darling top on sale!

there are about a billion more things on the site that are to die for.  what are your favorites?

03 December 2010

things i am thankful for: day 5

the weekend! {i know, total cop out.} this week has just been all over the place.  several work emergencies, which, of course, all happened while i was out of the office moving.  the move itself...let's just say i don't show my best colors in stressful situations.  and this was a very stressful move.  the landlord at my old apartment complex has been an absolute beast to deal with.  i won't feel completely relaxed until next wednesday when, according to him, i am officially out of the place.  meanwhile, we're not completely settled in to our new house yet.  aaarghh!!

the beau is out of town for a conference this weekend, and as much as i will miss him, i'm looking forward to some alone time to unpack, organize, decorate, and just sit still! i finally got the bathroom unpacked last night.  tonight i tackle the kitchen. tomorrow and sunday will be sorting through papers, etc. that need to be filed, shredded, recycled, or trashed. and a big trip to drop-off items at the goodwill.  somewhere in there i'm squeezing in 4 hours of volunteer work for the junior league {which i'm very much looking forward to} and a quick trip home to see my mother perform in the handbell choir at my parents' church's christmas music production.

the beau comes home monday morning.  my goal is that by then our kitchen and my closet will be completely unpacked and i can have the slow cooker working away for our first homemade meal in our new house monday night.  wish me luck, because i'm going to need it!

bon weekend, my darlings!

02 December 2010

things i am thankful for: days 3 and 4

friends! of both the real world and blogging variety, of course.

over the past few days, our real world friends have been so, so good to us.  they have provided moral support, manual labor, cardboard boxes, lunch breaks, and words of encouragement.  we are so grateful for the wonderful people who surround us.

and for bloggy friends, like the design girl, who host wonderful giveaways like the regina pierallini jewelry giveaway i just won!  can't wait to pick out something pretty.

we are slowly but surely getting settled into our new digs, so hopefully i will be back to more regular posting soon!

30 November 2010

things i am thankful for: day 2

we are moving today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

there is still much to be done, what with cleaning, unpacking, arranging {and rearranging}, and christmas decorations, and general decorations, but i'm trying hard not to stress about any of that.  my goal for this week is to just enjoy this moment and the start of this new chapter.

29 November 2010

things i'm thankful for: day 1

WARNING: this post is mushyville, population 1.  don't say i didn't tell you.

i am beyond grateful for my wonderful amazeballs beau.  this past week was so, so great.  i fell in love with him even more.  we had so much fun at home with his family. we ate ourselves silly at thanksgiving dinner {my pecan pie was a HUGE hit with his dad and his sister's boyfriend}, played a rowdy couple of rounds of board games with the other thanksgiving guests, did absolutely nothing on black friday other than watch college football, had "double date" day saturday with his parents {chick-fil-a + target + a double-feature of 'sleepless in seattle' and 'white christmas'}, tailgated and watched the ravens win last night, and just generally enjoyed one another's company.  i loved spending time with him and his family in his natural habitat, if you will, and getting to know all of them a little better.  and i may have indulged in my favorite high-maintenace starbucks holiday drink almost every day {we don't have a starbucks anywhere near small town, va so this is a big deal}.

last week, more than any before, made me realize how blessed i am to have him in my life.  he calls me on my bullshit, but he loves me for it.  he makes me laugh all the time, but he knows when to be serious.  he takes such good care of me and protects me, but encourages my independent streak.  he is so good to his family.  and he ain't too bad on the eyes either!  i am a lucky girl.

25 November 2010

happy thanksgiving!

hope you're enjoying a day filled with delicious food, tryptophan naps, the macy's parade, and some football.  good luck to those of you braving black friday tomorrow!  the only thing i will be braving is my couch to 5k running bit.

22 November 2010

a smattering

are you still there, dear readers?  sorry i have once again gone MIA.  between work and getting ready for our move, i feel like i haven't hardly had a moment to sit still.  i'm still a bit frazzled {thank goodness for a two-day work week!}, so please forgive my random stream of consciousness post below.

*i've lost 5 pounds since i started fit train friday!  i would like to lose 10 pounds more.  my goal is to be down another 5 pounds by the beginning of 2011.  that would put me just slightly above where i was this time last year.  and it's good motivation not to overdo it at all the upcoming holiday festivities.  not that i'll be denying myself pecan pie or mashed potates, mind you.

*speaking of pecan pie, tomorrow i'm headed to maryland with the beau to spend thanksgiving with his family. while i'm looking forward to seeing how many ways one can incorporate old bay into a meal, i needed to make sure i had a taste of home.  being from the south, i can't have a thanksgiving without pecan pie, so i offered to bring one.  my grandfather was a college professor back in the day and the first lady of the college where he worked was famous for her pecan pie.  my grandma managed to get a hold of her recipe, which she passed on to my mom, and she in turn passed on to me.  i make two adjustments: one, i use smitten kitchen's all-butter pie crust recipe.  it really is the best.  two, i add bourbon.  because i can. and because it's delicious.

*the big move is in t-minus one week. yikes! my apartment is currently a maze of boxes, bags, and rooms in various states of packing. bad news: i've got a LOT of work left to do.  good news: this move is the swift kick in the pants i needed to trash or donate a lot of the clutter i've accumulated in the past twenty-five three years.

*on the advice of preppy 101, i did my best eddie ross and headed to the goodwill a few weekends ago to see if i could find any steals for the new house and boy howdy, did i ever! two pairs of lamps for a grand total of $14.  and they are GORGEOUS.  a pair of brass lamps {for my operation tory burch living room project} and a pair of bronze-y, brown laquered lamps for the master bedroom. pics to come.

*i started the oil cleansing method last night. i'm starting out with a mix of 50/50 castor and extra virgin olive oil with a little bit of grapeseed oil mixed in.  i'm doing it every other night for the first week or so just to see how my skin reacts, but i'm very optimistic and feeling good about putting natural products on my skin.

*i am so excited for this week.  the period between thanksgiving and christmas is my absolute most favorite time of year! i will be ducking out on blogging {again} this week while i enjoy some QT with the beau and his family, but will be back next week with a post-turkey day series on things i'm thankful for and then a series of my favourite things.  i hope you all enjoy a wondeful week of celebrating and relaxing with your family and friends.  travel safe, eat lots of yummies, and be grateful for where you are in your life.

lots of love!

17 November 2010

pressing matters

i had a post all ready for today about decorating the new lovenest and scores from over the weekend, but it came to my attention yesterday morning that there are more pressing issues of an international diplomacy nature that require my thoughts.

squeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!! a royal wedding!!!! i'm so excited! i'm a bit of an anglophile as it is {see: obsession with scones, hunting dogs, jane austen, tartan, cottages, and wellies} and this is just going to send me {and the rest of the world, it seems} into overdrive.  i've always been more of a prince harry girl myself {i think it's the whole ginger thing}, but i just adore kate middleton's style.  she's such a modern sloane ranger and i love that she dresses in a modest way that's still sexy and stylish {teenages and hollywood starlets take note: when you wear underwear and cover your naughty bits, you get proposals from princes.}  so below, a few favorites in honor of the new future princess!

and one from the engagement announcement at st. james's palace yesterday. LOVE that he proposed with diana's ring!

best wishes to the happy couple!

12 November 2010

tres exciting news!

hello, darlings! apologies for my absence over the past week or so.  things have truly been nuts in and out of the office and i feel like i haven't had a moment to spare.  but it's all worth it because i can now announce to my sweet readers that the beau and i are moving in together!  {kind of an appropriate post based on the last one, no?} we are very excited, a little nervous, but mainly ready to get this show on the road.  our move-in date is december 1 {fingers crossed}.  since he has very little {read: no} furniture to bring to this relationship {i'm not complaining.  no icky, ugly bachelor-pad furniture to deal with!}, it's mainly just moving all of the stuff i have and his clothes, so it should be a relatively easy move.  i say "relatively" because let's face it, moves are not easy.  or cheap.

can i just say how beyond excited i am for the blank canvas of a new {to-us. rental.} house?!  his parents have generously offered to buy us a new couch as our christmas present, and i'm using that as the catalyst for my ultimate goal of having my home look like the tory burch store in seoul, south korea. 

images courtesy of tory burch

i've gone slightly bonkers looking for brass anything and everything on ebay and craigslist.  i'm hoping the beau will be on board with getting a white/cream-colored sofa. and he won't notice if i slooooooooowly start to add bright orange and hot pink accents everywhere, right? RIGHT? and maybe a bit of leopard-print, just for good measure...

i can't wait to start moving in and posting pictures.  for those of you who are living with your hubs or significant other, any tips or advice you have would be much appreciated!

bon weekend, mes amours!