Thursday, January 16, 2014

Disney World for Adults

In 2009 I took my first trip to Disney World.  It was a wonderfully magical week and we have since been back several times. 

(Side note: As of August 2015, this post has been updated to include information from more recent trips.)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

New Year's Resolutions

I've never really been into the new year's resolution thing. I'm a goal oriented person year round so it wasn't like starting a new year made me want to achieve goals any more than I already wanted to anyway. Having said that, I just achieved a big personal goal at the end of 2013 (I ran my first ever half marathon!) so the time was right for me to start a fresh set of goals anyway! So I hopped on the new year's resolution band wagon. Here they are:

1. Save money. 
2013 was jam packed with travel, restaurant adventures and home renovations. None of that stuff is free. We are working towards building our nest egg this year rather than blowing our money on stuff we don't need. We are going on a trip to California next month, but after that we are seriously reigning it in.

2. Cook more.
This pretty much goes hand in hand with #1 because we seriously could eat out 7 nights a week (and probably did many times last year). But, not only to save money, I also want to cook more just to prove to myself that I can. And I want to enjoy it. 

3. Upgrades to the house.
See this list. I'm slowly working my way through it, but I'm not nearly done yet. I've also got some other ideas forming in my brain for the loft space and the upstairs bathroom, but I've got to be creative because we're saving money (Again, see #1).

4. Stay on top of laundry.
I hate laundry and I never do it. And on those rare occasions that I actually do do laundry, I usually ruin at least one item of clothing. So, I'm working on that.

5. Be more fashionable.
This is pretty straight forward. So far it hasn't been too hard because my family stocked me up on adorable clothes, jewelry and shoes during the holidays.

6. Maintain a healthy lifestyle.
2013 was a decently healthy year for me (again, I ran my first half marathon!) and I'd like to keep that up. This for me is all about balance. I don't want to lose weight or set specific goals like "I'll work out 5 times a week" or "I'll drink 900 gallons of water a day". Just in general, I want to be balanced and healthy. Move my body regularly, spend time outdoors, break a sweat, get enough sleep, and feed my body nutritious things on a regular basis.   

Do any of you have similar goals? Thanks for taking the time to stop by!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Our 1st Anniversary

Today marks the one year wedding anniversary to my best friend in the entire world! I can't believe what a wonderful 365 days it's been. 

In honor of today, here are so more wedding pictures for you. Enjoy! 


Friday, January 10, 2014

25 Tips to Make Your Home Beautiful on a Budget

When it comes to my home, I definitely have champagne taste on a beer budget. Over the past couple years, I devised some simple tricks to help me get the look I want without breaking the bank. I've compiled a list of tips I use on an ongoing basis to make my home beautiful and welcoming. I hope you find them helpful!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Gallery Wall gets a Face Lift

How's it going everyone? Getting any DIY done? I am on a DIY roll lately! 

I am happy to report that I have given my gallery wall a slight face lift. In June of last year I did a post about our gallery wall. Here's a brief refresher:

Ever since I wrote that post, I have been toying with the idea of "neutralizing" some of the art on this wall. Lately I've been more and more inspired by simplistic designs and I've found myself gravitating towards cleaner lines and fresher color schemes. So, I went for it! Out with some of the darker/bolder colors, and in with fresh clean neutrals! 

Pretty subtle, huh? Can you even tell the difference? Let me make it a little easier for you:

I painted six of the frames white and swapped out some of the art in those frames. I would have painted even more but my hubby said he likes the color, and didn't want me to get carried away. Here's a side by side comparison:

Like I said, subtle. But I think it looks so fresh and so clean, clean. I'm enjoying the change. 

The striped art in the 8x10 frame and the polka dot art in the 5x7 frame I created for free using PicMonkey. It was simple, but I think it looks so much brighter than what I had there before (which was this):

Here's a bit more eye candy for you:

What do you think? Does it look fresh and updated, or were you a fan of the colorful art?

As always, thanks for taking the time to stop by!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Polar Vortex Chili

I've mentioned before that I am not a great cook. Actually, it's not so much that I can't cook, it's that I just don't like to cook. I don't even want to think about how much money we've spent at restaurants in the past year because trust me, it ain't pretty.

My #1 new year's resolution is to save money, and my #2 is to cook more. Luckily these pretty much go hand in hand. Cooking more = saving more. Whenever I have a particularly good cooking experience, I'll be sure to share it with you guys here so that you can get in on the deliciousness.

Last night's dinner was DELICIOUS! 

Seeing as it was still really cold outside, I thought chili sounded good. I turned to Pinterest and found several different recipes, just to get ideas of what kind of stuff goes into chili. Then I made up my own recipe as I went, utilizing the ingredients that I had in my kitchen already. The results were magically delicious and actually sorta healthy (if you go easy on the rice and cheese, which I didn't). I hope you enjoy!

Not the best picture because I had pretty much devoured it all by the time I took this, but you get the point.

Jesse's Polar Vortex Chili 
1 pound ground turkey
1 1/2 cans diced tomatoes (1 can undrained, 1/2 can drained)
1 can black beans (undrained)
1 can kidney beans (undrained)
1 small onion (diced)
1 cup white rice
shredded cheddar cheese 

chili powder
garlic powder
ground cumin
salt & pepper

Brown ground turkey in the biggest skillet you've got. 
Meanwhile, cook one cup of white rice. (Put 2 cups water and 1 cup rice in a pot and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover. Allow to simmer for approximately 15 minutes or until done). 
Once meat is brown, add the diced tomatoes, black beans, kidney beans, and chopped onions. Add lots of garlic powder and chili powder (we completely saturated the surface of ours three times with these seasonings). Also add some ground cumin and paprika. Add a little bit of salt and pepper. Stir well.
Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve over rice and topped with shredded cheese. Enjoy!

Not gonna lie, I'm pretty proud of myself for coming up with this. It was seriously yummy and only took about 35 minutes to make! The outcome isn't very spicy, but its definitely flavorful! So so good on a polar vortex kind of day! This recipe would easily feed four people (although if you guys are hungry hungry hippos like us, you may want to make a little more rice). 

I hope you guys stay warm and well fed today! Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Kitchen is Painted... Finally!

It's a new year and I am on a quest to do all the updates and fixes around the house that I didn't get around to in 2013. I'm slowly but surely working my way through this list, and I tackled another project over the weekend. We finally painted the walls in our kitchen!

We remodeled our kitchen in February of last year (you can read more about that here), and afterwards it looked like this:

We were really happy with the way the space turned out, but we decided the walls needed a fresh coat of paint too. This color was just too similar to the color of the back splash and we wanted a warmer feeling. (SIDE NOTE: I'm not sure how I managed to make the space look so bright in the above photo, seeing as I'm a less than talented photographer, but the walls actually weren't that pretty in real life. They were less yellow and more beige, and were starting to show some wear and tear). However we were pretty burnt out on painting (painting those cabinets took a long time!) and we procrastinated. I was convinced that painting this room would take a long time because of all the cutting in that was required around the cabinets, floors, ceiling, etc. However, over this past weekend we did it! It was a lot quicker than I thought it would be and we got the entire thing done in one day. Here's the outcome:

The change is pretty subtle, both my mom and sister had a hard time figuring out what was different about the space when I sent them pictures, but it makes the room much nicer. I think this color (called Oatmeal by Valspar) makes the space both warmer and fresher at the same time. Those walls were really starting to get dingy and I am very happy with the outcome.

How are your new years/home improvement resolutions coming along? I hope you are making progress as well!


Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013 Recap & Looking Forward

Wow! 2013 is officially over and I truly can't believe what an amazing year it's been. Between getting married...

Going on an amazing honeymoon in the Cayman Islands...

Taking a trip to Disney World...

and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter...

a road trip to Charleston, SC...

and New Orleans, LA...

plus about a million other adventures in between...

I'd say this year was an amazing success!!!

We finished off the year by celebrating my hubby's birthday and the new year in Breckenridge, Colorado! This trip was so much fun.
My hubby is an experience snow boarder, but it had been almost 10 years since I'd tried skiing, so I was a little nervous. In the end I did just fine!

 I have this new obsession with taking pictures of our feet in all the fun places we go!

In town, walking through Breck! For those of you who've read Harry Potter, this town reminded me of Godric's Hollow on Christmas eve :) 

 Victorious after I conquered a blue run!

There were some gorgeous fireworks on New Years eve.

This trip was a wonderful way to end 2013 and a great start to the new year. While I'm a little sad to say goodbye to 2013 and all the wonderful memories, I'm really looking forward to 2014.  I think it's going to be another awesome one.

I've got a pretty good feeling 2014 is going to be full of home improvements and lots of DIY and I can't wait to get started! I've got some projects in mind that I'm itching to start right now (remember this list?), but first I've got to take down all the Christmas decorations! 

I hope you also had a wonderful holiday season. What are your plans for the new year? Any home improvement projects on your list?

Thanks for stopping by!