Thursday, July 31, 2014

Our 3rd Anniversary


This week I am celebrating three wonderful years of marriage to the love of my life. Every minute of our marriage has not been perfect, but it's definitely been worth it. I can honestly say when it comes to husbands I found a great catch. It's around this time of year I tend to be particularly reflective about our relationship. I ponder about where we are? Where we're going? And what I've learned so far? In honor of Emily's "What I Learned this Month" SERIES  and our anniversary, I've decided to share with you a few nuggets of marital wisdom:

1) Don't sweat the small stuff. There are a million and one things my husband does that could drive me up a wall. For instance, he never puts the toilet seat down, forgets to put in a new bag when he changes the garbage, and regularly leaves his toothpaste in the sink. When it comes to these habits I can frustrate myself and have a total meltdown, or I can accept them as is and pick up the slack. I choose to do the latter and find it creates more peace for the both of us. I try to keep things in perspective by asking myself, "Will this matter in five years?" If the answer is no, I move on.

2) Be grateful for what you have. It is inevitable that there will be times when my spouse successfully ticks me off.  Whenever I feel particularly upset with my husband, I do an appreciation exercise. After heading to bed when the hubs is asleep, I lay awake for a few minutes next to him and observe him breathing. I remind myself that one day he will not be breathing, and how if I'm alive when that time comes how sad I will be. I then pause and feel thankful for the ability to appreciate my husbands breath, and work on moving on from whatever annoyances occurred that day.

3) Treat your marriage like a job. There was a time when I was newly married that I thought marriage was not work. I believed I had found the perfect person, and somehow our relationship would magically strengthen and maintain itself. Boy was I wrong! It wasn't until I started to see marriage as a job, that I began to work at it successfully. Like any job I had a job description: bring happiness to my partner. I also had performance reviews, which entailed checking in to see how I was doing at my "job". This change in perspective worked wonders for the both of us, and I am happy to report we are both now top performers at work :-)

What about you? What marital wisdom can you share?

"I pray everyday more than anything, friends we'll stay as we begin to lay this foundation for a family. Love ain't simple, how can it be? Anything worth having you work at annually." ~Common

Monday, July 28, 2014

Lake Walker Cape Cod Homes



Cape cod style homes are adorable in my opinion. Originating in New England in the 17th century the design eventually migrated down to Baltimore. Simple homes, cape cods are characterized by a modest size, two and half stories, and little embellishment. The cape cods in Lake Walker are quite charming, and convey that good ole American cottage feel. These are a few of my favorites.
























Aren't they darling? I love the way these smaller homes tend to feel so homey. They possess personality, yet require little upkeep. There's something about their simplicity that's truly delightful.

Do you live in a smaller home? How do you like it?

“I believe that smaller houses – where comfort, practicality and beauty co-exist in harmony – represent an idea whose time has truly come....they enhance the quality of life – both in our communities and for those who live in them.” – John Gower

Friday, July 25, 2014

Sale Alert: Weekend of 7/25-7/27

Hi locals. There are a few good sales going on this weekend that I thought I'd tell you about. First up is THE SURPRISE SHOP's annual $5 bag sale taking place the 25th and 26th. Any merchandise you can fit inside of one of their provided bags, is you guessed it, $5! Next, is TOTSWAP a large baby and kids consignment sale being held at the state fair grounds in Timonium the entire weekend, on Sunday select merchandise will be 50% off. Lastly, I wanted to highlight the Cedarcroft neighborhood's summer garage sale starting this Saturday at 8am.

Have a lovely weekend!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Around (Another) Town: Boating in Annapolis


In an effort to try and capitalize on the dwindling days of summer, I decided to take a spontaneous trip to Annapolis to spend some time on the Chesapeake Bay. Though the hubs hates spontaneity, he kindly agreed to accompany me and go boating. I'm glad he did, because we had a great time! The weather was perfect, and being on the water was soooo relaxing.

We admired the beautiful waterfront homes, viewed the U.S. Naval Academy, and stopped for ice cream at the ANNAPOLIS ICE CREAM COMPANY.


We also passed this nice Alex Haley monument.

If you live in the area and need a quick getaway, definitely give it a try. There are many family friendly boat and walking tours available. You can learn more about things to do in Annapolis HERE.




Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sale Alert: The Surprise Shop


Hello locals. I just wanted to alert you to a great sale going on at THE SURPRISE SHOP. If you're not familiar with The Surprise Shop it's a church sponsored thrift store near downtown Towson. It has wonderfully priced men's, women's, and children's clothing and accessories, as well as housewares. They always have a nice selection and are currently offering 50% the entire store. Hurry the sale lasts until the 24th. On the 25th through the 26th of this month they will have their annual $5 bag sale. I lucked up on my last trip and found the goodies pictured above for a total of $10 (lamp not included), including a nice Yves Saint Laurent tie for the hubs for only $1.25! As my mother would say.......you can't beat that with a stick. Stop by to do a little shopping or make a donation when you can.

Have a marvelous weekend!

"Be thrifty, but not covetous." ~George Herbert

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

In the Kitchen: Chicken and Spinach Lasagna Recipe


For the first time ever I tried my hand at making some chicken and spinach lasagna. To my surprise it ended up being restaurant quality, so I wanted to share it with you. Unfortunately, I didn't follow a strict recipe, but kind of threw things together on the fly. To recreate you'll have to do things to taste, but honestly in my opinion those always end up being the best dishes as they're made especially for your palette. So here's what you'll need to do:
  • Heat skillet thinly coated with olive oil on low/medium heat
  • Once oil is hot add pieces of chopped chicken breast seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Be sure to cook chicken slow so it retains moisture, then set aside.
  • While cooking chicken boil lasagna noodles, and stop cooking them just before they are done (remainder of noodle cooking will take place in oven).
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • In the same skillet create white sauce using heavy whipping cream, 1 tbsp butter, and seasoning with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cook on low.
  • After sauce begins to simmer slowly add in flour to thicken sauce to desired consistency.
  • Lastly add spinach and cooked chicken to sauce and taste for desired flavor.
  • Add bottom layer of lasagna noodles to a baking dish and top layer with thin coat of ricotta cheese. Season ricotta lightly with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Then add thin layer of shredded parmesan cheese and raw spinach.
  • Add layer of sauce, then repeat last two steps.
  • Once you have two sauce layers, top dish with mixture of shredded mozzarella and parmigiano reggiano.
  • Add dish to oven and cook until top layer of cheese is melted.
  • Once melted turn oven to high broil and cook until top layer of cheese is slightly brown.
My apologies for the loose directions. I hope you won't let that deter you from trying this dish out. It was seriously delicious :-) One day I'll update with firm measurements. 

Enjoy!

*** To make this dish vegetarian swap chicken for broccoli***

Friday, July 11, 2014

Around Town: Joan Eve (Ellicott City)

About a half an hour outside of Baltimore is the city of Ellicott City, MD. Until recently I had never been to Ellicott before, but had heard it was a great destination for antiquing. One day with a little free time on my hands I decided to head down and see what the city had to offer. Lining the quaint streets of their downtown historic district were several antique shops with lots of window eye candy. I stopped in a few stores all of which did not disappoint. Here's a look around one of my favorites JOAN EVE.


They had a nice selection of vintage purses as well as lovely costume jewelry.


 I saw several pieces of drinkware I wouldn't mind owning.


More cool purses :-)



They had a very impressive inventory of lighting.

If you're really into antiques/secondhand shops it's definitely worth the drive, as Ellicott has a densely populated offering of stores. You're sure to find something you fancy, just be sure to go early in the day so you have sufficient time to comb through all their selection.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Around the House: Progress in the Nursery Pt. 2

I hope everyone had a fabulous 4th of July weekend. I used the extra time off to make some progress in the nursery, so I thought I'd share an update. 

For this project I had a few stipulations. It had to be done cheaply, use stuff I already own, have a classic aestethic, and not be to "baby" looking so there is no need to overhaul the room in a few years. So here's what I came up with......

The walls are painted in Benjamin Moore's Chantilly Lace (sidenote: I actually got the paint from Sherwin Williams, which is a few blocks away. Did you know you can have them reproduce colors from other companies?). I couldn't decide on a color, so I figured I couldn't go wrong with white. It makes the small room feel larger, and is gender neutral. The window curtains are Ikea's RITVA. I have these in every room in our house. They are cheap, wash well, and stand the test of time. I highly recommend them. The candle sconces are vintage and  were purchased years ago on sale at AVENUE ANTIQUES. I've had them hiding in a closet and almost forgot I owned them. Finally, they have a home :-)


Above the crib is an old ship pic. I like to incorporate nautical elements throughout our home because it makes me feel like I'm on vacation at the beach. It's also a nod to the hubs who is a former sailor. The ship photo was picked up in DC at GOOD WOOD years ago.


 For the rocking chair I went back and forth about reupholstering. Unfortunately, reupholstery was just not in the budget, and not a job I thought I could DIY. To change the color, I just plopped a blanket over it. It's not perfect, but definitely gets the job done. 


 The chest as you'll RECALL was something I already owned and painted. The lamp I got a while back for $10 at Target. The shelf above the chest was a vintage find from THE TURNOVER SHOP.



The rug is just a simple classic sisal rug. It adds texture, and pretty much goes with anything in case I want to move it to a new room or change this room's color scheme later. I found it at Homegoods for the great price of $25!

I'm almost done with things. I'd just like to add a small child sized chair and perhaps a crib skirt.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

In the Kitchen: Baked Potato Soup Recipe

These days I don't have a ton of energy, so I've been trying to cook more meals that are simple. One of my go-to's is potato soup. It's quick, cheap, reheats well, and tastes yummy. If you'd like to make some you'll need to:
  • boil 2 medium red potatoes
After potatoes are done (check by sticking fork inside to see if they are tender), turn to low heat and:
  • add 50/50 mixture of heavy whipping cream and chicken (or vegetable) stock until potatoes are covered
  • use a masher to mash ingredients (I like to leave a lot of lumps)
  • add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp of butter
  • 1/4 tbsp of bacon grease (optional)
  • stir while the soup cooks for 5 mins.
  • when done add shredded cheddar cheese (I like Tillamook brand) and chopped green onions to taste
serving size: 1

Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Worth Your Money: Ting


One of my most recent mini money goals has been to reduce our monthly telephone costs. Normally we spend around $150 a month for our cell phones through Sprint, and after thinking about it, this seemed a bit ridiculous to me. In my hunt for possible money saving solutions I came across a lovely company called TING.

Ting allows Sprint users to switch to their services free of charge, and charges a reoccurring monthly fee based upon your usage. There is no sign-up fee and no contract commitment. You can start with a plan as low as $3/month for up to 100 minutes. See all their plans HERE. What differentiates Ting from other companies is that they do not offer subsidized phones, so you have to pay out of pocket if you want a new one. By not subsidizing phones they can offer bare bones monthly rates. This works out great for a person like me who plans to use my existing phone until it dies, and then buy a used one whenever it needs to be replaced. So far, in our two months with Ting we've spent an average of $64 total for two phones, a savings of $86 a month or over $1,000 a year. Heck yeah, mission accomplished! If you would like to switch to Ting, use this LINK to sign up online and you'll receive $25 off your first bill.


“If you can, you will quickly find that the greatest rate of return you will earn is on your own personal spending.” ~Mark Cuban


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