Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas Eve to you and yours! 

I'm very thankful for the PICU nurses who are away from their families, traditions, getting little sleep, and working today and tomorrow so that I can be off with mine. We love that we get to see both sides of our family this year. 

I hope your holiday is filled with love, laughter, and joy!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Fulton & Roark Giveaway

Have you been searching for a new cologne for your man? I'm loving the new Fulton and Roark solid colognes for men. 

Recently, the Chef tried the Tybee scent, and it is a very sophisticated, musky, manly scent for my handsome husband. The scent lasted all day, and I thought it was the perfect new scent.

I absolutely love the packaging of this product with silver F&R logo and the printed old school directions.

And today, I get to offer one of my reader's their own scent to choose. Check out Fulton & Roark and let me know which one is your favorite!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**I did receive a cologne sample to try (or rather the Chef to try). All of the opinions are my own.

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Raleigh Christmas Party

We had a short but fun weekend full of Christmas cheer. I worked Friday night shift, got home Saturday morning and napped while the Chef cleaned the house for our first Raleigh Christmas party. 

We decided to keep things simple with cookies and cocktails since I worked the night before. I love baking and baked a variety of Christmas cookies that I had not tried before and thought they all turned out well: chewy peppermint mocha, ginger snaps, chewy lemon, chocolate crinkle, my mom's candy canes, and Pfeppernusse cookies from Trader Joe's. 

We were so thankful for everyone who came to spend the evening with us. 

We love hosting parties and were so glad that everyone had a good time because we will definitely be having more. 

I'm so thankful for all of the friends we've made during our first year and a half of living here. 

We absolutely love living in Raleigh, and it's all because of the people who we share life with here. 

And now I only have three more shifts before a Christmas vacation of nine days off! 

Linking up with Sami and LeeAnn

Friday, December 13, 2013

Love and Grace

I've been reminded this week, by my sister, that I need to show grace, love, and mercy to those around me through my words and actions. I need to stop tearing others apart and stop being unkind.  

I've also been encouraged to be proactive in loving others by Carrie and her love for showering people with cards and letters.  It's a simple way to show someone love and grace. 

Trader Joe's is one of my favorite places, and this week, I stopped by their card section and absolutely loved it. They have some of the cutest cards.  

I bought a few and have decided this is a great way that I can love and be a tiny blessing to others. 

What ways do you show love and grace? I'd love to find more ways. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Card Photos

Merry Christmas from the P family! 

We haven't had professional family photos taken of us since our wedding...three years ago. Aida wasn't apart of any of those, so this year I wanted a few family photos.

I found a local photographer, Heidi and set up a date in Downtown Durham in October. 

I mainly wanted a few good shots of Aida because it's so hard to capture her on an iPhone camera.

This was the winner! I used Tiny Prints for this year's Christmas card; I love their designs.

I'm loving that our friends and family are already receiving it.

I loved how our Christmas card turned out this year. But I wish I had known about Pikcal because they have some great Christmas card designs AND they are offering 20% off for my readers by using the code: blogcard20 when you check out. 

I love the photos Heidi shot for us even if it felt a little awkward. 

We're the type of family that needs a photographer to give us ideas on what to do. I had also hoped for some closer shots since we wanted a Christmas card photo. 

All in all, she was a really nice photographer, but I'm not sure I would hire her again. 

Did you have professional photos taken or do you usually have a friend snap a few? I wish I had a photographer friend who would do ours for free next year...

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Happiness and Cheer

Our weekend was full of Christmas happiness and cheer! 

My weekend started off on Thursday with lots of Christmas baking. We're hosting our first Raleigh Christmas party: Christmas cookies and holiday drinks. I have to work the two nights before, so I'm starting early. 

Thank you so much for sharing with my your favorite cookies on IG. I added a few more kinds to my list. 

We met some of our favorite friends: Allison and Jarod at the Angus Barn for dinner and drinks. 

We loved the Christmas decor with the upside down tree and elf children. 

Our bellies were stuffed and our hearts full after spending the evening with them. I just wish we lived closer to each other...move to Raleigh....

I'm loving my new Christmas wreath made by my bestie Mallory. Isn't she talented?

I also love it because she made the holder removable, so I'll be able to change it for Valentine's and Fourth of July. So creative!

Friday night, we spent the evening with our favorites: our small group.

We met for lots of chips, salsa, queso, margaritas, and tacos at Chuy's and then had dessert back at our apartment.

I love that there is never a shortage of conversation or laughter with these friends. I'm so excited to walk through life together. Especially, right now with the excitement, stress, disappointment, and hope of house hunting.

My weekend ended a little early with starting work on Sunday, but at least it's only two shifts in a row before I'm off again and will start prepping for our first Raleigh Christmas party.

Any Christmas party hosting tips for me? 

Linking up with Sami and LeeAnn

Monday, December 2, 2013

Hosting Thanksgiving

Happy belated Thanksgiving! 

I hope you enjoyed a fabulous weekend full of family, friends, and food. 

This was the first year that I didn't get to help in the prep for Thanksgiving dinner because I worked Thanksgiving day at the hospital.

Halfway through the day, I got this text from my sister. 

I got off work and rushed home, sorry if I flashed my lights or tailgated, I just couldn't wait to get home to my family. This was the first year we had both sets of our parents and sister at our apartment for a holiday.

We aren't crazy Black Friday or Thanksgiving day shoppers, but we do love to go and pick out our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. 

This year, my FIL picked out the perfect tree. 

I love our little family of three. 

On Dasher and Dancer...or Aida and Bailey! 

We had so much fun with our families this weekend.

We laughed, stuffed ourselves, bought our tree, saw The Book Thief in theater, and squeezed in next to each other on the couch watching football. 

Aida and Bailey loved celebrating their birthday together with a trip to Woof Gang Bakery and a special birthday treat to share.

After all of the family left on Saturday morning, we worked out, and finally went to see Catching Fire. I love the Hunger Games books and the movies are fabulous. Afterwards, we went to church and tried a new-to-us restaurant: Chow with a friends from our small group. I'm so thankful for incredible friends and conversations with them. 

We wrapped up the weekend with a quiet Sunday relaxing and getting ready for the week. 

Yesterday, I also put together my first of three Secret Santa gifts for a co-worker. If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them for my next two gifts. 

Linking up with Sami and LeeAnn

Monday, November 25, 2013

a baby shower weekend

This past weekend was a complete whirlwind.

We drove up to DC on Friday morning to spend the weekend with family and celebrating our baby niece who is due to arrive in January!

Friday night, we enjoyed a delicious dinner of crab soup and sliders at Clyde's Tower Oaks in Rockville. It was one of the first restaurants the Chef took me to when we were dating and quickly become one of our favorite spots as newlyweds living in Bethesda.

Saturday morning, my FIL made us delicious waffles before my MIL and I headed to Virginia for my niece's baby shower.

It was so much fun getting to see family and my SIL's friends at the shower. I loved catching up with my cousin Kate and doll baby Natalie. She is really the sweetest little girl.

Unfortunately, that is my only photo from the shower because I was in charge of taking photos with the real camera. But I can tell you everything was adorably decorated and my SIL looks incredible at seven months. 

Saturday night, my family spent the evening together watching (some family members napping) the first Hunger Games. My favorite times are always spent with family. 

Sunday, we met up with my in-laws for their lunch bunch and got to see sweet friends, including my favorite Carolyn. We didn't get much time together, so I can't wait until we're back in DC again to see her and her boyfriend. 

We decided to stay an extra night and headed home early this morning. The ride was made so much better with carmel popcorn made by Carolyn. Aida stared me down for some. 
We had such a great weekend and now can't wait for more family time this Wednesday for Thanksgiving! 

Linking up with Sami and LeeAnn

Monday, November 18, 2013

a carmel latte weekend

Our weekend started out a little on the sick side. 

Friday night was a cozy night in with lots of hot tea, NightQuil, Cowfish take-out, and catching up on episodes of The Blacklist. It's become one of our new favorites this season. You should definitely dvr and watch and episode. 

Saturday morning, we went house hunting and found one that we love. It's in the perfect location, updated, and has a pool. We'll see what happens...

We did a little Christmas shopping before things got crazy at the mall and then headed to Babies R Us for shower gifts. That place was insane. We got our presents and left as soon as possible. We were on baby overload.

Afterwards, I went and celebrated a sweet friend's baby boy who is due to arrive in January. We had so much fun, and I can't believe I didn't take a photo with the precious mommy-to-be.

A few of the nurses headed over to Yard House for delicious drinks and appetizers. We need to make that a monthly tradition.

Later that night, the Chef and I drove over Ashley and Steve's home for a delicious meal and the most amazing drinks. I had no idea that Ashley is the best barista. She made this tasty carmel latte for me after I was drooling over the guys' drinks.

The guys had shots of espresso in addition to carmel lattes. 

Sunday, we drove around different areas of Raleigh in search of where exactly we want to look for houses. We enjoyed the afternoon at Yard House with drinks and football. We also worked on our Christmas cards and turned on the Christmas music (gasp) to get in the spirit. 

The day went by too quickly, and it's already time for Monday again. 

I'm thankful for a full weekend making memories with great friends. 

Linking up with Sami, LeeAnn, and Sarah

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Flank Steak and Snow Peas

Sunday night, we wanted an easy, new recipe to try before curling up on the couch to watch our favorite tv shows.

Scrolling through Pinterest I found the Pioneer Woman's beef with snow peas.

It was absolutely delicious and really easy and quick. I think that it'll go into our save to use again recipe pile. We did add two carrots: thinly sliced into matchsticks to this recipe and could have added another. It added one more veggie to the mix and a little extra crunch.

Linking up with JessicaAshley, and Cheslea

Sunday, November 10, 2013

birthday weekend

We had an incredibly fun last week celebrating our anniversary and the Chef's birthday, and over the weekend we tried to relax. 

Saturday morning, Aida and I headed out for a long walk while the Chef and his friends took off to a golf course to spend the afternoon. 

While he was gone, I made spicy black bean chili and added some extra flank steak that we had for another recipe. We had a low key evening with a to-go order of Cowfish burgers and shows. 

Sunday morning, we slept in and went to a late service where we spotted two of our friends from small group in the choir. We spent the afternoon running a few errands, working out, and baking. 

Lately, I've been loving baked oatmeal. I like to make a pan on Sundays before the week starts. This time I made pumpkin baked oatmeal and added one cup of walnuts for extra crunch and protein. Just to note: this recipe isn't sweet at all so when you eat it you might want to add a drizzle of honey or maple syrup. 

With the leftover pumpkin, I made pumpkin bites and roughly followed this recipe since I had most of the ingredients. 

Over the weekend, I started feeling a scratchy throat coming on, so I've been loading up on tea, drinking lots of water, and hoping to not get sick this week.

Hope you have a great start to the week!

Linking up with Shami, LeeAnn, and Sarah 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

high five for...saturday

I love all of the November thankful posts that are being posted and am so thankful for our marriage and the Chef this week.

1. I only worked two shifts at the beginning of the week, so my weekend started on Wednesday morning. 

2. We celebrated our anniversary early this year with our recent trip to Vail

So on the actual day, the Chef made reservations at Saint Jacques. The food was incredibly delicious, and I'd highly recommend the onion soup and the pesto lamb chops. 

3. Thursday night we celebrated the Chef with a dinner to Cowfish and then his favorite birthday cake: ice cream cake.  

We're so thankful for this group of new friends. They have made us feel more at home in Raleigh, and I love that we are walking through the same phase of life together. It's encouraging and fun to get to share life with them. 
 4. Friday night, a group of our friends met us at Yard House for drinks and dinner with more drinks at World of Beer afterwards.  

After dinner, we talked about how thankful we are to be surrounded by great friends who we have met within the past year. It's incredible how much we have been blessed by friendship living here. 

5.  Aida. She is the sweetest girl. Since I've had so much time off this week, we've gone on a few long walks. We've loved the cool, crisp weather with the crunch of leaves under our feet (paws). 

We absolutely love all of the shades of red and orange around our neighborhood.

I love seeing this long tongue because it means someone will take a really great nap when we get home. 

Hope your week was incredible too! 

Linking up with Lauren and Lindsey

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Our Third Anniversary


Today is our three year wedding anniversary. 

The time has flown by, and I can't express how much I love being married to Jeff. 

The last three years have been full of adventures, traveling, laughter, and four apartment moves. I love sharing life with such an incredible man. 

I love looking back to our wedding day but am even more thankful for today and for what is to come.

Wanna pack your bags, Something small
Take what you need and we disappear
Without a trace we'll be gone, gone
The moon and the stars can follow the car
and then when we get to the ocean
We gonna take a boat to the end of the world
All the way to the end of the world

Oh, and when the kids are old enough
We're gonna teach them to fly

You and me together, we could do anything, Baby

You and I, we're not tied to the ground
Not falling but rising like rolling around
Eyes closed above the rooftops
Eyes closed, we're gonna spin through the stars
Our arms wide as the sky
We gonna ride the blue all the way to the end of the world
To the end of the world

We can always look back at what we did
All these memories of you and me baby
But right now it's you and me forever girl
And you know we could do better than anything that we did
You know that you and me, we could do anything

Two of us together, we could do anything, baby

"You and Me" by Dave Matthews Band that we danced to for our first dance and Mr. and Mrs.