Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Recycled Decor

I'm loving having some of the leftover shower decorations sitting around the house. They make the house seem so much more fresh and summer-like. I wish they could stay around forever.


How to Make a Baby

I thought this fun stop-motion video was so clever and cute. Enjoy:



You can read more about how it was made here.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Shower Time

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. We've been super busy preparing for and hosting the big PAR-TAY. We hosted a His & Hers shower at our house on Saturday night for our dear friends, Chrissy and Mike. Getting  ready for the shower was a lot of work - mostly because I make things more complicated than they need to be and am super picky over everything - but I am a planner at heart and enjoyed pulling everything together.

I think the shower turned out so well - the weather couldn't have been better, we had a great turnout, Chrissy & Mike got some great gifts, and I think everyone had a good time.

First things first, the invitations:


Here's a shot of my dining room beforehand. This isn't nearly all of the supplies but I love how colorful this pic is:


I picked a color scheme of yellow, blue and lime green. We used lemons and limes as decor and I grew trays of wheatgrass from seed using these instructions from Design Mom (one of my new favorite blogs). I LOVE how the wheatgrass turned out. It grew this thick and tall from seed in just 10 days. What a cheap and easy centerpiece. I was also happy to put the glass cylinders and square votive holders from our wedding to good use again. 


We served beef and chicken kabobs. Although they were somewhat labor-intensive (marinating the meat, cutting up the veggies, and assembling the kabobs) they were beautifully colorful and yummy.


I'm sad I didn't get any shots of the drink table, food table or dessert table (my first attempt at Grandmama Harrison's pound cake was a success!), but at least I got the pics that I did in the midst of the madness. Here's a shot of people mingling:


Now, present time. Lee is jealous of Mike's drill:


Of course, Sugar wanted to help:

Overall, a great night!

A lot of the work we've been doing on our house (installing the patio, yardwork, porch, etc.) we were trying to get done in time for the shower. It was great motivation and we're so happy and relieved that those projects are done now and ready just in time for us to enjoy all summer long.

Lee and I spend a lot of time talking about what we don't have, what furniture we're missing, what we want, what we still have left to do on our house - but sharing our home this weekend really put things into perspective for me and made me thankful for what we have and what we've accomplished so far. Of course it will always be a bit of a work-in-progress and there will always be new projects to complete, but this weekend I couldn't have been more proud of our home, our yard and even our dog (and my husband too!)

This weekend was great and now we can't wait for the wedding! Love you Chrissy and Mike!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Shopaholic

I took a quick trip to Crate & Barrel last night:


Now I know what you're thinking -- Megan, your shopping is out of control lately. Well, you wouldn't be thinking that if you knew I paid $1.02 for this Crate & Barrel loot. AND, I paid in quarters, so even that doesn't count.

We got a gift card to my beloved C&B as a wedding gift from McKinney (the agency where I work), and I haven't been able to decide how to spend it. But we needed a few things for the shower we're hosting this weekend and their summer entertaining stuff is SO cute, so I picked out what I wanted online and picked everything up from the store. My two favorites: this and this. Even the cashier was impressed with how close to the gift card I'd gotten the total. I LOVE spending other people's money.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Charlotte Trip Part 2

After our IKEA trip, we decided to take a pic of the girls with our IKEA bags. This somehow turned into a mini photo shoot.

On Lori's balcony, with our bags:


Then we decided a pic in the backyard would be pretty (and Bear decided he would join us):


Classic 'hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil' shot:


And one more balcony shot:


Thanks again to my wonderful aunt Lori for being the ultimate hostess -- making us feel so welcome and at home. As usual, the trip was a blast and I can't wait until next year!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

IKEA, You KEA, We All KEA for IKEA!

So Friday was the day ... after months of longing I finally made it to IKEA. Since I first heard that IKEA was coming to Charlotte, I've been counting down the days until I could make it there. 

We normally do our girls' shopping trip to Charlotte in November, but with the wedding in October and other craziness, we decided to postpone until Spring. That turned out to be a great decision -- the weather was great, IKEA was finally open, and I got to focus ONLY ON ME without the pressure of having to find Christmas gifts.

I was so overwhelmed by the awesomeness of the IKEA showroom that I totally failed at taking pictures. Suffice it to say, it was a feast for the senses. Here's one pic I got down in the marketplace of a piece of bathroom furniture I want to buy:


And here's one of my sister thinking "Can we get out of here now? Why is she so fascinated with this place?"


Here's a pic of Britt while we were packing the car:


A quick rundown of what I snagged: 
1. This vase was my favorite purchase. I got the gray one. It was just what we needed on our mantle.
2. I'm loving the lanterns this year. I already have two from Pier 1 (they were a much better deal than the Pottery Barn one I was originally coveting) but the price was so good I had to snag this one too.
3. This throw and this pillow in dark blue.
4. I love a good basket!
5. A pretty plant pot with saucer and watering can.
6. Various kitchen gadgets, including but not limited to: cutting board, food chopper, decorative napkins, citrus zester, whisk, grocery bag holder, etc.

While I walked away with lots of goodies from IKEA, this trip only scratched the surface for me. I found several pieces of furniture and some artwork that I loved, but didn't buy because 1.) we were working with limited car space and 2.) I didn't want to buy anything major without getting Lee's opinion first. So IKEA, you haven't seen the last of me, not by a long shot. I will be back, with husband and truck in tow.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a bonus feature: the cousin photoshoot!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter Weekend

We spent the first half of our Easter weekend down at the beach. Sugar got her first taste of the ocean and she loved it. Here are some pics (don't mind Lee in his white boots, aka Carteret County tennis shoes):


I don't know why but I love this picture. It's Brett scrubbing chairs in the yard. Sugar was trying to help (by licking the water in each chair after he'd scrubbed):


Last but not least, here's a pic of the coolest Easter egg ever. The kids were dying eggs down at the beach but of course I had to decorate one too. The hot pink with zebra stripes was Leah's idea, I just executed:


Happy Easter!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Signs of Spring

Spring is finally here, even if it hasn't felt like it very much lately. Our first clue that spring is here were the beautiful tulips and hyacinths blooming in our yard that we had planted last October.


The flowers only stayed pretty for about a week and a half though, so I snipped the tulips and enjoyed them inside for a bit longer:


The second sign of spring was the arrival of the baby chicks and ducks at Tractor Supply. Now if you know me, you know I do not enjoy birds. In fact, I'm terrified of them. But there's no denying that baby chicks and ducks are cute. So Lee held them, while I snapped pics with my phone.


I'll be back tomorrow to write about our Easter weekend!

Things I'm Lovin'

Just wanted to share some things I'm in love with right now.

1. Our blender

We registered for and received this Oster Beehive blender as a wedding gift from our dear friend Rick. We just used it for this first time last weekend and I was blown away by it. Yes, it's a shame that we got married in October and are just now using the blender, but winter just isn't a big blending time for us, so making daiquiris on the first warm weekend of the year was our first experience with the Oster Beehive. Now, we normally would not spend this much money on a blender. It's not something that we use all the time (obviously) and we've always gotten by with one of the $20 cheapo plastic models. But registering for gifts is the time to say 'what the hell? i'm not buying this, let's go for the nice one.' It had great reviews, and now I can see why. This thing is amazing. The blades are SUPER sharp, the motor is way powerful and the glass jar and chrome body are both pretty and durable. It made the smoothest daiquiris ever in about 0.2 seconds. No need to open the jar midway and stir so the ice would get down to the bottom. We've already made milkshakes (delicious!) and I'm sure the Beehive will be getting lots of use from us over the coming Spring and Summer months. Thanks Rick!!

2. AAA

I've never had a triple-A membership before, but when we got an offer in the mail to get a membership for $19.99/year I figured we should go for it. If I get a flat tire, need a jump, or lock my keys in the car even once over the year then it's worth it. However, I didn't even need to have car trouble to get my money's worth. Ever the bargain hunter, I paid close attention to all the discounts you get with AAA. The standout discount - 10% off at Target.com. The discount doesn't apply in the stores (how cool would THAT be?!) but it's still a nice deal. I bought these end tables for our living room and for two of them I saved $20 with my 10% off, therefore already breaking even. So any more I save with retailer or travel discounts, not to mention car trouble, will be icing on the cake.

3. Reese's Eggs

I have been obsessed with Reese's Eggs this Easter. They are my downfall. They've officially replaced Cadbury Creme Eggs as my favorite Easter candy. I'm actually relieved that Easter is over so that Reese's Eggs will no longer be around and I can regain some control in my life.

4. Anoop


I was so excited when I heard that Anoop Desai from UNC had tried out for American Idol and made it through to Hollywood. I loved Anoop when he was a Clefhanger at UNC and knew he'd do well on the show. I swore if he didn't make it through to the Top 12 I wasn't watching AI this year. Although he's had good nights and bad nights, and might very well be one of the next to go, I still love him and think he's swell.

5. $0 Prescriptions

I know it's weird to say this about an insurance company, but I'm really digging Blue Cross Blue Shield right now. That's because the last two times I've been to the pharmacy, my prescriptions have been no charge. ZERO. In January I picked up a 3 month supply of a generic prescription and it rang up as zero dollars. I asked the pharmacy lady what in the world was going on and she said BCBS had a promotion for the month of January where generics were free. My cost for generic precriptions is only $5 anyway, but for 3 months that's $15 saved -- not bad. When I went back last week I assumed the deal was over. Nope -- I got another 3 month supply and a 1 month supply of a different generic med and everything rang up as no charge. SWEET! However, I get my prescriptions filled at Target so I still ended up spending $36 on sunscreen, this Pledge pet hair fabric sweeper (for which I had a $1 off coupon) and this pillow. Yep, they got me. I always end up finding stuff to buy while waiting for my prescriptions to be filled. They sucked me in though with their cute bottle design and clever color-coding.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

UNC - University of National Champions

As you all know, Monday was the big game. What every college basketball fan lives for. 

Lee is NOT a college basketball fan, and therefore a boring game-watching companion. In fact, he sometimes pulls against Carolina, which infuriates me. So I told him I didn't want to watch the game with him. He said he didn't blame me. 

I made plans to watch the game at the Dean Dome with friends. When UNC won the national championship in 2005 I was a sophomore at Carolina and we all watched the game together at the Dean Dome, then ran up to Franklin Street for some revelry. I felt good about the game this year, and didn't want to be sitting home in Holly Springs if we won, regretting not being in Chapel Hill.

Needless to say, the energy at the Dean Dome was amazing: fans of all ages watching the big screens, dancing to Jump Around, doing all the UNC cheers together and hugging and celebrating as the game drew to a close. We were all moved and awed watching Hansbrough come off the court for the last time as a Tar Heel.

And my favorite part: swaying shoulder-to-shoulder singing the alma mater as we watched our boys in blue being showered with that wonderful confetti. Hark the Sound has never sounded sweeter.

Here's a pic of Sara, Chrissy and I before the game, hoping for a repeat of 2005:


After the game, we made our way to Franklin Street. Here's a shot of the whole group:


As tradition dictates, there were fires:


And people in trees:


And people on light poles:


And people in banana suits:


Ok, not sure about the banana suit but whatever. 

If you've ever been on Franklin Street on Halloween, after a Duke win, or after a national championship, you know that it's exciting and terrifying all at the same time. There are so many people crammed together and pushing and shoving that things can quickly turn south. We did get separated from part of our group but had picked a meeting spot beforehand in case we got split up, so everything worked out. 

It was a bit of a wakeup call however when after wanting to clock all of the drunk girls who kept falling into us, I realized that we used to be those girls. Maybe not that bad, but silly, giggly and naive. Oh, how I'm glad to be over that phase of life! 

Anyways, here's an awesome timelapse video of Franklin Street from The Daily Tar Heel:

So, congrats to our boys, and thanks for such a great season and making us so proud to be Tar Heels!

(**Note: the above pictures were shamelessly stolen from photographer extraordinaire Emily Dawson, because I always forget my camera.)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sugar in the Sprinkler

We can add a third thing to the list of things Sugar loves: the sprinkler. 

She's had a ball this weekend playing in the sprinklers that Lee has had around trying to get our backyard grass up to par. Here's a quick video:


video

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Patio Magic

Ever since we moved into our house, we knew we wanted to add a patio. We have a nice porch, which Lee recently screened in (more on the porch later), but we didn't have a deck or patio to grill out on and relax in the back yard. The area where our porch leads into the back yard doesn't get much sunlight and had basically become a mud pit. I tried to avoid going out there at all costs so as not to sink into 3 inches of yucky red clay. Whenever we wanted to grill out, Lee would have to stand in the mud pit and cook on our old school charcoal UniFlame grill.

As soon as the first warm weekend of the year came around, we started to hatch our plan. First we went back and forth over whether we should do a poured concrete patio or use patio stones. Then we thought that maybe we should do a deck instead, so we went back and forth between deck and patio for a while. Finally, we committed to patio stones. After another two weeks of trying to decide on what stones to use, we finally got started.

Here's a before shot of what would eventually become the patio:


To prepare for the patio, you basically have to dig a lot, put down a lot of rock, put down a lot of sand, level it all out, and make sure the "grade" is right so water flows away from the house. Seems simple enough, but it was not. As always though, Lee worked his butt off and did a great job. I pretended to help for about 3 hours one Sunday.

Here's a pic of the digging portion. Note the rock/sand bags in the back. 
They were one of the most expensive parts of the whole process as those puppies were $2.50 a bag and what you see here probably isn't half of what we ended up using.


After we got the "paver base" down, Sugar could not resist digging in it:


We had to get Home Depot to deliver the patio stones because they were way too heavy for Lee to haul in his truck. They were delivered on a Tuesday at 6 am. As I left for work that morning, this is the palette of stones sitting in the cul-de-sac:


This was during a crazy-busy week at work for me as we were working on a big new business pitch, so I was working late nights. I got home that night after midnight, expecting both husband and dog to be long asleep. Instead I found them both in the back yard, with Lee putting the final touches on the finished patio! I was so excited and couldn't believe he had gotten all the stones laid in one afternoon/night. 

So flash forward a week. After a few more trips to our second homes - Lowe's and Home Depot - I got my patio set and Lee got his mammoth grill. Here are a few pics of the finished product and our first night grilling out on our lovely patio. Note: we're diligently trying to get the grass in our back yard as amazing as what's in our front yard. The black stuff you see around the patio is carefully babied topsoil and grass seed. Also note the poor lonely UniFlame cast to the side. I almost feel sorry for it. NOT.


Sugar

Sugar is our 12-week-old yellow lab puppy. We've had her for 6 weeks now. Although she can be a handful at times, we both agree that she is the cutest dog in the whole world (we're not biased or anything). Who can resist that cocked head as she lays at her daddy's feet?


Sugar has doubled in size since we got her. At her first vet visit on Feb. 26 she weighed 12 lbs. On her second visit last Thursday, exactly a month later, she weighed in at 24 lbs. She's going to be massive. Just look at these big paws:


Sugar loves two things in this world. The first is the dishwasher. I have no idea why but she absolutely loves the dishwasher. I can't open the dishwasher for more than 2 seconds without her trying to get in it. She loves anything with water, so I think she likes lapping up the water at the bottom of the dishwasher. And it doesn't hurt if there are dirty dishes in there and she can find some leftover morsels to lick up. Of course I don't allow her in or on the dishwasher and I'm trying desperately to break her of the habit, but tonight I let her roam free for about 30 seconds so I could snap some pictures. 

Front paws up:


Now all four paws up:


Uh oh, CAUGHT!


I think the only thing she loves more than the dishwasher is paper towels. She loves to chew them to shreds. Again, we don't allow her to chew paper towels but she always manages to find one in the trash can or laying around when we're not looking. Here she is hiding under the barstools, so no one will see her and take the paper towel away:


And here's the aftermath:


Oh, the joys of dog-parenting!
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