Sunday, March 29, 2009

Moraira, Spain!!

Our second stop on our honeymoon will be in a small, seaside town called Moraira. We are staying at a private residence for 5 nights. Here are the pics of the house, the pool, and the view to the sea. I cannot wait to lay by the pool all day long! After having quite a hectic schedule in BCN, relaxing by the pool will be perfect! We arrive on Thursday night and on Friday mornings the local market is open. Our plan is to buy a few things so that we can eat most breakfasts and lunches at home and then have dinner out.

One of the nights we're going to go to dinner at Girasol. It has gotten great reviews, so hopefully it will live up to them the night we go. We'll have a car while we are there, so we are planning a trip to Benidorm for an afternoon and to Alicante for a day. B loves to sail, so we may head down to the marina one day and see if we can charter a small sailboat for the afternoon. From the pictures I have seen, it would be a lovely way to view the coastline. Next stop on our trip....Seville!

**Have I told you all that this will only be the second vacation we have ever taken together alone? We went on a cruise 3 years ago for a week, but, other than that, all our vacation time is spent up north with our families during the summer or over Christmas/New Years. For this reason, plus the fact that school will be completely over for both of us, I have never been so excited for a trip ever in my life!!! Now, if any of you could make May 17th get here oh say, tomorrow(!!), I would be in your debt forever!! **

Pink and patent?

I have always loved Sperry Top-siders. My brother and I always had a pair when we were little. His were always the standard brown leather, and mine varied from summer to summer. My favorite pair were my navy canvas (I changed out the laces for pink ribbons). I would love a new pair for this summer as the tan canvas ones I had for awhile had a mesh side and didn't end up getting worn much. I am loving the idea of the patent pink ones here:

I just don't know how often I would wear these either. But SO cute!!

These may be a little more functional (I could easily pull them off at work during the summer) and they are still really cute. I like that they are a little more feminine.

I don't need these at all but had to share for all the pink and green lovers out there. I love how simple they are, but if you want a pink and green plaid, there's a pair of those on the website as well.

B has the standard brown leather pair, but I'm thinking he should have the red leather pair that's on the website as well. He has quite a few cute belts that would work with the red shoe and khacki pants!!

Do any of you wear Sperry's during the summer? Do you put them on your little ones? I simply adore them on little boys!

Update on Jodi Picoult's newest book

I just finished it and was so disappointed. I don't want to spoil it for those who want to read it still, but it is very similar to one of her other books. So similar, in fact, that I think she just got lazy, changed some names, changed minor parts of the plot, and was finished. I also didn't feel as strongly about these characters as I usually do. It's definitely a library read rather than a bookstore buy (if you are going to read it at all). I'm now onto Breaking Dawn- can't wait to see how Bella and Edward end this series!

Date night in dinner

Last weekend B and I stayed in for dinner on Sat night. We hadn't cooked a special dinner at home in awhile, and we were looking forward to spending a night together in the kitchen. We decided to tackle roast beef for the first time. I'm so glad we did. This recipe was excellent and would be perfect for a dinner party!! My only suggestion is to really watch the internal temperature throughout. Since we only did a 3 lb roast, it took us much less time than the recipe called for. We cooked it in our Le Crueset and clean up was a breeze. We had mashed potatoes and cipollini onions for our sides. These onions are amazing; honestly, they were the best part of the meal. Cipollini onions are expensive for the amount you get (they're quite small), but I think you could easily sub a sweet vidalia onion with similar results. B and I will definitely make this meal again and will make the onions again as a topping for chicken or for a flank steak.

*A good meat thermometer will go a long way in the kitchen!! We have a relatively inexpensive one from Crate and Barrel. It does a great job. I don't think the electronic ones are necessary.*

Friday, March 27, 2009

How kindness can change a day

I took care of a family last week at the hospital whose son needed surgery. It was a wonderful experience as they were the nicest parents and their baby was quite adorable. They had mentioned to me upon discharge that they really appreciated all I had done for them and that they wanted to write my manager a note stating how thankful they were. This is very uncommon in health care. We have all kinds of parents and patients who will complain about the care they are receiving but rarely hear good reports of care or kind comments. This family absolutely made my week (and the fact that the surgery went incredibly well really helped). Today, the family came in for their follow-up clinic appointment, and after the appointment, tracked me down in the hospital in order to give me a small gift and one of the sweetest notes I have ever received. I was shocked, surprised, and felt so cared for. It even brought tears to my eyes. For them to go out of their way and do something like this while dealing with a post-operative infant and his two sisters was just so kind and generous. I do love my job, though like anyone, there are days when it's frustrating, hard, annoying, etc. This gesture has made me realize even more that parents and patients do appreciate our care.

On a harder note, B found out today that he did not get the job he had interviewed for. We are both quite upset/sad about this as we had really hoped for this job and the move that would come with the job. Hopefully this will lead us to better things, but it's so hard not to be disappointed. I've been praying a lot for guidance in this new phase of our lives and had thought this was the right move as there was even an open job for me in the same town, but apparently it wasn't. If you have room on your prayer list and can add us to it, I'd certainly appreciate prayers for guidance and patience over the next few months!!

Sweet Tea Diaries Giveaway

She is giving away a Tucker Blair headband. I've been drooling over these headbands forever, so I know some of you must feel the same way. All of the polkadot ones are too cute and the lobster one is perfect for all the summer events coming our way. Can't you just imagine it with a white sundress on the 4th of July? I have fantastic needlepoint lobster sandals that I wear every year to a lobster bake we attend, and I get SO many compliments. You can check them out for yourselves here. Head over there and enter. She's also doing an "Entertaining Lilly Style" giveaway for her birthday month. I'm sure you'll all want a piece of that!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

AI awesomeness

Honestly, his Ring of Fire was weird, but, tonight, Adam Lambert rocked that stage. B and I have both put him in our top 3, and I'm calling it early- he'll win!! Anyone out there agree with me???

(Rounding out the top three are Danny Goeke and Matt Giraurd, but Lil Rounds could be there.)

I finished last night......

It was great! I know Erin is finishing it now, and TCP has already read it. Did anyone else read it and like it (or dislike it?)? I'd love to know how much of the story was actually from Laura Bush's real life and how much was just Curtis Sittenfeld's liberties.

I'm now onto Jodi Picoult's newest. She's definitely in my top 5 for authors, so it's no surprise that just a few chapters in, I'm already hooked and loving it. If you haven't read any of her books before and want to, let me know, and I'll fill you in on my favorites. There are a few (okay, two) that aren't worth reading (in my opinion). I really like all the others, but a few stand out over all. The twists and turns will keep you on the edge of your seat and the emotions of the family members will tug at your heartstrings!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

570 Hours

Today, I met a huge goal in my life. HUGE! I completed all 570 hours of clinical time needed for graduation from my pediatric nurse practitioner program. I have a few more assignments to finish up before the end of April, but I no longer have to work an "extra" job. I had a hard time believing this day would ever come when I started my masters program in September of 06. While I don't claim to know everything (or even close), I do know that I have learned an incredible amount and am ready to forge into this new profession. I really, really hope that I can help babies, children, and their families to be the healthiest they can be!!

Smaller update: We haven't heard anything yet about the job that B interviewed for; we knew we wouldn't for at least two weeks. The good news is that there is a PNP job in the area that I would love to do. I'm working on my resume now and hope to apply early next week. I was really nervous about finding a job in this economy (even in healthcare), but seeing this open up has given me a little confidence! I'll keep you all updated as soon as we know anything...........

Monday, March 23, 2009

Full weekend

B and I had a great weekend, mostly because the weather was gorgeous here, and there are starting to be signs of spring. (I will not let myself think about this coming weekend in which there is predicted SNOW!)

Saturday morning we were up early and ran 5 miles. Longest run to date! We did it in 49:21, so just slightly faster than my normal 10 min mile. After running, we came home, got ready, and went to the Chicago History Museum. The two premier exhibits were on Abraham Lincoln and Chic Chicago. Fashonistas, Chic Chicago is a must. There were so many gorgeous dresses with information on the designer, the dress, which Chicago socialite wore it, and which event it was worn to. Chanel, James, Versace, Donnna Karen, Armani, Karl Lagerfeld as well as many more were featured. Pictures were not allowed (bummer), so I have nothing to show you! The exhibit runs through July, so if you live here or are coming in for a visit, go! B wasn't huge on the fashion exhibit, but there was so much else there to see, we ended up staying for two hours. Then, we headed out for lunch at a Senagalese restaurant we had heard good things about (it was okay) and went to get some new running shoes for me. After being out and about all day, we came home to make an amazing dinner (longer post with recipes later), drank a bottle of wine, and headed to my cousin's to hang out with him and his friends. It was a ball, and we ended up being out until 1:30 in the morning. We knew a few people there, but the rest were so sweet and so much fun, we just couldn't tear ourselves away.

Sunday B slept in (a rarite around our house), I tried to finish American Wife (almost done), and we went to brunch here. Our neighborhood was so busy because of the weather. I saw tons of flip-flops; so exciting! We went back home, opened all the windows, and started a major deep clean. Every surface was dusted (including under the bed), cleaned, vaccuumed, polished, etc. We did 7 loads of laundry including the quilt, the mattress pad, etc. Our apt looks amazing now, and I feel ready for spring!! We used our stovetop smoker last night to make brisket with coleslaw, corn pudding, and cornbread. It was so yummy. I'm so glad B convinced me to register for the smoker. It's awesome!

Today we're back at work with the rest of the world. I'm so thankful for our weekend together, for the wonderful weather, and for the motivation to cook good meals and deep clean. What were you thankful for this weekend??

Friday, March 20, 2009

Kentucky Derby Finery

One of my goals in life is to attend the Derby. I mean, who wouldn't want to dress up, wear a cute hat, sip on drinks all afternoon, and perhaps win a few dollars? We'll see if it ever happens, but in the meantime, I'll dream about fun hats to wear!!

Found here

Found here

Both found here

Two of my close friends attended the Derby last year and posted this pic with the rest of their pictures. K said it was by far the largest hat they saw. Can you imagine walking around with this on all day! It would be hard to get through doorways for sure! But she definitely pulled off getting a lot of attention!!

I need a reason to wear this hat!

This gorgeous inspiration board is from Snippet and Ink. See the white hat on the right side??? I'm slightly obsessed. I have a two garden weddings this summer along with a backyard wedding, but I'm not sure I could pull it off as Americans, in general, just aren't hat people. This one is slightly over the top as well, so if no one else is in a hat, it might be too much. Europafox, can I come to a wedding on the other side of the pond with you? I'd be happy to buy this hat for the occasion!

Anyone have any other (perhaps slightly smaller) works of millinery that I can peruse while I'm dreaming? Also, is anyone out there planning a yellow and white wedding? We debated on navy and yellow for awhile, and I still think it would have been just gorgeous!

Friday giveaway!!

Mrs. Southern Belle is hosting a fantastic giveaway- one of her handpainted signs! This would look fantastic in a foyer, kitchen, or family room. Black always helps to ground a room, and cream is an easy neutral, so it's sure to work for anyone out there. Head on over and enter, ladies!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Gorgeous monograms

I found this site the other day and started drooling. These monograms are simply gorgeous. They're creative as well, not just the standards you'll see at most places. I've highlighted a few below that particularly caught my eye. She will set up a registry for those who are interested. Linen handtowels, high threadcount sheets, maybe even a slipcovered headboard?? Imagine the possibilities!!

My favorite of all!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wine for the weekend

For B's birthday, we went to a Lebanese restaurant that was BYOB. I went to Binny's to get some help selecting some wine for the meal. B and I love champagne, so I knew I wanted to start the meal with a champagne toast. Since it was just 7 of us for dinner, I only bought one bottle. Boy am I glad I got the bottle I did. It's a Spanish Cava (it anticipation of our honeymoon), pretty dry (read: not super sweet), and really wonderful. Not only did we really like it, but it also gets really good reviews. You can read a
review of the cava here.

The other bottle the wine connoisseur recommended was Petalos. Ladies, if you love reds, buy this bottle and try it!! It was around $20, and it was amazing. He told me it would work the best with any middle eastern, Greek, or Spanish food as it is a product of Spain. My bestie's husband is a huge wine drinker and definitely has a strong opinion about wine, and he loved it as much as the rest of us did. There's a discount by the case at Binny's, and I've thought about going back for a case of it. An online review of Petalos can be found here. I also am quite impressed by the label and think it's completely dinner party appropriate. The pic above isn't the greatest (it's so small), but it looks to be a hand painted watercolor.

I'd love to hear about it if any of you try either of these. Do you have any champagne recs for us?? Is anyone out there as in love with champagne as I am??

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I'm really doing it!

Well, it's official!! I'm running my first 10K on April 18th. Wow. The training is going well (read: I haven't died yet and I haven't skipped a run), so I'm hoping I'll finish without walking! Anyone want to join B and I???

An Etsy find for the four legged kind

Aren't these adorable?? I found them awhile ago on Etsy and just ordered one for my brother's dog Bella yesterday. I ordered her the blue and white seersucker with the white gardenia, though I also love the other two I have above! They're just so summery and perfectly preppy!! Her shop is here, and her blog is here. Check them out for yourselves and outfit your dog in sheer cuteness!! Oh, she'll also make custom leashes to match if you want one. Trust me when I say that the minute we adopt our own little pup, I'll be ordering another of these!!

Miss Bella

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I hope you all have on a touch of green this a.m. I am wearing a green cable knit sweater to clinic today. It'll have to come off the minute I get home because it is supposed to be 72 (!!!!!!!) degrees here today!!! Yea!!! Today is supposed to be my short run (2 miles) but I'm going to do the three mile run instead since it'll be so nice out. I can't wait! I have a few other errands to run this afternoon as well. It's amazing how many people come out of the woodwork when it is nice out, plus it's St. Patty's Day, so the streets are going to be crawling with people here in Chi town.

Also, the wonderful weather guy just told me that Sat is supposed to be 56 and sunny. A few days ago was saying rain and 40s, so this is a huge improvement. Blair and I will both be home all day as he'll be back from Dallas and I don't have to work---I'm so happy it'll be nice out so that we can spend the day together outside!!!

Hope the weather is just as beautiful today where you live!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Help with color for monogram

Stopped in for a very quick Old Navy trip yesterday since I had the 30% off coupon plus 15 extra minutes before work began. I picked up an adorable white dress (can't find a pic on their website) as well as two spring cardigans. I needed a new white one, which I am going to keep plain so that it matches everything, and this adorable yellow one was calling my name. It's actually brighter and darker in person than it is showing up here. More like the citron color from JCrew. I really want to have the yellow monogrammed but am not sure which color to use for it. Originally I thought navy, but I know I'd wear it with black pants just as often. Do I stick with white so it's more versital? Any other ideas? I bought a ruffle cardi this winter in gray and am going to monogram it in hot pink. One of my friends is just starting her own monogram company, so I'm going to have her do these for me!

Please help me decide!!

PS- I have a great monogram post coming up- fantastic finds and very cool, very different designs!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Weekend updates

I had to work on Friday while B was at his interview. He was able to pick me up from work and have a quick dinner (pasta with pesto--mmmmmmmmmm) before heading out to a going away party. From his perspective the interview went very well, and he is very anxious to hear back from them. The man who would be his boss said that it would be "a few weeks" before B would hear anything, so we are in a holding pattern for now. He is sending out a few other resumes this week to see what else is out there. I'm just so happy that he came home feeling successful. He had definitely prepared well and worked hard to make sure he would be considered one of the best candidates. We'll see what happens from here!!!

Saturday I worked all day (7-7:30), so B submitted his (last) paper for his last graduate class and then went to a St. Patrick's Day party hosted by a friend of ours. He had a great time hanging out with friends and drinking beer in the afternoon (always fun!). He was home by the time I walked in the door, so we walked down the street to a Mexican restaurant for a quick dinner. I hadn't been out for Mexican in forever, and it totally hit the spot.

Sunday morning we woke up at 8 (oh how I love to sleep in!), got organized, and went for a 4.5 mile run. My longest ever! Per Hal Higdon's training plan, this was another 4 mile run, but I knew I was ready for something slightly longer. I probably could have done 5 today as it was beautiful out! I felt really good throughout the run, and I have officially decided to sign up for the race on April 18th. 10K here I come! I loved having B to run with this a.m. as we don't often work out together. I feel sort of bad making him run with me as he is quite a bit faster than I am, but he is such a great support system and totally kept me going today! After the run, we got ready and went to a local shelter to look at dogs. We have been wanting one for quite a while but knew that we didn't have the time necessary to be good dog owners. Now that we are both finished with school (well, almost!) and preparing for a house, we feel that we are ready and able to take on the responsibility. We were able to view quite a few dogs but we played with and walked just two of them. One is a lab/mastiff mix- huge, full of energy, and incredibly beautful. The other was an abondoned hound (coonhound?)- so skinny with no training whatsoever. Boy does he need some love!! We had to leave today because I had to work at 3 p.m., but it did give us some great insight into what we do truly want. Have any of you adopted a dog that wasn't a puppy? Any pros/cons for us? It's just so easy for the puppies to be adopted, and I feel badly for the 2 year olds that no one wants. I'd love to hear any information or advice. B and I both grew up with dogs, but this would be our first foray into training one ourselves. Is it significantly harder if they are out of the puppy stage?

While I was at work this afternoon, B had to leave for Dallas again. Luckily this is a short week, and he'll be home Wed night with no foreseeable travel in the future. I have to work long days Mon and Wed, and Tues I have clinic, a run, and homework to do, so I will stay plenty busy while he is gone. Once he gets back, we're going to his favorite running store to find me some new shoes. I don't like the Asics I am currently running in as I'm starting to feel it in my knees. So, we'll go and I'll be evaluated by the experts to see what I should be running in. I'd be surprised if it isn't Sauconys as I have always felt they fit my feet the best.

I'm off to catch some z's. This girly is tired! Can't wait to catch up with you all tomorrow!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Since B is interviewing today.....

Because I adore looking at houses, I went to the local realty website of the area he is interviewing in and started searching. Here are a few pics of a house that is in our price range, in a great school district, and completely adorable!! It's also over 100 years old- fabulous!

front of house
one view of kitchen
master bedroom
another view of master
mud room entrance
dining room
formal living room
family room (there's a wood burning stove in here as well) foyer/entry room- isn't the fireplace gorgeous?
side view of house

Goodness it's fun to dream and think about the future!! Happy Friday everyone!

PS- Thank you girls for all your wonderful Lilly updates. I loved watching the show and seeing Hopsy speak!! So much fun. I've loved looking at the pics too! I'm also definitely jealous of the gift bags. So awesome!!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Another Monday Giveaway

Ashley is hosting a Swoozies giveaway until March 11th. They have such fun notecards, stationary, pens, and personalized gifts, I'm sure anything received in the surprise package would be adorable!! These below are so cute and would be great for summer correspondence or thank you notes!!

Gorgeous necklace giveaway

Head on over to Kristin Pearce's blog to see the gorgeous necklace she is giving away. Then visit her etsy shop and find something new for spring!! It looks like her new website will be up soon. Hopefully we'll be able to buy some of the adorable stone bracelets or the bright necklaces with the sparkly clasps!