Monday, June 29, 2009

Easy summer dishes (that are so, so good!)

This recipe is my current favorite. I could make this salad for dinner and then proceed to take it every day for lunch. It's light, refreshing, and very clean. I also love it because it can be made in advance, and it travels well. It's a great dish to take to new parents, an outdoor bbq, or to an outdoor music venue (ahhhh, Ravinia). Really, truly, you all should be making this next week!

Italian Rice Salad
3 cups cooked, slightly warm basmati rice (please use basmati, Jasmine and regular just aren't as good!)
1 cup chopped red, green or orange sweet pepper (we use 1.5 cups of red and orange to add color)
1 6 oz jar quartered marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup raisins (we left these out as they just don't feel right to me!)
2 tbsps drained capers
Organic mixed salad greens (mesculan or torn romaine)
Fresh basil leaves
Garlic Vinagrette (recipe follows)

1. Prepare the garlic vinagrette, set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine rice, sweet pepper, artichokes, red onion, raisins, and capers. Stir vinagrette and drizzle over rice mixture; toss gently to coat. Cover and chill for at least 1 hr or up to 24 hours. Serve rice salad on a bed of salad greens. Garnish with basil.

Garlic Vinagrette
In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 c canola or safflower oil (we used veggie), 1/3 c snipped Italian flat-leaf parsley, 1/4 c white wine vinegar, 3 tablespoons fresh dill, 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp ground black pepper, 1 tsp fresh basil, 1 tsp fresh oregano (or 1/4 tsp dried oregano), and 2 cloves of garlic minced. Use vinagrette immediatly or cover and store in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

From Midwest Living, April 2009

This is really not a recipe. Just kind of a throw-it-all-together-to-your-liking type of dish. Our friend made it for us two years ago, and it has definitely become a summer staple for us!
Caprese Pasta Salad
1 box spiral pasta (whole wheat works well)
Fresh tomatoes (best from your backyard or farmer's market!)
Mozzerella (fresh)
Olive Oil
Balsalmic Vinegar (buy the best you can afford- it gets more flavorful and more concentrated!)

We cook up the box of pasta, cool it a bit, and add a little olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking together. We then chop the tomatoes pretty coarsely, snip the basil, and cube the mozzerella. Add all three of those to the pasta and then slowly add balsalmic. We end up adding quite a bit, but we adore balsalmic in my house! Pretty much this recipe is all to taste (and boy does it taste good!). Truly, just trust your own judgement.

I wouldn't make a ton of this expecting the leftovers to last you all week (like I do with the rice salad). It really doesn't do well for more than one day after it is made- Definitely better fresh or the next day for lunch.

Hope these help you with some of your summer entertaining!!

More pics from the weekend

Sunday after the dog beach, the four of us went downtown to show G and N Millennium Park and walk around downtown for awhile. N was in the market for a new dress, so we shopped for awhile which was so fun for me (and the boys didn't complain!). We were home around 5, took the dogs out for a neighborhood stroll, and just chillaxed before going to dinner. We went to a great neighborhood restaurant (Dunlay's on Clark)- very yummy. These are a few pics we took in our backyard before leaving.

B and I

G and N

G and I

G and N didn't end up leaving until Monday morning, so early Monday we all went to the dog park together to tire Bella out for the trip home. All in all it was a very successful, fun, relaxing, busy weekend, and I loved it all!

Fun at the Dog Beach (AKA: Junie B is a wimp!)

My brother and his GF arrived on Saturday afternoon with their dog, Bella. We took the dogs on a nice long walk and then finished getting everything ready for the party. Dinner in the backyard was GREAT- recipes soon. It did start raining around 9:30, and since our apt is so tiny, many left earlier than expected which was disappointing.

Sunday we were up nice and early to get the dogs to the dog beach. We met some friends and their dogs there as well. It was Junebug's first trip to the beach, and while she loved the other dogs and being able to run everywhere without the leash, she was completely terrified too ladylike to get her pretty fur all wet and ruin her gorgeous coat. We weren't expecting her to be an Olympic champion ball fetcher like Bella is, but we were hoping for a little bit of frolicking at least! Hopefully exposure will help her a bit. We'll definitely go back this week to see if it helps!

Our dog beach- look at all the people and dogs!!

Junie B checking out the sand

Junebug and I in the water.

Bella swimming

Our friend's dog, Bruce. He is such a cute puppy!! And so tiny compared to our huge baby!

Here you can see how Junie B was trying to have as little of her in the water as possible. She would lift up one of her paws every time she felt the water- funny girl!

This is B trying to explain something to her. I just love how her head is cocked in this pic.

Our friend, Chris, and his dog Roscoe. Roscoe and Bella loved swimming together.

Junebug was trying to get out of the water and instead of running to the shore, she kept backing up further and further into the water. My brother was out there, so he brought her back in. She wouldn't even touch the water after that!

All in all, our first trip to the beach was great fun. We even met a mastiff who was 170 lbs (with about 20 to go!)- what a giant! He was beautiful and oh so calm. Maximus- perfect name, right?

More on the weekend to come.........

Friday, June 26, 2009

Busy as a bee!

1. Tonight we are heading to see Indigo Girls at Ravinia with our friends Pete and Nikole. We are in charge of the food and they are in charge of the wine. I'm marinading the flank steak now for steak sandwiches with horseradish sauce. I just finished making the cream cheese brownies, and the pesto cream cheese dip is ready to go with the cracker and crudites. Our basil is growing like gangbusters, and it's all I can do to stay on top of it! I'm going to make more pesto on Monday (our fourth batch!)

2. Tomorrow morning B needs to get in 8 miles for the marathon training, so I'm going to work out as well. We'll then walk the pup over to the farmer's market for some flowers for the evening.

2. Around two-ish tomorrow my brother, his girlfriend, and his dog arrive for the weekend. I'm so excited to see them.

3. Tomorrow night we're hosting a backyard gathering for about 20 or so people. We're having chicken kabobs, a caprese pasta salad (more basil!), a rice salad (I'll have to post the recipe- it's so good), watermelon, cherry limeade cupcakes, beer, and a signature cocktail. Another couple is bringing an appy for the group. I'll make sure to take pics and post recipes next week. There will also be 3 dogs involved in this endeavor, so it could get completely out of hand. Hmmmmmmm........

4. Sunday we are taking Junebug to the beach for the first time. We'll all go with both the dogs and see how she does. I just don't see her as a swimmer, but with the heat wave we've been having, maybe she'll go in. I'm not sure what we'll do all afternoon, but we'll head out for dinner later in the evening.

I'm prepping all this now as well as reloading iTunes onto my computer (horrid task). I want a new summer playlist, and when my computer crashed last year, I lost all my music (BACK UP YOUR STUFF, PEEPS!). I am now in the process of reloading cds and then will get on to purchasing some newer stuff. This leads me to ask, what songs remind you of summer? I'd love to know. Also, any great workout songs that you are loving right now?

I hope you all have fabulous weekends planned!! Life is good :)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

How I wish I was spending $400

Ah, yes, a beautiful handbag from our darling Kate. Isn't it lovely?

Instead, I just spent the money to pay to take my PNP boards. Not nearly as much fun! I should get the email that I'm allowed to test in the next few days, and then I'll test either next week or the week after the fourth, depending on the testing center's availability. So, studying I am!!

A story that has touched my heart and brought me closer to God

Do you know this story? Do you know this family?

I met Ginny (the mom of baby Eliot) up north long ago. We all adored being friends with Ginny as she was sweet, funny, and had a delicious southern accent which we envied. She wasn't up for the whole summer, usually just 3 or 4 weeks, but those weeks were always so much fun. Her family stopped coming up for awhile, and I haven't seen her in years (10, maybe?). Imagine my suprise when I received a text from the bestie stating that Ginny was going to be on Oprah that day. I had no idea why she would be on tv, but I watched. And sobbed. And sobbed some more. How could God give this remarkable, sweet, Christian woman a child who was not going to live? Why would this happen to her and her husband? And how was it that they were able to get through this? She said words on the show that touched me PROFOUNDLY. More so than any Bible study, devotional, or sermon ever has. She said, "I'll be sad later. I'm going to enjoy every second now." What a lesson for life. Be Sad Later. Don't mourn what you aren't going to have, don't think about how life could be better, don't worry about, and don't fear, tommorrow. Enjoy this moment, this second, this life you are living. It is the BEST life because it is yours. Ginny and Matt were on the Today show yesterday with their lovely daughter, Hazel. They still celebrate Eliot's life, and they still feel that he was sent here from God for a purpose. Their faith, and their marriage, was strengthened though this. They are a huge testament to the words love, devotion, trust, and faith. We should all be so lucky, and we should all strive towards this- true love, faith, devotion and trust- for our husbands, our families, our friends, and, most of all, Our Father.

Ginny is heading to Michigan soon, and I am hoping she will still be there the weekend we will be there for a wedding. I want to catch up on life in general as well as meet her darling daughter and husband and discuss how Eliot has changed so many lives.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jamaican Jerk Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Squash

I made this when my mom and Ralph came down for my graduation. You all MUST try this. It is absolutely fantastic! B loves spicy things, Mom doesn't, and they both really enjoyed it.

1 c. olive oil
1/4 c orange juice
1 bunch parsley (leaves only)
1 bunch cilantro (leaves only)
1 bunch scallions, white and green parts coarsely chopped
2 medium shallots, coarsely chopped (I didn't use these)
1 2 inch piece fresh ginger peeled and coarsely chopped
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp fresh thyme
1/4 c low sodium soy sauce
1/2 habanero or 1 jalapeno, coarsely chopped with seeds
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp all spice

2 pork tenderloins

Place all ingredients (except pork) in blender or food processer and puree until smooth.

Place tenderloins in shallow baking dish and pour 3/4 of the marinade over them. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. Discard the marinade before grilling.

Grill the tenderloins turning 4 times to an internal temp of 145 (use a meat thermometer for perfect grilling results). Use the remaining 1/4 sauce as a dipping sauce for the meat.

Roasted Squash
1 squash (butternut or acorn), peeled, seeded, and cut into cubes
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of cinnamon
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350.

Melt butter. Mix with sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Add cubed squash and toss to coat.

Transfer to rimmed baking sheet. Cover with foil and bake until soft (30-45 min).

Remove foil, continue to bake until squash is golden (about 10 min). Season with salt and pepper. Serve with pork tenderloin.

Maybe you won't want to make this while the heat index is over 90 degrees, but bookmark it and make it this fall when the temperature starts to cool! Since the pork is done on the grill, you can make it this summer and serve it with a cool, crisp green salad and watermelon.

Recipe from Cuisine a Latina.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Welcome to the world, future Lilly lover!

Mom x 2 (now 3) had her baby last night. A darling baby girl. I let her tell you all the details but head on over and wish her well. I'm sure she'd love to hear from you!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

What a weekend!

So, I took all of your advice and my brother's advice and my friend (who's a vet) advice, and we left to go up north Friday afternoon. About 1 1/2 hrs into the drive, guess who pukes again??? Yuppers, Junebug! We had to pull over on the expressway, clean up the back seat (thank goodness I had brought stuff "just in case"), and get her to drink something. She didn't throw up again, but she did spend the rest of the drive coughing and hacking up clear phlegm (which meant I climbed to the back of the car each time to see if it was puke or phlegm and to clean it up). Needless to say, the 6 hr drive was NOT fun.

I dropped B off at the bachelor party and finished the drive to my mom's. Junie B still wouldn't drink much and was coughing all the time. She wouldn't even go into the bedroom to lay down on her bed, instead she settled in on the living room floor. I ended up sleeping on the couch next to her because I was too nervous to leave her. Do I sound like a mom or what??? I slept from about 11-1 ish when she had another coughing fit with tons of phlegm all over the floor (I am so thankful that my mom was so kind about her carpet- I felt SO bad!). She settled down and slept, but I couldn't. Then at 3:30 she coughed up some phlegm that was blood tinged. Of course I totally freaked and woke my mom up to come see it. She was concerned but didn't think I needed to call the emergency vet number. I REALLY couldn't sleep at that point, so at 6 a.m. I called the vet's office and found out they opened at 8. She did the bloody phlegm one more time before we left for the vet's office. Oh, by the way, I'm also sobbing hysterically more than one time throughout the night as I was convinced that she was dying of something. The vet's office got me right in even though I didn't have an appt. I think it was because she was coughing up the same stuff all over their floor and I was crying and snotty myself. I'm sure it was quite a site to see!! The vet tech asked me right away if she was my first pet- obvious???

We got Junebug onto the table and got her all checked out. Guess what was wrong???? Oh yes, just a frickin virus!!! My dog has a cold. Did I feel stupid or what????????? What is so funny/amusing/wrong about this situation is that I always have parents who come in with their first child with similar symptoms and they are as upset as I was and I often pooh pooh their visits. Well, no more! This was a great learning experience for me. Had this been a baby, I would have known that it was just sick and needed some clear liquids and lots of rest, etc. But, since I have little dog experience, I totally freak and become that parent. He said that the puke was probably just because she didn't feel well (yup), the eye drainage was part of the virus, and the coughing and phlegm were the cold. He said it was probably blood tinged due to the fact that she was slightly dehydrated and had been coughing so much her throat became irritated. So, we're now on an eye ointment, robitussin for the cough, and an antibiotic. Viruses aren't affected by the antibiotic (as we all should know), but since she just was in a shelter, he wanted to cover any secondary infection that she could possibly have. The vet didn't make me feel stupid at all, and I felt so glad that I had gone, if only to learn so many things! So, Saturday she got fed chicken and rice soup and saltines all day to make sure her stomach was okay, and today she is totally back to normal! Thank goodness!!!!!!!!!

More weekend update to come but I simply must go to bed. The lack of sleep on Friday night is still affecting me. Tomorrow (Monday) I am at the hospital for a double- 16 hrs total! Hopefully there will be some down time so I can catch up on your weekends. I'll be able to post some pics on Tuesday from Gram's 85th birthday party. Later, ladies!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Rain, Rain

GO AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Seriously, I'm so over Chicago's weather. Hail, rain, thunderstorms???? Blech.

Also, my pup just threw up. It wasn't bloody or foamy- just breakfast. She looks so sad and miserable right now lying on the floor. It's breaking my heart. We're supposed to leave in two hours to go to Michigan, but I'm not sure what to do now. I don't want to be that far from our vet if it's serious. My brother (dog owner extrodinaire) said it's not that big of a deal. He thinks she probably ate something funny (maybe the magazine she chewed up yesterday???) and she's fine to go up with us. I don't know. She's not even responding to all the thunder. If she were a baby, I could totally handle this, but I know nothing about doggie health!! Anybody out there have advice??

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Can I do this?

Have any of you ever upholstered a headboard before? I am in love with this one that I spotted today at Layla's site today.

While I don't love don't love the frames or the prints above the bed (too cluttered for me), I adore the headboard, the pillows, the white framing, etc. The linens we received for our wedding are a pale blue with our monogram, and I would my master to have a similar look to this. B and I have not done much (read: any) with major tools, so this project may be a little much for us, but I'll have to look for a tutorial online just to see. I love it! What do you all think of the headboard? What about the burlap on the walls? Could you pull that off? I don't think I could, but I do like it in this room. I'm just not sure about the texture thing- burlap is so rough! I cannot wait until I can call a place "home" and start nesting. This fall perhaps!!


is my first trip up north for the summer!! We actually haven't been there since Christmas. We're going up because B has a bachelor party at his friend's summer cottage which is in Charlevoix (a neighboring town), and my Gram just turned 85 so we are celebrating her birthday on Saturday night. Many of my friends won't be up yet, but the few that do have darling children that I am so excited to see! We'll get up later Friday night (9ish?) and I'll just hang with my mom. Saturday Gram and I will go on a walk with Junebug, I'll visit with Katie and her kids (I'll take pics because they are beyond precious), perhaps walk around downtown for a bit and then head to my aunt and uncles for the party. I'm hoping Junie B (her new nickname) can handle all the excitement! Sunday I hope to get a run in and see a few more people before we have to leave to come home. It will be such a quick trip for all the driving (6 hrs both ways), but I don't care!! I'm just thrilled we're going!

I'll try to be camera happy and post some pics next week. What are your weekend plans? Fun parties? Weddings? Races? Tball games? The beach? Having a baby (shout out to Momx2)?????? Whatever it entails, may it be wonderful, warm, and full of love!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

An excuse to refinish an old dresser........

How cute is this? Wouldn't these look adorable on a white dresser in a guest room or a nursery? It would add such charm and quaintness to a simple white dresser. If you already own a dresser, it wouldn't be that hard to resurface it, paint it a glossy white, and add these cute knobs! I may just have to try this out.

Totally precious! I'm starting to envision the room now!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


While sightseeing throughout Spain, we happened upon a store called Zara. It's a perfect blend of trendy and simple, chic and urban, young and adult. The prices points vary from cheap (think Old Navy prices) to more expensive classic pieces (more like a Banana or JCrew). I loved it! B was so sweet in allowing me to go into a few in the different cities in order to find the dress I wanted in my size. One I am wearing to a wedding this summer, so you'll get to see lots of pics! Zara has men, women, children, and home. The home stuff was incredible, and I wanted to bring so much of it home with me.

I think the Zara site is difficult to navigate, and you can't order the home stuff online from the states yet (HUGE bummer). But, for those who are fortunate enough, there may just be a Zara store in your town in the US. Funny that I have one not far from me (at Old Orchard Mall in Skokie), and I never knew! I'll definitely be heading out there occasionally to see what the American offerings are! Here is the list of all the American stores! Check it out and let me know if you go!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Our newest addition

Okay, I promise to finish up with our honeymoon pics tomorrow. BTW, thank you SO much for all your comments on the pics of our trip. They have meant the world to me!!

This news is so wonderful, I just can't wait to share it with you all! Today...........................................................

We adopted our very first puppy!!!!!! We met her twice last weekend, had two interviews with the shelter, did a home visit today, and she's finally OURS!!

Please meet Miss Junebug!!

Our first family photo!!

She is 1/2 English Mastiff and 1/2 Neapolitan Mastiff. She's currently 6 months old and 60 lbs. She's huge, ladies! She's going to be about 120 lbs by the time she's full grown. That should be by about 2 1/2 or 3 years. She has an incredibly gorgeous shiny gray coat- pewter would be the word I would use. We met her last weekend at an adoption event, went again on Sunday to visit, went through a huge process this week to show we were interested, and then B was able to get her today while I was at work. She's very sweet and docile and just lovely in every, single way. I'm so crazy about her! We will have some work to do because she doesn't really know how big she is, so she definitely needs training! She already is housebroken (mostly) and knows sit and stay :) Huge, right?? Oh, I wish you all lived near me so that you could meet her. I know you would just L-O-V-E her!! We do have an extra bedroom and love to entertain, so if you all are coming to Chi-town anytime soon, you can just holler!!

Right now B is laying on the floor and she is licking him. This could be the cutest thing ever!!

Mkay- off to bed for this family..............(love saying that word!) See you tomorrow (read about you tomorrow??) Mwah!!!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The end of our vacay................

The rest of our time in Seville was spent

1. Walking around more parks and plazas

2. Visiting the Cathedral (ehhhhh..... I apparently am not a true fan of Gothic architecture as I thought it was way overdone, too ornate, very dark, and not "churchy" enough for me. Can churches feel more or less "churchy" than others? Maybe because the worship area was so small and everything seemed devoted to the shrines all over rather than the point of worship- Jesu! I don't just didn't have the same life and devotion that I felt from La Sagrada Familia.)
From the outside
It was amazingly tall- this pic doesn't do it justice. I totally felt like a tiny mouse in there!

Christopher Columbus's tomb

3. Watching the UAFE championship game Manchester United vs. Barcelona. This was BY FAR one of the best experiences we had. I loved watching the locals get so hyped about their teams. Soccer is amazing, and I wish we Americans appreciated it more. Lots of good looking, sweaty men running around and you can actually see their faces (unlike football and hockey)??? Yes please!!
Can you see how sweaty we were? The bar was seriously wall to wall people and SO hot. Apparently there are no fire marshalls in Spain! There were even people sitting in the windowsills and on top of all the tables.

4. Walking across the river, having a drink at a cafe, and picking up gorgeous pottery pieces! B's parents gave us money for graduation, so we bought four round, blue and white serving pieces as a part of their gift. They're all different patterns but they're similar enough that they go well together!
The view from our riverfront bar.

A beautiful building on the river.

On Friday we took the train up to Madrid from Seville and took a taxi to our hotel. We stayed out at the Hilton which is by the airport. Our original plan was to take their shuttle into town, see the major plaza in Madrid, perhaps go to the Prado, etc. Instead we got to our hotel (it was incredibly modern, swank Hilton for sure. Much nicer than the one in BCN), worked out in the gym for an hour, layed by their super cool pool and just chilled. Since we were in a suite, we had access to the lounge on the 4th floor which had free internet access, heavy snacks out at all time, free drinks from 4-10 (wine, beer, cava, liquors), etc. We ended up playing cards up there for awhile while snacking and even ate dinner at the hotel. While I feel slightly bad that we didn't see Madrid at all, it was wonderful to just hang out and rest on our last vacation day. I think it made the long travel day flying back to the States the next day SO much better!

So, that was our honeymoon in a nutshell! We had a great time and would love to help anyone else who is interested in going to Spain. We definitely feel like we have great recommendations and also things to skip. Thanks to all of those who have read these long posts!! Mwah!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Times, they are a changin'

While we were on our honeymoon, B got an email from a company where he had submitted a resume stating that they would like to interview him for a position. He had the actual interview last Friday (with 5 different people for 45 min each- yikes!), and found out on Monday that he got the job!! He has been in negotiations with them for the past two days, and today he accepted the position! Yea, B!!! This position is a very good one and will provide him with new experiences and a new perspective in his field. He starts there July 6th. The company is in a Chicago suburb that will make his commute much longer, so in the next few months we need to figure out a new living situation, but we are in Chicago for another few years! We had really hoped that a move to Michigan would occur, but with the economy there struggling so much, it just wasn't happening. That's okay, though. We like so many things about Chicago, and this will allow us to continue to enjoy them!

It was amazing to see his face on Monday night when he found out they were offering him the job. He was like a little kid at Disney- so giddy!! He has worked so hard at his current job and did so well in all his graduate classes, and the hard work as paid off!! I'm so, so, so very proud of him, and I can't wait to support him through this next phase in our life together.

Now that we know we will be staying here for awhile, it puts my life a little more into place. It's just up to me to pass my boards and find an advanced practice role as a PNP. I started studying this week- it's not too bad! It takes about 6 weeks for the paperwork to process, so I likely won't be able to take them until the end of June or beginning of July. If any of the Chicago bloggers know a pediatrician who needs a PNP for their office staff, let me know!!

The Alcazar

Once we left Moraira, we headed to Seville for the end of our trip. The drive across southern Spain was one of the most gorgeous things we have ever seen. Lush farms with olive and orange trees everywhere, snowcapped mountains in the distance (yes, snow in Spain- who knew?), tons of countryside fields full of sunflowers, all just incredible. We were jaw dropped the whole trip!!

Our first morning in Spain, we did as our guidebook suggested and went to the Alcazar. I'm going to show you lots of pictures below, none of which do this palace any justice at all. It is a truly gorgeous, enormously expansive buidling which is still used by the King and Queen of Spain when they are visiting the area. There is no separation of indoor and outdoor spaces here. The light is incredible and there are gardens everywhere. There could easily be a semester long class on the architectural elements in the building with a strong focus on the ceilings. I've never seen more incredible work anywhere! Truly, the Alcazar and La Sagrada Familia are why everyone should visit Spain. Add on an amazing dinner in Barcelona and a fantastic lunch in Seville, and you are truly set for a great vacation!

The tile work in Seville is astounding. The yellow and blue combinations were my favorite.

Isn't the light here pretty? It shows off all the details that the Moors created before the Christians took over the building in one of the crusades.

There is no glass in the scrollwork below, so you can see how the indoors and outdoors flow so seemlessly into one another.

Yellow is one of the more dominant colors throughout the Alcazar, including most of the outer walls of the building.

Ceilings are below. The yellow one with the crest is my favorite, but all are so impeccably done that it's amazing!!

Blair in an alcove off one of the bedrooms. The planter pictured here is used throughout the building, and, not only are they huge, they are gorgeous! We wanted to steal one to bring home, but weren't sure how we would have fit it inside a suitcase!

Me inside the Alcazar

The lushness of the gardens.

The top of one of the sides of the building. I can't even begin to describe the layout to you because we got lost a few times throughout our tour!!

I'll end with a shot of our bed in our hotel in Seville. Do you know how excited I was to walk into the hotel and have this adorable pink and green toiled bedding just waiting for me? It couldn't have been more perfect!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Made by Stella

Remember my first giveaway? Well, if you loved Stella's jewelry (as I know many of you did), there is another chance to win a necklace from her! I received a very sweet email from her today letting me know that she was being featured at The Daily Obsession and that there was a giveaway associated with it! Woo Hoo! I already entered, and I would highly recommend you all (y'all?? Can northerners even say this sacred southern word?) enter as well! The link is here! I think you will just adore the necklace they are featuring. Simple, classic, easy to wear, timeless, etc..........

I'm feeling so miserable right now (allergies? swine flu?? just simple exhaustion??) that winning a giveaway would truly put a smile on my face!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Moraira, Spain

Moraira is a darling beach town between Valencia and Alicante on the Mediterranean shore. We were staying in a family friend's house- part of the reason we chose Spain for our honeymoon was to enjoy our time at this house! What we didn't realize, however, is that this town is not Spanish at all. It is a German resort town and is definitely more German than Spanish, in every way. The property manager who let us into the house barely spoke a lick of Spanish, and she lives in Moraira year round! She was able to get across the word "banditos" to us. She kept waving one hand at us and saying "5 min" "5 min, everything gone." Apparently there have been a few breaking and entering problems in the area! We did FREAK out that night when, after coming home from our paella dinner, all the lights we had left on (as she told us to) were all out and the house was pitch dark. I was terrified and had B go in and check the whole first floor while I stayed in the car. We finally realized that the fuses were tripped- then we had to find and deal with a Spanish fuse box in the dark with only my cell phone as a light. Interesting first night to say the least!

The views were gorgeous, I loved cooking dinner with my husband, we enjoyed cava and wine while chatting about our future together, we went on long walks, we got great color, and we thoroughly enjoyed the pool! Below are a few pictures of our days there!!

A picture looking at the house from seaside. You can see the upper level of stairs that takes you to a deck on top of the house. We spent a wonderful evening enjoying drinks up there. Definitely one of my favorite memories.

The town esplanade

The port in Moraira. Gorgeous, no? We loved walking through all the boats (just like we do up north!)

The lighthouse at the end of the rocky pier. Isn't it pretty? Can't you just see it in Maine? Okay, maybe the houses in the background aren't reminiscent of Maine, but the light is perfect!

A beautiful open air bar that sat right on top of the Med.

Dinner at Options- a great English spot in downtown Moraira. Fantastic meal!

My Pimm's No. 1 at Options. It was Pimm's Cup, lemonade, strawberries, cucumbers, and mint. One of the most delicious things ever!

Me with Il Fach in the background (on the left).