Weekending

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween and the official last day of October!! We are officially moving into holiday season and I couldn't be more excited, yet feel so unprepared! I honestly feel like I missed fall this year - it's been so hot and we've been so busy; I only baked 1 pumpkin thing this year!

Anyways, after traveling for the past 2 weekends, we were looking forward to having a weekend at home. Even though we were home, it was packed to the max with parties and getting things ready for my niece's 1st birthday party next weekend. I feel like my list never ends!

Friday, Stephen got home from CA and since he was tired from traveling, we stayed home, cooked dinner and watched Singin' in the Rain (lol! It was fairly good). Saturday, we got up for a volunteer meeting at church before heading over to a friend's baby shower. It was the most beautiful shower and we can't wait for baby Olivia to get here!




This will be hard to follow - the mom-to-be is my SIL, Lauren's brother's wife. So my niece has 2 Aunt Ashley's and we got a kick out of the adorable labels


After we got home, we went to work pressure washing the driveway. Since the day we moved in, we've known our driveway needed some major work and Siena's upcoming party was just enough to make us do it. It was amazing how dirty the driveway and sidewalks were and now they're so bright! Later that evening, I worked on some party decorations while we watched the World Series and FSU game.

Before/During

After - Ignore the giant cracks lol

Before

After - and ignore the overgrown grass lol

Before

After - I'm most excited about how well this turned out and got rid of that giant dark spot

Sunday, our church was celebrating their 20th anniversary so they threw a big service at a nearby park. We volunteered for it and were there until about 3 pm. We had a great time but we were exhausted and needed to get home to finish some projects. We finally finished the final 2 windows and now our whole house has upgraded blinds - goodbye metal ones!! We love them and are so glad it's finally done. 

Before - We actually had vertical blinds in the left window and horizontal, metal blinds in the right window. The vertical blinds had 2 missing panels so our guests had to close the curtains if they didn't want everyone walking by to see them lol 

After!

I hope everyone had a great weekend and enjoys their Halloween! We'll be hanging out outside handing out candy and then walking around to see the "local" haunted houses in the neighborhood. 

Linking up with Biana

Five on Friday

Friday, October 28, 2016

One
How is it that this is the last Friday in October!? I can't get over the fact that we're officially into holiday season and only have 2 months left of 2016! I am so excited for what's ahead - hosting my niece's 1st birthday party, a long weekend to Nashville, TN, heading to my parents for Thanksgiving and of course, everything that comes along with December and Christmas!


Two
A giant picture of my boss's face has been floating around the office and the other day we came in to it taped to one of the Halloween decorations. He keeps joking and saying it's skinny Chris lol!


Three
Stephen's been traveling this week and I'm so glad he's coming home today! However, when Stephen's not home, I'm super productive because I just want to hang out with him when he is home. I switched over our summer/fall clothes, ironed an entire pile of clothes, caught up on This is Us (with lots of tears from this week's episode..) and cleaned up the house some. 

One of the fun things I was able to do was go to happy hour without having to worry about getting home by a certain time. Last night we went to a sushi place for happy hour - sushi and Korean tacos!


I never go out, so it had to be documented

Four
Earlier this week, we got busted by the HOA for taking out 2 pine trees (that could've easily come right through the house) and a dead/diseased holly tree. They forced us to plant 3 more trees so Stephen ran out and grabbed 3 palms - we planted them in the corner of the yard and we actually like them! Guess it didn't end up being too bad of a thing ;)


Five
I'm so excited I was finally able to share an adorable blanket that I made for my best friend who's due with her first baby in a few days! I'm so happy she loved it!


I hope everyone has a great weekend! We have all sorts of things planned - (hopefully) going to a pumpkin patch, carving said pumpkin, a baby shower, a church celebration, planting fall flowers, getting the house cleaned for our niece's birthday party and finally pressure washing our driveway and sidewalks. We'll see how much we get done...






Nashville, TN

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Alright y'all, I need some help! In a few weeks, Stephen and I will be going to Nashville for my cousin's wedding. We will have 1 day to ourselves to tour around before my family meets up with us. I haven't really done much research into the city but I know we want to hit the Draper James store (okay, that's just me), the music area and I'd like to get our picture in front of "I Believe in Nashville" painting.


As a note, every night we'll be doing something family/wedding related so we won't be able to do much nightlife but I would appreciate any lunch/breakfast spots!

Thanks in advance for the advice!!

Linking up with Annie

Weekending - Stephen's 10 Year High School Reunion

Monday, October 24, 2016

To kick off our fun weekend, I came into work and had the sweetest gift from Madison waiting at my desk! How adorable is this pineapple cutting board and cheese cutting knives?


After work on Friday, we headed down to Okeechobee for Stephen's 10 year high school reunion. He's literally been talking about this event for years. I was really excited to have a weekend all about him and for once, going out while we were in Okeechobee. Friday night, we went to the homecoming game at the high school and caught up with a few of his friends before heading over to the local bar. We hung out and caught up with more friends before calling it a late night.


It was so funny seeing all the things that happened in 2007

Saturday, we somewhat slept in, then I helped my MIL make breakfast while Stephen worked in the yard with his dad. After breakfast, it was out to the yard to try to burn some tree debris. My allergies are pretty rough right now, so I stayed inside and took a nap before lunch. After lunch, we got ready and headed out to Stephen's reunion dinner. It ended up being a big hit - over 100 people came! Also, I failed to mention that Stephen's from a very small town and so a lot of his classmates stayed local after high school. It was so much fun meeting everyone he's been talking about for years. Everyone was so nice and inclusive, I had such a fun time! After dinner, they cleared the floor for dancing (no one danced until the older, drunk people showed up lol) and we had a blast dancing the night away!



Stephen won a superlative for coolest job



Sunday we headed to church with his family then out to brunch - I ended up sleeping on the way home (thank goodness for Stephen driving ;)). It was such a fun weekend and to top things off, it finally got cold!! I really hope it sticks around but I have a feeling it won't for long... I hope everyone else had a great weekend as well!

Linking up with Biana

Five on Friday: Guest Blogger Edition

Friday, October 21, 2016

Today I've got a special guest blogger taking over my Five on Friday! One of my friends and faithful blog followers asked if she could guest post today to share her favorite fall things and I was so excited to let her take over for me :) She's been thinking of starting a blog and I'd say, she's well on her way and should definitely start one to document her upcoming marriage! ;)

Say hello to Madison!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

One
Hi! I’ll give you a little info about me first. I’m a senior Industrial Engineering student at the University of Central Florida. It’s been nice having Ashley a few years ahead of me to give advice! I’m an intern at Siemens, and I’ll be starting there full-time in January. I’m engaged to Alec, and we’ll be getting married in the historic, Spanish town of St. Augustine, FL in March. We have two puppies, Alice and Belle, and (if you couldn’t tell from the puppy names) we are huge Disney fans! This is my first blog post, so here we go!

























Two
My favorite season is fall, which is a little ironic since we don’t even have “real” fall in Florida. I do, however, enjoy all things pumpkin/maroon/etc. I’ll be sharing some of my fall favorites today, and I’ll start with a yummy fall recipe. I feel like a lot of foods associated with fall involve pumpkin, but I came across this recipe on Pinterest for One Pan Autumn Chicken Dinner and thought it looked very yummy, easy, healthy, and fall-ish! Win win win win. Here’s the recipe:


Ingredients
4 - 5 (6 - 7 oz) bone-in, skin on chicken thighs
4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp each minced fresh thyme, sage and rosemary, plus more for serving
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large sweet potato (peeled if desired), chopped into 3/4-inch cubes
1 lb Brussels sprouts, sliced into halves
2 fuji apples, cored and sliced into half moons about 3/4-inch thick
2 shallot bulbs, peeled and sliced about 1/4-inch thick
4 slices hickory smoked bacon, chopped into 1-inch pieces
           
Directions
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Pour 2 Tbsp olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic and herbs into a gallon size resealable bag, add chicken, season with salt and pepper then seal bag and massage mixture over chicken while working to evenly distribute herbs. Set aside and let rest while chopping veggies.
Place sweet potato, Brussels sprouts, apples and shallot on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil then toss to evenly coat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread into an even layer then set chicken over veggie/fruit mixture. Sprinkle bacon (separate any pieces that stick together) evenly over veggie/fruit mixture. Roast in preheated oven until chicken and veggies are golden brown, about 30 minutes (chicken should register 165 in center). Broil during last few minutes for a more golden skin on chicken if desired. Sprinkle with more herbs and serve immediately.

I made this the other night, and it was yummy! It made my apartment smell sooo good. Since it has everything all in one dish, I didn’t do a side, but I think next time, I will use butternut squash in the dish instead of sweet potatoes and serve with mashed potatoes on the side. I think I’ll also add a little bit of cinnamon for next time. Definitely a keeper fall recipe!

Three
Another fall favorite is pretending to dress like it’s getting cold! While it’s still in the 80s here in Florida, it’s still fun to wear boots and scarves and maroon sweaters and pretend like we’re in somewhere with real fall! For this part, I enlisted my little sister, Natalie, as a model. This is an outfit we put together for a Florida “fall” transition outfit:

























Her suede tank is from Burlington, the blanket fringe skirt is from LOFT, the booties are from TJMaxx. Unfortunately, none of the exact items are available anymore, but you can find links for similar items below! Her lipstick is called “Persistence” from MAC, and the sunglasses are RayBan (exact item links above as well).

Four
While we’re talking about my sister, she helped me decorate for fall the other day! I have a small apartment, so I don’t have a ton of room to decorate. BUT, she helped me make it look very cozy and festive with some good finds at Goodwill, TJMaxx, Target, and Ross! My favorite part is this “accent” table:


She suggested changing it up every season and making this little table a d├ęcor focal point, which works well with limited space.

Five
For my last fall favorite, I’ll share some non-traditional ways to “carve” pumpkins! I’ve seen a lot lately where people are not actually carving pumpkins, just decorating the outsides. This is good for when you don’t have a good place to make a big mess! Some of my favorites are the donut pumpkins and the emoji pumpkins!


I also think these succulent pumpkin and firefly pumpkin ideas are fun and unusual, and they still require minimum pumpkin guts!


And finally, here’s a little something for Ashley, I heard she is obsessed with likes pineapples….


Thanks for reading my first blog post!

-Madison
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A big thank you to Madison for sharing all things fall today! Y'all know I love that carved pineapple ;)




Go-To Dinner Recipes

Thursday, October 20, 2016

I really try to branch out when it comes to making dinners but a lot of times you have those dishes that are your go-to's. Stephen really likes them, I like them and they're fairly easy to make after a long day at work.

This is Stephen's favorite thing from the crock pot! It's easy to make but requires a few steps on the stove post crock pot. I also skip the pre-browning; I don't notice much of a difference with or without it.

We've only made this once but oh my, it was delicious! We're on a huge roasted brussels sprouts kick and this fits the bill! I will definitely be making it again in the future.

I'm not a huge fan of this dish (I think it's the chicken lol) but Stephen LOVES it! He thinks this is one of the best dishes I make :)

Sorry for the awful picture but I had to include this dish. We discovered this one while we were dating and we love it! It's easy to make, lasts us a few meals and has all the ingredients we love. It doesn't call for meat but we added a can of tuna in it once and it was quite delicious - so now we always include it.

I actually made this during the summer and after eating it, we both agreed it was more of a "fall" dish. I really need to make it again soon because it was SO good!

I recently discovered this recipe and I've made it a few times now (we actually ate this earlier this week). It is so delicious and even though it says creamy, it's really not that creamy. I totally kill the whole 30 and add pasta so it's a fuller dish.

Y'all, after discovering the magic of fresh kale, this has become our go-to salad. I used to buy bagged kale and it is THE WORST - you have to use fresh kale. This salad is so easy and filling! Even Stephen loves it :)

This pasta is so delicious and not like your regular pasta made with a jar of spaghetti sauce. You make your own sauce in the process (takes a little more time for this dish but not much) and it tastes so delicious. We love this dish and add some pre-made meatballs with it to get protein. 

Hopefully this helps anyone in a dinner rut and you enjoy these meals as much as we do! What are some of your go-to meals?

Linking up with Annie