Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It's About Time To Announce...

Seeing as I'm 25 weeks I figure it's high time to announce that we're officially expecting our first child, due at the beginning of February. I waited so long partly for superstitious reasons and partly because I've just been so busy spending every waking (and sleeping) hour thinking baby. It's overwhelming in a good way.

To kick off my many more baby posts to come, I thought I would start by divulging my initial symptoms. The ones that clued me in on the fact that I may be pregnant.

You might be pregnant if...
  1. Your dreams are so vivid you wake up in tears, furious with someone, or thinking something actually happened when it didn't
  2. You cry when the guy at Taco Bell gets your order wrong and you don't realize till you get home and it's too late (don't judge my occasional lapses in healthy eating)
  3. You cry while watching fireworks
  4. You cry while watching the Olympics
  5. You cry while watching Kendra, the uber-educational, emotional reality show
  6. You cry because you don't want your dog to die ... because eventually she will...even though she's only 4
  7. You cry because your hubby doesn't think your crying is rational
  8. You cry because you haven't cried in a while
  9. You find yourself hysterically crying and laughing at the same time because you realize how ridiculous your crying really is (noticing a theme)
  10. At dinner time you can't tell if you're hungry, full, have to go to the bathroom, or need to throw up (made for an interesting night out)
  11. You go to the bathroom more in one day than your hubby goes all week (no joke)
  12. You're anxious about everything and nothing and can't make a simple decision to save your life
Legitimately, those were all my early warning signs. I've been really lucky to have absolutely no morning sickness whatsoever though (aside from #10, which wasn't really morning sickness as much as it was indecisiveness), so I'll take the above symptoms any day. My main, overarching symptom that has become the theme of this pregnancy is my incessant need to go to the bathroom. It's really bad. I should own stock in Charmin and I have definitely gotten to know the ins and outs of stopping at public places. Yet, I've been told this is still way better than morning sickness. The jury's still out on that one.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

In The End...

Okay, so I'm admittedly stealing this (in pieces) from The Vampire Diaries, my guilty pleasure, but it hits home. Despite all the positivity I can gleam out of my dad's life and even the way he died, I still have moments of despair resulting from his early passing. Moments where it feels like all is for not and I'm being dumb for filling my thoughts with a hope that just doesn't matter. They don't last long, but they are there, waiting for me in my darker hours.

"Like lighting a candle's going to make everything OK, or even saying a prayer... Stupid, delusional, exasperating...'It makes you feel better'. So what? For how long? A minute, a day? What difference does it make? Because in the end, when you lose somebody, every candle, every prayer is not going to make up for the fact that the only thing you have left is a hole in your life where that somebody that you cared about used to be. And a rock with a birthday carved into it..."

I can usually push passed it, but sometimes it's there.

Surprisingly, and fittingly, my dad is the one who helps me out of them.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Baking Tip

Tip #5 - This isn't so much a baking tip as it is a cake eating tip, but you get the gist...

The minute you cut into a cake, its shelf-life quickly begins to diminish. Especially if it is not stored in an air tight container, but rather the box it comes in from the baker. One of the more noticeable changes is the hardening of the exposed edges.

Placing a paper towel over the insides of the cake will help keep it moist until you're ready to dive in for seconds - and save you from having to cut off and toss valuable portions of cake.

Similarly, before you cut into a cake for the first time, placing a damp paper towel in the box can help provide moisturizing freshness until you're ready to eat.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Kitchen Renovations - Before and After

This post is long overdue, but I love the renovation so much that I don't care how old it may be, I'm still posting. It's been over a year since we renovated our kitchen, but I love the transformation. Since it's long been established that I'm into the natural, stone decorating way of doing things (Colorado-style), it should be no surprise we took this renovation in that direction as well. One of my favorite decorating ideas to date was the decision to put backsplash not only below the cabinets, but above them as well. You would not believe the flack I got from actual decorators and suppliers who thought it was a terrible idea. But the only person I actually had to convince was Mr. W. And believe me, it took a lot of convincing. However, as you will see, I won that argument. In the end he not only loved it, but insisted we install backsplash on the TV wall as well. Below are the photos of the complete renovation process.


Selected Materials
Granite - It's so pretty in the shop that I wanted them to keep that rough 
edge upon installation. Apparently it's not a safe choice for when you have 
kids and your clothes will totally rip and tear if you rub against it. But it's so pretty!


Interestingly enough, the hubby and I agreed 100% on the 
granite and backsplash. For once!

The paint choice wasn't as easy to decide upon, but I liked the Merlot idea b/c it would highlight the lighter backsplash and granite really well. I also liked it because throughout the granite there are trails of a Merlot color. The actual paint we chose was Sherwin-Williams - Blackberry.

During The Renovation
Ripping out the old backsplash


Granite installation

The granite company had an extra square of granite that they gave us and 
we now use as a pot holder/heating pad of sorts on our dining room buffet table. 
It protects the wood from any hot dishes we are serving.

Love the sinks! 60/40. 60 is 10" deep and 40 is 8" deep.

My favorite feature though would be the touch faucet. 
As in dirty hands, no worries, just touch anywhere on the faucet with your hands!

Because I wanted counter to ceiling stone backsplash (and not granite backsplash) 
we took off the granite backsplash seen here:

At first they gave us the wrong backsplash. It was tinted pink, and 
clearly did not match the granite. Yet they insisted it was the right color.

After about 2 months of going back and forth they FINALLY 
realized the boxes were labeled wrong and gave us the right material.

Almost done installing backsplash under the cabinets.


It took three coats of Blackberry Sherwin Williams paint to get the dark 
Merlot color we wanted. It started out looking pink, then purple, then Merlot!

The Finished Product
Gotta have my television. Helps pass the 8+ hours I spend making each cake!

See what I mean about the backsplash? It appears as though the
whole wall is rock and the cabinets were mounted on top of them.

Now we just have to work on updating those floors.
There's always something, I tell ya!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I Still Miss Him

It's officially been two years since my dad suddenly left. The pain I feel is the price I have to pay for having the best dad ever and for loving him as much as I do. It is worth the price. When he died I never thought life would get better. I never thought it could really be fun again, but I was wrong. Even in death he has made it fun again. I still take the time to stop and watch thunderstorms. I still turn the volume up way too loud when the Stones come on and sometimes, just sometimes I make it through an entire song without crying. Okay, rarely. I still make a big deal out of the smallest things. I pull off the the road to enjoy good sunsets. I dance for no reason. I have fun, but I still miss him.

The sign of a good parent is that, once they're gone, you can go on without them - even though you would rather not. You go on not only because they've taught you independence, but because they've let you know that you should go on. They would want you to go on. Not to just exist, but to thrive and make a difference. Only after his death did I realize that aside from providing us an amazing family life, his main goal was to make sure we would be fine without him. He truly lived to make sure our life was amazing - with or without him. He prepared me for that moment when he wouldn't be available. But I still wish he was here.

So this past year I've been moving on, but with him. He's still a part of my life. With his prior help I've created a new relationship with him. I can honestly say there hasn't been one day in the past two years that I haven't thought about him. There hasn't been one full week where he hasn't been in my dreams. And while there hasn't been one week that I haven't cried because I miss him, there also hasn't been one day that I didn't smile thinking about him. But oh my God I still miss him.

My dreams sustain me. Last Thursday I dreamt that he called my mom and I via a three way phone call from heaven (he was obsessed with three-way calling people) using a payphone at a very busy train station. He didn't know how long the call would last or when he would be able to call next because he was still figuring out the phone allowances/policies in heaven, like he was just arriving. The purpose of his call was to tell us we were being ridiculous and needed to stop worrying about him. He could see and hear everything, but knew that we could not. That's why he would try and call as often as possible, but he was fine and our family was still intact. He was just the invisible family member. I don't know what I would do without these frequent "meetings" with him. But even with them I still miss him.

My main goal for today is to remind everyone how brief and unguaranteed life really is. That next phone call could be the one that ruins your life. So take a few moments right now to tell your family how much you love them AND how much you would miss them if they were gone. As sappy and uncomfortable as you may feel doing so, it is the one thing you would regret not doing if they were gone tomorrow. That is the best way you can help me make today meaningful, because otherwise its just the anniversary of the worst day of my life.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Happy Birthday Dad!!!

The hubby and I recently celebrated my dad's birthday with the essential German Chocolate Cake, which, ironically, neither of us really like. Unfortunately, the cake was store bought this year, so obviously not as good as last year, because I knew I would have no time for homemade. The evening before his bday I took an Old Fashioned Pie Making class at our local cooking school (so fun) and the evening of his bday I was busy making food for a friend's baby shower that was taking place the next day. I topped the cake with one regular candle surrounded by several sparklers for fun.

My wish? The same one I made last year: "To have my dad back." As unrealistic as it may be, that will ALWAYS be my wish every year as I blow out his birthday candles. Nothing else seems as appropriate or important. It is, after all, a wish for him. And I'm in charge of making it so I can wish for what I want.

The hubby made me breakdown even further when he pulled out a six-pack of Becks, dad's favorite beer, to help celebrate. He totally would have approved! (the label on the bottle was rather ironic, considering.)


Friday, June 22, 2012

Lebron James - Far From Redemption

At the risk of sounded like a Cleveland fan...
I read an interesting article the other day about Lebron. I recommend reading the whole thing HERE, but for a quick summary:
“This guy is so crazy talented he will eventually win a championship. And when he does, people will say he redeemed himself. All he really will have done is won a championship. Redemption requires Cleveland, and that road is forever closed.

LeBron is not a villain. He is probably not even a bad guy. He is just not what he could have been had he seen it through in Cleveland.”

That sums it up. Cleveland rant over.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Happy Father's Day

I'm a bit late b/c I was having issues posting last night, but...

Happy Father's Day to every amazing dad out there. You are more important than you may ever know. I still rely on the advice I learned from mine to get me through each day. From the serious, practical lessons to the better, more important life lessons. He taught me how to be financially responsible, how to do my taxes, and how to negotiate and end up on the better end of the deal. I learned from him that your word is everything and your reputation is all you really have. He taught me that before you learn how to drive you have to learn how to change a tire.

]But my dad also taught me that the only band worth destroying your ear drums over is the Rolling Stones, and as this picture depicts, he taught me that you're never too old to still be a kid with your kids. So here's to you, my Peter Pan. Happy Father's Day Dad.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pippa Middleton Outshines the Duchess of Cambridge Yet Again

What is it about Pippa Middleton that has us all in awe of her ability to outshine her sister Kate? She's done it yet again by wearing the now doubly famous Issa silk-jersey "Forever" dress, which retails for $555. Remember, Kate originally wore the exact same dress in a royal blue color when she and William announced their engagement. Of course, the blue Sapphire engagement ring is the ultimate accessory, but I still think the red floral fascinator Pippa wore really sealed the deal. Am I the only one? Who do you think wore it best?

Love that fascinator!
Kate definitely looked flawless, but it was a safe choice

A side-by-side comparison

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

NEO Homemade - Clagett Designs


I love finding small companies with great products as a replacement for mass-produced items from national chain stores. Especially when they're made by local, homegrown talents. We all know it's hard for these smaller companies to compete so they need all the promoting they can get. For this reason I'm starting a NEO Homemade "column", which may eventually expand to include Denver-Boulder area talents.

For my first Snapshot I'd like to introduce you to Katie Grabner who, within the past year, has turned an idea into a full-blown company - Clagett Designs. Katie works out of her in-home studio in Chagrin Falls, OH, creating jewelry that she sells both online and at trunk shows.

I was recently invited to my first show and finally got to see her jewelry in person. I loved the night from the get-go. Not often enough do i get to indulge in a true, proper ladies night where you get to dress up, enjoy a glass of wine and meet a new group of women. I love that Katie provides such a comfortable, creative setting that fosters this environment. Great for a fun night out and I totally recommend bringing friends and grabbing dinner afterwards.

On to the jewelry. LOVED IT! Her collection consists of classy, timeless pieces that can both accompany a cocktail dress for a night out or dress up a casual pair of jeans for everyday wear. Each piece demonstrates the quality of craftsmanship that Katie prides herself. Plus, there's something for every price range from pendant earrings for $12 to a multi-strand pearl and gold necklace for $350. I splurged on four items myself and was very impressed with how well each piece was made. They just feel like good, solid pieces that will last a lifetime.

My favorite part: Katie has a knack for creating pieces that cross generational gaps, appealing to both younger and older women. Several times throughout the night I overheard mother-daughter pairs agreeing on pieces they could buy together and periodically trade off - expanding their jewelry collection.

For all you creatives: If you have a concept in mind, she can help you create your very own, one-of-a-kind piece.

My prediction: Katie will go far and her designs will soon become well-known across Northeast Ohio. Check out her website,, to learn more about Katie and to check out her work.

Chunky necklaces
Dainty Necklaces
Trunk Show Showroom - So Classy!
My original three choices - gold dangle leaf earrings, four strand matted gold link bracelet, and a brushed silver metal link bracelet
As I was making my purchases I came across this gorgeous set of earrings, which pair gold flowers with blue faceted stones. Sold, at the last minute!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Gamecocks Droid Drop

Last weekend the Mr. and I took a road trip down to South Carolina where is cousin was graduating from the University of South Carolina. The 9.5 hour drive, both ways, with the in laws was essentially painless. Especially since I was enthralled in 50 Shades of Grey most of the way. Below are a few pics of our trip...

He can drive me anywhere :)
Charleston, WV
Perfect road trip music!
I really should be living beach side. That fits my personality well.
Again, I should live in a southern, coastal town!
The Sheraton in downton Columbia.
It was a pretty, historic building, but the service was under par.
Riding in relaxing style with amazing shuttle service from Signature Transportation.
DEFINITELY check them out! Their whole staff is awesome!

"G" giving her speech for the honors graduation event
That's right. Tacos and Sushi. Mexican goes well with Japanese cuisine, right?
Lookin' good as we tour the campus
Random cute flowers
Relaxing in the "horseshoe" area of campus
I love southern trees!
This was only 1/2 of the graduating class
G as she graduates!
You can hardly see her, but she's raising the roof.
Greek village at USC is sooo much better than at DU.
The houses are gorgeous. Very southern.
Me, representing Tri Delta. Wa-what!
A great sushi restaurant (with super-cute waiters).
Definitely stop in next time you're at USC.
Of course, an amazing, huge full moon on the last night.
Driving back home. Ah, mountains. I am in love with you!!!
I don't discriminate, as long as you're a mountain, not a hill