Thursday, May 30, 2013

David Hettinger

I think if Monet lived in our day, the subjects of his paintings would be a lot like these.  David Hettinger is a painter from Illinois and I'm in love with his style.  I saw these two paintings at a gallery in Charleston and fell in love with their intensity of color, Impressionistic brushstrokes and modern subjects.  The first one is titled Pink Pillows and the second Reading and Texting.  Yes, that's right, texting is now a subject in paintings. 

Once I got home, I had to look up more.  These were two of my favorites that I found:

Girl with a Textbook

Autumn Landscape

Beautiful, right?!? Makes me want to pull some paints out and go to town!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013



Every year for our anniversary, instead of exchanging presents, we go on a trip.  It is a tradition I hope we can always keep up, even if it is a staycation.  The last two years, we've gone to DC, but this year we found ourselves wanting to go to Charleston.  So glad we picked it!  We stayed downtown at the Mills House, which is in walking distance of everything.  I loved spending lazy afternoons at the hotel, and I loved not having to ride around trying to find parking (which is all I felt like we did our first time to DC!).  We toured Magnolia Plantation and Gardens.  The weather could not be better, without a drop of humidity in the air.  We spent time at the downtown market and pier, took a dungeons and graveyard ghost tour...and of course, ate a lot of delicious food. Brunch at Poogan's Porch and dinner at 39 Rue de Jean were our favorites! Yes, leave it to us to find a French restaurant in Charleston.  We downloaded the Open Table app, which turned out to be a life saver because we could book all of our lunch and dinner reservations through it, and never had to wait for a table.  

All in all, it was a great trip and we had a blast!

Monday, May 27, 2013

3 Years

This holiday weekend, Wesley and I celebrated our third anniversary.  These are some of my very favorite photos from our wedding.  It almost seems like yesterday we were celebrating with our family and dear friends at Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens.  I loved every minute...just like I've loved every minute of the last three years.  We are so glad to have forever yet to go!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Refinished Kitchen Table


Wesley and I finished our newest masterpiece last night.  We refinished our kitchen table.  I could not be happier with how it turned out!  It took us a good week and a half to get it all done.  There was so much sanding, painting, staining,...and did I mention sanding?  But it was worth every sore muscle and bead of sweat. I love the smooth finished top and the antique vintage feel of the base and chairs.

After all of this hard work, I am so excited to spend a relaxing anniversary weekend in Charleston!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Oreos & Milk

Last night, Wesley got home well past 8 o'clock.  I can only think of two other times that he has been kept at work that late.  A sneaking suspicion tells me, that this will be the first of many this summer.  In hopes of finishing school in December, he is taking 3 classes this summer...which means he is having to take a 2 hour lunch break to go to class every day. And, of course, he makes up those hours by arriving early and leaving late.  I know, best boss in the world to let him do this, right?!?

I've been thinking about life lessons a lot lately, and of all the ones we learned last fall (during the self-inflicted  6 month long night shift job disaster), the knowledge and ability we earned to support each other when life gets challenging {and exhausting} was the most important.  Wesley learned that I need one-on-one time together, long hugs, and the occasional bag of dark chocolate.  On the other hand, I learned that he loves a little alone time to re-charge, watching a good movie at least once a week, and a late night snack of Oreos and milk.  In a wide glass of course, so he can dunk them to his heart's content.

With that being said, it was no surprise that when he got home, looking so tired and having a mountain of probability problems to do, all I could think of was going to the store and picking up some Oreos.
So, I did.

One of my favorite parts of being married is that as we grow, we grow together.  You could say that we grow into the person the other person needs.  I fell so lucky to have married my best friend.. .and I can't imagine spending forever with anyone else.

Linking up with Shanna

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hôtel Château Cléry

It's official...we have book our hotels for our grand adventure in Europe this August!  Now, in the very least, we know how we are getting there {by plane} and where we will be staying {an assortment of fabulous places}.  After our first week in London with my family, we will be off to see a few places Wesley served on his mission: Brussels, then Bergues, and Boulogne-Sur-Mer to name a few. I am beyond excited to explore these places that I fell in love with through the photographs Wesley would send me. We will be staying the night in Boulogne-Sur-Mer in this exquisite chateau: Hôtel Château Cléry.  Of all of the places we have reserved to stay, this one night is probably going to be my doesn't get more French than this!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Vintage Travel Poster Pillows {DIY}

These pillows made the perfect birthday gift for my sister Kelsey.  She is getting her first "own place" in the fall.  We are bequeathing her our black couch and love seat, so I made a few pillows to start her out.  These are double sided, so she can flip them to mix it up. I chose this great soft cream textured fabric for the iron-on transfer side, and a cute cotton print for the back.  These are 16 inch pillows, so a yard of each kind of fabric was plenty to make 3.

Did I mention these are too easy to make?!? 

1. Cut your fabric.  For 16 inch pillows, I cut 17 inch squares.   So whatever size you want, add an inch to each side for the seam allowance.

2. Make the pillowcase.  Line up your fabric face to face, with right sides together and wrongs sides out.  Then pin them together and sew around the entire perimeter, leaving a small opening so you can flip it right side out.  Make sure this opening is at the bottom of your pillow case! 

3. Iron on your masterpiece.  I've got a simple iron transfer tutorial for you {here}.  The vintage posters I found on Etsy at {this shop}.  They so many great digital pictures and quotes that are only $1, easy to download, and you can even request them in colors.  I already have my Christmas pillow line up set!!

4. Finish your pillows.  Once your transfers are on your cases, you can stuff them.  I used pillow stuffing for these, but I have also used pillows that I just wanted recovered, or inserts that you can buy at sewing supply stores.  Once you've stuffed it, fold in the edges of your opening, pin it closed, and then hand stitch it closed. This is why you want the opening at the one needs to know you had to hand stitch anything!

 Verona/Subway Art/Rome

And, you're done!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Garden

We planted our garden over a week ago and have really enjoyed watching it grow!  We seem to get a little better each year. The first year, we tried everything from seeds with no direct sunlight, and of course, we got a few spouts, but nothing grew.  The second year we were in our house so we tried planting them directly into the ground.  Such a bad idea.  Don't do it!  We realized that it was the wrong way to go and then tried to transplant them into raised beds.  We were lucky to get one or two mini squash and tomatoes...and all of the green beans died.  Last year we kept our raised beds, added more manure and compost, and did everything from seedlings.  We had a pretty good crop of tomatoes and squash and zucchini.  We've learned to rotate where we plant, to water frequently, and of course, pick a very sunny location for the beds.

This year we added the fourth small bed for more tomatoes.  We have been starting from seedlings for the past few years, but I really want to move in the direction of starting from seeds, so we designated one bed as an "experiment" to see how it goes. We are trying out roma tomatoes..we'll see how they do compared to the 8 seedlings we bought...romaine lettuce, and green beans.  So far we had only two seed places not sprout.  They seem to be coming in strong!  I can't wait to enjoy fresh veggies soon!!

I also do a potted herb garden on the deck.  They are thriving this year!! I think they loved all of the rain we had.  

Have you ever tried to garden?!?  What have you learned?
Linking up with Shanna 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Pan Fried Chicken & Milk Gravy

When I think of comfort food, this is what I think of first.  There is nothing better to end a long day with one of your favorite meals. Pan fried chicken & milk gravy is so good, especially dishing it up over a creamy bed of mashed potatoes. Even in my college dorm freshman year, I had enough cooking pans to lug to the dorm kitchen and whip this up!  When I find myself craving it, no questions we cancel whatever we were going to have for dinner and have this instead.  This recipe serves 2-4...just depends on how big your appetite is!  I find that one chicken tenderloin is the perfect portion.  Wesley, or course, loves to have two! 

Here is a breakdown of how I make it.  
Full recipe at the bottom of the post!

 First, place the chicken in a freezer ziploc bag and marinate in 1/2 cup of milk for at least 30 minutes.  Get all of the air out of the bag and zip it back up, placing the zipped bag on a cutting board.  Pound each tenderloin out with a meat mallet....or rolling pin..whatever floats your boat.  By keeping it in the bag while you do this, you keep the mess nice and contained.  No one likes chicken bits flying over their kitchen!
Next, mix up the 1/2 cup of flour, salt and pepper and smooth out on a plate.  One by one, dredge the tenderloins in the flour.

Add the floured chicken to a hot skillet (medium-high heat) after melting 1 T of butter.  Since they are thin, they will only need about 2 minutes per side.

 They should be nice and golden brown on the outside!

 When they are done, put them on a plate so that you can make the gravy in the same skillet.  You will want all of those nice, buttery chicken drippings to start the gravy off with.  

 Turn the heat down to medium and add 2 more tablespoons of butter and the 2 tablespoons of flour.   Whisk them together to form a rue.  Cook for 1 minute, then whisk in the chicken broth and milk.  Turn up the heat to high and whisk while the gravy thickens and bubbles up as above. Once it is as thick as you like it, add some pepper, the Worcestershire and hot sauce (a dash each should do!).  I normally do not add salt, since I use salted butter, but once you taste it, you can adjust the seasoning accordingly.

So delicious!

Pan Fried Chicken & Milk Gravy
serves 2-4

4 boneless skinless chicken tenderloins
1/2 cup of milk
1/2 cup flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 T butter

2 T butter
2 T flour
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
dash of Worcestershire sauce
dash of hot sauce
1 t pepper


First, place the chicken in a freezer Ziploc bag and marinate in 1/2 cup of milk for at least 30 minutes.  Get all of the air out of the bag and zip it back up, placing the zipped bag on a cutting board.  Pound each tenderloin out with a meat mallet. Combine the 1/2 c flour, salt and pepper, and spread out on a plate. Dredge each side of the tenderloins in the flour mixture. Heat skillet on medium high heat and melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the floured chicken and cook two minutes per side, or until golden brown.  Remove from skillet and set aside.

Turn the heat down to medium and add 2 more tablespoons of butter and the 2 tablespoons of flour.   Whisk them together to form a rue.  Cook for 1 minute, then whisk in the chicken broth and milk.  Turn up the heat to high and whisk while the gravy thickens and bubbles up as above. Once it is as thick as you like it, add some pepper, the Worcestershire and hot sauce (a dash each should do!).  Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.  Serve immediately.

Linking up with Molly and Carissa  and Melt in Your Mouth Mondays
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