Monday, October 6, 2014

Crazy for Cabbage

Hello fall!

I am completely obsessed with the decorative / flowering cabbage mixed with pansies for the fall.  Here's to hoping I can keep it all alive! Locals - I got my cabbage plants from Atlantic Avenue and my pansies from Home Depot.

Speaking of obsessed.  I can't get enough of this happy little guy!  I'm trying to enjoy and soak up every single minute.  

What a gorgeous weekend!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Little driveway-side sprucing

Anyone who has ever done a renovation with a budget knows that you really can't do it all.  Not even close.  Projects must be prioritized.  We'd tried to be smart about our list (i.e. wait on getting light fixtures and keep originals so we could spend on things like countertops - something you can't easily change).  One thing that we ended up cutting out was putting shutters on the driveway side of the house -- certainly not a necessity and something that could easily be added later.  That side of the house has always looked unfinished and messy to me.  #1 - Josh insisted upon keeping the scraggly azaleas ("Whit, I think we can make the side look like Augusta with the pine trees and azaleas!" he's said enthusiastically a number of times) #2 - I wish we'd spent a little bit of extra $ and done the entire side stucco instead of having the addition portion siding and the original stucco.  Oh well, it's probably not something many people even notice. Right?

2 years after living here, Josh and I decided to save up and add shutters to 4 of the windows on the side. 


I headed to my favorite Sherwin-Williams store and gathered my supplies. 

For 8 long hours over a few weekends I primed both sides of all 8 shutters.  Some of the time I had a little helper

I underestimated how much work it would be to paint louvered shutters.  Especially with a 3 month old baby.  (That's not a typo, we started this at the beginning of July) Painting all those little slats is not for the impatient. I finally called Gephart Hill (our favorite builders) and begged them to help me paint and install them. Finally, a few months later they are up. 

AFTER: We both think it's really helped that side look much more cohesive and dressed it up a bit.


AFTER: Now it's making me want to add shutters to windows in the back too. . .

What do you think?  Does it help that side?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The months are so short

How is this sweet baby already 6 months old (on 9/24)?

He remains such a great baby (sleeping through the night, generally happy!) and we are really in our stride in terms of balancing work, life, baby.  I couldn't love his daycare or teachers more, so that has made it all so much easier.  I'm so thankful for all of our blessings.

I can't help but share a few more from this weekend.  I still can't believe his blonde hair and big blue eyes!  He does have expressions that are "so Josh" and "so Whitney" though, so we know he is definitely ours. :)

The entire Otto family at the NCSU v. FSU game on Saturday.  

Melt my heart.  However, a few seconds after I snapped this photo, Charles took a topple and there were tears.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Sparkly updates

I can't believe how long it's been since I posted.  I've thought about just letting the blog go, the posts seem so trivial and stupid with all the heaviness in the world today, but on the other hand I do still enjoy writing updates and sharing projects.  I won't solve the world's problems here, but sometimes we could all use a break from that! (Myself especially.  Having a child has made me much more worried about the state of the world and all the issues going on globally right now)

A month or so before Charles was born I got a new dining room mirror (which you may have noticed in my last post).  I spotted this beauty at Seaboard Studio123 and couldn't resist it -- especially for the bargain price.  I got it home and excitedly ran around the house hoisting it up and trying to picture it hanging on various walls, but it was really just meant to be in the dining room.  8 months+ pregnant I climbed onto the buffet and took down the original heavy mirror and hung this one in it's place (I painted the old dining room one and it's now in the den, will show that in a post soon).  I really like the contrast of the gold against the gray walls.

The real icing on the cake in there is the new chandelier.  After a few years of searching, I finally found the most perfect french empire style chandelier.  Times like this make me glad that I resisted my impatient nature and held out for something I'll treasure for many decades.  I'm still slowly paying back my "debt to Josh" for this one :)  So worth it!

I stayed pretty true to my original vision for this room.  

Before - so much potential!

and after! (a few years later - this certainly didn't happen overnight - a lot of hard work and saving.)

Back with more updates soon (like, how is my baby 6 months old already?!).


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Carrie's Bridal Shower - including recipe for insanely delicious French Toast Casserole

The miniature chicken and waffles and french toast souffle were both hits!  The chicken and waffles were mini eggos drizzled with butter & syrup and topped with a Chick-fil-a nugget.  French Toast Souffle recipe to come at end of post.

The 4 hostesses - all friends of Caroline's from high school and now we all live in Raleigh.
Caroline's sweet State friends

The Harrall ladies

French Toast Souffle
Thank you to Ashley Hodges for passing along this recipe for your darling sister (Kathryn) to make.  It was such a hit.  My mom declared we are having it Christmas morning.  Hope you don't mind me sharing it here, but so many ladies asked for the recipe.

Ingredients for the French Toast:
1 loaf crusty sourdough or french bread (Kathryn used French)
8 whole eggs
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup sugar
2 T. vanilla extract
Ingredients for the topping:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
1 pinch nutmeg (optional - I don't think Kathryn used)
1 stick cold butter, cut into pieces
fresh fruit (optional - we did not do this)

Grease a 9x13 baking pan with butter.  Tear bread into chunks and evenly distribute in the pan.  

In a medium sized bowl mix together eggs, milk, cream, sugar and vanilla.  Pour evenly over the bread.  Cover tightly and store in the fridge for several hours or overnight if possible.

In a separate bowl mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.  Add nutmeg if desired.  Add butter pieces and cut them into the dry mixture until resembles fine pebbles.  Store in a ziploc bag in the fridge.

When you're ready to bake the casserole preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove casserole from the fridge and sprinkle crumb mixture over the top.  (If you're using fruit, sprinkle on before the crumb mixture.)  Bake for 45 minutes for a softer, more bread pudding texture.  Bake 1 hour or more for a firmer, less liquid texture. We did closer to an hour.

Scoop out individual portions.  Top with butter and drizzle with maple syrup. I'm not sure, but I don't think we drizzled with butter and syrup.

Enjoy!  It is so yummy!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bailey & Brandon's Wedding Weekend: Part 3 - The actual big day!

Two "something olds" - the necklace was our great grandmother's and something that all the women on my mom's side wear on their wedding day (including me!).  I love how it is so dainty!  The handkerchief was something Brandon's grandmother, who couldn't be there for the wedding, gave to her.  Both very special. 
Her "something borrowed" was a gorgeous opal ring that was Brandon's mom's.  Erica, his sister, was so sweet to lend it to Bailey.
We got lots of great bridesmaids loot - gold bangle with 3 knots (for 3 bridesmaids or 3 sisters), Gigi monogrammed clutch and Plum Pretty Sugar robes.
We couldn't get the dogs to the actual wedding, but we had to have a few of Bailey with them before.
My sweet grandfather Choddee peaking in on the bride before the ceremony.

What a perfect evening and wedding for one of my favorite couples.  We love you guys and can't wait for a lifetime of fun.