An Evening with Vineyard Vines

Hello all, can't WAIT to tell you about my fun night celebrating the grand opening of Vineyard Vines at our beloved South Park Mall here in Charlotte! 

The store had a special reception for bloggers prior to the true grand opening party -- how nice is that?  I have a full recap coming for you but unfortunately will have to delay it until tomorrow as I need to head out the door now for an all-day meeting in Raleigh.  I know, I know, what a tease!  But I promise tomorrow will be a full recap once I have time to divulge all of the great details. 



Randomnity. (Anniversary + Fabric + Twitter + Naughty Dog)

Randomnity is the name of the game today. 

Random thought #1:
Today is our one month anniversary of being married!  I told that to Ian today and he just gave me this look like - OH LAW, are we going to be celebrating each month of being married?!  The answer, in a word: yes.  And I have a little surprise for him tonight that should be funny/cute.

Honeymoon pic, and I have lots more to share!

Random thought #2:
Recovering chairs is so easy, so (potentially) inexpensive, and actually a little fun!  These bad boys below were initally split between two rooms in my old apartment, hence the differing fabrics.  But now all 4 chairs will come together at our dining room table in the same fabric.

And here's the fabric I selected!  It's a nice beigey-tan linen with an eggshell toile on it.  Like it?  It's a Waverly fabric I scored at Old Time Pottery for a little over $6 for a yard and a quarter.  Can't wait to show you the finished product.

Love it as much as I do??

Random thought #3:
I was saved last night from a recipe snafu on Twitter (follow me yet? @ALizAdventures).  I had a rotisserie chicken that Ian and I bought for $3.99 on Sunday that we were planning on heating up for dinner.  But plain chicken can be so ... BLAH ... and I was also afraid of it drying out in the oven.  Know how dried-out chicken tastes so chalky?  Yuk.  So I asked my Twitter friends what a good sauce would be for this chicken.  A guardian angel Twitter follower responded back with the perfect idea: white wine and chicken stock reduced with fresh herbs.  I had both on hand (score!) and I added butter, of course, and voila!  The perfect sauce was born. 

Thank you @blairsheadband!

It was delicious poured over the chicken, and maybe next time I'll add some lemon zest to the saucepan as well.  By the way, if you're wanting to recreate, just make sure to strain out the herbs before serving.  I used fresh rosemary, parsley, and lavender because that's what I had on hand!

Random thought #4:
Know how I posted last week about the Old Photo Generator?  That post can be found here.  Well, I couldn't upload photos due to Blogger acting strange, but here's an example of one I made using a pic from the honeymoon earlier this month.  Visit the blog post if you want to access this free and fun site.

Random thought #5
This sweet guy has been getting up on the couch while we've been away at work.  He's no pup, he's 11 1/2 and he should know better!  Any words of wisdom?  We've been laying the pillows down on the couch, but I don't want to have to always remember to do so before leaving the house.  Because that means he has trained US.

I am naughty.

Random thought #6
Firefly Skinny Tea and Crystal Light lemonade is the perrrrrrrrfect summertime low-cal cocktail.

Random thought #7
Like the fabric I chose for our den throw pillows?  Our room is decorated in ivory, blue and coral.  Room reveal pics coming soon ... as soon as I either cover the pillows myself or pay someone to do so!  Any local Charlotte readers know of a sewing stay-at-home Mom who would like a little cash??

Great deal right?!

That's all the randomnity for the day.  I hope your head isn't spinning yet!


A Lakehouse Weekend

Ahh, Monday, how did you get here so quickly?!

On Friday after work, Ian and I packed up the car -- after braving a crazy mid-day storm, complete with tons of hail descending on our home ... and cars.  It was so crazy - scroll all the way down for a quick video I took.  You can't really see the hail, but you sure can hear it.

So we headed down south for about an hour and a quarter until we reached my family's lakehouse.  Friday night we sat at the picnic table on the screened porch and had a great dinner {complete with ValSoCal's toasted marshmallow milkshakes, which were OUT.OF.THIS.WORLD.}  Saturday we took the boat out for some cruisin', noodlin', and sangria drinkin'.

Stud at the helm of the boat.  :)  Can you spy our wedding koozies?

As promised, the quick video of the crazy storm.  My plants fared okay and our cars weren't hurt.  It was over and done with in less than a half hour!

Any fun adventures had by you all this weekend?  Also, WELCOME to all of my new followers ... how did I surpass 150 in a blink of an eye?! 

And speaking of followers -- I can't see any of mine OR any on other blogs.  I can only see the quantity I have on my Blogger dashboard.  Is anyone else having this issue?  I googled it and it seems to be a Blogger issue, nothing I've done and apparently nothing I can fix.  Anyone else experiencing this?


The Recessionistas

The other day I told you about my Supper Club and today I'll divulge the inner-workings of another great group I'm in ... The Recessionistas.

This group started when 3 of us became friends because of the guys in our life all worked together.  Only one out of those 3 guy relationships lasted, mind you, but that didn't stop us from getting together!  Slowly our group expanded to include the sister of one of the girls, then a friend, and then another friend.  So that makes 6 of us.  But then one moved away, then another, and then I moved away.  So then there were 3.  But then I moved back to Charlotte.  Back up to 4 girls.  Are you still with me?

The six Recessionistas all together (make that 7 with Baby T)

Anyway, we used to get together at restaurants and drop lots of money on margaritas, appetizers, glasses of wine, dinners.  One night, one of the gals mentioned that she found out the following day if she was going to get laid off or not {this was during the recession that hit Charlotte bad around 2007/2008}.  We decided at that point that our nights of spending non-frugally didn't have to be that way.

New idea:  Get together at one girl's house.  She spends no more than $15 to feed us.  We bring a bottle of wine no more than $5.  And with that, The Recessionistas was born. {and sidenote: she kept her job!}

So I hosted Recessionistas the other night and one of the gals (Baby T's mom) had to stay at home because Baby T was under the weather as was Husband T.  There were three of us and we had a ball.

Yes this is MY NEW HOUSE!  And this is the
ONLY way to host friends: Juicy dress,
hair up, and barefoot!

As you can see, we are adding to our Recessionista family with the soon arrival of Baby H!  Another girl, just like Baby T.  So want to see what I made for us ... under $15?

First let me divulge: I actually spent $16.71.  But included in that total were crackers that we have tons left of -- so do they really count?

Our Menu:
* Feta and sun-dried tomato dip with crackers
* Crispy salami chips with spicy mustard
* Spinach and artichoke flatbread pizza
* Wine galore {and lemonade for Baby H's momma}

The top two recipes came from the latest Real Simple magazine, this one:

And because I don't want to re-type them, here you go:

And for the record, I omitted the fresh thyme from the mustard in the interest of time and our $15 budget.  I just used a nice spicy mustard with lots of grainy texture.  If you want to see these recipes bigger, just click the picture.  The flatbread pizza, I confess, was a California Pizza Kitchen frozen pizza that I just added extra cheese to that we already had in the fridge.  (We also already had the mustard and the sundried tomatoes which helped me stay under budget)

Here's the cost breakdown:
$1.94 : Multigrain Tuscan crackers (on sale)
$3.79 : Hard salami slices from the deli
$3.99 : Feta cheese (on sale)
$5.99 : CPK flatbread pizza (on sale)
$1.00 : Greek yogurt (on sale)
................  TOTAL: $16.71

Oh, and Kim brought over delicious chocolate cupcakes with chocolate ganache icing for us.  Me?  I didn't eat a single one. 

... or did I?


I love my fellow Recessionistas and I love that we can host eachother at our homes for a great dinner without breaking the bank.  Besides, it's not really the cost of the production of the night that really matters, is it?


My Bridal Portraits!

Without further ado ... my bridal portraits!

A huge thank you to my perfect and brimming-over-with-talent photographer, Ashley Brokop.  And make sure to check out her blog post of the portrait session in order to see more pictures that I didn't show here.  I couldn't be happier with the way these turned out, I really couldn't.  She's an absolute genius.

The portraits were taken at The Lace House at the Governor's Mansion in Columbia, SC.  It's magnificent.


Girls Night + LP Home

Last night I got together at The Cowfish {a sushi & burger bar} with some girls after work, and I think you might just recognize one of them...

Yes, that's Classic Annie on the far left!

We had a great time -- these girls are so much fun, and our conversations could have kept us there for hours upon hours.  I got a delicious sushi roll that had tempura calamari, scallions, jalapeno, and spicy tuna on top.  They also had $5 martinis (definitely had one of those) and a nice wine selection (oops, had a pick from that list too).

In other fun news, did you see that Lilly Pulitzer Home is going to be on Rue La La on June 26 (this Sunday)?  If you haven't already accepted an invitation to Rue La La, click here to join!

Old Photo Generator (Free!)

I love editing photographs.  Cropping, changing to b&w or sepia toned, boosting the color, sharpening or softening.  By far, my favorite free site to edit photos is Picnik

But have you heard of the Old Photo Generator?

Don't let the site scare you off because it's all in Japanese.  But just give it a whirl.  Upload a picture and wait for a second while it turns it into something that looks like it could have been snapped in the roaring '20s

Enjoy.  :)


Weekend Wrap-Up + Happy Summer!

We had a perfect weekend at home.  No major plans were made, which was a nice break for us.  Friday night we had a little happy hour on our patio with margaritas that I made using a no-sugar, no-carb, no-calorie margarita mix.  Typically, I'm not the biggest fan of pre-made margarita mixes, but this one didn't have that sugary/tart bite of a normal mix.

Saturday, after we cleaned the house {and decided a housekeeper may just be in our future}, I got ready to go to Jami Svay's book launch at the Aveda Institute.  My friend Meg went with me and we had a great time.  The party was pink, pink, pink and there were all sorts of fun things you could partake in ... cupcakes, wine tastings, cake pops, chair massages, feather hair extensions, a Pinkberry stand, an Izze soda stand, manicures, a brow bar ... you name it.

Me with Jami, stylist extraordinaire

The scene at the book launch
That night, Ian and I went to dinner at PF Changs {which you may have already known if you follow me on Twitter - @ALizAdventures}.  And yes, of course we got the lettuce wraps.

Sunday morning we had some breakfast at home and then went to Crate & Barrel to find a few items off of our home wishlist.  Never did I think I'd get so excited about buying a knife.

Fresh-squeezed orange juice ... yes please!

This one didn't come home with us -- too dark.
Anyone know where I can find one similar?

In other news, happy first day of summer!  And are you celebrating by wearing your Lilly??  I am!


Garden Party

Last week our Supper Club got together.

Supper Club started in 2004 when I'd newly moved to Charlotte and was living at a really fun apartment complex.  I mentioned to the leasing office girls that it would be fun to get some groups together within the complex so the residents could all meet.

Beth & I at last week's Supper Club

With that, Supper Club was born, and it all began with a sheet of printer paper taped around the hallways where people could write their name & email address if interested.  We started with a lot of people but it eventually whittled down to a group of 8 of us who still get together.  Yes, seven years later we're all meeting monthly! 

And did I mention that all of us have since moved from the apartment?  We didn't let that stop us from getting together.

Since 2004 there have been:
   * Five weddings
   * Eight pregnancy announcements
   * Seven babies born (one is on the way, due in January!)
   * Countless glasses of wine consumed (which is how we know when someone's preggers)

Here's how we do it:  each month, the hostess plans a complete dinner -- apps, entree, sides, dessert.  The attendees all bring a bottle of wine.  Simple. 

Last week when Beth hosted, she told us about her new(ish) neighborhood community garden.  About two years ago, there was a very bad flood in her 'hood.  The water came very close to Beth's house but luckily it was situated just high enough to dodge the flooding.  Her house is on a corner, and the homes on the road perpindicular to hers were all flooded and completely destroyed. 

The City of Charlotte galliantly stepped in, purchased those homes from the individuals, and turned the area into a community garden.  People can sign up for a plot of land where they plant whatever they wish.  There are also two plots of corn free for the taking for anyone.  We all loved this concept, so we grabbed our wine glasses after dinner and headed down to take a look.


It was amazing ... tons of produce and flowers.  Beth gave me a few squash and also a jalapeno, which I used in pico de gallo last night.  I just loved the concept of this community garden. 

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