Five On Friday

I hope you will join in on this week's Five On Friday with us! Here we go. Oh, and TGIF!

This week I started reading The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty. Right now the Kindle version is only $5.99 here on Amazon! I'm really enjoying it so far but am only about a fifth of the way through. I have heard so many awesome reviews of this book and just love the premise. Embarrassingly, it's been far too long since I have been truly engrossed in a book -- but I'm glad to have that great feeling back.

This weekend I am thrilled to co-host a baby shower for my beautiful girlfriend Ashley. We both were so excited about starting our families, and the fact that our due dates are only about six weeks apart is so awesome. One of the secrets to our friendship is that we set tiny (achieveable) phone dates at least a couple of times each week. Sometimes we only chat for five or ten minutes, but we have very "real" chats -- it helps us to really know what's going on in each others' lives and connect on a deep level. So thrilled for this mama and her little baby girl, debuting in March!

This winter I've been all about the oils -- I use three different oils to keep my skin moisturized and also to keep pregnancy stretch marks at bay. I have my eye on this little guy to add to my arsenal. Have you ever walked in the vicinity of The Body Shop and felt compelled to go in because of that awesomely sweet citrus smell they pump out? It's their Satsuma scent. This beautifying oil claims to be beneficial for body, face, and hair. For $14, I'm totally picking up a bottle next time I'm at the mall.

I'm so in love with HBO's series Girls, it hurts. Are you watching season three?!

HBO's YouTube channel will upload the two-part premiere of 'Girls' season three. It's just one way HBO is courting the hit show's active online fan base.

How brilliant is this dessert idea?! I'm definitely doing to put this in action next time it's my turn to host Supper Club! The girls would be all over this. You just scoop ice cream in mini-mason jars and then freeze until it's time to dress them up with your own little toppings bar. This would also be so much fun for our family weekends at the lakehouse.

scoop ice cream into mason jars and keep the mason jars on ice until it's time for guests to create their sundaes.

Now, your turn to link up! I hope you will join me and my wonderful co-hostesses -- DarciNatasha, and Christina. Playing along is simple!  Just write a post about five things on your mind today, anything goes really, post the logo below on your blog, and then enter your post address below in the link-up section. It's a great way of meeting new friends and getting more eyes on your cute blog :)


Superbowl Appetizer Faves

I absolutely LOVE the Superbowl. 

Not for the sport part of it obviously, but for the food.

I also think a bloody mary bar is absolutely perfect for watching the game. A bottle of Zing Zang is where it's at (the only bloody mary mix you should ever consider). Add some fun ingredients like pepperoni or beef jerky sticks, leafy green celery, olives, pepperoncinis, pickled okra, horseradish, maybe even a bacon strip -- and you are golden.

Here are some of my favorite appetizer ideas for this Sunday's big game!

A. Liz Adventures: Chicken + Waffles {holy moly}

Chicken + Waffle Minis

Jalapeno Popper Spread

Jalapeno Popper Spread

Pretzel Bites with Spicy Cheddar Cheese Dip

Pretzel Bites with Spicy Cheddar Cheese Dip

French Dip Crescents:  packaged crescent rolls, deli roast beef, Swiss or provolone cheese, Bake!

French Dip Crescents

Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Pizza Sticks

Buffalo Chicken Pizza Sticks

Who are you pulling for this Sunday?

I'm pulling for the team with the coolest colors and uniforms ... you know exactly who that is.

Happy cooking, y'all, and may the best team win!


Week 26 Pregnancy Journal

How Far Along? 26 weeks

Size of Baby: A hothouse cucumber (14 inches). Baby weighs 1.75lbs now!

Gender: A sweet little girl.

Weight Gain: A gain of one pound this week. Now up a total of 9 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight -- but since I lost a few pounds in the first trimester, up 12 pounds total from my lowest pregnancy weight.

Maternity Clothes: Um, yes please. Not entirely bored with my selection thus far -- and it's helping that it will warm up during my pregnancy too which will allow me to branch out into other outfit combinations. I haven't spent a lot on maternity clothes -- I received many hand-me-downs which is so wonderful.

Nursery: I received the fabric samples that I ordered online and have been having a lot of fun with nursery planning! Saturday morning, Ian and I did a ton of work moving the office over to the previous guestroom. The room setup is completely different, so we had to reconfigure the way the office looks. The nursery is almost completely empty now -- just ready for a new paint job and all of the baby fittings!

Movement: Oh yes. To the point where sometimes I can see my belly jumping out of the corner of my eye. Movement that big!

Symptoms: I kept reading that cramps and charley horses are normal symptoms of pregnancy. I was thinking I'd bypassed that hurdle, but this past week I have had two crazy cramps to hit me while in bed -- one in my lower leg and one in the arch of my foot. The second one was painful enough that it made me involuntarily sit up out of bed in agony (dramatic much??). So maybe I will be taking the epidural after all. Ha!

Other than that, a little hormonal in that I will tear up at the drop of a hat. The other day I was in the car and T-Pain's song "Booty Wurk" came on. It had been a while since I heard it and honestly, I don't know what happened, but I was so moved by how much I love that dang ghetto rap song that tears sprung to my eyes. I KNOW.

Sleep: Sleeping great with the pregnancy pillow, love my Snoogle! Still finding myself on my back occasionally which I'm really trying to break the habit of.

Cravings: No crazy cravings to mention. Just a big appetite!

What I Miss: Exercise. And it's not that I can't do it, but I just don't really have the drive -- and there are certain activities/movements I can't do anymore for baby's safety. Plus, if I exert myself too hard, I'm completely wiped out for the rest of the day.

Best Moment This Week: Registering for baby goodies on Sunday ... and then coming home and looking at all of my girlfriends' registries to see what they registered for too! It has been so much fun to compare notes with dear girlfriends. One of them has a baby shower coming up this weekend that I'm helping to host, and I can't WAIT.

Looking Forward To: Finishing the registry process at an adorable baby boutique here in Charlotte. It's the perfect way to spend the afternoon!


Weekend Fun

You probably know exactly how Friday night went ... pizza, movie, pajama pants! Ian and I watched Captain Phillips and man, oh man, Tom Hanks is one good actor.

Saturday we did a ton of work to get the nursery prepared that that just makes me so very happy! To add to this happiness, I had a fun girly lunch planned with Sarah from The Verardos and Mallory from Charming In Charlotte at one of my fave spots, Cafe Monte.  The croque monsieur and pommes frites ... heaven, I tell you.

I wore a cute dress that my sister bought me for my birthday -- it will be a staple for me in the next few months!

After lunch I met a girlfriend at a wedding boutique for a final try-on of THE DRESS. She looked positively radiant. I can't wait to stand by her side this September!

Saturday evening we had the best time out with friends -- we ventured into uptown Charlotte and had dinner at Halcyon. The bartender whipped up some pretty amazing mocktails for me.

And yesterday was the big day ... I got my first registry for baby done! It feels so wonderful to cross so many items off of the "we need this!" list. And I had the input from a new mama which was just so invaluable. We treated ourselves to a Nordstrom Rack trip afterwards. :)

I'll post more about the registry process soon because I know firsthand how overwhelming and crazy it can be.

Happy Monday to all and cheers to a great week!


Five On Friday

Five on Friday, let's get right down to business, ladies!

O N E 
Um, anyone as excited for Sunday night's wedding as I am?! #weddingfreak

Bachelor's Sean & Catherine- People

One of my favorite stores to visit during my lunch hour is World Market. Joining their Explorer program is totally free and they send you really, really good coupons. My favorite is the birthday coupon ... $10 to use during your birthday month. No minimum purchase.

I went the other day and picked up a candle for $9.99. Well, this bad boy ended up ringing up as $2.50 -- so I went and grabbed three more! Four new candles for mere pennies ... YES.

Please tell me, is anyone watching TLC's new show 90 Day Fiance? I downloaded the first episode for free from iTunes and watched it on my flight home from Vermont last week. I'm sure a good part of it is scripted, but I was so intrigued. The show portrays international couples who only have 90 days to decide if they will marry (using a fiancee visa) or if they will split up and stay in their separate countries. The first episode had me hooked and I can't wait to see more.

I mentioned last week that I recently went to Sephora and picked up my birthday treat ... the item I purchased is the Josie Maran Argan Oil Light. I was torn over whether to go with the regular version or the light version, but I knew I wanted to use it on my face and hair (both of which can't take too much weight) so I went light. I'm so happy I did. In the past week I have absolutely loved using it on my face at night as a moisturizer -- and when I curl my hair in the morning, I use a very small amount -- seriously, like two drops rubbed between my palms -- to smooth down the curls. This stuff is the jam. I went with the small bottle ($14) because, frankly, spending $48 on the larger bottle, which is still small, seemed a bit crazy to me. I'm hooked.

Josie Maran - 100 percent Pure Argan Oil Light

Bring on the weekend! Saturday is busy for me, but all good things, including a girly lunch and wedding dress shopping with a bestie. Plus, Ian and I have fun dinner plans that evening. So ready for the end of the workday!

Floral Styling by Amy Merrick | Photography by Alpha Smoot | Art Direction by Anna Bond  Rifle Paper Co. 2013 Lookbook

Now, your turn to link up! I hope you will join me and my wonderful co-hostesses -- DarciNatasha, and Christina. Playing along is simple!  Just write a post about five things on your mind today, anything goes really, post the logo below on your blog, and then enter your post address below in the link-up section. It's a great way of meeting new friends and getting more eyes on your cute blog :)


An Easy Weeknight Dinner

Fast, healthy, easy. Oh, and tasty. The four cornerstones of a great weeknight menu!

The other night we had a really good dinner, and while it was very simple, the flavors all came together really well. Who doesn't love one of those nights? And when the husband cleans up after dinner, all is right with the world.

World's Best Chicken:
I used the recipe for World's Best Chicken on Rachel Schultz's blog. Basically -- dijon mustard (I used the beer mustard from Trader Joe's we had in the fridge), maple syrup, and red wine vinegar. So easy. Ian is a sauce man, so I ladled some of the extra sauce from the 9x13 into a little bowl for us to use for dipping.

Sauteed Green Beans:
I thawed out two very large handfuls of frozen green beans and sliced half of a white onion. By the way, frozen green beans are so much healthier and tastier than canned -- often times less expensive, too! I heated some olive oil in a pan and sauteed until golden brown, seasoning with garlic salt and cracked black pepper.

Arugula and Spinach Salad:
So easy -- just tossed an arugula + spinach mix with cucumber, diced onion, green olives, feta cheese, and The Fresh Market's gorgonzola and white balsamic dressing.

Tonight I've got it easy because Ian has his standing wing night. Thank goodness for leftovers. Also on the agenda: a self-mani, some Pinterest scrolling, a Girls episode, and maybe just maybe -- a little froyo treat.

PS: Frozen yogurt contains calcium. So, it would basically be unhealthy to not partake.

Happy Friday eve -- 
see you back tomorrow for Five on Friday!


Week 25 Pregnancy Journal

How Far Along? 25 weeks

Size of Baby: A rutabaga (13.5 inches). Baby weighs 1.5lbs now!

Gender: A sweet little girl.

Weight Gain: No gain or loss this week. Still up a total of 8 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight -- but since I lost a few pounds in the first trimester, up 11 pounds total from my lowest pregnancy weight.

Maternity Clothes: Loving them and wearing them about 70% of the time.

Nursery: I ordered fabric swatches which I hope to use for drapes and some other touches throughout the room. We also had a contractor come back out again to look at the closet renovation we are doing in baby girl's nursery! So very exciting to think of her teeny clothes being so precious and small that we can start off by having three levels of rods (which will be adjustable for later).

Movement: Lots of it -- especially in the mornings, after I eat any sweets, and when I play her music at night. The YouTube channels with baby piano music seem to be her favorite, and Ian and I are both hoping we might have a little pianist on our hands.

Symptoms: I've noticed that if I push myself a little too hard with doing housework, I get really tired. The thing is -- I'm a busybody, so this does happen from time to time. All of the sudden my lower back will start killing me and my lower stomach will feel tight and a little uncomfortable. Not exactly crampy, but ... a little crampy. Trying to remind myself to just take it easy.

Sleep: Sleeping great with the pregnancy pillow -- but did well without it when I traveled to Vermont this past week.

Cravings: Still really loving cereal in the mornings (first trimester was all about Special K with Red Berries, second trimester has been Honey Nut Cheerios all the way). I'm so done with hot chocolate. The thought of it now is not appetizing in the least.

What I Miss: There are times I'd do anything for a big bowl of buttery, garlicy mussels and a glass or two of Nobilo sauv blanc.

Best Moment This Week: No doubt about it, our lovely time together in Charleston, and talking a lot about the pregnancy and our little girl with Ian over dinner Saturday night.

Looking Forward To: Getting the nursery fabric chosen since that will dictate wall color! I'm so ready for some forward movement on the baby's room. It is going to look so cute.


Our Airbnb Experience in Charleston, SC

When my husband and I started looking around at hotel options for our Charleston getaway, we were finding that some of our favorite places to stay were booked -- and while others were available, our stay would be costing us a pretty penny.

We were already thinking about more of a bed & breakfast setup, so I decided to hop on to to see what I could find. Lo and behold, this beauty popped right up and I was immediately smitten with the idea! The price was so much better than we were expecting, and all of the reviews I read were just so good. With the cost savings each night, we figured we could go all out on shopping and dining!

The basic concept of is that you can rent out a house or a room from a private owner -- you pay them directly upfront, pay a small fee to, and that's it. The option I found for us enabled us to have a private room and bathroom in a beautiful home (in a very safe neighborhood) that was just a walk away from the historic downtown area.

I do have to apologize for the poor photo quality, but I snapped these on my phone as we were leaving!

The house was just adorable and our host was nothing short of lovely. Our room had a king bed and plenty of space but still with a cozy feel. Our host Cheryl is an artist, so she has such a keen eye for decor.

We also had access to the kitchen downstairs, and our sweet host had coffee and biscotti laid out for us each morning. She also had wine in the fridge that she keeps on hand for her guests. So nice. I brought some O'Douls Amber for myself but Ian enjoyed his glass :) 

(Sidenote: when did I become the beer drinker and he become the wine drinker? Total role reversal.)

I think the most important thing you can do when booking through a site like is to check the reviews, each and every single one of them. Staying in someone's home -- especially if your host is going to be there -- can be a really different experience and if you've never stayed in a B&B then the concept may be quite unfamiliar to you.

Speaking for us, our experience truly couldn't have been better -- our host was rarely around, but when she was, she was just a true Southern belle ... completely sweet and hospitable. Our room was completely clean and well-appointed with lots of fresh towels. It was very nice having paid upfront so that when we got there, we didn't have to handle any monetary transactions. 

We hope to stay at this very home again and will definitely be using for future trip planning!
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