Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Holiday Style and Favorites!!

Thanks to Walgreens for underwriting this post. I was paid as a member of the
Clever Girls Collective
, but the content is all mine. Visit http://moms.dailybuzz.com/channel/style.

I can hardly believe that the holidays are already here! I know I've mentioned it before, but this time of year is my absolute favorite. There is something about Christmastime that just fills my spirit with joy. Even though the holiday season is always super busy for us, I find myself taking more time to reflect on how blessed I am to have the family and friends God has given me, and to be able to spend another happy, healthy holiday season with them all. 

One of my favorite things about this year is that the holidays give us all an excuse to host 30 15 dinner parties over the course of six weeks, and we don't have to explain it to our husbands ourselves! The other great thing about having a slew of parties on the calendar is that it gives me a reason to get all dolled up! We all know I love a reason to buy a new outfit! This year I'm all about sequins and fur when it comes to attire. I will likely be sporting a little of both this holiday season. But, the outfit part is never what gets me. It's all in the details, right?

Enter my friends makeup and accessories. Remember my makeup bag? While it's not quite as boring as it was six months ago, I still choose some basic can't-live-without products that you can find at any drugstore, and use them to jazz up my look for these special occasions. What are my newest favorites?

Covergirl Lash Blast Length Mascara
 Looking for a mascara to help accentuate those lashes? Covergirl Lash Blast is definitely your answer. I was given a tube of it from the friend who did my wedding makeup, and I instantly became addicted!

And what would mascara be without some intense eyeshadow to liven up your party look? Luckily for me, Almay maps it out easily for you based on your eye color. Their Intense i-color eyeshadow (for hazel eyes) has been in my makeup bag for what feels like forever, and it definitely gives me that extra sparkle that I want for my holiday look. 

Almay Intense i-color eyeshadow
 Dressing up my eyes is basically the only thing that I do differently for my holiday look. A little extra mascara and some sparkly shadow and I am a happy girl!

But, what would a holiday getup be without accessories?! I probably don't talk about this here enough, but I am a total sucker for accessories. I don't like to spend a fortune on them either, so if you were raiding my accessory drawer, you may be surprised to find out that almost every piece came from the likes of Forever 21

But, by far my most favorite holiday accessory this year comes in the form of nail polish. Have you tried the Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure?! If not, please run to the store immediately and pick some up. Three or four bottles wouldn't hurt. But, finish reading this post first, pretty please? I used to swear by Seche Vite when it came to top coats, but Sally Hansen has stolen the key to my heart. And, they've come out with some new shades just for the holidays!

Gilty Pleasure
 Gilty Pleasure is my new favorite. I just love the shimmery gold tone. I think it's the perfect compliment to a holiday outfit! Check out the complete collection and stock up. Obviously, I already have!

What I love most about all of these products is that they're easy to find at your local drugstore, so even if you're in a hurry like I am most of the time, you can pop into Walgreens and grab an extra bottle or two of that nail polish before the big night! Walgreens was even nice enough to share these coupons

And, in case you're wondering what my ensemble may or may not look like on Thanksgiving day, I'm thinking simple, yet chic, and of course some sparkle!
Holiday Style

What does your holiday style look like this year?!

Friday, November 18, 2011


So, remember that time I promised I would blog about our mini anniversary getaway? Well, I'm a bit late, but it's better than nothing, right?!

Many of you already know that we changed our anniversary plans when we bought the house, so our Caribbean getaway got put on hold. Since we had been so busy with the house, and it felt like we hadn't had any time to focus on just us for quite a while, I decided to get my wheels turning and try and come up with a plan that would get us away from the hustle bustle for at least one night. Somewhere in my reeling, I came up with the idea for us to head down to the Gaylord Resort at National Harbor.

I had been to the property once before for a few hours when I attended a good friends' bachelorette party, but I had never been to the hotel, and hadn't spent the night either. And, B had never been there, so that sealed the deal! I made us a one night reservation at the Gaylord Hotel, got some recommendations on where to eat dinner, and decided that we'd hit up the dueling piano bar for after dinner drinks!

On the day of our actual anniversary, Saturday the 5th, I dolled myself up, we packed our bag, dropped the pup off to stay with friends for the night, and we were off! National Harbor is about an hour drive from where we live, and surprisingly, we didn't hit much traffic (a welcomed surprise in the DC Metro area).

We made it to National Harbor by 7PM, checked into our room, and pretty much headed right to dinner because we were starved. We ate at Grace's Mandarin and absolutely loved it! We are big Asian style food people, so it was a great fit for us. Dinner wrapped up pretty quickly and then we headed over to Bobby McKey's Duleing Piano Bar.

Have you ever been to a piano bar? Oh my goodness. I had been there once before, so I knew to expect a good time, but B and I were cracking up the entire time. They had good drink specials and the entertainment just doesn't stop! It was definitely a fun and light-hearted way to end our evening out.

Overall, our mini getaway was just perfect. We had time to reconnect and just have fun together. It totally reminded me of many of the reasons that I fell in love with B in the first place, and I can't really think of a better reminder for an anniversary, right?! I was able to get a few pictures of our night, so enjoy!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

This Move Has Made Me Lose My Brain

So, for those of you that follow me on Twitter, you already know how my day started out yesterday. It may not have caused my blood pressure to rise quite as high as it did the day of the Riley escape, but it sure did make me smack myself in the forehead with a residual "doh!"

Like I've mentioned before, I have a typical morning routine. Some small things have been adjusted now that we're in the new house, but for the most part, I try and get the same things done each morning. Make the bed, get myself ready, feed and walk the dog, clean the kitchen. It's sort of like auto pilot most days. But without fail, the clock always hits 8:30 long before I'm ready for it to. Yesterday was no different, too many things to finish in a small window of time, which left me hurrying Riley's time outside, and running for the door to head to work. 

Alas, yesterday was about to have its' way with me, for no sooner than closing the door behind me did I realize that my keys were hanging there inside the door in the foyer on their organized little hook. And I was outside, in the rain: purse, breakfast, coffee, laptop and jacket in hand. No keys. What the heck do I do now? Of course I called B because I had no other option, and being the sweet guy he is, he drove all the way home from work just to let me in. A trip that took him about 90 minutes in total. 

But, if I can be honest? Other than the fact that it was raining, the time I had to sit outside and just wait was somewhat refreshing! We've been running circles around each other for weeks getting our new house ready, and now moving in and getting organized for the holidays. But, yesterday I simply had no choice but to slow down and wait. Sometimes it's necessary to force myself to take even ten minutes to just think. To re-prioritize my lengthy to-do list, and to just take in all the blessings that we've been given this last year. 

I'd be lying if I said I didn't immediately quickly take to Twitter once I had gotten over the initial shock of being locked out. Thank God for smartphones, right?!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Shutterfly Holiday Card Giveaway WINNERS!!

It's time to announce the winners of my very first giveaway from my friends at Shutterfly! These three lucky ladies will be receiving 25 FREE holiday cards of their choice from Shutterfly for entering!

So, without further ado, our winners are (in no particular order) ...

1) Jessica from Hearts on Homestead

2) Sara from Experiencing Joy 

... and ....

3) My girl, Moe from Love You A Million !!

CONGRATULATIONS, ladies!! Email me at ourlovenestblog{at}gmail{dot}com for the details!!

A special thanks to all of you who entered this giveaway. I had so much fun, I may just be thinking hard about what my next one will be!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Where I Would Have Been This Wednesday ...

Well, ladies, we are knee deep in moving week, and I couldn't help but let myself day dream about where we were supposed to be this Wednesday, you know, before we sold our souls to home ownership?!

I think real estate is great, I really do! But, this project is sucking most of the life out of me right now!  It will all be worth it, right? OK, I'm done complaining, just had to get that out there :o)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cold Weather Inspired Recipe Link Up!

This time of the year always gets me in the mood for warm, comfort foods. The kinds of meals that can simmer in the crock pot all day long, or ones that I can make while I listen to Christmas music (yes, this early). I've said this before, but I am blessed with many friends who love to cook, and whom I receive constant kitchen inspiration from! I can't remember who exactly I got this recipe from, but it's definitely worth sharing!

Do you love the concept of chili, but you're not a red meat eater? Or perhaps the acidity of a red sauce gives you heartburn, like me. Well, this recipe is the perfect fix for that!

White Chicken Chili Recipe
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
1 1/2 cups chicken broth (may need extra as it boils down)
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
1 bay leaf, broken in half
2 cups cooked and shredded chicken (rotisserie is a great option here!)
1 can white navy beans, rinsed and drained
1 can great northern beans, rinsed and drained
2 jalapeno peppers, minced (I don't add these because of my sensitivity to spicy foods)
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground pepper
Salt to taste
2 Tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped (optional)
Juice from one squeezed lime

Garnish with
Chopped green onion
Sour cream
Shredded cheese (your choice)

Heat olive oil in large pot. Add onion and saute over medium heat until softened and lightly browned. Add garlic, oregano, cumin and ginger. Stir for one minute. Add broth, dry wine and bay leaf and cook uncovered on medium heat until somewhat reduced (5 to 8 minutes). Then, add chicken, beans and jalapenos. Simmer uncovered for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and add handfuls of shredded jack cheese, stirring until melted. Add pepper and salt, if necessary (may need to taste test here!). Add lime juice and cilantro. Cook an additional five minutes and reduce heat to simmer. Allow to simmer, taste gets better as it sits!

Finally, remove the bay leaf and serve with garnishes. You can also accompany this soup/chili with garlic bread and a salad! 

Well, I'm officially starved after writing this post, I think I need to edit my grocery list and get to cooking! You know, after I unpack the mountain of kitchen boxes sitting all over the floor.  

Go ahead and link up, ladies! I would love some new ideas!! 

Wanna link up and share your recipe?

1. Blog your recipe.
2. Share a picture of it (if you have one!)
3. Grab my button and add it to your post.
4. Add your (direct) link to the linky at the bottom.
5. Start collecting new inspirations for your kitchen! 

Our Love Nest

Ready, set, link up!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Get Ready for the Holidays!! Our Very First Giveaway!

I am beyond excited to share our very first giveaway with all of you today! I don't say it enough, but I appreciate each and every one of you! Thanks for always checking back in with me, even when I go missing for weeks days on end.

This year, I have been lucky enough to be given the opportunity to team up with Shutterfly to give away FREE holiday cards! That's right, right here at Our Love Nest! It's about time that I host a giveaway here, and it goes without saying that a holiday-themed giveaway is right up my alley!

I've been using Shutterfly for years for everything from photo books to photo sharing to wedding and Christmas gifts! I totally adore photo books, and I've been thrilled with each and every one that I've ordered from Shutterfly. I've even been known to order one to give as a gift, only to go back and order myself the exact same one as soon as I get it in my hands! No joke, this is exactly what I did with the engagement shoot books that we designed for our parents. So, it's no surprise that I started perusing their holiday cards months weeks ago.

Once I hit the Christmas card section, I was glued to the screen. Within the first few minutes, I found a handful that I loved, and decided I needed to gather them up and narrow it down. Here are just some of this year's favorites ..

"Sending Blessings"

"For Unto Us"

"Paws and Lights"
"Very Merry Moments"

I tend to have pretty traditional taste when it comes to things like holiday cards, but I am definitely considering letting Riley steal the show this year with that "Paws and Lights" card! And "Very Merry Moments?" let's just say that once we have a babe or two, I'll be working all year long to gather up enough pictures to fill a card like this! Which one will we choose this year?! You'll have to wait and see!

Now, this is the fun part! Shutterfly has given me not one, not two, but THREE sets of 25 FREE Holiday Cards to giveaway to my readers!!

How to enter:
  1. Become a follower of Our Love Nest and leave a comment on this post telling me which Shutterfly holiday cards are your favorite this year!
  2. Tweet about this post and mention @OurLoveNest and @Shutterfly
  3. For TWO chances to win, like Our Love Nest on Facebook and leave a comment on our wall letting us know that you stopped by!

This giveaway will be open until Friday, November 11th! Winners will be chosen and announced on Monday, November 14th!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

One Year Ago Today ...

I can hardly believe that a whole year has gone by so quickly. This has been the most challenging and rewarding year of my life so far, and I am so incredibly blessed that God gave me B as the man who I'll share my life with.

Once year ago today ...

I had my best girl friends and family around me as I primped and prepared for the best day of my life ...

My Dad walked me down the aisle towards the man I'd been praying for all my life ...

... I was greeted by this handsome, smiling face at the end of my aisle ...

We were officially announced as husband and wife for the very first time. We shared lots of kisses, and posed for many pictures ...

We partied and danced the night away surrounded by all of our family and closest friends, and a breathtaking view of Manhattan.

I remember it like it was yesterday, and cannot believe we have already reached our first milestone as newlyweds! Countless memories, including a puppy and a new house have been a part of this first year of marriage, and I simply cannot wait to see what God has in store for our future together!

How will we be spending our first anniversary? Well, I've come up with a surprise mini getaway for us, and B has no idea where we're headed! I promise to recap for you next week!

Happy 1st Anniversary, my love!

Friday, November 4, 2011

My Neighbors Totally Think I'm Crazy. Good Thing We're Moving.

Well, the final countdown is on. We officially have to be out of our place in 7 days. One week?! Cue sheer panic. I have SO many before and after photos of our new house already, and cannot wait to share them! More on that later.

During the whirlwind of the last few weeks, we have been spending pretty much every waking hour at work or over at the new house doing more work. This has left very little time for my typical wifely duties. Even things like taking Riley on her morning walk have suffered. 

Our newest "puppy accessory" came in the form of a prong collar about two weeks ago. Since Riley is a lab mix, aka a ball of energy, she tends to want to "lead" when we set out for walks, or even just a quick trip outside. 

Ok, enough background. So, here's the scene. It's about 8AM on a Friday, and I'm hustling around (standard) trying to get myself out the door for another day at the office. I finally have myself ready, when I remember that the little one needs a quick trip outside, since the poor girl will have to hold it for the next 9-10 hours. So, I grab the leash and new, sparkly collar, hook her up, and off we go. 

Our morning trips outside are typically pretty quick. Riley gets her business done, and I'm on my way. One of the things we've been trying to teach her is to sit and wait at the front door until her leash is removed, and we can both leisurely head inside. Well, that is not quite how this particular day went.

I had Riley at the front door, even sitting down (success!). I remove her collar and leash and open the door for her to head inside. Well, she had other things on that puppy brain of hers. She had seen a few interesting morsals on our trip down the stairs that lead to our door. You know, things like leaves, sticks and cigarette butts. Naturally, I had told her "no" at our first pass over them, and proceeded to hurry down the rest of the steps. Well, that smarty pants specifically remembered the location of said cigarette butt, and quickly took off up the stairs to grab it and play a quick game of "Keep Away." 

So, my ten month old puppy is bolting for the nearest parking lot, while her Momma runs after her screaming her name. Pathetic much? And, in case you had forgotten, I had just taken her collar and leash off at the door (total fail), so she was borderline impossible to catch. So, for the next 3-4 minutes (what felt like an absolute lifetime), I tried to creep closer and closer to my beloved pet. Close enough to grab her and bring her back inside where it was safe. She obviously didn't understand this, so she just kept horsing around, running in between cars and out into open parking lot space where she could be run over at any moment.

If you were one of my neighbors that morning, you would have looked out your window to find a puppy prancing around around in the parking lot, and her helpless owner making a complete fool of herself by repeatedly shouting the dog's name through sobs and tears. 

How did I get her back inside? By bribing her with food, of course! And, after this traumatizing experience, I think it is fair to say that our neighbors are ready for us to move on so we can stop making scenes in the parking lot. And Riley, I am sorry for all of those times that I have threatened to "open the door and let you run away," because after that stunt you pulled? Momma probably won't be letting you out of her sight off that leash for quite some time.

Ohhh, puppy love. Has this ever happened to any of you?! Please help me assuage my "I'm a bad puppy Momma, and am obviously not ready for actual human children yet" phase.

Don't forget to come back Monday for the FIRST EVER Our Love Nest giveaway!! I am so excited to be able to offer this giveaway to my readers, and not a moment too soon! Hint: it will help you gear up for the holidays, and I wouldn't have it any other way!!