Friday, August 31, 2012

Ubokia: The New Way to Shop Online

The way I shop my myself, and for my home has changed so much over the last two years. All of the things that I used to make an extra trip out for, can now be found online and shipped directly to me. And if I can get free shipping? Sign me up

Online shopping has revolutionized the way that women shop for themselves, their families and their homes. Enter Ubokia.

Imagine remembering that thing you've been meaning to buy, or the one thing you've really been 'wanting,' and being able to find it on one of your favorite blogs?  Buying through a blog marketplace means you are connecting with other like-minded people - making it easier to find what you want and in general your interactions are more pleasant than something like Craigslist.

Want to know more? According to the fine folks at Ubokia, 'Ubokia is one of the Internet’s fastest growing Social Commerce communities. We have developed a platform that connects buyers and sellers together. We are now offering a fully functioning version of our marketplace as a plugin for blogs called Ubokia Everywhere. This plugin allows your readers to buy and sell with each other – without ever leaving your blog. Think of it as a mini-Craigslist - but way cooler - just for your readers.

With Ubokia, you can list, search for, and buy the items that you're looking for, and do this with other women who you already interact with! Ubokia is easier for buyers because all they have to do is post a want and let sellers come to them. No more searching! Plus, Ubokia is easier for sellers because they don't have to wait to potential buyers to view their products. They can immediately connect with buyers. And, With uTrust, Ubokia is the safest way to buy online.

Interested in signing up, or just want to know some more? Visit Ubokia today, and get all of your questions answered. You can also use this link to join via my network!

**I was compensated for this post by the SITS Girls and Ubokia. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A DIY 'Date Jar' Tutorial

A few weeks ago, while I was reading Jennifer's blog, I came across her post about the date jar that she had made for her and her husband. As soon as I laid eyes on this DIY project, I  knew that I had to make one for us.

You see, I am such a believer (and sometimes, a stickler for) in date nights. I'd love to do a date night every week, but it ends up being more like once every other, or every third week, in our house. Our biggest challenge is always coming up with ideas. Ideas he likes, ideas I like, and ones that we'll both really enjoy.

The 'Date Jar' allows you both to spend time in advance thinking of different ideas that both you and your spouse will enjoy, so when the opportunity presents itself for a spontaneous date night, most of the work is already done! This is an absolute win win situation in our house.

So, I gathered up my supplies and got to it! 

DIY 'Date Night Jar'

What You'll Need
1 Mason Jar (I used a 16 oz. because I already had one)
20-30 popsicle sticks (I bought sticks that were already multi-colored, and came in a pack of about 100)
1 paint marker in the color of your choice
'Date Night' ideas from both you & your spouse
Ribbon in the color/pattern of your choice (this is optional; I added it to dress up our jar a bit!)

We started by each coming up with 10-15 ideas one Sunday afternoon when we were sitting at home. We each did this separately, and it was a welcome surprise when I realized that we hadn't doubled any ideas! 

Once we had our list together, and I gathered up all of my supplies, I began bringing our ideas to 'life' on each of the colored sticks.

I am actually thrilled with the colored popsicle sticks; I think it dresses the whole thing up and just makes it more fun. 

Once I had all of our ideas written out, I simply popped the sticks into the jar.

I finished this project by adding some colorful ribbon to the top of the jar, and once I did, I was so excited about how cute it came out! 

Wondering what some of our ideas were? Here are just a few:
  • Hiking at a local park with Riley
  • Happy Hour on the deck
  • Dinner out on the water in Annapolis
  • Signing up for a cooking class
  • One night away (somewhere within 2 hours)

I definitely recommend this idea for any couple that loves a good date night, but is too busy to try and come up with new ideas each week or month. This way, you can just choose a night of the week, pick a date and be on your way! Obviously, some of these dates require a bit more planning than others, but just the fact that the ideas are all there makes me happy.

I'm sure that we will begin to remove the ones that are used, and add new ideas as time goes by, but this is a fabulous place to start!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What's Been On My Heart. I Wasn't Going to Write This.

I wasn't going to write today. I wasn't even sure I would write about this topic again since the last time. It's personal, it's tough, and I am just not sure how to wrap my thoughts around it. But, it's on my mind. Every day. And, I just needed to let some of it out.

Our TTC journey has had peaks and valleys. Like I explained in my last post, I was a bit clueless when this all started. I thought my body would go back to 'normal' quickly after going off of the pill, and we'd get a surprise 'BFP' only a few short months later. 

What I didn't realize was that I was going to have to put a lot of extra energy into this. Each day there are things to do. To check. You see, I'm a pretty busy person, in my own right. I like to keep a full calendar, and I'm constantly flooding my iPhone with reminders. Checklists and planning are my thing. I can handle them. They're typically something I can control.

Truth be told, we are on about our fourth month of 'actively trying.' I say this with a grain of salt, because I have yet to buckle down enough with my temping and charting to really have pinpointed those possible 'O' days. So, I decided to do it this month. I would be diligent, because after all, this is what I really want. We are ready.

God has really been testing my faith and my patience this summer. Each week there are more babies being born, and more pregnancy announcements. None of them have come from me yet. I keep telling myself that there must be a reason that this is my journey. Our journey. What is He trying to teach me about myself? 

I know I can't control this. I also know that God already knows exactly what is in store for us over the next few years of our marriage. That gives me a certain amount of peace. But, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't trying everything I could humanly do, to aid in our TTC process. 

I'm a talker. And an analyzer. I work through frustrating situations much more easily when I have other people to talk to about them. I have found confidence and strength in talking to other women during this process. It has been eye opening, to say the least. 

So, where do we go from here? I guess there is not much else to do other than for me to keep moving forward. This month, it's temps every morning, charts, and lots of little details. I am hopeful that these things will really help to ease that fear in the back of my mind that I have been trying to ignore for the last several months, "could there be something wrong here?"

A friend of mine told me recently to try and remember that when it comes to TTC, there is really no 'normal.' This definitely helped to put things into perspective for me. I am constantly comparing myself to all of the other women around me who make it look so easy. For us, the journey may not be easy, but I am certain that it will be rewarding.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Measuring My Life in Tasks, Not Experiences.

A few weeks ago, we met with our small group, a standard practice for us on a Wednesday evening. While we were going around the room catching up, and offering our prayer requests and praises, one of the members of the group mentioned that he felt like he had been too 'task' oriented lately, and that he feared he was measuring his life with the wrong gauge. Rather than focusing on the experiences that he was living, he was more focused on items on a checklist, and simply crossing them off. 

This got me to thinking. I am the absolute queen of checklists. I am practically a slave to the 'Reminders' app on my iPhone, and I definitely measure my productivity each day by how many of the items I can check off. There is just something about checking those items off, and seeing my to-do list shrink in size that makes me happy. What can I say, it's the Type-A in me. 

But, maybe I'm spending far too much time coming up with lists, and then buzzing around trying to check them off, than just enjoying the experiences that life has given me during this chapter. 

Instead, I should be focusing on my happy marriage. Just two years into our marriage and B and I are happier than ever. We have already accomplished so much as a couple. We bought a house, completely gutted and renovated it, and actually survived. He supported me, and helped me start my own business last year. We've traveled a little, but I'd love to travel more. We joined a church, made new friends, signed up for fantasy football together this year, and have started to plan our family. Together.

Our energetic puppy; she won't be a 'puppy' much longer! The best thing about dogs is that they are just so full of love. Riley loves both of us so unconditionally, and I want to enjoy her, instead of looking at her schedule as just another task to accomplish each day.

Our ability to travel right now will be changing sooner than we know, I'm sure. I love being able to just pick up and head out to spend the day with my nephews, or pack Riley in the car for a two night trip to NJ in the middle of the week. We have friends that live in Northern VA and family in Southern PA, and right now, we can take our free Saturday afternoons to jump in the car and go visit with them. 

Often times, I let my to-do lists cloud my vision for any given week. I say no to plans, or make myself stay home so that I can try and focus on the tasks I have in front of me. 

Now, don't get me wrong, of course we all have things we have to do each day, each week, each year. And, I am by no means saying that we should just completely abandon our priorities and responsibilities. Trust me, I'm not giving up on my Reminders app altogether. 

But maybe, just maybe, some of those items can wait. They'll still be there tomorrow, ready for you to tackle. So, drink that extra glass of wine on the desk with your hubby, or take your dog for that extra 15 minute walk, because when I look back, I want to remember those times, and not the miles of checked off tasks I was able to get through to get me to this point.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Show & Tell Monday Linkup: Week 2

I'm linking up with Becky again today for Week #2 of the Monday Show & Tell linkup. This week she's featuring details about weddings, so how could I pass this one up?!

Show & Tell Linkup, Week 2: Wedding Bells Ringing

1. Are you married? If so when did you get married, and tell us about your special day. 
Yes, I'm sure all of you know by now that B and I were married in a beautiful fall wedding on November 5, 2010. Our wedding was even better than the dreams I had been creating since I was a little girl. Mostly because I knew I had found the right guy (finally), and we were so blessed to have so many of our friends and family together for that one day. 

And the backdrop? Was stunning. NYC, woot!

2. Show us some wedding pictures. Either yours or of some that you love.
All of the following pictures were taken by our fabulous wedding photographer, Dana Duncan. She was one of the first choices I made once I started planning, and we were thrilled with the way our photos came out!

3. How about the engagement? Tell us your story. 
We had been talking about getting engaged for a while. In fact, B had taken me to try on rings once in May of 2009. I thought, for sure, this meant the proposal was right around the corner, but it was very important to B that I was surprised. So, six months later, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, I was in NJ for my best friend's bridal shower. B took a train up that morning, met my Dad at the train station, and spent the afternoon setting up my parents backyard and awaiting my arrival. I was definitely surprised!

4. Show us your wedding rings or an engagement photo! 
Well, our engagement photos are above, so I'll show you a pic of our rings from the honeymoon.

5. Tell us why you think marriage doesn't work out for so many? What can we do to make things last?
I think there are many, many answers to this question But for me, it all stems from having God and faith at the center of your marriage first. I also think that most people believe that you are supposed to always 'feel' in love with your spouse. I believe there is a lot of selflessness that should go into a healthy marriage, and, each day, we need to make the decision to put our spouse's needs before our own. And hopefully, your spouse does the same.

I've also said it before, but I think it's super important to set aside time for each other. Whether it's just a 20 minute conversation over a glass of wine, or a dinner date out at a fancy restaurant, it is my goal not to lose the 'us' that we've established.

Thanks again for hosting this week, Becky! It has been so much fun to reminisce about this special part of our life together!

A Monday Brain Dump

It's Monday. Again.  Although I'll be participating in Becky's Show & Tell Monday again this afternoon, I couldn't help but make some time (and room) for a brain dump. It's been a while.

  • It seems more common than ever before that everyone is ready for summer to end, and fall to begin. Believe me, I am right there with you.
  • Although October is by far my favorite month, I am so excited for September. Football games, apple picking, weddings and fall TV starts so soon!
  • Speaking of the new fall lineup, is anyone else intrigued by this new ABC show, '666 Park Avenue?' I have been seeing endless commercials for it, and the cast looks pretty great, so I'll likely be giving it a shot. Obviously, I'm the most excited for the return of Revenge. If you're not already watching, catch up ASAP. This show is my favorite. 
  • OK, so this 'dump' may be mainly about the fall, but I am SO excited to start cooking soups and crock pot meals, and to get a chance to get back in riding boots and colored skinnies!
  • I've been doing a lot of DIY'ing again lately, so prepare yourself for a bunch of tutorials coming to the blog over the next few weeks. A 'Date Jar,' 'Kitchen Command Center,' and new Fall Wreath, just to name a few.
  • Lastly, I'll leave you with one of my favorite new songs. My absolute favorite new song is Maroon 5's new one, 'One More Night,' but the new Taylor Swift song is just adorable. Let's just say that if it had come out while I was a junior or senior in college, my girlfriends and I would have been obsessed

Thursday, August 23, 2012

What's New This Fall with 31!

Just wanted to pop in today to let you know that I am SO excited about the new 31 catalog for Fall. There are lots of awesome new products, patterns and colors, and I can hardly wait to show them off!

The catalog isn't available until September 1st, but in the meantime, I wanted to show all of you the part I am most excited for ...

The 'Collegiate Spirit Collection' has everyone buzzing, and I know there are a LOT of college football fams out there! What better way to cheer on your team that with personalized items from 31!

Leave a comment here or email me at 
ourlovenestblog{at}gmail{dot}com for more details, or to place an order!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

DIY Decorative Pearl Wreath

This may have been my most time-consuming DIY project ever. But in the end, it was worth it. I had seen this pin a few months back, and fell in love with it. I immediately stuck it on my 'do someday' list, and hoped that it would come to fruition some time over the next six months.

Well, I was feeling under the weather last weekend, and decided that a lazy Sunday on the couch was the best day to get it started. Finally.

Keep in mind that I spent the better part of my day, on and off, gluing the pearls down, and when all was said and done, I probably glued close to 2,000 pearls on this sucker. But, I just love the way it came out!

DIY Decorative Pearl Wreath

What You'll Need:
One 10-12" round, foam ring
2 Rolls of satin ribbon (your choice;  I used a simple white to blend in well)
10-15 bags of multi-sized craft pearls
** I used three different sized pearls. I would say I had about 35-50 of the largest size, about 350 of the medium size and upwards of 1,500 small pearls.
Decorative or colored ribbon of your choice for hanging
Hot glue gun
Lots of glue sticks (I went a little crazy with the glue!)

Begin by wrapping your foam ring with your satin ribbon. I used about a whole roll of ribbon from Hobby Lobby. Once you have the foam ring completely wrapped, glue down the ends and check for any wrinkles or loose edges.

Then, begin gluing down your pearls. I started by spacing out the largest pearls throughout and moving in from there. 

Once I had added all of the largest pearls, I opened up my first bag of medium pearls and just zoned in.

After this, it gets pretty repetitive. I suggest doing this project with a bottle glass of wine, and taking frequent breaks.

Pretty soon, your wreath will begin to look like this ...

When I got to this point, I thought about quitting, but I just pushed through it. And watched about 3 episodes of Keeping Up With the Kardashians to keep me 'company.' 

About 750 pearls later, my wreath was complete. I had leftover lace and hot pink ribbon, so I used a strip of each, and I love the way the texture and color for with the pearls!

This wreath is simple and elegant, and I think it will be great to get us through the fall and maybe even into winter. 

If you're thinking about making one of these, I say go for it, and don't beat yourself up if it takes you a whole weekend (or several) to finish it!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Day My Summer Got Dramatic.

Have you ever had one of those days where you just couldn't cool off? You know, when the heat radiates off of the pavement, and it's tough to even breath in the hot, humid air? I don't deal all that well with that kind of heat, so days like this make me sort of 'moody,' or just hide inside all day.

A few weeks ago, I was in Hometown, NJ working with a client. It was the last day of my visit and I was going to be traveling around to a few offices throughout the hottest part of the day. In work attire. So, I set off on my journey, and made the usual stop at Starbucks on my way out. When I returned to my car, I was surprised to find that the air coming out of the vents was warm and sticky. Just like the air outside. I thought for sure this was a fluke, so I turned the car off and and then on again, but the same thing happened. 

Cue panic mode.

Now, I don't consider myself to be too much of a drama queen, but this ignited the drama inside of me immediately. I called my Mom telling her about my dilemma and she suggested I take my car in to our local mechanic to see if there was anything he could do on short notice. You know, before I make the 4 hour trek back to MD that evening. 

I got over to the mechanic's in just a few short minutes. He quickly popped the hood, checked it out and told me that it was likely that my AC system needed to be flushed and recharged. Great, how long can that take? Unfortunately for me, our friendly neighborhood mechanic couldn't fit me in that day, and sent me on my way assuring me that my car would definitely "make it back to MD in one piece." Why thank you, kind sir, but it wasn't the car I was worried about, it was the four hours of hot wind, sweat and bad mood that I knew I was preparing to sit through.

By the end of the day, my 'work attire' had changed to the coolest sundress that I had packed for the trip. The thermometer inside my car read a cool 90 degrees, and I knew I had to get on the road before my window of lighter traffic was gone. Thus began the 4 hours back to MD in a hot sticky car. 

I would love to update this post by telling you that the AC in my car has now been fixed and is no longer an issue, But when we brought it in for service at home, and the recharging of the system didn't work, we were told that it needed a whole new compressor. Since we don't plan on keeping this car into next summer, we decided to save ourselves the $900 and I vowed to 'suck it up' for the next few weeks.

If I wasn't ready for fall before this happened, I sure am now. Let's just say that I'm counting the days til September, hoping for no Indian Summer, and staying home more often these days.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Show & Tell Monday Linkup!

We're back for another post. Two in one day is becoming a more normal thing around here, what?! 

Today, I couldn't help but join in on the fun of this new linkup. If you've been here before, you know that I always linkup for Becky's creative linkups. I love meeting new bloggers and learning more about the bloggers who I already read every day! 

And, even more exciting? If you linkup with Becky today, YOU get the chance to enter the $50.00 Erin Condren giveaway!

So, what is this new linkup all about? Well, it's a little twist on the age old 'Show & Tell.' This week's edition is all about your home. Your current home, your dream home checklist, your favorite room in your home, etc. And, since our new home has been a huge part of our life over the past 9 months, I thought this linkup was the perfect way for me to share some more about it!

Becky provided us with 5 questions to get the ball rolling. So, I'll do my best to answer them, and hope I don't bore you to death!

1. If you were searching for a home now, tell me what would be on your "MUST" list
When I think about what I will look for in our next house, I am thinking along the lines of a family of 4 or 5. Obviously, our needs will be different the next time around, and we will need more space than for just myself, B and Riley. The things that I want in our next house? A pool, a laundry room/closet upstairs near the bedrooms, a larger kitchen with an island, a two car garage and a fenced in yard. Is that too much to ask for your second house?!  

2. Show me your favorite room in a home {either your home, or any home, i.e. kitchen}.  
I think my favorite room in our current home is our master bedroom. I tried to do less than I have been known to do in the past, because I didn't want our bedroom to be full of junk. I also went a different way with the color palette. The room is peaceful, clean looking, and truly a place where I always feel relaxed.

But, everyone has their idea of their 'dream room,' am I right?! Of course, I took to Pinterest to find this photo. I have pinned NUMEROUS images of dream kitchens, etc. onto my 'Dream Home' board. 

How gorgeous is this kitchen? I love the two-toned cabinets, ample space, and I especially love having room enough to pull some stools up to your island to create a 'breakfast bar' type situation.

This room doesn't need much explanation, does it? Someday, I will have a laundry room (upstairs) where I can go hide out for 30 minutes and actually fold laundry while I catch up on the Real Housewives. Err. most likely the Kardashians.

3. If you could have any room redone, tell me which one would it be and what would you like done? 
In this house, we have already redone almost every room in the house. But it's still a townhouse, and not the house we plan to make our forever home. That being said, the closet space in this place is sort of lacking, so I would LOVE to have someone come in and totally redo our walk-in closet. That has always been a dream of mine. I'm channeling my inner Carrie Bradshaw here.


4. Tell me where your favorite stores are to shop for home decor. 
I think it goes without saying that I am a TOTAL Home Goods junkie. I think that about half of the decor in my house was purchased there. I can't walk into a Home Goods without at least purchasing one small item, even if it is just an inspiration item for a future project. 

My other favorite places to shop for my house are Ballard Designs, Hobby Lobby and my Mom's house. :o)

5. Show me your dream home {it can be your home, if you already have your dream home}
My dream home? Wow, that's a tough one. There is a house in my Hometown in NJ that I have been in love with for years. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of that house to show you, so I'll show you a picture of another gorgeous home that I would put in my 'Dream Home' category. 

Wow, that was fun! If you haven't already checked out Becky's linkup, definitely head over and do so! There are so many fun entries to look through!

Cygnett Fashionable iPad Case Giveaway WINNERS!!

Happy Monday everyone! 

We are home from our beach weekend reunion, and I have officially deemed today 'recovery/catch up day. Lots to do today to get back into the groove.

Thanks again to EVERYONE who entered for the Cygnett iPad case giveaway. I am excited to announce that the winners are ...

Megan from Table for Three

AND ...

 Ladies, email me at ourlovenestblog{at}gmail{dot}com for the details, and CONGRATULATIONS!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Days When I Miss College: A Beach Reunion

I've said it here before, but there are days, many days, when I miss the carefree days of college. When almost all of my best friends lived within walking distance and I could see each of them every weekend. 

Now that we've all grown up and become 'real adults' it's become much harder to get everyone together. Months go by and I don't even realize how long it's been since our last 'reunion' weekend.

Luckily, we have another coming up this weekend! B, myself, and about 15 of our friends from college will be traveling down to Ocean City, MD for a weekend of debauchery and fun.

I think it goes without saying that we're really excited. So excited that I took the time to throw a little 'college themed' collage together to share here with all of you. Pictured below are most of the friends that we will be catching up with this weekend.

In fact, we are already en route to the beach while you're reading this! 
Have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

GapKids Shine On Saturday Event!!

This post is sponsored by GapKids. Check out all the fun Shine On activities at your nearest Gap store. For event dates and locations, visit Gap’s Facebook page and join the conversation on Twitter with hashtag #ShineOn. 

This summer has sure been a scorcher, and although I don't have any little ones of my own (yet), I spend a fair amount of time with of my favorite littles, and know just how hard it can be to find fun activities to do with them on scorching summer days.  

Enter GapKids. This month, select GapKids stores in stores in across the country will host Shine On Saturdays events. What is a Shine On Saturday event, you ask? I'm so glad you did! 

GapKids will be hosting these events in certain cities throughout the country to allow families to bring their kids into the stores to participate in some fun and creativity. Your children will unleash their inner artist with a series of special art projects by Merrilee Liddiard of Mer Mag. Designed by Merrilee Liddiard of Mer Mag herself, the projects were inspired by the GapKids and babyGap fall collection, including the best new 1969 denim - Jewel Box Skinnies for girls (the new skinny jean updated in bright stretchy denim) and Action Stretch Denim for boys (designed for play all day- it’s denim that’s made to move). From creating geometric masterpieces on canvas using paint and tape to colorful, custom journals to get kids ready for back-to-school, the projects help kids express their creativity!

These events are only being hosted in certain cities, and the Washington, DC metro area just happens to be one of them! This Saturday, August 18th from 10AM to 1PM, you can join in on the fun at the Shine On event in Bethesda, MD:

GapKids @ Montgomery
1701 Democracy Blvd.
Bethesda, MD 20817

And, if you can't make it this Saturday, there is another event next week on Saturday, August 25th from 10Am to 1 PM at:

GapKids @ Pentagon
1100 S. Hayes Street
Arlington, VA 22202

To check out more about the upcoming Fall collection for GapKids, check out this video!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Shrimp Scampi With A Twist: The Recipe

Now that summer is more than halfway gone (hello, Fall!), I feel like I have hit somewhat of a rut in the creativity department in our kitchen. I am so excited to get back to soups, stews, and weekly crock pot meals, but I know that there are still a few hot weeks left that I need to fill with summer appropriate meals.

I picked up a pound of raw shrimp a few weeks ago during one of my many Target trips, and wasn't sure yet what I would use it for. Then, while meal planning last week, I remembered I had said shrimp in the freezer, and took to Google to try and find the perfect, simple shrimp recipe. 

I came across many recipes for 'Shrimp Scampi' and, since this was a meal I had yet to tackle, I decided that this past weekend was the perfect time to try it. So, here is my take on 'Shrimp Scampi' loosely adapted from Tasty Kitchen.

Shrimp Scampi with a Veggie Twist

What You'll Need
3 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/2 Medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine (I use dry cooking wine)
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2-4 dashes of Hot Sauce (I went light here)
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Parsley (fresh or dry) to taste

1lb. large, raw shrimp
8oz. Pasta (your choice - I used linguine)
1 bunch fresh asparagus
2 cups steamed spinach

Begin by boiling water for pasta. Have pasta ready to add.

Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until onions are cooked through. Then, add shrimp, stir and allow to cook for a few minutes.

Next, add lemon juice, wine, salt & pepper and hot sauce. Stir everything together and reduce heat to low.

Meanwhile, either sautee spinach in a large pan with olive oil, or add olive oil and spinach to large mixing bowl and microwave for 2 minutes. Then, sautee asparagus spears for a few minutes until softened.

Then, toss your pasta into shrimp and sauce mixture. Add parsley and parmesan cheese and mix through. 

Finish by adding the spinach and asparagus and mix well. 

Give your mixture one last toss and then serve hot with your favorite glass of white wine! ENJOY!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Guest Post for A Great Friend & A Closer Look Into Our Young Married Life

It's Wednesday again. This week must be a popular week for vacationing, because I'm guest blogging twice in one week!

Today's post is for one of my IRL best friends. You will likely already recognize Aliya, because she guest posted for me a few weeks back and shared some awesome, summer recipes with us. While she's off enjoying the beach with her husband's family, she's sharing her space with some fabulous women that are each experiencing a different chapter of life right now. 

My chapter? Well, how does a 'day in the life' of a young married couple sound? Since I'm becoming such a pro at this whole marriage thing (ha, yea right), I'm sharing some insight into what life is like for us these days. Make sure to head over and give Aliya a shout while you're at it!
Hey, 'Double the Fun' readers! I'm Pam from over at Our Love Nest. I'm a newlywed who has recently decided that she can transition her title from 'newly married' to a young, married couple. Running a marketing consulting business by day with baby fever constantly on the brain by night. And, how can I not be with cute little ones around all the time like Ky and Ariana?! This week, while Aliya is enjoying the Jersey Shore (woot!) she asked if I would guest post for her, and I'm delighted to hijack her space for the day! To talk about what, you ask? Well, how about a 'day in the life' of a young, married couple?

For those of you who don't know me yet, I am married to B. We met in college over eight years ago, but didn't start dating until after we graduated. We dated for 3 1/2 years, got engaged in November of 2009, and were married in a beautiful fall, North Jersey wedding on November 5, 2010. I know it's cliche', but I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have married my best friend.

In the twenty months that have passed since our wedding, we have lived together for the first time in a modest, one-bedroom apartment, started our family with the addition of an energetic black lab mix puppy named Riley, and bought and renovated our very first home. And, on top of all that? I have changed jobs twice, and started a business of my own. Life has surely kept us busy!

So, what's your average day in the life like for us? Well, fairly simple compared to some of the other fabulous ladies who will be visiting Aliya's blog this week. Somehow, these Momma's are raising adorable little prince and princesses, all while keeping up with their homes, husbands and friends. May hat is off to you ladies, really

For us, life is full of house projects, business paperwork, laundry, grocery lists, puppy walks and at home movie nights. I suppose all of this is normal, but why don't I get down to the nitty gritty for you, ok?! Bear with me.

Our typical day begins at 7 and ends around 11PM most nights. I always try and kick off my day with a 30 minute walk with Riley, followed by about 20 minutes of weights or abs just to make myself feel like I got a 'real' workout in. 

Then, we're on to morning coffee, checking emails and reading some favorite blogs. During the typical week, I have a few hours of consulting work to tackle each day. Once this is done, I usually catch up on blogging, make my weekly chore/grocery lists, run a few errands, and then try to squeeze in lunch with a friend or some quality time with my nephews

Of course, there's lots more to get done in any given week, what with meal planning, cooking, cleaning and your normal hustle bustle. But, we do try and make time for each other. Even if it's just a 15 minute conversation over a glass of wine before dinner. You'll often find us curled up on the couch watching a movie on a weeknight, or jetting off to meet a few friends for happy hour on a Friday evening.

The most important part for me, is that I'm spending these moments with B intentionally. I know that life will not be this pace forever, and whether that be a good or bad thing, I'm trying to savor the time that we have together now where we can daydream about our next house, steal a night away or plan a vacation. 

If you know me well, or if you've read this post, you know that I have other things on my mind as well, but like my darling husband tries to tell me, I think I need to 'let go and let God' in this circumstance. I don't know where we'll be a year from now, but I do know that the journey that we're on is full of fun, adventure and lots of love, and I can't wait to see where it takes us next!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

You'll Find Me At L.A.I.D Today - Keepin' It Real About Healthy Living

Big news around here today, folks! I am guest blogging for the lovely and fabulous Shannon today while she's away on vacation. And in true L.A.I.D. style, I wanted to get real and honest with all of you, so read on!
I am so excited and honored that Shannon is allowing me to take over her blog for the day today while she's on vacation, getting some sun, enjoying some beverages and her sweet family. Life After I Dew is one of my favorite daily reads, and one of the things that I love the most about Shannon is that she keeps it real.

So, what better way to honor her while she's our of town than by writing a post where I 'try' and keep it real as well?! And today, I'm going to give you my take on what I try to do to stay in shape, and why I don't think some of those things are working out so well for me as I near the age of 30.

Let me give you a bit of the back story. In high school, I was one of those girls that you love to hate. While I did run cross country and track to stay in shape, that's all I did. Ever. I was able to stay at a weight that didn't intimidate me at all, and to be honest, I never really thought about my weight.

Fast forward to my college days. The story was pretty much the same, except I gave up the running almost completely. I ate whatever I wanted and went out partying/drinking with the best of 'em. That all worked out really well for me until about the age of 25. I was a few years out of college, working a 9-5 job, and just wasn't making the time to maintain a 'healthy lifestyle.' I should add that I was never a really bad eater, but I definitely loved a big bowl of mac n' cheese and can hardly ever say no to ice cream.

I think it was somewhere around this time that I started to get back into working out. Going for runs, and even trying workouts from Jillian Michael's and 'Zumba!' 

Then, we got engaged.

And, if you've ever been a bride then you know what it means to work your buns off (literally) to get into your best shape to be the bride. And, that's exactly what I did. B and I did the P90X program (well, 8 weeks of it) leading up to our wedding and the results were awesome.

And so the story goes, after the wedding, we moved into an apartment, got a puppy, and I got comfortable, and probably gained close to 10 pounds over the first 18 months of our marriage. This was a slow, gradual increase, but eventually, I did notice that some of my clothes (read: especially jeans) weren't fitting right anymore. Cue the freak outs.

So, I've spent the last few months trying to be more conscious of what I'm putting into my body, and how I'm spending my time. I may love macaroni and cheese, but that doesn't mean I need to eat it twice a week. I may also love reality TV, but it doesn't mean I need to become a couch potato.

We've gotten into a great routine over the last few weeks, too. Since I cook dinner most nights, it's easy to control what (and how much) I'm eating. Having a dog has also helped because I love getting out for a walk with Riley every morning. Most recently, B and I decided to commit to the 30 Day/300 Ab Challenge that Shannon talked about a few weeks ago. It has been tough, but definitely worth it!

I've said it once, and I'll without a doubt say it again, but I'm challenging myself to be healthier and more active. I don't want to go crazy, or obsess over it, but I do want to make sure that I bring it back into my lifestyle, because for me, it's all about the routine that I'm in. And the other part of it, the part that is a little harder to stick to, is the realization that my body is likely never going to go back to what it was when I was 17, so I need to embrace this part of life and be happy in my almost-30-year-old skin!

Shannon, thanks again for having me - I hope you have a fabulous vacation!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Cygnett Fashionable iPad Case Giveaway {For New iPad & iPad 2}

I don't know about you, but I'm not sure what I would do without my iPad at this point. I actually won mine right before my birthday last year after a conference that I attended for work. Talk about a sweet prize, right?! 

Since our iPad 2 came in the mail, we have been hooked. From video streaming to web browsing, it has been the perfect addition to our slew of gadgets. But, what would an iPad be without its own accessories?

Enter Cygnett's 'Alumni Canvas Case' for the New iPad & iPad 2. 
When the fine folks at Cygnett reached out to me about reviewing one of their canvas cases, I jumped at the chance to dress up my iPad a bit. The pink alumni case has become a favorite accessory, and compliments my white iPad 2 perfectly! 

The case is sleek, slender, and the pop of color makes my heart happy.It's light enough to fit right into your purse, and functional enough for use in class, on a plane or with your kids! 

And now, the good news. Cygnett has given me not one, but TWO Alumni cases to giveaway to my readers! One in Aqua and one it Fuschia!!

Simply use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter this giveaway. Two (2) individual winners will be selected and announced on Monday, August 20th! 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Introducing Some New Favorites & A Late Summer Special!!

I'm back to introduce you to some fabulous ladies who are our most recent sponsors! I am thrilled to have each one of them, and we welcome new sponsors all the time. 

Recently, I made the transition over to Passionfruit Ads, and it's been a pleasure so far. During the month of August, we are offering 25% OFF of all of our ad spaces when you use the code SUMMERFUN at checkout! Just use this link to get started!
One of my favorite returning sponsors is back with us again! From the moment I 'met' Lindsey, via the Internet, we struck up a real friendship. Even though we may not know each other yet, I consider Lindsey a friend, and a beautiful one at that!
Lindsey blogs over at Love to the Moon about her beautiful family: her hubby and two precious daughters. Personally, I love her Wednesdays vlogs because it makes me feel like we're in the same room! Lindsey is a great Mom, and a beautiful person inside and out. Head on over and join in on the fun and show her some love! You can also find her on Twitter here!
And, make sure to 'Like' Love to the Moon's new Facebook page!

You may already know Kerry of Bridier Baubles from all of the internet buzz, and from the giveaway I hosted back in April! Do you love nautical, JCrew, Nantucket inspired accessories?! Who doesn't?

Since I found Bridier Baubles, I have been totally hooked. I have submitted at least ten five separate orders, and her accessories just keep getting cuter and cuter!  If you are looking for that perfect accent piece, or you want to buy gifts for your sisters, girlfriends, or even bridesmaids, Kerry is your girl! 
And? Her Fall 2012 is beginning to hit the site. I am so excited!!

If you haven't already perused her site, you need to head over there ASAP! You can also find Kerry on Twitter here and here, and definitely 'Like' the Bridier Baubles Facebook Page to keep up on flash sales and specials!

I am beyond excited to welcome a Scentsy consultant into the mix with my Summer Sponsors! It is no secret that I am a total Scentsy convert. In the past few months, I've added a full sized warmer, three plug-in warmers and a dryer bar to my collection, and I've been thrilled with each and every product!
If you're new to Scentsy, or if you're ready to freshen up your collection for summer, pay a visit to Kim's site and check out all of the fabulous new things that Scentsy is offering, like the Campus Collection, Scentsy Buddies, the Layers Collection.
You can also find Kim on her blog, and please check out her adorable boys while you're there! She's also on Twitter!
Next up is our newest sponsor, Sonja from Running in Pearls! Sonja describes herself as a Mom, Blogger, Half Marathoner, Florida Gator Lover who functions on Starbucks, running, and desserts. That's my kinda girl! Well, except for the Florida Gator thing. Sorry Sonja!! :o)

 She blogs about everything from her adorable daughter, to fashion, to what she's currently loving on Pinterest, which is a personal favorite of mine!

You can also find Sonja on Twitter and Pinterest. Head on over and join in the fun!

{Not So} Newlyweds' Brittany 
Brittany is the charming, funny and adorable voice of the blog '{Not So} Newlyweds! She and I have been Twitter 'buddies' for some time now, but just connected recently, and I am so glad that we did. I love hopping over to her blog and reading about their journey as newlyweds.

Brittany is a teacher by day, and just recently made a big transition in her career. I can't wait to hear what happens next! 

Head on over and get to know Brittany a little better, trust me, you won't be disappointed! You can also find her on Twitter and Pinterest!
First Comes Love's Brittany
Yes, we have another Brittany in the house! This Brittany, or 'Britt,' from First Comes Love, is a soon-to-be-wifey to a great guy, and I just couldn't help but share her description of the two of them ...
'how do I describe us? we are the make each other belly laugh, kiss in the middle of the grocery store, knows what the other is thinking purely by a look kind of soul mates. we met in 2009 and have been inseparable ever since.'
 Seriously, how sweet is that? I love that 'kiss in the middle of the grocery store' part, and have had so much fun getting to know these two a bit better via her blog. 
Hop on over and get to know her, will ya? You can also find her on Twitter and Pinterest!
Whew! If you're still reading, thank you SO MUCH for your support of our new sponsors. I am super excited about each one of them, and writing this post really helped to remind me of all of the wonderful friends and connections I've made through blogging. 
If you're interested in becoming a sponsor, email me directly at ourlovenestblog{at}gmail{dot}com

Have a WONDERFUL weekend!!