Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bookclub Girls Night Out

Erika and I enjoying ourselves at The Chocolate Bar. Erika and I have been friends ever since we met as sorority sisters back in College.

Even though I had a great time with the girls, I have never been so happy to finally head home to my warm bed with my sweet husband and precious baby sleeping away in her crib.

Dancing the night away!

The rooftop bar was decked out in a tropical island theme and was lit all the way around with cute little tiki torches.

The Velvet Dog has a rooftop deck with an amazing view of the city. I wish I could of taken a better picture of the buildings all lit up but nothing was turning out.

After dinner, we decided to walk down the street to The Velvet Dog for a little dancing.

Our group enjoying our girls night out.

For dinner, I ordered the corn ravioli. I wasn't sure what was going to show up, but oh my, so delicious! The ravioli filling was ground up corn mixed with ricotta cheese. I would love to try to make something like this at home, however, I just don't think I could really duplicate it.

This restaurant was so different. I have never been to anything like it. Every menu item was made out of corn! We first decided to try the popcorn appetizer. Who knew popcorn sprinkled with balsamic vinaigrette dressing and caramelized onions would be so delicious?

After having drinks and appetizers at The Chocolate Bar, we headed down to The Warehouse District to The Crop Bistro and Bar.

My friends and I started a book club back in 2005 and it is still going strong. We originally started out with four members and our group has since expanded to seven of us. Our husbands like to joke with us that basically this is really a wine club where we occasionally discuss a book that we may or may not of read. Regardless, it's all about getting together every other Tuesday for some girl time. Kids are optional. You are more than welcome to bring them along, but if Mommy is looking for a relaxing night out, then certainly leave them at home for the hubby to watch.

At one of our last meetings, Erika mentioned that she read an article in Parent's Magazine about the importance of maintaining your friendships after baby and that you need to make a point to have a girls night out a few times a year. So who were we to argue with Parent's Magazine? So Erika planned a weekend staycation in downtown Cleveland for the book club girls. Saturday consisted of a day at the Spa, drinks, and then dinner. Followed up by a little dancing at night. Erika also had made hotel reservations downtown for those who wanted to spend the night and not have to worry about driving home late at night. I opted not to go to the Spa or stay at the hotel. As excited as I was to hang out with my friends for the evening. I was not ready to leave Jillian yet for an extensive amount of time, especially overnight! I know the day will come when I will have to spend the night away from Jillian but I would prefer to spend my first night away from Jillian with Jeff.

Our first stop for the evening was "The Chocolate Bar". The Chocolate Bar is located in the trendy E 4th district in downtown Cleveland and specializes in pretty much everything made out of chocolate.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Trip to DC

Last weekend we traveled to Washington DC with my sister and her family. I have not been to DC since I was in middle school so I was really excited to have a chance to visit our Nation's capital again. Jeff and I really enjoy American History. We have gained an even bigger appreciation for it ever since we watched HBO's documentary on John Adams several years ago. While I was researching our trip, I was surprised at how close Cleveland was to Washington DC. The drive was only seven hours which included a one hour stop for lunch. So far this Summer we have made two 12 hour trips to both Myrtle Beach and Arkansas so 7 hours in the car seemed like a stroll in the park in comparison!!!

We left Friday morning and made the 7 hour drive out to the Baltimore/DC area. I ended up sitting in the back seat with Jillian and my 18 month old niece Nicole.

It made for an interesting drive but it was fun trying to entertain the two little ones. I was constantly passing back and forth toys, books, and puffs!!! The girls got along great! I was really excited that Jillian was able to spend some quality time with her cousin. Now that the girls are getting older, they are really starting to interact with one another more and more. It's so cute to watch them play together. Jillian loves to watch her cousin crawl around on the ground, I really think watching her all weekend motivated her to want to crawl too! I really think she is only weeks away from crawling.

We spent all day Saturday exploring Washington DC and all of the beautiful monuments located around the National Mall area. We decided to stop for lunch first to feed ourselves and the girls. We knew we had an exciting but long day ahead of us.

We then walked through all of the beautiful monuments. Each one equally as moving and as the next. It was so amazing to see so many people from so many countries taking in the beauty and history of our Nation's capital.

Our first stop was the Lincoln Memorial.

The view from the top of the Lincoln Memorial stairs was amazing. The Reflecting Pool shimmered with the Washington Monument in the background. Apparently this beautiful view also seemed to remind several people of the famous scene from the movie "Forrest Gump" because every now and then you would actually here someone call out "Jenny!". It was actually quite amusing.

We then made our way past the Vietnam Memorial. What an amazing experience. There were so many Vietnam veterans touching so many of their fallen friends names. There was also an individual who would walk around with a piece of paper rubbing the name of the fallen soldier with a black crayon for friend's and family.

I really like how you can see our reflection in the monument in this picture.

My sister and I posing at the Korean War Memorial. I don't think I have mentioned this yet on my blog yet, however, my beautiful sister is pregnant again although I am sure you can already tell! She is having another little girl in December, exactly one year after Jillian was born! This will be the fifth girl born on my side of the family in twenty one months so needless to say there is a lot of pink in my family!

I thought the World War II monument was breath taking! I loved the beautiful pool with all of the fountains. The pool was surrounded by 50 stone pillars representing each of the 50 States. We walked all around the monument just to find Ohio!!!

My sister and I in front of The White House. I was so excited we were able to get so close!

By the end of the day, we were spent! Our last stop was The Capital Building. My poor sister, she had to have been completely exhausted. She was a trooper though, I was so glad she stuck it out with us!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday Playdate

Good morning and happy Saturday! I have been invited to my very first playdate as a new Mom with LeeAnn from Life With Rylie...and Bryce too!

Our playdate is located down in beautiful sunny Florida so grab a Corona Light with a lime on me and head on down!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Master Bedroom Evolution

Rose from A Record of Rose brought to my attention that Kelly's Korner is hosting her "Show Us Your Life: Master Bedrooms". What perfect timing for me to link up over there! Go check out site to view some more fabulous Master Bedrooms!

Our master bedroom has probably been the most evolved room in our home ever since we built it three years ago. And it is still evolving! I love looking back at the before and after picture just to see all of our progress!

The Inspiration

First things first, let me show you the inspirational picture that I found when I first started envisioning how I wanted our Master Bedroom to look like. I loved Natalie's Master Bedroom over at One Pork Chop Blog.

I especially fell in love with her round mirror. It was such a statement piece, a stunning focal point for the room. I also loved the rich looking cherry wood of the bedroom set and the brown and blue color scheme.

I also wanted something similar to Jenna's lamps over at Hamlett Daily Dose.

My other inspiration to this room was the beautiful Italian Chocolate Edged Sateen Bedding from Restoration Hardware.

I drooled for months over this bedding. I loved the beautiful color combination of chocolate brown and silver sage. I had to have it.

With these two pictures in mind, this is how our master bedroom came together.

And how the Evolution began...

Stage I - Moving In

Here is our Master Bedroom a few weeks after we moved in. I found a similar looking round mirror at Target before our home was even finished. Hanging this mirror signified the first hole ever put into our newly built walls!!! This room was beyond a work in progress. We were still using hand me down furniture from Jeff's Grandma.

As you can see, Jeff and I used to sleep on a full sized bed. Oh my word, what were we thinking? At least we were still newlyweds and didn't mind a little extra cuddling! Seeing that small bed really makes the room look so small. The bedding is also dark and several years old. We were also using my comforter set from when I was single and living on my own. The lamps are from Target and are from the living room of our old house. Sadly, they are now in our current Great Room which is one of the next rooms in need of a make over. For the Master, I was really hoping for more of a crystal ball style lamp for the Master.
Stage II - The Target Quilt

My parents were kind enough to give us one of their King Size mattresses. The mattress was a barely used pillow top and it was heavenly to sleep on. Now that we had a bigger bed, I had to step up my bedding search! I looked everywhere for bedding that looked exactly like the Restoration Hardware set above. Leave it to Target to at least have one of the pieces of the bedding set. The Target Quilt. The Restoration Hardware bedding set above came with a beautiful modern style quilt and this chocolate brown and silver sage blue quilt was exactly what I needed. Luckily, it was the Summer and we didn't need any heavy bedding at the time so we just used this quilt as my search of the Restoration Hardware knockoff continued.
Stage III - The Bedding

I never thought I would find a bedding set as similar to the Restoration Hardware set that had the same look and quality. I was walking through Marshall's one day checking out their home section and I almost passed out in their bedding aisle. It was the exact style that I was looking for and they had it in a King!!!

Stage IV - Lamps

I found a set of these lamps at JCPenney's and tried them out in Great Room, however, I didn't like how they looked. I swapped out the wrought iron lamps we currently had in our bedroom at the time for these. I think they are much more suited for a Master Bedroom!

Stage V - Window Treatments

I found the window treatments for our bedroom at where else, but Target! Their faux silk panels in "Rocky River" matched the Silver Sage in the bedding perfectly. I couldn't have found a more perfect color match and for such a reasonable price too!
Stage VI - The Bedroom Set

When it came to finding our bedroom furniture, I looked everywhere. I searched expensive places like Crate and Barrel and budget friendly places like Value City Furniture. I couldn't find anything I liked regardless of the price or style. I was looking for a set that was modern, yet traditional. Then I came across the new Canopy Line from Wal-Mart.

It was exactly what I was looking for and the price was so reasonable! The best part about it is that I was able to order the pieces one at a time so we didn't get have to feel the financial pain of buying a whole bedroom set at once. I also wanted to see if the furniture was as nice as it looked on Wal-Mart's website so I ordered the night stands first to test the look and the quality. Wal-Mart also had a free 'Ship to Store' program so I didn't even have to pay for shipping if we had it shipped directly to our local store. Here are how the nightstands turned out. Loved them!
Once we agreed that this set was something that we could live with, we went to order the sleigh bed. It was sold out! So I waited for MONTHS for the bed to come back into stock. Apparently I wasn't the only one in love with this bedroom set! You can read more about my bed ordering saga here. Long story short, we finally received the bed over a year later. The bed was the only piece that we were not able to take advantage of the free shipping because the item was so large. It had to be shipped directly to our home. I am sure our neighbors were loving the sight of our bed sitting on the front porch all day long!

Here is how our bedroom looked once Jeff assembled our new King Sleigh Bed! The last piece of the puzzle were the dressers. Since we wanted to keep this budget friendly, we put off ordering the dressers. Fortunately the dressers were always in stock so we didn't end up ordering them until a month before my due date with Jillian! Probably not the best of ideas but we wanted to get it taken care of before she came. We had the dressers shipped to our local Wal-Mart store and we actually forgot about them after the baby was here! I receive an email from Wal-Mart sometime in mid-January that they were going to ship our dressers back if we didn't pick them up. Oops! So Jeff and his brother had to drive out to Wal-Mart in several inches of snow and pick up our dressers. Our dressers then sat in our guest bedroom for MONTHS waiting for Jeff to put them together. We have been slightly busy taking care of a baby that they were becoming less and less of a priority. I am now happy to say Jeff put the dressers together a few weeks ago and we FINALLY have our completed bedroom set!!!
The Dressers:

Stage VI - The Finished Product

I still need to find some wall accessories and we are also toying around with buying the bench that matches are bedroom set too. Stay tuned!