One Year in the House

One year ago today, I provided an update on our new house. See, a couple days before, hubby and I moved into our very first house!

Based on the update from last year (click to view – seeing the old list will make this one make more sense), I can tell you that some things have been taken care of while others haven’t.

1. We still don’t have nice furniture. In fact, save one bed frame that is too big to use in our master bedroom and some den furniture thanks to some really good deals, we haven’t purchased much of anything. This is probably due to us pouring all of our money into our kitchen renovation.

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In fact, we are still sleeping on a mattress on the floor.

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And our living room still needs furniture.

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2. We have some curtains in some rooms.

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But we still have many rooms that need curtains or blinds of some sort.

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3. Thankfully, our kitchen is all unpacked. No more searching boxes for plates and cooking ingredients! Hazzah! Plus we now have a pantry and island (that we had installed – it wasn’t there when we moved in) to use for storage. Btw, you may want to click here to view some pictures of what the kitchen looked like when we bought the house. It looks SO different!

4. I know where all my essential items are.

5. Yards are still AWESOME! We should do more yard work than we do, but we get by with some work and a bit of tending in the Garden.

6. New paint smells for a surprisingly long time. I no longer smell the pain on the walls, but the stuff on our cabinets (which used to be a honey color) is still surprisingly strong.

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7. Bailey has pretty much all the rugs he needs upstairs. We need to work on the lower level.

So, we’re lacking in the furniture department and we have some loose ends to tie up in our kitchen, but overall, I’m so proud of what we’ve done with the house in a year. The kitchen looks so much better and I just love being in it! We’ll get to furniture when we get to it. :)

What house projects took you the longest to finish (or are still going on)?

Black and Red Halloween Eats

When it comes to Halloween eats, I usually prefer trick over treat. That is, I prefer to style things (food, decor, etc.) on the scary side vs the funny. Instead of going more the classic orange and white (the colors of pumpkins and ghosts), I like to go black and red…the colors of night and blood. Bwa hahaha. But I don’t like to go off the deep end. No, no Rob Zombie stuff here…that’s too extreme for me. I prefer to go for scary sophisticate a la Martha Stewart, as evidenced by Foodie Halloween party yesterday.

I didn’t get as scary with the eats at yesterday’s party as I like to, but there’s still time to celebrate Halloween!

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Here’s a good example of a black and red food combo that is a bit nerve-wracking at the looks, but delicious to the taste buds.

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I served some of the leftover meatballs and tomato sauce from the party over some black spaghetti.

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Your imagination can run wild with dark names for this dish, but it’s really just spaghetti and meatballs.

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The pasta is colored with squid ink.

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My total feast was not so scary looking as the individual dish. Had I served this at a dinner party, I’d try to make the sides more scary-themed, too.

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And don’t look now but a particular creepy-crawly has it’s beady little eyes on you.

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Another fine black and red color combo here.

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These spider cupcakes almost look like they could jump off the table at you!

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In fact…there were a lot more of these guys yesterday. Wherever could they have all run off to? Hmm…

What are your favorite Halloween color combos?

Ninja Sister

So…I almost went as a ninja for Halloween this year.

Turns out my sister actually did. Can you find the ninja in the first two photos?

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HI-YAH! :P

Foodie Halloween Party – 2010

After some final preparations, hubby and I were ready to get our Halloween party on! This was our third Halloween get-together ever and first in this house. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, so I love celebrating this one with fun decorations and eats.

Here are some photos of the finished tombstones. We made these following the instructions from this year’s Martha Stewart Halloween magazine and you can see more photos of the process and tips on how to make them by clicking here.

Halloween Decorations

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This one was my favorite.

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We made 6 tombstones total. That was pretty much the extent of this year’s Halloween craft projects. These guys took a lot of work! Hopefully, we can find some more fun projects for next year.

***

Here’s some of our inside Halloween decor…

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***

Halloween Party Food!

We did our Halloween party pot luck style. And we had quite the spread!

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I grouped the savory items together in one area.

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And the sweet in another.

I wanted to do “scary” labels on the food, like “brains of mice” but I ran out of time. Whoops!

For my savory eats contribution, I tried to make some proteins and snacky-things:

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I made Food and Wine’s slow cooker meatballs (fab recipe! I will be making this again!) and my Maple Dijon baked tempeh (click for recipe) so I had protein for the meat-eaters and vegans.

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I made these olive “bugs” a la Martha Stewart.

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Roasted kabocha squash.

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Hard-boiled eggs a la Martha Stewart.

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Roasted pumpkin seeds from our Jack-o-lanterns and my Candied Pecans (click for recipe), which are sadly gone. Guess I need to make more!

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I also made some “blood” aka black currant punch (recipe from…who else…Martha Stewart).

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Brittney brought some yummy hummus.

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Kate + Nate brought some fun snacky treats.

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Jen brought a delish quinoa salad.

***

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On to the sweets!

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Like I mentioned earlier, I made Martha Stewart spider cupcakes using the from-scratch Hershey’s recipe for both the cupcakes and frosting.

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Nicole brought decadent brownies.

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Not sure who brought these…maybe our neighbors?

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Katie brought some tasty chocolate-cherry-bomb dip.

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Caitlin brought nommy cookies.

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I dug in…the food was all fab!

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The Characters

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And look…we took people photos…not just food!

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Everyone had such creative and wonderful costumes! We should have done a contest! Maybe next year?

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I even busted out my tripod for a group shot so we could all be in it. Even Bailey made the photo!

We had lots of friends over! Katie + Stew, Nicole, Caitlin + Kristien, Kelly + Brad, Brittney + Greg, Kate + Nate, and Jen.

And Jen and Caitlin were super-troopers and made it after running a marathon!

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After the party, hubby decided to take Bailey to our neighbor’s house to play with their dog. Little did they know what a mess the dogs would be making!

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Bailey’s normally white paws came back filthy! So, he had to get a bath.

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Btw, I forgot to take a photo of my entire outfit. I was a figure skater! Ok, that’s kind of cheating because I really used to be a figure skater, but I haven’t worn my skating dress in years! I even put my skates on for the first part of the night! I was able to wear my skates around the house thanks to my skate guards. :)

Happy Halloween everyone!

When you celebrate Halloween, do you prefer to go funny or scary? Trick or treat, guys?

Late Halloween Prep

Taking a quick step back…did you know Friday was National Oatmeal day!?

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I made two bowls of pumpkin oats for me and hubby.

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Bailey was totally trying to steal my oats.

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Luckily, he didn’t get to them.

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Anywho, as for today (Saturday), I had a busy day – from morning to night!

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I had a quick breakfast of re-baked mom’s fruit and nut bread, plus soysage and hot coffee.

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My mom’s bread is a secret recipe with one of those starters you can only get from a friend, so it’s hard to re-create anyways. Totally delicious, though.

Anywho, soon enough, it was time to get to work! Hubby has been prepping this year’s Halloween craft project all week – tombstones!

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I drew the outlines, hubby cut them out and primed and painted base coats on.

Today, I was in charge of adding the details. I gathered my supplies: rulers, pencil, paint brush, water bucket, rags, and a print out of tombstones found via a Google image search for inspiration.

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I ended up sketching my designs in pencil and filling them in with paint…with some friend hand painting.

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I love a good craft project, so this was really fun, though I do wish I had done this more like 2 weeks ago than last minute.

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I took the tombstones outside for final details.

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A gray wash of watered down paint…

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…followed by a drizzle of more paint for a rain-washed effect.

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Then, I drew a face on one of our pumpkins so hubby could cut it out.

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Carving the pumpkin.

Then, it was time for me to get uber busy cooking up a storm. I had a lot on the agenda and basically had to get started prepping food around 3pm!

Any guesses what I made (no cheating for those of you who were there!)?

Here are some hints…

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Tomatoes and a slower cooker.

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eggs and blueberries.

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and here’s my cupcake workstation.

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I did Martha Stewart’s spider cupcakes for the second time. Love these little guys, though I do skip the “fangs” that were pictured in the magazine.

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Also, I used the recipe on the back of the Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa to make both the cupcakes and frosting from scratch. Nom!

Photos from my Halloween par-tay next time. I gotta get to bed! G’night!

Party Hopping

Hubby and I had the longest night of partying in forever…not that it went too late into the night, but…well, you’ll see.

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First up…

Before taking the medicine for my recent shoulder/neck/back pain, I decided to try something more natural – therapeutic massage! And thanks so much to everyone for your tips about different alternative methods!

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I headed over to Elements of Bodywork (located in Dillon Natural Health and next to The Fig Tree restaurant) where my friend Karen works.

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I had a combination of deep tissue and neuromuscular massage and by the end of the session, I could turn my head without pain. Woohoo!

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If you are in the Charlotte area and you would like a massage, take a looksie at my friend Karen’s site – Elements of Bodywork . They do a fabulous job!

Post massage, it was time to get ready to out. I apologize for the crappy point and shoot photos. I wanted to take my DSLR but didn’t want to put the extra weight on my shoulders. Health > Good party photos.

Party #1 – 60 for 60

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First up, hubby and I hit up the 60 for 60 celebration party, celebrating the end of a 60 day water-drinking challenge, which was a spin-off of my Project Hydrate challenge put on by Bobby of No Fizz Clt.

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Hubby and I snacked on pizza.

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And I met one of my twitter friends @foodsafetylady in real life for the first time! Terra has a blog too called Cafe Terra.

Party #2 – Kayte’s 30th

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Next up, hubby and I headed to my friend Kayte’s 30th birthday party at a swanky art gallery/bar.

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The place was kicking with lots of Kayte’s friends and plenty of eats.

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I was definitely “that girl” at the party eating all the veggies. lol

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And omg, Kayte’s birthday cake was divine! It was an almond cake…one of my fave bday cake flavors!

I was so proud of Kayte’s planning…she had so much going on! All the eats, plus her own DJ and a photographer.

PS the photographer, Deevo, was super cool and chatted with me awhile about cameras and lenses. I love getting all geeky about photography stuff. lol

Party #3 – Jackie’s Big Halloween-Birthday

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For our last party of the evening, hubby and I went to our friend Jackie’s house where she was having a big Halloween birthday party. I was sort of a loser and didn’t wear a costume (since the other 2 parties weren’t costume parties), but Jackie was a doll and let me wear her cat ears. One of the party goers called me a “sexy kitten.” Yeaaaaa…that’s it! I’m a sexy kitten. lol

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Anywho, Jackie is from Peru so her party had lots of Latin flair! Her house party was kicking!

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Jackie had a huge spread of eats, but I was pretty full from the first two parties.

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I was sad to not try her (what looked to be) Latin birthday cake.

Also, I danced…err attempted to dance some Latin and salsa songs with some of Jackie’s friends and promptly discovered that although I teach Zumba, the salsa and Latin dancing I know is much more fitness than true to the real songs. That or I’m just doing them wrong when I teach! haha I’ve been wanting to take salsa lessons for awhile now, but now I really want to take them!

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Phew! By the end of the night my feet were killing me! I was so ready to take these high-heeled booties off!

Anywho, three parties in one night…we totally did it! Hazzah!

What’s the most number of parties you’ve been to in one night?

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