Wednesday, February 27, 2013

sun-dried tomato and feta dip

 This might just be the easiest dip I've ever made.
There are only 2 ingredients, the prep time is minimal and the outcome is mouthwatering good!

Feta cheese crumbles
Sun-dried tomatoes in oil

Blend both ingredients together.

Pour dip into baking dish and bake at 250 degrees for 20 minutes.
Serve with pita chips.

There are many ways to spruce up this simple dish!

Consider adding:
Roasted Red Pepper
Kalamata Olives
Black Olives

This sundried tomato and feta dip makes for a deliciously rich appetizer or side dish.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

if you didn't love jennifer lawrence before...

you will after seeing this clip!

And yes, that was Jack Nicholson telling her that she looked like an old girlfriend. And Jennifer joked about being a new girlfriend. Hilarious facial expressions!

Monday, February 25, 2013

winter wonderland in the carolina's

While I was up in Massachusetts last weekend, playing in snow, eating Regina's pizza and... oh yeah, walking 18 miles while working (I wore a pedometer)......

 ... North Carolina got it's first real snow in 2 years! Bryan documented it wonderfully for me and Cali had a blast. My backyard and my neighborhood looked like a winter wonderland and the lake looked incredible!

And because she is too cute for words with her snow covered face...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

where it all began: maran

Exactly 1 year ago today, my newest best friend walked into my life. Well, she didn't exactly walk in... she came bolting in through the powers of social media.

Maran, who blogs at Hey Hawleywood, is one of my closest friends. We text just about daily, talk on the phone after scary doctors appointments and share the in's and out's of every aspect of our lives with each other. We make it a point to see each other regularly -- weekly is preferred. She is just the perfect person for me to have met here in North Carolina and I'm so thankful to have her friendship.

What no one really knows is how it all began. Our friendship has a very distinct jumping off point, of which happened on Feb 21st of last year. Maran's co-worker had told her about my blog, she took a look at it and sent me the below e-mail...

Hey Kate!! 

I stumbled on your blog literally 30 minutes ago while eating lunch at my desk and felt like I needed to be creepy and send you an email :) 

My husband and I recently bought a house in Hunterville and are adapting to Lake life much like yourself. We are 29 and have lived in Charlotte for 5 years. 

I love that I stumbled onto your blog! What made me send this email was the post about your hubby being away for 8 days... between you mentioning only a handful of girlfriends here combined with your insane love for your dog + the fact that you can take Jameson like a champion made me realize that we might be soulmates, haha. But seriously, all stalky-ness aside, we are the only married couple in our group and love to meet new people. So this is a super awkward invitation to grab coffee/wine/doggie date sometime when you aren't traveling. 

I have attached a picture to 1: prove I am not some 55 yr old man moonlighting as a 29 yr old woman AND 2: to show that I am also a whipped dog mommy and had my puppy at my wedding.... on the dancefloor.. yikes. 

PS- I am willing to overlook your love for the Steelers if you can put aside the fact that I am from Cleveland. 


After recieving Maran's e-mail I dropped everything and immediately e-mailed her back. I mean, she had me at Jameson

I'm going to refrain from posting my e-mail, as I talk in detail about where exactly I live, etc. What I will leave you all with, is that true friendship can come from blogging. We have shared so much in just 1 year of knowing each other... She has quickly become my #1 confidant, my go-to person, my voice of reason, my doggy playdate buddy and my friend who just makes my life that much easier. With Maran, it doesn't take any work. She's the easiest person to have in your life, she's the first one to make a sarcastic comment and is my potty mouth equal. I can be me 100% when she's around and our time together mostly consists of us in pj's just hanging out at our houses. My point is... If you're open to it, meaningful friendships can form from out of no where!

Below is the last sentence that I wrote her in response to her e-mail above...

I would LOVE to meet up sometime, because who knows? I may just possibly meet my newest best friend in you!

And indeed, I did.


To read Maran's take on our 1st day of meeting and how it all went down, check out her blog, Hey Hawleywood.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

a romantic valentine's day at home

Valentine's Day has never been one that I place high expectations on. I don't want gifts. I don't want overpriced flowers, nor do I want to go out to a crowded restaurant. I just want to spend quality time with my husband at home. In the past, Bry has made me elaborate dinners, but this year our busy schedules changed the tradition. 

This was my favorite Valentine's Day to date because it was so romantic and relaxing! Bryan left me hand written love notes all over the house and created his annual V-Day menu. We took out the leaf in our kitchen table to make it tiny. I hung a red sparkly heart from the light fixture, lit a lot of candles and decorated the table festively. We ate by candlelight and it was truly the best Valentine's Day I could have asked for...

I made Lucky Charm Treats because I'm "so lucky to have my husband." Too bad they were gross. Stick to Rice Krispie Treats... 

Monday, February 18, 2013

my bizarre pregnancy findings

I'm officially over the halfway hump of my pregnancy, and there are SO many things that I have experienced or come across that no one told me about. Why had I never heard these things through the grape vine, I'm not sure... or maybe it's just that I'm an idiot and everyone, but me, knows these things already. Regardless, today I'd like to share my random prego findings...

Morning Sickness Ends when 1st Trimester Ends
This is a big fat lie! Each woman is different, but I can tell you that I was still throwing up a good 1 month into my 2nd trimester. I even vomited during my 20th week of pregnancy. No bueno.

Palmer's Cocoa Butter
You can use it when you're NOT pregnant, it's the most moisturizing lotion I've ever used and best yet... it smells like chocolate! Who knew?

Preggo Jeans
These don't have a zipper or button. You might know this already, but it was a huge revelation to me. I swear that I'm going to buy my "normal" size once I'm back down to my pre-pregnancy weight and rock the sh!t out of them because they don't dig into your stomach when you sit down... I love the concept now and I'm sure I'd love it when not pregnant too, haha!

Target Preggo Tank Tops
They are ubber stretchy, don't have ruching and can easily be worn when not pregnant

Drinking Diet Sprite with a splash of Cran while in a dark crowded room/bar with loud music will fool you into thinking you're actually drinking a real cocktail... without the hangover!

Anytime I go to pick Cali up off the ground and have my head down, I get so light headed I feel like I might fall over. Who knew this happens?

You Can't Eat...
I knew the regular stuff that you can't eat (or drink) while pregnant, but learned that you can't have a sunny-side-up egg, eggs benedict, salami, hot dogs or unpasterized soft cheeses (and since you don't know what a restaurant uses you can't eat salads with goat cheese or blue cheese in them)

1st Month of Pregnancy
If you're like me and you find out you're pregnant when you miss your period, you're actually 1 month pregnant at that time and only have 2 months left in the 1st trimester. This blew my mind when I realized it! But because of this you're actually pregnant for 10 months not the 9 months everyone talks about (This 10 month thing I knew already, but do any of you know why we talk about "9 months" all the time?)

Brushing Your Teeth
The tooth brush becomes a sneaky little gadget... It's a necessity for your hygiene, but during unexpected brushings it will make you throw up right there in your sink. There I said it. And I've done it. Many times. And without even feeling nauseous in the first place... it actually happened to me yesterday morning, out of the blue!

Broken Blood Vessels
The volume of plasma increases 40-50% and red blood cell mass 20-30% when pregnant and because of this increase I'm experiencing broken blood vessels on my upper chest/lower neck, collar bone and shoulders. It's a side affect I'd never heard of before...

2nd Trimester Energy Boost
Everything you read and everyone you come into contact with will tell you that you will feel your best and have the most energy in your 2nd trimester. While I was barfing my brains out in my 1st trimester I didn't believe a word of this nonsense, but I'm here to tell you that it's true! I have more energy at 21 weeks than I did before I was pregnant... it's weird and wonderful!

Feeling the Baby Kick
At first it feels like gas bubbles and you're confused. You've been told it's the most wonderful feeling in the world and feels unlike anything you've ever felt.... and then you feel it and it feels like... gas bubbles. What. A. Letdown! But don't fret, in a short amount of time it does start to feel very distinct and wonderful, just like everyone had told you it would. But initially, it's not all it's cracked up to be, and to be honest, I'm still weirded out by the feeling.

Growing Belly
Yes, we all know that our belly is going to grow, but I never really thought about what that belly would actually feel like. It's not a squishy, fatty stomach... it's totally different and it's making it hard for me to curl up in a tight ball on the couch and even to hug my husband tight.

What random things did you learn throughout your first half of pregnancy?

Friday, February 15, 2013

weekend donut run

One thing we lack here in Charlotte are good mom & pop donuts shops. I'm not a huge fan of donuts, but was pleasently surprised when we found out that a donut shop recently opened up not too far from our house. Sunday morning we hopped in the car and headed out to Donut King!

We bought 1/2 dozen donuts -- chocolate sprinkles, red velvet with cheam cheese frosting, Boston cream pie and a traditional glazed. Oh. my. word... These donuts were the best donuts that I've ever eaten -- I'm dead serious! But we quickly realized how huge they were, so we called over our favorite girls to help us finish them off!

Before you know it a sugar high ensued and Bryan was having the time of his life playing in our backyard with them.

 Can you tell we're ready for kids??? Baby boy can't get here fast enough...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

annual super bowl bash

This years Super Bowl Bash was so much fun! And to cut down on stress and infuse more excitement for us as hosts, we throw parties a little differently than others do -- Bryan and I provide the booze, minor snacks (chips, candy, nuts) party supplies, decor and meat (if we're grilling) and we ask guests to each bring a side dish or dessert. Not only do I get to enjoy the party just that much more, but because people only have to bring 1 item (some choose to bring more) they tend to be more creative -- pulled pork sliders, chili, hoggies, various dips, meatballs, jalapeno stuffed pastries, veggie and fruit plates, brownies, mint ice cream sandwich cake and much, much more was brought to our party. Talk about food heaven, which is a win win for all! 

Our party lasted until midnight, with some trickling out during the 3rd and 4th quarter. Beyonce is my hero and I'm positive that our house was the most quiet and entranced while she was performing! 

bloggers Maran, Lulu and Dee

Maran and Ashton both won the 1st and 2nd quarter money in the pot!

 And the big winner of the night was none other than Bryan -- Always nice to win back a 1/3 of the money you put into a party!

Monday, February 11, 2013

bump-date: week 20

20 weeks down. 20 weeks to go.
Happy Halfway to Me!

Before we delve into my 20 week update, I have to let you in on a fun little bond that Natasha from Hello! Happiness and I have -- Natasha and I are "due date buddy's" aka we have the exact same due date of June 28th. It has been so fun going through this process with her, as we've shared things like pregnancy, gender and baby names before they've hit the blog world. And although we're only halfway through our pregnancy's, I know I'll be leaning on her more and more for support and advice as we embark on the nitty-griddy and exciting weeks that lie ahead. Sharing my due date with a friend is a pretty cool coincidence, so please hop on over to Natasha's blog to read about her 20 week update and how it coincides/differs from mine!

Due Date: June 28, 2013

Gender: Tonka trucks, Legos and all things blue.... it's a boy! 

Movement: He's an active little one! From what I've read, you generally start feeling your first baby move between 18-22 weeks (can be as early as 16 weeks)... the more active the baby the earlier you will feel them. I first felt baby boy flutter at 18.5 weeks and by 19 weeks I could feel him move all throughout the day. This just lines up with everything we've been told at our ultrasounds... we have an active little guy on our hands and I'm in for a world of trouble :) 

Feeling: I feel really, really great! I have more energy than I did last year this time. I keep telling everyone that "I'm back" and that's exactly how I feel! I have my personality back, I'm fun again and I'm more than able to stay out late with Bryan and friends... And I want to enjoy this time to the fullest extent, as I don't know how long I'll be feeling this amazing!

Stretch Marks: My belly is definitely growing outward, but it's not to the point where my skin's stretching out yet

What I Miss: Sunny side up eggs, salami and brie cheese

Food Cravings: I am still not craving anything, but throughout my entire pregnancy I've really wanted a lot of fruit, of which is not cheap this time of year. Sams Club might just have the best pineapple out there these days... I'm loving it!

Food Aversions: I'm still staying away from salmon, vegetable soup and juice

Clothes: I'm able to fit into all of my tops still, but some jeans that fit tight to begin with are out. Other pre-pregnancy jeans I'm still able to wear easily are F21's skinny jeans because they are so thin and stretch easily (cheap much?), but I've worn pregnancy jeans twice and can't get over how much more comfortable they are... especially when sitting for a long period or eating a lot.

Sleep: Sleep was tough week 18. My lower back and hips were killing, so Bryan rotated our matresss and we switched sides for a couple nights. This seemed to help up until the past couple of nights. As of this weekend, my hips and legs ache when I sleep and my back hurts throughout the day like never before...

Symptoms: Vomiting (finally!) officially ended in week 18, yay! Linea nigra is slowly making an appearance and I've had a stuffy nose for months. Heartburn is a killer and Tums are my best friend. I was out in the sun this past weekend and was burnt to a crisp... in 55-60 degree February weather -- I did a little research and found out that you tan much quicker while pregnant. Other than that, weeks 18-20 have been my best thus far! My acne has completely gone away (thank the Lord!) and my hair is back to its normal look... it was so dull for months

Best Moments: 
* Having my morning sickness fully go away and getting my energy back has been life changing! This whole burst of energy in the 2nd trimester is the real deal -- I feel so amazing! 
* Getting to dress ubber fancy in a tux and gown all while knowing that it's my bumps only formal outing it'll make. 
* Entertaining until midnight and staying up until 1:00am the night of our Super Bowl party. 
* My mom booking her flight out to NC for my baby shower. 
* Researching and beginning to purchase items for the nursery

Memorable Moment: Feeling baby boy move in my 18th week and then really feeling the baby rockin' and rollin' in the 19th week has just been incredible. I'm officially in the process of popping, which started in the 19th week, and couldn't be more thrilled (this is what I have been waiting for). It's so awesome that I feel baby boy all day long, mostly when I'm sitting or laying down. Having this confirmation that baby boy is doing okay in there is just the best!

Friday, February 8, 2013

date night with a pregnant chick

I look at this picture and can't help to wonder what features baby boy will get from us

About a month ago Bryan and I went to PF Changs in South Park, which was our first real date night in months. I actually had on heels! This is a big deal, people. 

On our way to dinner we ran into CVS to grab some Tums. As we were making our way to the restaurant I was increasingly becoming nauseous. Bryan, being the sweet guy he is, did everything he could to ease into his breaking, as once off the freeway the stop and go of stop lights was making me turn green. 

Once the car was parked, Bry headed into the restaurant to check on the wait and to put our names in. I proceeded to quickly fling the Tums out of the CVS bag and hurl into it several times. There I was, all dressed up for date night in full make-up, heels, etc... and I'm barfing into a plastic bag. Sexy.

When Bryan came back I warned him not to come in the car, as I had not yet finished doin' my thing. Much to our delight, I was feeling fantastic within minutes so we walked around and window shopped for a while before heading in to fill up our belly's on some yummy food!

And this, my friends, is just one of the many things that is slowly preparing my world to be rocked by this thing called... parenthood. Good thing Bryan and I both have flexible personalities and don't require much structure in our day-to-day life... because man, everything about life has already begun to change. Including date nights!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

cali hanah's 3rd birthday

Much like Bryan's birthday, Cali was graced with warm weather on her January birthday too! So where else would we spend the afternoon other than at her favorite nearby park...

Calz spent the majority of the day outside in the sun and was given so many treats. She was in some serious heaven. That night we headed over to our next door neighbors house, who's 5th birthday was the day before, to play Disney Headbanz and polish off birthday cake... in honor of Cali's birthday, of course!