Friday Findings

Happy Friday guys!  Hope everyone had a good week.  I'm pretty happy the weekend is here!! We aren't doing much of anything and I couldn't be happier about it. I'm looking forward to sleeping in, lots of cooking, reading and maybe a first try at perfecting my cheese penny recipe. What are you guys up to this weekend?

A few findings before we get the weekend started...

ONE: 25 things you can accomplish in 5 minutes or less (via Design Darling) a great reminder to live by the 1 minutes rule! Seriously I'm printing this out for my kitchen bulletin board, hopefully it will motivate me to do a few every evening.

TWO: The NY Times published it's list of 52 places to go in 2015. I'm sure it's no surprise to anyone that I added WAY too many places to my already long list of places to go. How cool is the video of Chengdu, China?!

THREE: Victoria shared 5 photography apps to try and MK and I both got a little excited about the possibility of Facetune correcting our dark circles. Here's to hoping! Slow Shutter looks pretty cool too!

FOUR: MK tried the Yellow Table's Tomato Chickpea Curry with Kale and raved about it. Saying it is super cheap, easy and healthy. The perfect weeknight meal, can't wait to try it!

Happy weekend guys!

- Heath

PS leave it to Vogue to put together the most comprehensive flow chart for cleaning out your closet! (via Cupcakes and Cashmere)

one; two; three; four

A Healthy Resolution

MK spoke about one of her resolutions earlier this week so today I wanted to chime in with one of mine. I tend to be very critical of myself. Setting mostly strict goals for improving myself, our home or even my relationships but when I came across this post on Ashley’s Instagram it resonated with me! Why am I so hard on myself?! Resolutions don’t have to be all about structure and bettering ourselves, they can be fun too. If I’m being honest that’s usually what I need in my life. Andy always gets on to me about my lack of ability to do things just for fun, I tend to keep a stack of to dos, cleaning, laundry etc. none of which are things I love like baking, reading, playing tennis etc.

So this year one of my resolutions is to bake one new recipe a month. I'd also like to read more! For January I’m getting a late start but I just started reading Gone Girl and decided to master cheese pennies, one of my favorite treats! 

Are your resolutions strictly about bettering yourself or do you cut yourself some slack? I’m thinking 2015 is the year for me to let go of some of those tendencies.

- Heath

PS we have book club this evening and we have lofty goals of actually reading in 2015, turned into more of a wine club in 2014, so we’d love any book suggestions you have!

image via Honestly Yum

Clare V Inspiration No1

It's no secret that Heath and I are obsessed (mainly Heath, but I've now been converted) with all things Clare Vivier.  Seriously, she can do no wrong!!  Her Instagram feed is full of crazy good inspiration, so we've decided it time to start documenting our favorites.

Let's start with this perfect look - White Perforated Simple Tote and Aquazzura Black Flats.  Love these!  A (little) more realistic option....Leather Shopper and Front Lace Up Cut Out Flats.

Isn't is such a gorgeous combination?!  It's so simple but there's still something interesting about it.

- Mary Keller

image via Clare Vivier Instagram

Relationship Resolutions

Seems like Heath & I are always a little late to make resolutions - we don't really get our act back together until mid-January! I know that the month is almost over, but I haven't given up on the idea of resolutions quite yet.  What about you - do you make them, love them, hate them?  I think I like making them because I don't put too much pressure on myself to keep them, and I love goal setting and dorky stuff like that. 

I came across this article on Martha Stewart Weddings, 8 Relationship Resolutions for the New Year, and I think it's kind of fun. They range from the usual, "improve communication" to really fun stuff like "have a two person book club" and "learn to cook all of our favorite takeout foods together." 

J.D. and I had already been thinking about a relationship resolution we want to make a priority in 2015 - Once a Month Date Nights!  We'll be married 7 years this March, and what's that they say about the 7 year itch?!  Well, we're aiming to avoid that!  We do plenty of stuff socially, but truthfully, it's almost always with friends, and we're so worn out in the evenings that our nights in look less like a "date" and more like us staring at our computers finishing up work.  SO, we're resolving to 12 dates this year, one every month, just the two of us! 

We've found the perfect sitter two doors down (J.D., the negotiator that he is, has negotiated a "sleeping hourly rate" with our teenage sitter - I was completely embarrassed to hear him negotiating with a teenager on why the rate should be lower while Virginia is sleeping, though he has a point!)  And the key to us sticking to this, we're going on THURSDAY night dates.  This is key I think.  We're both already dressed for the day (for work) and we're still in "go" mode getting through to the weekend.  Seeing date night on the calendar that Thursday will be that little thing I look forward to that week, it will keep me moving.  Because truthfully, date nights on Saturday aren't as appealing to me.  If we don't have plans with friends, I'd rather just hang out around the house on the weekend (and not get dressed - lame??!)  And on Thursday night, we figure we'll spend less - we won't stay out late and we'll likely skip that extra drink.

Our first date is next Thursday!  Should be fun, and bonus, it coincides with my haircut day, which means my hair will be perfectly blown dry. :)  I'm excited, and we're thinking we'll trade off every other month who picks where we go.  Any Relationship Resolution you're working on this year?  Do you already have a true "date night"?

~Mary Keller

photo from our wedding by Melissa Schollart

Around here - snapshots from Siesta Key

 Venice beach dock | Friday night sunset | walkway to the beach | the cutest bait and tackle shop along the inter coastal waterway | the Siesta Key marina | cute coffee shop in the village | Eat Here | amazing smoked fish (salmon and grouper) dip

Good morning and happy Monday guys!  We did not mean to disappear at the start of the year!  I was still working on my (much talked about) work deadline, and Virginia decided the start of the year was the perfect time to come down with a nasty bug and to give up sleeping!  Little cutie just can't catch a break.  I finally wrapped everything up at work just in time to hop down to Florida to celebrate my mother in law's birthday.  It was so nice to sleep in and recharge our batteries to start out the new year!

I had never been to Siesta Key before and I can't say enough good things about the entire area!  We flew into Clearwater (Charlotte folks - cheap flights on Allegiant Air) and stopped for lunch in St. Pete before making our way down to Siesta Key for the weekend.  We had some really good food, tons of fresh grouper, and shrimp and some yummy key lime pie and mini donuts too.  We watched a gorgeous sunset on Friday and rented a boat to cruise the inter coastal on Saturday, which was wonderful. We went to Venice beach for lunch and even saw dolphins along our ride!  It was a really nice weekend and a wonderful way to celebrate a really special lady!

Hope everyone else had a nice weekend. I'm happy to be back here!

- Heath

New Years & Beef Bourguignon

Since this blog is really like our little sister/family journal we snapped a few (iphone) pics that I want to record from New Years if you're interested.  I've mentioned that we didn't really do much for New Years.  Since we traveled for Christmas, J.D. and I really just wanted to stay put and have a quiet night.  I knew I wanted to make something really yummy (always thinking about yummy food!) especially knowing that I had a little more time on my hands with it being the holidays.  Heath ended up sneaking out of work early that night (by early I mean 7) so she and Andy came and joined us. 

I ended up making Ina's Beef Bourguignon and guys I HIGHLY recommend it if you're looking for a not-too-difficult, elegant, feels special make ahead meal.  Beef Bourguignon is basically French beef stew, but something about the bourguignon makes it seem so much more elegant.  Maybe because of the wine??  Not sure, but we all loved it.  It takes a little while to make, but it really is easy - just ask your butcher to cut the piece of meat into chunks for you.  (That will save you the most work.)

My little French menu in case anyone is looking for make ahead dinner party ideas.  (The stew is best if made a day in advance.)

Cocktails with French Gruyere and Parmesan Cheese Straws
Beef Bourguignon with toasted garlic bread
Warm Goat Cheese Salad, plus a cheese plate with blue cheese and brie

I served the stew with just garlic bread, but people also love it over a bed of mashed potatoes or with noodles.  I served the salad and a cheese plate after the Beef Bourguignon, as apparently the French do which is kind of fun.  For dessert, I just picked up cupcakes because I used all my cooking energy on the beef, but instead this Chocolate Mousse could also be done in advance, and it would be so much better and tres French! :)

Hope everyone had a Happy New Year, cheers to 2015!
~Mary Keller

Around Here | Scenes from Christmas

Our Christmas Tree | Virginia meets Santa!! | family pic on Christmas Eve | Virginia and her new xylophone | a big book on Dogs!! (her favorite) | Christmas tree lit up at night | stuffed stockings | me and my girl | Virginia in her Christmas Eve dress | stockings ready for us to dig into | more Christmas goodies | Virginia giving all of her doggies a ride

Happy Monday guys!  Hope everyone had an amazing holiday break!  In some ways it felt nice and long and relaxing, and on the other hand, it flew by and I'm super sad that it's over - not quite ready to get back into the daily grind.  (I'm speaking just for myself here.  Heath sadly has been working her little tushy off non-stop and we'll be glad when her work deadline is over this week!!) 

We had a really wonderful Christmas.  Lots of time with family, and lots of time spent with Virginia.  J.D., Virginia and I spent Christmas in Nashville and other than a cancelled flight home (typical holiday travel!) it was a perfect little visit.  We had a yummy lunch in downtown Franklin, stopped for delicious ice cream, and ate and ate and ate our way through Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  J.D. fixed us Christmas Eve Manhattans and Christmas Day White Whale Tiny Tims, and both we're delicious.  I think taking one extra minute to mix a proper cocktail like these needs to be included on my resolution list.  :)

Once we got back to Charlotte, we really just relaxed.  I did lots of cooking, my favorite when I have plenty of time, and this weekend we've been doing the usual post-holiday purging (more on that later), thinking about a few resolutions/future plans (more on that later too) and just generally getting ready to get back to work and back to our norm.  I know it will feel good to get back on schedule, but right now I'm not quite convinced that I want the holidays to end! :)

~Mary Keller