Around Here

birthday boy at his birthday dinner | nails and football (while Virginia and J.D. nap) | cookbooks for steak night in | the Friendsgiving spread at my next door neighbors

Happy Monday guys!  It was such a good weekend, and I'm so thankful that it's a short week because I'm so ready for the holiday.  We had the best relaxing weekend - just what we needed.  Friday night J.D. and I went on a little date after we put Virginia to bed to celebrate his birthday.  I swear Good Food on Montford is always our favorite when we go - the BEST green curry mussels and truffle fries!!  Saturday we did a little Christmas shopping/browsing with Virginia and had so much fun with her.  We came on back and cozied in for the afternoon and evening watching football and cooking steaks continuing the birthday celebration.  Sunday we were super lazy with the rain, but did head over to our next door neighbors house late afternoon for a little (big) Friendsgiving celebration.  It was a good time and a nice cozy party with a full house, good wine and food, and rain in the background.

Heath and Andy had a good weekend seeing family in Knoxville.  They always love going home to visit, and it's even better in Knoxville during football season!  Virginia and I are hitting the road to head home today to see my parents for the week.  My mom's going to watch Virginia while I do some work in South Carolina, and Heath, Andy and J.D. are heading down on Wednesday.  We are SO ready!!  The countdown to Thanksgiving is on!!

Have a good week everyone, and safe travels to those already headed home!

~Mary Keller

Friday Findings

Happy Friday guys! So happy for the weekend! What is everyone doing? Andy and I are on our way to Knoxville to visit his family. I'm excited not only will we see his parents but his sister, from Florida, is coming into town too so it should be a good time. We don't have much planned other than some delicious food(always) and I'm sure some Tennessee football too!

A few findings before you get your weekend started...

ONE: Guys I've always had a secret(not really!) dream to live abroad and reading Lauren's blog some days isn't healthy for that dream.  She's traveling with her adorable family through the countryside of England and Ireland right now so I'm pretty much beyond jealous.  Warning - reading her blog will likely make you want to drop everything and move to London with your loved ones!

TWO: MK mentioned we aren't planning any traditional gift guides.  There are so many good ones available already here and here but I'd say this GOOP guide may be the ultimate guide for pretty much everyone.  And Joanna's go live next week too!

THREE: This time of year is super busy for me at work, so I don't contribute much to our menu at home, but I try to flag recipes that are simple enough to occasionally whip up after work. Camille pulled together a handful of one-pot meals that all sound amazing! Everyone needs some easy meals this busy time of year.

FOUR: Funny story, MK isn't into camping so every time she meets people that camp she tells me she found people that Andy and I should be friends with hah. It always makes me laugh! This mountain escape on the Fresh Exchange reminded me of that and has me regretting not getting up to the mountains to camp or at a minimum hike this fall. Isn't it perfect?!

Hope everyone has a good weekend!

- Heath

PS check out Anna Watson Carl's chat with Ina Garten, so cool!

Dinner Lab Review

Heath mentioned that we attended Charlotte's first Dinner Lab event last weekend, and it really needs a little more of an explanation.  Guys we loved the event!  So much fun!  Some thoughts from the night below...
We've heard that Charlotte's Dinner Lab now has a wait list!  (Happy for Dinner Lab's success here!)  But, if you're on the fence, I'd recommend getting a group of friends and getting on the list.  I promise it's a fun adult night out for a group, and in this stage where many of my friends have young children at home, it's SO much easier than any of us hosting an event.  Also, if you entertain for business, this would be PERFECT way to treat clients.  Dinner Lab often has weeknight events and as a member you can host non-member guests.  It would be the perfect unusual thing to invite a client to attend.  Have you guys been to an event?  What did you think!?

~Mary Keller

Images by Dinner Lab and Jeff Thibodeau

Outfit vs Style

One of the items that was (oddly) on my list to do to get ready for the holidays was picking out outfits for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  This item was mainly on there for Virginia because I'll realize at the last minute that she's outgrown something or has a hole in her tights and it will send me on 4 annoying errands at the last minute.  But, this was also on there for me.  I'm an outfit girl.  I'm really not the best at mixing and matching things even though I'm trying to change that.  I find myself wearing a skirt with the same top every time I wear that skirt.  Do you guys do that?  I'll see Heath wear a top with a different combination every time she wears it and I'm working on being more like that to get more out of my closet.

Some people have great style and some people (like me!) see an outfit they like and try to recreate it.  I saw a version of the above in an Anthropolgie ad and decided that was my perfect Thanksgiving outfit - cream cords, a camel or grey sweater and a soft brushed scarf.   Seems relaxed, but still put together enough when I look back at holiday pictures with Virginia. 

I think the other reason I'm an outfit girl is it helps me feel more put together even when I feel like I haven't been shopping in a while or when my closet has major holes in it.  If I have a cute enough outfit when I go to a friend's wedding/presentation for work/Thanksgiving lunch/any event where I will see more people than just J.D. and Virginia I will feel like my closet isn't lacking.  Is that totally lame?  I feel like I get compliments on an outfit (which is great) but I wear that same outfit to death.  It usually doesn't matter (or bother me) because it will be a different crowd most times.  Others just buy things that are their style and mix and match so well.  I'm working incorporating more of that in my closet.  Any tips!?

What do you think?  Do you buy things that are just generally your style, or put together specific outfits?  What are you wearing for Thanksgiving?  Do you guys get dressed up, or are you really casual?  We're not super dressy at our house.

~Mary Keller

Brushed Scarf | Camel Sweater | Bracelet | Cords | Ballet Flats | Bucket Bag

Wrap Time

So I've been doing a pretty good job staying on top of things this season - cards are just about ordered, Virginia's Christmas jammies are here and I have all of my wrapping paper + ribbons that I'll need.  I have a round up of a few wrapping schemes that I thought I'd share.  I've taken note from Jordon on the way I like to wrap - I typically use really inexpensive wrap for most stuff and then combine it with a few pretty (more expensive pieces) for smaller gifts or gifts for adults.  In our house we're going with the top scheme, traditional reds and greens, but I'm also loving the second more earthy look. 

For inexpensive paper, I picked up a big bulk pack from Walmart, but Rite Aid, Walgreens, Michaels and Target also work.  I typically look for the simplest that they offer - solids, stripes and polka dots.  (Really cheap paper usually doesn't have the most beautiful patterns.)

For classic reds and greens, I love this beautiful paper from Caspari.  I don't need tons of wrap, but if I did, I'd pick up this classic boxwood, cheery red dot, and I'm in LOVE with this red zebra print.  I wish I could find it locally because I can't pay that plus shipping.  too much!  I grabbed a sheet of this nutcracker paper and paper chains wrap for a few special smaller gifts this year.  (Charlotte folks, they have these plus others at Paper Twist.)

For a more natural look, I'd get a huge roll of inexpensive kraft paper at Michaels, and then add in these beautiful options from Rifle Paper.  I'm loving the earthy colors and hand drawn look of these holiday greens, favorite things and holiday plaid wrap.

I've never paid much attention to ribbons and bows, but honestly I think the cheapest paper can look really good with big ribbons and bows.  I took another tip from Jordan and placed a big order at Paper Mart for lots of ribbons.  A 50 yard roll of double faced satin ribbon is a little over $5.00.  That's seriously insane!  I placed a big order for multiple sizes and colors of double faced satin, grosgrain and velvet and I think it will last me for years.  (When J.D. sees how much I ordered, it will have to last me for years! :)

~Mary Keller

Top image with presents | kraft paper wrap | Christmas tree

Around Here

a chilly day for a run | the cutest little brunch buddy all bundled up | freezing post race | V coloring at brunch | story time with daddy | my favorite course(salmon ceviche) at Dinner lab | cumin infused vodka | Dinner lab set up 

Happy Monday guys!  I hope everyone had a good weekend, we certainly did.  We had a low key Friday so we could be up bright and early for the Thunder Road half marathon on Saturday.  We ran with two of our friends and all had a really great run despite being a little frozen. It was probably my favorite half ever I've ever done.  Afterwards we had a yummy brunch at our favorite neighborhood spot.  Saturday evening we went to Charlotte's first Dinner lab event at the Fletcher school and it was really cool. We met some new friends(hi Michael and Wes!) and had some delicious food! We kept Sunday pretty low key and recovered from all our festivities from the weekend but did squeeze in some time to snap a few pics of my favorite girl for Christmas cards. So precious!

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

- Heath

Friday Findings

Happy Friday everyone!  We made it to the weekend!!  So excited that this weekend is here.  We've got lots of fun stuff planned.  Heath and I are running the Thunder Road half marathon with friends tomorrow morning, and then we plan to pig out on brunch.  (Virginia has been practicing yelling "yea" as she sees me on the course.  Can't wait to spot that tiny face in the crowd!)  Then, tomorrow night we're headed to Dinner Lab with friends.  Should be a lot of fun!

a few things before we head into the weekend...

ONE:  Jordan shared some wrapping tips...perfect timing as I'm trying to get wrapping paper ordered to stay on track this holiday.

TWO:  Charlotte folks, a new restaurant RuRu Taco's and Tequilla just opened in Myers Park at The Villa.  Not the best timing with it getting so cold this weekend, but their patio looks amazing. 

THREE:  This podcast series Serial that Joanna posted about sounds amazing!  Am I the last person to hear about this?  It sounds so so good!  It's basically a (true story) murder mystery that you listen to on a podcast.  Sounds perfect for a long car trip.

FOUR:  These deconstructed pumpkin pies by Tessa look so adorable for Thanksgiving.  It's hard to go wrong with a classic pie, but these would be perfect to enjoy in the weeks leading up to the holiday.

Hope everyone has a relaxing fall weekend!!

~Mary Keller