Sunday, November 27

Sunday Simplicity #45

Since the Wahoos played the Hokies for the Commonwealth Cup yesterday, and I spent the day in Charlottesville. I could not RESIST sharing images from this gorgeous engagement shoot by Katelyn James Photography at THE University of Virginia.  Being reminded of how beautiful our Grounds are really cheers me up today!

I really want to know... did they custom-paint Beta Bridge, or did it just happen to be perfect?

The Lawn is the most beautiful place in the world come fall.

Friday, November 25

Pantone Fall 2011: Colorful Modern Barn Wedding Inspiration

My new barn wedding obsession took me to a really magical place.  A colorful, magical place.  Will someone please let me make this wedding a reality for you?  I would love to plan this shindig.

Barn Party! invitation by Minted

Thursday, November 24

My Thanksgiving Home + Apple-Cranberry Pie Recipe

Here's my Thanksgiving tablescape!  I went with a Wal-Mart wire bowl of Gala and Granny Smith apples, and candleholders I made the night before...

Here's a close up of my craft project... I hot-glued cinnamon sticks to salsa jars and tied hemp twine around them.  SO easy.

Here's a little vignette on our counter.  The printable is from Lily White, displayed in a Goodwill frame I painted for our wedding.  Our sister in law brought wine she picked up on a trip to North Carolina.  And check out that pie...

Festive Apple-Berry Pie

2 cups fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons water
6 medium apples, peeled and sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 nine inch Pie crusts (top and bottom)

- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Prepare pie crusts as needed.
- In a 1 quart saucepan, mix berries, 1 cup sugar, 1 tbsp cornstarch and 4 tbsp water.  Heat to boiling and boil for 5 minutes.  Allow to cool for 15 minutes.
- In large mixing bowl, combine sliced apples, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, remaining 3 tablespoons cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg and stir until apples are coated.  Stir in cooled berry mixture.
- Spoon filling into crust-lined pan.  Top with second crust; seal edges and flute.  Cut slits in top crust.
- Bake 40-50 minutes until golden brown.  Cover crust edge with foil after 20 minutes of baking to prevent burning.

Our spread:  Mr. Spin's yeast rolls and mashed potatoes, Stove Top stuffing, Heinz gravy, Spin family turkey, my mom's sweet potatoes, and my green bean casserole.

Linking up to Literally Inspired's What You Talkin 'Bout Wednesday, The Newest Vegetable's Thanksgiving party, and Peas and Crayons' What I Ate party.  I missed the deadline for Peas and Crayons' Thanksgiving Dish party, but there are some yummy looking recipes there to check out!

Wednesday, November 23

Pantone Fall 2011: Cedar & Teal Barn Wedding Inspiration

There is so much room for creativity at a barn wedding, and this season's cedar and teal color palette is a great way to combine natural, rustic elements with elegant wedding details like the teal shoes featured below!

I love how an old wooden crate, mason jars, moss, and candles can come together to look magical.  This would also be a fun centerpiece for an outdoor party.

Come Celebrate invitation from Wedding Paper Divas

Tuesday, November 22

Thanksgiving Centerpiece and Tablescape Ideas

Thanks to Pinterest, I've got plenty of Thanksgiving tablescape ideas to choose from.  Here are a few of my favorites... some would also make nice reception decor at a fall wedding.

Acorn-filled mason jars via Milleidee (these have been made into lanterns, but I think they'd look just as nice lined up on a table)

Cinnamon stick candles from Home Stories A to Z

Monday, November 21

Inspiration for a Traditional Fall Barn Wedding

This week I'm going to feature inspiration for three different wedding styles with one thing in common- a barn as the perfect venue.  Mr. Spin and I recently attended the first barn wedding we'd been to, at Panorama Farms.  It was like living on a movie set for a night.  I am now a believer in the barn as the perfect fall wedding venue.

Genery and Geoffery's amazing rustic cake from Modern Bride

Friday, November 18

Pantone Fall 2011: Cedar & Teal - Wardrobe Inspiration

I'll start the post on incorporating cedar and teal into your wardrobe with what I consider the ultimate outfit using these two colors.  You may have seen this one on Tumblr and Pinterest; it appears to be a J. Crew catalog scan.  That cardigan and necklace are just PERFECTION.

Light Green Beret Hat from Pixiebell on Etsy || Deep Teal Scarf from Old Navy

Tuesday, November 15

Pantone Fall 2011: Cedar & Teal - For the Bed & Bath

I've shared my ideas for adding teal and cedar to your kitchen and living room; here are some ideas for the bed and bath.  This was the easiest Pantone post so far for me to find inspiration for because I had a teal & green color palette in my room throughout my college years!

Love the garden bench and bird prints in this room via Abode Love

This garden bench from Ebay and Bella Paisley bedding set from Pottery Barn would give you the look.

Saturday, November 12

Our Wedding: Cake Table & Pennant Banner Instructions

I think that our cake table was one of my favorite parts of the wedding.  I'd been inspired by lots of images on wedding blogs and message boards, and was excited to bring my vision of a festive dessert table to life with help from Jeana.

I was very happy that we were able to project our monogram on the wall - so cool and modern looking!  The font used for our initial and names is Lily Wang and the date is Book Antiqua - the same fonts used on our invitations and programs.  (Lily Wang can be purchased from MyFonts).  It also ended up being a happy accident that the rentals outlet did not offer all of the linen sizes we needed in the blue pintuck, so we used an opaque purple on the cake table, sweetheart table, and buffet - it made them stand out (although looking at these pictures I wish we'd steamed the opaque linens!).  The cake stands are from Pier1, and the milk glass vases are thrifted.  I won our champagne flutes in a Weddingbee giveaway - blog contests are real, ladies - leave those comments!  But my absolute favorite part of the display was the pennant banner I made.

I think pennant banners are adorable and make cute home decor (I plan to string ours up in our guest room when we get our bookcase and day bed moved in!) in addition to being appropriate at weddings and parties!  Instructions follow under the cut - and I've linked this post to Literally Inspired's party!

Friday, November 11

Our Wedding: Our first dance

Our first dance song was Ray LaMontagne's "You Are the Best Thing"

Baby , it's been a long day, baby 
Things ain't been going my way 
And now I need you here 
To clear my mind all the time 

And baby, the way you move me, it's crazy 
It's like you see right through me 
and make it easier 
Believe me, you don't even have to try 

Thursday, November 10

A Month of Gratitude: Things I'm Thankful For This Week...

I'm thankful for my sweet mother.
Beneath her quiet, stoic exterior, she is one of the strongest people I have ever met and has taught me to be a strong, independent woman too.

My mama is my best friend.

I'm thankful for our eighth grade guidance counselor.
She is such an amazing person and I made sure to tell her so this week.

I'm thankful for BOOKS!
I'm currently reading Alice Hoffman's The Red Garden.  I am a lifelong reader and so blessed to be able to share my love of literature with the students I teach.

Wednesday, November 9

Our Wedding: Time to Eat!

Mr. Q's father led the blessing, and it was time for the buffet to open.

The theme for dinner was Southern comfort food all the way!

Monday, November 7

Our Wedding: Dinner Begins

Finally, it was time to eat, and I was seriously starving because my nervous stomach had kept me from eating  all day.  The guests got to find their pinwheel escort cards and head to their tables...

Our pinwheel escort cards were a labor of love - I would not have finished adding the names and table numbers if I hadn't had Bridesmaid Philly helping me before the wedding!  She is handy with a glue gun.  The plastic planters looked perfectly antiqued with their paint job and I think they matched the War Memorial's traditional decor.

Venue photo

I am so thankful that the War Memorial staff took pictures of the reception area set up before guests came in - our photographer was so busy following us that these are some of the only pictures I have of just our reception design.  Again, I am so thankful to my friends and family who set everything up so beautifully and made my vision a reality.

Venue photo

Here's the dinner playlist Mr. Spin and I put together...

Sunday, November 6

Thursday, November 3

A Month of Gratitude: Things I'm Thankful For This Week...

I think that taking at least a few moments each day to reflect on what I am truly grateful for this month is putting me in an all-around better mood.  I feel like I am greeting people with a more cheerful disposition.

I'm thankful for my husband.
Mr. Spin's love for me is so loyal and devoted.  I've been under the weather lately, and I am a grumpy sick person.  He never acts annoyed or frustrated when I'm being a big baby, just takes care of me.  He is loving and patient all of the time; it's simply amazing and I feel like I fall so short of deserving him.

I'm thankful for our home.
We are lucky to be able to live in our townhouse; it became available at just the right time.  Setting up our first home together has been a labor of love for Mr. Spin and I, requiring both teamwork and compromise.  Luckily, our decorating styles and work ethics when it comes to chores aren't too disparate.  I am so thankful to live so close to the school where I teach- not having to be in the car for two hours each day is allowing me to live a fuller life (although I am much less in-touch with the top stories on NPR!).

All dressed up for Halloween!

I'm thankful for my students.
This week, out of curiosity, I counted how many school days are left in the semester.  It's less than 40!  I am going to be sad to see these guys head over to the Center for Applied Technology and Career Exploration in January.  They are the nicest group of kids I've ever taught, the most voracious readers, and they've really been troopers as we've transitioned from A/B to semester block scheduling.  Last week, one of them made the comment that they wish I could go to the Technology and Career center with them, as their math teachers are doing.  Part of me really wishes I could, when I think about how much they are going to grow between now and June- 90 days in the classroom is such a short time with these amazing young people!

Portfolios chock full of writing from the heart!

Tuesday, November 1

A Month of Gratitude

Last month, many bloggers took on a 31-day challenge.  I loved the idea, but did NOT feel up to committing to post EVERY.  SINGLE.  DAY.  Teaching, being a newlywed, and blogging daily sounded like a recipe for disaster.

Mr. Spin and I joke that in every season, the next upcoming holiday is my "favorite holiday."  I have been known to claim both Halloween and Independence Day and my all-time faves, but I have to say, the older I get, the more I like Thanksgiving.  Coming from a family of three within a very large extended family on my dad's size (he was the youngest of six children, five of whom settled in Virginia and one of whom moved to South Carolina) and a close little family on my mom's side (she is the middle of three, and she and her younger brother are the East Coast clan- her older brother and his daughter and granddaughter are in California!).  Since my dad was a long-distance truck driver, there was never a guarantee that he would be home for Thanksgiving.  Many of my childhood Thanksgivings were spent at my maternal grandmother's house since she lived alone.

In more recent years, my mom and I floated around on Thanksgiving - wherever we got an invite, we went.  I'm not sure yet where Mr. Spin and I will spend the holiday this year, but I know that my mom will be a part of the celebration and wherever we go we will be with people we love, sharing old memories and making new ones.  I love Thanksgiving because it really is all about the time-spending.  There's no pressure to have the best costume, the snazziest fireworks display, the most romantic gesture, or the coolest present.  Turkey and comfort-food sides are always going to be yummy no matter how many bowls are on the table.

Recently I've been waking up in awe of how fortunate I am.  Perhaps its the shorter commute that's made me more of a morning person.  I've realized, though, that I don't just want to *feel* gratitude.  I want to *show* it.  And that's what I'm going to do, and really focus on this November.  I'll post some thoughts here every Thursday this month.