sometimes you have to get out of oakland...

Nick and I took a mini vacation last week (hence our silence in the blog world...). We packed our bags and headed up to Truckee to stay at Nick's parents' home for a few days. 
We relaxed...
We ate, drank, swam, and hiked...
We let our hair ears fly in the wind...



Sometimes Often I see an idea on another website that I absolutely love and want to copy for my own home. The following pictures represent one such inspiration. I saw Sarah at TDC create a pretty little display using hydrangeas and a rustic-looking box. When I saw her pictures (you can check them out here), I thought, "hey, I have my own rustic-looking box... I could totally do this!" So I did.
I placed the arrangement on our front hallway console.
Simple and pretty.


happy birthday

This weekend we celebrated Nick's 26th birthday. The old man (hah) kept us busy with birthday celebrations every night of the weekend.  On Saturday, we cleaned our apartment within an inch of it's life and prepared for a little soirĂ©e with good friends. 
We hung up the birthday sign:
Strung up the twinkling lights:

Stocked up on festive drinks:
Prepared simple  hors d'oeuvres:  
And enjoyed a fabulous evening with good friends:
Of course, there was cake:
Happy birthday to my wonderful husband and best friend.

Thanks, Melody for all the pictures!


to-do (again)

Hello Friends! I'm writing to you from the flip side of summer school and it feels amazing to be done! Finally, I'll have energy and time to get to all those projects that I've been putting off this past month.
Here's a little list that I've put together of things I'd like to accomplish before I head back to school next month:
1. Our Bedroom! (Nick and I decided this is a priority so we're hopefully starting it next week)
2. This little nook needs some work. Haven't seen it before?? Perhaps that's because Nick calls it the final frontier - the place for furniture that doesn't have a home... Regardless, it needs a little lovin'!
3. See this chair? Nick rescued it from the laundry room (where we always have great furniture finds!) and it also needs some love...

4. I'm 90% sold on our new black table and I like it with the bench in the background. However,  I think it's time for a new paint color for the bench.
So that's my to-do list for the remainder of the summer. I still have a week-long training, jury duty, a vacation, a couple of weekend trips, and a classroom the desperately needs unpacking before school starts, so this list may be a bit ambitious... It's good to have goals, right?!



I would have written a fabulous  inspiring blog post last night, except I was stuck writing progress reports for summer school... bleh... So instead, I'll leave you with this sweet picture of Mr. H. that I snapped yesterday on my way out the door.

Henry took up that position looking out over the balcony as soon as Nick left for work.


more cheap art

If you're anything like me, you tend to visit Target at least once a week (if not more...) and always go in for one thing and end up finding 10 other things that you just can't seem to leave without. On one of my Target trips this week I noticed some pretty wrapping paper on an end cap and picked it up for $3.99.  My brother, who was with me at the time correctly predicted the wrapping paper would make a blog appearance soon, and right he was!
Anyway, the paper I picked out was a pale blue Moroccan tile print, simple and pretty. I decided to frame a piece of the paper for our bedroom. Here's a little looksy at our new bedroom "art":
I love the pale blue + white frame + dark wood combination. It's also fun to see the reflection of our bedroom chandelier in the frame.
Well my wrapping paper-turned-art obsession didn't stop there! Desperately needing to remedy the art situation in our kitchen nook, I decided to take another fun print (also from Tarjay) and frame it.
The bright green and white fits in well with our summer bar and playful curtains. Even if it's only temporary, I am enjoying this happy, thrifty art!
Since I had both frames already (have I mentioned that I have about 100 picture frames?!), this little project cost $8, and I have tons of left over paper for wrapping cute presents!
Someday, hopefully we'll have the money to purchase real art, but until then we're all about the quick fixes and using cheap items as art!


help please!

As you know, our apartment is forever evolving and we I am constantly editing rooms to try and get them just right. Well, last week while I was visiting T.J. Maxx, I made an impulse purchase... Can you spy it??
Yep, I bought a new round table for our entryway... after only 7 months of living with the old one:
I feel like the new table fits our style more. I like the pedestal and the height of this one a bit better than table number one:
Interestingly, it's very similar to the original inspiration picture that I posted for our entryway:
As you can see, I didn't take the price tag off yet because I'm still undecided. Since there was nothing really wrong with the first table, I don't know if we should keep the second one, although I do like it better.
So, here's where you come in; I'd love to hear what you think! Leave a comment and tell us which one you like better:


favorite flowers

Sorry to anyone who thought that our previous post title (number 3) indicated an announcement of a bun in the oven. The title may have been misleading, and perhaps disappointing for some. However, if that were the case, it would have to be called number 5 since we clearly already have two babies in our life:
Any-hoo, on to my real reason for writing; to tell you about the flowers that I love, love, love. Those would be peonies. I love the fullness, the scent, and the plain girly-ness of these flowers.
Luckily, Nick understands my love for these beauties and surprised with a bouquet a little while ago.

If you have not experienced the joy of peonies, Trader Joe's has been selling them for $5.99 recently. If I could have bouquets of fresh peonies in my home at all times, I would be a very happy girl. Not that I'm not already very happy... 


number 3

As we may have mentioned once or twice, we just celebrated our third wedding anniversary on 7.11 (ironically, free slurpee day at Seven Eleven...). We had a two-part celebration.
Celebration number one took place in Pinecrest, CA this past weekend. Nick's family has been camping there for-ev-er and I had never had a chance to visit. So, Mr. Romantic comes home early from work last week and says, "Guess what... I got us a campsite for our anniversary this weekend..." Not much of a camper or someone who relishes the idea of sleeping in dirt, I decided to be optimistic and join in the excitement of our first camping trip together.
Pinecrest was truly beautiful, with the campground situated close to the beautiful lake. While we were only there a short time, we managed to hike the 7-ish miles around the lake, clock some serious beach time, "swim" in the freezing lake, and of course roast some marshmallows.
I loved finally having a picture of the place that was so meaningful to Nick growing up and hearing all the stories that began with, "And this is where we..." It was a great little trip, and just the perfect amount of time. Around the time I started to really crave a shower and my own bed, it was time to pack up and head back to Oak-town. 

Anniversary celebration part two took place on Monday with a sweet dinner at one of my favorite Oakland restaurants, Lake Chalet. This beautiful restaurant is located on Lake Merritt. We enjoyed a leisurely dinner and drinks and enjoyed a break from the ordinary Monday night.
Even the Bay Area summer fog couldn't ruin our night!  
So that's how we celebrated anniversary number three. We plan on taking a mini-vacation later this month or next month when we both have some time off of work. For now, we enjoyed our simple celebrations and the fact that we were able to spend so much time together.


Our Wedding: The Reception

Today is our actual wedding anniversary (!!) and I'm excited to share with you all about our reception:
Our reception was held at the beautiful Hacienda de las Flores. We primarily used the outdoor space of their facility, with our dance floor, bar, and tables being set up on the patio. The buffet was held inside the building, right off the patio. The site was already gorgeous and needed little added decor.  

We began the reception with a cocktail hour of passed appetizers and drinks. We decided to do our first dance right of the bat, so our wedding party preceded us as we made it out onto the dance floor (aka patio).
We danced to Van Morrison's Days Like This, while the bridal party swayed in the background. 
After our first dance, we headed to the lawn for a few more photos, while our guests continued the cocktail hour. 

Next, we sat down for the dinner hour. Nick and I didn't really want a head table set above the rest of the reception, so we compromised with a U-shaped seating arrangement on the same level as the rest of the tables. Dinner included a trio of buffet tables serving a variety of foods. Our indecisiveness led us to include three different types of food at the wedding, Asian, Mexican, and traditional American. Although I didn't eat much, we had many compliments on the food, so I'm sure it was tasty!
After Nick and I ate quickly, we got up and visited each table to thank all 200 of our guests for sharing our special day.
After mingling with our guests, it was time to get our dance on! Luckily, we had one of those receptions where everyone ended up on the dance floor. 
When guests felt the need to take a break from dancing, they refueled at our candy bar, filling the pink and black bags with their sugary choices.
The simple table decor really shone at night:
Cake was next:
Our D.J. ended the night with a little game. He  had us stand back to back with a shoe in each hand. Then he asked Nick and I questions about our relationship and we gave our answer by either holding up the bride shoe or the groom shoe.
If this game is any predictor of marriage longevity, I think we'll be okay, since we had the same answers for all the questions!
The reception ended much too quickly! However, it was the perfect celebration of our marriage and the coming together of great families and friends. It truly was the best day of our lives! 

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