Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Favorite Fall Pumpkins

With Halloween just days away, I have pumpkins on my mind. I've been such a slacker and didn't get a pumpkin this year but if I can run out and grab one last minute, I have a couple fabulous ideas for decorating it.

I seriously love every one of these. The mummy is my favorite but I'd love to have that pumpkin vase int he middle of our table right now. Did you decorate a pumpkin this year?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Five on Friday!

Happy Friday, y'all! I am super excited for the weekend ahead and celebrating my sweet husband's 29th birthday. To kick off my weekend, I'm joining in with April, Christina, Natasha, and Darci for Five in Friday.
I'm loving that today is a half day at work and I'll be heading home at 12:30. This week is conference week at school so I've been pulling 14 hour days and am just plain exhausted. 

I'm loving that our house has bricks. The color isn't quite accurate because I actually took this late at night in the dark but it is still exciting to see it looking more and more like a house every day. We have our pre dry-wall walk through today, which is the first time we actually get to tour our house with all the walls up. 

I'm loving new clothes. I picked up a couple blouses from J. Crew Factory during a big sale and they arrived this week. I am loving them already and they were just the addition I needed to my Fall wardrobe.

Caitlin recommended this pumpkin spice chai latte mix from Target. You add equal parts milk and the mix for a perfectly creamy chai latte. I have tried it iced like in the photo above but actually prefer it hot. I've been taking it to work once or twice a week and love how it is an extra treat that mixes up my regular coffee routine. 

I'm loving my two sweet boys as always. I'm especially loving getting to celebrate my husband's 29th birthday with friends this weekend. First up is drinks with friends after work today.  

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Are you a dog lover?

If you've been reading my blog for any amount of time, then you know Corey and I are pretty obsessed with our sweet Riley. I treat him like he is my child and we just love him to pieces. Riley loves food and treats. He literally scarfs them down so quickly that it can be dangerous. Recently, he nearly choked on a bone so we tossed all the bones and hard, rawhide treats and switched to only soft treats.

If you've been watching the news over the past few days, you've probably seen a story about jerky treats being responsible for the deaths of over 600 dogs across the country. All of these treats are made in China and are distributed by many of the major pet food companies.  When I read an article on this yesterday while I was at work, I couldn't stop thinking about the treats we give Riley and how I never, ever look at the bag to see where they're made. I just pick up the ones by brands I trust or treats that were recommended to me by our vet, breeder, or other Cav owners. We recently got a bag of jerky treats for Riley as an extra special treat that he only gets on rare occasions but I knew the bag was already about half empty. 

The minute I got home yesterday, I went right for the bag of jerky treats and flipped it over to see a teeny tiny "Made in China" label on the back. They went right into the trash but I was totally sick to my stomach thinking we'd been giving something to Riley as a treat that could have killed him. Riley has none of the symptoms (upset stomach, excessive thirst, going to the bathroom more often) of the dogs who were poisoned and I am so, so thankful that he seems to be ok. God must have been looking out for our little family. I wanted to share this with anyone who has a dog. If your dog treats were packaged or produced in China, throw them away immediately. You can read more about the situation herehere, and here.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

White Kitchens

One of the best things about buying new construction is definitely getting to pick out all of the internal finishings. Because our home is a townhouse we don't have much say over the outside - but we have complete and total control over the inside. When it came time to decide what we wanted our kitchen to look like, I was so torn. I love dark woods but also love the crisp, fresh look of white cabinets.

We have a beautiful kitchen in our current apartment. It really is so attractive for an apartment (aside from the fact that our dishwasher never works properly). However, it is so, so dark. I sometimes say it feels like a cave. And forget trying to photograph any food to share recipes with you. It is just too dark! While the cherry cabinets are gorgeous, the white in our old apartment was certainly more welcoming.

On the morning of our design center appointment I still had my heart set on espresso. Then, I decided to go by the model one more time and look at the model for every floor plan to compare. Corey's mom and I visited the models, grabbed a quick lunch from Panera, and then headed over to make our decisions at the design studio. All the while, I couldn't get a couple of the model kitchens out of my mind.

Ever since we made the decision to go with white cabinets (almond, actually) I have been completely obsessed with white kitchens on Pinterest. Here are a few of my favorites that are inspiring our future home.

I love how the white cabinets make each of these kitchens look so crisp, clean, and bright. I also really love how each of these kitchens have incorporated other colors to add some gorgeous contrast and really make the cabinets pop. 

If you could design your own kitchen what would it look like?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Weekend happenings

We had a really fun weekend this weekend. It is hard to believe it is Monday already and time to head back to work! On Friday, I'd been really productive and had my lesson plans ready and on my desk by 2:30. My principal had told us we could leave early since we'd been having lots of conferences and professional development trainings that had kept us all there late all week. So, I took him up on it and headed to Selwyn Pub in Charlotte with a friend from work to enjoy one of the last few days of nice weather and have a 3:30 happy hour.

On the way, I had my first ever tire blowout. Major bummer. Luckily I was passing through a cute little residential neighborhood where we walk sometimes with street parking so I just pulled my car over and left her safe and sound on the side of the road and walked the two blocks to happy hour. Hey, priorities and priorities and the tire would still be flat in the morning.

Saturday morning was a kind of gross grey day. Corey had a golf camp so I took advantage of the nasty weather as a chance to get some things accomplished. I got a new tire and an oil change and knocked out the paper for my night class while I was waiting. Then, I headed over to Carolina Barre and Core for a workout followed by a mani/pedi. I chose Essie's Merino Cool. I'm so loving fall hues right now.

When I got home, I tossed some laundry in and took a quick shower then headed back to Carolina Barre and Core again for their open house.

Carolina Barre and Core is a barre fusion studio in Charlotte and I am totally obsessed. I've been professing my love for barre on the blog for over two years. I absolutely loved my vBarre classes in Hoboken and was super nervous about leaving my studio and the fabulous teacher who had helped transform my body. When we first got to Charlotte I tried another well-known barre studio that I just couldn't fall in love with, which was majorly disappointing. On my way home one day, I saw CBC's sign and knew the day they opened I would try out a class. I absolutely love it and high recommend it to anyone in the Charlotte area looking to try barre.

The open house was lots of fun with delicious appetizers and swag bags for all. When I got home, Corey and I changed and then headed to a friend's house for a Clemson watching party. They had an awesome set-up in their back yard.
We won't talk anymore about the Clemson game this weekend.

Sunday morning I did lots of cleaning and getting ready for the busy week ahead and then rewarded myself with a Sunday Funday. 

We had lunch and drinks at Cowfish. This has been on our to-try list ever since we got to Charlotte but we hadn't made it yet. I was majorly impressed. Corey's not a big sushi person but he did get a great burger and some out of this world truffle fries. I enjoyed the bento box and made a list of a million other things I want to try. Any Charlotte ladies want to meet me for dinner and drinks here in the near future? I can't wait to go back!

Then, we did a little window shopping at the mall for our house and did our weekly drive-by. Bricks should be laid this week!

If you missed yesterday's post and made it to the end of today's without noticing some major changes on the blog, Life with Elizabeth is now A Carolina Mrs. Everything re-directs but here's the new info:

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Big News for Life with Elizabeth!

Life with Elizabeth will now be A Carolina Mrs. I've mentioned a couple times that I wasn't really happy with my old blog name anymore and needed something that I felt fit me a little better now, three years after I first started my blog. Enter A Carolina Mrs. My old URL will still re-direct but it would make me super happy to start seeing the new name in blogrolls so if I'm on your favorites list, please take a minute and make the switch when you have time. Thanks a million!

Big thanks to all the ladies who offered suggestions and support when I was nervous about changing things up after so long as Life with Elizabeth. And of course to Jen at Munchkin Land Designs for making the tweak to my header and button. Happy Sunday, friends!

So far we haven't noticed any problems with the new custom domain but if you do, please let me know. :)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fall Essentials

I just love that the weather is finally feeling a little like Fall. I am excited to see the leaves start to change and pull out all of my favorite fall clothes. I live for leggings, boots, scarves, and chunky sweaters. Here are my essential items for fall:

1. Chunky sweaters. These are so perfect for casual days with leggings or skinny jeans. You can find the one above here.

2. Leggings with a long sweater or tunic are my absolute favorite outfit but sometimes I feel like leggings can be a little too casual. The pair above are the travel pant from Lilly Pulitzer. Caitlin recommended these on her blog and I ended up purchasing them with my Lilly shopping spree. They're a little more structured than regular leggings and look fabulous with boots, wedges, or flats.

3. Chambray tops. This chambray button up is perfect for a casual outing. I love pairing chambray with leggings, a fun scarf, and boots. It is such a comfortable fabric.

4. Pumpkin spice lattes. I could not survive the fall without my PSL. I look forward to these all year - the perfect accessory to any fall outfit.

5. Riding boots. I own an older but very similar pair to the Michael Kors boots above. They are so comfy and go with any fall outfit. I purchased my pair when we were living in Hoboken and could walk around the city for hours without my feet hurting while still looking cute. Win-win.

6. A great neutral scarf. The one above is Burberry but I have a similar plaid scarf from Lord and Taylor and love that is matches everything and is oh so warm.

7. Dark polish. My current fav is Smokin' Hot by Essie but I am loving pretty much all dark nails this year.  love how they really pop and look so chic.

What fall essentials are on your list that I may have left off?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Weekend Happenings

Happy Monday, friends! It is a very happy Monday for me because today is a teacher work day. I am wearing jeans, stopping for a PSL and La Boulange pastry, and am looking forward to eating lunch at a regular time.

This was a fun weekend. On Friday, I hurried out of work promptly at 3:01 - the first time that has happened this school year. Then, an hour and a half later we were on the road to Greenville, SC to visit with some friends and enjoy some delicious food at Fall for Greenville.

We enjoyed awesome live music by Robert Randolph and the Family Band on Friday night and then spent that day downtown eating, sipping, and watching the Clemson game on Saturday.

The festival is awesome if you're like me and love to try lots of different foods. Restaurants all over town set up booths offering up small servings of some of their favorite dishes. I tried a few tasty treats including lobster mac and cheese, a pimento cheese slider, brisket nachos, and a delicious crap cake.
Late Saturday night we headed home to be reunited with our sweet Riley.

Yesterday was the 143'd anniversary of Kappa Kappa Gamma's founding. I attended an alumni luncheon hosted at one of the local Kappa's homes. It was my first group program since joining the alumni association here so it was so nice to meet local Kappas and it made me so happy to wear my golden key pin and sing "Oh Pat." Any Kappas reading today?  
I wore my navy and gold chevron Lilly dress (purchased during the shopping spree I won at Caitlin's party) to match my beloved gold and sapphire KKG key. 

On the way home, I stopped to take a quick peek at our house and my oh my, lots has been done since even last week! We're officially at less than two months until we close! I am SO excited! Have a great Monday, lovelies!

ps - Corey and I both scored some great goodies at J. Crew Factory's 50% off sale. Hope you got some, too! If not, hurry on over!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Five in Friday!

TGIF, girls! I am sure we all are in agreement on that one. I am so thankful that it is the weekend and we are looking forward to lots of fun with friends. Today, I'm joining in with April, Christina, Natasha, and Darci for Five in Friday.

I'm loving Starbucks PSL's (as always) but I'm also especially loving the new line of French pastries and adorable scalloped pink sleeves. I've only tried two of the pastries but so far the cheese Danish is my favorite. Get yourself one pronto!

I'm loving that my sweet husband brought home flowers for me for absolutely no reason whatsoever. This has been an especially exhausting week at work and I really needed the pick me up. I love that man!

I'm loving dark nails for Fall. I painted my nails Essie's cashmere bathrobe last night. It's a deep gray with a hint of sparkle. I'm also obsessed with smokin' hot, a dark greyish brown. What is your favorite fall hue?

I'm loving that we're heading to Greenville, SC tonight for Fall for Greenville. It's a street festival full of delicious food and live music. This was one of our favorite events when we lived there so we're excited to continue the tradition and visit with some friends.

I'm loving this sweet dog, who looked totally, completely panicked while I was packing my bag last night. He'll be spending a couple nights with his grandparents, where he'll be ridiculously spoiled, and we'll be back to love on him on Sunday morning. 

Six. (I just couldn't keep it to five today!)
I'm loving that Monday is a teacher work day. I still have tons of meetings but am excited to get caught up on some paperwork, finish my assignments for my night class, wear jeans to work, and eat a real lunch.

Happy Friday, y'all!! 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Home Sweet {NEW} Home

Happy Wednesday, friends. I always have mixed feelings about Wednesdays. When I wake up, I feel like "Wow! It's Wednesday already?!" Then, by about 10:00, I start thinking, "Oh man. Its only Wednesday?!"

I'm sure you've noticed a few photos of our new house floating around the blog and if you follow me on Instagram. We decided to buy in July (!) and life has just been so crazy busy that I haven't gotten around to posting about it. I know, I'm ashamed of myself for being such a slacker.

Anyway, Corey and I started getting the house itch when we were still living in Hoboken. I totally loved the city lifestyle and living in a highrise in the Manhattan area but there were some things I didn't love, too. Like the fact that my closet doors barely closed and that all my off-season clothes were literally busting out of vacuum storage bags under our bed. And that when our guests came to visit, they had to sleep on an air mattress in the living room. And the fact that we didn't have a dining room table. And that we were literally throwing away $25k a year in rent. So, Corey and I started browsing at some homes more in the suburbs. I was so in love with my job and knew I was willing to commit staying in the area long-term unless by some miracle we got transferred back South.

Then, that miracle happened. We packed up our teeny tiny apartment and signed a short-term lease in Charlotte while we got settled. We knew we wanted to start looking for homes around the Holidays as we'd need to close by February but we weren't in a rush when we first got here. We needed to just get acclimated to being back in the Charlotte area again. Then, the day we had friends coming into town for a July 4th get-together, I saw a flier for a new housing development in the Southpark area. The pictures online looked pretty appealing so I hung the flier up on the refrigerator for Corey to see when he got home from work.
When he got home, we still had several hours before our guests would arrive so he suggested we take a ride over. I dreamt about this closet for days after our tour.

I had my heart set on a single family home because I wanted a fenced-in backyard. But I didn't want to take care of the yard...and neither did Corey. We also wanted something we could rent out easily if we were to get transferred again in the near future. As we talked more about the property, I became more and more interested in getting some additional information. We headed over on a Saturday and stopped by the pool and clubhouse to chat with and "interview" current homeowners and get a feel for the community.
This is the model. Our outside will be a different color scheme. 

Buying new construction sounded appealing because we would be able to choose all the inside finishings. It was also nerve-wracking because even though we did a lot of research on the builder, the specific community, and talked with current residents, as soon as we decided to buy new construction, people started telling us stories about their grandmother's second cousin whose hot water heater exploded and the builder wouldn't fix it or of someone's neighbor's step-dad whose drywall literally fell off the wall and deteriorated a year after being built. In the end, all the positives outweighed those freak warning stories we'd heard.
We purchased an end unit three-bedroom townhome. Our unit actually doesn't have the massive walk-in closet but it does have two smaller ones, which is much better for Corey and my needs. We are super excited to move into our new home in December and to start decorating.

We are making some exciting progress!! 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Misc. Monday

Happy Monday, friends. I hope you all had a great weekend. I want to start off today by saying that I so appreciate all of your kind words and prayers last week. It has been so comforting to know so many people, many of who I haven't even met in person, have been thinking about our family. It means so much and I'm working on replying to each of you individually but wanted to go ahead and say a big "thank you" today. 

While I do wish it was for different reasons, I am so thankful that I was able to spend time with family this weekend. My cousins and I are spread out all over the place these days so it was nice to see everyone in one place. 
The girls

We celebrated the life of my cousin, an amazing man who always kept us rolling with laughter at family gatherings and was so proud of protecting the country we all call home. 

We returned home to Charlotte Saturday evening and relaxed with our sweet pup and some Sam Adams Octoberfest. I was totally worn out from the events of the day and went to bed pretty early. Not only had I been in a sour mood for obvious reasons on Saturday morning, but when I went to spray my sweater with Downy wrinkle release just ten minutes before we had to leave for the funeral, the top fell off and a massive amount splashed up into my hair and eyes and I seriously lost every ounce of calm I had left. Bless my sweet husband for being so patient as I threw a temper tantrum while trying to frantically re-do my hair and make up. 
On Sunday, we took Riley for a walk through Freedom Park and the Myers Park neighborhood then headed over to look at our townhouse. Its totally starting to look like a house now. The rooms are framed, it has stairs, and we can see where the fireplace will be. Riley seemed to love it and got to meet one of his four-legged neighbors. We're at just two months and one week until we close, y'all!

We spent the remainder of the day Sunday doing little errands, cleaning up, and watching football/lesson planning. This coming weekend we are headed to Greenville, South Carolina to see some friends and enjoy some delicious food at Fall for Greenville. This is one of the things we loved most about Greenville when we lived there several years ago.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Thoughts on a Tuesday

Hello, pretties. I hope you all had a great weekend!

On Friday, I headed to Southpark Mall after work to the Lilly store for a fall styling party hosted by Caitlin. It was so fun to meet her, Alyssa of the Lesson Plan Diva, Melissa of Simply Sweet Melissa, and Mason of Mason Like the Jar. Here are a few of my favorite photos from the event.

I even won the $1,000 shopping spree giveaway. I was so ecstatic. Totally made my life following a tough week.

I'll share more of my goodies soon. In the meantime, here's a little preview.  

We had a great night afterwards and day Saturday spending time with Corey's parents who were on their way to spend some time at their home in Florida. It is always good seeing them as we both miss living close. They even packed a cooler full of our favorite Italian food from New Jersey.

In other news, I'm thinking about changing the name of my blog. Something about the title doesn't seem to inspire me. Any suggestions? Or thoughts - especially from anyone who has taken the plunge to change the name of their blog before. Any negative repercussions? Any and all comments on that front are appreciated.

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you have probably noticed that tragedy struck our family yesterday in the early hours of the morning. My sweet cousin, Brian, experienced an accident at his home. He is an organ donor so he was on life support while waiting for matches to donate his organs, which is the only thing that is holding our family together. We know that even though our prayers couldn't be answered, the prayers of so many other families are being answered right now. If you've been reading for a while, you know his mother died almost two years ago after a really aggressive battle with cancer. Prayers are so greatly appreciated for our family, especially his father and sister who have lost four family members within just a few short years and his wonderful wife who he just married in November. 

He was the "big brother" I asked for a million times but never had. He helped build pillow and blanket forts, taught me to zipline in the back yard, and was so patient when his sister and I asked him to play the Ken roles in our Barbie games. Love you, Brian.