Falling for autumn

Friday, October 24, 2014

I know, I know. I'm late to the "I love Fall" party and I've all but disappeared over the last few weeks. What can I say: I've been busy! 

Now that it's nearly Halloween, I figured I'd better share my Fall decorations before it's time to bust out the Christmas boxes. Last year, I did very minimal decorating for Fall, since we moved into our house last August. Because we'd just unpacked all the normal decor and gotten that situated, I didn't want to take it all down and decorate for fall. So I was soooo excited to get out ALL of my fall stuff this year, some of which I haven't seen since fall of 2012! 

ONE. Living Room
I took down most of my everyday decor and replaced with autumnal lovelies. Those little raffia pumpkins are some of my absolutely favorite decorations: my mom gave them to me years ago when I was in college, and she'd had them for years then! I made the bunting a few years ago, and I love how it looks on our mantle in this house. 
mantle decor + bunting
pumpkins in the fireplace (because it will be awhile before we light a fire in there!)
new pillows! I made the orange pillow covers to fit my Pottery Barn inserts

TWO. Dining Room
We don't eat in our dining room much, which is one reason I can set the table like this and it won't get messed up very often! 
burlap + candles + pinecones/leaves
just a few leaves on the mantle add some fall color

THREE. Front Door
The front door is probably my favorite thing to decorate seasonally. I made the burlap wreath a few months ago and had planned to swap it for a fall wreath, but I thought it looked so cute with the fall stuff that it stayed. And what's fall without mums and pumpkins on the doorstep, amiright? 
love coming home to this! 
burlap for the win 
FOUR. Kitchen
I keep things simple in the kitchen: a few candles, candy corn, fall dish towels, and a leaf-shaped candy dish (that I shouldn't fill, EVER, because I'll eat it all). 

candles and candy corn on the island
FIVE. Back Door
We don't really use the front door, so I had to do something at the back door to greet us with fall fanfare when we come home. I'll trade out the Halloween door hanger after the 31st for a grapevine wreath with fall leaves. 
protected by CPI Security and Ellie :)


In addition to this stuff, we have a few more decorations scattered throughout the house (and enough pumpkin candles to make it smell like Thanksgiving). Happy fall, y'all.

xo
KH


Linking up with
 AprilChristinaNatasha and Darci

I'm 30!

Monday, September 22, 2014

On September 3, I crossed over into the scary, unknown world known as My Thirties.

To be honest, I was dreading this birthday. Here's why:

  • It felt like my youth was literally slipping through my fingers. Like I had squandered the last 10 years, the period known as "My Twenties/Supposedly the Best Years of My Life" - did I make them count?
  • At 30, you can't get away with being a young, naive fresh-from-college girl who's still learning what she wants in life.
  • 30 sounds old (well...compared to 23, amiright?)
  • And to be perfectly honest, I thought I would be a mom before I turned 30.


In the weeks leading up to this day, I was struggling, y'all. Which is so, so stupid - I mean, it really is just a number.

BUT - thanks to my husband, mom, and friends, September 3 came and went without much pain. Instead, the day brought me a lot of laughs, big smiles, and an overwhelming feeling of I am blessed.

The week started off strong: Sunday night, I got back from Pebble Beach, and Alex arrived home with the team Monday morning. We went straight to my in-laws house (about an hour a way) to pick up our dogs and visit, then headed back to Columbia for dinner. Alex had made reservations for us, which I knew about, since we were planning to eat with my mom and stepdad the next night (birthday eve) and Alex would be at another tournament the night of my actual birthday. Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling too hot (Crohn's and travel don't play well), and I told him "I don't think I want to go to dinner" - we were both exhausted and I honestly just wanted to crawl in bed with takeout. Alex boldly said "If you really don't want to go, we won't go" - but something in his voice told me he really wanted to go. So we went!

And I am SO glad we did! He surprised me with 4 of our friends at dinner - two of which drove from Greenville just to surprise me! I was so happy to celebrate with friends, and the fact that Alex planned it and pulled it off made it 10x better!
Love these people!

On Tuesday, I had to go back to work (going back to work after a sweet vacay AND the day before your birthday is pretty rough). I knew my mom and stepdad were coming up from Florida that night en route to their cabin in NC, and Alex was going to grill out for us. I was excited to see my mom, as I hadn't seen her all summer. As I'm driving down our street, I see all these bright pink plastic flamingos...and thought "Whose yard is THAT?!" Yeah, it was ours. I had been flocked! I died laughing because I knew my mom had done it. Everyone in the neighborhood kept slowing down as the drove by, and my neighbors were probably praying the birds were not a new permanent fixture!
Mom is photobombing


Alex grilled us an amazing meal, then I opened presents (a day early, but I wouldn't be able to celebrate with Alex the night of my birthday since he had to leave for another tournament). My mom decided to give me 30 presents to celebrate the big 3-0, one of which was the flamingos (I'm now the proud owner of 30 of 'em - let me know if you need to borrow one). Another was this beautiful Le Creuset Dutch Oven!! I cannot wait to make some yummy fall and winter meals in that thing!
Please note Alex's decoration on his back.

Alex surprised me with all kinds of goodies: an espresso maker, a bathtub wine/book/candle caddie, and a set of golf clubs! It only took him 7 years, but I guess he's ready to make his wife a golfer (or just look like one).
My face. LOL.

He also gave me a very special gold coin that belonged to his grandmother, who just passed away a few weeks ago. He had it set into a pendant for me. I love sentimental gifts, and the thought he put into that was sooooo sweet.

We celebrated with cupcakes (mom made butter pecan with cream cheese frosting - delicious) and I blew out a candle and made a wish. Thankfully, I didn't have to blow out 30 candles. That could have been disastrous! 


Last pic at 29!

Because Alex had to hit he road on Wednesday (my actual birthday), we went to lunch with my mom and stepdad before he left town. That night, mom and Dave took me out to dinner, making it three consecutive nights of birthday celebrations!
Right around the time the clock struck 8:31pm and I became 30

When we got home from dinner, I decided I needed to make another wish, just in case the one I made the night before didn't count.
Making a wish!

Between the dinners and cupcakes and gifts and birthday cards and texts and phone calls and Facebook posts, I felt so incredibly loved! I have to admit that a few weeks into thirty I'm still a little freaked out that this is my age, but it's not so bad. I felt - and still feel - overwhelmingly blessed to have all that I do. No matter what this year or this decade might bring, I will embrace it!

Cheers to my first thirty, and to my next thirty years! The best is yet to be!

xo
KH

California Dreamin'

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Over Labor Day weekend, I had the opportunity to tag along on the hubby's work trip (read: a college golf tournament), which ordinarily wouldn't be super special or necessarily be an option at all. But it was pretty special that the destination for this trip was the one and only Pebble Beach Resort - so I was all, "uh yeah, I'll go. If I have to." Ha!

I was expecting cooler weather and sunshine, beautiful views and luxury. What I didn't expect was to whale watch from my balcony, feel like I was on a wildlife tour on the golf course, and for everyone to be soooo friendly. I guess I would be pretty friendly, too, if I lived somewhere so beautiful! 

The view from our balcony

Long sleeves in August!

The tournament included accommodations and perks for the spouses that tagged along, including several treatments at the Spa at Pebble Beach. After traveling for nearly 12 hours the day before (flying from Columbia, SC to Houston to San Francisco to Monterey), the pampering was most welcome!
The tournament organizers graciously gave the ladies a spa day...heaven on earth, I tell you!

I didn't do a lot of sight-seeing, but that was by choice. I just couldn't get enough of the golf course and its views, which was sight-seeing in itself. From the Lodge or the course, we saw whales, dolphins, seals, and sea otters. And of course, jaw-dropping views of the Bay and mountains. 

It was so fun to watch the team play and the hubby coach, since I don't get to go to many tournaments. Even better that we were staying right there at The Lodge, which was elegant and luxurious, full of old-world charm, but not stuffy: the perfect balance.

At #1 Tee
Wood-burning fireplace in our rooms.
And no A/C, because it's just not needed!
The hubs. He's adorable, no?
Watching the seals from #18 tee
I stood at this place and watched for about an hour. What. A View!! (And I was freeeezing!)

17-mile drive and the Lone Cypress Tree

Sunset over the Bay

If you ever, ever have the chance to stop by Pebble Beach - even if for the day - do it. I've seen this place on TV, but it's hard to appreciate its beauty on a screen. If you're a golfer, you're in luck: it's a public course, and you can play a round for the low, low price of $495. No, seriously.

It was an amazing trip, and SO worth all the connections and traveling! A bonus was that it was just a few days before my 30th birthday, so it doubled as a birthday getaway!

I'm still dreaming about that view. 

xo
KH




Five on Friday: September 12

Friday, September 12, 2014

It feels good to be back in the swing of things - and by "things" I mean blogging again! This summer was a whirlwind, and I'm still trying to figure out why. Whatever the reason, it didn't leave much time for writing.

I'm still catching up, but in the meantime, here are 5 things that have me smiling this Friday! 

ONE. New Gator gear that my besties gave me for my birthday last week! Sadly I don't get to many games in The Swamp, but I don my orange and blue each weekend the boys play.


TWO. I became a UF Alumni Association Life Member a few months back and just got my official swag to let the world know! (Photobombed by my foot) 

THREE. My sweet hubby bought me an espresso maker for my birthday, and got up early this morning just to make me a cappuccino! So delicious. 

FOUR. I am a big supporter of greeting cards. Yes, I know - it's like paying for words - but I love sending and receiving them. Enjoying all the sweet cards I got for my big 3-0! 

FIVE. I'm still laughing over this...
Full birthday recap coming soon! 




Enjoy the weekend! 
xo
KH

Goodbye, twenties! The best is yet to be!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Today is my 30th birthday. Unbelievable.

It's cliche, I know, but where does the time go? Wasn't it just yesterday (another cliche) that I turned 20, and then 21, and then 22, and...? From my college days and studying abroad to starting my career, and from meeting the love of my life and tying the knot, my twenties were some of the best years of my life, for sure. But I know the best is always still to come. As I mourn the passing of my youth (kidding!), I know that my thirties have so much in store: advancing my career, making memories with Alex, and, God-willing, starting a family.

My 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, and 29th birthdays! 

Here's to the past decade of my life, my twenties - one for the books! And also to the next decade: I might not hit as many milestones (there aren't many left!) but I'm looking forward to the possibilities and seeing what God has in store! Whatever His plan, I know one thing for sure: I am blessed beyond measure, and I'm feeling those blessings especially today. Thank you Lord for another year!

"This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."
Psalm 118:24


xo
KH

Ending the summer on a high note

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Or shall I say a low note - as in the lowest temps I've felt all summer? I am so thankful that I'm spending a few days at the beautiful Pebble Beach Resort in California, watching Alex coach and the team play! It doesn't get much better than this. 

More later, but I just had to share this view! 


 xo
KH

Figs for Dummies

Monday, July 28, 2014

When you buy a 70 year old house, you inherit all kinds of interesting things, good and bad. Like the 36 year old air conditioning unit that went out just 9 months into our ownership. Or the rope that once held a tire swing, I'm sure, now hanging so high from pine tree branch that you can't get it down and it's become a decorative accent of your back yard. Or, in this case, a giant fig tree that bears fruit even when you neglect it. 


We noticed the tree last summer when we moved in, but honestly, picking figs was the last thing on my mind. A few weeks after move-in, we had a huge storage shed in the backyard torn down, and the guys who did the demolition ended up taking every last fig off the tree for their greedy little selves. So not cool. That said, we didn't get a one last year. Not one! 

A few weeks ago, I noticed there were dozens - maybe hundreds - of tiny figs on the tree. Not one to miss an opportunity for a second year in a row, I kept watch to see when they looked ripe and ready for the picking. Unfortunately, I know nothing about figs. This girl grew up in orange groves, not fig orchards (if that's even what they're called). 


I needed to know if they were ripe, what kind do fig tree I have, how to pick them from the tree, and of course, recipes - what in the heck was I going to do with all these things?! So I did what anyone would do: googled "Figs for Dummies" - and nothing relevant came up. So disappointing. 

(Maybe the next time someone googles that phrase this blog post will come up. Not that I'm a wealth if knowledge, but they'll know they're not alone.)

After watching several enthusiastic fig lovers in YouTube tutorials, I was set to harvest. I couldn't get over how many little figgies were on my tree! My poor, neglected fig tree that we haven't so much as trimmed since we moved in just keeps giving! 


With my first bunch, I gave most of the figs away to neighbors and co-workers, but not before I made this delicious salad. 
Ingredients
1-2 small figs, cut into fourths or eighths
Blueberries
Spiced pecans
Crumbled goat cheese
Mixed greens
Balsamic vinegar and olive oil 

Mix together and serve in a chilled bowl. Even better when paired with a crisp white wine! 

I've since gathered a few more recipes that I want wait to try. Goodness knows I'll have bountiful harvests for the next few weeks! And if you have a fig recipe that's worth a try, holla at me :) 

xo
KH 

Theme created by SWEET LEMON GREY