Whole 30 Recap & Recipe Roundup

A few friends asked questions about our recent experience with whole 30, it seemed easier to recipe dump here vs. over several separate emails.  I hope it might be useful to you!

Daniel and I followed Whole 30 in March and completed the reintroduction phases in April.  I was not excited at the start, but it honestly was a much better experience than I expected.  The first two days I was an irritable mess– everything Daniel did drove me nuts that weekend. Thankfully it got better, but I would definitely suggest trying to “taper down” sugar intake 1-2 weeks before whole 30 or just be prepared, since sugar withdrawal is REAL.

The biggest take-away from Whole 30 was realizing how much I lean on food to ease stress, celebrate, and pacify boredom.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but it was helpful to be forced to use new ways of navigating those feelings. The other main gain I took from whole 30 is that it got me out of the habit of snacking.  I now eat a more substantial breakfast and lunch, so that I do feel hungry between meal times. I find that I feel more satisfied when I am eating, and I appreciate actually feeling hungry when it’s time for the next meal.

Survival Tips:

  • I was not willing to drink black coffee for a month.  Both “califia farms” and “nut pods” have good diary/sugar-free creamer options.
  • Lara Bars & RX Bars are great to have for occasions when it might be difficult to stick to the whole 30 rules (e.g. long outings).
  • I found once I embraced the guidelines, it was easy to find “treats” that really were satisfying, e.g. eating bacon, topping a burger with guacamole.
  • Water gets boring; it helped to drink sparkling water and hot/ iced teas.
  • Eat BEFORE food-heavy social outings, it was so much less tempting that way.

Favorite Recipes:

Breakfast:

  • Not a recipe, but we often ate some version of eggs, roasted sweet potatoes, and a green vegetable or piece of fruit.
  • I followed this recipe once, then I sort of used it as a springboard for variations.  This was great to have a breakfast I could simple reheat in the morning.
  • My favorite “sweet” breakfast (e.g. to soothe cravings for pancakes or muffins) was roasted sweet potatoes, topped with almond butter, shredded coconut, and slivered almonds.  

Lunch:

  • Leftovers!  That’s why it’s so important to cook dinner at home!
  • Buffalo chicken served cold over spinach.  I follow this recipe for buffalo chicken (I’m actually not a fan of the chicken over yams).  
  • Frozen veggies with compliant chicken sausage (read labels but Aidells has several choices)

Dinners:

Eggdrop soup with thai meatballs from A Saucy Kitchen. I usually serve with stir-fry veggies

Copycat PF Chang’s Lettuce Wraps

Eggroll in a Bowl by Jessie B.  I don’t like shrimp, so I cook this recipe with ground turkey and it tastes great!  

No-bean sweet potato chili by Skinnytaste.  

Tuna Patties- 2 cans tuna (low mercury brand), 2 TB coconut flour, 2 TB almond meal/ almond flour, ¼ diced onion (dehydrated works well too!), 2 eggs, and 1 TB lemon juice.  Combine ingredients and cook each side a few minutes on a skillet.

When I was in the mood for Italian, I would break up a frozen burger in the skillet & cook with sugar-free tomato sauce and zucchini.  Topped with nutritional yeast, it almost tastes like meat sauce!

Hawaiian Pork Tenderloin by Eazy Peazy Mealz (just omit brown sugar).  Serve with sweet potatoes and a green veggie side.

Chicken Souvlaki skewers by Chef de Home– great over a salad.

Treats:

  • 2-3 cups frozen fruit blended with coconut milk- eat immediately or freeze until it’s the consistency you would like.
  • LaraBar or RX bar (check because not all varieties are Whole-30 safe).
  • Almond butter & apples
  • Bacon-wrapped jalapenos stuffed with pineapple

Thanks for reading & hope you try some of these recipes too! If you’re on instagram, following #whole30 is a great way to get meal ideas in real time 🙂

Cheers!

Kari

Mother’s Day Tea

My Aunt Susan generously gave me her sterling tea set, and Mother’s Day seemed like the perfect occasion to put it to use.   After going to afternoon tea at the Jefferson this year, I had lots of ideas I wanted to try at home. It was quite fun pulling recipes for a tea-themed luncheon.  I can’t wait to share some of the recipes I used!

A traditional afternoon tea is served in three courses, with the first course being sandwiches.  Because we have several vegetarians in our group, I wanted to focus on vegetarian sandwiches. After much debate I decided upon: turkey & cheese with artisanal pickles on sourdough, curried carrot on multigrain, cucumber on classic white, almond butter & jelly on white, and minted avocado-pea on multigrain.  They were ALL fantastic! The curried carrot truly was suburb.

The second course is typically tea breads and scones served with clotted cream and jam.  I have been trying more paleo baking and wanted to incorporate a grain and dairy-free recipe.  I think even folks without dietary preferences would like the zucchini bread– it wasn’t super sweet but still tasty.  You can find the recipe I used here. I took a traditional route for the scones, picking a recipe for “British style” scones with currants (or rather raisins, because that’s what was in the pantry).  As much as I wanted to to serve clotted cream, I couldn’t muster the energy for another recipe and plain old butter worked just fine.

The third course is the BEST course– sweets!  I served Russian tea cookies and jelly thumbprints which used the same base dough, which was a big time-saver.  I finished the dessert tray with chocolate-covered strawberries since that seemed like a “mother’s day” sort of sweet.  

As for the tea, we drank darjeeling, peppermint, and a chocolate black tea followed by a course of “beer” tea.  It seems one can’t host an event in Richmond without incorporating craft beer in someway.

All and all, it was a wonderful afternoon and fun to try something different that the typical sit-down dinner.  I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day too!

Make your own tea party with these recipes:

The turkey & cheese sandwich is self-explanatory, however the pickles are what MADE the sandwich.  I’ve been making my own pickles using plain-old grocery store pickles. They take 2-3 days to “cure” in the refrigerator.  

Refrigerator Pickles

Slice 2 large cucumbers into “chips” and place in a large glass jar.  Add 1 tsp dried dill, 3-4 cloves sliced garlic, ⅓ cup dehydrated onion, ½ TB mustard seeds, ½ TB peppercorns, and 1 TB pickling salt (or a little more to taste).     Add one cup white vinegar, then fill the remaining space in the jar with water. Seal the lid and give it a good shake! Place in the fridge & taste every day or so, they should be done after 2-3 days.

Curried Carrot Sandwiches

  • 2 medium-sized carrots, grated
  • 2 TB cream cheese, softened
  • 2 TB good-quality mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. sweet ginger paste
  • ½- 1 tsp. Curry powder
  • 1-2 TB raisins
  • 1-2 TB chopped walnuts
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, combine carrots, cream cheese, mayonnaise, ginger paste, curry power; add salt and pepper to taste.  Mix in raisins and chopped walnuts. If you are not ready to serve the sandwiches the filling can be refrigerated up to 1 day before preparing the sandwiches.

When ready to fill, spread a thin layer of the curried carrot filling on one piece of bread, then top with baby spinach or micro greens.  Press together, then cut off crusts to serve.

Cucumber Sandwiches

  • 3 TB cream cheese
  • 1-2 TB mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. Dill
  • ¼- ½ tsp. Garlic powder
  • 1-2 tsp. Lemon juice
  • 1 English cucumber

Mix cream cheese, mayo, dill, garlic, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.  Spread a thin layer of filling, then top with cucumber slices. I like to serve them open faced.

Minted Avocado Pea Sandwiches

  • 1 avocado
  • Zest & juice of 1 lime
  • ½- 1 tsp. Sriarcha
  • 1 tsp. Fresh mint, chopped plus more for topping
  • 2 TB thawed green peas

Mash avocado, then add lime zest, lime juice, chopped mint, sriarcha and salt and pepper to taste.  Adjust seasoning to taste.

To assemble sandwiches, top multigrain bread with avocado mass, followed by peas and fresh mint.  Serve immediately as avocado will brown over time.

Raisin Scones

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 Tbsp butter (unsalted)
  • 3/4 cup dried raisins, soaked in hot water at least 5 minutes
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 cup whole milk (or cream)
  • 2 eggs

Heat oven to 350 F. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut butter in several pieces and add to the dry ingredients. Pulse in food processor until it looks like small crumbs. Whisk together milk and eggs. Add to flour mixture and pulse until just combined into a ball. Dump the dough on a floured surface and add raisins and lemon zest. Knead dough 25-30 times on well-floured surface with well-floured hands until the surface of the dough is smooth and doesn’t have any cracks.

Flour your rolling pin and then roll out dough to 1 inch thickness. Cut out scones using a round biscuit cutter. Transfer scones to a lined baking sheet. Gather remaining dough into a ball, knead a few times, then roll it out to 1 inch thickness. Cut out the rest of your scones and transfer to the baking sheet. Brush the top of the scones milk and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Bake scones for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Serve with butter, clotted cream, whipped cream, lemon curd or jam. Yield: 12-16 scones

Russian Tea Cookies & Raspberry Thumbprints

Base Dough

  • 1 cup (2 sticks or 226 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • ⅔ cup (80 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2 egg yolks from large eggs
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 2½ cups  unbleached all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325ºF and line baking sheets.  Using an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or handheld electric mixer, beat butter until creamy and smooth. Beat in confectioner’s sugar and mix until well incorporated scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula when necessary. Add egg yolks, vanilla extract, and salt; mix until well blended. On low speed, gradually add flour and mix until just fully incorporated. Once again, scrape the bowl with rubber spatula when needed. Do not chill the dough, instead immediately split the dough in half to prepare both recipes below.

For jam thumbprints, scoop dough and form small balls, then roll in sugar.  Make a thumb imprint, then bake until cookies are just beginning to lightly brown, about 15 minutes.  Once out of the oven, fill with your favorite seedless jam. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

For Russian tea cookies, mix in ½ to ⅔ cup of pecans or walnuts.  Scoop dough and form small balls. Bake about 15 minutes, cookies should be lightly browned.  Once out of the oven, carefully roll in powdered sugar. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Bees and Blooms

Back in college, I volunteered with Habitat for Humanity for several service trips.  Habitat requires their new home owners put a certain amount of “sweat equity” into their home or the home of another recipient.  The other day I started wondering how much “sweat equity” I have put into my yard. Between weeding, planting, and mowing I think I have easily banked hundreds of hours of sweat equity by now!  It has certainly been a labor of love.

While scrolling through my phone, I stumbled upon this picture from this time last year.  What a sad picture! Two mostly dead butterfly bushes and a couple of hostas– that was the extent of the garden.  What’s sad is that it actually took a lot of work just to get to that point– the front “garden” was totally overgrown with weeds.

Last year I planted several perennials and of course a few annuals for color throughout the summer.  This year, it has been a joy to see many of the perennials I planted last year return and start to blossom- I especially love the creeping phlox and daffodils.  I can’t wait for the knockout roses and Irises to begin blooming. It makes me happy to walk past the garden each day on my way out the door. I am really looking forward to lazy weekend mornings drinking coffee on the porch.

In the backyard, Daniel has started his beehive last week.  So far it seems the hive has accepted their queen and the bees started building honeycomb.

Daniel and his bees- I bet you can’t tell Daniel is totally afraid of bees 😀

Lots of exciting changes in the yard- definitely getting exciting for nights by the firepit!

Kitchen Re-Organization

I have not been very attentive to recording our projects around the house over the last couple of months, but I am excited to share our kitchen reorganization project.  I did not bother to take any “before” pictures for this one, because I figure everyone knows what a cluttered kitchen looks like!

When I moved into the house last fall, I didn’t spend much time finding meaningful places for my dishes, glassware, cooking tools, etc.  Compared to my last apartment, I had plenty of space so I didn’t worry too much about using the space efficiently. Once Daniel’s belongings and wedding gifts arrived this summer, it was quickly a cluttered mess!  Without a pantry, we had food items spread over several cabinets, and kitchen items jammed in every corner. We also multiple versions of several items- the mugs I liked to use vs. Daniel; three different partially complete sets of pots and pans; various kitchen applications rarely used (e.g. partially broken crockpot, a George Foreman grill that always seemed impossible to clean).  So, it was time to start fresh.

Before & After. We moved the brooms to the utility room, to make room for a pantry.

Daniel kicked off the project last weekend by building shelves in the broom closet so that we could finally have a dedicated pantry.  This allowed us to sort our food goods and neatly contain them in their own separate area of the kitchen.

It’s still crowded, but I can assure you- it was much worse before!
Getting the blender off the counter & into the cabinet was a game changer! We love having our travel mugs ready to go, as well as our “every day” dishes.

This weekend, we loosely followed the Mari Kondo method to tackle the rest of the kitchen goods.  Section by section, we emptied the cabinets and only returned the items we truly love and actually use.  We parted ways with miss-matched mugs, the set of dishes I bought when I first lived on my own, and baking pans I never actually used.  By the end of the afternoon, we had compiled quite the haul for goodwill. Even better, now it’s easy to access the things we use day to day and my nicer set of dishes and entertaining platters are all tucked away in the dining room cabinet.

Finally, a kitchen with clear counters!

For the first time in months, I came downstairs this morning to clean, empty cabinets!  It was wonderful! I enjoyed my moment of zen, only to hear Daniel say “But doesn’t it look too empty, like a rental unit or something?”  Oh, Lord how he tests me!

Our Ballroom Dancing Retreat

From the Zillow Listing- Our master bedroom before any updates
Daniel and I chose not to live together before we were married.  Which meant when I moved to the house the master bedroom was ALL mine.  Even knowing Daniel would soon move into the house, I still managed to fill both closets and claim “my side” of the bed.  The room was truly one of the few “blank slates” in the house- the previous owners threw on a coat of flat white paint (seeming to sell the house).  If we had a longer engagement I probably would have turned the room into a girly paradise filled with mementos from my travels abroad.  But, alas, I saved this room makeover for once we were married.

 

I truly wanted to make our bedroom a retreat- someplace cozy, filled with pictures, with a quite corner to read a book or drink coffee.  Daniel easily wins the award for being the most easy-going person and I certainly can be quite particular and vocal.  Therefore, I felt like it was reasonable to respect Daniel’s main wishes for the room: keep the bed in its current position (for feng shui purposes), no white furniture, and no color schemes featuring pink.

the starting selections.

You probably are sensing that I love neutral color schemes, with touches of color, but a beige bedroom seemed too boring.  We settled on green and had fun picking our favorites.  The winner was Valspar’s Ballroom Dancing, such a fitting name after our sprint to learn basic ballroom dancing before our wedding.

We purchased IKEA nightstands off Nextdoor earlier this year, and decided to purchase matching dressers.  I love the styling of the Hemnes line- a touch of modernity without clashing with my more traditional style. God bless Daniel for having the patience to assemble IKEA furniture- no amount of curse words could have gotten me through that task 😉

We finished the room with a few other additions- a pair of lights my parents were no longer using, a carpet we bought from Nextdoor, and a sitting chair from Wayfair.  We styled the room with pictures from our engagement and wedding, as well as a Brian Andreas print which previously hung in my office, and a watercolor my dad gave me as a souvenir from Russia.

With busy lives, it is so nice to come home to a space that feels like a retreat.

“I don’t know who we’ll become in the days ahead. I only know the quiet voice in my heart that says we’ll become it together.” -Brian Andreas

Hope you love it too!

Kari vs. Carrie

This year I set the New Year’s resolution to write more, which is partially why I started this blog.  Now that 2018 is nearing its end, I’m starting to realize that while I have written a lot this year, most of it was not what I envisioned.  Instead of sitting at my laptop collecting my thoughts à la Carrie Bradshaw style, I spent a lot of time writing progress notes at work, writing emails to wedding vendors, writing thank you notes to thoughtful friends and family, and writing job applications.  Not exactly the “fun” writing I imagined.

The last couple of months I have fallen into this trap of feeling “not good enough”– as a WRITER, as a wife, as a homeowner, as a new employee, and as a friend.  Seeing the trap for what it is (what Brene Brown calls a “shame spiral”) is half the battle.  To that end, I am trying to be patient with myself and be more discerning of my time.  Inspired by the Konmari method, I am trying to keep the things in my life that bring joy, and part with some of the things that do not.  Lately, that has looked like skipping the gym to make time for a walk outside or saying no to social plans to make time to unwind.

 I have really fallen for the Powhite Park in the last month- just a quick walk feels like a total escape. 

I am also trying to give myself a little credit- the big year of change is almost over, and I made it!  Never again will I get engaged, buy a house, get married, quit my job, and change work specialties within one year!  Good thing I love Daniel and our house very much, and I am finally building some traction with my new job– these seem to make the growing pains feel worthwhile.  I can only hope that 2019 will be blissfully boring.

With that quite long introduction, I would like to share pictures of our guest bedroom!  This room has been “done” for a while, but I just never got around to sharing it here.

I painted the three floral canvases in high school- it nice to find a home for them.

The guest bedroom came together fairly easily soon after we moved.  In a happy accident, we discovered one of my old bedding sets matched the paint we used in the dining room, so we settled on a teal and white color scheme with pops of coral and yellow.  Since Daniel veto’ed my white furniture for our bedroom, I used my old dresser and nightstand here.  I rounded out the room with a chair that used to be in the living room and some Nextdoor furniture finds (another table and carpet).  My parents gifted us with a bed frame and mirror they no longer needed after downsizing.  Easy as that!

Since I reference Sex and the City, I can’t resist the opportunity to share this oldy, but goody!

Cheers!

Kari

 

Finished Living Room

The living room truly has been “finished” for awhile, but I procrastinated on posting, since it’s been rather cluttered with misc. items.  I had last week off work, so for the first time in awhile, it’s all clean & tidy!  I think the living room has been the most dramatic before/ after and perhaps takes home the prize for best place to read a book or enjoy a conversation.

Let’s look at the before pictures (pulled from the Zillow listing):

So as you can see, the room is a sized fairly generously, but the wood floors were in awful condition (lots of scratches and paint drips) and the paint choices were horrendous.  The lime green accent wall even had the trim painted to match.  The three other walls (and ceiling!) were painted sky blue.

Even in it’s “before” condition- this room had many features which attracted us.  We loved the light let in by the large windows (which too were in awful shape- original to the 1965 house).  We also loved that there was a separate den downstairs, so that we could have a living room without a television–a place to read, chat, play guitar, and entertain.

The transformation 

Before I moved in, I hired contractors to sand/ refinish the hardwood floors in the house.  That alone made a big difference.  Within the first month of living at Greenvale, Daniel and my dad painted the room (& ceiling!).  We chose a warm greige, called “free reign” and painted the trim white.  The paint alone made a huge impact on the room– it went from seizure inducing to calm & cozy.  The other reason I love the color is that it takes on purple and brown hues depending on the time of day and subsequent lighting.

In terms of furnishings, we mostly up-cycled furniture from my apartment.  My sister generously gifted us their sofa & love seat and my parents gave us the desk in the corner.  We original bought the beige club chairs from Costco to use by the fireplace downstairs.  However, when we were quoted a $2,000 price tag to update, we decided we didn’t need to sit by the fireplace after all (at least not now!).   It’s also nice to comfortably seat a large group.

We have enjoyed adding more pieces as we stumble upon them– my favorite recent find was the blue & white ottoman, purchased at the Habitat Restore in Charleston, SC.

There you have it- the room that finishes the “adult floor” as Daniel likes to call it.  Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO,

Kari

Bittersweet Endings

The thing about work, is that it takes a lot of our time, and as a social worker it also takes a lot of my “heart space.”  An artist I love, Mari Andrew, often posts an illustration of her “heart” as she prepares for the upcoming month.  The simple illustrations touch upon those basic parts of the human experience– What do we hold closest to us?  What makes us excited?  What triggers our feelings (good and bad) and how big a space do they hold for us?

September Heart by Mari Andrew

Today, I facilitated my last group with adolescents (maybe ever, but at least for awhile) as I prepared to start a new job in October.   For the last three years (with the exception of the occasional vacation), I have spend 4-7pm each Tuesday with a room of teenagers grappling with substance use as well as challenges related to their friends, families, mental health, schools, and/or probation officers.  At times it has felt like the longest three hours of my week, and yet at times it felt like the highlight of my week.

I had no idea when I started working with teenagers three years ago,that I would have to work on healing MY inner 16 year old.  Working with teens and their families has brought light to the challenges I faced back then.  It brought me back the terrifying place of not knowing myself and not knowing if I was pretty-enough/ smart-enough/ liked-enough.  Seeing teens in conflict with their parents, gave me insight to what a moody kid I used to be.  To be fair, I still AM moody (probably thanks to my strong family history of mental illness!), but at least my coping skills are far more sophisticated now.  In many ways, working with teens helped me close my life chapter as (what psychologists now call) an emerging adult and feel equipped and empowered to simply be myself.

Joining the lives of various teens over the last three years has truly been an honor.  I have gotten a brief opportunity to once again know what’s “cool”–although quite frankly I miss the mark most of the time.  I have gotten to watch young men and women truly find themselves– and their place in the world.  On the other hand, I have also watched teens crash and burn, which at times was funny and more often was sad.  Perhaps best yet, I have gotten the best possible crash course in parenting which hopefully will come in handy one day.

Kyng Suite

I have been excited to share before and after pictures of the Kyng Suite (formally known as the tree room) since before our wedding, but alas life has been busy.  The room was renamed in honor of its first guest, Will “Kyng Crab” Gilrain.  Second to the living room, this bedroom has probably been our biggest transformation.  I can’t wait to share it with you!

Let’s start with the before pictures (pulled from the Zillow listing).  

The last owners LOVED a good accent wall, and apparently also loved an accent CLOSET. Yes friends, look closely and you will see a bright orange closet. Oy vey!

It is easy to see how this room earned the nickname “tree room,” huh?  The previous owners had two young children, and this obviously was their nursery.  I am certain this room was hand-painted with love, but painting over the neon lime green was anything BUT a labor of love.  Many f-bombs went into its new sunny appearance.

You would not believe the number of coats of paint primer it took to cover the raised surfaces of the tree leaves.  You also might not believe how many coats of paint it takes to cover lime green!  Fortunately this was the last “neon” room in the house, so our future paint projects should be less challenging.  In the two weeks leading up to our wedding, I was going crazy making last-minute arrangements with wedding vendors and poor Daniel was staying up late painting this room to get our house “picture ready” so I could take my bridal portraits at home.  I’m still not sure who got the “worse deal” in that scenario.

P.s. this is EASILY my favorite bridal portrait from our wedding day.  I had the BEST bridal party and I cannot recommend the addition of a bridesman.  Brett was a trooper.

My girls, Brett & I on my wedding day. Thanks to Caiti Garter Photography for capturing the love!

But alas, back to the Kyng Suite.  We fully intend that this room will eventually become our nursery, so we picked a sunny yellow called “spun honey”– perfect for a baby girl or boy.  For now, it serves as a second guest room.  Honestly the foam mattress is so comfortable, it’s my favorite escape when I’m feeling sick or having a sleepless night.  If you are in the mattress market, I don’t think the price/ comfort level can be beat with the Zinus Memory Foam 10 Inch Green Tea Mattress, Twin.  

Aside from purchasing a mattress and bed frame (Nextdoor for the win!), we mostly just recycled art and miscellaneous furniture to fill the space.  It was nice to find a home for my “Kari Chest” that my grandparents gave me when I was a little girl and find a home a few art prints that just didn’t quite fit with any of our finished rooms thus far.

The only project left in this room for now will be replacing the closet doors, but those can wait until we have another Lowes coupon 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope you love the space!

XOXO,

Kari

Stairway To Heaven

Of course I have not fact-checked this, but I would say 50% of the time Daniel picks up his guitar he starts playing “Stairway To Heaven.”  So, the song seemed like an appropriate title for our new staircase gallery wall.

We were a bit home-bound this weekend- I got a heavy dose of poison ivy last weekend and on Friday, I finally caved and went to the doctor for some relief.  I am finally a bit less itchy, but have felt so WEIRD on the steroids that it just seemed easier to lay low this weekend.  But, of course you probably know that I am entirely too restless to just read a book or binge of netflix (although I did a bit of each this weekend).

It was fun finding a way to incorporate our attire from the our wedding day.

Hence, I enlisted Daniel to help me build a gallery wall for our staircase.  I purchased several frames to use at our wedding, that mostly have been sitting in a box collecting dust.  We decided to embrace the new house/ newly wed vibes and make a wedding-themed gallery wall.  I love that we got to incorporate a few wedding gifts (shout out to my friend Lindsey and Daniel’s family friend Therese!).  I was also excited to incorporate Daniel’s boutonniere with a scrap of the hem of my wedding dress in a shadow box.

Among the family pictures taken on our wedding day, I love that we re-purposed pictures of our parents on their wedding day as well as both sets of my grandparents on their wedding days.  Two months into our marriage,  it still feels pretty easy.  When the road gets harder, it will nice to be reminded of the long marriages that came before us.

Of course we ended up with one empty space. We figured our save-the-date could be a placeholder until we pick up another frame. Funny story, it was like $2 more to get an extra 150 save-the-dates so we will be using them for random lists until at least our 5th anniversary 🙂