Coconut Greek Yogurt Heaven

June 29, 2015
I'm normally pretty predicable when it comes to topping my Greek yogurt.  Add a little fruit and granola and I'm good to go.  I recently tried one of those Chobani Flip yogurts though, and now I'm ruined.  I don't normally buy fancy yogurts that come with toppings because they are expensive, but I had one at work a few weeks ago and it truly was a game changer.  So stinking good.



That got me thinking though...I can make this myself!  So I did.  And it was delicious.  I even miraculously happened to have all of the ingredients in my pantry, so chances are you do too.  The coconut Greek yogurt Chobani Flip was my favorite (ok so I may have bought all the flavors after I realized they were so tasty), so that's the one I'm recreating today.  Here's what you need:

- 1 container of Trader Joe's coconut Greek yogurt
- 1/4 of a large graham cracker (or 1/2 if you want it crunchier)
- 1 tbsp or so of slivered almonds
- 1 little square (or "pip" as the commercials call them) of a Hershey's Dark Chocolate Bar (I used 2 though because, well, I'm pregnant and wanted more chocolate in it.)



Just break up the graham cracker, chop up the chocolate, and add it all together to get an amazing, coconutty, chocolatey treat that's chock full of protein.  It's the prefect afternoon pick-me-up that will help tide you over till dinner while also satisfying that sweet tooth.  

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Paris Trip: Part 1

June 25, 2015
If you follow along on Instagram you probably saw that Tom and I took a trip to Paris a few weeks ago.  It was initially booked before I found out I was pregnant, so once we found out I was expecting we decided to call it our "babymoon."  We used a whole bunch of saved up SkyMiles to purchase our plane tickets (yay free stuff!), and we stayed in an Airbnb which also saved us money AND gave us a ton of space!  

We stayed in a wonderful flat in the 2nd Arrondissement, and it had the cutest balcony, beautiful old herringbone wood floors, a full kitchen, spacious living room, separate bedroom with a nice comfy bed, a washing machine and a dish washer (a rarity in Europe), wifi, and a wonderful host who made us feel right at home (although we only saw him when we checked in).  If you're planning a trip to Paris I highly recommend this Airbnb listing.  You have to walk up 6 flights of stairs to get to it, but once you're up there it's amazing and oh so worth it.  It was a mere $131 a night, although it has since gone up to $174 (but that's still a great price and it's nothing compared to $500 a night at many hotels in the city).  There's a fun street full of shops and restaurants just around the corner, as well as 2 different metro stops.  The area isn't touristy at all, yet it's only about a half mile from the Louvre.  Definitely a win-win in my book.  

View from the apartment balcony.

Morning coffee on balcony.  Tip: Bring a robe and slippers if you stay in an Airbnb to feel even more at home!

Gorgeous herringbone wood floors in the apartment, along with the awesome Smeg fridge!

Below are some of the highlights from the trip (all taken by iPhone).  I'm breaking it up into two separate posts so that it's not so photo-heavy.  If you have any questions about our Paris please let me know and I'll try to help!

Day 1

Arc de Triomphe.  So busy and touristy but definitely worth seeing.

I felt the baby move for the first time standing right here in front of the Louvre!!

Jet lag caught up to us so we had to take a break and rest in a park.  Bring a light blanket or scarf with you if you don't want to sit in the grass.  Impromptu picnics and pitstops are popular in Paris.

Day 2

We stumbled upon this building on the way to the Eiffel Tower.  The wall is entirely made of plants.  So cool!

Picnic by the Eiffel Tower.  I think picnics are the way to go when traveling on a budget, especially if you choose great scenery!  Baguette, cheese, sliced meat like prosciutto, nuts and fruit are my go-tos for a Parisian picnic.

18 week baby bump.

View of Notre Dame from a sightseeing boat cruise.  Boat cruises are an affordable way to see the city from the water (and rest your feet).

Had to buy some macarons from Laduree on the Champs Elysees.

The line at Laduree is crazy long, but if you go to the bar in the back you can order all the same goodies (and a drink) with no wait.

Day 3

Latin Quarter in my black and white ensemble (trying to look like a chic Parisienne).

I'm a sucker for street food, especially if it's sweet.  This was my first ever cronut (croissant donut) and it was yummy!  Chocolate covered, of course.

Download a book of walking tours if you're into seeing where famous people lived and where they spent their time.  This was where Ernest Hemingway lived when he and his wife Hadley first moved to Paris.  (We used the book Forever Paris: 25 Walks in the Footsteps of Chanel, Hemingway, Picasso, and More and really enjoyed the two walks we did.)

The Luxembourg Garden was one of my favorite places this trip.  It was so peaceful and there are lots of chairs for resting achy pregnancy feet.  Hemingway walked through this park often to get to his favorite bar.

Supposedly Hemingway wrote The Sun Also Rises at this bar (one of my favorite books).  He also really liked daiquiris, so Tom ordered one at the bar where Hemingway often sat (there is a little plaque on the bar).

Gertrude Stein's apartment.  This was part of the Hemingway walk as well.  Her book The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas was one of my favorite assigned readings while in college.

Tom and I both lived in Hawaii for 3 years, so we had to get a picture of this cafe (although there was absolutely nothing Hawaiian about it).

Notre Dame is just across the bridge from the Latin Quarter, so we hopped over here real quick before dinner (although we didn't go through it this day).  Real men aren't afraid to carry their wive's purses when they get too heavy :)

Gelato stands are EVERYWHERE...which is dangerous if you love ice cream and gelato like I do. 

I'll share photos from the rest of the trip soon.  Thanks for stopping by!

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Yay! Baby Vail is a...

June 22, 2015

Yay yay yay!  I'm excited to announce that Baby Vail is a baby boy!!!  I had my 20 week (4.5 month) ultrasound last Thursday and there is most definitely an adorable baby boy in there.  All of his anatomy checked out perfectly, and he weighed in at 13 ounces (about 2 ounces larger than average).  I've gained about 10 or 11 pounds so far...most of which is in my butt, thighs (boo!), boobs (yay!) and of course, belly.  

I'm 20 weeks and 3 days pregnant here.  This was taking right before the ultrasound.  I'm loving Old Navy non-maternity cotton dresses!  So comfy and cute.

Ultrasound pics are so weird but I had to share because he has the cutest little profile (in my biased opinion).

Workouts are still going well, although I feel him all the time now which makes moving quickly a bit more uncomfortable.  It's so incredible to feel a little life moving around inside you!  It now seems quite real that we will welcome a baby into this world in just a few months.  I can't wait to get started on the nursery now that I know we are having a boy, but that will have to wait until we move in August/September.  I'm planning on using much of the stuff I already own because I don't want to, nor can I afford, all new furniture for a nursery.  I promise to keep you up to date on the progress!

And to those of you who are still reading my blog after my unintended hiatus, thank you!  After our trip to Paris I just have not been motivated at all to write anything.  Hopefully you're following along on Instagram though because I often share a pic or two a day of what's going on in my daily life.  I'd love to connect there too!  

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Fried Eggplant Pizza with Honey Balsamic Glaze

June 1, 2015
When I lived in Arlington, VA I lived right by some really great restaurants.  I had relatively good willpower and was able to resist their allure during the work week (most of the time), but Thursday was my exception.  By Thursday all I want is some comfort food, a glass of wine, and to not have to prepare it myself.  As soon as I'd get off the metro I'd end up at this one particular Italian restaurant near my apartment, called La Tagliatella.  Their service was slow, but they served perhaps my favorite pizza of all time.  It had thinly sliced fried eggplant on it and it was served with a balsamic honey glaze drizzled on top.  Tom even loved it and he's not exactly an eggplant fan.  Unfortunately the restaurant ended up going out of business shortly after I moved away.  If I had known it was going to go out of business I would have bought 20 pizzas and frozen them all.  I swear, it was that good!

I recently had a hankering for that delicious pizza so I tried my hand at making it myself.  I cheated and used the frozen Trader Joe's breaded eggplant slices, and they were really good although a good bit thicker than the original pizza.  I forgot that there was honey on it so I skipped that part, but if you want to add a little drizzle of honey to your pizza I promise it'll add a hint of sweetness that's unique and delicious.


Ingredients:

-pizza dough (I used the Trader Joe's whole wheat version)
-pizza sauce
-shredded mozzarella cheese
-breaded eggplant (cook following directions on box, or make your own)
-crushed red pepper
-balsamic glaze
-honey
-fresh basil

Directions:

1.  Roll out pizza dough according to directions.  Roll it out so that it's nice and thin so that your crust will cook quickly.
2.  Layer dough with pizza sauce.
3.  Add shredded mozzarella cheese to cover the whole pizza.
4.  Place cooked eggplant slices onto the pizza.  I used 5 slices but you can use more or less.
5.  If you like a little heat, sprinkle crushed red pepper all over the pizza. (optional)
6.  Drizzle with balsamic glaze.  (Trader Joe's and most grocery stores will sell this.  It's thicker than normal balsamic vinegar and it's one of my favorite condiments.)  Drizzle with a little honey too.
7.  Add some chopped basil to the pizza.
8.  Cook according to directions on the pizza dough, preferably on a hot pizza stone.  I cooked mine at 425 degrees F for about 14 minutes to make sure the dough was thoroughly cooked.  

Enjoy!

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Recent Thrift Store Finds

May 27, 2015
Thrifting is one of those things that's definitely hit or miss.  I make the rounds to my local thrift stores once or twice a week and often come back empty handed.  Sometimes I hit the jackpot though, like I did with my chippendale dining chairs and the campaign chests.  I recently hit the jackpot again though, and I managed to find great pieces at all three of my favorite thrift stores, all in one day.

The first item I found was this faux bamboo and brass tray top coffee table.  



I was smitten with the faux bamboo immediately, and only after I bought it did I realize this is a very nice piece made by Baker in the 1960s (here is a great piece by Tokyo Jinja about the history and popularity of the design).  1stDibs, which is always crazy overpriced in my opinion (but is very good for the ego), has a few different variations listed at prices ranging from $1,350 to $3,500.  Needless to say I was pretty happy to see that I found such a nice piece!  I'm planning on painting it white to make it look a bit lighter.  I toyed around with the idea of painting it gold, but for some reason I'm starting to go through a more neutral phase and sometimes gold can just be a little over-to-top girly.  Here is a photo of the table in my apartment:


I love the character of the piece so much, but the color of the base definitely needs to change.  I may need to swap the rug out as well because I'm starting to feel that the spots are a bit too busy.  I'm still crazy about the rug but it may need to go into storage until we move and I find a better home for it.

Ok, on to the next piece!  


I found this pair of faux bamboo nesting tables at my next thrift store.  They are made by Lane Furniture Company and they are very sturdy and well made.  They have glass tops on them too.  I don't like to cover up nice wood if I don't have to, so I'm a little torn with these little tables.  The wood is in great condition, but I feel like they look a little dated.  Wouldn't they be so much more fun if they were painted white or even turquoise?  What do you guys think? 

Next up was a pair of brass cantilever dining chairs:


The fabric is disgusting, but I see a lot of potential in them!  I'm planning on recovering the seats and then I'll either sell them on Etsy or try to sell them locally.  I've found some great sources of inspiration online for these chairs, and I'll share those once I reveal the finished product...so stay tuned!

Many of you have asked on Instagram for my tips on thrifting.  I did a blog post on how to hunt a thrift store about a year ago (you can find the post here), so hopefully that will help get you started!  You really can find such amazing and unique pieces if you're willing to work for it...so if you have the time (and patience) I highly recommend checking out the thrift stores around you!  Some will never ever have anything good simply because of who decides to donate at that particular store, but some will offer some wonderful treasures if you check back often.  

Happy thrifting!

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The Ultimate Summer Dress

May 20, 2015
Seeing how I'm pregnant right now, I'm definitely not spending much money on clothes for summer.  That being said...I still want to look cute despite my growing belly, and I think I've found the perfect item that will keep me both cute and sane as the temperature rises: the Old Navy (non-maternity) Jersey Shift Dress.  


They have a little bit of stretch in them so they won't lose their shape, and they come 6 different colors and patterns.  Here is a picture of the dress in a different pattern on a non-pregnant person:


I may or may not have stocked up on 4 different shift dresses on my last trip to Old Navy...they're just too good to pass up!  I know they will grow with me for a few more months, but they will also look cute next summer when I'm (hopefully) back to my normal size.  The best part is that everything is on sale right now, so you can snag them for about $20 each.

Happy shopping!

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Home Crush: Krista Ewark's House Beautiful Feature

May 18, 2015





I don't normally just share a whole bunch of photos that aren't mine, but I cannot resist sharing this gorgeous house with you all.  This is probably my favorite home ever featured in House Beautiful Magazine (May 2015), which is why I had to share so many of the pictures here.  The colors, the faux bamboo, the whimsy...it's all just amazing and so cheerful!  I honestly keep finding myself flipping back to these pages in the magazine because it makes me so happy.  The designer and home owner, Krista Ewark, has such fun style and her home definitely inspires me to incorporate more white in with all my bright colors.  It just looks so crisp and fresh.  You can bet that I'll definitely be painting my thrift store Chinese Chippendale chairs white now.

I've included just a few of my favorite photos, but if you want the whole tour go buy the latest copy of the magazine or you can see it here.

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