Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fall Decor

One of my favorite things about living in New England are the changing & distinct seasons. Winter brings white magical snows, hibernation & big cups of warm hot chocolate. We are all awakened by spring with the chirping birds, sprouting flowers & end of Daylight Savings time. Then its the crisp sunny summer days spent sailing, antiquing and soaking in the fleeting rays.  And the best season of them all?! Fall of course. We hate to see summer go, but the aroma of spiced cider, hayrides & pumpkins, and colorful leaves entice us to enjoy every second of this cozy season.

With each new season comes new decorations. Now that our house is a bit more civilized these days, I am starting to spend more time & resources on fun decorations to spruce the place up. I have to be honest. I was hesitant to decorate this season. After a big wedding, you kind of look to settle in, relax and save $$.  But it turns out, I needed to nest and I found a way to transform my house without spending a whole lot. I bought a few things, did a little DIY, and visited my local farmer's market.

Here are a few ideas for your home!

DIY Berry Wreath
We don't keep plants alive very well - in fact just about every plant we've ever had dies in a matter of days of arriving at Middle Ave. We even killed our mums - I thought those were supposed to live no matter what?! So, this wreath I LOVE. I filled a basic grapevine wreath with artificial berries & dried Lotus Pods from Hobby Lobby for under $15. The best part? It will stay fresh for years:)


Mantel Decoration
I love our mantel, mostly because Andrew built it in our garage. It's a bit narrow, so its a little challenging to decorate, especially since bulky decorations are a no go. I found a way to use simple decor with baby pumpkins & gourds from our local farm, lanterns I bought last year off One Kings Lane, and a rustic frame we got from our day at Brimfield. Thank you to Pinterest for the "give thanks" idea.

Candy Corn
A decoration you can eat AND adds style & decor? That's a winner in my book! 

Curb Appeal
Currently with the look of the front of our house, there is only one section that has curb appeal. One section without tyvek, a fogged out window, and old rotten shingles…We tell people - don't look up! Again, I made a berry wreath last year & added the "C" for our new name, put out some pumpkins from the local farmers market & bought 2 lanterns from IKEA. I personally hate IKEA, but for $23 you can't go wrong with these two!

Happy Fall Decorating!! 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Recipe Roundup

I don't know if it was all the apples we picked last Sunday afternoon at Young's Family Farm but all of the sudden I got the urge to be domestic. 

This week I have been cooking up a storm, trying out new recipes, and transforming our house to all things FALL. Somehow it takes almost all the leaves to be on the ground, apple cider to be in every store, and the approaching end of October for me to realize its time to switch gears to a new season. Better late than never!

Andrew has started a new gig and been working 10 hour days with a 3 hour commute, so I've been looking for easy recipes that will keep that man full and happy. Not to mention, the weather around here has been the dreaded New England grey, so comfort food has been a must!

Here are my top 3 fall recipes from this week in the kitchen.


Thai Butternut Squash Soup
Andrew was hesitant, but this fall soup is perfect for a New England, rainy day. Loaded with flavor and nutrients, this recipe is super easy to make and will have you licking the bowl.  Paired with a piece of ciabata or french bread (for all you glutards like me, rice crackers pair well), this soup will satisfy everyone!

Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken
Talk about filling a room with flavorful smells!! This easy crockpot recipe is packed with flavor and a Thai favorite.  Throw that chicken and sauce in the pot before you leave for work and you will return to shredded garlic, honey goodness. Rice & broccoli go well with this!

Apple Pie Filling
We must have spent an hour taste testing all variations of apples as we walked the rows of apple trees. We filled a huge bag with all the red and green goodies. Now that I have bowls upon bowls of apples at home, I needed a way to use them up and savor the fall for weeks to come. This recipe for apple pie filling is perfect. I made a few batches to freeze and pull out when we have guests who might crave a cozy old fashioned apple pie.

It just so happens that most of our favorite recipes this week involve thai food. Good thing we are going to Thailand for our honeymoon in a few months! Try them out and let me know what you think!

...More on all things fall next week!

Sunday, October 19, 2014


I have to admit that I have been lazy lately. I have been unmotivated. I have been hitting the snooze button, watching tv, and eating junk food. Living life at a slow pace. Very un-Maria-like. But I have to tell you, there has been a somewhat depressing state that has overcome Andrew and I.

I hear that's how all brides feel after their wedding…apparently grooms too.

We were on such an incredible pace for the last 5 months. Working 16-18 hour days and trying to do it ALL.  We had our heads down and knew what had to be done. We were productive and accomplished an awful lot on the house, the wedding, our businesses, and day jobs.

But you know what? I didn't really enjoy it. I felt overwhelmed and stressed 24/7. I missed summer. I felt like it was never enough. We have been needing this rest, this pause from life, more than we ever could have imagined.

And then the wedding came and went. It was perfect. It was everything and more. All the hard work seemed to have paid off. And then it all set in - this longing for it to keep going, for all our friends and family to stay in Rhode Island so that we could see them each and every day. This feeling that wow, something we spent 9 months planning is all the sudden finished, just like that.

We all the sudden had all this time on our hands this past month. No wedding meetings or hours on the phone with mom, no rushing around to get our house in perfect order, no long hours at work.  We had time to sleep. And eat meals at our table. And make plans with our Newport friends. And really talk. 

I woke up today somehow rejuvenated. Ready to be productive again. Ready to get back to a normal pace of motivation. Eager to continue checking house projects off the list and getting our lives back to busy times. I think that down time was a good thing. A time to reflect and just BE. Sometimes that is exactly what our minds and body need - time.

Ironically, today is one month from the day we said "I do".

Saturday, October 11, 2014

For Our VIPs

The condition of our original guest room gave me the creeps. The first time we had guests I cringed at the thought of them having to endure this mauve sponge painted, flower bordered room complete with  nipple lamp and textured popcorn ceiling. In fact, we had multiple guests staying at our house this time last year for Andrew's 40th and in the midst of everything I insisted that the flower border be removed. I could not stand the sight of it.for one. more. day. Seriously. Heinous.


This guest room was the spring project. Andrew broke out the crow bar, Budweiser and demoed the room while I was working in the Caribbean. He brought it back to studs and unearthed some time capsule treasures hiding in the walls, and the usual scary wiring and uninsulated walls. No huge surprises with this one. In a matter of a few days he had the place rewired, insulated, installed 4 can lights, new window installed, midget window removed, and sheetrock hung. Old hat.

This summer we worked many nights to get this room to its final state. A week to refinish the floors. A new, smaller closet design. We settled on "Rainwashed" by Sherwin Williams for the walls. A gender neutral color for one day when this room is transformed into a nursery (no time too soon!!).  Over time the room came to be complete - the lamps we bought from One Kings Lane, the dresser from my godmother's storage unit, the mirror a fabulous find from Chateau & Bungalow in Newport, and the bed side tables from an antique store.

It is not 100% finished in terms of decorating, but it is a hell of a change from this time last year!

And the best part of it all? The VIP towels. Our guests are definitely VIP at 82 Middle Ave. Just don't expect breakfast in bed...

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Hanging Bed Debut

There is no night's sleep like the one you have on a boat. Gently rocking with the waves, the soft noise of the water slapping up against the hull, and that sway that puts you to sleep right after sunset. Add a glass of wine, cool summer air and cozy sheets - you will have the best night's sleep. Guaranteed.

That was the inspiration for Andrew's hanging sleigh bed.

With his new company emerging, AC Grayling, the hanging sleigh bed is the first big piece in the spotlight. And we just so happen to have bed #1 hanging in our newly renovated bedroom. This was a huge step up from the mattress and box spring that sat haphazardly in the room just weeks before the wedding.

Built of mahogany, stained & pollyed, this beauty hangs from the ceiling with bolts through the ceiling beams. Luckily since we had just brought the room back to studs this winter, we knew the strength of the beams and where they were located. We attached the classic New England line to bronze cleats on each of the sideboards at the head and foot of the bed. Again, a very nautical feel.

Best part of all? It sways & rocks you to sleep, just like sleeping on a boat. All we need is an app for waves slightly lapping against a hull. Perfect for two sleepy sailors.

Blogging tips