Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas Tree Inspiration

The year Chris and I moved into our first apartment together, I went to the store around the holidays, picked up a fake, pre-lit Christmas tree and gold, silver and bronze ornaments. I didn't notice until I got home that the cashier had forgotten to ring up our tree (which was upright in the cart, in plain sight). It was then, that I knew Santa was real.

Let's be honest, we were in college... and to us, that was a Christmas miracle!

That tree has been with us for 3 years, and although it's a little sad that we are retiring it's holiday magic, we are excited to have our first, real Christmas tree in our first, real home :-)

Chris and I have a tradition of collecting an ornament when we travel to a new place. So this year we are excited to add ones from New York, Maine and our honeymoon in Cabo. It's a little reminder of the memories and blessings we've had over the years.

A real Christmas tree means we're going to need to purchase more ornaments, a tree skirt and actual Christmas lights to string. I've been searching Pinterest for inspiration before heading to the tree farm this weekend with friends.


I'm hoping to make an advent calendar this year with ornaments to place on the tree as we count down the days!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Our Wedding Video Trailer

I can't say nicer things about Christian with Villatoro productions. Our wedding highlights trailer turned out more amazing than I could have imagined. Christian really went above and beyond by contacting my sister to help surprise us and our family on Thanksgiving by setting up a secret showing of our video.

My sister stayed in Ohio for Thanksgiving, but coordinated with our cousin Ryan to help set everything up. After dinner, my family gathered in the living room with dessert to watch photos from the wedding that my uncle Eric took. Then popped up our wedding video! We weren't expecting to see anything until the first week of December.

Watching our wedding highlights with my family for the first time was beyond special. All of us were able to relive our wedding day in that moment. For a vendor to go out of his way and put so much effort in creating this special moment for not only Chris and I, but also our family - I couldn't recommend them more.

We have received so many compliments on our video, it only makes us more anxious and excited to see the final video!

Chris & Cara Wedding Highlights Film from Christian Villatoro on Vimeo.

I know many people don't believe that spending money on a videographer is worth it - but in my personal opinion, they couldn't be more wrong. The day goes by so quickly, and the video captures all of the moments and emotions of the day that a photo can't. I've easily watched the video at least twice a day and still can't get enough of it. One day we will be able to show our children our story through this video, and to me, that is priceless.

If you are looking for a videographer, check out Christian and Villatoro Productions on Facebook or their website.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Garland and Bows

Hoping everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving spent with their loved ones! This Thanksgiving was my favorite, by far. The dust has settled from the wedding and we were able to spend the majority of the day at my mom's house - rather than jump between our 4 families. And to top it off, our videographer went above and beyond by setting up a surprise with my sister (who coordinated with my cousin) to play our wedding video on Thanksgiving so we had the opportunity to watch it first with our family (I'll share the video on Monday).

I couldn't say nicer things about Christian with Villatoro Productions. And I couldn't recommend spending the money on a wedding video more, after seeing our preview. Check them out on Facebook or on their website!

Every year, the day after Christmas I break out the Christmas decorations. I refuse to listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving, but the day after - all bets are off and it's blasting in my car.

I mentioned we have been slowly updating the exterior of our house. We painted our front door and side window panel, replaced the front door hardware, spray painted our house numbers and this weekend we removed all of the shutters to paint them black.

I personally think it makes the house look younger - giving ourselves a pat on the back!

My mom and I went to 3 different stores yesterday looking at Christmas decorations since this is our first home and we needed to stock up. We found these bows on sale at Michaels for a dollar each! They made it through the winds last night, so I think they are here to stay!

After putting on the shutters yesterday, I cleaned our porch banisters with soap to freshen them up. They look so much brighter now, especially with the contrast of the shutters!

My mom helped me pick out berries at Michaels to add to the plain garland we found there. We also spotted some cute snowy pine cones. The garland was on sale for $1.99, the berries were a dollar (which we separated and twisted onto the garland and the pinecones were in bundles of 3 for 50 cents.

I love the way it turned out!

I couldn't help but pick up this living wreath at Home Depot. The juniper berries and pine cones were too cute! I do have plans of adding some extras to help jazz it up.

Hope everyone is having a great holiday weekend so far and just for giggles, here is a before shot of our house.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Knock Knock

I always dreamed of living in a grey house with black shutters and a warm red door. There's something so inviting about the color scheme to me. And don't get me started on the holidays. Red doors were made for hanging Christmas wreaths.

This past weekend we decided to start on the exterior updates of the house - starting with the front door. We had picked up paint samples after the wedding and made our selection - Behr's Dozen Roses, which seems fitting since Chris is going to bring me home a dozen roses once a month, right? A girl can dream.

I removed the house numbers and spray painted them with leftover Chalkboard paint to help them stand out and match the new hardware we bought for the house. It's funny how small updates make me so happy!

It's still a work in progress, but here's where we are.

Front door before:

And front door in progress:

We still have to put the kick plate back on the bottom, which I spray painted with chalkboard paint. I'm thinking, "wipe your feet, please" written in chalk would be a cute welcome message for our guests. They sell a matching oil rubbed bronze kick plate at Home Depot if we get sick of the chalkboard idea.

Let's see where this weekend takes us on making more updates!

Monday, November 19, 2012


This weekend was a success. My mother in law and I drove to World Market in Rockville to take a look at the sideboard for our dining room. I instantly knew it would be a perfect fit, so before browsing the store we were off to Sterling where I had the sideboard on hold.

I'd never been to a World Market before so I had no idea what to expect. Image if Ikea and West Elm had a baby.

So this...


Turned into this... 


It's a perfect fit and sometimes I walk by it just to stare. This room is coming together and it feels so good to see progress!

I'm off to celebrate the birthday boy with his family. I'll share more updates tomorrow!

Friday, November 16, 2012

ChaChaCha Changes

It's Friday! More importantly the weekend starts tomorrow which means I get to start making updates to the outside of our house this weekend since it's dark by the time I get home on the week days.

We'll see how much I get done since it's Chris' birthday weekend so I have a few special things to prepare for and my mother in law and I are going to check out the sideboard (buffet) from World Market in the morning! [I updated photos in my last post explaining our dining room situation - check it out]

Spaghetti squash were on sale at the grocery store last weekend and I've been wanting to try a "faux" pasta dish with it since (gasp) we haven't eaten it before.

I found an easy way to cook it - plop it in your crockpot with 1/2 - 1 cup water on low for 4-5 hours. You cut it in half after cooking, scoop out the seeds with a spoon and run a fork through the "meat". It creates pasta like strands without the carbs!

In addition to our shutters and front door being painted, I want to make a few minor changes/touch ups to the sconces and garage door too! 

And see the brass gold finishes on the doors and house numbers? Yeah, those are going to be updated as well! I love how simple, small changes can make a big impact. 

And just for giggles, I am still in crazy love with our gallery wall in the hallway and have high hopes that one day it will be just as awesome as YHL's. But for now, it makes me happy seeing photos of our friends, engagement photos and a map of our favorite city - Boston. Now we just have to add in photos of the pups and wedding!

Any big changes going on at your house?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hunting for a Buffet

We've been on the hunt for a buffet since we bought our house in April. It's been months since I have seen the top of our dining room table since it's been filled with our bridal shower and wedding gifts. (thank you!)

I finally bought a leaning book shelf from Crate and Barrel to place in the room to help organize our wine glasses and serving pieces since we can easily use it in our office once we find a buffet (win-win). I actually tried assembling the shelf the night before we left for our honeymoon and ended up spending an hour putting it together...BACKWARDS! Thankfully, my mom took it apart and put it back together while we were in Cabo - You're the best, Mom!

I definitely am a firm believer that you need to live in your house before making big purchases/renovations, rather than looking for inexpensive items to fill your home that you don't completely love. I've changed out lamps, pillows and currently have a mirror leaning on our fireplace mantel waiting for me to decide if it's a keeper or not. But things like our pink toilets have stayed since I want to make sure I am set on our renovation plans for both bathrooms.

I've looked at consignment shops, IKEA, Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, Pinterest - and haven't had the best luck. I loved a buffet at IKEA, but was afraid it wouldn't last long. Loved a few at Pottery Barn, but wanted to keep searching for something more affordable. Registered for one at Crate and Barrel, but ended up deciding it was too small for our space. 

And then... I decided to check out World Market. I am still a little unsure since I've heard mixed reviews about the longevity of their pieces, but the 25% furniture sale sucked me in.

I really love the finish on this piece and that the legs make it look a little less conservative. It's long enough to provide the storage we need and I can easily update the knobs on the doors to glass knobs. 

I had to call four stores to find it in stock, so hopefully that's a good sign. 


Also, has anyone ever noticed how hard it is to find a corner TV stand? Maybe we just positioned our room funky - but it is really hard to find a big selection of corner stands with options. 

I love this stand from Crate and Barrel... enough to break down and pay the $900 price tag (with the help of gift cards from the wedding.) We've been using a spare coffee table as a media stand.
It also came in this stain for $100 cheaper, so we are going to have to examine the finishes in store before making our decision. But since we plan on being in our house for awhile, we want to invest in nice pieces that will last - and match all my changing pillow cases :-)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Our Life Lately via Instagram

If you don't already follow me on Instagram, you can find me at www.instagram.com/caralucas87!


Our first dance as Mr. and Mrs. Lucas! We danced to "Wanted" by Hunter Hayes.

As good as you make me feel
I wanna make you feel better
Better than your fairy tales
Better than your best dreams
You're more than everything I need
You're all I ever wanted

I loved our cupcakes in shades of pink frosted like roses. 
We used Baltimore Cakery and they were delicious!

A snapshot courtesy of our bridal party. 
I got a few booty grabs in during group photos!

Waking up in Paradise on our honeymoon.

I consumed approximately 49583453463 glasses of frozen mango margaritas.
Hello, tequila!

One of the most gorgeous sunsets I have witnessed.

Cheesing in the hotel mirror! One week as Mr. and Mrs.!

Yummy mexican at the airport in Arizona.
Chicken tacos, salsa and guac, barbacoa and guac tortilla pizza.
I vow to recreate that pizza!

First homemade salsa with our new food processor.
Roma tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, onion, lime and some salt/pepper.
Next time I may cheat and use canned tomatoes and rotel, but this is tasty!

Our weekend projects for the rest of the month.
Refinishing our deck and updating our front door (and shutters) on the house.
Just in time for the holidays!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Wedding Recap: Rehearsal Dinner

Thanks to our in-laws, we had an amazing rehearsal dinner with our bridal party and entire family at a restaurant in Mt. Vernon called Brewer's Art.

My bridesmaid and amazing friend Elena played photographer for the night and I am so thankful, because I have a ton of amazing shots of everyone! This is the first time all of our family were in one room together, so seeing everyone laugh and bond was really special for Chris and I to witness. Here are a few photos from the evening.


I love this photo of us listening to my mother-in-law's speech. It was very raw, true and sentimental and I couldn't agree more with the type of person she described Chris as - loving, loyal, caring. I really did marry my best friend, and he is so kind, giving and supportive - I am lucky to have found him!

My sister flew in from Ohio, and she surprises me every time I look at her - she has grown up to be one of my best friends... I wish I could take back all of our childhood fights, because I don't know what I would do without a sister. 

Thank you Elena for the amazing photos! It seems like forever ago these were taken. My dress was from The Loft, red crop wool jacket from Forever 21 and lip color is Tempt by CoverGirl.

Our Cabo Honeymoon Experience

We're back from our honeymoon!! It was filled with lots of mango margaritas, room service, gorgeous surroundings, snorkeling and lots of new memories with my handsome hubs :-)

We plan on going back to Cabo every year for our anniversary/Christmas present to each other - hopefully that actually happens. We stayed at Pueblo Bonita Pacifica and I couldn't say more nice things about the resort! Everyone was so friendly, the views were gorgeous and I definitely recommend getting the all inclusive plan.

This was the view from our taxi driving to the resort from the airport - the mountains look like someone painted them into the sky.

The view from our room was awesome...

But was even better at sunset.

We took a glass bottom boat tour, which I highly recommend. For 10-12 dollars you get a tour of pelican and lovers beach. Bring your swimsuit, a towel, some drinks and sunscreen because you can be dropped off at the beaches and picked up later.

At lovers beach you can swim in the sea of cortez and on the other side (divorce beach) you can walk along the pacific ocean. We rented snorkeling gear and hit the water.

The great thing about staying at Pueblo Bonita is that there are 4 resorts which you can visit through their free shuttle service. At Blanco, they had these adorable turtles and flamingos poolside.

At the Rose resort I fell in love with these turquoise and grey birds!

At Sunset (another resort) you can catch the best view of the sunset - and have a few drinks with a handsome guy!

Although I totally didn't mind the view of the sunset from our resort either.

And of course on our last day my hair finally gave in and worked with me. Note to self - never assume that hotels provide conditioner when you are packing at 2 am. Also, don't forget to pack sunglasses to a tropical vacation - at least we remembered sunscreen and didn't burn!

I'm happy to be home with our pups and getting back to a normal routine that doesn't involve place cards or dealing with florists - and after eating like a champ, I am definitely ready to get back into a gym and healthy eating routine (which definitely slacked during planning our wedding too).

Happy Veterans day to all those who have and currently are serving! I am so thankful!