Wednesday, February 27, 2013


I'm excited to link up this week with the newly momma-to-be, Jenn at Peas and Crayons! Go congratulate her and check out what other bloggers are eating here.

Breakfast has been a big cup of coffee lately and a mug of granola cereal. 

 For a mid-morning snack this week, I've been having a Cara Cara orange. If you haven't tried these, you must! Not just because I fancy the name, but they are so delicious! (and pink!)

For lunch, it's greek yogurt topped with granola and mayo-less tuna salad on an english muffin. I make the tuna salad with half of a mashed avocado to replace the mayo. 

Dinner last night was chicken meatloaf in red, orange and yellow pepper rings. These are super easy to make and so good! Almost like a chicken burger without the bun. We had these with a side of sweet potato fries. 

How to make: Take a pepper and slice it into thick rings. Lay them flat on a non-stick cooking sheet. Fill with your meatloaf mix (any recipe will work). Bake at 425 for about 25 minutes, or until the meatloaf rises and is cooked thoroughly. 

I topped ours with a BBQ heart.

And if you follow me on instagram (caralucas87), you may have seen that my mom made me pillows with fabric I fell in love with online. The ikat pattern and colors go perfectly with our couch and pillows!

Monday, February 25, 2013


Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in all of the projects and to-do lists and forget about all the small details in a house that make's it feel like "you".

This weekend I definitely fell in love all over with the little details around our house that make it "ours". I'm lucky that Chris let's me be creative and express myself in our house freely. I try to intertwine masculine elements in each room so it doesn't feel too feminine. 

Our master bedroom is one of my favorite places in the house. I love waking up and seeing the woods and stream in our back yard. I bought the bed frame and headboard as soon as we bought the house as a house warming gift to us - since we never had a headboard before.

I found the nightstands on Joss and Main and one of my favorite memories is walking into the bedroom one day and seeing that Chris had placed a photo of him and I on his nightstand. I know that sounds typical and silly, but it just reminded me that I am surrounded by love in our house and I get to go to sleep and wake up with someone who loves me. [end of sappy post]

I have a photo of my grandmother on her wedding day on my nightstand and the vases were a wedding gift that we used at our wedding for the welcome table.

I'm so excited to have new appliances in the kitchen! It really gives the house an updated feel and I'm excited that I can now check the time on the stove/microwave lol Yes, even the digital clock(s) were broken on our old appliances.

I've been planning on painting our mantle since day one, but I had no plans of painting the brick - it was a "hmm, I wonder what this will look like" thought. I was actually shaking while painting the brick in fear that Chris would come home from work and kill me since there is no going back. Luckily he loved it. As in, he walked into the room and said, "Wow! That looks awesome!"


I love that you can see the details of the mantle so much more painted white. Now to convince Chris to let me cover up the brass and redo the hearth.

The mirror was a HomeGoods find and we finally hung it last night!

Orchids are one of my favorite house plants and I especially love the oversized one that found a home in our dining room.

I love how the mirror reflects our chandelier and the mixed metals we have in the room.

No one is more happy that I finally found pillows that I love than my husband. It's been a rough scene around the house with me swapping out pillows in the room, but I finally found two that I love (and fabric that will add one more pattern to the mix this week).

I decided that this living room can't handle color (wait, that may just be me) and I like that the room has masculine and rustic elements. It balances the other rooms downstairs. 

Chris and I replaced every light switch, outlet and cover plate in the house. The next people who live here may not notice, but I hope they appreciate it.

I love how our kitchen hardware really pops against the newly white cabinets. We're adding white subway tile as a back splash, so having a contrasting color is nice and it ties in the black of the stainless steel appliances. Plus, I am obsessed with bin pulls.


It seems like a long time ago that I painted stripes in our entry hallway, but I'm still loving them. Some days I think of switching out one of the colors with white, but then I talk myself out of it. The gallery wall is still up and makes me smile.

 Last, but not least, I love our new granite! We are installing it this week and we're so very thankful that our best friend's family has been so generous in helping us out with this project. This is one of the last big pieces to the puzzle in our kitchen.

Anyways, the point of this post is to stop and appreciate all of the little details in your house that make it "yours". It's so easy to become consumed with all of the projects and things you want to do and forget about all of the changes you've made so far!

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Last weekend we took advantage of the holiday sales and tax free energy efficient appliance break and bought all new appliances for the kitchen. We headed over to HHGregg on Saturday afternoon and decided on the Whirlpool Gold stainless appliances. We were in luck! They had all the appliances in stock and we planned a next-day delivery. We headed home to clear out the existing appliances.

As you can see - our appliances were original to the house and it was definitely time to replace the almond, out-dated look. Notice I haven't painted the baseboards of our cabinets - I knew we had a lot of updates going on and decided to save those for last.

We've also been living unknowingly with tiny appliances like this microwave I bought when I was 18 and moved into my first apartment. The clear and number 4 haven't worked in years! I was oblivious to the actual size a microwave should be - considering I thought the microwave was the dishwasher when they delivered the appliances.

Our refrigerator didn't even fill the space of it's home! Our new one is so large we had to remove the trim to get it in (to give you an idea of the average fridge size now).

Since we only had a hood above our range, we had to remove the cabinet above the stove, replace it with a 30x12 inch cabinet and install an outlet. My hubba hubba hubby worked all day Monday removing the cabinet and installing the new appliances (minus the microwave) all without complaining!

Since Chris and I work opposite schedules 2 nights a week my kitchen has been one big mess since the weekend. We finally are installing the cabinet and microwave tonight and I'm excited to get everything in it's place! Just in time for our granite to come in on Monday ;-)

The kitchen is coming together and I can't wait to show off the new appliances once things are cleaned up and repainted this weekend.

Friday, February 15, 2013


It's crazy to think this is the 6th Valentine's Day I've shared with Chris! 

I made this coffee mug for Chris on our 2nd Valentine's Day - so filling it with coffee was a must.

Valentine's Day started out waking up to a snowy neighborhood, which was perfect for the breakfast I had in mind. I made Chris and I a broiled grapefruit half with brown sugar and cinnamon (I'll share the steps to make this tomorrow - so simple!)

Then, I got a surprise call from our front desk asking for me to come get a package. I was actually shocked because I thought we were playing it cool this year with all of the house renovations going on. I've been asking Chris to get me an orchid every time he went to Home Depot, so seeing this put a huge smile on my face!

I've also been asking if he wanted me to make dinner for Valentine's Day... and again he kept me in suspense. Luckily my orchid also came with a love note telling me to meet him in Baltimore for dinner. He still gives me butterflies!

Dinner at Gordon Biersch was just alright, but the company made up for it ;-) I ordered the miso mahi (which was over cooked) and Chris ordered the steak frites (the sauce was meh) - so we probably would only head back for beer/apps with friends.

I also picked up some of these gorgeous ranunculus flowers for my mom. They are one of my favorites!

Now I'm just dreaming of the three-day weekend ahead of me! We're going to pick up some new kitchen appliances - yeah, we're living on the edge! 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Chicken Parm Meatballs

Day 1 of no snacks and sweets went well! Breakfast was a large apple and coffee. For lunch I had a leftover vegetarian lentil stuffed pepper with green tea and after a long day at work I made one of my favorite comfort dinners... chicken parm meatballs!

I've adapted my own meatball recipe, but feel free to make tweaks based on what you and your family loves. In the summertime I like to add fresh basil and oregano. You could also add some crushed red pepper flakes or nutmeg for added flavor.

Chicken Parm Meatballs
1 pound ground chicken breast
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1 egg
4 tablespoons finely diced/shredded yellow onion
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1-2 garlic clove(s) - crushed
1/4 cup milk (any type)
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray and preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Form meatballs - this recipe makes 15 large meatballs. Cook for 20-25 minutes, until fully cooked.

For the sauce, I tend to buy store bought and always add in 1/2 bag of spinach with 1 diced tomato (large) and the rest of my yellow onion.

What I love about meatballs is they can be served over pasta, quinoa or even made into a sandwich for an easy leftover lunch.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Bye Bye Sweets and Facebook

Is anyone else addicted to the Bachelor? I was almost surprised how quickly I gave up my usual Monday Real Housewives of Beverly Hills watching. But, they are both equally drama-filled so it was an easy trade.

I was sad to see Leslie go this week, but I think it's safe to say everyone was happy to see Tierra gone! Next week's episode looks equally drama-filled with the hometown dates. CAN'T WAIT!

For lent I've decided to give up sweets/snacks and Facebook. My intake of desserts and snacks has been out of control lately and I need to get rid of this sweet tooth! I'm not going to make excuses - I'm just hoping that the 40 days of healthy snacks and no sweets will help form my a clean eating habit that sticks.

Also, I've deleted my Facebook app on my phone and am giving it up for 40 days. I mostly check it in the mornings as a way to stay in bed for an additional 15 minutes, but maybe now I'll spend that time taking the pups for a walk or actually making it to the gym? Maybe?

So if your wondering what I'm up to, check back for updates on the blog! Hopefully that will help me post more often!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Brainstorming Basement Ideas

Sorry for the lack of posting this past week! While helping our best friends (now neighbors!) move in, catching a cold, the RAVENS WINNING THE SUPER BOWL and catching up on the bachelor we've been busy! Not to mention, most of last week Chris' uncle was staying with us while we were finishing the basement (thank you!) But I am back to share an update and throw out a few of my basement ideas! 

If you follow me on instagram, you've seen the progress we made to the basement already. I sneaked in a few shots with my camera to give you a better view.

Here is a peak at our main living space after we framed it out and added electrical outlets. You can see the office door frame to the right.

And here is our back room! We have a built in bench where the pipe is for our radon. Where our sump pump is, we built a closet for storage (adding shelves above). Behind the black shelving unit we are putting in a built in bookcase/cabinet. 

And here we are now! We have all the drywall up, recessed lights in, cable and electric hooked up and Chris' uncle is in town taping and mudding the walls!

Here are a few of my current must haves when we complete our basement.

Add a craftsman trim to all doors and windows once doors are installed.

Add a runner to our stairs. We still are up in the air about flooring, but I love the idea of adding a fun patterned runner to the stairs. You can easily update this throughout the years. 

Add a fun door to the laundry room. Growing up with horses, this would be fun to incorporate into the basement. We left our laundry room unfinished with storage, but having a fun sliding door would add personality. 

One of my favorite things about our basement is we plan on adding french doors to the office. We framed it out and I really love the oil rubbed bronze finishes on these! It'll also help to let light into the room since there are only 3 small windows in our entire basement. 

For the walls I am loving this neutral by Sherwin Williams - Intellectual Gray. I have grays throughout the house, and I like how it allows me to add in colors with accent pieces like lamps, pillows, rugs and throws. 

Adding a bar area to our basement is a definite. Chris and I love entertaining! I originally wanted to incorporate a bar area under the stairs, but a supporting pole and pipes didn't allow for that to happen so we turned the space into a closet for storage. Turning an Ikea expedit on it's side makes the perfect bar. Baskets can hold additional liquor bottles, cocktail napkins and more! How fun would glass lamps filled with wine corks look on top?

The basement will be a work in progress for awhile, but having Chris' uncle help finishing it to the point where we could take over was a life savor! We never would have been able to frame, drywall, tape, mud or hook up cable/outlets/lighting by ourselves. We really appreciate all of his hard work!