Thoughts on our first year of marriage

Monday, June 16, 2014

Well, we made it one year, folks! Go us! In all seriousness it has been a fantastic year and it went by so quickly. I can't even tell you how many people told us that the first year of marriage is the hardest. To be honest we didn't listen to it (mainly because I know that everyone has different circumstances). For us, this first year has actually been the easiest. See, we lived together for almost 2 years before we got married and before that, were in a 2+ year long distance relationship. That long distance business, now that was the hard stuff. It really taught us so much about communicating with each other and really helped us develop some great tools and routines that stick with us now. I will always look back on our "long distance days" and be forever grateful for how far we've come.

From day one of living with each other it's been a good fit. I don't have enough hands on me to count the number of people that advised us against living together before marriage. While I really do appreciate others' concern for us, ultimately Luke & I knew what was best for us. So after 2+ years of long distance and roughly 4 months living in the same city for the first time, we dove right in and bought a house together. It was the best decision that we could have made for us.

Reflecting back on this past year, I feel as though we hit our stride and found a place in each other that we're both ourselves and comfortable in. During our first year of marriage we made a lot of plans for our future. We made some home improvements. Luke took on a lot more responsibility at work. He also supported and believed in me when I wanted to take a risk and change jobs. We bought a new car. We traveled to some new places together. We basically kicked ass at life together.

We'd be ignorant to believe that life is always going to be this way. We don't know what the future will hold, or what kind of obstacles we'll have to face together. We will however, be grateful to look back on our earlier years together and be so thankful for the foundation that we're building.

Here's to many more great years ahead of us!

*And in true Holly fashion, I went ahead and ruined our anniversary by contracting bronchitis. No fancy dinner out to celebrate, instead we sat on the couch all day. Ha!!

Library Ladders

Thursday, June 5, 2014

I wish we had an entire wall made of built-in bookshelves, with a library ladder strung across the top. How awesome would that be? My dream home definitely has this included. There is such a classic and sophisticated feel about these library ladders. It can really transform a plain shelf into something so much more. It adds an interesting element to the space, in such a simple way. Here are a few of my favorite. I'm bookmarking them in case we strike it rich sometime soon and move into our dream house... ;)

(Image 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Summer Bucket List

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

It's the start of June, so I felt it was appropriate to break out the Summer Bucket List. I feel confident we'll get everything crossed of this list before the summer comes to an end :)

1. Go to Mexico!
2. Go Camping
3. Organic Brewers Festival: Forget the overcrowded Oregon Brewers Fest, this one is where it's at!
4. Ride the Wine Train
5. Day/weekend trip to Hood River
6. Take more walks with Gracie
7. Take my camera out more
8. Take the boat out!!!
9. Make a beach trip
10. Host a summer BBQ

What's on you summer bucket list?

See my lists from 2013, 2102 and 2011.

Fogo de Chao

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Last month I got invited to the soft-opening of the Brazilian steakhouse, Fogo de Chao, pronounced fo-go dèe shoun. Located in the old Nike Town building in downtown Portland. I'd never been to a Brazilian steakhouse, so I didn't know about the whole "dining experience", basically I didn't know what I was getting myself into, haha.

The staff couldn't have been any friendlier. Serious. They make sure that you have everything, I mean everything. You can't even sit back down without someone rushing to your side to push your seat in for you.

Before you even get to start your dining experience you can take a visit to the very extensive salad bar. But be warned, don't fill up here, you have more food than you know what to do with coming your way very soon. While we were at the salad bar, lightly filling up our plates, we came back to the most delicious "pão de queijo" (warm cheese bread) and a number of other side dishes like polenta sticks, garlic mashed potatoes and fried plantains at our table. I'm thinking hmmm, I'm getting close to being full already (oops!) and we haven't even got to the real experience of this restaurant yet! But here it comes...

The dining experience is based on the centuries-old gaucho tradition known as "churrasco", roasting meats over pits of open fire. Operating under the unique service concept of "espeto corrido" (which translates to “continuous service” in Portuguese), Brazilian-trained gaucho chefs present and slice 16 different cuts of meat table side from roasting skewers. Each person at your table is given a "disc". Green on one side, red on the other. Basically a stop and go signal for the gaucho chefs. This concept really allows you to enjoy your meal at your own place by taking breaks when you need it, and trust me, you need it :)  My favorites meats were: the Picanha (Top Sirloin) and the Filet Mignon. But really everything was delicious.

*Me and a guest were offered a complimentary dinner as part of their soft opening. All opinions are my own.

Low Country Boil

Monday, June 2, 2014

If there's one thing we love to eat at our house, it's shrimp. It's also potatoes. Hmm, it's corn. Wait, don't forgot the onions, too! Throw all those ingredients together in a pot containing water seasoned with Old Bay and you have yourself a low country boil, one of our favorite summertime dinners. It's super easy, tastes delicious and is great to make when you have friends over for dinner and you can all eat outside. A beer or two goes perfect with this meal, of course.

Low Country Boil
Serves: 2

1 pound of red potatoes, diced into medium sized squares
2 ears of corn, each cob cut into 3 even pieces
Half of an onion, rough chopped in large pieces (or about 15-20 pearl onions, those work best!)
1 pound of shrimp

Fill a pot of water 1/4 of the way with water. We use a Le Creuset pot and it's just the perfect size. Season the water with Old Bay seasoning. When the water comes to a boil, add your potatoes and cook for 7 minutes. Add your onions and corn on the cob, cook for 8 minutes. Add your shrimp and cook for 3-4 minutes. Strain out the water and serve on butcher paper.

This recipe is just my super easy method. You can adjust the quantity of ingredients to your needs. You can also add items like sausage, we just didn't have any on hand the other day when we made this.


Happy Monday!