This sweet, sleepy puppy is 4 months old today!

And, I might have no idea how many months old this one is, but she's pretty cute too!

I'll be back with an update on one of my projects soon! It's taking a little longer than expected, but I think we'll all be pleased with the final product.


a new look

You may have noticed the new look of my blog - I'm still working on it a bit, but I like it! Seems I'm in the mood to redecorate a lot right now - cabin fever, maybe.

Up next? The master bedroom.

I love our bedroom. I love our furniture, the paint color and the bedding. It's perfect for us. Here's a peak:

You're probably wondering why I want to redecorate if I love it so much.

You can't see the quilt really well but it's is orange, yellow and kind of a pewtery color. Our duvet and sheets are very neutral, a beige color with just a light pattern. I really like it but recently the Mister and I have discussed switching out the quilt just for a change. I'd like to do something a little bolder and cheery for the coming warm months (come on, spring!).

(Keep in mind that we'd only be replacing the quilt and the shams - everything else will stay the same. Some of these would be a bit too much otherwise!)

I like this daisy quilt from Overstock.
Miss Daisy Quilt Set
I've always liked daisies - my Mom and I both carried them in our wedding bouquets. But the colors are a bit too close to what we already have.

Love the pop of blue in this one - but maybe not those solid shams!

I really like this one...but not so sure it would fly with Bob.

But, I think this one is my favorite.

Butterfly Poppy Patchwork Quilt

It's so "classic quilt." And such great colors. I love it. But since it's Pottery Barn, I'll probably have to keep dreaming!

And then, with a new quilt, I'll probably need new curtains...


i'll take a raincheck, please

It's rainy and snowy here in Nashville yet again, and I think most of the city is just over it. I know I am.

I can't wait for pretty spring flowers, warm weather and maybe a margarita on a beach somewhere...

In an effort to brighten my mood, I put these lovelies up on my kitchen windowsill.

Fake, of course, b/c I have the opposite of a green thumb - just ask the plant on my table at work that I'm trying to nurse back to life.

Here they are actually on my kitchen windowsill. 

Here's hoping for light snow and safe commutes in the morning!


up to my eyeballs...

...in fabric that is.

This weekend was a hang-around-the-house, do-projects type of weekend at the Somerville's.  So, of course, I was working on my projects that I told you about a week or so ago.

In typical Val fashion, I like to start one project, only to move on to the next and only time will tell if the first, or second for that matter, will actually be completed. So I began work earlier this week on pillows for my comfy sunroom chairs, only to switch to curtains for the same room this weekend.

But after two days of work on my first set of curtains EVER, I am calling it quits...for today. I am up to my eyeballs in fabric and sewing supplies. I'd say I'm making progress, but I've spent a lot of time with this little friend this weekend.
Seam Ripper = Tool of Destruction

I am making progress in between mild breakdowns that have me contemplating paying someone to complete this for me. This. Project. Will. Be. Completed.


a few of my favorite things

I just love, love, love fabrics. I get so excited to go to the craft store and just look at the fabrics. I have so many great ideas when I see them - I just wish I had the time (and the skill!) to do all the things I dream of.

Everytime I go to pick up something for my sewing hobby, I come home with some new fabric - Bob lovingly supports my habit, with just the slightest roll of the eyes and minimal "Honey, what are you going to do with that?"-type questions.

These are a few of my faves as of late:

Waverly Small Talk / Blackbird
For a living room or sunroom perhaps?

Waverly Floating Petals Black
This would look great in a guestroom or as a shower curtain.

Waverly Lovely Lattice Lapis
Or this one...just about anywhere. I love blues - especially dark, rich blues. I think this would be lovely in  a master bedroom. Feminine, but masculine enough to please the husband.

And my absolute favorite as of right now? This sweet little bird print:

(Please excuse the poor quality - I took this with my iPhone in the store)
This could go so many places - a baby's nursery, an occasional chair, a throw pillow. Love. It.

Speaking of sewing, this is one of my go-to sites for sewing: Sew4home. It has easy-to-follow tutorials, and I've already made several things from their site. Check it out for some great sewing tips!


girl's night

Last night was girl's night at my house.

Shannon came. So did Nicole.And, of course, Grace and I.

Tanner and Beauford crashed the party, but that's okay. Boys of the four-legged variety were allowed.

Photo by Nicole

We made yummy pizzas - don't get excited, that's Pillsbury pizza dough and jarred spaghetti sauce you see! Hey, we're working gals!

Drank a little of this...

...and enjoyed each other's company!

Thanks, girls, for keeping me company last night! We'll do it again soon - with Etta and Roxy too :)


do-it-yourselfer...yup, that's me

I'm working on a few projects at home in between trying to keep a little monster from eating everything in sight or using my house as his personal bathroom.

I'm trying to remember to take pictures as I go along to share with you all, but hopefully soon I'll have something new for my two favorite chairs in the house...

please ignore the shoes in the corner

...and to block the neighbors from seeing me in my bathrobe when I let the little monster out in the middle of the night. I'm sure they'll appreciate that. 


dinner and a movie...and the dog park

- What just happened?! That's all I could think after Bob, Shannon, Adam and I left a late-night showing of Black Swan last night. It was the craziest, most disturbing movie I have seen in a long time. Shannon and I both agreed that it was edge-of-your-seat-fantastic, but I'm not sure the guys would agree. In fact, at one point, Bob turned to me and told me I wasn't allowed to pick any more movies! But I am certain it will sweep up the awards, and rightfully so...Natalie Portman was fantastic!

- Today, we met Adam, Shannon and Beauford, and Nicole and Etta for some fun at the dog park. If you've never taken your dog to the dog park - you should definitely check it out. This was Tanner's first visit and only Grace's second, but both seemed to really enjoy it. Beauford is most definitely the star of the dog park, but Grace managed to make a friend or two.

Etta and Tanner preferred to stay close to their mommas, but both explored a little - Tanner even tried to make a break for it when he squeezed through the chicken wire on the fence to catch up with a Boston Terrier!

- To wrap up this hodgepodge of a post, I made a delicious meal of Beef and Peppers tonight. It's easy and delicious - definitely a prerequisite to be on the meal rotation at the Somerville's!

Here's what you do:

- 1 lb of beef for stew
- 1 green bell pepper and 1 red bell pepper, julienned
- 1 medium onion, julienned
- 16 oz. can of tomato sauce.
- Salt and pepper
- Elbow macaroni (I'm using half elbow and half bow-tie b/c that's what was in my pantry.)

(I skipped the red pepper this time around b/c they were really expensive at the grocery store - it adds great color though.)

Brown the meat, then add the peppers and onions to saute. Salt and pepper to taste. (I usually cut the meat up into smaller pieces as it's cooking.) Add 16 oz. tomato sauce and let cook on low as long as possible. This is one of those dishes that just gets better and better as it simmers. The longer it cooks, the more tender the beef will be. 

Serve over elbow macaroni with a good piece of bread and a little Parmesan. Enjoy!

new beginnings

Yesterday, Bob and I attended the Inaugural Ceremony for Governor Bill Haslam with my co-worker and friend, Nicole. It was exciting, yet sad, to see the new face of the State of Tennessee take office.

We will certainly miss Governor Phil Bredesen and Fist Lady Andrea Conte - there is no denying the great things they've done for the state.

But Governor Haslam and his family are ready to take office and start a new era of Tennessee politics. Here's hoping the next four years are as good as the last four!

Courtesy: The Tennessean

PS - Nicole, of Nicole Gagliano Photography took the better of these photos. She also took the photo in my header and the one of Grace on the side. Check her out - she's fantastic!



Friday, Friday, it's finally here!

Things I can't wait to do this weekend:

- Sleep later than 6:30 a.m.
- Read a book (A friend lent me The Help, and I can't wait to start it!)

- Watch the Inaugural Parade and Ceremony for Governor-elect Bill Haslam.
- Have a nice date with my sweet husband - we're going to one of our favorite Bellevue restaurants, Whitfields, complete with piano bar and my favorite shrimp and grits (I don't actually like shrimp, so it will just be grits for me).

Hopefully, the temperatures will rise above freezing and this snow will melt away. I have a nice, long three-day weekend, and I plan to enjoy it all! What's on tap for your weekend?


best buds...or something like that

We've been doing a lot of playing with toys these days...sometimes two at a time!

Somebody is a little chewer, so anything that's not my fingers, slippers or furniture is fair game.

Sometimes Grace gets into the act.

But Tanner always steals her toys.

And when she gets tired of playing with a baby, she escapes to the top of the stairs.

But Tanner always finds her! (Side note: Tanner LOVES this pink ring he's chewing on. Yes, I know it is pink and Tanner is a boy. But dogs are colorblind, right?)


go-to meal: potato cheese soup

It's been really cold, not to mention snowy and icy, in Nashville lately, so we've been looking for warm, comfort foods for dinner. So, the other night, I whipped up a pot of one of our faves - Potato Cheese Soup.

I've always been a big fan of potato cheese soup but had never found a recipe that lived up to the soups I'd order out. This one is from the Kraft Food and Family magazine and it couldn't be easier. It is definitely one of our favorite go-to dinners, and I almost always have the ingredients on hand.

Here's what you need:

3 c milk
2 c frozen shredded hashbrowns
1 can cream of potato soup
1 can cheddar soup (not in the original recipe but we like it cheesy)
shredded cheese
bacon (I skip the bacon usually)
green onions, chopped

Combine the milk, hashbrowns, and soups in a stockpot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Be sure to stir with a whisk often so the hashbrowns don't cook too much on the bottom - unless you're like my hubby and like the crispy ones!

Meanwhile, I whip up a couple of grilled cheese sandwiches to serve alongside the soup. When the soup is ready, top it with some shredded cheese, bacon and green onions.

YUM! And what could be easier?


snow day!

Well, not really because I still had to go in to work, albeit a little late.

However, I did get to take the pups out for a little snow play before I went in. As you can see, Grace enjoyed being free and running around on our street. She bounced and played in the snow.

I don't think she took her nose out of the ground!

Tanner, on the other hand...

Not a big fan of the snow. He discovered the part of the driveway under Bob's car where the snow didn't pile up and hung out there.

Both pups got to spend the day with Bob while he worked from home. From what I hear, a lot of snoozing took place.

Round two of snow tonight!


matt + laura

This weekend, Bob and I traveled to Huntsville to be a part of two of our closest friends' engagement night. We were so honored to be included in this special time in their lives and had such a good time celebrating with friends.

I've known Matt since a few weeks before we began our freshman years at the University of Alabama (9 1/2 years ago...wow!). I was lucky enough to meet a couple of friends at that first band camp together that Bob and I are still close with. Matt and I have always had a great friendship, almost as if we were brother and sister. I am very lucky to have him as a friend. And even luckier that he and Bob are close friends as well. When I first met Laura, about four years ago, I knew quickly that she was the girl for Matt. I can honestly say that each of them makes the other a better person. We've had a lot of fun together over the past four years.

So, when Matt called just after Christmas and told us he had bought Laura a ring and that he wanted us to be a part of their engagement night, we immediately said, "When and where?" Matt jumped through hoops and arranged for both sets of parents and a group of his and her friends to come to Huntsville to celebrate with them.He really went all out to make this the most perfect night of Laura's life.

We celebrated to the wee hours of the morning and gathered again this morning to recap the evening and talk wedding. It was really wonderful to see old friends again.

 Ben and Matt

 Me with the groom-to-be

 The happy couple...look out cause that ring will blind you!

Spreading the news...

Matt and Laura, we couldn't be happier for you guys! We wish you a lifetime of happiness together and can't wait to continue the celebration. Our calendars are marked for 9.3.11!

And, just for fun...Our sweet friends, who already have three dogs of their own, took in my little monsters for the night and it looks like everyone had a great time!

Grace has been snoozing for the past few hours

Tanner took a two hour nap when he got home, woke up to eat and play a little and is now fast asleep with Bob on the couch.

They're worn out! Thanks again, Scott and Leigh, for taking such good care of our pups!

ETA: Laura has some great pics and shares the story of the proposal over at her blog. Check it out!