We decided around sometime in August/September that we really wanted to take the opportunity of having some time off around Christmas (finally) to travel abroad again, but since we weren’t leaving till Christmas Eve I HAD to still decorate! We normally go to the NC Farmer’s Market and purchase a real tree but since we knew we’d be abroad for around 2 weeks we opted to use an old family faux tree. It was the perfect solution for this year but we look forward to a real tree next year!
I always try to bring in some “real” pieces of Christmas through garland and wreaths that I still purchase at the Farmers Market.
Our house is pretty colorful so I’ve been trying to mesh our decorations to be a little more colorful than a traditional red and green scheme. We also unfortunately don’t have a fireplace so the only place we have for our stockings is the staircase, but it works perfectly I think!
I sure hate when we have to take the decorations down, it’s so magical!!
We hope that you love decorating for Christmas as much as we do!! It’s definitely one of the best times of year. The lights, the decorations and memories are so beautiful! And the Christmas cards!! Remember my earlier post about ordering our Christmas cards from Minted? Well, drum roll please….
I can’t believe it’s already December. I’m really not sure where time goes each year, but one thing is for sure, we love Christmas time. There’s nothing like the warmth the magical lights of Christmas bring, the smells echo memories of Christmas past and everyone is united in the understanding of this time for giving. If you’re lacking in the holiday spirit this year, we wanted to suggest ideas of how to get in the Christmas spirit!
Clearly we have an affinity for France and even more so Paris, so these attacks on Paris come as a complete shock. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved and we are happy to hear most of our friends in France are OK. #peaceforparis
I know I know.. EVERYONE loves fall. I get it. But it is amazing. The trees are on fire and blazing colors that are more amazing than crayola can put in a box. The cool weather just seems to calm everyone’s soul and we are settling in for a season of thankfulness and giving. It’s a pretty fantastic time! Our good ole’ state of North Carolina really capitalizes on fall with a definite changing of the season but also the State Fair, ACC football, fresh apples, and Halloween. So if you haven’t realized just how much I love fall yet, here’s a few photos to prove it.
I’ve seen a lot of to do lists out there and it really made me think about all that I want to accomplish this fall as the weekends are beginning and time will start slipping away quickly! Plus I absolutely adore fall in the South and I am so excited to have the cool air rush in and bring a calm over myself, plus Nick and I will be celebrating 3 years of marriage!
Stay at the Granpy Aut mountain cabin for our 3rd anniversary! (We stayed here for our 1st anniversary!)
Pick out pumpkins and mums from the Farmer’s Market for our front porch
Carve pumpkins with hubby
Cheer on the Wolfpack at the Halloween game versus Clemson football game
Attempt to make Pumpkin Soup (like this recipe from the wonderful Pioneer Woman!)
Watch planes land on a cozy day with hubby at RDU
I think we can make all these happen this fall! But I will have to update y’all on the progress of course. What do you all have on deck for this fall? We can’t wait to hear what everyone has on their fall to do list!
As you might remember, Nick and I participated last year in Raleigh’s Sister Citygolf exchange program and had the amazing opportunity to go to France and play golf and immerse ourselves in the culture of our sister city of Compiegne, France. We loved every second so this year we are returning the favor and hosting a guest of our own! Last year, our dearest Guilhene and Jaq opened their homes to us and helped provide breakfast and dinner for us as well as all transportation from Paris to Compiegne and around town (See part 1 and part 2 here!). This year we will be doing the same for our guest, Eric! We welcome him tomorrow and we are SO excited! (We’ll follow up with a post on our activities after our time with him is over.)
We are so excited, but with hosting a guest for a week, there are some steps to prep your home for your guests arrival, especially in the South. You know, Southern Hospitality..
Do a deep clean – clean the sheets, vacuum, clean the bathrooms, stock up on groceries and snacks and also toilet paper, paper towels etc. Do this a couple days ahead so that you won’t be rushing at the last minute.
Make it feel like home – Although guest can obviously use the whole house, sometimes their room may be more of a retreat. Provide some fun reading material, books, magazines, etc. Little touches like bottles of water or snacks are always a good idea. We have some local candy we purchased to provide for our guest and magazines about the area.
Fresh flowers – When you can it’s always nice to have fresh flowers in the guest room but also around the house. It’s an extra touch that goes a long way.
Bathroom essentials – I like to have a stack of fresh towels and wash cloths for our guests to use. They’re in a tray and I place it on the bed upon arrival. I also make sure there are toiletries in the shower (soap, shampoo, conditioner) but I also make sure underneath the cabinet may have things our guest needs and I don’t want them to feel weird looking! I have neatly arranged extra items, more soap, lotions, toothbrushes, combs. We also have a small jar that I placed a razor, shaving cream, mouth wash and tooth brush and tooth paste for Eric.
Wifi – In this day and age, it’s nice to have your Wifi information at the ready for your guests to use, think about framing the information next to the bed for easy access.
Food – Provide extra bottles of water, fruit and healthy snacks that any one would be interested in eating after a long day of travel or in our instance, playing golf!
Prep on your foreign language – If possible, it’s always wonderful to prepare yourself with helpful phrases in case your guest is not as fluent in English – and if nothing else, just to be respectful.
Personal gifts – For our guest, we want to make him feel like home, so we’re helping provide a golf glove, golf balls and a shirt for him to remember his time and to not stress about flying with so much!
Have fun – More importantly, enjoy experience and don’t sweat the small stuff too much! It’ll all work out in the end and you’ll have a great time!
Do you have any tips and tricks?! We’d love to hear them!
Nick’s birthday approaches close to the busy season for all of us. Work, football, work… So he was not big on doing anything much for his birthday. I knew that our weekends for the next two months are going to be hectic so I really just wanted to get away together and enjoy some one on one time. Plus it’s always more relaxing when you’re away from your home and not dealing with household duties.
Since we live in Raleigh, we are conveniently located to a beautiful five star hotel, the Umstead Hotel & Spa. While we love the spa, staying and going to the hotel are definitely a big splurge, so we settled on spending the night and relaxing by the pool! Oh! And we were able to have brunch too!
Always wonderful to have extra special touches for the celebrated occasions! Happy birthday Nick! After our brunch we checked into our room and headed to the pool but first we were greeted with a lovely snack from the Umstead. Love the personal touches!
We did not luck out on the weather but we were able to relax and order room service for dinner and eat in bed. Something we don’t do in our own house, so we were glad to snuggle and enjoy dinner in our room and just spend precious time together. It was a perfect little weekend away, even if it was just for one night!
Thanks Umstead Resort and Spa! We will be sure to return and next time I’m sure we’ll have to add on a spa treatment because we LOVE their spa!
We love pasta around these parts. There’s nothing more satisfying than an excellent pasta, and that is sometimes hard to accomplish! One of our newest interests in super quick and easy week night meals is Pasta Carbonara. Grab some bacon or pancetta, some noodles, eggs, and a little parmesan and you’re good to go. You probably already have all these ingredients at home and that’s what makes this recipe a go-to!
Mmmm pancetta: get.in.my.belly! And VIOLA! Pasta carbonara! Just like that! Well, below are the steps but it is really easy, I promise!
1 tablespoon olive oil
6oz pancetta (or just pour the whole package…)
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1lb spaghetti (or any other favorite noodle really!)
3 large eggs
1/4 cup pecorino romano cheese
3/4 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese
Ground black pepper to taste
Feel free to top with parsley too!
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it starts to sizzle. Add the pancetta and cook until it is crisp by stirring often. Take the pan off the heat until ready for the next step.
Meanwhile, bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and then add salt. Add in the noodles and cool until al dente. Drain and then reserve at least 3/4 cup of pasta water.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and the cheeses as well as the pepper to taste.
Working quickly after the pasta is done, pour pasta into a large mixing bowl and combine with the pancetta (lightly drained from grease) and the egg mixture. Add enough of the pasta water to make it creamy. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and feel free to garnish with parsley and extra parmigianno!
Today is a special day in the Dillman household! It’s Nick’s birthday! Although he prefers not to make it a big deal, I always love to celebrate a birthday! Either way, it’s important for him to know just how important he is to me and that every year I’m always grateful to know that I get to spend one more year with him as my best friend, travel partner, and husband. Our life so far has been an amazing journey, as we’ve been together since I was 21, so every milestone we check off together is truly amazing. I love you Nick and I’m so glad we get to do birthdays together forever!
Amanda’s brother, Tyler, recently married his long time girlfriend in a very intimate ceremony in Wilmington, NC. It was a beautiful day although the rain kept creeping on and off all day. We had beautiful flowers and wonderful homemade crepes to celebrate! It was a sweet day and we’re so happy for Tyler & Erica! Amanda also acted as photographer for the day. It’s not professional quality but she enjoyed it none the less! We wish them all the best and are so happy we were able to be there to celebrate at this beautiful home of their friends!
Congratulations again to Tyler & Erica! We’re so excited for what the future holds for you two!