Our 2014 Christmas Recap

This Christmas was extra special and we were so grateful that we were able to spend time with both of our families. 

We began the Christmas celebrations on Monday evening when we headed to Pinehurst, NC to enjoy time with my family for a few days. My Sister and her fiancĂ© flew in from New York City that evening as well - I was one happy lady when I was able to wrap my arms around her for the first time in a few months. 

Cheers to my beautiful sister!

We always host a cocktail party the week of Christmas which is something that I look forward to every year. It is such a joy to see everyone and chat about all that has happened during the year!  

Christmas Cocktail Party 
On Christmas Eve morning, we packed up and loaded the dogs in the car to head to Morehead City, NC to enjoy time with Thomas' family. The horrible, rainy weather made for an interesting (and long) drive but we made it in time for an evening filled with family, delicious food and cocktails!  

Christmas Eve Cheer
There is nothing better than fresh, steamed oysters!
You would have thought that I was 5 years old again because I barely slept on Christmas Eve. I was so, so, so excited about our first Christmas morning together! Over the past 4 years, we have spent Christmas Day with our families and would travel to see each other the day after Christmas.  

Loving our Christmas PJs
The week flew by but I enjoyed soaking up every minute of the time that we spent together - we laughed, we told stories, we ate way too much, we shared our traditions, and hugged our loved ones as much as we could before we said goodbye.

We hope your Christmas sparkled with moments of love and laughter, and may the year ahead be full of joy and happiness!    

Holiday Treats

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! I can't believe it is already over, I feel like I was just decorating our home for the Holidays and now it's time to take it all down. 

Around the Holidays, I find myself always in the kitchen preparing (or helping prepare) the next meal. This Christmas was no exception! A few of my favorites from the past few days:

Bourbon Mini Hot Dogs:

1 package of Mini/Cocktail Hot Dogs 
1/2 cup of Ketchup
1/2 cup of Brown Sugar
1/2 cup of Bourbon Whiskey

In a large pot, combine the package of Hot Dogs, Ketchup, Brown Sugar and Bourbon. Stir and let simmer on low heat for 6 hours. Serve in a small bowl with toothpicks.    

Taco Soup:
A sweet friend of mine cooked dinner for us a few months ago and this soup was the main course. Since then we have had it many times including the day after Christmas - It was perfect for the cold, rainy day!

1 lb of ground beef
1 can of Pinto Beans
1 can of Black Beans
1 can of Whole Kernel Corn
1 can of Rotel Diced Tomatoes
1 Tomato, diced
1 Yellow Onion, diced
1 bunch of Scallion Onions, diced
1 packet of Taco Seasoning
1 packet of Dry Ranch Dressing Mix 
1 cup of Water

1. Begin by browning the beef on medium to high heat.
2. While cooking the beef, combine the can of Pinto Beans, the can of Black Beans, the can of Whole Kernel Corn, and the can of Rotel Diced Tomatoes into the crockpot. Do not drain any of the juices.
3. Finely Chop the yellow Onion and Tomato then add it to the crockpot.
4. Once the beef is fully cooked, drain the fat from the beef and add it to the crockpot. 
5. Add the packet of Taco Seasoning, the packet of Ranch Dressing Mix and 1 cup of water to the crockpot. Mix everything together and cook on Medium Heat for 2-3 hours.   
5. When you are ready to serve, add sour cream, grated sharp cheddar cheese and scallion onions on top and ENJOY! 

My Mom's Famous Dill Dip:
This is a must-have on any menu when we are having Guests over at my Mom's house. Everyone always raves about it!

1 cup of Mayonnaise
1 cup of Sour Cream
1 minced Garlic Glove
1.5 tablespoons of Dill Weed
1 tablespoon of minced Parsley
1 tablespoon of Nature's Seasoning 

Mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Cover and place it in the refrigerator for approximately 2 hours before serving. Serve with crackers and/or sliced vegetables (carrots, cucumbers and celery are a few of my favorite veggies to serve with the dip).

Cream Cheese Coffee Cake:
My Sister-In-Law (Miss Dixie) made this Coffee Cake on Christmas morning and it was so yummy! I hope you enjoy it as much as our family did.  

2 packages of Crescent Rolls
2 8-ounce packages of Cream Cheese
1 cup of Sugar
1 Egg White
1 Egg 
1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

1/2 cup of Powdered Sugar
2 tablespoons of Milk
1/2 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

1. Pre-Heat Oven to 350 degrees. 
2. While the oven is pre-heating, spread one tube of Crescent Rolls in a greased 9 x 13 pan. Make sure to pinch the openings together.
3. In a large bowl, mix and beat the Cream Cheese, Sugar, Vanilla and Egg together until smooth.
4. Spread this mixture over the Crescent Rolls evenly then lay the second tube of Crescent Rolls on top of the Cheese Mixture and brush with the Egg White
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let it cool for approximately 20 minutes and then spread the glaze over the top.  
6. While it is baking, mix the Powdered Sugar, Milk and Vanilla Extract together to create the glaze.

This sums it up perfectly! :)

Christmas Eve Cheer

Merry Christmas Eve to everyone! We have been soaking in every moment as we celebrate our first Christmas as Mr. and Mrs. Chalk!

Enjoying time with our families, catching up with dear friends and beginning our own traditions while also incorporating many of the ones that we have grown up loving. My heart is full and I am feeling so thankful for this amazing year!

I hope everyone has a Christmas filled with family & friends who bring you lots of joy and laughter!

Living Room Inspiration

As I sit here with my Cup of Joe on a rainy, cold day trying to wrap up everything at work before the Holidays...I can't help but get excited for one of the many projects that we will be tackling in the start of the new year!

After our wedding in September (details to come soon, I promise!), Thomas and I were able to call a very special place, Home. Our Home was built by Thomas' family many generations ago and over the years a variety of family members have lived here. When we moved in, you could tell that it needed a little TLC - the walls needed a fresh coat of paint, a few appliances would have to be updated, a little landscaping around the house would be in order, and some rooms would get a complete makeover.

In just four months, many items have already been crossed off our list thanks to my handy-man Husband and Mother-In-Law. But one of the projects that I can't wait to begin will be updating our Living Room. I want this room to be warm and welcoming with a light, soothing feel.

My inspiration in a few pictures (you can follow me on Pinterest)

Amanda Carol Interiors
The Enchanted Home
Home Bunch

Stay tuned as we begin our 2015 Home Updates & Renovations!

Stocking Stuffer Ideas

I love finding the perfect items to fill our stockings with each year! I have noticed that more and more stores are putting together a section of Stocking Stuffer ideas that vary in price range, I am lovin' it!

If you still need ideas, here are a few of my favorites:

1. Sur La Table: Copper Measuring Spoons
3. Sur La Table: Wood Slice Coasters
5. Williams-Sonoma: Braising Base Set

I can't believe that Christmas Day will be here in 5 (short) days!! What are some of your Stocking Stuffer must-haves this year?

A few of my FAVORITE things!

I have found myself counting the minutes until I get to wrap my arms around my families and friends over the Holidays. There are so many things that I love about the Holidays but a few of my all-time favorites...

I love, love, love receiving Christmas Cards from friends and family near-and-far. 
It brings me so much joy to see our refrigerator fill up with all the
smiling faces of those that we love & adore.
Just a few of our Christmas Cards

There is nothing better than walking in the door and immediately
smelling our fresh cut Christmas tree or enjoying our Thymes Frasier Fir candle. 
I may or may not be mildly obsessed with Thymes candles.   

Who doesn't love a good Holiday Party?! I always look forward to 
going on the search to find the perfect dress that has the right amount of 
glitz and glam. Not to mention, I love when my hubby gets dressed up too!
How handsome is he?!
A signature cocktail is a must at any event during the Holidays. 
1. Merry Berry Christmas, Sugar is refreshing and yummy
+ It's great as a Mocktail too.
2. It is amazing how a few cranberries can dress up a glass of Champagne.
3. My husband loves Eggnog. Capital Eggnog is simple & amazingly good.
Merry Berry Christmas, Sugar! 
Champagne & Cranberries
Captal Eggnog

I can't wait to hug each of them,
remind them how much I love & miss them every day
and have the time to kick up our feet and catch up on life. XOXO

Weekend Finds

11 days until Christmas?! Is anyone else freaking out a little bit...where did the month of November go and most importantly how are we half way through December already?

I have been busy crossing off my lengthy to-do list this weekend and had to share a few of my favorite finds over the past few days. Happy Shopping!

Loving the Double-Zip Shift Dress from J.Crew.
Wishing I could have 1 of every color of the J.Crew Cap-Sleeve Shirttail Blouse.

Sole Society Addison Suede Bootie, yes please!
Twos Company Gold Leaf Frames are my absolute favorite.

I hope everyone had a wonderful, relaxing weekend!

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Cheers to 27!

Cheers to the beginning of year 27! Even though the past year is going to be tough to beat, I am excited to see what is in store for the year ahead. 

This week has been full of birthday celebrations and I have to thank my husband, family and friends because you made this little lady feel incredibly special not only for a day but rather an entire week! 

We kicked off the birthday celebrations on Saturday evening in downtown Raleigh with some of the greatest friends. There is truly nothing better than catching up with your girlfriends and laughing until your stomach hurts. 

If you are looking for a place to eat while you are in Raleigh, this is my go-to guide for some of the best-of-the best restaurants in the area. I promise you won't go home disappointed!

On Monday, the birthday celebrations continued with Thomas and my Mom. I have been dying to try the new restaurants that have recently opened in Cameron Village so we headed over to Faire Restaurant. The "land and sea" menu that had a southern flare and their creative cocktails were the perfect mix!

And to make the week complete, we had a fun double date with a dear friend, Kayla, and her boyfriend. I just love this sweet, sweet couple and always look forward to evening with them!

It was such a fun week! Thank you again to everyone that made it special. 27 is going to be a fabulous year, I just know it!

Hello World!

It's been a long time coming but I am finally joining the blogging world and I couldn't be more excited! If you were to ask my husband, my sister or any of my dearest friends about how long I have talked about starting a blog, you would quickly receive the same answer..."years!"

I hope to share with each of you the adventures that are on the horizon with my handsome husband, the many moments spent with family and friends that fill my heart with such happiness, and the joy that comes with living in the South.  

A quick glimpse into my little family -
Thomas - my fabulous husband 
Tenley and Bo - our sweet, fur babies