Friday, October 29, 2010

Weeks 3 & 4

Last week was the 3rd week of Octoberstache & this was the 4th week. Check out the ‘stache’s progress! October is just about over, so smooth cheeks will be back soon. In fact, I'm pretty sure that I will miss the 'stache.
xoxo Darby

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Spiritual Gifts & My Ministry

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms” 1 Peter 4:10

My sister, Kellyn, & I grew up throwing events with my mom ALL THE TIME. We hosted so many events that we really had the planning down to a simple science. From the food to the decorations, we knew exactly what to do. Planning & hosting events is something that we still love doing, because we have come to understand that it is a gift that God has given us. We enjoy paying attention to the details so that whoever the event is for can be showered with love. We consider events to be about relationships with people & offering a warm, hospitable environment. Kellyn & I have continued to plan events throughout our lives. When I moved to Houston, Kellyn took my position planning events & once she graduated she started in a position where she plans, organizes, & hosts events all over the east coast. Once Phil & I are back in the same state as Kellyn, we hope to continue our event planning together.

Pastor Greg, our pastor who Phil & I like to call PG, says that a person is most happy when they are in line with God’s plan; they have the same desires as God, & are using their spiritual gifts to bring Him glory. I absolutely agree with this & I am truly happy when I am using my gifts to glorify God by showering & serving others with love through planning & hosting. It’s more than a passion of mine, but also a gift that has become a ministry I love serving in.

So with that said, here was the last event where I got to serve the Lord using my spiritual gifts of planning/hosting. I went with an elegant & antique shabby-chic tea party for a baby shower honoring Gina.
This was a tea party set up by the front door as guests arrived. The tea cups were filled with purple flowers.

Amy made this gorgeous French memo board for guests to write down words of encouragement for the new mommy.

I alternated teapots filled with flowers & votives with purple ribbons down the breakfast bar.

I decorated a special chair for the mommy-to-be to sit in as she opened presents.

The food was delicious; ladies you really outdid yourselves! We had purple punch, bagels, chicken salad tea sandwiches, fruit salad, mini quiches, & a delicious cake!

Here is a close-up of the gorgeous cake; yummy!

These 2 pictures give you a better view of the decorations on the left & right sides of the table. Recognize the white candelabra?

The favors were delicious onesie-shaped cookies (Haylee, these were awesome). Morgan made the beautiful diaper cake, as well as a diaper wreath for the front gate.

Congratulations Gina! We can’t wait to meet Baby Girl Cantrell!
xoxo Darby

Monday, October 18, 2010


The night before every game I sleep in my SSS, “Steelers Sleepy Socks.” Here is a self-portrait of me prepping for yesterday’s game against the Browns…who we DOMINATED! Welcome back Big Ben! By the way, this post is for you Ms. Norton…..just want to prove to you that I’m really not “grown-up” at all :-)
xoxo Darby

The Newest Grub

Last week was a little crazy with my dad flying out mid-week so I didn’t get very many new recipes cooked, but here are some from the previous week. All of these new recipes were from the latest cookbook for my Cookbook Club. Notice how many of these meals contained spinach!

Whole-Wheat Pasta Salad with Walnuts & Feta Cheese and Toasted Pita & Herb Salad- Phil & I both loved this pasta salad; the ingredients mingled together so well! I used wheat penne pasta & EVOO for the dressing. Because this pasta salad isn’t creamy, it would probably be perfect for a picnic, BBQ, or any other hot outside event. For the herb salad, I used spinach instead of romaine, doubled the scallions, & omitted the mint. L.O.V.E. Wrap Sandwich and Tomato & Red Onion Salad- I loved this fresh & filling meal. For the L.O.V.E. sandwich I used left-over whole-wheat pitas from the Toasted Pita & Herb Salad, omitted the red pepper, & substituted spinach for the romaine lettuce. I think I probably cut my red onion slices a little too thick, so next time I will most likely chop them. The Tomato & Red Onion Salad was great, but would have been even better if it was a complete caprese salad with some mozzarella (but I guess that would have added a lot more calories). I think using fresh basil really made this salad awesome. Balsamic Chicken with Baby Spinach & Couscous- For the couscous I used a tri-color mix which had hints of spinach (yes, more spinach) & paprika. I added the entire can of tomatoes & about 10 oz of spinach. We really liked the Mediterranean flare of this dish. Pumpkin Pie Muffins- These muffins didn’t taste like they were low-fat at all; they were pretty good with my morning coffee. These were not my favorite pumpkins though, so I will probably stick with my own recipe on this one.For those of you who are just as obsessed with cooking as I am, & for those of you that fell in love with the PW, I just wanted to share this with you. I read the article about Christy Jordan in Southern Living a couple weeks ago & have been all over her website, Jordan’s style is a lot like PW in her southern cooking and blogging. Her book went on sale 10/6 & she will be in Houston for a book tour on 10/25. You can preview the book or check out the recipes from her website. Here is a link that has a quick video introduction to Jordan at the bottom, as well as a way to purchase the book. If you loved the PW, I have a feeling you’re going to want this cookbook too. I pre-ordered my copy & I can’t wait to try out this cookbook! And of course, I will be sure to let you know way more than you ever wanted to know about it :-)
xoxo Darby

Friday, October 15, 2010

What Are We Expecting?

Ha! Did I grab your attention with that title?! It’s all that psychological marketing background I have, but just to clarify, no we’re NOT pregnant. A lot of our friends have recently transitioned into parenthood & have monitored the transition with really cute growing belly pictures. Since we aren’t there yet, we monitor different things, like mustaches! Yes, you read that correctly. Mustaches.

This month is the 3rd Annual Octoberstache that Phil participates in. Some wives don’t like their husbands to grow facial hair, let alone a full-on mustache; however, I think it’s hilarious. I will laugh for the entire month of October. If previous years have been any indication, I don’t think we will be able to have any serious conversations this month because I won’t be able to keep a straight face. Imagine if you will, walking into a public place, let’s say a restaurant, with Phil (who is already unusually tall) and 4 to 5 of his guy friends all sporting dirty mustaches (“dirty” as in nasty-looking, not unclean)…and then there is me, super short but sans mustache...what would your facial expression be if you were the hostess at said restaurant? Needless to say, we will get some looks for sure!

I have taken a picture of the growing ‘stache every Friday this month. Here is the monitored progress:
After the first week in October. After the second week in October. You can be expecting some awesome ‘stache pictures as we near the end of this month! hehe
xoxo Darby

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

White Candelabra

I am co-hosting a baby shower for a woman in our smallgroup & I’m going with an antique shabby chic theme with lilacs, grays, & white for the decorations. For one of the centerpieces, I was looking for a white candelabra with hanging crystals. I feel like I have seen a ba-zillion of these in the past, but when I actually needed one they were nowhere to be found. It’s probably because white candelabras are more “springy,” & it being fall, I understand why they aren’t packed on the shelves at every store. BUT, I still wanted one for a centerpiece. I found a black candelabra with black jewels at Michael’s in the Martha Stewart Halloween section & decided that since the price was right, I was going to have to get creative. I mean really, a black candelabra at a shower for a baby girl does seem a bit morbid even if it is close to Halloween.
Here is the candelabra before I started “crafting.” It really isn’t bad looking for a black candelabra. I would have kept it black if I were having a Halloween party this year. Here is after the first few coats of white paint. (Yes Mom, I’m painting on the carpet, hehehe). Ta-da!!! The finished product! Notice the new crystals; I’m most excited about them. They took for-ev-er, but I’m so glad that I took the extra effort for them. Thanks Phil & dad for helping with this project! You're so good to me!
xoxo Darby

Festive Advancements

Check out these great pillows I got at Pier 1 yesterday, ON SALE! Festive, right?! I wouldn’t consider myself a pillow person, but these caught my eye. I thought the orange pillows looked like a pile of leaves that I could sleep on. Right now (and in the picture below) I have the brown pillows with the back facing forward, but if I turn them around, the front has white crossed ric rac. I was thinking that the brown pillows were pretty versatile & could be up year-round. What do you think?At Peir 1 I also got these napkin rings. I love shiny things, but affordable shiny things are even better. I put them over-top of my acorn & leaf napkin rings so you can still see them through the gems. Last week, for the first time ever, I made caramel apples. I love green apples dipped in caramel, but haven’t had one since 6th grade in Disney World (I remember the exact location & everything).
Here was my first not-so-messy attempt; I rolled the apples in crushed Heath bars. My dad took this picture of me enjoying my caramel apple. Talk about some "crazy eyes"!
xoxo Darby

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Easiest Craft Project in the History of Craft Projects

I mentioned in the last post that I was going to post something about my fall “wreaths.” YOU could make this festive door decoration no matter how crafty you are (or aren’t, in my case). Last year for Christmas I thought I would try my hand at making my own wreathes. I saw a simple one in the background of an advertisement in my Martha Stewart magazine, & it looked easy enough for someone with minimal crafting skills to do. I think it turned out pretty good for my first try, so I thought that I would try again this year for autumn. I looked on the internet & found something that looked beyond easy & something that I could totally replicate. This isn’t a wreath, but it is still something that can hang on the door, which was the point anyway. Besides, this “wreath” only requires 8 dots of glue & a thumb tack. And if you want to get really snazzy, you could get scented pine cones! oooooooo! ahhhhhhh! I purchased 2 spoils of ribbon from Hobby Lobby for $2.99 (each) and 1 bag of scented pine cones from Michael's for $2.99. Since I already had glue & thumb tacks, this was soooo affordable! Doesn't this look great hanging on our back porch?! Anyone can do this! It really IS the easiest craft project in the history of craft projects!
xoxo Darby

Monday, October 4, 2010

Officially Ready for Fall :-)

Last week was the first “cooler” week since March! The weather was just in time for October too! Check out the forecast for this week; we actually have a week without the highs in the upper 90’s! Phil & I love to walk around our neighborhood but it has just been too unbearable to do for several months because of the heat; but not this past Saturday. We took our cappuccinos on a walk & went to St. Luke’s pumpkin patch. When I was in youth group as a teenager, my sister & I sold pumpkins at church to raise money for missions. Phil & I thought it was important for us to get our pumpkins from a church pumpkin patch, & I loved it when I found out that it was their youth group fundraiser for missions.

Since we picked our pumpkins, the weather is cooling off, & MY DAD COMES TO HOUSTON THIS WEEKEND (WAHOOOO!), I decorated for fall last week! Yay!
The coffee table
The breakfast buffet with my "shrine" to fall with lots of fall scents. I put pumpkins & pine cones at the bottom of the hurricanes.
The dining room & place settings. If you look closely at the centerpeice you can see my little spider and rat. That's about as festive as I get for Halloween.
My "wreaths" (more to come on these later).
The left side of the mantle in the living room. This is one of our pumpkins, my "scary" crow (which is actually glittery, so not really scary at all), another rat, and a spider on top of the acorn-filled apothecary jar.The right side of the mantle in the living room. This has pumpkin and pine cone filled apothercary jars, dried wheat, an owl, and some large acorns and pumpkins, and of course more "fall shrine candles." The view of the mantle from the foyer
And of course you can’t have fall without a big bowl of chili with some cornbread!
Phil & I ready for the Steelers game!

Welcome autumn!
xoxo Darby
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