Monday, February 29, 2016

Weekending: Life with a Newborn

Well hello there, friends! If you are reading this it means I have successfully managed to type my first blog post since Aida's birth. Bonus points to me if I can even get those added to the linkup with Biana and Meghan on Monday!

To say that the past few weeks have been bananas would be an understatement. It has been surreal, challenging, exciting, and rewarding all at once. I never knew my heart could be so full--I am so in love with this little girl, and even more in love with Matt.

newborn
Do those giant hands even belong to me?! The swelling is no joke!
I hope to share more soon, like a full post on her birth story, and details on all the ups and downs of the past few weeks. But for now, since this is a weekending post, I will fill you in on what a weekend is like with a newborn!

I was really looking forward to the weekend. This past week was the first where I was by myself during the day, and it was tough. I think (I hope) I'm starting to get the hang of things, but I was pretty happy once the weekend arrived and I could manage to shower again.

On Saturday, we had a few visitors--some family and one of Matt's friends. That afternoon, Aida took a really nice, long nap so I took advantage of that time to catch up on emails and get started on this blog post!

The next day, Matt went out and picked up Duck Donuts, my absolute favorite, and then spent a few hours alone with Aida so I could get out of the house. I went to my favorite brunch spot, Ford's Fish Shack, and had a dozen oysters and a mimosa. It was glorious.

mimosa

Like I said, last week was tough, so I'm hoping this week will be a bit smoother.

All Love,




Thursday, February 25, 2016

TV Shows for Mindless Binge Watching

I'm happy to welcome Emily to the blog today! She is actually a friend of ours who recently moved to Nashville. She's also expecting a baby girl in a few months, so it's been great to compare notes as we go through this together!

Hello Thoroughly Modern readers! I'm Emily and I blog at Love, Pasta and a Tool Belt! I'm so excited to be here today while Kate takes some well deserved time off to welcome her sweet baby girl! My husband and I are also expecting a baby girl in May. It will be our first child as well so while I don't claim to be any kind of expert on those first few weeks with a newborn I do know that it involves a great lack of sleep, a lot of down time spent feeding the baby and probably the need for a few good laughs. Which leads me to this post, TV Shows for Mindless Binge Watching!

 

Today I wanted to share with you my list of TV Shows for Mindless Binge Watching. You know what I mean right, the shows you can just keep on watching but you don't need to focus. So we're not talking any Pretty Little Liars or Lost here but shows you can simply enjoy. These shows will be perfect for those first few weeks with a newborn when you might just need some shows to mindlessly binge watch.
  1. Baby Daddy- This is a favorite comedy of mine. I often flip it on when I'm working and need a good laugh but don't really want to have to pay attention. It's cute and funny and an easy watch.
  2. New Girl- We've just started catching up on New Girl again and it's pretty hilarious. It's the perfect comedy to just sit back and enjoy!
  3. Hart of Dixie- While this show is a drama it's also funny and cute. It doesn't require your full attention to follow the plot so it makes it a great drama to mindlessly binge watch.
  4. Any HGTV Show- Am I the only one who can sit there forever watching HGTV shows and not even notice how the time flies? I love to have HGTV on while I work because it inspires me but yet I can easily not pay attention so I love that at the end they're always showing the before and afters I may have missed! They have a couple seasons of their shows on Netflix so it's perfect!
  5. Melissa and Joey- Another favorite of mine that I was sad to see end. I still enjoy the seasons on Netflix, it's funny and easy to watch!
So these are five shows that make great mindless binge watching. Perfect for if you're sick or making your way through those first few sleep deprived weeks with a newborn. I'd love to hear what shows you like to mindlessly binge watch? I'll need some new ones for my list when our baby girl arrives! I'd love for you to hop over to Love, Past and a Tool Belt and visit me! Or you can visit me on Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram |

Check out a few of my favorite posts!
Tv is back and here are 5 Winter TV Premieres to See- Love, Pasta and a Tool Belt #ad | tv shows | premieres | television | favorite shows |
10 Tools Every Scrapbooker Needs- Love, Pasta and a Tool Belt | scrapbooking | scrapbooker | crafts | crafting | paper crafts |
Tips for Choosing Wedding Flowers- Love, Pasta and a Tool Belt
 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Curing Your Winter Blues

Right around this time of the year is when I hit my breaking point. We've made it so far through winter, yet it still feels like no end in sight. Luckily, Kate has some great tips today for curing those winter blues! Granted, she lives in Florida but was raised in Connecticut, so she knows a thing or two about this rough time of year!

Good Morning Thoroughly Modern readers, my name is Kate and you can find me over at Green Fashionista where I blog about fashion and beauty reviews, weekend shenanigans, and my all time favorite hobby - traveling. I couldn't be more excited for Kate to welcome her baby girl, and am excited to take over her space while she gets used to being a new momma.

curing winter blues

Since we're right smack dab in the middle of winter which happens to be most of our least favorite season,  I wanted to share some of my favorite cures for those winter blues. I love to live life to it's fullest whether it be experiencing fun new things in my own city or traveling to new destination.

1. Host a girls night in, and have everyone bring their favorite bottle of wine or champagne. Put out some snacks, and catch up over a chick flick or game night.

girls night

2. Movie night in front of the fire place. Don't have a fire place? Light a bunch of yummy scented candles.

3. Book a last minute get-away for some sun and sand! Even if it's just for the weekend, getting some good ol' fashioned Vitamin D will feel amazing and be the perfect anecdote to those winter blues. But always remember to practice safe sun!

costa rica

4. Exercise! No matter what horrible mood I may be in or as stressed as I may be, a good workout always makes me feel so much better.

5. Make an indulgent home-cooked breakfast/brunch on the weekend with all the fixings. Aside from sleeping in after a long week, look forward to some french toast or pancakes with turkey sausage or bacon and fresh fruit with fresh coffee and/or mimosas because champs.

cold brew coffee

6. Take a bubble bath. Time to put those bath bombs and spa candles to good use!

7. Get a massage, check out your local groupons to score a good deal.

8. If you live in a warmer weather climate (and even if you don't), embrace the fun aspects of winter and book a ski trip. Rent out a cabin or a ski in/ski out condo and enjoy the days out on the slopes and evenings in the hot tub or around the fire with some hot cocoa.

winter forest

How do you like to beat the winter blues?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

3 Traits of a Power Couple

Chelsea blogs over at the New Wifestyle and is one of my absolute favorite bloggers! She covers some tough topics at times but always put things eloquently and without judgement of others. She and her husband just set a record for being the youngest couple to speak on all 7 continents! Now, I'll stop bragging and let you read her post.

one of the first things that caught my eye about kate's blog was the subheading of "life as a power couple!" i knew i would immediately like what this woman was about and i was right! it got me thinking more about what it means to be a power-couple and how that ties into my own blog at "the new wifestyle!" while kate is spending quality time nurturing and loving their newest addition, i thought it would be fun to chat about what makes a power couple!

  ra-7259

to get started, what is 'power?' well according to a fast-fingered google search it has two main definitions:
  1. the ability to do something or act in a particular way, especially as a faculty or quality.
  2. the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events.
so first i think in order to be a "power couple," you have the capacity and ability to influence something or others in your life! that may in a business sense, a positive influence for your friends or maybe you are taking over the world together. whatever it is - high fives and (appropriate) booty slaps for going after it! after making a list of the traits and qualities that exist when i think of "power couples," i narrowed it down to three main areas: 1.) support each other's endeavors in order to be part of a power couple, you need to be a pretty awesome individual on your own. i mean, beyonce is a strong woman on her own - way before she ever fell crazy in love with jay-z! i don't think a power couple has to do every single thing together so what makes the ultimate power couple is that they support what their partner is doing in addition to what they do together! point being, beyonce is at jay-z's shows and jay-z is at beyonce's shows even if they aren't performing together! 2.) utilizes one another's strengths power couples are aware of their strengths and weaknesses and play to the strengths. i shall use my husband and i as an example. he is a visionary and can come up with amazing ideas but isn't always great at figuring how to get from point a to b/c/d/etc. i, on the other hand, have high attention to detail and am great at putting a plan into action but my brain has a hard time seeing the bigger picture so i can get lost in the weeds. together, we know this about one another and play to our strengths.

  IMG_6812 purple flower

3.) goal setting and prioritizing together i think the final piece of what makes a power couple so powerful is that they come together at some point to do bigger things! take for example the bill & melinda gates foundation! it's a "grant-making foundation that supports initiatives in education, world health and population, and community giving in the pacific northwest." it seems like melinda is spearheading this more nowadays but they two of them came together and decided to make a massive impact on the world's greatest needs! they built this foundation together. sit down with your boo-thang and discuss what shared passions you have for enhancing or fixing in this world. bring your strengths to the table, take action and be that power couple! my husband and i did this with our map to dreaming big idea and spoke on all 7 continents last year - including antarctica!

  Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 10.16.43 AM

with that being said, what do you think makes up a "power couple" and how are you rocking it in your own relationship?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Nicholas Sparks Formula

"Even Nicholas Sparks is getting bored of Nicholas Sparks." 

Look, ladies--I know some of you love you some Nicholas Sparks' movies, and I get it. We all need a little mindless, feel good movie in our lives sometimes. Personally, I think the movies make great background noise when I'm doing something productive, like blogging or playing candy crush. 

Can we all agree that he peaked with the Notebook, and has since churned out formula book/movie after formula book/movie? I would feel a little embarrassed if I continually put out work that was so predictable and cheesy, but I guess he is laughing at us all in his giant mansion, and I also have a sneaking suspicion he gets kickbacks from the tourism boards of the Carolinas. 

Enough rant--let's take a look at this formula, shall we?

via
1. Start with one female and one male character--excuse me, one stunningly attractive female and one stunningly attractive male. 

2. Said characters both have complicated pasts, such that you would never imagine them together. She's divorced! She runs her own business! She doesn't have time for romance! He's a rugged loner who struggles with commitment but is hopelessly devoted to some sort of animal (dog, horse, dolphin--whatever, you get the idea). 

3. An unexpected (but totally expected) turn of events forces them together. These events are usually catastrophic in nature: hurricane, fire, car crash, war, zombie plague, etc. 

4. Don't forget about the charming, coastal setting! This is absolutely crucial to the formula, and it will make you just a little bit resentful that you don't live in such an idyllic town on the water (insert promotion for beach town in North Carolina here). 

5. Somebody dies. Without a doubt, you can always expect a death. Usually it's someone you really didn't want to die, like Greg Kinnear. 

6. The unexpected (but totally expected) death teaches our two, stunningly beautiful main characters that life is short, they should open themselves to love, blah blah blah...The End! 

(I also suspect that Nicholas Sparks is in cahoots with Kleenex, because you'll always end up crying...even during Nights in Rhodanthe, I cried because I was laughing so hard at how incredibly cheesy the script was at times.)

7. Throw in a soundtrack that includes a hit song from the pop-star-of-the-moment (i.e., Mandy Moore, Miley Cyrus, etc), and you've just made yourself a million dollars! Congratulations! 

So that's all there is to it! Do you think if we started making our own movies and books like this, would Nicholas Sparks notice? I mean can you even copyright something like this? Because I do believe we are sitting on a gold mine here. 

Am I missing anything in this formula? Whose ready to start a production company with me?

p.s. Don't forget to enter the Home Goods and Etsy giveaway! Contest ends on February 22nd.

All Love,

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Creating a Reading Nook

Today I'm happy to welcome Brittany from the Lady Lawyer. I love this idea she came up with--creating your own reading nook! Reading has been one of my favorite things to do since I was a little girl, I can't believe I haven't already created such a space for myself!

I'm so happy to be posting on Thoroughly Modern today! I'm talking about one of my favorite things---reading. I've always been a nerd with my face planted in a book. But my love for reading has grown even more since I began working full time. After a long day of staring at a computer screen, reading boring files, and dealing with annoying people the introvert in me screams to cuddle under a blanket and escape into a book.  I've created my own little reading nook of heaven that I can escape to whenever I please.

You can too! 

Reading Nook

Mine is nothing fancy to be sure. But it's mine all mine. Basically, I've just carved out a corner of my living room and added my favorite chair, a cozy blanket, small table, and a pile of books waiting to be explored.

I use this space to read, blog, brainstorm ideas, and occasionally catch up on work.

Although I'm often interrupted by the dog paparazzi. But that's ok because I'll take Jax and Milo cuddles whenever I can get them.

Reading Nook

I think it's so important to have a space dedicated to doing things you love. Whether you live alone, with a partner, roommates, or kids you need your own space. It can be a corner, like mine, the spare bedroom, or escape to the laundry room if you have to!

Reading Nook

Here are some some books to get you started!
Favorite Books



Do you have a place where you can escape?

Monday, February 15, 2016

Weekending: Valentine's and a Giveaway

Hello, and happy post-Valentine's Day! I hope you all got to celebrate with people you love, and maybe picked up some great Galentine's gifts too!

Valentine's Dunkin Donuts
And let's not forget those classic V-Day donuts from Dunkin!
Truthfully, this may not be an "actual" weekend recap. It's quite likely that our dear Aida Marie is only five days old, and ain't nobody got time for blogging! I'm hoping that we spent our weekend getting to know this sweet girl, and fingers crossed Matt was able to make it out to pick me up some sushi and nice champagne, which I have been requesting for the past nine months.

What I really wanted to do was check in today and offer you all the chance to participate in a great giveaway! Ashley blogs at the Grits Blog and put this together, in honor of opening up her Etsy shop! I've loved reading her blog the past few years, and the past few months I've been harassing emailing her with all kinds of questions, since she recently had a baby as well! (She also just wrote an awesome guest post for me that has been making my life easier.)

I'm excited to check out her Etsy shop, and guys, let's be real--who couldn't use a gift card to Home Goods (also good for TJ Maxx or Marshalls, if that's all you've got too)? Even my husband loves going there to peruse the food section.

Good luck, and follow me on Twitter, Snapchat (@modernkate), and Instagram to follow along on our latest adventure!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, February 11, 2016

8 Newborn Hacks

Today I am so happy to welcome Ashley from The Grits Blog! She had a beautiful baby girl this past fall, and is sharing some awesome tips when it comes to dealing with newborns! I know I will be referencing this post quite a bit.

Let's be real here. Having a newborn is WORK - it's fun work - but it is work. My motto has always been work smarter, not harder. This is how I work smarter with my newborn!

8 Newborn Hacks :: Work Smarter Not Harder #babyhacks #newbornhacks

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Aida's Birthday

So, unless things have changed since Saturday when I wrote and scheduled this post (and unless she still takes FORVER to arrive, even after induction), today is Aida's birthday! This is also the last post I'm writing for a few weeks--but no worries, I've got guest posts coming as well as a few posts of my own that I scheduled in advance! In the meantime, follow me on Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat (@modernkate) to stay tuned to #AidaWatch2016.

I know I have said this before, but I am absolutely terrified! I seriously have no idea what I'm doing. Do all new parents feel this way? Not gonna lie, there were times when I thought to myself "maybe I should have gone into nursing," and then worked in the delivery ward--at least I would have some sort of clue on how to swaddle.

Still, my level of fear is only matched by my level of excitement. There are lots of women today who can say without hesitation that they don't want kids, and I think that's fantastic--I'm happy our society is becoming more open and women can feel free to make their own choices. I, however, am on the opposite end of the spectrum, because I have always known with certainty that I wanted to have children. (I also knew with certainty there would be a dog in the picture, too.) Matt and I were fully aware of what we were giving up, and fully aware of what we had gain. We couldn't imagine how our lives would change, and nine more months of waiting still wouldn't have prepared us.

So, here we are, and this quote from Love, Actually seems very appropriate: "let's go get the sh*t kicked out of us by love." We already love Aida so much, and are ready for this life-changing adventure.

baby announcement

All Love,

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Beauty Buys for 2016

Hello, dear readers! As I continue to figure out this whole motherhood thing, the wonderful Lindsay from Bourbon, Lipstick, and Stilettos is guest posting today, sharing her beauty favorites of 2016!

Hello! I'm Lindsay and I blog at Bourbon, Lipstick, and Stilettos. I'm thrilled Kate asked me to help her while she's enjoying her sweet babe! One of my goals this year is to spend less money. But. I love makeup and can never have enough products! Here are a few things on my radar to purchase in 2016: Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder: I own an Hourglass Ambient palette, but these powders are particularly for strobing, one of my favorite makeup techniques. Can't wait for the release!

  Hourglass Ambient Palette

Sephora + Pantone Universe Color of the Year Layer Lipstick: This Rose Quartz shade is meant to be mixed with other lipsticks, but I love the pop of color... and the packaging! Aqua Splash Detangling Hairbrush: This brush is meant to be used in the shower to help distribute conditioner and other hair products. I have fine hair that tangles easily so this would be a perfect addition to my routine! Stila Aqua Glow Serum Foundation: I have fallen in love with Stila all over again and am dying to try this foundation. It's a little pricey, but the reviews are great! Stila Aqua Glow Watercolor Blush: a gel blush?! Sign me up! NYX Cosmetics Strobe of Genius Strobing Palette: features 7 illuminating shades. I can't wait to get my hands on this! YSL Touche Eclat Strobing Light Mega Highlighter: It's true that I have a highlighter problem. This product was just released. I'd also love to purchase YSL's Touche Eclat Radiant Touch concealer. It's a fixture on every "best-of" list!

  Sephora Makeup

Sephora Collection Perfection Mist Airbrush Blush: I've read a few magazine reviews on this product and it's something I must add to my collection! Tell me: have you tried any of these products? What's on your beauty wish list this year? 2016 Beauty Wish List


Monday, February 8, 2016

Weekending: #AidaWatch2016

Well, here I am! Still no signs of baby girl appearing--like, not even close. Tomorrow kicks off the first of many guest posts I have lined up, and I'll be heading to the doctor, hoping for good news. I do have a lot of posts scheduled throughout this month, so do stick around! I just may not respond to comments, because ready or not this baby is coming into this world on Wednesday!

On Saturday, Matt and I ran some errands and indulged in donuts. I managed to snapchat the half-eaten donuts, but here's a prettier picture from a few months ago:

duck donuts

We also got my car nice and clean, because Aida can't just ride home from the hospital in some grimy lookin thing! I took a much needed nap Saturday afternoon, and that evening my parents arrived. I'm so happy they're here (although my dad had to drive back yesterday, and will return in another week), and I'm excited because my mom has made some gorgeous curtains for Aida's nursery! I was also gifted with a gorgeous necklace in Aida's birthstone from Matt--the push gift is real, ladies!

push gift

Sunday rolled around and still no sign of baby! I think she wanted me to have one last brunch at my favorite spot, Ford's Fish Shack. She's so thoughtful like that!

eggs BLT ford's fish shack

We also ended up exploring the cutest little town on the waterfront, Occoquan! We found some adorable bows for Aida in one of the shops, and stumbled into a coffee shop with the most delicious, homemade baclava. Then, later that day, we stuffed our faces with pizza during the Superbowl. I would say that I'm indulging since I won't need to "eat for two" much longer, but you know there's the whole nursing thing and I've got to keep my strength up for that, so I don't anticipate my appetite slowing down anytime soon. (Speaking of nursing, I randomly burst into tears in front of my mom and Matt because I didn't take a breastfeeding class and I started to panic. My hormones are all can't stop, won't stop.)

I'm enjoying having some extra time with Matt, but the waiting is starting to get unbearable. Anytime now, Aida, anytime.

linking up with Biana and Meghan for Weekending...unless I go into labor before I can join :)

All Love,

Friday, February 5, 2016

Happy Friday and Happy Due Date Day!

Happy Due Date Day to Me!

Aida has other plans. She'll be the first to admit things are a bit cramped in there, but it's actually quite cozy and she has no interest in our gross, winter weather, thank you very much. So, on that note, let's get into five things for Friday and a bonus for Tell Me Something Good at the end!


1. There is an end in sight: if she doesn't come on her own anytime soon, we have an induction scheduled for the 10th. That means we could end up with an Ash Wednesday baby! Funny--two years ago, we celebrated Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and ended up spending Ash Wednesday there as well because our flight got canceled. Now, we may be spending Ash Wednesday in the hospital with our baby girl!

Mardi Gras
We were so young!
2. I'm obviously really excited about wearing non-maternity clothes again. So excited, in fact, that I ordered a pair of jeans from Kate Spade last week. I already had the Broome Street Skinny Jeans in a regular wash, and they have seriously been one of the best pairs of jeans I've ever owned--I basically wear them multiple times a week and they have held up so well. I wanted a pair in black for over two years, and they finally went on sale! Let's just hope they'll fit in a few months... 3. I love this article from Hello Giggles about rom com BFFs who deserve their own movie. I think we can all agree it's high time Judy Greer gets a leading role.

4. My parents are arriving on Saturday, so that's a bit of a relief that they'll be here before the big event--it will be a huge help with Millie as well. (Yes, Aida, I did say that it will be before your arrival, and I double dog dare you to prove me otherwise!)

5. When I wrote the Power Couple's Birth Plan, I really wasn't kidding about the music playlist. Music is super important to me, and there are songs I associate with every important event in my life. I've been working steadily on putting together this playlist this past month. My BFF just sent me a care package with chocolate and a new mix CD, so I can't wait to add those songs too! (It includes the classic 90s Salt n Peppa hit, "Push It," which is obviously a must for any labor and delivery mix.)

Now, on to Tell Me Something Good! I love this link-up from Chelsea, because it forces me to think of all the positive at a time when I have been very cranky and irritable.
Tell Me Something Good Friday!

Speaking of being cranky, I was in quite a mood on Tuesday night. I hadn't slept well the night before and was, as usual, tired of being pregnant. Matt tried his darndest to put a smile on my face and I wasn't budging. Finally, he let me pick out a movie (I chose Talledega Nights, because I needed laughter), and off he went to get me a milkshake from Chik Fil A! The good news doesn't stop there, because apparently whoever was in front of him in the drive-thru paid for his milkshake! That obviously helped improve my mood, and it's just a reminder of how simple it is to just pay for the person behind you, and you have no idea the kind of impact it can make.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to have a baby.

This post contains affiliate links, and if you click one and make a purchase, I make a commission. Thanks for supporting Thoroughly Modern! 

Things are about to get crazy around here. I have some great guest posts scheduled, and hope to scheduled a few of my own, but know that it may be a while before I respond to comments and messages. Thanks for your patience while we adjust to our new little family!

All Love,


Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Best Restaurants in NOVA for Valentine's Day

Oh, hello there! Do you know what tomorrow is? Well, it's Friday, February 5th, and it's also the day that I officially reach "full term" in pregnancy. Can someone please explain how we got here so quickly?!? And, excuse me, when is someone going to give me the manual on how to be a parent? Still waiting on that.

Let's move on and talk about one of my favorite subjects: food. On Tuesday, I shared my Galentine's Gift Guide, and this year, I'm going to recommend something different than a material good for a Valentine's gift: a fancy dinner.

Matt and I have become increasingly obsessed with food, and I attribute that to living in Northern Virginia and having access to so many amazing restaurants. Sure, flowers and fine chocolates and gifts are great, but why not switch it up this year with a memorable evening of some of the most delicious food you've ever tasted?

Before we get started, here are a few tips for arranging your fancy dinner:

- Do your research! If you don't like weird, fusion stuff then go traditional with a fancy steakhouse like Morton's or Ruth's Chris--make sure that you like the menu items in advance, and that you're okay with the prices.

- Book now! Obviously, you need to get on your reservations immediately. However, since this is a year of being "blessed" with a weekend Valentine's Day, then you could have your fancy dinner on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday night.

- Ask for specials! This is one of those holidays where lots of restaurants may offer specials, like pre-fixe menus or complimentary glasses of champagne.

- Enjoy! Seriously--eat light that day so you arrive hungry! This dinner is all about treating yourself, so order that appetizer and dessert, and if the server suggests an after-dinner cordial or fancy coffee, say yes!

Now, let's get to some of my favorite recommendations! (Note: a few of these are chain restaurants, so you may be able to find them in your city.)

In no particular order...

- The Palm
We love going to the Palm, and it is one of our go-tos for special occasions. The food never disappoints, and we have a dream of one day having our very own caricatures painted on the wall.
The Palm
Obviously, a fancy outfit is a must for a fancy restaurant. 
- L'Auberge Chez Francois
This is the creme de la creme of fancy restaurants in NOVA! First of all, the setting just pulls you in--you really do feel like you're stepping into a quaint, cozy restaurant in a small, French village. Next, you basically end up with like five courses: a bread (with an amazing chive spread, I might add), an apertif (like the most adorable glass of split pea soup), an appetizer, a salad, a main course, and dessert. This place falls on the pricier side, but I promise it is worth it.

chateaubriand
Hello there, Chateaubriand! 
- Lightfoot
This is one of two five star restaurants in Loudoun County--it's set in historic, downtown Leesburg, in what used to be a bank, so you've already got a unique and beautiful setting. We ate here for our 6 month anniversary, and just recently for our 3rd anniversary, and the food is always incredible. The pork and cheese grits literally changed my life.

Lightfoot Restaurant Leesburg Virginia
Our amazing courses at Lightfoot during our Chef's Table experience
- DC Prime/Morton's
I put these two together because they are quite similar, and you can't go wrong with either one--I also prefer both of them to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. If you aren't super adventurous but still love food, I recommend one of these steakhouses. You know it's fancy when you have to order sides separate, but they are big enough for sharing and both menus offer some heavenly mac n cheese.

triple chocolate cake
And some heavenly chocolate cake!
- Tuscarora Mill/Magnolia's at the Mill
Known by us locals as "Tuskie's" and "Maggie's," these two restaurants are under the same ownership, serve the best ciabbata bread, and use lots of locally sourced ingredients. Tuskie's also happens to be Leesburg's other five star restaurant. You can't go wrong either way, but my personal preference is Maggie's, just because I feel like the menu is a little bit more varied.

tomato soup grilled cheese
That's how delicious a grilled cheese looks at Maggie's--so imagine when they kick things up for dinner!
That's it, dear readers! These only scratch the surface of what's available in this area, and for Valentine's purposes, I listed the most fancy restaurants I know.

What is your favorite, high class restaurant? Let us know in the comments, because this Power Couple loves to travel and stuff our faces!

linking up with Virginia Bloggers for Friday Favorites

All Love,




Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Pregnancy: Things I Want to Remember

Hello, friends! Just a couple of days to go until Aida's official due date--yikes! When I found out I was pregnant, I knew I wasn't going to be one of those pregnant ladies who posted weekly "bumpdates." I just knew I wouldn't be able to keep up with it, and I never felt like things changed enough on a week-to-week basis to post an update about it. Although I wish I had taken more bump pictures just for myself to see the changes, overall I don't have any regrets about this pregnancy.

2nd Trimester Bump Collage

3rd Trimester Bump Collage

As I'm nearing the end, I thought it would be nice to reflect on the past nine months and try to write down all the little things about pregnancy I want to remember. A fellow blogger, Chelsea, who just gave birth to a real handsome fellow named Jack, did weekly posts like this, but since I'm always late to the game I guess I will just do one giant post to cover the entire pregnancy.

- The terrifying realization that I was about to take a pregnancy test, and I knew with certainty it was going to come back positive.

pregnancy test

- The overwhelming joy and fear that followed said pregnancy test.

- I remember how Matt and I spent the day in Old Towne Alexandria, and we debated all day about when to tell our parents. I was so scared to tell anyone for fear that this special gift would be taken away, but finally Matt said, "I think you will feel a lot better if you tell your parents today." As usual, he was right.

- Telling my parents that Millie was going to be a big sister, and after the excitement died down (i.e., my mom almost bursting into tears of joy), my dad said, "so you're getting another puppy?" Classic!

- Going shopping at Gap with a close friend a week later, and finding myself drawn to a little onesie covered in pink seahorses. I picked it up, she looked at me and said, "I just know in my heart that you're going to have a girl." I said, "I think so too."

- Seeing our little peanut the first time on an ultrasound--she was kicking and waving and already had our hearts.

- Agonizing over whether or not I should be drinking coffee. Out of control emotions that could only be calmed by caffeine won that argument.

cold brew coffee

- Eagerly awaiting the start of a new week on my WebMD pregnancy app so I could find out what type of produce she would be compared to. Before we knew her gender for sure, she was known as "Pommy," (pomegranate seed), "straw-ba" (strawberry), and "BP" (bell pepper), among others.

- The day we found out her gender and we were both wearing blue, even though I was convinced she was a girl. That was the day we also got to start calling her by name--Aida.

baby girl gender reveal

- Being able to tell family and friends in person the special news, and seeing their reactions.

- Feeling the tiniest bit of panic before every doctor's appointment, because what if something was wrong?

- Dreaming up ideas for her nursery, and slowly putting it together with Matt.

- Writing letters to her in a beautiful, Lilly Pultizer notebook I bought before we knew the gender. Also, reading the letters Matt wrote and getting teary eyed!

- The first few times I felt her flutter around inside of me, and knowing this was one of the greatest feelings in the world. Then, about a month later, as I tried to calm myself while flying across country by myself, I felt her kicking around and was comforted because I knew I was never alone.

- Bringing home and putting away so many generous gifts from family, friends, and co-workers, and just feeling in awe of how lucky we are to have such an amazing support system.

- Sitting and chatting with my mom while we folded and put away her first load of laundry.

- Sharing the joys and traumas of pregnancy with my friend and neighbor--she is six weeks behind me and we're in it together!

- Googling pictures of dogs and newborns and feeling all the emotions.

- Lying awake at night and feeling more anxiety than I ever had--wondering if I would be a good mother, if we would survive those first sleepless months, and if Millie would adjust.

The truth is, I have been very lucky to have a healthy first pregnancy. That obviously hasn't stopped me from worrying over every little thing, but at some point in the past few days I finally feel like I've let go of a lot of my anxieties and place my trust in God (no big deal, only took about nine months to make that happen). I have all the nerves about what awaits us on the other side, but Matt and I are more than ready to get started.

All Love,

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Galentine's Gift Guide

It's that time of year--disgustingly cheesy Kay commercials are in full swing, the seasonal candy aisle is glaringly pink and red, and bloggers everywhere are posting gift guides. Yep--it's Valentine's season!

As usual in our country, a one day holiday gets a season of hype leading up to it. If you happen to be spending February 14th with a significant other, I have a very simple gift guide for you: treat yourself to a nice dinner. Seriously--take yourself to a legit fancy restaurant, the kind where there is a dedicated server just for filling your water glass, and the server comes around with that little knife tool to scrape up your bread crumbs.

I'll share some of my favorite, fancy go-tos in the area soon, but today I wanted to highlight what's important: Galentine's Day. What is Galentine's Day, you ask? It's wonderful and should be a national holiday. I'll let my girl Leslie Knope explain:


Now that you're in the know, you're probably thinking, "but what will I gift my best gal pal for Galentine's Day?!" Fear not, dear readers, because I've got you covered with the very best, all under $50!

Galentine's Day Gift Guide



Everybody has that friend who is obsessed with paper goods (that would be me), but these are all fun selections that anyone can use. My favorite is this recipe tin from Rifle Paper Co.--although Pinterest makes it so easy, I much prefer to grab and follow a recipe card instead of constantly referring back to my laptop, or having to bring the recipe up over and over on my phone.




You just can't go wrong with an adorable coffee or travel mug! I also love these gorgeous, monogrammed old fashioned glasses from Anthro--because who doesn't want to drink their bourbon in style?




A candle really is a gift that keeps on giving! My all time favorite is the Capri Blue Volcano candle, but I also love these Lilly Pulitzer votives--I have no idea if they smell good, but they sure would add a nice decorative touch!




And now we'll round out this gift guide with some beauty picks, so your bff can treat herself! Pregnancy and winter weather has had me averaging 2-3 bubble baths a week. Although I normally use whatever I find at Target or maybe Bath and Body Works, Lollia makes my all time favorite bubble bath. The scent is amazing and it leaves your skin feeling so smooth and silky!

I'd also like to take this opportunity to tell you that Burt's Bees makes lipstick, and it is everything.



How will you be celebrating Galentine's Day? I'm hoping to celebrate with Aida, obviously--if she hasn't arrived by that point I'm going to be a real Debbie Downer.

This post contains affiliate links, and if you click on one and make a purchase, I make a commission. Thank you for supporting Thoroughly Modern!

All Love,
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