Saturday, April 21, 2012

Garden Update- Two Weeks

Another wonderful update on my backyard garden god of a husband- all the news on our beautiful new garden, as well as some photos of the progress!

Kyle reports: 

Two weeks have passed now, the garden keeps growing and expanding. The growing refers to just about everything in the garden. The vegetables are growing so fast, it is amazing. I expect the cucumbers to start overflowing within a few more weeks. The Patio Tomato in the container has two little green tomatoes coming to life. The growing also refers to the weeds and grasses. This is likely because I only tilled the sod instead of removing it or placing any barrier down before installing the raised beds. To make up for youthful mistakes, I have laid down a layer of newspaper wth a layer of dirt on top. Hopefully, this will keep the grass at bay. The expansion refers to the fourth raised bed built, 7 ft by 1 ft, for the peas and extra plants that need a home. This time, I laid down two layers of cardboard and then installed the raised bed. The peas have a nice trullis built from bamboo, twine and staples. We are not planning any more expansion, but it is great to see the plants grow!

And now for the photo updates:
The new bean & pea trellis set-up, with second half of the bed open for more tomatoes
Deck pots and seedlings, including recently transplanted sunflowers, zinnias and cosmos
First 3'x5' bed with tomatoes, Japanese eggplant, basil and peppers
Second bed with cucumbers, summer squash and zucchini
Third bed with herbs, cantaloupe, and watermelon, and a complete view of the entire garden!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Humble Garden

I'm going to skip over the standard list of lame excuses as to why it's been so long since my last post, and get right back into posting- ok with you? Excellent!

In all honesty, I didn't even write this post. This is a "guest post", if you will, from my awesome husband about our newly planted and cultivated backyard garden. This is the first time we've had our very own backyard, so we were thrilled to finally have some space to till a little land and see what sorts of fruits, veggies and herbs we can produce. Kyle very lovingly constructed three 3'x5' raised beds in our backyard, giving us 45 square feet to play with, in addition to some deck pots and hanging baskets. Enjoy his post below, and be sure to check back for updates on our garden, and the subsequent culinary inspirations it springs forth over on The Humble Table!

Kyle's Gardening Blog- The Raised Bed Experiment, Easter Weekend 2012

Partially to celebrate Easter and partially to celebrate the great weather in Lousisiana, we built ourselves three raised gardens. We choose raised gardens because our soil is dense and is will remain very wet for several days after a rainfall. The location is in the backyard and gets partial sun in the morning, direct sun during mid-day and shade in the afternoon. Prior to installing the raised beds, the lawn was broken up and tilled. The beds are 5’ by 3’ and constructed with 2” by 6” pressure treated timbers screwed together with brackets reinforcing the corners. After installing the raised beds and planting the seedlings, we discovered the LSU AgCenter has great guidance on this sort of topic. We might not have chosen the best veggies for our April garden in Louisiana, but most should survive and produce wonderful ingredients for my wife’s great meals. Below is a diagram illustrating how we have filled our three new raised beds:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Mother's Day Weekend in Pictures

I absolutely adore when my Mum is able to come down to Newport for a visit, and I was thrilled when she offered to come down for Mother's Day! I had originally wanted to go up to Maine to visit her, but with getting into 3rd trimester and traveling/hosting guests the past two weekends, and this upcoming weekend, I just wasn't sure I would be able to swing another car trip. I'm so grateful for the time that we get to spend together- she's my best friend, a pillar of strength, a giver of sage and sound advice and someone who can make me laugh until I cry! 

We completely indulged our girly side throughout the weekend, starting with a casual pasta dinner I whipped up on Friday night. Saturday we took in a helicopter tour of the island, did some baby window shopping, picked up some supplies for the upcoming baby shower and got our lobster on with fabulous twin lobster rolls from Easton's Beach Snack Bar. We headed back to the apartment to put our feet up and catch the Kentucky Derby (what a great race- hope you caught it!), and closed out the night with decadent gourmet ice cream and fresh berries. 

Sunday we took in a long brunch at our favorite spot, Cafe Zelda (mentioned many, many times here) where Mum had what was arguably the BEST deep dish lobster quiche either of us had ever tasted in our lives. I could go on for days about the incredible texture, flaky pastry and perfectly cooked lobster! We took a post-brunch stroll through town and hit up the antique armory and some other shops before reluctantly heading back to the apartment so she could make her way back home.

I might not technically be a Mama yet, but I can't imagine a better way to spend Mother's Day, or better company to share it with! 

A Mother's Day present to myself- my ErgoBaby!
(complete with Ninja giving it the once over in the corner)
Mummy preparing for takeoff on her first ever helicopter ride!
A beautiful day to take in the sights- over Fort Adams
Mum & I post-flight, totally amused with ourselves
Waiting on our lobster rolls at the snack shack, windy but beautiful day!
The inaugural lobster roll feast, enjoyed in the car overlooking the ocean at Brenton's Point
Beautiful flowers from Mum, they still look amazing days later!
I can still taste the deliciousness...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mama-to-Be Style

It's the latest Summer 2011 fashion accessory!
Cardigan: J.Crew, Top: Old Navy, Leggings: Poof, Sandals: Steve Madden, Scarf: Forever 21

I have been thinking a lot recently about maternity/pregnancy posts for the blog now that I find myself on the cusp of parenthood (yikes!), and how exactly I wanted to “break the ice” with the topic. Since I spend a fair amount of this blog writing about adventures in general and some of my favorite style pieces, I thought kicking it off with a “Mama Style” post would be a good start.

It took me a while to finally find my “Mama Style”- as those of you who have been through pregnancy know, there are a lot of physical ups and downs to go right along with all of the emotional ones. Throughout my first trimester, I was very tired and quiet honestly not all that concerned with my look. It was October through January, so comfort really reigned supreme. Once my initial bloat (ugh!) died down, I really didn’t have much of a bump to dress until around the 20 week mark- a fact that I was not pleased with. I was dying to have a cute little bump to show off, but my lovely babe did not seem interested in introducing itself to the world. Alas!

After a terrible early spring weather-wise, the sky gods seem to be smiling upon us, and true springtime weather seems to be here, hooray! With that, I have been inspired to adorn my ever-growing bump in bright outfits and comfortable layers. It’s amazing what a pop of color and a pair of open toed shoes can do for your mood! Fashion and style-wise, it is a great time to be pregnant, since tunics, flowy tops and light fabrics are quite in these days, even for the not-with-child set. Because of this, I lucked out big time and have been able to incorporate a lot of my pre-pregnancy pieces into my current wardrobe. Anything with an empire waist, some stretch or drape has been seeing a lot of miles in my attire, and I am grateful for not having to shell out crazy amount of money to maintain my comfort and style. I finally caved and picked up a couple of pairs of maternity jeans on the cheap, and I will admit they are well worth it. While I skated by for a long time with some low slung Joe’s Jeans Jeggings (yes, I know the word is evil, but they are crazy stretchy and comfy!), having that extra “give” in the waistline of my maternity jeans is a thing of beauty. I also got myself a couple of lose, comfortable maxi dresses (non-maternity) that would help me transition into summer for both pre and post baby, as my due date is smack dab in the middle of July, and they have already paid for themselves a million times over. So by purchasing these pieces and a couple other maternity friendly items (long layering tanks, t-shirts, etc), I have created what I feel is a great maternity wardrobe without breaking the bank or compromising my own style. The best advice I could give another mama-to-be is to not run out too early and stock up (you have no idea what your pregnant body will really look like, trust me), don’t bother with designer pieces (unless you are one of the lucky few who has a sweet disposable income), and have fun with it! After all, who really would have the testicular fortitude to walk up to a pregnant woman and tell them their look is a mess?

So here you go- a show and tell for some of my recent maternity looks (bonus points for spotting my fashion stylist, Ninja kitties in some pictures)….
Tank: Poof, Cowl Neck Top: Anthropologie, Cardigan: J.Crew, Skirt: Old Navy, Boots: Aerosoles
Top: Angie, Cardigan: J.Crew, Scarf: Gift from my Mama!, Jeans: Old Navy maternity, Shoes: Qupid
Oxford: Ralph Lauren, Sweater: Vineyard Vines, Jeans: Old Navy Maternity, Shoes: Banana Republic
Top: Old Navy, Necklace: Boutique out on Block Island, Jeans: Old Navy maternity (notice a trend???), Shoes: Old Navy
Dress: Lily Pulitzer, Long Sleeve T: Boden, Belt: Vintage, Boots: Steve Madden
My Mother's Day outfit!
Sunnies: Vintage Ann Klein II from Mum, Dress: Old Navy Maternity, Cardigan: Vineyard Vines, Boots: Steve Madden, Necklace: Old Navy

So there you have it- a couple of snippets of my Mama-to-be Style, now get on down and rock your bump ladies!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Just Can't Get Enough

Books. I love them. I love absolutely everything about them. I love their weight in your hand, their distinct smells and the feeling of the paper. Some (ahem, my husband) would say that I am a bit of a book packrat, and I completely embrace the title. I come from a family of readers who covet the written word- the house that I grew up in literally has a library room,  and the shelves are stuffed with volumes of both old and new. It's a place I consider a sanctuary, with large windows and a leather couch that tempts you to slide in and enjoy an afternoon lost in pages. 

I have been thinking about books a lot recently in light of the new generations of e-readers that have come out. While conceptually I appreciate the e-reader, I’m just not sure it is for me. If I were someone who was traveling frequently and needed a space saving, efficient way to travel with my novel du jour, I think I would invest in a Kindle or Nook in a heartbeat. Since I am unfortunately not employed as either a travel writer, salesmen of medical equipment or author, I’ll stick think I’ll be sticking with the vintage style.

In addition to the reasons mentioned above, I also love book styling. I’m one of those readers who wants to know why a certain font was chosen, who the cover/jacket artist is, the whole nine yards. Yes, I understand that the Nook is offered in a color version, which allows the reader to have access to all of this information, but to me, it’s just not the same.

I also absolutely adore used books and used bookstores. Not only can you score some pretty incredible and rare finds, but I feel like I’m doing a small part to be environmentally friendly with my need to devour literature. Very rarely will I pick up a book “hot off the press” if I can find a used copy somewhere- it usually comes down to something that is new in print and I am dying to pour through it. There is very little I find more soothing than strolling lazily through a used bookstore on a rainy day in search of treasures. I love finding books that may have inscriptions or notes tucked away in the margins, underlining of witty phrases and other signs of love from past readers. It’s no different than the feeling of success I get when I find a great piece of vintage furniture or clothing at a great price, and I can’t wait to get home and enjoy my new find.

Again, while I appreciate all that the e-reader has to offer, I just don’t think that it will ever replace the pleasure I take in actual, physical books. Maybe it stems from my general disinterest in hopping on board with the newest items in technology, but I’ll stick with my overflowing shelves of the good ol’ paper and print for the time being (sorry Kyle!). 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Enjoying Newport Life

As we eek closer and closer to leaving this area, heading to Maine for the birth of our first child, and then beginning our adventure down South in Louisiana, Kyle and I have vowed to spend the weekends he is home enjoying as much of the area as we can, and this weekend was no exception. After sitting on a package we purchased through BuyWithMe almost a year ago, we finally booked our first helicopter ride for Saturday afternoon! The folks at Bird's Eye View are really awesome, they were incredible accomodating and made us feel totally comfortable. The weather was a bit dicey this weekend, so our pilot Jeff booked us for Saturday with the assurance that if we weren't comfortable with the weather, he would take us up on Sunday. Although it was blowing stink, Jen in the office assured us that we would have a great time, and we went for it. Jeff is a seasoned pilot, who has been flying aircraft since he was 18, so we were more than confident in his abilities. It wasn't the sunniest trip, but we had an absolute blast!

So much fun! As part of our package, we also recieved two passes for a tour and wine tasting at Newport Vineyards. We saved the passes for Sunday afternoon (which turned out to be beautifully sunny, but windy again!) and headed over for the 3 o'clock tour and tasting after taking a leisurely drive around the island. It's a small vineyard with a very friendly and knowledgable staff- very fun (and yes, I had small samples of a couple of the wines, such a badass, I know)!

It was a fantastic way to spend a weekend together, as we know that the weekends we have left with just the two of us are numbered. As I've said before, we are beyond anxious for the arrival of our lovely first-born child, but I think it's so important that we take advantage of this time together before the arrival of the babe to strengthen our bond, and enjoy all that Newport has to offer before we leave town for the next set of adventures.

Now, what will the next weekend bring...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Oh, Go Fly A Kite!

What's a couple to do on the first fully nice weekend in Southern New England? Get out and enjoy the town!

We had a wonderfully relaxing weekend around Newport, taking advantage of the mostly sunny skies and mild upper 40s temps by walking all through town and seeing the sights. We did a huge loop of town on foot Staurday- going down through America's Cup Blvd, out Thames and then up to Bellevue to pick up part of the Cliff Walk on our way home. We had a mini picnic at the head of the Walk and enjoyed the view out over Easton's Beach in the lee of the land.

Sunday we took a ride out to Ocean Drive to watch the sun dance off of the water. There were dozens of cars parked out on the point, and people seemed to be everywhere- walking, taking photos, lounging in the (brownish) grass and worshipping the sun. Love it! We decided to head out to Second Beach over in Middletown to christen the packable kite my mother had given Kyle for Christmas. Although the winds were a bit strong for our little prisim, she toughed it out, and we had a great afternoon on the beach- even getting the chance to chat with a couple of young kite enthusiasts.

A great afternoon in fresh air was capped off by a tasty lunch downtown (catching the tail end of Newport's Restaurant Week and $16 three course lunches!), and another walk through downtown before heading home to nap, read and relax for the rest of the day.

Now I find myself more eager than ever for spring to finally make her presence known!