Friday, March 30, 2012

In One Month's Time...

1. We had an Open House

Maybee says "Come On In..."
2. We SOLD our house (in one week from contract to close)

3. We moved OUT of our house (one week after closing) on St. Patty's Day

Empty  :(
4. Moved in with the in-laws, since Baby D is due in 2 months, and we don't want to be pressured to find a new house in that time frame. We have more important things to concentrate on!

5. Took a long weekend road trip up to North Carolina. Unfortunately, most days looked like this:

 But Maybee loved all the new smells, and didn't mind the rain...

Spring was peeking through the last dreary days of winter

And chipmunks were coming out for food...

Snow and ice melt was making its way down the mountain...

 Foliage was beginning its bloom...

mushrooms on a tree by the stream

 It cleared up enough one day for us to make our way to Highlands, where we shopped, ate delicious food, and saw some art...
Outdoor sculpture at The Bascom
 And some waterfalls...

Bridal Veil Falls
Dry Falls
 And spent our nights listening to the quiet stream raging river behind the house.

6. AND had my first baby shower (more details to come).

Mom-to-be with Grandmothers-to-be
Whew! That was a LOT in one month, not to mention while you are 7+ months pregnant. I feel like this when I look back....

Since we are now settled and back to a (semi)normal routine, I will be posting with new recipes and baby room updates until Baby D is born. Check back soon for all the happenings!!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Giveaway Winners!

 Congratulations to the following as our Blogiversary Giveaway Winners:

Martha Stewart magazine & Earrings winner:
Aubrey L.

Method products winner:
Donna M.

Gathering of Friends
Kristin A.

I will be contacting you via e-mail for your addresses to send you your goodies! Thanks to all who entered!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Last Day...

TODAY is the last day to enter our three giveaways in honor of our 3 year Blogiversary:

1. Subscription to Martha Stewart's Living or Everyday Food (your choice) and these glitzy earrings in gold:

2. Four Method products of your choice:

3. Or Gathering With Friends entertainment book:

Giveaways end TONIGHT at MIDNIGHT, so go here to enter them all! I will announce the winners on Tuesday next week. Good luck!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Two More Days to Enter...

TWO MORE DAYS to enter our three giveaways in honor of our 3 year Blogiversary:

1. Subscription to Martha Stewart's Living or Everyday Food (your choice) and these glitzy earrings in gold:

2. Four Method products of your choice:

3. Or Gathering With Friends entertainment book:

Giveaways end TOMORROW, Friday, March 23, so go here to enter them all! Good luck!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Giveaways Still Going On...

Check out the three giveaways in honor of our 3 year Blogiversary:

1. Subscription to Martha Stewart's Living or Everyday Food (your choice) and these glitzy earrings in gold:

2. Four Method products of your choice:

3. Or Gathering With Friends entertainment book:

Giveaways end THIS FRIDAY, March 23, so go here to enter them all! Good luck!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Time To Move & Last Blogiversary Giveaway

After we pack the moving van tomorrow, we will be saying goodbye to our first home. I will miss all the fun parties and gatherings with friends that we had there, but know that our search for a new home will just mean bigger and better things for our growing family, and more reasons to celebrate with friends.

The last Blogiversary Giveaway is the perfect addition for any entertainer - The Gathering of Friends- Volume One. Go here to enter, and a winner will be chosen next Friday, March 23!

Happy weekend (good thing it's St. Patrick's Day tomorrow - we need some luck)!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My Favorite Cleaning Tips and Blogiversary Giveaway

The Reviewer Badge:

As a member of the BlogHer community, I was asked to write a post on my favorite cleaning tips as part of their Life Well Lived - Getting Organized feature. After yesterday's announcement that we are moving, there is so much organizing and cleaning that has been done these past two weeks, that it is the perfect time for me to share my quick tips!

My five quick tips for cleaning in 10 minutes or less when company is on the way:

1. Using an All Purpose spray and a paper towel, spray down your kitchen counter tops, sink and faucet, and stove top. Wipe up and voila! You are done. Why is this one thing I always do? Because guests always come in and stand in the kitchen. There may be dinner cooking with many plates and pots, but as long as everything is clean, no one will notice the chaos. Bonus time: wipe down the handles on your refrigerator or the inside of your microwave. I usually just go straight to the bathroom...

2. And using All Purpose Anti-Bacterial Wipes, wipe down the sink, faucet, and toilet. Don't worry about the shower/tub, as most guests either don't notice, or they have also not cleaned their shower/tub in over a week. But as long as you have a clean toilet and clean sink where they can wash their hands, the rest of the bathroom will look just as clean. Bonus time: using the same wipe, quickly run it over the tile floor to pick up any hair that may be lurking from your last blow dry, especially behind the toilet where it likes to hide.

3. Dust surfaces using a paper towel sprayed with an All Purpose spray, and turn on ceiling fans. Dust surfaces in the rooms in which you know guests will most likely be during their visit, and leave the other rooms for another day. I will be the first to tell you that I don't dust often enough. Usually the evidence is found on our ceiling fans, so once you quickly wipe down dusty surfaces, turn on the ceiling fan so that the newly cleaned areas will dry quickly, and guests won't notice a dirty fan.

4. If the house is a wreck, and you have to chose between cleaning some surfaces or putting away piles of mail, clothes, and other house clutter, ALWAYS take the 10 minutes or so to clean the surfaces being used most. These are what guests notice, not the pile of mail sitting by the front door - they probably have a similar pile at their house. The other clutter can be thrown in drawers, closets, and rooms that you can close off so guests won't notice.

5. Fluff or straighten pillows on the way to answer the door. It makes it look like you were always expecting them.

Those are my five quick tips, and the secrets to why my house always looks ready for guests (just don't peek in our closets- I love to stash!). Now, be sure to check out BlogHer's Life Well Lived Spring Cleaning Tips and share your favorite cleaning tips here to win a Kindle Fire and $50 Amazon gift certificate.

And, today a cleaning kit to be used with my Five Quick Tips is up for grabs as part of the 3rd Blogiversary Giveaways. Go here for more information and to enter!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Quote Of The Day & Life Update

You cannot start the next chapter of your life if you continue to re-read the last.

Today we officially SOLD our house. If you read my short post last week, you may have guessed, but never believed that I would be crazy enough to sell our home being 7 months pregnant. This is the reason the blog has been lacking, and there have been no baby room updates for our first born, despite my love of planning and decorating. 

We have been packing, and will be moving somewhere temporarily until after the baby comes,  while looking for our next dream home. We will have time (not much, but some) to get a real nursery together, and settle in to being parents. The blog will be updated with our progress and our nesting (finally!).

Despite having our home on the market for a long 5 months, the sale and move came quicker than either of us had ever dreamed. There were tears and tough decisions to be made, but in the end, it was the dream sale. Easy and uncomplicated, but it forced us to really ask ourselves if we wanted to sell now. While timing was not ideal, it would be harder to sell it later after the baby is born, and as my husband said, it allows us to start the next chapter of our life sooner rather than later. So it had me thinking about the next chapters and today's quote: a temporary home, parenthood/new baby, a new dream home to make our own; and while I am excited about all those things, we can't truly move on until we give up our first home and finish that chapter of our life. 

I am excited for the things to come, and even when I have been buried in boxes, I have no regrets or sadness about selling. The family moving in loves the home and its old quirks and charm as much as we do, so we know it is going to the right people. We can't wait to see what they do with it... look for a house crashing post in late 2012!

Check back tomorrow for a BlogHer Life Well Lived post and Blogiversary giveaway!

Monday, March 12, 2012

3rd Blogiversary - Giveaway!

In honor of the 3rd Blogiversary of Forever The Hostess, I am kicking off this Monday with a Giveaway that Martha Stewart fans will love... go here  to enter!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Happy Weekend!

This is what life is like....

The blog has been lacking a bit lately, between being almost 7 months pregnant and some other major developments going on! My feature for BlogHer's Life Well Lived post next week will talk all about this chaos!

In the meantime, today is my 3 year Blogiversary, which means that next week will be filled with some giveaways too! Stay tuned for a packed week- literally!

Hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Quote Of The Day

Courageous risks are life giving,
They help you grow,
Make you brave and better than you think you are. 

-Joan Curcio

Monday, March 5, 2012

Gourmet Magazine - 15 Romantic Restaurants

(photo of Pia-Maria at Pia's Trattoria - Courtesy of Tampa Bay Times formerly St. Petersburg Times)

As my 300th post on this blog (crazy!), I am excited to announce another great achievement. I received an e-mail from BlogHer and Gourmet magazine (online) over the weekend that my submission for a romantic restaurant in the Tampa Bay area was chosen for their Valentine's Day feature of the Top 15 Romantic Restaurants feature! I am so honored that they loved my review of one of my favorite places to eat, Pia's Trattoria in Gulfport, Florida! Be sure to check out the feature here on Gourmet, and definitely go to Pia's for a rustic Italian meal you won't forget!

BlogHer Gourmet Live Road Trip
Pia's Trattoria
3054 Beach Boulevard South
Gulfport, Florida 33707

Friday, March 2, 2012


A quick post for Friday that I couldn't wait to share! I came across a great new site called appSmitten, in which you can sign up for a free daily or weekly e-mail list that highlights a few of the millions of new apps coming to the market for your iPhone, Android, and iPad. By signing up, you can tailor your preferences on the types of apps you are looking for. Then, when you get an e-mail from appSmitten, it will highlight new apps in the categories you like most! You can also search their website for new apps or reviews of existing apps by their contributors. I already received my weekly e-mail, and downloaded some of the apps they recommended!

Click here to subscribe to become appSmitten!