Thursday, June 30, 2011

You need this

This hand soap smells SO good.  Get it in the orange mandarin or the lemon scent.  So, so good.  Here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Color scheme

 Sometime soon we need to start working on our living room a bit more (it hasn't progressed at all since this post).  I was wasting time the other day on pinterest and found this image, which I'm pretty sure was from domino, and I loved the color scheme.   

Image originally from domino (I think); found via pinterest

The chartreuse curtains with the peacock blue chairs makes for a great combo. Since our couch is the same color blue as the chairs, I could do chartreuse chairs, but I'm also thinking about orange. Decisions, decisions. I still need to actually purchase some chairs first before I even begin to think about reupholstery. Maybe my friend Craig and his List will come to the rescue.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


It's one of my favorite times of year: okra season!  Most people find it odd that as a southern Californian, I have a love for okra that most native southerners don't even have.  There's something about the texture that I love and it's so versatile: it's delicious fried, as an ingredient in soups, and roasted. 

It's the roasted version that seems to throw people the most.  Okra has a bad reputation for being...I'm just going to go ahead and say it...snotty.  When you cut through it raw, there is a certain sliminess and it's hard to believe that that's not an issue when you cook it, but it does go away and you're left with delicious, crispy, almost french fry-like okra.

I don't know where my mom picked up on roasted okra, but she introduced it to our whole family a few years ago and now I'm hooked. 

Here's what you do:

Get a big bag of okra wherever you can find it.  Choose the medium-sized pods as much as possible: the big pods can be a little woody and the small pods can be tiny.

Give them a rinse, then slice them lengthwise down the middle.

Toss with salt and pepper and olive oil, then put them on a cookie sheet in a single layer (in our case we put them on a grill sheet), then roast in the oven on 400 for about 20-30 minutes (until they're golden brown and starting to get kind of shrivelled up looking).

Take them out of the oven, top with fresh parmesan cheese and serve.

Try this, and then come back later and tell me how much you love it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hey look! I made a decision!

I bought a rug!

That only took oh...FOREVER!  I don't know why I was so hung up on a rug decision.  I wanted something that was neutral but with some visual interest, and it was surprisingly difficult to find something that fit that criteria.  Once I did decide that I wanted this one, I waffled back and forth on the size.  I had originally thought 8 x 10, but then ohhhhhhhhhhhh...what if that's too big????  Then what?  Should I go smaller?  I finally went with my gut and got the 8 x 10.  Should be here in the next few days.  I'll be sure to take photos.

Friday, June 24, 2011

It's Friday!!!

It's finally Friday!  Did anyone else feel like this week was never-ending?

Our weekend's plans are pretty minimal:  a bit of cleaning up, a bit of cooking (some more muffins, maybe throw something in the slow cooker), look for some curtain fabric, and a bunch of relaxing.  A trip to the farmers' market wouldn't be a bad idea either, since now is such a great time for local produce.  I think peaches are in season now and maybe okra?  If so, I'll have to post my favorite okra recipe next week.  It's ridiculously good and super easy.

Oh boy, weekend!!!  The possibilities are endless!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

We have some work to do

Playing around on pinterest, I found this:

which is NOT AT ALL what our screened in porch looks like.  Our screened in porch has a rug, two plastic chairs, two rocking chairs, some tools, and random supplies from leftover painting projects.  Nothing matches, nothing's terribly comfortable, and there's no place to stretch out and read a book.  This must get fixed, preferably before the summer's over.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I need a rug

I need a rug for our living room.  It's been months that I've been looking and I still haven't found something that's right.  Want to help me?  Here's my criteria:  must be 8 x 10; must be under $600 with shipping; must be cream-ish colored with no busy pattern.  A tone-on-tone pattern or geometric is fine, but I don't want anything too high contrast.

Blogger is being a big turd right now and won't let me post pics.  I like this rug, but it's not available in a neutral.  This one isn't bad, but for whatever reason I've yet to pull the trigger.  Maybe this one would work well?

I don't know why I'm so indecisive about this whole thing.  Help me?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Easiest dinner ever

Over the weekend we ate terribly:  pizza, chinese food, and fast food, followed by a buffet of delicious (but not terribly healthy) treats at a neighborhood cookout.  By the time Sunday afternoon rolled around, we were both feeling in the mood for something relatively light and healthy.  I didn't really feel like going to the grocery store, so I looked around the kitchen and pantry and voila! dinner.

Ingredients:  Two mini sourdough loaves (or one big one), roasted red peppers, some tomatoes, two sliced hard boiled eggs, thinly sliced red onion, olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper.  If you have any marinated artichokes, I'd recommend adding those.  Same goes for olives.

Stack the ingredients in layers on the bread.  Mix the olive oil, vinegar, oregano, and a little salt and pepper to make a dressing, and pour it all over the stacked ingredients.  Put the tops back on the sandwiches and wrap them tightly with Saran wrap and stick them in the fridge for a few hours, preferably with something heavy placed on top to press the sandwiches a little.  Take the sandwiches out of the fridge a few minutes prior to serving to let the temperature come up just a little (15 minutes ought to do the trick).  Enjoy!

Monday, June 20, 2011

I'm back!

Enjoyed my little blog-break.  There was just too much going on and something had to give.  Plus I wasn't feeling super inspired, so a break was needed.

So, for a little while now we've had a bit of a problem.  Seems like a certain cute little kitty likes to jump up on this banister.  Not such a big deal, but said kitty isn't terribly graceful and she's almost fallen off at least twice (that we know of).  And lately she's taken an interest in those weird little window thingies.  Like she's plotting how to jump up there.

And if she misses, it's a long way down:

I know cats generally land on their feet, but I really don't want to risk it.

So, my lovely husband spent some time this weekend putting up some plywood to act as a cat barrier.  It's not the prettiest thing in the world, but sometimes that's not what matters, right?  A) it's the bonus room and not many people see it; B) it makes the house a lot more functional; and C) it gives us a little peace of mind.  So there.

Here's the little trouble-making stinker:

So there you have it.  It was a super exciting weekend around here, as you can tell.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Okay, nothing is inspiring me right now, so in the interest of not posting something lame just to throw a post together, I'm taking today and tomorrow off from ye olde bloge.  I'll be back Monday!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Feeling rather uninspired today...don't know why!  The weather's perfect and it's Wednesday and Harry Potter comes out soon (today? I can't remember).

In other news, I really like these shoes, but I have no idea who makes them or where they're from.  Any ideas?

So cute for fall.

Happy hump day!

ETA:  Nevermind!  Found where they're from.  They're from (available here) and they're $45!  SOLD!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I have an entire folder full of images I've clipped from various magazines over the years.  I've yet to scan any of these, so they're still in a huge pile in my sewing room.  While I was cleaning that room yesterday, I stumbled upon a spread from a 2007 issue of InStyle magazine from Ivanka Trump's apartment.  I remember seeing that apartment in the magazine when it came out and I still love it.  It's feminine, bright and colorful, youthful but sophisticated, and unfussy.  I have a few more photos in my file and I'll scan them in eventually.

Images from InStyle magazine circa 2007

Monday, June 13, 2011

Gwyneth's Blueberry Muffins

Hope everyone had a great weekend!  Mine was pretty relaxing--it was a bit too hot to do any house projects, so we mostly stayed in the airconditioning and I got some baking done.  I made Gwyneth's brownies again as well as her healthy blueberry muffins.  She has two blueberry muffin recipes in her cookbook: her mother's recipe (which is DELICIOUS) and the "healthy" version of her mother's recipe, which has spelt flour, and maple syrup and agave nectar instead of refined white sugar.  Whether or not this makes them "healthier" seems debatable to me, but both recipes are good, albeit a little different.  The regular version makes muffins that are light and fluffy and decadent and the "healthy" version have that bran muffin nuttiness that I quite love.


The "Healthy" Version


1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup soymilk
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup light agave nectar
1 cup white spelt flour
1 cup whole spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries


Heat oven to 375°. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. Whisk oil, soymilk, syrup and nectar in a bowl. Combine flours, baking powder and salt in another bowl. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients; fold in blueberries. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake until muffins are golden brown and a knife comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm.

The Regular Version
(wish I had taken photos of these because they look dramatically different)
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 organic large eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powdeer
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
Preheat oven to 375.  Line a 12-cup muffin tin with papers.  Whisk the butter, eggs, and milk together in a bowl.  In another bowl, whisk together the flour, the 3/4 cup of sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold in the blueberries.  Divide among the muffin cups and sprinkle the muffins with the remaining teaspoon of sugar.  Bake until a toothpick tests clean and the muffins are golden brown, 25-30 minutes. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Paper Source

Have you ever been to The Paper Source?  I'm going down to Charlotte today and I'm going to swing in there.  It's the funnest store.  They have beautiful paper (I got some for my red desk makeover), beautiful stationery, and fun gift-y stuff.  Like this mug:

I love this paper:

And this paper is fun:

Gorgeous wrapping paper:

These flower kits are really cool, but I'm not sure what I'd do with them:

Their blog is also fun--lots of cool ideas.  Go check it out!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


You all are probably getting sick of seeing photos of this room, but oh well!  :)  First, before we get to the curtains, I'll show you the final version of the duvet covers that I made:

Still need to buy the actual comforters to go inside the duvets and hang those black and white photos on the wall above each bed.

Over the weekend, I sewed curtains!  Super, super easy.  I used the black and white damask curtains as a template and then it's just basically a matter of sewing a few straight lines.  I used 2.5 yards of fabric per curtain.  Oh, and the fabric?  $6 a yard on sale from $17.99 a yard!  Sweet!  They only had 3.5 yards at my local fabric store, so they called another store and placed an order for an additional 2.5 yards.  I had to pay $7 in shipping, but that brought the total to $43 for all the fabric, so I'm okay with that.

All together now!

Yes, it's a bit bold.  I kind of love it though.  We're currently getting it ready for some family that's coming into town at the end of the month, so I've gotten a clock, some nightlights, and moved a cute little lamp into that room.

Also, in other news, Grizabella's still very cute:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How To: Make Your Own Bordered Bedding

There are a lot of bordered duvet sets out there that look similar to this:

I love the look, but my beef is that these sets are a) always a bit pricey, b) usually don't come in many colors.  But for less than 25 bucks, I made my own!

All you need is a solid duvet cover and pillow sham (I got my set at Ikea for $14.99 for a twin), scissors, a tape measure, pins, a sewing machine, and binding in whatever color you like (it runs less than $2).

First, determine the size of your pillow sham, then layout where you want the binding to go (eyeball it).  Once it looks good, figure out what your mearurements should be.  My pillow sham was 20" x 30" and I wanted the border to be 4" from the edges.

Place a pin to mark the four corners:

Starting from the open edge of the sham, pin the binding in place, making sure to only pin the facing side of the pillow sham (you don't want to pin the pillow sham closed, otherwise you'll sew the thing shut).

Again starting from the open edge, sew both edges of the binding in place.  Remove the pins and voila!

To do the duvet cover, it's very much the same process, so I recommend starting with the sham, because it's smaller and easier to work with and you can work out any kinks here before moving on to the bigger project.

The only other thing you'll need for the duvet is satin blanket binding, which runs about $7 per package.  For a full, queen, or king duvet, you'll probably need two packages of this binding:

Like I said, you'll follow pretty much the same instructions for the pillow sham with the duvet, pinning the corners like so:

Here's what it looks like when it's all laid out:

Just sew it all together and you're done!  The duvet's a bit harder just because there's so much fabric to deal with, but overall, if you have some basic math and sewing skills, this is a totally do-able project.  I'll share the final pictures tomorrow, along with the curtains I made.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Hope everyone had a great weekend--I definitely did.  We got a ton of stuff done around the house and spent plenty of time relaxing.  I even got to bake a little bit!  The recipe for these Fudgy Chocolate Brownies comes courtesy of Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook, "My Father's Daughter."  We took these to a cookout at a friend's house and they were a big hit.  I recommend you make them.  Now.


2 cups white spelt flour (preferably King Arthur)
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown rice syrup (or light agave nectar)
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
1/2 cup soy milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons oil
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided


Heat oven to 350°. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Whisk maple syrup, oil, brown rice syrup, coffee, soymilk and vanilla in another bowl. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Pour half the batter into a greased 9" x 11" baking dish; top with half the chips. Pour remaining batter into dish and top with remaining chips. Bake until knife comes out with crumbs adhering to it, 30 minutes. Let cool.

Friday, June 3, 2011


Ahh, Friday--I love you!  It's supposed to be HOT here this weekend, so as much as I love summer, I'll probably end up spending a lot of time in the air conditioning this weekend, lame as that is.  On the to-do list this weekend?

Assemble Ikea bookshelf for my sewing room
Sew trim on duvet covers
Look for medicine cabinets for the master bathroom
Make Gwyneth Paltrow's fudgy brownies
Go to a friend's cookout
Make mint chocolate chip ice cream (or some kind of cupcakes) for friend's cookout
Some legitimate work stuff

What are your plans this weekend?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

New Cookbook!

We have a horrifyingly large collection of cookbooks at our house and it continues to expand.  We already have two entire large shelves devoted to cookbooks and beer, wine and cocktail books scattered elsewhere.  Anyway, yesterday I was out and about and picked up this latest:

I'd heard good things about it and a brief flip-through at the store suggested that it would be a good buy.  Lots of healthy, easy recipes and plenty of food porn photos. 

Her explanation of why she doesn't eat red meat had some holes in it, and Chris rolled his eyes at her use of "Vegenaise" instead of regular mayo, but that really seems to be about the worst you can say about the book.  Some of the recipes look absolutely amazing and I definitely want to try a few this weekend, particularly the fudgy brownies.  I'll report back.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sneak Peak

I may have lost my mind.  But for now I'm going with it cuz I still think it'll be cool.

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