Sunday, January 31, 2010


You may have noticed a lot of posts from me this month. Thirty-four to be exact. Phew! Why all the blogging? Nablopomo; It's a blogging community where you can take a challenge to post every day of the month and I did it! Yes I know, a small accomplishment of sorts, but it was quite fun! Although remembering to blog on the weekends proved to be a bit of a challenge since I don't spend much time on the computer during the weekend. Hope you all enjoyed! Stay tuned, even though my weekend posts will be less frequent, I'll still be here most days sharing about life, inspirations, great finds and tasty kitchen experiments! Thanks for continuing to visit!

Wishing you a happy, healthy and wonderfully relaxing Sunday!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Inspiration: Picture Walls (and Other Spaces)

It would be a drastic understatement to say that I love frames. It's true, ask anyone who's ever shopped with me, they are a mild obsession! I am constantly on the lookout for unique finds to go along with great pictures of friends, family, things that inspire me etc. In my opinion, they make a house feel like a home. My friend Parris says it's my "thing" and to go with it, so I go with it!

When Chris and I moved into our apartment there was much to be decided about how our living space would be situated, but one thing was for sure, I wanted a wall dedicated to pictures! You know like the ones you always see in the Pottery Barn catalog! I adore them!!

So here's a glimpse at my own picture wall and other spaces dedicated to photos! It's kind of always a work in progress as I find frames I like better than my current ones!

The other day I happened to stumble upon this fabulous blog with a dining room that captured the exact look I love! And I thought, hmm, now that's a picture wall! And in the dining room? I love it! Possibly an idea for our next place!

Happy Saturday!

Friday, January 29, 2010

What I Love About the Weekend

Happy Friday lovelies! We have many fun things planned for this weekend.

First of all February is just around the corner and we have several birthdays coming up! Not only do two of my closest friends have a birthday, but 3 of my 4 siblings do as well! Needless to say, I have a little shopping/mailing to take care of! Lucky me that I love to buy gifts!

And tomorrow night I have a date with mom and dad! Chris will be at another Kings game with his friend Brad (that lucky boy!) so my parents and I get to spend some time together (hopefully having dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant..hint, hint!).

And what would the weekend be without a delicious breakfast? I am already excited about the buckwheat banana pancaked I have planned for tomorrow! Great way to replenish after a hard workout! I just love the nutty, hearty goodness of buckwheat!

Just a few short hours and the weekend can begin! We are starting it by having dinner at BJ's with Chris' Dad and Grandma!

I hope you all have an exceptionally wonderful weekend!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Feeling Sentimental

While I don't have anything particularly profound or inspired to say today, I just wanted to share some favorite old pictures I came across last night while rummaging through my online albums. This of course got me a little sentimental!

Back in college, the summer before our last semester!

Our sweet and curious pup! She was so little!!

One of my absolute favorite pictures of me and my little sister Audrey! This one is framed in our house!

With Emily at Chris and my engagement party! We were being really silly...too much champagne and excitement!

And us at our engagement party!

Me and my handsome husband (then fiance) on my 21st birthday!

Fun times with my roomate Rebecca! We love and miss you!!

More roomate fun! This one always makes me laugh at the frames with no pictures above us...don't worry, it wasn't always like that!

*Sigh* have a lovely Thursday!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Always Planning

Last night Chris went to a Kings game, which means I had an evening to myself. So what did I do with my time you ask? I dreamed about our anniversary trip! Too early you say? Never! I LOVE planning trips, much to my husband's dismay because that's all he will hear about for days (though, he's secretly excited too!)!

While we're not completely positive about where we will go this year, I think we have unofficially landed on a place (pictured below). So I spent some time dreaming up all the fun things we could do!

I just love having trips to look forward to!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Happy Thoughts

Today feels like a gloomy sort of day. I'm tired physically and mentally and the weather is not helping me out one bit. There is definitely potential for it to turn into an awful, no-good kind of day. But I've decided today is going to be a good day, because you know, we have the ability to change our mood (even when it feels impossible!).

"The conscious brain can only hold one thought at a time. Make it a positive thought." lululemon manifesto

So, some of my happy thoughts:

image via

image via

The last two pics are from our honeymoon:-)

I totally want to bust out a little Sound of Music action and start singing "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens..."

Have a lovely day!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Card Love!

Being someone who really appreciates the sentiment of a great card, these instantly caught my eye! Unique, silly and oh-so-sweet!

Checkout this set of letterpress cards here!

Getting the Hang of This

This weekend I finally started making the ever talked about snack bags! I must say, I think only now do I grasp the time that goes into prepping a project such as this! Washing and ironing the fabric, cutting the pattern, attaching the pattern and cutting out the fabric, cutting out the applique...and all that before you even get to sew! Anyway, I only have one (the smallest of the four) finished. Mainly because I am still trying to get the hang of stitching on the applique, but hey, practice makes perfect, right?!

I am proud as can be of my little snack bag! Isn't she cute?!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Citrus Glazed Chicken

This recipe is an oldie but a definite goody! I discovered it back in 2006 while trying to put together the perfect Valentine's dinner for Chris. I had just gotten back from my semester abroad and Chris had just transferred to ACU, so we spent a lot of time together! Since I was in my last semester in the dorms and he was in an apartment, we spent many evenings in his tiny kitchen experimenting with new recipes.

Throughout our remaining four semesters of college, I probably made this chicken 5 or 6 times. But honestly, it has been tucked away in the back of my mind for at least two years. Chris has mentioned it a few times but I didn't think much about the request until he asked to have it alongside his mother's famous lemon chicken at his birthday party! I realized this chicken must be pretty special is he wanted it for his birthday. And although I didn't make it for his party (I was concerned there might be too many cooks in the kitchen to coordinate that) I made a promise to cook it soon.

Well it turns out soon was this weekend. I remembered it being tasty, but oh man, I had forgotten just how much we loved it! I can't seem to find words that describe the sheer brilliance of this citrus sauce, but I can promise, you will not be disappointed!

*Instead of chicken thighs, we prefer to use chicken breasts (both for lower fat content and for the fact that we don't love the taste of chicken thighs), but that would all depend on your personal taste. And another thing, I prefer to use fresh ginger and garlic instead of the bottled variety used in this recipe.

One thing is for sure though, this is definitely something I will make more often!

Citrus Glazed Chicken
1 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
2 teaspoons bottled ground fresh ginger (such as Spice World)
1/2 teaspoon grated lime rind
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
12 (2-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken thighs
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Place first 7 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken; seal bag, and marinate in refrigerator 1 hour, turning occasionally. Remove chicken, reserving marinade.
Preheat broiler.
Place chicken on a foil-lined jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray; broil 8 minutes on each side or until done.
While chicken cooks, place reserved marinade, flour, and salt in a small saucepan, stirring with a whisk until blended. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, and cook for 1 minute or until thickened. Serve sauce with chicken.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Trying Something New

I know, I have previously expressed, in great detail here and here and here, how much I love our Vita-Mix! But hear me out as I explain my little project.

For the past couple weeks, I have had the idea to incorporate at least one Vita-Mix recipe into our day for a whole week. While we use it quite a bit now, I want to take full advantage of all the amazing recipes included in the cookbook that comes with the machine. We have tended to stick to smoothies, juices, soups and the peanut butter/hummus/sauces arena. I want to explore the other recipes I mark and haven't actually gotten around to making.

So this afternoon as I was sitting down making our meal plan for the week, I added at least one new Vita-Mix recipe each day through Friday! I really can't wait to try things like Curried Carrot Soup, Fresh Pizza Sauce, and the Strawberry Ice Cream! Delicious and healthy!

Well, I better get my excited little self to Whole Foods so I can make my yoga class later this afternoon!

Here's to good health!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Relaxing Weekend!

Happy Friday! I am very much looking forward to a relaxing weekend. After work I am treating myself to a much needed manicure (and possibly a pedicure!) before date night. Love!

While the rest of the weekend holds yoga, breakfast at Awful Annie's, finally making these adorable snack bags and lots of lounging in our sweats! Can't wait!

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Baked Potato Soup

Ever since I got sick in November and my mother-in-law brought us potato soup for dinner, it has been in the back of my mind as a potential meal idea. I just loved it, both for dinner and for lunch the next day!

When I finally decided to try it this week, it wasn't by my own brilliance, but that of my mother-in-law, who suggested I take the extra baked potatoes we had leftover from Chris' birthday dinner last week. Can I just say, I would never have thought of that! So, with the main ingredient for potato soup in my fridge, I set out to find an easy, healthy-ish recipe.

Here's what I found: Cooking Light's Baked Potato Soup, which reviews have rated outstanding! I would have to agree it is pretty phenomenol! It is hearty, creamy, slightly chunky and has a decedant sprinkle of flavorful bacon on top (leftover from Chris' birthday breakfast!).

Typically I follow directions to a tee the first time I use a recipe and then I may tweek it later, but with this soup I used skim milk instead of the recommended 2%, since that's what I normally buy. We still found it to be remarkably creamy and thick, so I would say either would probably do just fine.

Baked Potato Soup
4 baking potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour (about 3 ounces)
6 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1 cup (4 ounces) reduced-fat shredded extrasharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
3/4 cup chopped green onions, divided
6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
Cracked black pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°.
Pierce potatoes with a fork; bake at 400° for 1 hour or until tender. Cool. Peel potatoes; coarsely mash.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Place flour in a large Dutch oven; gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly (about 8 minutes). Add mashed potatoes, 3/4 cup cheese, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, stirring until cheese melts. Remove from heat.
Stir in sour cream and 1/2 cup onions. Cook over low heat 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated (do not boil). Ladle 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 8 bowls. Sprinkle each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons cheese, 1 1/2 teaspoons onions, and about 1 tablespoon bacon. Garnish with cracked pepper, if desired.

Makes 8 (1 1/2) cup servings

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


The stormy, yucky weather we've had the past several days makes me wish I could stay bundled up at home and not leave until the sun is shining on a perfect 70 degree day! A girl can dream.

Instead, I do things that take my mind off the weather! Truthfully, I find myself shopping a bit more in these wintery months.

These are some recent Etsy purchases that make me smile:

This 10x8 print by Freshline is adorable! I'm quite taken with the term "nest" lately!

I posted this headband last week and just couldn't resist buying it for myself! I received it yesterday and absolutely adore it!

We took a trip to Ikea this weekend and came home with this Ung Drill frame:

I had never seen it before. It is not very Ikea-like, but I love it! I considered painting it, but think I've settled on leaving it the way it is. This picture really doesn't do it justice!

And I ordered a 16x20 of this picture for the frame:

I think I'll make myself another cup of Starbucks Casi Cielo to warm me up! Happy hump day!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Weekend Happiness

What a fun and busy weekend we had! Yesterday was finally a chance to catch my breath and slow down, and I soaked it all in! My plan for my day off was to make these snack bags, but after picking up the fabric and other supplies I thougth it might be best to hold off until next weekend since, as my Mom said, this weekend was "all play and no work".

Instead, I decided to be productive and check off some things from my to-do list, like tackling our closet (reorganizing and clearing out), cleaning the fridge, hanging some new picture frames, putting up another set of curtains (and hemming them), and the never ending task that is laundry! While not quite as fun as sewing, productive and gratifying nonetheless.

I hope your weekend was equally wonderful! Happy 4-day work week!

Here are a few pictures from the birthday weekend!

At Lucille's for his birthday dinner!

Birthday boy!

Playing poker

Relishing his leftover cheesecake!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Our Nest

How adorable is this throw pillow from Pottery Barn?! What a fun way to accessorize your couch!

Check out this nest pillow along with their other new products!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sleeping In

A very unusual thing happened this morning, we slept in until 11:30! I honestly can't remember the last time I slept past eight!! Maybe it was because I really needed the sleep or the gorgeous new chocolate damask curtains in our room that block out any trace of light or just the rainy, dreary weather today, but whatever the case, it was AMAZING! Though we were sad to miss church this morning, especially since we just began a new series. It looks like we will be listening to the audio version online tomorrow:)

Thank goodness for a day off work tomorrow! Well, I'm off to put up the new Ikea finds we snagged this evening!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Spoiled, But in a Good Way!

Well, the birthday celebrations have gone wonderfully so far! I thought it would be nice to let the birthday boy sleep in this morning, so after a trip to the gym and a stop at Starbucks with our Moms and my Aunt Judy to discuss last minute party details, I came home to fix my husband his favorite breakfast!

Although he has pretty neutral feelings toward most breakfast foods, he is a total sucker for blueberry anything, but specifically blueberry pancakes. I decided to include bacon with breakfast (an occurrence he is lucky to experience maybe once a year at our house!). But in the interest of spoiling him rotten, I make concessions:)

His birthday breakfast...!

And I want to share a little tip on blueberry pancakes I learned this morning. Usually, after the batter is mixed, I gently fold in the berries. Today I discovered that if you hold out on the berries until just after you spoon the batter onto your griddle and then sprinkle them on, the pancakes set up a little better and they all have an even amount of berries! Best pancakes I've made yet!

Happy weekend!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Happy Birthday My Love!

Guess who is 25 today? That would be my darling husband!

I hope it's a super, spectacular, incredibly wonderful, unimagineably fun and exciting day, just like you my Love! You deserve only the very best!

We have lots of celebrating going on this weekend all beginning with dinner at Lucille's tonight and a party with friends and family tomorrow, with plenty in between!

Happy 3-day weekend!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Iron Man

Happy Thursday! I'm a little on the tired side today. I may have stayed up a wee bit late watching Iron Man with Chris. Which was, by the way, his birthday gift #3! I will admit, with the sound system hooked up, it was pretty fantastic! Now I can't wait for the second one to come out this Spring.

I can hardly believe tomorrow is Friday! Let the birthday fun begin, or should I say continue! And to top it all off, we have a long weekend, which I think I'm going to need!

Have a lovely day, the weekend is almost here!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sew Cute!

In an effort to live more green, I am always on the lookout for easy, practical ways to eliminate paper/plastic products around the house. While browsing on Etsy (an occurrence that takes place way too frequently!) I found the cutest reusable snack/sandwich bags. Currently I pack our lunches with reusable plastic containers, but when I just want to throw some almonds in my purse, those containers prove to be quite a hassle.

Enter these adorable snack bags! My intention was to immediately purchase a set of them. But thankfully, I decided to browse some more, just to ensure they were the ones I wanted, and wouldn't you know, I stumbled upon the pattern that was for sale! And naturally, being the eager new owner of a sewing machine, I snatched it up so now I can make them for myself (in 4 different sizes)!

I can't wait to get it! Aren't they adorable?!

Hair Pretties

I was one of those little girls who was always wearing some sort of "hair pretty", as my Mom called them. A hair style just never seemed quite complete without one!

Now that I'm all grown up, I still find myself compelled to wear flowers in my hair. Something about the feminine, whimsical feel they have, I suppose.

Even on my wedding day I choose to skip a veil in place of some fresh gardenias. And it was despite their current trendiness, it just seemed to suit me better:)

Here are some lovely finds from Etsy that I am totally smitten with ~






Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Happy News!

I've got very happy news to share today! Yesterday I took (and passed!) the ACSM Personal Trainer Certification Exam! I knew that if I didn't take it before Thanksgiving it would get pushed back to January, but nevertheless it's done! I feel such a deep sense of relief having that over with! Now I just have to put it to use!

And in other exciting happenings, last night Chris got his first birthday present! I've decided that each day has a theme and yesterday was favorite edibles! I gave him a six pack of Guiness and Sierra Nevada to make a black and tan (well, a few black and tans) and a delicious piece of tiramisu that we shared for dessert! I think he enjoyed it very much!

And today we both have appointments to get our teeth cleaned so we are leaving work early together! Having my hubby home a few hours early is like a present in itself!

I hope your week has started off brilliantly!

Monday, January 11, 2010

A New Tradition

Today is day one of Chris' birthday week! This year I decided to start a new tradition and I am giving him a present each day through Friday! Even though the gifts are going to start out small, I am quite excited about today's! Of course, I can't tell because he will probably read this before he gets home:-)

I've been tying to pump him up about this week and finally last night he said, "My birthday week starts tomorrow!".

Don't you just love spoiling loved ones on their birthday!!

And on a weekend note, Chris took me to one of our favorite restaurants Friday night!

I hope your weekend was marvelous!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Inspiration: Space

If you read our last post (written by my husband!) you know that a lot of his time this weekend was spent setting up our entertainment area in the living room. But what he didn't tell you is that I was busy shifting around our den!

We recently purchased a laptop to replace our older and much less attractive desktop, freeing up our desk! I am so excited to have a large, uncluttered space for my creative outlets again (ie: sewing, scrapbooking, card making etc.).

What do you think?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Touch of Best Buy to the Crate and Barrel

This isn't what you expected, because for a first time in a long time you are not reading something written with a feminine touch. This is Mr. Hansen's turn to chime in on the blog.

Before you close the browser window give the "trained" writer in the family a chance. That isn't a slight at my wife, she is a fantastic writer, but don't you want to know about man cave coexistence?

We have been married now for a year and a half and our apartment has certainly gone through several transformations.

When we moved in, our living room consisted of a hand-me-down white couch, my beat-up fish tank, a Crate and Barrel coffee table and a 27" classic style television on top of my Wal-Mart TV stand. The walls were white and the windows had no curtains.

Due to Kate's get down to business attitude, the early transformations were largely aesthetic. We got a new couch, chair and ottoman. We painted a wall and purchased curtains.

One reason Kate married me, and I believe she will admit this to anybody who asks, is that I am pretty handy. It is just in my blood. I've now put up curtains more times than I can count.

We only have five windows, but between the couple sets of curtains we didn't like and Abby pulling them down, the drill has received plenty of use.

If you've been following the blog for a while, you may have heard we purchased a Plasma TV just before Christmas. It was something we had been saving up for a while.

My lovely wife got me a PS3 for Christmas so the home theater system that every man seems to demand was coming together.

I realize that this is snooze-fest for all the females reading, so I'll spare you the juicy details. The part I wanted to highlight was that it is possible to add a touch of Best-Buy to Crate and Barrel.

I was able to parlay a hand-me down sound system from my mother-in-law and a Christmas gift from my own mother to put together the home theater sound I sought after.

Seven speakers and a subwoofer had to find a home in our living room. This is beauty to man, but for the woman it's a nightmare.

With a lot of grace from my lovely wife I went on the quest to setup this system. The following pictures are the result.

While far from perfect, the "ugly" has been mostly avoided sans a couple temporarily exposed cords, the Wal-Mart TV stand just got overwhelmed. 

A new TV stand along with the long awaited fish tank upgrade I've yet to complete should put the finishing touches to the gentle melding of male and female.

I hope you also will find a little space for your man. My beautiful wife did and I believe she is as happy as I am with the results.


I've got plenty of tips and tricks for the home theater setup on the cheap, without sacrificing too much quality.

You can find those details here.
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