Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sunshine and Pink Lemonade

I am loving this summery little tablescape! A lovely image for a rainy Wednesday morning, don't you think? I imagine lunching in a lush garden, sipping on pink lemonade and being pampered from head to toe. It's quite perfect really!

What do you dream about on rainy days?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I've always taken a little pride in not being a big tv watcher. Don't get me wrong, I like it, I've just never been one to get addicted to shows (Friends is the one exception and that borders a minor obsession!). Now with that said, I may need to rethink that statement because as of lately, I have three shows I must watch weekly. Eek, who have I become?! My weekly lineup includes: Grey's Anatomy, The Office and more recently, the new NBC show Parenthood.

Now that the cat's out of the bag with my tv watching, I feel the need to gush a little bit about Parenthood, which I am loving! It's about a large family basically trying to figure out lifes twists and turns. It's sweet, funny and has a pretty well known cast, including Gilmore Girls Lauren Graham. I appreciate the "real life" element to the show. Plus there are several main characters, giving the it a lot of room for character development. If you haven't seen it, you really should check it out! I can't wait for tonights episode!

Have you been watching Parenthood? If so, what do you think?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Delightful Weekend and a Little Project

Happy Monday! I hope you had a lovely and relaxing weekend!

Ours was one of those unplanned weekends with all the right things...

Saturday began with my early morning workout and some casual house hunting with our realtor. Then my parents invited us to have lunch at my favorite sushi restaurant; always a good mood lifter! After lunch Chris and I went home to put up our new Ikea frames/cool art and then met up with Emily and Mark for coffee/sitting outside in the sunshine and catching up since they were in town for the weekend! Then some grocery shopping and a delicious dinner with the hubs.

Sunday I got in an afternoon nap after church, something I haven't had in months. And the rest of the evening I worked on training plans because I have a new client today!!

All-in-all a wonderful weekend! I am trying to remind myself that I can indeed get through this week because it is my last full week of work until my birthday (where I'll be taking two full days off!).

Here are a few pictures (though not very good ones!) of what we decided to do above our tv, an area we've never really liked. We bought four 11x15 Ribba frames from Ikea that are matted to fit an 8x10 print. Then we printed four 8x10 photos that we took on our honeymoon (well, the one of our rings was taken by our amazing wedding photographer). We really didn't want more pictures of us, so we took ones of different elements that represent us but look more like art. I really couldn't get a good photo, but the colors pop without being too obtrusive and we love the finished product!

Click on the photo for a better view or better yet, come over!

Want to see some other recent updates to the apartment? Click here, here, and here.

Friday, March 26, 2010

R&R Weekend

What are you up to this weekend? Darling husband and I are doing a little shopping at Ikea tonight in hopes of finding some big frames to spruce up an area of the apartment that desperately needs some love.

And seeing as the next several weeks will be wonderfully busy, I'm counting on some good R&R this weekend. Hmm, maybe even a nice bath and a good book...

Have a lovely weekend!

photo by Country Living

Thursday, March 25, 2010


A very unusual thing happened to me this week; I went under budget on groceries! This never happens. Never. What can I say, I delight in great food!

Like clockwork each week, I plan our meals for the week and make a shopping list using these~

On the rare occassion I can tell I will be under budget, I might stray from the list and grab a bunch of flowers or some excellent dark chocolate or some decadent tea I've been wanting to try.

I'm not sure what happened this week but I was well under budget. We're talking record breaking and I honestly couldn't tell you why. Especially since I had added some delicious lemon and thyme turkey sausage, fresh pesto that I just had to buy once I tried a sample and a good sized chunk of Manchego cheese. All things not on my list!

As we got up to the check out I kept saying how much I liked the raw honey we had just sampled, but couldn't really justify the price. At this point I didn't know how much we had spent. But my sweet husband said I should go back and get it if I liked it so much. So off I went to grab a jar, deciding it was totally worth the splurge!

So you can imagine my suprise when our total came out $11 under budget, even with all the "extras". Pure craziness!

And so I feel obliged to tell you about this delicious honey I splurged on. It's called Apitherapy raw honey by Honey Gardens. I have never tasted honey so smooth and so deliciously sweet without being overwhelming. After reading a little about the differences in raw honey I learned that it is unheated and unfiltered, so it retains beneficial amounts of pollen, propolis and beeswax. It is said to support a healthy digestive system because of the high enzyme count and has traditionally been used as a remedy for seasonal allergies. I've been enjoying it all week on oat toast with a cup of tea.

I want to know, what foodie items do you splurge on when you have a little extra?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

{I Wish...}

Ay, with too little sleep and my new-found seasonal allergies, I am having a rough go today. I would very much like to blink myself right back to this pretty little city in Italy where my mom and I stayed for a whole week during my semester abroad.

Sleeping late, sipping cappuccinos at the little cafe by the water, watching sweet old fisherman and not having a care in the world. Yes, I would very much like to be there today. {sigh}

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Quite the Quandary

I'll admit it, I'm a total sucker for picnics! But I've got to say I'm oddly stumped. In my search for a new picnic blanket, I've come up empty handed. What's the deal? Does nobody make pretty, inexpensive picnic blankets anymore? I've tried all the usual suspects: Target, Etsy, Vera Bradley, even other blogs and I'm at a loss my friends.

So I've got to ask, what do you use as a picnic blanket? Any ideas, suggestions and picnic blanket finds would be greatly appreciated!

Monday, March 22, 2010

All In A Days Work

Happy Spring! I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Our was perfectly delightful. Complete with gardening, spring cleaning and rearranging the house to be Spring ready!

Once we were done with the patio I sat outside reading my new magazines and savoring the pretty view while Abby sunbathed. I just love the freshness and colorful blooms that come with the season!

Here's a peek at our weekend projects~

Just getting started and Abby wanted to be a part of the action. My handsome husband mixing the soil.
Our weeekend purchases to spruce up what we already had.
Pretty succulents
Lovely blooms!
My gardenia:-)
And when we were done outside, I decided it was time to bring some Spring inside as well. I used things I already had to freshen up the dining area as well as the entry table, kitchen, bedrooms, bathroom, and living area! I love what a little rearranging can do for your mood!

Here's a little glimpse at the dining area~

I also started brainstorming some diy projects I'll be working on in the next few weeks. Can't wait to show you my progress!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Much Excitement!

Happy Friday! Today holds much excitement for me, the most obvious being that it's the last day of the work week and the last day of Winter! All I have to say about that is peace out and bring on more sunshine!

And the second and biggest excitement I have today comes from the call I received from my Dad early this morning letting me know I am a big sister again to another BROTHER! His name is Nicholas and everyone seems happy and healthy! A huge congratulations to my Dad and Rebecca! Sending you all my love and kisses! Can't wait to meet the little guy!

And finally, I'm looking forward to a delightful, sunny, SPRING weekend! In honor of the glorious occassion, we're going to plant new herbs, take Abby to the park, maybe hit up a few garage sales and just enjoy being outside!

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sitting Pretty

Isn't this chair lovely? So welcoming and happy. I have a delightful set of green chairs almost identical in shape to this one (although, mine are a bit curvier) and am considering repainting and recovering the seats to look something like this. I feel a weekend project coming on!

Inspiration and photo from the sweet blog Little French Nest.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

In-Season: Home

With the coming of each new season, it only feels natural to spruce up my living space with a few fun accents that make the space feel fresh. And with Springtime comes brighter, cheerier colors and apparently everything birds! Here are some finds I am just smitten with lately.

Welcome friends into your home with this incredibly sweet eco-friendly bird doormat by bambeco. And while your checking this out, take a peek at some of their other delightful home goods.

And now that Spring is so close, peonies are soon to show up! And who doesn't love a vase (or two or three!) full of these gorgeous blooms?

I am very fond of new pillow covers as an easy way to transition throughout the year. You might even say they are a minor obsession! When I found these by plumcushion I instantly fell in love. Then I saw the price tag and they quickly became purely inspiration .

And so I found a more affordable option with a similar look by Kainkain. A comparable substitute, wouldn't you say?

After Cup of Jo did a giveway from My Sparrow last week, I went crazy for their site! You really should give it a looksie. They have a fabulous selection of jewelry, home furnishings, fabric and so much more! My favorite finds were these bird paper weights that would be such a cute accent on a side table and the lovely owl pitchers pictured below. So, so cute!

I know it isn't reasonable for most of us to buy new bedding every season, but why not do it on a smaller scale and switch out just the shams? A much more frugal option that will still liven up any bedroom! I really like these Woodland Organic Shams from Pottery Barn. And they are on clearance!

And finally, put some pep in your step with this Smoldering Hues shower curtain by Anthropologie. Those fun colors could help anybody wake up happy!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cracker Dilemma Solved

I admit that if it weren't for my husband, there are many delicious snacks I wouldn't know about. Mainly because when it comes to lunches, he tends to be a little, well, high maintanence. This is an area I often lovingly tease him about because he literally needs his lunch components to vary somewhat every week or he just gets bored.

It is for this reason I make a conscious effort to purchase different lunch meat, crackers, fruit and even bread type (whole wheat, rye, pita, etc) on a weekly basis. I personally don't love lunch food so it couldn't matter less for me, but these are the sweet quirks you come to know and love about a spouse.

Truth be told, the cracker arena proves most difficult since I am a faithful Whole Foods shopper and they don't carry most of the popular brands such as Nabisco and Lay's. And much to my husband's dismay because he typically ends up with some wannabe Wheat Thin or Cheez-It with very little resemblance to the real thing he loves so much. Poor guy!

But Saturday was one of those rare occassions where he accompanied me to the store (which is usually dangerous for my budget!) and as we entered the humble cracker aisle, we noticed a little section we had never seen before with Blue Diamond Nut Thins (a familiar brand). As we stared at the 9 different flavors, he had to solicit my advice because he wanted to try them all. We finally landed on the Country Ranch flavor and went on our way.

Of course the real test was still to come. Monday afternoon as he opened his lunch box and pulled out the crackers I think I saw a little bit of nervous anticipation because it they were bad, it meant he had tapped all available cracker resources and there was no suitable option left. But alas, they were delicious! Both perfectly crispy and flavorful. Of course, you knew that or I wouldn't have five paragraphs to tell this story.

So the moral of the story: there is a delicious, Whole Foods approved, cracker that even my husband can be pleased with. And now we have 8 other flavors to explore!

And after reading a little about them I discovered that they are also wheat and gluten free! And apparently Blue Diamond is a sponsor of the Celiac Disease Foundation and National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. Awesome!

In-Season: Produce

I don't know about you, but for me, nothing says Spring like the brightly colored produce that start popping up in stores and at the Farmer's Market. Particularly the ranging variety of greens, a sign that lighter meals and warmer weather are in bloom. Of course, where you live is going to play a role in the fresh, local produce you find, but for the most part, these things can be found in the next several weeks and months.

These are some of my favorites!

Artichokes~ A favorite of my husband, who will eat them in pasta, dip and any other way you can imagine them! And a bonus, they are a good source of vitamin C, folate, magnesium and dietary fiber, while containing no fat!

Avocado~ Come on, we're from California, of course we love avocado...on pretty much anything! And did you know they pack 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins and folic acid? Don't be fooled by their high fat content, as it is mostly unsaturated (the good kind!).

Strawberries~ I am absolutely giddy these are beginning to show their rosy little faces and will continue to grace us with their presence through late-summer! Packed with Vitamin C (even higher than some citrus fruit), folic acid, potassium and dietary fiber, strawberries are a fantastic sweet treat!

Asparugas~ my favorite way to enjoy asparugas is grilled with a squeeze of lemon juice. Of course I love that I can eat a lot because it is also low in calories, contains no cholesterol and is very low in sodium.

Apricots~ This small, delicate fruit is extremely versatile and deliciously tangy when ripe (closer to early May). In addition, they are one of the best sources of beta-carotene.

To find out what's fresh in your area check out NRDC's Eat Local produce finder.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sunshine Love

Happy Monday, lovelies! How are you doing with that hour of lost sleep? I'm definitely feeling it, since trying to go to bed a little earlier last night proved completely useless! But I can't complain too much because an incredible weekend topped off with the extra hour of sunlight makes it all worth my sleepiness today. And if the weatherman is correct, we will be enjoying 70 degree days all week, right through the official first day of Spring this Saturday!

In honor of my my deep love for all things Spring, I'm taking the next few days to share some lovely in-season finds with you. I've got it all, for your home, your closet and your kitchen with the best farmer's market picks! Stay tuned because it all starts tomorrow and then I've got a very special announcement on Friday!

Have a delightful day!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Chocolate Heaven

If you are a chocolate lover like me, than this post is for you. I was browsing Cooking Light's website for inspiration on next weeks dinner menu and got side tracked by this list of 20 Lightened Chocolate Desserts!

Just looking at these pictures makes my mouth water! The five below look absolutely scrumptious to me!

Individual Chocolate Souffle ~ I have a special spot in my heart reserved especially for chocolate souffle!

Upside-Down Fudge Almond Tart~ I always feel like desserts made in my tart pan are "extra special". They just look so pretty and put together:)

Deep Dark Chocolate Biscotti~ Who doesn't love a delicious biscotti? Mmm, dipped in a steaming cup of french pressed coffee...

Double-Caramel Turtle Cake~ This monster of a cake pretty much speaks for itself!

Chocolate Hazelnut Thumbprint~ Mom and I made some cookies very similar to these (from Cooking Light) at Christmas and they ended up being our favorites so I can only imagine these are fantastic! And the filling in these cookies is Nutella!

Pizza Perfection

I've just got to tell you about dinner last night! Don't be fooled by the name because it might sound a bit unconventional, but it's a combination of two foods that are close to my heart: pizza and Mexican food! Naturally, it's called Chicken Taco Pizza and whoever put this combo together was pure genius!

With that said, this recipe will definitely be added to my favorite combos, right alongside this one and this one! Can you tell we have a slight addiction to homemade pizza?

Chicken Taco Pizza
1 frozen whole wheat pizza crust, thawed
1/2 cup tomatillo salsa, plus more for serving
1/4 pound part-skim mozzarella, shredded, divided
1 cup no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen yellow corn, thawed
1 frozen boneless, skinless grilled chicken breast (such as Nature's Rancher brand), thawed and chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 425°F. Arrange crust on a pizza stone or large baking sheet. Spread salsa over crust and sprinkle with half of the cheese. Top with beans, corn, chicken and remaining cheese and bake until crust is crisp and cheese is bubbly, about 25 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro, cut into 8 pieces and serve with more salsa on the side.

Just a note~

*I substituted the mozzerella with sharp cheddar, something I would definitely recommend!
*The recipe isn't clear, but I recommend grilling the chicken beforehand and only cooking the pizza for about 15 minutes and not the 25 they suggest (unless you like a REALLY crispy crust!).
*Don't forget to use whole wheat crust to boost the nutritional content! Whole Foods makes a fantastic dough that can be found in the frozen section. Not only is it less than $2, but it is one of the best pizza doughs I've found (I don't mess with homemade in this case)!

Happy Friday and don't forget to turn your clocks forward as daylight saving begins this weekend.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Home Project? Do It Yourself!

When it comes to our home, there is nothing more exciting than envisioning a project and tackling it ourselves! While they can be laboring and time consuming, the finished project always brings such satisfaction and pride in your handy work. And let's face it, they're so much fun! (It's also a huge plus that I have a very handy husband!)

One of my favorite guides to diy projects is Better Homes and Gardens Do It Yourself Magazine. It's published quarterly and always leaves me with a list of wishful projects.

With Spring just around the corner (9 days to be exact!), my head is flooded with fun things Chris and I can tackle this year!

I'm really trying to brave up the courage to upholster our own headboard! Lucky me, my mother-in-law has some experience with that!

Wouldn't something like this be awesome?! (not the color, but the fun pattern and shape!)


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Kitchen Trickery

As I mentioned last week, I have temporarily given up sweets and desserts, which quite honestly, has been difficult at times. Like when I got a work email yesterday saying there were chocolate covered coconut balls in the kitchen (come on!). But not all hope is lost as I've found some creative ways to "trick" myself into thinking I'm getting a sweet treat.

What are these tricks, you ask? Well, possibly my favorite is a little secret I learned many years ago: freezing grapes! That's right, the bum fruit we pick around in a fruit salad is completely transformed when frozen. The insides become slushy while the skin gives a hearty crunch as you bite into them. They honestly taste like bite-size popsicles (which is what we decided we'll tell our kids they are!).

Unknown to me, my husband had never tasted this frozen delight. As I pulled out the bag last night to satisfy a sweet craving, he sceptically grabbed a few and popped them in his mouth. Obviously he was pleasantly suprised, even to the point he told me to take away the bag or he might finish it off! Haha! At least I wouldn't feel bad if he finished them off, unlike, say, a box of Girl Scout cookies...

And did I mention this is the easiest snack ever? Just wash a bag of grapes, stick them in a plastic bag and pop in the freezer until you're ready to eat.

These may have saved me from sneaking a few treats currently sitting in our pantry!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Why I Love Target

I know I cannot be the only person who goes to Target for two things and ends up spending $100, only to wonder what the heck I bought! I don't know how they manage to do it, but they ALWAYS have great stuff for cheap! This was especially dangerous when I was in college and my roommate and I would drive to Target without needing anything (yikes) and typically came home with a plethora of new yoga pants, yummy candles, magazines and such.

With that said, I love Target!

While there yesterday afternoon to pick up a birthday card, I naturally migrated over to the kitchen isle, but surely you know where this story is going so I'll cut to the chase...

I found these super cute canisters that are exactly what I have been looking for! They only cost $15 and come in 4 fun retro colors. I love them! They go perfectly in our kitchen and have a tight seal. What more could a girl ask for?

Now all my breakfast needs are within reach, my coffee, oatmeal and sugar in the raw! I know I'm a geek, but when I walked in my kitchen this morning, the cheery pop of color made me smile!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Inspiration: Weekend Sewing

Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross

On Saturday, as my mom and I waited patiently for our number to be called at the fabric counter in Joann's, we browsed this adorable book! It has all kinds of fun and easy sewing projects like: guest room slippers, an overnight bag, pillow cases and even an outside puppy tent. And a bonus, the book is filled with whimsical, vintage-chic pictures. I am officially adding this to my birthday list!

One Lump or Two?

I am loving this print from the shop, MrPS! Can you imagine it in a fresh, white kitchen with that fun pop of clementine? So the only question that remains: one lump or two?

Have a lovely Monday!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

My Very First Apron!

So I just finished my very first apron! And it's inspired me to continue mastering the art of sewing. I'm amazed at how much I learned just making this one, and I am proud to admit I didn't even use a pattern! I was inspired by one of my great grandmother's aprons that was given to me. Pretty nifty, right?

While I love and own many different varieties of aprons, I am partial to the half apron. I am drawn to it's functionality and no-fuss factor, which is probably why I loved my grandmothers so much. It is simple while still remaining feminine and sweet. And how cute is that red gingham?!

This was my inspiration.

And THIS is my finished product! While far from perfect, I love it just the same. This picture makes it difficult to see the cute pleats, but they give it a girly flair.

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