Monday, April 30, 2012

Weekend via Instagram

I cannot believe it's Monday already.  It seems no matter what the weekend holds, there is just never enough time and Monday is here before you know it.  So before I become that girl with a case of the Mondays, let me recap the weekend for you:


Friday evening I was craving a fountain cherry coke something awful.  It's one of my weaknesses, just like a venti bold from Starbucks is one of J's.  So after work, J and I headed north to one of the mall areas in Columbus and he was sweet enough to make sure we stopped at Chick Fil A before we stopped anywhere else:

Even though it was out of the way, I didn't even have to pull out the puppy eyes to get this one, making my victory that much sweeter.  Pun intended.


After we got our beverage situation squared away (J got his Starbucks before we even left the Village, don't you fret), we made our way over to The Great Indoors.  This super sized home furnishing store is going out of business in Columbus and as such have started marking down their inventory.  It's still in the early phases of closing (read: 20% was the average discount) so not much that we could get for a steal.  


But we had been looking for something to fill a corner in the living room and we ended up with this:
I am pleased to say J did the arranging of the vase with the inserts.  If anything, the boy is particular.


I also got to stop at Jo-Ann's for fabric for an upcoming project:
Saturday was cold and rainy so we spent most of the day inside until we made a quick Target/grocery run.  But rather than go to the store on an empty stomach, we swung by Piada for a delicious dinner:
For those of you outside of Columbus, Piada is a local Italian restaurant much like Chipotle.  You can pick a pasta bowl, a salad bowl or a Piada (an Italian type sandwich) and pick your meat, toppings, and sauce (I highly recommend their Fresh Basil Pesto).  It's a favorite of J and I's and soooooo delicious.


We had an early evening at home and Sunday we got up and got to work.  J outside:
more on this project later...
And me in the kitchen:
recipe to come...
Then before we knew it, the day was nearly over and it was time to get ready for work.

That's what we were up to this weekend, what about you guys?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Happy Birthday


Yesterday was my birthday.  My 28th birthday to be exact.  Yet I feel no different than I did at 27, only this year I wasn't nearly as excited for my birthday as I usually am.  Weird, because last Christmas I was lacking the same excitement and enthusiasm that I used to have.  Maybe I'm just getting older, but I sure hope I don't turn into one of those curmudgeons who hates holidays and birthdays because dammit, I love a good celebration.

So before this post gets all deep and sappy, I'll make it short and sweet.  

Between all of the Facebook posts, the 5 singing telegrams via phone and the cards I received in the mail, it was a pretty good birthday.  J made a delicious dinner of steak and shrimp scampi, after the poor guy got home late from his jury duty/real job schedule he's been keeping.  AND he made me a chocolate mayonnaise cake using my Grandma's recipe.  

He's a keeper for sure.  

I feel so blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life who made the day so special.  Favorite singing telegram: "Happy Birthday to youuuu, that's all the singing I'm going to dooooo."

I keep saying this was a great first annual 28th birthday celebration.  I'm looking forward to what the next five or so have in store.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Fun With Watercolors

I'm going to let you in on a little secret...I'm not that creative.  I'm really good at following DIY instructions that are laid out in a logical manner.  I like finding a room in a magazine decorated in things I like so I can incorporate those elements into my home.  It's very hard for me to let my mind wander in these instances because I tend to over-think and second guess my original thought.


So a coupe of weeks ago, I saw a DIY "art" project that required using water colors on paper, cutting the paper into strips and then assembling said strips in a frame for a unique picture.  For the life of me I cannot remember where I saw it or why in the world I didn't just pin the darn thing because it turned out so cute.  But I figured, what the heck, I can do this.


So I assembled the materials:

I figured more colors = more options for design.  And I was instantly transported back to kindergarten.  I even contemplated putting on a painting smock but figured I could handle this without much mess.


The plan was to just paint.  Paint whatever nonsensical things I could just throw on the paper.  So I tried with two different color combinations...
See, even my abstract art looks rather uniform...

Then it was time to cut:
And this is where the creativity ended.  I couldn't remember how the strips were assembled.  Was each strip cut into further strips?  How exactly was this done? I was having flashbacks to art class where I received an S- (below satisfactory) on my water color tree because I just couldn't freely paint.  So, I decided to throw this stuff out and paint what I know:
I'm no Picasso, but this will do just fine on the future gallery wall...which now has a total of two pieces ready to go!  And if I ever find that other water color project I will for sure remember to save the link.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wednesday Wish List: Stress Relief

I have always been a big sleeper.  As in, I need my sleep in order to fully function or there will come a point in my sleep deprived day when I start crying for absolutely no reason other than I'm tired.  I'm like a 27 year old baby that way, I guess.  And I fully aspire to be one of those parents who can get their 3 month old on a sleep schedule so mama can get her z's.  Fingers crossed I'll have a cooperative child when that time comes.


Usually when I don't get sleep it's work or stress related.  Often times a good combination of both because, gosh darn it, I want people to like me.  I want my work product to be great.  I want to make sure J is happy even after I snap at him for leaving the dish cloth full of soapy water at the bottom of an empty sink uh-gain.  I want to give enough time to my friends and family even though I know it will never really be enough.  And these are all of the thoughts that consume me when I'm trying to go to sleep at night or when I have a free minute at work to remember whether I mailed that birthday card or not.  And if we were friends, you'd be getting a birthday card in the mail -- it's kind of my thing.


So in my never ending attempt to please, which is hard when you're also very sarcastic, I thought I'd share a few things that help me unwind.


First up is this fantastic product:

I received the Lavender Chamomile Body Wash & Foam Bath and the corresponding lotion for Christmas this year and it. is. heavenly.  If you remember this post, you know that J installed a deep bath tub with jets in the upstairs bathroom.  These two things alone are enough to whisk away the stress of a hard day.


But for those of you whose budget knows no bounds, I present to you the following:
For $3,000 this "zero gravity" chair will massage your troubles away.  I will have one of these by the time I retire.  If not sooner...

And for the budgets in between bubble bath and massage chairs:
The Sound Machine.  With 20 different sounds, surely this will put your mind at ease.

I've also found working and deep breathing to be extremely helpful, but what fun is a wish list without some pictures?  And when all else fails, head for the Xanax.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Spaghetti Carbonara

When your work life throws you an enormous pile of stuff to do and your weekend was spent reading Fifty Shades of Grey and not crafting, then it's time to post a recipe on the blog since that's all the content you've got right now.  


As I mentioned back in this post, I plan a weekly menu for J and I.  It keeps me on task when it comes to the grocery list and from looking at each other each night asking what's for dinner?  I use Pinterest to find new recipes and while this one is far from new, it was new to us to make at home.  And I'm craving it right now:



Spaghetti Carbonara
adapted from FoodNetwork.com

Ingredients:
 Kosher Salt
6 slices of thick cut bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
 1/2 teaspoon of minced rosemary
 2 red jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1/4 cup cognac or brandy (optional and we didn't use it)
12 ounces spaghetti
 3 large eggs
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Freshly ground pepper

Instructions:
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
2.  Combine bacon, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, jalapenos and 1/4 cup of water in large skillet.
3.  Cook over med-high heat, stirring occasionally until water evaporates and bacon crisps.
4.  Discard the garlic.
5.  Add cognac if desired and cook until it evaporates.
6.  Remove from heat and set aside 1/4 cup bacon mixture for garnish
7.  Cook spaghetti according to label
8.  Mix the eggs, cheeses, parsley, and 1 teaspoon of pepper in a bowl.
9.  Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of cooking water
10.  Return skillet to med-high heat, add pasta and toss until heated through.
11.  Whisk the reserved pasta water into the egg mixture and quickly pour over the pasta.  Toss to gently cook the eggs and make a creamy sauce.
12. Garnish with the reserved bacon mixture and more parmesan.


Enjoy!!


Monday, April 16, 2012

Gray + Yellow

One of my favorite color combinations that is currently making its way across all of the stores is gray and yellow.  Yet as much as I love it, the Wiz Khalifa song "Black and Yellow" is now running through my head...fantastic.  I'm powering through, though, and will share with you some of my favorite spaces and items that have incorporated this color scheme:








The list could go on and on!  But given that J and I purchased this bedding in "Fog" with our Christmas money, I'm thinking we could add a little yellow to sass it up a bit (or turquoise, or purple, or pink if J would let me...)  And that print above is definitely going on the bedroom gallery wall.  You know, once tax season passes and my cash flow is a bit more giving.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Caramel Breakfast Ring

I've been having some serious sugar cravings lately.  If you know me, that's not normal.  I am a salt girl all the way.  The same goes for breakfasts...I prefer eggs, bacon, hashbrowns and toast over pancakes and waffles or anything sweet.  But I had to give into the craving and since I didn't have any Easter Sweet Tarts left in the house, I used some of the frozen rolls I had bought for dinner and made the following:


If it looks like heaven, that's because it is.

Caramel Breakfast Ring
adapted from the kitchen of Aaron Rausch

Prepare the night before...

1.  Spray bundt pan with cooking spray
2.  Add a layer of chopped pecans to the bottom of the pan
3.  Place 12 - 16 frozen rolls in the pan
I use Rhode's frozen rolls and I stood them up so they leaned against each other.
4.  Sprinkle half a box of Cook and Serve Jell-o Vanilla Pudding mix over the rolls
5.  On the stove, melt 1/3 cup of butter
6.  Mix butter with 1/2 cup of brown sugar and add cinnamon to taste
7.  Pour mixture over rolls
8. Add another layer of pecans
9.  Cover with waxed paper sprayed with cooking spray
10.  Place in cold oven or microwave over night to allow rolls to rise
11.  Remove from oven, preheat to 325 and bake for 30 minutes
12.  When done, flip upside down onto platter and serve.

As you can see, we didn't add pecans because I didn't have them in the house, but either way it's the caramel you're going for and this gem delivers perfectly!  I think I'll need to make this again this weekend...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wednesday Wish List: Patio Season

I don't know about you guys, but the spring weather we had in March (record temperatures in the 90s!!) had me seriously wish we had a big patio space with which we could fill with some fun furniture.  And every time J sees a commercial with a shed in it, he gets that longing look in his eyes and says wistfully, "I want a shed."


While we're not quite to the point where we can sell the house, we are thinking about our next move and the suburbs are winning.  The neighbors across the street have become a little thorn in our city dwelling sides to say the least.  They park their cars incredibly too close to everyone else's, the often will park half in the street, half in a parking spot, and often with the wheels facing outward.

And to top it all off, they recently acquired a small yipping dog.  I love small dogs as much as the next girl, but I wouldn't leave all the windows open in my house and leave the new dog for the day just to have it bark for 8 consecutive hours.  

Maybe I was just in the middle of newly cohabiting bliss but I didn't even notice the parking thing until very recently.  And with that came more desires to have that patio in the quiet suburbs.  Long story short, I'm presenting you with some patio furniture options that I am loving and if any of you have patios, you better be out and enjoying them!

This one is by far my favorite.  It's everything I would want in the seating area: 


I love the lanterns on this one!
And if you're looking for something a little more affordable than Pottery Barn, Target has some cute options!
And you can't give Target options without some Smith & Hawken!
I could go on and on!  West Elm, Restoration Hardware, Crate and Barrel, Room and Board, I die! 

Do you guys have lovely patios that you're decorating?  If so, I'm beyond jealous!  

And look at that, the post is done with 3.5 hours left in the day so, dare I say, I might be back on track with this blogging thing?!


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Second Backsplash

Despite my short blogging hiatus, I am still tired of the word "backsplash."  But since this is a blog about my house and we did just finish the rest of the backsplash in the kitchen, I have to share.


The final phases of the kitchen reno, seen herehere, and here, were complete and we were waiting on one backordered backsplash.  Given the space on the island left us little room for a backsplash, we didn't want to clutter it up with the large pattern that we put behind the stove:

 So we opted for this little guy:
Same color scheme and materials as the larger pieces.  I love how the stone pieces looked raised but they aren't; everything is on one level.  


Unfortunately, it was a month and a half late due to being on back order so it wasn't until last weekend that J was able to pick it up and install it--all while I was home visiting family so naturally the pictures aren't as step by step as what I would have taken.  But he's learning.


J started right in and cut the mesh backing on the tile sheets so they would fit the space.  Thankfully, he didn't have to cut the tiles themselves because they fit perfectly:
That ever so tiny gap at the top of the tile before the bottom of the counter was easily filled in with a thicker line of grout.  You can't even tell it's there unless you bend over and look for it.  


And you know the drill....mastic goes up, tile goes down, a little tapping into place and let it set.  Followed by a little sealer:
Which is followed by grout!
Wipe off the excess and admire the good job:
Now we are officially one refrigerator away from a finished kitchen!

This was a nice little project to come home to on Sunday--all done and it didn't require me holding any drywall above my head.  Which we are ALL thankful for.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Some Thoughts + Easter Weekend

Do you ever get so caught up in the busy-ness of life that you start dropping things that are otherwise important to you?  And then the things that you've dropped start nagging you in the back of your mind...like I know I should really post a blog update but what if my readers have forgotten about me?  What do I write if I don't have a massive home project underway?  


I've checked in on my stats from time to time and the traffic has come to a halt.  Don't get me wrong I know this is my fault for lack of posting.  I wouldn't visit a blog without content either.  But the longer I thought about it, the more overwhelmed I got by thinking of what I could post on next.  


A couple of weekends in March were spent traveling so that tapped any time I had to do any type of crafting.  And I miss crafting.  And trips to Jo-Ann's and Michael's and Hobby Lobby.  Work got busier too and when I got home all I wanted to do was something mindless like read a book or cook dinner.  Event though the thought of my blog becoming a piece of discarded web space was always in the back of my mind.


But I'm back now.  And despite my life's schedule, I will try to post daily.  In the grand scheme of things, I was only gone for a week and a half straight but even two days of absence is enough for me to lose interest in a blog that I would otherwise read daily.   I can be fickle about some things, I'll be honest.  Hopefully there are a few readers still out there and if so, I thank you for hanging on.


NOW, after that rambling, my first post back in a while is a little summary of my Easter weekend.  I hope you all had the chance to partake in a delicious Easter dinner and spend time with loved ones.  J and I were home for the first weekend in three weeks so we took full advantage of it.

I made a trip to Jo-Ann's and got pulled into the home decor section.  I have been wanting that top fabric for forever and I found it for $19.99/yard with an additional 40% off.  The only problem is that I have no idea where I could put it in my house.  A former co worker used it for her little girl's nursery and it turned out absolutely adorable.  Unfortunately, it's far too girly for J's taste and we're not exactly in the nursery decorating business right now!


And what about that damask print below it?? I want to make pillows!  And floor poofs!  And curtains! Too bad I don't have a craft room to decorate....
I made a tiny bit of progress organizing the 3rd floor office space.  Enough so that I could put my computer on the desk with the file folder organizers.  I started going through some boxes and organized things like the papers for the house, threw out old mail and papers, magazines (!!!) and started more piles of stuff to go through later.  Always a work in progress I tell you.  


But my favorite find of all was in a stack of pictures I found in one of J's boxes.  He's absolutely going to kill me for this, but considering it's not an accurate representation of how he currently looks, I'm going to go for it:
Better to ask for forgiveness than for permission sometimes....  Straight out of 1973, the caption on the back refers to him as "Buckaroo."  I'm so crazy about this picture, I think it's adorable and can't wait to add it to the future gallery wall.  


He's now threatening massive home video retaliation, but dammit I was BORN to be on video in the 80s.  I'm not ashamed of any singing, dancing, or staging my own Wheel of Fortune show with flash cards and my 9 month old sister as one of the contestants.


Sunday we had an amazing dinner of ham, mashed potatoes, deviled eggs, and green bean casserole, and a little red velvet cake from scratch with some cream cheese frosting.  You know, the usual Easter fare.  But the star of the show was J's homemade cheese and onion focaccia bread:
It was half gone before I could get a picture and as you can tell, it was delicious.


Now it's Monday and we're back to work.  Busy as ever and awaiting my sister's arrival into town later this evening.  


Happy Belated Easter, everyone, and Happy Monday as well!

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