Month: January 2014

Here Comes Cupid

I decorated the house for Valentine’s Day! What a cheery task. I had so much fun framing a few love-themed art prints, digging out my heart-shaped plates and gathering all the pink and red decor I could muster from around the house to create cute little nooks.

Here’s what I came up with for the kitchen. Notice the poinsettia leftover from Christmas? It matches my kitchen so well I figured I’d keep it for a while longer and I love how cute it looks in this Valentine’s Day vignette.

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Bee mine art print

And the dining room. Ready to serve a Valentine’s Day cocktail fit for Cupid himself at a moments notice.

Love, Love, Love art print

And finally the living room. Spotted: another squatting poinsettia. I had to let him stay, too.

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Happy Valentine's Day art print

I also love how a few pieces of existing decor ties so well into my Valentine’s Day pieces making the house feel festive and sweet without being overkill or corny.

Valentine’s Day will be here before you know it. But first up, the Super Bowl! Are you excited? I can’t say that I am, but it’s usually a fun day nonetheless. Go team!

Small Victories

Winter is in full swing on the east coast. And so is my lack of motivation. I’m sure you can tell by my absence here that I just haven’t been feeling very inspired lately. The difference between ‘try’ and ‘triumph’ is just a little ‘umph’, they say, but there’s no ‘umph’ to be found ’round these parts.

Lazy Cody

There are plenty of things on my to do list, but lately it seems like the only items that actually get crossed off are the bare essentials – just barely. There are closets to be organized, walls to be repainted, trim to be caulked, and a tricky elongated living room begging for just the right furniture placement that I haven’t quite come up with yet – not for lack of trying. I’m coming for you, 21×14.

It doesn’t help that our third snow storm of the winter just left town. My commute home from work on Tuesday was 4. hours. long. 4 HOURS to go 35 MILES! The snow started much earlier than predicted and by the time I got out of a meeting nearly an inch was on the ground. The swiftly falling snow compounded by the early rush hour that started around lunch time due to the fact that everyone and their mother was trying to make it home before the heavy stuff really hit made for the commute from H-E-double-hockey-sticks.

Snowy commute

The snow is becoming less of a novelty and more of a schedule-ruining pain in the behind with each storm. I love working from home once in a while, but I’m starting to feel cooped up, and the more I sit at home the less motivated I become. It’s a vicious cycle that has me counting even the smallest victories as a win this week.

I kept the whole house clean, cooked homemade meals and had a nice dinner out with friends. Win, win and win. I mean, c’mon, who wouldn’t want poached eggs on a toasty slice of whole wheat baguette topped with mango salsa, Sriracha and cilantro for dinner on a Tuesday night? Amiright?!

Poached eggs

It’s all about the small, wholesome, delicious little wins this week. And I’ll take it.

Clover Leaf is the New Stripe

I’m definitely suffering from a case of the winter blues. The weather has been swinging between 50 degrees and raining to freezing single digit temperatures. Yuck. I just can’t deal – but I must. With the holidays behind me I’m refocusing my attention on the house, and I wanted to update you on some new additions to the master bedroom. I love how small details can really help pull a room together.

pillows

I was given a giftcard for Homegoods for Christmas and I was chomping at the bit to use it. Mike and I were furniture shopping last Saturday so I twisted his arm to stop in and see if anything caught my eye. I happened upon a pair of white pillow cases with a gorgeous graphic navy pattern on sale for $14.99. Score! I had picked up a pair of velvety navy throw pillows by Nate Berkus at Target a few weeks ago and I knew the new pillow cases were just what I needed to pull the whole look together. I’m SO happy with the result!

pillow close up

bed

I’m equally excited about the second new addition to the master which was a Christmas gift from Mike. The stool that I DIY’d to upgrade by vanity back in September was just a little too tall (note to self, keep a measuring tape in my purse while shopping). I needed something a little more comfortable and this cushioned cloverleaf stool was just the ticket! How cute is it?! I love how the white of the cushion ties into the drawer pulls and the wooden legs match my gorgeous 1920s cherry dresser perfectly. So it was in with the clover leaf and out with the stripes. Don’t worry though, the striped stool is currently being repurposed in the office (post to come).

clover leaf stool

vanity stool

Much better than my old setup, right?

New Navy Vanity

Next up on my project list? I want to tackle some smaller finishing touches like closet light fixtures and paint touch ups, and we’re also saving up for some new living room furniture. I can’t get enough of customizing our house to make it really feel like a home.

What are you doing to beat the winter blues? Any projects of your own in the pipeline?

Easy Breakfast Cups

Work is back in full swing, and so is my attempt at prepping meals to get us back on track after a holiday season full of heavy food. Making three meals a day from scratch (two of which that are also portable enough to drag into work) is nothing short of a miracle. I’m trying to make an effort at providing us with three balanced meals to curb cravings and keep hunger pains at bay throughout the hectic work week, so I put on my thinking cap and came up with an easy breakfast that’s perfect for our busy lifestyle – using ingredients I had on hand, no less!

Easy Breakfast Cups

I’m sharing the deets of this genius idea with you, just in case you struggle with healthy meal planning like I do. Okay, maybe not genius (I’m sure there’s hundreds of pins on Pinterest with similar breakfast recipes), but I’m pretty proud of myself. These breakfast cups were inspired by a crustless quiche recipe that I got from my Mommom, but even more lightened up. I used a cupcake pan to make 12 yummy breakfast cups using just six eggs and three small links of sausage. A serving size for Mike and I will be two cups, so one egg and a quarter of a sausage link each, but they’ll taste yummy and curb our cravings for a heavier breakfast sandwich. The protein should stick with us throughout the day, too.

Here’s the recipe if you’d like to make them yourself:

Ingredients

  • Small Sausage Links, sliced (3)
  • Eggs (6)
  • Paprika
  • Garlic Powder
  • Chives

Process

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a cupcake pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cut the sausage links into very thin slices (or use ground sausage) and sauté in pre-heated skillet until cooked.

Crack six eggs into a medium-sized bowl. Sprinkle a generous amount of paprika, garlic powder and chives (dried or fresh) onto eggs and beat with a fork until combined. Feel free to add a little milk to this step for fluffier eggs if you’d like. I didn’t have any on hand, so I omitted it for this recipe. I also omitted adding salt and pepper to the eggs because the sausage would add enough seasoning combined with the other herbs and spices.

Divide cooked sausage slices among the 12 cups in the greased cupcake pan. Pour egg mixture over sausage until cups are half full. Place in oven and bake until eggs become fluffy, about 10 minutes.

Cooked Breakfast Cups

Allow breakfast cups to cool in cupcake pan and divide into grab-and-go single-serve freezer bags. Freeze until ready to eat. Then, pop them into the microwave until warm and enjoy!

Salt, Moonshine and Cupcakes

That pretty much sums up my New Year’s Eve. Our friends Tasha and Steve were gracious enough to invite us with Joe and Laura to their new home to ring in 2014. Dinner was served, drinks flowed, salt was thrown and we watched the ball drop. Wait, one of these things is not like the other.

Cupcake countdown

We exchanged gifts with Steve and Tasha on New Year’s Eve and they got Joe and Mike each a Bug-A-Salt gun. And, since boys will be boys, they turned the fancy fly swatter on each other and shot salt across the room. Awesome gift, guys! Sorry for the mess, Tash…

It was a very fun, relaxed New Year’s Eve and we all had a great time. If you saw the holiday fête I put together you know I appreciate even the smallest details when it comes to throwing a party, and I loved how much thought Tasha put into the evening, like the countdown cupcakes shown above. She had also just attended a whiskey tasting with Steve in the city and they served special moonshine champagne cocktails that were different than anything I’ve ever tasted.

Moonshine Champagne Cocktail

Here’s the recipe if you want to give it a try:

Ingredients

  • 1 shot Moonshine Whiskey
  • 1/2 shot lemon juice
  • 1/2 shot simple syrup
  • Champagne

Process

Pour whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Mix until chilled and well combined. Pour mixture into glass and top with champagne. Serve immediately.

As you can see in the photo above I drank my champagne with a festive gold-striped paper straw. They always add a fun touch to a special drink without breaking the bank.

I didn’t get a ton of pictures throughout the night, but here’s a snapshot of our celebration. Cheers to 2014!

Laura and I before we headed out for the night.
Laura and I before we headed out for the night.
Our last selfie of 2013!
Our last selfie of 2013!
Girlfriends!
Girlfriends!

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Enjoying that Moonshine Champagne Cocktail!
Enjoying that Moonshine Champagne Cocktail!
Bug-A-Salt = Bug Assault, get it?!
Bug-A-Salt = Bug Assault, get it?!
Midnight champagne toast!
Midnight champagne toast!

So, I ate a fish eye…

I know, totally gross, right? It actually wasn’t that bad, and Mike was proud of me for fulfilling a family tradition in his great grandfather’s footsteps to eat the eye of a fish when it’s served whole. The flavor tasted kind of salty like an oyster, but the texture wasn’t as benign. Think jell-o meets a contact. Not that I’ve eaten a contact lens, but that’s what I imagine it would feel like. Check out Mike’s vlog of our Christmas Eve celebration to see the deed go down. I take the fateful bite at around 6:30.

The fish eye was actually my second food adventure of 2013, preceded by my first taste of veal tongue about a month earlier. A true foodie takes risks, right? Hey, Anthony Bourdain espoused the deliciousness of the veal tongue at the EXACT SAME RESTAURANT where I tried it. I walked, er, ate in Bourdain’s footsteps. You have to give me some sort of foodie props for that, people!

Though I don’t think I’ll be trying fish eye again anytime soon, I do want to keep up my adventurous foodie momentum in 2014. What do you recommend I try next? What’s your most adventurous food risk?

Bye Bye, Christmas

Our Christmas decorations are finally down, and our house feels so empty. The end of the holiday season comes with both a feeling of sadness and a feeling of relief. Sadness because weeks worth of planning, organizing, shopping, cooking and cleaning has culminated in a few short-lived days of revelry. And relief because all those weeks of planning, organizing, shopping, cooking and cleaning are over, for now.

Goodbye Christmas

The hectic pace of the holidays kept me from blogging (sorry about that). As a brand new blogger I’m still trying to find my groove, and I was enjoying a holiday break where I could be more unplugged than I usually am. I’m blessed to work for an agency that closes between Christmas and New Year’s Day, and though I was checked into email throughout that time it was nice to come out from behind my computer screen for some much needed R&R.

That said, the Christmas decorations are put away and I’m excited to be actively blogging again. How was your holiday? Are you sad to see the holidays go or are you looking forward to a slower pace this month? I have a hunch my winter hibernation will include some fun projects around the house. Who’s with me?!