Wednesday, March 30, 2011

{Living Room - Glam Girl}

I created my first room inspiration board on Can you say new addiction?!? I am in serious trouble. But it was oh so fun.

A glam living room, with a feminine flare...Black & Gold LR...with a touch of pink
{check out the details here}

I'm loving this color combo. In fact, the outfit I wore to work today is what inspired this little diddy - gray pants, pink top, and just a touch of black & gold in my accessories.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Note to self: life is good.

I know I usually keep it very light here, with posts dedicated to all things domestic. But something has been on my mind a lot lately, and seeing how this blog is really like a journal of sorts for me, I figure it's a good place to put my thoughts into words. Like writing a little note to myself. And if it speaks to anyone, that's a bonus. I'm not going to get too specific. I don't think I need to be. I'm pretty sure a lot of people will be able to relate to what I have to share, no matter where they are in life. So, here goes...

Have you ever wanted something so badly you think you might just explode if you don't get it? I've thought I felt that way about a lot of things. But recently I've come to realize what it truly means to want something with every fiber of your being. And I'm not talking about a million dollar home I found on, or a perfectly designed room in one of those beautiful glossy magazines. I'm talking about something that really matters. Something you want and would do anything to get, but it just isn't up to you. It can consume your every thought, affect every decision. It's a real test of faith. And patience.

One minute you have all the faith in the world and can so clearly picture the day when you will finally have it. You know how wonderful it will be and how much joy it will bring you. Most of the time, that is enough to keep you chugging along. But then there are the times of doubt, the bouts of impatience and frustration, the feeling of being completely helpless. Those times are tough. I know they make you stronger, and I know they help you grow, and I know they ultimately make the prize even sweeter. But that doesn't make them any more fun.

Thankfully, for me, the hopeful moments outweigh the discouraged ones. But the whole cycle is exhausting. An "emotional rollercoaster", if you will. Hoping, doubting, not knowing...repeat. It's easy to feel sorry for yourself. But then you think about all of the things that are right in your life and all of the blessings you've been given. And you realize life is good. Regardless of whether you get that "thing" you so badly want, life is good. And God has a plan for you. It may not make sense now, but one day it will. So that's the message I have for you today. And that's what I will continue to believe. Enjoy what you have while you have it, friends. The rest will fall into place. Note to self.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spaghetti Carbonara

Yesterday, I mentioned I was going to make spaghetti carbonara for dinner. It seemed like the perfect meal for a snowy (spring!) night in. I ended up using Nigella Dawson's recipe as a guide and made a few tweaks along the way.

1 pound spaghetti
2 cups cubed pancetta rind removed - I used 10 slices of bacon instead
2 teaspoons olive oil - I used only 1 tsp
1/4 cup dry white wine or vermouth
4 eggs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup heavy cream - I used half 'n half
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly ground nutmeg
*Additions - 2-3 cups fresh spinach, 2 cloves garlic finely chopped, liberal amount of salt.

Put a large pan of water on to boil for the pasta. In another large pan that will fit the pasta later, cook the pancetta cubes in the oil until crispy but not crunchy. Pour over the white wine or vermouth (and add garlic) and let it bubble away so that, after a few minutes, you have a small amount of salty winey syrup left. Take the pan off the heat.

In a bowl, beat together the eggs, Parmesan, cream, and pepper. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions, but since you want it kept al dente start checking it 2 minutes before end of the recommended cooking time. When the pasta is done, remove approximately 1/2 cup of the pasta water before draining. Put the pan with the bacon cubes back on the heat and add the drained pasta, tossing well to coat with the syrupy pancetta. Take the pan off the heat again and add the eggs and cheese mixture (and spinach), and swiftly toss everything to mix. Thin with pasta water, if needed. Grind over some more pepper and grate over the nutmeg to serve. Also add salt to taste and more freshly grated parmesan on top. If you like wine, have a glass of chardonnay with this. Perfect combo!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Just another cozy spring night at home.'s March 26th. Spring sprung about a week ago. It was in the 80's here on Monday. Yet this is the scene out on our deck this evening.

We should be grilling something tasty on this...

and lounging with a cold one here...

But instead we're inside.
Watching lots of basketball (at least one of us is),
cozying up to this...

and enjoying a little of this...

and in just a little while, I will be making some version of this...

{spaghetti carbonara}

Definitely not your typical spring night at home. But I'll take it!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fresh Cut Friday

This week's blooms came from Dierbergs. I dropped in to pick up lunch, and thought they would have a decent selection of flora to choose from, for this week's FCF. Not so much. Talk about slim pickins'. I was disappointed, but I had to find something because I knew I wouldn't have time to stop anywhere else. So I decided on this bunch of miniature roses for $8.99.

I thought the color was pretty and figured I could break them up into a couple different arrangements. Plus, I knew the greenery and spider mums from last week's arrangement were still going strong, so I had those to work with, too. Gotta love flowers that can do double duty! So here they are, divided into two small arrangements.
{one for the dining room}

{and one for the coffee table}

I think I'll return to one of my more trusted sources for flowers next week. But all in all, I'd say these mini grocery store roses did OK for themselves.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

You could totally make that - Anthro Lamp.

My friend, Jill, recently saw this lamp at Anthro and sent me the link to it.

Very cute and kitschy. The price isn't so cute though.
$198??? thank you.

I've never made a lamp before, but I'm thinking this could be done for $20 or less. All you would need are some thrifted dishes, strong epoxy, a lamp kit, and a shade. And the ability to drill through the dishes without cracking them. Hmm...not sure I have the tools for that, but I bet my dad does! Imagine it made with mismatched colorful dishes. You could get really creative with it.

Just might have to add this to my ever growing "Projects To Try If I Ever Have Time" list. And I think I might have a recurring blog feature on my hands here. Cleverly titled "You could totally make that." Thanks for the inspiration, Anthro...and Jill!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Fresh Cut Friday

Like the inaugural fresh cut bouquet, this week's arrangement came from Walter Knoll. It's made of white spider mums, white freesia, blush pink stock, and a really cool greenery. I so wish I could remember its name! With its subdued colors, this arrangement has a sweet, romantic feel to it.

I debated over what to use as the vase.
Until I settled on a Shakespeare's Pizza cup.

Not on its own, of course. I put it inside this antique sugar canister...

Hope your weekend is as sweet as this bouquet :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Top 'o the evenin' to ya.

We didn't make it to the St. Pat's parade or any of the Irish bars in town. Instead, we enjoyed the awesome weather (finally!) and had a nice little celebration of our own at home.

With some of this after work...
{Notice the cute buddy in the background with a treat of his own.}

And this for dinner...
{Reubens, homemade oven fries, and green beer!}

Happy St. Patrick's Day - hope it was a lucky one for all!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

From Shady to Shadey

For just $20, I finally have a proper shade on my laundry room window. Which means we are no longer subjecting our neighbors to a wide open shot of what may gather here. Because it's usually far from pretty. Honestly, I'm sure they've never even peered in, but I know I feel a lot better about things now.

I found this roman shade at World Market last week. It isn't the fanciest shade ever, but it adds a little color to the otherwise very boring room and makes it feel a bit more finished. It was relatively easy to hang, too, which is always a plus. For some reason, I don't see it on their website. But they had plenty left in the store. They always seem to have a nice selection of inexpensive curtain panels, too. So next time you find yourself "in the market" for window coverings (pun intended) know where to go! Oh, and sign up for their rewards program - I used a $10 off $30 coupon to score this deal. Can't beat that!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Langostino Bruschetta {Inspired by I Fratellini}

For dinner last night, I tried to imitate a dish from one of our favorite restaurants, I Fratellini. If you live in St. Louis, and you've never been to this little gem, you must check it out. Soon. It's definitely on the cozy (aka: small) side, but it's so beautiful...and pretty romantical, too. Perfect for a date night! I definitely recommend reservations for a Friday or Saturday.

We always order the "Sauteed Shrimp" from their Antipasto menu. It's delicious and simple. I've often thought about making something similar at home, and last night I finally did it. I had every intention of making it with shrimp, but when I saw "langostino tails" at the store, I decided to give 'em a whirl. I thought they were like mini lobster tails. Wrong. Turns out, they're actually just as close to hermit crabs as they are lobster. Say wuuuh? Oh well, I tried to look past my unfortunate wikipedia discovery and just pretended I was using mini lobster tails.

Like I mentioned, this dish is simple. Here's what I used and how I put it together (my measurements are estimated)...

12 oz. frozen Langostino OR shrimp...thawed
3 oz. Prosciutto
1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed & drained (these beans deserve their own post, BTW)
1/2 cup white wine
4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Shredded parmesan - about 1/3 cup to top dish
Salt, pepper, & red pepper flakes to taste
Loaf of french bread

Start by preheating your oven to 375 to warm the bread. Next, rough chop the langostino into smaller pieces. Then you want to chop up the prosciutto, too. I usually do this by rolling up a few pieces and cutting it into thin strips. Finely chop the garlic, too.

Heat your olive oil in a big saute pan, over low heat. Once it's ready to go, toss in the langostino, prosciutto, garlic, and cannellini beans. Season mixture with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes if you like a little heat. Like we do. Stir it all together, and saute for about four minutes.

Next, add the wine. Keep cooking/stirring until the langostino/shrimp pink up and are cooked through, and the wine reduces - about 8 minutes. The mixture will be saucy, but shouldn't be too watery. If it is, just cook it a little longer. Be careful not to overcook it though because shrimp & lobster can get rubbery if cooked too long. Remove your pan from the heat, toss in the basil, and top with the shredded parm.

At some point, you should have put your bread in the oven to warm it. So take that out and slice it up. Serve the sauteed hermit crab mini lobster tails on top of the baguette slices, or just serve it in a bowl and spoon a little bit onto each piece as you go. That's the method we chose.

This delish dish took less than 30 minutes to make, including prep and clean-up. I'd say it made about 4-6 antipasto servings. We had it with a salad, for a lovely Friday night dinner at home. Which, sometimes, is just as nice as a date night out.

Buon Appetito!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fresh Cut Friday

This happy little bouquet came from Trader Joe's. They sell small bunches of loose daffodils for $1.69 each. I picked up 4. So these came to less than $7. They're definitely adding some much needed spring cheer to my kitchen. It's been a reeaaallly long winter.

Wouldn't they be lovely in one of the kitchens from my last post? Oh yes they would. Speaking of, my daffodils may have cozied up to a loaf of french bread, some cheese, and a couple bottles of vino in my TJ's cart. They were all very happy there together. Now all I need is the kitchen!

Gray in the Kitchen

I've expressed my love for white kitchens here before, in this post. I still love them. But these days, I'm also loving a little gray in the kitchen. Whether it's all gray cabinetry, an island painted gray, or even just gray walls with white cabinetry...I love it. Especially when it's paired with white subway tile and topped off with calcutta or cararra marble.

{all images via decor pad}

All of these kitchens have a very Italian or Parisian cafe feel, which I love. Don't you just want to be in one of them right now, sipping wine and nibbling on cheese and a fresh baguette? Yeah, me too.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Fresh Cut Friday

TGIFCF! This week's arrangement is a lovely combo of vibrant purple snap dragons and a greenery called "bupleurum". I never knew what this greenery was called, but I've always liked it. I googled bupleurum, to see if it goes by a different name. Like one I could remember, and pronounce. I found it's also known as "thoroughwax". Interesting. I think I can remember that one.

I also found this little description for it...

"A perfect filler flower that adds color and shape to your flower arrangements. The serene fresh green of the Bupleurum makes for a unique and breathtaking arrangement, a perfect marriage between natural beauty and understated elegance."

Pretty fancy description for something that goes by the name thoroughwax, don't you think???

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Secrets on my DVR


Just watched the first episode of Secrets From A Stylist...Emily Henderson's new show. I think it will be a nice addition to my already expansive HGTV line-up on the 'ole DVR. I like how she nailed down the couple's individual styles, via her "Style Diagnostics" exercise, and then blended them together. She actually styled the room twice, which I wasn't expecting. But the end result was just what the couple wanted. I liked it. Not in love with the wall color, but everything else was great. Especially the couch! I want that couch! Can you believe it was only $50 + upholstery? Now I'm even more convinced I need to find a good (affordable!) upholsterer. The hunt is on.