Thursday, August 29, 2013

light it up: dining room chandelier...

Now that we have our dining room table, it has become abundantly clear that it's time for a new chandelier. 

The shape is fine but the brass has got to go. So I've been cruising the internet and have found some definite contenders. 

This is my favorite...
Pottery Barn

Lamps Plus has some great options and their having a big sale right now. 
Lamps Plus

Lamps Plus

Lamps Plus

Lamps Plus

Decisions, decisions, decisions...

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

piece by piece: new decor updates...

I think one of the hardest things about moving into a new house is living in it while you slowly design it. I don't have the patience for it. I want it done and I want it done now. So moving into this blank slate of a house was a real test of my patience. One of the areas that tried my patience the most was the dining room. For almost two years we have lived with a completely empty room.

My in-laws are coming to visit for a week in the fall and we decided now is the perfect time to pull the trigger on a dining room table. We visited some friends over Thanksgiving who had a dining set with a bench and we knew we wanted the same thing to create a more casual setting. 

I'm in love with it, especially the spectacular channel detailing on each corner.

Although, one thing it has shown me is that it is time for a new light fixture ASAP! That's next on the list. 

But first, let me introduce you to my first Joss & Main purchase.  

The main entrance we use in the house is the door from the garage. Unfortunately it goes right into a tiny, carpeted hallway. To avoid dirtying up our light carpet, we decided to add a runner. This one was 2'8" x 8" and gives us enough room to come in and walk right into our kitchen without hitting the carpet. 

But even more than the functionality of it, I love the look of it. The gray perfectly matches our couch, the light color blends well against the carpet and marries the color schemes of the kitchen, family room and new dining room. Plus, it is so soft. And it was only $70 including shipping. Can't beat that! 

So we're progressing slowly but surely.

Next on my list: 
  • Dining room light fixture
  • Buffet/sideboard for dining room
  • New bed for the master
  • New furniture for living room
  • Front entry way rug
  • Front entry way console
  • Bar cabinet for living room

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

what's your flava?: homemade infused olive oil...

A little while ago, I was trying to come up with a unique housewarming gift for a friend. While perusing the aisles of HomeGoods, I found some glass bottles and got an idea... infused olive oil. The gift turned out to a be a hit so I decided to try a few different flavors to use at home. 

I decided to make rosemary olive oil and citrus olive oil. Making the rosemary oil was simple. I just clipped some rosemary from my garden, rinsed it off, put it in the bottle and then poured olive oil over it. For the citrus blend oil, I zested half an orange and half a lemon then combined the zest with the olive oil. 

It's such a simple idea for a gift or for use at home if you want to add a new kick to your cooking. Any herb or spice will work, it all depends on your taste. I'm looking forward to using the citrus blend with fish and the rosemary on a pork loin I have in the freezer. And both would be delicious for dipping. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Two years...

Today I get to celebrate two years of being married to this wonderful guy...

He is the sweetest most caring person I have ever known. We've packed a lot into these first two years and while there have been some challenges that have come our way, he has never wavered and has made me a stronger person as a result. I love you Ryan. Here's to many, many more! 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A little paint goes a long way: a facade facelift...

Let's take a walk down memory lane. This is what the house looked like when we first bought it. Overgrown landscaping and faded paint. Notice the brick red door and the faded burgundy shutters. What a palette. 

We took care of the landscaping last year, so this summer, painting the house was on the agenda. Our house is vinyl siding and some of the trim is plastic, so only the wood trim, front door and shutters needed to be painted. Thankfully we had an old can of the trim paint in the basement so we didn't have to play the "does it match?" paint guessing game. The porch itself was one color but the door trim and window cornices were a lighter color. Basically they just blended right into the siding.  

In an effort to make them pop a little more, I decided to paint the trim and cornices the darker color  -- like how mascara makes your eyes look bigger and brighter. And we all know the windows are the eyes of the house. Or something like that...

And pop they did. It really brought the house to life and to my delight, perfectly matched the window trim. It also made the door the focal point of the porch. 

Now there is a differentiation between the siding and the trim. 

Speaking of the door (and the shutters), we didn't try to match the original color exactly, we went a little more burgundy with it. Antique Burgundy from Valspar was the color we decided on. It had a lot more purple and a lot less red/orange. It even coordinates with the coleus plant. I LOVE it!  Color coordination makes me giddy!  

We are so happy how the colors work together to brighten up the facade. 

Before. Sad and faded...

After. Bright and cheery...

It all feels so much more balanced and coordinates so well with the tree in the front yard.

Home Sweet Home!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

making the most of leftovers: mexican stuffed peppers...

I love coming up with new recipes by shopping my pantry. We've been grilling a lot this summer, and my husband's specialty is grilled chicken. The other day, we had three pieces left in the fridge and I was tired of just heating it up and eating it with rice or salad. So after a little bit of exploring the fridge and pantry, I came up with Mexican stuffed peppers.

I cubed up the chicken and in a bowl combined it with parsley from my garden, grape tomatoes, jalapenos, banana peppers and lime juice. I then covered it and let it marinate in the fridge for a bit. Next I took two green peppers, cut them in half length-wise, cored them and put them in a greased baking dish. I filled the peppers with the mixture, topped it with some low-fat cheddar cheese, covered the whole dish with foil and baked it for 45-60 minutes at 350 degrees. 

For a side, I made my most favorite Mexican dish ever. It's super complicated. Are you ready? Take a can of refried beans, spread it out in a baking dish, cover with cheese and bake until cheese starts to brown. Did you get all that? 

In all seriousness though, a couple years ago my mom made this and I haven't been the same since. I could eat it every day. Sometimes I add in jalapenos just to kick it up a notch. And I always top it with a dollop of sour cream. 

So there you have it. A simple and delicious dish I made at home without making a trip to the grocery store -- Mexican stuffed peppers. You can't beat that! Ole! 

Friday, August 2, 2013

hey hey hey: Happy Friday!

You know my love for Thicke runs deep, and it just got deeper. 

And check out the song/video that began my love affair with Jason Seaver's real-life offspring way back in 1999. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

what's cookin': spicing up your almonds...

I'm a snacker. Admittedly, a not very healthy snacker. I can put down a sleeve of Fig Newtons before you can bat an eye. I've tried all the "healthy" snacks but none really get my taste buds going. But I'm getting older, my metabolism is slowing down and I need to start making healthier decisions. I'm always hearing that a "handful of almonds really satisfies." A handful of plain almonds makes be feel like I'm chewing on wood chips. And the flavored ones have so may artificial ingredients. So I took a stab at jazzing up my own.

The name says it all. Take bag of almonds, squeeze the juice of one lime into the bag, add some chili power and shake, shake, shake it up until the almonds are completely coated. 

I topped mine with a couple shakes of nutmeg and BOOM! a tasty, healthy snack that tastes significantly less wood-chippy. Enjoy!