Kitchen Update

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I seldom get on the computer these days.
It's way harder than phone internetting.
But worth it.
So hey, there old friend.
Let's catch up, shall we?

Rewind to February. We had saved enough to start renovating our hideous 90's kitchen. I was pumped. I was ready. Pinterest was about to pay off in a big way.

Enter the frightening "Before"

Just days into our renovation, however, our main sewer line backed up and flooded the house.
{insert puke-face emoji}

Three. Months. Later work started back in the kitchen.
Sadly, however, our budget had taken a hit.
My wood floors would have to wait.
No nice shiny new appliances either.
Budget cuts out the wazoo.
Real life. Real adulting.

Our kitchen reno is going to be more of a two-stage process now.
As in this year
and maybe-if-we-get-to-it next year.
Because (surprise) we're having another baby!! 
Yep, timing is everything.
And morning sickness during construction carnage is just as awesome as it sounds.

Here's where we are now. Completely unstaged and real-life-d up for you.
 Because who reads blogs to see pretty pictures?

To be honest, it drives me bananas having to wait to finish the project. 
Looking at those floors every day is like a perpetual stab in the eye. 
but I deal.
adulting is still hard 
but perspective is a funny thing. 
you get a little and a lot changes.
so I choose to see what's awesome
and you know what,
I think we can all agree we're off to a good start. 

David hated the brass pulls at first but
I think he's starting to get it now.
The man wore pleated, tapered pants when I met him. 
Sometimes these things just take time. 

One day I'll use my real camera but for now I'm just jazzed that I remembered how to type with both hands.

progress is slow, my friends. 

White to Bright: Entryway Style Board

Monday, February 9, 2015

Internet dust-bunnies.
It's totally a thing. And I have them. 
I also have real ones but who's looking.

We're making slow but somewhat steady progress on the house and I'll eventually get around to showing you.
But today I have a fun entry style board to share.
Because inspiration is good. And style boards are easier than rooms. 

I'll admit: I'm on a white walls kick right now. 
White walls, black accents, neutral wood. 
It's my jam.
I'm afraid of color. 
and commitment. 
and color is commitment soooo I stay clear of it. 

But I was challenged to take a room from white to bright using one of Chairish's gorgeous rugs as inspiration. 
Have you heard of Chairish? I hadn't either but boy I'm sure glad I know now. It's like the best estate sale you've ever found and it's all online.
Which we can all agree is amazing because you don't have to wake up super early on a weekend to battle crazies.
Dreamy for any design-lover. If you're into cool vintage/used pieces that is.
Which, uh, yea, you should be. 

White to bright?
Take a risk? Use color?
I can do this. 
Because it's on paper, er, internets. 
I can be brave on the web. 
Be brave with me, won't you?

I selected this gorgeous vintage rug. 
I love kilim. 
But my scared-brain got cold sweats with the bold pattern and COLOR.
so much scary color. red. orange. gold. green. ahhhhh!

I did it anyway. 
Listened to my gut. 
I picked this rug and made it my bestie.
So brave.
Go ahead, paint my face blue. 

Here's what I came up with for an entryway:

sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; 9

Like the rug, I chose things I'm drawn to that I might otherwise talk myself out of.
It was a BLAST! For real.
Bravery rocks. An imaginary, unlimited budget was pretty awesome too. 

Here's the breakdown:

1. removable wall paper in this great black and white speckle. Yes, I said "removable". A non-committal's favorite words. Wallpaper doesn't have to be scary anymore. I love how it's both modern and ballsy without being crazy in-yo-face. I also love the b&w. And how it the smaller scale works with the rug. I'm seriously gonna get this wallpaper for my house. Love, love, love.

2. This crazy blue and white vase with a gold base. I love how the pattern flows as opposed to being rigid and geometric. The cobalt blue is such a fun punch of color. Also, every entry needs fresh flowers. Word to ya motha. 

3. You know what else every entry needs? A mirror. And this crazy cool one has me swooning. It has a beautiful antiqued feel without being stuffy. It's shape and finish are a nod to the vintage rug without being stiff and heavy. I love the eclair shaped columns. Yes, I said eclair. I watched The Great British Bake-Off earlier today. I see eclairs everywhere.

4. I'm obsessed with throw blankets. I think every  house should be stocked with blankets. And this one is lovely with the fringe and mint. I love me some fringe. I also think the color is a lovely contrast with the reds in the rug and helps balance those saturated, warm colors. 

5. This tribal basket is another must-have piece for any entry. I love how it marries a modern silhouette with beautiful black and white weaving. Modern and classic. Can't go wrong. Drape that mint blanket over the side, toss your shoes or an umbrella inside and it's a beautiful yet functional piece.

6. I was so drawn to the teal and terracotta on this planter. And the hope that one day I too can grow a succulent. People say those are harder to kill. People are wrong. But still, I dream. I love how the cooler blue/greens help balance the reds and oranges in the rug. Such a great contrast.

7. Agate art. Um, yes. Sign me up. The organic shapes that are somehow both natural and geometric. And all of those beautiful, rich colors. Art is a great way to experiment with color and this one is a show-stopper. I'm feeling less afraid of color, y'all. It's coming. 

8. This amazing geometric light fixture is a perfect balance to some of the more rustic and vintage aspects of the design. I love how it brings black to the ceiling in a very clean and modern way. The fixture has both a modern and vintage 70's vibe but its smooth clean lines are such beautiful contrast to the busyness of the rug.

9. This console table is a thing of dreams. When I saw it my heart fluttered. The natural wood is stunning and the detail on the legs is complete perfection. Understated yet bold, I think this piece pairs perfectly with the rug. I love everything about it. It's the perfect piece to unite the entire design: classic, rustic, chic; vintage.

Boom. Nailed it.

I really loved not worrying about my usual design fears. It was so fun. I'm thinking I might not be as afraid of color as I was before.

Be bold, friends. Go with what speaks to you. If you design with things you love, it'll all come together in the end.
Preaching to myself.

If you'd like to see more of what Chairish has to offer by browsing their fantastic rug collection, I've attached a link HERE.
It might be my new favorite online design shop. I almost didn't want you to know.
But I'm a giver.

Happy Tuesday, friends!

sporadic everything-ing

Friday, December 12, 2014

I'm hoping to turn sporadic blogging into a thing.
like sporadic workouts or shaving in winter.
i kid. i totally shave all winter long.

December slammed into us messily.
case in point: i have pumpkins proudly displayed on my front porch.
our neighbors have synchronized lights and nativities and holiday swag.
we have pumpkins. 
i don't know either.

hopefully i'll get a wreath and a few lights up in time for the new year. 
sporadic holiday-ing.
another thing i'm totally rockin'. 

here's our Christmas card photo.
that i ordered too late. or at least that's what the Christmas card people told me... after they were purchased. sad day.
so enjoy a peek at our new years(?) picture. 
at least the boy is smiling.

so there's been some developments in the house that i hope to share soon.
soon (as we all know by now) is a completely relative term. but still.
we have gallery walls and hanging rugs and paint and, okay, really it's not so grand but updates are updates gosh-darn it.
i'm jazzed about the result and can't wait to show you.
plus, we've got some new projects in the work. eeeck!! (that's a happy 'eeck!')

also, i had every intention of sharing Lucas's first birthday party with you...but I dropped the ball pictures. yea.
who forgets to take pictures of their kids first birthday?
the mom who's never done this before and oh, it's freezing outside, and oh the sausage burned, and oh the fireplace won't start, and oh we have to pick up the coffee...etc ad nauseum.
morning parties leave little time for back up.
side note: my grandma is a rock-star and helped me pull the day off. seriously would have been lost without her. 

i'm kinda heartbroken about the no picture thing, though. i won't lie.
mother fail #187.

i'm going to be a cookie-baking fiend this weekend so i might...if i have time and think about the recipes next week. {chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, macadamia and peanut butter chocolate chunk} woot!
if i don't though, there's a good chance I'll have something on Instagram so let's be friends there too, mkay? i'm better at that anyway.

Baby is awake now. gotta run...
Happy Friday, friends!!

Rustic Floral Baby Shower

Friday, November 7, 2014

My kid is napping. Let's see if I can knock this post out before the monster awakes.

A few weekends ago, two friends and I threw a baby shower for our sweet friend, Natalie.
Usually, I like to work alone. I'm a crazy type-A person who has lists for my lists. A real fun gal to plan with, clearly. But my friends Megan and Jenny were amazing. They're each so talented and we pulled off a beautiful afternoon celebration.

Here are a few of my favorite photos from the day:

Disclaimer: I did NOT take any of these photos. My friend and co-hostess, Jenny was the photographer and sweetly let me borrow her images. 


Jenny is also a crazy-talented artist /designer and made the invites, a video for the special mama, and this crazy gorgeous door sign.
I'm so glad she didn't get a shot of my peeling front door paint.

Megan made all the rosettes and poms. My fingers hurt just thinking about it. Also, my sanity.
basically Megan's a rockstar.


I made this menu. and then spent the day staring at it wondering why I write like a boy.
can i have pretty handwriting for christmas?

i was in charge of food and drinkage: simple catered sandwiches, an easy recipe for apple spice caramel corn, a cookie bar and other treats.

I also washi-ed the heck out of the cups and made glitter arrows for the straws.
i'm obsessed with straws.

I made the floral heart with carnations and, you guessed it, more washi tape.
i kinda love how it turned out. i kept it up for days until the flowers totally wilted and dried. even then i might have kept it up longer if david didn't threaten me.

I made homemade salted caramel sauce for favors. honestly I was a little nervous about how they would turn out. I made them in the crockpot and couldn't taste test since I pre-sealed the jars.
personally, my jar could have used some extra salt but overall i thought these were so cute.

clearly, the above two were taken by yours truly on my cell as I realized i never got a good shot of them. but i loved the adorable monogram gift tag from tiny prints.

i have a love/hate relationship with this fresh apple cake. it's like crazy delicious but every time i make it {or any bundt cake for that matter} i can't get it out of the pan. this was no exception. the guests arrived and, like any great hostess, i was in the kitchen banging on the pan and cursing like a sailor.
fortunately, jenny called her husband {who's got mad kitchen skills} and his suggestion saved the day.

To check out Jenny's full image gallery, go HERE

Happy Friday, friends.
I'll be back soon with updates on the house and other life things.

Life update

Friday, October 24, 2014

October is almost over.
dumbfounded stare.

I am prepared for life.

Things get busy and I get forgetful. That's really the name of the game. Forgetful and lazy. Because ya, that happens too. So before I get too far behind, let's catch up.


so many swatches but we finally decided on a wall color for behind the sofa. 
charcoal gray for the win. 
{update coming} it looks so different now.

we used that same color to paint the wall behind our {unmade} bed. 
i like to keep it classy for you.

our little rugrat is 11 months old now. 
i shall henceforth mourn and weep uncontrollably. how can my sweet baby almost be a year old?

oh and that cast? yea, he fractured his arm a few weeks ago. i took it harder than he did. let's hope this not a sign of things to come.

Lucas and I went to hang out with his great-grandparents a few weeks ago. 
this picture makes my heart explode. 

selfie. just because

I've been busy planning a friend's baby shower AND Lucas's first birthday party. 
good thing parties are so much fun because if they weren't I'd be too exhausted to ever host again.
I also can't get over how much I love his birthday party invites from Paperless Post.  

just because. 

i entered a neighborhood baking competition last week. 
there was prize money involved. 
i'm competitive so of course i whipped out the best pumpkin pie in the world 
{apple butter pumpkin pie - scratch pie, scratch crust, scratch whipped cream}
...and didn't place.

whatevs. my neighborhood is full of retired people. 
grandmas always win. 

a few friends and I are throwing another good friend a baby shower tomorrow 
so today I'm finalizing plans, making cakes and getting all my party supplies and crafts finished. 
I'll probably be all over instagram with pics because this party is gonna be amazing, y'all. 


Happy Friday, friends! Have a wonderful weekend.

Sneak Peek: Modern Southwest Nursery

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I've come to terms with the fact that 99% of my life is keeping a chubby 8 month-old from eating floor debris.
I had some kind of magical thinking that parenting would get easier as he got older.
and it did.
but it didn't.
also, i procrastinate.
he was crawling the day i finally bought outlet covers.

i'm so on my game.

awesome new moms get nurseries ready before the baby is born.
me? I wait till my baby is almost a year old.
i want to be awesome too
new baby + new house + family that lives far away + life = things take a long time here.
and that's okay.
you know what's also okay? not capitalizing or using punctuation.
makes me poetic. like ee cummings.

this post could also be titled: lies we tell ourselves.

what was i saying?
oh right, the nursery.
i had this awesome plan to finish it a long time ago.
but kids ruin plans. in the best way.
also i get worn out.
in my limited down-time i want to watch project runway or bear grylls.
or sleep.
so yea, progress is slow and i'm learning to let go.

good news though:
we aren't that far from completion.
david has a shelf to finish.
there are some other finishing touches but we're really close, guys.
and that's pretty awesome.

this printed crib sheet started it all.
i normally don't do prints. they scare me.
so much commitment. 
but i couldn't get this one out of my mind.

side note: i should iron. 
truth: i won't iron. 

David took this picture during a trip to Ireland a few years back. I edited and had it printed. 
love. even with the terrible glare.

a dear friend made this beautiful cross-stitch for us. 
i still get a little teary thinking about my tiny baby and his tiny feet.

this is another photo we took in Greece.
i edited and added a favorite verse.
bad news is that the baby knocked it off the wall.
the frame broke so now it sits waiting for a new home. see what i mean about things taking longer?

that farm-style lamp with orange accent = swoon.
and the cacti changing pad cover? get out of town. so awesome.
so not me. at least the old me.
but this room is about fun and whimsy and playfulness.
i can do that, right?
i AM doing this.

and okay, can we talk about this pillow just a minute?
um, it's electric yellow.
with my child's name emblazoned upon it's bright, bold chest.
i'm getting so dramatic.
another risk that totally paid off.
(thank you tiny prints)

it comes in multiple colors but i decided to step outside my comfort zone and go with the bright yellow.
i wanted to have fun in my boy's room and that yellow was my first instinct.
okay, actually my first instinct was to pick black or anything "safe" but the yellow needed me.
or i needed it.
either way, i was scared to death until it arrived.
and then i could feel myself slowly letting the winds of change take me wherever they wanted.
this time it was to fun-town.

now if i can only harness such courage when planning our next project - the master bedroom. (hint: a whole room in dark i dare??)

aside from a few other tweaks and some fun accessorizing, we're almost finished with this project.
yes. glory!
i am ready to move on to our bedroom. that poor thing is in need of serious help.
a metaphor could be drawn here between the room and it's owners, but i won't.

anyone else make design decisions they were afraid of recently? how'd they turn out?

biscuit secrets and how to make a perfect strawberry shortcake

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

this post is what happens when you need to write about things that require real photos from a real camera but you don't have time for all that.

so you write about what you ate last night.

with phone pictures.

get excited, y'all.

i used to think dessert wasn't dessert unless it had chocolate in it.
but things change when you turn 30. 
suddenly you can appreciate lemon. or fancy things like flan. or coffee-flavored ice cream. 

classy stuff.

this recipe started because i made biscuits Sunday.
perfect biscuits.
ok, not perfect, but they were close.
so close i had to make them again.
somewhere along the way, these near-perfect biscuits became the base of a strawberry shortcake madness.

but first things first.
buttermilk biscuits to be exact.
glory be.

biscuits scare people. 
they're kinda like little dogs that think they're big. 
the ones who bark and growl a lot so you're scared. but once you pet them, the little mutts turn out to be cuddly pushovers.
all bark, no bite biscuits. that's what we're making here.

i'm about to reveal some biscuit-makin' secrets.
secrets y'all
it's gettin' real. 
and easy. yep. 
believe it.  because you're smart. 
and you trust a non-credentialed internet stranger. 

secret 1: buy the best ingredients
when a recipe only has 3 ingredients it's trying to tell you something. 
"hey girl, i need quality ingredients so i can really shine."
don't buy the cheap stuff. 
don't do it. 
buy the best quality ingredients you can find. three items won't break the bank. 
{In this case i went all-in with Kerrygold Irish butter (salted), quality buttermilk and White Lily self-rising flour. (not a paid ad - just the best stuff I could find).}

secret 2: freeze your butter
biscuit-makin' is delicate business. the ingredients need to be cold. so do anything you can to help it stay that way. put that butter in the freezer for at least an hour before using. i tend to keep my butter in the freezer anyway to help prevent it from spoiling.

secret 3: use a grater to cut your fat
use your cheese grater to grate the frozen butter (use the biggest holes) so you aren't trying to cut up frozen butter with a knife. your fingers will thank you. also, it's the most efficient way of getting that frozen butter quickly and evenly distributed into the flour. tip: be careful not to let the heat from your hands melt the butter. i try to use the paper around the butter to hold it while i grate. and work fast (but carefully)

secret 4: chill your mixing bowl
things need to stay cold. did i mention that was important?
i like to chill mine a few minutes (5-10ish) while i'm getting things ready (setting out my measuring cups, getting the oven pre-heated, lining my jelly roll pan, etc). then i chill it again (see recipe) after i've grated the butter and tossed in the flour. 

secret 5: parchment paper or silpat baking mat
cardinal rule of baking. if you're not doing this already please start now. it helps keep things from sticking (read: no need for cooking sprays or hours of scrubbing cookie bits from your favorite pans.) also, cleanup is a breeze. 'nuff said. 
side note: parchment paper is NOT wax paper. they cannot be used interchangeably. tried that. bad idea. 

secret 6: use sharp round cookie/biscuit cutters. (and do not twist)
i mean it. press that cutter down and back up. NO TWISTING. hear me?

secret 7: follow directions precisely
some recipes are pretty forgiving. you can tweak this or that. improvise. jimmy-rig it. 
NOT biscuits. read the directions through twice before starting. and follow them exactly. 

this strawberry shortcake recipe is about as close to perfect as a recipe can be.

fluffy, flakey, buttery, lightly salty biscuits
sweet, intensely strawberry sauce
delicate, pure, slightly sweet heavenly whipped cream.
all homemade.

so good in fact, david said it was his new favorite dessert. 

Perfect Strawberry Shortcake

Recipe for: Biscuits from Southern Living Magazine. 
                  Strawberry Sauce and Vanilla Whipped Cream Faith at The Stirring Place

Biscuits - click HERE for their video tutorial. it's awesome. the written recipe can be found HERE
                 it is perfection.
                 PS - use salted butter. it makes a huge difference in flavor. 

Strawberry Sauce 
1 pint fresh strawberries, cleaned, hulled and sliced (divided)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water

in a medium saucepan combine the sugar and 3/4 of the strawberries. leave for about 5-10 minutes to let the sugar and berries get all juicy. then add 1 cup water and turn heat on to medium-high. bring mixture to a boil then remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. once at desired temperature (warm but cool enough to handle), use an emersion blender to puree the mixture. add the remaining 1/4 sliced strawberries and serve warm for best flavor. 

Vanilla Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla

combine all ingredients in a chilled bowl and using a handheld mixer (stand works fine too just be careful it doesn't curdle) mix at medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until stiff peaks form. 

to serve: take warm biscuit and top with strawberry sauce and a dollop of whipped cream. add more strawberry sauce over top of cream, if desired. 

y'all i'm about to go have some of this right now.
it's so stinking good.
the whipped cream won't last long but it's so easy to make more of don't stress about that.
if you have any leftovers that is.

make it and be sure to tell me what you think.
you could fancy it up with some mint leaves or adding in other fruit with the berries (peaches would be good)
make it your own.
but whatever you do, make it.

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