Monday, June 25, 2012

great advice

I recently got some really great advice from someplace quite unexpected.

Yep, 50 Cent. Via Oprah. {My washer stopped working mid-wash, so I loaded up my car and drove over to my parent's house to finish my laundry. My mom was watching Oprah's Next Chapter.}

I've always been a worrywart. I fully believe it's hereditary, but 50's words really resonated with me and have inspired me to change my worrying ways. 

Have you received good advice from an unexpected source?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

puff daddy

Last weekend, I wanted to make something new for breakfast. A while ago, I'd been watching the Barefoot Contessa and she whipped up some oven pancakes {also known as Dutch babies or German pancakes}. They puffed over the side of gratin dishes, turning golden brown and delicious-looking. A few days later, I stumbled upon this puffed pancake recipe and decided it was time to make them myself.

They were simple and delicious. And Mark was happy to wake up to a made-from-scratch breakfast before we headed out for the day.

If you don't have a pie pan, try a cast-iron skillet.

Top with a little butter, sprinkle on some powdered sugar, add some strawberries and maple syrup, if you please.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

from russia {and italy, and france...}, with love

A sweet, thoughful, handwritten, sent-via-snail-mail note is my favorite thing to get in the mail {except for maybe a surprise package from my husband or a dear friend}. And I especially love postcards from far-away places.

Over Christmas, I found this envelope of vintage stamps from around the world on sale at Anthropologie and I just had to have them. I love the idea that these stamps have adorned love letters, thank you cards, just-because notes and, of course, postcards, from people I'll never meet. I'm sure some of these stamps may have traveled quite a distance to reach their destination.

I decided to create an easy weekend DIY project, so I painstakingly sorted through the collection and selected a few of my favorites to display.

I'm loving the way it turned out.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

some of my favorite things

Just a few of my favorite things of late.

~pig tissues from target~

~hungry chipmunk in our front yard~

~smart thermostat - the nest~

~cloudy day with a view of the towers~

~a sweet-scented candle is even better on sale! thanks, anthro~

~a new book {paris! sweets!} and macaron boxes~

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

fresh spring meal

Inspired by our successful Easter meal on Sunday {check out my baking disaster},  Mark and I spent some more time in the kitchen last night. We whipped up some delicious, light and healthy turkey lettuce wraps for dinner - perfect for spring.

When we first started dating, Mark would make me the most amazing meals {it's no secret that my culinary skills are firmly planted in the world of baking}. As we grew in our relationship and tried making meals together, it was usually a disaster, where I would end up in tears and he would be fuming. We would always get in each other's way and on each other's nerves.

Maybe we're still in the honeymoon phase, or maybe we've just learned how to work better together, but we've become a really good team in the kitchen. I'm a much better cook than ever before and now creating meals is always quick and easy!

It was the first time we've made this recipe, and although we'll be making a few tweaks next time {like a little less Chinese five-spice} we polished off the entire dish.

I always like a good shortcut in the kitchen, and for this recipe we used ready rice cups. One cup is the perfect size for the recipe. 

Another thing I like? Substitutions. Mostly because I always forget to pick up at least one ingredient when I'm at the grocery store. This time I forgot to get a fresh bottle of sesame oil, so we substituted stir fry oil.

We topped off each wrap with freshly shredded carrot, julienned basil {for Mark} and a mix of sweet chili and soy sauces.

Pure perfection. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

sweet little cakes and a simple little 'scape

Happy Easter!

I spent Saturday baking Easter cupcakes for the first Easter dinner Mark and I hosted in our home. I found the cutest liners, crackers and napkins for my tablescape, and used the arrangement from my first floral design class for the centerpiece. {The candles and burlap runner were from my wedding tablescapes.}

~butter and eggs captured with my new lens~
~pretty liners found on sale: pink & yellow petals for vanilla and chocolate cakes~

~the first time I EVER over-portioned~

~completely unsalvageable~

~cupcake toppers~

~napkins from ikea and crackers from sur la table~

~simple tablescape with plenty of room for the food~

Thursday, April 5, 2012

beautiful bunches of blooms

Lately, I haven't been able to get enough fresh flowers in the house. I love to pick up bunches of single flowers {my faves of late : freesia, tulips, antique blush roses, daffodils} and drop them in vases as a quick and easy way to bring some cheer to a room. And while these single-style flower bouquets are pretty on their own, I decided it was time to up my game and gain some skills in floral design.

One of the local community colleges offers community education classes that are hosted near my house {think yoga, photography, computer skills, pottery, etc.}, and I was so excited to see they offer a four-week floral design class!

Last night was my first class, and I'm pretty happy with what I ended up with - a pretty Easter arrangement and a rose corsage.

~creating the structure~

~in progress~

~buds, wire and floral tape for the corsage~

::: And the finished designs :::

Full disclosure: immediately after taking this shot, I tried to put my corsage on my wrist and it pretty much exploded like a glitter-rosebud-wax flowers-floral-tape bomb. Sad face.


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