2.29.2012

WHITE LINEN



A few weeks ago, someone in our small group (yes we have an awesome small group), suggested some drink called a white linen and then proceeded to tell us it was made with St. Germain.  Took one sniff of the stuff and realized we needed to make it a staple in our kitchen.

So we bought a bottle and whipped up a batch of these deliciously refreshing cocktails.  This stuff is good... made with elderflowers, sounds whimsical, right?


Here's the slightly adapted recipe:
  • 1 1/2 oz. gin or vodka
  • 1/2 oz. St. Germain liquor
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 5-6 thin slices English cucumber
         Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake well.  Strain into a glass with ice, top with
         soda water and garnish with lemon and cucumber.  Find any reason to toast, then sip
         and enjoy.

2.28.2012

MOODBOARD: SOFT AND SOPHISTICATED BEDROOM

Now that we've got our own place and can do whatever we want with it, I've really been trying to focus on what we envision for our home.  It's easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of work you want to do and confused by all the different options for styling, painting, decorating, etc. you can do now that you own your place.

So to try to get the ideas in my head down on "paper," I created this moodboard for our master bedroom since I have a better idea of what we're going for in there than I do other rooms in our house.  Soothing and relaxing with layered patterns and neutrals...



Now if I could only snap my fingers and turn our bedroom into this overnight... but I guess that takes the fun out if it, huh?

I'm sure this will be the first of many moodboards to come.  I have to give in to my nerdiness and admit they're pretty fun to put together.  What do you think?

2.27.2012

ONE WEEK IN... WHICH WAS ONE MONTH AGO

So you've seen our place empty, but obviously it didn't stay like that for long.  Probably about an hour.  Then it was overcome with boxes, boxes, and more boxes.  And then a few more boxes.  And then one more box.  And then we unpacked said boxes... at least a good amount of them.

In our unpacking, we developed a highly sophisticated method and it goes like this: 1) unpack all boxes in one room then take anything that doesn't belong in that room and dump it in the next room 2) unpack the next room and take everything that doesn't belong in there and dump it in the third room 3) etc., etc., etc. until all rooms are semi-unpacked and the random/unimportant stuff is piled up in the guest bedroom great unknown.  This method has proven to be fairly effective given one important task - keep the guest bedroom door closed at all times.  What you don't see, doesn't exist... until you want it to (or until you need a sports bra to go cross-country skiing... and in which case getting that sports bra from the guest room is the physical equivalent to cross-country skiing).

Moving on from my rambling... we invite you to see what our place looked like one week in.  This time you can have a seat!


Yes, "Friends" was on for about a week straight as we were unpacking.  It was a must.  By the way, we've since made our first big furniture purchase for our home and switched out the couch above for a cozy sectional, pics to come soon.


While we're on that note, we also got a new dining room table, that I love.  I had some strict guidelines for what my dining room table needed to do and the one we got lives up to them plus some.  More on that soon as well.

Onto the kitchen.  Ignore the wallpaper, valence and curtains mmkay?  The valance got the ax only a few days in and the plan is for the wallpaper to get the same fate very soon.


The next picture of the kitchen should be easier on your eyes... no red and yellow model home decor.


Heading upstairs and starting with our master closet... this was supposed to be the proof that we share it 50/50 but somehow I forgot to document the other side.  I promise we do though!



The next few shots are strictly in the interest of keeping it real, as you can tell.



This would be the great unknown referenced earlier.


Last but not least, our bedroom.  The paint color looks so wonky in these pictures!  I have decided that I want to paint it a lighter color to make it a bit airier in here since it can be a little dark.




So there you have it - our living conditions a week after we called this place home.  It's come a little bit since then but we have yet to tackle any really big projects.  Here's to the beginning of our never-ending-but-in-a-good-way journey in our home!

2.22.2012

FYI INSTEAD OF DIY

We're back up with a brand new 'do.  So in lieu of a DIY post, we've got an FYI - this little blog has undergone a name change and is now known as "Fluff That Nest."  Yup, you gotta say it with some attitude.  We wanted to make it a bit more all-encompassing since it's turned into a bit more than just documenting our lives for friends, family and ourselves.

From now on you'll find us here at this new link, so make sure to bookmark it: 


Also, you can become a follower by clicking here.  We'd love to know who's reading this little old blog.

We'll be back soon with the regular goods, you know... eat, drink, do stuff.  And as always, thanks for reading!

2.15.2012

VALENTINE'S #5 AND THE 5TH ANNIVERSARY OF OUR FIRST DATE

How's that for a post title?  That's right, yesterday was our fifth year as Valentine's and also marked the five year anniversary of our first date.  Aww... as you know, I do love Valentine's Day and I love to celebrate it.  I do not, however, wish to wait three hours to go out to eat just because it's Valentine's Day.  So, we celebrated at home.

We started by opening gifts, simply because when Ryan walked in with that coveted brown envelope, I was just too excited to wait.  Little did I know, it was more than a massage or a pedicure, but a full spa day.  I've only had one of those before and it was the day we got engaged so they're quite a treat.  Plus, I neeed one, and I guess the hubby picked up on that too.  So sweet, but the truly sweetest part of the day is when we woke up and Ryan asked me to be his Valentine.  It's the little things...

As for Ryan's gift, I usually do food and candy on V-day because that's what guys like.  Simple as that.  This year, I thought a little theme would be fun and since he loved the chili chocolate bar I got him a few months ago, I went with a full on sweet and spicy theme - chilies and chocolate.  It was really fun to put together and I was able to find dried chili mangoes, raspberry chipotle jam, red pepper jelly, and four chocolate bars.



We also made homemade pizzas for dinner with an array of toppings - fresh mozzarella, arugula, basil, pepperoni and pancetta.  Yum-o.  I'm still full.


My pizza dough tossing skills... must be the Italian in the husband that brings it out in me.


Our finished pie!  It was delicious and a fun, romantic thing to do together... especially since i was singing my rendition of "That's Amore" while we made dinner.


Hope you all had a lovely Valentine's Day, whether it was with friends, family or your significant other.  Remember to continue sharing the love all year round!

2.13.2012

LOVING: VALENTINE'S DAY CRAFTS

As you probably know, I love Valentine's Day.  The red and pink, the treats, the lovey-dovey-ness, I just love it all.  So I thought that since Cupid is set to make his appearance tomorrow, it would be a good time to round up some fun Valentine's crafts that have caught my eye lately.

Starting with an adorable doormat, complete with glitter.

via Made By Girl
If you're looking for something sweet and simple to do for your man (and we all know food is the key here), why not make him some man food, a.k.a. bacon, in the shape of a heart?

via
Here's one of my favorites... sugar cookie conversation hearts.  The little candies are sweet and reminiscent, but in my opinion, taste like chalk.  Sugar cookies on the other hand?  Delish.

via Cupcakes and Cashmere
While we're on the subject of re-inventing treats, why not make some X and O s'mores?!  They call for homemade graham crackers and would make an awesome little surprise.

via House of Earnest
This wrapping paper below cracks me up and would be oh-so-perfect for my geek of a husband.  There is a free printable so if you get your fair share of bits and bytes talk like I do, this would be perfect for wrapping up a fun little gadget, or as mentioned above, food.  Food + geekiness = my husband.  Love you babe!

via 7th House on the Left
What about you?  Any fun Valentine's Day projects or crafts or treats?  Do share.  We're planning on each making each other a homemade pizza tomorrow night and the only requirement is that it must be in the shape of a heart.  Should be fun!

2.10.2012

OUR FIRST HOME: UPSTAIRS

Welcome back to the abode!  This time, you can get a little workout in and head upstairs.  Here's what the second story in our little home looked like on moving day, starting with the view when you walk in the front door.



Looove me some built-ins... oh, the accessorizing that will be done here.  I'm sure it will always be evolving, but it will be fun.  This little loft area was a complete bonus.  We were planning on a three-bedroom and using one as the office, but now we've got this cozy little corner for a work/study/lounge area.


While your looking at the picture below, can I say that I really don't understand why window dressings stay when a house sells?  They're easy to take down and a personal styling choice, so why leave them?  It looks strange to have a house empty of everything except curtains.  If you have the answer to this issue, let me know, I'd love to hear it.


Moving on to the guest bedrooms and those beautiful chair rails.  There are lots of little details that make our little home pretty special.  At least to us, they do.  I guess most people wouldn't care about a chair rail if it was smacking them in the back of the head.  Anyway, on with the tour.



Guest bathroom and one of the several areas that needs a wallpaper-stripping in the very near future.


Go a bit further down the hall and you'll find our bedroom.  The lighting in these pictures makes the wall color look about twelve shades of brown/gray/red.  The most true-to-life representation is probably the third picture down, and yes, it is all painted the same color.  Just looks crazy different between the three shots below.


Another little detail, I love how the bedroom part of the room is framed off from the closet and bathroom area.  It's the little things.



Our master closet, which by the way, is split pretty much half and half between Ryan and I, despite what a certain birthday card to Ryan from certain parents of mine might have read.   I've got pictures to prove it, so be watching for that follow-up.


Last but not least, our bathroom.  And another place where wallpaper must go.  Wallpaper and valences, out.  Last little detail though, look at those high counters.  These make a world of difference for Ryan and I, being a rather tall couple.



Well, thanks for stopping by again and have a relaxing weekend!  This will be the first one of those in a long time for us, so we're looking forward to it.

2.09.2012

THAI CURRY SOUP

This sweet and spicy soup is our go-to recipe whenever one of us is sick.  It's comforting enough to make you feel better but also has a bit of a kick to jump-start your immune system.  It's also hearty enough for the winter but fresh enough to enjoy year-round.

The recipe is based on Noodles and Co.'s Thai Curry Soup, but I would argue it's much better homemade.


Ingredients:
  • 2 ounces rice noodles
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced lemon grass
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons red curry paste
  • 1 32 oz. carton chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 13.5 oz. can reduced-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup peeled and de-veined medium shrimp
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 10 oz. bag baby spinach leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
 Directions:
  1. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  Add rice noodles and cook until al dente, about 3 minutes.  Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in garlic, lemon grass, and ginger and cook for 30 to 60 seconds.  Add the curry paste, and cook 30 seconds more.  Pour in 1/2 cup of the chicken broth, and stir until the curry paste has dissolved, then pour in the remaining chicken stock along with the soy sauce and sugar.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in coconut milk, shrimp, mushrooms, spinach, lime juice and cilantro.  Increase heat to medium-high, and simmer until the shrimp are cooked, about 5 minutes.
  4. Place some rice noodles into each serving bowl and ladle soup on top of them.  Garnish each bowl with a sprinkle of sliced green onion.
Yum!  Now cuddle up on the couch with a bowl of this soup and tell me if you don't feel better.

2.07.2012

25 LETTERS FROM 25 PEOPLE


Here's a post by itself for Ryan's 25th birthday gift.  I had seen gift ideas in the past where you write a number of letters yourself or have people write a certain number of memories and it got me wanting to involve a bunch of people in his present this year.


So I decided to have 25 of his family members each write a letter to Ryan for his 25th birthday and put them together in a big book.  It's a good thing he was turning 25 because it ended up being pretty close to the exact number of family members.  It worked out perfectly as I was able to include all his close family members - his immediate family, my family, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

I put out a request for the letters before Christmas and I received a letter from each and every person I sent a request to.  It was one of the most amazing experiences reading them as they came in.  It's a pretty powerful way to learn more about your spouse and makes you truly appreciate each and every good attribute about them.  Also makes you realize how blessed you are and makes you pray they feel a small fraction of the same thing for you.  Annnd it makes you cry when they open it, so be forewarned...



Ryan read through a few of them when he received it and is saving some to sit down and spend some time pouring through.  Some are funny and lighthearted, others are deep-felt and emotional.  All were sent with the note that it was an incredible opportunity to get sometimes unspoken words down on paper to look at for years to come.




And last but certainly not least, thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you that wrote a letter.  Ryan has been going on and on about how much it means and it also means more to me than you'll ever know.  You all were an irreplaceable part of this.  Cue the sniffles...

2.06.2012

THE HUSBAND'S QUARTER CENTURY


This past weekend was the hubby's 25th birthday and it was one of the best weekends ever.  Really.  It was one of those where you get truly sad because it's over.  Friday was his actual birthday and we received the amazing blessing of being snowed in, in our new home.

Then Saturday we had both our families over to celebrate.  That was something I've dreamed of, a home to hold all our family in and a kitchen table big enough to seat everyone.  It was absolutely perfect in all ways.  Now enough blubbering by me and on with the pictures...


Of course there was a fine brew brought over by my parents.  Love their taste in beer and wine.


Here's the table I was talking about.  We've got 12 people there... our very own big fat family dinner!


Now get ready for more blubbering.  Since this was a milestone birthday for Ryan, I wanted to do something memorable and lasting.  So starting before Christmas, I've been gathering letters from each of his family members to put in a book for him.  Birthday letters, but so much more.  This was one of the most emotional things I've ever done and reading them as they came in made me so aware of how blessed I am.


Which is why I cried like a baby when he opened it...




I've got a post about the 25 letters for his 25th coming soon just because it was such an amazing experience to do for him and it ended up being such a gift for me too.



His other gift?  I caved on a TV.  I knew he was getting gift cards from his parents, so I decided to make up the rest.  I have to admit, I do love it.
 

Time for cake!  And one amazing one at that.  I had my good and amazingly talented friend Katira make him one and we decided on an outdoorsy theme, complete with a little Ryan on his bike!

Even the little wreath I made got dressed up for the occasion.  Again, it was an amazing celebration followed by our good friends coming over to continue the festivities.  Special day for a very special guy.  Happy, happy, happy 25th birthday Ryan!