10.26.2012

FEEL GOOD FRIDAY 10.26.12

Here's a little series called "Feel Good Friday."  It started with my "Feel Good" Pinterest board where I collect all things happy... uplifting sayings, beautiful pictures, little laughs, pure inspiration.  I often find myself trolling through it just because it brings a smile to my face and I thought it would be fun to share the feel good with you!  I'll be posting a little something happy every Friday to get the weekend started right and set our perspectives straight.

To kick of the series, here's a simple, yet perfect quote.  If we only told ourselves this every morning, we would give ourselves a much better chance at having a good day.  How often do we write off a day as not great because there's a dentist appointment to go to or we didn't have time to do our hair in the morningSo what?!  Remind yourself, it can still be a good day, selfHope you enjoy!  Please feel free to share whatever it is that's making you feel good!


FRIDAY'S LETTERS 10.26.12



Dear Husband: thanks for being such a great cat daddy (father to our felines, not the dance).  What would I do if I couldn't text you in the middle of the grocery store to see what kind of food our fur babies eat?  You're a better parent than I.

Dear Winter: welcome!  I know I get sick and tired (literally) of you sometimes, but it's only because you last a good half the year here.  When you first arrive and I get to cuddle up indoors while big fat flakes fall, I love you.

Dear Corner Edge of Car Door: thank you not at all for nailing me in the butt when I bent down to grab my car keys that I droppedThere was a genuine laugh/cry there.

Dear Mom and Sisturd: thank you for coming over, bringing pizza and making me laugh, as always.  That was some much needed girl time!
 
Dear Friends with Adorable Toddler and Bun in the Oven: we are so, so excited to see you this weekend!  What a sweet little family you guys are.

Dear Friday's Letters: thank you for making me think this morning and be a little bit creative... time to go get coffee.

Dear Readers: thank you for stopping by here on your busy Friday.  Enjoy the rest of it!

Photo credits 1, 2.

10.25.2012

FIRST SNOW OF THE SEASON

The first snow is here!  Technically we saw our first snow at the top of Pikes Peak a few weeks ago, but this is officially the first snow of the season here at our house and at a normal (for Colorado, anyway) elevation.  As much as I love summer and being warm, the snow is just so cozy and calming.  I'm enjoying it for now.


The mountains were stunning this morning.  The sun was just rising and turned them to brilliant shades of pink and purpleThese pictures were all taken on my phone, so they're not the best quality, but still beautiful.  And yes, I did pull over on my way to work to take these.


I love all the little rooftops, dusted in snow.  Anything where you are?  Have a calm and cozy day everyone!

10.23.2012

RICE NOODLES WITH PEANUT LIME CHICKEN

It's time for more food around here, isn't it?!  Ryan is usually the chef in our household, and he's an amazing one at that.  However, with beginning an intense Master's program and working a lot, that role has increasingly fallen in my lap.  Which I don't mind at all.  I love to cook, I just have to realize that it takes some planning... and a glass of wine to take the edge off (as suggested by my mom).

A few weeks ago, I wanted to make something homemade, healthy and somewhat easy.  I also wanted to use up some random ingredients we had (three bags of rice noodles, anyone?) so I Googled some of the stuff we had on hand and found an amazing recipe courtesy of Smitten Kitchen.  First things first, if you haven't gone to that blog before, do it now.




Moving along, the recipe she made is based off a crazy-complicated one that she trimmed down and I in turn trimmed hers down even more.  But even if it was extremely simplified, it was a success, so without further rambling, here's my simple version of rice noodles with peanut lime chicken.

Ingredients:
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 12 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Serrano chiles, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 8 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1-inch chunk of ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 6 tablespoons almond butter (or peanut butter for a sweeter taste)
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 12 oz. rice noodles
  • 2 cucumbers, cut in 1/4-inch moons
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • small handful of cilantro (or other herb)
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup crushed or chopped roasted peanuts
  • lime wedges

Directions:

1.  Dipping sauce: whisk brown sugar, 12 tablespoons lime juice, garlic and Serrano chiles in a small bowl and let sit for 15 minutes.

2.  Peanut dressing: in a blender or food processor, puree white wine vinegar, lime juice, soy sauce, ginger, almond butter and cayenne until smooth and pour into a serving bowl.

3.  Chicken: stir together 1/2 of the dipping sauce and 1/3 of the peanut sauce, pour into a shallow dish and marinate chicken for at least 15 minutes.  After marinating, grill or cook chicken on a frying pan until nicely browned, about 5 minutes per side.  Chop into roughly one-inch pieces.

4.  Noodles: boil a large pot of water and turn off the heat.  Add the rice noodles and cook for about 8 minutes, depending on package directions.  Drain when noodles are al dente and cool under running water.  Fluff and leave in strainer to drain.

5.  Serve: place everything on a large serving platter with a bowl each for noodles, vegetables (cucumbers and carrots), chicken, the dipping sauce, the peanut dressing and toppings (cilantro, scallions, peanuts and lime wedges) and let people create their bowls however they wish.


10.22.2012

FEATURED: TEN JUNE FALL DECOR HIGHLIGHTS

Hey everyone!  I'm so excited to share that my DIY Leaf Art post was featured on Ten June!

Michelle put together a great round-up of fun fall projects and I'm just so excited that mine is in the mix!  Her blog is the perfect balance of home, DIY, family, life and humor and she provides some seriously amazing inspiration herself.  Click here to check out Michelle's blog, the feature she put together and some of the other great fall ideas and then click here to check out the leaf art I whipped up.  Thank you so much for the feature Michelle!  Enjoy!


Pretty great stuff, right?  I love those little ghosts and the homemade wreath... ah, I love it all.  Happy Monday everyone!

P.S.  If you're a fellow Coloradoan, did you check out this week's weather?  Seventies today through Thursday, then mid-thirties on Friday!  Better start welcoming winter in, whether you like it or not!

10.19.2012

LOVING: NATE BERKUS FOR TARGET

Every time Target launches a designer collection you can expect what can only be compared to Black Friday on the release date.  The Nate Berkus for Target collection will surely be no exception and you better believe I plan on being there early in the morning to scoop some stuff up.  Now I just have to figure out which Target will have the best collection (it DOES vary by store, maybe I'll hit up two) and see if I can drag my sweet husband along.

Nate Berkus is a designer/author/TV host and he's putting together a line for Target that's sure to be amazing, judging by the preview.  He's got impeccable taste but also knows how to make a room or a home feel real and lived-in at the same time.


Check out some of the home goods that will be in the collection, set to release this Sunday, the 21st!


I'll be back to share what goodies I picked up!  One advantage to living in the middle of the country is that the stores are a bit less crazed for designer launches than they are on either coast.  I was able to get some of the Missoni line a week after it was released, which would never happen in a bigger city.  Although we do have five Target stores here, so I guess we're not small by any means.  And yes, I do know how many Target stores are here, what can I say?  Target is my happy place... especially when there's a little Nake Berkus in the mix.

Photo credit: ca HOME+DESIGN.

FRIDAY'S LETTERS 10.19.12




Dear Husband: thank you for happily partaking in all of my little shenanigans.  You're the best.
Dear Little Girl Fur Baby: thanks for being just the best little blogging assistant ever.
Dear Friday's Letters: thank you for providing a means of a weekly "thank you" list that makes me recap the better parts of each week and be actively thankful for them.
Dear Fall: you will continue to get a letter every week until it's clear winter has arrived.  Then after that, you'll probably get "I miss you" letters.  It's definitely cold for good now here, but the leaves are still beautiful and pumpkin is still to be found everywhere in everything.
Dear Little DIY Project: your turn is coming, to get all dressed up and make an appearance here, thanks to some lovely inspiration found in other lovely blogs.
Dear Friends: this has been an amazing week because of you.  Each of you know exactly who you are and I love you.  If you're reading this, imagine me giving you a big ol' hug.
Dear Weekend: bring it on.  I'm ready for you, always.

Photo credit.

10.18.2012

COFFEE TASTING AT CAFE VELO

Coffee, coffee, coffee.  Obviously an important thing around here.  After all, we are planning on setting up our own little coffee and tea nook.  One of our favorite local coffee shops, and definitely my husband's favorite, is cafe velo.  It's bike shop meets coffee shop and both offerings are pretty high-end and delicious (well, at least the coffee is delicious... although it wouldn't surprise me if the hubs called the bikes the same).




The cafe has this great industrial feel with high ceilings that boast these unbelievably huge fans.  To give you a perspective, each blade is around ten feet long.  Yet it still manages to feel warm and inviting, given the employees' genuinely friendly vibe and impressively educated passion for java.


Cafe velo hosted a signature coffee tasting this past Saturday morning with a really interesting approach.  They used the same beans for each tasting but brewed the coffee using three different methods.  To be honest, I just had to text my husband and ask what the three methods were... but here they are nonetheless.  I just sat there and enjoyed.  Although I was able to tell a difference between each brewing method, which I was pretty proud of.  Anyway, they brewed it with a french press, with a manual pour over with a filter, and with a chemex.  I like the one below on the left, the chemex I believe, mostly because it's purdy.





We also got some scrumptious green chili breakfast burritos... yum.  Coffee date anyone?  We're up for it anytime.

10.16.2012

BIG CITY HOME GOODS SHOPPING

About every other month or so, I drag convince my husband to partake in a day of home goods shopping in Denver.  That means we hit up Ikea, West Elm, Crate&Barrel, Urban Outfitters, Z Gallerie, Restoration Hardware and Jonathan Adler.  If that's not a good day, I don't know what is.  I'm sure a few of you just questioned my judgement and will probably never hang out with me if I'm making the plans, but whatever, this is a fun time if you ask me.

So a few weekends ago we spent the day wandering around and since I'm that person that's randomly snapping pictures of things on my phone, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorites:


First up is this amazing coffee table from Z Gallerie.  It's not too pricey, it would make a statement and it would lend itself to almost any design scheme.


Also at Z Gallerie are these wooden botanical prints above and these fun candle holders below.


And these pillows!  I think I like the other shade they make better, but either way, I need two of these babies on my couch pronto.


Next stop was the new Jonathan Adler store in Denver.  I've been waiting to peruse this place up ever since I heard it was coming and I finally got to go.  Seriously fun place to poke around in.


My favorite iconic "Jonathan Adler" products are these colorful, graphic throws.  One of these could easily transform any room.


The colors, patterns and mix-and-match style make me happy just looking at it.


Now for one of our all-time favorites, west elm.  And guess what?  We got to meet the coffee table I've been eying in person.  It's unfinished though and with us being a red-wine-drinking, spaghetti-with-marinara-sauce eating couple, I don't think it would look this pretty for long.  I'm trying to come up with ideas to adapt it though, so let me know if you have any!


This is why I love west elm and feel that it's so us... neutral palettes with splashes of color, bold patterns, natural materials and layering.


Now time for a little snack break and then off to Crate&Barrel, another favorite.  Although we actually bought a few things here and I could have bought almost everything in the store, the only thing I snapped a picture of was this rug.  I love the kilim rugs out there right now and think this one would be a lasting take on that trend since it's pretty neutral and wouldn't make you commit to designing everything around it.


And now for our last stop during Ryan and Chelsea's day of fun!  Sidenote: did anyone else just chant "Joey and Janice's DAY OF FUN!" in their head?  Any other "Friends" fanatics out there?

Anyway, last stop was Ikea... home of... well, everything from picture frames to Swedish pancakes.  Of course we picked up a few odds and ends, but the only picture I snapped here was of this photo gallery.  I've seen many like it, but with Ikea's affordable picture frames, you could actually tackle this all at once without breaking the bank.  I can totally envision something similar to this above our couch in our family room, so stay tuned.


That's it for our home goods outing/adventure.  Whew, makes me tired just thinking about it, but it's always a blast.  Who's with me next time?!

10.15.2012

LIVING IN

Happy Monday!  Of course, the weekend went too fast and I could use a nap even though I've only been up for a few hours.  But we had a great weekend that consisted of dinner with family, a coffee tasting, a fondue dinner with friends and then a cocktail party.  Given all that, yesterday we lounged all day.

For all these fall activities, and just in general during this season, I find myself living in boots, leggings, blazers and scarves.  It's all about the layering, especially here in Colorado where you can find yourself facing a fifty degree temperature swing within a day.


Here's to a great week, assuming this coffee kicks in soon!

10.12.2012

COME ON IN




Hi there!  Glad you're here.  If I were sitting next to you, I'd offer a cup of coffee or a glass of wine (depending on what time it is... or not) and invite you to sit and stay awhile.

Like many of you, I started this blog as an online journal for friends and family documenting the married life of my husband and I and it has since turned into much more.  Inspiration, a wonderful avenue for meeting amazing people (like you!) and a desperately needed creative outlet.  You'll come across food and drink, house and home, love and life... all in my messy beautiful world.

For those who have been here awhile, thank you!  I love you.  For those of you who are new, I would love to get to know you, so feel free to leave some love. It's because of that kind of stuff that this is my little happy place.  This and Target, of course.

Have yourself a wonderfully blessed Saturday!

FRIDAY'S LETTERS 10.12.12


Dear Husband: thank you for working so hard at work and school and then coming home and pulling more than your weight around here.  Although, if you need something to work on, you know, for a challenge, you could try picking up that little trail of stuff that follows you around the house when you get home every day.  You know, briefcase, tie, shoes...
Dear Friday's Letters: I like you.  You make me reflect on the week and think about what I appreciate (or don't) about it.  You're fun to write up, which leads me to...
Dear Wine and Blogging: you are my favorite.  Even though it's a major nerd alert, I love this duo.  FYI: I typed these up last night, so no, I'm not having wine for breakfast.
Dear Pumpkins: you are all over the house in every color, finish, and style I could imagine, and I love it. 

Dear Other Bloggers With Cute Outfit Posts: you make me feel like a bag-lady sometimes.  But I love the inspiration and maybe I'll have to kick things up a notch.  Which means not just wearing a cute outfit once a week when we go out on a date or with friends.
Dear Halloween: you are coming up soon and I'm giddily excited because we now live in a neighborhood with tons of little kiddos and I know we'll get tons of trick-or-treaters!  And therefore, tons of candy.
Dear Readers: you make my day, each and every day.  Much love.


Have a wonderful weekend everyone!  See you back on Monday!

10.11.2012

COFFEE AND TEA NOOK

Since we moved in to our new home over six months ago, we're learning what works for us and we're trying to incorporate elements to make our lives just that much easier.  A daily routine for us both is coffee or tea, and after seeing inspiration like the image below, I thought the similar little empty wall in our kitchen would make a perfect coffee and tea nook.

I mean, wouldn't you just love to have a similar setup in your home?  It would make your morning routine just lovely, right?  It would be especially great when guest come over and they could help themselves to coffee or tea as they please.


Originally, I was planning on putting some fun wine storage there so I would love to incorporate that into the mix as well.  Wine is probably almost as common a reason to go to the kitchen as caffeine, anyway.

As for the "furniture" for the nook, we have been looking at various kitchen carts, but they tend to be somewhat pricey for what you're getting and we really haven't come across anything we love.  So... enter existing Ikea shelving unit.  We bought this when we first moved in for extra storage and it's since been floating around the house.  However, it occurred to me one day that it might just be the perfect fit for our kitchen nook.  And it was!  Love when work-with-what-you-have actually works.  We might upgrade to a for-real kitchen cart one day, but for now, this will work wonderfully.

It looks pretty small in this picture, but it's actually a pretty good size.  Once we add some storage above, it should help balance that big blank wall too.



As you can see, we've got a basic set up right now with a few mugs and some loose leaf tea, but the plan is to install some storage on the wall above the shelves for cookbooks and mugs, add some wine storage in the shelves themselves and set up the hubby's fancy espresso machine.

Stay tuned for more coffee and tea and wine, oh my!

Photo credit: The Vintage Wren.

10.10.2012

DIY LEAF ART

Remember our fall bucket list we made a few weeks ago?  Well, time to cross something else off!  And thank goodness because now I can stop pulling over every time I see a tree with gorgeous leaves and I won't have to smile sheepishly and wave while people stare at me.  Plus, the leaves are almost gone now, which supposedly means it's going to be a rough winter?!  Guess we'll see... but for now I'm still loving all things fall and I found a great way to keep the season going a bit longer than it lasts in real life.


Yes, fall is my favorite, and one of the best things about it (obviously) are the gorgeous leaves that can be found in almost every color.  Inspired by this photo on Pinterest, I thought framing some leaves would be the perfect way to keep the colors around for longer than they last on the trees.


 This project was fun and simple.  First, collect a bunch of leaves that strike your fancy and press them in between two sheets of wax paper.  I put mine under some heavy textbooks for about a day and they were good to go.  Then arrange them however you like, tape or glue them to a piece of card stock and pop them into some frames!

Here's my favorite of the two in real-life, not just propped up against my table runner.  Anyone else do that?  Oh, and that little green pumpkin is from the dollar bin at Target!  Another point for the big bullseye.





If you have any other leaf projects, let me know!  I have some extra leaves laying around that I would love to do something with.  Have a happy hump-day everyone!

10.09.2012

LIGHTS AT NIGHT AND LIGHT FIXTURES

I came across this photo in my inbox today and I have to admit, it made me the teensiest bit excited for winter.  Cozying up indoors by the fire with a cup of coffee and seeing the big fat flakes coming down, knowing you won't be going anywhere for awhile... it's just so peaceful and fulfilling.  This picture was taken in Vail, CO where we got engaged, also in the middle of winter.  And yes, the husband got down on one knee in about a foot of snow.



Also, we finally installed our new light fixture yesterday and to say that I'm mildly obsessed would be an understatement.  It completely changes the look of our entire first floor and I. am. in. love.  More pics and details to come!


Have a wonderful Tuesday everyone!

Photo credit.

10.08.2012

DIY OMBRE AND CHEVRON PUMPKINS

Hellooo Monday!  This past weekend flew by, but really, what weekend doesn't?  We spent a good part of ours pumpkin carving and decorating.  I found these adorable little ghost pumpkins at Whole Foods and had to bring a few of them home in addition to our traditional ones that we carved up.


Instead of carving them all, I had some paint lying around and decided it would be fun to paint the two white ones.  And of course, the infamous ombre and chevron patterns worked their way into the mix.


To paint the chevron one, I taped off the pattern with Frog Tape and painted the two black layers.  I then went back and painted the bronze layer by hand and touched up the black by hand as well.

The ombre pumpkin was super easy.  Just grab a paintbrush, paint the middle layer of your pumpkin and then go back and paint the top layer, blending the two colors just slightly.


What do your pumpkins look like this year?  There are so many great ideas out there now, you could take out an entire pumpkin patch decorating and carving and painting!

Have a fabulous week everyone!