Here are a few of my Spring Favorite items. The new Anthropologie BHLDN collection is stunning in person, the rose gold and lace is just lovely, so pretty and delicate you will have a hard decision deciding on which one to buy. And the poufs, there are on sale now, just saw them in the store for $99, so go get em. My visit to Tom's flagship store in Venice had me trying on half the sunglasses, the ones feature are brand new. So great for Spring and Summer. I promise I'll get on the Summer bandwagon in a minute. Or maybe by the end of the month.
Have you ever admired a piece of furniture that someone else owned? Well I admired this dresser that my friend Michelle had. A tall dresser with various drawer sizes, this was a departure from the dressers I had growing up. She had her things displayed just right. Well she moved to Texas 10+ years ago and I gladly bought this piece of furniture from her. It fits in my small room, where my King size bed takes over the WHOLE space. After 10+ years I wanted an update. I struggled with whether to sale it, buy something brand new, or makeover a piece of cheap Ikea furniture. Budgets came in and inspiration hit me here. I couldn't afford a new chair or sofa in that amazing green couch, nor did I have room for such a thing, so I drew from that color and the rest of the dresser and room fell in place. I am incredibly happy with the result and now I can say I LOVE this piece of furniture. I'm addicted to this makeover, looking around the house for what else I can pimp!!
Here's what I did and what products I used.
Step 1: Empty all drawers and remove all the hardware.
Step 2: Sand off old paint or stain. I did a light sand as it wasn't a thick stain on the wood. Afterward make sure you wipe the dresser and drawers clean, you don't want any dust or sanding on the drawers before you prime them.
Step 3: I used Benjamin Moore - Primer and painted all the drawers and the dresser. Let this thoroughly dry before the next step. My take two coats.
Step 4: I used Benjamin Moore - Amazon Moss (2037-10) color in Eggshell finish. I matched this as closely as I could to the green couch in the inspiration image. I probably painted up to three coats, you may need more or less depending on the piece of furniture.
Step 5: After the paint thoroughly dries, you might need a few days, then apply an acrylic polyurethane to seal the paint. I did this as an after-thought, and only after I made a few scratches in the top of the dresser (yes I had to sand and repaint), I knew I had to fix this. So I used Benjamin Moore - Stays Clear Acrylic Polyurethane.
Step 6: Spray paint your hardware, a can of spray paint is so much cheaper than buying 13 new knobs. I used Krylon - Metalic Gold Spray Paint. Again I'm addicted, I ended spray painting some old picture frames in Gold after starting this project.
That's it. This literally only took me two to three days and made such a huge difference in our room.
I know I know, we're close to Summer, but I missed Spring for all the traveling I've done in the past few months. On this June Gloom day I present you with Spring and all the beauty in the flowers and fruit. There might be a white peacock and probably an over saturation of Peonies. I am kind of obsessed with them. Enjoy!
Chirp, chirp, chirp. I know it's been extremely quiet here. One must set a few priorities in life, and mine has been helping my 95 year old grandmother and my Mom in the good state of New Mexico. This is a Monday that I can try to access the past few weeks. During my stay here we've uncovered quite a few treasures and lots of stuff that I have no idea what we'll do with. We have had to decide to sell, keep, donate, or toss. No easy task, especially as there are so many memories attached. Oh I forgot the other option, what should we burn. More than once we've thought what a relief it would be if the house completely went up in flames, but we've just looked at the other option, to burn all the old paid bills oh and few pure weird things that just needed to be disposed of quickly. Below are a few of the things we've uncovered.
Biggest lesson learned here is "keep your life simple." Seriously the accumulation of stuff is beyond my comprehension, yet we so easily slip into keeping every sentimental thing. I can't wait to go home and clean out my house even more.
Just guess which one of these items I am actually keeping.
Are you craving Margarita's today? I think many of you are. I tried to make one the other day. I'm not a huge tequila fan these days, but this was a tasty way to use a seasonal ingredient like blood oranges. With that said, Megan from the blog The House Wife In Training Files does it right. Look at her amazing images and recipes here, I found her on Pinterest and had to try this refreshing cocktail. Whatever you are drinking, personally I'm still on my second cup of coffee, enjoy your week!
What to make for dessert when you are having an Italian appetizer party? Biscotti of course. I wanted something simple and not messy that people could walk around with. Although, admittedly biscotti does generate a lot of crumbs, but oh well. I had made biscotti forever ago, but it was a basic recipe, white flour with almonds. This time I wanted chocolate and lots of it. Its funny when I thought about making the biscotti I thought of my friends Dad who also happens to be my neighbor. We've had plenty of meals with their family and I've always seen him dip his biscotti in Prosecco or wine of any kind. So I made sure we had that Prosecco on hand for the party since he and his wife were attending. He did not disappoint.
Here's how I made them.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, I used Valhrona
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 cup roasted hazelnuts, chopped (I buy raw ones and roast them in a cast iron skillet. After they cool i rub as much of the skin off as I can, but you can leave it on if you'd like)
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a cookie sheet.
In a bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter and sugar and almond extract until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat until combined. Stir in flour mixture to form a stiff dough. Stir in chopped hazelnuts and dark chocolate chips.
On prepared baking sheet, you might want to flour your hands, form dough into two slightly flattened logs, each 12 inches long and 2 inches wide. I find that longer thinner logs is the way to go, that way when you get to the slicing part you have smaller biscotti cookies, but that's entirely up to you. Bake logs about 35 minutes, or until slightly firm to the touch. Cool biscotti on baking sheet 5 minutes.
On a cutting board cut biscotti diagonally into 3/4-inch slices. Arrange biscotti on baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Cool biscotti on a rack. You can keep them in an airtight container for 1 week and frozen, 1 month. I like my biscotti crunching and hard so I baked them slightly longer, no more than a total of 20 minutes.
Final task was packaging and sending them on their way. I'm loving these new gift tags from Tiny Prints, which I personalized, actually I'm kind of addicted to them. My friends loved the little packages of goodies and a few friends will get them in the mail with the recipe on my new note pad (seen above) which incidentally looks perfect with the biscotti.
Candied grapefruit, doesn't that just sound delectable. Well in my quest to make a refreshing cocktail, I thought about what would I garnish it with. Since the major citrus ingredient in my cocktail was grapefruit, why not use the peels for something extra sweet and special.
I've made candied orange peels here before, so I new it wasn't too hard to do, just a little time consuming. So here's how:
2 large red or pink grapefruits
1 cup of sugar, plus extra for tossing the peels in
Cut peel from grapefruits into strips or small triangle pieces, you can leave about 1/4 of the white pith. Place the peels in a small saucepan, add cold water to cover over them. Bring water to a boil, then drain; you will need to repeat this process twice.
After you've done the above twice, bring the peel, 1 cup sugar, and ½ cup water to a boil in same saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer until peel is translucent, 15–20 minutes. Drain and then transfer peel to a wire rack and let dry, 2–4 hours. Toss in more sugar. (See above for what they look like once they have been boiled in the sugar and after they have been tossed in the sugar)
These are great as garnishes to a drink. I might dip a few in chocolate next, because everything taste better in chocolate.
Do you ever wish you were 23 again, only with the knowledge you have now? I wish I had that metabolism and energy, and memory. Seriously I'm losing my memory or maybe I'm just losing my mind. I can't eat the same things, so much food these days makes me feel bad. I don't have the stamina to stay up for long amounts of time and generally I'm just slower on just about everything. Oh the joys of getting older, even if I am relatively young, it kind of sucks.
In a couple of weeks we're off our schedule once again, this time going to New Mexico to help clean out a family house. Seriously, stressing me out. But we'll make the most of it. Which has motivated me at home now.
This space has been sparse as I realized I need to clean out my own apartment, box by box, closet by closet. We accumulate so much stuff, and it feels really great just getting rid of it all. This clean up includes a digital clean up. How many emails do you have, why are we saving them all, what are we worried about losing? I ask myself this every time I see my inbox full or my archive files overflowing. It's Spring cleaning time and I clearing out space to breath. What does your Spring cleaning include.
Hope your week is shaping up to be a fulfilling one. Enjoy!
How often does your color taste change? Mine is going through a major shift.
Almost 19 years ago when we set up our first apartment it was the a bit overwhelming to go from just decorating your bedroom, that you rented or lived at home, to having many more rooms to claim color ownership of. So I erred on the side of neutral.
I'll never forget someone telling me that the colors I picked on my registry were so boring. I was afraid of color, which is ironic, because I loved to paint and play with color, but not for me.
Actually that bled into my clothes too, afraid of color, I mostly wore black, grey and brown. Again, I can think back to the day when I was walking around in bright lime green and hot pink that someone told my mom my clothes were too loud. So black, brown and grey it was.
So a few years ago when I was going to England, I'd decided to figure out a new color palate for me based on the colors of the season. I knew it was time to add color back in my life. I am a firm believer that what you wear and see everyday has a big affect on your moods. Picking colors from the season, was so fashion forward to me. Probably behind really, but who cares. This way I would know that I could find things during that season in that color palate. I eliminated one color from that original palate, only because every time I tried that color on I looked sad. Then one color I added because my eyes really looked happy when I wore that one.
Now I love color, I have few basic items in black, but the rest is all color all the time. I'm gravitating to color more and more. So today is what has inspired me. Below are a few of the Pinterest pins that I love. And now that I pulled them, I can see Pink, Green and Yellow are in them all.
I've recently started adding yellow into my wardrobe, so afraid of that color on me. But I bought some yellow and grey shoes so I knew I had to get over it.
And then I find that color bleeds into my food, I've been buying foods at the markets purely because they are colorful, then I need to figure out what to do with them. What fun!
Has art inspired you? I've been inspired by a few pieces of stationary to create great recipes and write them down on, or send my food with little splashes of color on the packaging. Really anything can inspire you.
I am loving the pops of color in a room. I can't wait to show the dramatic change in my bedroom, from dark and cozy to bright, light and airy.
This makes me incredibly hungry for something PINK.
I'm in the process of spray painting just about anything I can get my hands on. I love the splashes of muted color on these pots. What colors are you gravitating towards?
I have to say my brain has been on serious vacation mode. I am dreaming of being out in the Barrier Reef, isn't is just so peaceful looking? I'm slowly trying to get myself back into a routine. I fear this won't happen till September. Still lots going on. May is shaping up to be a roller coaster, but I'll find a way to manage. I've been testing recipes, finalizing our bedroom makeover, fixing our new pimped out dresser and clearing the DVR of about 2 months worth of shows. I hardly watch live TV anymore. Today I am in cleaning mode, which includes the physical cleaning of the apartment and my email inbox. I am so wishing I had joined this program 40 bags in 40 days. Seriously how is it we accumulate so much stuff that quickly. But we do. So time to shred, bag, and get rid of it. So I start my own little challenge at my apartment before I start this project with my grandmother's house. Yep that's coming in May. Stay tuned for more road trip madness. Eventually I'll get my Belize post up. Have a great week all.
While I was traveling through Belize I guest posted on The Hip Soiree about how to set up the perfect party bar. I'm currently trying to figure out how to replicate this at home, much more scaled down, of course. This party gave me a chance to figure this out. Take a look at the post here. I loved this project and Lizzie's blog is fantastic.
Did I ever tell you I have a nice collection of signed cookbooks. My friends know because they helped me move boxes of them when we got our floors redone. I don't have too many, but a few apparently very heavy ones.
My love for cooking and cookbooks happened nearly 19 years ago. My boss was a foodie. He had quite a collection of cookbooks. I was newly married, and really didn't know how to cook much. Pasta was my go to meal. I asked his advice on what cookbooks I should invest in. I'd joined a cookbook club. Then, started the book signings. He'd send me to get a cookbook signed by Julia Child or some other great chef, and would kindly purchase one for me. Thus my love for the cookbook and meeting the author started.
My friend Bekah and I have stood in line more then once to meet Ina Garten and get a few signed cookbooks from her, plus a sampling of recipes from the cookbook. We love these moments.
All of a sudden there are three cookbooks and great stories on sale. Here's what I'm looking forward to reading and cooking from.
First up is David Lebovitz, My Paris Kitchen. If you haven't check out his blog your missing something. Seriously his first book My Sweet Life, made me laugh out loud. His tweets are even hilarious. This book released today. Go get it now at Amazon, I sure will be.
Next up is Molly Wizenberg's book about her restaurant, Delancey that she opened up with her husband. She is also hilarious, have you ever heard her on the podcast Spilled Milk? I literally laugh out loud listening while sitting in the endless traffic on L.A. freeways, and let me tell laughing in that mess is super hard to do.
Last up is one I've been anticipating. Huckleberry: Stories, Secrets and Recipes From Our Kitchen. I literally live 4 blocks from Huckleberry's in Santa Monica. I frequently walk there for a quick lunch or sweet treat. Seriously when she posts on Instagram what she baked that day I drop everything and walk up the street to try it out. I can't wait to read this book. Right now you can pre-order it and I know they'll be doing a book signing soon, I so can't wait to meet these people in person. They own at least four restaurants and an ice cream parlor here in Santa Monica. You can't be more invested in your community then that.
What are your favorite cookbooks?
Well I'm back to the daily grind, still talking about our trip to Belize, I'll have plenty to share about that in the days to come. I think I've sort of set reset, but really i'm just moving at a slower pace right now. I know I have lots of creative ideas, recipes, travel and to do's to share, lots coming your way.
In my mind I'm sitting in the chair above, enjoying the cool Caribbean breeze with my Pina Colada. Reality is I'm sitting at my desk with 2 computers (Mac and PC), an iPad, iPhone, Camera, wires and plugs, all while I'm eating my food and typing this. Oh Reality….BOO! As Da La Soul sang "Back to Life, Back to Reality."
Hope you all have a wonderful week. I still have lots of catching up to do.
We are in Belize. Why did we pick this country to travel to, you may ask? For a few reason, we have good friends who live here and have asked us to come many times. Also we wanted to do a little volunteer work and put forth a few goals to a some young girls about moving where there is a greater need and helping out. So we are here in Belize. I'll share more of my adventures when I return, but see a few images from the variety of things we've already seen and done.
Yes like the rest of those of us who live in L.A. we were woken up at 6:36AM (its still dark at that hour) and we jolted out of bed. I followed SB out of the bed, only it wasn't the way I usually get out of the bed so I proceeded to bang my shin and then we just stopped in the hallway, be holding my shin asking, "where we going" and SB saying "i have no idea." Lets just say our vacation cannot start soon enough.
With that said this space may be very quiet for a few days/weeks. We're off to Belize for a much needed vacation and some fun volunteer work. We're going with another family of 5. I'll try to post pictures on Instagram and maybe get a post in here, but I'm really trying to disconnect as much as possible. I am virtually on my electronic devices 24/7 these days and need to step away and reset my focus. I have a feeling my life will change drastically in the months to year to come. It needs to, and we will totally embrace it. For now enjoy the rest of March and early April.
Hey everyone! I’m Lizzie from The Hip Soiree and I’m visiting today to talk to you about party decorations. YAY! I’m so glad to be here!
Ahhhhh…party decorations. I think I can safely say they are one of my most favoritest things in the world. I’m pretty sure it comes from my love of making DIY projects and the lack of space I have to display them. Party decorations are a way to make something grandiose. I mean, you don’t want it to look like Party City just barfed all over your house. You just want to pick a few things to really wow them. Who doesn’t like to knock some socks off? No one, that’s who.
When someone asks me to help plan a party, the first thing I do is talk to them about a theme and color scheme. And by “theme,” I don’t necessarily mean an overt theme like “I want a PRINCESS party!” (I don’t get that request very often, although I kinda hope I do because I AM A PRINCESS!) Mostly it’s a vibe. Believe it or not, not everyone wants a baby shower to have pink or blue crepe paper streamers everywhere or baby circus animals. Some people just want a relaxing party with their friends before their life turns to chaos. With gifts, of course. They’re not crazy.
After we settle on a color scheme and vibe…I hit Pinterest and start a board. Let’s pull some ideas together and see what we come up with! For example, the party I helped Tanya with was a gold, modern cocktail party. (Side note - I honestly don’t remember what we did before Pinterest. Did people use real bulletin boards for stuff like this? Or did they print things out and put them in a folder? That sounds HORRIFIC!)
Once some things have been pinned to the board, I pick my favorite concepts and run with them. For example, I found a tutorial on how to make a 4” ornament, but figured out a way to make it a 24” hanging centerpiece I call an Atomic Star (Tanya calls it “The Disco Deathstar.” Everyone better hope that thing doesn’t explode because it was basically a glitter bomb just WAITING for an excuse to blow.)
Here are some examples of things I’ve made out of plain, old paper:
I also like to jazz up things that can be kinda boring. Like table centerpieces. Don’t get me wrong, I love flowers, but they’re expensive! I’ve made things like paper peonies, felt billy buttons and origami flowers. Or how about embroidered tablecloths or table runners (like the gold sequined one pictured above)? Simple and different.
And then there are decorations like these super spikey (read: deadly to the touch) modern sea urchin orbs.
It doesn’t have to specifically scream party, just amp it up a bit! And, to me, it’s touches like these that makes a good party into an awesome party. My two cents.
Now if I could just cook, I’d be an unstoppable force. Oh, Tanya….
Can I just say I had a blast with this project for Kleenex. For one I am in love with these little packages and have been taking them all around Los Angeles. These on-the-go packages have seen some of the major sites in L.A.. I had one design to take me around and it just happened to SOOO be me, and my friends for that matter. They just complemented every purse, jacket and outfit we had on. You can seriously have your pick of multiple designs that fit in with your personal style. Take a look at www.Kleenex.com/style to find the ones that are so YOU.
We took this package with us to the LaBrea Bakery, Griffith Observatory, the Gamble House in Pasadena and even up to the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood. Even the men can rock the Kleenex on-the-go packages with serious style.
My orange purse just made this package pop out, I really loved it and take a look at the inside to, even that has style.
I just so happen to love Raymond Chandler novels and he writes L.A. Crime Noir so well. Ieuan below just pulled this mood off to a tee.
Kleenex will be hosting a reveal event on March 17 at Grand Central Station in NYC where they will be unveiling the new Kleenex brand designs live with Isaac Mizrahi. Anyone can stop by the event to learn more about Kleenex brand’s 90 years of Kleenex Style, be the first to see the designs and have a chance to win some cool prizes.
This is a sponsored post by Kleenex Brand. However, all opinions expressed are my own.
The past two weeks have been a bit of blur, but also amazingly eventful. We had guests for two weeks visiting from the UK. It's a friend I've had since we were 12. Penpals, do you even know what that is? Before the days of email, texting, skype, facetime, we wrote letters and lots of them. We'll she and her husband haven't been in L.A. for over 11 years, so they were due for a visit. Over the next couple of weeks, maybe even one post before we are off to Belize, I'll share a few of the sprinklings of what we've been up to and where we went.
In the meantime, we are up for a serious vacation of our own. With a complete overhaul of our bedroom, a party thrown on one of the rainiest weekends we've ever had in L.A., working, posting, and being a full tour guide, we are ready for a vacation. Which is sort of what we'll be doing starting next week in Belize. I kind of feel like I'm at a crossroads, which that picture kind of conveys. I seriously need to set a reset button on my life. Which I hope unplugging for two weeks we'll allow me to do. Thanks to all my readers for sticking around while I try to catch up on life.