Friday, September 30, 2011

around the house: mirror + lamps


This mirror and these lamps have been sitting around our house waiting for other things to happen before they can be put up/placed in our house. I think that they are all going to end up in our bedroom. I found the mirror at Home Goods on sale for about $20, and I had been loving those lamps since the first time I saw them in Target, and I just happened to find them the day that they went on sale for half price!

I think that I want to put the mirror up above our bed, but I'm waiting until we buy a new mattress, and then I want to make a headboard like this! Then I'll hang it above the headboard. I really like the gold frame against the grey paint that we have on the walls in our room.

The lamps are going to go on our nightstands. I need to find some lampshades for them before I place them on the tables. I want to go with black, so I'm thinking something like these:
JÄRA shade from IKEA $30
Black Fabric Drum Shade from Lamps Plus $29.99
Black Faux Leather Lamp Shade from Lamps Plus $19.99 
What do you think about the lamp shades? Do you think the shape of that last one will look good with the shape of the lamp base? I wonder if the faux leather looks pretty or tacky in person...

Hope everyone has a good weekend! Is anyone doing anything exciting? We'll be watching baseball playoffs and maybe heading over to Knott's Berry Farm to get some more use out of our passes!

mixed green salad with pears, walnuts & blue cheese

autumn-inspired salad
Now that it's fall I'm going to be using as many pears, grapes, pumpkins, squashes, figs, and apples as I possibly can! I was flipping through the Salads section in my CIA Gourmet Meals in Minutes cookbook, and I found a Mixed Green Salad with Pears, Walnuts and Blue Cheese salad. It sounded delicious, so I made it and added some grilled chicken, grapes, and some balsamic vinaigrette. As I was making it I thought to myself, "Justin is going to hate this." Fortunately I was wrong and he actually really liked it! This is definitely getting added into our little "family cookbook."

Update: here is the recipe, Sherril!

Mixed Green Salad with Pears, Walnuts & Blue Cheese (adapted from the CIA)
Makes 2 servings
  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 3 T. balsamic vinaigrette (I love the Fat-Free Balsamic Vinaigrette from Trader Joe's)
  • 1/2 Bartlett pear, diced
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 2 oz. blue cheese, crumbled 
  • 6 oz. chicken breast, grilled
  • 1 cup red grapes
Toss the lettuce with the vinaigrette. Divide the lettuce between 2 plates. Top with the remaining ingredients (I use 2 oz. of grilled chicken for my salad and 4 oz. for Justin's--everything else I distribute evenly).

patio design board

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Remember my posts here about our patio and here about what I'd like to do with our patio? We're not in the position to spend money prettying up our patio right now, but I thought it would be fun to put together a little "design board" featuring some of the patio products that have caught my eye lately. I think that this patio table and chairs from Crate and Barrel have a nice aesthetic, are sturdy-looking, and are just the right size for our small patio space. For some reason, I really want to get a "Starbucks green" umbrella for the patio, and aren't those string lights cool? They remind me of a scene in The Godfather 2 where they're showing Robert DeNiro's character starting the family business in New York. Lilacs are very sentimental to me, and I love to do a row of them along our patio railing to make the space more hidden and intimate (since our patio looks out onto our street).

What do you think of this design board?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

pumpkin chocolate chip squares

What is it about Fall that just makes you want to bake? I started to get the itch to bake a few weeks ago when the temperature was hovering around the 100 degree mark down here. Turning the oven on was not an option. Fortunately, last week it finally started to cool down a bit so I ran to the grocery store for a can of pumpkin and made these Pumpkin-Chocolate-Chip Squares from Martha Stewart (Martha is my go-to for baking recipes). One of the best things about this cake is the way it makes your house smell while it is baking. I wish that I could send the scent of Pumpkin-Chocolate-Chip squares baking in the oven to you through the internets, but until that technology is available you have 2 options: make them yourself or use your imagination. I recommend the former because these are delicious.

Monday, September 26, 2011

justin's surprise party

Justin and Charlie getting food/watching football game
The spread--thank you so much to my mother and mother-in-law for all of their input and advice!
Charlie and Chris
I made a balloon garland (like the one from my inspiration post!) and added some twinkle lights
Watching the game/talking about the game
Phil and Jon
So true
Saturday night I threw a surprise party to celebrate Justin's 30th Birthday! It was so great because he had no idea and was totally surprised! He didn't want to have a party, but I couldn't just let such a big birthday just slide. So, to make sure that he would have fun, I kept everything really low-key by hosting a barbecue at our house for a small group of his friends and family. Justin was surprised, everyone had fun, and we didn't run out of food or beer, so I am considering this party a success!

I had so much fun planning this and putting it together especially since it was the first party that we were hosting at our condo! I was nervous about cooking for a group of guys who were all college athletes because I had no idea how much they would eat. I ended up making 3 tri-tips, 3 whole chickens, 1 pound of shrimp, and 2 packages of chicken sausages. Justin's mom helped me out and brought a huge platter of yummy roasted vegetables and some hummus and flatbread which the guys devoured. I prepared the tri-tip authentic Santa Maria style, and I made 3 different kinds of chicken: lemon and oregano, teriyaki, and barbecue. I will try to post the recipes soon! Justin doesn't really like or eat cake (I know, I know!), so for dessert I made brownies and some microwave caramel corn. Justin's 4 year old cousin came to the party and was very confused by the desserts--he told Justin's mom that he had never been to a birthday party without a birthday cake.

It's always fun for me to see Justin hanging out with all of his friends (most of them live at least an hour away, so we don't see any of them as often as we should). They're mostly guys that Justin played baseball with at Biola and most of them lived together during that time. They're all in the same fantasy baseball and football leagues so when they get together it's non-stop sports talk. I need to start having more parties just so that they can all see each other more often.

Friday, September 23, 2011

happy first day of fall!


A perfect picture of fall


Prettily decorated front door (love those adorable pumpkin lanterns!)

So romantic

Pretty and simple autumn dinner party setting

Mercury glass pumpkins from Pottery Barn

Sweet potato cupcakes with toasted marshmallow frosting

I need to make this wreath!

Perfect balance of pretty and spooky

Project: carve mini jack-o-lanterns

I love the beautiful door hanging and the metallic pumpkins

Fall is my favorite time of year! It makes me want to move to the East Coast so that we can enjoy the full glory of Autumn and then spend the holidays with cold and snow. Since that's not going to happen (at least not this year), I will still decorate my house and bake lots of pumpkin treats and watch You've Got Mail once a week and enjoy Fall in Orange County.

Since it's the first day of my favorite season, I thought that it would be fun to share some of my favorite images of Falland some inspiration for projects that I hope to be doing over the next couple of months. I hope that you enjoy them! Do you love this time of year? What projects and recipes are you looking forward to now that the weather is cooling down?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

grilled breakfast pizza


When I asked Justin what he wanted for his Birthday dinner, I was surprised when he answered "breakfast pizza." Making pizzas on the grill is so easy and so delicious. I had made breakfast pizzas in the oven but this time I wanted to try making one on the grill, and I think that it was a great success!

Here is the recipe:

Pizza Dough (I just use Trader Joe's whole wheat pizza dough)
Olive Oil
5 Eggs
Shredded Cheese (I used Trader Joe's Quattro Formaggio blend)
Cooked Bacon
Chopped Oregano (you could use any blend of herbs and/or scallions)

Heat your grill to high. Shape the pizza dough as you wish and brush it with some olive oil. Place the pizza dough on the grill for about 30 seconds to a minute--basically just until you can see some pretty little grill marks. Turn off on side of the grill. Flip the pizza dough over and place it on the side of the grill that has no direct heat. Crack the eggs onto the pizza dough, close the grill lid, and cook until the eggs are set. Sprinkle with cheese, cooked bacon, and your herbs, then close the lid of the grill and cook until cheese is melty and eggs are done to your liking (we like the yolks to be a little runny, so I need to remember to take it off the grill earlier next time!). Remove from the grill, cut into pieces, and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

restoration hardware

This sofa is gorgeous

I love that chair--it would be great in the corner of our bedroom

The tufting and the shape of those chairs

Love that sofa with that coffee table
Brown tufted leather...
I absolutely love those chairs. And those light fixtures.
Framed map + leather sofa + trunk
I love the line on the arms of these chairs
Isn't that chair cool?
Beautiful barstools
Light fixtures
I love those mirrors
Again, I think those light fixtures are stunning
That chandelier
Tufted leather bed
I love most of the elements in this room
I really like this outdoor furniture, and I love how they paired it with those French country chandeliers.

Beautiful furniture in an amazing setting
I have never really paid much attention to Restoration Hardware (I have no idea why), but I received their Fall 2011 Source Book in the mail on Monday and now they definitely have my attention. Every single image contained some element that I absolutely loved. I think that they are a great source for sofas/couches, chairs, and light fixtures.

The Soho Tufted Collection sofa is exactly what I've had in mind for our living room. I'm kind of obsessed with all things tufted right now, and I love a good sectional sofa. I also like that it is white, but not too white to be impractical. Justin and I both thought that the Vintage Toledo barstools were really cool. And, last but not least, my very favorite piece from the catalog was the Oviedo Chaise (wow!).

Has Restoration Hardware always been this amazing? Why has it not been on my radar? The only reason that I can come up with is possibly the pricing. But, these are definitely pieces worth saving up to buy and keep forever.

Restoration Hardware also has some beautiful baby furniture...