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Thursday, September 30, 2010

{the lovely stones}



I like the simple, pure, and natural look of stones. I've always gravitated towards them with my camera, as so often they take an artistic form. Sometimes intentionally, like this "cairn" (mound of stones created by hikers to mark a mountain trail) :


But many times unintentionally, such as the morning sun hitting these garden rocks just perfectly:


At the Mondavi vineyards in Napa Valley {our honeymoon spot} giant stones were placed at the beginning of each line of grape plant to mark the varietal:


So how can these {lovely stones} translate to interior decor? The fireplace mantel photograph at the top is a beautiful example: bold, yet understated at the same time.

Here is another idea: If you are going for a zen, spa-like feel in your bathroom, try some stone accent candles. I found these lovelies at World Market:

I love to find ways to bring the outdoors in, and stones -- even if you are just using pebbles as vase fillers! -- are an easy way to do it.




Much joy to you on this {almost Friday!}

G

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

wine wednesday: tomar un lento paseo

No, I don't speak Spanish. I do, however, drink wine.

If I have drank several glasses of wine I may attempt to speak Spanish. I'll probably say something like this:

Usted es muy amable... {the only phrase I remember from my one semester of high school Spanish.} I think this means: You are very nice. At least, I hope that is what it means. Gulp.

Anyway, this week I opened a bottle of organic Spanish red wine called Slow Paseo. I bought it at Trader Joe's for 7.99. Needless to say, I didn't expect much. Keeping that in mind, it is not a bad wine. Very tart. Makes your tongue a little fuzzy. The taste is like very ripe blackberries. Might be better for cooking?

What I like about Slow Paseo {besides the cute orange label} is...

The name. Paseo translates to a stroll, or leisurely walk, in Spanish. I think drinking wine should be like this...a slow, lovely stroll. Taking your time to enjoy the flavor and texture on your tongue. If you are drinking wine quickly either a) it is a terrible wine or b) you are in terrible company.

{So find wine and friends that inspire you to sip slowly and enjoy the moment!}

Salud!

G

PS: Really cute Halloween giveaway going on over at the darling blog Tatertots and Jello! Check it out by clicking the link below...

Monday, September 27, 2010

old stuff + black spray paint + cute ribbon = cheap halloween fun

Somehow I convinced my "sleep all weekend, only pause for football and food" husband to get up at 6am Saturday morning and help me clean/organize our dungeonous netherworld basement.

Six hours later I emerged triumphantly, spiderwebs in my hair, a wild look in my eyes, clutching...

two silver candleholders!

a metal door hangy thingy!

a piece of scrap plywood!

You would have thought I had found a pirate's chest full of gold coins! Actually, I had found some old stuff I thought I might be able to make into Halloween decorations. My main tools were: black spray paint, black chalkboard paint, and orange Halloween ribbon I found at Michaels.


Here are the candle holders. The silver is actually lovely, but for the life of me I have never been able to make these work in my home.


So I spray painted them black! Lurve!


Here is the cream-colored metal door hanger. Not sure where I got this. Or why. Or where I would get another.


So I sprayed it with chalkboard paint, tied a piece of my cute Halloween ribbon around the top, and presto chango:




I decided instead of a door hanger I would hang it on one of my front porch flower basket hooks. Used chalk to write "trick or treat." The best thing is that I can change the ribbon and message whenever I want.

:D

{I get excited about the little things.}

Now onto that piece of scrap wood. I have no "before" picture for this one. Just imagine a plain, 16 inch long, 1 inch thick piece of wood.

Sanded the edges and added some picture hanging hooks to each side (since it was a heavier piece of wood.)

Painted it black (of course.)

Staple-gunned a piece of ribbon to one side:


Used white acrylic craft paint to freehand the wording...


And there you have it folks...


A "spooky" sign!

See what you can do with old crap treasures from your basement? Saved myself a trip to Goodwill...and cash on Halloween decor.

Would I have loved to have just gone to Pier 1 and bought a bunch of fancy {gorgeous} Halloween decor? Yes. But...must stay strong!

G

PS: I am linking this up to Frou Frou Decor's Fabulous Friday Finds...click the button below to check out more cute ideas!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

{leaves crunching underfoot}



Today was one of those days I just reeeeeallly did not want to take my dog for a walk.

I was elbow-deep in projects and planning {okay, and napping and reading} and my bundle-of-energy goldendoodle, staring at me, tail wagging, desperately needing attention, sort of threw a rock in my spinning wheels.

I finally gave in to his laser-beam puppy dog eyes following me throughout the house, grabbed the leash and out we went.

GORG-eous fall day!

So, thank you, Colbie love, for getting my butt out of the house...and for sitting patiently on the sidewalk while I snapped the above photograph, as well as this lovely bumble:


Here is my own adorable bumble, bright orange Halloween leash and all...


PS: How do you like my new fall inspired blog-look?
Doesn't that foamy cappuccino makes you want to snuggle in a cozy sweater and walk to the coffee shop
{leaves crunching underfoot}
?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

meatless buffalo chicken salad



There are things I really miss since becoming a pescatarian. One is going to BWW's and eating buffalo wings and celery sticks with blue cheese dressing. Oh, and drinking plenty of ice cold beer while watching the game...


...so gooooooood!

Then found a recipe that cures my longing for these fun nights at the sports bar -- and completely meat-free!

Actually, the original recipe contains meat, which was slipped to me by my sweet hubby who had ripped it out of his Men's Fitness magazine. {SO many delish and "manly" recipes in there!}

So I made the vegetarian version. SO GOOD. So easy. So surprisingly healthy!

Ingredients (serves 2):

2 meatless chik'n patties (I like Morningstar Farms Original)
1 bunch romaine lettuce
2 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
1 whole carrot grated, or a handful of baby carrots chopped (I always have baby carrots on-hand, so I used these)
2 green onion stalks, thinly sliced
crumbled blue cheese
hot sauce, your choice
light ranch or blue cheese dressing

1. Wash your romaine, remove excess water {break out that salad spinner you never use!} and tear the leaves into small, edible pieces.

2. Chop your veggies!



3. Combine all the veggies with the lettuce. Arrange mixture on large plates for serving.

4. Slice warmed chik'n patties, arrange "meat" slices on top of greens.
5. Sprinkle blue cheese crumbles on top! Be generous!
5. Drizzle hot sauce over entire salad, especially on chik'n slices. This will give you that delicious hot wing flavor!
6. Finish with a drizzle of your ranch or blue cheese dressing...you don't need a lot, there will already be a lot of flavor.


7. ENJOY! Don't feel guilty...there are less than 400 calories in this meal. Tastes like junk food, but is actually pretty healthy. I drank with white wine...but for that sports bar feel, indulge in a tall, cold beer!

{Have a fantastic football Sunday!}

Thursday, September 23, 2010

something other than a wreath


Whenever the season changes I usually run out and buy a wreath. Wreaths, I feel, make your front door look warm and welcoming. It says, "Hello friend, come on in!" Or it would if it could talk.

Lately, since becoming a surfer of the blogosphere, I've been seeing other ways to make your front door exude warmth, especially in the cozy autumn season.

So I abandoned my typical fall wreath for this $3 metal hanging basket I found at the local St. Vincent DePaul store {fantastic, by the way -- check yours out! Ignore the smell and delight in the deals.}

(FYI: You can also find similar metal hanging vessels at your craft store.)

I liked this one because of the super cute sunflower affixed to the front!




The red color didn't work for me, though. So what did I do? You know it! I spray-painted it, using the same dark bronze color I used for my porch lights.


Then I added three sprigs of silk foliage I got for .99 each at Michael's.




Arranged my foliage...and I was finito! How is that for easy?


All for $6 and about ten minutes.
That includes the paint drying.
Which you know I waited impatiently for. Toe tapping.

What fall decorating project will you do this weekend?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

rollercoasters



"Courage is being afraid, but going on anyhow."
Dan Rather

That quote pretty much sums up my day of riding roller coasters.

:o)

Monday, September 20, 2010

before and after: {dining room!}

What follows is my dining room journey...

This was my dining room when we moved into our Victorian, shotgun-style, early 1900's-built home:

The previous owner had painted the ENTIRE 1st floor mustard yellow. Not a bad color, but not my flavor. I wanted something a little more modern. More dramatic. More spicy. But not mustard.

Deciding on the new hue took some time. I knew I wanted green. Vibrant green. But then I thought: perhaps neutral is better...safer. As you can see, we had a range of choices from the very palest olive to a sassy green apple to a bright lime green:


After much debate about what kind of vibe we wanted to have in this very central room, we decided we wanted {vibrant and full of positive energy.} So we went with the brightest, boldest green: Jalapeno Jelly (Valspar)

You can see the color difference from the mustard in this pic:


To get this bright green color to work, I knew my accessories would have to be more natural, less colorful! I wanted to tone down the "Christmasy" look that was created by the green's contrast with my beloved rust-red chairs. I found these natural fiber runners at Target for 14.99 each. Then I fell in love with this wine jug from Pier1. $49.99 - a definite splurge, BUT I had a gift certificate...

{I am a complete sucker for wine jugs.}

I added some bright red silk dahlias and ta-dow: dramatic centerpiece. I feel the bottle and colors work well with my wine theme, including the chianti bottles I display on our bar area.

{The large chianti bottle, by the way, is empty. Was consumed by my beautiful famiglia in the candlelight of an Italian restaurant on the night I graduated with my BA in English. Such a warm memory - I will cherish this bottle always!}


Finally, the dining room is how I want it. (At least, for now.)


The before:

The after:

I will be honest: our choice has been met with mixed reviews. Jalapeno Jelly is not everyone's favorite flavor. Most people give me the: "Oh, I like it! But I'd never choose this color..." Which I think might be a polite way of saying "Um, hideous." :D

But I like it. Hubby likes it.

And really, when it is your home, that is what truly matters.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

sweet, solo saturday night


Don't you just love alone time?

Last night was my night alone. Hubby was out-of-town at a friend's wedding party, and since I am still working the night shift {yes, even on Saturday nights} I got the whole night to myself (well, until it was 11pm and time to go to work - drat!)

I love my husband dearly, and I also have a blast hanging out with friends...

...but I luuuurve my {alone time.}

Since babies are looming on our marital horizon, I have to take advantage of alone time. Not so sure I will get much of it when there are kiddos around! I'm sure all you mamas out there are nodding right now thinking, "Tru dat, G" or whatever language you speak in your head.

Here is how I spent my sweet solo hours:

1. Went grocery shopping. Surprised? Well, this was not the rushed, unorganized kind I do after work on a Monday. First, I sat in my kitchen, planned the dinners I would cook this week, and thoughtfully wrote out my grocery list. Then I went to our new, beautiful, swanky grocery store (can grocery stores be swanky?), went to the in-store Starbucks {I consider this swanky}, got my mild hazelnut misto, and strolled at leisure through the aisles. No rush, just taking everything in. Actually reading labels. This is how I like to shop.

2. When I got home I knew I wouldn't feel content about my evening until I did a project, so...I organized my massive pile of recipes I've ripped out of magazines that have been haphazardly shoved in random cookbooks!

I know this seems lame {nerd alert} but it made me feel soooooo goooood to get all these random recipe clippings organized into categories, hole-punched, and place neatly in a binder.

3. Settled in on the couch, indulged in a "meal" of veggies, Triscuits, and {delicious} roasted garlic hummus, while flipping through two magazines I splurged on {Martha Stewart Living and House Beautiful - to inspire!} and watching a chick flick I grabbed from Redbox.

Perfect night all to moi.

So my question is:

What do you {or would you} do with an entire evening by yourself?

I would love to know! Leave a comment below...

:o)

PS: When in Rome=worth renting - very funny, very cute romantic comedy. I was weak - from laughter and Josh Duhamel. ;)

Friday, September 17, 2010

{take a moment}

We have {so much} planned for this weekend...it is kind of exhausting just to think about it! Dinner out with friends, a wedding celebration, our annual King's Island date {bring on the fear and adrenaline rushes!} However, I am determined not to let the weekend fly by in an instant...but slow it down and enjoy every moment.

{roadside wildflowers in minnesota}

Even though your weekend may be packed with events, take a moment to just relax and enjoy something beautiful. Even if it just reading the paper and sipping your coffee on Sunday morning. Which is lovely in and of itself.
:o)




Wednesday, September 15, 2010

porch light redo: {green to gorgeous}



I love green. Grass. Eyes. Salad. Grapes.

But not light fixtures. Please no.

However, our lovely little fixer-upper came with two outdoor light fixtures that are a hideously ugly green color that has caused me to shield my eyes every time I have walked up the front walk.

Okay, they are not THAT bad.

They did go really cute with our hideous green plastic screen door...



Well, the green door is gone now, as well as that pretty sky blue step. Praise Jesus.
But we still had the lovely green fixtures:



I have been wanting to buy shiny new, more modern fixtures for the longest time, but have been too cheap waiting for just the right moment. {picture me in the outdoor lighting aisle at Lowe's, staring up in wonder as the motion sensors blink on....off...on...off...}

Sigh. Not in the budget.

Then recently my good friend Beth blogged about her recent fantastic spray paint experience on her blog Between Three Sisters {check it out - she and her 2 sisters (hence the name) blog about DIY home projects, fantastic recipes, and more! }

Check out Beth's link {HERE} to learn her simple how-to on re-doing your own outdoor lighting with a can of wonderful spraypaint.

Today I decided to try it myself! I picked up a can of dark bronze metallic spray paint for around $7 (they have all different shades of metal) at Lowe's. I followed Beth's instructions and was surprised at how easy {and cheap!} this re-do was.

Removed the bolts and screws.



Laid the paint-splattered, dismantled green parts out on newspaper. All set to spray paint!

Beth was a lot neater than me in taping paper around the base of fixture -- but it all worked out!


Then I just spraypainted to my little heart's content. Two coats.
I love the result!



From gaudy green, to a much more classy dark bronze look. Without spending at least $80 on a set of new lights. If you haven't yet discovered the joys of spray painting things to make them "new" all I can say is: just do it once...you will be hooked! :)

Thank you for the inspiration, Beth!

Now it's time to get out the fall decor...and perhaps make a few new things?

JOY!