Monday, November 15, 2010


thinking of switching things up a bit....

there is nothing wrong with that! I like to write, but I can't commit to writing about just one thing. I'm craving freedom!

or direction. whatevs.

time to think about getting back on the bike!


Thursday, September 2, 2010


I JUST NOW found the STATS button on this blog (yea, i know) and naturally, the numbers are respectably low - I haven't much mind blowing stuff to say - Do you see this? 3 views from Russia?! COOL!

Russia 3
Canada 2
China 1
Germany 1
Denmark 1
United Kingdom 1

*giggling at my desk and everyone is staring*

Oh goodness!

crock pot, pot crock & college pays off

My chicken cordon bleu a la Crock Pot didn't pan out EXACTLY as I planned, but It still turned out very tasty as a "stoup" with some buttered bread on the side.

The crock was a marvelous stroke of planning, as after I paid our bills, I was in no mood to either cook OR spend money!

Tonight I had planned salmon burgers, but they may get bumped (its in the plan!) for an impromptu dinner with mi madre.

Unrelated, I was tickled pink today when I was tagged to pen a press release at work. Why? Well, I'm just so pleased I actually got to do something that I *GASP* LEARNED IN COLLEGE! Pulitzer Prize winning press release? Hardly. But i just can't help reading it over and over to myself and smiling :)

Also, is it odd that I am mostly so excited for this weekend - not for the 3-days-longyness of it, rather for the fact I will finally select the perfect shade of pale celery green in which to paint my home office walls.

domesticality suits me, thank god. i made that word up, sorry dictionary, you snooze you loose.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

cook to love

Day 2 went fantastically well! The recipe was Delicious and it easily made enough for 3 more meals, so I froze half to replace the standard "heat-a-bag" dinner's I cook when I have a case of the Mondays.

Speaking of, There are usually one or two nights when i come home a little deflated and feel the urge to eat out or just stuff my face with goldfish and cheese slices in lieu of a real meal. But this plan seems to be helping to curve that urge to slack. I found myself excited to cook all day, and was really enjoying just breezing around my kitchen while spencer was at band practice, sipping red wine and talking to my dog.

When I had finished, I had a real sense of accomplishment. I felt darn proud to have so effortlessly whipped up a healthy meal for me and my betrothed. Not to mention I still found time to prepare the crock pot dinner that has been brewing for us while at work today. Crock Pot meals are seriously the best. I can relax a little when I get home, address the stack of bills growing on my desk top and still have a home cooked and fuss-free dinner for my little family!

So, make yourself some turkey & artichoke stuffed shells and bask in the glow of your happy tummy!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cooking/Saving Challenge Day 1

Hmmm, this project could sure use a snappier name...I'll work on that.

I noticed some minimal saving at the grocery store yesterday. Nothing to write home about - maybe $30 or so. It did seem I had less items then is yet to be decided if this is a good thing. get yourself one of these:

Not only is this list incredibly darling-it has become a neccesary tool in my shopping procedures. I buy them by the box.

As planned I made some easy grilled sausage, super sautted onions and banana peppers and a new rosemary potato recipe I found on Cook, Eat, Share (which is sort of my new obsession)Everything turned out swell, but I was leftover with a new roadbump in my little experiment.

Leftovers. See how I did that? I already had a leftover casserole from saturday and some meatloaf my dad had brought over. Now, I have a caboodle's worth of sauteed veggies, and am anticipating a hefty run over of stuffed shells tonight. I mean, spencer is an impressive machine when it comes to eating. His plates are stacked tall, REAL TALL. My dad has always said he loves to watch my husband eat in utter disbelief and amazement. But he won't bring anything he needs to reheat to work with him the next day. Is that crazy or what? He says he doesn't like to use the work microwave. ??? no given reason, he just doesn't. So his loss is my (weight) gain.

Don't get me wrong, I would much prefer to make my co-workers jealous over a nuked do-over meal then a marie calanders steamer any day. i just don't know if I can keep up! I'm hoping this doesn't effect my bottom line - whatever it may be.

I better start inviting people over for dinner. what are your feelings on leftovers? Delicious Redux or Tired tastebuds?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Cut a littlle off the top

Oh boy, I wish I was a savvy coupon shopper! I save them, even cut them out sometimes but ultimetly ALWAYS forget to bring them along with me...

I just read a blog post where this woman spends on average $40 a week on groceries for her and her husband. GAH! I do my best, but that puts me to absolute shame! Is she serving canned soup and grilled cheese sammies (which actually sounds positively delish right now)?!

Spencer and I were invited over for dinner last week and I noticed a "dinner list" on Anika's fridge. She had every meal planned out. Can I do that? I am so ruled by my minute-to-minute emotions, I'm unsure if I can stick to a plan, but by golly I'm gonna give it a shot. And even if no one reads this bloggie blog, posting decrees such as this out in public often solidify my determination to complete the assignment. So here goes:

Monday: grilled sausage & corn. creamy red bliss potatoes
Tuesday: Turkey & artichoke stuff'd shells & salads
Wednesday: Slow cooker chicken cordon bleu & zucchini pie (yes, again)
Thursday: salmon burgers & garden cous cous
Friday: asian lettuce wraps & corn chowda

Will I save money? If we are invited over somewhere, we'll bump a meal to the weekend, I suppose.

On a succesful note - I did manage to pick up about 80% of my produce from the truck guy I just found. Farmers markets are swell - if you can take off a thursday afternoon just to go shopping...

wish me luck! any grocery saving tips out there?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

cook, eat, repeat

I'm eventually posting a recipe today. Spencer mocked my dreams of a zucchini pie - and then literally ate his words as he gobbled bite after bite. I'll preface this by stating: I am NOT a cook. but i love cooking. and praise.

I didn't grow up "surrounded by great cooks". My cooks were good, but lacked that passion and joy for cooking that warrants "greatness". So I grew up making mac n' cheese, microwaved butter balls and pb & j sammies. When I first moved into my own apartment i was poor and busy spending what money I did have on drinking and dancing. So my go-to-recipes included jim beam and ginger ales and cheese steak subs to-go (oh metabolism, i miss you so much!)

The time came when Spencer and I moved in together and the domestic bug started biting. We also lived with his sister, who was a very good cook. Rachael Ray was my first real teacher. Her recipes weren't complicated and didn't require foreign techniques or ingredients. And she "eyeballed" it, which is the 2nd reason I don't measure things while cooking. (the first being - why dirty up something else to clean?) As i grew as a home cook, my appreciation for delicious food developed as well. Now, I'll eat anything and I find a simple joy in whipping up something awesome for my friends and family.

This recipe is a combination of 3 recipes I found here, there and everywhere.

savory summer squash pie

1 frozen pie crust (or make your own if you are insane and haven't ever seen an episode of "semi homemade")
2-3 good sized zucchini
1 cup(ish) ricotta cheese
1 cup(ish) shredded cheese (I used mozz, but i imagine a combo of cheeses would be cool - parm, Gruyere - get crazy - just keep it at a cup)
Half of a sweet onion all chopped up (or maybe a shallot? oh! or some scallion?!)
1 egg
some Olive oil
some garlic

Get your oven ready at 400 F. toss some garlic into that olive oil and let it sit and get all gorgeous. Slice that zucchini, toss some salt on it and let it soak up all that sodiYum while you mix the cheese.

mix the ricotta, egg, onion, most of the cheese and some parsley together. Take the remainder of the shredded cheese and press it into the bottom of the pie crust. YUM.

toss the garlic oil with the zucchini slices.

then layer! ricotta mix first, then zucchini slices, then ricotta, then zucchini. i sprinkled some salt & pepper over each zucchini layer and topped the whole kitten kaboodle with some more cheese. Cover that bad boy with some foil and get to cookin'

30 minutes later take the foil off until it browns.

Now wait for it. Let her sit for a few minutes to set or you'll have a delicious, but messy pie slice on your hands!

i wish i had made 2 so i could have some leftovers for lunch today!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


My face here pretty much reflects how i felt on my wedding day. wow. like, W-O-W style wow. like, wow-a-palooza.

It wasn't as though i was surprised to see my friends and family there - heck I invited 'em, hand addressed every single envelope in fact during a routine tuesday marathon of Law & Order SVU. When I turned the corner it felt like I had been hit in the face with pure love and joy. a feeling of being in the exactly right place at the exactly right time- which has got to be one of the rarest feelings on the planet. prior to this day, my happy place was imagining a pug puppy in a bow tie and top hat. now its this. this sur/real moment in my life.

So on tough days; at work, in my marriage, with my family, when the dog yanks me down the stairs in the morning - i'm fortunate to have this little memory to escape to. all my nerve endings get tingly just thinking about it.

where is your happy place?

Friday, August 6, 2010

STOP what you are doing

And read this post from a practical wedding.

choosing metaphor of total correctness

Oh boy. Call your momma

why hello,

I'm aliiiive!

and frankly kind of surprised Im still allowed to post things on my page. apparently it is permissible to disappear into the real and then return.

and im still reading blogs even though im not posting my own. That is a very surprising gift I received at the tail end of this wedding planning awesome/nonsense. I had never really read any blogs. they were for nerds.

but i knew i was a nerd, so am i really surprised? blog reading has become a part of my routine now. and i am so thankful I get to laugh and cry with complete strangers. people i oddly care about without ever having met or spoken or written to.

John & Sherry (and Clara) might be the coolest people. I am running a few years behind them in regards to marriage, house - gulp- kids. Their blog gives me inspiration to keep going with a smile on my face and tackle on the crazy projects I dream up without fear or dread. everything will turn out fabulous

Nakiya is a funny, upbeat, unpretentious foodie ( yes. possible.). I go to her to day dream about food before (or after) my lunch break and anytime I need to get the DL on a local restaurant. Or when I want to try and win free stuff.

Katie thinks up the most fantastic party ideas and generally lives her life with a bubbly sarcasm i could just gulp down. She loves her family so much and it is so obvious and delightful.

Sarah is so young and excited about the mundane things life has to offer. Her blog is a refreshing reminder that finding the fun is easy, and worth it. and keep dreaming.

and Meg. oh meg - her blog has become my inspirational quote of the day calender. And her musings and reflections and wtf?!'s mean more now after my wedding and in my marriage than they did before. she just gets it...why can't everybody get it?!

And more than that, these lovely ladies have introduced me to a slew of hysterical and meaningful blogs I dabble in from time to time or am just discovering. Oh if there were more hours in a day...

married with kittens

pioneer woman

catalog living


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A post-wedding "what's up"

Ahhh. its over. Months - nay - YEARS of planning has finally come to an end. And our final product was a wedding day so perfect we can hardly believe our luck. To have so much love and support thrown in your direction at one time is blissfully overwhelming - and the perfect kick off to a marriage.

'Cause lemme tell you...I had fun planning and being engaged and all, but being married is waaaay more awesome then anyone lets on. I feel like spencer and I shall this little secret with eachother that makes everything cooler- and more fun.

The picture above is of me at one of my most bridal moments. Spencer is working his way towards the cake table and Im antsy to get to the cuttin' of cake and get back to the cuttin' a rug. But the dress looks fab, doesn't it? and the cake...yum...

So now i get my life back. Actually I am sort of getting a new and improved life. I transition from my current job to my new job this week and with that comes the shiny 9-5 scheduled i dreamt about all through college and this past year. With a settle routine in place I'm hoping to carve time for all the fun projects I've put on hold.

Once i catch up on my sleep....

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A life led through magazines

I am a magazine junkie. Something about those glossy, fluffy throw away booklets conjures up joy and relaxation in my soul. So, naturally every time I visit the grocery store I allow myself a few minutes to browse thru the racks and make the perfect selection. The mags I gravitate to seem to reflect where I am in my life (hour, day, year, whatever) Today I was torn between Real Simple (organizational techniques for every personality!) and Sophisticated Hairstyles (looking for a new wifey/i got a 9-5 now coif). While I eventually caved and got a copy of OK!-there is no shame in that-I returned to a thought I've had many times over. A reflection on my life lived through magazines.

It all started with Highlights. Bright and cheery pictures, light stories in BIG print and a fabulous picture search game in every issue. I was growing and learning and Highlights was my perfect match, I can remember dreaming I would be a Highlights contributor one day. Ah, the simple life...

Next came a brief - but passionate - relationship with Teen Bop. If there were articles in that magazine I surely don't remember. I was all about glossy pull-out posters of Joey MacIntyre. My first crush. I put my Highlights editor-in-chief dreams aside to quietly pursue a relationship with a boy who wore topless top hats.

High School days came and I remember feeling very adult. Very grown up and craving womanly knowledge. I read Glamour and Cosmo by the pool everyday that summer. Also know as: The Tan Summer. My mags were well worn and stained with tanning oil. My best friend and I would read the horror stories aloud to one another and pass the magazines back and forth - vowing to apply the sex tips we had just learned...once we had a sex life. Looking back it was probably the only time a magazine became a social tool, a necessary accessory. Hmm...maybe THAT was the simple life...

After high school, i took myself much more seriously. I decided that Cosmo and other similar mags made women look like silly, boy crazy airheads more concerned with mastering the art of fellatio than become the first female president. I was at a loss..where would I go from here? I played around with newspapers for a while, but their complicated folds and smudgy print took all the fun out of it. An old roommate had a copy of a magazine I had long scoffed for being 98% advertisement. It was love at first read. My new accessory, new obsession. I had found VOGUE.

Now, VOGUE deserves to be in all caps. It's an institution, a planet, and state of mind. I kept every months magazine (and still have them) for 2 years straight because I was convinced they were historical property. And I imagined a great granddaughter of mine one day uncovering them and thanking me through the ages that I'd had enough sense to save them. The articles discusses art, culture and politics in a sophisticated way. Holding a copy was like holding a ticket into a flashy and elite world I longed to live in. While we aren't as close as we use to be...I will always keep a place in my heart for VOGUE magazine.

< enter college life here > this means I was primarily reading textbooks and could only occasionally sneak in a gossip magazine now and again.

When I became engaged- you guessed it - for about a year straight I read every wedding magazine put on the shelf. It was great at first. I was finally allowed to read them now that I was one of the engaged people. the blessed. ha! But after the honeymoon period (with the magazines-not my husband) ended I found I was ready to move on. They really all say the same things over and over. Plus, once I decided to forgo a "traditional" wedding, reading them just made me second guess myself and drove me a little craz(ier)y.

Thankfully we bought a new house around that time so I immersed myself in home design mags. Eh. It was more frustrating than anything. Can't somebody publish a glossy HD mag that doesn't require me to have unlimited funds?!

So now I a married woman. I still love VOGUE and OK! and People and yada yada but today I was looking at A LIFESTYLE magazine for the organization article. So as a part-time magazine anthropologist I'd have to declare - Im a little bit of a grown up. Whats next for me? TIME? Travel? The New Yorker? Fit Pregnancy?

I'll see you in the aisles....

Friday, March 26, 2010

Wedding Preview

Repeat after me: this isn't a wedding blog. this isn't a wedding blog.

But it IS my blog and I'M getting married. So *sometimes* this will be a wedding blog.

I'm awfully proud of our sort of untraditional, totally US community wedding. So I'm gonna brag a little and tell -you- (all 3) a little bit about it!

I love parties. I love hosting them and getting into the details and hearing my guests tell me how genius I am. So naturally I stressed a bit over what *our perfect wedding* would look like. Plan A-rent a museum, serve surf and turf, unlimited champagne and a guest appearance by Chromeo. Plan B- reality, oh there you are!

Reality=budget for those of you deciding which pair of YSL pumps to don today.

So we thought. ok, I thought. I'm a (over)thinker, and this wedding was no exception. But late one night I had a revelation. GUESS WHAT? it's 2010, ladies and Gentlemen...we can write our OWN RULES! so that's what I did.

We've rented out the boys & girls summer camp where Spencer and I met way back in '96 as junior campers. We're inviting guests to come early and play games (frisbee golf, boccee ball, kickball) or delight in arts & crafts. We'll say our vows about 7ft away from where I agreed to go out with this random boy I hardly new and will be my husband in 56 days. We'll drink margaritas by the trading post while Mr. Alfred Hams it up on the accordian. While we dine, a 50's mowtown cover band we love will serenade us. After we've danced and cut cake and gotten all sweaty, I'll change into my mother's old courthouse wedding dress and we'll make s'mores and have a sing-a-long till we pass out from joyous exhaustion. Everyone will stay at camp. We'll get together for waffles and mimosas in the morning and sneak in a volleyball game or two before we head out.

Oh yea. and the VIP's stay Friday night too for the rehesal diner. which, by the way, is cowboys and indians themed crab feast.

oh boy oh joy!

well hello sunshine!

Not that it's very sunny here. but the trees are in bloom and look great against the stormy gray sky...and that's good enough!

I've been MIA. why? I lost some steam which is directly related to my current job-unhappiness. I'm workin' on it though. Also, big house projects have taken a back seat to crunch-time wedding planning. (a blog post about hanging a shelf in the bathroom seems about as uninteresting as it can get)

Spencer and I have been together for over 12 years and engaged for about 20 months. What can I say? we like to marinade. But with our wedding under 2 months away our dreams and inspirations have quickly catapulted into tangible goodies.

and oh boy its been fun checking stuff off the list! I spent about 5 hours with the gang over at "Law and Order SVU" hand addressing envelopes. The local liquor store had their big blow-out so we waited in multiple lines, argued over the importance of vodka-quality and $1000 bucks later strolled out with all our wedding weekend booze.

One of my favorite things has been creating our invitations. I'm non-traditional and DIY all the way. I'm also a huuuuge cheapskate. So I was BEYOND delighted when one of my besties KTScarlett and her graphic designer beau Z. offered to help me craft my invites. I am in love with them. I could stare all day long. I will post as soon as I can. Not only was it a blast working on it all together but they ended up gifting the invites as their wedding gift. enter tears of joy. Our "big day" has really become a community affair and it makes me so joyful. A family friend has offered to belt out German accordion classics during the cocktail hour, My first boss at a small bakery has gifted our wedding day pastries and cake and my almost sister in law plans on pouring stress sweat and tears into decorating it.

There are no words to describe how blessed we are. but I'll try. maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Crazy baby Shower

why crazy? because it's for a fictional baby.


It is common knowledge amongst my clan that spencer and I are avid Office fans. We have put staplers in Jello. We have purchased several bobble heads and even won a Dundee.

And as a result, we are quite excited for the Thursday's hour episode in which Jim and Pam Halpert give birth to THE OFFICE BABY.

If you are unaware (and that's ok!) Jim and Pam are the Romeo and Juliet of NBC prime time. Except they live in Scranton and they don't kill themselves. Aren't happy endings swell?

So, to celebrate, I'm indulging in my crazy and throwing a baby shower themed viewing party.

There will be games...
-pin the sperm on the egg
-guess the name
-guess the sex
-guess who says the babies name out loud first

There will be baby themed foods...
-rattle in Jello
-little tuna's (Jim's nickname is Big Tuna)
-sweet buns (in the oven)

and naturally I'll pick up some blue and pink balloons.

I just love being weird....

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Dream kitchen: Where art thou?


it's Saturday. I'm working. I'd rather be crafting a headboard...

But, work = money = headboard supplies = headboard. so.

yesterday I was pleasantly surprised to come home from work and find P.May and my future in-laws had come over to install our tile-like stratamax in the kitchen to cover these vinyl tiles which drove me crazy because aside from not being my style at all, they were crooked and sloppily laid...

It looks great but...of coarse there's a it makes me really want to spruce up my workable, but outdated kitchen.

Where do I start though? I have big plans for this little kitchen which include knocking down a wall or two, upgrading every appliance and getting new cabinets and counter top. That plan also includes a wait time of about 5 years...

It would be silly to get just new cabinets or just new counter tops now when we're planning a major redesign. So I need to perform a mini makeover. PROBLEM: I am having serious issues with my next step. I don't have a dream kitchen in mind, there are a lot of styles I like...

Before the purchase of this home I had fantasized about a Mediterranean style kitchen, like this:

Rich colors, dark wood, something that screamed: "people eat well here"

But, I also lean towards a more modern look as well, like this one from Young House Love:

I love LOVE the extreme tile work here and the punchy patterned towel that picks up the pace.

Then again, there is something ultra-cool and classic about this mostly-white beauty...

(Not to mention, I adore the french blue accents...)

Or, why not go with the flow and pick a fun, retro look, like this one from Amy's Blog:

Can you say, "sunny side up"?

The final contender is a more unique look. Something rarely seen outside the Internet, but definitely a growing trend:

So cool! These chalkboard painted walls are making a big splash, as far as I can tell, and I'm on board! How fun would it be to have an ever-changing wall!?!

They all look great, but somehow I think a "Modern-Mediterranean all-white retro kitchen with a chalkboard wall" doesn't translate into awesomness.

But that's down the road. Like, the Highway, or one of those long dirt roads that creep you out a little if you just watched "Texas Chainsaw Massacre". I don't have to worry about all that now, here are my current dilemmas:
1.) Paint the counter tops a'la DIY network BUT WHAT COLOR?!
2.) Find a temporary way to cover up that scenic tile back splash. Ideas include, but aren't limited to: Mounting a custom-cut-by-bria chalkboard painted wood board, cover it up with sticky tile or OTHER (help please)
3.) Counter tops...I don't mind the color really for now, but I'm open to repainting although that really doesn't sound fun...

So, if you read and split, lurk occasionally, or whatever...please give me your 2 cents NOW and help me formulate a fabulous PLAN B!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

things we all do

I've noticed a few trends among recent home buyers.

We always apologize. "Oh this is just such a mess" or "excuse the orange wall, we're repainting soon" or even apologizing for lack of furniture. HELLO! why do we do this? The whole planet knows that when you first move in, it takes time to go from zero to why so many sorry's?

We agonize over paint. I know I had up to 10 color swatches on our living room, all of varying shades of beige, for nearly a week before deciding. So I sympathized when I saw this at BRAD's house:

The wall is yellow. There are 3 yellow paint swatches pinned to it. It has been this way for 6 months...

We ignore our gut instincts and lament over the perfect shade. Or we (me) impulsively nab a $5 gallon of whoops paint and do this:

Which brings me to another observation. We ALL make mistakes. The above guest room color was one of mine. BRAD's was ripping out his weird bedroom carpet before realizing how crucial it would be come his first vermont winter.

We delight in the details. I can't tell you how happy this light fixture made me...

even though I KNOW nobody else would give it a second look.

Finally. we love. we love hard. I love every squeaky floorboard, every muddy backyard ditch, every crazily wallpapered closet of our little home.

Do you notice any typical home dweller behavior?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Did you know that "Vermont" translates to "Green Mountains" in in "Mont Verts"? I like it even more now...

But I could never live there. no way. Too much cold. and worse, too many people happy about blizzards and freezing temperatures. So while it is an oasis for many (my dear friend is a transformed man, i noticed about a 78% happiness increase) It is not for me in a permanent state.

But it was one hell of a visit. I laughed, I cried, I shivered in 3 layers under a quilt. I ate well. well enough to gleefully pack my SB#2 pounds back on. The maple creamy alone was worth it...

BRAD would kill me if he knew I was posting pictures of his house in an unclean state on the Internet. That won't stop me. What will instead is that I left my camera at home...

So they will come tomorrow. His house is a steeped roof home on 2 acres that began its life as a 3 season cabin. And its cold. There is a big wood burning stove front and center that works pretty well wit the design of the house, but without your own personal Jeeves keeping this stove full and steaming, we woke up most mornings too cold to muster the courage to make a run for it. I'm told it has central heat, but runs on propane, of which they have none. Had I known that I would have happily filled my suitcase to the brim.

2 "big" things happened while in VT.
1.) (this is sort of un-big) I miraculously found the perfect master bath accessories
2.) I made myself do something I really REALLY didn't want to do. And loved myself for it.

I hurled myself face first down a snowy AND STEEP mountain on two skinny planks of wood.

I think the french call it...Le Ski.

For the first 2 hours I hated it. I yelled at Spencer and threw my sticks...I'm sorry, I mean "poles", at him. I sat and pouted. I steamed angrily over lunch that no one was willing to take me far away from this terrible mountain. The last 2 hours is where I proved that "I'm the man". I could sit and wait, or try again. I rationalized that trying again would make the time pass faster and give me more ammunition later when I was accusing Spencer of trying to kill me. So I went to the top and cried my way down. "blubbered" is more accurate. Once safe, I skied my way over to the lift (hate that thing too) and tried again. and again. and again. By the end of the day I was still blubbering, but this time it was while hurtling towards certain death on a BLUE trail. (for non skiers, BLUE is A.K.A- "medium" fear and suffering)

I'm alive. And I'm the man. I hated it for sure, which is why I'm surprised to find myself willing to try again. Maybe this time NOT 3,000 feet up the steepest mountain in Vermont.

I was sure tickled pink to be home though. My first trip away from my baby, my moulin blanc. My glorious bed. My central heat. My big, hot shower.

Hmmm, that last sentence sounds more "lusty' than "lovey".

It felt wonderful to accomplish something I was soooo SOOOOOO terrified of. Spencer was proud of me too. And that also makes me feel wonderful.

The moral of this story has 2 parts. First, ALWAYS bring flannel to vermont. Second, put your big girl panties on and hurl down the mountain, whatever your mountain is. I promise...if you'll be your biggest fan!

Friday, February 19, 2010

snow bound

Thankfully we experienced only minor damage from the past few snow storms to our lovely home. But the immobility really cramped my decorating spree. And as I vowed to back off Internet shopping for a while, I was left to think only and not act.

And you know what? I thought myself into a pit of over-caring. Snowbound, I searched the web (only looking!) for THE PERFECT bathroom set. I looked at so many, I finally gave up and haven't thought about it since.

It feels great. I was so obsessed with making our home instantly perfect I was missing out on how awesome it already is! The best part of all being that I get to share it with such a wonderful person.

My laptop is virus-free, but that doesn't mean you'll be hearing much from me this weekend. We're off on a mini-road trip to Chittenden, Vermont.

It will be the first time we'll visit the state and the occasion is to visit a dear old friend (and one of my best men). He and his partner just moved to Vermont and purchased their first home- A peaked roof log cabin surrounded by ferns.

When I get back I'll post about what another family is doing to transform their own personal paradise.

And I'll be trying to ski...or more accurately, trying to get out of skiing.

snow + bria = pout

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

where am i?

I'll tell you.

I havent had a carb in 8 days
I havent had sugar in 8 days
I have a nasty computer virus which has me driving to a friends house to check email/pay bills
I popped a tire on a screw in the bank parking lot...$300 later I find out much more is wrong with ole Rosie
I hate my job
Im *this close* to booking our Costa Rican Honeymoon
I bought an after party wedding dress that looks just like my Mom's
I'm getting a garbage disposal today
Lily has an ear infection
I leave for Vermont in 4 days
I've lost 5 pounds

I miss my computer. I miss my blogs. I miss aol news.

I love the olympics...even curling makes me cry

I got a High School Musical balloon for valentines day and it was awesome

So thats where I am. The virus has effected my posting, so for all 3 of you reading this....I'm sorry. Hopefully I'll be back in action before you can do a triple sow cow.

or whatever.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

20+ inches of snow, and I'm in South Beach

HA! I wish!!! The correct wording is, "I'm on South Beach", as in: I'm on a diet.

I am 101 days from getting married. I shallowly vowed to myself I would be the hottest version of moi on May 22, 2010. I'm not gi-normous, but I quickly accumulate belly blub, and while I'm generally pretty ok with my size, I have no choice.

You see, I'm an idiot. and a masochist. I dove head first into the South Beach diet around this time last year with great success, shedding nearly 15 pounds in 2 weeks. I felt great, looked good and was ready to try on some wedding dresses! They always say you go in looking for one thing and end up falling for something totally different, and that was true for me. I fell in love with this little number:

(That's soooo not me!!)

We ordered it in my size and waited till October to see her again. I slowly weened myself off the diet and by then I had put the pounds back on. So my dress doesn't fit. shit. The only option is to cut the carbs once again and focus.

It's gonna be a loooong 101 days....

So this is day 2 of SBD#2. I'm optimistic, but it's tough with all this snow on the ground! Being snowed in begs for a constant fueling of hot chocolate, mac'n'cheese and bottles of red wine. The 1st 2 weeks are the toughest but garner the fastest results. No grains of any sort, no booze, no sugar (that includes fruit!)It's easier than you might think, but requires A LOT of thought. Which is a good thing. SBD#1 forced me to really take a look at my eating habits and think about what I was putting into my body instead of just grabbing something fast and tasty. I did a ton of prep work this weekend: having onion chopped and ready to go for quick omelette's, making big batches of tuna salad and baked chicken tenders. I'm setting myself up for success and as a result, our fridge is the fullest it's been since we moved in!! I'm praying it has the same effect as it did last time and I can breath my gorg. gown.

I would recommend this diet to anyone, even the most diet-phobic. Yesterday I ate pretty well!
-spinach and feta omelet with turkey bacon
-some cottage cheese with TONS of salt and pepper
-a HUUUGE chef salad with bacon, cheese and chicken
-a bunch of pistachios as a snack
-lemon pepper halibut with oven roasted asparagus, broccoli and "surprise! south beach mashed potatoes" (which are mashed cauliflower with butter and good!)
-some almond mocha ricotta creme for desert

Ok, I had 2 bites of Spencer's ice cream...but it's no sugar added. so sue me!

Actually don't sue me, just wish me luck!

any diet success stories out there to share?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"giveaway" saves the day!

As mentioned before, I've begun the search for bedroom decor (well, except furniture...we'll save that for when we can afford a matching set like the grown-ups do).

After much online/store searching I decided on this brown/white comforter set...

It's a steal from overstock and falls in that cozy space between sleek modern lines and organic feeling design. I imagined a lighter shade but stuck with chocolate for 2reasons: First, We have a dog, our Lily, and while she hardly sheds, she does love to get wet and muddy and jump anywhere she pleases. (my white micro-suede couch pillows can explain this dillema best) Secondly, because Spencer suggested it. And he doesn't get too too much say, so I thought: what the heck. Chocolate brown it is. (Blue was out, because I didn't want to gamble not matching the wall the bed rests against)

So we'll have this new bed-look which should pick up the white in the curtains nicely, all resting in a 2 hue room of dusty blue and soft beige. hmm...this is starting to sound like the rest of the house. So, inspired by 2 beloved poppy prints I picked up in Florence years ago, I'm going to try and interject some fun red into the design.

First Step: Locate some delicious throw pillows in a modern red floral print.
I googled my heart out to no avail...what would I, glorious impatient Bria do?!?!

I went Blog-hunting and a new Fav saved the day!!
Sarah, from Dream in Domestic, is a college student writing a blog about all the things budding domestic goddesses "oooo" and "ahhhh" over. From recipe revamps to thrift store do-overs, I love checking in to be inspired and reminded how awesome daydreaming is!

Well, Sarah just happens to be posting her first giveaway for modern pillows from I'm in! Whether I'm the lucky winner or not, this giveaway has directed me towards my perfect pillow...

The contest ends next Wednesday...I'm not sure if I can hold off until then, but I'll just have to! Go check out her blog NOW! and wish me luck!!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

PARIS: too much of a good thing?

We've stumbled on a sort of "travel theme" here at "Moulin Blanc". Haha-a working name based on the white windmill crankin' outside, and a nod to our engagement night.

We have some Key West prints scattered in the hallway, some New York themed stuff going on in the bathroom, our favorite, sappy, travel pics hanging in our bedroom...and Paris...ah Paris.

Spencer and I punctuated our 6 week Parisian study abroad experience with a perfect engagement. We feel in love with the city (how could you not?!) and the life altering proposal makes this City of Lights even more endearing to us. So we have a penchant for things that take us back to that happy time in both our lives. Also, when you say you've been or are going to Paris, people take that as a cue to gift buying. You know, like, when you decide to start a small collection of snowmen, and then everybody you know starts sending a snow-community your way for every gift-giving holiday. you know. Nothing wrong with it, just a fact.

So most of our Parisian decor has found its way into our living/dining room. But it has me it too much? Does it say: "Oh look at us, aren't we sooo cool? we've been to Paris, can't you tell?!" ??? YOU TELL ME
This baby hangs in the dining room, but you see it from the couches. It's a spot-in-Paris-not-the Eiffel-tower poster, so that's cool. And the blue matches our curtains perfectly, really joining the 2 rooms together.

This sweetie hangs above the TV. The frame is from Michael's and the pictures are different views of the Eiffel Tower taken by Spencer and I during our trip
(6 weeks, 6 shots)

And then some little touches. A pillow gifted from my mom and a leather photo book from little brother Shane that rests under the glass top coffee table...

So. In writing this I've answered my own question. You can never have enough of a good thing. Especially when it makes you happy. I look at this stuff and get transported back to that blissfully and wildly in love, full of hope and promises. It reminds me to bring that feeling to our everyday life. Hmphf. Home decor for happiness. Now that's a good excuse to go shopping...

could it be? D-O-N-E ?!?!

Oh my goodness, not the whole house! certainly not! We still have loads of empty space and some iffy paint choices to review...

But I had set out to decorate in stages, i.e.-take on one room at a time as not to overwhelm my brain or pocketbook. So #1 for me (for US, whatever...) was making our main living space-the living and dining room-look DONE. For the most part...I suspect I'll be adding little odds and ends as time passes.

So for now I'm pronouncing these rooms....blissfully done-ish...
Our Living room...BEFORE

and AFTER...

Our dining room BEFORE


Full shot BEFORE

You know what's next...

We decided to hang the giant mirror we scored at scratch n dent above the couch after much discussion. I had scoured for *the perfect* piece of giant artwork to no avail. I considered making my own art. I was iffy about the mirror because it would be reflecting our gigantor TV...ew. But then I realized it would also reflect our gigantor 96" window. And we already had it. I'm still on the fence about the brick wall decor. I grabbed the 2 N. Wyatt framed prints at Ross for an awesome $17 a pop (saw them on for over $100 bucks each!!) I like them there, but I'm on the hunt for a tall, wide (but skinny!) table with a drawer to go under and then I'll probably hang 'em a little higher...we shall see.

So, long story done, I'm on to the next room(s). 1) finish the main bathroom and then work on the master bed/bath combo. After that...who knows? But I've got at least 3-5 business days (until my comfy new discounted comforter comes in) to sit and relax in my cozy living room!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

from "dinner" to "dinner party"

Well, our casual little soiree went quite well, I must say. The chicken roasting went succesful, and as usual, I've learned from my mistake and it will be perfect next time! The skin wasn't as crispy as I would of see, I took the instructions: "Brush lightly with butter" to the extreme. I rationalized that rubbing and stuffing the bird with an ENTIRE stick of real better would surely yield fantastic and delicious results. While true, it left me with soggy skin. It was easy and only half as gross as I thought.

So, I wanted to just share a few of my favorite finishing touches that are guaranteed to make you look way cooler than you are (i mean, you're probably pretty awesome already, just sayin') and to take "having friends over to eat" to "hosting a dinner party" with little stress and cash.

1) You gotta set the mood! Light a few candles for instant thoughtfulness. Don't forget music! even the most interesting parties can feel flat without a little background noise. My go-to is Ms. Peggy Lee
2) Pick up some flowers when you're buying your groceries. I few blooms planted around the compound brighten up the place and make any hostess look tres chic. Even a $2 bunch of spunky-colored carnations can make a subtle, but lovely impact.
3) While your at the g-store, swing by the drink aisle and nab a bottle or two of sparkling or still water. Yesterday I picked up 2 bottles of San Pellegrino for $3. It's bubbly, fun and can double as a cheap and useful centerpiece for the table.
4) The cherry on top for me is to include a cute and personal touch that no one ever expects anymore. I'm talking about the lost tradition of placecards. Spencer's grandmother, Helen, always had placecards at her table for her guests-no matter how big or small the guest list (coincidentally she could never remember my name, so mine always said "Reba"). I just grab some pretty paper from my craft closet, snip a square and fold it over to make a tent. Voila! That works just perfect but you could also grab smooth stones from your yard, big seashells from your last vacation, or invest in an ultra-cool serious set like these or these ( or cheat and grab some ceramic tile from your closest home store!) Not only do they look great but they eliminate that awkward, "where do I sit?" moment.

Combine the above with tasty grub, some red wine (or Hawaiian punch) and good family and friends.

And I'm serious. go make some placecards!

Friday, January 29, 2010

It's the little things...

Moving into your first, roommate-free, place allows you to be more open with your silly decorating ideas. Besides hosting amazing parties and eventually having our home featured in national magazines, I have a slew of little things I was excited to try out...

*disclaimer* nothing ground breaking here! just 2 "projects' I was looking forward to for some odd reason or another!

See? I always wanted to dump some dried green peas into a glass jar for an instant and inexpensive centerpiece. No rockets being sent off to space here, dear. The glass was picked up from the thrift store for $2, and I used 3 $1 a pop bags of peas. 1 old candle and a weird wooden lei later...presto, dream satisfied.


I altered an idea found over at YHL and shadowboxed a few of my favorite pressed pennies from my many adventures. It still hasn't found a place on the wall yet...but I'm excited to show it off!

That's it for today! We're hosting a little *dinner party* tonight and I'll be attempting to roast my first chicken. I love cooking, but I have an unnatural fear of handling raw poultry. YUCK.

I might just make pizza.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Curtain Shuffle

I was anxious to get some curtains up in our main living space almost as soon as we moved in. It would give the appearance of being finished and "grown-up",I rationalized, even if it wasn't!

We inherited all the window trimmings from our homes previous owners. Here is a shot of our waaay BEFORE living room view...

Although we knew the hand-made, pull-cord curtains wouldn't make the cut, Spencer wanted to salvage the existing curtain rod if possible. I picked up these long, white satin panels at Super Linens for $12 a pop. It was too simple. The rod was also too big and made pulling the curtains open and shut with ease an impossibility. Plus, I couldn't help think that the tie back look was more "country living" than the "modern comfort" look I was hoping for...

So I moved those pearly whites into the master bedroom and hung 'em high and wide to make our corner windows look more...awesome.

So back to the drawing board. Erna had given me the heads up that Wal-mart had a nice and affordable curtain selection. After about 45minutes of going back and forth on my opinion, I settled on 2 french blue satin floor panels from Better Homes and Gardens and 4 beige textured sheer panels. I also nabbed up-not one, BUT TWO new curtain rods for the LR. One no-fuss, no-see for the sheer panels and another decorative rod for the Lined blue curtains. TK came over to help us install, and while relived to get them off the back off the couch...I was less than impressed.

The beige just seemed dirty, or washed out. I packed 'em up and trucked it back to WM the next day (gotta love a no questions return policy!) I bought the same sheers in a pure white. Third times a charm, because this combo certainly charmed me enough to pronounce this project DONE!

We have a few more things to hang in the Living/Dining space (and thanks to TK, another turn of touch up painting-more on that later) before I'm ready to turn my focus on to the master bedroom and bathroom...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Scratch me, dent me, just please don't pay full price

If you are paying full retail price for something you are either
1.) Rich enough you just don't care (mafia)
2.) Lazy
3.) Unaware of the big, beautiful world of discounted goods in the world!

I pretty much never pay full price for anything. I scour thrift stores and flea markets. I walk straight back to the sale aisles in every store and I am not too good for some good ole, darn the little guy Wal-mart speed shopping.

The day we moved in we knew we were missing some things. Some we wanted ASAP (like a dining room table), others could wait(like guest bedroom furniture). After hours of back n forth moving we headed over to Gardiner's Furniture to look for some must-halves. Now, Gardiner's is in no way a discount store. They have high end furniture and accessories with an occasional "Buy 7 things at once and we'll throw in a magazine rack" sale now and then.

We walked in. Said hello politely in our paint covered rags and headed straight to the basement. Past the cushy sectionals and the clearance aisle. We didn't even look around us until we were in the chilly warehouse by the loading dock. Scratch and dent.

It's where furniture comes to die. Something beautiful and expensive got hurt on the way in. Or wobbles a little, or their matching nightstand brother got sent to Laos by accident. It is a GREAT place to scour deals. I'm not saying it's smart to spend ANY amount of money on something that is busted...but if you can live with a little can make out like a bandit. Plus, it takes the pressure off YOU being the first to tarnish it's beautiful and pricy exterior.

Our first and most exciting (for me) find was this coffee table. I was looking for a rectangular table with a glass top and shelf. I had found one at Ikea I liked but they had stopped making. Their new substitute was wrought iron, which I thought would be too cold feeling and outdoorsy. I laid eyes on this baby and immediately slapped it with a red "MINE" tag. Originally $650...marked down to $250...some haggle action with the manager and we paid....wait for it...$100!!! (what was wrong with it? it's matching side table was badly damaged. this baby was perfect!)

Next up was a dining room table. Our DR is a little small (about 10x9) so we needed something that could shrink and expand to accommodate our guest list.

This 2 tone chestnut/black wood oval piece fit the bill. It had a scratch on the surface (which Gardiner's buffed out for us) and a small piece of wood was missing from UNDER the table. Without chairs it was marked down from $875 to $300. We found SIX!!! well matching chairs (their matching table had gone missing during shipment) and negotiated a group sales price of $300. FREE STUFF!

Finally we needed a place to rest our little heads. We had a bed, but it was tight with the 2 or us and lumpy so we were looking for a reason to upgrade. We spotted a returned King mattress for $300. 2 box springs, one frame and some negotiating landed us the whole kitten caboodle for $300. And Damn. King sized beds are flippin' awesome. Just ask Lily. She hardly ever gets kicked out now.

So, get out there and hunt. Gardiner's gets new scratch n dent deliveries every Wednesday...I know we'll be back!

*nice long post for you Ms. LuAnn!


Am I back? I don't know and you don't care! It was hard to keep updating. First, we only just got internet access this past Saturday and secondly...nothing seems done! Everything is in a state of half-doneness.

See? Those blinds have been like that for a week! I'm too nervous to drill into the window frames by myself and Spencer...well, Spencer could care less if they're hung or lean or break out into a jazz dance solo.

Last week our friend TK came over to do a little this'n'that and and told us the last 15% took the longest to finish. I rolled my eyes, "maybe for you TK, but the finishing touches are what I love most!"

Well he's right. We have to shake ourselves out of this sweet new, house love long enough to get some work done!

It took 3 trips to 2 different wal-marts and a drive-by Lowes visit to finally decide on this curtain combo:

So. Things take time. Hang with me and give me some motivation!

Friday, January 15, 2010

In and Away

Well, there goes my vow to post everyday.

oh well. I'm allowed. I've been busy.

We are all moved in and almost entirely unpacked (one of the few joys of having very little to start with!)

And it doesn't just look like a house looks like OUR house. The main domain of Bria & Spencer (& Lily)It oozes awesomeness without even trying.

Naturally, I have no pictures to post. But I will. As soon as we get internet at our cozy adobe!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Into the closet

I mentioned this before, but our house came equipped with crazy closets. Pretty much every closet is lined with a different INSANE wallpaper. No muted colors, no subtle strips. Just wild, awesome, dated decadence.

I thought I would share them today, as I'm feeling a little less than inspired and stressed that we plan to officially move this Wednesday. Even though I don't think we're ready. Walls still need painting, the bathroom is a mess and we haven't packed anything but books and nicknack's.

here's the tour...

The patriotic eagle that protects our spare bedroom...

Pretty blue flowers that grow in the office...

That 70's Show in the master...

Wild Western Store Front in the coat closet...


Erna suggested we wallpaper over them with something neutral, but I think it's sort of a nice "SURPRISE! remember me? I'm an old house!" hello every time you reach to grab a coat or glue gun. We asked Mrs. O'Kramer about it during our settlement and she informed us her husband had painted the closets so terribly she wallpapered over all of it. How exactly do you mess up painting a closet...the world will never know...