Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Off to England

Our Christmas tree this year in a vintage bucket I found at an antique store. Small apartments require small trees :)

In about 4 hours Dan and I fly to England for Christmas. I am so excited! The last few weeks have been a bit crazy in preparation but it has all been great and we are ready to go.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas full of love and laughter and remembering the important things in life.

Merry Christmas!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Happy Birthday Conor!!!

Conor my brother - on this day of your birth.

I love you more than ever.

Twenty years ago today was one of the sweetest days of my life.

You were the early Christmas present that I had hoped for for years.

You make me laugh daily and are a true joy.

Your intelligence and humor surpass most.

Your perseverance and will this last year has made me proud.

There is not a day that goes by that I am not thankful for you.

My brother.

I love you.

Happy, Happy Birthday.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Crazy December

Well, December is here and it has truly hit the ground running. The film that Dan and I are working on is building momentum daily and we are working at least 10 hours a day - a number that will only increase for the next year and a half. This has drastically affected my working out schedule, my blogging, my cooking nice dinners, my cleaning of the house, etc. etc. It is that old familiar feeling we had on Coraline when you realize that for the next year or so, you will not have much of a life.

I chose the life I lead. I chose the life I lead. That is all I can say about that :)


In more exciting news, some friends of ours are getting married in Mexico and we are leaving tomorrow night for a 5 day getaway. We are desperately looking forward to some sand, surf and relaxation. I have never gone anywhere warm in December, so it will be a new one for me.

Then, about a week after we get back from Mexico we are flying to England for Christmas for 10 days. Ha! Travel makes me really happy and I am feel really fortunate to be able to have 2 great trips in a row.

I love England. LOVE it!


How can you not love a place that has mailboxes that look like this?


And buildings that look like this?


And city streets that look like this?


And English men who make you happy every day?

I dare say it is impossible not to love it.

So - as you can see this is going to be a crazy month. We are trying to get all of our shopping done and everything squared away ASAP. Never have I loved online shopping more than I do this Christmas season.

I hope December is going well for all of you. What are your Christmas plans? Do tell...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The View From Our Back Balcony



I've said it before and I will say it again, I love the view from our back balcony.


We've had some pretty wintry weather here in Portland lately and waking up to views like this makes me feel all warm and cozy.



We are up pretty high and there is something so mystical about the way the fog settles into the tree line.


Then there are the sunny but cold mornings. Most of the leaves have fallen, but it is still a beautiful sight.


A light dusting of snow doesn't hurt either. I do believe these hills are really going to come into their own this winter.

For what our apartment lacks in space, it makes up for with this view.

I love it each and every day.

Monday, November 29, 2010

My Sister

My Sister (in pool) and Me (standing)

My sister.

She is part of me.

She knows me too well - whether I like it or not.

She understands me - again, whether I like it or not.

I hate it when she touches me with her feet.

Her nail polish is always chipped.

She makes me laugh harder than anyone in the world.

We have had some pretty incredible fights over the years.

Not many people will still hang out with you the day after such fights - but she has.

She loves raw cookie dough and used to pay me to make it for her when we were kids.

She used to collect and play with as many bugs as she could find. Ew.

Her heart is true and prodigious.

Her sense of humor is wicked.

If I ever ask her, "Does this make me look fat," she is probably the only person in the world who will give me a straight answer.

She is my sister.

She drives me insane sometimes.

But I am grateful for her every day.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!


Happy Thanksgiving to you All!

As is the case every year, it is the time to think about what you are thankful in your life and, when you take the time to think about it, you realize there is so much to be thankful for.

2010 has been a roller coaster of emotions: from not knowing if Dan would be allowed in the country in time for our wedding to getting married to friend's having babies, etc., etc. I have SO much to be thankful for.

Here are my top ten:

1) I am thankful that Dan and I are on the other side of the immigration process and that we made did it out intact, albeit a little worn around the edges.

2) I am thankful that we were able to have a beautiful wedding with the people we love most in the world.

3) I am thankful that the family I have married into is truly wonderful.

4) I am thankful for my friends and family. They are everything - especially my parents.

5) I am thankful that Dan and I are able to work together on another film project. To be able to work in your dream industry with your partner in life is a gift I cherish.

6) I am thankful for the fact that Dan and I are able to go to England for Christmas. It will be my first Christmas away from Portland but I am truly looking forward to it.

7) I am thankful that my friend Ari gave birth to a beautiful little girl a week ago today who is healthy, happy and perfect.

8) I am thankful for Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponges. If you have ever tried them, you understand. If you haven't, try them and they will be on your list next year.

9) I am thankful for my sister who is finding herself and making plans to expand her world and for my brother who is doing the same, in his own Conor way.

10) And lastly, I am thankful for Glee, which improves my week and makes me feel like my love of choreographed song and dance is not only okay, it's cool - haha.

I hope that you all have a lovely Thanksgiving and enjoy this long weekend.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It's Giving Season!


One of my favorite things about this time of year is searching for the perfect gift for those I love. I always feel like I have failed when I just go the gift card route because it is not as personal - not as "them" - whoever they may be.

Sometimes I will simply find the item first, and then assign it's new owner. There is just a world full of great finds out there and I could endlessly be on the internet searching for them.

Here are a few things I currently have my eye on:

The Barn House


Okay - I have a thing for dish towels. I want to buy them all of the time. They may be boring to some, but not to me. I think these are adorable would look great in a few kitchens I know.


Have any friends or family who love mid-century decor? These 60's liquor bottles would be perfect. With a bottle for bourbon, rye and scotch, you can fulfill all of your Mad Men-drinking-in-the-office fantasies.


How cute is this spoon rest? I love it. I don't have a spoon rest in my kitchen because usually I don't like them, but this may change my mind. Perhaps this will be a little gift to myself? (This is always a problem at Christmas, isn't it???)

Etsy

Aren't these great? I love how simple and versatile they are. Etsy, Etsy - you get me every time.

Pottery Barn

For that wine lover in your life: the wine holder basket. I imagine giving this full of a few of your favorite bottles, some good bread and even better cheese.


What are these, you ask? Cashmere-wrapped hand warmers. Sound expensive? They're not. For fifteen dollars, you can provide someone with warm hands for the winter season. I know a few people who could use these for sure.

What about you? Any fun little finds you want to share?

Monday, November 22, 2010

How To Open A Pomegranate



One of my favorite fruits to eat this time of year is a ripe, crimson pomegranate. The small, juicy seeds are like little hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. However, like most things worth anything in the world, you have to work for them.

My Mom told me a story once about her and her siblings opening and eating a pomegranate around their kitchen table as children. By the end of their snack, there were splatters of red juice all over the kitchen, especially the ceiling. I always loved the imagery of that story but unless you feel like scrubbing pomegranate juice off of your ceiling, I suggest you try it my way instead :)


Start by scoring the fruit so that it creates 5 or 6 sections. Make sure that you get the knife in there deep enough to separate the fruit but not too deep or else there will be splatters. Go slowly. Next, fill a large bowl about 3/4 of the way full.



Submerge the pomegranate in the water and slowly break it apart, section by section. I like to only work with one section at at time, setting the larger portion of the fruit to the side. And - beware: the juice can stain counter tops, so be careful.




Making sure you are always working with the fruit sections submerged, gently break apart the seeds from the creamy flesh that holds it all together. They will come out quite easily and sink to the bottom of the bowl.


Once you have broken up all of the seeds, you will find that any remaining white skins automatically float to the top of the bowl. This is one of the main advantages to opening your pomegranate in water because trying to peel this stuff off seed by seed is not much fun. Trust me on this one.


Take a slotted spoon and remove the excess skins.


What you have left are these little delights. They are SO good.


I like to keep them in the fridge and just grab handfuls as a snack or mix them in with plain yogurt. Yum.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Reason I Haven't Posted Lately


It's been about 3 weeks since my last post and the withdrawals have not been pretty. However, I do have a bit of an excuse.

In my last post I mentioned that I was sick, and I was. Really sick. Two days after that blog, I ended up going to the emergency room and found out that I had pneumonia! I couldn't believe it. I am truly a person that rarely gets sick. However, it seems like when I do get sick, I get really sick.

So, yeah. Pneumonia sucks. Pneumonia made me the sickest I have been since I was about 19 and got salmonella. Pneumonia's symptoms are a lot like the flu, so if you take anything away from this post, let it be this: If you think you have the flu but continue to have high fevers (mine was 102 - 103 degrees) for seven days straight, go to the doctor. In fact, don't wait 7 days. Go sooner.

It kind of freaked me out afterward that I was so resistant to go to the doctor. I ended up having something that is a) very serious and b) easily cured. A little less medical stubbornness would have had me feeling better much sooner. Lesson learned.

Two chest x-rays, a round of antibiotics, two bottles of prescription cough syrup, painkillers and a LOT of sleep later (it's seriously all I wanted to do for 3 weeks), I am pretty much back to normal. I'm still dealing with a bit of a cough and a bruised rib from coughing so much, but it is a far cry from a few weeks ago.

I am so looking forward to getting caught up on all of the blogs I love and for getting back into the swing of posting. Stay happy and healthy, everyone, and go to the doctor if you think you need to! That is my P.S.A. of the day.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Army of Sickness


This week I have had the flu.

I know, breaking news - right? The thing is that I am not a person who ever gets sick. I have always counted myself as one of those lucky people who every year seems to bypass all of the illness around me. Not this year. Not this girl. It got me good this time. I suppose I had it coming.

Why does having a high fever suddenly make you feel like you are 7 years old again and totally helpless? And the chills. And the sweating. And the general grossness. Ugh.

Thankfully, I have a husband who is an excellent caretaker and a Mom who taught me the tricks-of-the-sick.



Trick #1 is this soup that my Mom made for all of us when we were sick. It literally could not be simpler or more delicious when you are ill and nothing sounds good. All you do is cook some orzo pasta in salted water, drain and return to pot. Add chicken broth and heat. Right before you serve, add just the smallest pat of butter and mix around. That's it. I have been living off of this all week.


Unfortunately, chicken broth can't do it all. I have taken a lot more meds than these in the last few days, but these have been the key players that have kept me from crying.

And, uhm, I apologize for posting anything with the word 'Mucus' on my blog.

Mucus.

Bleh.


Drink lots of fluids. Everyone knows this, but it is so ridiculously important that I had to say it. In my normal, healthy days, I am already an avid consumer of water, but I have UPPED it this week, let me tell you. I have had about every kind of tea in my house, but so far, the most successful remedy has been hot water, lemon and honey. Dan ran to the store to get me a bag of lemons and I have been downing this concoction since. It is literally my only reprieve from coughing.


Then, there were the flowers. They didn't make my fever go away. They didn't make my cough go away. They most certainly didn't help the fact that I felt dizzy every time I moved.

But, they made me happy.

And they were from my husband, lovingly, as I laid on the couch under a pile of blankets, with sweaty hair and not looking pretty. In the slightest.

Last but not least was the matzo ball soup that my friend Ari (who is due to have a BABY in 2 weeks) made me last night. It was so sweet and caring of her and I was so thankful. It gave me some relief from coughing and was absolutely delicious. I was so excited to eat it that I forgot to take a picture.

Thank you to all of my peeps who helped me out this week. I owe you all one!

Hope you all have had a better week!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Burlap Baby Shower Banner (aka Bunting)


In the last of my little Baby Shower posts, I wanted to show you how I made the burlap 'Baby Shower' bunting. It really could not have been easier.

The first item of business was to buy the burlap. I bought 5 yards, which was way too much, but I wanted to have some extra around because burlap makes me feel happy, but you could easily do this project with about 2 yards.


I then cut a triangle out of a paper garbage bag. My triangle was approximately 10 inches wide by 12 inches long.


Next, I put the triangle on the burlap and cut around it. If you wanted to, you could pin the triangle to the burlap so it doesn't slide around, but I am too impatient for such business and just went for it. There was some variation in the size of each piece, but I actually like that imperfect look.



Now it was time to paint! I purchased these oil paper stencils at Michaels along with the cheapest black paint they had and a stencil paint brush. I slowly filled in the stencil with only a small amount of paint. You have to make sure to hold down the stencil so there is no bleeding of the color. You can buy a special spray that will keep the stencil in place while you work, but if you are willing to get your hands a little covered in paint, it is possible to work without it.


Make sure that you give each triangle ample drying time. I let these dry on magazines overnight.


At this point, there is very little left to do but glue! I had two spools of dark brown ribbon that I actually sewed together at the ends to make it long enough and stretched it out on the floor.

I have mentioned before that I live in a small apartment and I think this picture demonstrates nicely that I am not a liar.

Once I had the spacing the way I wanted it, I went along with a glue gun and glued each triangle to the underside of the ribbon.


After about 10 minutes, all the glue was dry and it was finished!


Here was the bunting I made, hung at the shower. I was really pleased with the result and how easy it was. And, if you are not a burlap fan, you could really use any fabric. Also, if you are not into the mess of paint, you can buy vinyl decal letters to stick onto the fabric.

So, that is it!

Happy Bunting Making to You!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Baby Shower Garland



There is nothing I love more than simple crafts - they are relaxing and provide almost instant gratification.

I posted a few days ago about the baby shower that I helped throw for my friend Ari, and one of the things I made for it was a garland out of tea stained paper doilies. Now, I know that doilies are a bit of an old-fashioned accoutrement, but I think that with the tea stain, they go from old fashioned to somewhat vintage - at least that is what I tell myself.


I started by putting the doilies on a metal baking sheet.


After letting a tea bag soak in hot water for about 5 minutes, I simply squished out the lovely tea stain onto each doily.


Some I did a little darker than others just to mix it up a bit.

Once I had stained them all and given them time to dry, I cut a long piece of raffia ribbon and wove it through the holes in the doilies - and there you have it. I think this would look cute used at a little girl's tea party or anything girly really, for that matter.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Baby Shower - Oh Yeah!


This past Sunday I had the honor of helping throw a baby shower for one of my dearest friends, Ari, who is due November 12th.


Ari is the first girl in my group of friends to have a baby and I had been excited about this for months.



One of our friends lives in this really amazing building in downtown Portland which has this communal space you can rent out for parties. It worked perfectly for the baby shower since everything was already so nice, all we had to do was add some details.



There were many of us helping with the planning so we all took on different responsibilities; mine was decor. I wanted the decorations to be a little different and not your typical pink and purple pastels which you find at many showers. I started with this simple garland that I made out of paper doilies and raffia ribbon. I simply stained the doilies with tea bags and wove the raffia through them once they were dry. It was simple, inexpensive and I was really happy with the result.




The other little project I took on was the 'Baby Shower' banner (aka bunting). This too was incredibly simple using only burlap, stencils, ribbon, paint and a glue gun. I'm going to do a post with step-by-step instructions soon, in case you want to make one of these yourself. Also, how great is this space? The views were really incredible.




We had a bit of an owl theme going on which was our inspiration from the beginning. They were on the invitations and made little appearances around the room. How cute are they? I made these using a Martha Stewart owl punch and gluing the owls to little wooden stir sticks. I wish I could use these stir sticks every day. I love them.






Another detail that was important to me was flowers. I wanted there to be vases of flowers everywhere since I think they can do so much to any space. I spent a few months collecting vases from Goodwill in all different colors and shapes. No two vases were exactly alike, which is a look that I have often admired.



Then, there was the food, of which I can take no credit. The table above only has about half of what was actually served on it and it was delicious. I am lucky to be surrounded by ladies who seriously know how to cook. We had homemade butternut squash soup with sauteed sage, hot apple cider, stuffed mushrooms, cheesy bread with Gruyere, the most incredible Parmesan-artichoke dip I've ever had in my life, macaroons, meatballs and a plethora of other delectable delights.


This picture cracks me up because of Ari's face - haha. She looks disgusted, but I know for a fact that she loved all of the food since half of it was her recipes (she is a chef.) Tell us Ari, why so glum?



We decided not to do too many games since, let's face it, they can get a bit old, no? Most of the time was spent socializing and we had a bunch of onesies out for people to decorate, but the only real game was "Guess the Size of Ari's Belly." You had to cut a piece of string and who ever measured the closest was the winner. I still feel badly about how big I cut my piece of string. Sorry Ari!



After the games came present time! I love present time at showers because baby clothes are the cutest things in the world. It was also funny to see my friend, who I used to party with at frat houses, get excited about nipple cream and breast pumps - oh how the times have changed!


I love this photo. I think Ari looks beautiful and so, so happy - it is exactly how you want an expecting Mother to look.

With the shower done, we are now in full counting down the days until the baby is here! I cannot wait to meet her. I hope you enjoyed your day, Ari. Lovesies!
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