Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Vintage Glass Bottles

I recently picked up some vintage glass bottles at a flea market and I really adore them.

I think it is the beginning of a long and happy relationship between old bottles and me.

Because we live in an apartment the size of some people's closets, I decided to put them on the table we have on our balcony. I got the rusted bowl at an estate sale about a year ago. I have always had a thing for old, rusty bowls.

The day I found it I came home really excited and showed my sister, "Look at this old bowl I got today for a dollar!!!"

"Looks like a piece of junk to me," she replied.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I guess.

I hope you like your new home, little bottles. If I were a betting kinda gal, I would bet you may have some new friends to join you soon.

Homemade Cinnamon Bread

I mentioned on Sunday that I was going to be making this cinnamon bread. My husband was off golfing and I was so excited to watch my recorded Oprah episodes and bake some bread! I started around 9am since I knew that there was quite a bit of rising time (4 hours in the recipe). In the end, my loaf actually had about 6 hours of rising time since I was running errands in between the steps.

I wish that I could somehow post how this bread smelled as it was cooking. It reminded me of childhood, The Runaway Bunny and Goodnight Moon. It reminded me of coming home from school and smelling freshly baked cookies. It reminded me of the annual ski trips we used to take with another family. We would always rent the same mountain house and ski every day for a week. It was perfection.

Perhaps those seem like strange connections, but it all makes molds together quite exquisitely in my mind.

You know how recipes always say that you should let it cool before serving? Am I the only one who NEVER follows this rule?


I was quite pleased with how the swirl turned out and all of the cinnamon-sugary goodness that was just begging to be eaten.

Here is a close-up for you. It's kind of unreal how great this tastes with a little bit of butter.

This really is a good recipe and I suggest you try it if you enjoy baking. The dough was really easy to work with and it was smooth sailing from the get-go. Just remember to allow ample rising time. It. Is. Key.

Have a great Tuesday and if you try the bread, let me know how it turns out!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Easy Like Sunday Morning

It is Sunday morning and my darling husband is out golfing with 3 of his mates. He loves golf and I am excited for him to get a chance to play.

I am also excited for my plans.

Homemade Cinnamon Bread - The Pioneer Woman

First up, I am making this cinnamon bread. I saw it. I love it. I have to have it. I've got my butter softening as I type and I am excited to get started. Hopefully mine will turn out as beautiful as the loaf in the picture!

Since bread requires hours of rising time (and I did all my cleaning yesterday - go me!) I am going to head out to find a birthday gift for the hubs. He turns 33 a week from today. Sorry darlin', but the truth, I do tell.

I may also take a quick stop by TJ Maxx. I have not been there in forever and I am in the mood for a hunt, so I think today is the day.

Did you know that in England TJ Maxx is called TK Maxx? The stores are exactly the same, but they have swapped the 'J' for a 'K'. Just a little factoid for you on this lovely Sunday.

I hope you all are enjoying your weekend and I will let you know how this cinnamon bread turns out :)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Feeling Fall

While I have been feeling excited for Fall here and there, I have been trying trying to fight it off because I don't quite feel ready for Summer to be over. We have had an unseasonably cool season and I feel like I need some more hot days before I can really embrace the upcoming season. I felt really good about my resolve to milk every last drop out of summer, that is until I got my new Pottery Barn catalog last night.

Oh how they toy with my resolve.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I Love Snob

This is my current beauty product obsession: MAC Snob lipstick. If you are a pink lipstick wearing kinda gal (or guy...no judging here) you should really give it a shot. It is described as a "ladylike mauve shade" and is one of their most popular colors.

I am not a huge lipstick wearer because I prefer to play up the eyes (aka - mascara is my best friend), but this is a super matte color, which keeps it toned down just enough where I can justify daily use. During the day, I like to wear it with a little bit of lip gloss to keep it simple. At night, though, I like to really put it on with some black liquid eyeliner for a semi-60's look.

This lipstick will set you back $14.50 and can be found here or at any MAC store. Enjoy.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Summer Sunsets

Have I mentioned how much I love the sunsets from our apartment balcony?

Dan took these photos recently and I think they are beautiful.

This is one of the things I will miss about summer, however, we are at a high elevation and I think the snow will be pretty spectacular come winter, but for now I am enjoying this beautiful sight.

These are some towers that are up on a hill to the North of us. They light up with blinking red lights at night, which I find really relaxing.

Even as I slowly begin to crave the crisp and colorful autumn, it is summer nights like these that make me feel happy to be exactly where I am.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

So Many Recipes, So Little Time

Like many out there, I am a seeker and collector of recipes. I spend hours online and going through my cookbooks looking for new dishes I want to try. It is an endless search that I love.

However, since it is just Dan and me, I often talk myself out of making many of the recipes I find because if I were to cook them all, it would simply be WAY more food than the two of us could eat. I tell myself that once we have a couple ravenous kids in tow with appetites to spare that I will be able to get away with trying many of the recipes that have caught my eye (especially the higher calorie specialties that I certainly don't need laying around the house these days).

With that said, there are a few recipes I have found lately that I think I am going to have to try soon. Very soon. They just look too delicious not to.

I found this recipe on the Smitten Kitchen website, but it is originally The Pioneer Woman's recipe from her cookbook. I grew up with a Dad who makes the lightest, tastiest and most delicious pancakes ever, so I am bit hard to please, but there is something about these that are calling my name.

This is basically as simple as it gets - heavy cream and salt in a food processor - but I dig it. I remember once going on a trip with my Girl Scout troop to one of those "see how people lived back in the day" type of places and we all got to have a go on the butter churn. I imagined that I was churning my own butter on a prairie surrounded by sheep and wheat. Yes - I really did imagine that. Maybe sometimes I still do :) Anyway, I think this looks fun to try and could perhaps be much cheaper since I swear butter is a tad on the spendy side lately.

Chicken Pot Pie

Here in Oregon, come October, the rain starts to make a regular appearance. As soon as that happens, I am making this. I am very much into eating seasonally and chicken pot pie is just asking to be made on a cold, rainy night.

Now, this one is a bit of a cheat because I actually had a dish similar to this last night at a co-worker's house. I cannot even tell you how fresh and wonderful it is. This dish is officially added to my regular rotation of summer salads. All of the flavors complement each other supremely. The recipe above is from Paula Deen, and she uses red wine vinegar. The gal who made the version I had last night used lime juice - I am sure either works wonderfully.

Oh my...so I have listed four. There are so many more. So, so many. Perhaps I should just get these under my belt before I continue on :)

A few trips to the gym may have to happen as well...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Happy Pictures

My mind has been feeling a bit mucky as of late. Truth be told, I am stressed about this weekend. Every year, for about 15 years now, my family has gone on this 3 day rafting trip. I went for many years until witnessing a horrible accident 4 years ago and have not been back since. I just can't do it. However, my sister, brother and Dad still go and every year I have a pit in my stomach for about a week until I know that they are all home safely. Everyone tells me to not feel this way, but sometimes you just cannot help those darn feelings!

I am trying very hard to not let myself get too carried away with "what ifs" but it is easier said than done. In an effort to calm my nerves, I like to look at things that make me happy. This has been a coping mechanism I have had since I was a little girl and it still works well today. I think, when I look at lovely images, I put myself in the photo - like I am there in that beautiful setting, and it calms me down. Here are the photos that are helping me today:

Apparently I have an thing for chairs, eh?

What are some things you do to relax when feeling a bit on edge?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My Desk

A lot can be said about a person's desk. If you have ever worked in an office, you know this is the truth.

I like to think that I am a pretty clean and tidy person. I simply cannot relax around mess and chaos. (However, I am extremely good at throwing my clothes on the floor when I get home from work and not picking them up for days. Everybody has their "thing" I guess...and that is one of mine.)

Today while working I took a moment to look at my workspace and I have to say, it wasn't pretty. I wish I could have taken a photo of it for you, but cameras are strictly forbidden and we have all contractually signed our life away if we take any photos inside the studio. Ho hum.

With the lack of visual accompaniment, I will just have to tell you what is causing all the clutter:

- 31 post-its on and around my computer. These encompass reminders, useful information and phone numbers I want to reference quickly.

- Lip gloss, a small mirror, Lollia lotion, eye drops and vitamins. This is one girl who believes in the afternoon touch-up.

- My walkie-talkie - the film making lifeline. The darn thing rarely leaves my side.

- 2 glue sticks. I have not used them in months but am too lazy to walk the 10 feet to the supply closet to put them back.

- My water bottle. This, like the walkie talkie, is with me all the time.

- My cell phone. Duh.

- 2 birthday cards. One is handmade by an artist here at work and the other is of a shirtless cowboy wearing chaps in a field. Only the absolute essentials for this freckled-faced Portlander!

- A Nerf gun. Don't ask.

- A Wizard of Oz flipbook. It was a gift and I love it. In case nobody ever told you, The Wizard of OZ is the best movie ever made in the entire universe. Some people don't know this until I tell them. You can thank me later.

- Three stacks of about 40 DVD's.

- Papers, papers, scripts, papers, more papers and piles of papers. I need to do something about all this PAPER!!!

- Headphones, pencil cup, memory stick and tissues. All very useful.

- A stapler that can handle up to 120 sheets at one time. I call it 'Big Bertha' which I wrote on the side in sharpie. I love that stapler. It has made my life better in so many ways.

And, that is about it. There are a few other bits and bobs here and there, but after this very careful and scientific assessment of why my desk looks like it was hit by a tornado, I am going to have to blame the PAPER. It is always the paper, isn't it?

The Nerf gun and The Wizard of OZ flipbook have nothing to do with it. Stop looking at them...it's not their fault!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Birthday Celebrations

My sister and me. I am the one standing and my sister is the little pudge-meister in the pool.

This last weekend, my sister and I celebrated our 26th and 28th birthdays. I am two years older, but she was born on August 8th and I was born August 9th (my due date!). As children, we sometimes hated this because it meant shared attention, but as we have gotten older, it has been a pleasure to share the occasion.

Sunday night we did the family party and my Mom made us each a cake. Mine was the pink one, of course. She found a baking book from the 1960's and used that as inspiration for my cake, which I loved. I wish I could tell you how good it was because it was probably the best cake I have ever had - no joke. Thanks for that, Mom! PS - I need that recipe!

My Mom also got me this stack of books. I love books and she always knows how to pick 'em. I was laughing at the selection though: a baking cookbook, a book on how to make cocktails, a home decorating guide and a memoir about a boy raised in a cult.

I have been really into books about cults lately. The entire scenario of a cult baffles my mind, freaks me out and peaks my curiosity all at the same time. It is just the WEIRDEST thing!!! Anyway...

This was my gift from Dan and I am so in love with it. I haven't had my own bike since I was about 13 and I forgot how GOOD it feels to get one! I kept just looking at it all day and getting really happy. Dan loves riding bikes, so I am happy that now I will be able to join him. I broke it in nicely with a 14 mile bike ride on Sunday and it felt great.

Then, on Monday (my actual birthday), upon my request, Dan cooked me dinner. I had been outside reading while he cooked and came in to find the table set like this. Cutest thing ever.

And this is what he made me. There are no words people. It is an English dish called Steak Pie and Red Wine Sauce. What that means is that little chunks of beef are cooked all day in red wine and garlic, then baked with puff pastry. It is ridiculously simple but one of the best things I have ever tasted.

This is what my plate looked like before I destroyed it. Some day I will post the recipe and you will eat it and love your life.

So there you have it, another year under my belt. I am in my late 20's, which frankly is freaking me out, but I will spare you all my thoughts on that. Have a good one!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Barn House

I have been wanting to write this post for a week now, but I am only now getting the chance. Last weekend, I had an experience.

I went to the Barn House Flea Market. My life will never be the same.

Located in Battle Ground, Washington, the Barn House is a home/garden/vintage/antique sanctuary which pleases the eyes and dances with the home decor soul. As a Portland, OR resident, I had been longing to make the short 45 min. drive to Barn House for a while now and last weekend, I finally had the opportunity.

Can we please just take a moment to think about the fact that an old red barn exists out in the beautiful Washington countryside which gets packed full of vintage and antique items? Can we also please talk about the fact that "the boys" who run the entire operation also live on the property in a stunning home? And - there are chickens, llamas and sheep? It's almost too much for me to handle. Really.

Local vendors from around the NW came and presented their wares. There were tents set up all around the barn, each filled with a myriad of treasures.

When we first arrived, I didn't know where to start.

Here is a view of the barn. It is rugged sophistication at its finest.

I love little drawers. They speak to me. I envision my house of the future to be full of little drawers.

How pretty are these blue mason jars? I picked up a few of these and they are now being used in the bathroom to hold toothbrushes and toothpaste.

Love these old cameras as well. I think they would look great in a media room...or something. Not that I have a media room. But again, I envision.

There was so much to look at at every turn. It was impossible not to feel happy.

Don't you want to just dive onto that couch?

The other thing that surprised me at Barn House was how affordable things were! As a frequenter of as many antique stores as I can find, I am often shocked by high prices, but this event was a different story.

The Barn House is only open for events a few times a year, so there is time to plan ahead. Their next event is September 25 for the Fall Harvest and I highly suggest you make it if you can. It is truly a special place with beauty abound. Here is their website, so check it out.

Hope Monday is going well for all!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Food For Thought

I heard an interesting fact on the radio last night: 80% of millionaires drive used cars.

I love it.

It pairs nicely with a quote I read years ago that said, "The first step to becoming a millionaire is to stop living like one."

Just a little financial food for thought on this Friday afternoon.

Hope your day is rockin'!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Anthro Anticipation

Today I made the mistake of "having a peek" at the Anthropologie website.

"Oh, I will just have a little peek. A little look. A haphazard glance," I tell myself. Yeah right.

I am now suddenly so excited for fall and pumpkins and boots and warm colors and, and, and...clothes. New clothes for fall. It is a throwback to the excitement of back-to-school shopping. The truth is, I am really enjoying living in the summer season right now and not at all ready for fall, but that darn website plays with my mind. I will show you the culprits that really did it to me.

Is this not the cutest cardigan you have ever seen? There are endless possibilities swimming through my mind for this little number.

I love the breezy sophistication of this blouse. I see it with dark skinny jeans and boots. Where I work, we can pretty much wear whatever we want, but I like to keep it somewhat professional and I think this would be perfect.

There are almost no words. Lord help me - the structure of this jacket is perfection. I think if I actually owned this I would totally wear it way too much. I get attached to things like that.

Last but not least, these boots. THESE BOOTS! I have decided that I am going to treat myself to some nice boots this fall. I always talk myself out of it because I don't want to spend the cash, but I think the time has come. Perhaps owning one nice pair of boots, instead of 5 cheap pairs that fall apart, will pay off in the end.

That reminds me of a story. My first year out of college I got a job working at my Dad's company. They have a pretty strict "business" dress code and I was doing my best to look nice with my just-out-of-college budget. One day I walked past my Dad's office and I heard him call me in so I stopped.

"What's up?" I asked.

He didn't reply but was just sitting there looking me up and down.

"What!!?!?!" I impatiently asked again.

He finally answered, with a mix of sympathy and judgment, "You really need some new clothes."

I was instantly offended because a) it was rude, b) it was coming from my DAD and c) I was pretty much broke and new clothes were not in the picture.

"Okay Dad, great. Thank you," I replied in the snarkiest of fashions. I began to walk away when I heard him say, "Well, if you need some money for new clothes I would be happy to help."

Now, usually I would be overjoyed that my Dad offered me money for new clothes, with no strings attached, BUT, in my hot-headed 21-year-old daughter brain, I was simply too offended to accept his offer since he had so severely and unjustly insulted me. Silly little daughter brain - it knows not what it does.

So, hey Dad - if you're reading this, I could always take you up on your offer now, if you like (see above)! :)

Have a great Wednesday everyone!
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