Thursday, January 31, 2013

crushing on copper lighting

copper lighting

image sources 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

with possible home ownership on the horizon, i can't help but bombard my pinterest boards with gorgeous imagery and home decor we could never possibly afford on our humble teacher salaries. these copper lights are no exception and i swear they keep popping up to tempt me. would you look at that copper and grey combination!? stunning stuff. i can't help but swoon and salivate at the thought of putting one in our maybe new casa over our maybe new dinning room table. oh, the thought of it all. i am determined to find an inexpensive alternative. in the mean time, i will leave you with these amazing interiors. i promise to clue you in if i find an amazing copper deal (or thrifty diy) in the future. i am pretty sure that copper and deal don't even belong in the same sentence.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

wedding wednesday: reception dress

feather reception dress

when planning for our wedding i was convinced that a reception dress was a grand idea. now that it has come and gone, i am elated that i opted to go that route. my reception dress was a true labor of love.. even though everyone thought i was bat poo crazy. feathers on your wedding dress? your mom is going to alter it? damn straight. 

the idea to alter my mom's wedding dress didn't come until half way through the planning process. my mom trusted in my vision from the beginning... bless that woman. she was ready to tackle the project right alongside me. she poked her fingers too many times to count when sewing feathers and complied when i requested to take it in just another smidge. the two of us really did make this happen all on our own. my only regret... not taking pictures during the process. if only i had the blogger brain back then.

this dress is something i will be holding onto for a long time to come. heck, bury me in this sucker. not only is it a stunner, it belonged to a woman i admire wholeheartedly and couldn't love any more than i currently do. this project pretty much topped all others, as i was able to work alongside my partner in crime, my mother, my rock. thanks mom for being such a sensational planner and helping to make our wedding day extraordinary.

p.s. isn't she a beauty!?

mom's wedding dress before alteration
feather reception dress

we found feathers here and the brooch was thrifted.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

a home for your rings

ring holder

we have a little bit of a situation going on in our boudoir. not the exact kind you might be thinking. my jewelry storage is out of control. to those on the outside i might look like an organized person, but if you poke around our flat long enough, you might disagree a wee little bit. (i do know where every thing is by the way!) one man would undoubtedly concur with my admittance of disorganization on the home front. he just happens to be my husband and roommate. lucky him.

every now and again, i tackle my accessory pile that hangs out on my dresser. today is not one of those days. sorry. another time perhaps. right now i am satisfied with just finding a home for my rings. i tend to take them off frequently when at home due to their delicate build. my wedding rings really deserve an upgrade from the current earring box they reside in when not hanging out on my fingers.

i poked around and found some great ring holder options here. still haven’t decided on the winner for me, have an opinion? i am thinking the turquoise and gold option might take the cake…so pretty. these ring holders would also be a much appreciated gift to your ladies or friends who have recently gotten engaged (we are after all close to valentine’s day, people). 

happy browsing.

Monday, January 28, 2013

weekend in minneapolis

weekend in minneapolis
husband and i travelled up to the cities this past weekend for a study abroad conference. husband is taking a group of students to spain this summer... i just might get to tag along. as you can tell from the pictures, outside of the conference we didn't do much but eat amazing food and drink local beer. it's kind of a running theme for us...most things revolve around food. and beer. i also holed myself up in our hotel room on saturday to work and of course didn't get as much accomplished as i would have liked to. that whole house purchase offer thing has been occupying much of my brain space these past few days.

we did venture out in the evenings and managed to fill our bellies with some to. die. for. nosh. friday was spent at pizzeria lola, while saturday we got all fancy at tilia. both places knocked our socks off and if you live near minneapolis or find yourself in the area, you must make these joints a destination to hit very, very soon.

a few of our weekend highlights….

>> argument in the car about mcdonald’s coffee. husband claims i’ve tried it. i know i haven’t. we both have bad memories at times. i win.
>> husband’s one-armed air guitar while rocking out to radiohead in the car.
>> listening to our wedding playlist. husband’s doing, not mine. i think i will keep him.
>> husband admitting he has the worst singing voice he has ever heard. he is only half right.
>> aaron neville and louis armstrong impressions. (we must entertain ourselves somehow)
>> husband turning up the volume and bass for a lil Britney and exclaiming “chad would be proud.”
>> homemade soft serve ice cream topped with olive oil and salt. amazeballs. thank you pizzeria lola for the flavor explosion.
>> husband claiming minneapolis is the portland of the midwest. neither one of us has ever been to portland.
>> lady zaza pizza…going to try and recreate this one at home. maybe one day i can share it with you.
>> complimentary breakfast bar and cocktail hour. i am beginning to like you, embassy suites.
>> five comfy pillows on our hotel bed. 3 for me, 2 for husband. just how i like it.
>> finding my missing mitten. they just work better in pairs.
>> surly beer. come on surly, time for distribution to happen in milwaukee.
>> rocking a grown adult hickey. don’t act like it has never happened. it is totally ok because we are married now.
>> being holed up in a hotel room working while wearing my cozy fleece-lined leggings (although this was only cool for about an hour).
>> husband making friends with a pine bough. don't ask.
>> eating brussel sprouts at dinner on friday and saturday. tilia's wins...hands down.
>> watching a dad in a tuxedo take his little girl out on a dinner date. husband got all gushy and says he can't wait to do the same :)
>> getting all nostalgic roaming around my old neighborhood. i miss my minneapolis folk.
>> insanely huge mussels swimming in a broth of green curry, mushrooms and pumpkin courtesy of tilia.
>> ginger and blood orange cake. boom.
>> after bar at hotel bar- chez daniels courtesy of becky. we had a fab time but there was nothing chez about it.
>> not dying in the car while tackling a drive through a nasty storm. thank you husband for your stellar driving skills (even though your winter driving has a tendency to make me nervous).

Friday, January 25, 2013

the big chill and a pop of yellow

the big chill and a pop of yellow

hat- no idea, american eagle jeans, homemade thrifted sweater (2 bucks!!), old target button up <<similar>>, target belt <<on sale in the store>>, modcloth wedge booties <<similar>>

my face below says it all. it is beginning to feel a lot like winter here in the midwest. the week started out as a frosty mess and now our yard is finally blanketed with a wee bit of snow. oh, how i love thee wisconsin. hard to say that with a straight face during this time of year. this outfit is a typical casual winter weekend look for me. a big 'ol sweater is a must paired with a trusty belt to tie it all together ( hopes of making the look more flattering, of course). we do what we can with the weather we have, right? this belt is on clearance at target..go round it up.

husband and i are off on a mini road trip (for a spanish conference of sorts) to a land even chillier than here...minneapolis. i am pumped to return to my old stompin grounds (lived there for five years during the first go at college), yet wish the weather wasn't so ho humm. good thing i have my winter wear all packed. 

have a warm and wonderful weekend.

the big chill and a pop of yellow

Thursday, January 24, 2013

homeownership: is it in the cards?

image found here
we took a leap today... husband and i have been here before, so we are doing our best not to get our hopes up. we put an offer in on a house that we are head over heels for. we keep telling ourselves that the third time is a charm. it will be this time... one can hope, right? there are other offers on the house floating around so the competition is getting fierce, folks. time to sharpen the nails and put our fighting pantalones on.

buying a home is stressful. it makes me want to curl up, crawl under the covers, and be a renter forever as to not have to deal with all this grown-up nonsense. however, this house is too good to pass up... it has so much to offer and my decorating brain is spinning right off of its spine right now. husband and i would be lucky to be able to make this house our newlywed home. 

hoping to share pictures of amazing rehab and diy pictures with you in the future!  

....crossing all my fingers and toes.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

wedding wednesday: first look

husband and i strayed from many a wedding traditions and we were so glad we did on this one. seeing each other before our ceremony not only took away the nerves, but gave us alone time which is few and far between for many couples on their wedding day. all you married folk will most likely agree with me on this one. the 45 minutes before the ceremony taking pictures and basking in the excitement with my future husband were some of my favorite memories from the day. if you are up in the air about whether or not you want to have a "first look" as they say, i urge you to just do it. i don't urge you for pictures sake, but really for the moment. it is one i would never take away.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

martha's bacon-wrapped dates

this weekend i had the pleasure of joining a play date with some of oldie but goodie besties and their little ones. we enjoyed some "mom"osas while the 10 littles ran around getting their play on. i consulted martha and opted to bring these beauties to share with grown-up gang. these bacon-wrapped dates are a crowd-pleasing appetizer to bring to a gathering at any time of the day. the gals and I dined on them during our brunch smorgasbord while the littles opted for more appropriate nosh like donut holes and finger fruits. the best thing about these apps, other than their delish flavor, is that they are so flippin' easy and take very little time to make. their pay off is huge. the only downside was that i had to travel to two grocery stores to procure the fresh dates. whole foods had them of course, along with the majority of my paycheck.  make these appetizers for your next can't go wrong.

>> bacon-wrapped dates <<

  • 24-30 fresh dates
  • 1 lb. thinly sliced bacon, cut in half  (i used apple-smoked)
  • 2 ounces shelled pistachios (i used unsalted)
  • 2 ounces dried apricots, cut into strips
  • cooking spray

preheat oven to 450 degrees. wrap a rimmed cookie sheet with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray. cut a slit in each date and remove the pit. Stuff each date with 3 or 4 pistachios** and add a slice of dried apricot on top of the pistachios. wrap stuffed date with half a slice of bacon.

transfer wrapped dates to cookie sheet and bake until bacon is crisp, about 12 minutes. flip each date after about 8 minutes. transfer wrapped dates to paper towels to drain. Serve with toothpicks.

**next time i make these i will be shoving as many pistachios as possible in each date to add a little more crunch


thanks can find her recipe here

Monday, January 21, 2013

the first lady: a force to be reckoned with

on this inauguration day, i have had the opportunity to reflect (there is no school today...yeah!) about the last four years and the impact our first lady has had on this great nation. it has been said that behind a good man is a great woman... in this case i would agree (although this is not always true as men support men and women support women, etc. etc.). not only does she have impeccable fashion sense (which i can't help but envy), she has made great strides to promote the arts and art education and better the lives of our children, our women, and our military families. thanks for a good four years, first lady michelle obama. cheers to four great more.

as a fashion lover, i can't help but include some of my favorite pretty looks from our first lady from the last four years.

Friday, January 18, 2013

daydreaming of a book-hammock combo

it's official... i've got the winter blues. i really haven't been able to send them packing since beginning the battle with evil flu 2013. it's sad really... i am this close to beginning the summer break count down. scary and far too early, people! if you are a teacher, you know exactly what i am talking about. don't get me wrong, i really do love my job. i just am in need a breather and a moment to sit down and read a book that i want...a book for leisure would be oh so lovely. 

if i could, i would plop myself down in one of these beauties you see here and curl up with my trusty copy of pride and prejudice. i can't wait until husband and i get ourselves that fixer-upper we have been lusting for. first order of business-- indoor hammock. well, maybe not the first order, but certainly one to be put on the docket. i love the thought of bringing this typically outdoor comfort to the indoors. stellar stuff right here.

check out these pretty hammock purveyors below in blue and pick one up for your dwelling so you too can live on the wild side while swinging low on your sweet indoor chariot.

image sources: 1/2/3/4

Thursday, January 17, 2013

placecups: a personal touch

i love, love to entertain. it is such a joy to fill our home with amazing friends, good food and a dapper looking table. i just can't get enough of the build up and preparations before a dinner party or sunday brunch. this is when i am truly in my element. recently we hosted a few good peeps and i needed a fun project for the day. my metallic sharpies had been burning a hole in our junk drawer since this... so what better way to get my diy on than with a few new place"cups" for our guests!

i made a trip to the thrift store and managed to scrounge up some plain white coffee cups for the project. after a good cleaning, they were all ready for their beautification. i simply picked some fonts off of my computer and used the gold metallic sharpie to hand draw the monograms for my lovely guests. if i happened to draw a little less than perfect, i honestly just scratched the mess off with my finger nail. this seemed to do the trick. i have heard that rubbing alcohol works too. after the monogrammed mugs are dazzled in gold, simply bake them in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. after the thirty minutes, turn the oven off and leave the coffee cups in the oven until cool.

the mugs were a hit, and this technique can be used on any ceramic surface that can handle the heat from the oven. happy diy'ing!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

wedding wednesday: the rings

i am a huge fan of unique wedding bands and engagement rings... (and yes, this was before duchess kate came on the scene with her sapphire and such). from interesting stones to antique throwbacks, there is nothing better...that is, if rings are your thing. i personally love the tradition, but that is just me. 

back in the day when husband and i were just regular ol' boyfriend-girlfriend we had the whole wedding conversation when things got all hot and heavy. husband (then boyfriend) played it right when he inquired about "the ring" prior to making any big decisions. my response...something different. we did some looking around on the internet, but ultimately he came up with what you see above. this man has taste people... i think i'll keep him. he went with a green tea sapphire stone...can't get much more unique than that. even better, he got it off etsy from a small, independent jeweler who is passionate about using conflict-free stones...the engagement ring also didn't cost him the bank. triple score.


>> i did some digging of my own and found some other fab non-diamond alternatives... take a gander <<

rings 1,2,6 rare earth // ring 3 one garnet girl // ring 4 pompeii // ring 5 kristin coffin

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

dark chocolate banana pancakes

husband and i just had a marvelous weekend that sped by in a hurry. friday we dedicated ourselves to a much needed date night after hibernating for the last two weeks due to my still lingering flu bug. we love to eat (love is a big time, major understatement in this case... big time, my friends), so friday was all about the food (and a little bit of convo too). we had one of those dinners where we order one thing at a time and savor every last bite. dinner nearly lasted 3 hours...divine stuff. we ate at one of my favorite french joints, coquette cafe...i like it so much i even worked here at one point. if you haven't been and get to milwaukee, you must pop in.

naturally, we rounded out the weekend with more food and these beauties here. i love a good pancake (yes, yours too dad!) and these really take. the. cake. so to speak. the secret ingredient in my book is the sour cream. these cakes are dense and moist and devishly delicious. share them, like we did, with good friends. trust me, they deserve it.

>> dark chocolate banana pancakes <<

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 diced bananas
  • 1.5 oz. dark chocolate
  • pure maple syrup

in a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. in a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk, eggs, and vanilla. add the wet ingredients to the dry ones, mixing only until combined. do not over mix...the batter should be lumpy.

heat griddle or a large skillet over medium heat until a small drop of water bubbles. ladle the pancake batter onto the pan or griddle and drop some of the banana and chocolate over the batter. cook for 3-4 minutes or until bubbles appear on top and the underside is nicely browned. flip the pancakes and then cook for another 1-2 minutes, until browned. continue until all batter has been cooked. makes about 8-10 pancakes.

recipe adapted from urbanspork

Monday, January 14, 2013

put a heart on it

animals a plenty have ruled the roost as of late.... birds, owls and now even the fox make their way to many a fashion plate. however, with the holiday of love fastly approaching, i say we ditch the wildlife and embrace what is already within us all. let us all be vulnerable for a bit and wear our hearts on the outside. here are some hearts that can't be broken...

Thursday, January 10, 2013

roasted red cabbage

i have a thing for cabbage. big or small i love them all. don't even get me going on brussel sprouts. this recipe is a new one for us in this cabbage category and sprouted out of leftovers in the fridge. one of my pet peeves is buying an ingredient for a recipe, using just a smidgen of it and leaving the rest to die a long, slow death among the cilantro and celery hiding in the back of the fridge. husband and i made amazing fish tacos (will post on those another time!) and needed some red cabbage for part of the topping garnish. hence the necessary birth of the roasted red cabbage and bacon recipe. yum.

husband and i both were both singing cabbage praises after these pretties came out of the oven. this makes a great veggie side dish, if you are fan of the cabbage. which you should be. enjoy!

>> roasted red cabbage <<

  • 1 small-medium head of cabbage, rinse, trimmed & quartered
  • 3-4 strips cooked bacon, chopped
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper

preheat oven to 425 degrees. mix the chopped bacon, worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper into a marinade. place each cabbage wedge on a sheet of aluminum foil large enough to wrap it up in. divide marinade evenly among individual cabbage wedge bundles and drizzle over all the nooks. wrap cabbage sections into bundles and place in the middle rack in the oven. bake for 25 minutes for a nice crisp cabbage.  cook longer if you would prefer a softer side of cabbage.

recipe adapted from greenlitebites

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

wedding wednesday: the dress

i have a confession to make. i didn't try on a single dress when shopping for a wedding dress. not a one. unfortunately for my mother, there were no traditional mother-daughter trips to bridal salons. we never set foot in one during the entire planning phase.  the reason for this would be the gorgeous reem acra dress you see the lovely olivia wilde wearing below. the day she wore this dress to the 2008 emmys was the day i found my wedding dress. i didn't even know husband at the time, but i knew that whoever that man was would see me in this dress. i know this sounds like crazy talk, and it is. especially if you know me. i am not the girl that has been planning her wedding since the ripe old age of five.

there was however, a small problem. this dress cost about 5,000 dollars more than what i would have liked it to.  i was unwilling to spend that kind of dough. my solution...find a dress that has the same look and feel with a reasonable price tag. my route...the good ol internet. i scoured dress sites for days and finally, with great luck found an option at light in the box. the kicker is that this dress cost only 150 smackers. a deal you can't pass up, if you ask me. 

i snatched it up and a week later the dress arrived. i was shocked upon its arrival. the dress was of great quality and fit me like a glove, as they say. the only thing was that the sleeves left much to be desired. a plan was devised and it included a sleeve redo. i took off all of the beads on the sleeves and was left with mesh cap sleeves. my task was to recreate a similar beaded look from the original reem acra dress. i bought supplies and my beading adventure began.

i have to admit, this task was quite the undertaking. i spent many a day and night on the couch pricking fingers and cursing myself for taking on this challenge. in the end, i probably spent well over 80 hours rebeading the sleeves of my dress. when the last bead was sewn, it was as if i had climbed mt. everest. to say i was relieved would be the world's greatest understatement. i was elated to be done. i had my dress and it was even more special because i put my sweat and tears into it.

other than the fact that i am a crazy person, you can maybe take a little something from this. your dress is out there and it just might not be in that bridal salon. through my search, i have found amazing dresses at antique stores, on etsy, and in countries you wouldn't come to expect. don't be afraid to put on your diy cap and have at it. you might surprise yourself.

happy hunting all you brides to be.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

peanut butter pumpkin dog ice cream

our dog tate is a fiend for dog ice cream. it can be twenty below outside and he still loses his mind when you open the freezer door. tate's ice cream of choice, frosty paws, can be bought right in the freezer aisle next to the people ice cream.  the problem is that his dessert fix is both expensive and contains some unnatural ingredients. our fix for this...make our own frozen tate treat. the result... four paws up.

there are many doggie ice cream recipes you can find when scouring the web, but what i like about this one is the addition of pumpkin. pumpkin has many health benefits for our four-legged friends including aiding with digestive health, weight loss benefits, and supporting urinary health. you can read more about the health benefits here. this recipe does have dairy in it, which we know isn't always the greatest for our pups. however, yogurt contains much less lactase than regular milk and the live cultures can be good for a pup's digestive system. win, win. disclaimer: i am not a veterinarian and i don't play one on tv.

>> peanut butter pumpkin dog ice cream <<

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups non-fat, unsweetened plain yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons natural peanut butter
  • 1 cup organic pumpkin puree  (not the pie filling!!)
  • 5 oz. paper cups


put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. pour mixture into paper cups and rest flat in the freezer. allow ice cream to freeze for 5-7 hours.  once frozen, store treats in a dated freezer bag.
makes about 10 ice cream treats.

>> please consult your veterinarian if your dog has a sensitive stomach<<

comment below and let me know if fido likes his new treats as much as tate!

Monday, January 7, 2013

pantone color of the year: emerald

 forever 21 sweater, vintage karl lagerfeld paris skirt<< similar >>,  vintage broach, coastal glasses 
urban outfitters bird tights << similar 1, 2 >>, bow belt old <<similar>> refresh julia flats 

this outfit is pretty standard teacher work wear for me. a pencil skirt and a sweet little sweater or cardigan usually does the trick. throw on a cute pair of shoes and i am all set. usually a smile comes standard too...not sure what really happened up there. maybe it's this evil cold that won't quit. pencil skirts are  favorites of mine for a couple good reasons...they are flattering for those of us blessed with some meat on our thighs and they are quite easy to come by.

this is where one of my thrifting go-tos comes in. not only is that vintage karl lagerfeld emerald beauty of a skirt on the fashion radar due to pantone's color picking (which you can see more about from At Home in Love), it cost me two dollars and twenty cents. every time i go into a thrift store, i mean every time, i take a trip down the skirt aisle. skirts are one of the three items i always look for. more on the other two at another time. i can generally find numerous pencil skirts waiting to be candidates to join their thrifty friends in my closet. 

typically i stay out of the dressing rooms at thrift stores and i use one trick to determine if the skirt has potential to fit me in the waist. i take the skirt off of the hanger and wrap the waistband of the skirt around my neck. yes, you read that right. if waistband come together and you have a wee bit of breathing room around your neck (maybe an inch overlap or so), the waist will fit.  if the waistband is snug around the neck and you find that you are cutting off your breathing, the skirt just won't do.

this trick works with pants too. congratulations, you've just reached thrifting level...super stealth.

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