August 20, 2008

vacation - here i come!

I'm signing off a little early this week.

Why, you ask? Because I'm leaving on a jet plate. And I'm heading here:

La Villa del Valle in the Guadalupe Valley, Mexico.

"A secluded, relaxing sanctuary" in Mexico's wine country.

All I want to do is this:


And drink a lot of wine and take a lot of naps, too.

See you next week!

August 19, 2008

recipe to try: cookie dough truffles


Bite-sized chunks of cookie dough covered in chocolate? Where do I sign up?

After I watched Paula making these easy-as-can-be-yet-so-delicious-looking-I-can-hardly-stand-it cookie dough truffles, I vowed that these would be my next dessert treat to try, and I ran right over to my laptop to get the recipe. {Well, I went online right after I cleaned up the puddle of drool on my coffee table.}

Don't they look amazing? Any cookie dough lover out there will appreciate these. We no longer have to feel guilty for our batches of cookies that yield half as much as the recipe calls for because we ate too much of the dough. This is dough that's meant to be eaten! And because sweetened condensed milk is added as the binder, we don't even need to worry about getting sick from raw eggs. {Getting sick from eating too many? Well, that's a different story.}

I can't wait to try the recipe. I'll let you know how it turns out... but if you beat me to it, please let me know what you think!

Cookie Dough Truffles
from Cooking with Paula Deen March/April 2007

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1-1/2 pounds chocolate bark candy coating, melted

Directions:
In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in milk and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour, mixing well. Add chocolate chips and pecans, mixing well. Flour your hands because dough will be sticky and shape into 1-inch balls. Place on waxed paper and let chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Using 2 forks, dip cookie balls into candy coating to cover. Place on waxed paper and chill to set. Store in refrigerator.

Makes 5 dozen truffles.

August 18, 2008

euphoria

I wish my computer was scratch and sniff.

If it was I would surely rub a hole right through the screen from trying to smell this all day. It's Euphoria by Calvin Klein. My new favorite scent!

Now, I know it's only August and my birthday isn't until November, but I sure hope a certain somebody remembers this when he's shopping. {wink wink}

Euphoria Eau du Parfum Spray ($75) available online at Sephora.

August 15, 2008

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Even though it's well into August and the stores have already stocked the shelves with back-to-school and halloween, we've still got a few more weeks of summer. Enjoy every minute of it!

"Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time." ~John Lubbock

(Running Ahead of Oneself by OrangeAcid on Flickr.)

Have a lovely weekend. See you Monday!

good things

Martha Stewart Living always impresses. I love cracking open each shiny new issue to see the bounty of lovely images and ideas that are piled up inside. The stylists are the cream of the crop. Purrdy pictures abound. And the brains behind the mag come up with one amazing decor, holiday decorating, organizing, gardening, cooking, baking, collecting - you name it! - idea after another. MSL is the inspiration bible.

Every year for Christmas my mom renews my subscription, and until just a few days ago, I kept every issue. There were stacks and stacks... all organized by date {Martha would be so proud!} and full of dog-ears, notes and bookmarks. But all good things {hee hee, no pun intended!} must come to an end, and the neat-freak in me decided it was high time to bid adieu to those stacks. But not until I went through each one and tore out the ideas that I wanted to keep. After what seemed like endless page-turning, I finally got through every last issue, tearing out pages as I went along. Now the only stack that's left is the one on the curb for recyling.

Here are a couple of my tear-outs that I think are share-worthy:


I love this idea of using an old chair as a bedside table. Here it's used in a guest room, set up with essentials that welcome. I could also see doing this in a master bedroom with a lovely vase of flowers and an alarm clock on the seat and a stack of books or magazines below.


They manage to make even under the kitchen sink look pretty! I know that mine could use some organization like this. And what fun to go about grommeting. {Sorry, I realize how craft-nerdy that just made me sound.} But I do think it would be nice to have a place to hang my rubber gloves and a dish towel or two rather than stashing them in a drawer across the room.

Old metals cans are transformed into a collection of simple white vases that are perfect for showing off flowers from the garden. And just think how green you'd be if you held on to those old soup and coffee cans and turned them into something beautiful. Now if only I could get my hands on so many gorgeous hydrangeas...

August 13, 2008

on friendship

I’m a little blue. I should be full of happy, but actually I’m a little sad. I was away last weekend – spending a blissful three days with my dearest high-school girlfriends – and it was, as it always is, a perfect weekend. But now it’s over. And oh how I hate to say goodbye. I adore these girls. Ahem, women. We are all grown up now, after all. But each year we trek back to Wisconsin from wherever life has led us just to be with each other. That’s all the weekend is about… simply being with each other. There are no special events to attend or formal dinners to put on. It’s a-ok to stay in your pajamas all weekend. There is no judging. We’re each loved and accepted for exactly who we are. And always have been. We laugh. We cry. A few laugh so hard they end up crying. Together we look back and smile on our pasts and look forward to our futures. Friendship really is life’s dearest gift.

So here's to you, my dear ones - Aimee, Jill, Jody, Sarah, Tera, and Tori – your friendship is priceless, and I love you with all my heart.

(What Happiness Feels Like by DazeyChic on Etsy.)

August 7, 2008

design inspiration: colorful bedrooms

So, I know this may seem contrary to my usual love of white interiors, but I guess I'm in the mood for a little color today, and these bedrooms look just perfect to me. They are both fine examples of how to use a bold color on the walls. The blue room is beach house casual with white beadboard, industrial-inspired reading lamps and striped fabrics. It's all about simple lines and clean living. The pink room, on the other hand, is boho-chic with an antique iron bed, mounds of flowery pillows and a crystal chandelier. The pink-panel wall, collection of mirrors and plaid curtains add feminine charm and add to the cozy appeal of the space.

(Posh Living's Beach House Bedroom on Flickr.)


(Tammy Manet's Pink Room on Flickr.)

August 6, 2008

design inspiration: coastal living

Sitting in the doctor's waiting room this morning, I started paging through a copy of Coastal Living and was so smitten by the photos, I just had to go online for more. I was instantly enamored when I saw this:

What can I say? You know I love the nearly all white palette and cannot resist the pared-down look of this casual cottage getaway. The architecture boasts clean lines, and the d├ęcor is informal – a mix of flea market and antiques store finds.

I imagine how cool the salt-bleached pine floors would feel beneath your feet and how the ceiling fan overhead would softly whir day and night. We’d all plop down on the comfortable slipcovered sofa after a long day of playing on the beach and use the huge coffee table to set up board games or to nosh on snacks. The antique pine wardrobe would be filled with blankets for cuddling up after the sun goes down.

It’s about living simply. Making your home a cozy and peaceful retreat.

August 5, 2008

design inspiration: flickr finds

Here are few that I'm loving today. So without further ado...

Calm and Collected. Love. love. love. Soft white walls. Ebony floors. A weathered glass cabinet holding a tidy collection of glassware and dishes. And just that little peek into the dining room beyond leaves no doubt that it is as beautifully appointed. To me, this is design perfection. And pure inspiration.

(From the adorable Hannah of Honeypie Living on Flickr.)

Cottonblue. What a great idea for a wall of storage! I don't think I ever would have thought to put three mismatched bookcases side by side, and I'm amazed at how terrific they look together. Totally loving these colorful cases filled from top to bottom with trinkets and books.

(My Shelves by Cottonblue on Flickr.)


BrocanteGirl. Oh peaceful kitchen, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways… I love thee from the wall of contemporary white cabinets to the old wooden rack with its collection of plates and serving pieces. I love the country table with its weather-worn painted top sitting beside a bold black and white runner. The layering of neutral colors – grays, beiges and taupes – and easy pairing of modern and vintage styles is design at its best. Anyone would feel at home in this kitchen.

(Untitled by BrocanteGirl on Flickr.)

August 4, 2008

design inspiration: muted patinas

Today kicks off a week of design inspiration photos that I am simply loving and wanted to share with you. Let me know what you think!

Peeking past an old shuttered screen, you can see the harmony of soft colors in the bedroom of this small Parisian apartment. Simply decorated, only a few pieces are gathered on the oak parquet floor: a frosty white painted side table and chair and a bed made with pure white bedding and a dark indigo coverlet draped at the foot. The white walls are the back drop for a collection of framed artwork hung like a collage on the wall, and a hodgepodge of vases and candlesticks are gathered on the bedside table.

(Chambre from Marie Claire Maison.)

August 1, 2008

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"A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken." ~James Dent


(Summer Fun by Living the American Dream on Flickr.)

I hope your summer weekend is perfect!