Wednesday, August 28, 2013

White Jeans: The Fall Transition

I've seen quite a few posts on Fall style lately but I have to admit, I'm just not ready yet. I'd be happy with a few more weeks of flip flops, summer dresses, tank tops and shorts. I love white jeans and I'm not ready to put them away just yet. Do you wear white jeans through the Fall? It's certainly becoming more popular. I tend to chicken out but how great are these looks?

(clockwise from top left)

1 - Switch out those sandals for a pair of oxfords and you are ready for fall. (source)
2 - Skinny white jeans and boots - definitely a possibility (source)
3 - Not exactly Fall attire but I just love a completely neutral look from time to time. Possibly pull this off through September? (source unknown)
4 - Add a loose, comfortable sweater (source unknown)

Will you be incorporating white into your Fall and Winter attire?

If you like this post please let me know by leaving a comment or liking my Facebook page. You can also follow along on TwitterPinterest, and Instagram. Let's stay in touch!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bathroom Reno: Lighting

Thanks to a weekend jam packed with getting things done and enjoying the last few days of summer, I took yesterday off from blogging. I hope you got to enjoy the close to perfect weather we had this weekend. I may have spent an hour or so floating around our pool yesterday afternoon, completely and utterly relaxed. It was just so nice out!

What allowed me to feel so relaxed yesterday and not guilty for taking a bit of me time? We fit our training run in Saturday morning, got a bunch of errands done, and even finally finished unpacking the office. Ahh, it felt good. It always feels good to get something accomplished, doesn't it?

Lets get back on track, shall we? With the tile ordered (and in!), the vanity on its way, and the electrical work done this weekend, it's time to choose lighting. Vanity lighting specifically. We've decided to go with two separate vanity mirrors so that we can install side lighting. (These pictures here and here were very helpful).

I failed to mention above but Saturday we also ordered all of the bathroom fixtures. First of all, I am in love with everything that we ordered which I guess is most important. But what a racket! I understand that every fixture is its own expense but seriously, I need to order 5 separate pieces for the shower head/hose?! And another 4 for the temperature gage and to be able to turn the water on/off. They seriously get you.

While all of our fixtures were ordered in polished chrome, our taste is fairly transitional. The shower design may be somewhat modern, but I was really drawn to the more classic faucets and rustic vanities. So the question is, what do I do for lighting? I'm considering straying away from a polished chrome light fixture. There is going to be a whole lot of shiny metal in the bathroom between the double sinks and double shower heads. Potentially even from the mirror hardware (also getting ordered asap).

Here are a few lighting options I'm considering between:

Vanity Lighting

123 / 4 / 5 / 6

Decision to be made soon! 

Would you mix and match metals? Or go with all the same?

If you like this post please let me know by leaving a comment or liking my Facebook page. You can also follow along on TwitterPinterest, and Instagram. Let's stay in touch!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Fun Fact Friday 8.23.13

How in the world is it the end of August already?! Oh it makes me so sad. I do love fall, but could use a few more weekends out by the pool. This is our last plan-free weekend before we head back into wedding season so I fully intend to make the most of it, getting my tan on. There will be no weeding, no painting, no furniture hunting. Just chillaxing. 

Here's what we've been up to lately:

1. I haven't been the best blogger this summer, slacking on my documentation of events. A month ago, J and I, along with Dan & Meg, attended a MA wine festival. It was ok. Lets be honest, MA wines just aren't the same as west coast wines (which I prefer). But the BEST thing ever happened that day. I met a reader! This seriously made my day, my year! Hi L!

2. Have I told you that J and I signed up for a half-marathon? We started training 2 weeks ago and it's going pretty well. But we are starting at the bottom pretty much, so we needed some motivation to get our butts back into shape. Running has been a great way to tour the neighborhoods around us! Crossing #3 off in November! I'll share more of our training plans soon.

3. Vanity ordered! Phew. More details to come once it arrives. But I will say that the customer service at Wayfair was quite impressive. Hoping for a smooth delivery so that I can give them more of my business. 

4. What are your thoughts on blow-dry bars? J's brothers getting married next Friday!!! I think I've talked my sister-in-law and sister into it. I was originally planning to do my own hair (maybe something like this) but then decided I want to be lazy and let someone else do it. Can I book appts two days in a row? J and I have a wedding next Saturday too. It's going to be one hell of a great weekend. You know how I feel about weddings. :) 

5. I broke into my new paints the other night! J was out of town for the night and I just had no desire to put the TV on. It was so relaxing.

6. A week or two ago J and I attended BostonFest after work. I fully intend to do a write-up of it, but here's a sneak peak. I loved this chalkboard wall. Life is good because of....Tom Brady! Ha. What would you add to this wall?
6. A week or two ago J and I attended BostonFest after work. I fully intend to do a write-up of it, but here's a sneak peak. I loved this chalkboard wall. Life is good because of....Tom Brady! Ha. What would you add to this wall?

Have a fantastic weekend!

If you like this post please let me know by leaving a comment or liking my Facebook page. You can also follow along on TwitterPinterest, and Instagram. Let's stay in touch!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Banana Bread

I don't know about you, but we don't tend to have many extra ripe bananas left over at the end of the week over here. So although we absolutely love banana bread, we don't make it that often. Just say the word banana and Tucker comes running. It's hilarious. He loves them! And we love using banana in our morning smoothies.

Anyway, I'm getting off topic. I found myself with two bananas on their way out this week. One really on its way out from the week before....but I told myself this would be the week I finally baked something in our new home. The smell of freshly baked banana is like no other. It makes the whole house feel warm and cozy.

My mother-in-law gave me a great recipe for banana bread back when J and I got married. Not only is it delicious, it's the most realistic banana bread recipe I've found. The only ingredient we rarely have on hand in our home is orange juice. But that's easy enough to pick up. What I love about this recipe is that it only calls for 2 bananas. I actually googled around a little bit Sunday morning looking for a recipe I could throw together without a trip to the store (for OJ) but they all called for 3-4 ripe bananas. We never have 3-4 extra bananas. We only buy 4, 5 at most each week! So no, these recipes are not realistic for us. So instead I made J go to the store for me. :)

Ingredients (makes 2 loaves)

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp boiling water
  • 3 tbsp boiling water
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 3 cups flour (I used 1 1/2 cups whole wheat, 1 1/2 cups all purpose)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup orange juice

Recipe to follow after you drool over the pictures

Disregard the milk in this picture....not needed

Cream together the sugar, butter & eggs

Add baking soda to boiling water, stir

Mix into creamed mixture

Mix dry ingredients together, add alternatively to creamed mixture with the orange juice

Add mashed bananas (and nuts if you prefer)

Pour into 2 loaf pans (or 1 loaf pan, 1 muffin tin if you're like me)

Bake at 375 for 35-45 minutes. (take muffins out after 15-20 minutes)


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Bathroom Reno: Hunting Down the Perfect Vanity

Hi friends! How was your weekend? We had a pretty great weekend over here getting things done around the house. There were many things crossed off the to-do list which always feels good, even got a few unexpected things done. But there's one thing that's haunting us. One major to-do item that is causing a whole bunch of gray hairs at the moment. Finding a bathroom vanity.

This bathroom renovation is definitely teaching us a lot. And we are going to be so much better prepared next time we have any major construction planned. Who knew that 60" wasn't the norm for double sink vanities (it's 72"), or that stores don't stock them very often (it's 4 weeks+ production)? Well maybe you did know all that, but we sure didn't. This could basically be a travel post considering the number of miles we put on my car this weekend searching for the perfect bathroom vanity.

Our requirements/wants:

  • Two sinks
  • Counter height (34")
  • Cabinets and drawers (preferably a cabinet under each sink with a drawer under the cabinet, or a shelf within the cabinet for extra storage)
  • Not too detailed/intricate wood patterns on the drawer fronts
  • Stained (or possibly painted in milk paint so its a matte finish)

Not too much to ask for right? Oh, and one more important thing, we need it asap. We are learning that we could have made a few more decisions (like where we'd order a vanity from) earlier on. And that there are times when things come up and decisions are needed immediately. Ack! Doing my best to roll with it!

So yes, we drove all over Routes 3, 24, 93, 95, and 495 between Saturday and Sunday (if  you're not from the area, just disregard those numbers and note that it was an insane amount of driving!).

And what we learned in our travels:
  • There are less than 3 stocked 60" double sink vanities at any one store, and none were our style
  • They love placing the gorgeous, custom ordered vanity (12 weeks production, $$$) next to the half the price, 4 week production vanity so that you can REALLY see the difference in quality and REALLY want the custom one out of the price range and time frame.
  • The Restoration Hardware outlet is the most amazing place on earth and you should totally check it out. (They had a 72" double sink vanity that I'd been eyeing online for 30% off. Ugh it was gorgeous)
  • Don't even bother with IKEA bathroom vanities, unless you want an ultra modern look in which case definitely check them out.
  • Take pictures of what you really like - you may be able to find someone local to build it for you (which we almost did - our contractor offered)

Needless to say, we were feeling pretty defeated by Sunday night. I'm sure many of you can relate to the whole champagne taste on a beer budget analogy? It can kinda suck sometimes. I didn't want to choose a vanity just for the hell of it because we needed one, and I really didn't want to spend a fortune on one either. We can't! So while I got dinner together Sunday night, J took to the web for some browsing. And thank goodness for his patience because we may have lucked out! I won't tell you what we ended up with yet (because we still need to order it). But here's a taste of what you can find with some searching....and how they line up to a few Restoration Hardware options that I love. Really, who doesn't love RH?! If they weren't side by side with the differences so obvious, would you be able to tell? I've included 72" options here for comparison (And yes, they all come carrera marble as an option! Just didn't have a picture of it always).

Bathroom Vanity Options

1 /  23 / 4 / 5 / 6

We've decided that between the gray floors and gray/white walls, we'd like to warm up the space a little with a rustic vanity. Well, at least that's what we're currently envisioning! And while we were originally leaning towards a darker finish, these more natural stains have really caught out eye. Wish us luck, ordering a vanity in the next day or two.

What's your favorite stain or color option for a vanity? Would you ever choose a paint color other than black/white? 
We debated a gray painted vanity at one point but then found ourselves so drawn to something warm and rustic, keeping the space from getting too modern. I also think a colored vanity, like deep blue could look amazing in the right space. 

If you like this post please let me know by leaving a comment or liking my Facebook page. You can also follow along on TwitterPinterest, and Instagram. Let's stay in touch!

Friday, August 16, 2013

101 in 1001

Ever since I first saw this idea, I knew it was something I wanted to participate in. While I love the 30 before 30 lists, I still have a ways to go before then. My goal was to coincide writing this list with 1001 days to go before I turned 30....but apparently my math is off. And once I realized I had less than 1001 days until I turned 30, I procrastinated making this list even more. Not all that surprised with myself there.

My 30th birthday is 954 days from today (today = August, 16, 2013 / 30th = March 28, 2016). Just over 2.5 years away. And while I'd like to do many of the following 101 items by my 30th birthday, the real end date is: May 13, 2016.

So here goes, here is my
101 in 1001

Health & Fitness
  1. Run a 5k
  2. Run a 10k
  3. Run another half-marathon
  4. Try cross-fit
  5. Take power yoga monthly for at least 6 months
  6. Try pilates
  7. Enjoy green smoothies daily for an entire month
  8. Join a gym

  1. Make pasta from scratch
  2. Make [french] macaroons
  3. Make mom’s tiramisu recipe
  4. Maka J’s nana’s apple pie from scratch
  5. Help make homemade raviolis for the holidays
  6. Try 5 new foods
  7. Try pho (this gets its own because I can't believe I still haven't had it)
  8. Cook dinner every night for an entire month
  9. Make homemade ice cream
  10. Make a carrot cake
  11. [Try to] enjoy a glass of bourbon on the rocks
  12. Start up a Sunday dinner tradition with family

  1. Host a holiday
  2. Host a lobster boil
  3. Host a wine tasting event
  4. Brew beer
  5. Throw a surprise party for someone
  6. Host a housewarming/open house party
  7. Host an annual cookout (4th of July perhaps?)

House & Home
  1. Stencil a room or piece of furniture
  2. Wallpaper a room
  3. Build a new desk for our office (help J do it...)
  4. Sew curtains & pillow covers
  5. Paint all of the rooms in our house (they all need to be...)
  6. Install hardwood floors in the family room (help J do it...)
  7. Build a master bathroom (or hire someone else to do it)
  8. Build a master closet space
  9. Renovate the guest bathroom
  10. Upgrade the back deck
  11. Fix the pool area - jets, concrete, pavers
  12. Paint the kitchen cabinets
  13. Plant a vegetable garden
  14. Plant flowers
  15. And keep said flowers alive for more than one season
  16. Print photos and actually get some frames on the walls/shelves
  17. Refinish an old piece of furniture
  18. Reupholster a piece of furniture
  19. IKEA hack something (if you don’t know, now you know)
  20. Clean out my closet, pare down to the staple pieces
  21. Clean up the laundry area of the basement, make it pretty

  1. Buy a car
  2. Pay off (some) student loans
  3. Increase my 401k payments
  4. Purchase a DSLR camera
  5. Invest in a tablet - IPad, Samsung...
  6. Invest in a great, classic handbag
  7. And maybe a great pair of shoes...

  1. Travel to a state I haven’t visited yet
  2. Travel to Washington DC
  3. Plan a girls trip
  4. Plan a trip with my mom and sister
  5. Travel to Europe
  6. Visit a National Park with J
  7. Take a road trip with J and Tuck
  8. Travel to Hawaii

  1. Re-read the entire Harry Potter series
  2. Read something nonfiction
  3. Re-watch Titanic
  4. Read/watch something that’s never really interested me - Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones
  5. Get a library card, and use it
  6. Go to the ballet
  7. Go to the theatre
  8. Go sailing/boating
  9. Go camping
  10. Go hiking
  11. Get our Morocco trip photos into an album
  12. Get our honeymoon photos into an album
  13. Go to a jazz bar
  14. Attend a music festival
  15. Go to a Patriots game (can’t believe I still haven’t been)
  16. Plan a staycation
  17. Clean out my makeup bag
  18. Find, and wear, the perfect red lipstick
  19. Monogram something
  20. Get a great pair of pajamas
  21. Learn to make the perfect flower arrangements by vase shape/size
  22. Find the perfect gift for someone
  23. Send out greeting cards, just because

Personal [Improvement]
  1. Go to a blogging conference
  2. Learn more html coding
  3. Organize my computer folders/pictures/documents
  4. Take a photography class
  5. Take a cooking class
  6. Attend a speaking event
  7. Get involved in the community
  8. Renew my CPA license when needed
  9. Get a promotion at work
  10. Find a new church, and go more often than holidays
  11. Find a hobby that helps decrease stress (and gray hairs)
  12. Book a spa day
  13. Learn something new
  14. Be more patient
  15. Have a baby

102....And one extra just because....inspire someone else to write their own 101 in 1001.

Have a fantastic weekend!

Linking up with H54F, Friday Favorites

If you like this post please let me know by leaving a comment or liking my Facebook page. You can also follow along on TwitterPinterest, and Instagram. Let's stay in touch!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

How to Dry Fresh Herbs

A few weeks ago I shared my experience with growing fresh herbs (here). Well, why not dry some fresh herbs too?

At the end of June, I came home from a bachelorette party to find a gallon ziploc bag of fresh herbs on my counter. Oregano, to be exact. I turned to J and said, "What the heck do I do with this?!" Uh, you dry it Trace. Right. Let's blame that on the late night.

Fresh herbs tend to grow in such abundance it's hard to keep up with them! So I was happy to take some off my in-laws hands. I had a fairly good idea of what I needed to do to dry the oregano but a google search never hurts. I used this site for reference.

You'll need a paper bag or two and twine to air out the herbs. Note that this method is good for oregano, but not great for a high moisture herb like basil.

After making sure the herbs were clean, I tied bunches of 4-6 branches together with the twine. 

I ended up with 5 bunches which I split up between two paper bags so that none were touching. I poked holes on the 4 sides of each bag for extra ventilation and then stuck the bags in our office for a couple weeks to dry. Forget they're there (kinda like I did), and let them completely dry out.

After a couple weeks they should look like this.

After removing the dried leaves from the branches I quickly realized I needed to add a step in. The dried leaves were just too big to be used a seasoning.

A quick turn through the Magic Bullet certainly did the trick.

I picked these spice jars up during a recent visit to the Crate & Barrel Outlet. A real steal at $2.

And viola! Enough fresh dried oregano to last the year. And I just love that it came from a local garden.

I think I'm going to need to check out the process for drying out basil next. It seems to grow like weeds so why not save some of it for the off season?

Question: Have you grown any herbs this summer? What's your favorite recipe to use fresh herbs in? I don't know about you, but I am a huge fan of caprese salad with fresh basil. 

If you like this post please let me know by leaving a comment or liking my Facebook page. You can also follow along on TwitterPinterest, and Instagram. Let's stay in touch!

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