Sunday, February 24, 2013

when designers get bored...

... they field measure their own homes.

At least, that's what I do :)

With the permission of our landlord, we are hoping to do some painting in the next few months. Having said that, I wanted to create a painting plan that will assist us with direction.

I'll put this bad boy into AutoCAD... one day ;)

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another fun weekend.

Do you guys get sick of my posts about "what we did this weekend"?
If so, I'm sorry. The truth of the matter is that we have a lot of great friends and are fortunate to get to spend time with them doing fun things. We're blessed.

The weekend began early for this one. Thursday evening, I was invited to an open house at a renovated furniture showroom with a co-worker. There was wine, cheese, great furniture pieces and a chance to win a trip to Cabo San Lucas. Don't worry, I immediately did whatever cheesy thing I had to in order to get my name in that proverbial hat.

Friday, I was a lucky girl and got to work from home. I had a couple of meetings in north county that morning and stayed at the house to finish up some work. A girl could really get used to this! Being a morning person, I hopped out of bed when the dog went out for her crack-of-dawn potty break (otherwise known as 5:30 AM), toasted a couple of bagels for Spencer and I, and fired up the computer. I worked until it was time to get ready for my meeting. By 9:30 that morning, I had already put in my full day's worth. This is much more appealing to me than working until past my bedtime. I was supposed to have lunch with a friend, but that fell through and I spent the rest of the day fighting my sewing machine (friendly banter).

Sweet London went to the groomer first thing on Saturday morning because we were having people over later in the day and her momma was freaking out about the little grey cloud of stink hovering over her. While she was getting groomed, Spencer and I hit up Trader Joe's, World Market, and got a little fuel at Starbucks that would begin a marathon house cleaning lasting 5 hours.
Was our house really that unkempt? No, of course not. Do I worry unnecessarily about what other people think of me? Abso-freaking-lutely.
Every square inch of the house was scrubbed, bleached,  and tidied for our guests. Being that I'm in the profession I am, I worry incessantly that people are judging my house and/or my personal style. I can't worry too much about the latter...because our house is still in a transition between college vs. adult furniture, and no part of our home reflects our true sense of style. We are still trying to find that blend as a couple. It's getting there.

Aside from now having a spotless house, the other good news about having people over is that you finally get to hang the last of the lingering artwork. Spencer got these album cover poster prints for his birthday. I like the colors in them and the content is at least interesting, but again... we are still trying to find that decorating harmony. We finally conceded to hang them at the entry of the office/media room, which works out well actually because the rest of the room houses his colorful collection of headcovers and a rad sample rug I pieced together... otherwise known as London's other bed.

We laid out a last-minute simple spread of truffle cheese and blueberry chèvre paired with rosemary raisin and whole grain crackers and Mediterranean olives with sweet red peppers. The above photo is PROOF why I need a wedding registry... look at that pathetic attempt at a presentation! Although we do have these beautiful cheese knives, we have no cracker board, cheese board, and I use my olive dish as a soap holder. Sigh. Spencer made us old fashioned(s) before walking to an Italian tapas-style dinner complete with fro yo afterward. 

Yes, we totally project our love of frozen yogurt on our guests. They didn't seem to mind. 

Oh, you noticed I ordered artificially flavored toppings with a little yogurt on the side? 
Why, thank you. 

Side note, with regard to the wedding registry: We were discussing vacations with our friends last night (who happen to be well-seasoned travelers), when I asked them where they planed to go next. They mentioned they were hoping to go back to Germany in September for Oktoberfest. "Oktoberfest in GERMANY in September!? My homeland in my birth month!", I exclaimed. Their eyes lit up "LET'S GO!" they exclaimed. I glanced at Spencer who cooly regarded me with "That's great, babe, but you're going to have to wait another year on your ring". Oh... bummer. I turned to the other girl and said "well shit" with a kind of shrug of the shoulders. Never missing a beat, she exclaimed "Oh, take the vacation, honey! You can always get the ring!". Love that. :)

Today, I'm hitting up the usual Sunday morning knitting, taking the dog for a walk, and guest-editing a thesis for a friend. I love research papers, so I was not at all bummed to have this requested assignment. All the more excuse for my to climb in the cozy chair with a cup of hot tea and my fuzzy blanket.
What's that you say? No, I really am only twenty-seven, but thank you for mistaking me for someone in their mid-70's. 
Spencer is currently golfing and later we'll have a friend of his over to hang out and enjoy the rest of our semi-homeade cheese plate. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.

Cheers to a great week!

PS-I'm going to work on actually getting PEOPLE into my photos. They're not imaginary... I promise. 

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Friday, February 22, 2013

{F R I D A Y faves} Eats :: Freezer Finds

OK, so the {F R I D A Y faves} topic is taking a little different turn.
And I'm SUPER excited about it!

I knew when I started this topic that I wanted to share with my you guys some of my favorite finds from the previous week. I am so inspired by fellow bloggers, and am constantly learning about new products through their posts. Since I read a ton of blogs and love sharing what I know, I thought I could blend the two and give you my 'best of' list each week. The only problem? Just as in my life, my thoughts are not always cohesive. Therefore, you might find frosting recipes in the same category as clutches. And iPhones on the same page with Tervis TumblersWhat? That happened? 

As I mentioned last week, I am in need of a sort of theme or organized structure to keep these posts from getting completely out of hand.
After some thought, I think I've got it.

I've developed a few categories in which I'll share with you the latest and greatest / an old favorite / the best of the best for each week. Some of these categories might include:

Blog Love :: weekly favorites from some of the best blogs out there (in my humble opinion!)
Eats :: from freezer finds to slow cooker favorites, I'll share with you the best of!
Entertainment :: thoughts on books / movies / television.
Travel :: tales from places I've been... posts about places I want to go.
Beauty :: skin care, makeup,  hair & nails...products I love and you should too!

I can't promise that they'll all be exciting to you, or even relevant, but I wouldn't steer you wrong. I hope that somewhere in the weekly ramblings, you'll discover something new, something you like and want to try. At the very least, I promise there will be pictures :)
This week's topic is under the Eats category... freezer finds! I know what you're thinking... snooze-fest... but hear me out on this one. I make it my job to find the tastiest, lowest calorie, most efficient meal options on the face of this planet. Back in my Weight Watcher days, I would send almost-weekly emails with the tagline "you have to try this!"... I was a little obsessed.

Why this category? Specifically, it's because I've been working a lot lately. Between meetings, and deadlines, and demanding clients, the last couple of weeks have been hectic and there's not been a lot of time to prepare a balanced lunch in the morning. Sure, I can grab a triple decker club sandwich from the amazing deli downstairs, but then I'm out $12 and feel like I just swallowed a bowling ball. No, thanks.
Reasons such as these are why I always have a handful of calorie-conscious freezer meals stocked for those days that I'm running out of the house. There are several different kinds out there, but these are a few of my favorite grab-and-go lunch treats from the freezer section of the grocery store!

Amy's Burritos
We discovered Amy's brand when we lived in Austin, and have kept our fridge full of these delicious burritos ever since! They're organic, vegetarian, super yummy, very filling--and several of the options are available in vegan and gluten-free. My favorite flavors are bean & rice and southwestern.

Lean Cuisine Spring Rolls
I typically don't love Lean Cuisine... flavor and portion size are something to be desired. But these new spring rolls are a treat! They're not very big, so I suggest you also pack an apple, but they come two servings to a box and aren't bad! The fajita-style chicken and thai-style chicken are the best.

Lean Pockets Pretzel Bread Sandwiches 
So, I wasn't too sure about these. I mean... Lean Pockets aren't bad per-se... but they're not exactly good either, right? Apparently the key is in the container because these new pretzel pockets rock! Straight from the microwave, they smell just like those delectable soft pretzels you get at baseball games. Mmmm.... I've only had the grilled chicken jalapeno cheddar, but am on a mission to find the other two flavors! Try these... you won't be sorry.

Smart Ones Smart Anytime Chicken Quesadilla
These chicken quesadillas from Smart Ones are loaded with cheesy goodness. Don't worry...they taste a lot better than they look, and that's a good thing considering the advertisement includes a digitally reproduced image of a quesadilla...seriously? And like the Lean Cuisine spring rolls, you get two servings per box. Cha-ching!

The downfall to most frozen entrees in general is that few of them are vegetarian-friendly. There are some good ones out there, like Amy's, but they're few and far between and most come with a price. There are several specialty food stores in our area, like Jimbo's...Naturally!, Sprouts, Whole Foods, and even Trader Joe's that sell fabulous freezer meals (for a pretty penny) but this list can be found at most any major retailer nationwide. 

While you're certainly not going to find any of the above on Dr. Oz's best foods list, I do realize we live in a real world. At least for me, it's far more practical to have a few of these on hand as opposed to blowing my diet and my budget right out of the water. I always pair one of these frozen meals with raw veggies & hummus, fruit salad, Greek yogurt, a couple slices of cheese...whatever I happen to have in the fridge that week. Because, let's face it. NO ONE ever said they were full from a Lean Cuisine. NO ONE. 

Do you guys have any go-to lunches (frozen or otherwise) that you love? 

Have a happy Friday, readers!

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Life Lessons: What Being a Dog Owner Has Taught Me.

*Beware. Unusually long post about life and dogs to follow.*

London has been a member of our little, unconventional family for the last four months. It's hard to believe that's it really, because she fits in like she's always been here.

And we could not love her any more. 

Being that I've only been a dog owner for that equally short period of time, I feel like I could write a book on the lessons learned caring for a dog. Sure, I grew up with dogs my whole life. From birth until I left for college we'd had a dog almost every year of my whole life, but it's a totally different ballgame when you are the primary caregiver. Also, all of my dogs growing up were outside dogs and there is definitely a whole other bond when you share the same breathing room, sofa room, bedroom, etc. with  dog. Being that we have a 75 lb. Golden Retriever and an 8 lb. cat who thinks she needs twice the amount of room that you do, sitting room gets a little tight in our house.

But that's neither here nor there.

I felt compelled to write this post today based on my experiences just over the last week. I've realized that I have seen a subtle, slow change in myself. Being a not-so-perfect blend of extrovert and introvert, my behavioral characteristics leave something to be desired. I'm the first girl to stand up and give an off-the-cuff speech to a crowded room of people I don't know, and the same girl who goes home that night, puts on her PJ pants, and is perfectly content not saying another word for the rest of the evening. Where do you draw the line? It's hard to tell. It varies by circumstance and situation.

The older I get, the more I have come to embrace the quiet. I like to be by myself. When I am, I generally don't even turn on the TV, radio, or anything that could potentially make noise... even the washer / dryer. In certain situations, silence really is golden.

Cue London.

London is very much a shy, quiet dog. She is so loving, sweet, and cares about nothing as much as she does getting your affection and attention. We have only once heard her bark in the four months we've had her and inferred that surely she has been taught not to bark by her previous owners. Whatever the case, she's our quiet little girl. She was also raised in a home with at least one other dog... her brother, the boy, the definitive alpha male. We were told at the shelter that she was very much submissive toward him. He ate first...he decided when it was time to play...he made the rules.

Because this is the only type of behavior she's ever known, it's no wonder it's carried over. At first when she would go outside for a walk or to play, she wouldn't leave your side. She would follow your every footstep, and pay no attention whatsoever to any other dog. It made for some pretty quick potty breaks. It also made for a couple of lazy owners. By lazy...I certainly don't mean that she didn't get frequent potty / play breaks, because let's face it, our pets get whatever they want. It just meant that while the other dogs were happily playing at the other end of the dog run and their owners chit-chatting away, London and I (or Spencer) would hang around the opposite end until she was ready to go in. She really didn't have any interest in interacting with the other dogs.

As the weeks followed, she progressed more and more. She would eventually get to the point where she would sniff around the other dogs, before running full speed back to you. With this interest in the other dogs, came way more interest from the dogs/owners that London or I bargained for. The questions started pouring in.

"Who is this?"
"How old is she?"
"Where did you get her?"
"Why haven't I seen her before?"
"Is she friendly?"

To this day, we still get this line of questioning (and then some) from the neighbors, but have just packaged and prepared our little speech to an Oscar-worthy level of timing. Because of the wild new interest in our dog, we started to learn a little more about their owners, too. Dog people are not a variety quite as obvious... like horse people. However, it would seem that the most attention we got was from all the people we tried to avoid. Always, right? We avoided such people because they talked too long, or they were rude, or their dogs were running on eight shots of espresso.

Oh, and everyone is an expert on your own dog. Once, I was outside with London when a new resident was out with his 12-year old black lab. He asked me how old she was (see previous line of questioning) so before I could get to the part where she was rescued and we hadn't owned her since puppyhood and our only assumption was that she was five years old (based on three veterinarian opinions), he snorted and replied with "Hmph. She's not five. She's much younger than that. What a shame you don't even know how old your dog is." Obviously, I was quite outraged irritated by this. This man had no idea that we took her in from a shelter, or what her life is like, or ours for that matter.

London was finally opening up, and we were still trying to get away as quickly as possible. This pattern of behavior has continued up until the last couple of weeks. We grew very strategic in our timing, and always knew everyone else's schedule so we could hopefully avoid seeing them. Terrible, I know.

It reached a point; however, when London decided it was enough. If her friends were outside, she wanted to play. She wanted to run up to the other owners and get pets. She wanted to lay in the grass and roll around. She wanted to go exploring. We never stopped her from doing any of these things before...but now, she demanded it. This, in turn, meant that we must interact with those folks that we otherwise tried to avoid. Sure there are a handful of people that we get along with famously without having to try, but like everywhere in life there were the same ones that we didn't. (For instance, there is one particular woman who always says nasty things about London, accuses her of chasing her dog, and hides in the bushes so she can can "catch" you doing something wrong... seriously. These reasons among many others are why she and I butt heads). The more London grew out of her shyness, so did I. I stopped tugging on her leash as soon as I saw someone coming in the distance and I started letting her off the leash more and more often to play with the other dogs. I even learned the names of some of the other owners, instead of referencing them as "Riley's Dad" or "Gracie's Mom". As it would happen one of the guys has the same name as me, and since that discovery there is always a wave, a "good morning", or some sort of interaction. He even shared some personal stories with me last week while the dogs were playing.

Since then, it seems as though I was seeing a community with new eyes for the first time. A community of dog lovers and friends that had always been there, but I was far too selfish to enjoy for myself. This past weekend, I took London on several walks. More than I typically do. Sunday afternoon just before it turned dark, I decided to take her out for one more. We walked down to our community center and I let her off the leash to run around the baseball field. There were kids playing softball, soccer, jump roping, flying electric airplanes, adults chatting, playing fetch with their own dogs, hanging out with their kids on the jungle was picture perfect. Then, like we stumbled on to some kind of by-invitation-only-party, several of the dogs and dog owners from our own community came out. They let their dogs off the leash to run and play. It seemed like a weekly activity to me. London looked longingly at the other dogs, then flashed her big brown eyes up at me. "Come on", I told her and we jogged over to the other people. They welcomed us with [literally] open arms, and I am pretty sure even the dogs were excited to see London. We stayed and let them play until it got dark.

We were both all smiles when we were walking back home. As cheesy as it sounds, I think we both had fun. My shy, sweet girl turned her lazy momma into a member of the community just by being friendly.
Imagine that ;)

We are still learning about her every single day. There's a lot to learn about a dog you just met... and vice versa! But her little personality shines through every day. She's funny and stubborn, but still so sweet and affectionate. When she thinks you're upset with her (which is really rare as it is), she will bring one of her toys as a sort of peace offering. She drops it at your feet, then ducks her head as if to say she's sorry. If you were mad to begin with, you certainly aren't anymore. We love her so much. Even our sweet kitty would never admit that she loves her new sister, but she does. And London feels the same way. London goes looking for "sissy" (we're crazy... and insist they know they're sisters), they give kisses, and they even share meals together... i.e. Chloe drinks all of London's water while London is busy eating. Last night, for the first time ever, we saw them sort of play together.

The more that we get to know about London, the more I hope to grow with her. I can't speak for Spencer (though I know he wouldn't disagree), but owning her has made me a better person all around. It has forced me to step outside of my comfort zone and try new things.

It's an amazing thing, the way animals make us better people.

sweet london by the pitcher's mound at the
community center this past weekend.
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Monday, February 18, 2013

a long weekend in review.

It's been a while since I've done a catch-up post, so here goes!

Both Spencer and I had the luxury of a 3-day weekend and so far, it's been glorious.

I worked pretty late on Friday, and didn't make it home until well into the late afternoon. Spencer also worked late, so we just had a low-key dinner at home.

Saturday morning, we woke up early and went to brunch downtown. Once we got back to the house, I headed over to the yarn store and fabric store for a little "me" shopping :) I hadn't done that in a long time, but considering I worked about 12+ hours of overtime this past week I felt as though it was necessary! I got some fabulous goodies, a little piece of chocolate for myself, and some down time. I felt refreshed and rewarded! If you missed my previous post, Saturday night got pretty wild. It did, however, involve a nice little date night at one of our favorite restaurants. We ate outside on the heated patio and the weather was just perfect--the perfect wind down and ease into the rest of the weekend!

On Sunday, I went to my usual Sunday morning gathering of knitters while Spencer went to have his car worked on. Womp womp. That lasted a few hours, so once I got home it was decided that I would hang a couple of framed pictures we've had sitting in the office collecting dust. After going around and around, dragging the pictures from room to room, holding them up, down, sideways, and every which way... Spencer gave me free reign to hang them wherever I wanted. So... they sat alongside the dresser in the office for another couple of weeks.

I'm pretty terrible at making decisions.

For whatever reason, and I can only reason it's the Type A personality coming out again... I decided that they must be hung yesterday, and fast! After reenacting the same scenes we had in the previous weeks (walking room to room, adjusting the imaginary heights, talking to myself), I finally decided the perfect spot was in the Living Room on the wall adjacent to the sliding glass patio doors.

I loathe hanging art side-by-side because the margin for error is at least one million. If the hangers are not exactly equal on either frame, the frames won't be level when hung and nothing (nothing!) drives me crazier than to see one print slightly up from the other. Talk about making my skin itch. Therefore, I always try to avoid this method whenever possible, but this is truly where the pictures would look the best so alas I had to suck it up and spend the next hour trying to get the two aligned.

they don't look like it in this picture, but they really are perfectly aligned.
take my word for it. 
london helped.
then got bored and pulled out her toys.
then got sleepy and took a nap.
she's not quite as tidy as her momma... we will have to work on that.

When Spencer got home, he commented how good they looked. I beamed.

Then, I immediately went code red on his ass because his first inclination, like every time, is to try and "adjust" them. All it took was me screaming like a banshee from across the room "DON'T YOU TOUCH THOSE!!!" and like some sort of crazed maniac in a polo shirt and pajama pants (I like to keep it real when I'm at home), I lept across nails and hammers and levels (oh, my!) to the other side of the room where his eager little fingers were about to move my perfectly poignant prints. He jumped back, no doubt terrified by my display, and concluded they looked good right where they were.

Smart boy.

That evening, we make the pilgrimage downtown for a wine tasting dinner party with a few couple friends of ours. We had a great time! We don't often get together with this crew, since we are literally spread from one end of San Diego county to the other, but we enjoyed the evening sipping wine and enjoying a fabulously prepared meal of steak, potatoes au gratin, broccoli rabe. Of course, the hosting couple had outdone themselves and prepared a wonderful cheese presentation complete with mediterranean olives, sweet red peppers, and fig jam to enjoy over toasted French baguettes before dinner was ever served. They expertly paired selected wines with each course, including a dry white with our appetizers, a Cabernet and a blend with the main course, and a bit of port wine with dessert, which was an affogato. (Never heard of affogato? Me neither. It's an Italian-style dessert consisting of a scoop of gelato with a shot of espresso poured over the top. Delicious).

my par-tay apparel.

the hosting couple's little weiner dog was both
fascinated and mildly afraid of all my sequins.

so was spencer.

ps-what are all of those white dots around my face?
ghosts? i don't know. 
Today has just been an easy-going craft day for me. I dusted off my sewing machine and completed a couple of top-secret baby projects for a couple of my expecting reader friends. Will most certainly show you all the finished product, post-gifting. Now I think I'll pour another cup of coffee, settle in, and watch a little Netflix-ed Downton Abbey.
Seriously, who else watches this? SOOOO GOOD. 

Hope you all had a great weekend... long or short! 

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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Post-Date Night Activities.

Gettin' pretty wild over here, folks. 

And later, we're going out for fro-yo. Oh my. 
How will I stand all of the excitement?! ;)

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Friday, February 15, 2013

you learn something new.

It's so true you know?

The phrase "you learn something new everyday" is literally the most true statement for any person, no matter who you are.

Sometimes, I learn really important things--things I need to know for my job, things I learn about myself and Spencer (there is plenty left to learn on both fronts... and I love that), or things about life in general.

Sometimes, I learn really seemingly insignificant things...  like the reason there is an indentation on the sides of aluminum foil boxes or that the lyrics to the song "On My Way" are in fact not
"bomba-way...bomba-way, I would like to reach out my hand... oh meteo! oh meteo, I'll tell you to run! bombidisay-bombidee-oh" and that song has a legitimate title... not "The Matilda Song".

Seriously, who saw that last one coming? Mind. Blown. 

Today, I learned a small thing... on the side of insignificant, or obvious even...but it was a total revelation to me. Clearly! Or I wouldn't feel the need to give it it's own blog post. 

I respond to each and every person who leaves a comment on my blog posts, because well... if you're kind enough to comment on my ramblings, countless animal and plant photos, and my attemps at DIY, then that is just reason alone! Plus, I like you :) 

It dawned on my that you guys may never, ever get to see my replies to you... sad. But that could all change! As I was commenting on a fellow blogger's post, I noticed this "Subscribe by email" link in the lower right-hand corner of the reply box [see below].

Gasp! I tried it, and it does indeed work!

All you have to do is click on it, enter your e-mail (if you're not already signed in) and it will automatically e-mail you to let you know that I've replied once I do. Genius! And bonus... once you do it one time, it will automatically send you a reply e-mail for every comment of yours I respond back to from here on out. Note: It doesn't notify you every time I reply to anyone, just your comment specifically.

How cool is that!?

OK, so before you call Captain Obvious on me, I'll leave you with that.

Enjoy your weekend, friends!

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{F R I D A Y faves} Blog Love :: My Favorites From This Week

Happy post-Valentine's Day!

Continuing with the {F R I D A Y} faves, I'm featuring five things from the blogosphere this week that I love! My original intent was just to show you five new things from this week that have popped up, but it appears that all of my late hours at work this week have equated to not a lot of real life. Sad. It has meant a lot of late night blog stalking on the iPad though, and my goodness... was there a lot to see this week! I am now realizing maybe I need a theme of some sort each week, to wrangle in all of my thoughts and favorites. I really am like a raccoon with a piece of tin foil... I see something shiny and am easily distracted.
(Did you like that phrase, by the way? Straight out of Brenham, Texas... thank you very much).

This is just a few of my blog favorites from this festive past week.
PS - Is it just me, or do Fridays make anyone else long for pizza, TGIF, and Boy Meets World?

When I saw these darling cookies from i am baker flick across my RSS feed earlier this week, my eyes lit up with wonder. I had a failed attempt at spritz cookies earlier in the week (I don't want to talk about it) and she has totally put my sad little excuse for heart-shaped cookies to shame. She is oh so talented and I long for her steady piping hand! Simply gorgeous!

I adore Dana of Dana Made It, ya'll.
OK... so I don't really know her per-se, but she's a relocated Cali girl living in Austin, Texas. And, since I'm a relocated Austin girl living in Cali... well, I mean. She's a fabulous seamstress who is obsessed with Ritz cracker frosting sandwiches. Although I've never tried them, what the hell could be wrong with that picture? She whipped up this red hot buttercream frosting earlier this week that I am dying to try. I'm a frosting-on-pretzels girl myself (don't knock it 'til you try it) so this whole Ritz cracker thing could work. And that frosting... whoosh. Spoon, please.

How darling is this last-minute Valentine from One Sheepish Girl? It's a little homemade tea envelope. Hers is another blog that I adore (OK, I'm noticing a trend here... so I read a lot of blogs!...and a lot of blogs involving food!)... her knitting and crochet inspiration is so inspiring and I have to give it to any girl who can ace raspberry macaroons on her first try. I plan to adapt her idea for future holidays... adorable.

These precious chevron clutches from P.S. i Adore You nearly made me erupt from heart palpitations at their cuteness! Look at all those delicious colors! I'll take one of each, please.

Last, but certainly not least, the latest pattern 'Gradient' from blogger / graphic designer / knitting pattern maker extraordinaire [Knitterella] (whose blog was the first knitting blog I started following) has got me seriously lusting. This beautiful colorwork cowl has an almost tapestry-like feel in the way the colors change. Stunning. I have never done any serious colorwork before (I'm pretty chicken about such things)... but this pattern could change everything!

1 2 3 4 5

What are you guys planning this weekend? Is it a three-day weekend for you, or are you back to the grind on Monday?

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

[DIY] Tutorial: Repurposed Valentine Box

It's Valentine's Day... and I can't leave well-enough alone. 

Every year, the fine people at Russell Stover, Whitman's, See's et al., package their chocolates in decorated heart-shaped boxes. The average American will most likely purchase said box of chocolate, tear open the packaging in the parking lot of the grocery store and dig in and gift to his or her recipient. That is the intent... right?

Well sometimes, the real box of chocolates just doesn't make it to Valentine's Day [for a number of reasons... okay, just one reason]... and then what? The answer: improvise. 

We received these boxes of chocolate at work a couple of weeks ago, and as I glanced down at a couple of the empty boxes in the recycling bin... I got an idea. 

I had already purchased some assorted chocolates to gift to family and friends and knew these would be the perfect container for gifting! I hurried home to get crafty. Since I thought this idea could be flexible from Valentine's Day to home organizing, I decided to put together a quick little tutorial on how it's done. I hope you won't think it's too lame! 

First, I gathered all of the supplies: empty heart boxes, decorative contact paper, whatever candies you want to use as filling, and some fun felt heart ornaments.

I then cut small piece of the contact paper, and laid one-half of the heart box face down on the sticky side.

Next, I cut around the edge leaving about 1/4" allowance. 

Once the heart shape was cut out, I gently pressed the edges down all the way around (sort of like pressing down the edges of a pie crust). Because the opposite side of the contact paper is tacky, it will stick to the underside of the box. 

Once you've completed that all the way around, flip your heart over and smooth out any bubbles. 
Tah-dah! You're half-way there! 
Repeat the whole process on the opposite side of the heart. 
You can also use a small piece of scotch tape to enforce the sticking power, especially around the rounded corners!

Of course, the thing is cute as a button on its own, but pattern-on-pattern is oh-so fun and adds a cute touch to the overall finished product! I just slapped a piece of decorated shipping tape [$3 at Target] across the front to polish it off. 

So cute! This idea is easily translatable to any ho-hum household item you want to spruce up. I used this same idea to touch up some cardboard boxes we use as storage in the laundry room. Of course, no one sees it but us, but when I open the bi-fold doors to start the laundry piled far too high for just two people, it makes me smile :)


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Sunday, February 10, 2013

succulent farmer

All of the rain we've been having the last few weeks has really done a number on the patio. Had a moment this afternoon to snap a few of my lovelies and thought I'd share!

this guy continues to amaze me!
this ginormous flower was propagated from one tiny leaf and now it's growing multiple flowers from itself.
nature rocks. 
the tall, green guy behind the large purple flower is another one propagated from a cutting.  
can't take credit for these... home depot can, though.
they're still pretty! 
some new little bloomers joining the show.
love grouping different textures of green.
last but not least... my newest addition: a yellow rose bush!
my mom, because she rocks, sent me this amazing yellow rose bush from a local
business in my hometown. she's the only mom I know who sent me the whole damned
rose bush for valentine's day instead of a dozen. I adore it and can't wait for it to start blooming!
I can already see a few new leaves starting to form... :) 

I dream of the day that I have a backyard that will look exactly like my patio perfection board on Pinterest. Until then, I'll just be the crazy succulent farmer with way too many pots on her patio. ;)

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Saturday, February 9, 2013

sweets for my sweet + creative pay-it-forward

VALENTINE'S DAY is coming up! 

Regardless of the fact that neither one of us [myself nor boyfriend] ever really do anything exciting, outside of maybe going to dinner somewhere out of the usual realm of possibilities, I still like to make sure there's a little treat for him to know he's special to me and loved. As if he didn't already know ;) 

This year, I kept it simple and DIY'd it! Of course. 

You might remember the familiar mug [below] from this post. Well... being the over-planner that I am, I purchased enough mugs for well over the number of individuals invited to the holiday party (I don't know what I was thinking... was I assuming everyone would bring a friend? Their mother-in-law? Who knows...) Anyway, I had overage of IKEA coffee cups and all of the supplies needed to make more monogrammed mugs so I figured, why not? 

Spencer is NOT the caffeine inhaler drinker that I am, so it's rare that he'll share a cup of coffee with me (and even when he does, it's always decaf... wuss), but still...given that all of the mugs in the cupboard are some sort of girly pattern, purchased from travels, or stamped with the letter A (not in the Scarlet Letter regard)--I figured the least I could do was give him his own cup for those few and far between times we get to have coffee together :) He's also getting a surprise box of Girl Scout Thin Mints (his favorite!) and a cute little box of conversation hearts. I plan to put his little gift on a silver serving tray and leave it on the counter for him to find in the morning, during the 5 AM dog walk... ouch. Incredibly inexpensive, but a sweet, fun little way to show him that I'm thinking about him. 

Also, you might remember my post about the Creative Pay-it-Forward exercise floating around Facebook. Since the first day I got my five people, I started planning, writing down ideas, gathering inspiration for what types of little treats I wanted to send to these folks. The idea is not to spend the most amount of money or to purchase the most elaborate of gifts, but just to send a little something to someone when they least expect it. I adore it. 

My first of the five is a girl I have known for many years. She's a few years older than me, from my hometown, and a total sweetheart. It was her post that I commented on to create my own status. From what I can tell we have very similar interests, and therefore I think she can appreciate this little Valentine-themed care package! 

Monogrammed DIY Coffee Cup with a note to remember to treat / spoil yourself not just today, but everyday!
Dove Chocolates in a mix of dark and milk chocolate. I used a small, clear bag and sealed it with a piece of hot pink polka-dotted shipping tape... so fun! I love packaging supplies :) 

Conversation Hearts... a Valentine's staple.
A darling dye-cut felt heart ornament. I stocked up on these years ago at a clearance sale at Target (where else!?) and have found literally hundreds of uses for them! 

After compiling all the pieces, I was able to fit them all in the mug and finish with a red knot bow. I carefully overwrapped the whole shebang in tissue paper and boxed it up!

Now it's ready to hit the mail on Monday! Sure hope she gets it in time (and don't worry! I am certain she doesn't even know I have a blog... the secret is safe!).

I so love these little surprises and think the idea is just lovely. Stay tuned--I hope to remember to take pictures of the remaining four gifts. I am already starting to work on the second package... and if you're one of my five, you must just succumb to the fact that at least part of your gift is going to be DIY.

D-I-Deal with it ;) Just kidding... but really. 

What are you guys doing for Valentine's Day? Do you have any crafty / creative gift ideas to share? 

Happy Weekend!
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