Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day (And A DIY Update)

We have outgrown our garden.  In order for us to plant anything else, husband and I need to break up about 312 square feet of aggregate (concrete).  This happens to be a long weekend, so we decided to rent a jackhammer and expand the garden ourselves.  Sounds simple enough.


Husband and husband's really nice friend spent four hours with said jackhammer.  That is four hours and multiple trips with a wheelbarrow to haul away the debris, and this was all that was accomplished. That is one 12x9 square (out of about 4) that needs to be broken up and cleared away.


To put it in perspective, this is the area we are trying to clear.


And this is the pile of debris that we hauled to another area (and now have to dispose of).


Needless to say, it was not a good day.  We have now decided to hire people to come break up the area and haul it all away.  Not at all the way we wanted it to go, but I guess you win some, you lose some.  We will still have a lot of work to do after the area is cleared (and lucky for you, more blog posts about it).  You know you are excited.

On another note, I want to wish everyone a safe and happy Memorial Day.  It is a day to give thanks to all of the servicemen and women who have given their lives to protect our country.  And for that, I am grateful. 

Here comes the summer!


1) I LOVE Kay Hanley (If you are a fan of 10 Things I Hate About You, you might recognize her). 2) Bill Nye (the Science Guy) stars in the video. 3) It is a perfect blend of catchy alterna-pop. 4) Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer. Let the games begin.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Little Weekend Inspiration...

I kind of love this.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Catching Fire

I loved The Hunger Games.  I couldn't put it down.  Of course, I had to hurry and get the second book in the trilology, Catching Fire.  And you know what?  I loved this one too. 

Basically, it picked up where the first book left off.  I don't want to give too much away (in case you want to read it yourself) but a whole bunch of new characters are introduced, and I found myself getting invested in them.  More of the history of District 12 and the games themselves are explored, and the love triangle continues.  The book is basically divided into three parts, and has an ending that I never saw coming.  It is also the kind of ending that isn't really an ending at all.  Just an invitation to read the third and final book in the series.

Via
That being said, I had to run right out and buy download book number three, Mockingjay.  I can't seem to to put this one down either.  This one seems very different than the first two (so far), and I am looking forward to seeing how they are going to wrap this whole thing up.

I would give Catching Fire 4 out of 5 stars.  It wasn't quite as good as the first book, but I loved the further character development and the many twists and turns this story took.  I have a feeling I am going to be sad when this series is over. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Time for a Little DIY

Husband and I have decided to take a long weekend, because we have big plans.  We seem to have run out of room in our garden.  We get a little carried away planting things sometimes, and space just got away from us.  So, we have decided to break up some of the aggregate we have in our backyard garden and create new garden space.  Yes, that means a jackhammer and rototiller and lots of husband massaging my aching back.  Actually, he will be the one doing the jackhammering, so maybe I am supposed to be giving him the massage?   Hmmmm....I need to think about that one.

Anyway, here is my latest rose bowl masterpiece (directly from my garden).  I am really happy with the way this one turned out.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What I Need...Now (May Edition)

I have a new watch to obsess over.  Actually, I have three.  I am not even sure which one I would pick if I were to buy one of them.  They are each so lovely. *swoon*

MARC BY MARC JACOBS 'Henry - Colored Crystal' Bracelet Watch  $200


This is my definition of a perfect outfit.  I love the trend in denim tops I have been seeing hit the stores lately.  The lace maxi skirt is just dreamy.  I would probably put a tank under the shirt (instead of a bikini top) to make it a little more suitable for everyday wear, but all of the accessories have to stay.  Love !

Sand Trails @ Anthropologie  assorted pieces  $38-$168 

I love the idea of gold-plated peacock feathers, but I am not sure I could justify the price right now.  The jewel accents make these even more perfect.  I have been stalking Alex Monroe jewelry for a while, and I really like everything that I see.


Alex Monroe 22-karat gold-plated peacock-feather hoop earrings  $365

I love all things color-blocked.  I could see these slipping seamlessly into my wardrobe and adding a little something extra to my work clothing.  Plus, great price.


Nine West Stylin  $89


I have wanted a set of stackable rings for a while now, and I love both the hammered look of the metal and the fact that this incorporates both silver and gold.  I might never take these off.


Stella and Dot Stackable Band Rings  $49


And if I got a new set of rings, I would need a cute little ring holder to keep them on.  I have already ordered this. (Guess that means I should buy the rings?)

Urban Outiftters Ceramic Elephant Ring Holder  $12

This bag is so beautiful.  I love the stitching and hardware details.  The color is called whiskey, and I can't think of a more perfect name for it.  It looks so buttery, I just want to touch it for a little while:)

Galleon Satchel, Hayden Harnett  $498

As I said, I love color-blocked things.  This is such a summery dress, and not one for wallflowers.  This is the kind of dress the both makes you feel pretty and gets you noticed.

Parading Hues Dress  $138

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

One Lovely Blog Award

Early last week, Marissa from What Makes Me Happy graciously gave me my very first blogging award.  I swear, I meant to pay if forward when it happened, but I was down with a terrible migraine for a few days, and it just got away from me.  So now here I am, better late than never, right?




How To Play:
So the rules (that are meant to be broken or at least slightly altered) for the award are:
1) Link back to the person who passed you the award
2) Share 7 random things about yourself
3) Award 15 6 Blogs
4) Drop them a note and tell them about it


The Facts:
OK, I am a pretty random person in general, so this is easy peasy lemon squeazy.  Plus I stole these facts from a list I created early on in my blog (before I had actual readers, check it out here).

1) I cannot write with a pen that is missing its cap. The weight feels all wrong. I also do not like writing with black pens.

2) I like eating tuna on a toasted garlic or onion bagel with cream cheese, minced onion, and green olives (no mayo). I swear, it is good. Don't knock it til you've tried it:)

3) My husband and I have matching personalized license plates. They are only amusing to us, and other people just end up looking at me funny if I try to explain what they mean.

4) I cannot parallel park. In fact, I am not the world’s greatest driver. Anyone who has ever spent much time in a car with me driving has volunteered to drive on future occasions.

5) My sister has the most incredible singing voice, which is definitely not a gene that was passed on to me. However, I love to sing in the car with the kind of reckless abandon of an American Idol finalist. This may directly relate to #4

6) I like to win. After I win, I feel bad for the loser and want them to win instead. If I lose, I don't want to play anymore. Luckily, I am good at keeping these feelings to myself.

7) I treat my dogs like miniature people. They were all rescues and I like to think they have forgotten about their past lives, and only remember how good their lives are today.
I am truly touched that someone out there is enjoying my blog. There are so many amazing people out there with interesting photos, ideas, and stories to share. In fact, there are so many blogs that I just love to read, it is hard to choose just a few to share with you.  I am passing this award on to 6 blogs that you might wanna check out. 

Lovely Blogs:
Vivian from
Lost in Translation. Her tales of life as an expat in Japan are endearing.
Michelle from
Ten June. She has the most amazing ideas regarding interior decorating.
Brooke from
Bright Wishes. Her blog is so just so honest.
Melissa from mamaSTYLE.  Food, fashion, and an adorable toddler.
Joanne from Balletpumps and Roses.  Fashion and London (yes please).
Erin from Truffles n Ruffles.  Aside from sharing a first name with me (instant shoo-in), she has great style and does some interesting interviews. 

This is totally unrelated:
And on another note (keeping with the spirit of being random), did you guys catch this article?  She Let Her Boyfriend Dress Her For A Week
Would you ever give your significant other the reigns to dress you?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Meatball, It's Your Birthday. Happy birthday Meatball!

Deep In The Heart of Blueberry Season


I am back with another blueberry recipe ('tis the season).  This is a perfect breakfast treat (say, with a cup of coffee) on one of those mornings when you feel like being just a little bit bad.  The recipe is by Ina Garten, and I have to say, I have never tried one of her recipes that wasn't amazing.  The cake tastes great when it is warm out of the oven, and just as good for leftovers the next morning.   This is a perfect blend of slightly sweet streusel mixed with the tartness of blueberries.  Will easily feed eight people.  And on to the recipe.

Ingredients

For the streusel:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

For the cake:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (3/4 stick)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • Confectioners' sugar for sprinkling

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round baking pan.

For the streusel:

Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl. Stir in the melted butter and then the flour. Mix well and set aside.

For the cake:

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, lemon zest, and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Fold in the blueberries and stir with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out with a knife. With your fingers,
crumble the topping evenly over the batter. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely and serve sprinkled with confectioners' sugar.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

So I Ended Up Inspiring Myself

All of the talk about my love of flip flops yesterday got me browsing. You know, just to see what was new and cool in the flip flop-like shoe world.  Turns out, a girl can never have too many pairs.  I am pretty sure that I could happily rotate each of these through my wardrobe all summer and never get bored.  Yeah, I am getting that itch to add to the collection.

Also, I discovered a new store when I ran to the mall for a little harmless window shopping yesterday.  Have any of you been to Love Culture?  It is kind of like Forever 21, but with an easier to browse selection (probably because the store was brand new, and all alike items were still grouped together).  They had some adorable things (like this pug shirt, which I did leave the store with ).  Cute, cheap, and on-trend.  Yes, please!

And on to the shoes.


1.     Zigi Girl Message Sandal  $99.95
2.    Ivanka Trump 'Verena' Thong Sandal  $139.95
3.    Aldo Lampe  $60
4.    Steve Madden Saffarii  $59.95
5.    Roxy Bora Bora Flip Flop  $29
6.    Banana Republic Marcia knot flat sandal  $79
7.    Bougainvillea Tassel Sandals  $168
8.    REPORT 'Cobb' Flower Sandal  $59.95
9.    Love Culture Floral Thong Sandals  $16.90
10.  Kate Spade Hedy  $198
11.  Brian Atwood Chiffon-Topped Flat Suede Thong Sandal  $660
12.  Aldo Clerida  $40

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I've Flipped (Flopped) Over You

I have a confession to make.  I love flip flops. I guess you could say I have a little collection.  I wear them when I am hanging around the house.  I wear them when I am running errands on weekends.  I switch into them as soon as I get home from work during the warmer months.  I blame it on growing up in the heat of South Florida.  In fact, one of my pet peeves is having sweaty sock-clad feet.  Plus, I love a good pedicure.  All good flip flop hoarding excuses, no?

So I decided to share my collection with you.  See the expression of disgust on Meatball's face?  This is the look I got when I started pulling my flip flops out of the closet to take a few pictures.


And when I  was done, I had a little something that looked  like this.  Yeah, I store my non-dressy flip flops in a plastic storage bin. That's right, I said my non-dressy flip flops.  Hmmm...maybe I have a problem here.


Dressy flip flops: Anything embellished, shiny, or leather.  My "pretty" flip flops. 


Of course, the pups wanted to check everything out.  Petunia and Harriet were obviously plotting new ways to turn my shoes into their newest chew toys.  Meatball is also looking at them with disgust.  He is way to sophisticated for this. 


Now for the newest memeber of my collection.  This weekend, I discovered these.  They have a sort of memory foam-like gel inside of them.  You can see the way the footbed looks puffy and quilted.  And they are so comfortable.  Especially for feet that have been in heels all day.


Don't get me wrong. I love all of my wedges, sandals, pumps, heels, boots, slides, and flats too. But there is something about the allure of flip flops that calls out to my wallet.  And my aching,  (sometimes) sweaty, running around work all day, feet.

What about you?  Are you a fan of flip flops?  How do you store yours?  What is your go to shoe for the summertime?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Weekend Finds

I know I have mentioned my love of watches several times.  I have been stalking a few with a tortoise band (I had posted this one earlier) for a few months now, and finally settled on this little baby here.  The best part is that I picked it up for 25 percent off during the Macy's Friends & Family event.  Score!


Michael Kors Watch, Women's Chronograph Acrylic Tortoiseshell Bracelet   $195


A few weeks ago, I discovered the most perfect collar for my tough little terrier, Harriet.  While I was shopping, I found a new harness for her too.  I can't wait to get them adjusted to her size, so she can be seen around town in her new getups.  These totally suit her personality. 

Mommy Dearest at Trixie +Peanut  $22

Our master bedroom is an empty slate.  Eventually, I want to get new bedroom furniture and redecorate the whole thing.  I am slowly collecting items I want to use to create a little oasis for husband and me.  I found one of these on Etsy (and I am pretty sure Michelle from the blog Ten June posted the other at one time), and knew these were perfect for the vibe I was trying to achieve.  Now to get them framed.

On Etsy here and here

Finally, I picked these up through Amazon.  The first is a cookbook with lots of easy recipes (healthy and low in fat and sugar) that incorporate real oatmeal into your diet.  I have a friend who has been talking about how amazing this book is for weeks now, so I was dying to try it myself.  The best part is that you can throw the ingredients in a crock pot and have delicious fruity, nutty oatmeal ready for you to grab in the morning.  Because who has time to whip it up before work? 

The second book is about Lauren Conrad giving tips on style.  I love her (and the book was super cheap on Amazon).  I am hoping this will be a fun read, and maybe I will learn something new. 

On Amazon here and here

Monday, May 16, 2011

Lemon Blueberry (Quinoa ) Muffins

As I have mentioned before, I love quinoa.  I discovered another yummy (and healthier) recipe from my Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood cookbook.  I love blueberry muffins, and these are perfect to tote around for a snack (or breakfast) on a busy day.  Plus, they are delicious.  I know what you are thinking, but just try them once.  You won't regret it.  OK, if you do regret it, you know where to find me:)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup white or golden quinoa
1 cup water
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp grated lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
3/4 cup white (or cane) sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sour cream
1 large egg
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup frozen blueberries (do not thaw)




Directions:
1. Add the water and quinoa to a small pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the covered saucepan rest on the burner for an additional 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.
2. Preheat oven to 400F and line or grease a muffin pan.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in lemon zest and 1 1/4 cups of the cooked quinoa.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and oil. Next, add in the sour cream, egg, lemon juice and vanilla, stirring until fully blended.
5. Stir the frozen blueberries into the flour mixture, and then fold the flour mixture into the sugar mixture. Fill up muffin cups and bake for 25-30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
6. Bring to work.  Make all of your co-workers try one.  Hmmm...maybe that was just my approach. 

If you do try these, I would love to hear how it goes.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Skirting the Issue

Reposted from Thursdays' Blogger debacle....

Summer is coming (or so I hear). You wouldn't know it here in the Bay Area, due to the cool, windy weather (that doesn't seem to want to leave), but I know it will be here soon. And as I look for some wardrobe updates for the upcoming warmer months, I have been noticing the great variety of maxi skirts that are hitting the stores. I love the feminine, ethereal vibe they give. They can be dressed up for the office (at least one with a more business casual dress code) or dressed down for the beach. And they come is such a marvelous array of price points. Here are a few that have caught my attention.



4.   Tie-Dye Maxi Skirt  $22.80
5.   Rosaline Lace Maxi  $168
6.   H&M Maxi Skirt  $29.95
7.   Joe Benbasset Maxi Striped Heathered Skirt  $14.40 (on sale)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Harriet, Sweet Harriet

Gosh, I love that happy little face.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I Love Handmade Things

I have two exciting, handmade things to share.

First up, I won Katie's giveaway from the blog J&K.  She is extremely talented, and made a cute little clutch that I am swooning over.  She put my adorable gifts in a vintage tin, which is beautiful in itself.  Inside, she included a note, some homemade peanut butter granola (recipe here), and notecards with a matching trinket dish.  Oh Katie, you have no idea how much I love trinket dishes. 

As you can see below, the clutch is adorable, and is going to be heavily used (because something this beautiful cannot simply sit around and be stared at).  Thank you Katie!


My second thing is my beautiful glass pumpkin, made by the talented glass blowers of Avolie Glass on Etsy.  I have been stalking this seller for a while, and when they had a 25% off all items for Mother's Day sale, I couldn't have been more thrilled. 

The way the colors are blended on this pumpkin is just beautiful.  It will have a permanent home on my mantle.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Fruity Daiquiris

Husband and I honeymooned in Kona.  It was magical.  It was beautiful.  It was hard to come back home.  Alas, we had bills to pay and dogs that missed us, so home we went.  But not quite accepting the fact that our vacation in paradise was over, we started experimenting with daiquiri recipes.  It took us several iterations of varying degrees of success, but eventually we came up with a real winner.  Now, I am going to share it with you.  You can thank me later.


Ingredients:
Fruit of your choice (For the drink below we used half a mango and a quarter of a honeydew.  Bananas, strawberries, peaches, watermelon, or anything else in season will work perfectly.  We have tried them all.)
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp Cointreau
1 shot rum
1/2 shot of lime (bottled will work)
Splash of coconut rum
1 cup of ice

Directions:
Put in blender.  Blend til slushy (about 30 seconds with a good blender).  Drink up.

These are our honeydew mango concoctions.  Ta da!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

This goes without saying, but I love my mom.  She is simply amazing.  Always there with encouraging words, raising me to be the best person I can be.  She has taught me so much about life and chasing all of my dreams.  I don't think I could ever express my gratitude for everything she has done for me. 

Below are two of my favorite pictures of the two of us.  The top is from my wedding.  The bottom is from my bridal shower, where we played toilet paper brides.  My mom battled a terrible case of  food poisoning and made it to my bridal shower anyway.  Cause that is just what moms do:)



Happy Mother's Day to all my readers.  It is a day to say thanks for all that our moms do for us. 

I love you mom!

Friday, May 6, 2011

I'm Watching You (Like A Hawk)

I am growing more and more fascinated with the two Cooper's Hawks that are living in the oak tree in my backyard.  They sit on the top of a telephone pole and stalk all the squirrels and birds in the neighborhood.  The have a ferocious squawk (it sounds exactly like this, near nest).  I am guessing that they must have a nest in the tree. 

They are also excellent models.


And the mama bird who had her babies directly above our motion light, and very close to this telephone pole, is not liking this one bit.  She shrieks and flutters about when the hawks are present.  If you look closely at the middle picture, you can see her tiny little peeper peaking his head of of the nest. 


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Awkward and Awesome Thursday

As always, inspired by Sydney over at The Daybook

Awkward:
  • Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Strips.  Yeah, I jumped on this bandwagon.  They went on really well on my easy hand.  My other hand was a different story.  It was a complete disaster, and by the next morning, even my good hand had polish chipping off of it.  And then removing them was next to impossible.  The package suggests nail polish remover, but that so did not work.  I ended up using a combination of peeling them off with my fingers and biting them off with my teeth.  Yeah, it was not a good night.  I do have another package, so I may get brave and try it again at a future date.  But it will have to be way out in the future.  If you have used these successfully, any advice would be appreciated.
  • Carrot- FAIL.  As you can see from this picture, really, really fail!  Perhaps my soil was too compacted.  They are all twisted and small. 
  • Chocolate Dog Pile Goats Milk Soap.  I don't think this need further explanation.
  • The growing lump that Meatball has on his head.  He has a vet appointment this Friday, and I am hoping that she will telll me it is a large pimple and pop it.  And also a little nervous that she won't.
Awesome:
  • My first rose bowl of the year, made with roses from my garden.  I wish you could smell through the computer.

  • My favorite irises are blooming.  Ok, enough with the flowers.

  • Lily Aldrin's wardrobe on How I Met Your Mother.  It is amazing.  I might need to do a post about this one day.
  • The Hangover Part 2.  I know it is still a few weeks away, but I simply cannot wait!
  • Dog Days are Over by Florence and the Machine.  I know this has been out for a while, but I really love this song.  And the album is growing on me too.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Two of my (Current) Favorite Sites for Deals

I am currently obsessed with two websites.  Since I have been having such a fun time browsing and sometimes shopping on these sites, I wanted to share them.

Sharkstores: I love this website for cool men's watches and women's jewelry.  They offer items at a discount through all of their "Shark" stores, and always have deals with coupons for extra money off and sometimes free shipping.  They send out their deals twice a day.  These are a few things I have picked up from this site.





Wuslu: Another daily deal website, but this one specializes in homegoods.  This site has some unusual things, from candle holders to side tables, and everything in-between (at greatly reduced prices).  They send out one email a day (at 10am EST) and once a deal sells out, it is gone.  I am always looking to add to the decor of my house (which is still a long way from being finished) and I believe this website will play a part in it.

What are your (current) favorite websites for scoring deals these days?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake

One of the best things about late April is the beginning of strawberry season.  The berries are ripe and juicy and cheap!  The perfect time of the year to start indulging in strawberry desserts.  I was charged with bringing a little something special for the family Easter dinner this year, and strawberries and cream were on my mind.

Paula Dean never lets me down with her recipes.  This one is super easy to make and got excellent reviews.  It calls for store bought angel food cake, but I made one from scratch (from a box mix) because it was just as easy, and a bit fresher.


This should be assembled a few hours before you want to serve it.  The flavors need a chance to meld together.  It is a sweet and light dessert, perfect for the hot months ahead.  Enjoy!

I'm Erin

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Hi, I'm Erin. I am living back on the east coast after 15 years out west. Currently readjusting to humidity and mosquitos. I love to take pictures and read fashion magazines.... and to talk about nothing in particular (ok, and my dogs).

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