Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What I Need...Now (June Edition)

Here are a few things that are on my list right now.  I have been so involved with house related projects lately, that I haven't been shopping or obsessing much about clothing.  Yeah, I am going to need to rectify that situation soon.  Although I did recently purchase an adult version of saltwater sandals (remember those from your childhood)?  Yeah, I am bringing them back:)

I love the idea of a "dressier" short.  I also love the melon color.  I have to say the the Gap has really stepped up to the plate in the last year or two and started making me shop there again (after a few years of not really caring for much of anything in the store).  They are once again my go to store for basics. 


OK, you know how I feel about pugs (I love them). This would make a nice accent piece on my soon to be purchased bookcase.  They even got the corkscrew tail right on the money.

Canine Companion Bookends in Pug  $55.99

The embroidery here is just stunning.  The back has a pretty racerback detail to it, and I just love the cut.  This top is perfect for the summer.  Perfect!


Anyone's legs would look ten miles long if you threw on these babies and a pair of shorts.  I want to be that girl.   


So true.  It is a great reminder about the way you choose to live your life. 


I am in love with this bright yellow shade (and ok, most things Tory Burch).  I need for this to go on sale.  Or to win the lottery.  Either one will do.


 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It's the First Harvest of the Season

This past weekend was finally time to harvest the first of the veggies that we planted in the fall and spring.  I just love this time of year.  Soon, we will be making fresh salsa and tomato sauce with vegetables we grew.  I may even share a recipe or two. 

Husband and I are taking some extra time off this long weekend and will hopefully bring our backyard DIY project closer to completion.  It is going to involve a lot of shoveling dirt and a rototiller.  Not exactly my idea of a good time, but I can't wait to see (and show you) what the end result will be.  Rewarding, if we keep getting hauls like this.

1) Red Onions  2) Garlic  3) Yukon Gold Potatoes  4) Inferno Peppers  5) Leeks  6) White Onions

Also, don't forget that my first giveaway is going on through Thursday. All you have to do is follow me on GFC or Bloglovin and leave me a comment on the giveaway post, letting me know. I am really loving all of your comments and checking out your blogs.  There is some great stuff out there that I have been missing!

Monday, June 27, 2011

My Favorite Breakfast



If you woke up this morning counting calories, then turn away.  This post is not for you.  On the other hand, if you  are in the mood for a total cheat day, full of deliciousness (and no guilt, because it is totally worth it) then read on.  I have mentioned in previous posts, that I love the Original Pancake House's Apple Pancake.  I am pretty sure that this would be considered my favorite breakfast.  I finally took a stab at making it myself. 

We did a little bit of research, and  found this recipe.  I stirred up some homemade whipped cream (and infused it with cinnamon, vanilla, and sugar) to serve on top, with a little salty bacon on the side (just to break up the sweetness).  This end result  is luscious, rich, and oh so satisfying.  Not exactly like the original, but oh so close.  Next time, I will slice the apples thicker.  If you enjoy sweet breakfasts, then trying this should be high on your list of things to do this summer.  No pressure:)  Just remember, I posted a healthy breakfast last week:)


Also, don't forget that my first giveaway is going on through Thursday. All you have to do is follow me on GFC or Bloglovin and leave me a comment on the giveaway post, letting me know.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

True Blood is Back Tonight!

I am so excited I can hardly stand it.  Where did Tara go?  Will Sookie come back from Fairyland?  Did Sam really turn into a bad guy?  How will Bill's fight with the Queen end? Will we get more Alcide this season?  Why do they make me wait 9 months to find this stuff out?

Are you guys watching? Who is your favorite character? Have you read the books?

Via

Also, don't forget that my first giveaway is going on through Thursday.  All you have to do is follow me on GFC or Bloglovin and leave me a comment on the giveaway post, letting me know

Thursday, June 23, 2011

So, I Have This Idea (for A Giveaway)

Petunia and I have been noticing a lot of new blog traffic lately. We find this very exciting. I am happy that people are really reading my blog.  So, I was thinking of a way to get you to come out and introduce yourselves.  I know you are out there.  Heeeeeeeello!  Echooooo!

Then Petunia had an idea. How about putting together a little blog giveaway? And I thought this was just brilliant. What is the prize, you ask? It is a package of some of my favorite summer essentials. The things I think you would be missing out on if I didn't send them to you. Pictures to come soon (but I promise, it will be good). 

I have met a lot of great people since I started writing this blog six months ago.  I have learned a lot of things.  I've seen a lot of stuff.   So if you are a regular reader, tell me what you like about this blog, and what you'd like to see more of (but please, be nice).  And if you are a new reader, pop in and say hi.  I would just love to meet you.



Here are the rules:
1) You must be a follower on Google Friend Connect  (to the right)
                                   or
2) You must be a follower on Bloglovin  (to the right)

Then leave me a comment below letting me know.  I will even give you two entries if you follow me on both and comment once for each.

The rest of the information:
I will keep this giveaway open for one week.  Drawing will close at 8PM PST on Thursday June 30th.  Please leave me a way to contact you, in case you are the winner.  Winner will be selected by random.org

Good luck to everyone!

Giveaway Update:
It is important that you follow me either via Google Friends Connect or Bloglovin to enter this giveaway (not to mention, to make it fair to the people who were nice enough to follow).  If your entry is drawn, and you are not following, I will have to randomly select the next person (and I don't wanna hafta do that).  So please everyone (pretty please), play fair. I really appreciate your support.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Stars and Stripes Forever

The Fourth of July is just a few weeks away.  My dilemma, what to wear to celebrate America's independence?  I like to get into the spirit of the holiday, but still look cute.  Luckily for me (and for you as well), there are lots of fabulous options to help you dress up for the 4th.  Perfect for the heat of summer.  What are your favorites?  What are you planning on wearing for the upcoming holiday?

 
1.  Topshop MOTO Flag Printed Hotpants  $70
2.  Target Xhilaration® Juniors Reversible 2-Piece Bikini Swimsuit   $14.99 a piece
3.  Milly LARGE NYLON COLORBLOCK TOTE  $325
4.  Women's Tiered Jersey Maxi Dresses  $34.94
5.  Breda Women's 2304-Tie dye Red/white/blue "Lark" Sporty Silicone Expansion-Band Watch  $21
6.  Schooner Striped Jersey Tank Dress  $148
7.  Tory Burch Araminta High Wedge  $375
8.  Cropped American Flag Tee  $15.80
9.  Rachel Roy Explorer Short  $79

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Here Comes The Summer

Summer is my favorite season.  I love warm weather.  I love cooking on the grill.  I love an excuse to wear flip flops.  So I decided to compile a list of my favorite things about the upcoming season that just so happens to start today.

1) It is time to bust out the grill and get cooking.  Everything tastes better when it is made outdoors, not to mention, not pots for me to clean.  Score! 

Barbecue season for the past few years has been kicked of by a local rib cook off.  


Husband and I spend our time chowing down and doing a little shopping. This is what the event looked like this year.  Did I mention it was 100 degrees out?


We stuffed ourselves with ribs and snow cones and I bought an amazing jade bracelet that I just fell in love with.  It is supposed to bring me good luck and good health, which I consider a bonus.  If I say that out loud, will it still come true?



Other things I love about the summer (in no particular order):

2) The longest day of year (which happens to be the first day of summer).  I dislike like the winter months, when I am leaving for work when it is barely light out and returning home when it is dark.  I love the long days of sunlight, when it doesn't get dark until almost 9pm.  June 21st is pretty much my favorite day of the year (excluding any holiday, because hey, it's a holiday). 

3) Getting to wear flip flops, everywhere.  OK, maybe not to work.  We have already established that I have a little bit a of an addiction, so might as well wear as many pairs as I can as often as I can....right?  Am I alone here?

4) All of the BEST fruit is ripe for the picking all summer long.  Mangoes (my favorite), watermelon, plums, peaches, cherries, berries, honeydew, etc.  And I can pick a lot of it fresh from my garden, which somehow makes it taste better.

5) Spending time outdoors instead of on my couch. 

6) Husband and I taking the pups on long walks and letting them jump into a creek to cool off.  And then bringing home 3 wet dogs covered in dirt.

7) Our wedding anniversary is in August.  It was a perfect month to get married.  This also usually means time for a vacation.  Yay!

8) There is nothing on tv .  Sometimes I feel like a slave to my television (even with a DVR).  With lots of reruns on, I don't feel like I am missing anything, and I am free to pursue other activities. 

9) The Nordstrom Anniversary sale happens in July.  This is by far, my favorite Nordstrom's sale (and in my opinion, the best sale they have).  Every July, I anxiously check my mailbox, waiting for the catalog come. And once it does, I carefully peruse each page, circling my "must haves."

10) True Blood comes back.  So maybe I am still a slave to my tv on Sunday nights. 

OK, that as my list of the top ten things I look forward to in the summer time.  What are you looking forward to this summer?  Small blog giveaways, you say?  Well stay tuned later this week.  I have an idea!

Monday, June 20, 2011

The 1st Baked Blueberry Oatmeal

A friend of mine recently starting raving about the amazing and healthy breakfast recipes in this new cookbook she bought, 75 Ways to Love Your Oatmeal.  I was immediately interested.  I have a hard time walking the breakfast line.  Every once in a while, I love to splurge on a super-sweet calorie filled breakfast (I call them dessert breakfasts.  My favorite being the apple pancake at the Original Waffle House.  Yum!).  My other breakfast extreme involves a non-fat plain yogurt with some fresh fruit and a V8.  Not so delicious, but low in fat, healthy, and a weekday staple.  So the idea of a healthy breakfast that tastes good and would fill me up sounded outstanding.

I eagerly purchased this book from Amazon, and started reading through the recipes. 
Ingredients that were easily accessible- check
Fresh fruit and some form of sweetener- check
Nutrition information provided for each dish- check
Easy to follow recipes- check
And drum roll please, recipes I can cook overnight in the crockpot, so I have a hot breakfast waiting for me in the morning- CHECK!
Yeah, I was sold.  Plus the author, Jenny Grothe, tells her story about how she went from being overweight, to fit, which led to her creating these breakfast recipes.  Of course, I had to try one immediately.  Blueberry it is.  It also happens to be the first recipe that she created.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup of water
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp baking powder
sugar substitute, to taste
10-12 fresh blueberries (I recommend more)
cinnamon, to taste
pinch raw sugar



Directions:
Mix all but the last ingredient in an oven-proof bowl (I use a ramekin) and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. 


Oatmeal both before mixing (right) and after mixing (left)

Remove oatmeal from over and sprinkle ith raw sugar.  Turn oven to broil and broil for 2-3 minutes until sugar starts to caramelize. 



Serving: 1
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

The finished product as amazing. It really makes me love oatmeal.  I can't wait to try more recipes from this book (and the blog about them).


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Oh Baby! (No, Not Mine)


Girl baby shower

Dear readers, I need your assistance.  My sister-in-law is having a baby.  I have been asked to help plan the shower.  I want it to be fun.  I want people to have a great time. I might even want my sister-in-law to shed a tear at how great her shower was.   But mostly, I want some ideas.  That is where you come in. 

 I know from reading your blogs, the kind of talented, creative people my readers are.  So tell me, what makes a good baby shower?  What are some fun games you have played?  What kind of food should I have?  What are good party favors?  Help (insert picture of white flag waving here)!   I have  complete confidence in the fact that I have no idea what I am doing here:)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Kinda Creepy?

Husband took this picture of our neighbor's backyard.  He was intrigued by the creepy face that is on one of the leaves. Can you see it?  I promise, this isn't Photoshopped.  Just a really weird...coincidence?  Yeah that's it.  A really weird coincidence.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lazy Weekend

Husband and I have been so productive recently, that this past weekend., we decided not to be  We did a lot of cooking and caught up on our sleep.  Maybe it was because it was the first weekend of the summer that was actually warm.  OK, I know it isn't officially summer, but it is June, and we have had cool, windy, rainy conditions throught the spring.  Here are two pictures from the weekend that made me happy.

I mentioned previously, that we had a mama bird make a nest above our motion light on our house.  Well, the little peepers have now left the nest, and mama couldn't be prouder.  I love the picture in the middle, where she seems to be instructing her three kids (mama is the one on the far right).  She was actually teaching the babies how to fly in our neighbor's backyard.  It was precious.

I was able to identify the birds (thank you Wikipedia and Birds of Northern California) as Black Phoebes

Since the weather was so nice, the dogs spent a lot of time outside in the shade.  I don't think I have ever gotten a decent picture of the three of them together.  This made me really happy. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

I mentioned a while ago that I purchased Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook.  One of the first recipes I decided to try was Caramelized Brussels Sprouts.  I do not understand why Brussels sprouts are not beloved by everyone.  This recipe is crispy and tangy (from the lemon) and very flavorful. Plus it is a light and healthy side dish, perfect for those warm summer nights.  If you are on the fence about this little vegetable, I recommend giving this recipe a shot.  And if you are already a fan, then you will love this.  Gwyneth really seems to knows her stuff.  Who woulda thought?

 Ingredients:
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • a few generous pinches of coarse sea salt 
  • Your best, highest-quality extra virgin olive oil, for serving
  • 1/2 lemon, for serving
First thing first.  Trim up your Brussels sprouts.  Cut the brown ends off each, and any of the leaves that look damaged.
Steam the Brussels sprouts for 7 minutes, or until just tender. Let them cool a bit and then cut each in half, lengthwise.


Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place the Brussels sprouts in a single layer, cut-side down (in batches if necessary). Leave them for 4-5 minutes, allowing them to brown thoroughly and evenly – don’t give into the temptation to stir and toss them! Keep an eye on them though – the key is to have the flame high enough to brown them but low enough not to burn them. When they’ve browned, flip each one and let the other side get color, an additional three minutes or so.


Remove to a serving platter, sprinkle with the salt, drizzle with your best extra virgin olive oil and squeeze the lemon over the Brussles sprouts, trying to get a bit of juice on each one. Enjoy!


Notice the lemon?  It is a variegated pink lemon from my back yard.  Just had to mention it:)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Separated at Birth?

A few weeks ago, Anthropologie presented me with this outfit, which I loved.  However, there was one item in particular that I fell hard for.

via


Of course, it was the most expensive part of the outfit.  This skirt is beautiful.  I love the lace and the fact that it is light-weight for summer and a fun skirt to twirl in.  And did I mention it as beautiful?  Was it versatile enough for me to pay full price?  Not really. 


Rosaline Lace Maxi  $168

And then yesterday happened.  I was shopping with a girlfriend at a new Forever 21 (that honestly, was the biggest I have ever been to), and I saw this waiting for me.  It might have even waved. 

Tiered Lace Skirt  $19.80

Let me first say that the picture DOES NOT do it justice.  The actual color is more of a neutral nude and the material doesn't look as cheap in person.  Two people asked me were I found it on the way to the fitting room.  And this version is also full of twirly goodness, and at a price point where it doesn't need to be something I will wear forever.  Although, I just might.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Nemesis

nem·e·sis
NOUN:
pl. nem·e·ses
An opponent that cannot be beaten or overcome. One that inflicts retribution or vengeance.

Or as I like to define it, a squirrel that waits for me to refill the birdfeeder, only to scare off all of the birds and take all of the the seed for himself. 

No matter how many times Harriet, Petunia, Meatball, and I shoo him away, he always comes back just a few minutes later and a little bit smarter.  Til next time, Mr Squirrel.

Beauty Things I Can't Live Without

I love beauty products.  LOVE THEM!!  I am always game to try out new things, but I definitely have some brands I am loyal to.  I have been a huge fan of both Stila and Dermalogica for many years (and found it hard to narrow down my favorites to just a few items).  I also have a slew of new favorite things that are making me happy right now and thought I might share.  Have you tried any of these?  What did you think?


1) The Body Shop Banana Shampoo and Conditioner  $5.99 each.  This smells incredible (high on my list of things that make a great shampoo) and is very light-weight.  I just wish The Body Shop made more products with this banana scent.  Yum!

2)  Phytodefrisant, Botanical Hair Relaxing Balm  $26.  I use this on the days I want to straighten my hair.  It eliminates frizz and gives me a beautiful blowout.  Also, it adds a little body to my fine-ish hair. 

3)  Caress Moisturizing Body Wash  $6.65.  This is my go-to daily body wash. The label says it smells of white peach and silk blossom.  I am not exactly sure what either of those things smell like, but they do blend together to make a delicate fragrance.  I keep wishing they would come out with a matching body lotion. 

4)  Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gioia Eau De Parfum  $80.  This is my current favorite perfume.  The smell is fresh and reminds me of the ocean.  I guess that is why they consider it an aquatic scent.  Perfect for the spring and summertime.

5)  Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant   $50.  A super-gentle daily exfoliator.  It is a little on the pricey side, but it lasts a long time.

6)  Sephora Eye Makeup Removing Pads   $9.  I have tried other brands out there, and so far, I find these to be the best.  Gentle and moisturizing to my skin while taking off all of the makeup.  Most importantly, it doesn't irritate my eyes.

7)  Stila Sheer Color Tinted Moisturizer Oil-Free SPF 20  $34.   I have never been a fan of foundation.  I don't like the feeling of heavy makeup on my face.  This has a nice light coverage that is just enough. 

8)  Emi-Jay Hair Ties  $5.99-$15.99.  I first read about these in a magazine, and because I can't seem to control myself, I ordered my first pack that night.  They are a little pricey for simple hair ties, but they are fantastic.  Very gentle on my hair, with the perfect amount of stretch.  Great for making a messy bun or a high ponytail 

9)  Clarisonic Classic Skin Care Brush  $195.  This is one of my current favorite gifts.  I swear my pores seem smaller, and I have a noticeable glow to my skin.  Who doesn't want that?

10)  Ouidad Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel $9-$52.  I have naturally wavy hair.  Some days I feel like embracing this (instead of fighting it with my flat iron).  OK, some mornings I am just lazy.  I said it.  And this hold my waves together, without making my hair crunchy.  Love!

11)  Bath & Body Works Sheer Freesia  $9.50.  Freesia is one of my favorite flowers. This shower gel and body lotion duplicates the sweet scent very well.    In fact, I credit this scent with helping me land charm my darling husband.  The smell will always remind me of when we first started dating. 

12)  Butter London in Scoundrel  $14.  I received this from a dear friend in England.  The color is a mauvey-purple and the polish goes on smoohly.  I am now a big fan of this brand.

13)  Lush Sweet Lips Lip Scrub  $8.95.  This seriously smells and tastes like chocolate.  Plus, it exfoliates and moisturizes my lips.  I love to use it before I go to bed.  I wake up with the softest lips. 

14) shu uemura Eyelash Curler  $19.  I have long straight eyelashes, without an ounce of curl in them.  This little tool really is as great as all of the hype. 

15) Stila Smudge Pots  $20.  It wasn't that long ago that I started wearing eyeliner.  I don't know why I was never intrigued by its eye enhancing fabulousness before, but this made me a believer.  And it wasn't even that hard to learn how to apply (and I am not one of those great-at-doing-makeup girls).  My current favorite color is bronze. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

DIY Update (Part 2)

We started a little DIY project over the Memorial Day weekend, where we quickly learned that it takes more than a 60 lb. jackhammer to remove four thick slabs of concrete. Fail! Luckily, we were able to hire a nice local company with much bigger machinery, and they were able to break it all up and remove it. Budget blown, but project saved!

Sometimes, you've gotta stop and smell the roses lavender

 As you can see below, we have a lot of plants in containers that we are just dying to get into the ground.  Kind of an embarrassing mess to show you right now, but soon it will be divided into well-organized plots. 

Our large messy container garden before concrete removal

For now, we have a big blank canvas.  We need to get a truckload of dirt and do some rototilling before we can actually plant anything, but getting rid of the concrete was half the battle.

All gone (two different views)

Some of the things currently growing in our container garden (and the reason why we want to get things in the actual ground).  They're not quite ready yet, but getting closer. 

Clockwise from right: pears, blueberries, sugar snap peas, and raspberries
And that's all for now, folks.  I will do another update once we get (much) further along.

Monday, June 6, 2011

44 Clove Garlic Soup

I have never uttered the words, "that is too much garlic."  I think I might have kind of a problem.  I firmly believe that garlic makes everything taste better.  So when I discovered this recipe on Smitten Kitchen, I knew I had to give it a shot.  Forty-four cloves of garlic does sound like a lot, but a majority of it is roasted first, and the flavor is mellow.  However, if you are not a lover of garlic, this recipe is definitely not for you. 

I baked a few crescent rolls, and husband and I had this for lunch.  It is still rainy and not all that warm here in the Bay Area, so soup is still comforting.  One recommendation I would make is to not bring this to lunch with you anywhere public (school, work, any place people have noses).  This is a meal best enjoyed next to people who already like you and are bound to still be with you in some way after the soup is eaten.  Enjoy!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Did You See Her Tongue?

While husband and I spent last weekend doing some backyard renovations, the pups enjoyed the fact that we were all outside together, all day (for several days).  Petunia, as per usual, seemed to find herself in places she shouldn't be.  Like in our wine barrel filled with bamboo (that we are growing for a little extra privacy from the neighbors.  As you can see in the picture, it isn't going well).  Harriet is asking her nicely to get out, but Petunia has never been one for subtlety. 


In case you didn't catch it, here is a good shot of the tongue.  And that is why is it ALWAYS hanging out of her mouth.  Precious, no?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Whooooooo Loves Owls?

 Another thing I am slightly obsessed with this summer (aside from flip flops and watches) is everything owl.  I love all of the quirky images that designers have come up with (plus all of the goofy names they use to call  these items).  I just adore this necklace, which is one of my favorite pieces of jewelry right now.  Sometimes the images are cartoon-y and sometimes they are fierce.  But there is something classic about the owl that makes me feel like it is kind of a timeless piece.  Plus, they show up on everything from pillow cases to sandals.  What is not to be loved?


1)  Owl in the Same Spot Keepsake Box  $22.99
2)  Owl Stay by Your Side Two Finger Ring  $15
3)  Tuleste Market Owl Pendant Necklace  $110
4)  Wise Walker Sandals  $148
5)  Emma Cook Owl Top in Owl Print  $281
6)  P.J. Salvage - Owl Pant  $46
7)  Juicy Couture Beaded Owl Drawstring Tote  $148
8)  Alkemie Jewelry Swooping Owl Bangle  $72
9)  Owls Pillowcase Set  $34

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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