April 30, 2009

charming silhouettes

Our bedroom is a place that I have started to despise with its mismatched furnishings and no real decorating scheme to speak of. We may not be living here for too much longer, though, so we don't want to commit a lot of time/money into making it prettier... but I am really growing tiresome of my disdain for this room and I want to do something to make it better.

I really loved the silhouette monogram logo that I created for our wedding (if I may toot my own horn for a moment), so I am considering painting some silhouettes on canvases to place above our bed to add a little charm. Maybe with a cool pattern in the background. Maybe facing each other ('cause we're in love and stuff.) But I'm wondering: is that weird and/or self-absorbed? To have silhouettes of ourselves hanging above our heads?

I love this photo that I found on Design*Sponge, but we don't have pets or kids, so it would be less of a family portrait and more of a "this is us and this is where we sleep" kind of thing.

What say you, readers? Is this cool? Or creepy?

more owls... this time, edible ones

My friend Alison must have seen my owl post from last week, as she thought to send me the link to these adorable cupcakes today:

They're adorable AND they don't involve fondant! AND they have Oreos on top! Really... does it get any better than that?

April 29, 2009

hank is back

.... made by hank, that is, but none of her absolutely adorable bags is ever listed in her Etsy shop long enough for me to get my hands on one!

I guess I'll just have to keep stalking her blog and hope that I beat other hopeful buyers to the punch eventually.

Someday.... someday....

April 28, 2009

On the Turntable: Amelie

I figured I'd follow-up on my last turntable post with another instrumental album that I love. I'm sure most of you are no strangers to the wonderful French film Amelie; the soundtrack with a score by Yann Tiersen has been one of my favorites for years. I love the story that each song tells, and the combination of piano and accordion that gives you the feeling of strolling down a Parisian street.

April 23, 2009

owl love

I'm loving owls these days. My grandmother had lots of owl figurines around her home, which I had always noticed through the years, but only more recently since she passed away last July have I taken more interest in them myself. She gave me several of her figurines before she died, and I think it would be nice to continue building the collection. (I know that my brother and sister-in-law have added some owly elements to their home, too!)

This owl pitcher would be such a charming addition to the collection... I think I would use it as a little vase in our entryway.

On the Turntable: Rodrigo Y Gabriela

I usually prefer music with lyrics (so I can sing at the top of my lungs like a weirdo), but I make an exception for Rodrigo y Gabriela. This is what I listen to at work when I'm in a really good mood or when I need to get energized about a project. Their self-proclaimed "fusion music" is absolutely incredible and I still find myself singing along to their tunes despite there not being any lyrics. (I'm sure it's terribly annoying for anyone in my general vicinity).

April 22, 2009

a desk chair I must have

I rarely (okay, never) sit at my desk when I'm working/surfing the interwebs at home. I always end up on the couch, with my little portable lap desk and MacBook attached to my lap and my feet up on the coffee table. But I've been wanting a comfy and cute desk chair that will inspire me to sit at my desk and work more efficiently (and not just be playing on the computer for no reason at all while watching tv). The chair we currently have is not very cozy.

I have found the adorable desk chair that I want, thanks to Mackenzie Sala of Kenzie Kate (and Something Old, Something New, one of my daily reads), who did a great Q&A on WeddingbeePro. She showed readers her great workspace, which includes this chair:

Mackenzie generously answered my inquiry and I now know that it is the SKRUVSTA swivel chair from Ikea. I don't think I would have looked twice at it on the Ikea website because the colors don't look nearly as vibrant, but now I totally want it.

Hmmm, my birthday is in less than 4 months...

Our "office" (I use that term very, very loosely) also functions as a storage space and a laundry room, with both our washer/dryer and some shelves hidden behind a curtain. I have never really liked the fabric that I used for the curtains (it was on clearance at JoAnn when I first moved in to our apartment almost 5 years ago), so if I get the chair, maybe if I can find some inexpensive coordinating fabric and I can make a whole new room out of it.

two pies

This past weekend was filled with lots of fun times catching up with friends. It's so much easier to venture out when the weather is nice — 75 and sunny ain't too shabby. Thank goodness spring is here.

On both Saturday and Sunday night, we went to friends' houses for dinner. We volunteered to bring dessert on both occasions, and Nick decided to make some apple pies. He even got creative with the extra dough left over from the crust...

A little shout out to his beloved Detroit Red Wings (he has never lived in or near Detroit, but he loves the Wings...???) and a tribute to our own World Champion Philadelphia Phillies. Isn't he clever?

April 21, 2009

a new venture

You may have noticed something new in my sidebar to the left... a link to an Etsy shop. MY Etsy shop! (Looks like I can check #7 off of my list!)

It's still coming together, but since posting about our photo booth on Weddingbee and showing off the posters I designed for our booth, I began receiving lots of inquiries from brides-to-be asking if I'd design a poster for them. With the popularity of photo booths at weddings and events, it occurred to me that there are probably plenty of people who want to add this personalized touch but don't know how to go about it. That's where I come in :-)

I'm going to add a few more "pre-made" designs for people to choose from and customize in addition to my standard "Classic Vintage" design, as well as an option for a completely custom design... now that I have the shop set up, it will force me to keep up with these tasks.

I'm open to any possibilities so I'm excited to see how this goes. I already have a few clients lined up. If you have any initial feedback or ideas, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

the yummiest easy brownies ever

Last week I made some brownies for my friend/co-worker, Maggie's, birthday. I had made these chocolate chip cookie dough brownies once a few years ago, and they were absolutely incredible... so I haven't made them since. Why? Because I'll only eat them!

Well, Maggie's birthday made me want to try them out again, against my better judgment, particularly after my friend Emily reminded me that she had tried (and loved) the same recipe after seeing it on Bakerella. Damn peer pressure.

Anywho, I highly recommend this recipe if you're looking for something incredibly easy and sickeningly sweet and delicious.

Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

I love any excuse to break out the Pyrex bowls Nick bought for me off of eBay a few years ago (after I kicked myself for not buying them when we found the full set at a flea market). One of the many reasons I married him.

First up was the brownie mix.

It's pretty much a requirement that you lick the spatula clean after spreading the brownie mixture into the pan.

Next up: cookie mix.

Yummmmmm cookie dough.

Again with the spatula and the licking. It's a requirement.

Voila! The magic of the internet. Yummy baked cookie dough brownie goodness.

After these cooled off for a bit, I spread some chocolate icing on top, brought them into the office the next morning, and let my co-workers go nuts.

Oh, the carnage.

They obviously hated them. Yup.

April 20, 2009

some Easter color

I know I'm a wee bit behind on posting these pictures, but they're so bright and colorful (and today was rainy and miserable) so I figured better late than never.

We spend Easter weekend with my husband's family in Central PA, and one tradition that we will forever partake in is the dyeing of the Easter eggs. We don't get too fancy — PAAS and Doc Hinkle's — but I love the bright colors and the lack of decorating pressure :-) No Martha Stewart aspirations here. Just good ol' pretty and bright eggs.

The eggs below were still a little cold/wet from the refrigerator when we dropped them in the dye, so they came out a little spotty. For next year we have to remember that room temperature eggs work best for consistent color!

Have I mentioned how much I love my little Panasonic Lumix TZ5? It takes such awesome close-ups. It will have to do the job until I can afford a D-SLR.

Even my father-in-law got in on the action! He took his striped design very seriously.

What's your egg dyeing/decorating method of choice?

April 16, 2009

Julie & Julia

Many months ago I picked up a book called Julie & Julia at the local used book store (for two bucks, thankyouverymuch). It looked cute, light-hearted, and not too long for someone like me who rarely finds/makes time to read anymore. I finally started to read it, and I am still only halfway through it, but it's just my speed and I love it so far — witty, funny, and relate-able for a non-chef like me.

It's the true story of Julie Powell, a twenty-something New Yorker who is in a dead-end job that she hates and is searching for something that will make her feel like she has some purpose; while looking through her mom's fading copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julia Child's first cookbook, Julie crazily gives herself the challenge of cooking every single recipe in the book (all 524 of them) in the span of one year. It is fantastic and totally inspiring that someone who has barely ever cooked a full meal can take on this challenge and actually master quite a few skills in the process (while hilarity often ensues and her husband/mother/best friend think she's nuts, of course). Julie tracked her progress (and failures) on her blog and I can't wait to peruse it once I finish reading the book.

To my delight, I just discovered that Meryl Streep and Amy Adams are starring in a movie version of the book that will be out this summer. I love me some Meryl Streep and Amy Adams, and I love this book, so I can't wait!

April 13, 2009


She's so rad that I even like it when she sings the Cotton jingle.

Plus she seems to like Post-Its as much as I do.

April 10, 2009

On the Turntable: Brandi Carlile

I had never heard of Brandi Carlile until I started my current job. My co-workers pretty much all love her music, and I got sucked in pretty quickly. Here's one of my favorite songs... but really, they're all equally spectacular.

I need to see her live one of these days. Any other Brandi fans out there?

April 9, 2009

a new addiction

I've always read lots of buzz surrounding Bakerella on other blogs, but to be honest, I've avoided ever visiting the site for fear of getting completely hooked on her sugary creations. Well, yesterday I subsided to the peer pressure as my friend Emily urged me to check it out. And I'm not going to lie: I may never be the same again.

Must make ridiculously cute sheep cake pops, STAT!

spiced turkey empanada

I originally created this blog to be a sort of "newlywed nesting" blog... but since Nick is still looking for work, and, in turn, has been doing most of the cooking and homemaking while I work (and I really don't feel like being Suzy Homemaker when I get home), I haven't actually been writing a lot of nesty-type of things. However, as to not disappoint any of my seven readers, I have actually done something very domestic and adult-like! I cooked a meal! Can you believe it?? (I almost can't, and I was there.)

I know people of the world cook multiple meals day-after-day, but I am completely spoiled and my husband does pretty much all of the cooking (and packs my lunch for work... and breakfast... and snacks), and I have never really felt comfortable in the kitchen, so this truly is exciting progress for me.

Last weekend I volunteered to make dinner; Nick told me that we had a pound of ground turkey that was thawing, so I turned to Epicurious and searched for ground turkey to find something that would be suitable. Since we're both still trying to lose a few post-wedding pounds that have been sticking around, I wanted to find something that wouldn't blow our Points for the day. This recipe for Spiced Turkey Empanada was the perfect choice (8 points each based on the nutrition information found on Epicurious, which isn't bad for dinner since it is pretty filling), and it turned out that we already had most of the ingredients.

  • 1/2 pound white-meat ground turkey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon sweet chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 can (15 ounce) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 cup green or black olives, chopped
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 1 pound raw frozen pizza dough, defrosted in the microwave or overnight in the fridge


Heat oven to 400°F. Sprinkle turkey with salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Cook turkey, breaking up with a spoon, until brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and olives. Cover; reduce heat to low. Simmer until turkey is cooked through and tomatoes are soft, 3 to 4 minutes.

Coat a large cookie sheet with cooking spray. Cut dough into 4 equal portions. Pull dough into 4 flat disks, each 8 inches in diameter. Top each round with 1/2 cup turkey filling. Fold dough in half and fold bottom edge over top. Press closed. Transfer to cookie sheet and coat empanadas with cooking spray. Bake until dough is firm and golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve with 1/2 cup baby carrots. Store empanadas in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

My Modifications:

Instead of olives (which I'm not a fan of), I added some chopped onions that we had in the freezer; one of the reviews on Epicurious also mentioned adding jalapeno peppers, which I didn't add this time around, but may try in the future.

Instead of frozen pizza dough, I picked up this fresh dough from Trader Joe's — it's only $0.99! A few of the Epicurious reviews had mentioned using this garlic & herb variation, so that's what I went with.

For a little extra oomph, I added some low-fat shredded cheese on top.


I served each empanada with a small salad (topped with fat free balsamic vinaigrette from Trader Joe's) and some baby carrots.

Nick also added some hot salsa on top of his.

He liked it!

Nick actually made these again the other night, and instead of the diced tomatoes in the mixture, he used hot salsa. It added a nice kick.

Overall, it was really simple to prepare, and the result was extra tasty. Plus, it made four complete portions, so we had dinner for the next night as well. Easy recipes like this give me the confidence to keep trying new things.