Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Kitchen Reveal

At last, the kitchen reveal. It has been a lot of blood + sweat + tears, but it is done! I'll let the photos speak for themselves:

Left side of the kitchen, looking in from the door to the garage:


Now here is the right side BEFORE:

And the AFTER:

And more of the right side, since we added the desk and extra storage cabinets that extend all the way to the wall:

And some more photos:

RIP dome ceiling!

It is truly AMAZING how a 10' by 10' kitchen can be extended and more functional by simply taking out its small half walls. And I am obsessed with the eat in island between the living room and kitchen.... it really opens up the space, and provides extra counters too!

More details about the elements to come.... How did we do??? 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

Hope you are having a wonderful day of for this beautiful Memorial Day!!! First, Blessings and Gratitude go out to all of our military and veterans who have served our country and protected our freedoms. We would not be able to write and speak so freely (on blogs or anywhere) without them, and that is a freedom I do not take for granted! 

Second, I'm sure most of you are out enjoying the day, and if you are planning on firing up the grill this afternoon, here is a quick and easy recipe that is sure to brighten your BBQ!
photo from Martha Stewart

Grilled Corn on the Cob
Corn on the Cob, husks removed
Chili Powder
Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 Limes, cut in slices
4 Tbsp Butter, melted


Soak the cobs in water with salt for 10-15 minutes. Brush the corn with butter as you place it on the grill. Grill cobs until they have some char on the corn, or until golden yellow. Remove from grill, and while still hot, squeeze lime juice from the slices on the cobs, and then dust with paprika, chili powder, and parmesan cheese. You can try just a little or a lot of each, depending on if you want more of a kick with the chili powder. I like equal parts of paprika and chili power, and a good light coat of parmesan cheese. The spices really bring out the charred flavor from the grill, and the lime juice really brightens the flavor of the corn. The parmesan cheese just makes it all nice and creamy. Enjoy!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Monkey-ing around

I am helping host a baby shower in two weeks and I am excited about the colors and decor. Here is a little inspiration for the party:

Invitations via FineStationary, Flags via Etsy.
Since the baby is a boy, and the parents are going with a Monkey theme in the nursery, we decided to keep the colors brown, yellow and green. Since the invites are out in the mail, I can show you what I made (of course, personal information has been removed, it looks a little more awkward than it really is):

There are some similar invitation styles online, but I created this one from scratch, since we were under a time constraint using my trusty Microsoft Publisher. I know there are better programs out there for invitations, but it is so easy to use and they always turn out well. I can't wait to show you the rest we have planned for the shower!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Vintage Finds 5.25.11

"Genie", as she is signed, came into our home after being found at another estate sale. The elderly woman was moving into an assisted living facility and her family was helping her sell some of the contents of her home. There were a few things not for sale, one of them being this painting. It was hanging in her dining room, and just instantly captivated me. I love original art, and besides it being very Spanish looking, and I fell in love with the colors, the detail of the oil in the flowers and in her hair. And I loved that the frame was different and original too. I kept going back to it, despite all the other treasures for sale.

After speaking with the niece of the elderly woman, she offered to sell it to me for $35. Even though my husband was not in love with it, he knew I wasn't leaving without her! I paid the niece and went to tell the elderly woman how much she will be loved and cherished in my home. After I thank her for the painting, she told me that it was a self portrait painted in Puerto Rico in 1967, and it was the first painting she ever painted in her life. As I discovered later, it is inscribed with the place (Puerto Rico) and the date, and her full name Genevieve on the back of the frame.  "Genie" has come home to live in our living room, and I only hope that Genevieve knows truly in my heart how much I will cherish her first painting, and her story. Vintage finds don't get much better than that!

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Kitchen Sink

When first designing the kitchen, I discussed how we had decided on a farmhouse sink here. We ended up purchasing the following:
This is the DOMSJO Double Bowl Farmhouse sink from IKEA. The price could not be beat ($299, but I see online it is $312), and she is huge!! I love the size, but not so much the weight.... she is made of solid porcelain, which I love for a sink, but getting her in and out of the car was no easy feat. Note to self, bring someone with you to IKEA to help you load it, since I was by myself and had to find two big strong employees to help load it. It also takes at least two people at home to get it back out of the car and into the house.

Now that cabinets are in (this is just a preview- I will post an update once the granite gets installed), here is DOMSJO in all her glory:

I love the ginormous size - you can actually set a large pot in the sink!- and her clean lines. We just have to add the faucet, garbage disposal, and drains, and she will be set!

Check back soon for the kitchen's final reveal!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Vintage Finds 5.18.2010

I am beginning this series every Wednesday about my vintage finds, since halfway through the week I am always looking for a little inspiration.And, many of you don't know that my husband and I wake up early every Saturday to go to garage and estate sales. Not that we need more stuff for our house - on the contrary actually- but we have been decorating and renovating other people's places that need little things here and there. Plus, its fun to see what other people want to get rid of for next to nothing. We love a good bargain!!

The first find is one of my favorites in our home. Our 1942 house, as previously seen here, is pretty vintage, and thus my decorating style had to adapt to the older charms inside. I instantly go for anything antique to mid century, since the age of our home falls in between.

My husband fell in love with this piece that now currently sits in our kitchen. It was at an estate sale for half off asking price for $25!! Here, I give you the Zenith all-in-one stereo and tv console:

The funny part is that the tv component itself is called the "Space Command 300" and comes complete with the original "clicker". After lots of tinkering, the TV portion itself does not work, just a lot of snow. However, our love for this piece is this:

We had talked about getting a record player for a long time, as we both love the sound of old music. The woman who owned this set had loved music, and when her kids (running the estate sale) offered up the two boxes of records for free with the console, we were sold. Actually, I was sold when the first record I pulled out was Moonlight Serenade by the Glenn Miller Orchestra, one of my grandfather's favorites. Not to mention some German music (my family has German roots) and Spanish music (my husband's roots), among other popular albums like Meet The Beatles. The record player and stereo work perfectly!

We have since covered up the tv with a runner so that it looks more like a buffet than a tv/stereo console. It makes me happy to turn on the records and cook... there's nothing like a good glass of wine and good music to make a meal great!

Stay tuned for more vintage finds every Wednesday!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Crab Cakes

Summer is here... maybe not officially, but once the temps here in Florida hit 90, I consider it summer. With summer comes my cravings for really fresh and bright foods, like fresh salsa and anything with lemon, and I remembered a recipe from a weekend at the beach during my college days... Crab Cakes!

My roommate Ashley had us all down at her dad's place in Boca Grande, and he picked up some fresh crab for us to take out of the shell and make crab cakes. This recipe is similar to that one, but certainly a lot faster, since I used canned crab meat.

1 Can Fancy Lump Crab Meat
2 Tbsp Panko (breadcrumbs)
1 Tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
1 Yellow onion, finely chopped and sauteed
2 cloves minced garlic, sauteed
1 egg
dash of Tabasco
Olive Oil
2 Lemons, one juiced and one sliced

First, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Saute the chopped onions and garlic in a Tbsp of olive oil in a skillet. You want to keep it on medium heat, as we will be using the skillet later for the crab cakes once they are made.  While these are cooking, combine the crab, panko, lemon juice, Tabasco, egg, and Old Bay in a bowl. Once the onions and garlic are almost clear, pour them into the bowl as well. Mix well, and then use your hands to make palm-sized crab cakes, and place in an oven-safe pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the tops begin to look golden brown:

While the crab cakes are baking, add 2 Tbsp of olive oil to the skillet and warm to medium heat. My favorite part of crab cakes are the crispy outsides, but I don't like to use all the oil it takes to get them crispy, so I bake them first. Once they look a little golden, take them out of the oven and return them to the skillet. Pan fry until the crab cakes until they reach your desired crispness.

Don't worry if they aren't pretty little round crab cakes. They are meant to be rustic! If you want them more shapely, add more panko or breadcrumbs. I just don't like a lot of filler with mine.... the more crab, the better! Plate them with a little parsley and slices of fresh lemon to really highlight the fresh flavors. Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Let There Be Color

LOTS of very exciting progress has taken place at my brother's house and for this quick update... PAINT! Ever since we started looking for ideas for his home, I have been infatuated with this photo from Pottery Barn:

Since we installed wood floors and white baseboards, I love the mix of the blue wall with both the black and brown objects and gallery wall frames. There is something rustic, beachy, and chic about all of it that I just love.

And just for a preview, here is his dining room accent wall:
I will post more details about the floor and paint colors later. Just wanted to give you a quick preview! Check back soon for the reveal!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Featured.... While on Vacation.

I checked my e-mail today while still enjoying my weekend away, excited to find that I am the featured blogger on BlogHer, a wonderful community of women bloggers that I am proud to be a part of. And what made my day is their view of me:

"This blog is bursting with tips and photos - recipes, decorations, flowers, celebrations and best of all, true passion. A superb hostess makes the world a more enjoyable place and here's proof."

You can check out the page that links to me here on the right hand column. A huge THANK YOU to Heather Clisby and the BlogHer Community for the recognition!!

And just to make you all a little jealous, here was the sunset and moon out our back door last night from our weekend away at Indian Rocks Beach:

And last but not least, Happy Mother's Day to my wonderful mother. She is my go-to for all good ideas and creativity. Thanks for being such an amazing and inspiring person, and I am lucky to be your daughter!

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cinco De Mayo

It has been a busy week, and the blog has been a little neglected due to a mini vacation starting tonight! What a way to kick off a vacation at the beach with Cinco de Mayo! If I were hosting a party though, here is what I would do:

Set the Table:
I love my Pom Pom Bird Table Runner from Pier 1. Throw it over a vintage yellow table cloth for a table setting that screams Ole!

I am also loving this garland from Anthropologie's BHLDN, but I am sure there is a cheaper way to DIY.
Food & Drink:

Serve some fresh salsa (recipe here) and Margarita Punch (recipe here). I recently made some chicken enchiladas, but tacos are always a good Mexican staple. You can set up a Taco Bar with lots of different toppings.

Dress Like A Hostess:

Etsy has some great Mexican embroidered dresses, and I am loving this cobalt one from Crooked Tree Vintage.

Happy Cinco De Mayo!