Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Love Letters: Valentine's Decor

As a single gal, I don't really make a big deal of Valentine's Day.  However, as a blogger, I like to add a little sprinkle of pretty things around the house.  But as it's just me around here, unless I have guests, I don't like to spend a lot of money on decorations so....

While I do decorate, anything must be super inexpensive and  I refuse to do anything TOO CHEESY.  So, I like stuff that is pretty and feminine with just a touch of romance that still fits in nicely in my home.  
There are just over two weeks before Valentine's so I'll be sharing my inexpensive and non-cheesy Valentines Decor ideas with you between now and then, so here's hoping you find some Inspiration!!

Michaels had these cube wooden blocks that somewhat resemble Scrabble pieces and I just sort of fell in love (no pun intended) with them.  While I knew they were probably something I could make super cheap and easy, they were like $3.00 each, so I figured it just wasn't worth the trouble to cut and paint or cut out vinyl for them... Call me lazy!

I bought the Letters to spell out "Love" and then started thinking of other words that would be fun to spell out.

 So I also added anothe letter, te "N" to my cart cause I can simply swap out the "V" and Move things around and I have "Noel"! 

Smart right?  Anytime I can use decor items for more than one holiday/season, I consider that a win!!!


When I got them home I played around a little more....  I'm a big reader so I also enjoyed this !

Of course,now that I had these fancy word-spelling blocks, what was I going to do with them?  My original plan was to put them atop a stack of books on the coffee table, but they were much larger than the vision in my head and while cute, I felt I could do better!

So after some brainstorming, I decided that if I stacked them instead of lay them, I could go another route and came up with this cute display under a cloche.

Since the base that came with this cloche is rather tall and makes the whole thing almost 3' tall, I usually opt to use this wood slice as a base instead.  I love the rustic/romantic combination and it adds nice texture to everything!
  While I like the unfussy simplicity of it,  I'm starting to wish I had some of those battery operated mini string lights to stuff inside as well now.... And really make things sparkle.... 
Hmm I'll keep you posted on that! ;) 

So far, the cloche is solo on this side of the coffee table as I think up a few more cute ideas.  Any suggestions on what to add to make this a fun little vignette? 

What do you think of my simple cloche?  I may have to spring for several other letters!!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Batch Cooking: Crustless Mini Quiche

During the week I work 2-3 jobs, play volleyball 1 night a week and have a weekly girl's night.  In addition to all that, I try and squeeze in walking the dog and working out every night... it doesn't always happen and I'm often EXHAUSTED so preparing my meals for the week is sometimes overlooked which leads to eating out more than I'd like.

In an effort to try and eat better, save money and be overall just more prepared and organized, I recently started trying batch cooking. So on Sundays, I start cooking a good portion of my food for the week.  It seems to be working pretty well and it's super convenient to know that if I need to grab something quick, on my way out the door, there's actually something there!!

Of course, like many people Breakfast was one of those meals I was simply either not eating OR eating unhealthy foods for.  I am NOT  a morning person so getting up with enough time to eat at home does not happen,  so I was happy to find a couple items that I could just pre-bake, pop in a Tupperware and heat up when I get to work.

This crustless quiche recipe was super easy to make (key for me) and I really liked it!

- 3 cups frozen hashbrowns, thawed and drained
- 3 tbsp. butter, melted
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 7 eggs
-6 pieces bacon, pre-cooked & crumbled into bits
-1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
-1 cup shredded cheese (I used Jabenero Heat)
- 1/2 milk

How To:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Spray cooking spray inside a standard muffin tin.

 2. In a big bowl combine hashbrowns, melted butter and salter & pepper.  Spoon approx. 2 tbsps. hashbrown mixture into each muffin tin, pressing gently to form a base for the quiche.  Bake crusts til they are golden-brown, approx. 12-15 mins.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool. 

3. Place a few pieces of bacon and tomatoes atop the crusts

4. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt & pepper to taste.  Pour mixture into each muffin tin, leaving approx. 1/4" from top of tin.  Top with cheese. 
5. Bake approx. 12-15 mins. or until mixture has puffed up and is golden brown.  Remove from oven and cool before attempting to remove quiches from tin.

6. Enjoy!    I put two of these in a Tupperware container as part of my at-work breakfasts!

Tips:  *Make sure you don't skimp on the PAM spray, otherwise it can be a little tricky to get the potato mixture out of the tins. 
**Silicone muffin pans are handy for popping the quiche out BUT require longer cooking time.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

New Living Room Rug

I have been half-assedly looking for a new Living Room rug for about a year now.  There wasn't anything particularly wrong with the one I had, you know, except for the fact that I HATED IT!!!After I got new sofas, the rug just didn't look right anymore...the colors in it, worked much better with a cream sofa.  Sadly, it just wasn't in the budget to replace at the time, so I made do as I looked around for the right replacement. 

(Far too busy for this space)
To be fair though, in addition to just looking terrible, it was really quite dirty.  I mean I vaccumed it regularly, but having lived with three pets at one point, and the amount of dust we get being a walk-out home backing onto a busy main road.... things get dirty in here.  I mean, what is it with pets preferring to eat their food/barf on soft surfaces?  That can't possibly be just MY pets?  Not to mention the gross looking stain from when someone who will remain nameless decided to steal a piece of Strawberry Rhubarb pie when I was out, and eat it on the rug.....

Just before Christmas, I found a beautiful one at HomeSense.  It was absolutely gorgeous - a combination of a watercolor painting/kilim style pattern in the most beautiful combination of blues and whites.  Plus, it was soooo soft - like silk to the touch.  But of course it was over my budget.... So I added it to my Christmas list and hoped that I would get it, or a gift card for a portion of the cost, but sadly got neither.  But when I kept thinking about it, I decided  "the hell with it!" and went to buy it anyhow, but sadly, it was gone...

Then today, I popped by Ikea to pick something up for a project I am working on and figured I would pop by rugs - you know, just to have a look.  Wouldn't you know it, they had a brand new rug - the Vidstrup that was EXACTLY the colors I had in my house:  White, Grey, Turquoise and Teal.
At only $99 for a 5x7(ish) rug, It was definitely an alright price point, so I  figured I would take it home, try it out and see how it looked, and if it wasn't right, then I'd simply return it.

Well, of course the first thing I did when I got home was get the old one out of there.  In fact, I was in such a rush that I didn't even grab a BEFORE picture, I just clumped that thing up in a pile in the kitchen to get it out of the way.

Sure enough, as soon as I lay out the new one - I knew it was the right fit.  The colors were absolutely perfect matches for the greys and blues already in the space.  While the pattern (geometric) wasn't exactly what I was picturing in my head - it just seemed to work!  I was a little worried that a geometric rug would read too "Ikea" or "first place".  But seeing it here, I focus more on the colors matching than the pattern, so I hope others will too!

Feeling the rug in store, I was a little concerned there was too much nylon in the pile and that maybe it wouldn't be soft as it felt kind of bristly to the touch, but underfoot it is nice and soft.  Definitely more plush than what we had before.  Finley spent a good portion of her evening sleeping on it, so I think it passes the comfort test.

Now, I know that it is the Rule of Thumb for a lot of Designers to have at least the front legs of all furniture in a room on a rug, but I don't really follow rules.  With as wide as this room is, I'd also need a MUCH larger rug and I'm cheap.  Plus, I actually like the look of having the dark floors border the rug and I really just like it to ground the coffee table so it's not floating in the middle of the wide room by itself - like a little rug island.  :)

So, all in all, I am happy with the rug for the time being.  I mean, I will probably still always been on the look out for a more luxe, investment rug that's a little lot more glam but this serves my purpose now.


What do you think? 

Monday, January 18, 2016

My Favorite Going-Out Clutch

I went out with a few girlfriends the other night, and as I took everything out the next morning, I realized that more often than not, despite owning several bags, this is the one I reach for most often.  So I thought it would be nice to do a little post featuring my favorite going out bag.

 I found this clutch about 3-4 years ago at Coach's Boxing Day sale.  While it is no longer available, here is a similar bag.

One of the reasons I reach for this most often (other than it is black so it matches everything) is that it is all leather.  As such, I don't have to worry about putting it down on sticky surfaces or anywhere someone can spill on it. 

It's actually also quite roomy.  I manage to stash a good amount of items in it an still have a lot of space.  Here's a quick peek at the items that I managed to fit in here the other night:

I try and keep my going out essentials to an absolute minimum.  My keys, a lip gloss and compact, a small amount of money, my ID and a bank card, gum, a perfume sample, my phone and as of late:  a portable battery and cable to charge my phone. 
The back of the bag has a little zippered compartment which is where I store my ID, bank card, money and any coat check tickets.  ;)


The inside has three different compartments .  It's actually pretty handy to keep my clutch organized, since I am often reaching into it in the dark, while I am talking to someone.


And once its all loaded, I am good to go and enjoy some drinks with my friends!


Do you have a bag that you are constantly reaching for?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Best Dressed: Golden Globes 2016

It's that time of year again folks, AWARDS SEASON!!

As a gal who always wanted to pursue either fashion or acting.....  and now works in residential construction....   you can imagine how much I love watching and making lists of all my favorite pretty dresses and of course, what new shows/movies I need to add to my ever-growing lists!

So without further ado, here is My Top 10 Best Dressed from this year's Golden Globes!

10.  Kirsten Dunst in Valentino Couture

I am never a fan of a black dress in general, let alone a for big, fancy awards show where you can go all out -  but this dress just fit her AMAZINGLY!!!  The ties on the front of this dress are EVERYTHING.  So I would like to give props to bread and cheese, as Ms. Dunst recently said that she had indulged, in order to gain weight for her role in Fargo.   My only dislike was her red-eyes on the

9. Emmy Rossum in Armani Prive

Once again, I typically choose more extravagant and ornate dresses, but doesn't she look just absolutely stunning in this red column?  I find this type of dress can often leave the wearer a little shapless, but this is perfectly cut.  That diamond necklace, reminiscent of a shooting star, is the perfect compliment to such a simple look and really takes it over the top!  Her hair is shiny, simple and beautiful!

8.  Jennifer Lopez in Giambattista Valli Haute Couture

J-Lo can either be an extreme hit or miss for me, but this is definitely a HIT!  I love that she took a risk with a different color and went far more covered-up than we usually see her - with an added capelet, no less.  But of course, she made up for it what that stunning though-high slit to show off her amazing gams!  Her stunning  Neil Lane Lariat-style necklace is very unexpected with the cut of this neckline, and definitely the length I would have picked, but somehow works!   Love that she kept her new short do- unfussy and loose.

7. Jenna Dewan-Tatum in Zuhair Murad Couture

Okay, we already know this girl has amazing taste... I mean her husband?  Yes please!  But this new mom looks lovely in this celestial inspired princess gown, with a deep v-neckline!  My favorite part of this dress is that it has POCKETS!!! She kept her accessories almost non-existent since her dress was so sparkly and I love that.  I only wish her hair was a little less "I simply threw my hair up in the limo on the way here...." - it's a bit too messy for me, but I am gonna overlook that and just check out the eye candy on her arm instead  ;)

6. Kate Bosworth in Dolce & Gabbana

Anyone who knows me, knows I am like a magpie and can't resist shiny, pretty things, so it was no surprise that I was drawn to this dress. It takes a lot of chutzpah to wear a full-on sequin dress and while Bosworth does it with aplomb... I must say that the true beauty of this dress is not when it is coming, but when it is going......

That train is everything and this shot is like liquid magic following her!  LOVE THIS!!

5.  Amber Heard in Gucci

She's one of my biggest Girl-Crushes so I pretty much love everything she wears, but I am so enamored with the fact that she chose a pretty dress instead of her usual Bombshell look.  I always love when a dress has an overlay like this, to create an incredible look and color.   The flowers on the neckline that continue around to the back of this dress are so lovely.  Just proof that this gal can pull anything off!   Again, another gal who went with a lovely, simple hairdo.  Perfection!

4. Saiorse Ronan in Yves Saint Laurent Couture by Heidi Slimane

Okay, YAY!!!   A simply beautiful young lady in a simply beautiful Grecian gown!  There's not a lot going on here:  The dress is white perfection with little detailing other than it's extraordinary cut and lovely train.  The jewels are so simple, as is the hair and make up which does not detract from the dress.  But it all just works.  Far too often, you see young ladies at these awards trying TOO HARD to look glamorous and it simply just does not work for them.  Thank you to Ronan for choosing a dress that suits her and looking lovely in it!

3. Jamie Alexander in Genny

I am a true believer in the fact that when you look as stunning as this statuesque beauty does, you can pretty much get away with anything. But I love that she has stuck with her red-carpet regimen of a jewel-toned dress that just POPS against her fair skin and dark hair.  The emerald color of this geometric print dress is superb on her!  I love that she went with an unknown designer, cause let's be fair, this beauty is on the rise - so proof that it's all about the dress and not the label.  Simple emerald earrings are all that she has chosen to accessorize with.  Again, while I appreciate the simple hair so as not to detract from the dress, I think she and Ms. Dewan-Tatum could have gone a little less messy...  But overall, beautiful!

2. Melissa Benoist in Monique Lhullier

This was the first dress I saw, when I peeked online and immediately fell in LOVE!!!!!   This dress is like my absolute favorite wallpaper, re-imagined in a beautiful dress and I mean that as the most amazing compliment!!  Birds on a dress will always be a win in my book!!!!  Now this is how a beautiful young lady should dress to one of her first big awards shows - as a presenter no less!  Her accessories were very well chosen as complements to this lovely, SUBTLY patterned dress.   Her hair and makeup are easy, breezy and so perfect for her age!  Super girl indeed!!

1. Brie Larson in Calvin Klein Collection

Okay, I was all set and ready to crown Ms. Benoit as my Best Dressed this year (which is a big feat, considering she was the first dress I saw.....) but then Brie Larson came on screen and OWNED IT!!!!!   First of all, girl is GILDED PERFECTION in this stunning, custom gold beaded gown.  There's admittedly a lot going on here: a halter-style neckline that acts as it's own necklace; all that shimmery gold; sneaky-peeky cleavage cut out; those side cut-outs that highlight the actresses slim bod and yet, there's nothing ostentatious or overtop about it.  She knocks it out of the park with neutral makeup, simple yet starkly side parted, loosely waved hair.  Another young lady wearing a beautiful dress but she outshines the dress!!!

So that my friends were my faves.  Looking back over my picks, I see a recurring trend:  beautiful young ladies in stunning dresses, keeping their hair, makeup and accessories so simple, letting them be the true stars!  When I do my Best-Dressed lists, I always make sure that I focus on the "Dressed" part of it.  There are always stunning dresses that I write down, that don't actually make the list because they didn't fit properly or suit the person wearing them and therefore, didn't make the Actress look her best. Even Jennifer Lopez, who will always be a glamazon, kept her hair loose and lovely.  Proving: Gone are the days of over-the-top hair, too much makeup and women letting dresses wear them!  I am beyond excited with the showing tonight and can't wait for the rest of the awards shows this season!

Who were YOUR top picks?  I'd love to hear!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Sick Day Essentials

I haven't been feeling well for the last few days and today was the worst so I stayed home from work.  While Most of the day was spent in bed sleeping, I did spend a good portion of the afternoon awake, and moved down to the living room for a change of view (and comfort).  Here are my Top 5 things for a day sick at home:

1. A warm, cuddly blanket
Personally, I like to sleep on the cool side, so a big heavy blanket is never really my preference.  But something relatively light-weight but great for curling up on the couch with, is a must-have.  My fave is a grey throw from Restoration Hardware.  They don't seem to have the one I have any longer, but this one is similar.


2. Apple TV
Gone are the days when you used to have to stay home watching bad daytime tv.  I'm currently binge watching Bones on <a href="http://netflix.com">Netflix</a> so I made a big dent in my episodes today. Since I don't have a Smart TV, I've loved having this gadget for the past year and can't believe I went so long without it.

3. Comfy Nightgown
I never used to spend money on pyjamas or loungewear, rather choosing to wear ex boyfriends' t-shirts and sweat pants around the house but last year, I decided it was high-time I chose some proper pyjamas of my own.  Before Christmas I picked up a similar  nightgown for $8.00!  It's a little oversized but still stylish, but at the right proportions for my body, so super comfy.  Plus since it's a nightgown versus pants, my legs are still bare which helps keeps me from over heating!

4. Oversized Mug
While I mostly kept to water, when I did want to try and have something more substantial, instant soup was my choice.  Of course, I like a nice big mug to keep me company and feed me while I watch my shows.  Personally, I'm partial to elegant, plain white ones with a little detailing. This mug is a cult favorite.

5. Lip Balm

6. Girl's Best Friend
And just for good measure... There's nothing more amazing than having someone to cuddle up with on the couch.  This girl is the best company and perfect for keeping me warm when I need it.

Here's hoping you're well, but if you manage to get sick this time of year, hopefully you're lucky enough to have these must-haves for yourself! 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Currently Loving: Clearskin Pore Penetrating Black Mineral Mask

Today is my first day back to work after a nice, two week holiday.  Admittedly, I did a lot of staying I plate, binge-watching Bones on Netflix so admittedly I was looking a little more than tired. Last night I decided to do a little beauty treatment to make myself a little more fresh-faced.

My current fave mask is Clearskin Pore Penetrating Black Mineral Mask.  As someone with combination-skin that leans towards being overly oily, I really love the idea of an oil-absorbing product.   

This clay base mask is also super fun to use- the black clay turns light grey when it's dry. Once rinsed off, it leaves your skin feeling soft, clean and fantastic.  I especially like using a spin-brush like system to remove the mask and exfoliate at the same time! 

Here's to starting the new year off right with fresh, clean skin!