Saturday, January 30, 2010

wall decor ideas

Images from stylefiles and martha stewart.

1. I love the fresh, clean lines in this home office, especially the grouping of pictures placed on white shelves
2. The rustic wooden table paired with the bright orange patio chair make for a whimsical work space
3. This statement wall of oversized frames dwarf the desk and chair. Stunning!
4. I never thought potholders could look modern and chic!
5. Similar to #1 in the simplicity and double shelving, but what I really love is how the black frames compliment the soft yet masculine bedding. I never thought I would find black in a master bedroom so appealing.
6. The next three are entry way ideas. As you can see, I'm a big fan of using framed pictures for wall decor. This picture shows that excessiveness should be limited. I think a pair of shoes on the bench would be quite cute.
7. Love how much storage this entry way offers without taking up floor space!
8. I like the color scheme here, but it's clearly contrived. How many people own blue and peach boots? The best part is the organization that four separate yet connected corkboards offer.
9. These are six different clipboards that have been covered in paper (wallpaper, scrapbook paper- both work) to create eye candy for a small work area. I could see someone wrapping gifts or writing notes on this desk.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

beware: new obsessions await you.

paper paper paper I stinking LOVE paper. which is why I almost fainted with pleasure when I was introduced to this website: ohsobeautifulpaper.

a little of this and a little of that makes for a lovely morning blog to read.

other people's creativity is always inspiring, so why not steal ideas from designsponge.

look inside the stylefiles and be prepared to gasp.sigh.want want want want.

well, looky here...just found about a dozen or so things that I absolutely have to have.

more paper here.

people, make me stop!!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

finally, a day of rest.

In the past week I have often signed on to write a new post, but no words have been suitable for all that has been going on. My work didn't seem important enough to write about, and the biggest news- that my Grandpa died last Thursday morning- seemed too important to write about.

Now everything is over and I can try again.

A lot of anticipation and anxiety was spent over traveling to northern VA for the viewing and funeral. I have an absurdly large family, and to add to that friends and business associates and coworkers and even friends of friends...well, you can imagine overwhelming and exhausting it was. Wonderfully touching, but tiring.

A happy change has occured in our family as well. My parents adopted a dog on Saturday and she is the cutest thing. She is a one year old feist/lab mix and is 20-something pounds. We didn't name her until last night, but the decision is final:: Elinor Dashwood, aka "Ellie." We named her after one of our favorite Jane Austen characters. Ellie took to my dog Casey immediately and they are constantly rolling around and chewing on each other's legs and ears. Great entertainment!

I finished both of the Rosamunde Pilcher novels (Wild Mountain Thyme and The Empty House) that I set out to read for the week, and now I'm not sure what to read next. If I want to have read 4 books in 4 weeks then I need to hurry up and get one started!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

thoughts on a rainy day

This has been such a great week. Last Friday I was honored to go wedding dress shopping with one of my dear friends and was blown away by how perfect the dress she chose is for her. I was at my parents house over the weekend and enjoyed having everything done for me! They fixed our favorite salmon dish on Friday night and my mom made mashed cauliflower and green beans to accompany the fish. Mashed cauliflower is prepared like mashed potatoes and has a fantastic texture and taste.

I so wanted to finish my book by Monday and accomplish one of my New Year's resolutions, but I was distracted by magazines all weekend (speaking of which, where the HECK is my Real Simple January issue!?!?). I only have about twenty pages left and I'm planning on knocking them out while the kids are in the tub tonight. I'm reading "The Guinea Pig Diaries" by AJ Jacobs and I'm not loving it as much as his other two books. The best thing about his work is that you're laughing and learning at the same time. For example, I learned of George Washington's list of virtues. My favorite is "shift not yourself in the sight of others." I never thought George Washington would make me giggle.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I got my haircut yesterday at Jon David's and love love love the result. It's exactly what I wanted. David always delivers! He had to step away during the haircut because he couldn't stop laughing at the nervous look on my face. I've been wanting side bangs for several months now and I'm so glad that I finally got them done. I woke up this morning and my hair looked like just like it did last night, so I'm thinking I'll just never wash my hair again and hope that it will look this good every morning. :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Strangest job assignment ever.

Today I bought $15 worth of chicken breasts for Jack, my boss Katie's DOG. I teased her that it was like working for Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada, but in reality Katie is a lot of fun to work for. And no, she is not a complete freak - Jack has stomach issues and the vet suggested they feed him chicken breasts.

My other assignments made up for the chicken thing. I shopped for bowties, shoes and hairpieces online b/c Katie and her husband are getting pics taken later in the month. This is the second time I've been paid to shop. LOVE IT. Katie is wearing an amazing light pink dress with a thick black asymmetrical strap from The Yellow Button in Harrisonburg, and we bought her a ton of hairpieces from Forever 21 as well as these a-mazing heels. The shoes are described as "a covetable challenge" which I suppose means they are difficult to wear, but why would you tell that to customer?!

I also discussed pricing with a printshop, e-mailed a bride about meeting with her in NYC and helped Katie set up different shots of spices and raw veggies for her assignment for chef Barton Seaver.

Oh yes, we're going to NYC! We're going the first weekend in March, which means I'll be in a state of excitement for several weeks. We will be meeting up with a few brides and a wedding planner, and hopefully getting a tour of the Martha Stewart offices. Any suggestions on where we should eat?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

sunday blues

There are days when I don't feel like myself. This is one of those days. I'm hungry and nothing sounds good, and I can't keep my eyes open even though I slept until 9:30 and rested on the couch for an hour.
I made the chicken and vegetable soup today. I simmered the chicken carcass in water for an hour but the broth was still weak in flavor, so I added a packet of bouillon. I chopped up celery, carrots, an onion and mushrooms and threw in frozen green beans and the pulled chicken. The house smells delish and I'm hoping that in a few hours I will be in the mood for a big bowl of soup.

Friday, January 8, 2010

pretty chicken

I craved two things this week: crispy chicken skin and chicken and vegetable soup. Solution: roasted chicken. I used this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa except that I omitted fresh lemons, garlic, and bacon. I've made the recipe before and it was fabulous, but it's just as great without those extras. I used a roaster that has the plastic pop up to let you know when it's done, and it turned out beautifully. Notice I took a little bite before snapped this picture (top right of first pic). I stood at the stove and stuffed myself with hot chicken when I should have been getting ready for coffee with Amber. I was quite proud of my cutting skills, though I didn't slice chicken thighs because I'm using both white and dark meat in my soup. The amount of cut chicken can't compare to the amount I pulled from the bones! Last time I roasted a chicken I completely butchered it to death, so this is a huge improvement. I didn't research how to properly cut a chicken, but I think the legs, wings and breasts look pretty recognizable...and delicious. I saved the carcass to boil for stock and I have a big ol' bowl of pulled chicken to use for soup and salads. I saved the juices but haven't made them into a gravy yet. I took a good long look at the bag of giblets, which are both gross and fascinating at the same time. I debated whether or not I should cook them for kicks, but the gross factor won and I threw them out.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ah! another pleasure!

My sister needs this tote for our next big family trip.
She is the backpack lady.

one of those little pleasures that this blog is supposed to be about

Anthropologie's January catalog.

In the words of Rachel Zoe: I die.

hair extensions? really, Kate Gosselin? ...and other news.

The world is coming to an end.

Today was my first day as the studio manager for Open Air Photography. Unfortunately the one task Katie asked me to do today proved a little too difficult for me. I had to staple a checklist to each wedding contract for 2010. Connecting two pages together with a thin metal strip via a handheld device should not be this hard. Of course, after I banged it to death, Katie came over to give it a try and with a simple tap against her wrist the staple clicked into place. I told her she should fire me immediately.

How annoying is that? It ALWAYS happens to me-- someone else can do something in two seconds that I've attempted to do for ten minutes.

The moral of the story is that Katie's stapler likes to be gently wooed before it submits to twisting itself up for the sake of organization. Lesson learned, stapler.

P.S. Not too long ago I went to get a few squares of toilet paper from our bathroom and nearly cut myself. This can't be I investigated the roll and found a small STICK wedged into the paper. This makes me wonder if some advanced whittler is shaving branches until it turns into triple-ply TP, similar to the way a person would peel an apple and get an impressively long twirl of skin. He (or she) needs to go back to whittling school. I'm impressed by the plys, but honestly I had to sit and unroll it until there was hardly any paper left. I saved the wood chip for a while as a reminder that Big Brother really does exist and your bottom is in danger of receiving a huge splinter.

I don't really believe in Big Brother.

But on the subject of toilet paper, here's some toilet paper entertainment courtesy of Seinfeld.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I Netflix'd the movie "Coming Home," which is based on one of my favorite novels by Rosamunde Pilcher. The acting is pretty lame, but I put up with it because I love the book and I'm sick so I have nothing else to do and Andy was completely zoned in on uploading music to his new ipod. The film is chugging along...two characters walk down to a private cove off the English coast... and BAM! the girl is completely naked and running around on the beach. I shrieked in horror/delight. What on earth?! What kind of a movie is this?! Then, a few scenes later, Emily Mortimer's boob fills up the lower half of the screen. More shrieking.

Our favorite role of Emily's is when she plays Phoebe on 30 Rock, who has avian bone syndrome and says, "Careful, my bones!" Only now we have decided to change the quote to "Careful, my boobs!"

Sunday, January 3, 2010

"I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves."

^ quote from Anna Quindlen

Books read in 2009:
The Girls by Lori Lansens
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Julie and Julia by Julie Powell
Scribbling the Cat by Alexandra Fuller
Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison
From Heaven Lake by Vikram Seth
Slow Man by J.M. Coetzee
The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
They Poured Fire On Us From the Sky by Benson and Alephonsion
Deng + Benjamin Ajak
The Life You Can Save by Peter Singer
My Antonia by Willa Cather
The King's Rifle by Biyi Bandele
The Blue Bedroom by Rosamunde Pilcher
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Novel Without a Name by Duong Thu Huong
The Natural History of Uncas Metcalfe by Betsey Osborne
Dreamers of the Day by Mary Doria Russell
47 Roses by Peter Sheridan
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by
Mary Ann Shaffer + Annie Barrows
The Courtyard by Marcia Willett
An Ordinary Man by Paul Rusesabagina
What Remains by Carol Radziwill
Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner
The Invisible Wall by Harry Bernstein
The Groom to Have Been by Saher Alam
Real Sex by Lauren Winner
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
The Aquariums of Pyongyang by Chol-hwan Kang
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Favorite book of 2008:
Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller
Favorite book of 2009:
Tie! The Reader by Bernhard Schlink and Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner.
Kick-off book for 2010:
The Guinea Pig Diaries by AJ Jacobs

Friday, January 1, 2010

a festivus for the rest of us

Andy and I celebrated Christmas with my parents, sister and brother in law last night. Talk about wrapping paper FRENZY. Andy got an ipod touch and spent the rest of the night in sheer disbelief/joy.
I got these super cute pajama pants *notice the owls* from my sister. She gave me my birthday gift as well- a pedometer and a clutch with (guess?) owls! more bird things!!! This picture also shows off my birthday watch from Andy. My parents spoiled us like crazy as always and I'm excited for all the reading and cute clothes wearing that I'll be doing this year. I had a yummy lunch at PF Changs w/ Eileen and spent the rest of the afternoon fighting the masses at Tysons Corner. It was ugly.
Since I don't get back home until Sunday afternoon, I will be starting my resolutions on Monday. My whole family, minus Andy, will be starting the Maker's Diet on Monday, which means we have been stuffing our faces with carbs and sugar in anticipation of the upcoming 40 days.
A bird nose-dived into our kitchen window this morning and was rescued by my brother in law, Todd. How cute is this pic?

No, I did not try to keep the bird.