Friday, August 24, 2012

{vacation in the dominican}

I am currently over-packing swimsuits and theme party outfits in preparation to leave on a week long trip to the Dominican Republic along with 20 of our newest friends who also just moved to Chicago with us!  Posts will be back to normal when we return...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

{new flea market finds}

{slat bench found at The Vintage Bazaar}

In our first couple weeks here in Chicago, we have been having a lot of fun checking out all the little flea markets and vintage stores around the city.  I have no idea why, but the selection at the flea markets here is really amazing and extremely reasonable.  The very first flea market we checked out, we found this amazing slat bench (above) for the end of our bed.  We scored this great bench for only $120 and I am sure it will be the type of piece that always finds a great home in any place we live.   Here are some of the other fun finds we picked up recently:

 {I have been looking for a black trophy vase like this forever. I can't wait to see it filled 
with deep fuchsia peonies next spring!}

{selection of vintage drink stirrers for dressing up cocktails.  I especially  love the pink
 flower ones for a girls night}

{a pair of vintage frames which I spray painted gold for our black/gold bathroom.  Chris and I spent a solid 30 or 40 minutes searching around on google images trying to find the right set of photos for these. I love the muted/faded look of these two images contrasted with the rich gold.}

{alright so this isn't vintage, but it is from a cute little store in the downtown area next to our place and I love it so I'm sharing it here.  I'm not sure how much more summer weather we have left here so I plan to take full advantage of wearing this as much as possible before it gets too cold!}

Monday, August 20, 2012

{paint decisions}

When we moved into our new place, the walls of the living/dining/kitchen were painted a taupe-y tan color which is probably a great neutral choice, but it doesn't really work with our style.  The below picture is how the bar looked when we first moved in against the original paint color.

{please excuse the low quality iphone photo}

And this is how it looks after we had the entire living/dining/kitchen painted in a light grey called Graylyn Crest from Ace:

While we love this color choice, we have been debating if it would make the bar set up look better if we painted the small wall it sits in front of a dark bold color.  We originally considered a deep majestic navy blue, but we already have a lot of navy throughout those rooms in the form of a huge area rug and our curtains.  So now we are leaning towards a deep hunter green or potentially a more bright saturated emerald like one of these options:

In the meantime, we have decided to set the bar up, have a few cocktails and live with the current light grey for a couple weeks while we figure out what would look best.

What do you think? Paint it a bold color or leave it as it? 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

{sweet potato corn cakes}

Do you ever get the desire to eat something fried for dinner like when all you want is a plate of french fries and a glass of champagne?  Well I didnt have that last night, but I did have something just as good...

Last night Chris made up a plateful of sweet potato and corn cakes with a garlic dipping sauce served alongside a glass of red wine and it could not have been more perfect.   I am pretty much a sucker for any dish using sweet potato or butternut squash so we were off to a good start just based on the ingredients, but these pan-fried cakes really proved to be delicious.  We followed this simple (and inexpensive!) recipe from Budget Bytes accompanied by a side of broccoli.

The potato cakes are starchy and slightly sweet with a bit of crunch plus the garlic dipping sauce adds an unexpected punch of cool flavor.  While originally I was hoping these would also make a great appetizer in mini form for future get togethers, we found in the pan-frying process that it probably wont be possible to make them much smaller than we did.  Although, this recipe would still make for a great side to a marinated steak dish or a bed to a nice seared pork loin.

Monday, August 13, 2012

{etsy shop: custom thank you cards}

Now that we are in the home stretch of getting settled into our new place, I decided it was time to start putting up some new listings in my Etsy Shop.  I have just added two new items to the paper goods secton of my shop; each are of 10 pack sets of Thank You cards that include pointed flap envelopes custom printed with your return address.

I originally used "heart banner" design to be sent out after my bridal shower (which is why you see my maiden name on the return).  Even though the cards are printed in black on kraft paper, I tried to keep this design a little girly with the hearts on the notecard and the return address. Purchase the heart banner set here. 

I created the "arrow" design by using an arrow element from our wedding programs to be used as our wedding thank you notes.  Since these notes were coming from both Chris and myself, I tried to keep the design very modern and simple. The "ampersand" return address is a modfied version of the return address from our wedding invites.  Purchase the arrow thank you set here.

As with all the items in my shop, I am able to fully customize the text/wording, font, design, etc so feel free to contact me if you are looking for something a little different!

Friday, August 10, 2012

{friday cocktail: a sherman}

Last night, Chris asked if i would make him a manhattan since we finally had vermouth in the fridge again.  While looking up the simple ingredients for the original classic recipe, I found a bunch of variations here which added different bitters/liqueurs to the base of rye and vermouth.  The Sherman was one of those variations and it is has the additions of absinthe and orange bitters.  While most manhattan recipes are actually stirred, I chose to shake this one.  The twist of new ingredients on a classic added some welcome and complex flavor to the otherwise simple drink.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

{summer dessert: grilled peaches with honey liqueur cream}

Even though we are still in the midst of getting settled in to our new place, we have at least unpacked enough of our kitchen to whip up a simple summer dessert.  We took our first trip to the "beach" of Lake Michigan down the street from our place to grill up some portobello burgers along with some friends and while researching side dish options to bring, I kept coming across ideas for grilled peaches.   We ended making a corn and quinoa salad for the beach, but we still picked up some peaches at the store to try out a grilled peach dessert.  I referenced this recipe for the basics and while the topping in that one sounds amazing (champagne whipped cream anyone?!?!), I opted to create an liqueur infused whipped cream topping instead.  Inspired by my recent trip to Binnys, we made some home-made whipped cream with a dash of Honey Liqueur.   I plated the peaches fresh off our cast iron grill topped with the newly enhanced whipped cream and drizzled with some honey.  This was such a quick an easy dish, perfect for a summer BBQ or as a last minute dinner party option.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

{our new Chicago place: in progress}

{taken when we first arrived into our new place}

Somehow we actually survived driving a 26 foot moving truck and a car all the way from LA to Chicago and we are now just getting settled into our new place after arriving here last Wednesday.  Moving is always a long process filled with multiple trips to Home Depot or Ikea, searching through countless boxes for the cord to connect your tv and debating paint choices.   We have gotten all of the boxes opened and unpacked and most of our furniture assembled, but we still have a ways to go before I would consider our new home to be complete.  Some of the projects on our to do list right now include painting almost all the rooms (especially the bedroom since our DIY headboard currently matches the blue wall perfectly), setting up our fauxdenza and hanging all our artwork

 {our new tree-lined street and ivy covered building- you cannot even imagine what a pleasant change this is for us coming from the concrete metropolis of downtown LA}

 {supplies for my black & gold bathroom- the mirror is from Ikea and it is currently on my to do list to be painted gold}

 {the Malm dressers set up as night stands awaiting their overlays.  As much as I loved making our previous nightstands, they proved to be way too small to hold more than a small glass of water and a tiny lamp. Robert Abbey Delta Lamp from right here}

 {a new houseplant from one of our Home Depot trips}

{supplies for our "fauxdenza" tv stand.  we are still  trying to find a good resource for the wood top- if anyone knows of a good (not sketchy or creepy) lumber yard in the Chicago area I would love to hear about it!}

I'll be back with updates on these project as we start crossing them off our list!