Wednesday, October 31, 2012

{happy halloween}

I hope you are all enjoying a very happy halloween!! We ventured out for a Halloween party with friends last night and I put together this last minute Troop Beverly Hills (one of my favorite movies!). I created this outfit using fabric I had around the house, some logos printed on cardstock, a lot of hot glue and a girl's school uniform skirt from Target!

{is there anything better than forcing your dog to wear a hotdog costume?!?!}

Friday, October 26, 2012

{friday cocktail: julibox giveaway!!!}

First of all, sorry for my little absence from blogging this week as things have been a bit busy around here,  but I am going to make it up to you right this moment with an awesome giveaway for two lucky readers from Julibox!  I first discovered Julibox when an amazing reader emailed me to alert me to this great monthly cocktail service figuring it was something I might be into (yup. obviously!).  I couldn't believe I hadn't heard of this before!  Julibox is basically like Birchbox, but instead of getting little make up samples you get the unique recipes and quality ingredients to make two different cocktail recipes every month!  Let me repeat myself....what we are talking about here is cocktails delivered to your door- there is no way this isn't going to be great.

This month's Julibox includes a recipe for a Bramble 75 (which is a fun Fall inspired update on the classic French 75 champagne cocktail) and an Autumn Sling (another seasonal take on a classic cocktail, a Singapore Sling).  These two cocktails proved to be almost like a "his & hers" recipe pairing for Chris and I- as he went for the sling and I obviously took a liking to the champagne cocktail!

{image via Julibox}

These boxes come beautifully packaged (which I am total sucker for) with pretty tissue paper and great graphic design which wins me over every.  single.  time.  The recipes, which are curated by these fine gentlemen and lady who have some serious industry resumes, are printed on nice thick cardstock complete with a little background on the cocktail and even a suggested toast to accompany your cocktails.  I personally loved the toast that came with the Bramble 75 which said "may all your joys be pure joys, and your pain champagne."  These little recipe cards are a perfect accessory for keeping handy on your bar (or fancy bar-cart) for the next time you want to whip up one of these tasty libations.

Julibox is fit for both the seasoned cocktail enthusiast as the recipes are certainly not your run of the mill old fashioned as well as those who are just getting into the art of making a great cocktail since you can play around with ingredients you may not have stocked in your bar yet.  At $40 a pop, a Julibox subscription would also be an amazing and affordable gift to keep in mind with the holidays right around the corner!

{bramble 75 & autumn sling made to our liking}


Today I am giving away one Julibox (the October edition pictured here) to two lucky readers!! Simply comment on this post (make sure your email is included in the comment form) for one entry.  For a bonus entry you can either "like" Julibox Cocktails on Facebook right here or follow @discoverjulibox on twitter then come back here and leave one additional comment telling me which one you have done! That's two chances to win!

Because this Julibox includes tasty alcoholic beverages you must be 21 years of age or older to enter.  Those who reside in Texas, Massachusetts, Nevada or West Virginia are not eligible for this giveaway because of alcohol shipping restrictions in your state.  If you live in one of those states you are welcome to enter this giveaway and "gift" your winnings to a friend in a state that does qualify.

Giveaway ends on THURSDAY November 1st at 11:59pm.  Winner will be chosen at random and I will announce the winner on Friday November 2nd.

**Julibox has sent me a courtesy cocktail box to review for this post, but no other compensation has been received and all opinions are my own. I just love cocktails! You know this. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

{pumpkin mousse}

This past weekend we took a little trip to a cute town a bit north of us to check out the Highwood Pumpkin Festival which is basically a celebration of all things pumpkin-most notably the over 30,000 carved pumpkins on display!  After the festival we headed back to a friend's place to carve our own pumpkins and eat some authentic Texas queso cooked by the hosts (a first for me!).   I offered to bring over the dessert which would give me an excuse to make up a batch of this amazing looking Pumpkin Mousse recipe.  This recipe delivered on all my expectations: it's got that wonderful seasonal flavor of pumpkin mixed with an incredibly decadent creamy consistency yet light texture.  On top of all that, this recipe is very quick to make, requires a short ingredient list and very little technical ability (unless folding whipped cream into the mousse intimidates you like it does for me- it shouldn't, but it does. everyone has fears. this is mine.)  Plus, you can make this mousse up a day or two before your event and simply place the whipped cream and cookie topping directly before serving.  And don't forget about the other great pumpkin dessert option I cooked up last year around Halloween right here

 {ginger cookies for the crumbled cookie topping- make sure to sprinkle plenty of this on the top of the dessert as it adds a wonderful crunch and interesting flavor component}

Here are a few photos from our pumpkin related activities this weekend:

{our entry into the pumpkin carving contest which was 100% chris' idea for a big
 pumpkin with a really little face which turned out pretty hilarious looking}

Friday, October 19, 2012

{friday cocktail: fennel delight}

One of my favorite things about growing up in southern California is the smell of bonfires on the beach while driving down PCH; it's a very specific smell that conjures up memories of s'mores and summer nights.  You would think given my affinity for that smokey scent that I would love drinking cocktails with the ultra smokey flavor that Mezcal tequila has, but try as I might I just cannot get into it.  To me it's like candy corn- every year it comes around and you try one thinking you might like this time around, but its still gross and makes you reach for a glass of something to wash the taste away.  Anyways Chris loves Mezcal, so I made this cocktail as a labor of love just for him.  It might appear to be fruity and pink, but the heavy smoke taste of the Mezcal mixed with the licorice flavor of the fennel makes this cocktail quite manly.  You can see the original recipe here which I have modified slightly to make it a little less sweet.  


Thursday, October 18, 2012

{black & gold guest bathroom}

We signed the lease on our Chicago place almost 5 months before we actually moved.  Even though we never saw our place in person before moving day, I did have a ton of pictures and a floorplan to allow me start dreaming up decor for the different rooms.  One thing I was most excited about was that we would have both a master bathroom and a guest bathroom which meant I could do something a little crazy with the guest bath.  I fell in love with the sexy look of these black walls forever ago, but our loft just did not lend itself to this kind of look since the walls were 20 feet high. I figured the Chicago guest bath would be the perfect opportunity to try out the look of black walls!  The guest bath is pretty small so if the black paint looked horrible it wouldn't be that big of a deal to just paint over it.

We definitely won't be painting over this bathroom anytime soon because I am obsessed with how great it turned out.  The deep black walls mixed with the clean white fixtures would have been a good look on its own, but I really wanted to add in gold hardware and accents to give the room a bit more of a luxe feel.

 {brass tray to hold my perfume}

{bin from Crate & Barrel transformed by my favorite gold spray paint available here}

 {Jonathan Adler's soap dispenser from the "druggist" line . sadly this line is now discontinued}

 {brass guest towel holder with the custom guest towels we originally had made for 
our wedding with our custom crest}

 {I wanted to create somewhat of a "his and hers" look with the towel holders, but rather than going with the obvious printed signs I choose two of my favorite images which I printed on regular cardstock to give them a muted vintage feel.}

 {another inspirational image in a little bit bigger of a frame from Michael's Crafts which I painted gold}

{the mirror is from Ikea and is sold in a matte black finish, but I obviously 
gave this one a few coats of gold spray paint}

We used a true black paint from Ace Hardware for this room and I would give you the exact color name/number, but honestly it doesn't matter because there is only one shade of black available in most paint color brands and they will all work for you.  I could not have made this project happen without some trusty gold spray paint and the fact that we are fortunate renters with landlords that chose beautiful white Kohler bath furnishings.

After seeing the results of this room, I would most definitely paint a bathroom in any of our future places black.  I also think this color would also lend itself well to a second bedroom that is converted into a closet/dressing room.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

{custom thank you notes in the shop}

I recently was contacted for a custom Thank You note order based off the Thank You notes I created for our own wedding (see those here).   My client wanted to purchase a set of notes as a gift for her engaged friend to use after their wedding and since we weren't sure if the bride would be taking the groom's last name, we kept it simple with just the couple's first names.  I loved this custom order so much that I have made it available in the shop right here.

{all packaged up and ready to go!}

Monday, October 15, 2012

{sneak peeks of our Chicago place}

When we first moved into our new Chicago place, we got most of the rooms and projects completed surprisingly fast.  The majority of our place was up and running within a week or two before we left on vacation to the Dominican Republic!

The thing with sharing these spaces with all of you is that I want them to be close to perfect.  So even though our place is 99% complete, I have been waiting to share the different spaces on the blog until I felt like they were "photo ready!"  This past week, I finally finished up some of the loose ends on a few of the spaces and I can't wait to share all the details over the next couple weeks.  For now, here are some sneak peeks...

 {fauxdenza in process- just missing the wood top at this point!}

 {ornate gold mirror}

 {brass perfume tray}

 {preserved boxwood}

 {kitchen organization}

{top shelf in the office}

Friday, October 12, 2012

{friday cocktail: le nightcap}

Often times after the dessert has been finished during a dinner party at our place, the guys retire to the living room to sip on a selection of Chris' whiskey or bourbon from our bar.  Relaxing and drinking whiskey from a brandy glass in the later hours of the evening always feels so timeless and chic to me, but I never partake since I don't have much of a taste for whiskey or bourbon.  Not one to feel left out though, I developed my own little drink so that I can partake in the fancy-ness along with the boys.  I'm going to call it "Le Nightcap" and here's the small but strong recipe meant to be sipped (add an ice cube if you are going to be a little girl about it):


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

{goat cheese, lemon & asparagus pasta}

Do you like cheese? Good, so do I.  This pasta has goat cheese on it so you know it's good.  It's good for an evening in with a glass of wine watching some Real Housewives.  It's good to make for you and your man.  It's even good for a big dinner party.   You can see the original recipe I referenced for this goat cheese spiral pasta with lemon, asparagus and fresh tarragon right here, but we also added some kale to it just because we had some in the fridge.  This dish was truly satisfying and tasty yet incredibly simple to make.  While the goat cheese is delicious, the fresh tarragon is what really gives this dish some interesting flavor so don't skip it!