Saturday, February 8, 2014

DIY Hairpin-leg Night Stand

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Hello reader friends...

Goodness, I have been on quite the blogging hiatus! Life has been busy to say the least. I thought I would follow up with some promises I made on earlier posts to indulge in the design-y side of my life. I am happily surrounded by beautiful fabrics, finishes, furniture and lovely creative people every single day. This leaves little bits of my personal design life at the mercy of my late nights/weekends. Like most of you, I'm not a homeowner (yet!) and I am living on a dime...so let's get a little creative, shall we?

My roommate and I put together these night stands in an afternoon... after she primed, stained, and ordered materials, of course. Either way, the back story goes a little something like this: poor girls see beautiful tables at boutique furniture store, poor girls figure out how to makeshift their own, and WAAHLAAH!

Inspiration: The East Side Table $425 at local store.
These hairpin legs give a mid century modern feel and I love the idea of doing a coffee or dining table using these as well. The legs are sold for about $20 a pop and one table cost less than $100 to DIY. They're simple, refined and don't clutter a space (especially small spaces).


I hope you feel inspired and have a wonderful weekend! Thanks for reading :)









Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Easy Salted Caramel Sauce

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Recently, a friend asked me what in the world drives me to make these random recipes? I mean it's a valid point, just go to the grocery store and pick up a 2 dollar jar of caramel, pickles or jelly and call it a day. This blog is my way of doing things I've always wanted to do or have never done before. I've found I enjoy a good challenge. I can get bored with the mundane and learning new things is my fuel. Perhaps this is the modern day cookbook I'm keeping for myself. I don't have a powerful or rational reason why I blog...I just like to :)

I made this sauce in the spirit of Halloween, caramel apples and all things sugary. It went over really well at our pumpkin carving party and my roomie made apple chips to dip. YUM! Yes, it's post-Halloween but I think caramel sauce will still be a great dip or drizzle for those holiday parties coming up. It's a bit of a tricky technique, but if you're patient enough, the results are phenom. Another reason I love this... is the short ingredient list! You have to stay close, because it can go from beautiful to burnt in a matter of seconds.


Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt (I prefer Maldon sea salt flakes or fleur de sel)


Preparation
  1. Heat sugar and water in a 2-quart or 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir to help the sugar dissolve, but stop stirring when the sugar comes to a boil. You can swirl the pan a bit if you want.
  2. When the liquid sugar hits a dark amber color, add all the butter to the pan. The mixture will foam up and thicken. Whisk until the butter has melted. Once the butter has melted, take the pan off the heat.
  3. Add the cream to the pan (the mixture will foam up again) and continue to whisk to incorporate.
  4. Add the sea salt and whisk until caramel sauce is smooth. (Note: if making Bourbon Salted Caramel Sauce, add 3 tablespoons of bourbon at this time.)
  5. Let cool in the pan for a couple minutes, then pour into a glass jar and let cool to room temperature. Don't worry if the sauce seems a bit too thin at first, it will thicken as it cools. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Warm before serving to loosen it up again.
*recipe acquired from Lick My Spoon



Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more DESIGN-ey posts...I'm trying to stop posting recipes but I can't hide my foodie side...

xo



Sunday, October 27, 2013

Puppy Talk

I haven't blogged in about a month and this is why!

Okay world, meet Jack. He is the new addition and my first baby boy. Just look at that face...he's distracting, to say the least! Warning: I'm in love with my dog.

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I've got to admit...I feel like we won the puppy lottery. He is SO good! This little guy is about 6 months and he is so attentive and smart (basically how everyone feels about their animals/kids). I can't tell you how long I've had puppy fever, so when I saw a tent full of pups outside of Petsmart I immediately dialed my boyfriend, hoping he would talk me out of it.


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Outside of Petsmart thank you kisses:)
Everyone told me how much of an extra responsibility pups are so, naturally, I was anti-that. I admit, I always pitied people when I drove past them at my apartment standing around their dog as they sniffed the ground tauntingly. I thought the dog owners always looked miserable while wearing some version of mismatched pajamas with plastic bags in their hands. ICK! WHY!? NEVER!

But here I am, enthusiastically trailing my pup in hopes of a nice..solid...well you know. I love little Jack so much and obviously the reward is worth the extra hours I'm spending taking care of something besides myself! I've found one of the happiest/fulfilling feelings is to love something beyond yourself.




 


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heart = full
If you're on the hunt for a furry friend, I highly recommend looking at your local animal shelters. We visited the Austin Humane Society and ended up finding Jack through Austin Pets Alive. He was given all of his shots and we're receiving meds (he was a sick pup) and neutering for free through the APA organization. Overall, the adoption process was only about $150 including his surgery and first round of vaccines. Not too shabby!

I hope you enjoy your Sunday and basically, I think everyone should have a dog. If you don't have the the time or resources, there are really cool ways to donate your time or volunteer! Have a ruff-tastic week, ya'll!



Monday, September 2, 2013

Strawberry Jalapeño Jelly


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If I can, you can...

The dog days are not quite over! I tried a spicy and fruity summer recipe that is perfect for hot weekends, better spent indoors. Let's face it, it's flippin HOT outside, ya'll. Since my pickle post was so successful, I wanted to give another lesson on preserving sweet SUMMER:) Thanks so much for the sweet comments and emails. Please let me know if you get a chance to use this recipe!

I know I call this a recipe but I didn't realize CANNING was such a sport! I'm talkin' special pots, gadgets and devices.

I remember raiding my grandmother's garden and making blackberry jam with her when I was little...it was grand-daughter bliss and a memory I'll always remember.
Since I'm just a poor twenty-something girl living in an apartment, I rely on farmer's markets and the HEB fruit section for my fresh berries:) One day I'll be picking my own fruits and veggies from my own little garden...one day.


There are 4 simple steps in this process: Prepping + Cleaning + Cooking + Cooling.

*PS: I recommend watching a couple of YouTube videos to really understand the process of canning. 
  
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 INSTRUCTIONS:


[Yield: 8 half-pint jars]
recipe acquired from food.com - click here to change yield

4 cups strawberries, crushed (discard stems and leaves)
1 cup jalapeno pepper (processed in food processer)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 (1 3/4 ounce) package powdered fruit pectin (Sure-Jell Premium yellow box I prefer using 1 1/2 packages because strawberries are runnier)
7 cups granulated sugar (yes this is the right amount...it's jelly!)
1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional aka MY SECRET TOUCH)
1/2 tsp. butter


1.  Place the crushed strawberries (do not chop in a food processor; the texture will be too fine and choppy), processed jalapeno pepper, lemon juice and pectin into a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan; stir in the sugar to dissolve. Rapidly bring to a boil over high heat (long, slow boiling destroys the pectin). Once at a full rolling boil, cook for 1 full minute. One half teaspoon butter may be added to keep down the foam, if desired. Letting this mixture sit for about 5 minutes discourages the fruit from separating.

2. Sterilize eight half pint canning jars with lids and rings, boiling for at least 5 minutes and kept hot.
3. Pack the jam into the hot, sterilized jars, filling the jars to within 1/4 inch of the top. Run a knife or a thin spatula around the insides of the jars after they have been filled to remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any food residue. Top with lids and screw on rings. Don't screw too tight...

4. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner. Remove the jars and place onto a cloth-covered or heat-resistance surface. (While cooling, I shake frequently to redistribute content.) Allow to cool overnight. Store in a cool, dark area.


I made a little label and added some personal touches to give as a gift...the more personal the better! Good luck and don't burn your tongue doing a taste test, trust me:)

 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sweet and Spicy Pickles

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Preserving sweet summer...

 This weekend I celebrated National "Can it Forward" day! Who knew? As the summer season is bitter-sweetly fading away (buh-bye triple digits), this is a way to PRESERVE your in-season fruits and veggies. After scouring the farmer's market Saturday morning, I decided to make pickles and jam (I will hopefully post the jelly recipe soon!). I found this recipe for "quick" pickles...meaning you can enjoy them 2-24 hours after canning them. Whereas typically, they take about a week to pickle.

The important part is properly prepping your veggies....
For cucumbers, slice to the size you desire and place on a layer of course salt and paper towels (I did this on a baking sheet). Next, top with a layer of coarse salt and let sit for 15 minutes. After time is up, pat veggies dry. For the pearled onions, we soaked them in ice cold water for 10 minutes before peeling. The process varies with whatever veggie you are pickling. Here's more information from Miss Martha.

Lets get picklin'!

Ingredients:
3 c. white vinegar
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 teaspoons course salt
3 pearled onions
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 jalapeno (optional)
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 1/2 c. fresh dill fronds (about one bunch)
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For Brine:
In medium saucepan combine vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard seed, celery seed, turmeric and bring to a boil. Stir constantly to dissolve sugar.
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Next, arrange fresh dill fronds into jar with prepared cucumbers. Pour hot brine into jar to completely cover the cucumbers. Seal and refrigerate. Enjoy when cold!
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My only regret...not making more!! If I haven't mentioned already, I'm a HUGE fan of spicy foods so my boyfriend and I left all of the jalapeno seeds in. It was just the right amount of hurt so good - as they say. The vinegar balances out the spice so don't be scared:)

Happy canning!






Tuesday, August 13, 2013

DIY Chalkboard Seating Display


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Because Jessica was the first name that came to mind...? :)


Instructions: (yay videos!)



- Find a smooth surface for your chalkboard design
- Tape off section ..I used a rectangle shape...be creative!
- Apply several coats of chalkboard paint/spraypaint
- Remove tape when paint is still wet.
- Allow to dry for several hours
- Enjoy!

I got a little Martha Stewy on you guys..but this is a really fun way to kill two birds. Name plates AND center pieces! I love this craft for storage as well...spices, tools, pencils...oh the possibilities!


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Perfect Pesto Pasta

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Happy Sunday,  friends! 

After a wonderful weekend spent with family (my rents came in town!) and friends I am pooped! In a good way of course... But I always feel like my weekends fly by. One of my favorite ways to spend Sundays involves the kitchen (and the couch when football season is here). This pasta dish is super easy and one of my favorite go-to's for something light but filling. It's always a crowd pleaser and it can be served warm or cold. I hope you guys enjoy!

Ingredients:
feeds: 4 hungry humans
  • 2 sliced chicken breasts
  • 8 oz. bowtie pasta (cooked)
  • 1/4 c. chopped artichoke hearts
  • 1/2 c. sliced sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 c. chopped kalamata olives (these add major zing!)
  • 8 oz. pesto sauce
  • 1 c. fresh basil leaves
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


This ingredient list is never set in stone. I'm always adding a few more sun dried tomatoes when no one is looking...and the kalamata olives are a bit strong so sometimes I skimp on those. If you want fresh tomatoes instead of sun dried, go for it!

Instructions:
Cut the chicken breasts into bite sized pieces. Saute in a shallow pan. In a separate pot, add the pesto sauce to your noodles and stir until evenly distributed. Fold in artichokes, olives and tomatoes and cooked chicken. Chop or tear your basil leaves into small pieces and top each dish as a finishing touch. Add salt and pepper to taste.

The pesto sauce gives the pasta that oily texture with a delicious flavor. I'm determined to whip out my food processor and make my own pesto sauce.. another day, another post! Thanks for reading:)









Texas Women Bloggers
{This post is linked to the TWB weekly link party!}

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

My FIRST blogging conference


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Thanks Ruche, for hooking us up with these adorable middy-rings !
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@happyhust and @fashionisevo
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My boyfriend is so supportive and kinda awesome <3
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By the way, these ladies were as genuine as you could imagine. They can do no wrong!
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Networking party...and I found an awesome quote from {Delightfully Tacky}


I hash tagged the crap out of #TXSC13 this weekend and this is why...:)

My brain (and body) are just now catching up with what I call an AWESOME WEEKEND! Texas Style Council hosted a conference last weekend for women bloggers, makers, entrepreneurs and an all around awesomely creative and talented bunch. This year's theme was {Summer School} and now I remember what school was like...not a lot of sleep, parties and early morning classes...phew! Although alternatively, I was jumping out of bed every morning ready to attend sessions taught by some of my blogger idols. It was amazing! Not to mention, my fellow peers were some of the sweetest gals ever:)

It may be nearly impossible to talk about all of the topics we touched on but these are a few bits of advice I loved:
  •  Learning keeps us humble.
  • Challenge yourself.
  • Be specific about your goals.
  • Make connections that are personal.
  • Teaching = learning
  • Happiness is a choice!
  • Attend Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University
  • Quit slackin' and make shit happen!
  • Don't drink and blog.

After all of the hullabaloo, I'm only going to continue to improve my blog. I want to keep challenging myself to do things I may think I'm terrible at. After all, nothing about my life is perfect and I don't ever want to portray that. I DO believe in stepping out of comfort zones and I'm so grateful to have people in my life that support my shenanigans.

*SHOUT OUT to all of our sponsors and the amazing LuLu's for hosting our clothing swap. They hooked me up with my prom dress, I felt so lucky! I'm definitely planning on shopping with them and Ruche in the future...great prices too!

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.

- Sylvia Plath