Monday, March 31, 2014

Mexican Style Spaghetti Squash

I like trying new recipes that incorporate lots of veggies - and actually taste really good. I was perusing Printerest, looking for dinner ideas, and found this recipe that sparked my interest. I didn't feel like cooking the vegetables or using as many ingredients, so I put my own spin on it and came up with: a Mexican style roasted spaghetti squash bowl topped with fresh salsa and black beans. That's a mouthful. I'm somewhat obsessed with the combination of avocado, lime and cilantro. Cilantro is the crowing jewel to any dish for me. I can't get enough of the stuff! I also like black beans. The flavors are so fresh! You can use whatever veggies you like. 



Ingredients:
1 spaghetti squash
1-2 ripe avocados
1-2 Roma tomatoes
Half a yellow bell pepper
Half a small onion (or less, the flavor is strong)
1 can black beans, drained (or better yet, Caribbean seasoned black beans)
Half a lime
Fresh Cilantro
Olive Oil 
Salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray. Cut spaghetti squash into 4 pieces. Rub squash flesh with a little olive oil and sprinkle a little salt on pieces. Roast squash, skin side down on baking sheet, for 50 minutes or until strands are tender. 

10 minutes before squash is done roasting, make fresh salsa topping. Drain can of black beans. Dice avocados, tomato, bell pepper, onion and tear pieces of cilantro. Add beans and vegetables to a bowl. Squeeze juice of half a lime into bowl. Drizzle with light amount of olive oil. Sprinkle a tiny bit of salt. Gently mix everything together. 

When squash is done roasting, let cool for 10 minutes or until it's easy to handle. Scrape 1 section of squash into a bowl, fluff strands and top with a few spoonfuls of fresh salsa. Enjoy! 

Makes 4 servings. Or, if you're like me, you'll eat two helpings, because it's that good! Refrigerate squash and salsa separately if you have leftovers and enjoy the next day.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Oliver Blanket Set

I made a baby boy blanket, bib and burp cloth set, for my friend (and coworker), Hilary. Sweet little Oliver (such a cute name!) arrived a week ago. He is so cute in photos! I can't wait to meet him in person. 

Hilary is the tiniest little thing and the most graceful expectant Mom I've ever seen. I thought this simple gray chevron would be cute for her baby boy. Hilary and I share a love of chevron. 

The bibs and burps are fun to make. The blankets seem to try my patience. They have quickly become a limited edition. 

I packaged it up in a green basket with cute nautical rope handles, wrapped some cellophane around it and tied it with a ribbon. I hope Oliver likes it! 

This is the pink leopard baby girl blanket set I made. So cute.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring Birthday


It's that time of year again...my birthday and the first day of spring! Although, by the looks of it outside, winter isn't going to leave without a fight. 

I thought I'd give you a special TBT photo. For those of you who are challenged by acronyms like I am, TBT stands for "Throw Back Thursday." Not to be confused with "Truth Be Told," like I initially thought it meant. 

This is my class picture from 4th or 5th grade (for some reason, I can't quite remember, and if it's not written on the back of the photo, I have to guess). I'm pretty sure it was around 1991, so 9 or 10 years old. I'm wearing my FAVORITE pink and navy polkadot dress at the time - complete with a bow, front and center. Pearls I wore in my sister's wedding. This is pre-braces. My teeth needed some serious orthodontics (thanks Mom & Dad!). And, last but not least, my WORST. haircut. EVER. It's SO short. Slicked back, swooped on top, and all kinds of not-what-I-wanted. This is why I've never come close to cutting my hair that short ever again. But, it was in style at the time I guess, right? I wanted to try it. And now I can look back, remember and laugh. 

My husband spoiled me this birthday week - dining out, shopping, a new watch. I am one lucky lady! I'm thankful for the thoughtful cards, sweet gifts and wishes from family and friends. My heart is blessed by all of you. You sure know how to make me feel special! I thank God for every one of you. Thank you for being in my life. 

I'm looking forward to whatever God had in store for me this year! 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tangerine Chair


Meet my "new" vintage tangerine chair. There's a bold addition to my living room and I love it! I don't know why, but this chair makes me so happy. 


It completes the corner of the room and feels like it was made for it. 


Originally, I had a pair of tan arm chairs in here, but one has since taken residence in my home office, leaving room for a replacement. I've been on the lookout for a Queen Anne chair with some character, for a loooong time. But, I wouldn't settle until I found the right one. Plus (as always), the price had to be right.


A couple Saturday's ago, I was perusing Craigslist, and came across this chair listing at a newly discovered second hand shop. As you can see, the photo isn't the greatest. I couldn't tell what shape it was in or the exact color. That afternoon, I had to see it in person. I walked through the shop a few times, trying to decide. It was only $30! Could I pass it up? Would I really like it in my house? Was it too risky? It was in very good condition. The chair kept calling to me. I had to take it home. Call me crazy. And impulsive. 


I considered putting it in my office, but once I got it home, it matched too perfectly with the living room to put it anywhere else. You should have seen me, I was so excited! 



The touches of orange accents already in the room tie it all together. 



The fabric is a soft velour in really good condition. It's comfortable too! This piece was a gem on many levels. I was giddy. It reminds me of my parents velour chairs. It also reminds me of the orange carpet, orange couch and orange checkered wallpaper in the kitchen of the house I grew up in. That might explain what I'm not afraid of orange. 


Don't you just want to sip a cup of tea and read a book here? 

If you're looking for new-to-you furniture, I am a fan of checking Craigslist before dropping a large amount of money on something brand new. Check often and don't get discouraged. Sometimes you might find exactly what you're looking for. I usually email first and ask a few questions, such as: Is it from a smoke-free, pet-free home? Is there any major damage to it or repair needed? Does it need to be cleaned?

This time I really lucked out because I discovered a second hand shop that I didn't know existed. The shop people told me that they know who the chair came from and they will be very happy to know it's going to a good home. That makes me feel ever better about my purchase. Welcome to your new home.  

Snow Day


My office let us go home early today, due to a severe blizzard warning and winter travel advisories. Yikes. Not the type of weather I enjoy driving in. The crazy thing is, yesterday finally felt like a spring day - almost all traces of snow were melted, the temperature climbed around 50 degrees and I actually walked outside without a coat part of the day. What a tease! 


This March is living up to it's "in like a lion" reputation. Hopefully it exits "like a lamb". 


I miss going for walks in the park and just sitting outside. I look forward to not having to wear 9 layers of clothing, coats, hats, boots and scarfs. I stepped outside briefly to snap a couple photos and this is how deep the snow currently is on our deck. 


I'll admit, there is a quiet and peaceful beauty about fresh snow. Tree branches laden with white. The crunch under your feet. Snowflakes on your eyelashes. Everything appears to be sleeping, so to speak. I like it better when I'm looking at it from inside my warm house. Brushing off my car, scraping ice off my windshield and praying I don't slip on the ice is another story! 

The first day of spring is next week, March 20th (also my birthday). I've always loved that my birthday coincides with the welcoming in of Spring. Even if winter is still hanging around, it marks the start of new life, growth and warmer days ahead. Come quickly spring! 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

China Cabinet Makeover


I'm excited to share my first ever china cabinet makeover! I figured we could use some sunny yellow right about now, in the midst of dreary winter. 



I found this china cabinet at a local thrift store and could. not. pass. it. up. I think I ended up paying $41 for it. What a bargain! It was calling out to me for some TLC. It also whispered, "If you take me home, I'll display your milk glass collection." Sold. 



I scoured Pinterest for china cabinet inspiration and pinned a few that caught my eye. I was really torn between playing it safe with white, or going for a bold statement color. In the end, my heart was stuck on yellow. I decided to go for it! 



After a light sanding, we used three coats of Martha Stewart's color "Egg Yolk" with Glidden's Duo Paint and Primer in one, Eggshell. I have my husband to thank for finishing it up for me with his expert painting skills. 




The transformation took place in our garage over a few days. 




I am thrilled with the result! Yellow is the perfect pop of color in our living room. It looks great against the gray walls and my milk glass collection looks so pretty in it! 




I finally have a place to store my treasured pieces.





The finishing touch was swapping out the old brass hardware for some elegant glass knobs. I just love it! 


Recently, I came across this photo in a magazine. I can't remember which magazine now - Real Simple maybe? It confirmed my choice to paint a piece of furniture yellow. "It's like an exclamation point on the room." I agree. So cherry!



What a transformation. Don't be afraid to scoop up those diamonds in the rough you see at  second hand stores or garage sales. If it's in decent condition and has good bones, you can give it a new life and make it something really beautiful - for not a lot of money. That's the beauty of DIY projects and thrifty finds! 


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day


Valentine's Day is a special time of year for us because nine years ago, we got engaged two days before "love day". I'm so thankful that 10 years ago, God brought my forever valentine into my life. My husband, Andrew, is my best friend, my love, my heart. He has shown me what love truly is. He loves me at my best and at my absolute worst. He makes me laugh. Encourages me. Supports me. Puts up with me. Celebrates with me, as well as shares the difficult times. He simply gets me. He's by my side, no matter what. I am so grateful and so undeserving. I love you Andrew! 

In November, my talented brother-in-law, David, showed us his photography studio and took a series of portraits of us. I am a big fan of his work and I'm so blessed by this photo! I love it. Thank you David. We love you! Check out more of David's beautiful work on his blog, here.

I added my own design to this photo to celebrate the gift that love is, and to wish all of you a very Happy Valentine's Day! I hope you get to share it with the one(s) you love. Most of all this Valentine's Day, I hope you know that God, the Creator of your heart, is crazy in love with you! "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

I'm also participating in Brilliant Earth's "Create a Little Love" campaign. Brilliant Earth ethically sources diamonds and engagement rings. Visit their website to learn more.