A Garden Party

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Last month Georgia turned one year old, it is hard to believe that she is walking and trying to talk!  Since we have such a great deck for entertaining, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to have a garden party.

Pink floral details were added where ever possible.  The rustic floral topped cake was made by my MIL, and the cake topper is actually just a wooden number one from the craft store that I spray painted and hot glued to a chopstick!

I made a few large paper flowers from this tutorial (minus the stems), and hung them along the pergola.

The pink party hats are some from target that I embellished with silk flowers.

Putting together this party for Georgia was a blast!  Nothing is sweeter in life to me than being a mom, and I treasured every moment this evening celebrating Georgia and all of the joy she has brought to our family this year!

Living Room Progress

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Please excuse the radio silence. I really don’t have much excuse as to why I have quit blogging save for the fact that I have become a manic wanna-be interior decorator and avid furniture collector.  Matt is just about ready to submit me for hoarders as it gets more and more difficult to actually walk through our garage each week.

We have been in our house over 7 months now, and looking back at the old MLS picture from when we purchased the house, even I can hardly believe it is the same room!

Here was what we started with:

The oak paneling, and brown brick fireplace made the windowless space really dark and heavy.  The grey floor and the wood walls also clashed in the worst of ways and I was convinced we needed new flooring, but honestly after we got everything painted white, the floor was much less offensive! We painted the entire space Benjamin Moore’s Cloud White prior to moving in with a paint sprayer.  Which instantly made the room feel bigger and more contemporary!

We painted the French doors and back of the built in bookcase Benjamin Moore’s Onyx to provide a dramatic contrast, and of course I wanted the room to match Lacy the mutt.  Can you even find her below?  It is like playing Where’s Waldo!

Most of the other stuff in the room is stuff we had in our last house.  The rug and sectional are both ikea.

The pair of antique French cane chairs were a lucky thrift store find that I painstakingly reupholstered myself.  I love the mix of the antique chairs with the more modern elements in the room.

The console table is vintage Pace Collection, and probably my favorite thing in the space.  The artwork is by me and the coral side table is Nate Berkus for Target.

There are still a few tweaks left to do.  We are planning on switching out the mantle and tiling a marble surround similar to this:

Via Bliss at Home

I am also hoping to update the ceiling fan with this light:

Swwooon!  It might take some convincing with the hubs because it is obviously not as practical as a fan would be in these Texas summers, but the fan that is here is not even working!

I have been working hard on the rest of the house too, and will be back to share more progress this week!

Hazelnut and Orange Dark Chocolate Bark

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Hi Y’all!  I am trying really hard to stick to this cleanse (if you can call it that), and I have to say, my willpower is not as great as I thought.  I am really awful at waking up and making myself the breakfast it suggest, actually I have yet to do it, and I am going into week two of the two week cleanse. The oats, barley, and other breakfast foods are stowed away in a deep dark corner of the pantry, where they will probably remain until  I make them into some granola concoction that I can grab and go in the morning.

The one thing on the cleanse that I am sticking to is the dessert part.  It takes A LOT of discipline, but somehow I manage to pull out this chocolate bark night after night, much to the delight of my girls. In honor of Valentine’s week I thought it would be kind to share said chocolate bark recipe because it is awesome and your Valentine would be super impressed to get this as a gift. Plus it is really simple to make, #winning!  It is like an incredibly better version of a  Ferrero Rocher.

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You will need:

  • 10 ounce bag of bittersweet chocolate chips
  • zest from one mandarin orange
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts toasted and chopped
  • flaky sea salt

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave in 30 second burst, stirring in between until chocolate is melted, about a minute and a half total.  Stir in 3/4 the chocolate chips and orange zest.  Spread the chocolate mixture onto the baking sheet in a thin layer and sprinkle the remaining zest, nuts and a little sea salt on top.  Refrigerate for half and hour before breaking the bark up into smaller pieces.

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Health food at it’s finest!

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House Progress, Paint in the Living and Dining Room

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This past month has been jam packed with house projects (mostly painting) and painting commissions (these seem to really pick up when I have a million other things going on), and I am looking forward to the day when I can give my brush a break and really enjoy some of the progress we have made on the house.

Almost every part of the main house has been painted and is almost unrecognizable.  Remember how the living room looked before..

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Now she is all bright white and airy.  I am planning on adding in artwork, some textiles, and accessories for a cozy and layered look.  I have a lot left to do around the other parts of the house too, but obviously I already think it is sooo much better than where we started!

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Same thing for the dining/piano room.  Before it had the vibe of a Mexican restaurant..

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Now it is all white.  I cannot believe how much the new paint has made the architectural details really stand out.

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We have painted the kitchen walls, but have yet to paint the cabinets to make it the dream kitchen, but it is already much more livable.

We painted every inch of this ourselves.  Matt did most of it with a paint sprayer, but I have been slowly making my way through the rest of the house painting the trim and French doors.

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Hopefully I will be back to report more progress soon!

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Easy Peasy Grilled Caprese

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Grilled Caprese Salad

Is it really January, or have I been secretly teleported to April.  The weather here is telling me the latter.  The trees in the yard are even confused as the early buds are being coerced out almost to full bloom.  I have been lackadaisical about the house work for no excuse other than it is warm and sunny.  The girls doctor has said to make sure that they are getting enough vitamin D after all, and what better way to get it than basking in the warm winter sun.

We have also been firing up the grill in the evening and spending the last few minutes of daylight on our new deck watching the sun set each evening.  One of my new favorite things to grill is this Caprese Salad.  It makes and excellent accompaniment to pretty much any grilled protein, and requires the companionship of a warm and crusty baguette.

I didn’t exactly write down the recipe, but it is easy enough to recreate without one.

You will need:

  • roma tomatoes, cut lengthwise
  • olive oil
  • mozzarella cheese, sliced into thumb sized slices
  • a handful of basil
  • balsamic vinegar

First, slice your tomatoes lengthwise Brush the flesh side with olive oil and toss on the grill.

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Let them start to soften, and then brush the skin side with your olive oil and flip over.

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Continue to let the tomatoes cook until the cheese is melted.  Tranfer the tomatoes to a plate and top with some chopped basil leaves and a quick drizzle of balsamic vinegar.  Serve with warm baguette.

Easy Peasy Grilled Caprese

This would make a superb Superbowl snack too, don’t ya think!

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A Fresh Start for February: Bon Appetit Food Lover’s Cleanse

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I have to come clean to you guys. I have been really crappy to my body the last few months. It has been filled with too much pizza and wine, and not enough sleep and exercise. The once frequent nutrient packed and veggie centric meals are now a very rare occurrence, and Annie’s Mac and Cheese is currently considered health food at our house.

I don’t really know how things took such a shift. I think it is just a combination of triggers. The kids, the move, trying to get a million things done each and ever day (sound familiar?), somehow my health took a nose dive straight to the bottom of the priority list. I am really starting to feel the effects of it too. I am almost always tired, I am not sleeping well, and really irritable.

I have been wanting to try something new and turn it around for awhile now. Even though I know how to prepare a to of clean and delicious dishes, I haven’t had that spark of motivation or creative kick in the rear that I needed to jump start it, until last Thursday. I was somewhere in a Pinterest rabbit hole when I saw this: “Bon Appitite Food Lover’s Cleanse 2015.” Despite doing the Dr Oz 3 day cleanse a couple of years ago and having great result, the idea of a strict juice or smoothie cleanse sounds about like hell in a glass to me now. The thing about the food lover’s cleanse is that you get to eat, and actually chew, your food, which takes some of the fear away for me.

The menu looks really intriguing. It has some veggies that are new to me. So I am starting today. I am hoping that it will bring me back to life a bit.
Did I mention that it includes dessert too?

I will be back to report my results, and hopefully share some yummy new healthy(ish) recipes too!

Have you ever tried a cleanse? Want to do this with me? Get started here here!

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Project Dream Kitchen Plans

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We are finally getting settled into our new place. The past week has been a whirlwind of painting, packing, moving and more painting. I am about this close to burnout, so much that the kitchen has been half painted for the past five days. That’s trivial though, the real pain about this move is having to clean our rental post move out. And I discovered our chihuahua, Lacy, has a thing for taking wine corks under the bed and tearing them into 967 pieces. It is almost enough to make me stop drinking wine all together, almost.

So you have seen the plan for the living room and dining room, so moving right along to the kitchen.  Here is what we are working with…

13032714_5 13032714_4 Open floorplan from the living room into the kitchen, formal din Classic styling in this open floorplan living area. See the kitc

More arsenic washed walls, but I see a small glimmer of potential. The cabinets and appliances are fairly new, and are there to say, but there are a few changes in store to make it my dream kitchen.  I think one of the reasons that I have not been inspired to cook lately is because of our tiny galley kitchen in the old house. The new kitchen is wide open to the living room, so it has to be FABULOUS!

This is direction we are planning on going in..

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The turquoise walls are getting a nice coat of crisp white paint as we speak. Hopefully those cabinets will be getting gussied up by going a dark and moody charcoal gray, topped off with some delicious new brass hardware.  A subway tile backsplash with contrasting gray grout is going to grace the spot where that huge and happy sun behind the stove is.  We went back and forth on whether to paint the uppers white, but in the end we decided that even though we like the look, painting all of the cabinets one color would look best in our kitchen, mostly because of we couldn’t figure out what color to paint those floor to top spots around the fridge and oven. We also nixed the idea of open shelving because I despise dusting, so I am not going to make any decision that requires more than I already have. A couple of the cabinets have picture frame glass, so I can show off some of my prized dish hoard.

I might add a runner to the space too a Kilim or Persian number, I am waiting for something to catch my eye and fit into my budget, which is basically about five dollars.

So that’s it, one dream kitchen in the works. Hopefully I will have some progress pics to come soon, but right now it looks like a tornado has just blown through here. I must go and paint, clean, catch up on 10 loads of laundry. Later taters!

 

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The Pretty Chic and Maybe Even Colorful Dining Room Plan

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Moving right along on the new house tour.  The new dining space is right off of the front door, and open to both the foyer and the living room.  It is one of the first things that you see when you walk in the door.  Currently it looks like this…

The couple that we bought the house from obviously are obsessed with Southwest style.  To each their own I guess.  The first thing on the list of things to do in the space is say bye-bye to the wacky paint.  The plan is to bring the same crisp white color that we are using in the living room into this space too.  Something like this…

Benjamin Moore Cloud White

And the most amazing thing happened recently!  I scooped a vintage brass base for a two tiered waterfall chandelier at the Restore a few weeks ago.  After a whole lotta brainstorming DIY ideas and searching around the interwebs, I finally found some vintage Venini glass rods at a reasonable price on Ebay.  As luck would have it the seller lived just an hour away, so we took a little road trip on Sunday to pick them up.  It is not everyday that you make a trip out to the country to pick up some really fancy Italian glass rods.  Even my husband was pretty stoked about them, and the only design decision he has really wanted in on thus far is picking out the television.

My original plan was to keep the palette pretty much the same as the living room and then I saw this photo..

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Utter perfection, right?! I am really feeling the vibe of this dining room by Erin Williamson, and at the same time it goes against everything I thought I wanted. White walls, graphic black and white rugs and textiles.  That rug though! I am even considering doing the accent wall thing, even though the thought of painting an entire wall black is slightly intimidating.

Also going into the space is our current dining furniture, a large black wooden dining table and six Ikea Tobias chairs.  The room also is doing double duty as a music room and will be home to our upright piano.  It is a lot to fit into a small space.  Here is what I have together so far…

 

Pretty Chic Dining Room

Next up, my favorite room in any house, the kitchen!

 

Happy Birthday Blog! Let’s Celebrate with an Opal and Eve Giveaway!

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If you saw this post last week, sorry that was an Ooops!  Somehow WordPress was genius enough to let me travel back in time and publish this on January 3, 2014.  Anywho, three years ago today, I put the proverbial pen to paper and started this blog.  Looking back, that first post was pretty rough, and while I haven’t always been the most consistent blogger, I have poured my heart and soul into every. single. post. I have met so many awesome and like minded peeps in the blogosphere, so to say thank you for following along, I am giving away a piece of original artwork from my Etsy shop Opal and Eve to one reader!  The winner can choose any painting from the small painting section of the shop like this…

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Or maybe this…

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Entering is easy, just follow the link above and pick which small painting you would pick if you win.

Good Luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The New Living Room Plan, AKA Project Pretty Chic

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Last week I shared our current, and soon to be former living room here.  Now, I am ready to switch gears and dive right into the new house mode.  First up is the living room…

WOW!  Okay, so these are the MLS photos of the space.  It has a few really great things going for it.  I especially like that it is open to the kitchen and the dining room (sorry no pic), but there are lots of changes to be made as well.  I love the mouldings on the oak paneled walls, but I am planning on painting the wood a crisp warm white to brighten up the space, and make it less library like. I think we would like to change the ceramic tile to wood, but the final decision on that is still up in the air.  With little kids and three dogs, ceramic really is super durable and practical. I am hoping that we are able to transform the space into something along these lines…

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This space, designed by the super talented Christine Dovey, kills me every time! Note the black doors, art, fireplace mantle with marble surround, the mix of modern and traditional, and just the overall awesomeness of the space.  I am also super obsessed with Christine’s living room in her own home…

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It is just the perfect mix of graphic and girly with a modern edge. Much of what is going into my new space is stuff that is in my current living room, with a new more refined twist.

Pretty Chic Living Room

So that’s the plan. Like my new Parisian inspired wardrobe, I want it to be timeless and traditional, modern and edgy all rolled into one pretty package.  Not too much to ask, right?