Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What's your style?

I just took a quiz on the HomeGoods facebook page to peg my style.  It asks you a series of questions about your style by asking you to pick your favorite from selected room pictures and testing your reactions to certain scenarios before guests come, for example.  It pegs your style based on your answers and helps you with the design challenges that your style presents.  

Pretty interesting - it also provides a color palette that suits your style (mine were all neutral - not sure how I feel about that) and some tips for making your house work better for you.


Check it out if you dare! :)  Here are my results:


Kristen, you are an Earthy Casual: 


You're interested in creating a welcoming home where people feel comfortable and happiness flourishes. You appreciate the warmth and individuality of natural materials and handcrafted things and are inspired by colors and forms from nature. You love mixing up different textures and are sensitive to the tactile qualities of objects. Your style is grounded and solid, not flighty or frilly. And you are never taken in by the trend of the moment.

You value comfort. Your home is a warm and open friendly place, and you feel happiest when everyone is cared for and relaxed in your space. Elements like pillows, throws, overstuffed furniture, and good lighting set the mood. You may also enjoy layering different fabrics or mixing patterns to create a cozy effect.

Putting Your Style to Work!

With your style and needs in mind, here are a few tips that will help you make your home a little happier:

1. Your Design Challenge: EXPERIMENT  
  • The last mile in decorating is the hardest, because that is when you really take the risk in expressing yourself. As with fashion or jewelry, one bold piece can set the tone, and the others complement the look. Don't be afraid to experiment, drag stuff around and make mistakes. Use what you're passionate about to inspire your home, whether it is a love for patterns, travel, gardening, family or the sea. Consider a collection of books, pictures or objects on your passion. Giving yourself parameters helps you choose things in keeping with your true style—which is precisely the point of HomeGoods StyleScope. But also think of colors, a country, a movie or words you love when you're shopping, so that you can check that these pieces match your unique sensibility before you bring them home.
2. Your Happy Place  
  • The more serene your bedroom feels, the happier you will be. A pretty coverlet over a big duvet makes the bed look smooth—and not all duvet-lumpy! And, a blanket folded at the foot of the bed breaks up the big expanse of fabric. Euro shams—those big square pillows—are great for reading in bed, and a few decorative pillows can also be a nice touch. Consider adding a basket or a small occasional table near your bedside table for books, papers, lotions, linen spray or whatever you'd like.
3. Be Party-Ready All the Time!  
  • Food: Devote space in your pantry or on a shelf for go-to party essentials: crackers, dip, chips, nuts—whatever you like to serve. Keep on hand a collection of attractive bowls and cocktail napkins, and you'll be able to set a spread—instantly! 
  • Drink: The simplest and chicest thing is to have a drinks tray or table always set up. Include a mix of pretty glasses, an ice bucket, a lovely pitcher, and bottles of soda and water. When the bell rings, just add ice and limes. 
  • Mood: Nice, flattering light makes us feel good. So nix the harsh, direct light from overhead fixtures in favor of the softer glow from floor and table lamps. Also, keep some votive candles and a couple of hurricane lanterns for setting around the room. 
  • Scent: The first thing you notice about a home is how it smells. Use naturally fragrant cleaning products. If you find a scented candle or fresh potpourri you love, stock up on it. Any scent you like, whether perfume or linen spray, can be used on upholstery, bedding or just spritzed into the air.

Your Happy Home Colors

I'd say it's pretty right on as far as how I think my house looks (other than the laundry piles and dirty dishes!)  I want people to be comfy in my house, curled up on the couch watching a movie, with snacks and drinks within reach.  

What's your style?

Monday, July 19, 2010

PB&J Cupcakes: An Experiment

Two Sweet has the most unbelievably tasty peanut butter and jelly cupcake.  The cupcake is cakey but also crunchy like bread, the jelly is just enough, and the frosting is so creamy and peanut buttery...mmmmmm.

So I decided to try it.  I'm not happy with the cupcake part, I used a crappy recipe, but it just might work.  It's more biscuity or bread-like, rather than cakey, which is what I like about the professional version, but this is realllllly bread-like.  We'll see how they taste!

Once my cupcakes had baked and cooled, I injected them with grape jelly.  I thought about scooping out a spoonful of the cupcake and put the jelly in the hole, but injecting sounds so much cooler.  So I went with that... :)

Then I mixed up the peanut butter buttercream and piped it onto the cupcakes...

The finishing touch is peanut butter morsels.  Yum.

Yuckball of the Week

I'm loving the "What I'm Loving" series that Ashley and Katie are doing, and I don't want to be a copy, but I can't resist.  However, I think I'll turn mine into a more snarky version, telling stories of those who do me wrong or make me sigh.

I'm going to call it "Yuckball of the Week."  Yuckball is the best insult I've heard in a long time and it was directed at me.  I deserved it.  And now I'm stealing it.  The things I share will sound negative at the time, but be sure that I won't be stewing over them for long.  I don't really care that much about stupid stuff like silly bandz or the GOP mailing me a survey in appreciation of all my hard work and dedication to their cause (see what you have to look forward to?).  I just like to share my feelings on some things, and would like to do it on the regular. 

This week's yuckball is the lady who yelled at me for trying to help her retrieve something she lost.

Picture it:  Sicily, 1942  Short Pump Target.  Windy.  Busy lunch rush.  Lots of soccer moms stocking up on cleaning supplies and dollar spot items to distract their kids in the backseat on the upcoming beach trip.  I was rushing in for toilet paper and index cards and I noticed money flying around my shoulders from behind me.  I had just passed a lady with some bills in her hand, so I instantly knew that this was her money, and that a gust of wind hit her as she walked outside from the store.  You know how it seems all fierce when you first get outside, and then it's not so bad once you're there?  Anyways, it probably caught her off guard and she lost hold of her money.  Yes, all of this went through my mind in that second.  It's how my brain works.

Anyways, I realized it was her money, so I sped up to try and catch the bills before they blew away.  As I sped up, I heard her two-packs-a-day-for-twenty-years voice scream "THAT'S MINE!"  That took a second to sink in.  And when it did, I thought I could either just give her a look and walk inside the store, leaving her to pick up her own damn money, or I could continue to help her.  I chose the latter, but I screamed "I KNOW!" as I was doing it.  Bitch.  How dare you assume that I'm going to steal your money right in front of your face?  You're a yuckball.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Lazy Sunday and lasagna

This week has been a full and busy one, so today I decided to spend some quality time with my couch and DVR.  After breakfast at Brick House and some errands, we came home and I have been vegging ever since!  Now, I'm caught up on Top Chef, DC Cupcakes, and Lie to Me, and we watched "The Young Victoria" - very good, btw.  Now I'm making lasagna for dinner!

I love Nate's mom's lasagna...it's creamy, saucy, perfectly cooked every time!  But the version I'm making today has ricotta, where hers only has mozzarella.  We'll see if the experiment turns out well - if not, we know Linda's version is yummy and hopefully dummy-proof!

The recipe I used today came up at work last week.  My coworker Valerie's son's girlfriend's room-mate (?) passed a long an easy recipe to her that doesn't require cooking the noodles first.  And it has ricotta!  Sold! 

I'm pretty sure I got the order of the layers wrong, but hopefully it'll still taste the same.

Here's all you need:
  • large container of Ricotta
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 box of frozen spinach (heated using directions on box)
  • 1 box of lasagna noodles
  • 1 bag of shredded cheese
  • 1 jar of spaghetti sauce
  • your choice of spices (although I was so excited to get the layers even and flat I completely forgot about spices - oops!)

Mix the ricotta, eggs, and spinach together and you get this creamy, yummy-looking mixture:

Then spoon the ricotta mixture into a 9x13 casserole dish as the bottom layer:

Add a layer of spaghetti sauce:

Noodles - I'm not sure why the noodles aren't made the same size as the pan - do they expand as they cook and become 13 inches long?  I don't know, I've never made lasagna before:


Repeat layers until ingredients are used up.  I only got 2 layers.  I put it in the oven at 350 and will let it cook for about an hour.  I'm worried that the top layer of noodles doesn't have anything moist on top of it.  Just cheese.  We'll see how that works out.  If it works like a cobbler, juice from the ricotta and sauce under it will make them moist enough.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Beach house chic

The last room in our house that has not be decorated or cared for since we moved in is our master bathroom.  It's an odd space - it's very big for a bathroom, so it poses some challenges, but is very convenient when both Dave and I need to get ready for our days at the same time.  We have 2 sinks and plenty of floor space to move around each other without running over each other. 

The challenges are minor, but cause a design dilemma for me.  I'm not sure how I feel about furniture in a bathroom, but if we go for the clean, sparse, uncluttered look, there's so much dead space that it makes the room look even bigger.  But since it has a full size linen closet, adding furniture to display towels or store bath items is useless because we don't need that much storage space.  Also, because it's so big, we have 3 different bathmats, and it chops up the floor, but an area rug would be weird in a bathroom, right?  Lastly, the shower is very deep, so moisture gets trapped in the little alcove and the paint is peeling around it towards the ceiling.  We'd like to tile that section to prevent gross peely paint and pesky mold.

Oh, what a problem to have, right?  I realize this is all trivial with 2 concurrent wars in the Middle East and a Gulf full of oil during hurricane season, but this is what's going on in my little corner of the world. 

Anyways - my inspiration for the room is 'beach house chic.'  I must have seen that term on a blog somewhere, and I'm not sure exactly what it means, but it sounds like me and what I'd like to see every morning when I'm trying to make myself presentable to be seen by the world.  Here's what I'm not talking about:

This is more like what I want, but with less q-tips:

I'm having some trouble finding inspiration, but my first thoughts are mason jars full of shells, Valspar's Homestead Resort Spa Aqua or something similar on the walls, bright white shower curtain, light baskets and some silver accents.  Making an inspiration board this weekend to get my creative juices flowing :)