Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Do you have plans tonight?  Ours include passing out candy to the kids who dress up and go trick-or-treating on our block.  Enjoy!

Google images

Cheers!
Ana

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Inspiration Board

Last week I moved into the most adorable house in the M-streets district of Dallas and as with every move, there was some redecorating to be done.

Earlier this year, TGG (that would be the three good grapes) went to an estate sale and Jackie  found the most amazing vintage gold frame for me. I had no idea what I would use the frame for but it was a bargain for an amazing piece and well, who am I to say no to an incredible deal? So I bought it and its been sitting in a closet for the past 7 months. I finally hauled it out of the closet last week and decided to get to work on my first project for the new place—an inspiration board!

Here are the steps to creating your own inspiration board: 

1)  Find a fabulous frame (thrift stores, garage sales and estate sales will be your best bets!) 



2)  Purchase some poultry netting (a fancy term for chicken wire) from your local hardware store. (I purchased mine from Home Depot) 
3)  Measure the poultry netting to the dimensions of your frame and use wire cutters to cut the netting. Use a staple gun to attach the poultry netting to your frame. 

5)  Hang your new inspiration board on your wall.


6)  Use clothespins (I purchased my French Script clothespins from The Cottage Market) to hang pictures, notes, etc from your inspiration board.

Simple, fun and amazing! I love my new inspiration board! 

Cheers!
Cristi

Thursday, October 27, 2011

{Thrifty Thursday} A Black Bombay Chest

I am so smitten by the the glossy black "Bombay" chests invading upscale home interior stores lately.  I think the look and shape are timeless and flirty and perfect for the home.  Tired of saving money for expensive things, I once again stalked my HomeGoods until I found the right piece, even if I had to sand it down and paint it myself.  Luckily I found a dull pearly painted dresser with overly girly crystal knobs (no hubby would have agreed to bring this into his home!) and gave myself a weekend project of bringing it up to my standards.  The final touch was purchasing these knobs in black at my World Market (2/$4.99) and if I may say so myself, I think I have a pretty sophisticated piece now flanking my entryway. 

Inspiration:

Left, Avery Bombe Chest, $799+shipping, Crate and Barrel; Right, Lacquered Bombay Chest, $1049+shipping, Horchow
 My Find:
Chest, $199, HomeGoods; Black Glossy Paint in Tricorn Black, ~$30 after 40% discount
And the finished product:

New entryway decor: Chest, rug, vignette, and a hand-me-down framed print of Picasso's "Portrait de Jaccqueline"

Closeup of knobs and vignette (gold lacquered tray was a wedding shower gift; books, amazon.com; brass bowl, horse, and chalice were thrift store finds)
I love when luxe comes cheap!

Cheers!
Ana

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

As you know, I'm enjoying the fall whether and my tastebuds are especially loving all things pumpkin!  This week's recipe is a delicious cupcake that I made for a party last year and let's just say I had a hard time sharing (though better for my waistline that I did)!  Enjoy!


Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)
Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup milk
1 cup pumpkin puree (I always add extra pumpkin... sometimes using the whole can!)

  1. Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 24 muffin cups, or line with paper muffin liners. Sift together the flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove, allspice, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.
  2. Beat 1/2 cup of butter, the white sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. The mixture should be noticeably lighter in color. Add the room-temperature eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next. Stir in the milk and pumpkin puree after the last egg. Stir in the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed, about 25 minutes. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack. 
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Ingredients:
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting by beating the cream cheese and 1/4 butter with an electric mixer in a bowl until smooth. Beat in the confectioners' sugar a little at a time until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon; beat until fluffy.  Frost cupcakes once they have cooled.  


Cheers!
Ana 

PS- need something else to make with your pumpkin puree?  I made these waffles with the apple cider syrup over the weekend and OMG it's a new favorite!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Trick or Treat? Treat, please!

I remember going trick or treating my senior year of high school and actually having people tell me I was too old to be trick or treating...I was crushed. As adults why should we be prohibited from indulging in all the treats that Halloween has to offer? Well, you don’t! But rather than hitting the streets that will be filled with children, why not host your own Halloween party for friends? I love the idea! You can enjoy all your favorite Halloween treats (caramel apples are my absolute fave!) and it gives you an excuse to be creative with the food and drinks and fill your home with fantastic Halloween decorations. Go for it! Here’s some inspiration!

Photo: Pinterest
Photo: Pinterest
Photo: Pinterest
Photo: Pinterest
Photo: Pinterest
Cheers!
Cristi

Monday, October 24, 2011

{We're Obsessed!} Louis Ghost Chairs

Redecorating has given me an opportunity to incorporate many of my interior obsessions into our home (see here, here and here).  Along with the rest of the blogosphere, I just LOVE the Louis Ghost Chairs.  A modern take on a popular period piece, this chair blends well with any and all decor and, most importantly, it lends the illusion of roominess in small spaces!  A ghost chair doesn't shrink or crowd a room and that is the brilliance behind it.  What a perfect concept for the shoebox sized homes of the Northeast.  And my latest obsession.  Anyway, I've ordered a pair and can't wait to place them.

Um, I love everything about this picture!

Louis ghost chair NOT crowding a small corner

Photos: Pinterest
Cheers!
Ana

Friday, October 21, 2011

My Date with Big Tex

It is the most wonderful time of the year! Not only are we right in the middle of College Football Season but the State Fair of Texas is here! This weekend mark's the fair's last weekend in town until next year.  Every year I go meet my boy Big Tex at the fair and indulge in a night of thrilling rides and fried food. This year is no exception! I am so excited! Who else has been?  Will you go before the fair ends?

Photo: Texas Twisters c/o Google
Photo: Big Tex & State Fair of Texas Fairgrounds c/o Google
Photo: Fletcher's Corny Dogs c/o Google
Photo: Funnel Cake c/o Google
Photo: Super Midway at State Fair of Texas c/o Google
Texas State Fair, Fair Park in Dallas
Cheers!
Cristi

Thursday, October 20, 2011

{Thrifty Thursday} Thrift Store Finds

Remember I asked you a while back if you thrift?  Do you?  I've stumbled upon a couple of go-to thrift stores in the DC area and after redecorating one bedroom, one home office, one living room and one entryway, you better believe thrifting is my new black.  A favorite purchase of mine is this gorgeous set.  I purchased the tray at an estate sale in Dallas for $4 and knew I wanted to incorporate it into the vignette I would plan for the dresser in our new guest bedroom.  It was small, but I really wanted to find a pitcher and a pair of glasses for it.  The set would be both pretty and practical.  Luckily, I found a small pitcher with a sterling silver base at a Maryland thrift shop for $14 and the glasses you see were $0.50 each at the same store. 

Thrifting is hit or miss for me, and this visit was a total hit.  I promise, the guest bedroom makeover is coming along beautifully, but I'm taking my time with things.  I'd really like to show you progress, so here is a sneak peak at my thrifty finds and part of the vignette I created for the dresser.


Cheers!
Ana

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wine Wednesday!

I enjoyed a 2004 Montecillo Crianza tinto (tinto = red) last week because my mother came to visit me and we both love Spanish reds.  I believe I was gifted this bottle in 2006 after my engagement to Z, which explains why it is now sold out.  I learned in a wine tasting class that you shouldn't keep a wine for more than two years before opening, but five years later, I really enjoyed the blend of bold fruitiness and subtle oak.  This is a medium bodied wine that went well with the light tapas we enjoyed for dinner that night.  


Cheers!
Ana

Pumpkin Pancakes

I know I've previously shared my love for pancakes on this blog, but among the reasons I prefer fall over all other seasons is because I get to make pumpkin pancakes (and other delicious pumpkin flavored sweets).  I'm hoping to bake these this weekend,and  I'd like to give you the chance to indulge too!  The recipe is super simple and such a treat!  Enjoy!

image via google
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground allspice (substitute recipe here, or just add 1/2 tsp extra cinnamon and 1/2 tsp nutmeg)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt


Directions:
In a large bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar. In a second bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine. 


Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot. 

Cheers!
Ana

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Baby Shower Pictures

The baby shower I co-hosted at my home for our friend Lilly was pleasant and wonderful!  We couldn't have given our friend a more beautiful welcoming to her soon-to-debut daughter, Lilian Mae.  I know she was thrilled and we were thrilled for her.  I finally have pictures to share (credited to various guests who posted images via Facebook):

coffee and drink stations

food and champagne table

Co-Hostess RH found darling themed tea cookies for arty favors; cupcakes and diaper cake decor

onesie banner over the fireplace
Cheers!
Ana

Monday, October 17, 2011

{We’re Obsessed} Blue Accents

Anyone who knows me can tell you my favorite color is blue. Lately I’ve been noticing a trend in home d├ęcor incorporating blue accents in otherwise colorless rooms. I LOVE the look and have pulled a few of my favorite blue accented living rooms from Pinterest. I don’t know what about the blues makes me feel so serene, but I just think it is the perfect accent color. What do you think? 

Photo: Pinterest
Photo: Pinterest
Photo: Pinterest
Photo: Pinterest
Photo: Pinterest
Photo: Pinterest


Cheers!
Cristi

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

{Thrifty Thursday} Buy the Yard

I incorporated one of my obsessions into my home office decor.  I loved Neiman’s French Laundry Collection and also the French burlap pillow covers now on sale at Restoration Hardware.  Not wanting to overspend on accent pillows, I went to multiple fabric stores until I found a beautiful and affordable burlap fabric of lovely French script that rivaled accent pillows in collections I’d seen priced between $50 and $150/ pillow at high end home design stores.  I paired my pricier ‘vintage’ fabric with a simple and less expensive blue silk, buying enough fabric to make three pillows.  With custom-sewing labor added (I do not yet know how to make these fancy pillows with the piping), I totally scored another home bargain and spent less than $50. 
I purchased the fabric at Cutting Corners in Dallas.  I already had pillows to stuff, so I just had them make the pillow covers in the same size of the pillows I was replacing.   I found the staff was extremely helpful, and the selection was a dream.  

previously shared color scheme
The new custom pillows
Cheers!
Ana

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipe

When you get to carving pumpkins, don’t just toss out your seeds with the rest of the pumpkin “guts.” Save those seeds to make one of my most loved snacks—roasted pumpkin seeds. It’s super easy and it’s a healthy and satisfying savory snack. Just follow these directions: 

  1. Rinse pumpkin seeds under cold water and pick out the pulp and strings. (This is easiest just after you've removed the seeds from the pumpkin, before the pulp has dried.)
  2. Place the pumpkin seeds in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet, stirring to coat. If you prefer, omit the oil and coat with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Mix salt, cayenne pepper, garlic powder and cajun seasoning to taste in a small bowl.  Sprinkle over seeds.  You can omit the other spices and just do salt for a simpler version too.  Lastly, bake at 325 degrees F until toasted, about 25 minutes, checking and stirring after 10 minutes.
  4. Let cool and store in an air-tight container.

Photo: Google

Cheers!
Cristi


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Oh hey, Chambray!

I have been seeing chambray shirts paired with everything from khaki shorts to full evening skirts and even contrasting denim and I am absolutely loving the look! Honestly, a blue chambray shirt is the epitome of the timeless all-American look, is it not? Ralph Lauren would know what I’m talking about. He’s had the look mastered since he was 12. Want to master the look? Try some of these oh so cool chambray looks. 
pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest
Photo: Pinterest
Photo: Pinterst
So, are you going to shop this look this fall?  Available here, here, and here

Cheers!
Cristi