Thursday, August 28, 2014

Fall Wish List: Outerwear

I really don't want to think about fall yet and cooler temps. I'm hoping it stays warm for at least another month. However, I've seen a lot of fall clothing on my favorites websites and I've started a wish list. Even though I won't be wearing it for a while it's good to be prepared. I recently posted a few of my favorites here. I would love to add a leather jacket to my wardrobe, but I also found a less expensive option below. Obviously it's not real leather, but I love the style.

I also love this to throw on with jeans or a dress. It comes in black and turquoise. Another great price of $71.

This sweater reminds me of one I really wanted last year, but it sold out everywhere quickly. My friend, Nikki, always had it on in pictures on Instagram and it looked great on her. It comes in black, too, and also by BB Dakota. This cardigan is another option and half the price.

I wear my J.Crew green vest all the time in the fall. It's one of their items you will find every year. I recommend investing in one! I love the cream and bright yellow.

* This post contains affiliate links.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Currently Pinning

I have been on Pinterest a lot lately so I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite recent pins. You can follow my boards here.

I am not looking forward to the fall season (I love the sun too much). Actually, the one thing I do love about fall are pumpkin spiced donuts. When I saw this recipe I got excited:

My dream closet! How amazing would it be to work surrounded by pretty things and on that gorgeous leopard carpet? See more photos here.

Love these leopard shoes. A neutral that can go with everything. I may not spend a lot on clothing, but I will on shoes since I don't own many pairs and I will wear them often. 

This salad looks delicious. I love kale and am always looking for new lunch options. The pictures are gorgeous, too.

I always see adorable little boy quotes and so I loved this when I saw it:

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Recipe: Lebanese Lentils, Rice and Carmelized Onions

I always get the best recipes from my Mom. She is a vegetarian so she is always searching for recipes with lentils and beans. This is one of my new favorites. It is delicious. The cumin and cinnamon add such great flavor! Nick and Summer love it, too, which makes it 3 for 4 (Ellie gets leftovers or pasta).

Lebanese Lentils, Rice and Carmelized Onions (Mujadar)
(6 servings)

1 cup brown or green lentils, sorted for debris and rinsed
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (omitted because I didn't have)
1/2 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
3 medium red onions, thinly sliced
Kosher salt
3/4 cup basmati rice
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (1-inch) cinnamon stick (I used from my spice jar)
2 tablespoons pine nuts, optional (I did use these)
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice (omitted)
Greek yogurt, for serving, optional (omitted)

1. Throw lentils into a medium saucepan. Fill with enough cold water to cover the lentils by about an inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then turn down to a simmer and cook until the lentils are tender but not mushy, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, as the lentils cook, grab a large skillet. Put over medium-high heat and add the oil. Allow the oil to warm for a minute, then drop in the cumin seeds and cracked peppercorns and cook, shaking the pan once in a while until the cumin seeds darken a touch, about 1 minute.

3. Add the onions, sprinkle with a dash of salt and cook until they turn dark caramel brown, stirring often (about 15 minutes). Splash the onions with a little water if they stick to the boom of the pan. You'll know they're done both by their deep chestnut color and by the slight crispiness developing on some of the onions.

4. Using a slotted spoon or spatula, remove about half of the onions to a paper towel-lined plate; these are for garnish later. Sprinkle in the ground cumin, cayenne and then add the cinnamon stick; saute about 1 minute. 

5. Add the rice and cook, stirring often until some rice grains start to brown. Add the cooked lentils, 3 cups of water and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt; bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low so that the pan is at a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes. The water should be completely evaporated and rice should be tender. (If there is still too much water in the bottom cook for another 5 minutes).
6. Meanwhile toast the pine nuts, if using, in a small skillet over medium-low heat, shaking often, about 5 minutes.

6. Taste the rice for seasoning. Serve with the reserved carmelized onions, toasted pine nuts, if using, and a little squeeze of lemon juice. You can also serve with some dollops of Greek yogurt.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Weekend Recap + Summer 15 Months Update

I was hoping to be completely finished painting the furniture in our garage, but I still have to do the desk. I did finish the dresser and hutch and I started on a chair. I painted Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. It has been exhausting, but at least I've been productive. I have to get the hardware for the dresser and then I'm planning on selling it. My husband watched the girls when I painted last week and my parents took the girls out to breakfast and to the playground on Saturday morning. Ellie was very excited that she had orange juice at breakfast with my Dad.

Here is the dresser minus the hardware and hutch:

It was so nice to get out of painting clothes and dress up for a party later that day. We went to a going away party for my friend, Mindy, and her family. They are moving back to Washington (all the way across the country) to be closer to their families. I totally understand the importance of being near family and having the extra help, but we are sure going to miss them! Mindy (center), Melissa, and I first met at a moms group play date. The three of us clicked and became great friends. That was almost 3 years ago.

On Monday Ellie and I went to check on our tomatoes as we do everyday. They turned red, finally! We were so excited. We literally have been checking them every morning and thought maybe they wouldn't change color. There were about 5 huge red tomatoes. We picked them and brought them inside and I am going to pick up some basil and cheese to make a caprese salad.

Summer 15 months Update:
Summer started giving hugs last week and it's just the sweetest thing. She came up behind me while I was painting and gave me a big bear hug. It melted me! I love that she always has a way of showing her love for me. As a baby she would rest her head on me and as she got older she would give me kisses or ask me to hold her. She also has been calling me "mommy" in addition to "mama." She is at such a fun age, but I feel like I say that every few months! She loves her fruit (watermelon, strawberries) and still loves waffles for breakfast, pesto pasta, and black beans. She will feed herself yogurt and oatmeal and does a great job at it. If she wants to eat she will sit down at the exact spot she is standing and open her mouth. It's the funniest thing! She will also do this when we have ice cream. At the beach she started going up to whoever had ice cream and opening her mouth indicating she wanted a lick. She is always making us laugh. She is a climber and can now climb up on our ottoman and chair with no problem. She even likes to climb up on her little chairs and stand like she is saying, "haha look at me!" She loves books. She will pick one off her bookshelf, then back up till she sits down in my lap. She loves the song "Baby Beluga" and dances when someone sings it to her. She loves brushing her own teeth, "ra ra" (bike) rides, running (usually from me), climbing into her car seat and sitting in it, playing in the princess castle, putting things into a bucket or purse and taking them back out, coloring. She has always been our little sunshine!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Bright Colors: Desk Inspiration

I have been doing a lot of painting this past week while taking advantage of my husband's week off from work. I painted our chandelier, frames (post coming soon), a dresser and hutch, drawers, and my next project is this desk:

I love the legs on this desk. I contemplated choosing a glossy white or black, but decided I definitely want to go with a bright color. A kelly green or bright pink. My plan was to sell the dresser, hutch, and the desk. I'm tempted to keep the dresser because I love it so much. Not sure we have the space for it, but I'm sure I can create it somewhere!

I'm inspired by these colors:


I will be painting in the morning and my parents are hanging out with the girls since my husband is working. In the afternoon we have a going away party for my friend who is moving across the country to Seattle. I am gonna miss her and her family! Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Forever 21 Favorites

Forever 21

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5
6 / 7 / 8 / 9

I am loving all of these tops that can be worn now and transition into fall. I rarely have the time or energy to shop in the store anymore so I will order online instead. I love the detail and back cut-outs on a lot of these tops. I never want to spend a lot on tops that could possibly get ruined with two kids (playground trips, arts and crafts, messy hands, etc). Plus, I don't have the budget to spend a lot, but I still love to shop and and enjoy putting outfits together every day. I like to look put together even as a stay at home Mom! 

** Affiliate links are used, which means if you click on the item I may receive a small compensation. By you clicking on the items it helps bring me more ideas on my blog content. However, all item choices and opinions are my own.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Amazing Chandelier Makeover Using Chalk Paint

I am amazed at the transformation of our dining room chandelier. I had been looking into replacing our light fixture for one that matched our table and one that was more modern. After shopping for a chalk paint color for the furniture in our garage I realized that I could also paint our chandelier since you can paint any surface without priming or sanding. I chose the color Paris Grey and bought the sample size for $13.95. I only used half of the container and I put a light coat of clear wax on top to seal it (already owned). So, not only did I save a ton of money on this project, but I also love it more than any light fixture I could have bought (within our budget). Can't beat a $7 makeover! You can see my first Annie Sloan project here.

I first removed the glass shades and wiped down the fixture with a wet cloth. I have a couple touch ups to do on the ceiling, but it was such an easy project to complete. I put on two coats of the paint, and as previously mentioned, a light coat of clear wax. I chose not to put the shades back on, as I like the modern look of it without them.

 One more look with a side by side comparison:

If you live locally the Annie Sloan chalk paint can be purchased at Phantastic Phinds in Flourtown. They also have a sample sheet in which you can view all the colors plus samples with and without the wax.

This was my first project in our dining room makeover. I am still shopping for fabric to reupholster our chairs and the curtains are on my to do list. And, honestly I'm thinking about changing the wall color now that the light is grey. The chandelier would definitely stand out much more against a darker paint color. When I mentioned that to my husband he told me not to get ahead of myself. So, maybe that will be another project in the next few months! In the meantime I'm just going to be happy with this makeover project. I'm seriously obsessed! Have you painted anything lately with chalk paint? Please share- I would love to read about it!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Family Vacation: Round 2

In July we went on vacation with my family and last week we went with just the four of us. It was nice to spend family time together. It was the first week at the beach in a few years that we had great weather. No rain! Everyday was a beautiful beach day. I read a book from start to finish. Ellie flew her first kite, I took naps on the beach (I felt childless for a bit!), the girls slept well in their unfamiliar beds, a sea gull swiped Ellie's string cheese from her hand, and we ate too much ice cream. Ellie wrote her name all by herself (no help with spelling) in the sand. Proud mommy moment!

Nick stayed at the house every morning while Summer napped, then they met Ellie and I on the beach. This was what my (heavy) trip looked like everyday (and Ellie is in the corner). We played by the ocean and in the sand. I can't remember the last time I sat in the sand and played. Usually I am reading, laying out, or in the ocean. Not getting all sandy. But, I enjoyed it and washed off in the ocean. We spent over an hour building a "sand island."

Summer turned 15 months! She is getting so big and I love watching her personality develop. She looks like such a little girl here! In the heat her hair turns into little curls in the back. It's so cute.

I also took some adorable photos of the girls at the beach. I haven't yet uploaded my Nikon, but here are a couple iPhone pictures. The girls wore matching dresses my cousin, Steff, brought over from Sweden. They are so pretty!

Family Vacation, 2014

Friday, August 1, 2014

My Wish List

The only lounge pants I own are a couple pairs of Juicy Couture sweats (my favorite) and running tights. I feel like it's hard to find cute comfortable pants that I can wear in public. These pants look chic and flattering plus they received amazing reviews. 

A new product by Honest Company. I would love to try plus it. I'm sure it feels amazing on the skin!

Two coffee table books:

I found these beautiful pieces of art through my friend, Melanie, on Pinterest. The artist is Emily Jeffords. I especially love the first one. The colors are gorgeous. Currently you can take $10 off all botanical prints with the code "botanicalart10."