Photo Editing

When I posted the new pictures of our bedroom, I was a little ashamed.  Not of the bedroom itself (it is my favorite room), but of the photos.  They just were not good.  Despite my ability with Illustrator and In-Design, my Photoshop ability and knowledge is very very limited.  So, I typically do not edit my photos, but I saw somewhere that iPhoto had a decent photo editing option.  Here are the bedroom redo pictures again, but better!


On Our Nightstands: #6

So clearly, we are big readers in this household.  

In the past, it has been very difficult to keep track of what books I have read.  The blog has helped me to remember and asses how I feel about the books I read.  I tend to be one that looks for entertainment and not necessarily beneath the surface of that.  Writing about the books I read on here, helps me to look further into the things I read.  

I think this find on Etsy would be so helpful to me.

The book by CricketSnappers has pages for books with the date you read them and your feelings on the book.  It also has pages for favorite quotes, authors and characters.  I'm sure there are other versions of this other places, but I think this one is so cool!

Something to add to my birthday wish list...I think so!


Crazy, Stupid, Love

A few weeks ago, one of my college roommates and I set out on our date.  We planned to go see a different movie, but ended up seeing Crazy, Stupid, Love.  Now, don't get me wrong, this movie had a lot of, um, PG13 geared things in it; 


I loved it.  Not only was it smart and funny, but it had a great twist that made me love the characters more.  Also, I am in love with 80s movies.  You are reading the blog of the owner of Top Gun, Pretty in Pink, Breakfast Club, St. Elmo's Fire....(the list could just go on and on).  At any rate, this movie threw me back there in an interesting way lol.  At any rate, I highly recommend this date movie!


Sweet Tea

There is nothing more heavenly than sun-tea as the summer dwindles to an end.  I've got to say, I can't wait for hoodie season, but I am savory my last pool days!

P.S.  See all that flour on the counter?  I made this batch of tea the same day I made the lattice pie, lol!


Bedroom Redo

I promised some photos of our bedroom along with our inspiration.  Sadly, I do not have any before pictures, but I promise, it wasn't that great beforehand.

So first, here is our inspiration.

The last is my favorite.  The different woods and clam colors are my just to die for.

Now, time for the end results!

Our nightstands and dresser are from IKEA, the HEMNES collection.  I love the color of the wood and how large the dresser is.  It is also handy that the nightstands can be closed, so they don't have to be pretty on the inside.  

The comforter, lamps on the nightstands and mirror are also from IKEA (a theme, if you will).  

The lamps on the dresser are from Target.  Beyond that, everything is either hand-me-downs or things we have gotten along the way.

The only thing not finished is the headboard.  I'm not sure what to do with it.  I can't decide if I want to paint it white, coral or upholster it.  Either way, I like it for the time being.


Inside-Out German Chocolate Cake

For Nick's dad's birthday this year, I made an inside-out German chocolate cake.  Let me make this clear, I do not like German Chocolate frosting....it has COCONUT in it...YUCK!  Aside from my personal feelings, I made it anyway.  Let me just say that making your own frosting is difficult but so worth it.  I loved this cake!

Sadly, I only took one picture of this cake...after everyone had eaten it.

Inside-Out German Chocolate CakeEpicurious/Gourmet 

For cake layers
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 1 TBS unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup whole milk
6 TBS unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup boiling-hot water

For Filling
7 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
4 ounces coarsely chopped pecans (1 cup)
14-ounces can sweetened condensed milk
1 TBS vanilla

For Glaze
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
10 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate
3 TBS light corn syrup

Special Equipment: 3 (9-inch) round cake pans

Make cake layers:
Preheat oven to 350°F and oil cake pans. Line bottoms of pans with rounds of parchment or wax paper. Sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk together whole milk, butter, whole egg, yolk, vanilla, and almond extract in another large bowl until just combined. Beat egg mixture into flour mixture with an electric mixer on low speed, then beat on high speed 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and beat in water until just combined (batter will be thin). Divide batter among cake pans (about 1 1/2 cups per pan) and bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of pans and rotating them 180 degrees halfway through baking, until a tester comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes total.
Cool layers in pans on racks 15 minutes. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove parchment or wax paper and cool layers completely.

Make filling:
Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
Spread coconut in a large shallow baking pan and pecans in another. Bake pecans in upper third of oven and coconut in lower third, stirring occasionally, until golden, 12 to 18 minutes. Remove pans from oven.
Increase oven temperature to 425°F.
Pour condensed milk into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate and cover tightly with foil. Bake milk in a water bath in middle of oven 45 minutes. Refill baking pan with water to reach halfway up pie plate and bake milk until thick and brown, about 45 minutes more. Remove pie plate from water bath.
Stir in coconut, pecans, and vanilla and keep warm, covered with foil.

Make glaze while milk is baking:
Melt butter in a 3-quart saucepan. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate and corn syrup, whisking until chocolate is melted. Transfer 1 cup glaze to a bowl, reserving remaining glaze at room temperature in pan. Chill glaze in bowl, stirring occasionally, until thickened and spreadable, about 1 hour.

Assemble cake:
Put 1 cake layer on a rack set over a baking pan (to catch excess glaze). Drop half of coconut filling by spoonfuls evenly over layer and gently spread with a wet spatula. Top with another cake layer and spread with remaining filling in same manner. Top with remaining cake layer and spread chilled glaze evenly over top and side of cake. Heat reserved glaze in pan over low heat, stirring, until glossy and pourable, about 1 minute. Pour glaze evenly over top of cake, making sure it coats sides. Shake rack gently to smooth glaze.
Chill cake until firm, about 1 hour. Transfer cake to a plate.



That's right folks...today I am a grump.  The last two weeks have been great.  Nick and I have had tons of time together and work has had a lot of positive moments.  Then came this week.  

This week, our cat got an eye infection that requires us to put 2 drops of medicine in her eye 3 times a day (let me just say that she no longer likes or trusts us anymore)


my car broke down....like $1,000 worth of broke down.  

Therefore, on this lovely Sunday afternoon, I am baking myself chocolate chip cookies in a shallow attempt to make myself feel better.  I also plan on eating all of the carbs I can get my hands on with the help of a new cookbook Real Simple Meals Made Easy.   

I picked this beauty up at the local Borders.  Since they are all closing, so sad, I got it for 30% off.  I am excited to try the Lasagna-Style Baked Ziti for dinner this evening (expect a post soon all about it).

There went the timer.....

morsels of joy, here I come. 

Hmmmm, cookies, cold milk and a good book.  I feel better already.


Stone Fruit Lattice Pie

So, I promised a pie last week and didn't deliver. I do have one today!

The Stone Fruit Lattice Pie is from the August issue of Bon Appetit.

I used the pie crust recipe that appeared in the same issue of Bon Appetit. Overall, we really liked the pie. The bottom crust didn't get as crisp as I would have wanted, but it was very good. We used the excess strain of fruit to make a fruit tea!

Stone Fruit Lattice Pie: Bon Appetit August 2011



1 Unbaked Pie Crust in a 9" glass or metal pie pan (see Master Pie Crust recipe)
2 pounds nectarines
1 pound peaches, peeled
1 pound plums
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon orange-flower water (optional)
1 large egg, beaten to blend

Ingredient Info

Orange-flower water is available in the cocktail-mixers or baking sections of better supermarkets and at Middle Eastern markets.
Divide dough in half. Roll out one half according to Unbaked Pie Crust recipe. Roll out second dough disk on a lightly floured sruface to a 14" round. Transfer round to a baking sheet. Cover and chill both crusts for 1 hour. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled.
Preheat oven to 400°. Halve, pit, and cut fruit into 1/2" thick slices. Place all fruit in a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup sugar and toss to coat. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour, tossing occasionally. Strain fruit, reserving 1/4 cup of liquid; return fruit to same bowl. Whisk cornstarch and reserved fruit liquid in a small bowl. Add cornstarch mixture, nutmeg, and orange-flower water, if using, to fruit; toss gently.
Pour fruit mixture into unbaked pie crust in dish. Using a pizza wheel or a sharp knife, cut 14" dough round into 3/4"-wide strips. Weave strips over filling, forming a lattice. Trim strips 1/2" shorter than dough overhang. Fold overhang over strips and crimp edges decoratively.
Brush beaten egg over crust edges and lattice. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. sugar over. Set pie on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
Bake pie for 40 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°. Bake until crust is golden brown and juices bubble, about 40 minutes longer. Let cool on a wire rack.



    I have always loved watches.  For one, I like knowing what time it is, but I also think they are a great accessory to any gal's favorite outfit.  It looks professional, but can be casual as well.  Despite my love for watches, we have a sorted past.  For the longest time, I would either break or lose my watches.  I, however, have grown up and am able to keep the same watch for a lot longer now.  

    Fossil is my favorite watch brand.  I currently have a classic of theirs (I cannot seem to find it on their website).  It is small and silver.  I love it!

    BUT I work at a restaurant and it gets wet a lot, then it turns my arm green/black.  Not attractive.  So here are a few of Fossils silicone options that I am looking at as a possible birthday present!

    same name as the one above, but check out the bling!

    Each of these watches make my fav. list because of the silicone band.  It is water resistant and would not cause the discoloration my current watch does.  I also like that each of these watches has the date on them.  I work different days each week and tend to lose track of the date, watches with the date on them are a huge time saver for me (no pun intended).

    Most of the watches come in other colors as well.  I think white is my current favorite because it goes with anything, but I do like navy as well!


    On Our Nightstands: #5

    Over the past few weeks, I have been reading like crazy.  I gave up on The Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin.  I read things online about the T.V. show that ruined the book for me.  My own fault of course, but still very hard to read when I know what is happening.  Nick, however, has moved on to the second book in the series Clash of Kings.

    Meanwhile, I have finished The Help by Kathryn Stockett and My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares.  Both books were very good, but The Help was the better of the two.  I think it is a book everyone should read.  It captures the racial tension of the 1960s in Mississippi through the eyes of a young white girl and several African American maids.  

    My Name is Memory is a love story that lasts across the ages.  It focuses on a couple and the lives they lead through different time periods.  The man in the book remembers his previous lives, but his love does not.  During each life, he tries to get her to fall in love with him all over again.  While the story pulled at my heart strings, it repeated itself a lot.  The characters had the same internal struggle each chapter.

    So, what have you been reading lately?


    On Our TV

    Over the past two months, Nick and I have watched Numb3rs like it was our job.  We love the show, the "math vision" and the characters.  The majority of the characters are quirky and smart and eccentric, but I think we like the dynamic.  The show focuses on two brothers solving crimes using their own specific skill sets.  One brother is an FBI agent and the other is a mathematician.

    Our problem, however, is that we are done with the show.  We watched them all.  So, last night we started watching Mad Men.  I am not sure how I feel about the show yet.  The views are so old, and by old, I mean offensive to this progressive/slightly feminist woman who would slap a man for the way they behave on this show.  Okay, I know that was intense, but seriously, I cannot decide how I feel about this show.  I am sure it is good, if I could stop my blood from boiling for 5 seconds while watching it.  

    So, what are you watching, or how do you feel about Mad Men


    Living Room

    As of now, the living room is the only room in the house that is filled with slightly unwanted hand-me-down furniture.  Not that I do not love my hand-me-downs, but they don't match our style any longer.  

    Even though we aren't currently in the position to redo the living room, I would like to start making some decisions so we can at least head in the right direction.  We took the same approach with our bedroom, and now it is my favorite room in the house (pictures to come, when I have a day to clean it top to bottom first, lol).  

    The first step in my "process" is to find lovely pictures of living rooms.  Oh and because I'm not the best blogger in the whole world, I only have a source for about half of these inspiration photos (eek!).

    All of the above photos are from the all-inspiring House Beautiful living room slide show!  I find these all to be nice and neutral with pops of color here and there.  I think the very first is my current favorite because of the different textures and colors that blend well.

    The above photos are the ones that I had in a file of inspiration, and have no clue of the source.  Of these, I think the last one is my favorite.  It has the same charm that the other favorite has.  I also really like the picture with the couple at their desks in the living room.  Nick and I are constantly sitting in the living room, me on my laptop on the couch and Nick behind me on his computer.  We enjoy being in the same room but doing separate things.  This would be a perfect way for us to be together and chat, but still be able to do different things.

    Do you have favorite styles of the moment or a "process" for design?  

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