Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Burnt Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts have a bad reputation. Let's change that. All you have to do is add a little flavor, and the burn them. Yes, let them get a little too browned. I know it sounds strange, but give it a try, you won't be disappointed. I flavor mine with either olive or grapeseed oil and lemon juice (of course). 
A little lemon pepper works wonderfully too. 

Some of these guys towards the bottom of the photo got a little too burnt. But I wanted you to have a visual because the first time I tried this, I kind of freaked out and thought I was ruining the whole batch. Bon Appetit!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Clearance Couture: Sparkly Stripes

I love sparkle. I love stripes. My love for gray continues.
At $6.49, I couldn't resist the three of them in perfect harmony:

I can always count on Old Navy clearance to deliver! I also picked up these snuggle-bugs for a $15 splurge!

And I'm keeping my eye (ok both eyes, very intensely) on this wrap.
It's $50......the temptation is severe.......

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Recap

Happy Belated Thanksgiving! And Happy Black Friday! Any of you shopping? I actually, am not. I've never really gotten into the whole hype with Black Friday. I have gone out a time or two just to witness the craziness. Usually, though, I prefer to head up the mountain and cut down a Christmas tree. But back to Thanksgiving, I decided on making the  Cornbread-Apple Stuffing I mentioned a while back.

It went over quite well!! Honestly, it could have been a meal all on its own (this one includes sausage as well). But as always, I just couldn't bear to stick 100% to the recipe. So if you're interested, here's what I did: extra bell pepper & onion and I added dried cranberries (right before baking).  Next time around if I were to make it for a complete meal, I would use more sausage and more apples as well. But overall, an awesome dish. Then at the last minute waiting for everyones dishes to cook, I took a stroll through my in-laws backyard and brought a little more color inside.

Berry branches (not sure of the real name here), leaves & some lemons. It was a quirky little mix, just wish those lemons didn't float. A little floral foam probably would have helped. But I think the lemons & yellowed leaves kept the whole thing from looking too much like a hollie-berry Christmas arrangement. Well, how was your Thanksgiving? Try anything new? Have any last minute additions?? Hope it was a great time with your loved ones!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Oatmeal & Charcoal

Every few months (or weeks, just depends) I get mildly obsessed with a certain color scheme for the home. I've fallen in love with turquoise, yellow, reds, blues & sea-glass and then back to all neutrals, all alone or in some combination of two (or more!). My problem is, I just can't settle on one for sure. Now I know this isn't exactly a heartbreaking issue since I don't really have a house to execute these dreams into, but when I do get the death grip on one I want to have a sure plan on what I like and what I don't. Because when you know what you're looking for you can really zone in on the prize and find amazing deals. I think its important for a home to have flow with its colors and not be too choppy with bedroom and bathroom colors. So something that would work equally well in a fun future children's bedrooms is a must. So I've finally solved my dilemma (at least for now...), I want a versatile neutral backdrop that I can swap out colorful accessories into. And of course lots and lots of texture within those neutrals. In the inevitable process of me over-thinking everything, I been thinking about how this would be functional throughout the year, like timing accent colors with the holidays. I know, I'm nuts. But that's why I started this blog, because I will literally explode if I couldn't get up in the middle of the night and write down ideas and dream. So back to my logic:

January-red (or see December below..)
February-pinks & reds
March-pinks & yellows
April-yellow & green
May-green & blue
June- blue
July-red & blue (the patriotic month!)
August-red & yellow
September- orange & yellow
October-orange & plum (like a deep, deeeep purple?)
November-orange & red, maybe some more plum?
December- red & more metallics*
(although the green & blue Christmas color schemes are totally adorbs, so this is semi-undecided, good thing I have time...)

*Metallics will ALWAYS be a part of my decor. I love shiny things...and white, lots of white.

So I would use a rotation of these colors through probably mostly throw pillows & blankets, towels, chargers & platters on the table...I think you know I can find a way. Plus, I have TONS of Coca-Cola stuff, so red will kind of always be around. So what am I putting these colorful objects on? A backdrop of Oatmeal & Charcoal. Here are some of the long term pieces you can't necessarily swap out on a whim.....
KARLSTAD Sofa and chaise lounge, Isunda gray, chrome plated
I've long been a lover of this couch series, and the new(er) gray is fun, although I'm not quite sold on the chrome legs. And I have to admit, Mr. Kivik is making Karlstad work for my favor. These two colors below are really drawing me in.

KIVIK Loveseat and chaise lounge, Tullinge gray-brown Max. width: 110 1/4 " Min. depth: 37 3/8 " Max. depth: 64 1/8 " Height: 32 5/8 " Min. seat depth: 23 5/8 " Max. seat depth: 48 7/8 " Seat height: 17 3/4 "  Max. width: 280 cm Min. depth: 95 cm Max. depth: 163 cm Height: 83 cm Min. seat depth: 60 cm Max. seat depth: 124 cm Seat height: 45 cm
Gray-brown! A greige couch...!!!
KIVIK Loveseat and chaise lounge, Tenö light gray Width: 110 1/4 " Depth: 64 1/8 " Height: 32 5/8 " Seat width: 90 1/2 " Min. seat depth: 23 5/8 " Max. seat depth: 48 7/8 " Seat height: 17 3/4 "  Width: 280 cm Depth: 163 cm Height: 83 cm Seat width: 230 cm Min. seat depth: 60 cm Max. seat depth: 124 cm Seat height: 45 cm
Then there's the never fail light & airy gray here..

Parachute Duvet Cover + Shams- Feather Gray
How yummy is this duvet??!! And with some sparkly accent pillows. Ahhhh...

Recycled Denim Jute Rug
Now this rug has a bit more blue, but its recycled denim! GAH! I LOVE DENIM!! And the Oatmeal colored threading ties it into my theme. Maybe I can find a way to DIY this too.
Keira Braided Handle Baskets | World Market
I love baskets, and these ones with braided handles are so fun!
Just to round things out, here are some inspirational rooms that I would like to shoot for, all from Pinterest (of course)!
Two shower curtains?  Why didn't I think of that?!  It looks so elegant.

this living room is fantastic! colors, coffee table, open flow...

how fun are these colors?

Coffee table!! And pretty much the whole room is awesome too!

comfy & fresh

living room

I'd like to play with replacing all those white couches with one the fabulous gray ones I shared above. I feel like the coolness of charcoal/gray and the warmth of oatmeal really balance each other out. It's earthy and spa like, but gives a great platform for some (more dare I say) modern pieces mixed into antiquey/vintage finds as well. I think I may be crossing over into liking a little bit of modern. Wow.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Last Minute Thanksgiving Decor

Thanksgiving is only 2 days away and with all the focus on groceries, recipes and getting the bird thawed, decorations are probobly the last thing on your mind! A simple place card will spruce up your table without taking up too much space on the table. I prefer not telling guests where to sit,  so I would write something Thanksgivingy instead of names (Give Thanks, Grateful for You!...) Or even just have a basket full and let guests grab a little something on their way out the door.
thanksgiving placecard for kids
Brown paper bag + cardstock & newspaper stuffing = adorable place  cards!
(or fill with candies as a take home gift?)

Ok, now this place card is seriously simple & easy! An orange, mini pumpkin or even an acorn would be just as cute.

Pinned Image
Or an apple, maybe try a pomegranite?

Really, almost anything can become a place card. So while you're grocey shopping this week take an extra glance around the produce (or brown paper bags!) and see what sparks you!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Feeling Crabby

Every now and then I just get it right. Maybe I'm learning how to photograph nicely or maybe I just get lucky and my camera cooperates randomly decides to be magnificent. I was feeling a bit blue with this foggy overcast weather (third weekend in a row of rain!), so I took some time to look back on some of my beach photos as a new take on light therapy. No matter how gray the weather, the beach is aalllwwwaayysss beautiful to me! I have so many photos of the beach so I had to scale it down for you. I will show you only photos of crabs---in honor of me feeling crabby.

Cement Boat Beach, Santa Cruz
(ok not the official name, but I know you know what I'm talking about)


Dog Beach somewhere near Longbeach, CA

Well I'm feeling better already! There's just so many things about the beach that are so calming: the warm neutrals, pops of color & varied textures...
I am definitely a Califronia girl!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fabric Remnants

I recently purchased several yards of fabric for a $1 per pattern. Flea market score! These pieces are large enough for several throw pillows or maybe to be part of the quilt I will one day conquer.  The polka dot circly one looks like I could almost doodle that myself! And maybe I shall, that would be a fun blanket, to have different colors of this circle/dot pattern...The floral I had to have because of the colors: blue, yellow & red. It's a challenge, I think, to get these colors to work well together without being a circus or preschool room.  And the almost grandma style = win.
There are tons and tons of ideas out in webspace for what to do with leftover fabric. Here's a few that I thought were stellar.

Fabric covered Altoids tins- great for business cards
Fabric covered Altoid tins (business card holder?)

Reusable cloth wrapping.

bracelets that look like watches.

diy hairbows pinned onto paint chip for

And the best for last....
How to print on fabric - What?!  Oh, the possibilities...

Actually, this one is my favorite.
Pinned Image

And these are just barely scratching the surface of ideas to be seen & thought of! What have you done/dream to do with your fabric scraps?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pinterest vs. Gawker

Never thought I would say this buuut...Pinterest has a serious competitor!!! A good friend introduced me to Gawker over the weekend. I've thoroughly enjoyed leafing through its 4 categories: wedding, dwelling, crafts & food. It's definitely a different site of photo-ispo altogether, allow me to explain.

1) Submissions are sent in for approval before being posted on the site, as opposed to simply "pinning" an item as done on Pinterest. This I can appreciate, it helps to not have so many repeats on the site, which if you spend as much time as I do online, you're bound to see the same things like 5 times a day (it seems, guess this means I spend waaay too much time online huh?). On the other hand, the power to pin anything you deem pin-able is pretty darn fun. So I'm on the fence here.  Gawker has a more editorial look and Pinterest has that + the down-home photos.

2) I had to register for each of the 4 gawkerverse sites individually (if you want to find me, my name is AmericanWoman, as I'm sure you could have guessed.) Again, I'm on the fence about this. It's kind of a pain to log in 4 times (but maybe I just failed in my tech skills and didn't register correctly), and I enjoy the ease of clicking whatever pin board I want at any given time on Pinterest. But, if all you care about it food or crafts (or weddings or dwelling) then Gawker allows to streamline your search results simply by logging in.

I'm curious to know if any of you use Gawker or Pinterest, I'd love to hear your comments on this too. Knowing me, I will continue using both because I just can't get enough of these alternatives to monthly magazines! Plus Gawker has photos that Pinterest doesn't, and Pinterest has photos that Gawker doesn't. And I will  not be the one to miss out!

And because I couldn't possibly make this an all-words post, here's a recent Holiday Cookie photo-inspo from both Gawker & Pinterest!
Soft Molasses Cookies

genius decorating idea

Friday, November 11, 2011

Industrial Elegance

Rustic gleam is catching my eye more so than usual lately. Growing up in a carpenter's family taught me to see things for what they could be. How any raw material, trash or treasure, can be transformed into something beautiful. Thanks, Dad! I've got two specific things in mind today...

1) Wire spools for tables (photo found here). How awesome would these be sanded and lacquered with dark stain?! Larger ones would make awesome game & dining tables. I love a big round table where you can see your whole party. It just makes conversation flow when you don't have to turn your back to one neighbor or the other. And smaller spools would be a fun console or even a bedside table.

And in my internet perusing I also spotted this tool bag.
Adorable! I so want one for a purse, but I know it'll
terribly embarrass my husband....

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Lemon Herb Asparagus

It's no secret that I'm a fan of lemons. They've been the highlight in several recipes I've posted on here: Lemon Herb ChickenCupcakes and now Asparagus! This one is super easy, here goes it:
Steam several bunches of asparagus (thicker ones work best) in the microwave for 2 minutes, rotate them a bit and continue steaming as needed.

While the asparagus is steaming combine juice of 1 lemon, olive oil &  herb of choice (lemon pepper, thyme, oregano, choose one or two or three depending on your mood!)

Once the asparagus is tender to your liking, drizzle your lemon-herb blend and dig in! This would work equally well on BBQ'ed asparagus too.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Clearance Couture @ Goodwill

I know it hasn't been all that long since my last 'splurge' at the Goodwill, but a new one opened nearby and I just can't get enough of it! It's super clean, spacious & they have an awesome selection. Photographic  evidence (convinced my brother to take this in between a light saber war) :

Blue Mossimo (Target!) Dress for $6.99

Since it's getting to be rather chilly out (by Califronia standards, mind you), I paired it with a long sleeve tee, tights & boots.  Tights & boots pretty much go with any dress in your closet, or maybe just mine. I tend to weigh that option whenever shopping.  I debated belting the waist, but decided a long necklace was enough instead. My jewelry (except for my $2 flea market bangles) is from a direct sales company I used to sell for (not sure if these pieces are still carried) & my boots were a fabulous gift from a co-worker who bought them here.  But regardless what's from where, I wanted to prove that I don't just buy heavily discounted 'couture' for the joy of spending minimal funds, I actually wear it all too!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Cornbread Stuffing

Thanksgiving is 19 days away! AHHH! What are you making to contribute to the feast? I've got my eye on trying something new. I know, it's pretty risky. See, there's two crowds at Thanksgiving, Team 1 wants all traditional or same things as last year and then there's Team 2 (me!) who likes to tweak and try new things. So I'm thinking I will make this Cornbread Stuffing in a small quantity so that the stuck in routine traditional appetites will still have the same old stuffing. Cornbread pretty much goes with any meal in my book, so why not Thanksgiving? I'm sure this not a new idea in the history of the world, but it's new for me and I can't wait to try it. The basic recipe for cornbread (Albers' is my favorite) is easy to manipulate if you want to use wheat flower and/or wheat germ or whatever flour you prefer. I've seen several recipes for this, and I haven't yet decided which one I'm 
going to follow. But here are a couple of  pictures & links
 if you're interested in giving one of them a shot!

Cornbread & Sausage Stuffing (recipe here)

Cornbread and Apple Stuffing (recipe here)

What new recipes are you trying this year? I will definitely be updating you all with which recipe I end up doing and of course how it goes over with everyone. Crossing my fingers for success!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Clearance Couture: More Shoes

A girl can never have too many shoes. Ok, so maybe there is a limit at some point, but we women really do need quite the variety of foot coverings. I was so thrilled to get my hands on these two pairs a few weeks back, found at Payless for $6! Not sure if they're a  funky polka dot or feminine camoflauge, I keep changing my mind. But with all those colors,
they pretty much go with everything I own!

One of the (many) nice perks that come with a California address is you get to wear open toed shoes pretty much year round. I will definitely
be gettin' my money's worth out of these gals.