Master Bedroom Update – The Plan

So we have some new goodies in our house.  We’re still renovating (here and here) and we’ve basically just started (hubby just started pulling wallpaper off the soon-to-be master bedroom/bathroom) but we’ve already purchased some new items for our bedroom, living room, and dining room. 

We’d like to get the master bed/bath done first, then get the yards (front and back) prepped for spring planting.  Afterwards, we plan to work on the dining room and living room and then the rest of the house.  Or, at least that’s the plan for now.  Lord knows it could change tomorrow. 

For the bedroom we purchased this cutie.  It’s the Cute as a Button bed from World Market. 

We already own this Ikea Hemnes 8-drawer Chest

We’re not entirely sure what we’re going to do for nightstands at this time.  We don’t want to use the ones we already have.  BUT, I have a fabulous idea for nightstand lighting.  We’re going to pair these Ribba Frames in Walnut from Ikea with the Ribba LED Picture Lights in Aluminum.  We haven’t decided on art yet but we could put anything in those frames until then – fabric, scrapbook paper, wallpaper, photos we already have, you name it!

Also – no clue on bed sheets but I’m thinking we’ll pick a color (possibly royal blue?) from the buttons and use those for sheets and we may just go with a plain white duvet cover and a colorful throw. 

I’m sincerely contemplating these Tejn Faux Sheepskin rugs from Ikea for either side of the bed as well.  I have no clue what actual area rug we’ll use but I think these would be really nice to sink your toes into first thing in the morning.

I mentioned I didn’t know what area rug we’d use but I am really loving this White Chevron rug by Joseph Abboud.

Then we’d like to add this Cuddler Chair from Z Gallerie in a camel color fabric (it’s been on my wishlist FOREVER).

We’re also planning on putting this Enzo Floor Lamp (or something similar) behind the Cuddler Chair.

I’m also working on a project that I’m hoping we’ll be able to find room for in our master but if not, it can definitely go in the sunroom.  Can’t wait to share that with you soon too. 

What do you think?  Is this going to come together ok?  I’m much more confident about this space than I am about the Living Room.  Come back Monday for a peek!

Recipe Review: Slow Cooker Taco Soup

So I’m fairly certain that this is another recipe out of either Taste of Home or Southern Living but I’m not really sure which. Honestly until I started blogging I didn’t really pay any attention to where I got my recipes from.

Slow Cooker Taco Soup

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 can (16 ounce) chili beans, with liquid
  • 1 can (15 ounce) kidney means, with liquid
  • 1 can (15 ounce) whole kernel corn, with liquid
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies
  • 1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
  • OPTIONAL
    • Grated cheddar cheese
    • Sour cream
    • Chives
    • Corn chips (like Fritos)
    • Cornbread

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a medium skillet, cook the ground beef until browned over medium heat. Drain and set aside.
  2. Place the all ingredients (including cooked ground beef but NOT including ‘optional’ ingredients) in slow cooker.  Stir to blend.  Cook on LOW for 8 hours.

THOUGHTS

  • This has become a staple in our household.  I cook this about once a month and even if we don’t eat it for dinner that night, it freezes beautifully so we can eat it any time.
  • I like to prep the ground beef the night before and then just pop it in the refrigerator overnight.  In the morning, I’ll plop everything into the slow cooker and set it for 8 hours and then head off to work.  When I come home, I’m greeted with the most delicious aroma!  I’m sure it drives our dog crazy.
  • This dish tastes a lot like a broth-based chili to me.  It’s soooo good.
  • Believe it or not – it will eventually start getting cold in the not-so-distant future (yes, even here in Texas) and this dish is great on a chilly night.  For a really hearty meal, make some cornbread – slice a good chunk and place it in the bottom of your soup bowl, then ladle this soup on top and top with cheese.  Delish!

I’ve linked up to these great parties:

Alderberry Hill
Beyond the Picket Fence
Bloom Designs
Chef in Training
Chic on a Shoestring
Classy ClutterDays of Chalk and Chocolate
Craftionary
Crafty Confessions
Delightful Order
DIY Home Sweet Home
DIY Show Off
Ginger Snap Crafts
Handy Man, Crafty Woman
Happy Hour Projects
Home Stories A to Z
Homemaker on a Dime
Homework
I Gotta Create
I Heart Nap Time
It’s Overflowing
JAQS Studio
Kammy’s Korner
Lil Luna
Made in a Day
Making the World Cuter
Mod Vintage Life
My Girlish Whims
Not Just a Housewife
One Artsy Mama
Skip to my Lou
Uncommon Designs
Under the Table and Dreaming

Window Shopping Wednesday – SMA Factory

Hi friends.  I hope you’re excited for this weeks virtual shopping trip because I’ve got something good to show you.

If you haven’t been in a store like Michael’s, Joann’s, or Hobby Lobby recently you might have not realized it but guess what?  Christmas is just around the corner.  I know.  I can’t believe it either.  Wasn’t it JUST Christmas?

I am one of those people who likes to have all of their Christmas shopping and wrapping done before Thanksgiving – that way, I get to “relax” and enjoy the holidays with my family and friends (see “spend three weeks cooking and decorating”).

I found this nifty shop on Etsy (don’t you just LOVE this site?) that sells amazing jewelry and I think if you have a jewelry lover on your Christmas list you should seriously take a look.  Her stuff is reasonably priced ($15-$20) and she even boxes up her products in a super cute little box already ready for gifting!

This weeks featured shop:  SMA Factory

This Autumn Leaves Pale Short Necklace would be great paired with a simple v-neck tee and jeans.

I L-O-V-E this Frosted Leaf Clay Ring!  If I didn’t have super chubby fingers I’d buy this for myself!

Ooh – and this Vintage Clock Ring?!?!? YUM!  Look at that scrolling!

EEK!  And there’s even a Vintage Clock Necklace to go with!  I’m dying over here!

These Colorful Tree Clay Earrings are just lovely.  These could easily be dressed up or down and could go with just about anything!

I mentioned the other week that I have a thing for ladybugs – you know these Petite Ladybug Ear Studs are right up my alley!

I also have a love for peacock (yes yes I know it’s all the rage right now, but I was a fan before it was the ‘in thing’).  This Peacock Feather Necklace is just great.

Thanks for shopping with me today.  What are some of your favorite Etsy finds?

Get Moving

The company that my mom works for gets this nifty newsletter called Business Digest every day.  Sometimes when she reads it if she finds something she thinks I’d be interested in she’ll pass it along.  Here was an installment from a few months ago that really struck a chord with me:

If you find yourself mired in a difficult issue, struggling to come up with a decision, why not go about “choosing” instead?  Make the best choice you can toward the desired outcome.  “Ready, fire, steer” is the operative concept.  No matter where you are, there’s always a next step.  And, much as with driving a car, once you get something moving, it’s a whole lot easier to steer.  Of course, you do need to know something about your destination, or you’ll just be driving in circles.  Endless meetings with the aim of arriving at a perfect decision are a lot like driving in circles.  The workaround if you get stuck trying to make a decision, is to let go of the need to get it right or perfect, and instead just get it moving. 
(I believe that Business Digest got this from Workarounds that Work)

Does anybody else struggle with this besides me?  I find that I frequently have a hard time getting started on something until I can see the perfect end and every step it’s going to take to get there between now and then.  This, in turn, means that there are a lot of things I just don’t start.  I remember reading something on Pinterest the other day, here’s what it said:

Granted this is in reference to working out, but it’s true in life as well.  Pick a direction, and head towards it.  Even if it’s the wrong direction at least you’re not becoming stagnant.

Front and Back Yard Renovation

Can you ‘renovate’ a yard?  I’m not really sure.  I just know that we’re renovating everything else so I figured it was a fitting title. 

Anyways…

So yet again, I wrote this post MONTH’S ago and I thought about not posting it but since we’re faaaar from done I figured what the heck…

In addition to all of the master bath/bedroom updates that we’re working on we’re also tackling the front and back yards.  Years ago we had the foundation repaired and in doing so, we lost all of our front yard landscaping.  I can’t blame all of the disaster that is our yards on the foundation work though… some of it was just sheer lack of want to and/or funds (or both).  We’ve put together a list of the items that have to be completed.  Here it is…

  1. Remove blackberry & other weeds as well as trim & shape groundcover around pecan tree.  (Hubs removed the demon blackberry vine a few weeks back… he’s been shaped since this photo was taken…)
  2. Shape groundcover around the 3 oak trees into a circle (it’s rather amoeba-looking at the moment and there’s a Morning Glory vine that has invaded one
  3. Widen holes in bird houses (we actually had a poor sparrow get wedged in the hole and for a while we thought he wasn’t going to be able to get out)
  4. Re-sod missing patches in front yard (hubs threw down some rye seed for the time being.  We’re hoping it’ll fill in the holes and basically keep the dirt in place until the St. Augustine can grow back.  Update: we’ve been invaded by some sort of weed.  The lawn guys from TruGreen had to come out and told us that we need to start bagging our lawn clippings AND we need to have the trees trimmed because the lack of light is causing our St. Augustine to grow black spot mold.  Yippee.)
  5. Add ornamental grass to back yard (we bought this super nifty ornamental grass this weekend.  It’s PURPLE!  I love it.  Also – we pulled those weeds.)
  6. Replace dead Japanese Youpon Holly (This hedge has been here forever and for some reason, we lost the back quarter of it during last year’s drought.  So, we bought a new one this weekend.  He’s just a sprout now but he’ll grow)
  7. Figure out what to do with the 4’ x 4’ patch that used to have our vegetable garden. (For the time being, we ripped everything out, put down a layer of weed block, then covered it with mulch.  We’ll plant perennials in the spring.  Hopefully.)
  8. Plant perennial color in the two large beds at the front of the back yard.
  9. Put paver stones down on master bedroom side of house.
  10. Pull up pavers on garage side of house – re-level and add weed block and reset pavers
  11. Repeat # 10 with the patch of pavers where the grill sits
  12. Reorganize garage side of house (it currently stores trashcans, terra cotta pots, tomato cages, and various other garden necessities)
  13. Remove and replace raised-bed bricks & walkway in front of house (this is a major undertaking that will require a jackhammer, a large industrial-sized trash bin, possibly a back hoe, and some large sweaty men… volunteers welcome)
  14. Bring in new dirt & plants for front yard beds
  15. Repair/replace pergola in backyard

Our plan is to tackle this little by little as we find time (ha ha) and money (bigger ha ha).  There’s no rush on any of this (either the house or the yard) but our goal right now is to have it all done by October 2013.  We’d like to be able to celebrate the holidays with friends and family at our house for Thanksgiving and Christmas next year (and not have the house a disaster when that happens).  So for now, that’s our goal.  I have no idea if we’ll reach it as we’re just getting started but I’ve got my fingers (and toes, and eyes) crossed.

“Product” Review – Delta Airlines

 

So I wrote this MONTHS ago and just never posted it.  I thought about just not posting it but that’s not really fair to the Delta customer service department.  I mean, they did impress me enough to write this thing in the first place (and my opinion still stands) so I figure I should go ahead and post it).

Here goes…

So the other day when I got home there was a message on the home answering machine stating that our itinerary for our trip to Lake Tahoe had been changed (the flight part).  Apparently what was a 1 stop flight from Houston to Reno became a 2 stop flight.  Well, no offense but I don’t really want to hang out in multiple cities, neither of which are my final destination.  So, I checked Delta’s website to see what could be done.  Turns out, if a change in the schedule of the flight pushes back your final arrival time by more than an hour you can change your flight at no cost.  So, I hopped over to the reservations section and found a flight that only had one layover and will get us there even BEFORE our original arrival time.  I gave Delta Customer Service a ring to tell them what was up and within 5 minutes (and zero hassle) they had the hubs and I on the new flight of our choosing.  Whoo hoo!  Score 1 for Delta Customer Service.  I’m impressed.

Product Review: Urban Decay

So the other day I went to Ulta to purchase some new makeup because I ran out of my favorite eye shadow.  I purchased a few new products from Urban Decay and I wanted to tell you about them because I love them so much. 

You see – I’ve never been one to spend much money on makeup.  Usually I just purchase the colors I like in the cheapest place & brand in which I find them.  I’m realizing though, that sometimes the money you spend on quality products is worth it.  You get what you pay for after all. 

The first purchase I want to tell you about is the Eye Shadow Primer Potion.  I purchased the ‘original’ color.  First off, this stuff is $20 and it lasts FOREVER.  I mean, you use this itty-bitty bit each day and this tube is pretty good size.  I’m willing to bet this one tube will last me a year easy.  So the concept of eye shadow primer (in case you’re unfamiliar) is that it helps your eye shadow grip to your eyelids – no streaking or clumping or wearing off during the day.  Now, in the spirit of transparency I have to tell you that I’ve never tried another primer.  However, after trying this one I can tell you that I’ll probably never see the need to try another primer.  This one works great!  My eye shadow sticks all day and doesn’t run (I used to get sort of ‘goopy’ oily corners at the outsides of my eyes and those are LONG GONE!).  If you’re having any issues with the staying power of your eye shadow this stuff is a God-send.  I’ve tried it with several different brands of eye shadow and it works great with them all. 

I also purchased the Naked 2 pallet which comes with 12 taupe & greige neutral eye shadows, an eye shadow brush and a Lip Junkie Lip gloss in Naked.  Ok first off, the eye shadow colors are great.  There’s a wonderful range and so far I’ve used every single color except for the black (which I’m sure most people use for eyeliner but I prefer a real eyeliner stick).  The colors are vibrant and there’s a healthy mix of matte and sparkly colors in varying ranges of pale to dark.  I generally change up my eye makeup every day and this one palette has it all!

In addition I’ve totally fallen in love with the Lip Junkie lip gloss.  Usually I don’t like lip glosses because they’re sticky and don’t get me wrong, this one is definitely sticky, but it’s sooo moisturizing and it stays on ALL DAY LONG.  I just love it.  I put this on in the morning, take it off when I eat lunch and then reapply afterwards and my lips stay soft and supple all day.  The neutral color is great as well because it goes with EVERYTHING!  No more carrying around multiple tubes of lipsticks!  Yahoo! 

If you’re on the hunt for new makeup I definitely recommend checking out Urban Decay.  I’ve been really pleased with my purchases and would buy them again in a heartbeat. 

Do you have any favorite make up purchases that you’ve made?

Window Shopping Wednesday – Little Woodlanders

So I stumbled on this website the other day and I just had to share with you guys!  I think her ideas on toys are great.

Here’s what she has to say:  I started making wooden toys for my children shortly after I discovered the Waldorf ideas about play. I love the idea of open-ended toys, made of beautiful natural materials, that allow children to use their imagination. Toys that can be used in so many different ways, not just with one function or purpose. It’s such a joy to hold a beautiful wooden toy in your hand, a piece of nature. It’s even more of a joy watching children’s imaginations go wild with the toys!

This weeks featured shop:  Little Woodlanders

I think this Life Cycle of a Butterfly is a great idea for a child or for a teacher.  It’s visual and tangible.  Lovely.

Aren’t these little chicks just adorable?  I definitely would love to have these guys for my Easter table!

 

I love ladybugs and think this little guy (gal?) is just precious.

I think these acorns would make great decoration for fall or you could even use them as hostess gifts.

I think this is a beautiful figurine that any new mother would enjoy.

Thanks for shopping with me today!

Movie Review: White Oleander

 I’m honestly surprised that this movie didn’t win several awards.  It’s very ‘Sundance Film Festival-ish’ and it’s very well done but it only won 3 small awards:  Best Supporting Actress (Michelle Pfeiffer) at the Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards, Best Supporting Actress (Michelle Pfeiffer) at the San Diego Film Critics Society Awards, and Best Performance in a Feature Film – Supporting Young Actor (Mark Donato) at the Young Artists Awards.

 Synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes:  The Oprah Book Club best-seller by Janet Fitch makes it to the big screen in this adaptation from British director Peter Kosminsky. White Oleander recounts the traumatic adolescence of Astrid Magnusson (Alison Lohman), who finds herself an orphan after her short-fused, enigmatic artist mother Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer) is carted off to prison on murder charges. Astrid first finds herself in the care of Starr (Robin Wright Penn), a garish, born-again mother of two with a gruff but sensitive boyfriend (Cole Hauser). From there, she’s shunted back to a state-run facility, where she tangles with other troubled teens and finds temporary solace in the arms of Paul (Patrick Fugit), a dough-faced comic book artist with dreams of moving to New York City. Astrid then lucks into a living arrangement with a successful but insecure actress (Renee Zellweger) who offers her unconditional love. But Ingrid’s stifling influence continues to haunt her daughter, whether through the occasional prison visit or via manipulative letters to Astrid’s caretakers.

 Michelle Pfeiffer is great in this, at least in a totally psychotic and selfish way.  She plays a good crazy person though.  I loved her in What Lies Beneath. She’ll piss you off and you’ll absolutely want to run her over with your car, but she’s totally believable as a psychotic girlfriend who poisons her boyfriend in a fit of rage.  Her daughter Astrid (in the movie, not real life) played by Alison Lohman is left to the mercy of the foster care system after her mom is sent to jail.  I found her experiences to be genuine and it did make me wonder if the author of the book that the movie is based on spent time in the foster-care system.  Astrid is placed in three separate foster families as well as a large group home over the course of several years.  I don’t want to give anything away (because I totally think this movie is worth watching if you haven’t already) but let’s just say that you’ll want to laugh, cry, throw something at the tv, and crawl through the tv to hug certain characters.  You should Netflix this one today.

Recipe Review: Baked Chicken with Rice and Black Beans

The Hubs and I absolutely looooove this recipe.  It’s soooo yummy!  It’s from a 2009 issue of Southern Living magazine and I’ve gotta tell you – they hit it out of the park with this one.

Image

Baked Chicken with Rice and Black Beans

Serves 6 to 8 (I’d really say 4 to 6)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 (10oz) package yellow rice mix (we use the mahatma mix in the yellow bag) & any ingredients required to make it (check the packaging)
  • 1 cup chopped onion (we prefer ours finely diced, but we like a lot of onion – if you don’t love onion or don’t care or are going for convenience you could definitely use frozen chopped onion)
  • ½ cup chopped green bell pepper (we use frozen)
  • ½ cup chopped carrot
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken (use either a pre-cooked store-bought rotisserie chicken or bake a chicken breast or two the night before)
  • 1 (15oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (10oz) can diced tomatoes and green chiles (Rotel), undrained (we didn’t have any so I used a can of regular diced tomatoes and chopped up some pickled jalapenos)
  • 2 cups (8oz) grated Monterrey Jack cheese (we used a ‘Mexican blend’)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Prepare rice according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, sauté onion, bell pepper, and carrot in hot oil in a medium skillet over medium heat for 10 minutes or until tender (do not let it burn!).
  3. Combine hot cooked rice, onion mixture, chicken, beans, diced tomatoes and chiles, and 1-1/2 cups cheese in a large bowl.  Spoon into a lightly greased 3-qt or 13×9-inch baking dish; sprinkle with remaining ½-cup cheese.
  4. Bake, covered, at 350 for 30 minutes.

THOUGHTS

  • If you use rotisserie chicken (or bake chicken the night before) as well as frozen onions and bell peppers this dish comes together in a flash.  It makes a great weeknight meal!
  • We prefer this dish with refrigerated melon severed on the side (watermelon, cantaloupe or honeydew).  The dish has just a little kick and the cool melon makes a nice pairing.
  • If you don’t like spicy you can absolutely take out the Rotel and just used plain diced tomatoes (just make sure you only use 10oz as a ‘standard’ diced tomato can is 16oz).
  • If your family is dairy-free (or one person in your family is) you can omit the cheese and just top individual plates with cheese as desired.

I’ve linked up to these great parties:

Alderberry Hill
Beyond the Picket Fence
Bloom Designs
Chef in Training
Chic on a Shoestring
Classy Clutter
Craftionary
Crafty Confessions
Days of Chalk and Chocolate
Delightful Order
DIY Home Sweet Home
DIY Showoff
Ginger Snap Crafts
Handy Man Crafty Woman
Happy Hour Projects
Home Maker on a Dime
Home Stories A to Z
I Gotta Create
I Heart Nap Time
It’s Overflowing
JAQS Studio
Kammy’s Korner
Lil Luna
Made in a Day
Making the World Cuter
Mod Vintage Life
My Girlish Whims
One Artsy Mama
Skip to my Lou
Uncommon Designs
Under the Table and Dreaming