Friday, December 30, 2011

{inspiration} art

i'm not huge on quotes, but...... there are a few that i really enjoy.  they usually aren't from someone famous or renouned, and they are usually just something that makes me smile, or feel warm and cozy inside .  when i came across this print, i knew i had to have it , and within 2 minutes of reading it, i had my credit card out to buy one!

it's just a nice daily reminder that your life is what you make of it, and if you don't like it, DO something about it! 

we have it hanging up in the kitchen now, where we spend most of our time at home, so i at least catch a glance at it everyday.  i just love it .

if you aren't inspired enough by the print (purchase a copy here), watch the awesome video that goes along with it!

it's definitely a fitting get happy now/live your life/do what you want/feel good kind of inspiration for the New Year!!

cheers to a better 2012!  see you on the flip side...
(and be safe on saturday night...)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

{balsamic} vinaigrette

After eating leftovers all week (thanks, Mama Phan!), we were ready to eat something different tonight.  Mr P wanted to make lentil soup, and it took much longer than anticipated, so we ended up eating bigs salads for dinner instead of soup and a small side salad (but yay for delicious lentil soup for tomorrow!!)

We topped red leaf lettuce with grape tomatoes, red onions, pears, grapefruit, walnuts, and a little bit of extra sharp cheddar cheese.  We normally make some version of a typical oil, vinegar, sugar, lemon juice, mustard, etc. vinaigrette, so I wanted to switch it up and go for some {balsamic} vinaigrette!  I never made it before tonight, so I looked to none other than the to find a quick and easy recipe.

Emeril pulled through for us, with a simple vinaigrette with just balsamic vinegar, oil, brown sugar, garlic, salt, and pepper (woooo we had it all and I didn't need to run to the store again to pick up that ONE ingredient that makes the sauce).

We certainly enjoyed the change-up, and hope you do too!  Next time we will add in some apples and blue cheese (and load up on the walnuts!!)

Emeril Legasse's Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette
(find the original recipe here)


1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar (more if you like it sweeter!)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil  (we used a 2:1 olive oil to vinegar ratio instead of his given 3:1 ratio because vinaigrettes always call for too much oil for our tastebuds)

Whisk together all ingredients but the oil.  Slowly add oil while continuing to whisk.  Presto!

Serve over salad of choice (though we highly recommend it has walnuts and some sort of fruit!)

After visiting family in Ohio, we came home with delicious fudge for dessert every night!!  Yum! Thanks, Diann! We love it!


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Chevron Chic

Chevron (i.e. fancy shmancy name for zig zag) is the new "it" pattern, and I'm totally jumping on the bandwagon, because I just love it .

I've been putting off decorating the bathroom for a while now, mostly because I'm just so burned out from doing all the OTHER renovation stuff in the apartment! (though I'm quite pleased with the way it all turned out!!!)

I wanted the accent color in the bathroom to be yellow, with the rest of the decorations being white, black, and anywhere in between.  I also wanted to find super fun unique art to display, and told Mr P that this could be his place to shine (with his quirky mind and quirky monster obsession). 

We ended up purchasing this little guy at "Not Yo Mama's Craft Fair" at the last JC Fridays event in Jersey City from kudu-lah


Mr P saw monsters and a ginger (i.e. redhead) and instantly veered towards the table.  I immediately knew we were going to come home with SOME thing ;)  We came home with "Skitch", and he's now hanging on the wall right when you enter the bathroom.

I couldn't decide on another print or piece of art without emptying our pockets along the way, so I decided to recover my old Ikea wood frames with new fabric.  I found this yellow and gray chevron fabric from Bobbie Lou Fabric on, and I instantly fell in love!!  The fabric was wide enough so I could get both frames covered with just 1 yard! yayayaya

I got the fabric in the mail just before we left for the holidays, and finished the project the day we got back (talk about excitement!!)

First, I stripped the frames of the ugly-child-like fabric I originally covered them with (what was I thinking??)

These $5 frames are the best because they already have a ledge on the inside to catch a nail head.

I then double-checked that the fabric would cover both frames by folding it in half and putting a frame over it.

I then cut the fabric in half and laid out 1 frame with the fabric.  I measured 3" on the same side of fabric and 2 corners of the frame so I knew the fabric would be square with the frame.

Then I stapled 1 staple at the center of each side of the frame with a staple-gun.  I next stapled a few more staples on each side, pulling the fabric tight before stapling.

Then I folded and stapled the corners by placing 1 finger on each of 2 sides of the corner, and making 2 folds with the fabric so that the outer fold was square with the corner (ahhhh don't mind my chippy polish!! I couldn't find a way to hide it and show what I needed to show you!!)

Lastly I trimmed the edges of excess fabric, and then hung the frames on the bathroom wall with just 1 nail (you can use two if you choose, but make sure they are VERY level!)

Done!  This project is one of my favorites so far, because it's fast (took less than an hour to complete), it's cheap (I already had the frames, which are cheap at $5 anyways, and the fabric with shipping cost only $15), and it's easy (all you need to complete it is fabric, frames, staple gun, and scissors).

This project is perfect for someone looking to get color on white walls, cheap art for a rental where you don't know if it will match the decor at the next place you live, a baby room where you don't want to spend all your diaper money on silly art that will have to go away in a few years anyways, or many many other options.

Hope you enjoy!


Monday, December 26, 2011

{merry christmas}

{merry christmas}

per the usual trip to ohio, we did lots of driving, saw lots of family and friends, and ate lots of great food!   

...but also per the usual trip to ohio, the weekend was too short, we didn't see enough family and friends, and we can ALWAYS eat more great food.

Mr P and his brother started off the weekend installing a new sink for their mom... good thing Mr P learned some plumbing skills during our renovations or else they would still be trying to figure out how to do it!!

Mr P's cuzzos asked us to help with a ugly sweater (because trying to find a REAL ugly sweater 2 days before Christmas is impossible!! so we improvised)

Saturday we spent the day on the road going from Cleveland (Mr P's fam) to Toledo (Mr P's friend who he hadn't seen in 3 years because he lives in Japan and was home for the holidays) to Greenville (Gramma's house) and finally to Van Wert (my fam).

Five Guys in Toledo (I vowed never to eat it again after how it made me feel, but as I look through these pictures, it makes me want another little cheeseburger!)

Gramma's house... the ornaments on her tree bring back many many memories :D

Christmas eve dinner in Van Wert... my mom makes the best pot roast!  ....another one of those meals that don't need herbs or fancy sauces...

How did my mom learn to make such fancy bows!?  She said she enjoyed seeing the pretty presents under the tree for the past few weeks, so I guess it's ok she spent so much time wrapping them :P

Forrest Gump on TV?  My hands don't know how to change the channel when I know it's playing!!

Because I insisted we open presents on Christmas Eve, we had a relaxing morning with delicious (and requested) peppered bacon from the butcher and monkey bread.

One of my favorite part of the holidays are meat and cheese dishes!!  Venison (my favorite meat) summer sausage with smoked gouda cheese, and sesame wheat crackers.

We finally got back to NJ in the afternoon on Monday, ate dinner before 8 (lemongrass chicken, thanks to the usual cooler full of food from Mr P's mom), and unpacked....  

....but we're definitely not ready to go back to work... we need another day to relax!!  At least have lots of new KitchenAid gadgets to look forward to playing with this week (thanks Mom)!  Mr P already has his mind set on making a sauce with the blender...

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Taqueria, JC

I like sushi, but I gotta be in the mood for it.

I like Thai, but I gotta be in the mood for it.

I like greasy wings and bar food, but I gotta be in the mood for it.

I can ALWAYS be in the mood for good Mexican food (even though Taco Bell will suffice, sometimes)

I finally found a good, cheap Mexican restaurant walking distance from our apartment in Jersey City!!  I was introduced to Taqueria (no website, now you know its good when there's no website) by a co-worker at my company holiday party, Mr P and I are leaving tomorrow for Ohio and didn't have anything to eat, so we decided tonight was a perfect night to go!  

$2.50 tacos?  So cheap!  Together our meals were about the same price as going to Chipotle (possibly cheaper) and we supported the little guy, and had MUCH better food.  I had steak tacos and Mr P had pork tacos.... so delicious with 2 corn tortillas, lettuce, cilantro, onions, a radish slice, and a lime wedge for each taco (and green salsa and cheese on Mr P's pork tacos).  Finger... licking... good... (except my steak tacos were so spicy they made my eyes tear!! maybe I'm just a wuss... still tasty though)

Though not quite as good as Taqueria Verzcruzana in South Philly, this place will definitely suffice when we get a big craving for tacos!

Success!  Who wants to come visit us now ?  Did I mention its BYOB??  

Cheers to a great holiday weekend ahead :D