Thursday, December 6, 2012

Gift Idea - Notebooks

What to buy for a hostess gift? A stocking stuffer?  A thank you for a sister or a friend who has been especially thoughtful of you this year?

One can never have too many notebooks….leather bound, fabric covered, silvers, golds, bright turquoises, moody purples.  Collect them all.  Write your thoughts.  And don't worry about filling them up in order, keeping them organized, or writing everyday.  Any time you need inspiration, a pick me up, or a reminder of just how far you've come, simply pick one up and open at random.  

It will show you how time is your friend.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Table: Quotes of Gratitude

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was,
"thank you," 
that would suffice.  
~Meister Eckhart

Thanksgiving.  A day to reflect on all the blessings we have in our lives and be grateful to God who makes it all possible.  It really is such a beautiful holiday - one I wish I lived more consciously every day.

Our Thanksgiving table has always been a fun project that my whole family creates together.  Each year we try to top the year before, or at least come up with something completely different.  But candles and colors aside, it's important to remember why we all come together on Thanksgiving.  Last year we tied quotes of gratitude and thankfulness onto sprigs of rosemary and stems of pears and set one on each plate.  Every quote was different - some funny, some serious, some famous, some unknown.   Each person read their quote out loud during dinner.  It was a lovely way to celebrate the season and be ever mindful of the spirit of Thanksgiving.

Gratitude Quotes
Google "thankfulness quotes", "thanksgiving quotes", 
"Gratitude quotes" or any combination of the above and pick out your favorites. 
Hand write or print out the quotes (in small text) on paper.
Roll up quote in a scroll-like fashion.
Tie scroll onto a sprig of rosemary or a stem of a piece of fruit with colorful ribbon.

Monday, November 19, 2012

"Turkey" Veggie Tray

Are you still looking for something you can make to contribute to all the Thanksgiving events this week? Try this Turkey Veggie Tray.  It is fun and festive - a great project to enlist some little ones to help assemble as well!

Lay out butter leaf lettuce on the bottom of a large plate.  Then add your veggies: A row of carrots, broccoli florets, thinly sliced red and yellow bell peppers, and zucchini.  Save the top of the red bell pepper to make the turkey's face, and slice up some zucchini to make the legs.  Add 2 little eyes (from some cauliflower) and you're done!  Pair with homemade hummus or your favorite dips.

And be sure to let people know it's ok to "ruin" the turkey - it's almost too pretty to eat!

Kara, Kate, and Kacey

Friday, November 16, 2012

Buoyant, like a magnet

I trudge through 
the water, mud 
sucking up toward 
My knees.  Pulling me 
down unless I keep moving 
forward.  It's slow, treacherous 
work.  the boat is heavy weighing 
on my arms - shoulders, elbows 
ache with effort.

I barely look back.  Eyes always open 
and ahead. One. foot. after. the. other.

But then...

As I let go
the boat washes 
away - sucked
behind me and out 
of sight like
a vacuum sucks 

Black hole.

I am left standing, hands open
                                                      light and free - my face lifts up to the sun....buoyant, like a magnet.

and the sun
      golden on
                        the horizon.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

DIY Shimmery Fall Wreath

What is your go-to front door decor for the Fall season?  Mine is this DIY Shimmery Fall Wreath I made a couple of years ago.  This will be the 3rd year I've decorated with this wreath, and she's still holding up.  It's an easy and fun project - now is just the time to make one for your front door!

DIY Shimmery Fall Wreath
1 grapevine wreath
fake fall foliage - berries, leaves, twigs, pumpkins
hot glue and gun
spray paint in a variety of fall colors - golds, browns, shimmery coppers
Optional: wood letter and twine

1.)  Using scissors, cut off all the leaves and berries from the sticks and garlands they came on.
2.)  Divide up the foliage and spray each group a different fall color.  Flip over when dry and spray the other side.  Spray some leaves with full coverage and others with a light misting to let the original coppers and reds show through.
3.)  Begin tucking berries and leaves randomly into the grapevine wreath. Some leaves will stay without using hot glue, others you might want to secure with a dot of glue.
4.)  Optional final touch:  Spray paint a wooden (or cardboard, or chipboard) letter a deep chocolate brown.  Tie onto wreath with rustic twine for a more personal expression.

Below: wreath without letter

I personally like the wreath with the letter.  It fills up some empty space and makes it feel more personal and homey - just what Fall should feel like!

What do you have adorning your front door this year?


Linked to: Top This Top That

My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

Monday, November 5, 2012

Salmon with Tomato and White Bean Ragu

Every magazine, tv show, and healthy living website tells us how great salmon is for you.  I'm a big fan, and thankfully so is Billy.  Nothing like cooking up a big fillet o' fish in a household that doesn't support...well, mostly the smell!  Oh just light a sweet candle and open a window, haters :>)

Normally I make a super easy salmon dish - I sprinkle Molly McButter and Lemon Pepper over a freshly rinsed fillet of wild caught Alaskan salmon and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.   However, in an effort to branch out and try new things, I decided to make a new salmon recipe - verdict? Success!

Salmon with Tomato and White Bean Ragu
1 lb wild caught Alaskan Salmon
(I get about 1/2 lb salmon per person..we have some leftover then)
Molly McButter
Lemon Pepper
1 large zucchini
1 large carrot
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 shallot
1 15.5 oz can white beans - drained and rinsed
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
Basil sliced in ribbons
Salt and Pepper
1 tbsp olive oil

1.)  Rinse and dry salmon.  Sprinkle generously with Molly McButter and Lemon Pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
2.)  Heat oil at med-hi in a skillet.  Add onion and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
3.)  Add the carrots, zucchini, and garlic and saute for about 7 minutes.
4.) Pour in tomatoes, beans, and chicken broth and stir together.  Reduce heat to med-low and cook covered until sauce thickens a little - about 15 minutes.
5.) Add basil (leaving a little left over for garnish) and salt and pepper to taste.  Cover to keep warm until salmon is done.
6.) Peel skin off salmon.  Serve ragu in a shallow bowl with the salmon on top. Garnish with more basil.

This was so hearty and delicious.  A perfect meal for a cool evening.  Serve with thick, crusty Italian bread...yum!


**The next day for lunch I warmed up the left over tomato and white bean ragu which had thickened even more overnight - it made a great soup!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday Inspiration


Oh Happy Day for the weekend again!  I'm looking forward to a fun day of tailgating at the USC vs. Oregon game tomorrow and a fairly lazy Sunday.  Maybe we'll get around to a few more house projects - here's to hoping!  Check out these interesting articles I stumbled upon this week to get you through your Friday:

For all of us intent on taking the best pictures we can, check out Centsational Girl's tips on photo styling.

Funny and lighthearted advice from Apartment Therapy on how to throw an Election Night Party.

Lines you can actually use at your next Networking Event to aid in the awkwardness from The Daily Muse.

And finally a photo shoot that we designed, styled, and executed while I was living in Nashville was published on the esteemed Wedding Chicks website! Check it out here!

I hope your weekend is relaxing, inspiring, and replenishing :>)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Holiday Spotlight: Aunt Joy Stockings

It's the first day of November, and that means.....CHRISTMAS is COMING!!

Break out the carols, make sure the decs are in order! And if you don't have your handmade Aunt Joy Stockings, well be sure to order ASAP.  You want them in time for Santa to fill right?

I absolutely adore our Aunt Joy's Stockings.  You can pick your colors and characters - a different one for everyone!  They also come personalized...just look at some of these gorgeous details:

And here is a blurry, awful iphone pic of ours from a few years ago - you can't deny they are so precious!  Clearly I need new photos :>)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fall and Winter Uniform

Sooooo I do realize Fall officially started over a month ago.  In my defense, it's been 90 degrees in LA since we moved out here in August!  I'm a little (lot) late on the fall fashion bandwagon.  But I think I've finally "pinned" down my go-to uniforms to get me through this fall and winter season.  In the spirit of trying to Spend Less/Save More (SLSM), all of these looks are mostly made up of pieces I already own....:>)

                                                   1.                                                         2.                                                        
                                                 3.                                                          4.

Look 1 - California Breezy
Components: grey skinnies, long white tank/tee, large patterned scarf, oversize gold watch
This will be perfect for those in between days we have here in Cali - cool in the morning, warm in the afternoon, back to cool at night.  SLSM: I already own grey leggings AND grey skinny jeans, a long white tee, a few patterned scarves, and a gold watch - thanks to Christmas from Billy last year!

Look 2 - Cozy Chic
Components: oversize global patterned wrap sweater, black leggings, booties
I love me a great oversized sweater - oh the christmas cookies you can hide behind that :>)  This looks comfortable but still stylish.  SLSM: leggings (obvi), oversize black and white sweater, booties.

Look 3 - Uptown, Downtown, Anytown!
Components: carmel tall boots, black or grey tights, blush skirt, blazer
I'm seriously obsessed with this one.  I LOVE that skirt.  How comfortable, yet feminine, but still tough with the boots and tights? Eeeee! SLSM: carmel boots, tights, short blush skirt.  NEED: I would love to find a longer skirt like this one, I don't have a light colored blazer...but another blazer could work, or even a chunky sweater.

Look 4 - Casual Winter Whites
Components: chunky cream knit sweater, long white tank, jeans
I love the winter white look.  Have yet to try it this year, though.  It feels so fresh and light....great for mild California seasons.  SLSM: long white tank, jeans. NEED:  Chunky, longer cream sweater. I have several sweaters in darker colors, but if I'm trying to pull off the white look, I definitely need to invest in  the above sweater.  Its Free People - but sold out.  Guess I'm on the hunt!


What is your fall uniform?  I'd love to hear (steal!) your ideas!!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pumpkin Carving Party

Last week I made a "Fall To-Do List".  In trying to cross a few to-do's off my list, I threw a last minute Halloween Pumpkin Carving Party!  Why not have one yourself?  Invite a few friends over tonight or's a great way to celebrate Halloween low-key style.  This party is easy and quick to put together....the main ingredients? Pumpkins, a signature cocktail, and some warm, feel-good Fall food!

On The Menu For The Evening:
DRINK: Apple Cider Bourbon Cocktails
SNACK: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
EAT: Homemade Meatball Paninis
DO: Pumpkin Carving Kit
LISTEN: New Fall Itunes playlist
DECOR: Finished pumpkins! Scary, funny, classy - the world is yours to carve :>)

Apple Cider Bourbon Cocktails
2 parts fresh Apple Cider
2 parts Ginger Ale
1 part Bourbon
Apple Slices
*Stir all ingredients together on the rocks.
*Garnish with a slice of apple

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
1.)  Save the seeds you dig out of your carving pumpkins.
2.)  Rinse seeds well with water.  Then lay seeds out to dry on a paper towel.
3.)  In a saute pan, heat a little olive oil.  Saute seeds in oil and salt.
4.) Meanwhile, pre-heat your oven to 350 Degrees.
5.)  After about 10 minutes, remove seeds from stove, and spread them evenly on a cookie sheet (or 2!)
6.)  Sprinkle seeds with desired flavoring.  I chose 4 different flavors:  Plain, Lowry's seasoning, Garlic Salt, and Molly McButter (all seasonings found in the baking aisle at your grocery store).
7.)  Bake seeds for 15-20 minutes, until slightly golden in color and crunchy to the bite.

Meatball Paninis - makes 6 paninis
Italian bread
tomato sauce
red onion
sliced prosciutto
sliced provolone cheese
red pepper flakes

1 lb ground pork
1 egg
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp dried basil
3 tbsp garlic powder
garlic salt - a few shakes
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
salt and pepper
1.)  Mix all ingredients together with your hands in a mixing bowl
2.)  Roll mixture into balls roughly 2 inches in diameter.
3.)  Place meatballs on greased cookie sheet.  Gently press into each, flatting them slightly  This makes it easier to fit in the sandwich.
3.)  Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, turning meatballs once.

***Either make your own tomato sauce (great recipe here) or use a store bought version.

1.)  Using a good crunchy Italian bread or ciabatta, cut into panini size.  
2.)  Spread tomato sauce generously on both sides of sandwich.
3.) Slice a meatballs in half and layer on one side.
4.)  Add sliced red onion, prosciutto, provolone cheese, arugula, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes on other side of bread.  Put panini together.
5.)  Using panini press, heat sandwich until warmed through.
6.)  Serve immediately with fresh green salad.

The decorations and activity for this party take care of themselves.  I simply lit a few candles and prepared the table for carving (garbage bags, newspapers).  

Fall Playlist
Ellie Goulding "Anything Could Happen"
The Black Keys "Gold On the Ceiling"
Imagine Dragons "It's Time"
Mumford & Sons "Below My Feet"
Mumford & Sons "I Will Wait"
Fun "Some Nights"
Phillip Phillips "Home"
The Lumineers "Ho Hey"
Van Morrison "Into the Mystic"
NeedtoBreathe "Stones Under Rushing Water"
Mumford & Sons "Awake My Soul"
The Black Keys "Chop and Change"
Of Monsters and Men "Little Talks"
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros "Home"


My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

Home Stories A2Z

Monday, October 29, 2012

Bacon, Egg and Cheese Bake

This weekend I was sitting at home looking through my Mangia board on Pinterest and I realized something very important.  I have over 400 recipes pinned to my food board, and I have probably only made about 10 of them.  I decided I need to recommit to cooking new and fun recipes.  Especially on the weekends when I have a little more time to enjoy cooking. I made this bacon, egg cheese and croissant bake Sunday morning and it was a hit. 

You could do a zillion different variations of this meal, and it would be fun and easy for a brunch or bridal shower. 

one can of crescent rolls ( I used reduced fat)
6 eggs scrambled
5-6 slices of cooked bacon-I cook my bacon in the oven on a foil lined cookie sheet. Less mess!
1 cup of cheese ( I used a mexican blend because that's what I had on hand) 
Green jalapeno tabasco sauce-or whatever your favorite is

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange crescent roll pieces on a cookie sheet in a star shape.  Place the points of the crescent roll facing out and the long flat end in the middle.  Place cooked bacon slices in the middle of the "star" then sprinkle on about 1/3 of the cheese. Add the scrambled eggs next and then generously add hot sauce.  How much or how little is completely up to you.  Add remaining cheese.  
Take the points of the crescent rolls and fold them up to the center.  Once you have folded all points up and over, make sure to press down on the center to keep them all together. 
Bake for about 18 mins or until golden brown. 

I will say that next time I will definitely strive to have a "prettier" presentation.  However this was delicious, and husband approved.  Happy Monday!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

DIY: Doily Umbrella Stirring Sticks

This is one of my favorite DIY's! So pretty and practical for a party.  The doily version is perfect for a bridal shower or wedding.  And because any kind of paper can be used to make these, why not choose stripes for a stock the bar party? Or polka dots for a baby shower for a little boy? 

Rachel Moore Photography

DIY Doily Umbrella Stirring Sticks

mini doilies - or paper of your choice
wooden skewer sticks
white card stock
glue stick 
hot glue and gun
mini beads or pearls

1.) Cut card stock to match center circle of doily.
2.) With a glue stick, add glue to card stock circle.
3.) Glue card stock circle to center of doily.
4.) Mark center of doily and cut a straight line from edge of doily to the center.
5.) Line edge of cut with glue.
6.) Bend the doily into a cone-like shape, and glue edges together.
7.) Glue jewel or bead to top of umbrella.
8.) Glue end of skewer stick to inside of “umbrella”.


Rachel Moore Photography

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Thoughts on Describing "Style"

Last week I mentioned this style quiz on the Homegoods website.  I thoroughly enjoyed browsing through the mini photos and picking the 5 that attracted me the most.  Hilariously (and not surprising whatsoever) each time I looked, a different set of photos would attract me.  This is a chronic problem for me - picking AND STICKING with my "style".  Whether in home decor, fashion, attitude...I've always been a fickle minx - flitting from style to style - and chameleon-like in my ability to adapt to my environment.  One thing I've always known is I like things comfortable...sofas, jeans, etc.  But Comfortable is not a style.  At least not on its own.  So now I'm on a journey to nail down the right combination of words that describe my style.

I love the categories they came up with.  I've listed them below, with my thoughts after:

Boho - whimsical, carefree, eclectic
Classic - elegant, traditional, seamless
Urban Funk - edgy, industrial, soulful
Set Sail - beachy, calm, comfortable
Socialite - high end, trendy, fashionable
Spa Life - serene, contemporary, organic, Asian influence
The Traveler - global, collective, eclectic
Vegas Baby - trendy, glitzy, over the top
New Country - comfortable, rustic, modern simplicity
Farmhouse Glam - rustic, elegant, opposites
Modern Metro - contemporary, industrial, minimalist 
Sassy - fun, feminine, colorful

What I think is missing:  
Tuscan (could be lumped with The Traveler however I believe traveler is more global than strictly Tuscan Style).  And honestly, I think Traditional needs to be its own category.  Classic and Traditional seem to be lumped together, but to me traditional means an elegant, collected style with antique accents. Classic has a modern edge to it.


source - CLASSIC

BOHO Style

source - BOHO

As I really think about these categories and what they mean to me, the ones that hit closest to home are Boho and Classic.  On first look, it seems like these are complete opposites.  But maybe that's why it fits - I am a bit opposite. I mean, my nickname when I was little was "Ms. Opposite".  The basic pieces in my house are Classic: navy wing back chairs, neutral L shaped sofa, striped floor rug, metallic mirrors.  But my accessories are all Boho: patterned pillows and throws, purple accent chair, turquoise side table, candles and books galore.

This also fits when I think about my style when it comes to fashion...

The bones of my wardrobe are classic pieces - think skinny jeans, trench coats, striped tees:

But I love being whimsical and fun - floppy hats, lace dresses, fringe, booties:

Apparently, a blend of the two is just right - classic pieces like a white tank and butter leather jacket mixed with a colorful maxi skirt, clutch, and necklace OR a simple navy dress with an outrageous necklace and snakeskin clutch:

Soooo, after all this, what is my style?

Classic Comfort with Boho Flair

or maybe

Classically, Comfortably Bohemian?

Classic Bohemian Comfort?


Either way, there we have it! Apparently I've expressed all along what my style is - I just needed to break it all down and really study it to be able to describe it concisely.  And I'm dead serious when I say I just figured this out.

Yeesh, thanks for listening :>)


PS: Let me know what your style is! What other categories are missing?  Does your home style match your fashion style?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Bringin' the Fall Back

I can remember when I moved from Los Angeles to Nashville 6 years ago I was completely enamored with Fall again.  You really do forget how refreshing it is to walk out your front door into the crisp, cool air.  How vibrant and inspiring the colors of the changing trees can be.  How curling up on the sofa in front of a fire sipping apple cider is simply good for the soul.  Now that I moved back to LA,  I realize I have to fully embrace what Fall is here - it's my favorite season!  Why not make a list of all the "fall" activities I'd like to accomplish before Thanksgiving you ask? Don't mind if I do!

1.)  Visit the pumpkin patch on the corner.

2.)  Watch a scary movie and carve said pumpkins with friends :>)

3.)  Create a new apple cider cocktail.

4.)  Come up with a creative Halloween Costume.

5.)  Discover some delicious new soups to make this throughout the fall and winter.

6.) Start a gratitude journal.

7.) Take knitting class with a dear friend.

8.)  Design the Thanksgiving decor concept for my family's table (even though I won't be there this year - e design anyone?).

9.) Bake pumpkin seeds!

10.) Make a pumpkin pie from scratch - I'm talking from an actual pumpkin people :>)


Monday, October 22, 2012

S'mores Bars

I have loved S'mores since I was a kid at the lake, and as an adult that love has not faded.  These bars are almost too easy to make, and I guarantee every member of your family young and old will love these babies. 

1 10 oz bag of small marshmallows
1 12oz package of choc. chips-Keep in freezer, so they don't melt. ( I didn't not use the whole bag, but how much chocolate you want is up to you!)
5 TBS of butter
1 12oz box of Golden Grahams

Spray a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
Melt butter over medium heat in pan.  Add 5 cups of marshmallows until almost completely melted.  Transfer mixure to a mixing bowl and add in cereal.  Take choc. chips out of the freezer and stir those into the mix.  Add remaining cup of marshmallows to the bowl as well. 
Gently press cereal mixture into pan and place in the refrigerator until set.  
Remove and cut into squares. 

Told you it was easy :)


Thursday, October 18, 2012

DIY Peacock Feather Headpiece

This would be just perfect for a Flapper Girl Halloween Costume - a cast member from Boardwalk Empire maybe? Or perhaps Daisy from The Great Gatsby!

Peacock Feather Headpiece DIY
4-5 peacock feathers (mine were from Hobby Lobby)
1 plastic hair comb
hot glue and gun
bobby pins that match your hair color

1.)  With scissors, cut the feather stem about an inch and a half below the main bloom.
2.)  Arrange 4 (or as many as you deem necessary to fill it out) peacock feathers on top of hair clip evenly.
3)  Glue the stem of each feather to the top rim of the hair comb.
4.)  After the glue is fully dry, work the comb into your hair.
5.)  Using bobby pins, pin the brooch on top of the hair comb to help hide the plastic comb and to secure in place.**

**One of the benefits of only pinning the brooch to the comb is that you can then interchange the brooch depending on the style or look you are going for.

photos with model taken by Mike Wootton


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Did Someone Say Handbag?

Purses are my weakness.  Big, small, colorful or muted it does not matter.  A new bag is the key to my heart.  This fall there are so many fabulous bags out there. Some that threaten to break the budget and others that seem to fit right in to my kind of guilt free spending.

I typically throw my life into my bag, so these first two bags are perfect for my day to day life. I love the teal of the Vince Camuto, and the buttery leather of the Michael Kors.  How do you chose just one??
Crossbody bags are still super trendy for fall , and I have been searching and searching for one. This might be the time to tell you that not only am I am bag addict, but it always has to be just right for me. :) My loved ones might call me picky. I think this Marc Jacobs might be the one.  If you follow the link you can see the just how perfect this bag is size-wise.
MARC by Marc Jacobs "Classic Q Natasha" Crossbody
Snakeskin prints are trending everywhere this season, and I LOVE how affordable both of these Steve Madden options are.
Steve Madden "Sugar" Tote

Steve by Steve Madden "Sugar" Snake Embossed Clutch
If you haven't gone out to purchase your new fall bag yet, get out there! There are so many beautiful bags just begging to be taken home and loved ;-)