glitter tape

Would it be wrong to skip the wrapping paper for this sparkle tape? It looks like it floated down from heaven. Seriously, would the wrapping be missed?

Ps. This is what came in the box with the sparkle tape. They are pretty amazing too. Thanks Mom!


snow globes by auntie lin

My Auntie Lin made us these snow globes this Christmas -- it's safe to say that I am obsessed with them. Such a beautiful and sparkly idea! I also love that they aren't holiday specific ... so we can keep them out all winter. Thank you, Auntie Lin! Every time we look at them I will think of you and Uncle Bobby.


list-maker: december

We have a week off from work. I really struggle with time off ... we are usually happier when there's a schedule. I either work non-stop on house things and never actually "recharge" or spend a day slowly working on silly things and then feel unproductive. So this holiday break is about balance. And because balance doesn't come naturally, we have to plan it out. We promised each other at least one night out alone and a few other get togethers with family and friends. The rest of the time will be spent walking the dog and sticking to the list. 

- paint pantry and bathroom doors
- paint stairs
- install molding along stairs
- clean out guest bedroom
- take everything to goodwill
- laundry & reorganize the laundry room
- IKEA to get frames and curtains
- hang frames and curtains
- install drawers into 2 of the kitchen cabinets

We'll see how it goes!


gift wrap: josh's take

Josh takes wrapping to a whole new level. He made these cinnamon ornaments at school and made a few extra with gift wrap in mind (I know, right?). I would have never thought to use it as a bow -- love this man. We are totally doing this for all our gifts next year.


december: the canal

We live one street over from the canal to the Schuylkill River. Even though I don't walk here alone anymore (read: mom and dad), I feel lucky to have it in our backyard. 
The canal association hosts a holiday luminaria ... so pretty. We missed the rest of the town ... but I'd say it was worth it. 



Wrapping is the best part in my book. It goes hand-in-hand with our obsession with packaging. 

Every year we stick with the same rules:
1. Keep it simple. Super simple.
2. Make it look special by using unexpected colors (I don't think we have ever used red and green).
3. Make your own labels or buy plain ones. This year we got labels from the Martha Stewart line at Michael's. They were the same price as tags from Target.


dinner: bread

My mom always does most of the cooking -- with my dad as sous chef. 
But dad makes the bread ... and it is amazing. 


around town: soltane

If ever in Phoenixville, we highly recommend picking up some bread from Soltane. Soltane is a community in Camphill (serving people with developmental disabilities) -- and the bakery if staffed by bakers and baristas from Campill Soltane. The breads are made with organic and whole grain ingredients in a wood-fired oven.
They. Are. So. Good.


holiday decorating: our take

This is actually the first year we have really decorated in this house. The first year was ... well ... you know. Presents were opened in our bed -- it was the only "safe place". Last year we had just finished the kitchen and the rest of the first floor was a disaster.
Needless to say, this year feels amazing. We have a little guy running around the house ... good smells coming from the kitchen ... it's clean (no construction dust) ... home.
It's probably no surprise that when it comes to holiday decorating we don't really like "country crafty" things ... hold the snowmen please. Unless the snowman is sitting in a mid century rocker.

A little holiday pizzaz to the simple wreath

The Charlie Brown Christmas Tree always holds our favorite ornament. This tree came from an Urban Outfitters sample sale when I used to work there ... it was $1. 

Last year my Mom gave us a few vintage ornaments -- this one's my favorite. 

(Hate this bookshelf. We have big plans for this spot.)

A modern take on the window sill candle-light.

I just found this candle dish at IKEA .

These wooden snowflakes came from Hipster Home. Originally down the street from us, they just moved the store to Chestnut Hill. Dave and Lindsay are not only some of the nicest people you will meet ... they make things look magical (go to their store ... you'll know what I mean). By far one of our favorite stores.
(Yes ... that is a gross dog bone in the picture).

Happy decorating!


one hundred

I've been absent here for awhile now ... it's because this is my 100th post. 
I had big plans. I wanted to do a big kitchen write-up. Exactly one year ago, on Thanksgiving 2010, was the first time we cooked in the kitchen after the 6-month (!) renovation. This was by far, the most heart and soul we (& our parents) have poured into a project here. We found things in those walls that I will never be able to forget (dramatic?). Now it is my favorite place in the house.
But to write a post I needed good pictures of the kitchen ... pictures I don't have. I needed perfect light ... and the window had to be washed ... and I still don't have that fruit bowl.
Anyways, I think our son (aka Trouble) deserves this one. I told Josh that we should eventually get a 4-legged playmate for Sauce and call it a day. 

He agreed.



Writing this post really doesn't help the Sunday Night Anxiety (medical term). Especially because this weekend was so fun and really flew by. 

It started with the Winter Art Star Craft Bazaar ... which ... was ... awesome. A Full Plate was there ... enough said.

Josh played with a coworkers husband's band on Saturday night for a fundraiser -- unfortunately all the pictures came out blurry. They were so great!

My sister reminded me how lucky college kids are because they have the super power of sleeping like 12 hours. 

Did you know dogs are allowed in Terrain? It made our day! Sauce met his first Chihuahua (since we adopted him) named Sadie. Then I mumbled something about Sadie and Sauce being best friends. This may or may not have creeped Sadie's mom out. 



I'm usually shopped and wrapped by the end of November. I have trouble enjoying the holidays if I'm not. My Mom is the same way... she even stashes little gifts aside throughout the year.
Last year we finished the kitchen the day before Thanksgiving ... and I didn't start shopping and planning until the day after. Big mistake. I was so run down by the holidays I got sick on Christmas and was miserable.
Some people can go shopping in December and have so much fun. I have trouble with that ... it stressed me out to no end. So needless to say, by October I had my list made and by now I am almost done ... and am having so much fun. I have the time to get creative with gifts.

Last night I spotted these felt balls at Anthropology. Aren't they sweet? I may string and hang them down from the side of a doorway. We'll see. 



It's not that I don't absolutely love where we live -- I could write all day about how much I love it.

The problem is I love the sun more. The warm ... close-up sun. As soon as November hits not a day goes by that I don't wish to move. It will probably never happen... but there's no harm in wishing. 

*Picture taken in Naples, FL. 


dinner: minestrone

For some reason I find it really difficult to find vegetarian slow-cooker recipes. Although this minestrone recipe requires a bit of chopping, it is so good. 

I still want to have a soup-making day ... wouldn't it be so nice to have a few soups on hand in the freezer for the winter?



Ok, I realize this "wreath" may not be everyone's cup of tea. But we love all things simple, streamline, and no frills. So you can imagine how difficult it was for me to find a non-disposable wreath we actually liked (besides the holiday tree trimmings wreath... who doesn't love those?). I mean, don't get me wrong ... Terrain had some amazing wreaths. But I didn't even want to spend $20 on it (cheap ... I know). Here's where my $8 homemade one comes in. I may add another color stripe for fun ...

There's really no instructions on how to make one -- just wrap yarn around a wreath base (I chose a textured base to it wouldn't look so straight).

*Please excuse my reflection in the window ... yes, it's a bathrobe. 


breakfast: baked oatmeal

Our friends made this Baked Oatmeal for us on Saturday. We are hooked.  
You can find their recipe here.


river trail

I often wish that we lived somewhere warm. But most of the time I'm glad to live here, despite the cold. It really is a great place. We live so close to the city but more importantly, right down the street from an amazing bike trail along the Schuylkill River. It's hard for me to believe how beautiful it is at times ... especially in the summer when there are swarms of fire flies. 
Last Friday we ran out the door with Sauce as soon as Josh got home from work. Such a great way to start the weekend. 


breakfast: huevos rancheros

One of the best breakfasts we've ever had: huevos rancheros from Honey's. There's a super long wait -- but seriously, it's totally worth it. Don't mess around... just order the huevos rancheros. And to make it even better you have to go with friends who love food just as much as you. Then you won't feel bad for eating the whole thing. 



I've been a little silent around here. It was a crazy week... to say the least. We've gotten up an hour and a half earlier each morning, brought all of our work home, and fallen completely in love with a black and tan chihuahua. 

A few things we've learned:
   Operation Ava is an amazing place.
   Get dogs and cats fixed. For heaven's sake.
   Sauce's favorite activity is cuddling with us. Seriously, I'm typing this with one hand.

Have a great weekend!

Ps. It's October 29th Mother Nature. The Boss is ticked.


draft snakes

Our house is really, really old (and by old I mean 120+ years). You can imagine the drafts. So my mom and I are going to make a few draft snakes. Of course I couldn't find a single fabric I liked in stores ... I mean ... we have to look at these things for months, right? Not an easy decision.

Here are a few I found online ... but which one? 



dinner: roasted vegetable soup

This recipe is no joke ... I love you Barefoot Contessa.
*Ignore the whole chicken stock thing ... still need to get Ina on board.

While your at it, make these croutons (I dream about them) and top all soups with goat cheese (thanks Rob).


favorite place: updated

Remember my favorite place? It has recently become a bit more functional. We realized the coffee maker looked dumb in it's old location next to the sink, glasses were annoying to take out of the cabinet, and the coffee cups needed to be by the coffee maker (at all times). It's so much better now.