Monday, February 29, 2016

snippets of the weekend

I'm a little's Monday night, but if the days rush as quickly for you as they do for me, I can hardly believe the weekend is over.

We had some mild, sunny weather again - hooray! Too nice to stay inside.

 We headed to a small, neighboring town for an art crawl and to walk around in the lovely spring-like weather. Best of all, I got to meet Ginene of Fox and Finch Antiques! She is even more lovely and sweet in person, if that's possible. She gave me a big, warm hug and expressed how nice it was to meet me. The three of us had a wonderful conversation. Her store is in an old bank building with a beautiful assortment of antique and vintage items. Silly me didn't think to have Brian take a picture of me and Ginene until we were in the car on the way home. So instead, you get a picture of Brian. ;-)

Brian found this in a vintage shop ~ read the bottom of the package. If you're missing a heart...

On Sunday, our travels brought us to Tim's place to visit with him...we all love his roommate's dog, Stanley. He's so sweet, obedient, friendly and full of personality. He's totally posing and smiling for the camera.

Sunday night, I met up with some friends at Chili's for drinks and appetizers. The young lady on the left, in the middle (aqua hoodie) was one of Phil's coworker-friends. I love that we still keep in touch. I never knew her mom (sitting behind me, with the long brown hair and glasses) until after Phil passed away. We've since become good friends.

A little something I picked up at Target...

First signs of spring in these parts! These are chives in my herb garden.

Mother Nature is such a tease. It's now snowing and sleeting. We're under another winter weather advisory and are supposed to get 4-7" of wet, heavy snow into tomorrow. March is coming in like a lion, for sure.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

light, colorful, cheerful

Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions for the couch pillows in my last post. I have decided to keep them like this. A few of you also suggested tying in some blue or yellow from the couch onto the coffee table. Yes - perfect! The blue glass jar isn't the same shade of blue as the afghan or the blue in the pillows, but that's OK. I have different hues of aqua and turquoise going on in other areas of the living room.

A couple of people also suggested putting one of the pillows on top of the blue afghan. But, I can't do that.

It's Zippo's favorite napping spot. A pillow would interfere with that spot and as any of you other fur-baby people know, you don't mess with a cat or dog's sleeping spot. ;-) Especially when said fur baby is almost 17-years old. I make life as pleasant as I can for him.

The ladder bookshelf got a spring update with different shades of blue, too ~ along with keeping some milk glass pieces.

More blue and milk glass on top of the secretary desk when you walk in the front door.

Speaking of blue, here's what the sky looked like today on my afternoon walk. No edit on this photo at all. Isn't that color glorious? I passed a house down the street where I said hello to an older gentleman out in his yard. We agreed that we could smell spring in the air.

Back to the living room, I would show you the buffet, but Monkey obviously thinks he's the star of the show. Ah well, I think pets add that certain je ne sais quoi to vignettes, don't you agree?

 I moved a small, unpainted (but half-primed - I need to paint it) drop leaf table from the basement in front of the window. Previously, I had a little, dark-brown vertical table there. Too much brown going on. And this table gives the kitties the perfect place to perch to watch the birds and squirrels out the window. Clementine turned around to give me her prim and proper girl kitty pose for this photo, lest you see her backside while she's looking out the window. I'm going to paint this table outside when the weather warms up.

Moving into the kitchen, I added some color to the table. I like to keep the table in the kitchen simple, as this is where we not only eat, but do paperwork, play board games, sometimes read, work on our laptops, etc. I prefer a runner, but since this table is small, it's hard to find 60" runners. Most of them in the stores are 72" long. The blue and white checked piece of material is a cotton dishcloth. I got that idea from Linda at Itsy Bits and Pieces. Go take a look at Linda's February 22nd post and see what she did with her table. It's beautiful!

Keeping the china cabinet light and cheerful with red, yellow and aqua. See the white and red cake stand on the top shelf? I showed that on my blog in January ~ it's from Target and was only $5. For anyone who's interested, when I was at Target a few days ago, I saw they now have this cake stand in pastel colors (pink, mint, yellow) for spring.

Happy Tuesday, everyone ~ think spring!

Sharing with Cozy Little House Tweak it Tuesday.

Friday, February 19, 2016

poofing the pillows ~ and trying not to blow away

I was at Target yesterday looking for a replacement lampshade. Didn't find that, but I did find these two blue and yellow pillows (the ones flanking the yellow pillow) on clearance.

I love decorative pillows, but I'm a little unsure about exactly how to use them. I see all these photos on blogs and Pinterest and in magazines with couches and beds piled with pillows and they all look so effortlessly perfect. I'm amazed how some people can mix patterns too, and still make it look cohesive. Thus said, I'm not sure I'm liking my arrangement. Do I have too much going on here with pattern...the art prints, the pillows, the area rug? I wanted two of the pillows with the wavy lines, but there was only one, so I got the coordinated triangles-into-a-square one.

Speaking of pattern, there's also the curtains across the room from the couch. I was just trying to pick up the colors in the curtains and mirror.

Is this perhaps any better with just two pillows? Or, is more better when it comes to pillows? Zippo doesn't care, as long as he has his blanket.

Spring fever finally hit me yesterday, as it always does mid-late February. Where I'm longing for time outside, especially enjoying my patio and gardening. Thinking I can't stand winter one. more. day. This is a photo of my patio yesterday...with a layer of snow and covered patio furniture and grill. (Look at all the rabbit tracks! My backyard has little "pellets" all over. I think the bunnies are living under the pine trees in my back yard.)

And this is today. It was actually in the 50's, which is unheard of for this time of year. Problem is, we've had a high wind warning all day, with gusts up to 60 mph. That white plastic fencing around the air conditioner unit is now torn out of the ground. There are power outages all over (though we have been spared) and downed power lines. 

Looking forward to your opinions on the pillows ~ have a great weekend. :-)

Linking up with Thoughts of Home on Thursday (so I'm a day late and a dollar short!)

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

cookbook review ~ the longevity kitchen

It's no secret that I love to cook, am into healthy foods and nutrition, and have a slight cookbook obsession. I'm always whipping up something delicious in my kitchen and love trying new recipes. So when I came across an opportunity to review books in exchange for honest reviews ~ and my first book to review was a cookbook ~ I couldn't wait to look through it and try a few of the recipes.

The Longevity Kitchen starts out with three chapters full of vital, interesting information before it actually delves into recipes. The first chapter is on Food, Nutrition, and Your Body with short paragraphs broken down into subjects such as the gut, liver and kidneys, the brain, heart, bones and muscle, the immune system, the respiratory system, circulatory system, nervous system, and endocrine system. The second chapter deals with The Healing Power of Food and lists in alphabetical order, foods and spices with great health benefits. The author "especially focused on research into nutrients that fight inflammation, because chronic inflammation is now seen as being linked to impaired immune system function and increased risk of many chronic diseases." The third chapter informs the reader how to make the most out of this book.

The next eight chapters are chock-full of recipes and beautiful photos ~ soups and broths, vegetables, grains, protein, appetizers, desserts, and drinks. There's even a chapter called, "Dollops of Yum!" which feature recipes such as pesto, relish, vinaigrettes, salad dressings, marinade, glaze, and sauces. All the recipes are healthy and there's nothing with impossible-to-find ingredients. I've tried the Brown Rice Pilaf with Saffron and Ginger, the Lemony Balsamic Vinaigrette and the Insanely Good Chocolate Brownies ~ all easy to follow and make with delicious results.

 (Brown Rice Pilaf with Saffron & Ginger - photo taken from cookbook)

(Insanely Good Chocolate Brownies - photo taken from cookbook)

The primary author, Rebecca Katz , has a MS degree in Health and Nutrition Education and has also written three other cookbooks: The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen, The Healthy Mind Cookbook, and One Bite at a Time. She has spent more than a decade motivating people to eat well, and showing how "great taste and great nutrition can joyfully coexist at the dinner table." If you look around on her website, you will find a host of recipes as well as her food blog. The co-author, Mat Edelson is an award-winning medical, science, and sports journalist.

As you can tell, I am truly enjoying this cookbook and highly recommend it if you are looking for healthy, delicious recipes. I can't wait to try more from this cookbook!

I received The Longevity Kitchen from Blogging for Books for my honest, personal opinion review.

Friday, February 12, 2016

winner winner soup dinner

 The Trader Joes store that I frequent had a Souper Bowl contest where you had to pick one of their boxed soups (they gave you the choice of Latin Black Bean, Butternut Squash, or Red Pepper and Tomato) and submit ideas for "jazzing it up". I submitted a few ideas for each one. Guess who won?! Yours truly.

They had me come into the store today to have my photo taken with the employee who's going to be demoing my soup "recipe" the weekend after next. 

They also presented me with a big bag of groceries!

There were nine different soups, a french baguette, oyster crackers, croutons, and a big bouquet of purple and yellow tulips. I was so touched and grateful.

The tulips are beautiful and so spring-like ~ as the winds howl outside and the temps dip down to -20 tonight with the wind chill factor.

So, which one of my ideas won? A simple one: adding their soy chorizo to the Latin Black Bean soup and topping with a swirl of sour cream. After talking to the staff today, I learned that they indeed were looking for simple, not complicated or lengthy. They said most of their customers want exactly that. This soup recipe will also be easy for them to whip up at the demo station. One of the employees who's a chef, told me that another person who had entered the contest actually added 15 items to one of the soups! He said that would defeat the whole purpose of their soups; that you wouldn't even be able to taste the soup if you added 15 other ingredients. They obviously weren't looking for transformation - just some embellishment. 

Happy weekend, everyone. Stay warm and eat some soup!

Monday, February 8, 2016

weekend shenanigans

 Yesterday evening as the sun was going down, I thought I'd grab my camera and head outside to take some photos. The sky was so beautiful. I snapped some photos, then headed back into the house. I was going to feed the cats their dinner, then heat up some leftover soup for myself. Brian was working and wouldn't be home for another couple of hours. I wasn't planning on watching the Super Bowl, as I'm not a football fan (unless it had've been the Chicago Bears playing, but I won't hold my breath on that one).

I turned the doorknob to go into the house and the door was locked. At first I was confused, because you need a key to lock the deadbolt. I hadn't brought my keys outside with me, and I never lock the door when I'm only going to the side of the house for a moment. I tried the door again and then realized it was the doorknob that was locked. There is a turn knob on the doorknob inside the house. We always leave those unlocked. There was another momentary "what the hell" pause, and then I remembered that my mom and aunt had left my house through the front door the day before, while I had left the house through the garage door. Aha! I'm guessing one of them turned the turn knob from force of habit at their own house. 

Good thing I had my phone with me, because it was darn cold out there!I called a nearby friend and she came and rescued me. I ended up watching part of the Super Bowl with Rescue Friend and her boyfriend. I was in bleached stained yoga pants since I had been at home all day, but hey, at least I was wearing a bra. ;-) The boyfriend took pity on me and wined and dined me with a glass of wine and a piece of pizza, so all was well. 

 So, speaking of guilty culprits my mom and my aunt (on the left...that's me on the right in the blue coat), we spent the day at the local antique mall on Saturday. Mom and Aunt both found a couple of treasures, while I actually came home empty-handed this time. I never even noticed the Maxfield Parrish print behind me until I saw this photo. There is just so much to look at, that it's easy to overlook things. I ended up zooming in on the price tag on my phone and I believe it says $269. Way overpriced! I found the same print ("Daybreak") on eBay for $98. 

 I love when the mail brings something "good" - a magazine, a book, a card or package from a friend - instead of junk mail and bills. Patty from Lemon Lane Style had an Instagram giveaway for her darling fabric flags ~ and I won! I played around with how to display these, and they finally ended up in a vintage milk bottle in my china cabinet.

The colors are perfect for my kitchen. Thank you, Patty!

It's another gray, cold day here with bursts of light snow. I had a dentist appointment first thing this morning and now that the Novocaine has worn off, my tooth is very sore. I have terrible dental phobia, so between being "worked up" this morning over my appointment and now with the soreness of my tooth, I am worn out. Time for a cat nap!

Thursday, February 4, 2016


What's adding a bit of cheer to my home when I'm feeling winter will never end...

(Flowers from Trader Joes)

What I'm listening to lately...

(New-to-me music...give it a listen! It starts out slow but picks up. Beautiful, gentle voices and a catchy tune.)

What's making me laugh...

(Monkey's goofy faces)

What I'm creating...

(a little art journaling/scrapbooking)

What I just finished reading...

(Really enjoyed these stories of food and how it brings us together ~ fantastic recipes, too)

What I'm now reading...

What I'm making in the kitchen...

 (Cavewoman Cafe Bars - my hubby's latest fave! Since we don't do processed sugar and I'm also trying to cut gluten wherever possible, these are perfect for when we have a taste for a little something sweet. You can find the recipe here).

What I'm grateful for today...

 (Sunshine - finally!)

Linking up with Rattlebridge Farm Foodie Friday and Everything Else Link Party