Calling Your Ideas!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

When I hosted my sister's baby shower a few months ago, I moved the couch from the position it had been from day one (which was in the middle of the room) to the corner, simply to make space for the guests. Well that little move has led to a host of changes! For the better, I believe. We quickly fell in love with how open the space had become, and most of all, how we could sit on our couch and look at the river through the window. First, here is a picture from a few months ago that will give you a rough idea of how it was:

I love the furniture arrangement, but aesthetically I feel like we had everything piled in one corner and a huuuuge blank wall. I've been feeling a bit under the weather this weekend and have pretty much been camped out on that couch. Needless to say, I've been staring at this blank wall debating what to do. I've gone back and forth between keeping it the way it is (besides the art behind the TV, that obviously will move) and moving all the art around. This is where you, my lovely readers, come in. :) I need your opinions! Or ideas! Or whatever you can give me to help me make a decision! Here are some thoughts:

Move the art collage? And perhaps add a picture or two to take up more space? (more details on the gallery wall here)
Move my little frame behind the TV to the wall where the art collage is now?
How should I hide cables? A nice big basket for blankets? Plant? Magic??
... oh, and the TV stand will most definitely get replaced, as much as I love the Ikea Expedit.... I have some ideas a brewin'. 
So... What do you think? 

Before I end, I want to mention a few new additions to this room. First is that lovely striped rug. It sure is taking it's sweet time to flatten out (hence the wrinkles), but it is exactly what I was looking for. When the couch was no longer taking up the majority of the room, it looked super empty. I knew a big area rug would fix the problem. But dang, that search was hard. I didn't want just a plain rug, but I couldn't have anything too busy since you can see the wallpaper from the same view, and of course, it needed to not be a million dollars. Good ol' Crate and Barrel pulled through. It is the 8x10 Olin Grey Rug, and I fell in love with it and it's price. If we had wood floors (someday... someday...) I would probably need to get a pad as it is not super duper thick, but since it is on carpet it does the job perfectly.

And then we've got my new little side table/foot stand. What a deal this was! is based here in Salt Lake City, so one day they were having a parking lot sale. We had some family activities to attend that day, so we couldn't make it to the sale till later in the afternoon. Just as I expected, it was pretty picked over by the time we showed up, but I did find this little guy. I've been wanting something fun and decorative, yet functional. I've seen these all over Pinterest, and even thought about buying a similiar one from West Elm, but couldn't quite fork out the mula. There wasn't a price tag on this one, so when we asked the lady she looked like she was totally guessing and quoted me at $100, 70% off. Pretty good! Even though I hate negotiating prices with a passion, I threw out "how about $20?" What's the worst she's going to say? No? I bet you can guess at this point she accepted my low-ball offer and off I went! Score!

So there you have it. Questions, changes, and additions. All in one blog post. :)

Goodbye Brother

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I feel like if I have actual camera pictures (gasp!), I should take advantage of them and post a mini update on our lives. When I went searching on the camera, I had 3. They were from a goodbye barbecue for my "little" brother who is spending the summer in Uganda. Crazy, right? He is working with a group down there that helps build towns by teaching business concepts (such as micro-finance) as well as good ol' fashioned physical labor. Apparently he poops in a hole and showers with a bucket. Yuuuuu-uuummy. :) 

Jace definitely has that enthusiastic view of life that is so often seen in college students. I am going to save the world! I am going to spend my summer in remote countries doing this and that! I love it. I wish I still had it, because I most definitely did. I feel like I got my full "college experience" with study abroads, internships, traveling to remote countries to help build them up, taking spontaneous weekend trips here and there, etc. And then somehow I grew up and go to work. I want that enthusiasm back. I want to do things! Go places!

Like New York City. I went when I was a younger girl with my family, but I don't remember anything really. So NYC, I'm going to make it happen. Sometime soon. Yes, yes, I know. It is not a remote country that needs any sort of "building" on my part, but it is somewhere I always say "I would love to go there" but never, ever do. So I'm going to make it happen. Oh, and Russ, you are more than welcome to join. :)

Coconut Banana Bread w/Lemon Glaze

Monday, June 18, 2012

I made this bread last week and posted it on my Instagram with the above picture. Unfortunately it was pretty much gone by the time I had thought about taking a decent picture with a real camera. But I think all you need to know is that this bread is amazing. The coconut is such a welcome addition to the traditional banana bread. There is just enough coconut where you can taste it, but it is not overwhelming. And I must add that the lemon glaze is the perfect addition. It's amazing that these 3 flavors work so well together. The bread is delicious hot out of the oven, but we also liked toasting it the next day. Toasted coconut? Yes please.

2 C flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 C sugar
1/4 C (4 Tbs) real butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 C mashed ripe bananas (about 3-4 large bananas)
1/4 C plain yogurt
3 Tbs milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 C coconut

Topping : 2 Tbs additional coconut
Glaze1 C powdered sugar whisked with 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until blended.  Add eggs and beat to combine.  Add banana, yogurt, milk, and vanilla.  Beat until blended. Add flour mixture and beat at a low speed until just combined.  Stir in 1/2 C coconut.
Pour batter into a 9×5″ loaf pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.  Sprinkle additional 2 Tbs coconut on top. Bake in the oven for about 1 hour or until a knife or skewer inserted in center comes out clean. Note: Check bread after about 40 minutes.  If the top has browned and the coconut pieces are looking toasty, cover top of bread lightly with a piece of foil.  Continue baking until done.
When done, remove pan from oven.  Let cool on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes and then carefully remove from pan.  Whisk powdered sugar and lime juice together for the glaze and then drizzle over top.    Cool for another 15 minutes before slicing.

*Slightly adapted from Our Best Bites

Beggar In the Morning

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I discovered a song that I cannot get out of my head, and I must share it with you!. After listening to the song on repeat at work for a full day, I purchased and listened to the whole album. The Barr Brothers are amazing. Their melodies and lyrics are so beautiful, and I find myself singing them all day long. This album has been so comforting to me lately. The song in the video below - "Beggar In the Morning" - is my absolute favorite right now. Give it a listen if you'd like.

Since it's been a while since I've done a music post, I'm going to go right ahead and list a few of my other favorite tunes as of late. Isn't good music the best? You can find a song to fit every emotion. Without further ado...
The National - About Today
A Band of Bees - I Really Need Love
Wilco - One Sunday Morning
The Lumineers - Ho Hey
Youth Lagoon - 17
Whitely - Lost In Time
Jon Foreman - The Cure for Pain
Jonsi - Tornado
Blind Pilot - Keep you Right
The Apache Relay - Lost Kid
Radical Face - Welcome Home
Capital Cities - Safe and Sound (for a catchy upbeat one :)
Rock on my friends!

Board and Batten Bathroom Renovation

Monday, June 11, 2012

We just finished sprucing up our half bathroom on the main floor, and boy do I love it! Before I continue, let me show you the "before":

From the day we moved in (which is almost a year ago! wow!), this bathroom has stumped me decorating-wise. It was a small, boring white box with a cramped sink and a big blank wall next to the toilet. After a while, I finally figured out board and batten was the look I wanted! We used a few tutorials to help figure out what to do (here, here, and my friend Sada's were the most helpful). I feel like this project is *relatively* self-explanatory, and everyone's board and batten project is different because of the varying dimensions of each house. It's totally one of those "figure out as you go" projects. 

We didn't feel like we needed to replace our baseboards since they were the same width as the board under the shelf. We used pine for the boards, batten and molding under the shelf and painted them with Sherwin Williams Swiss Coffee (the same white as the white walls). For the most part, we painted before we hung them up (using Liquid Nails and a nail gun), but obviously we had to do some touch-ups to cover the nail holes. The charcoaly grey is Seal Grey by Glidden. It's the perfect amount of contrast from the white. We placed our shelf at a height that was consistent with the paneling on our doors. I love how the doors make it look like this board and batten has always belonged in this house (see photo below).

I'm keeping my eye out for more art and/or decorations, but for now I am loving the few things I have found. Mint and coral are two of my favorite colors at the moment. I found the "Every little thing is gonna be alright" print at a local craft fair. The frame is from Wal-Mart ($7!) that I spray-painted gold. The bird print is by Etsy seller TheaterClouds. It is one of my new favorite things in the whole house. It's so peaceful and serene. Russ even mentioned how it reminds him of the birds we see flying over the river behind our house. I totally agree. The ampersand is a gift from my dear friend Sada. The little "flower carton" is from And the flowers were taken from the table-settings at my cousin's wedding (with permission, of course). :)

The mirror may actually have been one of the most time-consuming aspects of this project. About a year ago my sister was cleaning out her house and gave me this flower-painted mirror. I loved the shape and it is quite substantial, so I've been keeping it for a future project. This baby needed some serious sanding! The flowers were actually raised off the black from so much paint. I sanded for EVER, primed it a few times, and did a million coats of the mint paint (no exaggeration ;) with sanding in between each coat to try and get it nice and smooth. (The green is Supreme Green by Sherwin Williams).

....aaaaaand it worked. I love, love, love the mirror. It is a perfect contrast to the coral hand towel (from Anthropologie). The rug is from Crate and Barrel.

If you are still reading you deserve a medal. 

I hope you enjoyed seeing our little board and batten renovation! It's relatively cheap and easy, so if you have thought about doing it... go for it! I believe in you! :)

(ps. I apologize for the sub-par pictures... small bathrooms with no natural light are really hard to photograph, especially for an amateur like me :)

It's June! Summer is here!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

My parents were in town this weekend! Hooray! I have had the fortune of seeing them practically once a month this year. Oh, the blessings of being closer to family. I sure do love it. They drove down for a cousin's wedding. It was great to see some extended family as well.  Here are 3 of my favorite guys in the whole wide world (brother, dad, husband from left to right :)) with my amazing grandparents. I really like this picture. 

We even had our first outdoor dinner party that included more than just Russ and I! We've loved our patio furniture and patio. It was such a warm and peaceful evening. I can't wait for the many barbecues and outdoor parties to come this summer. Summer is the best.

And then of course, we had delicious food which I feel I must document. Grilled tri-tip steak, summer fruit, green salad, and this amazing Lemony Cream Butter Cake that was uhhhh-mazing, if I do say so myself. It's the perfect summer dessert. We served it with strawberries and whip cream. Mmm Mmmm.

And because I'm usually the one behind the camera, here are a few instagram pictures of recent happenings where you get to see my smiling face. Lucky you! :)

Top left: Loving life at the Blind Pilot / Head and the Heart / Shins concert. Take me back, please?
Top right: Paint chips for a recent project! Details soon to come.
Bottom Right: Enjoying National Doughnut day with Marcella and kids at Kripsy Kreme. What a happy place.
Bottom Left: Documenting the last day teaching our adorable Primary class at church. We will sure miss these smiling faces.