Friday, April 26, 2013

THIS WEEKS EATS

So if you follow my blog religiously, you know that I like to actually make the food I pin on Pinterest. Shocker I know! So lately I've tried a lot of good things that I have yet to tell you all about so here you go: 


SWEET AND SPICY BACON CHICKEN
Delicious. I didn't put that much chili powder so we only tasted the sweet part but definite winner. Plus it was super easy and fast. Recipe found here

STUFFED CHEESE BUNS
I'm not cray-cray, and therefore I used pre-made roll dough {I don't do bread from scratch}. But anyway you make these, you can't go wrong. The best part is you can really choose whatever cheese you want or whatever you have laying around. I used Parmesan and sharp cheddar. The weird thing is that most rolls are better hot, but these were way better cold. They tasted like Cheez-It rolls! Recipe here

ZUCCHINI CHIPS 
Now I make a version of this all the time with Parmesan and garlic butter, but this new recipe I found also coats them in Bread crumbs which I absolutely loved. Recipe found here. I still coated them all in garlic butter and would highly recommend adding that because it really adds to the flavor. 

Parmesan only recipe here. They add "garlic spread" from Costco but basically you can make your own by meting butter and sprinkling garlic salt in it. 

PENNE FRESCA SALAD
I brought this summery dish to a get together we were having for my Dad's birthday. I used Olive Garden dressing on top, but you can use any Italian dressing. I never find that olive oil has enough flavor for me alone. Recipe found here

GARLIC SPAGHETTI WITH HEB AND LEMON CHICKEN
This dish I made when we had my brother-in-law over to eat. It was really good and a nice twist on spaghetti. I still added a little red sauce because I like my pasta extra saucy! Recipe here.

Have you ever been to Macaroni Grill and had their delicious bread with their olive oil and balsamic? It's to die for. I'm a sucker for a good balsamic. I once tried to recreate it with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar but it tasted super bitter... and now I know why. They use a balsamic reduction, not straight balsamic vinegar. So I was on the hunt to get that perfect balsamic sweetness... and what is the secret ingredient... brown sugar! Here is the recipe I used: 

Balsamic Reduction

1 cup Balsamic Vinegar 
1/2-1 cup Brown Sugar

Put Balsamic on stove top until it comes to a boil, then turn down temperature and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Add brown sugar and cook for another couple minutes.  

It's called a reduction because the sauce reduces to half the amount by the time it's done. I don't always wait that long though! To be honest you really can't mess it up. Just keep tasting it until you have the desired amount of sweetness. Then just grab a plate, add the olive oil, drizzle the reduction on top and sprinkle some rosemary if you desire. And then dip away! Seriously I could drink that stuff! I dipped some homemade garlic cheese bread in the sauce and it was amaze-balls!


So this recipe below has been floating around Pinterest so I decided to make it. It was...ok. There was just too much of a ricotta flavoring that over powered everything, and I even smothered it in red sauce. I like this similar recipe below better...

So this dish that I posted before, was a better version of the one above. If I still wanted to do them in the little pie crusts, I would use the filling recipe below plus add tomatoes (which is what I did with the recipe below in the first place). Recipe found here


 Last but not least...
CAKE BATTER BLONDIES
Now go ahead and save yourself from buying the sprinkles the recipe calls for, and just buy funfetti cake mix instead of white cake mix. Trust me on this one. Seriously though, for someone who isn't into dessert, this is 5 stars. Recipe here.  

And in other news: 

Someone left their cart in front of my car the other week. I truly believe there is a special place in hell for people who don't return their shopping cart, but in all my years I've never had one of those carts in front of my car. 

And here is my new phone background courtesy of my loving husband. What can I say, I look the best when I'm trying to sleep. 


 HAPPY FRIDAY!!!!!!!!


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

OPERATION: REDESIGN MY MOM'S HOUSE! {AKA I HATE CARPET}

You know that moment where you wrote a blog post and then it disappears/got deleted. Ya it sucks. But anyway....

So my mom is in the process of redoing her sewing/craft/treadmill room. And eventually they are going to start on the kitchen/living room/dining room remodel that they have been dreaming about for years... maybe decades. So of course being the amiture "interior design" expert that I am, I decided to give them my 2 cents about how everything should look. Last time I went home, the carpet had been ripped up and my dad was talking about  putting money aside to install new carpet. HOLD THE PHONE! Carpet!!??? My feelings of carpet are the same as my favorite DIY blogger Mandi from Vintage Revivals. Carpet is the bane of my existence! Seriously, everyone rip their carpet out of your floor right now and go ahead and throw it away!

Here are my reasons why I hate it so much {and why you should probably just go with bare floors}:

1. Carpet stains like crazy and you generally have to steam clean it a couple times a year to keep it looking new {especially light carpets}. And the longer the threads of the carpet are, the more you are going to get gross stuff trapped in it.

2. Carpet goes out of style faster than it lasts. My parents have this hideous brown carpet on theirs stairs and it's been out of date for over a decade now. The problem with carpet is that it can be expensive so a lot of people don't replace it even after it's out of style. If my parents had wood stairs, then they wouldn't have outdate stairs. Tile is a little better than carpet but be careful if you get a style that is really trendy or colored because they can go out of style just as fast.

3. Like I said if your carpet goes out of style or you are bored with it, it's expensive {and not to mention a pain} to replace, but with wood floors you can get a rug to add some color and softness to the room, and they are easy-peasy to replace.

4. It just straight up looks nicer, more expensive, and more polished. Compare these rooms below:

BEDROOM

HALLWAY

LIVINGROOM

The carpet pictures on the left just seem heavy and dark, while the wood floor pictures are light and bright. Seriously such a difference! 
The point is I had to convince my mom not to put carpet in, and with a lower price tag it didn't take much convincing. Although it was more work on my dad's part, since he had to do some extra sanding and prepping for the paint. My mom painted the walls a burnt orange, and therefore I knew she needed to paint the wood floors white or else it would look like a drab Thanksgiving/Fall room year-round. The wood floor under the carpet was too damaged anyway to just stain it so that part was easy to convince too. Painted bare floors are really trending right now and there is just something about white floors that makes me so happy. Here are a few great examples: 




Anyway, with some guidance from some blog tutorials, and the good experts at Sherwin-Williams, my mom is going to paint her floor white! Yay! Winner-winner-chicken-dinner! The next thing on my list to get her to change is the boob light that is currently in the sewing room. I have 2 boob lights myself in Spencer and I's room, and I think they are the reason I have trouble sleeping at night. 

 Very scary indeed! 

If you want to see more of the vision I have for my mom's house, check out the Pinterest board I have been making for her here. Luckily I don't have to convince her about white cupboards since that's always been her dream. Three cheers for thinking you know about interior design when you really don't!  

And for any of your who are interested, I am taking on online Interior Design class for $20 from a website called SkillShare.com. You can take an array of classes if you want to learn how to do something new for just a few dollars. Here is who I'm taking it from. The class is called Interior Styling: The Fundamentals To Styling Your Space Like A Pro. The deadline date has already passed but from what I read you can start your class whenever once you've sign up so maybe it's not too late!

Friday, April 19, 2013

I'M DIYing TO FINISH SOME PROJECTS

{Here is a picture of me and my 5 beautiful sisters from last weekend. Don't mind my squint eye.}

So as you know I'm still working on a lot of things with the remodel of our living room and if you don't have Instagram, I'll share a few things I've done recently:
Finished making a pallet planter from one we found on the side of the road. I'm going to use it for herbs like mint, basil, and maybe parsley because I hate spending money on fresh herbs but love cooking with them. 

 
That will eventually look something like this. 

 This mirror that we got from our wedding has plagued me for months. It hung it above our fireplace and it just looked too drab for the white and bright vision I had for our living room. After a long time of debating what to do with it, I hopped aboard the chalkboard paint train and I'm loving the results. I spray painted the frame white and then hand painted the gold boarder. I'm in love!

I've had this red lamp with a black base for years and it's been sitting in storage in our house. I obviously didn't like the color, but instead of spending money on a new lamp, I decided to refresh it. I spray painted the base white, and bought a 1/2 yard of fabric at Hobby Lobby and hot glued is over the red. If you have anything but a drum shade, your fabric will not wrap nicely around. The back has two seams but no one will see it so it doesn't bother me. Some days I walk past other larger lamps and I have cheating thoughts, but we will just wait and see if this one stays around for a while. 

Some of you may remember my red key wall. But since deciding to change my color scheme I've had a really hard time pinpointing a replacement color. I just couldn't find a color that I wanted to be so front and center in my house, and the colors I did like were in the same color family as the curtains I'm making for the room and I knew it would soon snowball into the Tiffany Blue room instead of the red room. I didn't want that to happen. So while out antiquing, Spencer and I went into a thrift shop that had multi-colored frames on the wall. BINGO! That was the Design Gods telling me "Look you idiot! Don't paint them all the same color!"

And thus this wall was re-born (forgive the crookedness).  And I'm still looking for small keys or locks to put in the little frames.

And the frames will go perfectly with the rug I'm making to go under the dinner table. That's right... I said making. I'm going to make a rug {because they are freakin expensive and most of them are ugly}. I'll do a tutorial when I'm finished but here is the fabric I'm using below.

And one of my next projects is to make a marquee letter similar to the one found here, however OF COURSE the letter H is the only one they are out of. Thanks Karma.

And since I've learned to sew, and can now spot poor quality and how and why they do things in sewing, here is a bad example. This pillow was at Target, and this is an example of someone machine sewing a pillow and then leaving a 5 inch gap to stuff the pillow form into it, and then sloppily hand stitching it closed.Yikes. I'll pass.

P.S. Oh and my fave DIY blogger Mandi of Vintage Revivals was answering questions over at the Interior Collective so click here to read my question and her answer. I feel so privileged to have been picked! Na-na-na-boo-boo Alisha!  

And here is a bonus picture of Kitty Magoo sleeping like a creeper. 

We are going to see Oblivion tonight!
// T G I F //

Monday, April 15, 2013

A PINTEREST WORTHY BABY SHOWER

Took a week off from blogging.. It's been a crazy week with my sewing final coming up and my sister's baby shower. Just want to say thanks for everyone's support on my last post. I would also like to say one thing about it; all the comments I got both on the blog, on Instagram, and on Facebook were all really positive, except for an anonymous commenter who posted this:  

"You just one upped her. There was nothing Loving Positive or Accepting about this at all. You just tore her down. She wrote a comment, you wrote a blog."

Since I turned off my option to post a comment as anonymous, it was forever lost in cyber space. But also, since anonymous commenters do not get notified when you respond to their comments, I thought I would post my response on here so that if they come back to the blog they would be able to read it. Aren't I so nice! :) Here is what I would have said:

"Actually nowhere did I attach or tear down her character. I merely gave a narrative of a story that happened to me, and how it made me feel. I still respect her right to have an opinion. This was more to encourage those who are afraid of saying something when they think someone has crossed a line or mocked their religion. And for me to even respond to your comment is a total waste of time, as you are commenting anonymously and will not get an email notification that I responded to your comment. It also shows that you are afraid to let me, and others, know who you are. Glad you commented though, as I didn’t know my “anonymous” option was turned on, and I have now deleted it. Hooray! We are all accountable for our comments now! Have a good day and thanks for reading."

If any of you have a blog, I highly recommend turning off your "anonymous" setting because it just screams "please cyber-bully me."

On another note, we threw my sister a Dr. Seuss themed baby shower and it turned out "Pinterest worthy," according to my sister Emilee. Here are some pictures from it: 



The banner was made out of Dr. Seuss books we found at thrift stores. 







 The woman of the hour. Only 2 more months to go! If any of your are confused on the sign, no that isn't that babies name. Melini is her last name, and Bambini is the babies nickname. 

 And me with my cute little niece Sophie {who soon after spit up on me}. 

Her party trick: Fitting her whole fist in her mouth. 


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A TIGER DOESN'T LOSE SLEEP OVER THE OPINION OF SHEEP




So a blog is a place to vent right? Good... Well yesterday I came across something that really upset me and I just need to address it. I was on Instagram last night, when someone {who I'm not very close with and who is not LDS} posted a picture of 2 people wearing garments with a caption that was something like"they will protect you from bullets, knives, and sin." Followed by a smiley face. Now probably about 85% of my readers are Mormon, but for those who aren't, this was a picture of sacred undergarments that are marked with sacred symbols and are not meant to be put on display for the world to see. Now I'm not someone who is super public about my religion or someone who dedicates their blog and/or Facebook statuses to my church, but I've seen this girl and a few others, make snide comments about my church. There are times when I haven't said anything, so I felt like it was my duty to stand up for what I believe in. 

I commented on her picture and told her it was very disrespectful whether she believed in my church or not. She quickly commented "How is this disrespectful?" and then quickly added "If it was a picture of a hijab you wouldn't be saying anything." Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaa? Obviously by how defensive she was she knew the comment (no matter how subtle) was there to make fun. First off, I'm not a Muslim guru so I don't know a whole lot about hijabs, but as I pointed out to her, those are two very different things, as the Mormon garment is meant to be underclothing and not to be publicly revealed to others, where as the hijab is specifically meant to be worn in public and {as far as I know} does not contain sacred symbols on it. She commented back again with "Well I saw it in a movie and just thought it was interesting what people do for their religion." I'm going to go ahead and call BS! Especially since the way her and her sister were commenting back and forth and laughing, that she put it up because she thought they were funny looking, not because she was so "interested" by my religion. She has lived in Utah basically all her life and I know that she knows that she crossed the line but chose to ignore it. I didn't comment back. She and the comment were not worth my time. I stood up for my beliefs, left it at that, and then deleted and blocked her and her sisters from all my social media sites. I only did this last thing because I like getting on these sites to see fun pictures and updates from friends, NOT be faced with ridicule from those who I thought had more class and respect then that. And I' not just singling this girl out. There are others I have recently deleted from social media for this same reason. I just don't want to be upset by things that I think are out of line and disrespectful in the first place. Almost all these people who have been making these comments are either former Mormons, or people who have been surrounded by Mormons all their lives, which obviously makes me think they have a personal vendetta against the church, or were offended by someone in the church and now go out of their way to mock it whenever they can. It truly disgusts me that people can't be tolerant and respectful of others beliefs. 

Just weeks earlier this girl's sister had posted something saying that all religions were cults and were just in the business to make money. I respect that other people have beliefs, but it astonishes me that people take the time to go on to a social media site and taunt other people's beliefs. 
I know some of you are thinking "If you don't like them, don't follow/be friends with them." Well as I said I am no longer following them on social media, but it still makes me sick that people in the world still find the time to tear others down and offend them. 

Now, like the quote said above, I'm not going to lose any more sleep over this, but I would like to add, NEVER be afraid to stand up to those who make ignorant comments about your religion, race, family, etc. Especially when it comes to things that they don't understand. Also, be more aware of what you are putting on the internet. Once you've said it, you can't take it back. Those words are easy to forgive, but you can never truly forget them. I've learn this the hard way from things I myself have said online. I know if this girl sees this, I am opening myself up to be attacked by her, but I can't stand by and watch people desecrate and mock things that are sacred to me. And if any of you want to know more about my church, click on the tab above that says "My Beliefs." Don't get your info from anti-Mormon books and videos (which is where that picture is from that the girl posted). If you truly want to know more about someones faith, that's a weird place to start. I truly believe that what you put into the universe, you get back. My friend Kelly always says to put out "good vibes," which is exactly what this world needs more of. So I challenge everyone this week to focus on LOVE, POSITIVITY, and ACCEPTANCE. Thanks for staying with me until the end of my rant! Here are some great quotes from this years general conference, and years past, that are both related and unrelated to the above: 

Let us be true disciples of the Christ, observing the Golden Rule, doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. -Gordon B. Hinckley


We can respect other religions, and must do so. We 

must recognize the great good they accomplish. We

 must teach our children to be tolerant and friendly 

toward those not of our faith. We can and do work with 

those of other religions in the defense of those values 

which have made our civilization great and our society

distinctive. - Gordon B Hinckley









Friday, April 5, 2013

ITS LIKE A JUST DISCOVERED YOUTUBE

Have you ever stumbled upon a Youtube video and you don't know how you got there? After 9 minutes of watching that video did you impulsively spend $100 on products that it told you you should get? Me neither. Besides, I have a secret credit card so even if I did, no one can prove it. And I've definitely never done that because I'm an aquarius and we are rational and sensible beings {if you aren't familiar with astrology that was an obvious joke}. Anywho, did you know I have no idea how to do makeup  Seriously. I'm lost. Up until I was 20 years old I only used bronzer and mascara {and trust me my skin was far from flawless in my pubescent years, so I could have really used it}. So yesterday I somehow stumbled across this girls Youtube channel and I have now vowed to start doing my makeup properly. Already today I did a few tricks I learned and it makes all the difference. I may have to start waking up a little earlier now, but I think it will be worth it {cue eye roll from Spencer}. Here are just two of her videos, but check them all out. And her Australian accent is to die for. 


And thank you for telling my why my skin sucks.
  

And for those of you who don't wear makeup or don't care, here is another Youtube channel that I found that cracks me up. This first video is my favorite of his, but it wouldn't post for some reason so here is the link. He starts out slow but it gets pretty funny.These are in reverse order from newest to oldest but I put them in order of my favorite. Here are all 3 of his "acting reels." I've heard some say he is the next Nicolas Cage or Hayden Christensen. Someone get this guy an agent!

{Take note of the disappearing beard in this first video link}




H A P P Y F R I D A Y//







Tuesday, April 2, 2013

NASAL SPRAY REHAB ANYONE?


"My name is Ash Hansen and I'm addicted to nasal spray." I repeat this mantra 3 times in my head as I toss and turn in the night, restless from my lack of oxygen. Another cold!? Seriously? I guess that's what I get for working at a doctors office. The bottle says not to use more than 3 days in a row, and no more than every 12 hours. Ok so maybe I'm on day 4. And maybe I use about 3 times a day, but is there any worse feeling in the world than not being able to breath through both nostrils?? Childbirth-shmilebirth. I need fresh air in my schnoz! 
I finally give into temptation and around 4am. I decide there is no substitute for a good night's sleep when you have to be up in 4 hours. And my congestion pills were just not cutting it; especially when I have the option of instant relief. So it's been 10 hours since my last hit and I'm currently suffering with one clogged nasal passage. As long as the other one stays clear, I think I'll be able to stay clean and sober.  

Meanwhile it's been raining for 2 days here, which means no painting for me. Luckily I have some other projects that don't need paint that I can work on. Like two string art projects inspired by this piece on vintagerevivals.com



And I'm working on an Ikea renovation on this piece that Spencer and I bought this weekend to act as a buffet table to go behind our dining table: 
We turned this piece on its side, and bought some small legs from Lowes to raise it a little so it doesn't look so bottom heavy. I'm also toying with the idea of adding a glass top with some fun wallpaper under it to give it some color. Here are some similar table tops to help give you an idea of what I'm talking about: 



And if anyone knows where in the heck to get cheap baskets/crates to go on the shelves of that piece, holla at your girl. Ikea can't convince me to spend $15 a basket. I mean $60 just on baskets {I need 4}! Dream on Sweden. Dream on.