eclectic design inspiration

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Love This Look - Photos

Gotta share this dining room in an amazing house featured in
Apartment Therapy's House Tours...

the picture wall... the knife collection...
those chairs!!

Hope you dig it like I do.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Neat freaks, I envy you.

Cleaning. Bleh.

I am not a fan, I'll be honest. My mom can attest to that. Every since I was a little kid, my bedroom has been on the messy side more often than not. And even now, it's a good day if my room has a clear path from the bed to the door. And an even better night. Getting up at 3am in the dark and tripping over a giant exercise ball or stepping on the pointy heel of a boot is not fun at all.

I don't know why I don't stay on top of this better, because when it comes down to it, there are few things as satisfying as having a clean room when you go to sleep at night. Ahh the feng shui of it all. My main problem is too many clothes. I know I'm not alone in this (girls). Clean, dirty, still in the yellow plastic Forever 21 bag, on the floor, on the bed, hanging to dry on drawer knobs and chair backs... it takes over. Ugh. Even the Jersey Shore kids have it under control better than I do.

A made-up bed without piles of clothes on top: straight up dreamy

Well, I've made the decision to try really, really hard to improve. I'm 26, I should have this. So, like most things people are bad at and want to get better at - I need practice. I need to practice every night with a plan of action. Well, thank god for Google... because I found one: the "15 Minute Bedroom Cleanup" from's Housekeeping section. My goal is to get my time down to 12 minutes and 15 seconds. And the best part is that it tells me that the difficulty level is "easy." Phew. (Which reminds me of one of my guy friend's favorite quotes and now one of my favorite quotes: "How good it feels to do nothing and then rest afterward." In the same line of thought, this friend and I have an ongoing sleep competition - so far I hold the record - 17 hours without waking up for more than a rollover. What can I say, I have a comfy bed. Which is much comfier in a clean room ... back on track!)

This 15 Minute Bedroom Cleanup proposes some simple steps to a clean room and I'm going to condense it into something even simpler:

1) Grab all dirty clothing and put it in a hamper or laundry bag. Okay, easy and kind of fun. I'll be showin off my Ray Allen skillz.

2) Grab all clean clothes and re-hang or fold and put away. Here's the doozy.

3) Grab all trash and put in the trash can. Easy. Like a cool down after dealing with all of those clothes.

4) Make the bed. I totally agree with this. It makes a huge difference because it will look like a pretty cloud in the middle of your room. At least mine does. (down comforter...)

5) Straighten surfaces. Okay, this one needs a little more direction. "If it has been a long time since you have cleaned in here, you may have large accumulations of your stuff that belongs in your room but is not in its proper place. Take a brief survey of this "stuff". If in a minute or less you can put it all away, do so. If not place it all in a container so that you can go through it and organize it later." Ahh okay. Sounds good to me.

6) Sweep/Vacuum. This sounds a little ambitious for a daily clean up aka this part probably won't happen, but whatever.

And.... dunzo! I'll let you guys know how this works out.... starting tomorrow. I'm tired and diving for the bed!

**** After seeing this post my darling Aunt Bongie (that's pronounced Bon-jee, short for Bondurant, it's French... my family's cool like that) emailed me some more ideas to make the cleaning process a little more fun. And she's so should be as fun as it can possibly be, cuz like I said, by itself it's Bleh. Here are her suggestions:

"Before work make up your bed, it only takes a few seconds then when you come home your room looks great and you're in a good mood just entering. Also, buy yourself some flowers that always makes me happier, just having them in the room. Another thing to try is when really having to clean the place put on your fav music even if on your ipod so you don't bother the roomies and light your fav candle. It makes cleaning much more fun and I actually like cleaning now, well except maybe the toilets.... you just can't make that good!!!"

Thanks Bonj! :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

They're gonna be big in 2011, just wait...

When I had the Southern-style dinner party last weekend, one of my friends gave me the cutest hostess gift ever: an apron from Anthropologie. I am obsessed. How creative and thoughtful, right? If you come over to my house and I'm wearing it - don't assume I'm baking anything. I may have it on just cuz. It's that awesome. Anyway, I've paraded around in it a bit and come to a conclusion: aprons need to make a major comeback. But in order for them to be relevant to the modern young-person's lifestyle, I think the reasons to wear one should be a little bit more "outside of the box." Because seriously, does Rachael Ray even wear one? So, after some careful thought I've figured it out.

An (adorable) apron would be totally appropriate if:
  • You are making anything that relies on a recipe. But that's a no-brainer.
  • You are heating up leftovers in the microwave, and stirring is involved.
  • You're totally into a guy that's coming over and know that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Guys are visual creatures.
  • You are writing out a grocery list and need to get "in the zone."
  • You are in charge of making drinks when your friends come over to pre-funk.
  • You've had too much to drink while pre-funking, and are at risk of spilling all over your "going-out" outfit. Can't let that happen.
  • You're a little too obsessed with Mad Men.
  • You just feel like it, cuz you don't really like what you're wearing today anyway.

So, would you ever rock an apron?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

You know I like my chicken fried...

Back when I was in middle school, pepperoni pizza from the school cafeteria was one hot item. However, this pizza had one major issue: pools of orange, salty grease always floated on top. Some kids grabbed stacks and stacks of napkins and laid them on top of their pizza slices to soak it all up before they took their first bite. Well, not me. I reveled in it. Sick, I realize now.

Growing up in Texas, in a family that enjoys eating well (my dad ate his cornflakes with half & half, not milk) you just kinda have to go BIG. You learn that when you get barbecue, you order a chopped beef sandwich, not the sliced beef, because it's fattier and therefore tastes better. PB&Js are best when made on toasted, and generously buttered, sourdough bread and when you make a late-night trip to Whataburger, you wouldn't be a true Texan if you didn't get it Whatasized. Best of all, my favorite Mexican restaurant serves a cup of melted garlic lime butter with their fajitas - and it's normal to simply dip your taco into it before each bite. I swear. So naturally, my favorite dinner that my mom cooked growing up was crispy fried chicken and gravy.

And that brings me to the point of this post. I wanted to share some of the culinary goodness that I grew up loving so much with some friends, so this past weekend I had a low-key themed dinner party, a "Sunday Best Fried Chicken Dinner." Maybe it’s better described as a get-together, since “party” is kind of a stretch for a Sunday night. Anyway, I wanted all of my Portland friends to enjoy some homemade, good Southern cookin' that would make Paula Deen, and especially my mom, proud.

The menu: Fried chicken tenders, cream gravy, mashed potatoes, yellow squash casserole, biscuits, poppyseed pecan green salad, and chocolate pecan pie with vanilla ice cream for dessert. Oh, and the classic cheese straw as an appetizer.

To take it a little further in the theme direction I encouraged my friends to dress as southern gentlemen and ladies: large floral prints, pastels, khakis, braided belts, etc.
In an ideal world I would not have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off, and actually remembered the background Pandora: Johnny Cash, Creedence Clearwater, The Soggy Bottom Boys, etc. I also would have sprung for alcohol and made the Scarlet O'Hara and the Rhett Butler southern cocktails. But I was cheap in this instance and just served iced tea. But I did serve sugar, lemon and fresh mint on the side - that shows some attention to detail, right?

Anyway ... the night went well and everyone enjoyed the food - or at least they said they did. One of the bigger surprise hits was the southern-style yellow squash casserole, where you can find the recipe here.

So basically...I suggest you steal my idea for this dinner party, and take it further and better than i did. Think azalea centerpieces. So southern. Make me proud y'all.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Soup, Soup ba-doop, Soup ba-doop, Soup ba-doop ba-doop ba-doop

The weather is getting cold, the leaves are changing, and nothing sounds better than hot soup. Mmmm, soup. And lots of blankets. And a really good book. And Uggs - real ones, not the knock-offs. And a wood-burning fire. And a golden retriever laying in front of it. And Christmas. Wait... not yet.

My point is, it's the appropriate time to share something with y'all: A tried and true recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup from my high school Home Ec class. It is bomb.

Chicken Tortilla Soup ~ from Texas (so it's totally legit!)

(Makes about 4-5 servings)

2 cans chicken
2 cans beef broth
1 lb boneless chicken
breast, boiled and pulled apart into pieces
1 can of sliced tomatoes, with juice
1 yellow onion, sliced into thin rings
5-10 jarred jalapeno slices, with some juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp + 2 tsp chili powder
1 1/4 tsp cumin
1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
few leaves of cilantro (optional)
mozzarella cheese
tortilla chips

1 large pot that you would use to cook chili in... (stock pot, maybe?)

Put oil in the bottom of the pot, then set on the stove at medium heat. Add onions, jalapenos and garlic, stirring occasionally until onions are browned. Add chicken
broth and beef broth. Add canned tomatoes and chicken. Stir in chili powder and cumin. Raise heat until soup is hot - steaming but not boiling. Add more chili powder/cumin/jalapeno juice to make to your liking of spiciness.
Put tortilla
chips in the bottom of the soup bowl~ pour soup into bowl and put mozzarella cheese, cilantro and avocado on the top.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Top 5 Coffee Table Books, or Behind-The-Toilet Books, whatever

I am a huge fan of "coffee table books." The ones I enjoy most are original, funny and simple.

Here are some of my faves:

1. Graham Roumieu's In Me Own Words: The Autobiography of Bigfoot. Amazing. Finally the truth: the story of Bigfoot, from Bigfoot's perspective. Turns out he's much more vulnerable and relatable than you ever imagined.

"If you going to chase, please no spray with holy water. Ok. Listen. I not know where all you morons come from but holy water no hurt Bigfoot. Garlic and Crucifix also no. Fire, Pitchfork, Silver Bullet OK. Kryptonite do nothing. It not even real."

2. I Like You ~ Hospitality Under The Influence by Amy Sedaris. A tongue-in-cheek guide to entertaining by the insanely brilliant sister of David Sedaris. Enough said.

"The Guest List: The moment someone says, 'Hey everyone, listen to the words in this song,' your party is over. This is why the guest list is the most important aspect to a successful party ... If the party is going to be made up of mostly young pretty girls, then you might want to invite some old men. Nothing makes them feel more alive... If a guest you invite is a shy-type, balance that with a show-off, because all show-offs need an audience (we couldn't do it without you)."

3. This Book Will Change Your Life by Benrik. This clever Urban Outfittersesque book sparked the creation of way too many blogs dedicated to trying out its "365 Daily Instructions For Hysterical Living." I didn't actually try any of them after buying the book (like most people, I have more important things I think I should be doing), but I guess a lot of people have.

"Day 28: Choose your final meal on death row and make it."

4. Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz's The Daring Book for Girls. A gem of a book - it's simply adorable. Think of the classic childhood slumber party movie Now and Then, but in a useful book form. This book is the sentimental encyclopedia on everything from Caring for Your Softball Glove to Putting Your Hair Up With a Pencil to Telling Ghost Stories. Two words: warm & fuzzy. Am I revealing my super dorkiness for loving this book so much? Maybe. Or was that only insider information until I started a blog based on the interests of Martha Stewart?

A sampling of the over-100 subjects in the Table of Contents: Rules of the Game: Basketball, Pressing Flowers, Princesses Today, Knots and Stitches, Snowballs, Vinegar and Baking Soda, Joan of Arc, How To Be a Spy, Sleep Outs, Reading Tide Charts, Boys, Greek and Latin Root Words.

5. He's Just Not That Into You. Okay, okay, before you write me and my recommendations off completely - consider this: one of your guests may seriously need to realize! You'd be doing them a true favor by leaving this out for a little looksie. JK ... every girl has already read this or seen the movie. It's so 5 years ago. But, some people still need reminders. Myself included. Another reason to have it in easy reach: guys are totally entertained by this book. For reaaaal.

a random night back in college...

Photo sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Not Quite Domesticated

I rent and I have two roommates with completely different styles. Party planning doesn't go much further than a clever Facebook invitation and a trip to Costco. And on any given night, I usually cook for one. I really like the idea of entertaining, decorating, and cooking - and doing it well - but my life circumstances (mostly because of my age I've concluded, and, not to be cliche - "the economy") prevent me from going all-out Martha Stewart. I figure that starting, and maintaining (this may or may not be my sixth blog in existence), a blog focused on all things related to style in the home will force me to get creative and do these things in the best way I can. Cuz I'll wanna show off. Exciting right? Thought so. And now it begins...

PS: Yes, you're right: the name of this blog is an homage to Mr. Kanye West ~ "let's go on a livin' spree, they say the best things in life are free ... Welcome to the Good Life." I'm kind of a big fan. I like the crazies.