Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

I didn't grow up with Halloween as a holiday so the whole concept is rather strange to me.  Our neighborhood goes all out with decorations and this is the first year we've put some up as well.  It's hard to find cute Halloween decorations, especially when you're looking two days before the event.  I was gifted this great big spiderweb from a co-worker.  I'm hoping to collect more as the years go by!

A spiders eye view

What the trick or treaters will see

Stocking up

We'll see how much is left by the end of the night!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Favorite Friday Recipe: Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake

This little cake holder treasure was found in B's grandma's attic and a great excuse to make some cake! (not that I ever need a compelling reason to bake a cake)

I'm a huge fan of bundt cakes and am no stranger to box mixes (German chocolate being the most popular in this house).  This recipe from Tasty Kitchen featured add ins which resulted a nice heavy dense cake.  And of course I can never follow a recipe exactly so I did make a few substitutions.

 Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake


  • 18-½ ounces Chocolate Cake Mix (I used German Chocolate)
  • 3-½ ounces Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix ( I used sugar free)
  • 2 cups Sour Cream (substituted this out for about a cup and a half of 2% Fage greek yogurt)
  • 3 whole Eggs
  • ⅓ cups Vegetable Oil (put in some applesauce for half the oil)
  • ½ cups Water
  • 2 cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (used Toll House minis--this is very important!)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Grease a 10-inch bunt pan
  • Beat all ingredients (except chocolate chips) until well blended
  • Fold in chocolate chips
  • Spoon batter (it will be thick) into prepared pan
  • Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour
  • Cool for 15 minutes in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely
  • Dust with powdered sugar (I added this step!)  

The resulting cake is so moist and the little 
chocolate chips are spread out in each bite

A slice of goodness

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wishlist Wednesday: AA Miles

I am currently 12,000 miles from re qualifying for Platinum status on American Airlines.  They can't be bought as only actually flown BIS (butt in seat) miles count towards your status.  Part of me thinks c'est la vie.  And the other part of me is lured by the luxury of free baggage fees, priority boarding and upgrades and international lounge access.  Another huge perk is that you get double the miles flown which equals a big trip to Europe or using them to have family visit.  I'm thinking of setting up a mileage run, something that only true fanatics attempt.  I like how this blogger describes why he does mileage runs and he even has a FAQ page as well.  I've got till the end of the year to decide and plan!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Best pancakes ever!

While back in Chattanooga, we went to Aretha Frankensteins, a small diner in a quaint neighborhood that is famed for its breakfast food and slow service.  M got the shrimp and grits and my niece and I shared the famous buttermilk pancakes.  They were amazing--enormous, but height wise as they were so fluffy.  Check 'em out:

And thankfully they now sell the mix so that you can make your own at home!  I heard the pancake angels sing when I spotted this mix.  I suddenly felt hopeful about tackling pancakes.  I am truly horrendous at making them.  They burn or aren't done in the middle or just taste bland, much to the supreme disappointment of B who holds a special place in his heart for his mother's pancakes.  Now, thanks to this mix, they at least taste amazing.  I just have to figure out now how to get them tall and fluffy and cooked in the middle.  Would a griddle and maybe a pancake ring (if such a thing exists?) help you think?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Vintage Monday: tea towel and cheese cutter

While in Tennessee, I went to a fun antique mall called the Knitting Mill.  I'll do another post on it later, but here are some of my finds!

A cute utensil tea towel

And a cheese cutter!  Finally!  With what looks like a bakelite handle.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Weekends are better with dogs

This is a common sight at our house during the weekends.  Notice who is doing all the chasing?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Favorite Friday Recipe: Fried Rice

It always seemed odd to me to go to a chinese restaurant and order fried rice because growing up, fried rice is something you make with leftovers and it's not usually served to guests.  Nonetheless, B loves fried rice and here's a simple version we make that's tasty and helps you clean out your fridge!

Fried rice


  • any leftovers in your fridge! which may or may not include:
  • some type of tasty meat you can cut up into pieces (used bbq pork here)
  • vegetables such as corn, peas and carrots (I used frozen)
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • eggs (3-4 depending on how much you like eggs)
  • salt, pepper and soy sauce (I've been using Bragg Liquid Aminos which is a pretty good substitute)
  • day old rice (this is important so your fried rice doesn't turn out too mushy)


  • heat up your wok/pan on high
  • add some olive oil and stir fry the onions until soft
  • then add meat and vegetables and cook till warm
  • add rice and stir to mix
  • add soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste
  • you can fry your eggs in the same pan or in a different one and then transfer it over
  • enjoy!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Flowers for October

B sent me flowers today, through email.  He took pictures of all the flowers blooming in our yard (in late October no less!) and sent them to me just as I was getting on the plane.  It was wonderful to come home to B, greet the pups and take a look at these beauties in person.

We're taking suggestions for names for this little gnome
that lives in the back garden.  Any thoughts?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wishlist Wednesday: a fluffy kitty

Meet Fluffy.  This little cutie was my first pet companion--I got her when I was a junior in high school and she and I became inseparable.  When I left for college, my brother's family took her in and she became theirs.  Whenever I would visit, she was not happy to see me for oh about six years or so.  Cats hold grudges evidently.  Fluffy's disposition also soured after a couple of moves and two toddlers running after her.  She was infamous for her "double claw move" where she'd hiss at you and try to swipe at you with not one but both claws.  But after a near death experience, Fluffy decided to give in and embrace life so she now tolerates it when the kids try to play with her and she also snuggles with me in bed at night and purrs loudly.

While I love my two pups dearly, there are times that I really really want a kitty.  I think my temperament is more suited to having a cat--they are independent and yet loving.  And mostly seem to respect personal space, unlike two puppies I know.  However, I suppose getting a cat would then leave the door open for B to begin creating his own personal petting zoo complete with goats and pigs.  He's even got them picked out already...

So, which are you?  A dog person or a cat person? (or in B's case, a dog/goat/pig person?)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Vintage Monday: Children's books

I came across these adorable children's books at a yard sale.  I got them for about a quarter each, looks like they made money off me...

I also could not resist these books--I thought the titles were hilarious and you know me, anything food related and I'm interested!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

On the road again: Tennessee

It's been 6 years since I've been back to Tennessee--everything is familiar but different, sort of like deja vu.  Looking forward to seeing some fall leaves, drinking some real sweet tea and exploring the city again.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wishlist Wednesday: LOFT designer collboration for breast cancer awareness

Another great jewelry designer collaboration, this time with Ann Taylor LOFT and for a great cause--breast cancer awareness. 

Anna Sheffield (Bing Bang) necklace

Me & Ro bracelet 

Kara Ross bracelet

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Anything is possible when you smell like a monster

This is the cutest parody video of the infamous Old Spice commercial starring your favorite blue Muppet--Grover

Monday, October 11, 2010

Vintage Monday: Penguin baking soda holder

Like a model crazy bird lady, I love penguins.  Desperately.  When I was little, I would tell anyone who would listen how much I wanted a penguin and that if I had one, I would keep him in the refrigerator.  Well... my dreams have come true.  This little guy was spotted at Hog Wild Vintage, another great store at North Loop, and the best part is that he's actually supposed to live in the fridge! 

According to the directions, you pour in the baking soda and through the little holes in his back, it helps absorb odors and keep your fridge smelling fresh. (or at least not like Chinese food all the time)

I would've posted a picture of him in his new home in our fridge but found it much too incriminating.  I mean, I have a shelf just for chocolate...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Heart picture frame art, this time in blue

Similar to the heart picture frame we made for our bedroom,  B and I put together one for baby A to celebrate his arrival.  His initials and birth date are recorded on the lower corner hearts.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Favorite Friday Recipe: Zucchini bread

This recipe was recommended by one of the gals on Fashionism.  I figured it was a good way to try to sneak vegetables into B's breakfast (except for the fact that you could see some of the green peel that I missed while grating).  It turned out really well and tasted very much like banana bread.  I loved the addition of raisins in it as well.

Non-dairy zucchini cake/bread

  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of canola oil
  • 2 cups of shredded zucchini (about 2 medium zucchini, grated finely)
  • 1 cup of mashed ripe bananas (2 medium bananas)
  • 1/2 cup of raisins (optional: I think I used close to 1 cup) 
  • dash of vanilla
  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Grease two loaf pans
  • Mix flour, baking powder, soda and sugar
  • Whisk eggs, oil & vanilla
  • Stir eggs and flour mixture together. Add zucchini & bananas & raisins. Mixture will be lumpy.
  • Bake for 45-50 mins or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

DIY Before and After: vintage metal lamp

We spotted this little lamp at the Room Service block party (along with the metal flower wall hanging I posted about earlier in the week) and decided to bring it home and give it a little love, aka spray paint.  A sunny yellow glossy spray paint was chosen and it took quite a few coats and all afternoon to finally cover the surface adequately. 



In its new home in the bedroom, perfect as a reading light!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wishlist Wednesday: More Baggu please!

Over the past few years, I've developed a tic.  It only manifests when I am at a store, any the grocery store or Target or Home Depot (ugh) or elsewhere.  It happens at the checkout lane, after all my items have been rung up, and right when the salesperson pulls out the store plastic bags and starts to bag my items.  That's right, I'll come out and say it: I hate plastic bags.  I detest plastic bags.  I dislike them so much that I actually start twitching when I see one (told you I had a tic).

Over the years, my shopaholic tendencies and general appetite for food has guaranteed a mountain of plastic bags in my home.  And I've always puzzled over what to do with them.  I bought a handy container to stuff them in but then realized I needed about 10 more said handy containers to contain them all.  I'd stuff them into other like-sized plastic bags until I had a closet full of large plastic balls just waiting to attack me when I opened the door. Sure, we'd try to reuse them as much as we could--and they are handy for puppy walks and cleanups and such.  But really, the ratio of bags in to bags out was too great and not only was I overwhelmed by the sheer amount, I also felt guilty.  Guilty for having so many of them as evidence of my shopping exploits, and guilty that I wasn't able to reuse them quickly enough.

Enter the reusable bag.  I guess other people became worried about these mountains of plastic bags suffocating households in America and subsequently the earth, because there suddenly was this huge initiative to "go green" and start eliminating plastic bags.  Ha-le-lu-jah!  I hopped on the wagon, drank the kool aid and became an immediate convert and that's when Baggu entered my life.  They are *the* best reusable bags and here are a couple of reasons why:

  • They are portable: they roll into a tiny 5x5 pouch that fits into your purse.  If it's more convenient, you'll use it more and that has been so true in my case
  • They are lightweight: made of ripstop nylon so the only thing you're hauling is your purchase
  • They carry a lot: the regular Baggu hold up to 50lbs and there is plenty of room to fit cereal boxes, bags of chips, 2 shoe boxes (I've tested this before) or all the candy you'll get for Halloween
  • They are stylish: they truly are!  Now first of all, they are competing with plastic bags so yeah, I get that they do have an edge.  But now Baggu comes in so many different colors and patterns and I am especially excited about the ones here at the top of my wishlist:
Elephant print

Constellation print in collaboration with the No.6 store 

Side note: I love the No.6 store and soon I will also be 
skipping along when I obtain both the Baggu and the clogs

And there are also these fabulous zip cases that I'm itching to get 
(look how organized I could be!)

I'm certainly not changing the world in any great manner by using my Baggu bags.  But I do know that there are very few plastic bags lurking around in my house now and I feel a tremendous amount of relief knowing that I can open closet doors without ducking.  And because I need to reuse my bag (there is always more to buy after all!), I am more likely to take out purchases and put them in their proper place instead of letting them languish on the kitchen table.  Oh and I also like my 5 cents credit I get back from Target when I do bring my own bag to use.  Win-win-win.

(This is the part of a post where bloggers would state if they are affiliated with the company (I'm not) or if they have received any items courtesy of the company (I haven't but would certainly never look a gift Baggu in the mouth).  So yes, I really am a huge fan of Baggu and I think they're a great way to help simplify your life, reduce clutter, get that 5 cents kickback at Target, and reduce tics*)

*only my tic

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

DIY Before and After: metal flower wall hanging

Another post on our adventures with spray painting!  We went to a fun block party a few weeks back at North Loop and scored some amazing items at Room Service.  Almost everything I picked up, I'd say to B "...and we can spray paint this!"  Incredibly he agreed and we took home this little metal flower wall hanging--I have a soft spot for cherry blossoms.

A before picture: we placed it on some cardboard in the middle of the yard (last time I spray painted, there was a curious outline of cardboard on the patio--whoops!)

After quite a few coats of paint, the completed work:

A closeup:

We found a home for the hanging in the hallway between the bedrooms upstairs

There are more spray painting adventures and sore index fingers to share so stay tuned!