FAVORITE NEW BLOGS

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When I first started reading blogs I used to spend hours--and I mean HOURS--reading blogs and commenting. I found blogs that I loved and have stayed with most of them over the years, but there's nothing like finding good new (to me) blogs. Here are a few of my new faves:
Danny & Mara Kofoed are quite possibly, the cutest couple evah. They were set up by a mutual friend and exchanged emails for 3 weeks during which time they fell in love--without ever hearing each other's voice or meeting in person!! Fast forward and they're now married and recently did a blog series where they shared many of the original emails to document the path of their relationship (and share their story in the most authentic way possible!). Reading them felt like a sneaking a peek into such an intimate part of their life but it was so inspiring! Their blog is all about positive love--for your husband, your wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, family, friends, but most importantly, love for yourself. How can you not love them already?? Check them out here.
Charmaine's blog isn't new to me--I've actually been following her for about 2 years (which included a blog break) but she's back and just completed a pretty sweet bathroom renovation for her kids! I wanted to blog about it this week but since I'm already on the subject, here's a preview:
And here's the before:
Ok, ok, no more! Charmaine is a girl after my own heart 'cause she's got great design taste and is an ace vintage shopper. Love her blog! Go here to see for yourself. (Oh, and her best friend Craig? I think his last name is List.)
Ok, so B@T is definitely not a new blog but I just stumbled across it earlier this year in conjunction with The Everygirl. Danielle Moss is a graphic designer, professional photographer , co-founder of The Everygirl and I can always count on finding great photography on her blog. My favorite type of lifestyle blog is one with an entrepreneurial edge because I'm always fascinated at seeing how other people live and reading about the successes, struggles, and lessons in their businesses. Danielle's home has been featured in Rue but she just signed a lease on a new place last week, so I'm excited to see how she fixes up her new digs.  See more of Danielle (and her work) here!
How can I name-drop The Everygirl without including it here? Though it's not a blog, The Everygirl is fully of daily inspiration & motivation focusing on career, finance, food, living and the like. To ensure I don't miss a thing, I get my updates sent directly to my email and always look forward to reading the career features. Don't miss it!
I just found this blog! Michelle is an Interior Design student who keeps it funky and fresh on all things Interior Design & fashion-related. She even has an Etsy shop that has some gorgeous custom pillows made out of vintage quilts. See more of Michelle here. 
Jessica's  blog is another I recently found and by recently, I mean Friday. Her blog is chocked full of gorgeous spaces, but what really sealed the deal for me was a group Twitter conversation we had over the weekend with a few other ladies + a gentleman about what other than Fifty Shades of Grey? She wrote this hilarious post about not liking the book (the graphics are so funny) and I reached out to her on Twitter to tell I loved her blog but was also a FSOG fan which resulted in an international Twitter movie casting with some naughty new lingo to top it off. It was one of the best nights I've had on Twitter in awhile, so I know she's my kinda girl. Check out The Aestate here (and see her guide to Louis-style chairs here).
Round 2 coming soon!

DON'T MISS THESE BLOGS!

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2 blogs really caught my eye this week, each for different reasons. First up, Bri from You, Me & A Weiner's dramatic buffet/dresser makeover with O'verlay's, the amazing new fretwork panels created by Danika (Gorgeous Shiny Things) & her business partner Cheryle. Bri took one of these...

and created this masterpiece (which is totally up my alley)...

photos via Bri
 Jaw dropping, right?? Click here to see its beat up beginnings.

I also saw this post on Rambling Renovators that asked (and answered) a question I've long been wondering--what happens with those houses that Sarah Richardson renovates & flips on the HGTV show Sarah's House?? Yesterday I found out...and it's bad. Rooms we loved, like this guest bedroom from season 2...

turned into this...

Frightening. 

If you saw Sarah's House 1 or 2, you'll be interested to see what's become of some of your favorite renovations. Click here to see more. 

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You Should Know . . .

The woman who creates edible perfection like this.

(a cake for twins--isn't this a great idea??)


Can you believe she's self-taught and has only been baking since February 2007?? Unbelievable, right?  She emailed me a few weeks ago and asked for some design advice about her living room, but  when I looked at her blog, Bella Loves Pink, I was totally blown away.  I told her she should go on one of those Food Network cake shows, and then she told me she's only been baking since 2007--unbelievable, right? Here's more of her story in her own words . . .

  At the time, I was still at home with our young daughter and was watching a lot of Food Network when Ace of Cakes became popular; I was immediately hooked.  Since my daughter's 1st birthday was in September, I committed to making one cake per month to try and hone my skills enough to make an amazing birthday cake.  It worked and the rest is history.  To date, I still think it's one of the best cakes I've made.

My medium of choice is fondant, but I also make buttercream cakes.  I like making gumpaste figurines and have recently begun dabbling in modeling chocolate.  I generally don't think I'm very artistic or creative (WHAT??????), but I love a good challenge and seeing things through to the end, good or bad.  I'm always looking to improve and learn new skills and look forward to my monthly visits to the local cake supply store.  I bake from my home, mostly for friends, family and coworkers.  My husband is my biggest cheerleader and if cake scraps have been promised, a handsome and quite adept assistant.

I can't believe she doesn't think she's creative, but the proof is evident!  If you're lucky enough to live in the Phoenix, AZ area check her out for all of your party/event/special celebration needs!  There are so many beautiful looking cakes & cupcakes, you have to go here to see more.

                                           

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Working on a Master Bedroom Project . . .

I've been working all weekend on a master bedroom project featuring the fabrics and carpet above.  I'm happy with the selections I made and am excited to present my project this morning--needless to say, I'm a bit light on posting. In the meantime, if you want to see some great thrift store finds you must pop over to AB Home Interiors and check out the stuff Amanda found while on vacation last week (at her parent's lake house, no less!). Lucky for her she has access to a trailer, so she's bringing it back home to show it a little love.  As much as I love Atlanta, she's got me wishin' I was living in Missouri!  :)

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The Painted Lady

I've been a bad girl, I know. I took a few days off from blogging and missed it while I was gone, but I was able to organize my entryway which was much needed. Hopefully I'll be able to post a photo tomorrow, if the weather cooperates. It looks a million times better now, even if I do say so myself! But back to today. Since I'm all about painted furniture and itching to get started on the pieces stacking up in my garage, I'm posting some inspiration images. I love Canadian House & Home magazine, and if it wasn't $57 for a subscription, I would have it delivered to my box every month! Maybe next year I'll get over the price and get one . . . or not.


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You can find so many of these pieces at thrift stores, though they're not always in the best structural condition. Love the contrast /pattern in the couch, lamps, and nightstands!




These were just a sampling from CHH. I recently stumbled upon the magazine while perusing in Borders and have been in love ever since. If you get a chance to check out a paper copy, please do. If you're like me, you'll love it too.

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Love the blue--different, but not overpowering. I can't remember where this image came from, so if anyone knows please enlighten me!

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Jelena from Poppyseed Creative Living is selling this great piece (and a few others, too) on Etsy.

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Kelly at High Street Market found this amazing dresser and refinished it to look like a one of a kind piece! I love the simple hardware that doesn't take away from the details of the dresser. Her blog is great and has some amazing images, so go check it out.

Unfortunately there wasn't a link for the reader who refinished this piece, but I love it so much I still wanted to share. Here's the before:

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And after:

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I love, love, LOVE this daybed and probably would cry tears of joy if I ever found something like it. The 5 images above were all found via Design Sponge, and this one was submitted by Kate Pollman who wasn't listed with a link, but I think she may be a jewlery designer. Hot stuff. I can't wait to get back to finishing my pieces . . . .

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Thrift Store Finds!

I found some GOOOOOOD stuff this weekend! Like I said yesterday, I heart Goodwill. I'm always on these on-off spurts about thrift stores, and I"m definitely back on now. You wouldn't BELIEVE some of the stuff people give away (well, since you're here you're probably a "thrifter", so maybe you would). I always think about how lucky I'd be if I knew all of these people who give this stuff away and I could just run by their house and pick it all up. I'd probably end up on Oprah's next show about Hoarders. My spree started off with this baby.

For $5. It looks very similar to the one Tamstyles redid here. I'm thinking it will probably be white, but I picked up a perfect kelly green (quart) on the "oops" shelf for $1 a few days ago, so I might do something bright for a change. And I love the metal feet, too.
These were 1/2 off, and of course they'll be sprayed white to match the others.
I was able to snatch this up after Lakeitha passed it by. I'm not normally all about milk glass, but if it has an interesting shape, I'll take it! And for $1.80, who can complain?
Something about this spoke to me. I normally don't go for this type of set up (print, frame, matting color), but I love it altogether, so it came home with me. I'm thinking I may use it in my guest bathroom . . . . ????
I love the lines underneath the glass, and it's solid wood (and a bit heavy)!!! I was on the fence for a bit (because there was SO MUCH I wanted to take home), but a quick phone consult along blackberry photos saved the day. (thanks)
And this chair. Oooh, this chair.
I threw some clothes on and met Lakeitha out on Sunday. I found this in the back and needed a moment to think about it, so I took the tag off so people would see it was spoken for (even though it wasn't). I needed time to think about it, and I like to walk around while I debate my purchases. I loved the lines, but was really looking for a pair of chairs, like these. We walked around the store and when I saw several women checking them out, Lakeitha said, "I bet you want them now, huh?" Of course I did. With curves like this, how could I not???
So I shoved it into my car (it almost didn't make it) and brought it home to what is beginning to become a little shop. I don't sew, but would love to be able to do something like this. If you're too lazy to click the link, here's the before and after:



LOVE THIS, and the photos are courtesy of Everythignleb. My only problem is that my chair has a removable cushion on the bottom, and while I know it's probably not hard to do if you know how to sew, but I don't so I'm out of luck. Any of you have any ideas???



What's On My Table

Are these the biggest steaks you've ever seen or what????? I really wanted to put the photo at the top, but I didn't want to gross you out. I wanted to eeeeaaaassssseeeee you into it. Look.


HUGE. I long ago threw the wrapping away, otherwise I would tell you exactly how much they weighed, but I would guess somewhere around 3/4 to 1 pound EACH. Again, huge. Yes, they are filet's and they are delicious. I buy my filets from Costco, because it makes absolutely no financial sense not to! I used to think shopping there was only for big families, but it works out very well for me. For about $70, I can buy 3 lbs. (or more) of beef tenderloin, 2.5-3 lbs. of salmon, 12-16 boneless pork chops, 24 packaged chicken thighs (packed 6 to a pouch) OR 12 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, and 2 frozen food items. I'm bad about repackaging stuff for the freezer, but I always get it done before the expiration date (do I get points for that?). This will easily last me 2 months, and having the food keeps me from having to run out, or stop and pick something up, and I also tend to get larger portions when buying from Costco. Most of the filet's I see at the grocery store are like, $12 for 1 lb. total, or less. A pack for 4 from Costco ranges from $23-$30 and is soooooo worth it. Plus, with the ones from Costco, I can eat half, and then slice the rest for salads or sandwiches and it lasts so much longer. It's so worth it. Okay, this is the end of my Costco public announcement because I'm starting to sound like 2 people I know, who shall remain nameless.
If you're wondering about the sauce in the pan, it's 1/2 c. of red wine, and 1/2 c. of balsamic vinegar. I love balsamic vinegar--it can sting your eyes over the stove, but it's so good. I love that smell, too. The recipe actually calls for 1/4 c. of both, but since my steaks tend to be really large (and I like the extra glaze), I double it. I also add fresh minced garlic, and a few tablespoons of brown sugar to sweeten the glaze. Brown each side, and then cook for 4 minutes on each side, or until preferred doneness. I take the steaks out and turn the heat up on the sauce to get it to reduce a bit, but even if you don't do that, it's still good and SUPER easy.
I threw some mushrooms I had on had in at the end, this time, and made mashed potatoes to go along with. Umm ummmmm!!!! I want to channel Dora and say, "Can you say 'delicioso?'". I love recipes that can be made with items you're likely to have on hand, so this is a keeper for me. I'll even do it with cheaper cuts of meat from the grocery up the street (though it's not quite as good) if I'm going to use it for salads/sandwiches/snacks only. This is so good, and you know where I got it from. I'm a recipe person, I can't help it. I've never been good at just throwing stuff together and hoping for the best, that's just not my area and I'm okay with that. But the good Lord gave me the sense to be able to follow a recipe, so I do just that!! I'll always promise to share when they're good, and this one is a keeper. As always, let me know if you try it.

Balsamic Glazed Filets

ingredients:

1/4 c. Red Wine
1/4 c. Balsamic Vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste
(brown sugar, garlic, and mushrooms are optional)
****Also, party planner extraordinaire Preston Bailey has photos of the christening celebration he designed for David Daniel Otunga, Jr., the son of Jennifer Hudson & David Otunga. Check it out here.

Happy Thanksgiving (and a request . . . . )


photo courtesy of HGTV
Hi Everyone! Hope you all are having a fabulous Thanksgiving--eating should begin in only a few hours (depending on which part of the country you live in), WOOOOO WHOOOOOOO!!! I'm excited to be sharing the day with friends and eating WELL!!

I wanted to pass this info along from Roeshel @ The DIY Show-Off and ask you to please, please, please vote for her here!! She posted a very funny video as an entry to the True Value DIY Drama Contest, and she was selected as one of the finalists! Now all she needs are your votes to get her master bathroom back to tip-top condition. For those of you who are already voting, please remember to vote once a day, and for those of you who haven't, could you please find the time to look at her video and cast your vote? No registration or email address or first-born child is required (still on that Rumplestiltskin trip), and she'd DEFINITELY appreciate your vote. Here's her recent post:

I'm kicking into serious big time begging mode. Please bear with me. I just happened upon another finalist's # of votes and it's close (I'm not in the lead). If you're stopping by...PLEASE, PRETTY PLEASE, pullllllease - click my True Value DIY Drama below to vote! There isn't registration. It's just a quick click and a quick vote. If you're a DIY Show Off friend, reader, follower, one-time visitor or here by accident - my hands are clasped and I'm on my knees, begging for your daily vote for our DIY Drama!

As most of you know, I entered the True Value DIY Drama contest because we have a lot of DIY drama in our home and so many projects to complete. The prize is a $5000 True Value shopping spree and a 2 hour in-home consultation by the True Value Master of All Things Hardwarian! (Professional guidance = a lesson in making things right!) My video is embarrassing. You know I love to show off DIY home improvement projects WHEN they're done and beautiful. So, showing something ugly and a source of DIY gone wrong in our home wasn't easy. Being chosen as a finalist is so exciting! It's also nerve-wracking! So close! A 1-in-10 chance! But I really, really, really need your help!

I'd love to show you the DIY process and what $5000 at True Value in the hands of a DIY'er can do with a pitiful master bathroom suite. I'm in shameless pleading, swallowing my pride mode.

I'm so thankful for your votes! If you're voting...please leave me a comment. I'd love to hear from you and acknowlege your help (your gift to me). Everytime I see another vote, I feel like someone has given me a cookie! You know how that feels. It makes your day! So warm and fuzzy and happy and so relieved and so excited! Help me to 'smoke' the competition! DIYblog-friend power to the rescue!

THANK YOU, DEAR FRIENDS!
SO PLEASE VOTE FOR HER, AND HELP HER TO HELP HER DEAR HUSBAND FIX THEIR BATHROOM. YOU CAN VOTE USING THE LINK ABOVE, OR GO TO HER SITE AND VOTE THERE AS WELL. HAVE A WONDERFUL & SAFE DAY! :)