Thursday, February 16, 2012

I Love Lamp.

Specifically, this lamp.

Isn't she pretty? So golden yellow and cheery. I must admit, I feel a little bit more like a grown up. I've never bought a nice, big, stylish lamp before. Seriously, every lamp we have in our house is either from IKEA or a hand me down from the 90s. Not stylish. 

I may have gone a little over my allowance this month, but getting this lamp makes our living room feel more complete, and that makes me happy. It's the little things during busy season.

At first, I bought a different shade. It was the same yellow color, but with a pattern that I loved. It looked great in the store when the light wasn't on...

...but once I brought it home and got it all lit up, it was not as pretty as I had pictured. Darker, and the white pattern didn't look as great as I thought it would.

What do you think? Yellow pattern? Or soft subtle white and wavy? I'm partial to the white now (obviously) but still think the yellow one is pretty too (just not all lit up). Have you guys purchased any nice grown up lamps lately? Or still rocking the IKEA lighting?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Chai Latte Cupcakes

I don't usually make cupcakes, but had to try these out. It's my friend's recipe and they are delicious (Thanks, Sutira!). It's a little complex for me - lots and lots of steps! I guess I'm just not used to making cupcakes and frosting from scratch (box mix is much easier! and faster!) but it was well worth it for these ones.

Chai Latte Cupcakes
// 350 degrees // 15-18 minutes // makes about 12 regular cupcakes //

Chai Spice Mixture
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1 teaspoon ground ginger 
1 teaspoon ground cloves 
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom 
Combine the spices together in a small bowl.

(FYI - cardamom is super expensive... like $12 for a little itty bit. So being on the spending diet that we are, I ended up using about 1/4 teaspoon each of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice. It's not an exact substitute for cardamom, but I think it did the trick.)

Vanilla Chai Cupcakes
1 ½ cups cake flour 
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder 
½ teaspoon salt 
2 teaspoons chai spice mixture 
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature 
1 cup sugar 
1 egg plus 2 egg whites 
½ cup whole milk 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees 
2. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners
3. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl
4. Stir in the chai spice mixture
5. Cream the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer with paddle attachment on medium speed until soft and creamy
6. Add in egg and egg whites, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition to combine before adding the next
7. Add in the flour mixture and milk mixture in three alternating additions, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Beat just to combine each addition before adding the next
8. Using a spoon or a cookie scoop, fill each cupcake liner about ¾ full with batter
9. Bake in oven for 15 to 18 minutes

Now for the frosting... I've never made buttercream or meringue before, so this was interesting. A lot of work if you ask me (and a lot of butter!) but it was pretty darn tasty.

Swiss Meringue Honey Buttercream

3/4 cup sugar 
2 teaspoons honey 
4 large egg whites 
1 ½ cups unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1-in pieces 
1 tablespoon vanilla extract 

1. Combine the sugar, honey, and egg whites in a medium metal bowl and place over a pan of simmering water
2. Whisk the sugar mixture constantly over heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture looks smooth and shiny. Continue whisking until the mixture reaches 160 degrees
3. Remove mixture from heat and pour into a stand mixer bowl. Whisk on medium speed for about 5 minutes until the mixture has cooled
4. Switch to the paddle attachment and with the speed on low, add the butter a few pieces at a time, beating until smooth. Do not add the butter too quickly or beat too quickly or the buttercream may 
5. When all the butter has been added, beat the buttercream on medium-high speed for about 6-10 minutes until it is very thick and smooth. It may appear to separate briefly but continue beating and it should come back together
6. Add in the vanilla extract and beat to combine. Place a piece of plastic wrap against the surface until you are ready to use it to prevent it from drying out. 


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Our Home: Bedroom

As I promised last week, here's a little bit about our bedroom. Oooh la la. Not like that... come on! For some reason, in two out of the last three places we've lived (three different places in three years!) we've created a funky bedroom set up right when we move in and then don't get around to updating the layout until months and months later. Well, we are at about the six month mark and finally made the change. 

Before, our bed was the first thing we walked into when we came in the door. I had to walk right-left-left around the bed to get to my side. Not good flow at all. One of the reasons we had it that way was because that was the only full wall in the room that we could put our headboard against. The opposite wall has an off-centered window that was cramping my style.

I really don't like our dressers. Not one bit. Oh, IKEA. You get me every time with your cheap prices and cheaply made products. Anyways, back on point. We switched it up. A big old Flip. Flop. How did we remedy the off centered window on the other side of the room? We put a bird curtain on it of course!

We took the two green IKEA curtains from each window and combined them on one long curtain rod to cover most of the wall. It gives the perfect backdrop for our neutral headboard.

Since we never really used that window, I didn't mind covering it up and making it look like it didn't even exist at all. Not having as much light doesn't bother us either. You know... since we only go in there to sleep. I love how it turned out. The best part is that it totally works a lot better for the flow of the room. Now husband can keep all his clothes on the floor by the window instead of right in front of the door where I used to step on them. :)

I've got big plans for the blank wall across from the bed and for the dresser. It involves a scarf and a frame. Still working on putting the two together. Right now the dresser is kind of a holding place for all my frames. Since we don't have much display storage in our house, the long dresser is the spot until we get another solution (which might be soon!). I also added some sheer IKEA curtains over the remaining naked window since the green curtains got moved behind the headboard. 

It's so dramatic. I love the added color too. More of the green and less of the blue on one wall that came with the place. I like the blue (it's the same color out in our living room) but it doesn't really go with the whole green color scheme we have going on. 

Any re-arranging in your world lately? I love how it gives you the feeling of a fresh start. Something new and exciting. At least for a little while. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies

Only one week until Valentine's Day and I'm starting to get into the spirit. Last year, I made sugar cookies for my sweetie - some of the heart variety and some of the Star Wars variety. The hubby loved them. This year I wanted to try something red velvet-y since I've never really attempted it before. And because anything red velvet screams Valentine's Day. It's kind of perfect. 

I found this recipe on Pinterest (of course) from A Small Snippet (original recipe from Bakerella) and it was delicious. I've made them twice this week so far! Once for Zach's school potluck and once for the Super Bowl party we went to. 

The best part is it's super easy! 

Red Velvet Cake Mix
2 eggs
1 stick butter, softened

1 stick butter, softened
1 8 ounce package cream cheese
1 1 pound box confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine cake mix, eggs, and butter.
3. Place on cookie sheet in balls (I used my cookie scoop the first time, and then used smaller dough balls the second time)
4. Bake about 10 minutes.
5. If desired, use a cookie cutter to cut hearts out of cooled cookies. I did this for a few, but decided to leave them as full cookies for the rest. 
6. I didn't make the frosting this time, just used some pre-made pink vanilla frosting. (Once I ran out of the frosting, I used Nutella and it was really good too!) Frost one side of the cookie and then put two cookies together to make a little sandwich.

So delicious!

These are so fast and easy to whip up. I hope you enjoy!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Week 5: Photo-A-Day

Here's the rest of my photo-a-days from January. I finished the whole month! Woohoo!

January 29

January 30

January 31

I love the last one of me and Buster Boy. He can be such a sweetie. :)

For February, I'm switching it up! I found through instagram (follow me if you want - mykane) there are a ton of people doing the same thing. So cool. I also found this little list, which I very much appreciate. I think it will help me stay on track and think of ideas of photos to take, especially during busy season when my creativity is hurting. Even through January, it was getting hard to think of new things to take pics of besides my dear Buster. Haha. So here's the list I'm following (thanks to @fatmumslim!).

I'll probably be combining into one post at the end of each month to make it easier. Will you join me? Even if you're a little late to the party, that's ok! 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Have a Lovely Weekend

What are you all up to this weekend? I'll be working my first Saturday of busy season this weekend. Yay.... Then we are heading down to Tacoma to watch the Super Bowl with some friends (bring on the good food and commercials!). 

Next week I'm hoping to share the recipe I used for my Red Velvet Cookies as well as another little project and our bedroom re-organization. Plus, we are watching the in-laws golden retriever, Chloe, for two whole weeks while they are in Hawaii (no fair!), so BBoy should be thoroughly exhausted and fully exercised playing with his best friend all day! 

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Our Home: The Living Room

If my Grandma was reading this, she would be so happy right now. She lives down in Portland and doesn't get the chance to come visit very much (just wait til you're in your 80s!), but she loves seeing photos of where we live. So, here goes, Gram! I'm finally getting around to sharing some pictures. It's our little tiny house, so it might go quick, but I'm going to start with the living room (probably the room we use the most). 

Last weekend we got the spring winter new year cleaning bug and decided to switch things up. Since we moved in to our little house last August, we've had our big sectional sofa broken up because our living room is pretty small. Our sofa's L shape goes the wrong way and we didn't think there was a way to fit it together and still have enough space to walk across the room. 

Here's a little trip around the room to show how we had it before, starting with the view from the kitchen.

While I didn't really mind having the sectional broken up (at least we still had a working couch), it had been starting to bug me recently. I missed our huge comfy couch! And not having an arm on one side of the couch was just weird to me. So, we finally got our butts in gear and switched it up! 

First, we tried putting the wrong-facing L along the picture frame wall. That gave us about 6 inches of space to get to through to the hallway. Not going to work.

After that, we decided to try and keep the main couch how it was and just move it across the window  (towards the picture frame wall), then bring the other half directly over and reconnect the two. It was like  reuniting long lost loves. Two peas in a pod. Twins separated at birth. And when they reconnected, it was glorious! 

Now we have our huge sectional back together and I. Am. Loving. It. It just feels complete. Plus, now we have a cute little reading nook (that we will probably never use, but I still like it).

Don't mind the cords... we had to rearrange how our TV (and all the other electronic junk) was hooked up. 

Oh, also don't mind the nice black smoke stains on our fireplace... we had a little trouble getting our fireplace to work properly, but now it works fine!

We still have about 3-3 1/2 feet of walking space between the end of the chaise and the fireplace. Just enough to have a little walkway. 

So that's our little living room. It's cozy and now it feels more complete. 

Have you done any re-arranging lately? Got the new-year cleaning bug like us? There's more where this came from too... we re-arranged our bedroom too! Coming soon...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Week 4: Photo-A-Day

January 22

January 23

January 24

January 25

January 26

January 27

January 28


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