Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Indy had a puppy!

...Just Kidding.  That's just what I brushed out of him yesterday. Spring has definitely arrived. What do you do to combat the shedding in your own home?  We're fighting a losing battle.

Thinking of getting a husky? Don't.

Monday, March 28, 2011

On The Menu: Simple Guacamole

Hi, my name is Amanda, and I'm addicted to guacamole. I probably buy two avacados every other week and make fresh guac for myself. Luckily, Scott doesn't like avacado, so I don't have to share.  Here's what you'll need:

1 ripe avacado
minced fresh garlic
lime juice
garlic salt (or onion salt)

Here's the best way to cut your avacado: Slice a vertical line all the way around the avacado and twist the two halves in opposite directions to separate. To remove the pit, place the half with the pit skin side-down on a cutting board and hit the pit with the blade of a sharp knife. Wiggle back and forth to remove the pit cleanly from the avacado. If your brave, you can hold the avacado half in your hand like chefs on the food network do. However, if you have terrible hand-eye coordination like myself, I'd recommend placing the avacado on a flat surface that doesn't include your precious hand-flesh. Here's what the avacado will look like when cut and pitted:

Next, Score the flesh of the avacado in a checkerboard pattern, cutting to, but not through, the outer skin like so:

Flip the avacado half inside-out over a bowl to remove the flesh from the skin (that sounds super gross, but you know what I mean):

Here's all your ingredients thus far for the guac:

If your avacado is ripe, you should have no problem mashing the fruit to your desired consistency. You could use a food processor, but it's unnecessary most of the time. Plus, no need to dirty another utensil. Add a few drops of lime juice to your mixture. After you've mashed the avacado and added the lime juice, add in however much minced garlic you like. I put in about 1/2 tsp:

Next, add in garlic or onion salt to taste. Be sure and test as you go with your chips you plan on eating with the guacamole. If you have a very salty chip, don't add in too much garlic or onion salt. My favorite chips to eat with guacamole are blue corn tortilla chips. Tostitos makes a good organic blue corn chip but they're VERY salty. With this batch I used the Art's Blue Corn Chips which are much less salty:

It's all about adding and testing as you go. If you like more "stuff" in your dip, add in some fresh chopped tomatoes and or minced shallots. Enjoy your fresh guacamole, and don't feel bad if you don't want to share!

Friday, March 25, 2011

On The Menu: Chicken Mediterranean Sandwiches

I haven't done an On the Menu post in a while, so I figured I'd better step up my game.  This is my favorite dish that my husband makes. He actually cooks just as much as I do, and I'm so grateful! I think I'd go crazy if I had to cook every night.

Ingredients for tzatziki sauce:
• 1/2 - 1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
• 1/2 Cucumber, peeled and minced
• Mint - 1 Tablespoon if using Fresh, 1 Teaspoon if dried
• Garlic Salt and Pepper to taste

*Mix all the ingredients for the sauce and let chill in the fridge for at least a half hour. This lets the flavors infuse into the sauce.

Other Ingredients:
• 2 Chicken Breasts
• Salt & Pepper
• Olive Oil
• Oregano
• Ciabatta Rolls
• Your Favorite Brand of Hummus

Sandwich Garnishes:
• Chopped Fresh Tomato
• Chopped Fresh Red Onion
• Crumbled Feta

1. Chop or cut the chicken breasts into strips for cooking. Season with Salt and Pepper and Oregano to taste.
2. Heat a non-stick pan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. When pan is hot, put in chopped raw chicken and cook thoughroughly.
3. While chicken is cooking, spread ciabatta rolls or bread halves with hummus and place in oven to toast about 5 min. (about 350 degrees), or longer depending on how crispy you want your bread.
4. When chicken is done, take out chilled tzatziki sauce and assemble sandwiches.

I like to spread the tzatziki sauce on both sides of the toasted bread (on top of the hummus) and layer with chicken, tomatos, onion, and feta.  Scott puts the sauce on just one side and leaves the hummus plain on the other. Enjoy! *Warning: These sandwiches are super messy, but delicious!*

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Seriously, I Need a Rug

I could use some help picking out a rug!  Scott doesn't think we need one, but I feel like my furniture is just floating in the room without one. Plus, I can't tell you how much I would love to remove those furniture sliders/floor protectors from the bottom of our furniture. It's like our coffee table currently has giant gray, furry mouse feet that just attract all the white dog hair in the house.  It's not, to put it lightly, pleasing.  So, if you would be ever so kind as to comment with your suggestions, here are some looks I like. Here's our overall color scheme for the living room again for a reminder:

And now for some awesome quick photoshopping skills!

I realize the sage green couches are hard to tie in, so slipcovers may be in our future. However, they're expensive and never stay in place, so the green might have to stay until we can afford a new sofa.  The simplest solution would be a white or off-white shag rug. I found this one at West Elm, but i know they have some on Overstock and even Lowes for cheaper:

Seriously, how much do you love my mad photoshopping skills?  Here are a couple more from West Elm with simple patterns on them. These photos also include some possible colors I'm considering for painting the dining room table:

And here's one from Overstock (they have a ginormous selection) which will be much more likely affordable than West Elm (also with accompanying possible paint color for table):

What are your thoughts?  Know of any good resources for affordable rugs?  I'd love to hear thoughts and opinions! Don't you love how all my photos of my house are styled with lovely rumpled blankets, dog bones on the furniture, and a hammer on the coffee table?  Yeah, life's not so much magazine-perfect. I like to see houses that look like people actually live there!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Living Room Painted!

I'm so happy our living room is finally coming together!  Just a reminder, here is a before picture for everyone:

And here is an after:

I feel like that couple in the Behr commerical, "We don't miss the stripes at all!"  What do you think of the curtains framing the photo?  I thought it might be kind of strange, but I like it. There's nothing really "soft" in that corner, so I thought it could use something.  Here's another before picture of the other side of the gigantic (/sarcasm) room:

 And after:

See that dotted line? That's where the hypothetical shag rug will go. I'm still looking for one at a decent price. Rugs are so expensive!  I switched out the curtains for plain white ones since my whole goal was to brighten the room. I love the paint color - we went with the Behr Dolphin Fin over a layer of Kilz primer. This new color also minimizes the hideous wall texture. 

Remember that post about DIY wall art?  Here's how it turned out:

 So what's left to do in this room?  Here's a quick rundown:
• Paint the dining table
• New chairs for the dining table
• Rug
• Art for behind the television
• New light fixtures
• Eventually a new sofa - most of our furniture is too big for the space. Maybe just a bigger house instead? :)

I'd love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Hope you all had a lovely weekend!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

MVP Pet Photo

I entered Indiana Jones, our husky, into a photo contest. Here is at 7 weeks old:

You can vote for him to win Bissels MVP Pet Photo Contest by clicking HERE. I checked the winners for the past nine voting sessions...ALL CATS.  Seriously, a dog needs to win this one!  The prizes are mostly for charity, ($10,000 to the animal charity of your choice is the grand prize). Plus a Bissel Spot Bot wouldn't be too bad to have especially after Dotty's escapades over the weekend. So get out and vote and/or enter your own photo to win!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Memoir Monday

Ugh, first of all, it's snowing again in Kansas City. I'm giving the shivering fist to winter.  This was a busy, not-so-relaxing weekend.  I've been priming and painting the living room and hallway all week with my Dolphin Fin Gray and I'm SO CLOSE to being done. I had to take a break from that because this weekend we drove to Wichita to visit my and Scott's parents. It's nice having both of our parents in the same city.

Saturday my mom and I ran some errands and I got my hair cut by the only woman I trust to cut my bangs. Then I dragged my mom to World Market - a required stop now when I'm in Wichita because it's literally within walking distance of my parents' house.  I picked up a few things:

I got the short glasses. I've heard they're super delicate so I'll probably use them as votives instead of drinkware.
Can't wait to show you this runner in our finished living room!
I didn't get curtains though, which was my main goal, but I feel like I'm closer to putting the living room together.  Saturday night we saw a movie, The Adjustment Bureau and had dinner at Pacific Coast Pizza with both of our sets of parents. I give both the movie and the dinner an A grade!

Then of course Sunday was spent driving back to Wichita and I got some more painting done. Let's see, there was one more thing....ending up at the emergency vet office for this dog who decided it would be lovely to literally throw up 20 times this weekend:

Dotty, we're glad you're ok, but you owe us $330.  Anyways, I hope you all had lovely weekends. I'm going to try and survive this next round of snow and look forward to the 70 degree temps predicted for Thursday.  Happy Monday everyone!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Living Room Color

So I think we've finally decided on a color for the living room:  Dolphin Fin by Behr. It's always a good idea to google your paint color to see if anyone else has used it and posted pictures (chances are pretty good there's one photo floating around on the interwebs of your paint color on a wall).  Here are the one's I was able to find of Dolphin Fin:
Via DecorPad

Via Design*Sponge

I also laughed when I saw this image:

1. Granite Boulder is the color we currently have in our bedroom.
2. Puddle is the color we currently have in our bathroom (I've gotten lots of compliments on that one!)
3. Dolphin Fin. My, we certainly branch out don't we? 

I'll be sure to post before and after pictures when the room is done, but now I'm taking on the annoying task of priming over our stripes...ugh.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


I made my first Etsy sale yesterday!  I just wanted to say that.  Here's the piece I sold:

Hopefully many more sales to come!  < / Shameless Promotion>

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I ♥ Free Stuff

My Valspar Paint Sample arrived yesterday and it made my afternoon!  Here's a picture of the package I received.  It included my paint sample, paint chip, complimentary paint chips, a $5 coupon, and a mini tray and roller.

Instead of painting a big square on the wall on top of our stripes, I painted two coats of the sample onto a piece of spare foam core I had lying around since Christmas.  This way I could move the piece around to different parts of the wall and see how the sample looked in different lights.  You can do the same thing with a piece of plywood. If you are a procrastinator like me and never know when you're going to start a project, it's a good way to not have fourteen squares of color on your walls for six months...

Ultimately I decided that the color was too light and too "seafoam" for my taste.  I'm looking for something a little more blue-gray and just a tad darker. But it was fun to paint with that tiny roller!  Anyone else order a free paint sample?

**Note: The opinions of this product are entirely my own and I received no compensation (other than the free sample available to everyone) from Valspar for this post.  Although, I am willing to take bribes for future posts ☺.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

DIY Affordable Wall Art

I've been wanting a gallery wall for a long time, and I plan on rearranging the art in our living room and hallway after I've painted (still waiting for my Valspar sample in the mail!).  But, I've found a great, affordable way to add some more art into the mix: WALL CALENDARS!

Every year I buy a calendar at Barnes and Noble right after Christmas when they're all 50% off.  After Christmas 2009, I bought this 2010 Edward Hopper wall calendar for my desk at work:

 And at the end of the year, I used an exacto knife and ruler to cut out all the images from the calendar. They're high resolution and good size and MUCH cheaper than buying prints.  I layed them all out on the bed this weekend to decide which ones I wanted to use for our walls:

Since I know I want to paint the walls a soft gray, I wanted to come up with an overall color scheme for the room and decided on a palette of soft grays and blues, crisp whites, and pops of gold and red. Here are the four images I chose:

And wouldn't you know it?  Not a few minutes after I decided on this color scheme, I went over to Design*Sponge and saw a very similiar color scheme was featured.  I guess I am on the right track!

Image Via Design*Sponge
Wall calendars are a great way to buy affordable high quality prints - and no one will ever know your dentist appointments and dinner dates are on the back of the images.  The frames were bought from Target this weekend, and were on sale for $6 each - for a new frame with a matte!  I originally wanted the white frames, but couldn't get them off the hook they were hanging on - do you ever let a stupid thing like that affect your decisions?  I do.  But I actually ended up liking the pop of the black better than the white.

So for $24 for the frames and about $7 for a high quality wall calendar with large images, I get four matted and framed art prints for my wall.  What are some of the ways you have incorporated affordable art into your home?  I'd love to hear your ideas!