Thursday, July 10, 2014

Unconditional Love Between a Grandmother and Granddaughter



Many people don't know this about me but I grew up with my Grandma for many years. She taught me how to pick blackberries freshly grown from our backyard, how to cut and prune fresh flowers, and many other amazing skills young girls should be taught. My fondest memories are the following: crawling in bed to check the weather to see what I should wear to school, playing poker with dog food hoping the pups wouldn't eat our ante, and singing Jungle Book singalongs in the car. These memories will remain with me until the day I die.

I would always like to think I'm actually my Grandmother's daughter. We share so many interest that have seem to skip a generation. We love to read all the same books and most importantly love to entertain in style. I knew how throw the perfect cocktail party at a rather young age just from all the experience of helping her throughout the years. She's taught me how to make the perfect lemon drop martini (from scratch) which has come in handy on more than one occasion.

My Grannie (don't think I've ever, ever called her Grandma) is a rare breed. She's a now retired flower shop owner who also plans the occasional wedding from time to time. She's an entrepreneur and has had worn many hats over the years. She's the type of woman you admire and someday hope to be. And when you meet her, her Tennessee charm lights up not only the room, but your heart as well. She's truly one of a kind.

With all this said, I'd like to encourage  all of you to spend all little more time with those who have shaped you to the person you are today. This person can be an older sister, a childhood friend, or a professor. These mentors have been the most consistent part of our lives, taught us to stand up for what we believe in, and most importantly have held our hand at our darkest times. So please, pick up your phone, send an email, or better yet, visit them in person to give them the praise they deserve.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Spicy Sausage Breakfast Skillet



Some mornings I feel more inclined to make something extravagant, decadent even. And then there are those mornings where I just want something comforting and easy. By no means do I compromise flavor and taste when I settle for something easy. Today, I made my go to comfort meal: The Spicy Sausage Breakfast Skillet. It's unbelievably easy, quick, and is loaded with tons of flavor. You can make it just for one or for a large group. Either way, you wont be disappointed.

SPICY SAUSAGE BREAKFAST SKILLET


INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Spicy Louisiana Smoked Sausage
  • 5 Small Potatoes
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • Grated Cheddar Cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Slice potatoes and toss in a pot of boiling water. 
  2. Cut sausage into 1/2 inch slices and simmer in a skillet for 4 minutes on each side.
  3. Once sausage is cooked, place on a napkin to remove excess grease. 
  4. In the same skillet, break eggs and scramble for 1 minute. 
  5. Drain potatoes and mix in with eggs. Add sausage that you have set aside.
  6. Sprinkle with cheese and serve!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Huntington Beach


Many of you don't know the story of my first apartment. I was 18 and a freshman in college. I was the epitome of nerdy meets awkward. I felt I was too skinny and had the frame of a 13 year old boy and I still struggled with acne (isn't that supposed to end after high school?!).   I had moved away from home at 17 and was eager to make it on my own as a freshman in college.

If you've never lived in Orange County, you should know cost of living is OUTRAGEOUS! But this wasn't a big concern since I was working full time and making the big bucks as a server and luckily had paid off my car at 16 so pricey rent wasn't too much of a worry. So it only made sense that my boyfriend at the time and his best friend and girlfriend would move in together. Those three beautiful years were amazing.

Our condo was on Beach and Main, not too far from Main Street where the Pier and bars were. Days were spent sun bathing by the pool, drinking Mai Tais. The sun was always out and there seemed to be no cares whatsoever. Life was good. Things are so exciting the first time around. You don't care if your neighbors are too loud or if the roofs leaks when it rains. You're young and carefree.

Huntington has many interesting places that hold a special place in my heart such as Monkey House Cafe or DVD Planet. So much time was spent walking around Main Street, trying new restaurants and visiting the little boutiques lined up and down the streets. Everyone is laid back and genuine which is rare in California. It also has some AMAZING surf spots where the dog beach is located. I highly recommend checking it out.

I established a lot of friendships in that condo in Huntington. I held my first of oh so many girls nights for my girlfriends who are still so important to me. We would make fruity drinks and tell silly stories that no one else knew. It was a safe place for us to all gather together and make long lasting memories. After three years in Huntington, my then boyfriend at the time moved a town over to Seal Beach, where I live today. I still visit Huntington Beach once or twice a week and I can't tell you how much I miss it. I will be forever grateful for the years I spent there establishing my independence.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Quinoa Salad with Spinach and Strawberries : The Perfect Summer Salad


Summer is coming early in California. Last week we reached triple digits and I couldn't stand to eat anything that wasn't cold. Enter The Perfect Summer Salad. I have been on a slight health kick lately. I have been making a salad for lunch almost every day, which is a big deal for me since I've never been much of the "salad type" but I'm kinda loving it!

Here are a few things you should know about quinoa just in case you've never heard of it or are hesitant to try it; it is a nutrient rich grain full of health benefits including but not limited to fiber, protein, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids. I'm not a health specialist but I know it's delicious and can be used in a variety of recipes. As far as taste, I'd say it's flavorless and takes on the taste of the ingredients you use it with. The texture is crunchy and easy to digest.


Cooking quinoa is incredibly easy. For every 1 cup of quinoa, add 2 cups water and roast in a sauce pan. It usually takes 15 minutes or so minutes to roast on a medium heat. I've read that you don't have to stir your quinoa like you would other grains. It's best to just let it be until all the water is absorbed. This is when you know it's fully cooked but just keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn! Be cautious when buying your quinoa to ensure the bag states it's been pre-washed and if not rinse it before you start cooking it. I usually use a sieve to rinse it. Very easy and effective method. 

Strawberry Quinoa Salad

Prep Time: 3 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Cup of Baby Spinach
  • 1/2 Cup of Quinoa, Rinsed
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Avocado
  • 5 Strawberries
  • Raspberry Vinaigrette
INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Rinse quinoa with a sieve or tiny strainer.
  2. In a medium saucepan, roast quinoa with 1 cup of water on medium heat. Do not stir.
  3. Once water is absorbed, take off heat and set aside and let cool.
  4. In a bowl, mix spinach, quinoa, strawberries, and avocado. Toss in raspberry vinaigrette. 

Notes: Let quinoa cool down to before adding into your salad. No one likes mushy salad!

{photography by Ashley Denae}







Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Thee Ways to Install a Wood Wall



Building a wood wall from reclaimed wood not only adds a wow factor to your space but makes it one of a kind. Reclaimed wood accent walls are popping up everywhere and it's a lot easier to add to your home then you may think. I personally wish I could add a wood wall to my apartment but since we rent, it's most likely I will be building a rather large headboard.

I love this design for many reasons. My taste is primarily modern but I have a strong affinity for rustic design as well. Blending modern furniture with a reclaimed wood wall is a beautiful marriage of both my design aesthetics.



There are three ways to build a wood wall in your home. You can either to build it with reclaimed wood, use wallpaper, or a mural. If you are handy and know your way around a sander than the DIY route is a good fit. I did some research and found two amazing tutorials that are easy to follow and understand for even the newest of do-it-yourselfers. The first is from Apartmenththerapy.com. This article provides you with materials you will need and thought out instructions. Another great tutorial is from Justagirlblog.com. This tutorial is full of pictures and great tips to help you along your way. Highly recommend checking it out!



Your second option is using a silk wallpaper from Silkwood found on Houzz. This is an amazing alternative if you are not ready to take on such a huge DIY project. Using wallpaper is also less of a permanent commitment and is great if you are renting like myself. Silkwood is an underutilized material made from the underused American ash tree. They offer many different types of finishes including but not limited to mocha and white reclaimed finish. Their prices range from $160 for 20 square feet or $320 for 40 square feet. Installation is as easy as peel and stick. This route is less time consuming than building a wood wall from scratch but quite a bit more expensive.



A third option is installing a wood like mural from Brewster Home Fashions. This mural is described as a Whitewashed Wood finish. It's another great way alternative if you are renting. The price for a 12'1" x 8'4" mural is $101.99. It's quick and easy to install and is washable. I love the color of this mural and wood go great in our bedroom.

I hope these different ways to install a wood wall has helped you. If you have already made a wood wall or choose to do so after reading this, shoot me an email! I would love to see your beautiful creations. I will keep you posted on which route I decide to go. Don't forget to follow me along on Instagram!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Orange Chicken Stir Fry


Did someone say Orange Chicken Stir Fry? I sure did! This dish is one of my favorite meals to make when I want something quick and easy without compromising flavor. Orange Chicken Stir Fry only takes 20 minutes to make and only uses 4 ingredients. Yep, it's that easy.

I came up with Orange Chicken Stir Fry on a whim one night. I had left over asparagus from brunch and a few odds and ends in the cupboard which included a box of Rice Pilaf, Orange Chicken sauce from Panda Express, and of coarse a chicken breast. You can find the Orange Chicken sauce in the Asian goods isle. It taste like any other Orange Chicken sauce as if you went into Panda Express and ordered it there. You can find the recipe and instructions below.




ORANGE CHICKEN STIR FRY


INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Chicken Breast Grilled
  • 1 Box Rice Pilaf
  • 1 Bottle of Orange Chicken Sauce from Panda Express 
  • 10 Spears of Asparagus

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil and grill chicken for 4 minutes on each side or until cooked thoroughly.
  2. In another skillet, cook rice according to the box.
  3. Cut asparagus into one inch pieces and discard the ends. 
  4. Bring a pot of water to boil. Throw your spears and cook on a medium heat for 3 minutes. Drain.
  5. Once chicken is cooked, cut into 1 inch squares. Toss in Orange Chicken Sauce. 
  6. To assemble, add chicken and asparagus to a bed of rice.
  7. Enjoy!
{photography by Ashley Denae}

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Redecorating In Progress


I've been dying to redesign our living room and pretty much every room in our apartment now that we've paid off some personal debt. I'm absolutely loving mid century modern design with a hint of vintage thrown in there. Obviously my living room is not as big as the picture above but I have a few ideas of what I'd like to do with our small space.

 For starters, we need new seating arrangements. I found two sofas that are similar to the inspiration above. They are from EZmodfurniture.com  and unfortunately are two pieces and not a sectional. The cost  is $1,100 total. We have a sectional now and it's been through quite a bit including two moves and one rather large burn from an exposed light bulb (whoops!). 

Next up is a functional yet chic rug. I want to push the envelope and go for a rawhide rug found on Overstock.com. It's 6x8 and costs $179 which is a steal! Most versions cost up to $300+. 

Shelving and storage always to seem like an issue as well. A new folding bookshelf would be nice next to our corner window. Target always has great finds such as this bookshelf for $68. 

When we first moved in, we immedietly went to Ikea to get a few cheap items. One of those purchases was a tv stand for $60. It does it's job but doesn't really go with any of other furniture. To be honest, none of our furniture really goes together which is why a remodel is much needed. I found a mid century modern media console for $250 on Etsy.com. I love when furniture is handmade. It's a lost art and goes easily overlooked when people go shopping. West Elm has similar items for 3x the amount which is fine because I absolutely love West Elm but can't afford to buy a bowl there let alone furniture. 

Lastly, to top off this look I'll need some accent chairs to go here and there. I'm a huge fan of Herman Miller. His chairs are iconic and sadly ripped off by thousands of hacks. But I'm very thankful for those hacks because I can't afford a $600 chair. Which is why I opted for a Baxton Studio replica. 


Stay tuned for our fun remodel! It's going to be oh so expensive but so worth it! I'm excited to see our progress and vision come to life. One last side note... I'm not sponsored by any of the a fore mentioned manufacturers and distributors. I sure wish I was but I just wanted to provide you with affordable alternatives to achieve a modern, edgy design. Thanks for reading!