Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Friends

Me and JoJo


The rules are simple:

We may not talk to each other everyday any more, but get us in a room together and you won't get us to shut up.

I will tell you that those shoes you picked are ugly and when you chose to buy and wear them, you do so with the understanding I will mock you each and every time. You also will submit to said mocking.

We all have made stupid decisions over the years, but it's nothing that a cosmo or martini can't fix.

On that note there doesn't need to be a problem for a martini, cosmo or wine to be present.

No matter how long it has been since we talked or seen each other we will always be there when we need each other.

I can tell you things that no one else will ever know and you do the same.

Your secrets are always safe.

We don't pick our families, but we do get to pick our friends, who are another type of family, and there is no way that I would be the person I am today without them.

I think about each and everyone of you everyday.

I miss you terribly.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Psyched


Get your printable of this at Club Narwhal



Another flight, another day lost on a plane. It seems that I spend so much time on these suckers that I might as well get my own private seat. Well it's a nice thought at least.

While I was thinking about complaining about this, I did a wee bit of a introspect first and looked from the other side. I GET to fly across the ocean on a regular basis and see more then just the inside of hotel. I travel and get to see places all over the world, for work & pleasure. That's not the average person's life and for a good reason. This isn't easy. 

I am never home for more than a few weeks at a time and I don't always know where I will be next week. It's fun, don't get me wrong, but as with everything there is always a price to pay. I am so lucky that I have both friends and family that are able to go with the flow, but it's a bit of a roller coaster ride for them as well. You think that you are going to be home for someone's birthday, but your notorious last minute client has an event that popped up that you now need to be there for. Granted you get to fly to insert city/country here, but you are missing out on something that you really wanted to be a part of. It's a give and take.

So for now I am going to put on my lipgloss and pretend to be psyched that I am getting in a tube that will hurtle me through the sky at 30,000 feet. At least I will get to sleep in my bed tonight.







Saturday, October 5, 2013

Must - Paris in under 48 Hours

I had some technical issues with my site last week and combined with working on a French internet connection, that runs on grape vines and goat cheese, things couldn't get worked out in time to post on Friday. So here is what you missed.

This week we had an event in Paris and currently being in the Netherlands this was just a 4 hour drive so our trip was short and to the point, but believe me I filled it with the essentials. I have been to Paris before and have seen a vast majority of the sites and this trip was definitely more work centric, but I always find time for a side trip here and there. Plus I got to ride on the back of a security guys scooter and lived to tell about. Only in Paris!

Here are five things that you should do in Paris, if given the opportunity and only a few hours to spare.




#1 - Eat French Onion Soup. If you don't like it, you are dumb. It is delicious and pretty much just cheese, bread and broth so get over it and try it. Unless you are allergic then in that case you may not be dumb, but your allergies are.



#2 - Eat macarons. OK I know so far this sounds like all you should do is eat, but these are worth every. single. calorie. #truth


video

#3 - Watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle. It really is beautiful in person. Every time I see it I have to stop what I am doing and watch.


Technically boots is not a French product (UK), but I can't
get this version at Target, snarky.

#4 - Hit the French pharmacies and stock up on products you have never heard of or use the Goop guide. OR even better yet, talk with the lady behind the counter. A few euros lighter you will have a slew of products to try! BTW - the Amilab lip balm smells amazing.




#5 - Take the Metro. There is no easier way to get around Paris then the public transportation system. It is quick, easy to use and costs a fraction of the cost of a taxi. You can buy a 1-5 day pass here. Save your money for rosé and champagne!


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

POV

Everyone has their own point of view about what everyone else does and so much of it is based on superficial crap. It can be something as simple as the girl with the designer it bag. Oh she must have money, you think, or what a snob, poser, have to have IT girl. What you don't know is she saved and saved and sold her favorite shoes to buy it, because that is what she really wanted. 

Perhaps you choose to spend your money on cars. I may think that is so not worth it, but then again it's not my money so why should that even be a factor into my view of you?

While none of the above is about me (truly), I have been thinking about how we view people based on one or two things about them. I am really trying to change my quick judgements based on material, surface items. I don't want people to judge me based on that so it's time to change my point of view too. The whole point is to expand my world not remain in a bubble of what I prefer. It's hard to do and in our society we are so quick to label people that we forget that people have many layers. Of course if I get through those layers and it's still pretty shallow...well I will try to behave.

Who knows I might even meet some super cool people along the way.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Old, Gently Used & Awesome

I am a huge fan of well designed, vintage and modern home decor and when I am lucky I come across great items at flea/antique markets (or snuffel markt as it is called here in the Netherlands) or consignment shops. My typical luck usually runs the route of the the good pieces are picked up well before I arrive or alternatively I decide it's more then I want to spend and then keep thinking about the item that got away for years and saying why I just didn't fork over the money then, because of course now it's sold. Well now I can take my quest for the perfect unique item for the home on the internet at Chairish.

I randomly came across Chairish when I was searching for a pair of antique Hollywood Regency Pineapple lamps and while I didn't end up picking those up at Chairish, I did spend the next few hours on the site looking at stuff I didn't even know I needed wanted. Simply put, Chairish, is an online consignment company that allows people who have great furniture (either like new or "great bones") to reach a larger audience and it allows the buyer a treasure trove of items. The prices are reasonable for the quality and product AND they even have a 48 hour return policy if it's not exactly what you want. The biggest downside would be the shipping, but if it's an item that you have been searching for forever, it's completely worth the cost. It's totally worth a look or two if you are in the market for unique, interesting and fun.

Here are a few of my favorite items and one that just may be mine...

Hollywood Regency Pineapple Lamps

Mid-Century Silver Toned Bar Cart

Brass Stags Head Sculpture

Vintage Blenko Wine Decanter

Vanity Chair


I Don't Like Mondays Blog Hop

Friday, September 27, 2013

Must

Earlier this week the BF and I went to dinner with some friends in Venlo, NL at Chez Philippe. The restaurant was filled with an assortment of odds and ends that the chef (Philippe) had acquired over the years, including a small carousel that was scattered throughout the restaurant. It's too bad it was so dark in there or I would have pictures to try and explain how odd and yet totally appropriate it was.

Chef Philippe is a French man living in the Netherlands for many years and running a restaurant the way he thinks it should be done. Which means you come in, sit down, chat with him and the staff and eat what he wants to serve you that evening. If you must have something off the a la carte menu, they will easily oblige, but the set menu for the evening is the only way to go. Oh my, the four course meal was fantastic and the service was top notch. If you ever find your way anywhere near Venlo, this little restaurant is worth stopping for and enjoying a few hours full of food and wine.

Have a great weekend.



Image via Oyster


Read - Think of Oyster like Netflix for books. For $10 a month you can sign up and get access to all you can read. With a selection of over 100,000 books I am sure there is something that you haven't read yet. It's only in the beginning stages, but sign up now and hopefully you will score that invite in the mail shortly.




Drink - It's fall and it's time to bust out the fig infused bourbon to make a fig manhattan. Don't have fig infused bourbon, check out everything you need to do to have to make it at Boozed and Infused. It's the perfect welcome to fall drink.


                

Watch - Because the thought of watching JGL lip synching and kicking ass while doing it is just too much to resist.

Image via A Subtle Revelry


Make - 5 different breads that are perfect to make for fall care of A Subtle Revelry. I am dying to make the sweet potato one. It sounds delicious!


Image via HuffingtonPost.UK & Getty

Investigate - Could the Jack the Ripper case finally be solved? Interesting information in this century (plus) old serial murder mystery that has never been solved. Check out this HuffPost article and judge for yourself.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Full Tray

I have been trying for weeks to find the perfect wood tray for my newly furnished living room and it is proving harder then I thought or perhaps I am way pickier then I need to be. I don't know what it is about the small details that drive me to spend hours searching for a particular item only to change my mind half way through and start all over, but it makes it difficult to make a decision.

You may be asking yourself why I would need a wooden tray, but it is simply because they are incredibly useful. They can be used on the coffee table, serving, cocktails, snacks, etc. and I think it would be a great decorative addition, if I could just pick one. The problem now is that I found a whole slew of fantastic one and now can't decide which one I like best. I will decide, eventually, but until then here are my top contenders of fantastic wood trays from across the web.

Untitled #13

1. NapaStyle 2. Etsy 3. Kings Lane 4. Etsy 5. West Elm


I am leaning heavy towards #2, but we shall when the cart is completed!






Monday, September 23, 2013

Travelz

Things always get a little crazy on weeks I travel abroad and for some reason I just can seem to post or sleep. Lately though I have had a huge lack of things to write or talk about regardless of my travels. Perhaps I am just losing inspiration or work is getting busy or maybe I just need a little more sleep each and every day. I am hoping the latter and plan on getting some much needed rest this coming week and hopefully get everything reset.

So while I get everything sorted and come up with some truly great posts, here are a few life hack articles that I think are handy to have:

Nail Hacks DIY

50 Life Hacks (there are some really good ideas in this one!)

Extend your phones battery

Crafty Hacks

You can't say I didn't try to teach you anything.

And just for fun 22 Things you probably didn't know about Mean Girls

Monday, September 16, 2013

Things that make you go hmmm

With the BF out of town it allows me some free time to think about the really important things in life. You know the weird, the crazy and totally odd things that run through my head pretty much everyday but are usually kept inside simply because he won't debate these things with me anymore.  I finally decided I need to write these down to see if I am the only one. I willing to bet that at least one of you has thought about something on this list at least once and maybe even twice.


  1. If I were to turn into a vampire would I still have bags under my eyes like Edward Cullen?
  2. How is it that Ryan Seacrest still looks about the same age that he was when Idol started?
  3. Speaking of Idol, does anyone other that me ever wonder happened to to Brian Dunkleman?
  4. What is the cost of eyelash extensions for the cast of Pretty Little Liars? It's got to be pretty high, there are so many of them.
  5. Is there anything left that's original on Joan Rivers?
  6. If there truly was a Zombie menace/apocalypse what are the chances you would survive the first wave?
  7. Most people think that Stephen Kings novel the Shining is the scariest one, but the novel It is the scariest and weirdest book I have ever read, so is just more people have read the other or is a haunting scarier then a murderous creepy clown and a mythical old turtle?
  8. What are the chances that Keeping up with the Kardashian's will get cancelled? Is it too early to get my hopes up?
  9. I don't like Jennifer Aniston as an actress and she appears to be kind of a whiner.
  10. Seriously, It the novel, is a completely creeped out book. Also, don't watch the movie. It is ridiculously stupid.



And those are just the things off the top of my head. Imagine what happens when I have all weekend to think about these types of things!




I Don't Like Mondays Blog Hop
Linking up is fun

Friday, September 13, 2013

Must - Eight Legs

I am afraid of spiders.

There I said it. They creep me out because they have eight legs and are not cute. I usually freak out when I see them and in fact I was almost in tears thinking about having to breakdown my shelves in the dining room (for the new buffet/wine cabinet) that are pretty deep and I knew were housing spiders, like it was their own personal condo. The next day though I found my big girl pants, put on some kitchen gloves (that covered me up to my elbows), had two vacuums, multi-purpose cleaner and decided to just get it done. After a few breaks and a frantic chase with the vacuum to get the offender, I prevailed, made it through and had a drink. This however does not mean I am ok with spiders now, it just means that I can do it if I want...and most of the time I don't.

Also, you can keep your lies comments about how harmless they are and how I am bigger, etc., etc.. I know all this and I am perfectly aware of how ridiculous this is. Just roll with it and have a fantastic weekend.

image via Macys.com

Want - I have been lusting after these shoes for two weeks now, but just can't justify the purchase right now. We had our vacation last month and just bought a new couch (and a few accessory pieces) so I am keeping the wallet in check. Oh how lovely these are though. I am really into the orange, purple and khaki mix though, so who knows what will happen if the right sale happens.


Image via Amazon

Read - If you are looking for a new book, Daughter of Empire: Life as a Mountbatten sounds fascinating. I found it through this article on Vanity Fair that is worth a read . This woman has seen a lot.

Image via AquaFarm

Need - One of the downsides of traveling is that I have the hardest time keeping plants (mainly herbs) alive. Leaving for a weeks to a month at a time make it difficult to keep the water flowing and a plant nurse doesn't have enough water for that length of time. This AquaFarm however might be the key to keeping fresh herbs growing with or without me.




Watch - Just do it. It's an actual product (that you kinda wish you had invented) and a brilliant ad. It will give you a laugh.

image via AMC

Learn - The University of California, Irvine is offering a free online course called Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC's The Walking Dead. It's an eight week course that will include topics such as the spread of disease, the science behind decay, math (that is not so awesome) that is used to model population and epidemic dynamics, post apocalyptic nutrition and much more. You can sign up here to get your zHD and by now I am sure you know I have already signed up.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sweet Tooth



I have mentioned before that I have been eliminating sugar, dairy, meat and processed foods from my kitchen, which is not to say that I am giving up on them all the time, just most of the time. I have done this for a few reason, but mainly because I simply wasn't feeling well and I couldn't figure out why. To get to the bottom of the problem I started eliminating some things from my diet and realized that I was feeling better. The biggest hurdle for me is that I like a little sweet now and then and even though currently the end of summer fruits satisfy my sweet tooth, I am looking ahead to the fall and winter when these are not optimal options.

While I know everyone gave GP a lot of crap for her book, It's All Good, I prefer to find out for myself how ridiculous or not something is and it's a good thing I did. I love this book. It addresses all of my needs (tasty, fresh, non-processed and easy to find products) and I can only surmise that those who were panning the book had not tried any of the recipes. I will be sharing some of my favorite dishes over the next few months from the book and I really think you will be pleasantly surprised at how easy and flavorful most of these recipes are to prepare. Anyway, as I was saying I need some sweets, but don't want the sugar, butter and waistline, so I turned to the back of GP's book and found the Almond Butter Cookies with Maldon Sea Salt, which sounded like the perfect solution (also I had everything in the house to make these). Gluten free, vegan and frankly pretty darn tasty these cookies make the afternoon just a little bit better.

Get your arm ready. It's a mixing fiesta.


Spoonfuls of yum.

You can make them more perfect and round (and thinner for a crispy cookie),
but I like them a little uneven.


Note: I am way more into cake like cookies then crispy so I tend to make my cookies a little thicker to get that almond butter gooey texture. Both ways are fantastic though, just depends on your likes.

Almond Butter Cookies with Maldon Sea Salt

Ingredients:


1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour (if the flour doesn't include xanthan gum, add 3/4 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup natural almond butter
1 cup good-quality maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon Maldon sea salt

Directions:


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk together the flour, fine sea salt, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond butter, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Thoroughly combine the wet and dry ingredients. Using 2 spoons, form the cookies into small balls (each about 1 generous tablespoon) and space them 2 inches apart on the prepared sheet pans. Wet your fingertips and press down on each cookie, smoothing the edges so each is a nice little disk. Sprinkle each cookie with just a bit of the Maldon salt.

Bake until the air is fragrant and the cookies are just firm, 10 to 12 minutes. Let them cool on a rack before serving.

Makes about 2 dozen



Fresh out of the oven. They smell so good.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Slaapkamer

Cozy chair in the bedroom that will be replaced with an even cozier
chair that I am waiting to be delivered! The pillow stays, obviously.

Slaapkamer - Dutch
Noun
slaapkamer f (plural slaapkamersdiminutive slaapkamertje)
Translation: bedroom

I have mentioned before that I love my bed. It has been one of the best purchases we made when we moved to SoCal. When we purchased the bed last year I knew how I wanted the bedroom to look, but it took forever for me to find all of the vintage frames, pillows and headboard. In fact the headboard was the piece that I had the hardest time with. I knew what I wanted and had seen it at West Elm, but they had discontinued that particular headboard right when I was ready to order (for real). So I searched high and low for the perfect piece, but couldn't find anything close. Yellow is a hard enough color to find in a headboard, but coupled with the height I was looking for and the lack of decoration it was an uphill battle.

That is until I came across a tumblr site called Love Shack Designs that custom makes headboards of all shapes and sizes. All it took was one email with a description and a picture of what I was looking for and not only were they able to do it, but it was easily a couple hundred dollars cheaper (including shipping) then my original choice. So I took the money I saved from the headboard and got a new chair (similar style here) to complete the room. Just waiting for it to be delivered.



The Best Bed Ever now completed with a kick ass headboard.



I Don't Like Mondays Blog Hop

Friday, September 6, 2013

Must

I love short work weeks. Even though I don't have to go into an office I still love the feeling of a three day weekend. It's a special treat that we all should have a little bit more often.

My week has been filled with working, cleaning, reorganizing and getting in the mind set for fall, which with the heat wave we have been having here in SoCal is really hard to do. All the cleaning was a result of our new couch being way larger then our current one and things just have to go to make space. I have been coming up with ways to consolidate things and I think when everything is complete it will be so nice, but it is just taking patience, of which I have only a little. On the upside of things, the proceeds of all furniture sold will go towards a new sideboard/wine cabinet of which I will quickly fill to the brim with delicious wine. So cheers to a fabulous weekend!


Image via Tradesy


Closet Cleaning - Speaking of cleaning, check out Mashables 6 sites for selling clothes that you no longer wear. I have tried a few of these with some of my higher end items (I usually donate a vast majority of my stuff, but some things I need to get a few more dollars out of!) and haven't had a bad experience with any of them. If you have the items and eBay is just not your style, check out these options.


Image via Starz

Couch Potato - I can't help it, I love dishy, soapy, trashy time period shows and The White Queen is no exception. Cheesey, historically iffy and most times totally inaccurate, I still love the drama, intrigue and the fact that it is based (if somewhat loosely) on something that actually happened. This is prior to the Tudor rule and set during the the war of the roses. Give it a watch. It's good fun. Are you York or Lancaster?

Image via Instructables

Fruit Fly Fix - It is that time of year where the fruit flies are everywhere. Check out this Instructables on how to get rid of these pesky buggers. My tried and true method is a shot glass with red wine vinegar and a dash of dish soap. Works every single time and I don't even bother with the plastic on top that some people use. They usually dive right in to it as is.


Image via Tracy Anderson Method
Workout Inspiration - This is a great little article that can give you a few little tricks on how to make sure you are doing and making the best out of your workout. Some days it is really hard to find the motivation and I can see using one or two of these to make sure I am getting it done. Even when I would rather be sleeping in.

Image via Purewow

Tasty Stuff - As part of my food exploration this year, I am really cutting back the sugar, potatoes, breads, meats and processed foods in my house. It's been a slow go (BF is Dutch and they eat lots of potatoes, meat and bread), but we are getting there. While I don't make cookies often, these Banana Bread and Almond Butter Cocoa Sandwich cookies sound so delicious, I think we may just have to give these a try and soon.

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, September 5, 2013

When life has you accidentally buy a crap load of lemons..

You make preserved lemons.



I have been scouring my favorite food blogs and cookbooks looking for new, healthy and tasty recipes. While searching I came across a few recipes that use preserved lemons and while I like trying new things, I don't necessarily like to pay big prices for things I can make much cheaper on my own. So when I realized that I had purchased waaaay to many lemons last week (every time I left the house I bought some for no good reason!), I remembered that I wanted to make a few of those dishes that called for preserved lemons and really how hard can it be to make these? Well turns out it's not hard at all, it just takes about 30 days. Which I can totally wait for because one dish will require me to either learn to debone a chicken or beg the butcher to do it for me (I will definitely let you know how that one turns out!).

I looked at several different ways of doing this and ended up keeping it simple and pure, using just salt, lemons and lemon juice. I combined a few of the recipes into what you see below as I couldn't find one that I liked 100%. I can't wait to try these in a month.









Preserved Lemons - Shannon Style

6-8 lemons for preserving (my lemons were small so I used 8 of them)
1/4 cup sea salt
additional lemons to use for additional juice

Sterile Mason Jar

It goes without saying, but as the preserved lemon rinds are what you use once they are done, make sure that you wash the lemons well, using a fruit and veggie spray if you are a stickler like me.

1.  Sprinkle a tablespoon of salt in the jar to get started. Quarter your lemons starting from the top and stopping within a half inch or so of the bottom so the lemon remains whole. Sprinkle the inside of the lemon generously with salt, reshape and place inside the jar. Continue the process with the remainder of  your lemons being sure to salt between the layers of lemons and making sure to press down on the lemons inside the jar. This not only makes room, but releases the juice to help cover the lemons.

2.  Once all lemons are in the jar add additional fresh lemon juice until the top of your lemons are covered in juice, making sure to leave some air in the jar. (I used about two additional lemons for the juice)

3.  Place the jar in a warm place where they can ripen, making sure to shake the jar each day to keep things working properly, for 30 days.

Once you are ready to use, rinse the lemon under water and if you prefer you can remove and discard the pulp.

Everything I have read says that these are good for up to a year and you can reuse the pickling juice two to three more times if desired. Not sure how I feel about that last bit, but we will see how it all works out.


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