March 30, 2011

Baked Shells with Zucchini, Goulda, and Herbs

This is going to be my next recipe to try. It looks so intriguing and I love casseroles! They are always so unhealthy and the awesome thing about Faith Durand's recipes is that they are so much better for you! She is the author of "Not Your Mother's Casseroles," which takes old-school casserole dishes and puts a healthy twist on them. I am definitely going to try some of her recipes in the next few weeks, and if I love them, her book is going in my cookbook collection!

March 28, 2011

Designing a Rented Space

So right now my new favorite show is called...

The host actually really annoys me, but I love it because it's all about young professionals (aka people my age) who can't afford to buy so they're looking for a place to rent. The host also designs their new space and gives it a facelift, so it's like House Hunters and Design on a Dime all in one! It makes me wish we had painted when we first moved in... however I probably wouldn't have been able to decide right away, since we didn't even have all our furniture yet nor did I know what my vision was. After being here for almost 9 months, I think I have the living room and dining room just how I want them! They certainly have come a long way...

Just moved in!
Looking a little better

And now after months of adding little things here and there, I feel like it is finally finished!

My biggest purchase was the khaki slip covers, but they are also the most defining upgrade since I didn't want forest green in my color scheme. I probably spent about $200 on those, using our wedding gift cards to Bed Bath & Beyond. But they were so worth it - they totally change the look of the room!! The red curtains are also from BB&B. The coffee table and end table were from Craigslist for $40 - what a steal! The poppy painting was from HomeGoods, also for $40. The floral pillows are from Pottery Barn's fall 2010 collection for $29 each, plus the pillow insert, and the white texture ones are from Wal-mart for $13 each! Go figure.

The TV Stand was from the Mission Collection at Target online, and we got in when it was on sale and used a promo code, so we probably paid about $130 for it. The standing lamp next to the TV stand was an ugly fake brass hand-me-down that I spray-painted and now looks awesome! The leather/wooden chair was also found on Craigslist for $20. The frame collage above this chair was a combination of frames I found at HomeGoods and Ross.

This cute little secretary I found on Craigslist for $40. I feel like it's a piece I will have for a long time. It could be painted to make it a little more modern, but right now I like the antiquey style.

The dining table we already had, but I didn't have a picture up of that before, so this is it! The painting is a piece done by Michael's mom. Accessories are from World Market, BB&B, and HomeGoods.

This project has seemed to take forever, but since I did it over 9 months time, it didn't break the bank. I take a long time to decide on things anyway, so this method is useful for me. I will literally buy things and put them up for weeks with the tags still on because I am still undecided about them! When you're designing a new space, don't feel like it has to be ready right away. You usually end up picking things out in a hurry just get something up, but it's really not the best or your favorite. Take your time to shop around, and sometimes things just come to you.

I will put pictures up of the master bedroom once that's finished!

Pictures are up!! Click here to see our master bedroom >> The Master

March 23, 2011

Michael gets a haircut!

Michael has about had it with haircuts... he's sick of getting his hair trimmed and then a few weeks later me telling him he needs to cut it again. So... he decided to buzz it!! First time buzzing it since right around the time we started dating, so it's been a while.


 During: (I decided to give him a mohawk just for kicks)


Isn't my husband a cutie??

March 18, 2011

Salute to our Soldiers

I just finished a book by Elizabeth Berg (a very good author by the way) called Dream When You're Feeling Blue. It's all about a family in Chicago during WWII and what their life was like being here in America when the war was going on in the rest of the world. I personally LOVE historical fiction, and I found it fascinating that everyone in America was so unified in supporting the war during the '40s. Every single American believed that soldiers deserved everything - letters, support, anything to boost their morale, and most importantly, respect. I mean, they were giving the ultimate sacrifice for their country, don't they deserve all that? The mother of these three sisters in the story made them sit down every single night and write to the soldiers. Not just their boyfriends but anyone who they wanted to exchange letters with. She also forced them to go to the USO dances at the Servicemen Center where the soldiers were held before they were shipped overseas. It was all about boosting their morale! They were forced to ration their food, couldn't buy anything new that was made of metal, and women took on hard labor jobs that the men left behind to put together planes and weapons for the war. Wives raised children by themselves while their husbands served thousands of miles away from them. Propaganda was all over the place encouraging people to do whatever they could to show their support for the soldiers. Disrespect for FDR or the war wasn't even tolerated. Supporting the war and those fighting in it was not an option.

Why don't we do this today? I know there aren't quite as many of our men overseas this time, but honestly I don't even think about them being over there in the Middle East but maybe once a month. I certainly respect them and am happy for what they're doing for our country, but do I really show them that? It kind of bothers me that there are so many people in opposition of the war and not in support of what our soldiers are doing for our country. I'm not saying that war is the answer and a lot of what goes on in a war is actually really horrible. But I feel like this war is not unifying our nation - rather it's divisive. I think our country really grew during WWII because everyone was in support of it together and were willing to do what it took to protect our country. I don't feel like the USA has grown together at all in the last 9 and a half years - if anything we've grown apart. We take for granted the fact that we have a safe home and a country where we have so many freedoms that others do not. Wouldn't you think that Americans of all people would want that same freedom for everyone else? Shouldn't the oppression of people in nations with tyrannic governments bother us? I think it's easier for us to turn a blind eye to it all, and just focus on our own wants and needs.

I wish I wasn't so selfish. I wish I would pray for the soldiers and the Middle Eastern people every day. I wish I acknowledged and paid attention to all the hardship that's going on over there rather than ignoring it. I wish our nation was more unified that it is.

I don't really know what my point is, but I guess just be grateful for what we have here. Even in the midst of a struggling economy we still have so much to be thankful for. We are so blessed, and most of the time we just focus on the things we don't have. My resolution is to be grateful and to be aware. I hope you resolve to do the same.

March 6, 2011


So lately I have been going back and forth about wanting a puppy. Part of me just wants something to cuddle up with on the couch and to hang out with when Michael's not home. And they are just so cute and fun! This weekend Michael and I went to go look at puppies at Petsmart (just for fun, not because we were looking, which you of course know deep down that is always a bad idea).

Here is my list of pros and cons...

- fun to come home to every night!
- my new job is closer so I actually could come home at lunch to take it out
- It's starting to get warmer and there are so many fun things to do with a puppy in nice weather!
- I have friends who would be willing to keep it for free when we go places for the weekend
- Someone to play with when Michael's not here! (or when we are in a fight... ha ha)

- costs money - shots, food, necessary dog stuff, and our apartment has fees (this is probably the biggest thing right now)
- lots of work - I'll have to get up earlier every morning to take care of it and take time out of my day to walk it
- Dog hair - I'll definitely have to clean more

It's something we need to pray about and figure out if we want to take on this responsibility. Right now our only commitments are our jobs... and I have to admit that is pretty nice. We may just need to wait a while and see when it feels right. But there will definitely be a blog post when we get one!