hump day home makeover / how to decorate when you can't paint

February 27, 2013

This hump day home makeover was specially crafted for my renter readers. As a renter myself, I feel the pain of not being able to decorate your living space the way you want. My first instinct to revamp a place is to paint the walls and since I don't own my apartment this isn't really an option for me.

I've been thinking about a few of these for a while as a solution to my drab walls, and am most excited about the fabric wallpaper. This is such a cool idea that I hadn't thought of before and the closest solve to not being able to paint. You just use a light-weight fabric and fabric starch to apply the fabric to the wall and when it's time to come off you get it wet and it peels off! If anyone has tried this, I'd love to know how it worked.

inspiration junky #7 // style, decor, beauty

February 24, 2013

After last week's inspiration junky about bettering yourself through exercise and cooking, this week is due for a style and beauty update. I am loving that the leather trend is sticking around for Fall 2013. Two seasons gives me the justification I need to invest in a leather jacket or skirt. Unusual chandeliers and greek key accents made the top of my decor list this week.

Also, had to shout out to Blake Lively (despite our near break up when she married Ryan Reynolds at Boone Plantation). I am huge fan of the fuchsia lip color she wears. Finally a bright lip color I feel like I can pull off as a blonde!

What items are you loving at the moment?

sources: leather skirt 1 | leather skirt 2 | chandelier - jonathan adler | herringbone | greek key pillow | blake lively | lip stain - sephora

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recipe / grouper over seafood risotto with a beurre blanc

February 21, 2013

I visited friends and family in Atlanta this weekend and followed my usual habit of cooking them dinner on Sunday night. Volunteering to cook dinner on vacation? A sure-fire sign that you love to cook. Plus, my mom's kitchen is absolutely to die for. She has spent the past 15 or so Christmases, Mother's Days and birthdays collecting every kitchen gadget you could possibly want, which makes cooking in her kitchen fun. 

This time I went out on a limb cooking an intricate seafood meal that I had never tried before - Roasted Grouper over Seafood Risotto with a Beurre Blanc sauce.

Those of you up for a cooking challenge...keep reading. The dish is to DIE for. You should read the whole recipe before you start cooking so you know what's coming next. This recipe has a lot of things going on at once, and it SO worth it.

2 tbsp canola oil
1 lb red grouper
salt & pepper

Seafood Risotto
2 tbsp e.v. olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 tsp minced garlic
2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups warm chicken stock
1 large fresh lobster tail, diced
1/4 lb fresh shrimp, peeled, deveined, diced
1 small yellow corn husk, use kernels
1/4 cup sliced leeks
2 tablespoons mixed herbs - chervil, tarragon, chives)
3 tablespoons diced tomato
2 tbsp unsalted butter
salt & pepper

Beurre Blanc
1 cup finely sliced shallots
2 cups dry white wine
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 
1 tablespoon orange juice 
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces 
salt & pepper

Okay, one of the hardest things about cooking is organizing the timing of each piece to make sure everything is ready at the same time.Your first step to making sure everything is timed appropriately is to be your own sous chef so you have everything you need for the dish already ready to cook.

 Or convince your wonderful significant other to help out :)

First things first, preheat your oven to 450°.

Since the fish will cook quickly and the beurre blanc needs about 15-20 minutes to boil and let the wine cook out, I started with the beurre blanc to make sure everything would be timed out to be ready at the same time. Combine the first 8 ingredients needed for the beurre blanc in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. I'd suggest using a back burner, because you'll need to let this cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid has almost evaporated.

While this cooks, start on your risotto. This part requires a lot of attention to make sure you are consistently stirring while it cooks, so use a front burner. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add rice, and stir until the oil has coated it. Cook for 2 more minutes. Add wine and cook the mixture, stirring constantly until the wine is absorbed; about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup chicken stock and cook stirring constantly until absorbed; about 1 minute.

Seeing a trend yet? Keeping a consistent stir is important.

Repeat with 1 more cup of chicken stock; about 1 minute. Stir in remaining 1 cup of stock, lobster, shrimp, corn and leeks and cook for 2 minutes.

 Then stir in herbs, tomato, butter. Season with salt and pepper, cover and set aside.

Your beurre blanc mixture should be about ready with most of the liquid having already evaporated. Reduce the heat to low and gradually add the butter. Mix after each addition until melted.

Strain mixture through a strainer and discard solids. Season sauce with salt and pepper, cover and set aside.

Remove fish from the refrigerator, rinse with water,  and cut into 4 relatively even pieces. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Heat oil in an oven-safe, nonstick skillet over high heat for about a 45-60 secs. Place fish in pan, and reduce heat to medium; cook for 2 minutes.

Transfer skillet to oven, and bake for about 5 minutes or until fish is just cooked through. (Remember the fish will continue to cook once out of the oven in the pan.)

Serve over Seafood Risotto and Beurre Blanc. Enjoy :)

Recipe adapted from: Cooking Light

hump day home makeover / kitchen revamp

February 20, 2013

Getting into cooking again is a lot like getting back into a workout routine. It's painful at first and a lot of times hard to motivate yourself. So since a new pair of workout clothes or running shoes is an instant trick to cure the workout doldrums, I'm translating this tactic to the kitchen.

This week's hump day home makeover has a few ways you can revamp your kitchen and make spending time in it exciting again. At the top of my list is a DIY chalkboard wall to help with organization, grocery list shopping, or just a fun way to say good morning to your family or roommates. I found a way to DIY this from the DIY Network and had to share. I'm also really a fan of chandeliers right now and a bit intrigued by all of this green juice talk.

Have a kitchen item you love? Share it below!

getting crafty / agate art

February 19, 2013

Agate has been catching my eye recently for it's mix of colors and crystal. At the top of my list, is definitely this custom agate wallpaper from Stanley Furniture that they are using in the showroom at the Las Vegas Design Center.

Isn't it impressive? I mean seriously, where can I get this STAT!

This agate patterned fireplace blew me away as well. Super chic yet down to earth. This is a style I think should definitely catch on - forget the painted brick fireplace.

Seacliff by Applegate Trans Interiors (Houzz)

So here's where the crafty part comes in.

inspiration junky #6 // your well-being

February 18, 2013

I spent the past weekend in Atlanta and got to spend Saturday morning at my favorite power yoga class. I'm still looking for a studio I love in New York, but the class got me excited about getting back into a workout routine and eating healthy.

This week's inspiration junky is all about bettering yourself through exercise and heathly eating. The coolest thing I saw this week was how gyms are starting to pick up on the idea of turning the energy you exert during a workout into power for the grid. 

Have a great week!

recipe / brussels sprouts with asian pears & veggie bacon

February 13, 2013

Brussel sprouts have done a 180 from being a vegetable dreaded by kids and adults everywhere to a must-have trendy menu item. The other week, I was in San Francisco visiting a college friend and she took me to this restaurant called Zero Zero. For any of you in San Fran, I highly recommend this place. The cocktails are delicious and they have a lot of unique appetizers you can share around the table.

And, enter brussel sprouts. We ordered their Fried Brussels Sprouts with pancetta, asian pear, parsley lemon and chili, and we were all raving about this dish a few days later. So the other night, I decided to try it with a healthy twist - sans fried and subbing bacon for soy bacon.

Side Dish - Serving Size: 4

1 bushel of brussel sprouts - about 15-20 brussel sprouts
1 asian pear
3 slices Smart Bacon
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 a lemon, hand squeezed
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Rinse and peel brussel sprouts as necessary. I peeled off a few of the outer leaves that were slightly damaged. Next cut off the stem of the sprout and then cut it in half. Place halves in a large skillet and add 1 tbsp of olive oil, salt, pepper and chili powder. Heat over medium-high heat and stir frequently. Rinse and peel asian pear and chop into cubes. Add pear to skillet and squeeze half a lemon over the pan. Stir.

In a separate pan, add 1 tsp olive oil and cook smart bacon until crispy (about 5 minutes, flipping halfway through).

Tear bacon into small pieces, add to brussel sprouts and pears and serve.

Inspiration Junky #5 // Fashion & Decor

February 12, 2013

Fashion Week's focus on Fall lines has rubbed off on me and this week I am surprisingly dreaming about not Spring weather, but Fall.  With the weekend's snow finally melting and a new snow storm on the way this weekend, I'll bargain for cool weather.

I'm loving Rag & Bone's leather coats, and hoping Tartan makes a come back at some point. And as always, I'm still loving gold glam and Jillian Michaels' DVDs. I'm a huge yoga fan, but love a faster paced Vinyasa to add some cardio in the mix.

Here's to a great week!

gold chandelier - Zinc Door // tartan outfit - Seams for a Desire // crescent ring - Anthropologie // hunter boots - zappos // NYFW Rag & Bone // chanel print - etsy // yoga meltdown - jillian michaels 

Glam Rock - DVF Fashion Week 2013

February 11, 2013

This year, I was lucky enough to go to DVF's fashion week showcasing her Fall 2013 line thanks to my wonderful coworker, Tif! DVF is one of my favorite fashion designers for her bright and colorful, unique patterns and classic wrap dresses, but this year her show really hit it home. My mom recently told me that in the 70s she lived in DVF wrap dresses. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Where are they now and can I have them??? Unfortunately, she wore them out, but it was really fun to see the show this year with a 70s flair. Glam rock was all about soft, bouncy curls, red lips and brightly colored patterns mixed with fur, leather and animal print.

Clearly, I loved and wanted every item in her show even making me tell my coworker that she's going to start seeing me eating chicken noodle soup for lunch so I can afford a monthly DVF purchase.

And what's a DVF show without Diane walking or in this case dancing down the runway?

My favorite looks:

Check out more up close looks of the entire line on DVF's Google+ page :

Hump Day Home Makeover - Mixing Masculine & Feminine

February 06, 2013

I am a huge fan of a masculine bedroom with feminine touches. Something about the simplicity, dark and basic colors, and oversized furniture makes it feel relaxing yet cozy. Like the look or just need an middle ground to compromise? Today's hump day home makeover features how to mix masculine and feminine for a serene and cozy bedroom decor.

1 - Nailhead Upholstered Headboard -West Elm  | 2 - Toscana Alarm Clock - Michael C. Fina | 3 - Lykta Table Lamp | 4 - Narrow Leg End Table - West Elm | 5 - French Cupboard | 6 - Greek Key Glass Box - Ahalife | 7- Ribba Frame | 8 - Jennifer Moreman Sabrina - One Kings Lane

Here are some other bedrooms that fit this style that I LOVE. Especially this first one - that octagon chandelier?? WOW.

 Image Sources: 1 \ 2 \ 3 \ 4

Recipe: Goat Cheese and Basil Stuffed Chicken

February 05, 2013

Do you have a friend with the same taste buds as you? One of my best friends and I pretty much have the exact same food favorites. This past weekend we were in Tahoe and she cooked one of her dinner staples - baked chicken stuffed with basil and herbed goat cheese served with a cranraisins, feta, red onions salad with balsamic vinaigrette. It was delicious, relatively easy and a great go to for a chicken dish when you don't have a grill.

Servings: 5

5 chicken breasts
2 ounces goat cheese
10 basil leaves
2 tbsp olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Wash and pat dry basil leaves and cut goat cheese into quarter of an inch slices. Cut a pocket into the top of the chicken breast and stuff with goat cheese and two basil leaves. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake the breasts for 40 minutes or until cooked thoroughly until pink is no longer showing. 

Serve ith side salad: cranraisin, feta, onion salad with balsamic vinaigrette:

Servings: 5

1.5 boxes mixed greens
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped red onions
1/2 cup craisins
1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper

Mix greens, feta, red onions, craisins (and walnuts if wanted) into a big bowl, set aside. In a smaller dish, mix dijon mustard and olive oil. Ration the olive oil so it allows you to mix the oil and mustard together without the oil separating. Add balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and whisk. Pour desired amount of dressing over lettuce, toss and serve.


West Coast: San Francisco + Lake Tahoe

February 04, 2013

I'm back from my west coast vacation and am already missing the scenery and beautiful weather. This is the view from my friend's Financial District, San Franciscan apartment. Jealous? I am!

We got up Friday morning, saw the sunrise and headed out driving to Tahoe which took us through bay to valley to mountains in only two hours. We stayed in Truckee and went skiing at Tahoe Donner and North Star.
North Star
There is definitely something to be said about ski culture. After a weekend on the slopes with conversations that are made up of words like "pow pow" and "shredding," craft beer and wipe outs that scored a 10 from on looking liftees, I get what the ski bum craze is all about.

 The digital nerd in me also has to give Foursquare a shout out for it's ski bum badge.

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