Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Joni Mitchell - River

Joni Mitchell is a goddess, that voice and her lyrics, just amazing.  "River" is one of my favorite songs, which I heard this morning on the Christmas station on Sirius.  It so good, it's like when your heart is breaking and you just know you need to feel that pain but it's all wrapped up in a Christmas song.  So of course I couldn't get the song out of my head.  Every time I get an earworm I will go on You Tube and look up all the different version of that song.  I did that today and I came across some of the most amazing voices. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ina Garten

I know everyone is just as excited as I am about Ina's new cookbook.  I made the mistake of asking for it for Christmas, meaning I have to wait 30 whole days to read the book cover to cover.  I have perused it in the stores and it looks just as good as all her other cookbooks, well written, beautiful pictures with doable recipes.  I think what makes Ina Garten so popular, besides her amazing taste and style, is that her recipes are not difficult but the flavors and the food presentation are always impressive.  Her cookbooks definitely get the most use in my home.

Check out this interview on William - Sonoma, I love the way she thinks about entertaining. 

one/ two

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Dinner Party For 6 Under $100.00

I really enjoy entertaining, it's like it feeds my soul.  I think the planning and preparation, except the cleaning, are as much fun as the actual dinner party.  I'm not the type of girl who really enjoys hanging out at bars.  I prefer good wine, good food and good conversation over standing around a loud, crowded bar.  However, entertaining at home or eating out can both get expensive and I have discovered most people don't really enjoy hosting.  I decided to try something new seeing if I can entertain with quality food and wine on a budget.

To make the salad just cut up the lettuce, toss with the dressing.  Then add croutons, toss again and I usually shave the cheese on top of the salad to make it look pretty. 
Caesar salad  - Trader Joe's   Romaine Lettuce  $3.99
                                               Crouton  $3.99
                                               Parmigianino Cheese  $5.99
                         Wegman's     Caesar dressing   $2.49
                                                           Total       $16.46

My favorite sauce is this tomato sauce with onion and butter by Smitten Kitchen.  It's easy and has so much flavor.  I just doubled the recipe.  Since I was cooking for friends I decided to add the sweet Italian sausage for some extra flavor.  Just crumble, brown it in a pan and then add to the sauce once its been blended smooth. Shave some of the Parmigianino cheese on top.     
Spaghetti with sweet Italian sausage in a onion, butter and tomato sauce
                               Trader Joe's    Tomatoes            $7.98
                                                       Onion                 $0.89
                                                       Italian Sausage   $5.99
                               Wegman's       Spaghetti             $2.99
                                                       Butter                  $0.84
                                                             Total             $18.69
Wine total $20.00
I really like 14 Hands Cabernet and find most people do, plus it's reasonable.
I will post the recipe for the cheesecake tomorrow. 
 Dessert  Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake with Oreo cookie crust
                                    Trader Joe's  cookies  $2.99
                                                         canned pumpkin  $1.99
                                                         cream cheese       $3.98
                                                                eggs              $2.49
                                    Wegman's      Chocolate Chips  $ 2.99
                                                            Butter                 $0.84
                                                                     Total            $12.29
       Staples-  sugar, flour and cinnamon

Total cost $67.44. 
The food was delicious, looked impressive and was easy.  My favorite way to entertain. 
Noted, I just stated under $100.00 because I did not take into account tax, staples I had on hand, the gifted wine and the coffee and tea we had with dessert. 
This was good practice for me though because I usually have too much food, including appetizers and more than one dessert choice.
“People who love to eat are always the best people.”
Julia Child

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Plus Size Pajamas

Since I've been snowed in the for two days already with no end in sight, I can't help but think of warm and cozy pajamas.  I get most of my pajamas from Land's End.  They are reasonably priced, good quality and true to fit.  This Christmas I think I may have to get a pair of Ralph Lauren pajamas they are so cute. 

For Christmas Eve, I like to get the whole family matching pajamas, even my parents. Old Navy seems to be very reasonable with a largest variety for everyone in the whole family. 


Still Trapped

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


I woke up to this, no school, driving bans and not a plow in sight.  I guess it's a good day to stay inside by a cozy fire.

Just heard we are predicted to get about 6 feet of snow.  I'm a little scared because all of my friends who grew up here, in Buffalo, say they have never seen this much snow.  Wish this Florida girl luck!!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Fireplace Cleaning

I never thought much about the fireplace in the family room except that it was a pretty stone fireplace but very dated.  Then I saw Annie's fireplace and I begin to see all the possibilities.  Since I am renting I'm not really sure how much I can actually do to the fireplace but surely who would care if I clean it up a bit.  I Google how to clean a stone fireplace and I saw something about mixing salt and dish washing detergent.  So I mixed sea salt, Dawn and a little water it created this sort of paste like substance and applied it to the stone.  I let it sit a couple minutes and began to scrub with Magic Erasers, I went through two erasers.  I need to get more Magic Erasers but it looks so much better already.  My next goal is to clean the brick inside and paint it black, really who would mind that? 

I love Annie's white fireplace but I know that it is a dramatic change and may take some convincing on my part. 


I also like this look, the stone is a bit darker, less orangey and looks really great against the white wall. 
I like this white-washed look too but it's kind of boring, especially with a white wall. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

To Blog

I love blogging I don't know why I'm not a very good writer and I'm not very creative but there is something about blogging that is addictive. I read the quote above and I thought this is so true.  Then I was thinking about the blogs I really enjoy reading lately and how they are doing all of the above so well.  
  • The Simply Luxurious Life -  This is a great lifestyle blog with everything from style and d├ęcor to self-awareness and money advice.  The author also does a weekly podcast on a range of topics. 
  • Jess Lively is also doing really interesting stuff.  She is a woman on a mission to teach people how to live a well intentioned life.  She does with many different approaches including a blog and a podcast.  Her podcast consist of her interviewing people that are all doing inspiring things usually around the web.   

Friday, November 14, 2014

Family Room Inspiration

When I sold my house I got rid of most of my furniture.  I don't know why, maybe I just didn't feel like moving it or maybe it was just so old I was sick of it.  However, now I just don't have enough furniture to fill the house we are renting and it's annoying me.  We have a large family room and a large living room so I'm trying to figure out how to make at least one of the rooms usable over the holidays for entertaining.  All of these living spaces look so cozy and perfect for entertaining.  I'm hoping I can gather some inspiration and get a finished look the family room by the Holidays. 


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Pumpkin Dessert Bars

one/ two/ three/ four/ five

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Quotes- Words of Wisdom


Lately life has been changing in ways I didn't expect.  You know when things just don't work out the way you had hoped and even planned?  I think when this happens I of retreat into myself and the security of my family while looking for hope and inspiration wherever I can find it.  As silly as it sounds I find quotes inspirational.  They are everywhere lately, Pinterest, Facebook and blogs, which got me thinking that maybe I'm not the only one who finds these neatly wrapped bites of wisdom helpful.  Then I read this quote on the back of Oprah's book Words That Matter: A Little Book of Life Lessons and I thought that Oprah is so darn smart. She is so right, the more we focus on words that help us understand ourselves a little more and that make us believe we can be and do better the more likely we are to embody those ideas.  I think reading books can permanently changes us but maybe quotes can too.   


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Scenes From My Long Weekend

Target tricked me into spending money this weekend with their super cute Sugar Paper planners and new Oh Joy holiday line. 

Made this pumpkin bread again.

I grew up in south Florida which means I grew up going to Publix.  I love that grocery store and they make the best commercials  So I finally remembered to get out my salt and pepper shakers. 

This cutie almost makes me want to get a dog, almost.