Vintage Drinking Glasses Catching My Eye

By Erin

For years I’ve been obsessed with a store in Manhattan called Olde Good Things.  It’s a Vintage/Antique store in Manhattan (that has a HUGE warehouse in Scranton, PA), that specializes in crazy things like old doors, and factory carts, and weird granite mantels. They also make beautiful reclaimed wood tables. In our old apartment, we used one of their factory carts as a kitchen island – you’ll spot it in many of my photos on this blog. I LOVED that cart. Sadly, when we sold the house, the buyers wanted it as part of the deal. Since I had no space for it in our new house, it only made sense to leave it there. After all, it was a big pat on the back that someone else thought I had good taste.

A few weeks ago, the store opened another location RIGHT NEXT TO MY OFFICE. I walk buy it every day, staring at all the goods and dreaming of the day when I have more than 1200 square feet of space to fill with stunning vintage pieces.  But for now, I just live vicariously through the windows.

The window display for the last few weeks has included this BEAUTIFUL set. (Please excuse the glare!)

glasses 2

glasses 1

I’m literally DYING over it every time I pass buy. I want to fill that bucket with ice and drink Hendricks with a splash of tonic out of those glasses RIGHT NOW. But oh yeah… I still have about six more weeks of this whole pregnancy thing to go, AND vintage glassware is literally the last thing our house needs.  I have a collection in storage and in our liquor cabinet that I’ve collected here and there. What can I say? I like to drink gin and I like to drink it from old glasses.

Do you have strange particular preferences for how to drink your favorite beverages?

 

Small Pleasures – Voluspa Scented Candles

By Lia

Since becoming an “adult” – and believe me, I use that term loosely – I’ve developed a small list of things that I consider small pleasures. The little things I use to power myself through a tough time, a rough day or just overall, get me through.

This list includes, but is not limited to: baked potatoes , cable television, Soul Cycle, and fancy candles.

On the very last point, the temperate was just above “want to kill myself degrees” yesterday, so I took a moment to stop in a store on my way home and not make a beeline to my apartment.  I now live by a really beautiful store called Laytners Linen and Home. The windows are always full of really pretty things – throw pillows, duvets, curtains, etc. So I stopped in.

Immediately I was drawn to the candle section and began sniffing all of them like a crazy person, as I’m wont to do. Normally, I’m  drawn to lavender and orchid-scented candles…but in this particular instance, I couldn’t get enough of the Pink Citron smell.

I’d just finished Day 9 of a crazy work bender, so I embraced a “treat yo’self” moment and purchased the candle, which came to $29 and change. From the amazing, clean scent to the gorgeous packaging I was smitten. I lit it last night, settled in bed with a book and a cup of tea and proceeded to have a lovely, lovely evening.

It was a good reminder – life is hard. So is work. Small pleasures are usually easy to come by and  even if they are guilty, small pleasures – I believe in doing what makes you feel good as often as you can. I have very little business treating myself in much at the moment (needing to save money more than ever!) but sometimes, if you just need a scented candle to get through the day, just go get your self a scented candle and be done with it.

Valentine’s Day Treats

By Erin

I was in Target the other day and saw these little goodies:

 

I spend alot of time at Target these days. Like hours and hours.  It’s magical when its cold outside and you’re going stir crazy in the house and you have a baby.  It’s filled with never ending aisles of everything you could possibly need. Like that bag of Hugs. Which got me thinking about this box of deliciousness:

And this little package of hevean:

And these frozen berries that were in my freezer:

I started thinking that those three things would be just like those Hugs…. only so much better. Because if you’ve ever had Ghirardelli brownies, you know nothing is better than those. Even homemade brownies can’t come close.

So I set out to make a delicious – but easy  – Raspberry Cheesecake Brownie.  And I did! They are easy, delicious, and perfect for a Valentine’s Day treat. I made two versions, depending on your Cheesecake flavor preference:

These two (above and below) have Hugs on top. Lesson learned about the hugs – don’t put them in the oven, put them on when you take the cupcakes out. Or they’ll brown on the top like below!

So here’s what you’ll need and what to do! My recipe made 16 Brownie Cheesecakes.

  • 1 Box Brownie mix – and the things to make the brownie mix according to directions. We know my favorite – Ghirardelli. But any will do!
  • 1 package Philly cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Handful of frozen (or fresh if they’re in season) raspberries

Preheat the oven to 325.

Make the brownie mix according to the box. Mix by hand and let it sit while you make everything else. This will help it thicken up so it sits nicely on the bottom of the cupcake!

Take your frozen or fresh raspberries and blend them in the blender.  If they’re frozen, let them defrost for a few minutes. This many will do:

I just love how pretty raspberries are.

Set them aside to continue to get soft. (That’s the cream cheese getting soft behind them!)

Next mix the cheesecake layer.  With a hand mixer, blend the package of cream cheese (let it soften first), sugar, vanilla and and egg. It should nice and smooth when done.

I use this vanilla because its amazing.

Now its time to layer! I found these pretty red paper cupcake wrappers in my cupboard and decided to use them.

Place these in a cupcake or muffin pan. Fill them just less than half with brownie mix.

There are two ways to do the cream cheese. For Raspberry Swirl brownie cheesecake:

Then add a dollop of the cream cheese mixture on top. Spread it around with the back of a spoon.

Then dip a knife or toothpick in the raspberries so you get just a touch of them on the end and swirl into the top of the cheesecake mixture.

OR – if you want make Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies: 

Mix a large spoonful of raspberries into the cheesecake mixture.

Then apply a dollop of this mixture on top of the brownie mix. Spread with a spoon.

Place them in the oven on 325. Set the timer for 45 minutes and see if they’re done. The spoon should come out clean, possibly a LITTLE gooey on the brownie part if you like very gooey brownies.  If you want, top with a hug immediately after taking them out of the oven. Store in the fridge and enjoy!

We posted this blog to the following link parties:


Our Delightful Home


Totally Tasty Tuesdays

Nursery Reveal!

Finally, the nursery is ready for its reveal! Which is a good thing, since my due date was last week.  I must be perfectly honest. The beauty of the nursery is due completely to my aunt Kathy, my mother and my father.  While I picked out the bedding, they found everything else that helped the room come together so beautifully!

Since we live in a two bedroom apartment, I wanted to be able to use our nursery also as a spare bedroom. So we decided to buy both a crib and a daybed, and forgo some of the other typical nursery furniture. For example, we got a rocker, but it lives in our living room, not in the nursery.  The closet in that room was quite large, and decked out with shelves, so we decided baskets could take the place of a chest of drawers.

The husband and I found this adorable daybed at Ikea.  My mother, aunt and I went to Pottery Barn to pick out a crib, and settled on the Madison crib in white, which is so cute and matched the daybed.  Remember the walls were yellow? Well, we painted them a mint green to be softer, and much more baby friendly. The colors came out horribly on my camera, but hopefully you can get the idea!

 

I found the quilt for the daybed at Target – its the Shabby Chic line! The throw pillows were made custom, coordinated by my aunt – they’re the same pink check fabric that you’ll see on the window seat cushion.

I picked out the crib bedding from Serena and Lily. First off, calm down all of you who want to comment that I can’t have bumpers in my crib. I know that. But I like them, so I will leave them in until the baby sleeps in the crib. I figured most people would visit, anyways, before she could even sleep in it, and I just loved the colors and the pattern.   If you can’t tell, I’m not really into “themes.” I loved the geometric shapes of these sheets and bumpers.  Cute and girly, but not cheesy.

The pink crocheted blanket is NOT my handiwork – it was a gift from my mother-in-law that I know that baby will just love after she’s born. You can’t really see the bed skirt in this photo. I’m going to have to take some more photos of the crib to share.

The curtain was made out of the sheets that are on the crib!

The next photo is where my father comes in.  He found these beautiful ABC paintings and bought them for his soon-to-be granddaughter.  I just love them and how they match the room. They’re from Restoration Hardware’s baby line, which you must check out if you haven’t seen it yet. The picture frame you see on the right side is also from Restoration Hardware, a gift from my mother.

Aren’t they perfect?

And, for those of you who wanted to peak into her closet, this baby is totally ready to come home!

She already has a few friends waiting for her!

Here’s a close-up of my favorite part, the changing station! The guestroom had this large, awkward window shelf in it, and a black rot iron gate.  My aunt suggested that I paint the gate white.  It took many coats and patience, but the end result is so good! It actually looks like a decoration, rather than a safety gate.

I had the idea of using the shelf as a changing station, so we didn’t have to fit a changing table in the room. My aunt had a cushion made for it to make it comfortable for the baby, pretty, and functional. It’s made out of very thick foam and covered with the pink check fabric (same as the thrown pillows!) – the color matches the bedding almost perfectly.  My aunt made a pattern of the window sill, so it fits it EXACTLY into the space.  Isn’t it so cute? I just absolutely love it.

There are still a few little things to be done (like hanging the chandelier!) but I wanted to share this update, first.  Now all we need is a baby!

 

Baby’s Room Inspiration

By Erin

Last week I posted some photos of the disaster that WAS our spare bedroom. The transformation is well under way you’ll be happy to know. Here’s a few pics of the things we’ll be doing.

We painted the room Sea Cap by Behr. (Purchased at the Home Depot!) And by we, I mean my sweet hubby. I carry the child, he takes orders on painting. I’m not sure who got the raw end of the deal, but I’m going to say it on the record: I think painting is WAY easier than these 25 extra pounds I’m lugging around.

 

After much debating over whether we should get one of the BEAUTIFUL iron cribs from Pottery Barn kids, we settled on the Catalina crib.  I love the look of iron, but was afraid of it being uncomfortable for the baby when she could eventually roll into it.  And, the Catalina was just adorable, and will work well for future kids, boy or girl.

To match, we chose this beautiful bedding from Serena and Lily, which I was just LOVE.  I kinda hate “themed” rooms so I was excited to find these pretty shapes that would allow me to do what I wanted on the walls, without having to cover it with oh, butterflies or something else silly. It’s the perfect shade of pink to match the Sea Cap walls.

And yes, I know I need to take the bumper pads out when she can roll over, so stop judging before you start thankyouverymuch. One thing I’ve learned being pregnant, everyone LOVES to give you their opinion about everything you’re doing, eating and wearing AND everything you’re planning to feed and dress/sit/stand/lay your kid in.

We were insistent on making sure we still had room for guests in our 2 bedroom condo. So, the room will be both a nursery and a second bedroom.  We got this pretty daybed from IKEA (again, thank you hubby for your hard work!) It mimics the lines in the Pottery Barn crib! The bottom pulls out to create two twins or a Queen bed. Perfect for guests, AND there’s still storage in the drawers to stash sheets, diapers, etc.

 

I chose this budget-friendly, girly Simply Shabby Chic comforter from Target, along with Simply Shabby Chic sheets – one set in pink and one in gray. 

Also from Pottery Barn, these cute baskets will go on our changing station, which will be another exciting post in itself. We’re turning our big window seat into a changing station to avoid having to get another piece of furniture.

Finally, I have a few projects planned for the walls that I’m SUPER excited about. I’ll share one, the other will be a surprise.  I found this on Pinterest (obvi) fell in LOVE with it for the room. These letters will go above the Daybed.  Isn’t it so beautiful?  I don’t know who that girl is, but the photographer’s credit is on the photo. So if this genius wall design is your idea, please speak up and I’ll give you credit! In the meantime, I’m totally stealing the idea.  I’m not sure if I’ll do silver or white frames, or a mix/match. It depends what they have at Michael’s when I go this weekend.

And that’s all for today! Stay tuned for more updates.

Before: Spare Bedroom Becomes a Nursery

By Erin

As you know, there’s a baby on the way in my household. And as of three weeks ago, the spare bedroom room where said baby was going to sleep looked like this:

 

 

Clearly, it had turned into a storage room much more so than a spare room. And yes, that is 11 years worth of the New Yorker stashed in those green magazine dividers. What can I say? I can’t part with them. At one point I also had 11 years of Esquire saved, in chronological order, on the shelves above them. What happened to those, you ask? Oh, my SWEET  husband kindly threw them out while I was away for the weekend. Yes, true story.

I painted the walls yellow when we moved in, thinking it’d be a nice baby room color. But in the dark room, the yellow was BRIGHT on the walls, as you can see. Not exactly conducive to creating a soft, serene environment to make that baby want to sleep through the night.

And this is the closet where all of the baby’s clothes, diapers and toys are supposed to go, since we won’t have room for a dresser in our new set-up.

As you can see, it was home to all of my crafts, the hubby’s CDS and sports jerseys, bags upon bags of corks and some random kitchen equipment. A hot mess, really. But I knew where everything in there was, so that was all that ever mattered.

The room also boasted this SWEET ceiling fan, which shakes LOUDLY as it turns. Yuck.

In the past few weeks, we’ve been cleaning, painting and organizing the room – and all of my crafts and crap that were housed in it. Next week I’ll share some photos of stage one of our re-do.  I will give you a little preview: I did finally agree to let the New Yorkers go on vacation for a little while. My Aunt Kathy kindly offered to keep them safe for me, so my husband couldn’t “accidently” throw them away.

 

 

 

 

It’s Beginning to Feel A Lot Like….Christmas?

By Lia

I know Christmas in July has always been a “thing,” but I know personally, I’ve never actually made the time to actually celebrate it. I do remember once going to the my parents’ friends parents house as a kid when they threw a big Christmas in July bash, complete with a pig on a spit and a Christmas tree.  To get to celebrate Christmas twice as a kid is more or less the greatest thing ever and I’m happy to report that as an adult, the same holds true.

Last night, Erin and I went to a Christmas in July preview from Michaels where we got a sneak peek at all the decor, crafts and trends for the upcoming Christmas season. All I can say is whoooo boy, are the Michaels fans out there in for a treat.  From positively Seuss-ian kids rooms to traditional wood-and-cedar decor to Indian spice-market inspired looks, there is really something for everyone to create their perfect Christmas look. Making the entire preview even more special, the decorators and teams from Michaels DIY’d almost every element in each room and some of their ideas were just incredible beautiful — and incredibly easy!  We can’t wait to share  them with you!

In the meantime, here is a little preview of what we saw:

White Christmas: A perennial staple, the team at Michaels mixed in warm teals, blues,golds and light greens to give this traditional look a less frosty feel. Here, a tree gets the warming treatment and below, a table.

Frankincense: For those looking to leave the traditional path behind, a room inspired by the jewel-tones, rich colors and eclectic feel of an Indian spice market can still evoke holiday. The team created a garland simply by tying various ribbons together, and below an entire set up made almost entirely of DIY projects.

Cedar Lodge: Erin and I wanted to move into this room. It was dark, rich, and plush. Straight out of a cabin in the woods.  We will be making a LOT of the crafts we saw in this room and showing you how to do it as well. For example, that lamp shade? Made out dictionary pages!! That wreath? Made of several small wreaths!  Be still my heart…

Jingle Holly: Like something straight out a Dr. Seuss book, some of the looks for kids were whimsical, colorful and full of texture. That chandelier in the bottom photo? Just a wreath with decorative balls, fake pearls and pipe cleaners. It was unbelievable.

The stores will start to receive product in September, so start saving now!

And for those looking to get a jump on presents (aka the SUPER ORGANIZED, aka not Erin and me) Target is also celebrating Christmas in July with a huge “Black Friday” sale today on everything from TVs to couches to vacuums.

It’s all ALMOST enough to make me wish it was cold outside. Kind of. Actually, I need a few more beach days before I want that to come true, but I can’t wait to get an early jump on all these projects. You all are going love them!

Have I Found My Green Thumb?

By Erin

 

Before Memorial Day, this is what my garden looked like.  Some Basil, which was new, and I think some Rosemary left over from last year.  Or maybe Thyme. I couldn’t tell.  Lots of rocks and dirt, and not much that’s pretty to look at.

Chairs stacked up, covered with dirt.

A few flowers that bloomed unexpectedly – I THOUGHT they were annuals, but I guess not! So I left them there.

We are super lucky to have any outdoor space at all in Jersey City, let alone a patio that’s big enough for a table and chairs, so I was determined to clean it up and make sure it was a place we could once again entertain.  You’ll remember I’ve done different stuff out back – vegetables, some flowers, plants.  This summer I wanted to stick to flowers in pinks and purples.

I spent Memorial Day picking up rocks, digging, and planting these flowers that I bought from our local garden center.  I don’t know what any of the them are, except for the Hydrangea, which are my favorite!

I planted them on Monday, and Thursday morning I woke up to a squirrel running right through them! We have this one rogue squirrel that is a problem. It ate our Xmas lights.  Like, the whole freaking light bulbs off the cord.   He is NOT my friend.

I tried to help the plants recover from their trampling, and I think they’ll be fine. After some water and a nice sunny weekend, they’re on their way to re-cooperation!  Here’s how the back looks now – quite a change! I’m very proud of myself.

This weekend was spent scrubbing chairs and tables, and making the patio somewhere pretty and inviting to sit, finally!  I still haven’t mulched – I can’t decide if I’m going to.  It seems like a bit of a pain for such a small space. What do you think about mulching??

 

 

Weekend Snapshots

By Erin

Happy Monday everyone! Or, should I say, Happy Almost Summer! I can not wait for Memorial Day. The attitude in New York just changes once it hits. People are more relaxed, anxious to be outside, and ready to hit the beach. With summer on the brain the ONLY thing I wanted for dinner tonight was homemade guac. I used my easy recipe here, added some chips and a very tasty dinner was had. I mean, I guess guac isn’t really dinner, but I decided it was.

I spent most of the weekend in the Poconos, cheering the sweet husband along as he ran the Pocono marathon. I unfortunately didn’t get any good pictures of him running to post, but know that he looks really cute when he runs.  I was a little jealous I couldn’t run this time around, but that’s ok.  The 80-degree heat was far too hot for a marathon.

I also bought a few basil plants to plant outside in my planter. I’m not sure why they’re so droopy.  I’m hoping a few days of sunlight and they’ll be growing tall!

Where the Action Happens: A Work in Progress

That title was just to make you laugh. Or blush, depending on who you are. In all seriousness, the Sweet Hubby and I have been living in a bedroom that resembles his bedroom in the frat house. When he was 19.  It’s an unacceptable way to live, really, for two adults well into their 30′s.  (Yes mother, I AM admitting that our bedroom is unacceptable!)

For years we slept on the Hubby’s old IKEA bed – one of those real low to the ground ones, in a box, with no box spring. Just a mattress. Which was NOT new.  But my double bed that I slept on for 10 years was no better.  So we went with it.  Finally, post-wedding, we splurged and got fancy, cushy, high mattress that we LOOOOOOOOOVE.  Normally, I don’t sleep. Now, I have no probelm sleeping thankyouverymuch.  Who knew a fancy mattress could fix all that?  But we still had my Queen sized comforter (from high school), no headboard, and a mish-mosh of IKEA and hand-me-downs that didn’t match.  So here’s the before:

Yes, our bedroom DID look like this, just with a different bed, for two years.  And yes, I am an adult, and yes, we are both gainfully employed and do like nice things.  You just wouldn’t know it from here.

The master bedroom is in the basement, so people rarely see it but us.  So frankly, it was easy to ignore the situation, especially as we were getting ready for the wedding, and had many other things on our mind.  It’s not pretty. I admit.

After getting the new mattress, we decided it was time to get bedroom furniture. We went to Ethan Allen, and I fell in LOVE with their fabric bed frames. Like love, love, love.  I selected grey velvet with silver nail heads.  And then I ordered a ruched duvet cover from Pottery Barn.  Here’s the new bed!

I need to get a bottom sheet, on the box spring to hide it!

We LOVE our new bed.  It’s so beautiful, and so, so comfortable.  The only problem: we ended up spending our entire bedroom budget on the fancy mattress AND the fancy bed frame.  So everything else had to be put on hold, just a few more months!  But that’s OK, we’re making progress here people. Stay tuned!

And total confession: we loved one of the beds we slept in on our honeymoon SO much, that I called the hotel to ask them which kind it was.  We then went to Sleepy’s and checked out everything in that line!