Since the birth of our first child, our not so big house of 1100 sq. ft really has begun to feel quite small. With a highchair, safety gates, and baby toys our house has really shrunk. As I mentioned in an early posting I have been redoing our living room/ dining room area to accomodate our new little one a bit better.

Well the furniture has arrived and the room is pretty much in place (pics to be posted soon). I am still working on the finishing touches however. I still have upholstered cornices to be made for over all the windows, more custom pillows with fun fringe for the sofa, and I am cleaning….cleaning…cleaning out EVERYTHING! I am going through our vast amount of boxes that fill all of our cupboards in the hallway and kitchen/laundry areas. I have frames and candles dating back to my early 20s! So out there are going! There really has been no reason to keep all of this crap. I haven’t had it up in my home (not this one or my previous one) for years and years. Maybe I was waiting for a few extra rooms to “magically” appear so I could put them up? Who knows.

But in any case while looking through the latest Martha Stewart Living magazine, I ran into an ad for a really cool company They have fabulous vintage lighting for inside and outside the home. I know my hubby would KILL me if I go ahead with my plans, but I really am loving the following fixtures:

To go outside in front of our door and in the back of the house near our backdoors. Would be done in the same finish shown, a bronzed satin.

For our kitchen ceiling and in the attached laundry area, but in a smaller size.

For our small half bath off of our bedroom in a brushed satin finish.

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August 13, 2008

Cute mommy clothes

by Shelly

I am fairly new to this whole blogging thing…reading them as well as writing one. My accidental discovery of Leah’s blog, Style for the Stay at Home Mom has spun me out of control with reading and now writing blogs. I LOVE THEM! Since becoming a mommy I have really strived to 1. not let myself start to look old or frumpy, 2. have fun with fashion still, and 3. transform my wardrobe from my late 20s partying phase to a more mature, girl who knows who she is in her early 30s phase.

So, I have somewhat managed to do exactly what I said I would. However, since I work out at least 3-4 days a week at 9am, I do tend to hang out in my gym clothes far too long. I know, I know…GROSS! I STILL wear flipflops or sandals with everything…I’m a beach girl what can I say!? And I LOVE, let me repeat love Roxy, Volcom, Lost…you know all the girly beach lines. They fit my lifestyle, they aren’t overly expensive, and they fit my beach girl image to a T!

But this week, I actually put some effort into my clothes shopping and picked up a few more adult looks. Here there are:

Lucky Brand Jeans Style:Flap back pocket Zoe jeans $110

Banana Republic Cotton Printed Top $24.99 (on sale)

Banana Republic Silk Paisley Top $49.00 (on sale)
Banana Republic Short Sleeved Paisley Top $49.99 (on sale)

Nine West Foxygirl $79.00

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Yes, I know…Halloween is still a bit away, but those that know me well know that…well I’m obsessed! My husband and I have had an annual party for the past three years. Every year is a little bit different. We change up the food, make a themed party drink for the night, decide on different entertainment, change around the guest list, and also mix of the decorations to change up the theme a bit.

Last year our little one was only three months old. The night we had the party was actually our first night away from her. She went over to my Mom’s place for the night to make things easier on us and so that we could let loose and REALLY have fun!

So these days, since having a toddler really makes party planning much more interesting, I am starting way ahead of the game. For the entertainment of the evening we are going back to our 2nd party and having karaoke. Karaoke was a HUGE hit the year we did it and I asked a few friends who have been to our party before if they would rather have a DJ. Nope, karaoke was a definite yes!

This year we are going to add a twist and ask that everyone come in completely homemade costumes. Nothing is to be a pre-packaged Halloween costume! We want originality and creativity! So we’re going to add prizes as well. Should be fun!

Another fun thing I was thinking of doing if it doesn’t cost too much, is hire a tarot reader. Hopefully I’ll find one that’s eccentric…that shouldn’t be hard!

Anyway, here are some fun pics of our previous parties…the good, the bad, the scary!

Reed and I as beer garden guy and girl. October 2007

Marie Antoinette in her undies and Willy Wonka. Oct 2006

Reed’s best costume EVER…Robot man Oct. 2005

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August 1, 2008

Bookclub Dinner

by Shelly

Last night was my turn to host our monthly bookclub meeting. This time only three girls were able to come which made my job easier, as I didn’t have to cook as much food. These days entertaining is a bit of a challenge trying to juggle cooking, setting up, and keeping in step with the baby’s routine for the day.

I chose to go with a mix of recipes from the Barefoot Contessa. In my humble opinion I think her recipes are some of the easiest, most elegant ones to make. Everything I have ever attempted from her, comes out so expert looking and tasting I have to tell myself, “Yes, you did make that Shelly!”.

Here was my menu for the evening:

Endive and Avocado Salad
1 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/4 cup good olive oil 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 heads endive
3 ripe Haas avocados, peeled and seeded

Whisk together the mustard, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper to make a vinaigrette. Remove a 1/2-inch from the stem end of each endive, discard the core, and cut the rest across into 1-inch chunks. Cut the avocados into large dice or wedges. Toss the avocados and endive with the vinaigrette. Season, to taste, and serve at room temperature.
Note: Haas avocados are the brown ones from California. The green ones don’t have nearly as much flavor.

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

Grilled Herb Shrimp
2 pounds large shrimp (16 to 20 per pound), peeled and deveined (see note)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, small-diced
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup good olive oil 1 lemon, juiced

Combine all the ingredients and allow them to marinate for 1 hour at room temperature or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Skewer the shrimp. I use 3 or 4 shrimp on a 12-inch skewer for dinner. Heat a grill with coals and brush the grill with oil to prevent the shrimp from sticking. Grill the shrimp for only 1 1/2 minutes on each side.
Note: I leave the tails on when I’m peeling the shrimp.

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

Spaghettoni Al Pesto
Good olive oil
Kosher salt
1 pound spaghettoni, bucatini, or spaghetti
1 to 1 1/2 cups pesto

Splast some oil in a large pot of salted boiling water and add pasta. Cook the spaghettoni for 10 to 12 minutes, until al dente but cooked through. Drain the pasta in a colander and toss it in a large bowl with enough pesto to coat each strand. Taste for seasoning and servec hot or at room temperature.

Serves 6

Oven Roasted Fruit with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
6 peaches, pitted and cut into quarters or eighths
6 plums or Italian prune plums, pitted and quartered or halved
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons orange juice

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Place the peaches and plums snugly in a single layer, cut side up, in 2 glass or porcelain oven-proof baking dishes. Sprinkle with the sugar, and then top with the raspberries. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until tender.
Heat the broiler and place the fruit about 5 inches below the heat and broil for 5 to 8 minutes, until the berries release some of their juices.
Remove from the broiler and sprinkle with orange juice. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled. Add a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream to each serving.

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

I served the meal with a nice Pinot Noir and sparkling water. It was YUMMY!!!! Easy to make also.

All recipes are from Ina Garten’s book, Barefoot Contessa Parties.

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