Monday Mockup – Blues

I joke with J that I’m going to start collecting all things blue and white for our the little weekend getaway house that we dream about. It’s a joke for now but the love affair I have with the color combo is real and Ginger Jars are where I really have to remind myself that this little dream getaway doesn’t exist… yet.

Now this blue and white combo is way more glam that what I imagine styling a cottage in, but there was something so old hollywood glamour about this shade of blue velvet that paired perfectly with the wood gold and acrylic nesting tables. Even just looking at it I want to touch it!

I would style a built-in bookshelf with fun ginger jars and white marble busts, books and scattered treasures like this branch. To add dimension I’d keep within the color family but add different prints and materials. Imagine curtains in this fun Kathmandu Porcelain print fabric, a leather wrapped sconce hanging over the table, and a sofa or bench in the ivory tweed. And we can’t forget that pillow. The geometric lines add a fun pop of color which is just enough for the room.

Do you ever dream of having a weekend getaway home? Would it be in the mountains or by a beach?! Casual or fancy?! Near or far?! Let me know if you too have searches set up on Zillow or if I’m just crazy!

Shop the Mockup:

Chair, Article | Decorative Pillow, Bob Mitchell Gold Bob Williams

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Ramos Gin Fizz

About a year ago I started researching all things Mardi Gras; recipes, cocktails, history, and more. See I was hosting a Mardi Gras dinner party and I don’t mess around when it comes to parties… or cocktails.

Everyone has heard of a Sazerac, and no one actually wants to drink a Hurricane so the search was on for a cocktail that originated in NOLA, was sophisticated yet fun, and interesting enough to start the night off or take us all the way through.

Originally called the ‘New Orleans Fizz’, it became so popular after being served at the Imperial Cabinet Bar in 1888 that the name changed to honor it’s originator – Henry C. Ramos. Mr. Ramos eventually opened up another bar – The Stag, where his drink’s reputation blew up. Rumor has it that 20 bartenders had to be working on this cocktail alone per night. After shaking up a handful of these over the year I can actually see why it would take 20, 25, 30 bartenders to keep up with the Mardi Gras demand. This cocktail is good, but it requires a lot of shaking to really do the fizz justice.

Now, Mr. Ramos held his cocktail recipe close lipped and the verdict is still out if he ever did end up sharing the secret. So either he let it slip after one too many fizzes, or someone came darn close to replicating the concoction because the Ramos Gin Fizz has been solidified as an iconic NOLA and quite honestly one of my favorite cocktails of all time.

Gin haters, relax. You can’t even taste the juniper berries in this drink. It’s a light, refreshing, easy to drink-but-you-better-keep-track-of-how-many-you’re-drinking kind of cocktails.

Ramos Gin Fizz | Makes one cocktail

2 oz. Gin (I use Hendricks or Tanqueray)
1 dash orange blossom water
1 large egg white
1 tbsp half-half
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp simple syrup
1 cup of ice cubes
Sparkling water

Add all the ingredients to a shaker, minus the ice and sparkling water, and shake hard. And shake some more. (This is called dry shaking and a super important step to do!) Open the shaker and add ice just about above the liquid line. Shake and then shake some more. Maybe a little more just for a good faith effort. Strain into a highball glass. Pour a tad of sparkling water into the shaker and swirl to get the cocktail residue and slowly pour the sparking water into the highball glass.

Mardi Gras is next week so rest your arms up and celebrate by whipping up this delicious drink. After all, Mardi Gras is about being a little over the top!

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Monday Mockup – Olive Dining Room

If you remember a few posts back I was searching for dining chairs and landed on the windsor style. Well thank goodness I finally found the ‘one’ but in the process I came across so many amazing dining chairs. And although I didn’t want to mismatch the chairs in my dining room, I love the look of two different chairs and it’s even better when they’re complete opposites. Plus I love navy blue and dark green… especially in leather so when I saw these dining chairs I instantly wanted to mockup a dining room for them to live.

I’m going to try and mock up some rooms every so often – preferably on Mondays to keep the ‘Monday Mockup’ theme going – so I can get my design juices flowing and hopefully inspire a few of you who are looking to redo a room or make some one off updates in the future!

Simple, clean, and natural. The boxy table has an unexpected twist with alternating leg directions, and the shade is a creamy dream. I played on the color with the black cane chairs from DWR while adding contrast, and pulled out more natural shades by going with an olive green leather wrapped chair. (Mouth watering.) To give an airy view, I’d place the cane chairs on either end and the wrapped leather chairs on the sides. A muted cowhide rug will add additional texture and an eye catching shape to the room full of rectangles. I love love the whimsical look of an olive tree so tuck that in a corner and let the fluted chandelier shine in all it’s simplistic glory.

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Before & After – Kitchen Addition

Remember when our kitchen looked like this?

Yeah… I mean A for effort for trying to make it cute, right?! Ok, B+. After a year of living with it and really figuring out our pain points – like the non-existent counter space. We met with a few different contractors to begin figuring out how we could transform this peach galley into a dream kitchen and despite it taking longer than ‘promised’ (surprise, surprise) I could not be happier with the outcome. Looking at these before pictures have me pinching myself all over again. I can’t believe that from my current view there was a wall and instead I see pretty clean lines and the dreamest of dreamy countertops and a one slab backsplash. Our house just feels so much bigger despite not adding any actual space.

We saved nothing. Well I take that back, we kept the hardwood floors, but every cabinet and appliance and tile that was used for the countertop was tossed and I was singing hallelujah in the background.

Day by day, little by little it was re built. Black matte cabinets on the bottom, white up top. Quartz countertops. New [matching] stainless steel appliances. And a relocated gas lines and plumbing, to be more efficient. So without further adieu, here’s the finished product…

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Holiday Cheer

Before I start sharing the deets of this festive little cocktail, I want to say a quick thank you to everyone who reached out about my post below. It’s amazing to me that people I haven’t spoke to in years reached out and shared their journey – it really meant a lot.

Ok! Now back to our regularly scheduled programming… holiday cocktails!

The week before Thanksgiving I started testing out cocktails and it’s kind of a two-birds-one-stone situation since Thanksgiving and December holidays are so close. The Blackberry pear smash won Thanksgiving (recipe coming soon!) but this little cranberry peppercorn number might slide into first for our Christmas cocktail. 

I have been so intrigued to make a cocktail using pink peppercorns. Pink peppercorns are a dried berry of the shrub Schinus molle, commonly known as the Peruvian peppertree but they don’t have as harsh of a “pepper” taste as say black peppercorns. Turns out, pink peppercorns aren’t even peppers at all! It’s lighter, brighter, and a little pop of spice. 

To begin I made a cranberry “compote” using sugar, fresh cranberries, peppercorns and water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat and let it simmer down into more of a thick liquid consistency. Remove from heat, and cool. Add 1.5 oz. of the mixture, 2 oz. of Gin (or you can substitute with Vodka) shake, pour and top with your favorite sparkling water!

It’s surprisingly a refreshing, light drink which is a great alternative to everyone’s favorite – spiked nog. Which I didn’t try to make my own, but I’m tempted this season to give it a shot!

 Pink Peppercorn Cranberry Cheer

                                                                    Gin based | makes one cocktail 

  • 1.5 oz of Cranberry Compote Mixture
  • 2 oz  of Gin (I used Hendricks)
  • Top with sparkling water

 

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Meet Florence Puppingale

Life has changed a little bit over the last month and despite a few less hours of sleep, my heart is filled with a little bit more love. To give a little bit of a back story, over the past three years about every three to four months J would mention how great it would be to have a dog. We’d be cooking dinner and he’d say, wouldn’t it be fun to have a dog just laying in the back room keeping us company? Or if we’d go out to a vineyard or any place with open land he’d make a similar sentiment. I always had an excuse. We had some trip coming up or I wanted to enjoy our new furniture without teeth marks or scratches. And although those were legitimate concerns of mine, there was also another big reason and that reason was that we had decided to start trying to expand our family. (A puppy and a baby is a lot to handle.) But the fact is we’ve been trying to expand our family for well over a year… over a year without success. 

It’s been a long year + of ups and down and feelings of hope and hopelessness. We’ve both been poked and prodded and yet none of the doctors we’ve met with can explain why we’re having difficulty. It’s been exhausting. And even more exhausting that for some reason it feels embarrassing, it’s a topic that no one discusses, and when you do bring it up, I hear “well at least you’ve got time on your side.”

We’ve tried to stay positive and distract ourselves with vacations, work, a kitchen renovation, and even a deployment– but every month we’re reminded and every month the house seemed to get a little quieter.  

So it finally seemed like there was no better time to expand our family and hearts in a different way. After reaching out to a few different breeders, we came across Florence. Florence not only had the cutest little face, her name  was on our “list” anyway since it’s J’s hometown, so it seemed like it was meant to be.  

We traveled up to meet her, and when her siblings went off to play in the yard, Florence came over to meet us. She’s brought in a little bit more noise to our house, a lot more joy, and one day– hopefully in the not too distant future– she’ll make a great big [fur] sister.

So meet Florence. (Also known as Flo, Flor, Flo-Flo, munchkin, babes,.. and the list of names go on.) She’s a red mini-goldendoodle (F1B) who loves nothing more than to cuddle and chew on the corners of anything she can find. We’re expecting her to be about 25-30 lbs and a medium sized dog, but for now we’re loving her puppy stage and soaking in every puppy kiss she gives!

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Changing Colors

Changing Colors | makes two drinks

  • 3 shots bourbon
  • 2 shots apple cider syrup (see first line of recipe below)
  • 1 shot fresh lemon juice
  • 2 strips of orange zest (for the apple cider syrup &/or to garnish)
  • 2 Cinnamon sticks
  • 1 clove, optional

Add the bourbon, apple cider syrup, and lemon juice to the shaker.

Boil the apple cider, 1 cinnamon stick, and orange zest over high heat until reduced. (I boiled two cups down to 3/4 cup). Set aside to chill. Break cinnamon stick in half. Add the bourbon, apple cider syrup, additional cinnamon stick pieces, and lemon juice to the shaker.  Add ice above the level of the liquid and shake. Pour over ice and garnish with your choice of a clove, cinnamon stick, or orange peel! Cheers!

 

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Chair Considerations

So in true ‘me’ fashion I decided to sell our dining chairs a couple days after our reno started. So on top of the kitchen renovation and work, and life, let’s just throw in searching for new dining chairs! I have good news and bad news when it comes to this. Good news is I think that I’ve narrowed down to a style, bad news is there are about a million variations of such style! Gah! So here we are, scrolling away on pinterest and finding some inspo to help narrow down which Windsor to choose. High back, low profile, mid-century inspired… What’s your favorite?

Statement – High Windsor:
 

Modern – Mid/Low Windsor:

 

Mid-Century Inspired Windsor:

  

 

This is our table for some reference, which is a dark stained solid wood, walnut table with clean lines and angled tapered legs. I love this table, which makes picking out dining chairs that I love just as much a feat!

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Kitchen Updates

Kitchen update: We have no more wall, no more holes in the floor, and the drywall is up! We deviated from our project plans just a tad and asked the electrician to add recessed lighting instead of figuring out which fixture to put up. Dedicated lines have been run to the backroom, and we have tons of new outlets! Might sound a little crazy since it’s a dusty mess, but I was almost sad to see the cabinets be installed. The openness is so nice, especially since it felt so cramped for the year we lived here, but big changes are about to start happening every day and all the decisions that I’ve lost sleep over are coming alive!

The countertops, picking out paint colors, choosing a sink and the faucet are all on the horizon and I am happier than a kid on Christmas morning! I’m notorious for making quick decisions– and learned that quick decisions aren’t always the right decision, so I’m feeling reassured that this design process has taken some time. All these decisions are expensive choices to get wrong, so getting them right is important.

Here’s a few more of the choices I’ve made…

Color scheme: As you’ve learned from this post, the color scheme is my favorite of all time… black, white, and gray. Simple and clean.

Appliances: We went primarily with GE Cafe appliances. I’m most excited about counter-depth fridge that is super squared off (read not rounded) and a flat front. Since you’ll see the fridge in the distance as you enter our front door, I didn’t want any water or ice makers butting out. (The GE Cafe fridge still has a filtered water dispenser inside the door which is amazing!) I’m also giddy to use our slide in range. We went with a dual-fuel, six burner range with two ovens. …Yes you read that right, two ovens! With our small footprint, double wall ovens wasn’t an option at all but the GE Cafe range gave us the ability to have two ovens to make future Thanksgiving dinners a little less stressful!

 

Hardware: All of our appliances are stainless steel including our sink and faucet. I spent many a night looking at different knobs and pulls and decided confidentially to go all black everythannnng.  It’s my favorite color and I love the edginess it adds.

 

Shelving and Decor: During the design phase we went back and forth on open shelving and ultimately I decided to go with shelving in the backroom in addition to adding a piece of my artwork to add dimension. (I’m currently working on a DIY project to frame a canvas – stand by!) The shelf is black, and three tiered and I’m planning to “decorate” with some of my cooking books, glassware, and wood accents.

 

Paint: Right now most of our house is painted Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray. It’s a good neutral, and I’m sure as heck glad that the sellers painted it that shade instead of some crazy colors we saw on our house hunt, but since our kitchen and dining room are in the middle of the house, I’m leaning more toward painting a shade of white. Not stark, but a softer calm shade to brighten the space up.

Image result for sw 7666 fleur de sel

 

There’s all the updates I can think of for today but follow along my Instagram for more live happenings! Wish me luck and patience!

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Cool as a Cucumber

Catasphrophic hurricane coming your way?! Flo is just reminding us that summer isn’t over yet! Forget the halloween decor and pumpkin spice lattes… go home, whip up a batch of guacamole and shake up this cucumber cilantro margarita and ignore all this gosh darn rain! Warning: Don’t stop reading if you hate cilantro, which I know is common, just skip the cilantro for a cool twist to the traditional margarita that’s still super delicious!

Cucumber Cilantro Margarita | makes 1 cocktail

Muddle 3 slices cucumber, 2-3 tablespoons cilantro, leaves, the sugar and 1 lime wedge in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add the tequila, triple sec and lime juice. Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Circle the rim of your glass with the remaining wedge of lime, and add salt or sugar if desired. Pour over either pebbled/crushed ice or a large ice-cube and enjoy!

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