Thursday, December 17, 2009

The gift that even Santa can't deliver...

You've got to be kidding me.

This is O.M.F.G. funny (and I don't use that term lightly)!

Watch CBS Videos Online

Merry Christmas - and you're welcome (ho ho ho!).

Organized office love

So I know that usually you think of organization after the first of the year, but I'm hoping that over the Christmas break we will FINALLY get to work on our own home office! It's such a mess right now, and I would love if it turned out as awesome as this one from Dallas designer Jane Waggoner.

Do you have any projects planned for the Christmas break??

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Work has just been crazy this week (everyone wants their carpet and rugs by Christmas!!), and last night I was busy "crafting" a present for a Secret Santa as well as packaging up the gifts I give out to my better clients.... so there's no Trim-It-Down Tuesday today.
But, instead, I thought I'd feed your sense of humor with this awesome picture!
We should totally do something like this for our Christmas cards next year....

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Cookie Recipes

Over at the Life Accounts blog, they have SEVENTEEN - 17 - different holiday cookie recipes posted today!!
I know what I'm going to be doing this weekend!
She's got everything from fudge to pine bark to snickerdoodles to the wreaths you see above!
For yummy holiday treat recipes, go here.
Have a great weekend!!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Blog Award!

I've been awarded the Sugar Doll Blogger Award by Krista!

The rules are that I need to share 10 interesting facts about myself and then pass this award along to 10 other bloggers. In the spirit of the season, I thought this might be more fun if I posted 10 interesting (or humorous) facts about me that have to do with Christmas or this time of year!

Let's get started:

1. I was born in Indiana and lived there until I was 9. I really miss the snow at this time of year - I used to love making snowmen and snow forts!! Of course, since I was so young I never had to shovel the sidewalks or anything fun like that, so my memories are just of childhood snow fun.

2. Once I was old enough to assist, I have loved decorating Christmas trees! In fact, when I was a teenager, my Mom would often stand back and just let me have at it. My sisters would try to help, but most of the time I would move whatever ornament they hung to a new and "better" location on the tree. See, it's all about balance, people. You don't want two large ornaments right next to each other, and you don't want two of the same color right next to each other!!

3. One time, in high school, while I was up in the attic looking for more Christmas decorations, my foot slipped and I actually fell through the ceiling and into the garage! How embarrassing is that?? Luckily, I was young and had good reactions! I was able to catch myself with my arms so that I was actually hanging through the ceiling, holding on the the rafters. I was able to drop myself down safely, but my Mom didn't believe me when I went inside to tell her. Still to this day, I'm not really sure what she thought I meant when I said "Mom, I just fell through the ceiling."

4. One of my earliest memories was receiving a pair of ice skates for Christmas. Of course, I was super disappointed because they were black double-runners (they had 2 blades instead of 1), and not the pretty white single-blades that the GIRL ice skaters wore on TV! My Dad tells me that I straight up told him that I couldn't wear them because I was a girl, and girls didn't wear black skates. Those were for boys!

5. One year for Christmas, my crazy aunt thought it would be *cute* to get my sisters and I matching sleep shirts and socks. The problem was that 1.) I was in high school and had no desire to "match" my younger and way-uncool-er sisters, and 2.) The shirts had the (very realistic) line drawing of a pig on them! The front of the shirt showed the face of the pig, and the back had the rear. The socks?? Oh, they had hooves on them. Yeah. Best present ever.

6. My favorite holiday movies are "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" (the one with Herbie the Dentist and Yukon Cornelius, naturally) and "A Christmas Carol". Both make me tear up and cry. I'm a big baby when it comes to all the Christmas love.

7. I love holiday music! I have a couple of mix-CD's (cause I'm a dork like that) of Christmas music, and about the week before Thanksgiving I can't wait to throw them in! My favorite songs?? Mariah's "All I Want for Christmas is You", "Happy Christmas (War is Over)", Band-Aid's "Do They Know it's Christmas?", Elton's "Step Into Christmas", "Holly Jolly Christmas", "O Holy Night" (the "real" version AND the one by Cartman!), "Little Drummer Boy"...... really, I could go on and on, but I'm sure that this is enough for you all.

8. I love real trees, especially Frasier and Noble firs, but Chris bought us a pre-lit tree on sale after Christmas a couple years ago and I must admit that it is pretty nice to not have to put on the lights. Plug in and go.

9. My grandmother used to make the best watermelon-rind preserves. We'd have them every Christmas, and since she's been gone I kind of miss them. Memories are strange - watermelon rind preserves = my Grandmother's house at Christmas!

10. Chris and I argue every year about when most people out there open their presents - I say Christmas morning (duh!), and he says Christmas Eve. I was always brought up opening my presents on Christmas Day. His family has the present bonanza Christmas Eve (sometimes really late at night). So I want you to leave me a comment and tell me WHEN you open presents for Christmas - this year I'm taking a poll!!

And for the nominations:

Linda (Silly Little Mischief)

Jenny (Jenny.Lee)

Bean (Without Adornment)

Jen (Mrs. Life Accounts)

Erika (Wine-Oh!)

Christin (of the Nicholas clan - my SIL)

Jenny (My Favorite and My Best)

Kate (the Neo-Traditionalist)

Emily (Wiley Wifey and the Culinary Couple)

Marianne (Haven and Home)

Ladies, feel free to post or not... but know that I really enjoy reading your blogs!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Trim-It-Down Tuesday: Special Occasion Lasagna

Today's recipe is actually called "Rachel's Special Occasion Lasagna". I'd love to take credit, but it's not mine. :-(

But, it's very very good, very easy to make (even for a lasagna novice like me), and under 300 calories per serving!! How about some warm cheesy lasagna goodness for a cold night??

Rachel's Special Occasion Lasagna

You can make this dish ahead--just cover and refrigerate or freeze after you've spread the final layer of marinara sauce. Serve with a salad and breadsticks to round out the meal.

Yield: 8 servings


1 (8-ounce) package uncooked lasagna noodles (about 9 noodles) **I used the no-bake kind, which turned out great!
1 1/3 cups (6 ounces) fat-free cottage cheese
3/4 cup (6 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup (6 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 (26-ounce) jar fat-free pasta sauce, divided
Cooking spray
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese


Preheat oven to 350°.
Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.

Combine the cottage cheese, cream cheese, and ricotta cheese in a large bowl; stir to blend well. Stir in Parmesan and next 8 ingredients (through egg).

Spread 1/2 cup pasta sauce in the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 3 noodles over pasta sauce; top with half of cheese mixture and one third of remaining pasta sauce. Repeat layers once, ending with noodles. Spread remaining pasta sauce over noodles.

Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with mozzarella; bake an additional 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 284 (28% from fat)
Fat: 8.8g (sat 5.2g,mono 2.5g,poly 0.4g)
Protein: 15.7g
Carbohydrate: 34.2g
Fiber: 3.3g
Cholesterol: 53mg
Iron: 0.9mg
Sodium: 657mg
Calcium: 179mg
Sarah Jones, Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2005

Friday, December 4, 2009

Et Voila! My Black Lampshade

It was actually pretty easy to do, and I am loving how it turned out! You can see exactly how I did it on Elizabeth Anne Designs here.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

It's the obligatory Christmas tree photos!

Welcome to my house!

It's the first year for my fun multi-colored tree.

If you look closely, you can see the ornaments from Crate and Barrel.

The stocking my grandmother made for me when I was a baby. All those beads and sequins, sewn on by hand...
When my mom was making adjustments to the stocking (adding "TCU" and my Greek letters) some of the patches my grandmother had done were removed and saved. I was able to attach them to a new stocking for Chris. And then I tried to make a Texas Tech symbol for him. Didn't do my grandmother's work justice.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Flowers, anyone?

This weekend, I took some fabric that I found on sale and made a pillow for our bedroom.

I had been kind of putting it off because I kept wanting to wait until I could learn how to sew a zipper. But I finally realized that it may be a while until I know how to sew a zipper into a pillow (and do it well), so I decided to try an envelope closure which is much easier.

I'm really pleased with how it turned out! It's floral, yes... but I like how it pairs with the olive drab army blanket on our bed. Brings a little feminine to that masculine blanket.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Trim-It-Down Tuesday: Slow-Cooker White Chicken Chili

Today's recipe is kind of an adaptation from the back of a McCormick's spice package... I'm not going to lie. But my chicken chili is really good, and very easy!

Slow-Cooker White Chicken Chili

Approx. 1 pound of chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
1 can of Northern beans, or other white beans
1 can of diced tomatoes with chilies
2 cups of low sodium chicken broth
1 cup of frozen corn
1 package of white chicken chile seasoning (such as McCormick's)
green onions, cilantro, low-fat sour cream, and low-fat cheese for garnish

Add uncooked chicken and all other ingredients - except for garnish - to a crock pot. Set on low and cook for 7 to 9 hours.
Add garnish and serve!
(Simple, right?)

Generally, this recipe will produce about 6 "meal" portions. And as long as you keep your garnishes low-fat and to a minimum, you've got a hearty and healthy chili!

Sick Day

I was out sick yesterday (boo!), and so I am playing catch up today at work.

I promise to be back with fun posts as soon as I can! I have a great white chili recipe to share, and somebody (me) recovered a lampshade with black fabric!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bird is the Word!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Trim-It-Down Tuesday: the Thanksgiving Edition!

For this week's edition, I'm bringing back one of my favorites - the Potluck Potato Casserole! It's what I plan to make and bring for my side-dish contribution at Thanksgiving dinner.

Re-visit the recipe here.

It's soooooo goooooood!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Stair Runners:

"What every set of stairs need."

Or, "The best dressed stairs are wearing them."

I'm such a carpet snob, I guess that comes with my job! But I always think stairways look better with a runner. It makes me sad to see a beautiful set of stairs left bare.
I love sisals and seagrass runners on stairs!
You can go neutral or bold.

Stair runners are a great place to make a "statement" with a lot of color or pattern. Since it's a small area that you're moving through, they don't seem to get too busy.

And, you can never go wrong with classic stripes!

Mrs. Blandings shows us that!

Happy Monday everyone!
*pictures from Flickr, ???, Head Over Heels , Flickr, and Mrs. Blandings

Friday, November 20, 2009

Butcher Block Counters

One of these days, we'll tackle and re-do our kitchen. The cabinets desperately need a new coat of paint, they need new hardware, our appliances (except for the dishwasher) have seen better days, and our countertops are older laminate. Boo.
Previously, we've purchased some tile on sale for the counters, but the longer we wait, the more I start to think about other options. Due to our teeny-tiny budget, things like marble and granite are out of our range, but butcher block counters are a surprisingly affordable option.

I love the gray-ed wash on the cabinets here.

These counters look like they've just been oiled, or maybe polyurethaned.

Black cabinets and worn butcher block.

If only my kitchen was this light and bright!

Ikea is awesome. You can get an 8' piece for $59.00! Granted, it's the thinner 1 1/8-inch thickness, but still. Solid beech wood, and totally within our budget. I'm liking butcher block more and more.
Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Glass Canisters

My new glass canisters from the Crate and Barrel outlet.
After I bought the ornaments, I used part of the gift card that was left to buy these. My old ones from Ikea were ready to retire, and I have had my eye out for some that were a bit larger and a little nicer.

Here is a better picture from their website:

Now my question is: Do I leave the tops as they are (silver), or should I paint them?


Or maybe a color? I like the red, but I'd probably choose dark green.

What do you think?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Trim-It-Down Tuesday: Steak and Cheese Sandwich with Mushrooms

Today's recipe IS low cal, I swear! But it doesn't taste like it at all. It's very good, filling, and easy to make. Great for a weekend lunch or a casual dinner.

Steak and Cheese Sandwich with Mushrooms

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 sandwich)

1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cups presliced onion
2 cups green bell pepper strips
2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
1 cup presliced mushrooms
3/4 pound top round steak, trimmed and cut into thin strips
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
4 (0.6-ounce) slices reduced-fat provolone cheese, cut in half
4 (2 1/2-ounce) hoagie rolls with sesame seeds

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add mushrooms to pan; sauté 4 minutes. Sprinkle beef with salt and black pepper. Add beef to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in Worcestershire sauce; cook 1 minute.

2. Place 1 cheese slice half on bottom half of each roll, and top each serving with one-fourth of beef mixture. Top with remaining cheese slice halves and tops of rolls.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 384 (23% from fat)
Fat: 9.8g (sat 4.1g,mono 2.9g,poly 0.4g)
Protein: 32.9g
Carbohydrate: 44.9g
Fiber: 4.1g
Cholesterol: 43mg
Iron: 4.7mg
Sodium: 580mg
Calcium: 231mg

David Bonom, Cooking Light, MARCH 2008

Sunday, November 15, 2009


One year ago today, right about this time, this was us walking back down the aisle as a married couple! Happy anniversary sweetheart!

*Image from Melanie Johnson Photography

On another note, I am now able to access all of my wedding pictures!! Recaps to be coming very soon....

Friday, November 13, 2009

Jacque's apartment: Before and After (but not finished)

This past summer, my sister Jacquelyn moved into a new apartment and "hired" me to help decorate it. By hired, I mean asked nicely. She is my sister (and probably has some really embarrassing stuff on me!).

Jacquelyn just graduated with her MBA and found a new job in Fort Worth. Since she moved from Houston to go to TCU (Yay!!) and lived with my parents for a year, she didn't have a lot of furniture, but the stuff she did have we needed to work with. Also, since she is just starting out in her new position, and there isn't already an existing pile of money to draw from, we are buying stuff along the way and not all at once.

Jacquelyn is a single 27 year old, and she chose a really fun part of town to live in, just west of downtown by some of the museums. Since she is still young, single, and is in a fun part of her life right now, we wanted her apartment to reflect that so we painted some of the walls a light shade of yellow (one of her favorite colors), and accented it with peacock blues and greens, with browns grounding the scheme.

Here are some "before" pics from moving day:

Your basic apartment.

Here we are after the walls have been painted. They turned out so well and really help to lighten and brighten the place up a bit!

And now for the latest pictures that I took earlier this week when I was at her place for dinner.

Some inspiration in the form of a feather wreath.

The sofa with some new throw pillows and one of her 2 new side chairs (which are really comfortable by the way!). The lamp is kind of temporary until we can find one that she likes and is in her budget. Also, eventually, she'd like to get a new coffee table (which normally isn't crooked like it is in the picture).

A shot of the other side chair and the long expanse of wall to the left (in the pictures) of the sofa area. We plan to fill this void with a large gallery wall....

... that will look kind of like this! James Dean will be replaced with another picture, and there are a few frames in need of repair.

Here is kind of a long shot from the sofa area towards the front door. In the niche, we set up a little bar area for her.
Here's a closer look at her bar. We chose a small bookshelf from Pier 1 that can be used someplace else in the future. We added a sparkly lamp and a big mirror to reflect more light into the dark apartment.

Sorry that it's kind of messy - these were from Wednesday night, so her saddle is not normally chilling on her chair like that. But I wanted to post these so you could follow along on the progress! We still have a few things to do, and then I'll share the "After/Finished" pics with you!
Have a great weekend!!!

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