1/30/2015

DESK DU JOUR+ LINKS...


It's Friday!! And the end of January already! Craziness... Well I hope you had a great week! I'm nestled in bed watching TV and reflecting on my week as I write this. It was a great week, yet of course I'm looking forward to the weekend even more! I've got a fun dinner planned at one of my favorite restaurants called Double Zero Napoletana. It's so so very good! Other than that, I hope to get a good workout, a good nap, and may possibly make this spinach dip for my bestie's Super Bowl party. We'll see! Have a great weekend and enjoy the links!

The Super Bowl obviously hasn't aired yet (as of today), but I've already watched this 2015 Super Bowl commercial tons of times! I just can't get enough of that cute pup!

Click here if you want to see the rest of that home you see pictured above. Mind-blowing is what it is...

My Avocado Hummus Dip (which would be perfect for the Super Bowl) was recently featured on Cosmopolitan's UK website! Such an honor...

The epitome of keeping it real - especially when it comes to blogging... LOVED this.

30-day challenge that I would like to challenge myself to...

This just looks like spring... So pretty.

Mouth-watering simplicity...

A "speedy" cookbook that looks super tasty...

Image via Veranda
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1/29/2015

FOUR WAYS I STAY ORGANIZED AT HOME DURING THE WORK WEEK...



As I mentioned earlier this week, my weekly routine this year has completely changed due to a new job and some new things going on in my personal life (good things!). Change in routine is a good thing, but it can be hard for people like me who don't quickly adapt to big changes. My goal during the week irrespective of my routine is to do as much around the house during the week so that I can have as much free time on the weekends as possible. It can be hard coming home from work to essentially do adult "homework," but I really value having downtime on the weekends as opposed to spending the entire two days managing and running my house. So here are five little steps that I have incorporated into my new routine this year that have helped me have a little more free time on the weekends...

1. On Sunday night, make a short, workable to-do list for the following week

The last thing I do on Sunday night before I turn the lights out for bed is grab my notebook in my purse and start a fresh to-do list. I think about the things I absolutely NEED to get done - not want to get done. I then list them in order of priority in my notebook. If I listed the things I needed AND wanted to get done, then my list would be too long - which makes me anxious and often makes it much less likely for me to get anything done on the list at all. So I keep it short all while trying to keep in mind that it's ok to not get every single little thing done all in one week. Making this list the night before the start of the work week gets things out of my head (which means I sleep better that night) and gives me fresh perspective on what I need to do the following week. 

2. Complete one chore each night

I am one of those people who likes my home to reflect the way I wished my life was 100% of the time - calm, clean, and non-chaotic. Clearly I don't have kids yet... But still, my real life isn't always that way, yet my goal is to make my home as calm and clean as possible - until I have kids. Ha. I do the basic things every day like cleaning the kitchen and keeping things picked up. But each night I try to do one bigger chore around the house. That could be vacuuming, laundry, cleaning out a drawer, cleaning the bathroom, etc. Taking 30 minutes or less out of my weeknight to get something done seems to save me hours on the weekend - a time when I'd rather be doing anything other than cleaning!

3. Keep a rolling grocery list

I keep two notepads in one of my kitchen cabinets. I use one to jot down recipe ideas for the blog. I use the other to keep a rolling grocery list. I am one of those people who grocery shops every week. I like the fresh stuff... :) I am also one of those people who can easily forget that one thing I really needed. So at the start of each week, I start a grocery list that includes the things that I pretty much get every week. When I run out of something in the kitchen while I'm cooking throughout the week or if something pops in my head that I need, I immediately add it to that list. By the time I go to the grocery store during the weekend, I pretty much have a completed list that I can just put in my bag on my way out the door - which equals one less thing I have to think about during the weekend.

4. Just say no

So this is a big one for me. I used to be one of those people who said yes to every dinner or meeting someone asked me to attend during the weeknight. I no longer do that - unless I really want to. My weekdays are solely devoted to my job, so I try devote my weeknights to doing things that I truly want to do and to things that need to get done (i.e. that one chore and/or anything else that can be checked off on that list I made on Sunday night). That doesn't mean I don't have any fun on the weeknights - because trust me I do - especially with my new and improved schedule this year. But I try to keep it down to the things I want to do - as opposed to always doing things just to make someone else happy. That makes for a much happier me and a more balanced schedule.

These are all easier said than done, but I'm trying to stick to it! How do you stay organized during the week???

Image via Domino

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1/27/2015

THE BEST ITALIAN TURKEY SAUSAGE PASTA SAUCE... EVER.

The Best Italian Turkey Sausage Pasta Sauce | Savor Home
So I planned to post a good Super Bowl recipe this week, but I think I'm going to just skip ahead to something that I think would be perfect for a stay-at-home Valentine's Day dinner- or any weeknight dinner for that matter. I mentioned yesterday that my brother was here over the weekend participating in a fencing competition, so I wanted to make him a carb-rich dinner in preparation for his event. I decided to make pasta with an Italian turkey sausage tomato sauce and it was perfection! This is the homemade tomato sauce that Ina Garten uses in her turkey sausage lasagna recipe. Time didn't allow for the lasagna, so I decided to make the sauce alone to pour over steaming hot rigatoni. The sauce is a rich, hearty, slightly thick sauce that tastes like its straight out of an Italian kitchen. That is they way my brother described it. :)  The ingredients are really simple, which I think is why the sauce tastes so authentic. It only takes about 15 minutes to pull the sauce together and about 20 minutes of patience while the ingredients get married. Like most sauces, it tastes even better the next day. Love it...

The Best Italian Turkey Sausage Pasta Sauce | Savor Home

Here is what you need and what to do:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 pounds Italian turkey sausage (spicy and/or sweet), casings removed
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes in puree
1 6 oz can tomato paste
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the olive oil in a 10 to 12 inch skillet over medium-low heat. Add the chopped onions and cook them for about 5 minutes or until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.

2. Add the sausage and break it up with a wooden spoon or fork. Cook the sausage for about 8-10 minutes, or until its no longer pink.

3. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, basil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using). Stir the sauce and let it simmer over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes until it has slightly thickened.

Serve hot over your choice of pasta. Enjoy!

Images by me
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1/26/2015

WEEKEND IN FIVE PICS...

{A little styling on my new bedroom nightstands... LOVE how they turned out! The catch all tray is from here...}

Alright friends! I'm back! In all honesty, I just needed a minute last week. I have a new job (that I am LOVING!) and a completely new daily routine this year that I thought I had gotten used to, but last week my body and mind told me otherwise. It told me to just relax last week, so I listened and just decided to "quit my day." Instead of turning on my computer at night to finish up blog posts, I turned on the faucet to my bathtub for long post-work baths, turned on my ears to listen and be fully present with friends, and spent a lot less time online. I just needed that time ya know?? 

So how was the weekend? I spent most of my weekend with my amazing brother. He is a fencer (which I think is such a cool sport) and was here for a fencing competition. I made him a great dinner (which I will share with you this week!), and just enjoyed spending time with him. Other than that, I went to Pilates AND went on a beautiful hike, and ordered the last few big items for my bedroom. I know I keep mentioning and showing little peeks of the space, but know I will show it to you when it all comes together! Anyway, needless to say I am feeling great today and am certainly feel prepared for a new week! Have a great Monday!

{A few good reads I was able to get completely through last week...}

{Bar cart styling (from HomeGoods). It's such a work in progress, but so much fun to play around with... }

{A pretty view on a beautiful hike I went on yesterday... }


{Max perched on a new window stool (on sale!) in my bedroom. So spoiled I tell ya... }

Images by me
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1/19/2015

LATELY...

{Two dozen still gorgeous week-old roses from someone other than myself or family for reasons other than my birthday or Valentine's Day. The first few weeks of 2015 have been quite amazing I must say... }

Happy Monday! How was the weekend? My weekend was the perfect mix of laziness and so much fun. I went to see American Sniper- maybe with the person who gave me those roses you see there- or maybe not. :) I'm typically not into war-type movies, but Bradley Cooper did an amazing job and made the movie so good and heartwarming. I highly recommend it! Other than seeing that, I was out having fun or being comfortably lazy this weekend, so not much blogging got done. But I will do my best to make up for it later in the week! :)

{A little $25 rollerball of Tory Burch's amazing smelling perfume that I found in the checkout line at Sephora. $25!! I loved the packaging just as much as the perfume... Oh and I've been wearing that cuff bracelet you see there pretty much every day. So simple and it goes with everything... }


{A caffeine-laced eye cream I'm using to combat the dark circles that are really working their way into my life right now. No good! I'll keep you posted on the results!}

Images by me
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1/16/2015

A CRISP KITCHEN + LINKS...


Hi there! It's the WEEKEND! So excited! What are your plans? I has been cold and rainy here all week long - all week I said, so I look forward to running errands, getting in a workout, and enjoying a Sunday brunch and movie date (to see American Sniper) - all while the sun is out! It's always the little things... Have a great weekend and enjoy the links!

This home is beautiful, soothing, relaxing, and warm all in one. My dream home. Hands down...

Sweet potato pies shouldn't just be for Thanksgiving. Here is why...

Always love to find systematic approaches to closet organization...

"The Neighbors Have Better Stuff." Love this...

I don't do DIYs that often, but I really do love this...

Fantastic food for thought...

A colorful weekend read...

This has been wishlisted...

Photo by Daniella Witte
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1/14/2015

JUST WISHING...



Just wishing I could spend and entire afternoon in that window seat with nothing but a good book and a notebook to occasionally jot down thoughts that really only come to mind in quiet little spaces like that...


Just wishing I had more time to write letters as opposed to e-mails. A crazy beautiful chair and desk like that would make doing so much more enjoyable and encouraging...


Just wishing for a perfectly designed kitchen like that where I can prepare family meals, pack lunches for my kids, bake for the holidays, and have impromptu wine tastings accompanied by tasty cheese boards with my girlfriends...

Just wishing for a timeless space like that to have a host of intellectual conversations, store new and old books, and display family photos...


Just wishing for a beautifully crafted staircase like that... Just that simple.

And obviously I'm just wishing I could take a long, steaming hot bath in that tub - with a glass of wine on the side and a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the doorknob... :)

All spaces built by Brookes & Hill Custom Builders
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1/12/2015

THE GREEN BERRY SMOOTHIE...

The Green Berry Smoothie | via Savor Home
One of my ongoing goals is to USE WHAT I ALREADY HAVE. I am so bad about doing that sometimes - especially when it comes to food. I am often so quick to see the ingredients for a recipe in a cookbook, decide to make it, and then quickly whisk off the the grocery store without checking to see what I already have that either matches the recipe exactly or what would work as a good substitute for an ingredient I don't have. Anyone else like that??

Well I kept all that in mind when I made super tasty smoothie. I found a similar recipe for this smoothie in Danielle Walker's book, "Against All Grain." It's the perfect thick and naturally sweet smoothie that's perfect for breakfast or as an after school snack. I had all of the ingredients in her original recipe on hand except kale and unsweetened apple juice. So I simply substituted spinach for kale. I substituted an actual apple for the unsweetened apple juice - which made perfect sense to me... :) I'm not sure if the smoothie tasted like Danielle's recipe, but all I know is that this version was delish - and that's all that matters! 

To make the smoothie, simply put all of the ingredients below into a blender with about a 1/2 cup of water. Blend until smooth. Enjoy!



Images by me

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1/09/2015

A COZY CORNER + LINKS...

A cozy little corner by Sue De Chiara,Photo by Nicole Cohen


Well it was one heck of a good first week of 2015 for me friends... This was my first week on my new job and all I can say is that God answers prayers. I really like it and feel like its just going to be a good thing for me. The people are so incredibly nice, the environment is calm, and the work is challenging. So very excited... What's up for the weekend? I've got some fun things going on, but most importantly I will be busy staying warm! It's FREEZING here! If you are in the same boat, stay warm! Enjoy the links below - links I've been collecting over the last few weeks, so these are some good ones! Happy weekend!

The full home tour that includes that cozy corner you see above is an absolute must-see. Everything is so beautifully done...

If you are new to blogging in 2015 or are interested in growing the blog you have, then these posts will be incredibly helpful...

I made this super easy soup over the holiday break in my new dutch oven and it is definitely a new favorite. So, so flavorful and good - and I'm not a vegan!

As a person who tends to worry the most at night, I found this article to be very insightful...

55 reasons your photos aren't working (perfect article if you are learning photography!)

If you text, then I'm sure you can relate to this. I certainly can!  Hilarious...

73 questions with Victoria Beckham. So in love with that little series...

This makes me ever-so-slightly ready for spring...

Image by Nicole Cohen for Domaine Home

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1/08/2015

INSPIRED BY...


{That bright, yet rustic kitchen. I could live there... }


{Her oversized coat and that bag- of course, and how the look is finished off with the ponytail. Love it. }


{The straight lines of the beveled subway tile mixed with the honeycomb floor and the warm wood on the sinks. It's all just the perfect mix...}


{That all-black outfit. It's chic, classic, and very comfortable-looking all in one... }


Images via 1/ 2 /34
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1/06/2015

WARM KALE, APPLE, & CRANBERRY SALAD - TWO WAYS

Savor Home: Warm Kale, Apple, & Cranberry Salad - Two Ways
One of my "verbs" this year, per yesterday's post, was to continuously eat and learn more about food that is in the best interest of my body. I'm at the point where my body really doesn't accept bad food on a consistent basis. It's gotten used to the real stuff, which is a good thing. However, I can easily get bored with the real stuff. So one of the things I did over the holidays was hunker down with a stack of my cookbooks so that I could get inspired...

"Bountiful", by Todd Porter and Diane Cu was the cookbook that housed the recipe for this AMAZING kale salad. If you are at the point, like I was, where you just can't fathom seeing another kale salad in January, please try this salad before you give up. This salad is quite frankly one of the best kale salads I've ever had - and I've had many. It's made with just a few simple, in-season ingredients that perfectly compliment the kale. The tartness of the apples and cranberries along with the crunch of the almonds and the warmth of the cinnamon are PERFECTION with the kale. I would never pair cinnamon with kale, but it is heaven in the salad. This salad is best served warm (which I absolutely love), and doesn't require any salad dressing. You know a salad is good when you don't need any dressing. It's also very versatile. It could be a great side dish or lunch - served with quinoa or diced chicken for added protein, or in a wrap. I did the wrap thing and it was quite delish. See below... Don't give up on the kale salad I tell ya... Not before you try this one.

Savor Home: Warm Kale, Apple, & Cranberry Salad - Two Ways
Savor Home: Warm Kale, Apple, & Cranberry Salad - Two Ways
Savor Home: Warm Kale, Apple, & Cranberry Salad - Two Ways
Here is what you need and what to do (serves 2 to 4): 

Handful of sliced raw almonds
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large apple, chopped (I used Pink Ladies, but any type of apple would work)
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 bunch of kale, ribs removed, leaves chopped
Feta cheese, optional
Whole wheat wraps

1. Add the almonds to a 10 to 12 in. skillet over medium heat. Toss them around until they are slightly browned. Your nose will tell you when they are ready. Place the toasted almonds in a small bowl and set aside.

2. Add the butter to the same skillet. Keep the heat on medium. Once the butter has melted, add the apples, cranberries, salt, and cinnamon. Saute for about 8 minutes, or until the apples are soft.

3. Add the kale to the skillet and toss it around using tongs until it is wilted and tender.

4. Add the salad to a bowl and sprinkle it with the toasted almonds. Serve warm. You can also add it to a whole wheat wrap. Warm the wrap in the microwave for about 10 seconds. Add the salad to the wrap. Top it with feta cheese, wrap it up, and serve!

Enjoy!

Images by me

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1/05/2015

MY 10 VERBS FOR 2015...

Savor Home: 10 Verbs for 2015

Well friends, 2015 is HERE! I feel quite ready for it, too. I spent the last week organizing the house, sleeping, detoxing, getting my money's worth out of Netflix, and doing other mindless things like spending several hours drooling over food I will probably never get to eat while watching Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives. I became completely addicted to that show over the break. Anyone else watch that show? Anyway, the point is that I'm rested and ready to take on a new year and today - a new job. :)

So about my thoughts on the new year...

I typically come up with a "word" for the year that represents what I want to accomplish during any given year. The word for 2014 was incredibly helpful... But I had a hard time coming up with just one single word for this year. As I was thinking about what the word would be, I kept thinking, "I just want to be a better person." So I thought I'd get semi-creative and come up with a list of verbs - action verbs-  that typically make me feel better, especially when I do them on a consistent basis. I worked so hard in 2014 to get to the point where I could possibly have more time to do the things on that list. Now is time to see if that hard work paid off. At the end of the year, I want to say that I learned more, saw more, did more - and became a better, more well-rounded, more grown-up person because of it. It's just that simple for me this year.

How about you?? Do you have any verbs for 2015??? I'd love to hear!!

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