Thursday, July 31, 2008

what a guy

I'm so glad he's home!

Last night as I lay cramped on the child-sized sofa with the stomach flu, watching one equally sick baby lounge miserably next to me while the other purple popsicle-streaked toddler chased our puppy around in circles yelling Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" at the top of her tiny little lungs, I was planning to title this post "Hello from Hades." But that was before I knew that my wonderful husband (another tragic victim of the plague--during the bar exam!) would return home a night earlier than expected, waking up with the sun to attend to our cranky babies so that I could sleep, and surprising me with this

what a guy.

I have been coveting this painting since my sister/artist ( completed it a few weeks ago. I actually mourned when she told me it had been sold...little did I know.

Nothing can bring a room to life like good art. Growing up in a family of artists, I took it for granted that I would always be surrounded by beauty usually created by equally beautiful people. That was before living in a host of poster-lined college dorm rooms and relatively bare-walled starter homes. I still love those college posters, but we're in a new season now and good art is a perfect way to celebrate

Monday, July 28, 2008

design in progress

Yesterday was not the lazy summer sunday that I think of when I look at this perfectly peaceful, sunny, loungable room

because we don't live in the Pottery Barn Home book (where this picture resides), and yesterday was long, rainy, and full of sick babies and pre-bar exam stress.

However, the chaos proved to be a catalyst for creative decorating. by mid-afternoon i decided to invite in the restfulness that make the Freer courtyard and the living room above so appealing to me. It's still a work in progress, but I'm already feeling more at peace. Here's a glimpse from our dining room

This is a picture of the room from the previous owners:

and the same view, ala Moss:

I didn't do it all yesterday, only the mantel, but even that made a big difference. I used bird feeder hooks to hang the lanterns. I found the green window at my favorite local antique shop. Originally I was going to back it with a mirror, but now I like it just as it is. My mother made the pottery for me while I was in high school, and it has been in every dorm room, apartment, and house I've lived in, but I think it finally has a home where it really fits. The silver bucket is a huge champagne chiller I found at a flower shop. I think we'll use it for firewood in the winter (my sister's lovely idea).
These are my regency garden pieces

I found the frames at a yard sale in the midwest and have been carting them around, wondering what to do with them. They were a dull, faux bamboo, so I painted them with high gloss white paint, covered cork board with fabric, then pinned on a piece of hand-made fiber paper and glued on leaves that I had pressed.

While I'm pleased with my attempt at Martha craft abilites, I'm truly proud of this
well, I'll be a lot prouder when the brick wall isn't painted purple anymore, but what's important for now, is that we no longer have just a mattress on the floor. Now it's a mattress on the floor with a gorgeous old mantel for a headboard. We were not in the market for a mantel, but yesterday I ran out during the girls' naptime, and a sweet, quirky elderly woman with an antique shop offered it to me for $10. It happened to fit perfectly in the back of our jeep, and happened to be the same width as our mattress. I think I'm going to upholster the inside where the fireplace would be.

More design to come.....

Saturday, July 26, 2008

gallery outing

While my husband slaves away during the final days before the bar exam, I'm trying to finish up some home projects. This morning, the girls and I visited a few beautiful spots for inspiration. The Freer gallery courtyard is one of my favorites. It was designed by Charles A. Platt in 1923. I love the contrast of the trees against the pristine marble archways.
Sadly, there is no such portico-lined courtyard gracing our own humble abode, but I'm using a similar color palatte for our walls in an attempt to adopt the serene garden oasis vibe indoors. With some luck, I'll make good progress this weekend and have pictures to post soon.

Friday, July 25, 2008

steak salad with a twist

my muse: the delicious blue cheese stuffed burger with red wine sauce that I inhaled at Alissa's apartment yesterday

Arriving home with 2 cranky toddlers 20 minutes before I had planned to serve dinner, I scoured the fridge for something quick and savory, the result:
thin-sliced steak salad with onion-marsala sauce
the steak:
2 1/4 lb thin-sliced top round steaks
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
dash of salt
dash of pepper
3 Tbsp of crumbled blue cheese
the salad:
2 beds of baby spinach tossed with balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper
1 vine-ripened tomato, quartered
the sauce:
1/4 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. Marsala wine (I wanted to use red wine, but we were all out)
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

-drizzle both sides of the steaks with worcestershire sauce and sprinkle with salt and pepper
-broil/grill (I broiled) the steaks for 2 minutes on each side
-meanwhile heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the onions until their fragrant and tender, but not brown.
-add the marsala wine to the onions and bring to a boil
-add the balsamic vinegar to the sauce and turn off the heat
-divide the blue cheese into equal portions and spread evenly across each steak
-roll the steaks, place on the bed of baby spinach, drizzle with the onion/wine sauce, and garnish with the tomoatoes, enjoy! (I cut each steak roll in half and gave one to my husband, one for myself, and one to split between the girls)

I do not pride myself on being a speedy chef, but this took me all of 15 minutes


Entering the blogging world is not the first thing I expected to do this summer. Moving, home renovations, puppy training, helping my husband survive bar exam studying--that's what I thought my summer would consist of. But the inspirations that come from living in a decidedly beautiful east coast metropolis have gotten the best of me, so I'm embarking on another creative project that's just for fun. I hope that gleaning beauty from the day to day will help me appreciate this vita bella even more. Last night I couldn't fall asleep (which I deeply regretted at 5 a.m. when our 2 1/2 year old bounded into our bedroom) because I was so excited to begin. Here it goes!
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