Friday, December 31, 2010

Farewell 2010!

Let's see, a lot has happened in 2010. I moved in with my boyfriend at the time, started this little blog, Nate proposed, had lots of great parties in the new place and changed jobs. Phew! So goodbye to 2010, a fabulous year with a lots of memories.

Bring on 2011 ...

images via: weheartit

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Our Bedroom: French Laundry vs. Hollywood Regency

I'm in a constant battle with myself on whether or not to move forward with a bedroom that is neutral and calming or bright and captivating. They both seem so appealing to me. With an apartment that lacks character and details, I'm currently leaning towards a bedroom that hints to the Hollywood Regency lifestyle. My thought is that it needs a little zhush to make it more interesting. If we had beautiful architectural details, maybe I'd lean towards a more simplistic bedroom. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

So here begins my quest to fill our bedroom with pieces that nod to this era's heyday - luxe materials, lucite and crystal, brass, faux bamboo and wonderful textiles. Nothing too over the top here as I don't want to look like Rachel Zoe's wardrobe threw up in our bedroom. Just a little sparkle and glamour. Think Kelly Wearstler toned down a notch (or two). I'm working with a blank slate here so might as well run with it!


To begin, our headboard is falling apart. The nails are hanging out and it isn't even screwed into the bed. I plan on replacing ours with a velvet, tufted piece. Like these versions offered at Urban Outfitters (and I know just the girl to do it). Very Don and Betty Draper!

via Decor Pad

Via Style Hive

I was also quick to purchase a light gray faux fur throw on sale from West Elm after the holidays. I'm crazy for the white one on our couch and we needed a second for our bedroom. Here is Alaina from Live Creating Yourself's bedroom, showcasing the same throw! If I don't find a fabulous rug, I may purchase the fur Ikea rug she has in the picture below as well.

Via Live Creating Yourself

Next up? Textiles. I'd love some Kelly Wearstler Bengal Bazaar pillows. She is the current queen of Hollywood Regency and her designs are all over Etsy.

Via Woody Liana Etsy Shop 

Top it off with some fabulous crystal table lamps, faux bamboo trays to showcase jewelry, a subtle boudoir print and brass accessories. All of these items were found on Etsy, one of my favorite resources. And, they range from $12-$78 (steal)!

Via Energy for the Soul Etsy Shop

Via BelModo Etsy Shop

Via Finch-Larson Etsy Shop

Via Chelsea Victoria's Etsy Shop

Via I'm So Vintage Etsy Shop

I'm ready for this transformation to begin. Nate, I hope you don't have a problem with it ....

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Spa @ The Wit

Today I'm treating myself to a little rest and relaxation. I have a gift card for the spa at one of the hottest hotels in Chicago, The Wit. And in less than three hours, I'll be enjoying a 50 minute facial. Jealous much? I rarely get facials so this is exciting to me! Chicago's winter wind is really taking a toll on my skin and I'm hoping this will be the cure ... I'll report back on my experience.

 I was instructed to come early to enjoy some peace in The Whisper Lounge.

Images: 1 & 2 - 3

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mini Mushroom Frittatas & Rosemary Fingerling Potatoes

As promised, here is the remainder of my brunch recipes from Sunday. Try changing up the frittatas to include your favorite ingredients. I just happen to love mushrooms ...

Mini Mushroom Frittatas

To make this recipe, you'll need:
  • 10-12 cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small package of oyster mushrooms, chopped (I think I used an 8-10 oz. package)
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme leaves
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 regular sized muffin tin (makes 12 muffin cup frittatas)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Heat approximately two tablespoons of olive oil in a pan over medium heat
  • Add mushrooms and fresh thyme to pan and cook for 5 minutes (until mushrooms are soft). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • While mushrooms are cooking, grease muffin pan with butter or olive oil
  • Divide mixture among muffin cups
  • In a separate bowl combine eggs, skim milk, chopped scallions and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk until combined evenly.
  • Pour egg mixture into muffin cups, making sure the same amount is in each cup
  • Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until eggs are set
  • Remove pan from oven and top with cheese. Return to oven for 1-2 minutes to melt cheese.
  • Allow frittatas to cool for 5 minutes before serving

Rosemary Fingerling Potatoes

To make this, you'll need:
  • 2-3 lbs. fingerling potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons organic, unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • Melt butter and olive oil in the bottom of a heavy-bottomed pan or pot
  • Add potatoes, season with salt and pepper and toss
  • Cover pot tightly and cook potatoes over low heat for 20-30 minutes, piercing with a fork to determine if they are finished. Mix occasionally to prevent potatoes from burning.
  • When potatoes are about done, toss with fresh rosemary, turn off the heat and cover, allowing them to stem for another 5 minutes
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese (optional) and serve hot

Eggs and potatoes are a brunch staple. I hope you enjoy a nice change from omelets and hash browns to frittatas and fingerlings!

Images: 1 - 2 - 3

Cara Loves Carrara!

Every time I see carrara marble, my heart skips a beat. If Nate and I owned the condo we lived in, the first thing I'd do is rip up all of the black granite in the kitchen and slate tiles in the bathroom and replace them with carrara marble. It's beautiful, clean looking and makes any space feel airy. Here are some of my favorite uses for carrara marble!

The Entryway
This table is absolutely fabulous. Perfect for a renter who has to live without carrara kitchens and bathrooms ...

Kitchen back splashes, counter tops and islands ... I love it all!
The first and last kitchens are my favorite; I'm a sucker for carrara and white cabinets!

Bathroom sinks, counters, floors and showers make a bathroom look so clean and calming.

A carrara fireplace ... pretty amazing

Dining and coffee tables ... another great renter option! This last table is from CB2.

I'm thinking a carrara entryway table for our apartment {one more thing to add to the list}!

Image Sources: Decor Pad, Elle Decor, House Beautiful,,

Monday, December 27, 2010

Ina Garten's Grapefruit & Avocado Salad

Every year our Christmas Eve host serves the same menu, including a salad with grapefruit, avocado and poppy seed dressing that is to die for. This Christmas Nate purchased Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris for me and I stumbled upon another grapefruit and avocado salad recipe. After my love affair with the salad I had on Christmas Eve, I knew I had to serve Ina's version with yesterday's brunch. It is too yummy not to try. The acidity of the grapefruit balances out the creaminess of the avocado and I'll definitely be serving this again!

To make it, you'll need:
  • One tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon (was able to squeeze this out of one lemon)
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 3 ripe Hass avocados
  • 3 large red grapefruit

  • Place lemon juice, mustard and olive oil in a small bowl and whisk until the vinaigrette is emulsified, adding salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cut the avocados in half and remove the pit and skin. Dunk each half into the dressing to prevent the avocado from browning.
  • Peel the grapefruits, making sure to remove all the white pith and cut between the membranes of the grapefruit to remove the segments
  • Slice the avocados into wedges
  • Arrange the avocados and grapefruit segments on 4-6 plates. Spoon the vinaigrette on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
 Voila - it's beautiful, tasty and a great way to add dimension to any meal!

Our Blah Bedroom ...

While I wish we had a fabulous bedroom like Chicago designer Summer Thornton's below, I'm afraid our bedroom is captured in one word - boring! It is unfinished and has been neglected since we moved in this summer. Summer's bedroom has character while still being neutral and calming. The wallpaper, chandelier and bedside details are so glamorous! I plan on getting my hands on our bedroom in the new year, adding luxurious textures, pretty accents and a dash of color!

Love the tufting and crisp white bedding. It could use a throw and contrasting pillows.

 Antique Dresser
I purchased this dresser five years ago at an antique fair. It was originally shabby, chic white and I had it repainted to a warm brown to coordinate with my old bedding. Now I'm not sure if I still love the brown.

Antique Chair
I was coveting this already claimed antique chair from one of my hometown antique shops. I love the fun zig zag pattern. When the purchaser failed to pick it up, I was able to purchase it for $108!

It is time to show the bedroom a little love. Let's just say this will be the first major project of 2011! On the list - a throw, decorative pillows, a new headboard {the current one is from grade school}, a rug, new lamp shade ... and it goes on!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Holiday Brunch!

Today I had two of my besties and their boyfriends over for a holiday brunch. Nate and I picked up groceries and fresh flowers this morning and pulled together a tasty meal in only an hour or two. While I failed to take pictures of the food, I clipped some images that represent our meal. Stay tuned as I'll post the recipes this week. Delicious!

Avocado & Grapefruit Salad

Muffin Tin Frittatas 
I filled them with mushrooms, scallions, thyme and Parmesan!

Rosemary Fingerling Potatoes

 My pretty flower arrangements that nod to the holidays!

We topped everything off with mimosas & beers, gift exchanges & football! Happy holidays girls; I has SO much fun!

Images: 1 - 2 - 3

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ready for Winter Break!

One thing I love about the advertising industry is the never promised but always granted winter break. Today is my last day of work before the holidays. And like several other advertising agencies, I don't have to return to work until January 3rd! In addition to finishing my Christmas shopping and spending quality time with family and friends, here are some things I'll be catching up on ....

1. Hanging out with this little nugget! With all of the holiday parties and long work hours, she has been left alone too much.

2. Lots of blogging! I need to get in the swing of things again as my new job distracted me a little bit.

 LCY Graphics
3. A game plan for decorating our bedroom. We haven't touched it since we moved in and I'd love for it to be as beautiful one of these inspiration bedrooms found on Things That Sparkle & Greige.

4. Yoga. And lots of it.

Child Pose from Women's Health

5. Try out some new recipes!

And retry this one from the Food Network! When I halved the recipe last time, I forgot to half the salt!
6. Begin my quest for the perfect wedding dress {and bridesmaid dresses too}!

Jenny Yoo Marqaux Bridesmaid Dress
Really like this dress in the slate {above}, a lighter silvery gray and green.
7. Finish The Help {by a warm fire} for our January book club meeting. It is SO good.

8. Give our place a good cleaning. I actually enjoying cleaning but haven't had the time to do a really thorough job lately. 

Looking forward to some time off. I feel like a kid on winter break from school!

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