09 April 2013

Ryan Innes AKA the real deal

I am ready to check back into the old blogosphere after being checked out for nearly a month due to prepping for travel, actual travel, and uncooperative computers.  It's good to be back.

Later this week we have posts coming about fun children's books, and great ways to store those books.  Today I had to post about music and the soulful Ryan Innes.  We have seen him live a few times here in Utah and he is crazy, rock-your-world, make-you-wanna-cry, soulfully-smooth good, in my humble opinion that is.  In the audition video below from last night you can see how many judges on the voice agree with me.  Watch it and I dare you not to feel moved the way you do when you experience someone IN. THEIR. ELEMENT.

Here are a few of his other songs via youtube video that I love:

For great listening while hanging out with the one you love on a Saturday night.
Something natural-an original by Ryan Innes

If you are a beetles fan.
Oh darling-a beetles cover

And you can listen to more of his original songs here.

Go team Usher!  What local up and coming musicians are you into right now?

04 March 2013

accessorize me [in the living room]

We have posted about larger items of furniture we have DIY'ed that make up our living room here and here.  Now it's time to scale down and accessorize. And now that we are on our way to an adult er grown up living room my pinterest board entitled "accessories" is blowing up with ideas in our living room realm of mid-century modern DIY.

1. Books.  Our go-to accessory has always been books.  Kristian is an avid reader and I try to be, depending on the season of life we happen to be in the middle of. To add to the books that we already have on either side of our media unit I covered a book we already owned in fabric. This is a nice option if you want to hang on to a book that doesn't go with your accessorizin' color scheme.  So far I have used black and white houndstooth which was leftover from another project, and you betta watch out 'cause next time I go to the fabric store I might just end up with some chevron.

2  More on books. I have been crushin' on these classic penguin books for a while now, their artsy meets classy covers are fantastic.  I recently ordered the one pictured above [The Odyssey by Homer] from amazon because it was the right color.  Maybe one day Kristian and I will actually read it.  But for now, it makes me happy just looking at it and judging it by it's artsy, graphic cover.  Robin Hood would be a perfect accessory in a boys room, Les Miserables is fantastic if red and black work in your home, and A Christmas carol is a blue and white wintery addition I would like to make part of my holiday decor.

3. Is anyone else loving the Nate Berkus line at target?  I have been eying this metallic, pokey, orb of sea urchin for a while now.  I was told they had been discontinued after calling every target within a 25 mile radius.  [It seems that status has changed as they are now available online and in store.]  And then I happened to be at target browsing and there was one left and now it is best buddies with my favorite blue book.  They make quite a pair.  This tortoise shell is fun too.

4.  A box.  Ooo, this fun oak washed box, yep Nate Berkus again.  Containerizingitis: the over the top desire to hide items not pleasing to the eye or that cause clutter, but are nevertheless necessary, in something aesthetically pleasing.  Yep, I have that.  At night I dream about the closets you see on pinterest.  Everything has a drawer, a bin, a box, or a color coded hanger, and everything is labeled.  Part of my containereizingitis is that our remotes, all three of them, need a home.  And I think the above mentioned box is indeed the box for the job, but for now they have a white ceramic home.

And here are all of these elements together.  We purchased the tray from target just after Christmas when it was 50% off. 

And when we don't have a 2 and 5 year old jumping around, our tufted ottomon/coffee table is it's home.

5.  A clock.  How many times have Kristian and I gone through Z gallery, restoration hardware, or pottery barn, just to find a clock of large scale that we love and want but can't afford?  Many, many, many, many times.  Here is one from restoration hardware that makes me want to shout all about from the rooftops because the scale is perfect, and it fits with our style.  Ah, good design, it makes ya wanna cry.  But $995 really makes me wanna cry because it just isn't in the budget for a clock.  So our search has continued until last week.  While we were in Arizona hanging out with family Kristian must have had his clock-finding-powers blazing because he lucked out at Marshalls and found this oversized alarm clock, and the price of $18.50 made it even better.

I think it looks great on the mantle with everything else we have going on.  The ampersand (& symbol) has been on my accessory list for a while as well.  After drooling over them on etsy I finally just went and bought one at Michaels for a few dollars, gave it a light sand, and spray painted it silver.

Check back in on Wednesday for more on accessorizing in other rooms.  What is your favorite living room accessory?

25 February 2013

How to Create Your Own Luck

Original image via
Ok…so we’re a couple of months into the New Year. We all survived the Mayan apocalypse. Congrats! I don’t know about you but I found the apocalypse a bit of a letdown. I expected more flash. More bang. At least some fireworks. Big pretty ones. That make you smile.   

As our zombie looking friend on the left says, the end of the world has been cancelled. So what now? Well, what about making this year the best year ever?. Why not, right? We got lucky, and dodged an end of the world bullet. So let's celebrate by having our best year yet. 

One way I plan on making this year a great year is by being luckier. That’s right. I want more luck, more serendipity, more “Wow that was an awesome coincidence” in my life. I know. Asking for more luck seems kind of silly. Kind of like my two year old wishing elephants came in various shades of pink. But I say the world would be a better place with pink elephants. 

Original art work by

I thought I would share my formula on how I am going to make luck a reality.  The formula is a creation of personal experience, observations of lucky people, and reading the writings of others.  It is a simple formula. Only five parts. The key is making the formula a daily routine. A daily habit.  And patience. Increased luck doesn’t happen overnight.  But I know it will happen, if I am diligent in the application of this formula.

Ok, here we go.

21 February 2013

mid-century modern fab

On Monday we posted about using podcasts as motivation to get your least favorite chores done.  Well, I have found that creativity is another major part of enhancing my day to day life.  And it is even more rewarding when Kristian and I can be creative together.

When we first got married part of our let's-run-to-ikea-and-buy-as-much-furniture-as-we-can-for-$400 trip was this bookshelf which we used as such for many years.
image via

Several years later when we had a large wall to fill, Kristian decided to paint it, turn it on it's side, and use some left over wood for legs.  And a table to help fill the wall was born.

Then around Thanksgiving of last year we joined the rest of the modern world and purchased a flat screen t.v. which necessitated a place to put it aka ikea hack numero dos.  So here are the steps we took to make that happen.

1. Hairpin legs.  They are sold online at around $12 each which was a bit more than we wanted to pay.  So one Saturday afternoon, with both of our children in tow, Kristian decided to check out D.I. (the Utah version of Goodwill) to see if there happened to be any legs already attached to something that we could use.  I could. not. believe. it. when he come home with these legs that were indeed attached to a table that cost him $4.  $1 per leg?  Yes please.

2. The best part of a nice media console?  Being able to hide the unsightly corded parts.  So naturally I wanted to add doors.  Kristian and I picked out these sleek and streamlined handles to compliment the hairpin legs, as well as these piano hinges which I loved so much, I wanted them on the outside.

3. We picked out some solid pine which Kristian cut to size for the doors and he stained it chocolate brown with some stain he got for free a while back, don't they just pop?! [His Mom always says he was born under a lucky star, I believe it was a lucky DIY star!]  He removed the piece in the center [shown below] and placed magnetic closures so that the doors will closed nice as well as make them kid-proof and prevent them from pushing all the way through.

4.  We had also purchased enough pine to stain and place on the top.  We couldn't decide if we liked it or not so Kristian just placed it on top and we thought about it for a few days.  We decided the contrast of the dark wood on top against the white table made the whole piece, so he made it official and he screwed the top on with a screw in each corner.

As mentioned, I love that there are doors so that the less aesthetic, but necessary parts of our media console can be hidden.  But I also love that there are 2 open shelves to add some personality.

In the reflection of the t.v. you can see some of the snow that fell today.  OMG when will this winter madness stop!

Sure there are a lot of amazing pieces of furniture to use as an entertainment center out there, but when you make your own you can customize it exactly the way you like, and it doesn't cost you thousands of dollars.  This piece came in around $80 as we already owned the bookshelf-turned-table, as well as the stain.  Booyah!  Thanks to my handy and born-under-a-lucky-star husband we have an amazing, one of a kind, modern place to house our source of entertainment to use while relaxing as a family.  Our living room is finally starting to come together in a mid-century modern vibe.

18 February 2013


images via here and here

We all have at least a few chores we loathe.  Mine are laundry and dishes, they are the proverbial black hole and there are days that I find myself lacking any kind of motivation to get them done.  My solution?  Podcasts!   Podcasts are my ticket to making the mundane enjoyable.  And, while I am grateful to be able to stay home with our two children, I need some kind of intellectual challenge during the day, and podcasts fulfill that and provide a nice escape from all things kid all day long.  Podcasts take me outside of my bubble without physically leaving it, and the cherry on top?  A discussion with Kristian about what I have listened to, I enjoy hearing his insight and perspective.

No ipod?  You can listen to podcasts on your computer as well.  Here are my favorite weekly podcasts:

This American Life
Ira Glass is the host, and each show has a theme.  There are a few stories in each episode, which are usually true, that are told within that theme.  You can subscribe via itunes, or another podcatcher and you can also purchase archived episodes here.  One of my favorites is episode 361 entitled Fear of sleep.  It is fascinating and funny.  In fact, one of the stories told in this episode was made into a movie called sleep walk with me, which is available on itunes and netflix.  It is a bit slow moving, but is completely true, and completely funny, especially if you know of someone that does crazy things while asleep.

Radio lab
The format of this show is similar to This American Life, but it has 2 hosts that play off of each other, and there is usually some science and sleuth work involved in answering a question or two. You can subscribe via itunes or RSS feed here.  One of my favorite episodes is Colors.  It is one of those subjects so fascinating that I find myself thinking about it for hours after I have finished listening.  They discuss how some humans can see a more vast color spectrum than others, and they ask the question, why is the sky blue?

Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
I like this show because it is light-hearted and fun, but is also very informative.  It is basically a game show, full of trivia questions that have to do with current events in the news.  In every episode they have a person of interest on to play one of their games, they have a caller play a game, and they have a panel of 3 that participate throughout the show.  Reading or watching the news can be such a downer, that is why I really enjoy catching up on current events once a week sans the bad after taste.  Podcast here.
The Dave Ramsey show
No matter your financial situation, this show will help you to stay focused on whatever your financial goals may be.  I learn something new every time I listen, and I like the foundation that Dave's show is based on.  You can sign up for the podcast here.  If you aren't familiar with his book The Total Money Makeover,  it is one that I definitely recommend.

May you find motivation to do your least favorite chores by way of podivation!
Maybe you already do?  If so, what podcasts do you recommend?

Check back in later this week to see our makeover of this bookshelf.

15 February 2013

She put the lime in the coconut [soup]

It's true, we are coconut crazy 'round here.  Over the last few months Kristian has made coconut butter, we have been cooking with coconut oil, coconut milk or cream has been making it's way into many dinner menus, and to top it off this coconut body butter from trader joes is my favorite smelling and cracked-skin- eliminating lotion. Ever.

We came up with this soup as part of our coconut craze.  It has slightly taken the edge off of old man winter's sting here in Utah.  Last month the temp had a 1 in front of it for weeks and just like with age, after you have experienced the teens you feel a lot more settled and comfortable in the 30s.

Lentil coconut curry soup

  • 2 T. coconut oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, or 10 small carrots, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 T. curry powder (add more to taste)
  • salt and pepper (add to taste)
  • 1 17oz. package of lentils*
  • 1 14 oz. can of  broth (chic or veg)
  • 1 14 oz. can of coconut milk
  • 1 lime (optional)

Saute onions, carrots, and celery in coconut oil for 10ish minutes.  Add curry powder, salt, pepper and cook for 1 minute more.  Add entire package of lentils, broth and coconut milk and cook on medium for another 5 minutes until it all comes together and finish with the squeeze of half a lime.  Is there anything else that you would add to make this soup more you?  I enjoy this is as, sans meat.  Kristian has added bacon to his portion in the past.  And for more protein you could add some chicken to it, if you like that sort of thing.

*If cooked lentils are not available you can soak them over night and then put them in a crock put with chicken or veggie stock for a few hours until they are tender.

In our efforts to eat less simple carbs, this recipe has become a go-to for dinner at our house and is a nice way to have a balanced meal without any bread or pasta in the mix.  

Friday link love [on food]

Microwave popcorn - I have had a long and taste-bud-satisfying relationship with microwave popcorn until a few years back when I realized it is covered in hydrogenated fats.  I recently discovered a new way to make it cheaper, better tasting, and healthier: in a brown paper bag!  I put 1/2 cup of popcorn kernes in a bag, fold the top of the bag down a few times and in my microwave I cook it for 2:25.  Then I can control what goes on my popcorn, real butter is better for you as mentioned in our post earlier this week, and your taste buds will love it.

Pinterest - Have you cooked or baked anything via a pinned recipe?  I have not tried every single recipe that I have pinned, but all that I have tried have been great.  If you are interested in following us on pinterest, here are the links to my boards: breakfast, savory, and snacks, and Kristian's food board.  We try to stick to the 80/20 rule.  80% of the time we focus on eating for health, and 20 % of time it's all about eating things because they rock our world.  You only live once.

Mastering the art of french cooking - Julia Child was a fascinating, driven, and inspiring person.  A few years back Kristian gave me her cook book that was made more famous to our generation in the movie Julie and Julia.  I have not cooked my way through it, but I have tried a few recipes and one of our favorites is the recipe for cream of onion soup on page 14, it is the best I have ever had.

Before we left Portland and moved here [Utah] in 2010,  a friend of mine and fellow foodie, gave me the book My life in France which Julia Child wrote herself.  She is a fantastic writer, and her passion for food is infectious.  I would highly recommend it.

Yelp - This site is a great resource to look up reviews about many things, but our favorite foodie way to use it is for reviews on restaurants.  The reviews are written by anyone that wants to write one.  I love to use it when I am about to purchase a groupon, living social, or restaurant.com gift certificate.  A great deal to a shot-in-the-dark mediocre restaurant isn't worth it, but a great deal at a restaurant that gets great reviews is a foodie-on-a-budget's   para.   para.    paradise.

Seriouseats - This link comes highly recommended courtesy of Kristian.  I just checked it out and I can see why.  The photography is amazing, warning: don't go browsing hungry or you might suddenly feel that your life's mission is to take the next flight to NYC, go straight to the east village with hopes that you make it while breakfast is still being served. Here are some two of their posts that caught my attention:
  •  A Downton Abbey dinner party - This is my kind of dinner party, if you are going authentic that means dressing like you are in the Great Gatsby, and that your paid live-in help will prepare and serve dinner.  This idea is sounding better and better.

  • DIY grape soda - It's never to early to start putting all of your warm weather hosting day dreams to work, and making some perfect-for-summer drinks at home.

And finally, maybe I will surprise Kristian this weekend by making this burger!

Meet us back here next week for some DIY projects, and music we love.