Month : May 2010

bargain bragging.

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On my way home this weekend, happily exhausted from two WAY too short nights and lots of social time with the girls, I decided to indulge a bit and stop at the outlet mall to see if there were any items begging to come home and live in my closet. Gap…eh. Banana…not much. Coach….ding ding ding!

The bliss began as I walked through the door and received a one-day-only 20% off coupon from the sales girl. I found several bags I loved and at a couple different points during the trip around the store, I carried different ones, then set them down, changing my mind and picking up another. Then I found this little beauty on a shelf of sale bags. Get this…$328 was the outlet full price (not sure of the retail value) – marked down to 199. THEN, all sale items were half off the sale price, bringing it to 99. I about flipped when I learned my coupon was good on sale items….seriously? A 300 dollar purse for 80 bucks? There was no need to stand around and decide.

I love a fab Coach purse, but I love a STEAL even more! 🙂

a painting revised (thank you to our armed forces)

I thank God for my life

for the stars and stripes

may freedom forever fly

let it ring

Salute the ones who died

the ones who give their lives

so we don't have to sacrifice

all the things we love.

For several weeks now, it has been my plan to paint over an existing canvas in our home, and similar to this one I did in our bathroom, create with only black and white paint, and words. No other elements, just the message below. It seems appropriate to share this on Memorial Day weekend. Page and I are constantly aware of the freedoms and liberties we as Americans enjoy thanks to the selfless sacrifice of our country's armed forces. Who else but an American soldier would not only die to protect your life, but to protect your freedoms and rights? The verse above is from a favorite country song by Zac Brown Band, entitled, "Chicken Fried". Add it to your next iTunes purchase. 🙂

Painting

For lack of a better photo, you'll have to treat yourself to these two good looking guys…and note the painting of the skyline and funky dots in the background. Planning to paint all black over it and paint the lyrics in white. Not sure exactly how soon this will get accomplished, but hey, it's on my radar and that's a start, right? Stay tuned. 🙂

gaga for glee!

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Unless you live under a rock, you've heard of the hit show, Glee. I have a special love for this show being a former Gleek myself in high school. 🙂 I'm not a HUGE Lady Gaga fan like so many are, but last night's tribute-to-Gaga episode was by far my favorite. In particular the solo between Rachel (Lea Michele) and her mother (Idina Menzel), who I still refer to as "Maureen" (the character she played on Broadway in Rent). I tried to find a video clip to post, but it's locked down for copyright protection. The two sing an amazing version of "Poker Face" and aside from the fabulous screen presence each of these women possesses, you actually hear the lyrics in this version. For such a well-written chorus and set of verses, it's almost a shame that Gaga sings it so fast – we've been missing out on some very well written lyrics. You can visit the Glee website and watch episodes online – check out last night's titled "Theatricality" and the scene is near the very end of the episode.

I have always loved duets – particularly between two female vocalists. Another favorite also featuring "Maureen" is in Rent, "Take Me or Leave Me" with "Joanne" (Tracie Thoms). It's another excellent duetthat I can't find a clip of online. Rent the DVD (no pun intended) the next chance you get if you haven't yet seen this. Don't you just love the performing arts? 🙂

great minds (and best friends) think alike.

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Now I'm sure we're not the first two people to think of taking pictures in front of this colorful building in downtown Des Moines, but I had to laugh when our first year anniversary session and my best friend, Laura's engagment pics looked verrrrry similar haha.

Miss Lulu's shower is this weekend (stay tuned for pics!) and I am counting down the days until her wedding….sooooo excited!!!! 🙂

Photo credits: Dixie Lane Photography (top), Megan Clausen Photography (bottom)

where can I find this?

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In a restaurant this weekend, I saw this print, matted and framed, hanging on the wall. I loved it. Would love it even more hanging in my kitchen. Iowa blog-readers….any idea where I can get a print of this? I've emailed someone at Hometown Harvest with no luck so far and the restaurant owner was not in that night to ask. I've googled without much luck.

Any help with pointing me in the right direction would be greatly appreciated! 🙂

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In the meantime, I am loving this print as well celebrating the 35th year of the Des Moines farmer's market – the colors would be perfect, and I just love the artwork! Not a bad plan B. Actually, I can't decide which I love more….hmm….

for the love of truffels!

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I tried a delicious new recipe for dinner tonight and I have to say, it was a great success! Page and I both are huge fans of truffel oil – the taste, the smell, the flavor it brings to creamy pasta dishes in particular. One of our favorite tapas restaurants has a decadent truffel mac & cheese with shredded chicken that makes my mouth water just thinking about it. So when I came across this recipe in a magazine, I decided to try cooking with the oil for the first time.

First things first, it smelled so good that we dove right in before I thought to take a photo of the finished product. I can't find the recipe online, so the best I could find was the photo above. The recipe does not call for pine nuts, as you see in the pic above, but I certainly wouldn't shy away from using some next time – a little extra crunch would be tasty!

This doesn't make an overly large amount – it was enough for Page and myself and a third serving of lunch leftovers for tomorrow. I will say that one of the keys to this dish was the SUPER fresh asparagus, from yesterday morning's farmers market. Here's what you need to enjoy this dish:

1 bunch of asparagus – bend stalks to snap off the woody ends

1-1/2 cups orzo pasta (uncooked)

1/2 cup heavy cream

1-2 palmfuls (technical term!) of shredded romano cheese

1 palmful of shredded or grated parmesan cheese

1-2 cloves of garlic, freshly minced

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp soft butter

2 Tbsp truffel butter*

*I could not find truffel butter throughout all of Des Moines (lame!) so I made my own – combine 2 Tbsp soft butter and 1/2 teaspoon of truffel oil (black or white, but I prefer white and it is better with pasta dishes)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add asparagus for one minute, then remove with tongs and set aside. Dump orzo into the same boiling water and cook for approx. 8 minutes. Meanwhile, start a large skillet on medium heat with the olive oil and brown the garlic.

Slice the asparagus at a diagonal so you have several bite-size pieces. Add to the skillet. Drain the orzo and add to skillet as well. Stir constantly to keep from sticking. Add butter, then cream. Fold in the cheese until melted. Add truffel butter last. Transfer to a serving dish and top with a final sprinkle of shredded romano on top.

Bon apetit!

yellow door love.

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This is one of those times when I'm so jealous that I'm a renter and not an owner. I would LOVE to paint my front door this fabulous "rain coat" yellow!

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Ever the stylish decorator on the cutting edge of what's hip, my mama gets to live out the dream – Ugh! So LUCKY! 🙂

Read more about her yellow door adventures. You rock, Mom!

(And yes, for anyone who's counting, that's three blog posts today. I need a life.)

must-try.

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I always like to "test" new recipes before bringing them out in front of friends/family. I whipped up this super easy crab dip from Crate and Barrel this afternoon. I keep sneaking back to the fridge to grab a couple more spoonfuls and another handful of crackers. Delicious and perfect for weekend snacking!