Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Risque ceiling attire

I apologize for yesterday's absence, but between house happenings and job searches I was a busy lass.  Things are moving along on a certain house, but I'm keeping the details quiet until everything is certain, otherwise we run the risk of getting really excited and then way too bummed if the deal falls through. 

But I will share something with you.  The house is chock full of the cheapest light fixtures you can find, and when put up against beautiful natural woodwork it just aggravates the situation.  So I've been stuck on looking at new light fixtures that can stand on their own in the lighting vs. woodwork main event.

West Elm Capiz Shell Chandelier
Shades of Light Burlap Chandelier

Ok, clearly I have a thing for big rectangular chandeliers that are mostly out of my price range.  So maybe those will have to wait.  But, one thing that will not wait is correcting the oh so common Boob Light extravaganza that has over taken homes across America.

Image from www.modnest.ca

They're everywhere.  For a long time, I thought it was a weird issue that only I had, but then when watching Sarah's House on HGTV (Seriously, the show is addictive and Sarah is a genius), her super fantastic sidekick Tommy Smythe looked up at the ceilings in a house they were redoing, and upon seeing the light fixtures exclaimed, "Boobs belong on babes, not on ceilings!"  I squealed in joy that I wasn't alone and immediately adopted that as a mantra.

The man behind the mantra

There should hopefully be some moving and shaking with the house happenings this evening, so maybe there will be news tomorrow? 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Weekend Homework

image from here

Job interviews scheduled for this afternoon and Monday morning, keeping the fingers crossed!  We're also checking out a couple of houses tomorrow afternoon, which I'm sure you'll see pictures of if anything ridiculous appears.  The sun has been struggling to stay out, so make sure when he appears you make your way outside and enjoy it!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Birthday Gifts: Beautifully creepy edition

One of my best friend's birthdays is coming up in the beginning of April, and she's not always the easiest to shop for.  But one thing is certain, she likes pretty, unique jewelry and she digs creepy, weird stuff.  Best of both world?

No, not the disembodied hand statue, but the moth wing necklace.  Purchased on Etsy (of course), at the HouseThatCrowBuilt shop.  She has a variety of lovely other pieces as well, but I think Kristina will fall in love with this necklace, and will certainly be the only one we know at least that has it.  So excited to give it to her!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

As Irish as I get

Cold beginning of Spring weather and Buffalo's upcoming St. Patrick's Day parade this Sunday have put me in the mood for one thing.


Mmm. Sweet Irish Coffee, how I've missed you.  Will you be celebrating this weekend?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dessert a la South Park

We had my mother, sister, brother-in-law, and of course baby Jake, over for dinner last night.  My sister has never seen the place so we used that as an excuse, but truthfully I just wanted Aaron to make homemade gnocchi again.  Although this time, I skipped the eggplant meatballs, opting for a Beet Salad instead. 

But, apparently I have an obsession with circular food and instead of main coursing it, I volunteered to prepare dessert after stumbling across Cake Balls from the website Bakerella.  And yes, I did spend the entire prep time thinking about this guy:

Anyway, I chose not to go with red velvet, but to do chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting and dark chocolate chips for the shell.

It's pretty easy actually.  You just bake the cake according to the box instructions.  After letting it cool for a bit, just use a fork to get it all out of the pan (it's all going to get crumbled up anyway)

Once it's all in the bowl, crumble the heck out if it.

 Then mix in the entire can of frosting.

"Clean off spatula and remainder of carton with tongue" was not an official step in the recipe, but I believe in improvising so go ahead.

Mmm, now it resembles sickly ground beef.  Which I'm sure wouldn't have been the case had I actually used Red Velvet cake mix and not chocolate.  But, I digress.  Now, I should have let this cool down much more before attempting to roll this stuff into balls, but I was running short on time so after failing at using my hands (it was way too sticky, it looked like I had cake gloves on....mmm....cake gloves), I decided an ice cream scooper was the way to go and ended up with various rock shaped blobs.

I popped them in the freezer at this point while Aaron made the gnocchi, bringing them out about 20 minutes later while they were still soft enough to form them into a more recognizable ball shape.

I then melted the chips in a small pan over low flame.  The initial plan of attack was going to be to dunk them.  But, it turns out that one bag of those chips is not quite enough to get the job done (definitely pick up 2 if you're going to be doing this to get the proper fully encased outer shell).  So instead Aaron improvised a drizzle technique for me:

My first instinct when we decided drizzling was the way to go was to just grab the spoon out of the pan and bring it over to the cakes.  This resulting in me decorating the counters and stove and Aaron laughing and pointing.  At that point, drizzling duties were turned over to Smarty Pants and we were on our way.

Now be forewarned, I intentionally tried to cut back on sweetness of these because I'm not a big fan of overly sweet.  However the 'sweet' factor was unintentionally replaced with the 'rich' factor.  Seriously, these are about one per person.  Ok, maybe two after taking a breather.

Definitely a fun recipe with a ton of options, just give yourself enough time to prepare them and make sure you have more than 5 people prepared to eat an entire cake.  Now, just for good measure, let's take a look at Jake and Ric spending quality time together at the table:

Monday, March 14, 2011

What Should I Read Next?

Have you seen this nifty little website by the way?  I love reading, but sometimes titles and ideas escape me when I'm looking for something new to get my paws on.  Sure, the Amazon.com recommendations will sometimes help out, but usually ends up just being every book by the same author.  Next time you're in a bind (Get it?  Book binding, har har) try out What Should I Read Next?

Just pop in your favorite author or book's name and be treated to a list of suggestions that so far have served me well.  

Job Searches, cont.

Now that the rush of 1st Quarter hiring is over with most companies, the amount of positions available for me to apply to has dropped considerably.  I did, however, find a couple last week to apply to and today comes another first in job interview methods.  The pre-screen e-mail.  Now, screen phone interviews and screen live interviews I've experienced.  But this is definitely my first pre-screen e-mail attachment:

So, I filled it out and sent it back over, hopefully resulting a real life interview.  Although, I have to say, I didn't really mind the e-mail screen.  I feel more relaxed writing and I prefer not having to get all gussied up and drive out somewhere if they're just not going to hire me anyway.  I imagine they feel the same.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Weekend Homework

image from here

This weekend will involve some much needed out of the apartment time, game nights, and cocktails.  The weather is crap but I hope you stay warm, cozy and loved.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Life's a beach, har har

I think Spring may be here.  A sure fire sign is when the forecast switches from "Chance flurries" all week long to "Chance showers."  That does mean we're one step closer to summer though!  For now, galoshes and umbrellas will have to do, but soon we'll be burning up on the beach, falling asleep in the sun and fleeing aggressive seagulls (yes, Western New York has beaches, but if you have your passport, Canada has better ones).  Dreaming of beachy goodness... 

Although anyone who know me knows that I look far more like this when I'm on the beach:

But either way, sunshine, you're so close!  Come on home.  The east coast needs it's Vitamin D.

(Bathing suits from Anthropologie, Target, Urban Outfitters, and J. Crew.  Cover up from Forever21)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Actual House Hunting

Aaron and I have been casually looking for a house for about 5 months now.   Our apartment is fantastic, great location, cheap rent and tons of space.  Unfortunately, not quite enough space for us anymore.  He screen prints t-shirts and baby onesies and I mess around with spray paint and fabric and the dog would probably appreciate a backyard (the cat seems pretty ok with her current situation).  Now it doesn't help that we decided to start looking when winter hit (slim pickings) and with wanting to stay in the city, we face the challenge of a ton of the houses being broken up into apartments.  But, we've still found some to look at.  Yesterday we went and checked out a place within walking distance to where we live now.  Single family, 1900 square feet, asking price: $84, 900.  Here's the pictures that made us call our realtor on a Sunday night in an excited panic: 

All the light, all the detail, all the hardwood floors!  Get us in there!  And get us in she did indeed.  The first 3 rooms definitely did not disappoint.  However, while waiting for our realtor to arrive we started taking a peek around the outside of the house and found this:

"Well, ok," we thought, "Let's give it the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe it just looks really bad on the outside and once we get in the basement it will all be alright."  Although, neither one of us really believed it having had a bad experience with foundations and house hunting a couple months ago (we were under contract and ready to go and then BAM! Home inspection from hell).

Alas.  Here's what the basement turned up for us:

And in case you can't spot it in that picture, the wall was also bowing in pretty badly.  Here's a picture of me standing along side the wall, looking down the length of it.

Along with a variety of other issues (majority of the windows were cracked, water damage on the dining room ceiling from the bathroom upstairs, teeny bedrooms, etc), this pretty much sealed the deal for us.  Goodbye, beautiful wooden pocket doors and wooden staircase.   

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dr. Strange Vase: Or, how I learned to stop worrying and love the brass.

Now, don't get me wrong, I do own a couple legitimate flower vases.  But, literally a couple.  One silver and red, and the other blue glass.  Someone gives me a big huge bouquet?  Great!  Into the vase.  But, what if I just want to add a couple of flowers around to celebrate the fact that we've had sun for two whole days in a row?  Well.  It sounds as though a trip to Salvation Army Thrift Store is in order.

There are a few thrift stores in the area, but this one (if you're local in the Buffalo area: It's the one on Military Road) may be my favorite because if you can get there during the day they also have an Auction House (Haggle Barn?) that you can get lost in for hours.  Of course 90% of it is junk, but you can find some great stuff back there too.

Now, it's no secret that brass was a big part of decorating 20 years ago.  So when you walk in, don't let the gleam of fluorescent light bouncing off the graveyard of brass fixtures blind you to the possibilities.  In my case, I found these delightful little candlesticks:

I went for these guys for three big reasons: First, $1.99 for the pair.  Fantastic.  Second, I don't actually own a pair of candlesticks. Although, I'm not a big fan of the long tapered candles so there's a good chance these guys will never feel the thrill of setting the mood.  Lastly, the shape eerily echoes a pair of lamps currently residing in our living room that I (you guessed it) bought from a thrift store and spray painted:

The lamp shades came from The Christmas Tree Shop. $8 a pop!

But, now is the candlesticks time to shine (ha, see what I did there?), so back to their makeover.  I wasn't 100% sure what the end result was going to be here, but I knew I wanted them to look like spring in our apartment, so I chose Rustoleum Spray Paint in Eden because, well.  It looked like a plant.

You know the procedure that follows.  Clean the real and perceived grossness from the sticks and cover your workspace with newspapers to keep your counters, floor, etc. clean. 

It also helps to open a window, which I may or may not have forgotten to do, resulting in the cat having a sneezing attack.  I'm sorry, Laura.  Never again.

Start spraying.  Make sure you stay the suggested 10 inches or so away from your object.  If you're spraying at too close a range, it messes with your finish and increases the chances of terrible paint drips.  I'm a fan of doing two light coats.  Trust me, it takes longer, but you'll end up with far more professional and even coverage in the end.

Here they are all ready to go.  I picked a Satin finish because I didn't want them shining away under overhead lamps blinding guests in case I do ever decide to give them a shot at fulfilling their job as actual candlesticks.  However at this point, their job was to hold some daffodils I had picked up at the market.

Of course the opening at the top is relatively narrow so I could only fit in about 3 flowers each, but they can hold a surprising amount of water in each.  I was on the fence at first about the end result, but I do love how sunny it is when I look at them. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Fancy Glue Ponderings.

My busy interview week landed perhaps a bit flat.  The trouble with looking for work in the Marketing/Communications field is that many employers use that title to encompass a variety of job functions, many of which are not actually Marketing/Communications.  Or, if the job functions are clearly defined, they are normally for upper level positions.  One of the interviews turned out to be a viable opportunity, but their time line for actually getting someone in there is looking like 6-8 weeks.  C'est la vie.  Not much to do but wait it out and keep applying.

In other news, after my bench redo, my hands and head are itching with ideas for a big sad dresser residing in my bedroom.  It was my grandmother's and made probably in the 50's.  Like many pieces of it's time, it's made of cheap lightweight wood covered in a veneer.  Now veneer can be stripped, but the results aren't always the best if you're not a pro.  Which is why I'm thinking something a little more .... pretty.


I'm particularly excited about 2 aspects of this project:  First, I already own the dresser so that part is entirely free, and second, I get to play with this guy:

Oh yeah, let's put on some Jefferson Airplane and get crazy.

****This project is on hold until I find a fabric or paper to attach that I fall head over heels for.  Yesterday's hunt for this magic material didn't turn out successful.  But, you'll be the first to see it when it becomes a reality.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Weekend Homework

Image from here

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Eating, its good for you.

About a month ago, Aaron and I were lucky enough to catch a stomach bug.  It was a 24 hour sort of thing that my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew all went through (and were kind enough to share with us).  I'll spare you the details, but suffice to say, two people getting the stomach flu on the same night while residing in an apartment with one bathroom?  Not pleasant.  The real unfortunate part of this whole thing was the fact that before we got sick, we had a big delicious meal of eggplant cutlets, pasta and goat cheese.  Now you know how when you throw up you don't want to eat the item that you threw up for a very long time?  What happens when you're vegetarian and you throw up vegetables, pasta, and cheese?

I'll tell you what happens.  Your food pyramid starts to look a lot like this:

After lethargy and irritability took us over, and my skin started to break out like it did when I was 13, we decided it was time to get back in the saddle again.  The kitchen saddle that is.

Our triumphant return to the kitchen happened last weekend when we celebrated Aaron's mother's birthday.  We overcame our fear of the newly dreaded eggplant to make Eggplant Meatballs (which I had made before, and I still stand by the fact that if you don't accidentally forget about them baking away in the oven, they're quite delicious - Sorry, Jody & Henry).

But, you can find that recipe and many equally delicious ones at the Veggie Table.

Aaron made probably the most delicious thing he's ever made, which was Goat Cheese and Chive Gnocchi.  Oh. My. God.  I want more.  Aaron, are you reading this?  Get back in the kitchen.  Thanks.

that is a giant goat cheese log you're seeing

We didn't take a final picture, because, well, we ate it too fast quite frankly.  But here's the general idea, as photographed by The Kitchn, where he found the recipe:

our dinner was sans flowers, however.

Our renewed love for cooking and eating like decent human beings has continued this week.  Thank Jeebus.  Speaking of....lunch time.
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