Thursday, January 20, 2011


My birthday is coming up and I'm looking for items to add to my wish list. Since it comes on the heels of Christmas and our anniversary, I want to keep the cost down. Enter Bella at the Marketplace.

We have a number of boutiques here in town and I like to spend a day every once in a while checking them out. I don't get downtown too often, but the Marketplace is close to home, so I visit there more often. A number of cute new stores have opened there recently. Bella has been around for a while, and it's one of my favorites. I don't buy much in the way of clothing at Bella, but I can always count on finding beautiful jewelry at affordable prices. Here are a couple of the pieces I'm coveting:

Isn't the owl cute? I've been a little obsessed with owls lately, and this one is so sweet and dainty. Plus the little pearl is perfect for me.

Update: I got the owl!

Monday, January 17, 2011

When Life Hands You Lemons...

... make lemon bars and lemon curd—and even lemonade!

We have citrus trees in the backyard, one each of lemon, orange and grapefruit. Every year around this time we're overwhelmed with fruit, especially lemons (that tree is prolific!). And since it's just the two of us, we really only use a dozen or so lemons. Really, who wants lemonade in January? So we end up giving a lot away.

This year I've had an itch to bake, so I tried my hand at making lemon bars. I found a really easy recipe in my Bisquick cookbook (what would I do without Bisquick?). They came out really good. I've made two batches so far, and I worked out a few kinks so the second one was better than the first.

I also made lemon curd using this recipe. It was surprisingly simple to make and, although I think it's runnier than it's supposed to be, quite tasty. I had some this morning drizzled over cheese blintzes.

Usually the orange tree is the laggard of the bunch, producing only two or three oranges. But this year we got dozens! They make wonderful juice, and I'm even thinking of trying to make some citrusy muffins (thanks again, Bisquick).

Houzz Keeping

I was checking out of my daily reads, designstILes, recently when I came across this gorgeous room:

Houzz via designstILes

I had to know more about it about, and after poking around online for more time than I care to admit, I finally found it -- and in the process discovered Houzz. This wonderful resource lets you browse rooms and save your favorites to an "ideabook." You can even note what it is about a space that you particularly like. The site is organized by room and by location. 

While I'm excited about discovering all it has to offer, I also fear it will become a serious time suck.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Light Bright

I've been threatening for years—years!—to hang a chandelier in the master bedroom. I find one I like, but then for one reason or another (it's too much money, I can't afford it this month, it's not hard-wired, etc.) I don't buy it, and then it's gone.

Last year we redid the bedroom. New paint color,  a new bed, new duvet, new curtains. Even added new pulls to the dresser. But I still haven't changed out the brass "boob light" in the reading nook. A sparkly chandy really would make the room.

Here are two options I came across the other day:

Because they're from PBteen, the price is right ($129 and $99, respectively). I really like the capiz, but it's not hard-wired. The other one is whimsical, but I'm afraid it might be too long for the space.

See what I mean? They're never perfect. Or maybe I'm just indecisive.

I've also been eyeing this one for some time:

Shades of Light

Monday, January 10, 2011

Pet Profiles: Giles

Giles (aka "Handsome") was just a scared, hungry, flea-bitten kitten when we found him in the street. We were heading home from dinner one night when we lived in the Bay Area and saw a kitten sitting in the middle of the street. My husband and I just looked at each other and we both knew we'd have to try to catch him. He dashed into the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant, so we followed.

He tried to run away, and Erik climbed a fence and dug through a bunch of ivy in the dark looking for him. I guess the smell of my leftover lasagna was too good to resist, so he let Erik catch him and we took him home.

He's been with us for more than a decade, but in some ways he's still a jumpy street urchin. We rarely see him in the summer as he spends most of his days lounging on the back patio and his nights out catting around. But in the winter he spends more time indoors and becomes more friendly and cuddly.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tasteful and Tasty

A friend got me the most beautiful latte bowls for Christmas. Exactly me, in blue and green. She knows me.

Erik got me (among other things) a new Mr. Coffee that makes both regular drip and espresso. This morning I used the espresso maker for the first time and enjoyed the brew in one of my new bowls.