Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Keri's Dining Room

OK, this is fun...
My girlfriend, Keri, is being a good sport and letting me blog about her dining room.
I was over at her house last week checking out her family room updates 
when she asked my thoughts on her dining room.  
I had a few ideas and thought it would be fun to blog about...

The room:


She has some really great things: 
I love her antique buffet & small china cabinet (not pictured)
The wicker chairs at both ends of the table
A new seagrass rug

The Challenges:
No windows 
Lots of wood tones + dark taupe walls
A small budget, no major changes

What she wants:
Incorporate living room colors
Feel more casual with a French country vibe

So.....

1. Hang mirror vertically
2. Add pretty plates on either side to add color and some pattern
3. Add a pair of matching lamps to add symmetry and balance 
4. Paint buffet and china cupboard ivory or a very light grey with a hint of blue.
5. Bigger chandelier
6. Add FABRIC!!! Consider slipped chairs.


Source: bhg.com via Tessa on Pinterest

See how pretty wicker + slips look together around a table? :)



If the white slips are too scary, you could paint the chairs 
a light turquoise like below




And add little box pleated chair slips like these...


traditional kitchen design by media and blogs The Lettered Cottage

I'd also have some of your pretty family pics enlarged, made B&W,
matted in big light green mats and thin silver frames to create a family photo gallery
on the wall that you plan to one day knock down to connect the dining room to the kitchen.




Hope that sparked a few ideas for you, Keri!
Thanks for letting me share this!
Of course you don't have to do a single one,
but I do think if nothing else, the room needs a little fabric
somewhere to soften and cozy it up.
Can't wait to see what you do!!

(Plates: Anthropologie, Lamp: Cost Plus Wold Market,
Green Shade & Chandelier: Ballard, Chairs: Ikea)



Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend


I'm sorry I wasn't the best blogger in May.
I fully intended to do a nice lengthy update post chronicling all we've been up to lately,
but now it seems daunting, so I'll just recap our weekend instead.


It definitely feels like summer.
Temps in the 90s, dirty, skinned knees on my boys, Crocs by the door,
water gun battles, towels on the fence, and sunscreen on our skin.

Saturday night Charlie & Andrew slept at my parents, while
Jimmy and I went to a cocktail party at the adorable home of
our friends, Kendra & Biff.
They live in a quaint 1920s Tudor a few streets away from us.
I've been friends with Kendra since 6th grade!
It was a fun way to welcome summer, sipping champagne
under a big tent strung with white lights in their backyard.
And without worrying about getting back for a sitter,
we stayed out well past our bedtime!!

(Kendra and I)


(the hosts)

Sunday, our neighbors across the street hosted their annual Memorial Day Luau.
They block off a portion of our street to help contain all the children.
They always make this yummy pork for all the 100s of friends they invite.
I believe it's a recipe they mastered when they lived in Hawaii.
My children didn't last too long.
Both were very sleepy from being up late on Saturday
and we all turned in a bit early.

(a small handful of some neighborhood girls)



Today we managed to get dressed, eat breakfast, 
and make it out the door in time for our village Memorial Day
parade. There is something so charming about the whole scene.  
If I'd been a bit less chatty I would have captured some better pictures, but these will have to do.  



(yes, I am one of those Moms that let my children wear cartoon character t-shirts. 
C loves Spiderman all of a sudden and this is one of 3 shirts he is willing to wear. 
The other 2 are PJs! I pick my battles wisely!!)

(C and his best bud, Elliot)

The rest of the day was spent at the pool along with everyone else in town.
It will be HAAARD to wake up for a typical school day tomorrow.
I feel like our children are the last to still be in school for the year!!

This last pic is of my friend, Lyndsey, at the Luau.  
Her sweet mother is a faithful blog reader, so this one is for her!!!  
Thanks so much for reading!!! 

xo, 
Tessa

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Knicks, Dings and Spills

I'm posting from my iPhone since my computer bit the dust this morning. I should have known better than to let C watch Scooby and drink at the same time. A few drops of water and I started to hear a sizzling sound and then all went dark. I learned it would cost between $400-800 to fix. For a 2 year old computer that didn't make much sense, so a Mac Book it is. That new purchase put a big ol dent in our bedroom decorating plans, but when I think of the poor families in Missouri I can hardly complain.

In other news and stories of my poor judgement, we had a severe, almost tornado like storm on Monday night that drove Andrew into a panic attack and a large branch into my windshield. In a brilliant move I left my car outside under our 100 year old elm that is known to shed branches b/c I was afraid we'd lose power and I didn't want the garage door stuck with my car inside. Brilliant, I know!! Some weeks I just don't have it! But I did finally figure out how to make my new phone ring!! That only took me a couple weeks. :) Now how to attach pictures to this post....?????
Back in a few days...
xo

Monday, May 23, 2011

Chicken Souvlaki With Cilantro


Mint + Yogurt + Cilantro
Three of my favorite ingredients.
Make this.  It's really, REALLY good!

Ingredients:
6 chicken breasts - cut into cubes
8 warmed pita breads
(I used Trader Joe's Plain Frozen Naan.  Waaaaay better than pita!)

Marinade:
Small bunch of mint chopped
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 red chili finely chopped (I skipped this)
Juice + zest of 1 lemon
1 TBS crushed coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil
salt + pepper

Combine and toss with chicken, cover, refrigerate overnight

Dressing
In food processor combine the following:
Large bunch cilantro, chopped
1 cup plain yogurt
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 TBS olive oil
Salt

Skewer chicken and grill until cooked
Serve with extra cilantro + dressing in warm Naan

(recipe from House Beautiful)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

oopsy-daisy

All right..my apologies!!! If you are popping over from Google Reader and wondering if I've lost my marbles, well, yes, sort of....  soooo sorry.  That last post was not meant to post!!  Technical difficulties as I attempted to write a guest post for someone else!  I'll be back here with a real post soon!! xo 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Master Bedroom Decisions

Since you all know how LOOOONG it takes me to complete a project around my house,
I thought I share the little steps along the way with our bedroom.
Slowly but surely we are making decisions for our little re-do.
Here's how things are shaping up....

Ok, if I'm being honest, the only thing we've really decided on is the wallpaper. 
Top left corner.
And LOTS of LINEN...
 For the bedskirt, headboard slip, drapes, and skirted desk. 
Also adding bamboo shades (not pictured) and
getting lovely monogrammed shams  - clearly not my monogram above! :)
Lighting is still up in the air,
I haven't found a dresser nightstand,
the pillow fabric changes daily,
(Holly hasn't seen today's choices pictured above, so they'll likely change again)
we need a new mirror with a curvy shape for over the big dresser
(still need to ask for Holly's thoughts on this), but you get the idea.

The bird prints clearly served as the color inspiration.
Also adding a little blue to the green + ivory palette made sense too.
Ties it all together.
And I do love green + ivory + blue like in the rooms below...






That's all for now.
Season finale of the "Good Wife" is on.
Such a good show. Seriously. Watch it.
(but don't start with the season finale, I mean start at the beginning and get caught up)

PS.  Thanks for all the lovely anniversary wishes! We appreciate each & every one!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

May 16th, 1998
Thirteen years today!

For all the ways you make me a better person
For all the laughter you bring to my life
For every sweet nickname you give me
For reaching for my hand, for hugging a little too tight
For your kind, unselfish heart
For finding the perfect card for each occasion
For seeing the good in me
For choosing us

I celebrate you, this day, our love

Always,
Tess

Thursday, May 12, 2011

iphone, Pinterest and youtube

If there's one thing that remains pretty consistent about me, it is my SSLLLLOOOOWWW adoption of new technology.  It sort of amazes me that I even blog.

This past week I was the last person on the planet to get an iphone. Now, I don't know why I put up with my other one for as long as I did.  Handy dandy little gizmo it is!

To really go out on a limb I attempted to post a video of my scintillating lunch conversation with Charlie to youtube.  It worked.  Sort of.  Not sure why the image is so small. Anyone?  Maybe I was supposed to turn the phone horizontally? Anyway, if you ever wonder what lunch is like with a 2 yr old, take a peek.  Also, for all of you that have never heard my voice, I am slightly mortified at how borderline "baby-talk" it sounds. If this is how I really sound no wonder C occasionally screams at me! :) Good thing my interest in a career in broadcast journalism was VERY short lived!



2.  In other technology news, I opened a Pinterest account!  I haven't "pinned" much yet, but I will.  So if you want to peek further into my inspiration files, you can follow along here. (Elizabeth, when you first suggested it I had no idea what Pinterest was!  And Holly, thank you for giving me the push I needed to figure it out!!)


That's all for now.  But I'll be back soon.  Because... We are having  H-U-G-E yard sale in a couple weeks. HUGE! And I have some pretty home home stuff I'm going to post on the blog should any of you be interested prior to the sale.

PS.  *UPDATE*  Dinner Last Night: Andrew - grilled cheese & carrots, Charlie - pumpkin bread and yogurt.  So much for my planning!! Ha!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Spring Menu

Lately, I have been drawing a bit of a blank when I sit down to write
the weekly grocery list.  It is taking FOREVER to come up with dinner ideas.
So, in a way I'm posting this week's as a reference for myself,
but should you find yourself in a similar rut, feel free to draw a little inspiration.

BREAKFAST
Waffles 
(Cuisinart recipe + 1 tsp vanilla)
Banana Bread
Mashed Avocado on Whole Grain Toast
(w/olive oil + red pepper flakes)

LUNCH
Egg Salad + Arugula
Watercress + Tomato Sandwich
Left Overs

DINNERS
Lamb Chops with Mint Yogurt Sauce
Tomato + Parsley Salad
(you'll be tempted to add salt to salad dressing, it doesn't need it)

Fish Tacos with Cilantro Cream
(I tweak this recipe to our liking, more heat, use halibut, add avocado)

Caramelized Onion, Herb + Cheese Frittata
Baby Green Salad + Lemon Vinaigrette

Dutch Apple Pancakes
(b/c I'm fun like that! And my kids weren't fans of the previous 2 dinners)

Grilled Pork Chops with Lime Garlic Sauce
Wild Grain Rice

Turkey Sloppy Joes
Carrot Sticks

DESSERTS
Sugar Cookies
Brownies
(BEST EVER and I'm a brownie connoisseur!)

DRINKS
Fresh Squeezed Lemonade

(Kitchen pictures from Michael Penney's apartment, Canadian House & Home,
b/c dinnertime is too crazy to take pictures too!)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day


My Dear Boys,
To be your mother is my life's work.
My greatest joy.
The love I have for you is fierce,
unrelenting, pure, and unconditional.
You make me proud, humble, grateful, and teach me grace.
I make mistakes, I lose my temper,
I have days when I am exhausted and
feel I've given all there is to give of me to you.
I have moments I'd like to do over again.
And days when I want to freeze time,
 to remember the way your breath smelled when you
were newborns, to keep you small,
so you still fit cozily on my lap.
I want to experience your first steps,
your first jumps off a diving board,
your first lost tooth, 
the way your tiny arms feel wrapped around my neck
over and over again.
I want to remember your sweet voices when they say
bedtime prayers or call out my name.
The way your eyes light up when you are excited.
Your laughter.
Your innocence..
The sweet compliments you give me.
My days begin and end hugging you.
When I see you, Andrew, skipping for no reason at all,
or excitedly telling me all the details of your day,
or the way we snuggle together to read at night -
I want you to know how much I cherish those moments.
And Charlie, when you tell me "Mama, cuddle" or "Mama, hug",
when you give me Eskimo and butterfly kisses for the entire 15 minutes
waiting for our train ride at the zoo,
or we recount the highlights of our day as a tuck you
in  at night and you giggle at each new memory,
I want you to know I don't take a single moment for granted.
All I ever wanted to be was a mother,
but I never knew the way you would fill
my heart so completely.

I love you both with every ounce of my being,
Mama

And Happy Mother's Day to my incredible Mum!
You are my biggest inspiration.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Smitten With a Gray Kitchen

I know, "smitten" really rhymes with "kiTTen", and not "kitCHen."
Indulge me, if you will. :)

I'll be the first to say that, for me, when it comes to kitCHens,
white cabinets reign supreme.
But this gray one has me reconsidering.
In the next year or so I'd like to give our kitchen a little face lift.
Not a remodel, but a little pick me up. 
Things I'd like to copy from this one:
1. painted cabinets
2. open shelves
3. contrasting painted island
4. horizontal planks instead of tile for a backsplash - so great with our colonial farmhouse

And do I spy a Dutch door too? 
Those just make me happy!

 Featured in this month's Southern Living.
My only complaint is I want MORE and BIGGER pictures!!
Please.

This home is in Atlanta, but it comes as no surprise that its owners,
and their style, hail from New England.

The Benjamin Moore colors they used were:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Vegas

We are back!
And it was fab-u-lous!
Anyone who has been reading this blog for any length of time,
knows I am MUCH more of a cottage-by-the-beach-vacation kind of girl.
I am not, and have never been, a party girl.
Not glitzy, glam, or swanky either.
And I don't gamble.
(I sound like LOADS of fun, huh?! :))
So, when Jimmy suggested a little getaway to Vegas I was skeptical.

However, the idea of 3 days, just the two of us,
with loads of sunshine,  in upscale accommodations, was too good to pass up.
It was our first time away from both children since Charlie was born.
And we really needed it.
We stayed at the Cosmopolitan.
Our suite was HUGE.
It had a wrap around balcony with pretty views day and night.
It was definitely stocked for a par-tay.
And true to it's name, had a very NYC kind of vibe.
A bit like the W in NYC but 200x the size and a little more glam.
The bed was divine.  Like sleeping in a cloud.
With no 5:00 AM wake up call from Charlie.
The kitchen was stocked with Vegas style accouterments.
(Did you know that if you remove them for more than 30 seconds,
to arrange them for a picture, they think you used them and will charge you??!!
A little embarrassing having to explain that one!)
We started each morning with room service.
Egg white frittata with spinach, asparagus and tomato.

Spent leisurely time pool side.
Then continued to eat REALLY good food.
I want to make this fig, prosciutto, and Gorgonzola flatbread from Olive's at the Bellagio.
My consummate travel planner.  Hard at work.
One evening we went to see Cirque du Soleil's O and it was breath taking.
 This one incorporated water and diving along with the acrobatics.
I held my breath a few times watching them fly through the air.
I am extremely happy my children show no signs of becoming gymnasts, acrobats,
or anything that requires swinging or jumping from high places
with almost zero margin for error.  My heart could not take it!
More good food....
Artichoke and walnut filled crepes with a tomato coulis,
the Eiffel Tower restaurant in the Paris hotel.
On our third day I made an attempt to get a picture of the two of us.
Pretty hotels, great food, and shows aside,
this weekend was about spending time with my love.
 Somewhere between his demanding work schedule
and all the daily chaos of raising children you lose a bit
of each other.  Our date nights all too often become
take-out, a bottle of wine, and a movie - which I love,
but sometimes you need to get away. 
You need to laugh together, have uninterrupted conversations,
be away from schedules and routines and just enjoy each other.
And that's exactly what we did. 

Jimmy you are, and have always been, my favorite person in the world.
Thank you for a wonderful trip!!

All my love always,
Tess