Friday, October 31, 2014

Friday Finds - China to Outfit to Home

A piece of my heart was tapped into when I lived in North Carolina and that piece has been with my ever since. When I was about to lose a few hundred airline points, I knew exactly what I had to do to keep that part of me alive amidst all the hipsters, techies and kale eaters. I ordered a subscription to Southern Living.

This past Thanksgiving issue has been dog eared with several recipes I plan on trying this holiday season, but one particular page caught my eye. A common feature is turning a china pattern into an outfit. My first reaction was, "Oh, that's fugly." Then it grew on me. It was so fugly, it was cute. Then I thought, I bet I could turn that china pattern turned outfit into a home themed Friday Finds. So here we are. TGIF!

Clockwise from Top L:
Target - Threshold Embroidered Floral Toss Pillow
Anthropologie - Terry Quilted Washcloths
Southern Living - Magazine Subscription (for tablets too!)
Kitchen Aid - Professional 600 Series Stand Mixer in Cobalt
February Lane - But First, Coffee Print in Aqua (and only $4.95 for the printable download!)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Entries for Hummingbird Giveaway Open til Friday!

Don't forget to enter the giveaway this week! Click here for the original post.

To celebrate the end of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and to acknowledge the miracle of hope that slowly starts to grow in the soils of grief, I'm giving away one of these lovely hummingbirds to a blog friend.

Photo: {Last Week} $100 away from our SIDS Fundraising goal for October! Know someone who needs love this week? Send them this beauty and a personalized message. We'll donate $15 to fund SIDS research.
Brooke, over at Swell Forever, is donating $15 to SIDS research for every hummingbird ordered in the month of October. She's $100 away from her goal. You can win one here by entering in any or all of these ways:
1. Leave a comment here on the blog
4. Share the giveaway on Twitter
5. Share the giveaway on FB
If you choose entry ways 2-5, just leave a comment here that you've done it! Entries open til end of day of Friday and winner announced over the weekend!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Kitchen In Progress + Giveaway

My kitchen is the hub in our home for creating, nourishing and healing. I often feel clever, assembling ingredients into satisfying meals, or at peace as I put the kettle on to whistle while waiting for tea to brew. At times, I've also felt overwhelmed with stacks of dishes, shattered glass littering the floor and maggots crawling out the compost bin. That's why, as much as I can, I try to keep my little kitchen tidy, a blank canvas for whatever mood strikes. After a long season of feeling out of control in most areas of my life, I set the kitchen to order on a sunny day.

I love this cheerful set of prints that my mom gave me for my birthday several years ago. Practically year round, we leave the French doors open for Oliver to come and go as he pleases. Unfortunately for me, this leads to several itchy welts as mosquitoes also feel free to come and go.

My tea station above the range houses a canister set from England when I studied abroad, a tea set made in Portugal gifted to me on graduation, and Harry's recipe for Oatmeal Pie (his favorite healthy breakfast).

These amazing gold jungle magnets were a Joss & Main find and the only magnets Mr. P cares for on the front of the fridge. My guilty pleasure is covering the entire side of the fridge in magnets, cards, birth announcements and save the dates!

This little nook houses my measuring spoons handily beneath the spice cupboard along with a bowl of mostly faux fruit. The hanging planter of succulents was a little treat to myself on an excursion to Flora Grubb with a friend.

This measuring cup set was a wedding gift from a dear friend - Anthropologie I do believe - and I couldn't bear to have them languishing in a cupboard. So I repurposed the family of chicks into succulent planters on my sill overlooking Bernal Hill.

Speaking of the hill, you might remember this view from last year's Instagram 30 day photo essay. I have a new addition to the window, a handblown glass hummingbird gifted to me in remembrance of the bitty baby we lost. I see her every morning when I make the coffee, and in the afternoon, the sun catches through her delicate wings and cast luminescent shadows across the room.

To celebrate the end of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and to acknowledge the miracle of hope that slowly starts to grow in the soils of grief, I'm giving away one of these lovely hummingbirds to a blog friend.

Photo: {Last Week} $100 away from our SIDS Fundraising goal for October! Know someone who needs love this week? Send them this beauty and a personalized message. We'll donate $15 to fund SIDS research.
Brooke, over at Swell Forever, is donating $15 to SIDS research for every hummingbird ordered in the month of October. She's $100 away from her goal. You can win one here by entering in any or all of these ways:
1. Leave a comment here on the blog
4. Share the giveaway on Twitter
5. Share the giveaway on FB
If you choose entry ways 2-5, just leave a comment here that you've done it!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Weekend Biking San Mateo

Just a quick drive by (bike by?) this week capturing one of the many reasons I love living in the Bay Area. We woke up last Saturday wondering what to do and after several rounds complete with Jungle Book impressions, we landed on taking the bikes out to the trails in San Mateo.

Seal Point Park literally has it all (dog park, beach access, kids play ground, running trails, bike trails, amazing views AND parking!). We couldn't believe how empty it was on a Saturday in October either. Plenty of parking was available and the dog parks had like 3 dogs total. What are you up to this weekend?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Finds - Fox Hunt

I saw this fox print flipping through the Crate & Barrel catalog and just fell in love with the quick water color brushstrokes building out the fleet fox. And that nose. Well, I'm a sucker for most any cute animal noses. So the Friday Finds inspiration was born this week. It's everything you need for a modern day faux fox hunt including the bed for your hound.


Clockwise from Top L:
Crate & Barrel - Fox Print
Bloomingdale's - Via Spiga Wool Double-breasted Coat
Lowe's - Carolina Pet Company Dog Bed in Hunter Green
lefaire - Horseshoe Necklace

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Nightime Visitors and a Potty Problem

Right before we left for our trip to Zurich, Oliver developed a severe case of anxiety presenting as territorial marking and stress peeing. We got the official diagnosis after taking him in for an emergency vet visit thinking that he must have a UTI or even a blocked urethra. Nope, as it turns out he needs a kitty Prozac and an outdoor outlet for marking to protect his turf from neighborhood friends.

When I was on the East Coast taking care of business and seeing family, Mr. P caught one of these "friends" in action.

We had seen a family of raccoons cross our deck before, but this was the first time we caught it on film.

While pretty cute, it makes us concerned about the threat of rabies or bites when letting Oliver out on the deck.

Have any of you had success with raccoon exclusion tactics? Or relaxing your kitties and solving marking problems?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Miscarriage Reflections - Light the Night

Tonight, we lit a candle to commemorate our miscarriage as a part of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. The flame represented not only our loss, but all of losses of friends and family who know this pain first hand. Those who came forward and told us their stories were essential in helping us not feel so alone in this pain and grief. This group of people represents the worst group to be a part (nobody wishes to be in the club) and the best group - because they're among the strongest, kindest folks we've come across.

#swellremembers #lightthenightforRue

For those who haven't experienced this loss, but are wondering what you can do to support those who have beyond awareness day/week/month, here's a short list of some of the things that have meant the most to me:

1. Cards and letters - handwritten notes in my mail box helped so much in acknowledging the loss and showing that we were cared for.
2. Care box - a box including tea, bars of chocolate, gossip celebrity mags and comedic dvds was a favorite tangible comfort and a lovely blown glass commemorative hummingbird was another.
3. Texts and emails - especially weeks and months after the miscarriage, just to ask, "How are you?" and knowing they cared about the answer even if it was "Pretty much a hot mess."
4. Wine - not just the bottle itself, but the conversation shared while drinking it.
5. Hug - actions speak louder than words and this physical comfort said so much more than "I'm sorry" ever could (virtual hugs also very welcome!).

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dining Room In Progress

The last time we left the living room, I was still trying to desperately make the rug work. The rug that looks so good all over the design blogosphere was just sticking out like a sore thumb in my room as I added more storage furniture. I finally took my MIL's interior design advice and got rid of a rug all together. I was skeptical of removing the textile from the room, but it's just what we needed!
You'll see a new bar in the corner and buffet against the far wall. The addition of these two pieces allowed us to store our wine collection (small, at about 2 cases worth), bar glasses and some serving pieces.  The table and chairs are still serving us well and we've added some neutral cushions to the IKEA bar stools for both comfort and texture.

I picked up the buffet from a Craigslist ad and was so psyched to find something that matched the bar so well.  It's a few years old from Pottery Barn, but in great shape. Right now it is the home to our bar tools and some décor. I can't wait to use it for a holiday or party as a food serving station!

I dressed the table in a simple runner that I bought for $1 at a staging company sale. That sale had fabulous finds and I only wish I could pick through those finds more often

The bar is also a Craigslist find, originally from Pottery Barn. I got it for half the list price and got a Task Rabbit to help me move it in place. I love that I have a place to display some of the Arthur Court serveware that we received as wedding presents, plus it helped free up space in my kitchen cupboards since I can hang the stemware and bar glasses.

I routinely visit a consignment shop called Leftover on Van Ness, here in the city. I've scored several fun pieces, but this wooden vessel and faux kiwis is by far my favorite! I looked cuckoo on the bus with the long wooden holder, but really, I just fit in with all the other Muni craziness :)

The faux lavender wreath was a Homegoods find and I got that beautiful Swiss cow bell during our recent trip.

The mirror above the buffet was also a Homegoods score and then the botanical art is original artwork I did in college with Chinese ink and brush. After years of toting my drawing portfolio around, I finally framed them and got them on the walls!

Peeping into the hall, you can see our full length mirror from West Elm that we're in love with and a print that we brought back from Fiji.

We're *so close* to calling this room done, but there are a few outstanding items. The first is the lighting situation.  I actually like the craftsman fixture above the table, but it just doesn't work with our new room. I want something lower and longer that feels more appropriate with the table. Second are the hanging pendants that used to be above the previous owner's bar.  The positioning just doesn't work and we want to cap them off. Finally, I'd love to get some matching everyday dinnerware. We're still using the Liberty Blue transferware from North Carolina, which again, I love, but just don't fit anymore. I'm thinking plain white and just waiting to find the right set at a good price.

Next up, a kitchen update!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Finds - Light the Night for Pregnancy and Infant Loss

I'll be joining Swell Forever in hosting a virtual #swellremembers #lightthenight on Facebook and Instagram. Traditionally, on October 15th (National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day) at 7 pm, families light a candle for an hour across the globe to spread light in memory of their loves across the world. I will be lighting a candle and sharing on Instagram and Facebook at 7 pm and encourage others to do the same. Anyone that posts to Instagram can use #swellremembers and #lightthenightfor[name].

I'll be using the hashtag #LightTheNightForRue.  Hopefully soon, I'll be able to share the meaning of the name we chose.

I rounded up several lovely options for lighting the night including eco-friendly and charitable options. However you choose to participate, lots of love to everyone who knows this heartache and carries it with them every day.

Clockwise from Top L:
Ballard Designs - Mercury Glass Votive Holders
Amazon - Eco Wish Lanterns
Glassybaby - Believe Votive Holder
Target - Clear Globe Lights

Thursday, October 9, 2014

I'm One of Those Kittie Mamas!

In a Smitten Kitchen moment, I've been sitting on this recipe in my inbox for 2 years. Mr. P has me pegged and knew that if I got my paws on a treat recipe then our kitty would be sitting pretty with a never ending supply. You know how life gets in the way, but at long last, I pulled up the recipe and set out to bake.

I had all the ingredients on hand in my pantry and fridge, because, let's face it, I'm a cheese fiend. If I had a can of tuna on hand, I would have tried a tuna variety, but cheese sounded better to me, which if you read until the end, proved to be a good call.

My sous chef was highly interested in the entire process, but if you'd rather not have your feline friend infringing on the process, then you should lock them up because the ingredients are irresistible.

After incorporating the dry ingredients, you add sour cream. However, the texture was still too dry for me to be able to roll out, so I added about 1/4 cup of warm water and kneaded until a ball of dough formed (akin in texture to cookie dough).

And now for the fun part, rolling!

I bought these micro-cookie cutters when I first decided to try this recipe and was so psyched to break them out! To pop the cookies out of the cutter, I used a toothpick. Thought I got into a bit of a rhythm, it proved to be tedious work.

I had only rolled out about the half the dough and was quickly tiring of the process. After my first pass at the dough, I re-rolled the scraps and took a pizza cutter short cut to finish the rest.

I figured my sous chef deserved to "lick the batter" and gave him a taste of the dough which he quickly gobbled up!

 I used half of the recipe and it made over 50 treats. I wrapped the second half of dough and froze it to maybe use later. I say maybe use later because after eating the first two treats right out of the oven, Oliver Twist is being a prima donna and refusing to eat any more of them. Luckily for me, it's all regular ingredients and they're actually tasty for humans too! I used several as croutons on my salad and in soup. So the bottom line was it was a win during the making process for the cat, but only humans enjoyed them after they were done. He prefers "junk food" treats!

Savory Cheese Treats

3/4 cup white flour
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
5 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1/4 cup cornmeal

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine cheeses and yogurt. Add flour and cornmeal. If needed, add a small amount of water to create a nice dough. Knead dough into a ball and roll to 1/4 inch. Cut into one inch sized pieces and place on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Makes 2 dozen. - See more at:

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Retro Redesign - Mt. Davidson Bathroom

My nostalgic partiality to retro tiled bathrooms run deep, taking me back to bubble baths in my grandmother's mint and pink dream room (think glitter embedded sink top too!). When I ran across this purple bathroom, I knew it could be salvaged and updated!

This inspiring pink tile bathroom popped up in my search on Lonny and I thought would provide a great starting point for the décor.

The showstopper in this bathroom is the wallpaper, which as it turns out is impossible to source. I searched hardcore and people are hoarding this paper! So I turned to a DIY solution as you'll see below.

I think the key is a balance between retro and new. If you're keeping the wall tile and tub, then the vanity, toilet, shower door and flooring should be replaced with less obtrusive options - all white would be a good choice so that they fade into the background. Outside of these changes, here are some items to make the look happen!

Clockwise from Top L:
Home Depot - 4 Light Chrome Bath Fixture - Black and White Fern Print
Sur la Table - Mint Julep Cup
Little Green Notebook - DIY Fireworks Stencil How-to - Black and White Fern Print
Macy's - Hotel Collection White Towels