Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Upcoming Projects

I have a whole slew of fun upcoming projects to tackle in the next few weeks. My boyfriend is probably getting sick of all these changes, but I just can't help that I keep coming up with great and inexpensive ways to improve our apartment.

One of the projects I'm hoping to do soon is to make an upholstered headboard. There are several options on the market right now, but making my own would be fun and much cheaper. Fellow blogger Censational Girl has an easy-to-follow tutorial on her website.

Headboard styles vary significantly, but here are some of my favorites.

From Crate and Barrel

From Design Esquire

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wanna Buy It Wednesday: 66 Mount Vernon Street, Boston, MA

Today's dream home is located in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston, MA. 66 Mount Vernon Street is a 4 bedroom, 3.5 bathroom condo offering 2887 square feet of living space. It's 3.8 million dollar price tag is certainly high, however this home offers beautiful details original to when it was built in 1809. Check out some of this home's unique qualities below.

Wine cellar and extra storage off the kitchen.

The wood work in this space is quite striking. Notice the arched doorway and dental moldings.

The curved wall of windows is a great feature. I would remove the bars if possible. They make the home look like it's in a rough neighborhood even though it's not. I do like the paint color choice. Since there is plenty of light in the room they can get away with the dark color.

The website only shows a painted picture of the home suggesting that the exterior is possibly being updated. From the looks of it, the home is at least four stories.

The kitchen is by far my favorite room in this house-farmhouse sink, six-burner gas Viking stove, custom cabinets, and plenty of storage. Do you notice the tin tile roof and the recessed lighting? Details like this add an antique quality to the new kitchen keeping with the style of the rest of the home.

These details look original.

Beautiful Chandeliers

I found these pictures of chandeliers today in my files. I love the modern elegance of the first two images and the rustic qualities of the others.

Not sure where the first two images are from. Other images from Traditional Home

Monday, March 29, 2010

Cupcakes Delicious

This weekend I made a very easy and tasty cupcake recipe for carrot cupcakes from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes book. Filled with healthier ingredients like carrots and raisins, these cupcakes without the frosting could very well be called muffins instead. The simple recipe follows:

Mix in large bowl:
1 pound carrots, grated*
3 eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean split lengthwise with seeds scraped for use
1/2 cup raisins

Mix in separate bowl:
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/8 cloves (ground or chopped)

Fold the dry ingredients into the carrot mixture. When mixed, line cupcake tins and fill each 3/4 full. Bake at 325 degrees for 23-28 minutes, turning the cupcakes midway through baking.

2 sticks butter
12 oz. cream cheese
1 lb. confectioners sugar**
3/4 tsp. vanilla

Cream butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. After blended, add sugar 1/2 cup at a time while continuing to blend the butter and cheese. Add vanilla and mix well.

Ta Da!

Frosting is easier with a spatula knife thingy like this one.

Here's a picture of me grating carrots. This was the most time intensive part of the recipe.
*I highly recommend using a microplane instead of a grater. It will cut your grating time in half.
**The recipe does not call for the powder sugar to be sifted, but it would be a good idea. I found that the sugar was quite lumpy when blended with the butter and cream cheese. Sifting would eliminate this problem.

Decisions, Decisions...

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was in the process of giving our bedroom a mini-makeover. Things are coming along smoothly. I've got the bedding and am now in the process of making pillows, which are almost done. I've also rearranged a few pieces of art to give the room a fresh look.

There is one wall that doesn't have any color, so I'm hoping to find a few inexpensive pieces of art to fill it. I'm so torn on what to pick, though! Should I frame photographs, a set of small paintings or a large canvass that encompasses most of the wall space? If you stop by, I'd love to know your opinion.

Here's what I'm considering so far:

1. A cluster of watercolors like those shown at Corrine Galla's shop on etsy. The look I'm going for is similar to Nanette Lapore's dining room shown in Elle Decor. I love the color these would add to the room and that they're not too traditional or modern.

2. Photography. I already have a wall of black and white photos in the room so I would want to add color photos only. This is probably one of the cheapest options, seeing that I could take the photos myself. I also like these photos by a photographer from Lisbon available via etsy.

3. Vintage Printables. For those of you who do know, it's a site with FREE printable art. They've got some great options like these:

Let me know your thoughts!

The September Issue

Oh, what a great weekend! And it all started with The September Issue, the documentary film that follows Anna Wintour and Vogue Magazine in the making of it's largest and most popular yearly edition. Have you seen it?

Anna Wintour has the reputation of being one stern lady and this documentary confirms it. In fact, much of the movie is about how to cope with her criticism and coldness. Many scenes end with a discouraged editor or photographer spilling out his/her feelings to a coworker. However, with that being said, Anna knows what she's doing. She's got perfect taste and the business sense you need to run a magazine. Her employees know that no one measures up to Anna and because of that, she still has their respect despite her off-putting demeanor. Vogue Magazine, and Anna for that matter, seem to have a hand in everything in the fashion industry. In the more recent years, Vogue started a fund for up and coming designers that they hand pick to help, like Thakoon. Thakoon got a contract with the Gap thanks to Anna's help on his behalf.

The documentary also focuses on all the intricacies that go into producing a magazine photo shoot. Grace Coddington, Vogue's very likable Creative Director, is the artistic genius behind many of the magazine's successful fashion spreads. A former model and fellow Brit, Grace climbed the ranks with Anna at Vogue starting 20 years ago. She's the only one at the magazine with the guts to stand up to Anna and is often the victim of her criticism because of it. Regardless, she is the mastermind behind the creative success of the magazine and has won even the respect of Wintour herself because of it.

If you have a free hour or so what this movie. It will give you an entire new perspective on the fashion industry and the business' heaviest hitters.

Friday, March 26, 2010

D.C. Round Up

I'm finally getting around to posting pictures from last week's trip to Washington, D.C. For those of you who don't know, I lived there for 2 years before moving to Nashville. I loved being back there to see old friends and experience city life once again.

The first night there, I went to an amazing restaurant with my friend Claire called Founding Farmers. The restaurant's rustic, farmhouse atmosphere is decorated with handcrafted farm tables where family and friends can gather to enjoy their meals. Waiters even pour water from glass milk jugs, giving evidence to the fact that no detail went unnoticed in the planning of this restaurant.

All food is local and organic. I had the farmer's meatloaf- a huge chunk of meat topped with sauteed mushrooms, creamy mash potatoes and freshly steamed vegetables. As an appetizer, we also enjoyed hand made cheddar and potato crisps, which were served with green goddess, pimento, and onion dips. All in all, it was a great meal, but I should worn you, if you're thinking about trying it out I'd suggest making a reservation. The word is on the street that this restaurant is good!
We were fortunate enough to have amazing weather last weekend so on Sunday, we decided to have a picnic in the beautiful, historic neighborhood of Eastern Market. It is such a charming area! The row houses date back to the late 19th century and are adorned with the prettiest moldings, arches and finite details that modern houses often lack. We also took a gander at the local flea market. You could easily decorate an entire home with one trip to this weekly market, not to mention get your groceries, flowers and jewelry all at the same time.
The houses and flea market finds are all from Eastern Market. Also below is a picture of my new friend Cooper who is the sweetest dog! Thanks to my friend Claire- it was great to see you and I appreciate your hospitality. Also, thanks for walking me through unlocking the door when I couldn't figure it out ;)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Menu Planning: Easter

I'm looking forward to another cooking extravaganza in a few weeks for Easter. My mother always asks me to pull together a menu for holiday gatherings. I try to keep it simple, meaning I like recipes that can be made ahead and ones that are served hot from the oven. It makes the cooking process more enjoyable and much more manageable, especially if you are dealing with only one oven.

We discussed serving a tender prime rib, but when I came across a recipe for grilled leg of lamb with rosemary, garlic and mustard on Bon Appetit, I couldn't resist. One of the reasons Bon Appetit is such a great resource for entertaining is because they offer preplanned menus of a specific cuisine for a certain number of people. If you want a southern brunch menu for 8 or an Italian style meal for 10, they've got it. I found most of my favorite recipes under the "farm feast" menu option and am looking forward to a fresh and inspiring gourmet meal for the upcoming holiday.

The lamb recipe caught my eye in part because of the way it's prepared- on the grill! Timing wise, this will work out great as it will free up the oven for other dishes. The contributing ingredients are fairly typical: 8 garlic cloves, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup dry white wine, 2 tbs. chopped rosemary, 1/2 cup Dijon mustard, 2 tbs. lemon juice and fresh rosemary and parsley for garnish.

Although I don't care for ham all that much, my grandfather insists that it be served. So, we'll also be making a ham. Our sides will include corn pudding; spring vegetables; asparagus, green onion and cucumber salad; chilled pea and mint soup; mashed potatoes as well as a traditional carrot cake and berry cobbler.

So, who's hungry?

I will make sure to follow up post-Easter with lots of great pictures.

Palm Beach Chic

Designs by Ginger Brewton

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wanna Buy It Wednesday: 1155 23rd Street NW

I have a secret fantasy of owning a luxurious penthouse apartment one day-convenient location, no yard, and available room service at all hours of the day. Doesn't that sound perfect? Also, I love the idea of having an on site gym and the ability to catch a cab at your front door without wait.

I have been thinking about this little dream of mine quite a bit after last week's trip to D.C. (photos and follow up will come soon, I promise!) and today I found an exquisite 3 story residency at the West End Ritz-Carlton available for purchase. For those of you not familiar with our nation's capital, West End is a perfect location in the city. It's right on the cusp of Georgetown and also a few short blocks from Foggy Bottom's metro, making close to both shopping and restaurants as well as most downtown offices. This condo has three terraces that overlook the city, a gourmet kitchen and three bedrooms with on-suite bathrooms.