Living Room Inspiration Part 3

Finally...the last of my living room inspirations. It's been fun pulling together the different palettes...but I think this one is my fave. I used the Sherwin-Williams Chip-It color tool to help create the different color schemes. Just upload a pic of your rug, curtains or fave painting, and it will put together a palette based on the colors found in the photo. How cool is that?

So, to recap, here's what we have so far:


We'll be making decisions here in the next couple of months and I can't wait to show you what we decide to go with (I have a feeling I'll be taking something from each of the inspiration boards above).

I'll be posting my inspirations over at the Lettered Cottage...go take a look at the other restyled spaces!


Living Room Inspiration Part 2

While we are still waiting on the final blueprints for our layout, here's generally the space we'll have to work with:
Living Room area is 19'x12'.
For the most part, we'll just be updating the living room with a new couch, chairs and rug. The living room will be smaller than our previous one and we have four other pieces to work in (either made by Mr. VB or given to us): 

One color I've always avoided is red. I would love to add some bold curtains and bright chairs to the mix. So.....here's my second living room inspiration!

How do you feel about red?


Living Room Inspiration Part 1

I've got decorating on the brain. It keeps me up at night. When not at work, I'm constantly looking thru magazines and tearing out favorite designs or looks. We go back and forth on what we imagine our rooms to look like. Our house is slated to be done by mid-Octoberish, which means I have a little more than three months to get my crap together! So, when I saw that one of my favorite bloggers, Layla from The Lettered Cottage, was hosting a One Room, Three Ways link party later this week, I knew it was the perfect chance to work thru some ideas.

Below is the first inspiration board for our living room. We tend to lend towards light, airy colors (light blues and greens) and we're trying to go more bold this time around. This is a baby step towards bringing more color in!

Tomorrow I'll share a little more about pieces we'll definitely be incorporating into our living room (stuff we already own) and some of our "sticking" points.


Strawberry Rhubarb Bars

Jam. Pie. Bars. Vodka slushies. Around this time of year when I was growing up, there was always some sort of strawberry rhubarb treat sitting around. I remember going with my Grandma Gloria to a friends house who had rhubarb coming out of her ears. The plant and stalks were big and thick and I would have to pull so hard that eventually when I unearthed it, I would go reeling backwards and fall on my butt.

Now, I waddle that same butt down to the local farmers market. Where it's all cut and trimmed for me. Not quite the same...but, the end result is still pretty damned tasty.

Case in point: Strawberry Rhubarb Bars. The recipe below is from Amandeleine. While there's plenty of strawberry rhubarb bar recipes out there, I chose this one for one reason: she tied them to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. No reason to waste any more time looking for strawberry rhubarb recipes. I can now focus on the vodka slushie ones.

This bar has a pie-like bottom layer. Crumb like topping. And a delicious Greek yogurt/strawberry rhubarb middle layer. The only thing that's missing is some whipped cream or ice cream. And one of those slushies.



Kickin' Off Summer

Summer is here! After much huffing and puffing, we are finally all moved in to our temporary place as we build our home. This will be the first weekend in months that we don't have yard work. Aren't packing, cleaning or prepping to sell the house. We somehow managed to smash a 4+ bedroom house into a 1 bedroom apt. (let's just say the garage is stuffed). 

Believe it or not, this was at the end of an 11-hour moving day!
This summer is all about getting to know the new community we're building in, New Town at St. Charles (I'll be talking more about that later). We lucked out and found an apartment within walking distance. The community is based on the principles of Traditional Neighborhood Design and New Urbanism. We can walk to the local market and post office. There's lakes, bike trails and tons of outdoor spaces to play. The restaurants and shops are all just a short walk or bike ride away. So, first up...

Operation Bike
Walking around on foot will get exhausting (just ask my sister)...so, we're in the market for something a little speedier. I have my eye this little guy:

We're a little late in the game, but we'll be getting a garden going this weekend. Because most of the yards in New Town are small, there's a community garden area where residents can rent raised garden beds. I've been a little addicted to Caprese Salads lately, so I can't wait to get my own tomatoes and basil growing.

Outdoor Concert
Summer is all about outdoor concerts and New Town has monthly concerts in its amphitheater. On Saturday, we'll be packing up our cooler and heading on up for Jeff's favorite of the summer: reggae fest. And I plan on making one of my fave summer cocktails: a Spanish drink called Tinto de Verano (meaning red wine of summer). It's like sangria...but alot less work! Simply mix red wine and sparkling lemonade in a tall glass. Serve over ice and enjoy.


Strawberry Rhubarb Bars
I grew up in MN. Where rhubarb is as abundant as the lakes. I was a little shocked to learn that Jeff has never tried it. I've been scouring Pinterest and have a list of strawberry rhubarb crisp/bars recipes to choose from.

We're packing alot into the first weekend of summer...what's on your agenda?


Why I'm going with feedly

In less than one month (July 1 to be exact), Google Reader will be retiring. Worried about how I would still stay connected to all of my favorite blogs and sites once it went down, I came across feedly in my research. It's being billed as the top go-to for Google Reader users. I signed up for it last week. I'm still kicking the tires, but so far, I'm loving it. Here's why:

It's easy to get started

Transferring my current reading list from Google Reader to feedly was simple. Upon signing up, feedly automatically asked if I had Google Reader feeds I wanted to import. With just a couple short clicks, it brought over all of my beloved blogs and daily reads. It also brings over tags and favorites.


feedly looks great

It's more visually appealing. I'm loving the different layout options (like magazine, cards and full article views) and bright pics it pulls from the blog posts.

feedly views include magazine, cards, full article and list.


Add new blogs in a click

Come across a new blog you want to follow? When you are on a website that feedly recognizes has a blog, a small feedly logo appears in the bottom right of your screen. Just click on that and you can easily add the blog feed to your feedly.

Easily add new blogs to your feed.

Stylize/use feedly to your tastes

 feedly lets you add categories, bookmark posts to read later, and share posts/ideas on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. You can also bring in your Twitter and Facebook pages feed to see what's going on there --- all on your feedly page.

If there are other feedly users out there, I would love to hear your faves about it. If not, what do you plan to do when Google Reader goes down?


Bahn Mi Turkey Burger

As an avid Food Network watcher, there's been alot of talk of bahn mi's in the last year or so. I had my first taste of this Vietnamese meat-filled sandwich during our trip to Chicago when we stopped by Saigon Sisters. If you've yet to jump on the bandwagon, basically, it's a crispy baguette stuffed with fresh veggies and steamed or slow roasted meats. Definitely not short on flavor.


So, when I ran across this Weight Watchers recipe for Bahn Mi Turkey burgers I knew I wanted to give them a try. Turkey burgers can be a bit bland (and are usually a tough sell for Mr. VB), but these didn't disappoint.

Bahn Mi Turkey Burgers
Courtesy of Weight Watchers

Bahn Mi Turkey Burger
Bahn Mi Turkey Burger

 8 pts.+ per serving

2 spray(s) cooking spray  
1 cup(s) packaged coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots)  
1/4 cup(s) English cucumber(s), julienned or sliced super thin  
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice, or to taste  
1/4 tsp kosher salt  
1 pound(s) uncooked 93% lean ground turkey  
2 Tbsp cilantro, fresh, finely chopped  
1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce  
1 Tbsp ginger root, grated or finely chopped  
2 clove(s) (medium) garlic clove(s), finely chopped  
4 tsp reduced-calorie mayonnaise  
1 tsp chili sauce, sweet variety  
4 item(s) light, English muffin, toasted

Coat a large griddle, outdoor grill rack or stovetop grill pan with cooking spray; preheat to medium-high.

In a medium bowl, combine slaw mix, cucumber, lime juice and salt; toss to coat and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine turkey, cilantro, soy sauce, ginger and garlic; divide mixture into four balls and then gently press each one into a 4-inch patty.

In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise and chili sauce.

Grill or broil patties until internal temperature of burgers reaches 165°F, about 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Spread half of each English muffin with 1 1/4 teaspoon chili-mayonnaise; top with a burger, a scant 1/3 cup slaw mixture and a muffin top. Yields 1 burger per serving.


Looking Back at the Top 3 Decor Projects

As soon as we put down the money for our lot back in December, I started a design inspiration book for our new house. Between that and my Pinterest board, I’ve now got hundreds of images to comb thru as we narrow down the look for our new home.

I’ve been doing so much looking ahead, I realized last week that I hadn’t taken the time to reflect on what was really happening. We're not just moving...we're leaving! While we’ve only been in this house for a little over three years, a lot has happened in that time. We’ve hosted and shared holidays, chili cook-offs, beer tastings, BBQs, baby showers and other special occasions with family and friends. We celebrated new jobs and job promotions. Anniversarys and birthdays have come and gone. We launched a new venture. We’ve mourned the loss of family members. We’ve worked through personal challenges of our own. And, it’s all been done under this roof. 

We’ve also done a TON of remodeling and design projects around the house in that time. It was hard to narrow them down, but here’s my top three:

Powder Room Remodel
This was one of our first and remains one of my favorite. I love the bright, beachy feel (even though it is a dark room). We decorated it with shots from one of my favorite beach vacations and the starfish from our wedding. I was just learning the ropes with painting and distressing furniture and the vanity has a barely worn look.

Powder Room Redesign, Vanilla Bean

Screened Porch Oasis
I’m definitely going to miss having a big screened in porch. It’s my favorite place to drink coffee and read. And it’s typically the first place I head after work for happy hour. We did this on a major budget. A coat of paint freshened up the floors and old cushions and pillows were given new covers. We used drop cloths as curtains and an old wicker set was spray painted to bring it back to life.

I’ll admit…I had little to do with this project. The heavy lifting. The heat. Probably more heavy lifting. I tried not to pay too much attention, in case I would feel guilted into such undesirable work. Jeff totally transformed this area of our backyard. It’s a great retreat in the fall for s’mores and bonfires.

Honorable mention: Painted Fireplace
Not much work went into the fireplace -- just slapped on some paint -- but it made a huge impact. I tend to lean more towards beachy, bright and airy rooms. The maroon brick fireplace stuck out like a sore thumb.