Aug 28, 2013

SWAMPED! An Announcement and a Wedding Sabatical. {Allie & Amy}

Allison's wedding weekend is over and as if by some strange fluke, the universe has handed us both even more to do now that it's done!

So, that being said, we're taking a short break for the rest of August and all of September.

When we come back, we'll have lots of wedding posts to share and more fun crafts and fashion and food to tell you all about as well!

See you in October, but we'll leave you with a sneak peek of the weekend's festivities!

Aug 26, 2013

August Snapshot {Amy}

Oh, August. You were just as crazy as I expected. I had so much to do and only half the month to do it in before running off for Allison's wedding! The month was filled with wonderful food, awesome friends and a crazy writing schedule. But it was productive and fulfilling, and I'm really pleased with that. Hopefully September means my schedule will slow down and I'll get a respite before the holidays.

Aug 23, 2013

Popsicles 4 Ways {Amy}

Summer is far from over here in the valley of the sun, and one of the ways I cool down is with the liberal application of popsicles to my face - via my mouth, of course. Here's four different 'sicles that are in constant rotation.

I call this one my Orange Julius popsicle... it's just orange juice, almond milk, and a little powdered sugar, blended in a blender, then poured into the molds. (Earl likes mixing this one's left overs in with vodka)

 This one is just your average, straight forward Limeade popsicle. Make your limeade, 1 part fresh lime juice, 1 part granulated sugar (disolve in the lime juice) and then 6 parts water. Stir well, pour into popsicle molds! SUUUUUUUUUPER simple.

 My Strawberry Lemonade popsicle is another pretty easy one. You make lemonade (same as the limeade up top) then add some of it and a handful of strawberries into a blender. Buzz it a few times then pour into your molds. (I really enjoy the seperation in this one.)

You know, all these popsicles are actually pretty straight forward...
This one was a bunch of Mixed Fruit. I added sliced strawberries, kiwi and peaches, along with handfuls of blueberries to the popsicle molds, then I just poured the left over lemonade over the top!

Aug 22, 2013

By Hand: Button Monograms {Amy}

I saw this pin a while ago and immediately knew I needed to do something similar for my niece and nephew. A little oil paint, some fun and colorful buttons, and a bit of embroidery floss and glue, and these adorable monograms were mine... er, theirs (if I ever get around to sending them up North!)

Aug 21, 2013

La Grande Bridal Shower {Allie}

The La Grande Bridal Shower was so lovely. My friends and family really outdid themselves, from the amazing food to the pictures of Jeff and I on each table as take-aways, each and every detail was amazing.

The food was particularly memorable. A Blueberry tart brought by Tonia was gorgeous and the chocolate raspberry mini tarts were to die for, as was the home-made granola that Renee labored to create. Of course I go straight to the sweets that were there, but the veggie and fruit skewers and various salads were also scrumptious, and as Lanetta put it "I have never had so much amazing food in one place before". This was too true.

These ladies are what made this day as special as it was and I want to say thank you to each one of them for being there for me on this special day! There is no better way to spend an afternoon than to be outside in the gorgeous weather, have amazing food and chat with great friends! I'm a lucky girl!

Aug 20, 2013

Inspiration Ladder {Amy}

 Above my desk, on the wall, there are two pieces of pine board screwed into the wall. They're the remnants of an  old shelving unit we had for a different apartment. From the screws in the boards, I have three lines of yarn  that stretch from side to side where, with the use of binder clips, paper clips, and owl clips, I hang things to inspire me when I write.

Everything on the board at the moment is inspiration for my Space Western series.
They're old family photos, photos I've taken around the state/in Utah and Idaho, and one mock cover of a book later in the series.
Also, a Wampa.

The reason I love my inspiration ladder as much as I do, is that it's a wall of things that get me back into the mindset of the world I've created. It's great for me as a writer, but it's equally useful for most any hobby, career, or interest.

Aug 16, 2013

Cookie Dough Ice Cream

I am eating a bowl of this as I type this post. It's so delicious, I've come home every night this week fighting a battle over whether or not I could get away with calling this dinner.

Cookie Dough is one of the few flavors of ice cream I immediately expect to see in any ice cream shop (outside of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry). It's a classic and I love it to death!

And the best part is, it's not that hard to make! All you really need is a vanilla ice cream recipe, and a cookie dough recipe.

Pick your favorite cookie recipe. (I stick with good ol Nestle Toll House script - which always makes me think of Phoebe and Monica in that one episode of Friends.)

Vanilla Ice Cream

1cup Whole Milk
2cups Heavy Cream
3/4cup Granulated Sugar
Pinch of Salt
1tsp Vanilla Extract

Combine Milk, Cream and Sugar in a stock pot, simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally until sugar is completely dissolved.

Add Salt and Vanilla, place in a bowl and place bowl in an ice bath, stirring occasionally until cool.
Refrigerate 6 hours (or overnight)

Follow instructions on your ice cream maker.

Aug 15, 2013

By Hand: Painted Mugs {Amy}

A few weeks ago, I snatched up some inexpensive white mugs and decided I'd spruce them up a bit with some left over paint I had.

It's the same paint I used to make the word search mugs for Allison, and though the paint claims to be dishwasher safe after a curing time of twenty days, she has not had a good experience with that.... so I'm a little worried to toss these in on the normal cycle willy nilly.

In all fairness, I probably wouldn't buy the Martha Stewart Multi-Surface paint again, but I'm also not going to cry when the paint comes off of these... well, maybe the skull and cross bones one.. that's my favorite.

Aug 14, 2013

Allison's Bridesmaids Part 2 {Allie}

Bridesmaid - Elizabeth is my sister-in-law of a year!! She is so fun-loving and is the nicest person you will ever meet! I feel lucky to have such a great new sister! 
Outfit: Modcloth - Shoes: Simple flats from home

Bridesmaid - Sarah was probably a sister of mine in another life. We have so much in common and yet are so different; like sisters are. We met in college and hit it off and have been great friends ever since. I love her to pieces and wouldn't have that any other way.

Outfit: Pinup Girl Clothing - Shoes: nude flats

Aug 13, 2013

Small Space Design: Setting up a Tiny Kitchen

My kitchen only feels small when I'm in it. That's a bit of a dilemma in my opinion.
It's a square space set apart from the rest of the apartment (which is fine) and though it has some nice floor space, it has next to nothing in the way of counter space.

Small kitchens are the bane of apartment dwelling. I have not had a big kitchen to work with since I moved out of my parent's house those many years ago. The current kitchen is no exception to the rule.

When we first moved in this is what we did with the space.
It has a conveinent wall of shelves we made quick use of, and the area that's supposed to have a dining table in it now houses our second couch, but while it was functional, it didn't work as well as I wanted it to.

Things I love and kept about the set-up: the cook books in the end table, tucked cleanly out of the way; the basket and jar system on the shelf.

Problems easily visible in these pictures: Small appliances cluttering up the top of the fridge & a counter top that is too cluttered to be useful.

Luckily, the quick application of $100 and a trip to IKEA solved both those problems. 

This cart (which I'll soon be painting and posting) did some wonderful things.

a) It gave us more counter space! I cannot tell you how much an added six square feet of extra counter will change your life. And the two drawers in it meant I could get rid of the utensil "bucket" on the counter, rearranging things around so there's actual space again!
b) It gave us a place to store pots and pans and the crock pot that didn't require me ducking in under the corner cabinet to dig out the needed supplies. (I honestly end up almost entirely inside the cabinet)
c) it cleared up that corner cabinet for the small appliances on the top of the fridge.
d) clearing out those appliances let me hang my much loved Cafe Martin poster and gave us a perfect place to put the drying rack (which is what I use to store my pan lids)

It really has been amazing what the right addition of furniture has done for the space!

(I'll be talking more about the cart later.)

Aug 12, 2013

Packing for a Long Road Trip {Amy}

I pack early. Honestly, if I have an impending trip I’ll start making lists a month before, and I’ll start packing at least two weeks before the trip. (Sometimes a lot earlier than that).
This trip is 11 days total and I’ll show you what I packed for the first 9 days (days 10 & 11 are “on the road” days and so I’ll just make something out of what I’ve worn so far on the trip)

1. Days 1 & 2: Travel/Portland with Friends.
Travel days get the standard t-shirt and jeans. We’ll be covering all of the distance through Nevada and most of the way through Idaho on this day, so I’m focused on comfort more than anything.
(T-shirt-Element | Jeans-Aeropostal)
We’ll be getting into Portland about mid day on day 2 so I opted for another pair of Jeans and a loose gray striped tank with my favorite short sleeved cardi ( I call it that for lack of knowing what else to call it.) I’ll be running about town after 5-8 hours in a car – we still haven’t decided the exact route we’re going to take – and so I’ll want to be comfy!
(Jeans-Gap | Tank-Target | Cardi-Charlotte Russe)
2. Days 3 & 4: Portland by ourselves/Hiking St. Helens
You’ll notice I wear a lot of V-necks. (Crew necks always have me feeling like I’m choking.) So for tuling about town, going to the gardens and just bouncing about in general, I’m going with a bright blue – sadly, it’s SUPER thin, but that just means I get to wear one of my fun cami’s under it!
(Shirt-Macy’s | Cami-Costco)
Another V Neck! We’re going to be heading north into Washington to go up and do all the things St. Helens. I haven’t been to the observation center since Middle School, and Earl’s never been. So I’m dressing for a potential hike – if we decide to. I love this tee – it’s got a bully in a bowler, how couldn’t I? Then we’ve got dinner with my brother and his girlfriend, so I’ve got my favorite Tunic to change into as well.
(Shirt-Element | Cami-Costco | Tunic-Converse)
3. Shoes!
I’m taking 4 pairs of shoes. It may seem like a lot, but the wedges are for the wedding, so they’re only going to be worn on day 9!
(Sneakers-Sketchers | Black Flats-Payless | Wedges- Shoedazzle | Brown Flats- JCPenney’s)

 4. Day 5: Portland by Ourselves

Once again we’re in Portland by ourselves, but the day is packed. I’ve opted for a fun printed tank and a pair of jeans, I’ll have my Charlotte Russe cami along as well just in case I need it.
(Tank – Forever 21)
5. Days 6: Hiking Multnomah & Dinner with friends.
We’re hiking up a waterfall! I’m super excited for this day because a) I love waterfalls, b) I love hiking, c) we’re taking a picnic lunch! I went with my plain purple v-neck for this particular trip choice. Since it’s hiking! And for the evening, when we meet up with friends for dinner, I’m wearing my new – my beloved heart pattern dress with my CR Cardi, just in case I need it.
(Shirt & Dress – Target)
6. Days 7 & 8 Rehersal shenanigans/Girl’s day
Heading off for wedding festivities, and I’ve decided I’m going to be a little fancy for the entire weekend, so I’ve got a fun kimono-style jersey dress (with a cami to keep the cleavage at bay) for the Rehearsal and Rehearsal dinner.
(Dress – Target)
The day before the wedding we’re doing a girl’s day, Manicures, picking flowers, lunch and undoubtedly loads of chattering at each other. I’m pulling out an old, and much forgotten, sundress. I love it, but I don’t find time to wear is – shame on me. And I know you can’t see it well, but there’s a white V-Neck in the picture too!
(Dress – Aeropostal|Shirt-Target)
7. Day 9: The Wedding!
I love this coral dress and I can’t wait to wear it up there as Allison says I do!

 Lu is not ever happy about packing. And that is what I’m wearing as we head to Vegas for a free night out before the long trip.

Aug 9, 2013

Short Leash: Sit... Stay. {Amy}

There's an awesome hot dog shop that opened up just down the street from my place on the 23rd of July. The owners have been around for a while, but they operated out of their food trucks (see above) and it is no surprise at all that they've moved to a brick and mortar store.

At the Sit... Stay, you can enjoy both their dogs, and a slice of pie from Mamma Toledo's Pie Hole. (We were too stuffed to stop in this time, but we're definitely saving room next time!)

Their menu is adorable, and their corndog bites were scrumptious! (Mustard didn't make it into the picture, but it was there). The bites are a mix and match of the different dogs they offer, so you never know what you might end up with!

I had this scrumptious Devil ^ The Moki. All Beef hot dog with roasted green chilis tomatos, pinto beans, cheese and a touch of mayo on Naan bread. It was mahvelous!

And Earl had the Mac Daddy ^
Beef and been chili, mac n' cheese on naan. I didn't try it, but he assures me it was fantastic!

If you're ever in the downtown Phoenix area, check this place out!

Aug 8, 2013

By Hand: Gel Medium {Amy}

Recently I've fallen in love with gel medium. I had a long conversation with the girl at the art store and walked away with a little white tub of amazingness.

 Gel medium is a lot of fun.

What I use it for (mostly) is applying water colors to a canvas that I've already painted with oils.

Today's model is Fletcher (my mom's dog.)

Here you see the cut out water color of Fletcher, the oil painted canvas, the medium and my brush.

 All I did was apply a coat over the entirety of the oil canvas, then press Fletcher down firmly, and apply a second coat (for consistence of finish)
It looks kinda goopy when it's wet, but it dries completely clear!

(Since it's still wet at the moment, this is what my Lu's version looks like all dried and set)

Aug 7, 2013

Allison's Bridesmaids Part 1 {Allie}

Maid of Honor - Whitney and Allison have known each other since they were born. They grew up together in Coos Bay and even ended up going to the same college. Whitney is Allison's "big sister" for sure (even though she only has 9 months on her) and there is no way Allison would not have Whitney up there with her on her big day!
Outfit: David's Bridal Dress in Yellow - Shoes: Flower Print Wedge in Choral

Bridesmaid - Amy and Allison (two people you know well already) found each other in the small town of Coos Bay as well. They were inseparable nerds that complimented each other in all the best ways. Though Amy went to Arizona after high school, she made sure that they stayed in touch (since at times, this is not Allison's strength) and there is not a day that goes by that Allison isn't glad she did! Amy is a piece of this bridesmaid puzzle that is beautiful and unique, and Allison is so excited she is making the trip to be at her big day!

Outfit: Dress Coral from ShopRuche  - Shoes: Anja Wedge (Shoedazzle)  

Aug 6, 2013

Dresser Redesign {Allie}

I recently moved and felt it was time to give my tired - but well made - dresser a much needed redesign.

The bones of this dresser are great; it is made of beautiful solid wood and has nice lines. It just needs a little help in shedding that yellow wood stain and "love bumps, scratches and stains".

First things first, find some inspiration!

These are the three options I am considering after much searching on pinterest.
1. Is rustic and has old world charm. I love using the wood's natural look with various stains. Lovely.
2. Clean lined, simple and straight forward. I love the blues. My dresser will look more "mod" or "classic" depending on what drawer pulls I select.
3. A "shades of grey" look, which would always go with my desire to change up the bedroom now and then.

Here are the colors of paint I would use from my favorite paint store {YOLO Colorhouse}

These blues are soothing and absolutely beautiful! I am a big fan of blue and can imagine this become a focal point in my bedroom.

Brown-grey is a lovely rich neutral that would support any bedspread or room paint color I chose at any point. I am in love with these colors in YOLO's nourish family (with a dash of air).

Look for the finished product soon!! And while you wait, which one is your favorite?

Aug 5, 2013

5 Travel Tips {Amy}

In a scant few weeks, Earl and I will be packing up and heading up to Oregon for Allison’s wedding! I’m both super excited about it and, at the same time, mildly stressed because that’s just what I do.

So, in honor of the impending trip I thought I’d impart some of my travel tips on you.

1.  Make LOTS of  lists.
 I make lists for EVERYTHING before a trip, it helps me to make sure I’m taking everything I need to, and it also helps me know I’m taking everything home with me too.

2. Know what to expect before the trip starts.
Have a game plan. If you’re flying, check the TSA website so you don’t get held up by having the wrong thing in your carry-ons. If you’re driving, make sure you check the routes so you don’t run into construction you could have avoided.

3. Pack your bags hoping for the best, but expecting the worse.
 When I say this, I don’t mean that you should toss your parka in when heading to Phoenix in July. Icenado is a fantasy made up by the Syfy channel. But it’s always smart to have at least one extra change of clothes. This doesn’t apply to things that can be quickly, easily, and inexpensively purchased wherever you’re going.

4. Stage your gear.
When you’re planning ahead, always do your best to keep what you’re taking in one place. Set aside some space and start getting ready. When it comes time to leave 80% of your stuff is ready to be picked up and taken straight to the car.

5. Do NOT wait till the last minute.
It will make your life so much harder, and your trip a lot less enjoyable.