Friday, May 30, 2014

Baking with Martha

When I came home from the beach on Sunday, I happened upon some brown bananas. Since I now have a full size oven and decent counter space (here's to moving on from our apartment galley kitchen!), I look forward to so much more baking (because baking is so much more fun than cooking). 
So with those brown bananas, I decided to bake banana bread for my husband (who prefers pastry product over chocolate) and my coworkers (who wish bikini season wasn't upon us quite yet). 
I discovered Martha Stewart's Banana Bread Recipe upon a quick Google search and since I happened to have sour cream in my fridge (thanks to one- too- many taco nights in our house), I gave it a try! And WOW was it good! It was just the right amount of sweet and oh so moist (that poor word gets such a bad rap- I am no hater).  I made it again last night for my best friend and I to eat when she stopped in for a visit (I love that she lives nearby!). It actually paired quite nicely as a dessert with Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc. (Oooo la-la wine pairings!)

Yes, I know this is a basic recipe, but it's so good and I think you should definitely try it yourself, so here is the recipe below! 
I would like to thank the queen of all things home making, Martha Stewart, for sharing this with us all! 



Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mashed very ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan; set aside. 
2. In an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy 







3. Add the egg and beat to incorporate
4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add this to the butter mixture and mix until just combined

5. Add banana, sour cream, and vanilla; mix to combine



6. Pour mixture into prepared pan
7. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about one hour. 
8. Let cool in pan for about 10-20 minutes before flipping onto cooling rack and serving.





There's always variations, so try yours with chocolate chips or walnuts. I added just a bit of cinnamon to mine and it was delish!

ENJOY! 

With love, 
Allie 




Thursday, May 29, 2014

Doing Laundry with West Elm

This post is in no way sponsored by West Elm, but as soon as I saw their sale on laundry supplies (20% off) today, I all the sudden wanted to run home and throw a load in the wash! How amazing are these things!  I think some of these things would make the cutest graduation gift for the kid headed off to college, right?
This store is so fun!






Tuesday, May 27, 2014

5 Offices that Inspire

I am working on arranging and decorating my office/craft room at home and found some very inspiring offices on Pinterest! I only wish I didn't have as much stuff junk to organize and store in my own space! The neutral color schemes with a touch of black and/or gold make each space so warm and classy! I also love the gallery walls! 
Can't wait to show you pictures of how my space turns out! 


Source unknown 






Source Unknown



ps. if you know the source of any of these photos, please let me know! It is my intention to give credit where it is due! 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

An Engagement Story

Memorial Day weekend means a lot to me because it's the anniversary of our engagement. Two years ago today, Les "popped the question". We were down at the beach, as we do every Memorial Day weekend, and Les wanted to go on a walk with me. There is a hotel in Cape May called Congress Hall. If you ask any of my family or friends about my interest in this hotel, they would call it an obsession. I have to ride my bike past it or walk through it at least once every time I am down at the shore (aka most weekends of the summer and throughout the rest of the year as well). It is, in my opinion, the most beautiful and classy hotel in the world, and I have traveled a bit so I have seen a few or more hotels in my day.
Anyways, back to the story. So Les takes me on a walk to get ice cream, then we land in front of Congress Hall. They have adirondack chairs on the lawn, so we sat there for a while watching the ocean...and people...and talking. It was then and there that Les got on one knee and asked me to marry him! He presented me with a ring that he had played a big part in designing (along with the jeweler) and in the center was my grandmother's diamond. It is absolutely gorgeous and to this day, I am still in love with it.

Certainly a day to remember! 

Ps. I would also like to recognize all the men and women who laid their lives down for our freedom in this beautiful country. That is truly what this day is about. My husband is a veteran and I thank God today and everyday that I am blessed to have him alive and well. I also have a brother in law and sister in law who have also served and are stil with us today. Yet, some are not as fortunate to say the same. I pray that Christ wraps his arms around each parent, wife, husband, child, or friend of our lost military today. May they always be remembered! 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Back Patio Refresh

One of the biggest reasons we needed to move out of our apartment into a new space was due to our lack of outdoor space! We needed a place we could at least sit outside and enjoy a drink, the sunshine, or even a burger in the summer! The back "porch" on our new home is only about 15'x20', but just big enough for a grill (my husband's new toy), some plants, and a nice outdoor dining table! I really enjoyed decorating this space. My goal was to stick to black and whites, with some accent colors. The deck's old red wash was chipping and worn off when we moved in, so my husband restained and sealed it with a nice gray color (took only about an hour or two) And we turned the gate that exits to the side alley from red to black.

 We were able to "claim" an old iron table that had been sitting under our family's beach house deck for quite some time. With a fresh coat of black spray paint, it became a classy dining table, complete with 6 chairs! My mom so kindly sewed cushions for the chairs- I just love the black and white pattern! 
My husband- who apparently has quite the green thumb- potted all of the plants, which will grow strawberries, peppers, and tomatoes! And we wouldn't be living where we do without some lawn...er, potted plant...ornaments! Ps did you see our mini pineapple!! HOW CUTE! 



Monday, May 19, 2014

Bathroom on a Budget: Part 1

Today I will give you a tour of the "quirky guest bathroom" in my husband and I's new home! Our house was built in the 1920s, so has all the old cracks and uneven floors and odd shaped rooms that you would expect. There are 2 full bathrooms in the house and both are segmented. The second floor bath, which we are considering the guest bathroom, was orange when we moved in. It has a big stained glass window facing the interior of the house. I have never LOVED stained glass, but once we cleaned it up and repainted the space, it toned it down a bit. While I love an all-white, marble bathroom and dream of all the pictures I have pinned to my Pinterest board, we were working on a minimal budget and needed a quick update for the time being. See how a can of paint, some Clorox Clean-Up, and some new towels spruced up this bathroom below. Eventually some bigger changes are in store, but for now, it's just perfect! Stay tuned for part 2 in the near future...


The bathroom before....






After...


I painted the walls a nice shade of grey, using Valspar from Lowe's. I also took the mirror and spray painted it white to brighten up the space! 



I added a pretty hook I found at Anthropologie for under $20 to the door to hang my favorite Simply Vera Wang for Kohl's chevron bath towels! The towels hanging on the new Moen towel bar were found for $6 each at Target! 



We updated the faucet to a new Moen brushed nickel one, found at Lowe's for about $80! This Savon De Marseille soap is my favorite, but I buy it at Home Goods, where it's only $7!







Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Hello and welcome!


Hello and welcome to my blog! I am 25 and living with my husband in Philadelphia! We just bought our first home and are enjoying our new official lives as city-slickers! I am a nurse and love spending my time decorating my home, crafting, going to flea markets and antique stores, but most importantly spending time with my husband and family! They are my whole world and encourage me to enjoy life and all my quirky interests every day! Follow along with me as I post about the things I enjoy and want to share! Count on seeing a lot of home decorating, crafts, beach things, party planning, and anything girly! I promise to try my best to keep it interesting and entertaining! This is a new adventure for me...thanks for coming along! 

With love, Allie 

How to Host a Craft Party

A very late post here on a fun day I had in February...

February is always that dull month with not much going on. It hits right after the buzz of Christmas and New Years and doesn't have much to offer in the celebration and party department. Well, except for Valentine's Day....and this year the olympics...ok and maybe the Superbowl. But irregardless, I decided that most Saturday mornings during this dreary winter month are dull, so what better way to liven it up but to throw a perfectly girly craft party!

Hosting a craft party is so much fun, even if you have a budget! Here are your steps...


1. Determine your craft. I decided that since Valentines Day was right around the corner, I would stick to that theme somewhat. I knew that some of the people I wanted to invite don't love crafting as much as I do, so I had to pick something that was basic enough for everyone (aka those who haven't used glitter since Kindergarten). I chose a "LOVE" banner!


2. Decide how to get your supplies. Thanks to my mom's business, I was able to obtain my cardboard backings quite easily- they were free from her shipping department (otherwise would have been thrown away)! Be resourceful and think creatively! I purchased all of the paper from a local craft store- most of which was on clearance! 


3. Create your guest list! Since I live in a smaller apartment, I had to keep it small. I had about 14 guests. It's a good manageable amount of people! 

4. Choose your decor and have fun with your place settings! I used a roll of spotted kraft wrapping paper from Target (purchased for $1) to create an easy "throw away" table runner! I placed a tray in the center of the table that held some of the craft supplies, glue, and water for the guests. I created bouquets of roses in Anthropologie monogram mugs, which were small and did not get in the way of busy crafters! And finally, each guest had their own "packet" at their seat which included their cardboard backing for the banner, their ribbon, a plate for gluing and glitter, and their letters (pre-cut).



5. Provide food for your guests. I had a spread of small sandwiches, tomato pie, and an easy salad for the guests to munch on! And for dessert- a delicious spread of donuts from a local shop (Federal Donuts, South Philadelphia) and cannolis! The food doesn't even have to be this complicated...my favorite place for easy "take out of the freezer and pop in the oven" food is Trader Joes! And you don't have to even put any thought into it! 

I made those Conversation Heart Pinatas for decoration! They were so easy! 




6. Let the crafting begin!! As the host, make your rounds at the party to ensure everyone has a drink and offer any assistance that they might need. Some rookie crafters might not know how to get the glitter to stay on the paper (this is a true story), so offer your hand when needed! And make sure your vacuum is charged for post- party clean-up! Glitter loves to stick to everything!!






7. Once everyone has completed their craft, make sure you take a picture of the group with their creation! It's a great way to remember the day and see everyone's unique design!


adding pinterest script 3. Changing the Position of the Pin it! button The cool thing about this code is that you have some freedom over where the Pinterest button for Blogger will go over the image. Take a look at the code that you just copied and pasted into the HTML for the word 'center'.