Thursday, January 29, 2009

America's Best Dance Crew.

Another MTV show that I am a fan of is America's Best Dance Crew.

Justin watches it too, but at least with this MTV show he doesn't have to pretend that he doesn't enjoy it, like he does with the others. We jokingly call it "RJPABDC 3" for "short" because it is always super awkward when Mario Lopez, the host, says the name of the show. And let's be serious, the official title is pretty tedious (but Randy's got to get his shout-out).

I knew things were off to a good start tonight because the crews were dancing to songs by Britney Spears. Justin also didn't disappoint -- as soon as he saw Mario, he said "Man, Mario hasn't looked that slick since the days back at Bayside High."

Besides the dancing (of course) and the endless jokes about A.C. Slater, my favorite parts of the show are Mario's sweet play on words before and after every performance. His "witty" comments are painfully predictable. Here are some favorites from tonight's Britney-themed show found on MTV's website:
  • Were you beggin' "Gimme More" after the Strikers All-Stars' performance?
  • Did this week's Dynamic Edition performance make the crew "Stronger"?
  • Have Quest Crew made themselves a "Toxic" competitor?
  • Did the Ringmasters live up to their name with "Circus"?
Even though the puns "Drive Me Crazy" ("Oops! I Did It Again"), the crews are extremely talented and every season I am more impressed with their skills. In case anyone actually follows the show, my favorite crew tonight was the Beat Freaks, followed by Strikers All-Stars (how cool were those mirror illusions?).

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bye, Domino.

I will have one less magazine now to look forward to receiving every month. Domino is closing, and its last issue will be in March.

So much for one of my birthday gifts from my in-laws back in August. While I haven't been overly impressed with the last few issues, I will certainly miss reading it every month.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Birthday, Riley!

I may be biased, but Riley has to be the cutest dog ever -- and he is especially cute on his 4th birthday. Here he is on the way to his new home.

and 4 years later . . .

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mission Organization -- Part 2.

The Elfa madness didn't end with our second floor closet. I have been wanting a better way to organize my t-shirts, tank tops, and sweaters for a while, but wasn't ready to fork over the dough for the Elfa drawers I had been eying. But the combo of the 30% off sale and me no longer being able to stand the cheap plastic containers I was using was enough to convince me it was time to take the plunge.

Looking at these horribly messy before shots makes me so thankful I did. I guess I had just gotten used to the disaster!

And the afters . . .

In these drawers, I have my tank tops sorted by color, my t-shirts sorted, and all of my sweaters organized in one place (rather than in multiple plastic bins or laid on top of them).

We have built-in drawers to the right of these Elfa drawers that I was able to clean out and organize too.

While I was at it, I cleaned out any clothes I hadn't worn in a while to donate and made sure all my shirts were hung on plastic hangers. I used to sort them by color, and while I love the look, the shirts that I wear most often always end up towards the front anyway.

Needless to say, my closet is a much better place to get ready in the morning!

Banana Crumb Muffins.

I recently made the tastiest banana muffins of all time and had to share the recipe. I came across it one day as I was perusing (that site is addicting!).

Banana Crumb Muffins:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
For the topping:
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.
I added about a teaspoon or so of vanilla extract to the batter. Also, maybe I am stingy with the batter, but this recipe made 11 large muffins. The topping part is super delicious -- so pile it on!

The recipe is super easy, and since I only eat bananas when they are still slightly green, this is a perfect way to use up the bananas that get too ripe for me before I can eat them. Next time I am going to try to make these with half wheat flour and half all-purpose flour for a slightly "healthier" muffin. Don't worry though, I don't plan to cut back on the sugar or butter.

I am normally disappointed in how quickly the bananas ripen, but now my current batch can't get freckly fast enough!

Monday, January 19, 2009

5 things . . .

5 things I am thankful for . . .

1. The gorgeous weather outside. Houston doesn't get many 67 degree, 23% humidity, sunny days.

2. Having the day off. Perfect time to get my hair cut and my nails done. Although I could have done without the manicurist asking me what high school I go to (she about fell out of her chair when I told her I was an attorney).

3. Sephora/OPI's Metro Chic nail polish. I know soon enough I will have to go back to my old standby for Spring and Summer -- Sweetheart by OPI, but I am not quite ready to put up this dark grey color with a touch of purple.

4. Target's Home Design Event. I love this sun mirror, and after convincing Justin it would look great in our breakfast room, we brought it home with us. Pictures of it hanging to come.

5. Expecting to use a 20% coupon at Banana Republic this weekend, but getting 30% off instead on all their new arrivals. Score!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Better Blogging.

Well, I guess my posts or blog won't actually be any better, but I am working with much better technology.

My old laptop was falling apart -- the volume control didn't work, you had to pick it up gingerly because the screen portion would separate from the base, it would take 10+ minutes to return from sleep mode, etc.

Thankfully, my technology-savvy husband customized a new laptop for me. It is awesome -- no more waiting for it to turn on (patience has never been a virtue of mine), I can control the volume, and the screen is not only connected to the base securely, it is nice and wide and super clear. (Justin -- thanks for taking all the time you did to build me the perfect laptop!)

Not only am I blogging from a better laptop, we also switched from Comcast internet and cable service to U-verse. It is SO much better! We can play recorded shows from all of our TVs (instead of just 1), and I can log into U-verse's website remotely to record a show if I am away from home. How cool is that?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bedding Inspiration.

I am loving this bedding from Garnet Hill.

Despite it being on sale, it is still way more than I would ever pay for bedding. But I love the idea of the monochromatic scheme with different textures -- seems very soothing and relaxing. I think it would be great with a pop of color -- maybe pink, teal, yellow, or purple. And I have been eying the paint color Silver Fox by Benjamin Moore, which would coordinate nicely. (Coincidentally, "silver fox" is also the nickname my 8th grade science teacher gave himself).

I saw this somewhat similar "pin-tuck" duvet cover at West Elm a while back, and loved it.

I like the deeper colors and rich textures of the Garnet Hill bedding better, but the ideas are the same. Off to find some luxurious gray bedding . . .

Sunday, January 11, 2009

House Tour - Kitchen/Breakfast Room.

Since the other pictures of our kitchen and breakfast room turned out like bad abstract art, here is a second attempt.

This is the view as you walk in from the dining room:

Here is the kitchen portion (obviously):

We love having lots of open space right off the kitchen, but it is almost too big (if you ask me). It is great however when we entertain -- everyone always hangs out in the kitchen so this open space is the perfect place for everyone to congregate.

While a couch (or "sofette") is generally not a piece of furniture you would ordinarily find in a breakfast room, we had so much space that a table alone looked kind of wimpy. It really is great to have this couch in there. We use it all the time -- it is nice to sit and visit with Justin while he is cooking or to hang out while we wait for coffee.

We also love the ottomans. They make a perfect food rest and double as extra seating when people are over. I loved the idea of orange, but we had a hard time finding any that went with the sofette's color and scale. So we bought super cheap ottomans from Target, and my mother-in-law recovered them for us with the coordinating Pottery Barn fabric you can purchase by the yard. And voila -- inexpensive, matching ottomans.

And, while not overly exciting, here is the powder room:

Elfa to the Rescue.

The closet on our 2nd floor is basically the equivalent of a junk drawer, but on a much larger (and more embarrassing) scale. Thankfully it no longer looks like this:

Thanks to our new elfa shelving (and some sorting), it now looks like this:

The shelves make this closet so much more usable -- we have so much extra space in there now for storage. Our table leaf is safely stored in a bag below the bottom shelf to avoid any scratches (and it is much easier to get to than before). My extra vases, candles, picture frames, and miscellaneous decorative accents are all corralled into a few bins for easy access. We also hung a mail sorter on the wall right inside the door. It has worked out great so far -- no more mail laying around out in plain sight!

The installation of it all was very easy, especially for me since I merely had the jobs of pulling off the stickers that came on each and every component and handing Justin his tools. Riley also did a great job of supervising throughout the project.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

5 things . . .

5 things I am thankful for:

1. The Pottery Barn, West Elm, and William Sonoma Home catalogs we received in the mail today.

2. My wonderful mom, whose birthday was yesterday.

3. My best friend, whose birthday is today.

4. The super soft pajama pants Justin gave me for Christmas.

5. That tomorrow is Friday!

House Tour - 2nd Floor.

On to the second floor. This is where we spend most of our time, which means it is also the floor that is most complete decor-wise. This floor has the dining room, living room, powder room, breakfast room, and kitchen. It is a very open floor plan, which we really like (and Riley does too -- although he wishes he got better traction on the wood floors when he runs from one end to the other).

Our dining room:

The living room, which is completely open to the dining room:

Sadly, all of the pictures of the kitchen and breakfast room turned out like this:

We have since replaced the bad flash card, so I will have another post with the remainder of the 2nd floor soon.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Mission Organization.

I am really not one for new year's resolutions (mainly because I am terrible at keeping them), but the 30% off elfa sale at Container Store was enough to get me motivated to get better organized.

We had the folks at Container Store design a system for our 2nd floor walk-in closet, which had no shelving whatsoever. Not all of the pieces were in stock, so it is only partially installed. I will have before and after pictures once everything is in and organized.

In the meantime, I cleaned out and organized our kitchen's junk drawer.

Before (embarrassing, I know):


Much better -- now I can actually find things!

House Tour - 1st Floor.

Happy New Year!

I thought it would be fun to do a little "tour" of our house. Here are some pictures of our first floor -- which consists of a garage, entry way, guest room, and full bathroom.

The entry way:

The 1st floor guest room, which is a major work in progress. The walls need to be painted, we need a rug, and we need to hang stuff on the walls. (Justin would say we need a foosball and pool table down there as well.)

On the other side of the bed is a chair-and-a-half that the ottoman at the foot of the bed belongs to.

This is the other half of the guest room. For now Riley gets the most use out of this room. He hangs out here in his crate when we aren't at home.

The attached full guest bath is great for storage because it has a linen closet and a full walk-in closet. We are going to liven it up a bit with some colorful towels and a new shower curtain.

The staircase leading up to the second floor, which I disliked at first, but have really grown to love.

Stay tuned for the second floor . . .