Behold The Griddler

17 Jun

Screen Shot 2013-06-16 at 7.01.54 PM

Alright. Everybody is going to think I’m nuts. But I don’t have the space for a BBQ and I also happen to hate using BBQs. Usually, that is a delegated task to a male visitor. But I’ve made a breakthrough – I’ve become my own personal panini master, BBQueen, and waffle maker extraordinaire. Behold, The Griddler.

Screen Shot 2013-06-16 at 7.07.22 PMIt probably won’t come as a shock that I’ve had both fresh homemade waffles today, as well as homemade burgers that were off the chain. All using my new Griddler. It literally is the perfect solution to apartment grilling. I know what you’re thinking – Cuisinart should be paying me for this endorsement. But you know what? Owning this little bad boy is reward enough.

Screen Shot 2013-06-16 at 7.04.56 PMIf you’re living in a small space without a BBQ, or were thinking of getting a wafflemaker (you have to buy extra plates to make waffles on this appliance, FYI) definitely head over to Amazon and pick one of these things up. Click here for the unit itself, and click here for the waffle plate attachments.

Thought I would share… enjoy responsibly!

Vinyl Revival

17 Jun

Screen Shot 2013-06-16 at 5.52.09 PMAudiophiles will tell you repeatedly, “everything sounds better on vinyl.” I would consider “everything is more romantic and novel on vinyl” an undoubtedly true statement. It really does alter one’s listening experience. There’s something so thrilling about an Ella Fitzgerald record you unearthed for $2.99 warbling to life and filling the room with undeniable ambiance.

Screen Shot 2013-06-16 at 5.56.58 PMJust the experience of supporting a store that *gasp* sells records is in itself satisfying. And as an avid vinyl lover will profess, there’s something so special about finding that perfect beloved record. Collecting records is now becoming a popular hobby among both hipsters and those who are taking a walk down memory lane. Accordingly, both new and old records are increasingly easy to find. Of course, Urban Outfitters has them, but watch out, they are better bought at music stores with lower prices or through Ebay or Amazon.

Any Crosley record player is a great starter for a curious newcomer. The cost isn’t too overwhelming so you can dip your toes into the experience without the commitment of a $1,000+ turntable system. If you’re really serious about the sound, turntables are the way to go since you can continually upgrade speakers and your whole set up, and you can find a few for around $150-$200.

This is a turntable set up, rather than a player with built in, ready to go speakers.

This is a turntable set up, rather than a player with built in, ready to go speakers.

Keeping your records in baskets or creative boxes in easy to see areas adds a definite charm to any space. It’s simply a sweet, magical, nostalgic way to impress friends, unwind with a glass of wine, add a soundtrack to a rainy night, and put a touch of quirky into your everyday.

Screen Shot 2013-06-16 at 6.06.41 PMHappy hunting!

<3

 

Lavender Lemonade

8 Mar

Via Eat Yourself Skinny

I recently posted here that I’ve been growing rosemary and throwing it into my citrus based juices. Having a useful plant around is always nice and, if you ask me, quaint. For baking and sweets, lavender is so lovely. Not only can you make fantastic cookies with it, but I came across this recipe for lavender lemonade and thought I’d share. A big thank you to the creator over at Eat Yourself Skinny!

2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup agave nectar (or honey)
3 Tbsp dried lavender
2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 cups water
1 lemon, sliced (for garnish)
 
Over medium heat, combine two cups of water and sugar, bringing to a boil until sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat and stir in agave nectar and dried lavender.  Cover for about 15 minutes, allowing mixture to steep.  Strain lavender, making sure to release all juices and syrup.
 
In a large pitcher, combine freshly squeezed lemon juice, lavender mixture and water.  Feel free to add a drop of blue coloring and a drop of red to mixture to give it a lovely purple color.  Chill for at least 2 hours and serve over ice.  Enjoy!

 

Vocabulary, Vintage Radio, and Velvety Soft Serve

8 Mar

When the weather sucks and you want to snuggle up, the usual solution for most couples is, of course, a movie and a good ol’ fashioned bag of popcorn. But here are a few different ideas for you and your special someone that are a little less conventional.

Board Game

Okay, so maybe not Scrabble if you’re sweetie has the vocabulary of a third grader, but if you both can string a sentence together, you can play. It sounds dorky, but it’s actually really fun and it will get your competitive side going. Also, The Game of Life can be a cute one, requires very little skill, and is good for a laugh. If you want to take over the world, Risk, if you want to step into the financial game, Monopoly. Look through that dusty pile you have in the corner, it’ll all come back to you!

The Radio!

Now this suggestion may seem a little out of the ordinary, and I don’t actually mean a real radio. I happen to own a vintage radio that is now hooked up to Bluetooth, and through my Iphone, I stream old radio shows from the app Vintage Radio Lite (click here). Turn off all the lights, light some candles, make a snack or two, and set up your speakers! It’s surprisingly romantic and has a vintage charm. You can choose from Adventure, Comedy, Crime/Detective, Drama, History, Music, Mystery, Science Fiction, or Western! It’s silly, fun, and imaginative.

Make Your Own Ice Cream, Have a Sundae Bar!

Okay, so this one is kind of cheating because technically you can do this and then watch a movie. Make sure you crank the heat so you’re nice and cozy! Hamilton Beach makes an amazing half pint ice cream maker that is ridiculously foolproof. You throw the ingredients in the bowl, press on, wait a few minutes, and you have instant soft serve. You can add cookie dough, fudge, whatever your heart desires, into the mixture. Add hot fudge and enjoy. Cooking can be a bit of a headache and I personally like take out when the wind is howling, but making something together is always fun and this baby is hassle free. Click here to order an ice cream maker!

 

Whatever makes you and your special someone unique, celebrate it. Make staying home an opportunity to try something new and engage your imagination. <3

Makeup Magic

8 Mar

I have tried essentially every expensive liquid eyeliner out there. Makeup forever waterproof, Dior, Nars, you name it. But at $7.99, the Maybelline New York Eye Studio Master Precise Liquid Eyeliner is not only my favorite eyeliner pen that I have ever used, but comes at just the right price.

It works like a beautifully tipped ink pen. Do yourself a favor and stop messing around with smudgy cream liners and difficult to apply liquid pens – you will save yourself tons of time with no touch-ups needed.

Warm Whites

7 Mar

My current little home has color on the walls… it doesn’t get a lot of light, so I took a more candlelit bohemian approach with rich, bold colors. Next time around, in a space with abundant light, I plan to embrace the beauty of white, cream, bone, and ivory tones. White brightens everything, and combined with exposed wood and rustic materials, it can be just as cozy yet a touch more whimsical. Plus, given I love to grow household plants, the green combined with crisp white makes everything a little earthier.

Via Pinterest

I also love rustic, whitewashed walls. Combined with dark woods and a bohemian flair, it keeps things airy without being stark.

Via Pinterest

Small spaces seem infinitely less gloomy with cream on the walls and some earthy, rich wood.

Via Pinterest

A kind of rustic, suede effect in a cream tone looks lovely next to some potted plants with light streaming in.

Via Pinterest

With lots of foliage visible through the window and a few houseplants, white is a perfect color choice.

Via Pinterest

If you’re lucky enough to have wood beams/ceilings in your home, a white makes the exposed wood stand out and add to the space.

Via Pinterest

Via Moon to Moon

Using different textures and shades of white gives a space a charming, bohemian vibe.

Via Pinterest

Via Pinterest

If you love collecting, colour, and tend to fill up your living space, white on the wall can keep it charming versus cluttered.

Via Pinterest

And the big benefit? If you move out, it is a lot less work to get the place back to crisp, clean, basic walls.

Consider keeping it simple!

 

 

 

Import Some Italiano

5 Mar

Via Couture Courier

Italy. Known for beautiful women, beautiful architecture, beautiful food, beautiful wine, and beautifully passionate people. Idyllic in so many ways, both in big cities and in tiny towns. But how can you import a little Italiano flavor into your hectic life? Serenella Leoni, lays out some integral aspects of Italian culture.

“Fresh, healthy food”

“To the Italians, food is life and as such, they honor it using the freshest ingredients. All the senses are evoked during purchasing, growing, preparing or eating food. Every meal is to be enjoyed to the fullest. There’s an old Italian proverb: A tavola non s’invecchi mai. It means you never grow old at the table.”
Solution? Nudge a little touch of fresca into your routine by polishing up that green thumb. That ratty old corner of the garden you’ve been meaning to clean up? How about a raised bed of lettuce? Arugula? Green onion? Strawberries? Or if space is an issue, try growing a couple of your own herbs on your doorstep and on a windowsill or two! Also, check out if you have any local CSAs offering fresh boxes of produce, and make some time to visit your local farmer’s market.
“Passion for life

Via Ciao Christy

Whether it’s cooking, painting or working, the Italian approach is to be present and attentive throughout the entire process. Here again, using all of the senses in order to squeeze out every bit of pleasure. And nothing is ever rushed. As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day!”
Solution? Cut down on unproductive behaviors like mindlessly trolling Facebook and go to bed earlier so you don’t repeatedly hit the snooze. Sleep well so you have energy to focus, take time out for yourself, and schedule your day realistically. You’re only human!
“Life-long curiosity
Italians’ innate curiosity keeps life fresh. They continue to seek answers and learn new things.”
Solution? New market opened up down the street? New restaurant just open its doors? Hear about a costume party? A drive in movie theater? Something you’ve never down before? Try it!
“Family ties and traditions

Via Life in Italy

The social connection of family, friends and traditions gives meaning to life in a celebratory way. It gives Italians a reason to stop work and pay attention to people, play and fun. Sharing their life with others equates to love.”
Solution? Call up mama! Organize a once a week happy hour with friends. A standing date your special someone. Create a new holiday tradition, or continue one you had as a child. Throw a party, organize an outing, cook a big dinner!
“Simplicity

Via Urban Research Toolkit

Italians place more value on the simple things in life (family, community, enjoying a Tuscan sunset) rather than the material things most westerners covet. There are plenty of happy farmers in Italy who want no more than to share a meal with others in their community.”
Solution? Plan a picnic! Bust out that wicker basket you never actually used and that old tablecloth you never sewed up after it tore a little. Make time to actually watch a sunset! Look up the time the sun is setting, and plan to watch on that little outcropping you always meant to stop at. Make time to say hello to your neighbors on your daily walk.
So my wonderful readers, slow down, have a coffee, enjoy a sunset, and remember to reflect on what really matters. Bring some old school Italian flavor into your routine, trust me, you won’t regret it! Meglio tardi, che mai!
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