Me Hungry!

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I pieced together for this little video (only 30 seconds) from a day when Judah and I were home together last week, after school was cancelled due to snow.  I am usually sitting at my computer in my office (i.e., craft room) so the vantage point is always the same when I get a “drive-by” (usually half a dozen times a night).

One of his teachers said to me once, “Judah’s always so excited when he wakes up from naps, like ‘the world is still here to play in!'”  I thought this was a lovely sentiment and one that I wanted to remember because I had always interpreted the wild-eyed, crazy look he woke up as an internal drive to forage for food.   The first thing he says in the morning  is “I want brekfest!” and then “Where’s the sun, I’m hungryyy!” sometimes followed by “Daddy, here’s your glasses (handing my husband his glasses from the nightstand).”

I started saying “Me Hungry” as a joke to my husband after sentences such as “let’s go get a cupcake!” or “let’s eat out tonight!”  It was inspired by this episode of 30 Rock and, if you haven’t seen it, download right. a. way.

The baby picked up this phrase (evidently, I use it quite a bit…) and now he, too, says it to make a slightly similar, but different, point.  He is the sweetest, sweetest boy and evidently the genetics lean strongly toward the maternal side.

Me hungry!

xx

PS-If you’re wondering what’s smeared all over his body in the last scene, that’s yogurt and, trust me when I say, you don’t want to know.

 

Homemade Valentine’s: I Love You Because…

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I’m back in Maryland this week after a low-key weekend in NYC to visit the Martha Stewart offices (post coming soon).  My husband decided, at the last minute, to join me for a lovely weekend away.  But, at the last minute, a unrelentless virus decided it wanted to come too and so, my husband was grouchy and sick for most of the trip.

It was so bitterly cold in NYC this past weekend that we didn’t leave the hotel, but luckily were staying at one of our favoirtes—the Mondrian in Soho—and they have a marvelous restaurant for dinner and breakfast, and comfortable rooms.  Truthfully, since we got rid of cable/television more than a year ago, even sitting in bed watching cable seems as indulgent as taking a bubble bath; while getting a foot massage; while eating truffles/caramel salted ice cream/and lobster linguini simultaneously; while getting my nails done; while listening to Frank Sinatra; while drinking champagne.  Of course, that would have been nice too.  When it gets that cold in NYC (or anywhere for that matter), I hear the Universe calling to me:  Goooo toooo Florridaa.

I had 4 hours on the drive up and back to NYC to plan my Valentine’s for this year.  I initially planned this project for my husband, but had so much fun with it, I then did one for my son, and just kept going from there.  It’s called 10 Things I Love About You and is intended to be used like an advent calendar–but for each day you count down to Valentine’s, you send/give one I Love You Because card to your Valentine.

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I made these sweet 4×6 cards in Illustrator, each one says I Love You Because…and there’s space to write in your own personalized love note.  I sized them to be 4×6 so that I could attach a 4×6 photo on the back of the person I was sending it to.  So, for my husband I included photos us together and of our family, for aunts and uncles I used photos that I have recently taken of them, and for my son I had fun going back to his baby pictures and included a mix of everyhing.   I hand wrote some of the cards and, on others, I printed my reason off and taped the phrase onto the card (it looked kinda like a fortune cookie).

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Accessorize with any number of Valentine’s ephemera, including glitter, any of Heidi Swapp’s newest line, stickers, ribbons, twine, rose petals, candy hearts, dollies, etc.  I sewed a paper heart onto some of my cards, glued on cut-out felt hearts, and added ribbon to others.

Here are the 10 reasons I included on my hubby’s cards for some ideas/inspiration:

You give life the benefit of the doubt.

 You are unbearably handsome.

You give each day your all.

You are unwaiveringly reliable.

You grow with me in the direction of our dreams.

You inspire me to get better each day.

Your delicious kisses.

You laugh instead of losing your temper.

Your intense energy and how you express it.

You are mine (forever!).

If you’re signed up for the Valentine’s Day Banner class at the Muse, we’ll be making these Homemade Valentine’s: I Love You Because… cards along with our banners!

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Kisses and hearts,

xx

Unique Hardware in My Mint Bathroom

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About 5 years ago, I came home on a Friday night from a stressful work trip that lasted 3 weeks.  I walked into my condo at the time, which had a gorgeous view of Maryland from the 19th floor, and, as I opened the door, a single thought materialized right before me:  if I didn’t know who lived here, I wouldn’t be interested in knowing this person at all.

The walls were white– the same color they were when I moved in.  The furniture was beige and/or black, and while each piece was well-made and lovely, everything was focused on functionality and  nothing, or next to nothing, was visually stimulating.  I had a few Eiffel towers scattered about, which I accumulated from various places and people since high school–when I first went to Paris and developed a profound fondness for it (the Mona Lisa poster I got from the Louvre on that trip and framed has hung in every home I’ve lived in since).  Nothing in that condo stood out or called to me, nothing reflected who I was as a person, or, alternatively and even more frightening, the decor perfectly reflected who I was at the time: working 8-14 hours a day, molding my personality and interests to do well at work, and with very little drive to do anything else.

The next day, I went to Ikea and replaced everything in my home.   Witnessing a single women in Ikea attempting to redecorate 3 rooms on one trip is like filing for divorce on December 26th: something very unpleasant occurred the day before and massive action was required, immediately.   After Ikea, I hired someone to paint one wall in the condo orange, one red, and one hot pink (also, to put all that Ikea stuff together).  Did I go overboard? As my 2 year old says, “Goodness No!”

There’s the theory that how you do one thing is how you do everything.  And then there’s that theory (and handy self-reflection tool) that every single thing in your home, down to the towels in your closet, is a reflection of who you are and, even more interesting, your subconscious landscape.  One way to play with this is to make a list using lots of adjectives of everything you love about your house and everything you dislike, down to the minute details.   Start each bullet point with “I love my home because” or “I dislike my home because” and then, when your all finished, replace “my home” with “myself” and see if anything resonates.

Now, onto the show.

I promised to reveal our mint buddy bath last week, so here it is.  The floor is marble, the shower is done with glass subway tiles, and, the hardware (think, make like a peacock!) is from Silk and Burlap.

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On both of the showers in our home, we included recessed shower shelves for shampoo and soaps (during the design process, my husband actually measured the large-size Aveda shampoo and conditioner bottles I use to make sure they fit).  Small details, such as this, although functional, are also more streamlined aesthetically.  Shower caddies are clunky, they rust, and are never the size you need to fit everything.  (Sidenote: I just went into the bathroom and noticed a shower caddy hanging in the shower–and also in the picture.  Sigh.)  I also love that this bathroom is not rectangular, but instead has a slightly recessed wall that the changing table fits against seamlessly.  Now, there’s never a diaper smell in Judah’s room, and the whole changing process just feels more contained and sanitary in the bathroom.  This was a happy accident, rather than a clever design feature, but an idea I will definitely be repeating in the future.

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Finally, this last feature of our condo gets tons of compliments.  The unique hardware we also got from Silk and Burlap and glamorizes the plain white built-in in the spare bedroom.  The knobs come in bright pastel colors and have a “new vintage” look with a brass number on each.  My eyes dart straight for these darling knobs each time I walk in the spare bedroom.

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So, go ahead, make like a peacock and go for the wow factor:  revisit your own hardware in the bathroom or other places in your home.

xx

Veggie Pot Pie and Vegan Wine

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If you’re on the east coast, I don’t need to inform you that it’s been blisteringly cold the last few weeks and, unless you live in Chicago or Minnesota where cold weather is routine, weather this frigid, even in Maryland, becomes an event: schools close, people work from home, facebook statuses whine about the weather, and everywhere you go people somehow work into the conversation a painfully obvious comment on the weather (e.g., “stay warm!” replaces “have a nice day!”, “it’s cold out there!” instead of “hello”, and an acceptable response to “how are you” is “it’s cold!”).  If you’re on the west coast,  you’ve already skimmed past this paragraph and ordered your next mojito or snow cone in your flip-flops sitting underneath your palm tree.

In an effort to refocus my energy from the downfall of snow while driving back from NYC this past weekend (backseat driving that is), I was perusing the January issue of Martha and hunting recipes that were on the heartier side to defrost my cold bones.  I zeroed in on the recipe card for Chicken Pot Pie, yum.

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On Monday night, I made a few simple veggie/vegan substitutions and voila–a beautiful and homey meal that we paired marvelously with a glass of bordeaux from Marks and Spencer.

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I was recently informed by one of my strictly vegan friends (a friend who is so strictly vegan that she does not even allow a dish containing meat to enter the house) that wine in general not only contains grapes, but may also include “blood and bone marrow, casein (milk protein), chitin (fiber from crustacean shells), egg albumen (derived from egg whites), fish oil, gelatin (protein from boiling animal parts), and isinglass (gelatin from fish bladder membranes)” from the fining process.   (I hate it when they slip isinglass into your beverage and forget to mention it!)   In Australia, wine-makers actually have to indicate on the label if the wine contains non-vegan ingredients.veggiepotpie3

If you are a strict vegan or raw foodist (or just generally grossed out at the thought of blood and bone marrow entering your diet), a few winemakers actually offer vegan wines, including M & S, which has been certified by the Vegan Society as a distributor that offers vegan-friendly wines.

Vegan wines use animal-friendly fining agents, such as carbon, bentonite clay, limestone, kaolin clay, plant casein, silica gel, and vegetable plaques.

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If you do make Veggie Pot Pie and Vegan Wine, make sure to add a potato to the recipe (the link above is not the same recipe as the magazine–which I think is slightly better and also includes a potato and leafy green).  Don’t forget about frozen puff pastry for the pie topping.  (Depending on where you live, you may also be able to find a vegan version of puff pastry as well.)

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Thumbs up from the little one.  (No vegan wine until you’re 3, YOUNG MAN!)

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My husband even made these mini-apple tarts with the extra dough left over from the veggie pot pie.  I love the gluten-free dough recipe from A House in the Hills using millet and almond flours and am filing that idea away.

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Keep warm!

xx

This is a sponsored post.  Thank you for supporting brands that make FVB possible.

Valentine’s Inspiration with Ribbons

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I wouldn’t admit this to just anyone, but one of the central inspirations for this blog was a trip to a ribbon factory outlet with my mother-in-law 3 years ago.  This particular ribbon factory, Berwick Offray, located in Hagerstown, Maryland and one of the largest in the nation, is, essentially, a blank space filled with tubs, and tubs, and tubs of thousands of ribbons of all colors, sizes, and textures.  And not only is it a ribbon factory, but it’s also an outlet–so nearly all of the ribbons are priced between $0.10-$4.

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My reaction to witnessing these tubs of ribbons organized by colors and in various patterns, sheers/sheens, wires, and holiday-themes was pure ectasy.

My observation of my own unbridled happiness at (1) being in the presence of all of those ribbons and (2) taking a dozen photos of the ribbons on my phone (I later went back with my DSLR) scared me, then amused me, then scared me again.  Why was I so excited by ribbons and photographing them?  (After all, I didn’t sew, I didn’t craft, and I spent my days in a black, blue, or grey pantsuit at a desk.) What, or what, could I do with all. these. ribbons. Why had I never been ribbon-shopping before?

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Shortly after that trip, this blog was born and, since then, I seem to have found endless uses for my vast ribbon supply, which my mother-in-law usually picks up for me seasonally.  I go through anywhere from 2-7 rolls of ribbon for 1 of my banners.  I’ve hung ribbons on chandeliers, wrapped them around vases, threaded them thru and around cards, and I am pleased to say they comprise an entire box in my crafting room.  Ironically, I rarely ever use my ribbons for wrapping presents.  Perhaps my favorite use for all my ribbons is tying ribbon upon ribbon.  Ahhhhh, bliss.

valentine's-decor2These particular ribbons, photographed in this post, my mother-in-law recently picked up for me for a slew of Valentine’s projects that are in the works, including a hot-air balloon-themed baby shower that I’m styling, some “I Love You Because” Valentine’s Day cards that I’m making, the Valentine’s banner and card-making class I’m teaching, and, of course, to replenish my consistently, well-stocked ribbon box.

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As an example of the range of ribbons Berwick Offray offers, my mother-in-law found these adorable footprint and “It’s a Girl!” ribbons for the upcoming hot-air balloon baby shower.  Aren’t they divine?

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Wishing you your own Valentine’s Inspiration with Ribbons.

Signing off,

No longer ashamed by my ribbon fetish.

 

xx