Staying Stylish in Suburbia

10 Lovely Housewarming Gift Ideas

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Lately a lot of people I know (including us) are either house hunting or have recently moved into a new pad. Which got me to thinking about house warming gifts. Both what I might like to receive and what I would might like to give. They can be tricky. Mostly because they can be tacky. It's also hard to know another persons precise taste. I think the best way to go about it is to keep things simple but with a unique twist whenever possible. With that in mind I've compiled a list of 10 housewarming gifts. What do you think? Any other great ideas to add to the mix? 


1. City Print



                                                 


2. Personalized Address Stamp



                                                   


3. House Plant














                                                   


3. Stone Coasters


                                                 


5. Dipped Cutting Board



                                       


6. Hammock 


                                 


7. Birdhouse





                                             

8. Teaspoon Rests



                                           

9. Wind Chime


                                               

10. Bottle Opener


                                          

How about you? Any other great gift ideas to add to the list? 

1. City Print - Source: etsy.com via Juniper on Pinterest
2. Personalized Address Stamp - Source: etsy.com via Juniper on Pinterest
3. Lovely House Plant - Source: etsy.com via Juniper on Pinterest
4. Stone Coasters - Source: etsy.com via Juniper on Pinterest
5. Dipped Cutting Board - Source: tealandlime.com via Palmer & on Pinterest
6. Hammock - Source: ethicalocean.com via Juniper on Pinterest
7. Birdhouse - Source: etsy.com via Juniper on Pinterest 
8. Teaspoon Rests - Source: etsy.com via Juniper on Pinterest
9. Wind Chime - Source: etsy.com via Juniper on Pinterest
10. Bottle Opener -  Source: shopruche.com via Juniper on Pinterest

Foodie Friday

Friday, April 19, 2013

Tonight I'm making tostadas, an easy yet delightful little dish with so many possibilities. Once you've got the tostada itself (I bought a bag at our local grocery store) all you have to is warm it up in the oven and add the toppings with garnishes. Here are a few ideas-

- Chili lime shrimp with corn salsa and queso fresco 
- Carne asada with green chili and cilantro
- Chicken with sour cream and peach salsa 

Egg and Avocado Tostada 

I'm making a version of this egg and avocado tostada tonight with mango salsa, a dollop of sour cream and fresh cilantro to top it off. I'll also be serving it with a side of simple black beans. Yum!!!



How we see ourselves vs. How others see us

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I'll be the first to admit that pregnancy can be especially hard on a persons self image. I wish I felt all glowing and beautiful all the time but more often than not it's been just the opposite. All I see are the bags under my eyes and the extra pounds. No matter how many times my husband looks adoringly at me or a friend compliments my new mama physique, I have a hard time seeing whatever it is they see. Which is not to say that I can't appreciate the beauty in the other pregnant women. Just not in myself quite as much.

On the other hand as a mom I am constantly gazing at my two year old daughter, admiring every eyelash and dimpled detail on her little being. I can't imagine her ever feeling anything but beautiful. Unfortunately as a woman I know better and dread the day that she will begin to pick herself apart. Which is why when I ran across this project in the Creative Review, I had to pass it along. It's such an  important reminder for me to keep striving for self love. Not only for my own sake but also in regards to the example I am setting for my little girl.

The concept is a collaboration between Ogilvy Brazil and Dove's campaign for real beauty. An experiment to contrast the way women perceive themselves compared to the way others see them. The project involved a top forensic sketch artists who was commissioned to sit down with individual women and listen as they describe themselves in detail without ever being seen. The first description (by the women themselves) is represented by the image on the left. The second image on the right is a description by a complete stranger of the same woman. The results are quite revealing...







What about you? Have you struggled with seeing yourself the way others seem to see you? How important do you think this sort of campaign is in starting a new discussion about beauty?

 Here is a short video describing how the project worked in more detail. It's definitely worth a watch. 


Dove Real Beauty Sketches






Cherry Blossom Festival

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Spring has sprung!!!! Feeling mighty lucky to be in D.C. this year for the annual cherry blossom festival. What an explosion of pretty pink petals! 

National Public Radio put a call out to it's listeners for cherry blossom inspired haikus. I've included a few of my favorites to go along with the pictures. I hope the trees and flowers are blooming wherever you're at too. Enjoy! 



Only three times I've
Seen these trees turned into clouds
But I cannot forget
— Glen Varnado



park bench take-away
the sky and cherry blossoms 
in a cup of tea
— Paul Conneally



cherry blossom rain
sound of a love song passes
with the traffic
— Dawn Apanius



the first day of Spring 
a wooly caterpillar 
wears a pink bonnet
— Amos White

Currently Coveting...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013



GREEN & PINK FOR SPRING

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Pink and Green for Spring
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Foodie Friday

Friday, April 5, 2013

                                 Source: scotchandscones.tumblr.com via Juniper on Pinterest

Clean, Mean, Eating Machine

All of a sudden I'm hearing more and more about the catch phrase "clean eating." From what I gather it basically entails cooking the way I aspire to eat anyways, meaning fresh, seasonal, local and mostly unprocessed foods. Not that I always manage to pull that off mind you. Moving has made our eating habits less than stellar as of late. But the worse I eat the more I dream of doing better, especially now that I'm eating for two. With spring still promising to show up any day now and seasonal produce preparing to pop up in local marketplaces, there should be no lack of inspiration in regards to vibrant ingredients. But if you can't find the right components just yet, consider this article by David Tanis in the The New York Times Dining and Wining section on "Banishing Winter with the Taste of Spring." In it, he argues that even though there may be a lack of spring ingredients still in many local market places (especially on the east coast) that should not deter us from attempting to appease our restless tastebuds. I especially liked his suggestion to mimic spring by making lighter meals and using simple ingredients such as citrus and fresh herbs to brighten things up a bit. It is amazing what even a bit of mint can do to ease the winter weary soul. One hint of it in my drink or salad and my mind goes straight back to summer camp. I am all at once a carefree kid again, barefoot and brazen, reaching to pluck a sprig of wild spearmint from the back porch of the dining hall. Delicious!Here are a couple of recipes from the food blog, Naturally Ella, that I'm thinking of making this week. What about you. Any good tricks up your sleeve to put a little spring pep back in our pallets? 



KALE & COUSCOUS

                                           

Ingredients
  • 1 cup kale, de-stemmed and shredded
  • ½ cup Israeli Couscous, uncooked
  • ½ cup chickpeas (drained, if using canned)
  • ¼ cup feta
  • Dressing:
  • 2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons green garlic (or ¼ cup green onions)
Instructions
  1. Place couscous in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let cook until Cous Cous is tender, 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.
  2. While Couscous is cooking, Whisk together oil, vinegar, honey, and minced garlic. (you can also whiz the green garlic in the food processor and then add the other dressing ingredients.)
  3. Once cous cous is done cooking, toss with kale. Let sit until kale is slightly wilted. Add in dressing, feta, and chickpeas. Toss all together and serve.
  4. If you want it warm, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan. Add in chickpeas, cooking for 1-2 minutes until heated through. Add in Kale and cook until slightly wilted. Toss with Couscous and Dressing.

GRILLED CHEESE CREPES WITH SHAVED ASPARAGUS 

Ingredients
  • Crepe:
  • ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1½ tablespoons butter, melted
  • Filling:
  • ½ pound asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup green onions
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • Mozzarella Cheese
Instructions
  1. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium low heat. Shave or thinly slice asparagus and dice green onion. Toss green onion and garlic in with olive oil and heat for 2-3 minutes, just until fragrant. Add in asparagus and heat until asparagus turns a nice bright green color, only another 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, set aside.
  2. Whisk together flour, salt, eggs, milk, and melted butter until smooth. Heat 8″ skillet and lightly grease with oil. Place a scant ¼ cup of batter in pan. Tilt the pan so that the batter covers the entire pan and cook for about 30 seconds. Flip and cook for another 15 seconds. Place done crepes on a piece of parchment paper (be sure not to fully stack crepes.)
  3. Once crepes are finished (this will make about eight) place a couple spoonfuls of asparagus and a bit of mozzarella on half the crepe. Fold over to cover the filling, then fold again to form a ¼ circle.
  4. Return crepe to pan over medium low heat and cook until each side is golden brown and mozzarella has melted. Serve with a slight drizzle of olive oil and extra green onions.

                              




                                         Source: thegardenerseden.com via Juniper on Pinterest

Blue Ridge Babymoon

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

We recently decided to take a quick "babymoon" for our six year anniversary to the mountains of North Carolina. Not only is it an incredibly beautiful place to visit, it also happens to be where B and I grew up (respectively) and where our families still live. That was one of the main draws to being back on the east coast. We were especially excited to finally take advantage of having a free baby sitter (thanks Gran) for our first night away together in over two years!

Driving out of the city with the mountains up ahead in the distance. 


Travel Tunes


It was a six hour drive (more like eight with a toddler) but we were listening to the Drive by Truckers on the way and feeling mighty fine. (May I suggest playing this song while you look through the rest of the pics.) So good!


Food and Familiar Sights







Seeing as how both B and I both grew up around here, it felt a bit odd to be walking around downtown Asheville as tourists. It was fun though. We hadn't counted on how busy it would be on Easter Sunday (silly us) and all of the restaurants had fairly long waiting lists for lunch. So we put our name down at one of my favorite spots, Tupelo Honey, and did a little of "sight seeing" in the meantime.


A LITTLE PAMPERING 



After lunch we walked over to Theology Spa on College Street where I had booked a couples message for us. Neither of us had ever been there before but I had heard good things and we were not disappointed. We've had a crazy couple of months what with a new pregnancy, new job, cross country move, house hunting, house buying etc... and our stress levels have been through the roof at times. I figured what better way to celebrate our anniversary and relax into our new life back on the east coast than with a little pampering. B got the deep tissue treatment and I had a maternity message. It was heaven! We walked out of there into a dreamily drizzly day feeling totally rejuvenated and a little bit drugged but in the best way possible.



Fancy Pants



Next we were off to check into our room at the famous Grove Park Inn. I actually went to a prom here when I was fifteen. Crazy, right!? I could have never imagined back then that I might one day be back to celebrate a wedding anniversary with my sweetie-pie. Even more amazing was that we could afford it. I'm not sure how I pulled it off but it was actually a reasonable price for a one night stay. The swanky doors to the Inn were officially opened to the public back in 1913. The architecture has always reminded me of what a hobbit might build were he to run a large and lavish hotel. The main entrance boasts two huge fireplaces flanking either end of the grand hall complete with rocking chairs where we were able to enjoy live music and hot chocolate after dinner. The grand veranda/restaurant overlooking the valley below is also worth a gander. Oh and I can't leave out incredible indoor pool/spa area. AMAZING! Our room was on the 3rd floor and the elevator we took up had been built into the original chimney. Everywhere we looked there were art deco details harkening back to the days of Fitzgerald and the likes. Such fun!


Silhouettes


My favorite part of the entire hotel experience was the huge bay window that opened up to lush mountainside. 

Another lovely view


 Mountain Mama and her Man


Happy six year anniversary to us! We were only gone for an afternoon and a night but it felt like the perfect amount of time to regroup and relax together. And by the end we were more than ready to get back to our baby love! What about you? Any good babymoon stories or ideas of great places to get away?