Sunday, July 31, 2011

Living Room Art

I'm probably going to drive everyone crazy with our living room, but it's the room we spend the most time in so I want it to be beautiful. It's also the room that I feel has the most potential (yet I currently feel its the most hopeless).

I found some rugs that I like, but I'm considering getting some art for the wall first before I get into buying accessories. I need some sort of focal piece to work the room around, and hopefully some art will provide some much needed inspiration (obviously only if I can actually decide on something). A problem I have is buying hundreds of things that I like, but nothing ever going together. When we moved in everyone has told me to take my time with everything, and really make it what I want. But that advice has crippled me from doing anything. I'm so paranoid about stuff working and fitting and being warm and inviting that I can't seem to buy anything but a set of West Elm curtains that are in a drawer because I don't know where to put them. :)

So here are some wall options. I think I like the idea of having lots of neutrals with pops of turquoise and lime, or a variety of blues. Do you like any of these?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Rug Choices

Do you guys like any of these? This rug thing is stressing me out. I just feel a little bit directionless in this living room. But here are some choices I can see myself using (they are all in the 9' range). Thoughts? Feedback? Ideas? Help?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Drab Living Room

So I need help. In a big way.

This is our living room and breakfast area. We currently have a rectangle Ikea table under this chandelier, and the den has a sofa, loveseat, 2 recliners, some side tables and a coffee table. The room is a little bit drab with a touch of manliness. Our recliners are dark green, and all the tables are dark brown. The fire place also has green marble (really? of all colors for a fire place you chose green?). So I'm trying to steer away from the dark green and brown, but I really have no idea what I want. Or how to use the dark green and brown for the time being until I have the funds to buy non hand-me-down pieces. If the room was more isolated, then I think it'd be a lot easier. But since it flows into the breakfast area, kitchen, then onto the dining room- I have to be a little bit more intentional with how I separate the spaces and use the manliness to my advantage. Surely thats possible, right?

Here are 3 different mood boards from Young House Love. Ideally I'd like to pick and choose some items from each of these to incorporate into the room.

In this first picture I love the rug and curtains. I have an ivory couch, so seeing a neutral rug that still stands apart from the couch is great to visualize for me.
I love the colors in this second mood board. And the picture at #3 is beautiful, and guess what, it's a $12 poster! The YHL recommendation was to frame the poster in a sleek dark frame which I think is genius. I've been searching high and low for some art or pictures, and I think I might have found my solution. Its modern, big, and pulls a few different colors. I also love the rug and general color palette.
I love the lamps in this third board as well as the neutral chair. The pop of turquoise and lime is dreamy. Same with the vase.
So those are my ideas. I have no idea how I'll actually execute any of these ideas, but I at least am leaning towards a colored palette. Which is a HUGE step in the right direction. Praise the Lord. Any advice or thoughts you have would be HUGE! I feel so lost.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Good Eats

So last night, I made these babies. Coconut shrimp with pineapple dipping sauce. Oh man, take me to heaven RIGHT NOW. These were glorious. A little labor intensive, but still glorious. And this pineapple sauce is just pineapple preserves mixed with lime juice. So. Easy. (Technically you're also supposed to add jalapenos, but I did not). Enjoy salivating over this picture while I munch on the leftovers.
With the coconut shrimp, I tried these fries. Which were even more labor intensive than the coconut shrimp, but they were the best homemade fries I've ever had. And they were baked and not fried so in my heart that's a bonus.
And tonight I made these, spinach and feta quesadillas. And yes you read that right, SPINACH and feta quesadillas. I probably have a fever.

I don't know whats gotten into me lately with all this Pinterest-inspired cooking, but I'm sure Patrick appreciates this kick. Happy cooking everyone! I'm off to sweat over the Bachelorette and the awkwardness it provides.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Turkey Lettuce Wraps With Asian Slaw

This is a recipe from my friend Abby, via Trish. So each of us have edited it a little bit according to our own preferences. Hope you enjoy, it's delicious!

Start with 1 pound of ground turkey
1/2 of a white onion chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic
Brown turkey along with onion and garlic, drain

Add honey
Soy sauce (or Bragg's Liquid Amino Acids)
And ground ginger, let simmer.

This is broccoli cole slaw that I bought from Trader Joes.
I added a few dashes of balsamic vinegar
some agave nectar, and a mix of regular and olive oil. Mixed it together.
Put the ground turkey and the broccoli cole slaw together on a piece of lettuce and enjoy!

Here is the real recipe (I altered mine according to what I had or could get at Trader Joes):

Ground turkey or beef
1/2 white onion
Braggs Amino Acids (or soy sauce)
Ginger (grated or ground)
Cashews (soaked in water in order to soften them)
1-2 cloves of garlic

Brown the meat and onion and garlic first. Then add everything else to taste.

Asian Slaw:
1-2 packets ramen noodles (don't use seasoning packet) - crush
1/4 cup finely chopped almonds
1/3 cup sesame seeds (not necessary)

Brown the noodles and almonds in butter until brown. Set aside on paper towels.

Slaw dressing:
1/2 cup oil (mix canola and olive)
1/4 cup sugar
A few dashes of balsamic vinegar
2 TB soy sauce
Pepper to taste

Mix brocolli slaw with 2-3 green onions and the noodle mixture. Stir dressing on top. Layer on a good-size piece of lettuce! This is probably the healthiest meal I've ever eaten, PS.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I'm in Daytona, Florida for BigStuf this week, and I heard a band I'd never heard before. Gungor was the group and I'd only heard how weird and nutty they were and how some people loved them and some people hated them, so I was anxious to hear what they sounded like. To me they sound like a mix of Mumford & Sons, Kristene Mueller, and Nickelcreek. With Jesus.

Here's a video of a song I loved last night. They're doing worship at camp right now so I can't listen to this version, but it can only be good. They're really talented and so different. So here is "Beautiful Things" from the Relevant Studio.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Quote from Diva Muffin

So I was reading my former roommate's blog (and normally I don't refer to her as a "former" roommate because I still feel like we are one in spirit but have separate bodies), and I discovered some delicious quoatables. Now, they might not be as wonderful to you as they are to me and I'm okay with that. I want you to read these things and come away feeling like it's okay if you don't have anything together. Because none of us really do and it's probably better for everyone if we just embrace that, rather than pretending.

In regards to her favorite things:

reality tv. its like i would much rather get overly involved in people's lives on tv than make real life decisions for myself. its a bit avoidant, i admit, but its working for me right now

lykke li
and the decemberists

hot black coffee and nice earthy teas

sleeping way too late

re-reading malcolm gladwell. he inspires me to think more.

also, my apartment cannot seem to keep itself together.
i would think that you might walk in and say to yourself, "man! i bet she's working on something really great right now. i can't wait to see this project/experiment/writing masterpiece." false.
things are just a mess.
you would say that because there is just stuff all over the place. like i'm too wrapped up inside my brain to put stuff where it goes.

i keep toying with the idea of moving or not and so i can't seem to get comfortable in my space.
one of my least favorite things is to spend time doing something just to undo it or redo it. so i'd rather live in limbo.
this is a bad idea, everyone.

Love this girl. And wish we still lived a mere somersault away from each other. Or in a room with bunk beds and Obi. With her alarm going off for hours at a time. Lisa, George and John might also be tucked into the covers or in a palette on the floor for safe keeping (they're hot commodities). Black relatives on the wall. Surrounded by clothes that were washed 6 six weeks ago but never made it into the closet. And 10 cups of water.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

House and Mirror Redo

Here are some pictures of the inside of our house before we started moving all of our stuff in. I realized I'd only posted 1-2 pictures, so I figured you might want to see a little bit more. (If not, discontinue reading here...) It might make my decorating re-dos a little bit easier to envision.

Here is what the house looked like the day we started moving in!

This is from the formal living room looking into the dining room. These are the two rooms that I'm going to do in a darker grey (dining room) and a lighter grey (living room).

View from the kitchen into the den. Check out the dark green marble fire place (gag). It is really nice, but dark green and brown are so manly to me. I feel like I'm in a bachelor pad in some ways.

This is the really beautiful pink office. NOT. It took TONS of primer, and tons of paint in order to cover this up. They also kindly left us the daisy curtain rod. :)


View of the backyard.

AND HERE IS MY FIRST REDO OF THE HOUSE! And yes it's small, and easy peasy, but hey- I did something! Let's just rejoice in that.

This is the mirror.
What I used to spray paint it (I taped paper over the glass).

The finished product! Still with the paper...sorry about that. But this will go on the wall in the dining room, and I think it will go really nice with the white beadboard that lines the walls.

I also spray painted a black and bronze lamp white, but I learned quickly that all my lamp shades are ivory....womp womp womp. Oh TJ Maxx I go. Again.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Each week I prepare teams to go to Haiti. I help them understand what to expect, how to dress, the snacks to pack, and the lens with which they need to view the culture. Now, most of those things seem small, but in fact they are very difficult to do. No matter how I prepare teams, they are always surprised once they arrive. And usually somewhat discouraged.

This past week we sent three teams from a local Atlanta church to work in the community of Bohoc. Bohoc is really the first community that The 410 Bridge started in in Haiti (other than a brief stint in Port au Prince right after the earthquake). It has a Leadership Council that is responsible for prioritizing the needs of the community, and working with our teams to ensure that they are helping and not hurting the local businesses, churches, orphanages, schools, etc.

Despite my best efforts, and our Haitian staff's best efforts...things fall through. Connections don't get made, tires go flat in the middle of a 6 hour drive, a van will get stuck in mud, or a guest house will forget that they agreed to host a team of 32. That. stuff. just. happens. And what I have a hard time doing on my end is preparing a team and a leader for that stuff to happen. It is normal. And it is not because we didn't plan enough. Haitians are so focused on surviving today, that a lot of the time they don't know how to plan for the future. They do the best they can, but we want to do anything but force our American type-A mindsets on them. We want them to be empowered and to lead us in how to better serve Haiti. And sometimes thats not as comforting as we want it to be.

We get complaints all the time that the roads are bad, the food didn't quite accommodate all the needs of the team, there was a flat tire, or there weren't enough tools for the team. We love the feedback and work diligently to keep those things from happening for each team. But recently I've been changing how I prepare teams. And the way I've done that has been to re-frame how they view these "hiccups." If they are looking for things to go wrong, they will almost always find them. But if they are looking for opportunities to be used or to be challenged, they will be excited and blessed and continually encouraged that God is at work.

This is the blog from the teams that are currently in Haiti, and it is cool to see them take advantage of each of the times that appear "unplanned" or problematic. Because in reality, we have no idea how God will want to use us, or where our most significant conversations or relationships will come. With these three teams, I've worked really hard to help them see opportunities rather than opposition. Because God is big and strategic, and is not sending hundreds of people to Haiti without really cool plans in store for them. But we have to be open and looking for those things, otherwise we'll miss them.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Trial Run

So in our household, we love animals and pets. Patrick and I have a sweet cat (Bailey) that we love very much. But since Patrick and I got married, he's practically been begging me to let us have a dog too. Our agreement was that we would have one of each, but being in a one bedroom apartment prevented us from getting a puppy. We knew we wanted a big dog so we decided it'd only be fair to wait until we moved into a house with more space.

Well, now we're in a house and have the opportunity to adopt this little beauty:

The unfortunate thing is that this lovely black lab is ALSO named Bailey. She is almost a year old, trained, and very calm. She doesn't jump or lick, and lets kiddos hang all over her. No we don't have kids to test that theory, but it is helpful for future reference. :)

Our good friends the Jacksons have had Bailey for several months, and are honestly just tired of taking care of her. Their kids are little and they have another one on the way, so they are obviously not much help with a mutt. I saw a post on facebook about them taking her to Petsmart to find her a home, so I figured...why not give her a trial run at our house? They're going to the beach for a week and a half, so its the perfect time to try our hand and lifestyle at a dog.

I've never had a dog and I told Patrick that I don't know how to talk to them, how to pet them, how to hold them or anything. He said "First of all, you don't hold them." Which I admit hurt my heart a little bit. Why have a pet you can't hold and carry around with you? If you've seen the youtube video of Debbie, then you understand how I feel about animals. Truly.

So starting Wednesday night, Bailey the dog will be at our house. If all goes well, we'll keep her forever! But are under no obligation to do so if it doesn't work out. Black labs are Patricks favorite dogs, and I have said all along that I want a dog that doesn't bark, jump, or this might be the perfect match for us. Yay for fun life changes! Just don't tell my mom.

More to come on Bailey and Bailey (this will get confusing at some point...).