Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Bruschetta Party!

I can't decide if I think food begets entertaining or the other way around. I think to me, that's the way it works. Here's how it happens: Tracy and I accumulate a stack of magazines each month. Usually Martha Stewart Living, Real Simple, Southern Living, and Better Homes and Gardens. All laden with "in season" recipes. I could read recipes for hours. In fact that's something I passed down to Homey apparently:

Anyway, so Tracy and I plopped down on one of our porches with the latest stack of glossy paged publications to go through. We dog-ear pages. We squeal. We plan meals with new recipes. Then we came across an article in Martha Stewart with all sorts of different ways to make bruschetta. Check some of these out for inspiration:

Lemony Zucchini Bruschetta

Mozzarella, Pesto, Arugula, and Parmesan

Prosciutto, Melon, and Balsamic Vinegar

And dessert bruschetta?! (A huge hit!)

Ricotta with Lemon, Basil, and Honey
(shockingly delicious!)

Dark Chocolate with Fleur de Sel

And the possibilities are endless. We had most of this stuff on hand. Add a few loaves of french bread, and we were set!

We set it up as a Build Your Own. Check out our spread:

Salami, tuna, cucumber, tomato, sauteed eggplant, roasted garlic, fresh mozzarella, parmesan, feta, arugula, basil, pesto, "green sauce" (a delicious parsley/cilantro sauce), olive oil, balsamic and red wine vinegars, sea salt, fresh ground pepper, ricotta, lemon slices, melted chocolate, and honey.

How easy is that?!
Just invite your favorite girlfriends over. We served homemade lemonade and asked the ladies to bring each bring a tasty six pack of "fancy beer" to share. A "beer tasting", if you will! You could easily serve one cocktail or turn it into a wine tasting type gig, also. It was a great idea for a Happy Hour.

I'm already trying to decide what kind of fare to serve at the next one...better go through some glossy paged publications!

Monday, August 9, 2010

"Better" Homes and Gardens...

The key word here is better.

Surely, you'll remember that wretched "master bathroom/laundry/mudroom" shenanigan in this crazy house. If not, refresh your memory here. Just prepare yourself. It's horrible. It's disturbing. It's Williamsburg blue.

But I fixed it! Well, I made it "better". Because doing it the correct way would, as you remember, involved ripping off the back corner of the house. We're not doing that right makes my head hurt to think about it.

But Williamsburg blue makes my head hurt too. You know what is so much better than Williamsburg blue? Beach by Eddie Bauer. that's better! No more wonky shelves and random cabinets.

Check out the awesome storage solution for...wait for it...$30! You, too, can have some of that frugal awesomeness from IKEA. And with the weird and random door painted the same as the wall, it almost disappears behind the shelf! Sa-weet!

Then I re-purposed a few existing baskets I had on hand (I had to steal Homey's toy basket from under the coffee table...she wasn't impressed.) I picked up the pretty yellow baskets on clearance at Michael's.

Then I got a fabulous idea....

Scandalous! I took pages out of a pin up calendar I got Mr. B for Christmas. I picked ones that "described" the contents of each bin, so they could act as labels. Cute, no?!

See, this pretty lady holds all my makeup!

Here's the other wall...

Tracy B. convinced me to paint the vanity out in the wall color. Love. It. She's so smart, that Tracy!

We left the window open...those nasty blinds really blocked a lot of great light that I didn't even realize we got back there! We opted to apply that privacy film to the window and not do any window treatments.

And I, obviously painted the weird mirror to the medicine cabinet. I just mixed up some different yellows of my acrylic paint and slopped it on there. It makes a huge difference!

Next wall!

A nice clean waffle weave shower curtain from the Pottery Barn outlet...It just calms that crazy room down, I think.

And check out that towel hangy thing! This bathroom had NO good place for a traditional towel bar...not that was convenient to the shower.

Enter IKEA (again):

It's perfect! It folds back flat and out of the way, but it can fold forward to be easily accessible from the shower. It also has extra rods so I can dry bathing suits and hand washed laundry there too! Isn't that handy?!

One final picture for ya:

The back door existing vintage travel poster from my office adds a pop of color and interest to an otherwise useless expanse of wall space.

Have I mentioned how I hate useless expanses of wall space? *Sigh*

So that's my quick and thrifty crazy bathroom re-do. Let's price it out (approximately):

Gallon of Eddie Bauer paint: $30
IKEA shelf: $30
IKEA towel bar: $7
Ventilated shelving: FREE (love hand me downs!)
Hardware for vanity : $4
Shower curtain: $20
Baskets: existing
Bins: $8 for both

Total: $99! Not too shabby for a room that needed a whole lot of love to be any kind of "normal". But ya know, "normal" is just a cycle on the washing machine, so I'm okay abnormal, too. Abnormal=Endearing.

Now that this bathroom is squared away (which is really funny, since NO walls in there are square. Or plumb. Whatever.), we will get to work on Homey's bathroom. Now that room will be quite the undertaking...not a quicky re-do. Stay tuned for that adventure. It makes my head hurt to think about it...