Friday, December 30, 2011

Ring in 2012

Put on your fancy bow tie and have an excellent weekend! We will be busy taking down Christmas decorations, drinking Moscow mules, and eating Texas Caviar for good luck. See you next year!!

Psst... happy anniversary to those love birds out there. Cheers to many more years to come!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2012 resolutions

Resolutions... goals... either way, we each have six. Mine on the left, Huynh's on the right. All measurable, all of varying necessity.
  • I have to start waking up early on workdays... so we can carpool to work. Also, so I can do fun things like eat breakfast, snuggle the dog, and pack a lunch. Huynh likes to be out the door at 6:30 so to be fair to him, my alarm must go off earlier than 6:35. It's going to be painful.
  • We definitely need to workout more! We sat on the ground to make dumplings this past weekend and in standing up, I thought my knees would never forgive me. Hello, I'm 27! That should not be happening. So we will be all about cardio, stretching, and weights for the next 312 days.
  • In line with a work-out, we need to work on our diet. So, we have made a vow to forgo all drive-thru restaurants for the year. Sorry Chick-fil-a, Luby's too. Starbucks? A no go. The hard one for me will be Sonic. I crave their burgers (random, I recognize).
  • The next two are pretty self-explanatory. Cám ơn!
  • 18 books? That's one every 3 weeks. Doable. Drink less alcohol? Start limiting drinks to actual special occasions and not invented ones - yes, we have been known to raise a glass "to boredom". Say good-bye to empty calories!
  • Lastly, we need to cook more. Eat more leftovers. Only go out to eat lunch on the last workday of the week. Perfect pho. Invent a good phamily chili recipe. Make pasta. Ya get the drift.
We also have other random ones like "work on the house", "teach Gatsby to shake", "drive less on the tollway" and "watch less TV" but those, I figure, will happen naturally, especially since we are toying with cancelling cable... though teaching Gatsby to shake is proving to be difficult (he's so stubborn!).

So there it is... all out there. Now we have all of you to help keep us accountable :). Happy New Year! Cheers to a good 2011 and the hope of a wonderful 2012.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Carrot cake delicious-iness

I made these carrot cake cupcakes and seriously... the sky opened and angels sang as the sun came out and temperatures warmed back up to the 70s, my basil grew, and Gatsby stopped barking randomly at the air.

They are that good.

The Fauxmartha was featured on another favorite site of mine, The Yellow Brick Home (see: The Pet Shop), and had me at "Chicken Pot Pie" um hello. I then spent almost the entire car drive home from Ft. Worth, with exception of the AT&T dead zone around Bryan/College Station (no surprise there ha!), oo-ing and aa-ing over Melissa's amazing photography and simply delicious sounding recipes.

Since I am most definitely not a baker but an excellent recipe follower, I went with the recipe for Carrot Cake - I'm a big fan of using whole wheat flour whenever possible - while following the cooking directions for cupcakes. They turned out perfectly yummy.

Head over to The Fauxmartha and check her out seriously. Next on my list is this, this, and, oh yeah, I made this last night too. My house is going to be smelling delicious!

Tonight is Christmas with the Miller/Schier clan - where I hear chicken fried deer and mashed potatoes are on the menu - along with a celebration of my parents 42nd wedding anniversary... where, yes, these cupcakes will be making their grand appearance. See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Weekend, recap

Not many phone pictures this weekend, because, gasp!, I took pictures on my SLR. I'll do a Christmas recap (which include jumping pictures) Friday once we have Christmas with my family. Some non-Christmas related highlights though include potsticker stuffing, with help from an adorable nephew, bowling in funky socks and Gatsby after a bath.

Huynh is off work today, I'm here and exhausted. This week will be busy too! I love wrapping up the old year and starting the new almost as much as I love queso. And that's saying something.

Back tomorrow with an absolutely delicious recipe that you must try. Yum-to-the-o.

Monday, December 26, 2011

I love this 20x200 print from West Elm (where else?). It would find our nice hallway to be a cozy little home should it ever make its way there.

We are in the car on the way back to Houston from a lovely family filled weekend in Ft. Worth. Christmas was worth it. More on our loot later this week... for now, I am shaking my fist at this terrible I-35 traffic! I mean, really.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Sat on a tuffet

It was so quick, you probably missed it... but yes, you caught a picture of our new (completely homemade) stool yesterday when we revealed the entry way.

It's here! It's finally completed!

It took months of sitting (no pun intended) before we finally finished our new stool! Completely made from scratch, it's surprisingly comfy and cute. I love it.

I started with some left over wood that I cut down to size (18" long to be exact). I knew that I wanted two tufts so I measured in 6" on either side and marked with an "X". I did the same on the other side - so that I would know whether the hole was straight or not - and went to drilling.

Close enough to the "X" to call it a day!

Oh and also I knew that it would be pretty forgiving so yes, close enough would be good enough.

I attached the Waddell Leg Plates, picked up at Home Depot, and the 4" foam picked up at JoAnn's. At the same time, I was also cutting the finishing trim - the legs were pre-bought.

Huynh was nice enough to trim down the foam to size - with a bread knife nonetheless. But then... I am not kidding when I say that this sat in the garage for months.

So fastforward to a week ago...

When Huynh was working on the longhorn, he also stained the legs and trim which finally gave me the jump start I needed to finish this stool. Well that and a completely free weekend - how often do one of those come around?

I covered the stool with a very, very thick batting - so thick that I am beginning to think that it actually wasn't batting - but it worked out well since we were able to make the top square and clean before putting the fabric on.

Since I work best sitting in front of the TV watching old How I Met Your Mother reruns, this was obviously done in the living room. The corners took some time - the perfectionist in me wanted them exactly the same but I finally caved when they were close enough to the same that they looked okay.

Quick rewind - I had planned on doing this before Huynh's birthday... in September. So this material has been sitting in my closet since then. Nice, huh.

I digress. The fabric is from Hobby Lobby which I picked to coordinate with our breakfast nook chairs. We actually don't have much yellow in the house so any bit is welcome.

The buttons were picked up from JoAnn's and were super easy to make. If you are planning on doing the same, I would heed the instructions to use a pencil eraser to make the fabric stick in the prongs. Makes all the difference. 

For the tufts, Huynh fashioned a "needle" out of a wooden chop stick and threaded the twine up through the hole in the bottom and out the top. Since the "needle" was so long, it was much easier to find the hole going back out the bottom. I then pushed in the button as hard and far into the foam as I could while he tied off the bottom to a washer to keep it all in place. Confused? Maybe the next pictures will help.

So, it's not perfectly square. I'm hoping that works itself out over time.

The bottom however? Not so pretty.

Now's a good time to really explain more of what all went down.

After the batting and fabric were all stapled into place and the tufts created - see the washers? Huynh tied those together so that they would lay flat but they aren't going anywhere. The trim I picked was too thin for us and our limited tools to properly screw through so Huynh stapled the corners together - since, no weight will actually be on this part as it is strictly for appearances - we aren't too worried about it going anywhere. He then screwed in a spare piece of wood to the bottom of the stool, which you see unstained, and then screwed straight into the trim pieces into the ends of that brace.

It's definitely not going anywhere.

The legs are square now, but we were afraid that over time, they might not be square anymore so we added the bottom cross brace for added support. Finally we added felt pads to the bottoms of the feet to protect our wood floors from getting scratched.

Of course it was supposed to fit under the entry way table to help cover the outlet but in a stroke of bad luck, it is about 2" too tall. Onto the next one...

Plan B: we shifted the umbrella holder to next to the door so the stool took it's place next to the entry way table. What a nice place to sit and take your shoes off. Or even to slide over to the dining room table for an extra seat.

The entry way is looking more and more completed! With Bevo, the table, umbrella holder, and of course our seasonal UT tree, the stool looks right at home. I love it.

We are on our way to Ft. Worth today to celebrate Christmas with the family. Have a good food and family filled weekend, y'all! Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Longhorn goodness

Inspired by this picture of the longhorn we purchased a while back, Huynh decided to create his own wooden backdrop for our very own Bevo to hang on our decidedly un-wooden walls.

We had some left over 4x4s from the making of Gatsby's crate just lying around the garage that he cut to various lengths and then screwed them onto one singular plank, equally spaced apart.

I picked this stain with the hopes that it would be close in color to our dining room table (it is!). I fully intend on using it on the stool (for the entry way/dining room) and the coffee table (for the living room) - help to bring the warmth of wood tones into the furniture in our house.

Huynh also jumped on the Red Mahogany bandwagon and used it on the back drop. I think he's a fan of the color too.

He stained all of the pieces - including the undersides and the back brace, found some studs, and went to work mounting our steer head.

That sentence sounds manly.

Our Bevo now resides over the entrance to the hallway and watches over people as they walk into the house. It will also look good with the horseshoe I'm on the lookout for to hang above our front door (for luck!). Who said that a mid-century modern contemporary house couldn't have a touch of western?

And yeaaa, I can honestly say that Huynh did it all - I have such a crafty boyfriend. I love it!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Table, revealed

76 days, countless emails, even more shipping checks, and two phone calls later, we finally got our table! And since we clearly have a rather large affinity for food, I am pumped.

It's so shiny! Smooth! Classic! I haven't gotten around to the actual decorating of said table, but man alive.

I am glad it is here.

I love how it looks with our floors and rug. It feels good to walk into the house now and have it feel just that much more completed and put together. It was the grounding force that the house needed.

When we finally decided upon a table, we always knew that we were going to need to shift the overhead light fixture back towards the wall in order to get the rug and table out of the swing of the front door. The builders picked the center of the room to hang the fixture (makes sense) but yet, extremely unpractical for table placement. But before we moved the light back, we also wanted to wait until we got the table to make sure that it was actually required (it was) and get an accurate measurement of that distance.

Huynh was on a mission.

We found an 18" medallion that would work and shifted the center of the fixture back 6" - any further and we wouldn't have been able to cover up the old hole... and the whole reason for doing this was so there was minimal ceiling patching involved. We still haven't fixed the accidental hole in the ceiling of the hallway... we weren't about to make another purposeful hole!

But, that 6" gave us the clearance we needed and the look we wanted.

I had intended on decorating the table for Christmas... but seeing as though it is mere days away, I believe I will leave it as an empty palette until, oh, I don't know, Valentine's Day? Either way, I am on the look out for a runner, chargers, and decor. And, I have already caught Gatsby napping underneath it - as if he knows food will one day sit on top - so I know he's a fan.

I love it! Who wants dinner?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Do you catch yourself during TV shows focusing on the set and wondering/dying for the set decorator to come to your house and just make it look exactly the same? Just sayings that I would pay good money for the set decorator of Parenthood to come and makeover our little 'ole casa de Richmond. 

Good money.


On Big Bang Theory, I love Sheldon and Leonard's nerdy style of their apartment - so appropriately them - but more importantly, Sheldon and Leonard have dual cereal dispensers. Yes, I love their kitchen tile backsplash, and yes, I too want a frying pan hanger and a butcher block island, however, what did I focus on? The cereal dispenser. 

I like my cereal, what can I say. 

Recognizing the nerdiness that is laced through that statement, obviously Huynh and I needed our own set as well.

Clearly we are cool. One has Kashi GoLean Original; the other has Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Both, however, help us get out of bed, especially when mixed. And it gave me a good excuse to detour through that part of Target because really, isn't that what it's all about?

I love that show.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Weekend, recap

We not only cleaned the house, we also hung the longhorn, finished the stool, moved the dining room light fixture, accepted shipment of the table, took pictures of the bathroom (including capturing a nice Lady and the Tramp quote that we start the day off with) and finished all of our Christmas shopping! We finally got euro pillows for the master bedroom, picked up three pictures of Gatsby for dog ornament frames we have hanging on the tree, and watched New Year's Eve, stand up comedians on Netflix, Bad Teacher, and The High Cost of Living. Phew, busy weekend (and all in two days!).

Oh and we ate Korean bar-b-que. It was delish.

How was your weekend? Did you brave the crowds and attempt shopping?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ode to New Girl

Last night we went to the gym right by our house for some much needed cardio (for me) and weights (for HP). Ergo, today I. am. sore.

Clearly I need to work out more. 

This weekend is all about the house but most importantly, we get our table TOMORROW. Get exumped. I have visions of centerpieces dancing in my head.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fresh herbs

I love basil.

I started with a well-loved vase, my favorite Martha Stewart paint, and this splurge from Anthropologie from this weekend. 

{after one coat}

{herb kit}


It took a couple of coats to fully cover the navy blue, and recognizing that this planter was probably too small for the amount of paper provided, I just went with it as I used organic planting soil we had on hand from our garden this past year. I followed the directions and now this sits in direct sunlight with damp soil on our window sill avoiding frost bite. 

I have high hopes but really, I just love the fork.