Tuesday, March 30, 2010

W²: Easter Picnic Edition

This is one of my favorite Weight Watchers recipes, and for some reason it always reminds me of warm weather days... maybe it's all of the delicious veggies. Either way, I'm planning to make it for my church's Easter picnic on Sunday.

{image via two ellie}

W² Roasted Vegetable & Orzo Salad:
3 sprays olive oil cooking spray
1 small red onion, diced
1 carrot, sliced
1 cup mushrooms, quartered
2/3 cup zucchini, diced
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup roasted red peppers (in water), drained & chopped
6 oz marinated artichoke hearts, drained & chopped
1/4 cup black olives, sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
4 tbsp. fresh parsley or basil (or mixed), chopped
1 lb. orzo pasta, cooked & cooled
1/2 cup Litehouse Lite Caesar dressing*

1. Heat large skillet over medium heat, add cooking spray.

2. Add onions, carrots, mushrooms and zucchini. Cook for 5 minutes, or until veggies are tender.

3. Add pepper during last minute of cooking, and remove from heat.

4. Combine roasted veggies, red peppers, artichoke hearts, olives, tomatoes, parsley, green onions, & orzo in large bowl. Add dressing & mix* Refrigerate until ready to serve!

Yields 6 servings for 4 points each.

* If you want to cheat some on the points (and make it a little more delicious, especially when feeding a crowd), add crumbled feta cheese along with all other ingredients in step 4. And/or substitute the lite Caesar dressing with the Good Seasons Italian dressing (the kind you make with the packet) - but be sure to also add a dash of lemon juice.


I just happened to stumble across this settee on Craig's List today for $60. It has a little damage around the corners, but for that price you could afford to make due for awhile, then have it reupholstered!

Wouldn't it look great paired with a kitchen table?

Project Roundup

As usual, we're working on and planning a million different projects right now... This weekend was a nice jumble of them all.

For our home, I'm still working through these ideas for the living room. I made a trip early Saturday morning to the fabric mecca that is Mary Jo's in Gastonia, and I found the P. Kaufmann Suzani fabric I need for living room pillows. A few other places carried it for around $26 per yard (yikes!) and on back order, but MJ's had it in stock for $10 less per yard... My budget thanks you!
Although I almost spent my savings on these fabrics... Until rationality took over, and I realized that I'd have nothing to do with them.

I also picked up this mirror from Home Goods for a grand total of $35. Hopefully it will get a nice coat of 'Safety Red' this weekend, to add a little punch to the dining area in the kitchen.

Finally, we made the trek up to the mountains of North Carolina on Sunday - to Gerton to be specific. My dad is working on a mountain house project, and we've been helping out with some painting, cabinet finishing, and other little details. It's seriously amazing how much difference a coat of paint can make. We're hoping that 1 more day of work will finish up our portion of the project... Then a few before/afters on the blog.
On a sad note, when we made said trip to Gerton I neglected to check the weather... And I left the cute desk (for our bedroom) that I've spent 2 weekends painting outside on the porch. And it rained. A lot. So much, in fact, that the desk is going to need a little more work... lesson learned.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Beverage Carts

I was so excited to see this post on Matters of Style. I'm in love with beverage carts and have been searching for room inspiration with these. I think our sunroom will be the perfect place for one... And my dad happens to have one from my grandparents' home, just sitting in his shed!

{so gorgeous... via Lonny}

I might have to borrow it in the near future... Then top it with some vintage decanters. I've seen several at the Sleepy Poet here in town, but they also pop up on eBay pretty frequently.

Or try these, paired with a lucite tray from the MoS shop:

Who wouldn't want to join us for a drink with this set up?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Weekend Projects

After an incredibly fun time last weekend in Savannah, we're settling in with a long 'to-do' list for this one. Mine is slightly ambitious, so don't fault me if it's not completely finished and ready to post by Monday.

With all of the pending projects for this spring and fall, I decided to focus my efforts on the one section of our house that won't be changing at all... Our bedroom and bathroom.

I have several painting projects, a trip to Ikea and Blackhawk Hardware on the radar. For now, here is some of my room inspiration...

{I'm in love with a house on Charlotte Drive that has a huge master bedroom, divided into 2 smaller spaces like this one... sigh}

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tell It to Me Straight

Here is a glimpse into our current living room thoughts... But we need a little candid feedback. Do all the patterns/fabrics work together? We plan to move the seagrass rug from the kitchen to the living room...

Then add a smaller zebra print rug on top of the seagrass. The suzani fabric by the sofa would be a pair of pillows, coupled with the chevron fabric in a lumbar pillow on the sofa. We'd also have a pillow for the yellow settee in the fabric there.
We felt like we could work in a lot of patterns since the rug, sofa, and settee were all solid (and relatively neutral). But give me your honest thoughts... Is it working? Or is this a pattern overload?

If you're on team overload, any thoughts on what gets the boot? Maybe solid color curtain panels instead of the pattern, sayonara to the suzani, or kick the zebra rug to the curb?

Jeff thanks you all for your help... before I make any more purchases that I later regret.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sneak Peak...

Here is a little sneak peak at our exterior home plans. My dad sketched these out and emphasized that they are rough drafts - just to get his ideas down.

Despite his protests, I couldn't resist sharing. I've always wanted to live in a home that my dad designed, and even this exterior remodel is exciting for me.

{note that this is just a small section the house plan, and the picture quality is a little blurry since my dad only does hand-drawn plans, so it was taken with my camera phone}

We're already planning for some adjustments, like making the front porch bigger to fit a swing or a few rocking chairs. Overall though, isn't it gorgeous?!

If you notice in the picture of our house currently, to the far right is a brick wall that juts out (and we're not really sure why it's there).

In order to make this look more purposeful, we're mirroring the wall on the other side of the windows in the living room, and then again in the guest room. Both the living room and guest rooms windows would be replaced with a set of 3 cottage windows (much bigger than what we have currently in either room).

We're also bringing down the level of the brick, adding baton (wooden siding) vertically, and a small copper (or most likely copper look-alike to save $) roof above each set of 3 windows in order to draw the eye upwards, making our house look less long and skinny, and much more vertical.
My dad and I are pushing painting the brick and baton the same color to give the house a more unified look, then possibly adding some stone accents... still trying to sell the hubby on that one though.
Even though these plans are rough drafts, I'm loving the direction towards a cottage look!

Thursday, March 11, 2010


So I have a shopping problem... And no, Jeff, I don't mean that I spend too much money (even if you disagree). It's that I don't spend money on what I actually need.

Right now, and pretty much always, I need some new clothes... for work, for going out... basically anything other than my new favorite: black sweatpants.

I recently realized that all of my latest pictures on Facebook feature me in same black sweater, jeans, and black flats. I haven't worn much else since I purchase the sweater and flats in the fall (so embarrassing).

But am I eyeing any new clothes for my purchases? Of course not. Instead, I want this, with my new monogram.
And of course you remember this...

And then one of these for good measure...

Might as well add these, while I'm at it...

And last, but not least, this... sigh

Trending heavily away from clothes, and - surprise - heavily towards home goods. None of which I actually need, but then again, I've never been much of a fashionista.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday Inspiration

I've been feeling incredibly inspired lately – in all aspects of life. Over the weekend, I had a girl’s day (and evening) with Sarah of Silver Lining fame. We talked a lot about design inspiration, and she gave the best advice from her coursework in interior design and general ability to work colors with ease. Afterwards, I realized how much of what she said echoed this post from Jenny.

So to get our living room in order, I’m going to follow their expert advice: Choose something (fabric, artwork, a set of plates) that you love, and drawn your room’s color palette from that. It seems so simple when they lay it out that way!

After a brief trip to Sleepy Poet (my favorite afternoon activity) and some online browsing, I came up with this fabric inspiration for our living room. I just can’t decide between the two…

To top all of this design inspiration off, I was fortunate enough today (thanks to my father-in-law) to attend the Businesswoman of the Year luncheon. Needless to say, I left with inspiration to spare. The award recipient touched on everything from resiliency as a leader to balancing being a mom with being a top executive (she said that she isn’t a ‘working mom,’ but a ‘mom who works’ – I loved it)

What a great way to start the week!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Drum Roll, please

… And the winner of our first ever Wedded Whittaker Project Poll is…

a tie?

Jeff is convinced that I somehow rigged this poll, but I promise there was no unethical campaigning or fraudulent votes (although I will admit to a few sunroom-oriented posts). With the results in, my dear hubby gave me the best news e-v-e-r.

We are taking on both of the winning projects: exterior remodel & sunroom addition! Not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but we are tentatively planning for a spring & fall home project.

Since my dad is still drawing up plans for the exterior remodel, the spring project is the sunroom! Project start date is TBD, especially considering that it snowed again this week (will this winter ever end?)

In the meantime, here is some bright & cheery room inspiration:

{via The Newlywed Diaries}

{sunroom via Young House Love}

{via Matters of Style}

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Kitchen No-No?

I'm thinking that for anyone with a trained design-eye it is a huge no-no to confess your love for a design in a catalogue... So good thing I have no training.

My spring Crate & Barrel catalogue came in over the weekend, and I was immediately drawn to this kitchen. The farm sink is a definite must. Not to mention how much I love the style of the Vienna chairs and French kitchen table... Finally, any styling of gray & yellow (our wedding colors) is thumbs-up in my book!

I imagine myself with this kitchen in a beautiful country house... But for now, I may just splurge on this Dutch Oven with the last of our wedding gift cards!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Secretary Envy

I'm daydreaming about purchasing this Craig's List secretary for $60... (are you kidding me with that price?! someone stop me from hitting send on this email)

Then painting it, à la Eddie Ross...
and wallpapering, like Little Green Notebook's china hutch...
perhaps with this wallpaper, from American Blinds?

...and finally, using it in my new sunroom as a workstation... A girl can dream, right?

Monday, March 1, 2010

On Sunday night I tried out a new Weight Watchers recipe (or 'W Squared' as I like to call it). From the Cook It Quick cookbook, the recipe was so easy to make, and it was delicious! Especially for only 5 points!

{love this kitchen remodel by Ann Turner... the shelf and different color upper & lower cabinets are amazing}

W² Cheddar Chicken with Warm Black Bean Salsa:
4 (3-oz) thin-sliced skinless chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
1 (14½ oz) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes (I couldn't find these, so I just used regular stewed tomatoes and added a splash of Tabasco sauce)
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1. Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Saute the chicken until lightly browned. Sprinkle with oregano, salt & pepper. Turn over and saute until cooked through. Sprinkle chicken with almost all cheese (set aside 1 tablespoon).

2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, mix tomatoes and beans. Bring to a boil.

3. Top the chicken with the black bean & tomato salsa, remaining cheese, and cilantro. Serve & enjoy (for 5 points!)