Archive for November, 2008

Absolutely Loving: A Modern Organic Christmas

November 30, 2008

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Once upon a time, in a magical land called Denmark, Christmas was only weeks away…

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There wasn’t a plastic holly berry or fat Santa in sight…

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The good people of Denmark eschewed tacky tinsel in favour of prickly pinecones, fuzzy felt animals and rustic antlers…

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Soft furs and homespun linens sat ready to welcome carolers in from the cold…

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Adorable Danish children counted down the days with cloth advent calendars— which were probably full of healthy snacks like trail mix, instead of cheap chocolate…

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And in their letters to Saint Nicolas, these perfect children asked not for video games but for retro toy cars that matched mummy’s decor perfectly…

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At night they slipped into their pajamas and drank a cup of warm milk at mini Saarinen-style tulip tables…

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…then they snuggled under graphic reindeer blankies and dreamed of their super chic Scandinavian Christmas.

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Images courtesy of Bo Bedre.

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Turkey Coma, Anyone?

November 28, 2008

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We’re about to hit the road for the long drive back home, so I’ll just say a quick hello and wish you all a great weekend. But I hope everyone who celebrated had a lovely Thanksgiving yesterday. And I’m so excited for the holiday season to start in earnest! I have so many fun and festive delights to share in the coming weeks, so stay tuned…

Image Credit: Pernilla Hed

Thanksgiving Tag

November 27, 2008

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I’ve been tagged to share my quirks or random personal tidbits several times in the last couple weeks, by Callie at Grayson: A Different Shade of Gray, Julia at I’m All Agog, Candi at Dolce Chici, VIcki at French Essence, Erin at Apartment 34, and most recently by Brooke at Velvet and Linen. Don’t worry—I haven’t been avoiding these tags! I’ve just been saving up for a special Thanksgiving themed tag post, when I can reveal a bit about myself by sharing a few things I’m thankful for. I’m sorry not to post my funny habits—trust me, you’re all better off not knowing about those for now 🙂 So I bring you 7 things I’m thankful for…

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1. I’m thankful for the two years I spent living in Brooklyn, but even more thankful that my husband and I were able to gather the courage and conviction to move to California this past August. It can be difficult to admit when a situation isn’t working anymore, and even more difficult to change that situation. But I know without a doubt that we made the right decision for us—where else can I ride my bike and hike every day in November?

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2. I’m thankful for Smokey. She’s not my kitty—she’s my neighbour’s—but she spends all her time at my house. I recently started working from home and I’d be so lonely if I didn’t have her hogging my lap and pawing my computer mouse all day.

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3. I’m thankful that I got to be a bride. My husband and I were first married in a civil ceremony in 2007, and I didn’t think that I would get to wear the dress, carry the bouquet, have the party, take the photos. I tried to tell myself that I didn’t want those things, but I’m so glad to have been convinced otherwise! Our August wedding was such a joyous occasion, and I’m so grateful to the friends and family members that helped make it happen. As an aside for those who have asked, I haven’t posted our ‘official’ wedding photos because they may be published in a magazine…but you can imagine how it’s killing me not to share them right away!

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4. I’m thankful for my best and oldest friend Jessica. She and I have been egging each other on since we were twelve years old, and even though thousands of miles separate us today she still knows me as though she was right here with me. Not to mention that she was the best maid of honor a girl could ask for!

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5. I’m thankful for my mother, who raised me to be the creative, determined and…um…unique individual that I am today.

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5. I’m thankful for my strong and able body. I’ve not always been as nice to it as I could have been, and sometimes I’m still not always kind (too much ice cream, not enough veggies!) but it gets me where I want to go and for that I feel blessed.

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6. I’m thankful for my husband, my partner in crime and in life! He challenges me every day to be a better person, he’s the best snuggler, and he’s so darn cute. Not to mention how clever he is…check out his mad photoshop skills in my new banner!

7. Finally, I don’t have an image for this one, but I cannot express how thankful I am to all my fellow bloggers and readers for stopping in each day to say hello. When I first started to blog, one thing that I didn’t expect was how important the community aspect of blogging would become to me…and now, it’s what keeps me going. I am constantly amazed by the warm and openhearted people that I meet every day through this medium. Thank you for touching my life.

I feel very shy about tagging people by name, so if you’re reading this, consider yourself tagged! I’d love to know what you’re thankful for on this day—whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving here in America or not. Have a beautiful day, everyone!

Top Image Credit: Sharyn Cairns

Thanksgiving Tag

November 27, 2008

aimee herring.png

I’ve been tagged to share my quirks or random personal tidbits several times in the last couple weeks, by Callie at Grayson: A Different Shade of Gray, Julia at I’m All Agog, Candi at Dolce Chici, VIcki at French Essence, Erin at Apartment 34, and most recently by Brooke at Velvet and Linen. Don’t worry—I haven’t been avoiding these tags! I’ve just been saving up for a special Thanksgiving themed tag post, when I can reveal a bit about myself by sharing a few things I’m thankful for. I’m sorry not to post my funny habits—trust me, you’re all better off not knowing about those for now 🙂 So I bring you 7 things I’m thankful for…

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1. I’m thankful for the two years I spent living in Brooklyn, but even more thankful that my husband and I were able to gather the courage and conviction to move to California this past August. It can be difficult to admit when a situation isn’t working anymore, and even more difficult to change that situation. But I know without a doubt that we made the right decision for us—where else can I ride my bike and hike every day in November?

-1.jpg

2. I’m thankful for Smokey. She’s not my kitty—she’s my neighbour’s—but she spends all her time at my house. I recently started working from home and I’d be so lonely if I didn’t have her hogging my lap and pawing my computer mouse all day.

-3.jpg

3. I’m thankful that I got to be a bride. My husband and I were first married in a civil ceremony in 2007, and I didn’t think that I would get to wear the dress, carry the bouquet, have the party, take the photos. I tried to tell myself that I didn’t want those things, but I’m so glad to have been convinced otherwise! Our August wedding was such a joyous occasion, and I’m so grateful to the friends and family members that helped make it happen. As an aside for those who have asked, I haven’t posted our ‘official’ wedding photos because they may be published in a magazine…but you can imagine how it’s killing me not to share them right away!

IMG_2831.JPG

4. I’m thankful for my best and oldest friend Jessica. She and I have been egging each other on since we were twelve years old, and even though thousands of miles separate us today she still knows me as though she was right here with me. Not to mention that she was the best maid of honor a girl could ask for!

21.jpg

5. I’m thankful for my mother, who raised me to be the creative, determined and…um…unique individual that I am today.

-4.jpg

5. I’m thankful for my strong and able body. I’ve not always been as nice to it as I could have been, and sometimes I’m still not always kind (too much ice cream, not enough veggies!) but it gets me where I want to go and for that I feel blessed.

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6. I’m thankful for my husband, my partner in crime and in life! He challenges me every day to be a better person, he’s the best snuggler, and he’s so darn cute. Not to mention how clever he is…check out his mad photoshop skills in my new banner!

7. Finally, I don’t have an image for this one, but I cannot express how thankful I am to all my fellow bloggers and readers for stopping in each day to say hello. When I first started to blog, one thing that I didn’t expect was how important the community aspect of blogging would become to me…and now, it’s what keeps me going. I am constantly amazed by the warm and openhearted people that I meet every day through this medium. Thank you for touching my life.

I feel very shy about tagging people by name, so if you’re reading this, consider yourself tagged! I’d love to know what you’re thankful for on this day—whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving here in America or not. Have a beautiful day, everyone!

Top Image Credit: Sharyn Cairns

To Die for Recipe: Cranberry Cherry Crisp

November 26, 2008

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Another day closer to Thanksgiving, another amazingly simple and delicious dessert recipe from The All-American Dessert Book! I’m of the firm opinion that a crumble topping makes everything better, and this lovely little number is proof. A sweet/tart filling of cherries and cranberries oozes from beneath a pebbled oat and cinnamon surface, providing the perfect bed for a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. It’s enough to make me renounce chocolate…well, almost.

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Just like yesterday’s pumpkin bread pudding, this dessert comes together so quickly and easily that you won’t know what hit you. Not only that, but it’s made with canned and frozen fruit so it’s budget friendly. Plus isn’t it a beauty? I just love how the bright red of the fruit contrasts with the warm golden clusters of topping. Anything that makes my tabletop prettier and my tastebuds happier is A-OK in my book! And speaking of books, don’t forget about The All-American Dessert Book giveaway! If you haven’t yet put your name in the running, just leave a comment with your favourite Thanksgiving or holiday dessert for a chance to win your own copy of this fabulous cookbook. I’ll randomly draw a winner to announce next week!

Sour Cherry Cranberry Crisp
Courtesy of The All-American Dessert Book by Nancy Baggett

1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 15-oz cans pitted unsweetened sour cherries, drained
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Lightly grease a 9 x 13 or similar baking dish. Combine sugar, flour, cherries and cranberries in a bowl, then pour into prepared baking dish. To make topping, combine flour, oats, sugar, nuts, cinnamon and salt, then stir in melted butter until well combined and mixture has a crumbly texture. Sprinkle over fruit and bake at 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes, or until fruit bubbles and topping is golden. Let cool on wire rack until cool enough to eat. Or you could just spoon some up right away and burn your mouth like I did. The choice is yours.

Just Bought: Boy Jeans

November 25, 2008

Pegged jeans

This summer's pegged baggy jeans trend was one that I outwardly loathed but inwardly lusted after. Was I about to spend $400 on a pair of the same jeans that Katie Holmes wore? Not on your life. But yesterday I walked into American Eagle Outfitters and found a pair of distressed men's jeans that suit this look perfectly. The in-store price? A cool $19! I can't wait to rock 'em with my trusty Keds

Image Credits: Reese and Katie

To Die for Recipe: Pumpkin Bread Pudding and a Giveaway!

November 24, 2008

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Let me preface this post by telling you a secret: I hate pumpkin pie. How can I detest a humble dessert, you ask? Well that's the problem: pumpkin pie is not dessert. Rather, it is a vegetal mess, a disgraceful pairing of bland crust and not-quite-wholesome filling. When I want dessert, I want unabashed indulgence, not a squash that can't get it's act together. This pumpkin bread pudding is therefore perfect for me. It's everything pumpkin pie wishes it could be!

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Honestly, this is SO good. Smooth, melt in your mouth custard goodness meets the tender give of crusted bread, and a subtle pumpkin flavour complements the gentle undertones of spice. Plus it's practically foolproof: no finicky pastry and weepy pie filling to contend with. Just stir, pour, and bake. Not only would I serve this at Thanksgiving with a dollop of whipped cream, I would also enjoy it at a winter brunch. Or maybe just by myself, with a really big spoon and no one to interrupt me.

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But wait, there's more! Leave me a comment with your favourite Thanksgiving dessert—or if you're not celebrating Thanksgiving this week, just share your favourite holiday dessert—and you'll be in the running to win the GORGEOUS cookbook that this recipe came from! The All-American Dessert Book is one of my favourite cookbooks of all time and boasts such fare as 'Vanilla Chocolate Trifle with Apricot Sauce' and 'Bourbon Pecan Fudge Cake'. Believe me, you WANT this cookbook, if only because the photos are so droolworthy. And don't worry, I'll remind you about the giveaway with another divine Thanksgiving recipe from this book, coming later in the week!

Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Courtesy of The All-American Dessert Book by Nancy Baggett

4 large eggs
1 cup packed brown sugar, plus 3 tablespoons for sprinkling on pudding
1 cup whole milk
1 cup whipping cream
1 15 oz. can pumpkin (not pie filling, just plain pumpkin)
2 3/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
5 1/2 cups cubed French bread (Brioche would be amazing too!)
3/4 cup dried cranberries (I used dried cherries for fun)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Beat eggs until pale yellow and fluffy. Beat in brown sugar until dissolved and add milk, cream, pumpkin and spices. Pour over the bread, stir to coat, and let sit for 10 minutes. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, then sprinkle the 3 tablespoons sugar on top. Bake another 15 or so minutes, or until the top is slightly firm when pressed. Cool and devour!

To Die for Recipe: Pumpkin Bread Pudding and a Giveaway!

November 24, 2008

DSC_0268

Let me preface this post by telling you a secret: I hate pumpkin pie. How can I detest a humble dessert, you ask? Well that's the problem: pumpkin pie is not dessert. Rather, it is a vegetal mess, a disgraceful pairing of bland crust and not-quite-wholesome filling. When I want dessert, I want unabashed indulgence, not a squash that can't get it's act together. This pumpkin bread pudding is therefore perfect for me. It's everything pumpkin pie wishes it could be!

DSC_0216

Honestly, this is SO good. Smooth, melt in your mouth custard goodness meets the tender give of crusted bread, and a subtle pumpkin flavour complements the gentle undertones of spice. Plus it's practically foolproof: no finicky pastry and weepy pie filling to contend with. Just stir, pour, and bake. Not only would I serve this at Thanksgiving with a dollop of whipped cream, I would also enjoy it at a winter brunch. Or maybe just by myself, with a really big spoon and no one to interrupt me.

0618240004 
But wait, there's more! Leave me a comment with your favourite Thanksgiving dessert—or if you're not celebrating Thanksgiving this week, just share your favourite holiday dessert—and you'll be in the running to win the GORGEOUS cookbook that this recipe came from! The All-American Dessert Book is one of my favourite cookbooks of all time and boasts such fare as 'Vanilla Chocolate Trifle with Apricot Sauce' and 'Bourbon Pecan Fudge Cake'. Believe me, you WANT this cookbook, if only because the photos are so droolworthy. And don't worry, I'll remind you about the giveaway with another divine Thanksgiving recipe from this book, coming later in the week!

Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Courtesy of The All-American Dessert Book by Nancy Baggett

4 large eggs
1 cup packed brown sugar, plus 3 tablespoons for sprinkling on pudding
1 cup whole milk
1 cup whipping cream
1 15 oz. can pumpkin (not pie filling, just plain pumpkin)
2 3/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
5 1/2 cups cubed French bread (Brioche would be amazing too!)
3/4 cup dried cranberries (I used dried cherries for fun)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Beat eggs until pale yellow and fluffy. Beat in brown sugar until dissolved and add milk, cream, pumpkin and spices. Pour over the bread, stir to coat, and let sit for 10 minutes. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, then sprinkle the 3 tablespoons sugar on top. Bake another 15 or so minutes, or until the top is slightly firm when pressed. Cool and devour!

Desert Dreams: ‘Arizona’

November 23, 2008

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Every once in a while I happen across a set of photos that I can't make sense of but that I also can't get enough of. That was the case with this series entitled simply 'Arizona' from a Dutch photography group. It's possible that this isn't a real house—that perhaps it existed only as a concept piece—but the mystery that surrounds these images only makes me love them more.

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The color palette in particular is breathtaking. There's a motif of yellow and flesh pink running throughout, punctuated with striking blacks and deep browns. And of course I love anything with a healthy dose of grey…

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I'm also completely enamoured with this leather sofa. I'm so used to seeing similar pieces in slick, sleek, uber-modern interiors. And of course this space is very modern indeed, but there's an organicism here that is wholly unexpected and very much appreciated.

Bn13

There are so many different textures and layers happening in this space—the complexity of it really defies description. A surreal quality infuses every element, from the dynamic patches of shadow and light, to the stilted shape of the wooden screen, to the quirky cacti everywhere. But if you've ever been in the desert—hence the series title 'Arizona'—then you are familiar with this surreality.

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Surreal or not, the space offers some very cool, very concrete decor ideas. The 'mural' behind this sofa is actually a wall of cupboards painted in an abstract representation of the desert horizon.

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Here you can see the storage space in action. Can't you imagine doing something this funky with a crummy old piece from Ikea? And just when I think the room can't get any more personality, they throw a cow hide chair into the mix!

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I have a recurring dream in which a blinding light prevents me from opening my eyes. No matter how hard I try, I can only squint, and even then I can see only vague shapes. This shot reminds me of that sensation, though it's much more pleasant than those dreams…

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Now I know I must be dreaming. Hello, slightly nerdy yet beefy looking Dutch man. Will you be running my bath for me today?

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All images courtesy of IJM.  

Desert Dreams: ‘Arizona’

November 23, 2008

Bn6

Every once in a while I happen across a set of photos that I can't make sense of but that I also can't get enough of. That was the case with this series entitled simply 'Arizona' from a Dutch photography group. It's possible that this isn't a real house—that perhaps it existed only as a concept piece—but the mystery that surrounds these images only makes me love them more.

Bn4

The color palette in particular is breathtaking. There's a motif of yellow and flesh pink running throughout, punctuated with striking blacks and deep browns. And of course I love anything with a healthy dose of grey…

Bn9

I'm also completely enamoured with this leather sofa. I'm so used to seeing similar pieces in slick, sleek, uber-modern interiors. And of course this space is very modern indeed, but there's an organicism here that is wholly unexpected and very much appreciated.

Bn13

There are so many different textures and layers happening in this space—the complexity of it really defies description. A surreal quality infuses every element, from the dynamic patches of shadow and light, to the stilted shape of the wooden screen, to the quirky cacti everywhere. But if you've ever been in the desert—hence the series title 'Arizona'—then you are familiar with this surreality.

Bn18

Surreal or not, the space offers some very cool, very concrete decor ideas. The 'mural' behind this sofa is actually a wall of cupboards painted in an abstract representation of the desert horizon.

Ijm

Here you can see the storage space in action. Can't you imagine doing something this funky with a crummy old piece from Ikea? And just when I think the room can't get any more personality, they throw a cow hide chair into the mix!

Ijm2

I have a recurring dream in which a blinding light prevents me from opening my eyes. No matter how hard I try, I can only squint, and even then I can see only vague shapes. This shot reminds me of that sensation, though it's much more pleasant than those dreams…

Ijm3 

Now I know I must be dreaming. Hello, slightly nerdy yet beefy looking Dutch man. Will you be running my bath for me today?

Bn14

All images courtesy of IJM.