I'm kind of obsessed with this ridiculously low priced bracelet from Colonel Littleton, aren't you? $27.75, friends. That's it. And it's made from bridle leather which makes it, like, ten thousand times cooler. Unbelievable, right?
Friday, July 31, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
I watched this How it's Made show (love Discovery Channel) a few months ago on how they make and test acrylic paints. The super expensive kind that I haven't been able to afford since I was on mom and dad's credit card taking art classes that insisted on the super expensive kind. After watching that show and seeing just how many people are needed to test and do and make sure and monitor just to make one tube of the stuff, I see why it's so expensive. Anyway, when they test the color they create this really, really cool poster design without even trying...little swatches of color comparisons all lined up together to make an awesome modern decor item. I've been searching for a long time online to find out where on earth those posters go after they've tested the ink! I want a series of them so badly, but I haven't had any luck. I thought about calling around to manufacturers, but then I see my list of things to do and realize I probably shouldn't be spending quite so much time on this little project. Or maybe I'm just lazy and want to find it online, right there waiting for me to press "buy it now". I found Lauren Nicole Love's shop on Etsy through another blog (that I can't remember and I'm so sorry to the fellow blogger out there who I can't credit!) and this little watercolor piece is the closest thing I've seen to the acrylic testing sheets! So beautiful, right?
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
I finished this book a week or so ago while on vacation with the fam and, while not earth shattering and while I didn't require someone to scoop me up off of the floor with a spoon when I read the last page, The Sugar Queen really was a good read. Nice twists and characters. A great finish-in-one-day read if you want something light, but not too light. Don't buy it if you're looking for a life-changing event, but it wasn't a waste of time to read while sitting on the beach in full relaxation mode. My favorite character has books that literally jump out at her when she needs them - she's going through a betrayal in her relationship and the book Finding Forgiveness keeps appearing. I pictured the books to be sort of like that little stack of Geico bills in the new commercials, know what I'm talking about? So, between that little imagery and all of the candy chapter titles (the book is titled The Sugar Queen for a reason), I'd say I had a smile on my face while reading this number.
Friday, July 24, 2009
I made this last week and, I'm not kidding, it was amazing. Amazing and only 430 calories. I know it's not "cool" to count those buggers, but I've never quite managed to hit that cool factor, really, so I think I'm safe just being me and me likes a pork dinner at 430 calories. So, back to the food, hands down one of the most amazing dinners I've made so far...ever. I mean, I've been cooking (without the use of a microwave) for a whole ten months now so please take the word "ever" with pause, but this dinner really was good. When Cute Husband said so, the comment definitely didn't have the look of obligation. Best of all, it was super easy to make the meal look like it did in the picture that I found in Self Magazine.
Chile-Dusted Pork Chops with Strawberries and Grits
(the recipe comes from the restaurant Animal - chefs Vinny Dotolo and John Shook shared the recipe with Self magazine)
1 tbsp chipotle chile powder
1 tsp ancho chile powder
1 tsp chile powder
(*I couldn't find ancho chile powder, so I used 2 tsp of chile powder)
1 tbsp kosher salt
4 bone-in pork chops (8 oz each)
(*I only used 2 pork chops and the same amount of flavor - worked just fine)
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
(*I used 2 tbsp splenda...bc, aside from the non-coolness, I'm actually ordered by doctors not to eat sugar)
1 1/2 tsp all-purpose flour
1 cup grits
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly grounded black pepper
4 tsp butter
vegetable oil cooking spray
Combine chile powders and kosher salt in a bowl: rub onto both sides of chops. Set aside. Bring strawberries, lemon juice, 2 tbsp water, sugar and flour to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring every few minutes, until juice thickens. Cover; set aside. Cook grits as directed on package, adding salt and pepper while cooking. Stir in butter. (*oops - I left both of those steps out.) Cover; set aside. Heat an outdoor grill, a grill pan or a cast-iron skillet over high heat. (Coat grill pan or skillet with cooking spray.) Cook chops until a meat thermometer reads 165, 5 to 7 minutes on each side. Divide grits among 4 plates. Plate 1 chop on top of grits; drizzle with pan juices. Top with berries.
Leaving you with one of my favorite short quotes to carry in your pocket this weekend - "if you wish to be loved; love!" (seneca). I hope you all have a wonderful weekend planned. Cute Husband and I will be home for the first weekend in a long time which means that we'll really want to go out and do all of the cool things that this city offers, but we'll probably just hang out in Hoboken on the pier reading and eating and doing our general hang out thing. Which is just fine with me!
Thursday, July 23, 2009
I'm sort of in love with these simple and happy little paper collages by Made by Anna on Etsy. The one above reminds me of the place I still call home, despite the fact that I've been a New Jersey resident for four years now. Ah, Blue Ridge Mountains, I miss you so...
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
I'm having a Facebook fan giveaway this week - the first of many if this goes well! Become a fan of Laurel Denise on Facebook and be automatically entered into our first ever Facebook giveaway! (Insert some sort of drum roll or dramatic sound effect here.) On Friday, July 24th, one lucky winner will be chosen from all of my fans to receive a free necklace of their choosing! So go on over there and sign yourself up as a fan.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I've wanted to go to the Brimfield Antique Show for, um, ever. I'm not sure when my obsession with old things came into my life (probably at around the same time it came into the lives of my two college besties), but it landed one day and I haven't looked back. Or, well, wait...all I've done is look back since? You get the idea. The next Brimfield Show is September 8 - 13...I kind of feel like this show wants Cute Husband and I to be there. An early anniversary celebration perhaps? Hmm...I guess you're supposed to spend your anniversary doing things you both absolutely love, huh? Something tells me, as great as he is, walking through one of the best flea market/antique shows ever might not rate at the top of Cute Husband's list. But just look at the cabinet above! That very cabinet (minus the sort of creepy dolls hanging out) is something I've been seeking for pendant storage for a very, very long time. And it was found at the Brimfield Antique Show! With one "quick" weekend trip, my storage woes could be under control! Glorious.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Hello, friends! Well, I'm back...trying really hard not to kick and scream my way back into my work routine - it's tough to switch from a beach with family routine (where, pretty much, all I think about is the next meal) to a work all by your lonesome in your house routine. But, beach or no beach, it's a pretty great life to return to so I can't complain. Can I?
As is usually the case when I return from a good vacation, I've found myself completely filled with the best reading ever. I've been saving Love Walked In for a month or so (until I could get away for a long time and be able to sit without guilt and devour every inch of the book with no interruption) and, oh man, am I ever so happy that I did! Someone told me I would melt and, seriously, you could scoop me up with a spoon after reading this book. I literally gave the cover a big kiss when I finished it. I love, love, love Marisa De Los Santos. I want to be Marisa De Los Santos. To think like she seems to think - both clever and witty and so touching you want to cry every second - would be bliss. Please oh please read Love Walked In and then, right after, read Belong to Me.
I'll have more book reviews coming as I read about a book a day at the beach last week. Did I mention the week was a success?
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Adios, Friends! I'm heading to the beautiful beaches of my childhood, the Outer Banks in North Carolina, for a week with Cute Husband's fam. I'm sure I'll be checking in throughout the week on twitter and facebook, but if I happen to miss you I'll catch you when I return a much tanner and more relaxed person!
While I'm away, don't forget to check out the new quote posters on Etsy (seriously the happiest things ever, if I do say so myself) and some of our new designs on the laurel denise website! Everything will be shipped when I return on June 20th!
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
I'm oh so excited about this new custom project! I worked with Vana, who owns Le Papier Studio, an online shop that specializes in the most adorable silhouette projects ever, on some silhouette necklace creations. I love the way they turned out! This one is my favorite, but check out the rest of them online here!
Monday, July 6, 2009
Friday, July 3, 2009
My oldest sister and I, when we lived closer to each other, used to decorate cookies every holiday. I'm not talking about slapping some icing on and a few sprinkles and calling it a day. I'm talking about meticulously planned cookies, with shading and words spelled out carefully with each little sprinkle and outlines and...the list could go on and on. We'd stay up for hours making these. These little flag cuties from Martha filled me with those happy memories. Happy fourth, everyone! Cute Husband and I are off to a waterfall hike in upstate New York today and tomorrow we plan to watch the fireworks over the Hudson River with some friends! Finally a weekend where Hoboken beats Brooklyn! What? Kidding, Brooklyn friends, kidding...
Thursday, July 2, 2009
I'm thinking that the whale image might be the next bird/owl/bear/deer image craze in the world of design. I speak with authority because, well, you know, I'm a style setter and all (yeah, right). No, but, really...I kind of like this new whale thing that I've been seeing around, don't you? So I'd be pretty pleased to see more of them around. It might even be cute to try a whale glass shape for a necklace! So simple!
1. Enormous Champion beautiful whale print here
2. Desire Lines whale necklace here
3. Enormous Champion whale letterpress card here
4. Cutey pie stuffed whale here
So, is anyone else humming "baby beluga in the deep blue sea, swim so wide and you swim so free..." or something like that from Third Grade music class?!
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
I'm going to the beach in a week and a half (who's counting down?) and I really do need a hat. Pale is the new tan, kids. At least, that's what I'm telling myself (with some strong mental assistance from Cute Husband who emails me pictures of leather handbags with the caption "this will be your face on sun" when I say I'd like to go lay out...subtle). Oddly, it's been kind of tough to find one that doesn't make me feel like I'm trying to be J-Lo circa 2003. This lovely number from Urban Outfitters might do the trick though. Sweet and simple, with a wide brim.