Archive | September, 2011

Wednesday Wish List {More Flats!}

28 Sep

As a girl who is on the petite side, with any height that I do have being all in the torso, I wear heels … a lot.  Maybe that’s why I was so excited when I found these Steve Madden moccasins on the clearance rack at DSW.  I usually don’t like flats once I get them on, but I loved these and had to get them!

I think they are super cute, and they’re the closest thing I have to going barefoot.  I even love the tapping sound they make when I walk!  I find myself putting them on every day and wishing they worked with all of my clothes. I’ve definitely gotten the nix from the husband a couple of times … oh, well.  So I guess this week, I’m wishing for more cute flats that feel as great on my feet as these do and jeans that don’t drag the ground when I wear them!  Anyone find any great flats lately?


A very happy anniversary {DIY Memory Box}

26 Sep

So, it’s been a year since the wedding … does that mean I have to change the About Me section to say something other than “recent bride”?  In some ways it feels like we’ve been married much longer {good ways, I promise!}, but in other ways I can’t believe it’s already been a year.  Adam and I marked the occasion in Culpeper, Virginia – a small town about an hour outside of the D.C. area.

The trail to Mary's Rock - Shenandoah National Park

We hiked a small piece of the Appalachian Trail {after a very scary, foggy drive to the trail and a black bear sighting!} and we enjoyed great food and wine {check out Foti’s if you’re ever in Culpeper!} … but most of all, we enjoyed the time together doing some of our favorite things while reminiscing about all of the good times that were had this time last year.  We rounded out the weekend by being treated to dinner by Adam’s brother {thanks, BP!} and enjoying the cupcakes and bottle of wine we saved from the wedding.  I have to say, the cupcakes held up much better in the freezer than I thought they would and were actually quite tasty!

Anyway, I thought long and hard about what to give Adam for our first anniversary, and in typical Kelli fashion, was working on my gift right up to the last possible minute!  Luckily for me, the first anniversary is the paper anniversary and, as you know, I love paper!

I finally settled on putting together a box of some of my favorite memories from our time together so far, and found an old cigar box that I’ve been hanging on to for years that seemed like the perfect item to repurpose {empties are usually available at cigar stores for free or a nominal charge and can be used for storing all sorts of things!}.

I then got to work digging through old calendars and emails trying to piece together some of the more significant dates.  I cut cards down to size in some fun colors and inserted a stamped image of the same birds I used on our wedding invitations behind a heart punch cut-out.  I made more than enough cards so that we still have some blank ones ready for all of the memories yet to come!

Adam seemed to enjoy his gift, and I will certainly enjoy his gift to me – my very own masala dabba {he must read the blog!}

I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but a wedding is a very humbling experience where you look around and realize that people have traveled from all over the country just to celebrate your love and commitment!  We enjoyed so much love and support surrounding our wedding, and I know that this continued encouragement will be a big key to the success of our marriage {no pressure, guys!}.  I can’t wait to see what’s next for us!

A family visit and some baking {Salty Sweet Cookies and Red Wine Chocolate Cake}

23 Sep

Last weekend was special for so many reasons.  Most importantly, my dear sister and her precious children were here for a visit.  My niece is four and my nephew is two, and they change so much between each visit at this point.  I am always so excited to see what fun new things they’re learning and doing!

We also thought it would be fun to have a little cook-out while they were in town – a way for family and friends to get to know each other as well as a kind of farewell to summer {although hopefully not our last cook-out of the year!}. With all of this going on, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out some new recipes.  I knew I’d be cutting it close, but after taking the Metro and two buses, I got from work to the grocery store to home with just enough time to bake a Red Wine Chocolate Cake on Friday before the family arrived. The recipe from Smitten Kitchen was super easy and so delicious.  It was rich and moist when I ate some with my sister that night, but a little crumbly the next day {I think that may have been because I had to cover it too quickly before it had really cooled}.  Whipped cream is a perfect way to top this yummy cake! Here’s a picture and the original recipe.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake - just as rich and delicious as it sounds!

{Red Wine Chocolate Cake}

  • 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (179 grams) firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) white granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (177 ml) red wine, any kind you like
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon (133 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (41 grams) Dutch cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 325°F.  Line the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment, and either butter and lightly flour the parchment and exposed sides of the pan, or spray the interior with a nonstick spray {I just buttered the dish with no parchment paper, and it was fine}.  In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth.  Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the egg and yolk and beat well, then the red wine and vanilla.  Don’t worry if the batter looks a little uneven.  Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together, right over your wet ingredients.  Mix until 3/4 combined, then fold the rest together with a rubber spatula.  Spread batter in prepared pan.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.  The top of the cake should be shiny and smooth, like a puddle of chocolate.  Cool in pan on a rack for about 10 minutes, then flip out of pan and cool the rest of the way on a cooling rack.  This cake keeps well at room temperature or in the fridge. It looks pretty dusted with powdered sugar.

The other recipe I tried for the first time last weekend was for pretzel cookies with chocolate and peanut butter chips.  I found it on a blog called Sugar Cooking.  These cookies were such a tasty mixture of salty and sweet, and seemed to be a hit with kids and adults alike.  The only thing I would change next time would be to use a smaller kind of pretzel so that I could leave them in bigger chunks {I accidentally asked for pretzel rods when I meant sticks, so I ended up crushing them more than I would have like – doh!}.  Here’s the original recipe from Sugar Cooking along with a couple of changes I made!

{Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chip Pretzel Cookies}

Makes about 24 cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. of salt
  • 1/4 tsp. of baking soda
  • 1/2 cup of butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1/2 cup broken up pretzel pieces
  • Pretzel Salt or Sea Salt
Preheat the over to 350.  In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt – set aside.  In a larger bowl, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy {about 2-3 minutes}.  On low speed, slowly add the beaten egg and vanilla extract.  Beat to combine and scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the flour mixture and beat just until there are no more streaks of flour.  Stir in the chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and pretzels.  Cover and refrigerate for an hour {I skipped this step, and it seemed to work out okay}.  Scoop out well rounded tablespoonfuls of the dough and place them about 2 inches apart on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with sea salt and bake for about 10 minutes and let cool for a few minutes.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chip Pretzel Cookies - salty, sweet & delicious!

These recipes were perfect for enjoying with dear friends and family!  Happy baking!

Wednesday Wish List {Yellow Owl Workshop}

21 Sep

Grace Bonney {over at Design*Sponge} recently featured the new stamp designs at Yellow Owl Workshop on her site, and I haven’t been able to get them out of my head since!  Each set has all of the pieces for a charming vignette, and you can’t help but picture all of the possibilities!  Here are a few of my favorites:

I've always loved playing in the rain!

So many possibilities!

Perfect for holiday cards!

If I am ever lucky enough to get one of these, I will definitely be testing out my masking skills again!  Happy stamping!

Wednesday Wish List {Crafting Emergency!}

14 Sep

I was all set to continue my quest for organization this week in the Wednesday Wish List, but then an unforeseen occurrence changed all of that!  During a delightful afternoon of crafting with the girls for a friend’s wedding, my circle punch gave out mid-punch!  This punch had seen me through so many crafts over the last couple of years, but it finally couldn’t take any more.  Here is the sad state it is in now, with part of a ripped wedding craft hopelessly stuck inside:

2 1/8 Circle Punch from Paper Source

Here is a look back at some of my favorite crafts created using the circle punch, including my very favorite: our wedding invitations.

Place Cards

The wedding stamp used as a seal on our invitations from Note Trunk {}

The craft we were working on this weekend is totally different from these in that it uses the negative space created by the punch, and I will be excited to share it with you later!

Anyway, now that my circle punch is no more, I am faced with a decision: should I just replace it with another one like it … or should I explore other options?  I have always been intrigued by the ones more like this one seen below.  It is a “deluxe” model from Paper Source, but I’ve definitely seen similar tools at Michaels and A.C. Moore.  The appeal of this type of tool would be the relative versatility it allows, as you could vary the size of your circles!

Circle Cutter {}

As my husband so lovingly pointed out, it is a very small niche market that I am appealing to here, but if anyone has any recommendations, it would be much appreciated!

A very special celebration {Tenth Anniversary}

12 Sep

This weekend we celebrated a very special milestone in my husband’s professional life.  Ten years ago, he and his business partners took a courageous leap into the unknown, and started their very own web development company.  I can’t even imagine all of the anxiety, excitement, and myriad other emotions they must have been feeling back in August 2001.

{photo credit: Alyxie Harrick}

In the ten years that have followed; as with any organic being, their company has grown, adapted, celebrated successes, and weathered difficulties. They have grown in numbers, not only as a company as the work demanded it, but also as a family through marriages, births, and lasting friendships.  As we all sat around enjoying amazing food and even better conversation at Kinkead’s, I was struck by how remarkable this accomplishment really is, especially given the current economic landscape.  Even though I am a relatively new addition to the group, and have only witnessed the last few years in the life of the company; I am certain that a big part of their success and longevity is due to the amazing partnership the founders have formed and how well their unique strengths complement one another.  I am so extremely proud of them all {especially Adam, of course}, and was thrilled to be a part of this momentous occasion.

{photo credit: Alyxie Harrick}

Since it’s pretty hard for me to mark a special occasion without some kind of paper craft, here is a peek at the place cards from Saturday’s dinner.  I tried to incorporate the company colors and trademark lighthouse, as well as a nod to the 10th anniversary and a play on binary code.  I’m pretty happy with the way they turned out, and will share a little bit more about how I made them in a later post.  But for now, congrats to everyone at Modern Signal and here’s to another ten years!

Wednesday Wish List {Organization Part 1}

7 Sep

This week I’ll kick off a series of Wish List items related to organization.  I’m not sure how many parts it will be, because I could go on and on about organization!  My family can attest to the fact that one of my most influential childhood books was The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room.  As a small girl, I remember looking at the final pages of this book in awe and wishing my closet could be filled with neatly labeled boxes of all of my keepsakes and toys.  As I searched the web for a picture from the book to show you, I came across a true kindred spirit; so I thought I would share a post from Organized Design that perfectly puts into pictures and words my feelings on this book and the lasting impression it made on me.  It’s nice to know that, even if I was a little odd, I wasn’t alone!

As adults who not only combined two houses worth of stuff into one, but also added to that so many thoughtful and amazing wedding gifts, we have quite a few areas in our home that could use a little of the Berenstain Bear magic; but this week I will focus on one.  I’m not exactly sure what I’m wishing for, but I do know that I need some way to get my jewelry under control!  I have never been a girl who needed lots of fancy jewelry, but I do love necklaces a lot, and have accumulated quite a few over the years.  It’s definitely my favorite accessory for spicing up all of those monochromatic v-neck shirts I love to wear so much!  This accumulation has been a bit faster over the last couple of years as I now have a mother-in-law who makes beautiful necklaces and is kind enough to share them with me!  Here’s an example of one of my favorites, which she made for me to wear to our rehearsal dinner.  How great is it to have someone who is not only able but happy to create a custom piece for you on a special occasion!

Custom necklace from Mom!

And now to the point!  I have been struggling to come up with a way to keep all of my necklaces neat and orderly, but also accessible enough that I remember to wear them all!  I came up with a system of boxes in my bedside table that is okay, but I find that I don’t think to wear some of them as much as I should when they are all tucked away.  While nothing quite suits my needs, here are a few of the ideas I’ve been looking at.

Pottery Barn Accessory Tower

This Accessory Tower from Pottery Barn is kind of a pie-in-the-sky solution.  At $599, it probably costs more than my entire jewelry collection, not to mention the fact that there really isn’t room for more furniture in our bedroom as it is!  A girl can dream though …

Urban Outfitters Jewelry Stand

Etsy Jewelry Stand

Anyone who attended my wedding, or saw any of the related paper goods, will know that I love a good tree motif!  I’m sure that’s why I’m always drawn to jewelry stands like these more reasonably priced solutions from Urban Outfitters and Etsy, both in the $30 range.  My main problem with these stands is that they would be overwhelmed by all of my necklaces – even just a few larger beaded ones would quickly hide the beautiful tree shape!  So, on to the next option!

Finally, what might be the most workable solution for me is more of a D.I.Y. frame/pegboard option.  Here are a couple of interesting ones I’ve come across on other blogs.  The great thing about these, is that the possibilities are endless!  The first is from DreamGreenDIY and I love the idea of repurposing old decorative items like frames and knobs in order to achieve a totally new look.  The second example, found on Hello Beauty, is a more understated approach that would allow the necklaces to be the stars!  This one would probably work better with our existing decor, as the first would tend more to the shabby chic {which I absolutely love, but alas does not go with a thing in our house!}.



I will most likely continue pondering the options for quite some time, but would love any ideas you’ve come across or even tried yourself!