Thursday, July 5, 2012

this blog has a new home..

Hi there -

Are you looking for more of my decorating advice and tips?  I'm still around, but have moved the content from this blog over to my new website: How Sweet Life Is

You can find all things Haute Decor under the "home sweet home" category over at

Now, you don't want to miss my new posts!  Be sure to add your email to my list of followers when you visit my new blog.

{Happy Decorating!}


Monday, November 21, 2011

{Happy Shopping}

Here's one fabulous gift guide I wanted to share with all of you.  I hope none of you are planning to endure the chaos of Black Friday sales, and instead opt to stay in for all of your Christmas shopping, as I usually do.  This is the ultimate online gift guide, for all my fellow online shoppers.  Also, there are some great downloadable gift tags, starting on page 130, that are super cute and great for any occasion.  {Happy Shopping!}

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Colorful Dining Room

You can't see the whole dining room here, but I did want to take this opportunity to share this picture because it features our new curtains, which was a major DIY project accomplishment for me.  After looking for the perfect curtains to use, I ended up buying my own fabric and was lucky enough to have my mom around to make these for us.  I know this is an easy project I can tackle on my own in the future, now that I bought a sewing machine, but hey, she offered!

Our dining room furniture is so heavy [table, book cases, and side board are all dark wood] so I really wanted to brighten up the room with a bright color palette.  I thought pops of orange and hot pink would be perfect for the room, and if I could bring in some yellow, I'd hit jackpot!  We love the colorful runner we use on the table, and also brought in a bright orange lamp (from our living room) onto the sideboard that's against the wall [not shown in this picture], to bring some cheer to this room.  We have two IKEA Poang chairs that we have had for some time, and changed the covers from faded black to fresh ivory [also not shown, these are on either side of the sideboard].  

The walls will eventually be painted in a cool bluish gray, and will complement the soft buttery yellow we are using in the adjacent kitchen.  it will take us some time to finish the look completely, and I look forward to sharing more pictures as it all comes together.

{Happy Decorating}

ps I bought the fabric at Jo-Ann Fabric store.  It is from the Waverly Home Decor Modern Essentials collection.  I used two and a half yards @ $19.99/yard.  {This particular fabric is not featured online, but there are many other great patterns I already have my eye on for future projects.}

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Easy Meal Planning

Lately, I've been trying to stay one step ahead of the game when it comes to our weekly meal planning for weeknight dinners.  My husband does most of the cooking at home, and I have been thinking of ways to alleviate the burden as much as possible.  Since I work full-time, I don't have the flexibility of making dinner during the week, unless it's just a matter of finishing something up or making something super quick.  Another factor is accommodating our twin toddlers.  At 21 months old, they are starting to show their independence by voicing more of what they like and don't like, and they are unpredictable at best.

I've been trying something new the past few weeks.  I've started to prepare foods on Sunday for storage in the freezer, that we can use during the week.  I only wish I had documented this along the way, in photos for sharing.  I've also started freezing breads and doughs for use at a later time.

Take a look at what's currently in our freezer, along with our meal plan for this week:
  • Home made ravioli, filled with lump crab and cream cheese
  • Home made pizza dough
  • Home made banana nut bread
  • Home made crab won tons
  • Home made meat lasagna
  • Home made cookie dough - oatmeal raisin with chocolate chips
  • Store bought frozen baguettes
  • Store bought frozen garlic toast
  • Frozen chicken breasts (marinated already -- jerk sauce, BBQ sauce)
  • Frozen vegetables
This week's meal plan:
  • Monday:  Jerk chicken with sweet potatoes and veggies {for the kiddos:  grilled chicken without the jerk sauce, and veggie mix with regular boiled potatoes}
  • Tuesday:  Vietnamese chicken sandwiches -- sauteed chicken on a french baguette, dressed with wasabi cream sauce, and garnished with fresh cilantro, cucumbers and carrots  {for the kiddos:  sauteed chicken, baguette slices, tater tots}
  • Wednesday:  Crab ravioli and shrimp in vodka sauce, with garlic toast and green salad {for the kiddos: plain pasta tossed with chicken and red pasta sauce}
  • Thursday:  Grilled BBQ chicken with corn on the cob and green veggies {the kiddos will have the same menu}
  • Friday:  Pizza topped with fresh basil, mozzarella and pepperoni, with green salad {for the kiddos:  pizza and steamed veggies}
  • Saturday:  Meat lasagna
Sunday, we will start all over again.  Last Sunday, my husband made Fish Tacos with fresh tilapia and a baja sauce (chipotles and sour cream).  They were great for lunch!  After lunch, while the girls napped, I made the meat lasagna and cookies, and froze the lasagna and half the cookie dough for later.  We had a light dinner and took it easy the rest of the day, knowing that meals for the week ahead were mostly taken care of.

I hope you're inspired to prepare in advance and make the most of your weeknights, since they are the shortest in the week.  Happy cooking!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Inspiration for even the smallest of spaces

I wanted to share this feature I read a few months ago, in what has quickly become one of my favorite magazines 'Lonny'.  It showcases so many great ideas we can all incorporate in our own spaces, from decorating with unique art work to organizing even the smallest Manhattan closet.  I love the sky blue color on the walls, and am also loving how she wastes no space in her small apartment -- her nightstand doubles as a bar!  Genious!

I hope you enjoy this and are inspired to make your own space your own, whether it is your bedroom, living room, or even your work space.

Remember:  Keep it simple! Make it pretty! {Happy decorating}

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Banana Nut Bread

Banana-Nut Bread
Makes two 9 by 5 inch loaves or six 6 by 2 ¾ inch miniloaves
If you use miniloaf pans, reduce the baking time to forty-five minutes.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups ripe mashed banana (about 3 medium)
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup (about 4 oz) walnuts or pecans, toasted and finely chopped
1/2 cup buttermilk *SEE BELOW FOR SUBSTITUTION*
Nonstick cooking spray

*If you do not have buttermilk, make your own:  Pour 1/2 tablespoon vinegar into a liquid measuring cup, and top off to the 1/2 cup line with whole milk.  Let stand for 5 minutes before using.  Voila!*

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Coat two 9-by-5 inch loaf pans with cooking spray; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, and vegetable oil on medium-low speed until combined.  Beat in the flour mixture.  Add the vanilla, banana, coconut, nuts, and buttermilk, and beat just to combine.
Divide batter evenly between prepared pans.  Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until a toothpick or sharp knife comes out clean, 60 to 65 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.  Remove loaves from pans and let cool completely.
Bread can be kept at room temperature, wrapped well in plastic, for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to 3 months.

{I freeze one loaf, after cutting it into two or three sections, so I can thaw out small portions as needed.}

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Everything in its place, and a place for every thing...

Since we've moved into our new home, we are still struggling to find order in the everyday tasks.  With two toddler twins running around, it's hard to maintain a sense of order amid the toys and chaos.

We are taking it one day at a time, though, that's for sure.  I like to focus on the 'hot spots' when tackling organization.  Our hot spots are our pantry and closets.  What are yours?  It seems that it's easy to let things go when they're behind closed doors...but it's these areas that we frequent the most in our homes, and that can bring us the greatest satisfaction once organized properly.

Here are some tips I'm looking forward to using in my own home, and hope they inspire you too.

Beautiful ideas for an orderly pantry, maximizing every little nook and cranny...
{Courtesy of "House of Fifty"}

Great tips for organizing your closet, no matter how limited your space is...
{Courtesy of "Lonny"}

{Stay tuned for update on one of my upcoming projects -- organizing my own walk-in closet}