Monday, September 29, 2014

Thirsty Thirty Birthday Tailgate


Over the weekend, we helped throw a 30th surprise birthday party for one of our friends. Her super sweet husband rented a Party Bus to take our group of friends to East Lansing, tailgate and go to the MSU Homecoming Game. We all had so much fun, I just have to share some of the decorations and designs from the event!

I made a couple of strands of tissue tassel garlands by following this tutorial, they were really easy to make and turned out so cute!

I made Gluten Free Pumpkin Cupcakes (box of GF cake mix + 1 cup of pumpkin + 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice + 2 tsp cinnamon) with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting (this frosting recipe). Seriously, so good! Highly recommend.

Custom Koozies!

and a fun banner~

I designed the sign and the koozie using PicMonkey


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Market Find: Succulent Wreath


Detroit hosts an indoor/outdoor market every Saturday downtown at Eastern Market. They feature locally grown fruits, veggies, plants & flowers. This past weekend we headed down with some out of town friends and I came back with some favorite finds. 

There were a couple vendors selling succulents- small ones, large ones, every color and shape you could think of. The prices are a little lower than Home Depot/Lowe's and they definitely had more of a selection to choose from. 

As we were making our way through one of the last buildings, I saw these really unique wreaths made of succulents. I should have taken a picture of them all together but I forgot. While I'm not quite sure how long it will last, for $10 it was worth it to bring home and enjoy at least for a little while. It came with a hook for easy hanging.


I also spotted some air plants that I couldn't resist, one is a pretty large size and the other is a unique shaped little one. 


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Spring Brunch: Mother's Day

We hosted some of my family over the weekend for a Mother's Day Brunch. I tried to keep everything simple & easy but pretty too.

I prefer to setup the food buffet style on the counter since our dining table is on the smaller side, all of this would never fit. I made two quiches using this recipe.  One was white aged cheddar + chives and the other was spinach, mushroom + goat cheese. Both were delicious and quiche is so easy to make- Love it. We also had ham, grilled shrimp, spinach salad, cheesy potatoes and fruit.. yum!

 I've been wanting to make this chocolate cake for a while now and I'm glad I did. It was pretty amazing. Rich chocolate but not too sweet, almost fudge-y. I did substitute the boiling water with hot coffee and I think it really made a difference.  I made this frosting recipe which paired really well with the chocolate cake. I piped on the frosting and they were suppose to look like rosettes but this frosting doesn't hold up too well for piping. It was still a pretty textured cake but more importantly- tasted great.

We also had creme puffs, store bought and drizzled with Saunders hot fudge & powdered sugar.

We ended the day enjoying the beautiful weather & a glass of wine in the backyard.

Hope you all enjoyed your weekend as much as I did!


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Almost Done: Opening Enclosed Stairway

Well friends, it's been a while since my last post but I'm excited to show you the progress we've made opening up our stairway. We took the walls down, added the support & new headers, installed new railings, newel posts and spindles, added trim to the doorway and finally got to paint! We still have a lot to do: repair floors, remove carpet, add new wood treads and then finish up the trim but it's nice to take a step back and see how far we've come.

Here is the awful before, right when we were moving in:

And now the view from that same spot:

Before the kitchen remodel:

And the now of that same wall or lack thereof:

Here's a little bit closer up of the railings and the finishing touches still needed:

We bought all the railings, newel posts and spindles from Home Depot. I'm surprised we actually accomplished this much considering there a professionals who only install stairs/railings for a reason.. it's tough to get it right. We had to start over a couple times but it's worth it now. 

Just one more before & after: 


Friday, February 7, 2014

Bedroom Design Board

We have been in our current house for just over a year and have lived with the peach colored walls and ceiling in our bedroom long enough! We are still working on the stairway project but I really would like to at least get this room painted soon. I prefer calm bedrooms - it doesn't need to be all white but soothing, muted tones and a limited number of patterns helps to keep the room feeling relaxed.
Here's the picture of the room from the real estate listing. Our home has two bedrooms on the main floor and the upstairs is the 'master suite' with a bathroom & double closets. Upstairs needs a lot of work and a lot of carpet removed before we actually want to sleep up there.

This picture makes the room look so tiny, some of the worst real estate photos I've ever seen!
We have two dressers that were passed down to us from family so we'll be keeping those - nice quality dressers are EXPENSIVE, just a ton of $, so even though the style/finish might not be my favorite - we'll be working with what we have. 
Here is what I have in mind for this room. I have most of this already, just need to pick a paint color and find the time to make it happen!

For the paint color, I'd like to find a super muted gray-green. This one is pretty close - Restoration Hardware - Eucalyptus.
Have a great day!


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Pretty Packaged Treats

There's something about pretty packaging or gift wrapping that makes me so happy. It can be so easy to add a simple extra touch that really makes a difference (to me, anyways!).

My colleagues set up a treat exchange for the holidays and I thought individually packaging my treats would be an easy way to pass them out. 

I printed out a laurel wreath design with the name of my treat on it. I created it using Picmonkey, see the tutorial in this post.  After I printed them and cut out the hexagon shape, I used a hole punch so I could tie some gold ribbon around the bag with the tag. They are not cut perfectly but I'm pretty sure no one noticed :-)

All piled up in a bakers box, transporting and displaying made easy!

I picked up the celophane bags from Walmart, they actually have a lot of different packaging in the cake decorating section (near the craft supplies.) I love keeping these on hand and have found many ways to package items (tied at the top, folded over with a sticker, folded and tied like a present).

I made Walnut Chocolate Oatmeal bars using a recipe from  I have had this recipe for a few years, pre-Pinterest, so it was saved to PDF. I couldn't find the link today but here is a snapshot of it.

So easy and delicious, they keep well packaged this way and are wonderful with some coffee for an afternoon snack.


Easy Crab Cake Appetizer

If given the choice, I would always pick to eat a spread of different appetizers instead of one main dish. I had some friends over the other evening and we suggested everyone bring a dish to pass for dinner before heading out. This was just after Christmas and my Grandmother had made the most amazing crab cakes & sauce. She gave me the recipe but I just didn't have the time to create them from scratch. I've had the pre-made crab cakes from Trader Joe's before and they are delish so I figured I could just take the larger cakes and break them apart into smaller portions - more appropriately sized as appetizers. 

Once thawed, these became pretty mushy and hard to shape into smaller sizes so next time I will just thaw half way before reshaping. I tossed them in some flour to help keep it together. One package made about 5 smaller size cakes.

I fried them in sunflower oil on medium-high heat until crispy on both sides. After letting them drain on papertowel, I placed them on a bed of greens and served with two aioli sauces. 

They turned out pretty good and are perfect for a quick meal or an appetizer for guests - so easy!

I am however keeping the following recipe on file for when I have more time to make these crab cakes from scratch. This is the recipe my Grandmother followed, both the cakes and the sauce, and I can vouch that they were fantastic. It is from Scoma's Restraurant in San Francisco's famous Fisherman's Wharf and featured in the Detroit Free Press here.

Scoma's Crab Cakes

Makes: 20 / Preparation time: 15 minutes / Total time: 35 minutes
These can be made several hours in advance and reheated.
¾ pound lump crab meat
2 tablespoons minced white onion
1 tablespoon diced celery
2 tablespoons diced pimentos
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
½ teaspoon lemon juice
2 eggs
¼ cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning or to taste
1½ cups panko bread crumbs
1-2 tablespoons canola oil
Crab Cake Sauce (recipe below)
Pat the crab meat dry and set it aside.
In large mixing bowl, mix together the onion, celery, pimentos and parsley.
In a small bowl, mix together the lemon juice, eggs, mayonnaise and Old Bay Seasoning until thoroughly incorporated. Add to the vegetable mixture and mix until thoroughly incorporated.
Add panko crumbs. The mixture should be sticky but not too moist. Add additional panko crumbs as needed.
Fold in the crab meat, trying not to break up any of the chunks. Shape the mixture into small patties about 1½ inches in diameter.
In a large nonstick pan, heat the canola oil. Working in batches, cook the crab cakes on each side until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining crab cakes.
Adapted from

Crab Cakes Sauce

Makes: 1¼ cups / Preparation time: 10 minutes / Total time: 10 minutes
1 tablespoon chopped celery
1 tablespoon chopped white onion
1 tablespoon chopped pimientos
1 small potato, peeled and steamed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 pinch paprika
½-1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
In a blender, place all the ingredients. Pulse until blended. The sauce should be emulsified as a dressing. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
Adapted from