Thursday, August 26, 2010

All For Abolishing August

Why does August exist? Nobody even likes it. Kids hate it. They have to go back to school. Adults hate it. They burn their backsides on sweltering car leather. Old people hate it. Well, just because everyone else does. Who else hates it? Watson, that's who. Poor pooch hasn't seen the dog park in a coons age! Can't risk canine heat exhaustion. Too risky with a furry friend with a fro like his. Plus, he gets a really foul hair cut every summer that leaves him looking more like a small unicorn sans horn.

Pictures taken January 2010, prime fro month

Yes, we can't wait for September to get here so Watson can grow out his lovely locks and start to look like a wookiee from Star Wars again. I personally think it's his best look. And we all know a wookiee could totally destroy a unicorn in a beauty competition.

Watson is kissing August and his unicorn looks goodbye! And you too, of course.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Every Monday Needs A Bit 'O Bubbly


I am incredibly blessed that my mom decided last year to make San Francisco her permanent area of residence. You can imagine my excitement come the insufferable Augusts in Texas that I've grown to hate. What perfect place to escape than wine country and the Bay Area? I don't think a better retreat could exist. I've actually been to San Francisco (and wine country for that matter) for the past three legal drinking age Augusts of my life. It's a tradition I can definitely become accustomed to. So, this past weekend I decided without much hesitation to visit dear (not so) ole' mom with a childhood friend of mine while I hoped and prayed it would magically turn 75 degrees in Texas while I was gone. While the whole weather thing didn't seem to work out, luck was on my side and I had a wonderful weekend full of Napa's finest, Schramsberg sparkling wine!

"Eghast!" you say, "Sparkling wine is merely champagne that can't be called champagne because it's not from the champagne region of France and is therefore not as splendid." Shame on you. How dare you insult the land of the free's fruit! If you haven't had Schramsberg sparkling wine then you simply don't know what you're talking about. I'm here to teach you.

Sad empty glasses at the beginning of the tasting at Schramsberg.
BRING ON THE BACON!

I've been to Schramsberg twice and my appreciation for their wines continues to grow since my first visit two years ago. I learn something new every time I visit and love the story of the vineyard as much as I love the wines themselves. Did you know that every President since Nixon has served Schramsberg and that Schramsberg was made famous when it was served at the "Toast to Peace" in Beijing? Well now you do.

Halfway through, trying to savor the moment

Somehow they're empty again. Such a pity.

Their sparkling wines are crisp, light and refreshing with lingering butteriness. Mmmm. Since that sounds almost impossible to resist, I didn't. At all. The entire weekend. I had a spot of bubbles every time I sat down to a table I believe and I didn't regret it in the least.

Casks from Schram's era that Jamie Davies won back in a game of poker

Riddling! Process used to get the active yeast down into the opening of the bottle so it can be removed

If you're ever in the Napa Valley area, "hop" (their mascot is a frog, and I'm a clearly a loser) on over to Schramsberg and enjoy all their bubbliness. Visit their website here.

What goes better with an ahi tuna burger...

...or a chocolate bouchon from Bouchon Bakery than...

...Schramsberg? Nothing, of course. Cheers!

And one last thing to note. There was a casualty on my trip. My camera decided it had captured enough amazingness in it's lifetime and went to camera heaven. I'm not really sure why it decided to die when it did. Maybe because I was on a Go Car tour ride from hell, maybe not. Either way, my posts might be a little unphotographed or iPhone quality for a while. Any suggestions on a new camera?

Wishing you happy and bubbly pours,

Lauren

Monday, August 16, 2010

Wall Plates - Not Just For Your G-Momma

Once upon a time, fabulosity and amazingness got together and had a love child. After nine months of carefully bestowing extra special design powers to their bebe, Sally Wheat was born. Sally then used those magical powers to make everyone super jealous that they just weren't as fabulous and amazing as her. But, Sally grew up into a super designer (I'm sure she has a cape) and used her powers for good and made the world a more beautiful place. The End.

This is what a bedroom is supposed to look like. If you don't agree, well you're wrong.


Sally's super trendy and sure to be hipster, daughter's room. I wish I was that cool when I was little.

When it comes to vignettes, Sally knows wassup.

And I will cook here one day. Whether it's by invitation or by breaking the law. I think that little angel above the window would keep the cops away long enough to bake a souffle and make Sally my new BFF.


All photos above from Cote de Texas

But what I'm really here to talk about is Sally's bonkers wall of plates in her kitchen/breakfast area. Yo momma never hung plates on the wall like that, now did she? Well, my momma never hung plates on the wall period but if she did, I know it would not have been like this.


So, I was obviously super jealous of how cool Sally Wheat was (and impatient for that matter) and marched right up to Anthropologie and bought myself my very own wall of plates. I feel kind of fake and icky for buying everything in one fell swoop but that's my impulsiveness. I can't help it. Will was out of town this weekend and couldn't distract me from completely redecorating. So, for now, let's just blame him. It's all Will's fault.

But for reals, I want to start collecting plates that have a fun story behind them other than, oh this is what Anthro had in stock at the time. Blech. Don't judge me. I was sick of my white walls. Oh, and Will wasn't there to stop me. It's all Will's fault.


I bought my cute little duck, Antonio, from Z Gallerie.


This wall looks SO much better!


Close up of the overlayed plates. Love the texture and shadows it creates.




And look what else managed to make their way to my doorstep this week... Again with the impulsiveness. I blogged about these pillows here a week ago and immediately bought them as soon as I posted. Now that shows restraint. I'm a rock.

But Liana at Woody Liana was such a pleasure to do business with that I would do it all over again. Maybe 12 more times. You should too.


My sweet little home.
So happy...for now.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Chocolate Cake Fantasmania

Three words = Benjy's Chocolate Cake

When I order this dessert at Benjy's I probably inhale it in under two minutes. I don't take time to breathe, wipe my face or indulge in conversation. Nothing but me and this delightful dish exists in the world.

For Christmas last year, two of my friends and I treated each other to a nice meal for our Christmas presents to each other. When the waiter came to ask if we wanted dessert one of my dessert hating friends (not to be mentioned here) quickly answered, "no". I glared at her as if she had left a flaming bag of dog feces on my doorstep. After a minor (I'm sure they would say major) hissy fit, one friend sneaked off to order the dessert for me. The world was back in balance and I was a happy little lady. It's just that good. It's worth acting like a five year old until I get my way in a public place.

I happily stumbled upon the recipe and promptly made it to share the joy with the world. My co-workers either thank me or yell at me for ruining their diets each time I make it. As it was two co-workers birthdays in the past two weeks, I brought it to work on Monday for the second time to grand applause. Now, I will share the recipe with you so you can make the world fall in love with you.

Benjy's Mom's Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

For cake:
2 sticks of butter
1 cup of water
6 tablespoons of cocoa
2 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups of flour
½ cup of buttermilk

For frosting:
1 stick of butter
6 tablespoons of cocoa
6 tablespoons of milk
1 box of powdered sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1 cup pecans

1. In a saucepan bring the butter, water and cocoa to a boil. Remove from heat.
2. In a mixer beat the eggs, then add sugar, baking soda, salt and vanilla extract.
3. Alternately add in the flour and buttermilk, in small amounts.
4. Add in chocolate mixture.
5. Bake in a buttered 13-by-nine-inch pan at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. While the cake is baking, make the frosting and frost the cake as soon as it is taken out of the oven.
6. For the frosting, melt butter. Add in cocoa and milk.
7. Place in mixer and add powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Once the cake is frosted, sprinkle with pecans. Using a little bit of water on your hands will help prevent the icing from sticking to you.

And this...

...will quickly turn into this.

Speaking of chocolate nuggets, my little chocolate bon bon got a hair cut last weekend. I think he looks like a pathetic deer and I seem to be the only who thinks he looks ridiculous. You can tell he thinks he's extremely dashing. What do you think? Deer or dashing? Definitely deer, right?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Decorated Dreaming

I think that I'm more likely to have beautifully decorated dreams if I read design blogs before my head hits the pillow at night.

I bought myself these cheerful friends at the grocery store yesterday picking up a few ingredients for a soon to be devoured cake. Post to come soon.

The Ecuadorian roses were a beautiful sunsetty shade. I loved the texture and pop from that green. Had to throw in a little purple because TCU football is fast approaching. And lastly and most importantly, I couldn't resist the coxcomb. It looks like velvety brains.

And on that note, I'm going to bed.

Let's hope I have beautifully decorated dreams and not nightmares about velvety brains. I'll let you know in the morning...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Changes at Casa de Moi

Big changes at casa de moi in the past month. Jessica and her furniture up and left for Italy and left the place half furnished. Erin moved in soon after and supplemented with some furniture but the living room still felt a bit empty. We finally rearranged the place so we didn't have to side step to get past the sofa and the apartment is finally starting to feel like 1,200 sf as opposed to half that.

Our biggest issue has been ample seating for visitors. Previously, the only seating we had in the living room was the sofa. Not optimum for entertaining to say the least. Well, except for movie nights with me, Jessica and Watson. That's about it.

A little tablescape. I bought my antique regency coffee table last year at a Found for the Home/Fab Flea sale after I got promoted as a congratulatory gift for myself.

Finally! We have room for counter stools! Now I just have to find the right ones. Suggestions? I have a few up my sleeve but I'll save that exciting topic for another time.

Watson loves all the new space.

Snagged a new Dash & Albert rug on a quick trip up to Fort Worth at my favoritey fave, Simple Things. They're still having their moving sale so I think it was quite the steal! It does, however, shed more than my hypoallergenic dog, so that kind of blows. Nothing my favorite toy, Dyson, can't fix.

After staring at that huge gapping hole in the living room for a week I had enough and went to IKEA and purchased these two Ektorp Tullsta chairs for $250 for the set. Now a total of five living human beings can sit and converse in my apartment. It's a glorious feeling.

So fresh and so clean!

Now on to my biggest issue at the moment. Pillows. If you have lived with me or know anything about me and my compulsiveness, you would know I do not, by any means, have a shortage of pillows. Will has actually said that I'm "ridiculous" when it comes to pillow. Rude. I'm just sick of my current collection. Nothing about them is exciting. The more I stare at them, the more disgusted I get. Mostly because those two blue pillows used to reside in Watson's kennel. Spoiled? Obviously.

Pillows are the easiest way to completely refabulousify your life. They don't take up that much space (Space Bags, duh) and you can trade them in and out as you so please. God bless the inventor of pillows.



Hello. I would like my sofa to look like you. K, thanks. This little setup would make me smile every time I entered my home. How couldn't it? Pretty, pretty, PRETTY!


I wouldn't mind you buying me any of these. Actually, I wouldn't mind you buying me all of these.


And I wouldn't mind the Farrow and Ball wallpaper either.


But Boxwood isn't in my broke butt budget. So, enter Etsy.


I want two of these. Fact. I NEED two of these.


With two of these.


Or maybe two of these.


And I absolutely must have two of these. Wouldn't you want to enjoy a glass of champagne with me with this lover supporting your lower back? We could arrange it.


But what I really and truly need, is time alone with this beauty. I think I would cry my little face to sleep if this babe found a place in my home and in my heart. I didn't receive a birthday present from you this year (and I was REALLY offended) so you can make it up to me by delivering this to my home. I'll forgive you.
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