Artist Guillem H. Pongiluppi has envisioned what a Star Wars/Aliens mashup might look like and it is too awesome for this world. The first series was released last year, but he’s just updated it with a fresh round of illustrations. Drink it in because this is as close as we’ll ever get to this crossover.
If you and your friends are anything like mine, you’ve done all of the Escape Rooms currently in your city, and can’t wait for a new one to open. Well, luckily, we don’t have to wait anymore: you can now host an Escape Room in your own home! There’s no advanced prep needed and you can even participate.
I have to admit, I was skeptical. Would the Escape Room in the box give the same experience as the actual rooms? Would it be challenging enough for me and my friends? Would it be fun? So when I was given the chance to try out the new game, I jumped at the chance. And spoilers: It was even better than we were all expecting. It was fun and challenging, and I truly think Escape Room noobs and veterans alike will have a good time.
For those who haven’t done an Escape Room before, the basic gist is this: You must solve various puzzles as a group to get information that will let you through a (figuratively) locked door. There is a time limit, and it’s a fast-paced, kinda-stressful-but-actually-fun group activity. It’s exhilarating and gets your mind working. I’d highly recommend them.
This game comes with four different escape “rooms”, and each one is a separate 60 minute adventure. The skill levels vary, and if you go in this order, you can work your way up:
I decided to have us start with Virus, since my friends have done escape rooms before. And plus, it was the easiest to plan a party around. (Come on, it’s me.)
I made some laboratory-inspired dishes, like cakes in beakers (don’t use cotton candy thinking it’ll look like smoke. It’ll end up hardening and just looking weird. Lessons learned.) and an awesome “virus punch”.
Put some green sherbet in the container of your choice, and slowly fill with lemon-lime soda. It’ll get all foamy and awesome looking! Easy and delicious.
Anyway, back to the game. We beat the “Virus” Escape Room in about 40 minutes, and we were all so jazzed by it, we wanted to do another right away. So we did Nuclear Countdown. (Luckily, if you end up going through a couple in a night, expansion packs will be coming out starting in 2017. And if you want to share the joy of the room with someone else, you can download anything you may have written on/folded/destroyed during the game from the Escape Room website.)
I unfortunately can’t tell you too much about the adventures themselves without spoiling them, but I can give you some peeks at what comes in the box and some tips for when you play:
The box does not come with gloves or glasses. We just wanted to be prepared for the virus. You understand.
The box comes with separate envelopes for each adventure, and a “Chrono Decoder” with a set of plastic keys. The Chrono Decoder acts as your timer, counting down the 60 minutes and letting you know when you can take a “hint” card. (Even if you think you don’t need it, it’s helpful to look at the hint. No one will judge you.) It’s also how you prove that you’ve solved the puzzle! You place plastic keys into the Chrono Decoder in a specific way based on the puzzles you’ve solved, and it will let you know if you can move onto the next level or if you were wrong.
The decoder also has actual decoders on the side if itself, which will come in handy throughout the adventure.
I would suggest having a couple of things on hand before you begin:
Basically, the Escape Room game is amazing, and should be on your holiday list. I’ll be bringing my copy to my family’s place and we’ll be trying the other two adventures down there! Pick up your copy from the Spin Master store. Have you done an Escape Room before? And which adventure in the Escape Room box are you most excited to try?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
*This post is the third in our Date Night In series with Chateau St. Jean. They (and we) believe wine and date nights are a great pair. This month we’re cozying up with their Cabernet Sauvignon with rich berry and soft spice notes that pair beautifully with my recipe for a Chocolate Tart with Poached Pears.
Recently I gave an interview in which I was asked something to the effect of “How do you avoid the stress of the holidays?” I understand that question, absolutely. There are so many extra things that make their way onto the already packed to do list and then there are all the things I feel like I ‘should’ be doing. Making crafts with the kids, bringing homemade treats to all the neighbors, buying the perfect gifts, saying a resounding YES! to all the parties, and decorating my home to rival that of a December West Elm catalogue. But mostly what I felt as I read that question was a pang of sadness.
The holidays and stress shouldn’t go hand in hand. I know, wishful thinking right? And completely naive perhaps. Money can be tight, family can be a burden to some and others may just not be particular into the holidays. I can empathize with that but what I love about the holidays, when they are freed up from expectations and ‘shoulds’, is that their purpose is to bring hope, joy and peace. What if we actively sought out those moments during this busy time? I wonder what I would say yes to and what would get a resounding NO! And can we all agree that we need to stop ‘should-ing’ on ourselves?
In seasons of great busyness our date nights are often the first to go. They quickly fall off the calendar to make way for another task we’ve deemed somehow more important than our own connection. This season I’m fighting valiantly to put joy above tasks, peace above stress, and a quiet date night with my husband above yet another trip to Target.
Now I realize this season is already a bit indulgent but I firmly believe that a quiet evening alone with your partner deserves a bit of fanfare in the form of deeply blushed pears and bittersweet chocolate. The enviable pears bath in a mixture of wine, cinnamon, star anise and sugar while hot cream turns a flurry of chopped chocolate into what Gabe deems “the best chocolate pudding ever”. The wine that dressed the pears in a stunning holiday frock reduces to a syrupy sauce for serving. Save any leftover sauce for vanilla ice cream.
Serves 6 to 8 (makes one 9 or 10-inch tart)
Pair with Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot
1 recipe pie or tart dough
1 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups chopped semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
2 to 3 firm pears, peeled
Whipped cream, for serving
Chef 1: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a 9-inch tart pan with the pie dough and bake until golden and crisp, about 20 - 30 minutes. Let cool completely.
Chef 2: In a small saucepan combine the wine, sugar, cinnamon stick and star anise. Add the pears then bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the pears are tender when poked with a knife, about 30 minutes. As the pears simmer gently spoon over the wine and rotate them every now and again so they poach evenly.
Chef 1: In another small saucepan warm the cream just to a simmer then pour over the chocolate. Let this sit for a minute, add a pinch of salt then stir well to combine. Carefully pour this into the tart. Let this sit until the chocolate is mostly firm.
Chef 2: Remove the pears from the wine and let cool slightly before cutting them in half. Carefully lay the pear halves on the tart. Drizzle the tops of the pears with the wine syrup.
Chef 1: Pour a couple of glasses of wine.
Chef 2: Serve the tart with a nice dollop of lightly sweetened cream.
Behold, the only stormtrooper figure that would look perfect displayed in a China cabinet. The white of the trooper armor is covered with blue floral patterns and an Imperial logo motif.
There’s even an AT-AT on the back of his helmet! I’m in love.
It reminds me of this gorgeous customized tattoo-style trooper repaint and I find myself hoping Hot Toys does a version of that. Check out more pics below.
this is an awesome reference of her costume. maybe one day.
If you have roughly $2100 to spend on a collectible, this Half-Scale Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Wonder Woman Polystone Statue by Prime 1 Studio is definitely the kind of item that would make a great centerpiece for a collection.
Limited to 750 pieces, the statue stands approximately 40-inches tall and it features lifelike hair and translucent resin details that make it look like a mini Gal Gadot is just standing there waiting to kick somebody’s ass.
Definitely fits the demigoddess made from clay narrative. Check out more pics below.
Half-Scale BvS Wonder Woman Statue: $2099.99
Fried Avocado Tacos are a quick and easy Meatless Monday meal that everyone will love! They are crispy, crunchy and packed with flavor – not to mention a chili lime dressing that you’re going to want to start putting on EVERYTHING.
I’m back on the taco kick! Big surprise, I know. This time instead of making guacamole to douse all the tacos in, I thought it was about time for avocado to make the star appearance in a taco.
When I went to Charleston to visit my close friend from high school and her family, her sister took me to this taco place right off the beach. They had these AMAZING fried avocado tacos that I honestly haven’t been able to get out of my head. I knew the moment I had them that I would absolutely have to recreate the deliciousness at home. (more…)
I am gonna be at Disneyland’s Wonderground again this Nov. here’s the finding dory piece that will be released Nov. 5th
November 5: WonderGround Gallery at 7 – 10 pm
November 4 – 5: WonderGround Gallery, 7 – 10 pm
November 11 – 12: WonderGround Gallery, 7 – 10 pm
November 27: WonderGround Gallery, 7 – 10 pm
Want a full tour of our newly renovated kitchen in 4,390 words or less? Well settle in and sip some LaCroix, because this is the post for you.
Shall we begin with a few before and afters? You probably remember this view from our living room where you couldn’t actually see the kitchen.
Well, now it looks like this:
And here’s the old view from the other side, which is what you saw when you stepped in the door from the garage.
These days it’s looking a little different.
There’s obviously TONS of stuff to cover about this space, but today our main goal is to dish out lots of after photos and tell the story behind the major material choices that we made in the room (since we previously covered planning the layout and gutting & rebuilding). So let’s start with the cabinets.
You guys know we’re suckers for a white kitchen (we did one in our first and second house and loved ’em). So there wasn’t ever much doubt in our mind that it’s what we’d do here – especially since the trees in our backyard block a fair amount of morning light in here, and well: white cabinets = maximum brightness.
Side note: this week’s podcast, episode #20, is all about white walls (are they overdone? Played out? Still awesome? Only pretty in photos but stark in person? We interviewed two other bloggers about it, and weighed in ourselves).
As we mentioned in our last kitchen post, we decided to order our cabinets through a local company called Chesapeake Bay Cabinet Company. We’ve worked with them on builder spec homes, so it made sense to collaborate on our own house since we enjoy working with them and love their finished product. We considered a few brands of cabinets that they sell, but ended up going with Quality Cabinets for a number of reasons: nice solid craftsmanship, soft close drawers that come standard, and being able to upgrade to a 5 piece drawer (one with a recessed panel instead of a flat front).
We also appreciate that their stock white cabinet color is a nice crisp white with only a tiny hint of gray. Sometimes stock white cabinets can skew more yellow or blue/gray than you might prefer, so bringing home a sample door to make sure it doesn’t clash with all of your house’s white trim (or your counter/tile selections) is always a good call. Even though we love a clean-lined shaker door, we went with a fairly traditional door style with a double beveled edge because it felt like it added a little something extra while fitting the character of our house.
We’ll get more into how we organized and arranged the cabinets in another post, but we went with A LOT of drawer bases. Almost the whole island is basically big, deep, drawers. I know. Hubba, hubba.
Some of you might be wondering why we didn’t do an Ikea kitchen. While we’ve used (and loved!) Ikea cabinetry in our laundry room & our bonus room, for such a big project where we’ve already mentioned that speed was a motivating factor, we thought these were our best choice. Our experience with Ikea is also that it takes some ingenuity to pull off some of the finishing touches (trim, filler strips, etc) to make sure everything looks balanced and fully fills the space you want it to fill (remember this?). So we just felt more confident working with our local guys to make sure we could pull off everything we wanted to do in here.
Having worked with several materials by this point (granite, corian, marble, laminate, and even concrete) we actually knew pretty quickly that we wanted to go with quartz. Quartz is a man-made counter that utilizes natural quartz to look and feel like real stone, while dodging some of real stone’s hassles (it’s less prone to scratching and doesn’t need to be re-sealed). It’s non-porous, so it stands up better to juice, oil, wine, tomato, coffee and other kitchen stains along with not holding onto bacteria, like raw chicken goo. So since we plan to be here for the long haul (and, well, #kids) it felt like the smartest choice for us. Plus you already heard how their 11ft super slabs solved our island size conundrum.
We were initially attracted to a Cambria quartz style called Ella, which is white-ish with some subtle movement that mimics marble (it looks sort of like Carrera) so it felt like a solid choice #counterpun. But then we came across a slightly bolder design called Brittanicca, which has a more pronounced pattern with a bit more contrast and wider, larger-scale veining.
Although the sample of it was surprisingly large, we knew it was too big of a decision to make without seeing a full slab in real life (we’ve been down that road before). So we went to a few local stone yards and fabricators until we could lay our eyes on a nice big slab of it. And when we finally tracked one down in person, we knew it was the one. We thought the thicker, larger-scale veining would make for a nice accent in the middle of the room. Especially when paired with a softer more concrete-like choice on the perimeter cabinets.
We also literally “went big” with the island and chose to do it triple-thick (3″ vs. the standard 1.25″ profile). With such a large island (that beast is 10′ long) we thought it might look extra cool with something more substantial on top. It’s one of those “special choices” that we initially worried wouldn’t register nearly as much as something more obvious and statement-y… you know, like a bold look-at-me paint color or a giant chandelier. So we had a few “will this choice even be noticeable?” discussions where we almost backpedaled and decided not to bother. But all that worry vanished as soon as it was installed. It’s one of our favorite things about the entire remodel, and it’s the #1 thing people comment on when they walk in.
The secret is that it’s not actually extra thick. Whenever someone asks how it’s done, we liken it to the lid of a shoe box. It just has side pieces around the edges that were mitered and glued to look as if it’s truly a super thick solid slab. And since they were able to cut all the sides from the same slab, the only extra cost was for fabrication – not extra material. You can also see from the photo below that it sits atop a big piece of thick plywood, which snugly supports the slab. And yes, it took SIX guys to carry it in. Not because it’s so heavy (well, it is heavy) but mostly because the original four guys that showed up were having trouble getting a good grip on the thicker edge, so they called in two more guys for backup.
Side note: the island veining is always harder to see in photos than in real life since it’s so shiny and reflects the white ceiling in pics, but that photo above, of the guys carrying it in, actually captures it pretty well. It’s definitely not mostly white looking. The veins are large and in charge and impossible to miss when you see it in person.
Oh and the first fabricator we visited said we’d need a seam in our island, not because they didn’t have a big enough slab, but because they didn’t think it could be transported into the house. So we got a second opinion from a second local fabricator and they told us they’d happily send more guys to carry it if we wanted something without a seam. They also had an extra thick mitered counter right in their showroom, so we knew they could pull off the look. The lesson here? Don’t stomp on your dreams based on just one opinion. Also, in the ever-wise words of Selena Gomez: the heart wants what it wants.
For the perimeter counters, we liked the color of our previous concrete-covered counters so much that we decided to go with a quartz that mimicked them. So we brought some samples home from a bunch of different makers to see how they compared.
The winner was the bottom-middle one, since its warm undertones matched the warmth of Brittanica’s veining. It’s called Ice-Zement, by Compac. The cool thing is that it comes in a gloss or a matte finish, so we went with the matte one since it’s more like concrete and allows the shiny island to stand out in its own right. Oh and we ordered the perimeter quartz from a different fabricator because they were running a better deal on that color. So it’s just another reminder to shop around!
As popular as brass and gold are these days, we felt more confident that we’d like a polished nickel tone in here for the long haul, so we went with that for all of the “permanent” fixtures. And although I had pinned LITERALLY TEN MILLION BRIDGE FAUCETS, we ended up with a nice functional pull-down faucet with one handle, because John is the function police and he said it would have bugged him (and probably me) to have to use two handles to adjust the water temperature instead of one. In the end I love this faucet, so don’t tell him this, but he was right.
We also went with polished nickel shelf brackets and cabinet hardware, which both feel nice and weighty and solid. Polished nickel has a slightly warmer undertone than chrome (see the almost-gold hints in our shiny faucet above?) while chrome has more of a shiny-blue undertone that feels cooler. Both are pretty, but between the wood floors, woven blinds, and some of the warmer veining in the island, we thought some subtle warmth in the metal would be nice.
One thing we kind of agonized over was deciding which cabinets got pulls (handles) and which ones got knobs. We eventually settled on all the cabinets above the counter getting knobs, and everything that went below the counter getting pulls. And to make life somewhat easier, everything that earned a pull got the same sized pull.
We debated getting longer ones for the pantry and the hidden mudroom cabinets with extra long doors, but we worried they’d look bolder or more emphasized, so we’re glad we just stuck with keeping them consistent. For anyone who doesn’t know what the heck a hidden mudroom is (and why we wanted one in the corner of our kitchen), here’s a post with a lot more info about them.
You may have noticed two pictures ago that we have a counter-depth fridge. We made this call a while back after our old dishwasher suddenly died on Christmas of 2014 (ho, ho, ho, womp womp). We debated replacing it with a cheap interim dishwasher from Craigslist, but decided it would be nice to take the plunge and replace everything so we’d have a matching set that we could enjoy for a while before the reno, as well as after it (years of living with a painted fridge, a black dishwasher, and an almond stove meant we were more than ready for appliances that were the same color).
We briefly considered doing white appliances (sometimes we hear whispers that the stainless trend is running its course) but we actually like the metal breaking up all the white cabinetry in here. Plus, some of the newer trendy white appliances were super ice-y looking… almost like a blue-white. So they looked kind of clashy with our door and counter samples.
The other reason we got the new set back in 2014 is that I found an awesome Whirlpool super-sale coupon that expired just a week later on New Year’s Eve. So we made some quick decisions and have been very happy so far… especially with the counter-depth fridge and our crouching-tiger-hidden-dishwasher (it’s so quiet you can’t even tell when it’s running).
At that time we also made the call to switch from an electric stove to a gas one. It was cheaper than we thought (a few hundred dollars) to extend the gas line from our fireplace to the old spot where our stove sat in the original kitchen layout, and even less than that ($50!) to have it moved to the new location later when we began our reno. We LOVE the look of the gas stove, we LOVE cooking on the gas burners, and we love that we got a slide-in range (see how there’s no metal “stove backsplash” poking up and overlapping our wall of tile?).
One thing we don’t love is that we’re still getting the hang of baking in the gas/convection oven. Fancy dishes that I make like crescent rolls tend to be a little on the crispy side. Can you tell that we bake a lot?
Everything is the Whirlpool Gold Series, so for anyone who wants specific links, here’s our counter depth fridge, our slide-in gas stove, and our dishwasher. We’re coming up on our 2 year anniversary with them and – apart from finicky baking times – have no complaints. And as a side note, it’s kind of nice to have separated the cost of new appliances from the rest of the remodel. Although remodeling around new-ish appliances was a little nerve-wracking at times (thank goodness for padded moving blankets).
Oh and we got a few questions about the under-counter microwave on Facebook & Instagram. We considered a few other spots, but after a lot of debate, this location won out. And after months of use we can say that we’ve been really happy with it. We’ve been fortunate that our kids don’t mess with it at all – although we hear they sell microwaves with number combos you press to unlock the door if you have that issue. We briefly considered buying one of those fancy drawer microwaves but already owned this one, and those can be surprisingly pricey ($800+ for a microwave!). So far, so good.
Also, I’m short. As demonstrated by this next picture. So reaching down around 18″ to put something in, and carefully lifting it back up to the counter isn’t really any more trouble than reaching up around 18″ to put something in and carefully lifting it back down to the counter (like I used to do with our over-range/upper cabinet microwaves). John, who is the opposite of short, reports that it’s not a big deal for him (“it’s not like I don’t bend down to load the dishwasher” says he). Also, what am I looking for here? My mind? Maybe it was my youth? Wait, I think it was my travel coffee mug. Yup, that was it.
Adding several recessed lights was a no-brainer, since the previous three-bulb situation in the old kitchen wasn’t cutting it. Now there are three can lights running parallel on either side of the island plus five other “accent” lights – all on dimmers. We were tempted to add some of those cool metal sconces above each of the two windows, but our electrician said it would be tough to get an electrical box in (thick window header beams run behind there). So we added small spotlight recessed lights in the ceiling, which have been great. Subtle, but helpful for illuminating those places at the counter (or at the sink) that could have been blocked by your own shadow if the only light source was behind you.
As functional as all of our new recessed lights are, our favorite lighting additions are our three island pendants. They actually weren’t the original lights that we chose (we have a giant “mistakes” post in the works) but the short story is that the original lights we bought didn’t pack enough visual weight (they looked pinheaded over such a large island), so we designed some new ones through Shades of Light that work a lot better and feel more proportionate for the room.
We probably thought longer and harder than two people have ever thought about kitchen pendants (seriously, it was borderline ridiculous – after you make a mistake you feel like you need to spend THE REST OF YOUR LIFE overthinking things so you don’t fall into the same trap). We ended up combining a polished nickel rod (both to tie into our polished nickel hardware and to look tidier than the typical exposed cord or chain) and a nice large metal dome (14″ versus smaller 8″-10″ ones) that could be factory finished in any color. We went with this mid-toned “putty” hue that was deep enough to not disappear in the room, but light enough to not be overbearing. It also ties nicely into the veins of the counter.
We didn’t just want to make them for ourselves, so Shades of Light put them into production and they’re available in 6 different colors (I love the light blue and soft pink ones – and that dark charcoal guy would look awesome in a room with dark lower cabs). They also can convert into semi-flush mount fixtures, so you could hang them in an office, bathroom, hall, foyer, etc.
Admittedly, a lot of the bones of the room are gray and white. They’re warm grays and whites, but they could still risk veering the whole space into Starksville fast. So we wanted to add some more texture and contrast with lots of warm wood and natural materials. Obviously the wood floor throughout is a big help to keep everything feeling warmer and less sterile, but additional elements like the woven blinds, four wood stools, some cutting boards, and the woven trays were definitely an intentional choice.
We also opted for some open shelves, which were a fun DIY that we’ll break down another time – but it’s essentially some reclaimed lumber that we found locally and stained in a cool series of experiments. Like mad freaking scientists. Who were dying to make an amazing discovery. And also to have a kitchen again.
You’re also seeing the room in a somewhat “autumn” moment, where I basically went nuts at Target and bought all of their new gold accents (two vases, a little gold clock, and a gold frame) and sprinkled them around the room while impersonating Oprah. “YOU GET SOME GOLD! YOU GET SOME GOLD! EVERYBODY GETS SOME GOOOOOLLLLLLD!” Except I only had like four gold things, so that brought me back to reality real quick. Which probably was a good thing because John can only tolerate so much gold before he starts making Scrooge McDuck jokes.
That’s another reason why we love the light, neutral, and natural-toned selections that we went with for the permanent parts of the room: it’s a nice flexible backdrop where I can swap in different accessories whenever I get fidgety and want to festoon the kitchen with different vases and frames and planters and all of the other accessories of which I have “enough to operate a small gift shop” (says John, who tends to exaggerate).
We knew we wanted to go to the ceiling again with our backsplash tile (we loved that look in our last kitchen), so we intentionally left a seven inch “reveal” around the windows. That essentially means that we sized the cabinets so they didn’t crowd the window trim, and instead allowed an even gap around the windows so that the tile can be seen going all the way up to the ceiling.
We chose this tile – a matte, tumbled marble – because it’s a classic look that relates nicely to the brick fireplace wall in the living room that’s now visible just beyond the kitchen. Both add a subtle texture to each room without being too visually demanding.
We also sealed the heck out of it (three times, buffed on in three different directions to make sure we didn’t miss any spots) so we hopefully won’t have to worry about any staining. So far they have endured some pretty epic grease and soy sauce splatters (both the white grout and the tile).
Originally we just installed it on that big window wall, but we both separately came to the conclusion (while sitting on the sofa and staring at the kitchen) that we should continue the tile around the door too. There was this sort of “jinx! I was just thinking that!” moment where we both thought we were saying something intrepid and unique, but we were essentially just agreeing with each other. Adding tile to that wall around the door also helped the “mudroom” cabinets (to the left, below) feel more connected to the rest of the kitchen.
It also helped that door area feel more polished and took the focus off the fact that the door isn’t centered. It couldn’t be moved due to a metal structural beam in the garage that runs right beside it, and as much as my balance-loving brain wants to shift it sometimes, having that extra space on one side has made the mudroom function better. Like when someone (usually under the age of 7) leaves a mudroom door open (or three!) or a pair of shoes (or three!) out on the floor, the garage door doesn’t open into them since there’s extra room on that side.
Here’s a close-up of the tile next to the door (which is painted Lime Light by Behr). We didn’t get this color right on the first try. Actually took us three tries. If at first you don’t succeed… paint, paint again. And again.
Oh and we got a new door. We wanted to switch the swing of it so it opened towards the mudroom cabinets, so we took the opportunity to get a nicer paneled door than the flat metal one that was there before. Also, new doorknob. Polished nickel of course.
The rest of the walls are painted Irish Mist by Behr, the same color that we used in our bonus room. We like how it’s just slightly darker than the white cabinets and trim, while also picking up some colors in the backsplash tile. It nicely falls away and lets other things steal the spotlight, like the tile, the pendants, the shelving, the hardware, the extra large sink window, and our veiny island.
I know I probably skipped over some stuff (so many pics! so many things to say!) but we’ll do our best to cover anything we missed in a future post. For now, I’m going to leave you with some mood boards and source lists, in the hopes of answering all those “where’d you get that?” questions that are hovering out there in the internet ether.
Also, since we get so many questions about mixing metals, this board is a good demonstration that it’s totally cool to mix finishes, we just try to limit it to 2-3 per room (more might look too crazy) and we make sure each one shows up a few times so nothing feels random or like the odd man out. There are some gold accessories and some polished nickel fixtures/hardware (along with some stainless appliances in the mix) and it all plays nicely together.
And what’s another mood board? Here are some more room sources for ya, including my very favorite drinking glasses, dotted bowls, and gold frames:
Some other items that I’ve liked adding are: a stack or two of books (we have some about vineyards, recipes, and beyond on our open shelves), personal photos (we have a framed favorite of the kids), cloth napkins that are easy to grab (ours are in that woven tray on the counter with the bowls), and some pretty enough salt & pepper shakers to leave out on the island full-time. Oh, and a few candles that smell good never hurt. It really is those little at-the-end touches that make a room feel like home.
There were also several of you out there who have similar room layouts and wondered if you could get dimensions from us to see if you can fit an island… so here’s a rendering for ya. We worried our island might feel tight, but it has felt open and awesome, most likely thanks to the shallower-than-normal cabinetry that we chose for behind the stools (14″ deep vs 25″), which ensures that there’s extra passing room, even if people are sitting in the stools.
And before we go… one more before…
…and after. This time we could step back a little more to take this shot, thanks to a certain wall being gone.
So thar she blows. The kitchen we waited years (and years!) to tackle, that took months (and months!) to complete, but managed to be shared in three posts. Internet magic I tell you. We still want to spill more details about how we organized the kitchen (what we store where), what mistakes we made (oy, the mistakes!), how we made/stained our reclaimed shelves, and how we constructed these new built-ins in the living room (one of my favorite parts of the entire project!).
So there are still a ton of pics and words to come… but man it feels good to show you guys this space. And to finally be rid of those faux-brick linoleum floors!
Psst – If you’re looking for paint colors and source lists for every room in our house, this page has you covered.
* This post contains affiliate links*
As you can see from the image above, Rick and Morty is the perfect place to find meaning in an otherwise bleak existence.
Seriously though, Will Schoder actually makes great points in the video below, and you’ll probably come away feeling better for having watched it. Plus, it will give you a whole new appreciation for this brilliant show.
(via Laughing Squid)
If you’re planning to get married sometime in the near future and your significant other is a big Disney fan, you maaaaay want to keep the following news to yourself. Unless money is no object that is.
If you’ve ever dreamed about getting married at the Magic Kingdom in Disney Princess style, now you can with their newest wedding option, the Magic Kingdom After Hours Experience.
As part of this Wishes packages by Disney Weddings, your wedding can be held in the park after it closes complete with a Cinderella-style carriage and the exchanging of vows in front of Cinderella’s Castle.
Once you say “I do”, you and 300 of your closest friends can dine, dance, and have the run of the park (that’s my favorite part). From the looks of it, they pull out all the stops to give you a perfect Disney wedding.
Of course, it’ll cost you $180,000, but if you can afford it, I can’t imagine anything more magical. Check out more pics and a video below.
Weekend mornings, particularly in fall, were made for baking. To me, there is not much better than wandering around still in cozy pajamas able to open the windows just a crack to let in the crisp fall air while making something delicious in the kitchen. There is an excellent chance cinnamon will be involved. Doughnuts often seem like a huge ordeal because of the frying involved (ugh, frying), but really, they don’t require much more effort than other baked goods. There are several little breaks throughout the process making them an ideal weekend project. And in the end, the frying is totally worth it, because doughnuts! Apple cider doughnuts…with cinnamon sugar coating. Let’s make them already, okay?!
Though I generally prefer yeasted doughnuts, these are incredibly good cake doughnuts. I was very pleased with the texture and flavor, and they didn’t go stale nearly as quickly as I would have expected. Overall these were fun to make and even more fun to eat. I would love to hear how well you fare against that little unassuming bowl of doughnut holes because as it turns out, I was powerless to its presence. I wandered past that bowl so many times for so many “reasons”, and suddenly it turned up empty and me with cinnamon sugar all over my lips. I know nothing, I swear! Make some doughnuts this weekend, loves. You won’t be sorry.
Note: I learned from experience, this recipe halves beautifully. However, upon tasting the doughnuts, we all instantly regretted the decision to halve the recipe. Do so at your own peril.
2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the recording and release of the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine”, and the 48th anniversary of the film that was based on it. So it was the perfect time for LEGO to reveal their 550+ piece Yellow Submarine themed play set, complete with awesome minifigs of John, Paul, George and Ringo, as well as… y’know… that one thing. The thing. Whatever it’s called. It’s the culmination of a successful Lego Ideas project launched by Kevin Szeto last year.
Not only that, but they released a wonderfully-animated short to promote the set that’s just a joy to watch.
The set drops on November 1st, and will retail for $59.99. Check out some photos of the set along with the video below.
(via The Brothers Brick)
Oh, alright then.
Usually when you see a mash-up of two different brands that seem like a good fit it’s a fan-made bit of work. Not this, though – the BBC have partnered with Penguin Random House to produce a series of Doctor Who-themed Mr. Men books that will roll out starting in the spring of 2017.
The books will be illustrated by Mr. Men creator Roger Hargreaves’ son Adam, and the first set of books will feature the First, Fourth, Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors—but the range will eventually feature a book for all twelve Doctors (no, sir – all thirteen! …Assuming they do the War Doctor, of course).
As well as the books, there’ll be merchandise featuring Hargreaves’ take on the various Doctors Who. So, uh, wave goodbye to your wallet, I guess. Check out the covers for the first four books in the range below.
Y’know when you see something super sweet and adorable and heart squishy and you want to show everyone? That’s me right now thanks to imgur user duffmanszalotofthings (oh yeah!).
He and his new wife are huge Harry Potter fans, so he created a Pensieve for her wedding gift. Now, he could have just used a bowl with water and done it as a nice gesture of love, but he went all out and created one of the most perfect things I’ve ever seen. He made the wand and the bowl himself and packed the glass vials with notes that recall “a memory of her that makes me smile”. The bottles can be picked up with the wand thanks to the addition of magnets. *Sniff*
Check out more pics in the gallery below.
Gratin’s are usually loaded with butter and cream, this lightened version is healthier and flavorful, you won’t miss all the cream! A perfect side dish for Turkey or Roasted Chicken.
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These Ear Wax Cupcakes might look horribly disgusting, but kids LOVE them! They’re the perfect addition to any Halloween party!
Listen, Lindas. I know that these cupcakes are super disgusting. I got the hint when my husband walked by them and gagged for the 357th time.
But my kiddos…were completely obsessed with them. Why? Because kids are disgusting and we all know it. My son actually licked a piece of raw bacon the other morning when I was making breakfast. And when I yelped and asked “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!?!?!?!?!?!” he actually looked at me like I was the crazy one.
Please tell me that your kids do that, too. It’s the most maddening thing in the world. There have been times that I legitimately thought I was losing my mind because my children managed to give me their confused stares with such conviction.
It’s kind of disappointing because I feel like I’ve spent a lot of time, energy, and money into making sure they know about life and are prepared for the world. And then I catch my 12 year old licking raw bacon and find myself questioning my entire life purpose.
I mean, why lick bacon when you have perfectly good ear wax cupcakes sitting around waiting to be eaten? That’s what I’d like to know.
I’ve seen fake Q-Tip treats all over Pinterest and I’ve been dying to try them. The only problem is, two tiny marshmallows isn’t enough to sustain anyone. Does that even have calories? Aren’t marshmallows just sweetened air? So I decided to plunk them on top of cupcakes topped with homemade buttercream and pretend ear wax.
I’m sorry that you’re friends with me. I’m so inappropriate. And also, the pretend ear wax is peanut butter ganache and it’s delicious. Not even sorry.
Prep Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour
Yield: 24 cupcakes
Trust me when I say that this will get a MAJOR reaction out of your kids. It’s hilarious!
Enjoy and have a great day!
Residents can learn the benefits of rainwater harvesting, plus get a $75 rebate for up to two rain barrels.
The American Kennel Club is joining the pet technology industry with the introduction of the Link smart collar this week. Like similar pet wearables, the Link allows you to track your dog’s activity levels and GPS location from your phone. What sets this smart collar apart from the rest, however, is everything else.
From consolidating vet records and healthcare reminders, to a built-in LED light, to temperature alerts that let you know when your dog may be in an environment that’s too hot or cold, the Link has some pretty outstanding bells and whistles.
While its list of “smart” features is impressive, the Link itself is one good-looking collar! Made from Latigo leather, it’s designed to withstand whatever adventures you and your dog might undertake (it’s even water resistant up to 3 feet). The tracking unit is also removable and designed to fit any standard size collar, which is a pretty awesome bonus if you ask me. Speaking of size, the Link is available in a wide range of sizes, accommodating dogs with neck sizes of 9 inches all the way up to 25 inches!
You can pre-order the Link AKC Smart Collar beginning this week, with an estimated ship date in late December. Learn more and reserve one for your pup at www.linkakc.com.
Thanks to David for the heads up!
This No-Bake Chocolate Nutter Butter Mousse Pie is a Nutter Butter cookie crust with a thick layer of chocolate mousse, a layer of peanut butter cookie mousse and topped with whipped cream and more peanut butter. PIN It Some magical happened this weekend. I fell totally in love with San Francisco. I’ll be the first […]
If Tim Burton illustrated some of Marvel and DC’s most popular superheroes, what would they look like? Well, they’d probably look something like these illustrations from artist Andrew Tarusov, who you may recall from the Tim Burton treatment he gave to Disney characters earlier this year. Check out more of his Tim Burton-style superhero art below.
(via Bored Panda)
Aristotle once wrote that “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” Over the years Australian artists have unleashed their skills through the medium of sculpture to express the significance of dogs in our lives. In the second installment of DogTipper’s series of articles that shine a light on fine art and our furry friends, we look at a few of the many sculpted depictions of dogs in The Land Down Under.
“Stop me not, but let me jog/For I am Bob, the drivers dog.” A catchy couplet engraved on his collar let everyone know that the German Coolie/Smithfield mix known as Terowie Bob was a tail-wagger with a passion for travel. The cuddly canine, who kept railwaymen company as they chugged along the tracks in the late 1800s, is remembered today by people who pass by Main Street in the Australian city of Peterborough thanks to a statue which was erected in the dog’s honor in 2009. (Fans of Fidos can find out more about this roaming Rover by reading The Railway Dog: The True Story of an Outback Dog by Olwyn M. Parker.)
Dr. Arnold Cook, who lost his sight as a teenager, brought his vision of Australia’s first guide dog training center to Perth in 1951. A leader of the country’s Guide Dog Movement, Cook and his canine companion Dreena have been immortalized in a bronze statue which stands outside the Association of the Blind in Victoria Park.
The memory of Red Dog, a nomadic Kelpie/cattle dog whose paws promenaded through Western Australia’s Pilbara region in the 1970s, lives on in the mining town of Dampier. A beloved part of the community, in life Red Dog was made a member of the Dampier Salts Sport and Social Club, the Transport Workers’ Union, and was even gifted with his very own bank account at the Bank of New South Wales. After his passing in 1979, the community commissioned sculptor Meri Forrest to create a monument which today greets visitors of Dampier. (Fans of films about Fidos can find out more about the dog dubbed the ‘Pilbara Walker’ by watching the 2011 movie Red Dog.)
The statue of a Skye Terrier named Islay, who once won the heart of England’s monarch, wins the admiration of every dog lover who passes by the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney. In a permanent begging pose, the depiction of Queen Victoria’s canine companion speaks to sightseers in a human voice, and thanks all who toss a coin for a children’s charity into the fountain he guards.
Inspired by a popular poem about a loyal canine who diligently watches over his human’s lunchbox, the Dog on the Tuckerbox statue offers visitors a feast for the eyes. A creation of sculptor Frank Rusconi, the stouthearted Spot made its debut in 1932, and can be found standing watching over coins placed in the monument’s wishing well outside of the Dog on the Tuckerbox Tourist Centre in Snake Gully, near Gundagai, New South Wales.
By AYArktos – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=406506
A touching tribute to the strong bond between soldiers and the loyal canines who serve by their side, sculptor Ewen Coates created Elevation of the Senses. The portrayal of an Explosive Detection Dog and handler can be seen at the Australian War Memorial Museum.
Statues of Dogman and Rabbitgirl can be seen around the globe, and sightseers in Paddington, Sydney can spot the unique pair of lovebirds as they enjoy the beauty of the city from their moped! Located at the intersection of Glenmore Road and Cascade Street, the whimsical work It Takes Two was created by the husband and wife team of Gillie and Marc.
In the 1950s tartan-wearing tail-wagger Puppy promenaded through the streets during the annual Carnival of Flowers parade as the mascot of the Toowoomba Thistle Pipe Band. Sadly, the dog lost his life during the 1958 parade when he was struck down by a car. In loving memory of the canine who had brought so much joy to the community, a statue of Puppy— which was erected the year after his passing– today brings a smile to the faces of visitors of Picnic Point, part of a reserve in Rangeville, Queensland.
On December 3, 1854 Wee Jock guarded his human as he lay dying on the battlefield during the Eureka Stockade Rebellion. Today a bronze depiction of the faithful Irish terrier stands as a silent sentinel forever protecting 22 gold posts– one for each of the gold diggers who lost their lives in the skirmish, including the man who cared for the canine now known as The Pikeman’s Dog.
Written in 1904, a segment of a letter offers a poignant portrait both of the battle’s devastation and the personal loss felt by one fallen’s faithful friend, who was determined to stay beside his buddy even when they took his body away. “No human being could have lamented more at the loss of their dearest relative or friend than that affectionate and faithful dog be wailed the loss of his master.”
The monument’s artists explain the symbolism behind their work during the 160th anniversary of the rebellion in 2014:
It may not be your usual bachelor party, but we like where their heads are at. See the game come together in the gallery below.
(via Geek & Sundry)