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09 Mar 02:50

#EnchantedLove Sneak peek of one of the pieces I did for the art...



#EnchantedLove Sneak peek of one of the pieces I did for the art tribute for the #liveaction #disney #beautyandthebeast show, presented by @ohmydisney @gallerynucleus @disneystudios @cyclopsprints . The show will be up from 3/11/17-4/2/17 with opening reception at 7pm with complimentary food and drinks.#belle #beast #emmawatson #danstevens #rose #joeychou #joeychouartprints available online now

 http://www.gallerynucleus.com/detail/22351/

http://www.gallerynucleus.com/gallery/592/exhibition/

https://ohmy.disney.com/news/2017/03/03/exclusive-beauty-and-the-beast-gallery-nucleus/

09 Mar 02:49

#Beourguest, here’s another piece I did...



#Beourguest, here’s another piece I did for#beautyandthebeast show for the art tribute for the#liveaction #disney #beautyandthebeast show, presented by @ohmydisney @gallerynucleus @disneystudios @cyclopsprints . The show will be up from 3/11/17-4/2/17 with opening reception at 7pm with complimentary food and drinks.
#belle #beast #emmawatson #danstevens #rose#joeychou #joeychouart

prints available online now http://www.gallerynucleus.com/detail/22353/

http://www.gallerynucleus.com/gallery/592/exhibition/
https://ohmy.disney.com/news/2017/03/08/enchanting-beauty-and-the-beast-art-from-our-gallery-nucleus-show/#slider_5

05 Mar 00:26

Roasted Sweet Potato Rainbow Salad with Lime Crema

by Beth M

Okay, I’ll admit I just made this salad as a vehicle for the lime crema. It’s all about the crema. This stuff is seriously life changing and I haven’t been able to stop making it since my first batch. So, I just threw together a bunch of my other favorite ingredients, all of which happened to make a beautiful natural rainbow of colors, and ended up with this Roasted Sweet Potato Rainbow Salad (…with lime crema). 

This salad is great for meal prepping for the week. Just mix together the salad ingredients, but add the dressing each day as needed. You can top it with some grilled or rotisserie chicken, maybe roll it all together inside a tortilla, and you’re good to go! Another fun add-in that I thought about (but opted out of in favor of keeping things simple) is crushed up tortilla chips or tortilla strips. I think that crunch would be a really fun addition. And of course you could always add a bit of avocado or sliced jalapeños if that’s your jam.

Oh, also, if you have a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s in your area, you can make this salad even easier. They both sell frozen roasted corn, which you can use instead of my skillet charred corn. I went the budget route and made my own this time, but the pre-roasted frozen corn is seriously awesome (I think it’s usually cheaper at TJ’s than WF).

Goes great with: Baked Beef & Black Bean Tacos, Chipotle Portobello Oven Fajitas, Cilantro Lime Drumsticks, Weeknight Enchiladas.

Roasted Sweet Potato Rainbow Salad with Lime Crema

This Roasted Sweet Potato Rainbow Salad combines a medley of vibrant colors and flavors, brought together by a bright and creamy dressing. BudgetBytes.com

4.8 from 18 reviews
Roasted Sweet Potato Rainbow Salad with Lime Crema
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Total Cost: $7.93
Cost Per Serving: $1.32 (1.33 cups each)
Serves: 6
Ingredients
LIME CREMA
  • 8oz. sour cream $1.00
  • 1 fresh lime $0.50
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced $0.08
  • ¼ tsp salt $0.02
ROASTED SWEET POTATOES
  • 1.5 lb. sweet potatoes $1.57
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil $0.08
  • 1 tsp cumin $0.10
  • Salt to taste $0.02
BLACKENED CORN
  • 1 lb. frozen corn kernels, thawed $1.49
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil $0.08
  • Salt to taste $0.02
SALAD
  • 15oz. can black beans $0.99
  • 1 red bell pepper $1.50
  • ¼ red onion* $0.25
  • ¼ bunch cilantro $0.23
Instructions
  1. If you haven't yet, take the corn out of the freezer and allow it to begin thawing. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  2. Peel the sweet potatoes, then cut them into a small dice (1/4-1/2 inch cubes). Place the cubes on a baking sheet, drizzle with cooking oil, cumin, and a pinch or two of salt. Toss the sweet potato cubes until they are all coated in oil and spices. Roast the sweet potatoes for about 30 minutes, or until they are soft and slightly browned on the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
  3. While the sweet potatoes are roasting, prepare the lime crema. Use a small-holed cheese grater or a zester to remove the thin layer of green zest from the lime. Add about 1 tsp of the zest and 1 Tbsp of the lime juice to the sour cream, along with the minced clove of garlic and ¼ tsp of salt. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust the lime juice as desired. Refrigerate the crema until ready to use.
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Once hot, add 2 Tbsp cooking oil and swirl to coat the surface of the skillet. Add the thawed corn and let cook until the corn is blistered and charred on the edges. Avoid stirring too often to allow it to blacken a bit. Let the corn cool slightly.
  5. Finely dice the red bell pepper and red onion. Rinse and drain the black beans. Pull the cilantro leaves from their stems and then roughly chop.
  6. Combine the roasted sweet potatoes, blackened corn, black beans, red bell pepper, red onion, and cilantro in a large dish. Stir to combine. Add some of the lime crema and toss until the salad is lightly coated. Add a little more lime crema on top just before serving.
Notes
*Use your leftover red onion to make pickled red onions, which go great with tacos and burritos.
3.5.3226

This Roasted Sweet Potato Rainbow Salad combines a medley of vibrant colors and flavors, brought together by a bright and creamy dressing. BudgetBytes.comThis Roasted Sweet Potato Rainbow Salad combines a medley of vibrant colors and flavors, brought together by a bright and creamy dressing. BudgetBytes.com

Step by Step Photos

Frozen CornIf you haven’t already, take one pound of frozen corn kernels out of the freezer to thaw. If you are planning on charring them in a skillet like I did, they need to be completely thawed. Also, preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Diced Sweet PotatoesPeel and dice about 1.5 lbs. sweet potatoes (that was two small sweet potatoes for me, or one really large one). Place them on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 Tbsp of cooking oil. Sprinkle 1 tsp cumin on top and a pinch or two of salt. Toss until all the sweet potatoes are coating in oil and spices.

Roasted Sweet PotatoesRoast the sweet potatoes in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until they are soft and slightly brown on the edges. Total cooking time will depend on how small you cut them, so be mindful. Let them cool slightly.

Lime CremaWhile the sweet potatoes are roasting, prepare the lime crema. Zest one fresh lime (I use a small-holed cheese grater). Add about 1 tsp of the zest and 1 Tbsp of the lime juice to an 8oz. tub of sour cream. Also add one small clove of garlic (minced) and about 1/4 tsp salt. Stir to combine, then taste and adjust the lime juice as you see fit. Refrigerate the crema until ready to use.

Blackened CornIf you’re not using frozen corn that came pre-roasted, heat a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Once hot, add 2 Tbsp cooking oil and swirl to coat the surface of the skillet. Add the thawed corn kernels and let them cook until browned and blistered on the edges. Avoid stirring too often as this won’t allow the corn time to blacken. Season with a pinch or two of salt and let the corn cool slightly.

Rainbow Salad IngredientsDrain and rinse a 15oz. can of black beans. Finely dice one red bell pepper and 1/4 of a red onion. Pull the leaves from 1/4 bunch of cilantro, and give them a rough chop. Combine the roasted sweet potatoes, charred corn, black beans, red bell pepper, red onion, and cilantro in a large bowl or dish.

This Roasted Sweet Potato Rainbow Salad combines a medley of vibrant colors and flavors, brought together by a bright and creamy dressing. BudgetBytes.comStir the salad ingredients to combine. If you’re meal prepping this salad, refrigerate it just like this without the dressing. If you’re going to serve it, add some of the crema, then stir until there is a light coating over the whole salad. Add more crema to the top of each serving. That pop of tart lime is more noticeable when you have some drizzled on top in addition to the light coating.

This Roasted Sweet Potato Rainbow Salad combines a medley of vibrant colors and flavors, brought together by a bright and creamy dressing. BudgetBytes.comAnd that’s it! This Roasted Sweet Potato Rainbow Salad is SUPER FRESH. 💯 

The post Roasted Sweet Potato Rainbow Salad with Lime Crema appeared first on Budget Bytes.

16 Feb 09:06

Chicken Avocado Pesto Stuffed Shells

by Meghan B.

Chicken Avocado Pesto Stuffed Shells are a great way to use up that leftover chicken! With two types of cheeses, pesto, and creamy avocado, this chicken pasta dish is packed with flavor. The melt-in-your-mouth texture makes it the decadent, warm-you-up-from-the-inside-out dish you are craving this winter.

Chicken Avocado Pesto Stuffed Shells | cakenknife.com

I always have leftover chicken hanging around in my refrigerator. Whether it’s from a rotisserie chicken I bought, a roasted chicken I made, or just some shredded chicken breast that I intended to put on a salad (no really, I did mean to….), there’s always a container lingering on my refrigerator shelves.

You end up running out of things to do with leftover chicken faster than you think.

Chicken Avocado Pesto Stuffed Shells | cakenknife.com

This pasta has been my winter savior dish for the past couple of weeks (honestly I can’t stop making the dang thing)! It’s warm, filling and flavorful.  (more…)

The post Chicken Avocado Pesto Stuffed Shells appeared first on Cake 'n Knife.

17 Jan 03:42

crusty baked cauliflower and farro

by deb
crusty-baked-cauliflower-and-farro

I have been thinking about how it might be cool to do a bake pasta dish in which we swap the noodles for farro but leave all the great parts like cheese, so much cheese, chunks of vegetable and, most hopefully, a crunchy lid for years. Years! In that time, I have cooked hundreds of other things, some even not terrible, even, but it took until I handed my husband the latest Ina Garten cookbook and told him to pick out some things we should eat and he pointed to her recipe for crusty shells and cheese that I thought “This!” I last felt this urgently about swapping pasta for a grain when we made this, three and a half years ago.

Read more »

12 Jan 04:53

chicken wonton soup

by deb
chicken-wonton-soup

I don’t know why it took me so long to make this as it combines the only two things I ever want when I’m sick: chicken noodle and wonton soup. The thing is, when you’re sick, you absolutely do not want to cook anything. (Also sometimes when we’re well, to be completely honest. Shh, don’t tell anyone.) And so for a couple nights, we picked up a decent chicken noodle soup in the neighborhood, but when we tired of that, ordered wonton soup instead. It’s usually a disappointment. Sometimes it seems like a quart of bland broth with three floating pockets in it, not the most filling meal. Plus, it’s off the menu for anyone who doesn’t eat pork or shrimp. But this one was not; it was chicken wontons in chicken broth and it was exceptional, the happiest mashup of the two wonderful things.

Read more »

12 Jan 04:43

Pooh

by Life Under the Mango Trees
Pooh.

Pooh. It’s everywhere. It’s like a sewage treatment center decided to go Al Qaeda and blow itself up. In my house. There’s poop on the floor. There’s poop on the towels. There’s poop in the tub. In the tub. Poop. In my tub. Where I wash. There may be poop on the coats. I don’t know. Step in vomit on my way to the trashcan. I make a mental note and add that pile to the list of places to tiptoe around. I throw the towels into the laundry basket and make another mental note: It’s time to give the laundry lady a raise. She washes this excreta by hand. One thing when it’s the baby’s diapers. Another thing when…

Two hours prior…

I’m doing some AHI work in the bedroom and distracting myself, frequently playing with the two girls and Zane. Lyol was off playing outside. I come into the kitchen to start thinking about making some dinner. Addison comes to tell me Mommy’s vomiting.

I peek into the bathroom. Girl don’t lie. Mommy be retching. Need anything? No? Water? Juice? Crackers? Bananas, rice, applesauce, toast? Ok, cool. Let me know if you need anything.

We live in Tchad. We barf. It’s what we do.

Mommy goes into the bedroom. For a minute.

Mommy sprints back into the bathroom. Mommy tosses Mommy’s cookies.

Mommy comes out of the bathroom. Mommy goes to the kitchen. Mommy starts puking in the kitchen sink. Where our food comes from. Where we bleach our food. Mental note: Add extra bleach to the next sinkful of fresh fruits and veggies.

Her hair is already tied back, so no need for my assistance there. I reach around her head quickly and turn on the faucet to start the drainage. I narrowly miss the splash zone. Whew.

Mommy grabs a bucket and goes back into the bedroom. I inspect the sink and turn off the faucet.

I hear Mommy upchucking into the bucket in the bedroom. Crossing fingers it isn’t splashing onto the sheets.

Mommy has a pause in her ralphing. She runs to the bathroom. No love. Lyol is already on the toilet.

Mommy starts hurling into the tub. So not cool.

Mommy needs to defecate.

Lyol is still on the toilet.

Mommy decides to make a break for the other toilet. The one we never use. Because it’s nasty.

Mommy makes it. Barely. Mommy takes a dump.

But then Mommy starts dry heaving. I grab her a fresh bucket. Mommy decides to make a break for the original toilet once Lyol is done.

Mommy. Doesn’t. Quite. Make. It.

Mommy has pooped extra-toiletally. Extra-toiletal poop is not poop we find funny in this household. It’s not funny poop.

Mommy just lays down. In it. And it doesn’t stop. This has officially developed into a literal poopstorm.

Mommy would be going caca in her pants. But she’s not wearing any anymore. And a thong is not very… protective… of my towels.

Mommy is still spewing out her mouth too. But she’s no longer sitting up to do that. She just turns her head to the side and lets it dribble out. Mommy has given up. There is no more sentiment of personal pride. There is no more caring about appearances. Until Daddy starts writing a blog about it. But for now…

Mommy needs an IV.

I call Ndilbe while I run up to the hospital to grab the necessary medications and supplies. Ndilbe comes and gets her IV. Before he gets there, she grabs a few more towels to cover herself up. Mommy has now relieved herself on the towels. I would say she’s having a BM, but there doesn’t seem to be much ‘movement’ going on. Just an open tube, leaking. My mental notes are getting numerous. But those towels just became guest towels. Sorry if you come to visit. I. Just. Can’t. Ever. Again.

I give Danae a bottle of IV fluids with Phenergan for her nausea. Along with a couple ampoules of Vitamin B and max dose cimetidine. Then max dose IV Flagyl. Then max dose IV Cipro. Then more IV fluids. She wants a bath. Would you like that in bleach or alcohol? She doesn’t find me humorous.

I run a warm bath. She crawls in.

I go out and feed the kids dinner, checking in on her frequently.

Ummm… Sweetheart… did you just evacuate your bowels in the tub? Yeah? Ok. Cool. Mental note: Outdoor showers are coming back into vogue. Build one tonight.

Darling… there seems to be more fecal matter in the tub than there was last time. Did you just turd in the tub… again? What do you mean you’re not sure? How many times can you go number two?

Dear… can I drain the water and refill the tub for you? Why? Because there are so many chunks floating about I could practically walk on water. Look right there. See that? It’s like an entire tomato peel. I can tell you exactly what you’ve eaten in the past 24 hours. And what you haven’t chewed thoroughly, which appears to be everything. This bath is about equal parts water and liquid stool.

Poor girl. The Phenergan has completely knocked her out. It does that to me too. She barely knows what’s going on. Or what’s going out, for that matter.

Ummm… ummm… ummm… Honey, would you like me to help you shower the tub poop off of you before you get into bed? No? Ok. So you’re just getting out of the poop tub and going to lay straight down in our bed with tub poop on you? Ok. Cool. Ummm… yeah… cool… ok.

I put the kids in bed.

And now here I am, trying to makes sense of the gruesome war scene before me. A little shellshocked. A little PTSD. I’d make a horrible soldier. If this were real war, some sniper on the ridge could totally cherry pick me. I’m standing in the middle of the living room. I look up at the ceiling fan spinning mockingly over my head. Is it possible some of the poo hit that fan too? This is carnage.

Can one human really create so much feces? This just ain’t right, man. ‘For better or worse’ might not have considered this… I mean, how could you imagine this? This was covered neither in pre-marital counseling nor high school Marriage and Family class. All I had to do in high school was carry around a sack of flour all day. Not a sack of doo-doo.

I double check the kitchen sink. I rinse out the tub. For the second time. I consider the sterilizing effects of gasoline and a match, but I decide to take less extreme measures. I put the towels in the dirty laundry. I wipe the vomit up off the floor. I collect the barf buckets.

And I keep giving Mommy fluids throughout the whole thing.

We have cholera beds in the hospital. They’re regular beds, but with holes cut in the middle, where the butt goes. Because these patients can’t even get out of bed. They just poop where they lay.

I set up my bed on the couch.

I’m pretty sure if I get into our California King bed with her… I’d be pooped upon.

All night long, I keep replacing fluids.

I don’t know if this is cholera, but cholera patients can poop 20 liters a day of fluids, and 10% of their body weight in poop in 2-4 hours. By morning, Mommy has received 10.8 liters of fluids. That’s 24 pounds of fluids I put into my 112-pound wife overnight. Over 20% of her body weight.

Mommy is puffy. Like, Michelin-Woman Puffy. Mommy won’t let me take pictures of her. When she’s awake.

But it’s safe to say Victoria has no more secrets. The proof is in the stains.

Anyway, Mommy will be fine. Physically.

But let’s face it. The emotional scars one can’t see… they don’t heal as quickly.
24 Dec 06:22

Darth Vader Vs. Aliens Would Be Glorious

by Sean Fallon

guillem-h-pongiluppi-star-wars-vs-aliens-top

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.

guillem-h-pongiluppi-star-wars-vs-aliens-1

guillem-h-pongiluppi-star-wars-vs-aliens-2

guillem-h-pongiluppi-star-wars-vs-aliens-3

guillem-h-pongiluppi-star-wars-vs-aliens-7

guillem-h-pongiluppi-star-wars-vs-aliens-8

star-wars-vs-aliens

You can check out more of Pongiluppi’s work on his website and Facebook page.

(via Ufunk)

22 Dec 04:27

I Saw Rogue One Last Night, And Wish I Hadn’t. (A Spoiler-Free, Cautionary Review)

by Jen


It’s my policy to only share things positive here, or hopeful, or helpful, maybe beautiful, or all of the above. But with all of my social media currently being flooded by people insisting everyone “GO SEE ROGUE ONE NOW!" I feel I should issue a warning to people like me.

If you’re like me, then this season is a little (or a lot) stressful, a little (or a lot) sad, and if you’re able to carve out a few hours to go to the movies, you want that time to be rewarded. You want to get out from under the weight of presents and parties and obligations, and leave the theater feeling better than before you went in.

I freely admit I went into Rogue One in a bad place emotionally. I was stressed and sad and feeling guilty and desperately in need of a lift. Thanks to an exceedingly polite internet community, I had no spoilers, no warning, no idea of what was coming. I wish I had. I wish someone had written the review I’m about to write, for me.

I won’t spoil anything for you, either, because that’s not polite.  But again, if you’re like me, then maybe wait to see Rogue One. Or at least read this review first, so you’re more prepared than I was.


Let’s start with The Good:

- It’s Star Wars, down to the bones. It has the familiarity and nostalgia of the original films, without feeling like a copycat the way Force Awakens sometimes did. This is new. New characters, ships, creatures – but all with that unmistakable Star Wars feel.

- Everyone’s talking about the Easter Eggs, and while I’m sure I only caught the most obvious ones, they’re still a delight. Nothing too overt or campy, just sweet little nods to the other films sprinkled throughout.

- The story works. I love that this fills in a gap in Star Wars knowledge, and perfectly explains how the Death Star came to have such a glaring weakness.


 - And finally, THIS is how you write a female lead. No one so much as mentions that Jyn is a girl, much less treats her any differently because of it.  She dresses like a fighter, not a sexy fighter, and there is ZERO simpering or batting of eyelashes or dewy-eyed melt-downs.

The Bad:

- Much as I admired Jyn, I didn’t care about her. Not the way I did Rey and Finn. Jyn’s too flat, too one-dimensional. Even her back story fails to flesh her out into a real person. She’s a hero, but so closed off and hardened that it’s impossible to feel like you know her, much less relate to her.

- That goes for all the characters, really; even my favorite, the monk, is lost in a sea of too many people with too little dimension. I’m still not sure why Forest Whitaker in his Mad Max suit was even there.

- It’s heavy. The only laughs are provided by Alan Tudyk’s wise-cracking robot, and are so infrequent that our audience almost didn’t know what to do with them: like, "oh, is it ok to laugh now?" There are no happy, joy-filled moments, just action and intrigue and epic battle scenes, all soaked in the darkness of a hopeless war.


- It’s more violent by far than TFA, which I understand now is/was necessary for the story, to lead up to A New Hope. Rogue One puts the WAR in Star Wars, with gut-wrenching battles raining death and destruction, often placed in settings that feel uncomfortably down-to-earth. I don’t think it’s a spoiler, given this is a prequel to A New Hope, to say the bad guys win most of the time.

- The end scene with Vader is getting all the rave reviews, but I'll be honest, it turned my stomach. After nearly two hours of heaviness, this final scene was too much. Again, I see why they did it, and I can appreciate having this incredible back story leading up to the very second New Hope begins, but it’s not something I enjoyed watching.

I didn’t cry - and I'm the one who cries at everything! No, it's not that Rogue One is unbearably sad. Ironically, it's that it feels more hopeless than sad. And that's the last thing I want to feel this season.


So there you have it, guys: my exceedingly unpopular take on Rogue One. Take it with a huge grain of salt, of course, and feel free to call me too sensitive, because I know I am.  But if this helps even one or two fellow “sensitives” avoid feeling this way at the movies this season, then hey, worth it.

22 Dec 04:24

Host an Escape Room in Your Own Home

by Tara

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:

  • Prison Break (2/5)
  • Virus (2/5)
  • Nuclear Countdown (3/5)
  • Temple of the Aztec (4/5)

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.)

lab-snacks

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”.

Thank you to the fabulous Jenn for modeling the drink. And for willingly wearing a Haz-Mat suit.

Thank you to the fabulous Jenn for modeling the drink. And for willingly wearing a HAZMAT suit.

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:

game

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.

chrono-decoder

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:

what-you-need

  • A table or clear space to spread everything out and work.
  • Blank paper and a pencil. You’ll need scratch paper and a way to take notes.
  • A working phone. You may need to use it in various ways. Plus, you can use the Escape Room app on it, which has themed music for each adventure and a place to take and upload a picture once you’ve solved the adventure!

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.

22 Dec 04:14

Red Wine Poached Pear and Chocolate Tart

by Ashley Rodriguez

 

Poached Pear Tart

*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.

Poached Pear Tart Poached Pear Tart

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?

Poached Pear Tart Poached Pear Tart Poached Pear Tart

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.

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Chocolate Tart with Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon Poached Pears

Serves 6 to 8 (makes one 9 or 10-inch tart)

Pair with Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot

1 recipe pie or tart dough

2 cups Chateau Ste. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot

1 cup sugar

1 cinnamon stick

2 star anise

1 cup heavy cream

1 1/2 cups chopped semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate

salt

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.

20 Nov 01:09

This Stormtrooper Figure Would Look Great In Your China Cabinet

by Geek Girl Diva

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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.

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Stormtrooper (Porcelain Pattern Version): $234.99

09 Nov 02:01

Photo



05 Nov 23:45

This Half-Scale ‘BvS’ Wonder Woman Statue Looks Amazingly Real

by Geek Girl Diva
Alisa.wray

this is an awesome reference of her costume. maybe one day.

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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.

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Half-Scale BvS Wonder Woman Statue: $2099.99

05 Nov 23:44

Baby Groot USB Car Charger Dances With Your Phone

by Sean Fallon

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You might be wondering, does this Baby Groot USB Car Charger dance around while my phone charges?

Hell yeah he does!

He’s also powerful enough to charge two tablets simultaneously. See him in action in the video below.

Baby Groot USB Car Charger ($39.99)

29 Oct 04:24

Fried Avocado Tacos

by Meghan B.

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.

Fried Avocado Tacos | cakenknife.com

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…)

The post Fried Avocado Tacos appeared first on Cake 'n Knife.

24 Oct 02:00

I am gonna be at Disneyland’s Wonderground again this Nov....



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


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18 Oct 04:14

Kitchen Remodel Chapter #3: The Big Reveal

by Sherry Petersik

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.

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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.

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Well, now it looks like this:

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And here’s the old view from the other side, which is what you saw when you stepped in the door from the garage.

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These days it’s looking a little different.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

Counters

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Hardware, Faucet, & Shelf Brackets

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Appliances

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).

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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?).

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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?

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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.

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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.

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Lighting

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.

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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.

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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.  

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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.

Wood / Natural Accents

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 stoolssome cutting boards, and the woven trays were definitely an intentional choice.

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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.

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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.

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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).

Tile & Paint

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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Sources

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.

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  1. Pull-down polished nickel faucet
  2. Veiny quartz island counters (and here are the gray quartz perimeter counters)
  3. Counter height wood stools
  4. Polished nickel shelf brackets (our reclaimed wood shelves were local, but they also sell these)
  5. Metal dome pendants (they come in 5 other colors)
  6. Gold clock (it makes me think the white rabbit might drop by)
  7. Polished nickel hardware pull (here’s the coordinating knob)
  8. Gold 8″ cylinder vase
  9. Tumbled marble backsplash tile
  10. Wooden cutting board
  11. Gray diamond sisal runner
  12. Minwax Provincial stain (on our oak hardwood floors)

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:

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  1. Square cutting board (I silver paint-penned the copper handle)
  2. Carats DOF glasses (podcast listeners already know they’re my drinking glass soul mates)
  3. Emily Jeffords painting (we chose “whitewashed herringbone” for the frame)
  4. This is here to represent greenery, which adds life to a kitchen (try: pathos, jade plants, succulents)
  5. Polished nickel door knob
  6. Thin gold frame (I keep going back and buying more for other rooms)
  7. White dotted cereal bowls (I love leaving them out in the woven tray on the island)
  8. Woven tray
  9. Pretty faceted pitcher (I like putting one bloom from a grocery store bouquet in there)
  10. Woven blinds (ours are from Home Depot a while back, but these are similar)

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.

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And before we go… one more before…

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…and after. This time we could step back a little more to take this shot, thanks to a certain wall being gone.

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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!).

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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*

The post Kitchen Remodel Chapter #3: The Big Reveal appeared first on Young House Love.

18 Oct 04:08

How ‘Rick And Morty’ Can Help You Find Meaning In Life [Video]

by Sean Fallon

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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)

15 Oct 16:42

Newlyweds Can Now Rent The Entire Magic Kingdom For One Amazing Night

by Geek Girl Diva

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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.

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(via Cosmopolitan)

15 Oct 16:41

Apple Cider Doughnuts

by Annie

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.

14 Oct 15:00

LEGO Announces Beatles ‘Yellow Submarine’ Set With Fantastic Minifigs

by Ben Paddon

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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.

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(via The Brothers Brick)

14 Oct 15:00

‘Doctor Who’-Themed ‘Mr. Men’ Books Are Incoming

by Ben Paddon

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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.

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(via io9)

14 Oct 15:00

This Man Created The Sweetest ‘Harry Potter’ Pensieve For His New Wife

by Geek Girl Diva

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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.

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(via Mashable)

14 Oct 14:28

Butternut Squash Gratin

by Gina

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.

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.

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.

(more…)

14 Oct 04:18

Affiliation by Specialty

by Fizzy
I was recently reading a NYT article about political affiliation by specialty.  It broke things down as below:



I think it's interesting that the ROAD specialties as well as Surgery are more red, whereas medical specialties are more blue.  I suppose it correlates very well with income.  It also seems to correlate well with more female-oriented specialties.

Some things don't entirely make sense to me though.  Why are ID docs so liberal?  And why are Family Med docs more red than blue?

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12 Oct 03:24

Ear Wax Cupcakes

by Kristan

These Ear Wax Cupcakes might look horribly disgusting, but kids LOVE them! They’re the perfect addition to any Halloween party!

Ear Wax Cupcakes Picture

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.

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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.

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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.

Ear Wax Cupcakes

Prep Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 24 cupcakes, baked and cooled
  • Ear Wax (peanut butter glaze)
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 3 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • Frosting:
  • 2 sticks salted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • Used Q-Tips:
  • 24 (4 inch) lollipop sticks
  • 48 mini marshmallows
  • Roughly 1/4 cup chocolate melting wafers
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Instructions

  1. Prepare peanut butter glaze: In a small saucepan, combine peanut butter, powdered sugar, corn syrup, and heavy cream. Stir over medium heat until smooth and combined. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, prepare frosting.
  2. Prepare frosting: In the bowl of your mixer, beat butter, heavy cream, and vanilla extract on medium-low speed until combined. With the mixer on low, slowly add the powdered sugar. Increase mixer speed to high and beat for one minute, until light and fluffy. Frost cupcakes and set aside.
  3. Top each cupcake with a spoonful of peanut butter glaze. Prepare Q-Tips.
  4. Used Q-Tips: Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Press a mini marshmallow into each end of the lollipop stick. Melt almond bark according to directions and lightly dip part of each marshmallow in the candy, allowing excess to drip off. Place on wax paper until candy is set, then dip each end in peanut butter. Top cupcakes with "used Q-Tips."
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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!

The post Ear Wax Cupcakes appeared first on Confessions of a Cookbook Queen.

01 Oct 00:54

Rain barrels on sale at shredding event

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Residents can pre-order rain barrels by April 28 for pick up at the upcoming shredding event.

01 Oct 00:40

Link AKC Smart Collar

by Capree Kimball

Link AKC Smart Collar

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.

Link AKC Smart Collar

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.

Link AKC Smart Collar

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!

Link AKC Smart Collar

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!


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© 2016 Dog Milk | Posted by capree in Collars + Leads | Permalink | 2 comments
27 Sep 00:34

No-Bake Chocolate Nutter Butter Mousse Pie

by Beyond Frosting

This peanut butter chocolate pie is amazing. Layers of chocolate mousse, and a Nutter Butter Cookies mousse on top all in a peanut butter cookie crust. This no-bake pie will have your taste buds asking for more.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 […]

The post No-Bake Chocolate Nutter Butter Mousse Pie appeared first on Beyond Frosting.