Friday, July 8, 2016

Floors! (what's hot right now)

From what I've been seeing real wood continues to be timeless.  By that I mean the actual raw boards laid down and sanded and treated on site.  I know pre-treated hardwood seemed like such a good option, but when I've seen it years (or even days) after install it is already showing its weaknesses.  Real hardwood has been a classic.  And as we see in these modern rooms it's also viewed as fresh and up-to-date these days, too.

Cozy Country Reno

Big porcelain tiles are really trendy right now too.  For ease of both installation and cleaning I give these a thumbs up too.  One downfall is that whenever a tiled surface gets bigger, it's potential for cracking upon normal settlement goes up.  I'm curious if tile repairmen have seen this in these bigger tiles.


When I took a look at this next room I was a little (frowny) because it didn't seem up to date enough.  Wood look tile was *everything* about 5 years ago and we even installed a mess of it ourselves in this foreclosure remodel we are currently in.  So I guess my own familiarity with it made it seem less impressive.

But I'm wrong.  It looks like our use of it was at the beginning of the trend and it's just further evolving into more colors and sizes.  I noticed some really long tiles of it at Menards last week and it made me wonder again about an increase in cracking with increased tile sizes.  However, I'm glad it's still on trend because it is a dream to live with.  So wonderfully hardy and easy to clean.

Muirfield Court
Contemporary REFINED!
Powder Rooms & Small Bath Ideas
A powder room
Modern Powder Room

My source for updates on what's hot in houses these days continues to be houzz's website.  I embed the photos straight from them, so if you click on a picture it'll take you straight to them for the rest of the story on each room.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

PIZZA Chicken

I've been trying to eat more protein and less carbs, and coming up with this recipe has really helped (I love pizza).

As I am cooking the chicken I put together a pizza sauce of my own.  I've never liked canned marinara sauces from the store, because they usually have too much sweet and not enough spice for my liking.

Yesterday was my second time making this recipe and since I had cottage cheese in the house I threw it in to make the whole thing a little cheesier (more like LASAGNA chicken perhaps?)

I layer the sauce and cheeses (the main one here is sliceed mozzarella) and put the pepperoni on top.


16 oz tomato sauce
dried onions, garlic powder, basil, oregano and a pinch of sugar

Hey, if you have high protein/low carb meal ideas, I'm all ears!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Lacking Consent

At age 15 I was attending lots of gatherings of church friends at their homes.  I hung out with the same kids at school.  This was somewhat because I had been warned at church about the dangers of non-mormon kids and how I might drink/smoke/do drugs if I was with them, but also because they got my unique cultural quirks so I felt accepted.  They were the only group of kids that invited me into their lives, so there is also that ;).

I can't remember whether it started at school or those parties but my male friend began standing behind me whenever we were talking to people.  He'd put his hand on my shoulder or step close enough that our bodies were touching.  It was quite imposing and often ended my conversations with boys.  Girls were likely to seem maybe a little confused but continue on with our conversation and laughs.  The fact that it made me uncomfortable and slightly scared I worked to constantly dismiss from my mind.

The touch and closing in of personal space escalated over months with this friend.  Meanwhile, my little boyfriend whom I loved broke up with me (little not referring to his size but trying to capture that time in life when a boyfriend is the kid you walk by at school before being old enough to actually date), which was tragic and heartbreaking in my little world.  I think he and his mom were together trying to make wise choices for his future but (though definitely not his fault!) it put me in a very vulnerable state.  I had no idea a creeper was a creepin' and waiting in the shadows for that break up to start the grooming.

Ok, maybe I *should* have known.  I look back and remember a lot of things, like being told he liked me from my boyfriend.  Why the hell did he have the guts to break guy code like that?  I reassured my boyfriend I would NEVER go out with him.  Because I honestly wasn't interested.

But for all of my looking back and analyzing I can tell myself that No, predicting being victimized was not my job.  He made his choices.  And he and only he can live with that.  I wanted to sit down today to tease this apart in my mind.  I want to know if there actually was things I could have been taught about and understand to change how many years I lost of my own ability to make choices for my body.

I now don't think it is normal for someone to become your boyfriend through physical intimidation.  It's not okay for a 15 year old to tell another 15 year old that they are in charge of them.  There are so many things I beat myself up for while remembering that relationship, and the biggest one is not fighting back more about how it started.  We were friends for years first, and I could never insult a friend. I felt like my job was to make him feel comfortable.  And I think maybe no 12 year old self, its not.  I used so much self control trying to be nice at all costs mostly because of how I wanted to be viewed at church.  I was obsessed with what church people thought and that goes mostly back to the first paragraph about them being the tribe I felt accepted at.

The confidence that comes at around 40 vs 15 is what finally took me to a place where I've been able to speak my mind a little, put down strong boudaries, and accept unacceptance from church people. It's really helped me now but would have helped me immensely then.  I think the fears the adults passed on then about the non mormon teenagers applied just as well to them as a whole in creating peer pressure and the choices that might be bad for an individual within those peer groups.  We humans are not that different, none of us.  We tend to try to control others to fight our own fears and that looks the same whether in fresh dresses in a chapel or around a bonfire with some beer.

I hope my daughters learn that before almost-40.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Dark Chocolate Brownies


My daughter developed a brownie recipe last weekend she called "Mother's Day Brownies."  They were fabulous, and I decided to make a few changes according to what she thought didn't work, for our family to enjoy in the future.  To be sure, they will be called mother's day brownies in our house forever more (we love silly traditions like that) but for sharing sake, I titled the recipe descriptively.

Dark Chocolate Brownies

1 C vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 1/3 C sugar
1/2 C cocoa
2 t vanilla
2 C flour (for gluten free I used a mix of coconut flour and a gf flour blend)
1 C dark chocolate chips, melted

Beat oil and sugar for 5 minutes and then add the eggs and keep beating.  Add the vanilla, flour and melted chocolate and mix until all is incorporated.  Pour into a greased  9 x 13 pan and bake for 30 minutes.


Monday, May 2, 2016

2016 Bathroom Inspiration

Since we are nearing the finish line on 3 big bathroom remodels, I've been thinking (and working and sweating) all things tile and porcelain.  What has been interesting doing remodels over a span of 4 years is watching styles change, emerge, and stay the same. 

The color gray has been big on walls the whole time but seems to really have made its way into the bathroom fixtures.  With that advent, gold fixtures are making their way back too.  As you'll see in 3 of these examples, it looks fabulous with shades of gray.

We used a little gray ourselves in our cabinets and back-splash tile, but offset with lots of dark wood.  I love my brown and fit it in wherever possible :).

Buckinghamshire Full House Refurbishment
Cool Gray
Prestwick Lane
2012 Street of Dreams
Powder Room Renewal -
Walk-in Shower Room

Prospect Heights Townhouse
Bathroom basement
Eclectic Bathroom
Georgian Dream

If you have an upcoming remodel what trends are you hoping to capture?


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