Friday, February 25, 2011

fabric friday: 2-25-11

1st and foremost: HAPPY BIRTHDAY KRISTEN

Momentum Textiles is probably one of the textile vendors we use the most at work. they have great fabrics at great prices and are graded-in with most of our vendors, which makes things so much easier. doesn't hurt that our rep Michele is awesome and super  fun!

Momentum came out with SILICA last year and it won 2010 BEST OF NEOCON GOLD at Chicago. Silica is a new coated fabric made from 51% silicone and 49% PLA; with zero PVC and zero solvents and is produced using less water and energy than most fabrics/vinyls and made with no harmful chemicals. there is no harm to air or water quality at end of its life and it is Greenguard Children & Schools Certified™.

Silica it has a durability of 365,000 double rubs and can be cleaned with water, water-based cleaning agents or foam, solvents and is bleach cleanable (4:1). it is ink-erasable with water and inherently anti-microbial and anti-bacterial. it's such a great option for health care. 

it's got some pretty fun colors (and some standard colors) and we get to keep them in this cute little box from our rep.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

chicken chili + creamed corn bread

okay. so i don't know if anyone cares for my recipes or not, because honestly, i know my pictures aren't that good. i don't have a good place to stage my food, nor do i have a good lens, skill, good lighting (um, we eat at 815 at night at the earliest) or a lot of time. so, i'm going to include the recipe, but really - people are going to cook what you post only if it LOOKS good, am i right? well...anyway...

i'm a huge chili fan, so it makes me very happy that it's a favorite of both mine and josh's. for this recipe, i had some leftover ground chicken in the freezer that i decided to use. i kept the chili "red" with light red kidney beans, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. this recipe is based on a "cooking for two" theory and actually didn't make any leftovers (for the chili) because josh liked it so much he had seconds!

~chili ingredients~
2 T olive oil
1/4 onion (i never use a full onion when cooking, but you can use as much as you want!)
green pepper to your liking (i probably used about 1/4 cup chopped)
2 cloves garlic (mine were huge)
1/2 lb ground chicken (turkey or beef)
1 28oz can diced or petite diced tomatoes
2 T tomato paste
1-2 T chili powder (to your liking)
1-2 T paprika (again, to your liking)
1 c chicken stock
1 tsp oregano
1 bay leaf

  1. heat pan with olive oil, add chopped onion and pepper to pan. cook till softened, a few minutes.
  2. add garlic, cook a few minutes and add ground chicken. let brown.
  3. add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken stock, spices and S+P.
  4. let simmer, at least 1/2 hour. i actually let it simmer for almost 2 hours because that was how much time i had before the hubby got home. i simmered w/ the lid on until about 1/2 hour before it was done. i also added more spices at the end and a little cornstarch to thicken it up.
  5. serve with shredded cheese, sour cream or avocado...onions...tortilla chips...
~creamed corn bread ingredients~
recipe from alton brown
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk (i didn't have buttermilk so i substituted 1 T white vinegar in a glass measuring cup then filled to 1 cup with milk and some heavy cream)
2 eggs
1 cup creamed corn
2 tablespoons canola oil

  1. preheat oven to 425 degrees. place a 10-inch cast iron skillet into the oven (i didn't have a cast iron skillet so i used a metal pie pan...this worked okay but would have been better w/ the skillet).
  2. in a bowl, combine the cornmeal, salt, sugar, baking powder and baking soda. whisk together to combine well.
  3. combine the buttermilk, eggs and creamed corn, whisking to combine thoroughly. add dry ingredients to the buttermilk mixture and stir to combine. if batter will not pour, add more buttermilk.
  4. swirl the canola oil in the hot cast iron skillet (i used a pastry brush to help spread the oil). pour the batter into the skillet. bake until golden brown and springs back to the touch, about 20-25 minutes.

i definitely enjoyed both of these recipes. i know it's a winner when i hear, "That was really good, can i have more?" from josh, the cornbread was definitely "corn" tasting, so if you aren't a big fan of corn this might not be the best recipe for you. all in all, it was a perfect meal for a cold, wintry night!

Monday, February 21, 2011

before & after

one of my favorite blog reads is design*sponge, my favorite part being their before & after series. it really inspires me to find flea market garage sale gems and spruce them up. unfortunately, i don't think much of that can happen in winter in Erie, we don't have a big place to be putting lots of furniture and i really don't have much experience in renovating or crafting, so, i'll just sit and drool over the creativeness of others.

this past week there was a gorgeous bedroom makeover - including the pillow i've been pining after and an amazing George Nelson-esque mirror. photos from design sponge. see more of the makeover here.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


wrote a long post about life, careers and changes.

felt it might be too personal to put into the blogosphere, so i saved it, and this is what you get instead.

i have a new goal: be the best i can be. at everything i do.

as this applies to my job/career, it's mostly a push to learn and understand more. i'm ready to be completely proud and confident in what i do - from the start of a project with a sketch or drawing to a customer to when our installers come back after project completion. webinars, training, vendor/plant visits, spending more time so i fully understand - whatever it takes.

wish me luck. i'm already starting to think i don't want to put in the work that this is going to take.

remember the goal for 2011: stop saying. start doing.

would love some words of advice or encouragement from anyone who might have gone through a similar life situation.

birthday post!!

yesterday was the birthday of one of my very best friends - the S of SKANK! (also, the oldest...ha ha!). check her blog out here.

just like the rest of the girls, staci and i have been friends for quite a long time, our friendship starting in middle school. staci and i played volleyball together in high school and play now in a coed league once a week, which is great cause i get to see her weekly! staci is a great friend, loyal, generous, caring and loves her family, friends and pets oh so much! i'm so blessed to have her in my life!

here are some fun pics:
canada trip - sometime b/w 2000-2003 (i don't remember...little help??)

my wedding day! Aug 20, 2010 - photo by Danielle Hartland
staci + shane's wedding - Aug 11, 2007 (right?? haha)
cruise - 2008

Friday, February 18, 2011

fabric friday: 2-18-11

today's Fabric Friday is showcasing one of my favorite Knoll fabrics. i pretty much decided i loved this fabric, called Biota, when i saw it on this gorgeous Saarinen chair when the fabric came out in 2009. Biota is woven with 100% recycled polyester and designed by Suzanne Tick.

image from photo bank

i love the look of this fabric - especially in the lighter colors. it's feminine and playful, modern yet not too risky. i envision this on a similar chair in my house some day, pulled up next to an antique white table desk with bright red flowers in a vase sitting nicely on top.

knolltextiles: biota

Monday, February 14, 2011

happy valentine's day!

happy valentine's day, lovely blog readers! i hope you have a fun time planned with family, friends or a loved one.

when josh and i first started dating, we selected valentine's day to be our "anniversary" so we wouldn't have to remember or celebrate twice. it was also our first "real" date, so it worked on many levels.

now that we're married, we both have agreed that gifts and going out for a fancy dinner aren't really necessary for valentine's day, so i'm planning a relaxing night at home with homemade sauce and meatballs, fresh italian bread (not baked by me, i just don't feel like it) and something scrumptious for dessert (chocolate melting cakes). we did get each other little gifts (slippers for me, chocolates i bought for him and ate most of) and cards (haven't exchanged them yet), but i'm just looking forward to spending the evening with my handsome husband!

if you're still searching for something fun to make for valentine's day, here are a few decadent sweets from some of my favorite foodie blogs:

cakepop kisses from bakerella
oreo truffle kisses from bakerella
red velvet whoopie pies from annie's eats
conversation heart cookies from annie's eats
white and dark heart brownies from smitten kitchen
beautiful strawberry tart from cafe fernando
the best chocolate mousse of your life under 5 minutes from cafe fernando

Lisa Jones Studio

have a great valentine's day!

Friday, February 11, 2011

fabric friday: 2-11-11

this is kind of a dual-post. fabric and a little of the new Hamot Women's Hospital in Erie, PA.

a few weeks ago i recruited my sister to take some super awesome pics of the furniture we did at the new Hamot Women's Hospital. Rectenwald Architects did the architecture and design of the building, while we picked the furniture and layouts and collaborated with their interior designers on the fabric options.

this is altogether my favorite room in the hospital. i love the room in general - the colors, walls, the fountain on the wall (wasn't working when we got pictures), but to top it all off - the furniture and fabrics used in the space. this was the only room we were able to upholster pieces in full fabric, and i just can't stand how awesome it looks.

the fabric is from one of my favorite vendors, Arc|Com, pattern: Forsythia in color Seafoam. we also used the same pattern on the waiting room furniture, in color Currant with Silverado/Rust and Shimmer/Cinnamon on the seats. the benches in the Chapel are done in Arc|Com's Silverado in color Moonstone.

here are some images of the chapel. we picked Carolina's Embrace series, low-back chairs w/ wood arm caps for the chairs, Embrace series end/coffee tables and Retrospect benches w/ wood legs. you can click on the images for bigger pictures.

photos courtesy of Rachel Lusky: Puremotif Photography

main lobby:

Carolina Basil Series

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


josh and i are big pizza fans, i mean, who isn't. i know it's not quite a "healthy" option, but for these calzones, i did opt out of pepperoni slices for veggies (peppers and onions). i've been using the same basic pizza dough recipe now for stromboli twice, pizza + bread sticks once and now calzones. i found the recipe here; it's Emeril's dough recipe, and i love it! this time i used rapid rise yeast so i didn't have to wait almost two hours for rising time (which i did last Friday, and it just seemed to take FOREVER to double).

i came across a few issues when i made, i um, ran out of regular flour. luckily i had some wheat flour, so i substituted that, and it turned out fine. i also have a tendency to over-stuff my stromboli, so i didn't put much filling in these calzones...and it was definitely not enough. i also think my dough could have rested longer and i could have made it thinner when i rolled it out. despite these issues, the calzones were still tasty.

~bread dough~
1 package yeast, .25 oz
1 c water (about 110 degrees)
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 T olive oil, plus more for bowl
2 1/2 - 3 c all-purpose flour, plus more if necessary
cornmeal - for pizza stone/pizza peel, if you have one (we don't boooo)
egg wash (beaten egg + 1 T water)
Parmesan cheese, Italian seasonings and garlic powder
sauce for dipping

anything you want! we used pepperoni, mozzarella/provolone pizza cheese combo, peppers and onions.

  1. combine yeast, sugar and water in large bowl, or bowl for electric mixer. let sit till foamy, about 5 minutes. i've read this isn't necessary for rapid rise yeast, but i do it anyway. i've also found heating your bowl a little helps with the yeast, or at least so it isn't freezing cold from sitting in your 60 degree kitchen all day.
  2. add salt, olive oil and 1/2 the flour, stir to combine.
  3. add remaining flour, dough will be slightly sticky. knead 5-7 minutes, adding more flour if necessary. dough should not be sticky by this point.
  4. transfer to lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat. let sit till doubled in size, about an hour. if you're using rapid rise yeast like me, you only need to let it sit for about 10 minutes.
  5. preheat oven to 475. 
  6. form dough into four balls for calzones. cover w/ damp towel and let rest for 15 minutes. after this resting period, i froze two balls of dough wrapped in plastic and in a freezer bag for future use.
  7. use this time to prepare your filling, chop veggies, etc.
  8. form dough into two circles, about 8" in diameter. add filling of choice to center of one side of circle, fold over and crimp with fingers or fork to seal. brush egg wash over top of calzone, top with a sprinkling of garlic, parm and Italian seasonings, if desired. 
  9. cut slit in calzone to allow steam to escape and bake for 8-10 minutes. serve w/ sauce.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

CSN Stores Review!

a few weeks ago i was approached by CSN Stores asking if i would like to do a review of something from one of their many stores! CSN Stores has over 200 online stores where you can find everything from stylish handbags, a corner TV stand or great cookware! of course i said yes, so now i'm just trying to figure out what it is i'm going to review. i will be getting $35 towards anything at one of their many stores.

so, what do you think?
  • cookware (they have Rachael Ray...though not much more than i already have)
  • bakeware (i'm sure i could use something...)
  • shoes
  • home decor
  • a gift for my niece's upcoming 1st birthday??
  • handbags (i'm actually looking at this bag...)

anyway. my goal is something i will really USE. like, a lot. because it's hard to write a review of some wall art. or a hanging clock. as much as we want some other piece of decor on the one wall in our living room, i'm not sure that is what i want to get.

looking for suggestions! hopefully i'll have something picked by the end of the week.

Monday, February 7, 2011

books galore

i'm extremely proud of myself, for i have finished three books in less than a month and a half. after horribly failing my "goal" from early last year to read six books throughout the year (i read a whopping ZERO), i am proud to say i'm on track this year to make up for it!

the first book i started/finished is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. this is the first in the SKANK book club that we just started. i finished a month ago...and we still have at least a month before meeting to discuss the book. i have a problem of reading a little too fast when i enjoy something, probably missing important parts, but just so anxious to find answers and the next exciting bit. needless to say, i really enjoyed this book, but i'm not going to elaborate more on this as i will probably post to our book club blog after we've discussed it.

the second two books i finished were in a series my sister gave to me many months ago, before the wedding. i finally got around to reading them, and finished both within about three weeks. i must say, i really enjoyed the books, specifically the second. the books are something borrowed and something blue. i loved the main character's transformation in the second book. ugh. gosh. i would definitely say these are chick books, but i still think they were great. i don't feel like giving a review of the books, but i'll just say they are above love and friendship and two girls' journey to find what each mean. okay, i know that sounds cheesy, but the books aren't! i swear. plus, it just so happens that the one of the main character's has the exact name i've wanted to give one of our children - a girl - if we have one. though, josh isn't too keen on the idea...Darcy Jane. love it. Darcy cause i love pride & prejudice, Jane after my gramma.

AND, i didn't know they were making a MOVIE out of it! something borrowed is coming to theaters May 6th of this year! yippee!

anyway, now that i'm done reading those books and still waiting to start the next in our book club, i need to find something new to read! i'm tempted to stop by the library as i can't afford to buy books all the time (i'd rather save it for clothes + shoes).

Friday, February 4, 2011

fabric friday: 2-4-11

hello, readers! in an attempt to spruce up and be more interesting and design-focused on my blog, i decided to implement a new feature - FABRIC FRIDAY. i probably need some super cute logo-type thing to make this idea a super awesome idea, but for now, this is what you get.

fabric friday will include fabric finds from vendors i've worked with or sites i love, fun or out-of-the-box ways to use fabrics, fabrics relating to projects i've worked on or am currently working on or even a fabric tip that i've found.

i thought i would kick off this feature with a favorite fabric design idea that was posted on one of the blogs i visit daily. joy from joy ever after posted several months ago this awesome wall decor using fabric and stretcher bars. i have been contemplating attempting this type of DIY for our bedroom, which has grey and yellow theme.

(photo from joy's site)

check out the link above to view her DIY and for more images. love!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

chargrilled chicken + risotto

risotto has been a favorite dish of mine ever since i've tried it. i haven't had it or made it in quite a while, but finally, after weeks of having all my ingredients i made my recipe. i've been dying to make this recipe ever since i bought this book on risotto for $5.00 on clearance at a kitchen gadgets store. 

the recipe is chargrilled chicken + risotto. in my attempt at healthier dishes for two people, i made a few alterations and small additions to this fairly basic recipe, and it turned out AMAZING. the recipe called for white wine, which i did not have, so i substituted white cooking wine. i also added a few chopped sun-dried tomatoes, more chicken stock (+ a little water) than called for and less cheese. i'm telling you - i was sampling this as i was making it, before the cheese went in - and thought it was so good i almost didn't put in the parm. but then i did. and holy. it made it amazing. 

i'm trying to work on "healthier" meals for two people, with no leftovers.  i usually eat leftovers for lunch, but in an attempt to lower my weight i've found i can't afford the calories at lunch that usually are okay at dinner. the end result of this recipe is a for about two people, so that's what the ingredients below will get you. i had a few leftovers, but only because i didn't eat as much as i probably could, as i'm really attempting to monitor portion control for myself in meals. risotto isn't the healthiest of meals, but it's better than a side of Velveeta mac and cheese or a loaded baked potato.

~marinade for chicken~
juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon
1-2 T olive oil
4-5 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed and chopped (i buy fresh then freeze. it's a great way to have fresh herbs whenever)
1 clove garlic (i had minced, so about 1-2 tsp)
S + P

~risotto ingredients~
1-2 T olive oil
2 T butter, separated
1/2 small onion, chopped fine
3 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped fine (if you can measure them in quantities, and they don't have to be in oil)
generous 3/4 cup arborio rice
1/3 c white wine (or white cooking wine)
2 1/2 - 3 c chicken stock
2-3 T Parmesan cheese
S + P, to taste

  1. season chicken w/ S + P. mix together marinade ingredients and rub into chicken. let sit 4-6 hours (i had about 2 1/2 hours, which i think was plenty). cook chicken about 10-15 min per side, till juices run clear. let sit 5 min before slicing.
  2. heat chicken stock, keep simmering while cooking risotto.
  3. heat oil and 1 T butter in pan. add onion, cook to soften, do not brown. add sun-dried tomatoes, cook till warm. this is where i seasoned with S + P
  4. add arborio rice, cook till translucent, about 2-3 minutes. 
  5. add white wine / white cooking wine. cook till reduced.
  6. add chicken stock, a ladleful at a time, waiting until absorbed before adding more. cooking takes about 20-30 minutes. 
  7. once rice is finished absorbing, remove from heat. add remaining butter and cheese, to taste, and more S + P if desired.
  8. serve chicken atop risotto.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011