Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Green Wednesday - Dishwasher Detergent

I saw this in an article on Yahoo about green home made cleaners. I was intrigued by the dishwasher detergent, I have all of the ingredients already except the lemon kool aid.

Dishwasher Detergent
• 1 cup of borax
• 1 cup of baking soda
• ¼ cup of table salt
• 2 packets (half an ounce) of unsweetened lemon Kool-Aid

You can try to save even more by buying ingredients in bulk, but another idea is to find smaller and much cheaper boxes at your local dollar store: a good idea to since you'll want to try a small amount at first to see if you like the results. The amounts listed above are good for 16 loads -- one tablespoon each -- so even small batches will last a while.

I plan on making a batch this weekend after I go grocery shopping.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Happy Friday!

I hope everyone's Friday is off to a fantastic start! I am so excited for this weekend to begin: Happy hour with old coworkers tonight and then the in-laws are coming into town on Saturday!

Kevin and I finally got a big chunk of our gallery wall done which I can't wait to show all of you next week. Enjoy your weekend!!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Ice Cream

Have Mercy.

Ice cream is by far my favorite dessert. Normally Marble Slab's vanilla cinnamon with gummy bears is my #1 pick but it might have a contender on its hands. Behold....Cinnamon Toast Crunch Ice Cream.

I originally found the recipe on one of my new favorite baking blogs, Piece of Cake.

It was very similar to the vanilla base that I am used to making. It is smart to make the custard the day before and let it chill over night. Besides the super creamy ice cream, the carmelized Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal that you put on top is just divine. YOU MUST TRY THIS RECIPE.

My batch did not come out looking as photogenic as the original post so I am stealing their picture.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Green Wednesday - All Purpose Cleaner

Here is the recipe I use for my all purpose cleaner:

Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda (or 2 teaspoons borax) into 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water. Store and keep. Use for removal of water deposit stains on shower stall panels, bathroom chrome fixtures, windows, bathroom mirrors, etc.

Another alternative are mircrofiber cloths
which lift off dirt, grease and dust without the need for cleaning chemicals, because they are formulated to penetrate and trap dirt. There are a number of different brands. A good quality cloth can last for several years. You will be so surprised by how fewer paper towels you go through when you use cloths instead.

Happy cleaning!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


If you recall, I stenciled my pantry and my guest room furniture a while back. I really love how it turned out. I loved it so much that i've been getting the itch to stencil something BIG.

One of our guest rooms is red. It's my fault-I wanted a red room and it didnt come out very well. I haven't wanted to paint over it because it will eventually be Baby Goontz's room when he/she gets here (which is a ways off!) and we would be re-painting it then anyways so why bother now?

Well whether or not Baby Goontz is a boy or girl, I know what I want the baby room to look like. Pretty gender neutral which would be good if I decided to stencil the room. Hmmm......interesting development if you ask me! Ok, actually that was just my way of justifying getting a stencil because I havent had a big craft project in a while....but I digress.

Which stencil should I get? 

I really love this moraccan one:
I also like the circles...a bit more playful:

I also think the Donatella Damask would look great in the right colors:

I think the last major contender would be the Scallops:

I found all of these at Royal Design Studio. Any other good stencil places I should check out?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Nordstrom's Sale

Nordstrom just had their semi-annual sale. I tried to be good and resist going to Nordstrom.com but I gave in....

I ended up getting two items:

Both by Michael Kors. I have been eyeing these items for a long time and I basically got 2 for 1. The watch doesnt get in until Wednesday this week but I have tried it on in the store before and loved it. The bag is great. Very big and perfect for summer. The color of the "straw" or hemp or whatever the weaving is made out of is slightly darker than what is shown online. Kind of more yellow than tan-not really sure how to describe it. I still really like the tote though and its made very well-I dont think the material is going to tear or start fraying anytime soon.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Completely Smitten-Anista Designs

Every so often I do an Etsy search even though I don't have a specific item in mind that i'm looking for. Sometimes I come up with nothing and sometimes I find some real gems. Yesterday, I definitely found a gem: Anista Designs.

I am completely smitten with everything she makes. Hand-crafted and so lovely, how could you not want everything in her shop?

I think my favorite things she makes are her tags.

They are all hand stamped and each one is unique in its own way from the distress she gives them. She has items for all holidays and a lot from my second favorite story of all time (Cinderella is my first) Alice in Wonderland.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Green Wednesday- Home-made Laundry Detergent

I like cleaning. Yes, I said it. I really enjoy it-I always feel better when the house is clean and everything is put away. Starting around January I have been trying to make our house more "green." I started making our own laundry detergent, countertop cleaner, we started recyling just to name a few.

I thought I would start posting a new way to be "green" every Wednesday. I think it will help me to stay more green and hopefully give you guys some new ways to be more Earth friendly as well.

Laundry Detergent:

1 bar Felsnaptha soap (spelling may be off) or Ivory soap (whatever your favorite bar soap is)
1 cup Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda (found on laundry aisle)
1/2 cup Borax
1/2 cup fabric softer (optional - i leave this out)
-Grate the bar of soap and place it into a pot and cover with water.
-Heat the water to simmer and stir until melted (do not boil - simmer only)
-Add this to a 5 gallon bucket (i bought mine super cheap at Home Depot). Add the other listed ingredients above and top up with 5 gallons of hot water.
-Stir the mixture well w/ a paint stirrer or paddle ( i use one of Kevins massive spoons for brewing beer)
-Cover and let sit 24 hours. After 24 hours the stuff should be gelled. (it will look like warm jello, not quite solid but thick). Stir well again to mix and then pour into containers.

Side Notes:
*I have saved up the 1.5/2 gallon containers from previous times I had bought liquid detergent so that is what i store them in now. I would ask neighbors (if you know them well enough) or parents for their empty containers to use. Or you can leave the remaining in the 5 gallon bucket the first few times if you keep it in a well kept temperature area.

*I have a HE (high efficiency) washer so I use about half of what i would put in w/ normal detergent. If you have a regular washing machine then just put in the normal amount that you would for each load.

*The reason I don't use fabric softner is because I have very sensitive skin and softner irritates it.
*Once the detergent has "gelled" it will not be a solid gel. it will more or less look like egg drop soup.

*This is a low sudsing soap. Don't be worried if you dont see suds-it's the ingredients in the detergent that cleans your clothes.

I have been using this for a few months now and I really enjoy it. It gets stains out of our clothes and keeps them smelling fresh. Plus, we probably will spend half of what one box of laundry detergent would cost for a whole year supply of the home made version.

PSA: Blogger is giving me a hard time when I try to respond to your comments. Please don't think i'm ignoring you! I am trying to get the problem fixed ASAP.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I hope everyone had a fabulous Memorial Day. Kevin and I went up to my family's lakehouse and had a great time.

For years I have only bought OPI nail polish. It stays on pretty well and doesnt chip. I recently bought some OPI for Sephora and was not impressed but that is a story for another day...

I have been seeing online that a lot of women like Essie nail polish. I hadn't really even heard of Essie before so on my recent trip to Target I stopped by the nail polish and picked out two colors.

and Lollipop:

I am really happy with both colors. Mademoiselle is very light and perfect for just wanting your nails to look polished, not really painted. I put lollipop on my toes and its a great summer red. My self-given pedicure has lasted two weeks with barely any chipping and my self-given manicure lasted two weeks and probably could have gone a bit longer but it was starting to chip at the edges so I took it off.

Seeing as Essie is about $1 cheaper than OPI I think I am switching over unless I really find an OPI color I love. Anyone else have some favorite Essie colors for me to try out?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!!

I hope everyone has a great Friday and an even better weekend! I know I will definitely be enjoying my extended holiday; I hope everyone has a safe and fun weekend and remembers why we have Monday off.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I want....

We've been in our house for just over 2 years and there is only one room that is missing a big item; the formal dining room. We don't need it except that we are starting to host more and more family get togethers.

Therefore...I think we DO need it! I have been scouring CraigsList for a while and have come across some good deals but nothing I absolutely loved. I have my heart set on this set from Macy's.

I really like the wooden chairs but they also increase the price by a few hundred dollars.

Here are the upholstered chairs in "natural". I really like this option as well; maybe even a bit more than the wooden chairs and its cheaper.

Pretty, right? We will have to get a formal dining set by Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve as we will be hosting a lot of people for one of those holidays. I think next time they are on sale I will bat my eyelashes at my hubby and see if we can order it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Best Year of My Life.....So Far

Last Friday Kevin and I both took off work and celebrated our anniversary. We had such a great day.

He gave me a beautiful bouquet of handmade oragami tullips. Tulips just so happen to be my favorite flower :) I thought it was a really cute way to incorporate paper as part of the anniversary gift. He also bought me that beautiful handmade Italian vase which I love love love!

And in keeping with the tradition of paper gifts for the first anniversary I gave Kevin a graphite sketch by artist David Bjurstrom. I came across his work at the art festival I attended a few months ago and had to get this piece for Kevin. It's so beautiful in person and the detail is just amazing.

We had lunch at our favorite sushi place and saw Pirates of the Carribean 4 (highly recommend btw) and then relaxed until dinner time. I have a new favorite restaurant...The Boiling Crab. HOLY GUACAMOLE! This place is heaven on Earth. You can get all different types of crab, lobster, crawfish, shrimp with your desired seasoning all cooked up for you. The sweet potato fries were also amazing. I wish I could eat there every day.

I can honestly say this past year has been the best of my life and our second year together is already off to an even more amazing start-I am the luckiest girl in the world to have married my best friend and soul mate.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Anniversary Plans?

My 1 year wedding anniversary is quickly approaching and Kevin and I still have no idea what we are doing. We both took the day off work and have come up with 2 options:

1. Kemah
 It's only about an hour drive from our house and its right on the water. Plenty of restaurants and they have a fun boardwalk where you can play games and go on rides.
Kemah is more low key than option #2 but that also means less things to keep us occupied throughout the day.

2. Galveston
 Galveston has some gorgeous architecture and historic buildings.
 They also have The Strand; block and blocks of shops and restaurants and plenty of live music to enjoy.
 There is also a Moody Gardens. Something fun to do during the day but kind of expensive.
I think there is more to do in Galveston but Kemah is prettier. I can't decide!

P.S. I am so excited to give Kevin his anniversary present! I will post about it after our anniversary on the 20th.

The Perfect Egg

I love eggs. I grew up mostly eating them scrambled but I have started to love them all ways. Kevin makes awesome over easy eggs and for some reason I always mess them up. I break the yolk or the outside is burnt and the inside is soggy. I can't win. THEN I saw this post on one of my favorite food blogs.

It's like magic. You get a perfect egg every time!!! I probably made myself 3 eggs this weekend. It's so easy to do:

1. Spray pan with cooking spray and let it heat up on med-high heat.

2. Crack egg into pan and let the bottom of the egg get white. Add salt and pepper.

3. Add 1Tbs of water to pan and cover for about a minute to a minute and a half.

4. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Box of Stuff

One of the pleasures of having your own home is having your parents give you back all of your "crap". My mom finally unloaded the last "box of Lauren crap" she had at her house. The following is what was inside:

My high school senior portraits.

 A Klein Bearkats t-shirt.
 A book report on the book "Gentlehands". I got a 93/100!
 A clay puppy that I painted. how cute!
 Some random beanie babies and such. Please note the Princess Diana commemorative bear in it's protective case still.
 A clay jewelry box that I painted. Apparently I had a hard time staying in between the lines....
 A deer antler but of course that makes sense!
 My most favorite item from the box. My Sanrio Spotty Dotty coin purse that clips onto your belt loop. I wore this thing so much in elementary school!

 The flower girl basket from my cousin Cindy's wedding. I was the flower girl (duh).

Some really nice cards that I had saved from my dad. Made me smile to read them again!

Pretty interesting stuff, eh? I packed it all back up and had Kevin put it up in the attic with the other "Lauren boxes". Brought some nice trips down memory lane!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Wine Bottle Recycling

Anyone who knows me knows that I love me some wine. I normally recycle the bottles the old fashion way but I came across these cool options to recycle them in your home.

How cool would this be along a garden pathway?

What wine comes in blue bottles? I think I have only had some reisling that came in a blue bottle and i'm more of a chardonnay girl....might have to change it up though.

I am also drooling over these wine torches. I think my mom and I are going to make some for her back yard.

Any other cool wine bottle ideas out there?

Monday, May 2, 2011

BBQ Chicken Pizza Braid

I have been meaning to try this recipe out for some time and just never got around to it. Big mistake-this bad boy is delicious! I found the original recipe over at one of my favorite food blogs For the Love of Cooking. Her pictures are much prettier but I think ours tasted the same. It was super easy to make. I made my normal pizza dough recipe, rolled it out and then cut the outside strips. Filled it in with grilled chicken, bbq sauce, onions, mozzarella & cilantro. Fold over the strips into "braids" (I use that term loosely because mine just looks like a blob) and then bake for 30 minutes.

Really, I think I could have eaten half of it all by myself. Hope you enjoy!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Lookie What I Made!

One of my guest rooms that I have been re-doing has been needing some extra pop of color and I wasn't sure how to incorporate it. Then I saw this awesome post about a DIY Ballard Design bench.

I had left over particle board from the mirror we made which I used for the bottom of the bench. I bought 4 table legs, dowel screws, a big roll of foam, quilt batting and fabric.

I had Kevin cut the particle board to the desired size and then I traced the foam to the size of the particle board (3 times). I then drilled 4 holes for the legs in the corners so I could attach them after I made the bench top. Next, I put the quilt batting on top of the foam and stapled it to the particle board. Then I put the fabric on top of the bench top and stapled it as well.

I painted the legs and using the dowel screws I attached them to the bench. I think it looks pretty good! I won't be sitting on the bench any time soon but I think it looks really great in the spare room.

As you can see the bottom isn't "perfect" but you can't tell by just looking at it and I think it came out pretty good.