Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Do not be alarmed

Friends, don't be alarmed if you see some weird stuff going on with my blog design the next few days.

I'm considering making some sweeping changes (moving to WordPress, paying someone to do a blog redesign for me, adding advertising) in the near future. But for now, I'm just testing out a few different options here in Blogger. Bear with me if you think I've gone crazy. But if you like anything you see, describe what it is you like (since it might change before someone else stops by) so I know I'm on the right track!

Hollie

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fun finds: The Nate Berkus Collection at Target

It seems like forever ago that I first heard that Nate Berkus would have a collection coming to Target in the fall.  So long ago that I forgot all about it until I saw a TV spot this weekend about the launch. I guess Target learned from the Missoni debacle that they don't need to advertise for weeks on end leading up to the launch.

Unfortunately I've been in bed sick all week; just today I ventured out into the fresh air and sunshine, but only because I had to. I had actually forgotten about the Nate Berkus decor at Target but was looking for pillow forms (which they don't sell at Target, BTW) and spotted the Nate endcap down the aisle. It was the black and white chevron urns below that first caught my eye, since I hadn't seen anything like them at Target before.

 

I thought these decorative tortoise shells were neat, but couldn't figure out where I'd put one.


Who doesn't like a decorative box?


I didn't realize there were bath linens, bedding, window treatments or rugs. Oops -- I'll have to check those out next time!  Here's what ended up in my cart:


The black lampshade, white urchin (it also comes in gold) and gold hammered bowl are from Nate's collection.  The tall black vases on the left are from Target's in-house Threshhold brand (which is the renamed Target Home brand). They were on clearance, and I had to snatch them up.

When I buy spur-of-the-moment, I rarely have an idea where the items will go, so I'll figure that out and return whatever I don't find a use for. Whatever I keep, I'm sure you'll see in some upcoming room photos!

If you're interested in purchasing some of Nate's items but can't make it to your store, many of them are available at Target online.

Let me know if you score some Nate decor yourself!

Hollie

Monday, October 22, 2012

Crushing on: Bend

Today I'm sharing with you a line of products that I'm absolutely ga-ga over. It marries my obsession with metal furniture, my infatuation with bright colors, and my desire to do things a bit differently than the norm.  I first spotted them on Fab, but they're popping up in lots of other places these days.



That's designer Gaurav Nanda in the photo above. He's the founder and creative genius behind Bend, a furniture and design house launched in 2011, most recognizable for its geometric chairs and stools.


Photo via Bethany Nauert

Photo via Bethany Nauert


Each piece made of powder-coated iron looks simple, but is made up of bends and angles that are welded together to create a complex geometric form. You may think a metal seat wouldn't be cozy, but the curves and angles are designed for style and comfort.

Bend has made quite a name for itself in a short time. Its products have been featured in magazines such as Elle Decor, Sunset, Dwell, and several more both in the US and in other countries.  Below is a geometric water buffalo head (in white), which can be used just as wall decor, or as a creative hook!



Designer Emily Henderson used Bend's drum (in white) in an episode of "Secrets from a Stylist." Bend touts their "drum" as a multi-use piece, which could serve as an ottoman, stool, or table.

via Inmod
Designers Cortney and Robert Novogratz brought in a pop of "peacock teal" to a white townhouse in last Saturday's eposide of "Home by Novogratz" with the Lucy Bar Stool.

 Horrible cell phone snapshot of the TV, by me

Trina Turk's store in Palm Springs even featured the Farmhouse Lounge Chair (in white) in its display window. 


Here's the Lucy Counter Stool (in orange) at Cucina Enoteca at the Irvine Spectrum Center.


With goofy names like Lucy, Ethel and Bunny, fun colors like orange, peacock teal, fluorescent yellow/green, in addition to white and black, and stunning design, I'm crushing hard on Bend's products. Now if they would only make me a bench in the peacock teal for my living room, I'd be set!

Hollie


Photos via Bend Seating website or the Bend Seating Facebook page, except where noted.



Monday, October 15, 2012

Marble end table for the living room

Remember when I asked for your vote on two end table options for my living room? Against popular opinion, I decided on the marble-topped tulip table instead of the 2-tiered vintage table.


Why, you ask?  Mainly for balance.
  1. Its round shape helps to balance out the many angles in the room.
  2. Since I already have a couple pieces of painted wood furniture in the room, it's good to mix the materials rather than bringing in another of the same.
  3. The table's light color and airy shape balance out the dark, heavy shape of the club chairs that flank it.
  4. I wanted to link the kitchen with the living room, since they are open to each other.  Since my cabinets are white and my perimeter counters are Carrara marble, this table is a perfect companion.
Plus, I have been crushing on tulip tables for a few years now but a full-size one would not quite work for our dining room space, so this is my way to fulfill my tulip table fantasy!

Here are a few more shots of the table in the room:




 

And, as a reminder, here's what the other side of the room looks like. See why I need more round shapes? Angles, angles, everywhere.


I know it's not the choice that everyone would have made, but it made the most sense to me, for my space. If you're utterly disappointed and were looking forward to seeing what I would have done with the 2-tier vintage table, do not despair. I'm currently working on a makeover for it. If it turns out as I hope, perhaps it will be the first piece I try to sell!

Have you made any unpopular choices for your own home decor?

Hollie

Friday, October 12, 2012

Recipe: Chicken Tikka Masala

Tonight we had one of my favorite meals -- chicken tikka masala. Have you heard of it? It's not well known in the Midwest U.S. where I live, but it's said to be the most popular dish in England. At the most basic level, it's chicken in a spicy tomato and cream sauce. When The Mr. first suggested we try it, I was a bit skeptical. Thankfully he's great at pushing our eating boundaries, because now I crave it regularly. Do give it a try if you haven't before! We've made if for guests a couple times, and it's been a real winner.

There are many variations out there, but I have no reason to try anything other than this one by my favorite recipe source, Cook's Illustrated. We serve ours over basmati rice. For an additional grain (because who doesn't need more carbs?), naan is an excellent add-on.


INGREDIENTS


Chicken Tikka

1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp table salt
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed of fat
1 cup plain yogurt
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 medium garlic gloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 tsp)
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger*

Masala Sauce

3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced fine (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 tsp)
2 tsp grated fresh ginger*
1 fresh serrano chile, ribs and seeds removed, fresh minced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp garam masala**
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp table salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Basmati Rice

2 cups basmati rice  (14 oz.)
2 Tbsp butter
3 1/3 cups water
1 tsp salt

Instructions


1. FOR THE CHICKEN: Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so mixture adheres. Place chicken on plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger; set aside.

2. FOR THE SAUCE: Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and return to simmer. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.

3.  FOR THE RICE: Rinse and drain rice. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add rice and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in water and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork before serving.

4. While sauce simmers and rice cooks, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler. Using tongs, dip chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on wire rack set in foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, around 10-24 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking.

5. Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then chop; stir into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce). Stir in cilantro, adjust salt, and serve over basmati rice.

* We have always used ground ginger rather than fresh
** This is mixture of spices, which you can find in the spice aisle at the grocery

--------------------------------------------------------------

Have you tried chicken tikka masala before? If so, do you make it yourself? If not, I highly encourage you to give it a whirl! I'm afraid to order it in a restaurant, because I love this recipe so, so much!

Hollie

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Crushing on: Benches

I have space in my living room to add a long bench under my front windows.  It would provide for extra seating when we host large gatherings.  I haven't decided whether I'm going to buy one, build one, or repurpose one.  I'd love to bring more color to that side of the room, but I'm still open to more neutral options.

Since I'm supposed to be getting some work done right now, I decided to explore bench options instead.  Yep, I am still a procrastination queen.

As you know, benches come in wood, metal, upholstery, and everything in between.  Upholstery (other than something wipe-able like leather) is out of the question due to my kitty friends.  Since I have a blend of modern, industrial, and traditional in my house, many different styles would blend in nicely.  Here are a few benches I like in wood or leather.

Carey Bench by Luxo by Modloft

Teak Wood Metal Bench in Natural, by CG Sparks

Hand-Carved Wooden Natural Edge Bench

Handcrafted Metal Wood Bench by Woodland Imports

Florence Knoll Bench
Nelson Platform Bench with Metal Legs, by George Nelson for Herman Miller

Andalucia Modern White Leather Bench

I'm totally into metal furniture, as you'll see by these examples.  The first one is actually from the same line as my coffee table.

Amici Indoor Bench by Nuevo

Hive Bench by Arktura (comes in multiple colors)

Botanist Albero Bench by Orange 22 (comes in lots of colors)
Botanist Lines Bench by Orange 22 (comes in lots of colors)
Botanist Pixel Burst Bench by Orange 22 (comes in lots of colors)

Coral Bench (comes in multiple colors)

Pattern Rectangular Bench (comes in multiple colors)

Son of a Bench by Blu Dot


Now you might think I'm nuts, but I was also looking at commercial-grade player benches (you know, the ones used at an athletic field) and park benches.  Hey, they come in lots of colors and sizes!

Standard Expanded Metal Player Commercial Grade Bench with No Back (comes in lots of colors)

Portable Player Bench without Back (comes in lots of colors)
Oakley Straight-Slatted Metal Backless Bench by Witt (comes in multiple colors)


Oakley Curve-Slatted Metal Backless Bench by Witt (comes in multiple colors)


I've also been considering DIYing a bench.  I came across this one by blogger Christina Diaz several months ago.  I love all the colors, of course!


If I don't end up buying one instead, I may elicit the help of master woodworker Gail of My Repurposed Life to help me build one.  She knows her way around saws and a Kreg Jig!

Okay, now it's your turn to weigh in.  Do you like any of the benches I featured?  Am I crazy for considering a player bench or park bench for my living room?  Any other ideas??

Hollie

Monday, October 8, 2012

Wall baskets for kitty storage?

Most of you have seen the wall baskets I use in my bathroom to store towels and washcloths.  In fact, that is my most popular post, thanks to Pinterest, and many of you probably found your way here because of it.


Last week I was putting away laundry, passing through my bathroom.  My cat Gypsy jumped up on the toilet and right into the largest basket, which was empty.


Your lesson today is that wall baskets can be used for linen storage, or for kitty storage.  Isn't it great when things are multi-purpose?  Ha ha.  Now pin that.  :)

Hollie

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fun finds: Touch of Modern

Touch of Modern is one of the most recent daily flash sale sites I've stumbled upon.  While you know I also love Fab for modern items that are funky and often irreverent, Touch of Modern tends to have more classy modern items.

Here are a couple fascinating items I came across today:


What is that, you ask?  No, it's not a pan with flour.  It's called the Tabletime Clock.  Other than sundials, I've never come across a clock that lies flat.  Here's the description from Touch of Modern:

Tabletime is a clock that shapes itself by the passage of time. Since it is looking for the most efficient way to move itself through the matter, Tabletime will create an organic form by the slow repetitive movement of time. Time is slightly visible when the clock starts running, but after a few days it excavates itself out of the matter and time will appear. From then on the clock slowly starts creating it's organic form in which it will find it's ideal shape. When you want to forget time, merely shake Tabletime and it will start over again with finding it's way out.

Intrigued?  Here's another view:


It looks a bit like the cookie dough I was just rolling out a few minutes ago.  Only it's not.  Other biology geeks like me might appreciate this next item.  It's called the Ventricle Vessel.  Yes, ventricle as in a heart.


Here's the description from Touch of Modern:

The heart is the most powerful human organ, and designer Eva Milinkovic’s stunning piece exuberantly depicts its beauty and complexity. Multicolored and curvaceous, the Ventricle Vessel is the ultimate centerpiece. Due to it’s hand blown nature, rest-assured that each variation was thoughtfully made with passion.

Usually I'm not that into glass vases/sculptures, but this one amazes me.  It comes in several sizes, but I couldn't get away with spending that much ... especially since I'm not longer bringing in much of a paycheck!

Click on this link to check out Touch of Modern.  You can thank me later.  :)

Hollie
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