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Friday, July 29, 2011

King of Prussia Mall

My daughter is in her first national tennis tournament this week.  It's a busy schedule here so I missed posting yesterday.  The tournament is being held outside of Philadelphia.  After her two matches yesterday we had a little down time so we decided to visit the King of Prussia Mall (which is only 15 minutes from the tournament).
Wow...what an awesome mall.  Those of you who live near this mall...all I can say is...lucky you.  It was a great way for my daughter and I to spend a few hours.  We will be back late Sunday evening.  Hopefully next week will be back to normal.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

-Judy

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sizzle into Summer - It's a Party #25

Welcome to this week's Sizzle into Summer party.  Last week's party was filled with so many inspiring posts.  Here are this week's features:
This one is a two for one.  First the desk makeover and then the command center created by Little Lucy Lu.  I just love both.  Hope you click over and check out how she made the command center.  Here's a hint...it started as an old window screen.  Pretty awesome.
I love the tutorial that Living Savvy gives to create your own bolster pillow.  These pillows are even more impressive when you read that she has only been sewing for three months.  Nice job!!

I just love this paper cone wreath created by Corner House.  The best part is that she gives a step by step tutorial on how to create this.  I may just try this one.
When I saw this I had to do a double-take.  This clock is painted on the wall by The Exchange.  Not only is it painted, but it works too.  How cool is that?
 I just love Vintage on the Farm's craft room.  Please stop by to check out the full tour of the room.  It's absolutely beautiful.

If you were featured, please grab an "I've Been Featured" button (you can now find my buttons by clicking on the buttons tab right under my header).  Now let's get started with this week's party.  I can't wait to see what you have been up to.  Link up anything you have been working on...home decor, sewing, crafts, organizing, baking, recipes etc.     I will keep this link open through Friday.  






A few rules:
1.  Please become a follower.  

2.  Please grab my party button above and display it either on your sidebar or somewhere in your post.  This way word can spread about the party.  The more people at the party, the more fun we will have.

3.  Please enter the link to your actual post, not just a link to your main blog page.

4. Please visit others who have linked up.   Everyone works hard on their projects and blogs...let's show each other some love by visiting each other.  Let's have some fun and hopefully make a few new friends along the way.

Ok...Let's Party

-Judy

New Fall Line Coming Out

I love Pottery Barn Kids.  I like to check out their website from time to time to see what's new.  Here's some of my favorites from their new fall line (I haven't seen the catalog yet - not sure it is even out yet for the fall).

Darcy Desk and Vanity - Image Pottery Barn Kids
Image from Pottery Barn Kids
I love everything in this room...from the walls to the rug to the bed.  
Image from Pottery Barn Kids
This is the new Darcy Caned bed.  Very pretty.  I also love the jumbo framed pinboard in the background...very hackable, right?
Image from Pottery Barn Kids
 These crystal prism knobs would transform any ordinary dresser into something gorgeous.
Stark concepts has teamed up with Pottery Barn Kids - I just love these new area rugs.  

Don't forget to stop by tonight at 8pm EST for my Sizzle into Summer party.  Hope to see you then.

-Judy


Monday, July 25, 2011

A Birthday Dinner Party

I'm a big fan of going out to dinner to celebrate a birthday.  However, sometimes it's even nicer to celebrate a birthday with a "fancy" dinner at home.  That's what we did this weekend.  It was my mother-in-law's birthday and we decided to host an intimate dinner at our home with the immediate family on my husband's side.
First things first...this kind of occasion calls for using the good china.  
I still love my china...which is awesome considering we bought it almost twenty years ago.  The "pearls" you see on the chargers and on the plates are actually raised.  The only negative to my china is that it has to be hand-washed because of those beautiful "pearls".  A bit more labor intensive, but worth it.

 My husband is an incredible cook and he was in charge of this meal.  For an appetizer he grilled up shrimp.  For the main course he made Summer Grilled Pork.  We originally saw this recipe on the Nate Berkus show and tried it and it was a huge hit.  We knew it would be perfect for this dinner party.  
Here is the recipe:
Summer Grilled Pork
Ingredients
Four 1- inch- thick boneless pork chops
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
10 thick- cut applewood smoked or regular bacon slices (about 12 ounces)
3 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
1?4 cup thin strips roasted red bell pepper
1?4 cup chopped drained artichoke hearts (jarred, in water)
2 tablespoons sliced pickled jalapeños
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1?4 cup honey
1?4 cup Dijon mustard
1?2 cup beer (IPA- style preferred)
Directions
1. Pound out each pork chop between two pieces of plastic wrap until ¼ inch thick. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
2. Preheat a grill to medium.
3. On a large sheet of heavy- duty aluminum foil, lay out the bacon strips vertically, overlapping them by ¼ inch. Arrange the pork chops in one layer over the bacon. Spread a thin 2- inch- wide layer of cream cheese horizontally across the portion of the pork closest to you. On top of the cream cheese, evenly distribute the bread crumbs, roasted pepper, artichokes, and jalapeños. Starting with the edge closest to you, carefully roll the pork into a cylinder, lifting the foil to keep it outside the roll. Drizzle the vinegar over the bacon and close the foil tightly to keep the cylindrical shape.
4. In a small skillet over medium heat, combine the honey, mustard, and beer. Simmer for 4 to 5 minutes, until reduced by one- third and thickened. Set aside half of the sauce for serving and the other half for basting.
5. Place the foil-covered cylinder on the grill and cook for 7 to 8 minutes on each of the four sides. Remove the foil and crisp the bacon on the grill, turning four times and basting with the honey- mustard sauce at each turn. Remove from grill after basting for 5 to 6 minutes, or when an instant- read thermometer in the middle of the meat registers 140°F. 6. Let rest for 5 minutes, then cut into ¾- inch slices. Serve with the remaining honey- mustard sauce.
For the salad, we made our infamous summer salad...do you sense a theme?  This is the most popular salads we make.  It starts with butter lettuce  - then add cut up apples, dried cranberries, candied pecans, blue cheese crumbles and toss it all in a blue cheese dressing.  It is absolutely delicious.  There are never any leftovers with this salad.
On the side my husband made yellow rice with bell peppers and sauteed spinach.  We had one vegetarian at the party so my husband also made a tofu stir-fry.  
What birthday party would be complete without a home-made birthday cake.  I was in charge of that along with my daughter who frosted the cake.
A fun time was had by all and I think in many ways it was more special to celebrate with an at-home dinner party.  Plus, in my biased opinion, my husband's cooking rivals that of even the finest restaurants. 
Hope you try one of these recipes at your next dinner party.  
-Judy
  


Friday, July 22, 2011

Five Minute Project

After dropping the kids off at camp yesterday, I decided to go and get a pedicure.  I tried a place near my kids camp that I have never been to before.  For starters, it was the best pedicure I have ever gotten.  Since it was an impromptu decision, they had to give me a pair of "throw away" flip flops to wear.  However, in this place the flip flops weren't just paper or something disposable...they were actual flip flops.
As soon as they put them on my feet,  my mind immediately went to what I could do with these.
Using my trusty hot glue gun and cutting flowers off an old basket I had in the closet from the early 90's I decided to embellish the flip flops for my daughter to wear.
I started with a large flower and glued smaller flowers along the sides.
Voila! In less than five minutes I made the cutest flip flops for my 11 year old daughter.  

Hope you stay cool and have a great weekend!

-Judy

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Embroidered Pillow

I love sewing pillows...but sometimes you come across a perfect pillow and just have to buy retail.
Image from Pottery Barn
I was in Pottery Barn and came across this embroidered pillow.  I have been wanting to add a little blue to my living room.  This pillow has all the colors of the living room plus a little blue.  Isn't it gorgeous?

I bought two - I just love them.  I think it gives me that little bit of summer look I was craving in this room.

Of course the new additions required me to do some switcheroos of all the other pillows.
I'm happy with the final result...at least for the summer. Lol

Let me know what you think.  I always love and appreciate your comments.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sizzle into Summer - It's a Party #24

Welcome to this week's Sizzle into Summer party.  Sizzle is the right word...it's been so hot here.  How about in your neck of the woods?  Last week's party was filled with awesome, inspiring projects.  Here are this week's features:

I was so impressed when I saw this chair that Me and My Fabric reupholstered.  You must stop by to see the before and after photos.  So much detail...it looks awesome.
I am totally in love with this stenciled wall.  I love everything about it.  Please stop by Dream Home DIY to check out all of the details.
Love the color of this desk that The Modern Cottage created.  Hope you go and check out the before and after photos.
When I linked over and read the entire post for those bookcases I actually gasp.  The before photos really need to be seen to fully appreciate how beautiful these bookcases are created by diy Design Fanatic.  Run, don't walk, to check out the before and after.
I love this DIY ottoman created by Five Days Five Ways  out of a craigslist coffee table.  Very impressive.


If you were featured, please grab an "I've Been Featured" button (you can now find my buttons by clicking on the buttons tab right under my header).  Now let's get started with this week's party.  I can't wait to see what you have been up to.  Link up anything you have been working on...home decor, sewing, crafts, organizing, baking, recipes etc.     I will keep this link open through Friday.  







A few rules:
1.  Please become a follower.  

2.  Please grab my party button above and display it either on your sidebar or somewhere in your post.  This way word can spread about the party.  The more people at the party, the more fun we will have.

3.  Please enter the link to your actual post, not just a link to your main blog page.

4. Please visit others who have linked up.   Everyone works hard on their projects and blogs...let's show each other some love by visiting each other.  Let's have some fun and hopefully make a few new friends along the way.

Ok...Let's Party

-Judy

Mia's Closet

My daughter has a best friend named Mia.  I offered to help redecorate her room.  I started the project this week by making over her closet.  Here is the before photo:

This closet was screaming for a makeover.

I started by removing the doors and the old shelf and rod.  Mia's favorite color is orange.  I plan on adding orange accents in her new room design.  I also plan on adding fabric curtains as closet doors and thought the orange color would look very cool.
I went to the container store to get the closet organizers with Mia's mom.   How cool does the platinum look against the orange walls.  I installed this in just a few hours while the kids were at camp.
What a difference in storage. 
Here is the result (sorry for the blurry photo).  I took this one without the flash because it is a truer representation of the color.  
Quite a dramatic before and after photo!
Her bedroom is next on the list.  Hopefully in a few weeks I will have an after photo to share.
Don't forget to stop back tonight at 8pm EST for my Sizzle into Summer party.  See you then.

Can't wait to hear what you think of Mia's closet.  I always love and appreciate your comments.

-Judy

Monday, July 18, 2011

Disney Mediterranean Cruise - Part 3

Welcome to the third, and final, installment of photos from our Disney Mediterranean Cruise.  If you missed part one and two you can click here and here.

Day 7 - La Spezia, Italy  (Florence)

After Rome we were exhausted, but we still had a few more stops to make.  Next up was Florence.  However, the port of La Spezia where the ship docks is 2 1/2 hours from Florence.  Yes...2 1/2 hours...each way by bus.

Florence is beautiful.  Because it takes 2 1/2 hours each way to get to Florence, there was only four hours of free time.  Not really enough time to get into any of the museums.  This time we weren't as smart as we were in Rome and did not pre-buy the tickets online prior to arriving.  Honestly in the end it was just fine.  We were all just as happy to explore the city, which is much smaller and easier to navigate than Rome.

That night on the ship was Pirate night.  My daughter brought her pirate halloween costume from last year.   My son's costume was in his luggage, which was still missing at this point, so we had to purchase him something to wear.  Luckily it's easy on a Disney ship to purchase pirate attire.  That night there was a pirate party on the pool deck.  In the middle of the show Mickey zip-lined from one end of the ship to the other in a "fight" with Captain Hook.  I don't care how old you are...it was pretty cool.

The party ended with the best fireworks show ever!

Day 8 - Ajaccio, Corsica
After the three long days we had just had, it was a pleasure to be in a port where we didn't have any specific excursion set up.  We walked off the ship and explored the town for only half a day.  
  
We found this little market close to the ship that had meats, cheeses and these incredible cutting boards made out of olive wood.  We had to buy one. We loved the bread baskets you see at the top of the photo...but those were 300 euros.  We bought one of the cutting boards for 18 euros instead.  Equally cool...and much easier to get back home.  The bread baskets weighed a ton.

Day 9 - Villefranche, France (Monaco, Monte Carlo)

At 7:00am the phone rang (it was the first morning we were actually going to be able to sleep in).  My son's lost luggage had finally arrived.  My husband and I were hysterically laughing when we saw the luggage.  Look at all of the tags...the luggage had travelled to more places than we had.
We took a tour of Monte Carlo and Monaco that day.  
This is one of the most awesome places.
This is definitely where the rich and famous hang.

Day 10 - At Sea

At this point in the trip this is exactly what we needed...a day to just relax.  It was awesome.  I got a hot stone massage (something I had never done before).  Just what I needed.
A perfect day at sea with Mickey and friends.

Day 11 - Barcelona, Spain

This was the saddest day of the trip.  Because we had the early seating for dinner, we also had the early seating for breakfast on the last day (it's the only day there is an assigned breakfast time).  Breakfast was at 6:45am...ugh.  We still had another day left of the trip since we would be staying a night in Barcelona.   
We stayed in a beautiful Hilton (directly across the street from the mall where my son and I had gone the first day of the trip to find him clothing).  
We bought tickets for a tour bus that you can hop on and off of to see the whole city.  It was the perfect way to see this city.  We visited all of the major sights including the Olympic village from 1992 when Barcelona hosted.  

This trip was the best vacation we have ever taken!  Thanks for taking the time to share in some of the highlights.

-Judy



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