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January Mood Board

How is it the end of January already?!? I thought these winter months were supposed to be slow moving? Before you know it it will be Spring, and I’m very okay with that! But for now, we are still in the throws of winter, so here are a few cozy items I’m loving right now:

January Mood Board

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Original Lancaster Sofa – Restoration Hardware 

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Hampshire Plaid Lambswool Throw in Shale Blue – Pendleton

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Moroccan Leather Pouf – Etsyil_570xn-1089000182_d2g3

Rose Gold Table Lamp – Candle and Blue

 

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Clara Swivel Chair- Crate & Barrel

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Copper Floor Lamp – The Home Depot

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Mohair Arlequin Rug in Natural – Restoration Hardware

 

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Moroccan Cactus Silk Pillows – Furbish Studio

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Antiqued Empire Coffee Table- Theodore Alexander

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Cow Hide Chair – source unknown?!?

Does anyone know where this is from? I fell in love with it a few months ago, and cannot for the LIFE of me remember where it’s from!!

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Happy shopping!

Xo,

Ellen

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Uncategorized

Just Do It

Good Sunday evening! I’m waiting for my cauliflower to finish cooking (roasting) as I write tonight. I’ve been thinking about this whole blog thing, and I’ve decided that I’m just gonna write whenever I want to write. I have SO MANY thoughts running through my brain; some I write down to use later on this blog, and never do, some do actually make it onto the blog, but could seem out of context, and some just never leave my journal.

Anyway, I’ve decided I’m just gonna start writing on here about anything and everything.

As a blogger, there is SO much pressure on the timeliness of posts, when to schedule, when to schedule social media, WHICH social media platform is better?! I think the pressure, at least for me, has somewhat deterred me away from doing what blogging is all about: writing.

And the whole follower thing – Surprisingly I’ve actually seen a rise in my followers since the first of the year, which is flattering, but not the #1 reason I do this! I blog because I have things to get off my chest. Maybe this will influence others, maybe it won’t. But, it’s like the old saying, “If you build it, they will come.”

So let’s start with this weekend. This weekend was very quiet, compared to last weekend. Last weekend was one those where I spent approx. $200 on food and drinks and felt like I had NOTHING to show for it but a bottle of Brick House red blend from Gauthier Vineyard. Do you know those weekends? Yeah. So this weekend was heavily focused on regrouping, recharging, and rejuvenating myself for the new week. I got two solid nights sleep – Saturday night I was in bed by 10 PM and slept nine hours – NINE HOURS!! 🙂  That’s the magic right there – a good night’s sleep.

One of the highlights this weekend was making most, if not all, of my meals right here at home. I’ve been super impressed and inspired by Laura Lea Goldberg, of LL Balanced. Her Instagram stories are addicting (she is flawless!!), and she makes most all of her recipes look easy and seamless, which most really are. Laura Lea likes to emphasize using whatever ingredients you have in your pantry to make your meals delicious and eating all of those leftovers too. They are not yet on her website, but I’ve made her sweet potato fries with a tahini-dijon-honey dip two times now, and you might not want to order sweet potato fries from a restaurant again! OK, you will order sweet potato fries from a restaurant again, but making your own is so satisfying!

I’ve also had fun this weekend being more experimental with my meals, like this bowl I cooked up tonight. I roasted the cauliflower with EVOO, Italian seasoning, and lemon zest. While the cauliflower was roasting, I made up a little dressing. I didn’t go by exact measurements, but the dressing goes something like this:

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1 TBP. Tahini

1/2 TBP. Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp. Curry seasoning

1 TBP. Coconut oil

1 tsp. Maple Syrup (honey could be even more delicious here)

1/2 Lemon juiced

I must say, the dressing MAKES this bowl! I sauteed some greens with garlic and mixed it all up with some quinoa and chickpeas and tossed a few pumpkin seeds in there too.

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SO GOOD!!

There’s just something so rewarding about making your own meal.

I also made these EASY ‘Fuel Up’ bars for the week from Amie Valpone over at The Healthy Apple. The recipe is in her new cook book, Eating Clean. Let’s be honest here, these probably won’t last past Wednesday!!

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As you can see, I’m no food photographer, but I hope you will make a few more meals for yourself in the kitchen this week! Trust me, you’re worth it.

Xo,

Ellen

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Uncategorized

Winter Ramblings

This past weekend Richmond got hit/blessed? with the first snow of 2017. We got about 6 inches here in the city, but it was a great consistency; light, powdery, fluffy, etc. All that you winter lovers’snow dreams are made of. Someone’s caption on Instagram deemed it “magical”. It kind of was, because the bulk of the accumulation happened over night.

The night before the snow came, I got together with my SGHS (high school) friends for a low-key dinner from Zoe’s Kitchen and wine. It was great catching up as always with these ladies! Thank you Liz, for being the fabulous coordinator and hostess!

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The next morning, as I said, the snow was here, and coffee and eggs were calling my name. I enjoyed looking out of my balcony at the albeit, pretty snow.

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If there was a contest where someone had to occupy themselves for 24-hrs without opening their apartment door, I would win. I can’t recount all the little things I did, but my day went something like this: breakfast, savored coffee, watched the weather, called my mom, called my sister, Face Timed with my bro and family, snacked on lots of hummus, put away my Christmas ornaments and decorations, cleaned apartment, made avocado pesto, and probably my most important activity: making sweet potato fries from scratch!!

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Lastly, I ate said fries, accompanied by GF penne with sauteed onions and mushrooms and my avocado-pesto sauce. After dinner, I curled up to watch a new movie; Bridget Jones’ Baby, which was so funny, and had an amazing soundtrack!

So, you see how I can keep myself busy?

Sunday morning, I knew was going to be the day to venture out, but still enjoyed “sleeping in” until 7:45am, and styled this yummy bowl of strawberry, coconut oatmeal, accompanied by Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut spread and chia seeds. DE-licious!

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After breakfast, I spent about two hours painfully searching for a new background for the blog. I knew all along the look I wanted, but kept searching and getting caught in the rabbit hole of looking at other gorgeous images.

Before I knew it, it was almost Noon! Time flies when you’re not doing anything 😉 I suited up in my snow uniform, which consisted of two pairs of leggings, two long sleeved shirts, my new Patagonia pullover fleece that I bought at Clementine for $45!, my plaid infinity scarf, and my Mako Builders wool/cotton hat. Phew! That’s a lot of layers. Oh, and two pairs of socks AND gloves, and my 12-year old Uggs. Yes, you read that right. Twelve years old!

Enough about my snow uniform. I brushed the snow off my car, which was pretty easy , then headed over to my sister’s. My thought was to play with my nieces in the snow, but they had their next door neighbor friend over, so that didn’t happen. But I did help them make Snow Cream, which tasted pretty much like ice cream! Here’s the recipe that we got from my sister’s mother-in-law:

Snow Cream

Serves 3

  • 4-cups snow
  • 1 cup milk of your choice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (or vanilla “abstract” as my niece called it, lol)
  • Drizzle of chocolate syrup (optional)

Beat all above ingredients together, and enjoy!

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So there’s my little snow weekend in a nutshell. Now I’m going to cook dinner, enjoy some red wine and popcorn, and watch the Golden Globes!

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Stay warm!

Xo,

Ellen

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Life

NYE & How To House Sit Like A Boss

Welcome back guys!! Or really, welcome back me! Since my last post, I kind of checked out in more ways than just getting caught up in the busyness of the holidays. More on that later…but I’m glad now to finally just do it! The voice in my head is like, just do it, even if it’s totally random, just write about ANYTHING. So here I am. Recapping this year’s New Years Eve and some methods I’ve mastered when house sitting.

A small recap of my NYE: spent it third wheelin’ it with my best friend Emily and her boyfriend Brian. We pre-gamed on Emily’s delicious Moscow Mules and a spread of Trader Joe’s little bites of yum, before heading to see my favorite local cover band, Three Sheets to The Wind!! 


The Yacht Rock mates were right on point, disco balls and all.

It was a smashing time, but definitely could have consumed more, er, water?
I woke up New Year’s Day in someone else’s bed…oops…JK JK!! I woke up at the house where I’ve been house sitting for the last few days. The owner has two dogs and a cat and lives in this gorgeous turn-of-the-century home. Very Virginia. Some parts of the house kind of reminded me of how Thomas & Martha Jefferson might have lived. It felt THAT historical. 

I just love an old house with character. There have been some renovations though; including kitchen and bathrooms, a finished third floor, and currently a newly constructed garage, that which my brother is head contractor 🙂

Without being creepy and revealing the entire house, here are a few of my favorite details: 


Where stately meets quaint! 

Now back to the second part of the title of this post. I’ve been house sitting for several years. I’ve mostly held down the fort at a close family friends’ house, but when I’m at new acquaintances homes, the house rules are pretty much the same. Here are some tips I’ve collected over the years. If you’re a frequent house sitter, I hope these are helpful! 

1. The night before I move all my stuff over to the house, I like to clean out my fridge almost completely, as seen below: 

This way, I don’t have to bring everything that was in my fridge with me, and this ensures that almost nothing will spoil.

2. Then I pack a bag full of pantry staples like peanut butter, coconut oil, olive oil, etc. Items that the home owners may not have on hand and things that I don’t want to spend another $10 on when I already have it. 

3. When I arrive at the house, I first unload any food I brought into the fridge, let the pets (usually dogs) out, greet them, give them hugs, treats, snuggles, etc., so that we can all get acquainted. 
4. Then I get settled in which ever room I’m staying in by setting out toiletries, hanging up any clothes if accessible, making up beds, etc. 

5. When I house sit, I treat the time I’m there as if I was going to stay in a beach house or something, so once I’m all settled, I make a run to the nearest grocery store. 

6. I hate the thought of having to buy prepared food every night, even if it’s healthy prepared food from this place,  so I usually do my normal store run for food I can cook at the house. This saves so much money and makes more time spent with the pets! 

7. I treat the house better than my own. This means that after each meal I clean up after myself, clean dishes, wipe counters, etc. As for picking up after pets, I make sure to sweep/wipe up every bit of debris along the way, so as not to have so much to clean on my last day staying there. 

I will also change the sheets and re-make the bed I slept in if neccessary, as well as put any dirty kitchen + bath towels in the hamper. 

Most times I’m pretty excited to go back to my cozy little apartment after staying in someone else’s home for a while, but in my opinion, house sitting is a great way to get out of your comfort zone while staying in your own city. It has definitely helped me become more adaptable and has enhanced my ‘go-with-the-flow’ attitude. 

I hope these tips were helpful for all my fellow house sitters out there! 

Xo,

Ellen

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