Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Starting With a Clean Slate...Happy New Year!

Mariah Carey's closet. A little too perfect for me, but love the pink chair and gold stars in the floor!

I will take this one!

I don't know about you, but something about a new year makes me want to clean out closets, drawers and work on getting organized. I guess it is my way of trying to get ready for the new year with a clean slate (or should I say "cleaner" slate)! Yesterday, I cleaned out my closet and the refrigerator all in one day...trust me, this isn't normal behavior!

The New Year bug has definitely set in and I am having a hard time not ripping down the Christmas tree and decorations. (We have an open house on New Year's Day so I decided to keep them up until then.) In the current issue of House Beautiful, there is an interesting article titled "Closet Cleanse" by Julie Morgenstern, the gBulleted Listuru of putting lives in order (so the magazine claims). If you ask me, the whole article is a little too spiritual... If closet cleaning can do everything she claims, we wouldn't need shrinks, now would we!


  • Clothes that don't fit, and will be out of style by the time you hope they fit again. Give them away! Easier said than done...

  • Clothes that are stained, torn or have lost them shape. Toss 'em! Easy

  • Shoes that hurt your feet. If you've never worn them, give them away. Otherwise, throw them out! Not so easy...you just never know when the pain might be WORTH it!

  • Outdated handbags, belts, scarves. Donate them! Sort of easy...they JUST might come back in style someday???

    I have to go get ready for company and the new year's festivities! I hope to post pictures later this weekend. I will leave you with this verse....

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Thinking about painting a room in the new year?

So beachy...of course, I love it!

The pop of orange in this white kitchen keeps it from becoming predictable, and who wouldn't want to hang out in one of these fabulous bar stools?

I just love the citrus green mini subway tile for the backsplash contrasted with black granite countertops and white cabinets! I could cook in this kitchen!

Fresh and clean...classic yet current!

We had a slumber party (yes, even families can have slumber parties...so much FUN) with the Adams the other night. It was their year to host our Christmas get together but they are in the middle of remodeling their kitchen (hence all the kitchen ideas above!). So, I suggested that they bring their jammies over and we could open presents, eat pizza and play games all night long! My favorite part of the night was reading William and Maisie bedtime stories in our Harry Potter room...how I miss those bedtime rituals! Jay and William's favorite part of the night has to be the remote control helicopter that you can actually fly in the house (gift from Mark to Jay). I was holding my breath as it zipped around the Christmas tree...inches away from my vintage ornaments, but so far, no casualties.

Jay, Mark, Jill and I discussed paint color options over pizza, and at one point, one of us wondered if there was a website that would allow you to try out different colors. Well, after just a little poking around, I found one! House Beautiful Paint Brush actually lets you check out thousands of paint colors in different types of rooms. I was especially impressed that the tool has all the most popular paint companies: Benjamin Moore (MY CURRENT FAVORITE), Sherwin Williams (My old favorite paint company) and Valspar. You can apply a color to a room and either print it, save it or email the idea to a friend!


Have fun painting or remodeling in the new year!

Get Lucky

If you know me, you know that I am NOT superstitious! In fact, every year when I try and convince my picky eaters to swallow at least ONE black eyed pea for "good luck", I am quickly reminded that we don't believe in luck. Although this is true, I can't help but keep this southern tradition going...blessings or luck...bring it on! Happy New Year!

2 cans of drained and rinsed black-eyed peas
1 can of drained and rinsed sweet corn
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/8 cup red wine vinegar

1 tbsp. lime juice
1/4 small red onion, minced

1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely minced
1/2 red bell pepper, minced
1 small clove of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
Salt and black pepper

Whisk olive oil, red wine vinegar and lime juice well. Add minced garlic and salt & pepper. Pour over peas and corn. Add red onion, jalapeno and cilantro and mix well. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with tortilla chips!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Coconut Cranberry Bars

These are amazing cookie bars...perfect for parties or gifts!
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 cup pecan halves
Combine cracker crumbs and butter. Spread in bottom of 9 x 13 pan. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl. Gently spread over crust Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool completely and cut into bars. Enjoy!

I tried these the other day for the first time and LOVED them. They reminded me of magic bars, but with a Christmas twist!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Some of my Favorite Gift Ideas with FREE SHIPPING

I love these fun glass shakers that are extra special because they can be personalized!!! Available in Red, Teal, Magenta and Chartreuse. Order this for only $10 (BARGAIN!) and add to a gift basket full of martini accessories! Be sure to include your favorite recipes, some whimsical cocktail napkins and a small jar of olives...a perfect housewarming or hostess gift! FREE SHIPPING, Potterybarn.com
These votive candle holders are done in such festive colors. They would also be perfect for petite flower arrangements! Set of 4, one of each color.4 diam., 4" height, Sale price: $16.00 and FREE SHIPPING, Potterybarn.com
I want these! These vinyl covered make-up bags should be easy to keep clean and couldn't be more fashionable! They would be even more special monogrammed in lime green or hot pink! Covered in zebra stripes, each case is lined with easy-to-clean clear vinyl. Set of 2, one of each size. Imported.Small: 4.5 x 8 x 4” hLarge: 8.5 x 11.5 x 8” h Sale price: $24.95 and FREE SHIPPING, Potterybarn.com

Same Kind of Different As Me

One of my dearest friends, Andrea, sent me this book last month. Thank you Andrea! We are now officially "groupies" to Ron, Denver and the book! So, if you are looking for a GREAT book to give for Christmas or read over the holidays, THIS IS IT! I couldn't put it down and neither could my husband! Warning: I promise you will need a few Sniffs half way through the book.

The Same Kind of Different As
by Ron Hall
It begins outside a burning plantation hut in Louisiana... and an East Texas honky-tonk... and, without a doubt, in the heart of God. It unfolds in a Hollywood hacienda... an upscale New York Gallery... a downtown dumpster... a Texas ranch.Gritty with pain and betrayal and brutality, it also shines with an unexpected, life-changing love.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Getting in the holly jolly spirit...

Our house is really starting to look like Christmas! We made our annual tree hunting escapade to Home Depot. The boys usually get inpatient with me as I have them pull out tree after tree looking for the perfect size and shape. It is not long before Taylor and Austin are pushing each other into piles of trees or playing a violent game of chase throughout the lot, knocking trees down as they go. After we have unwrapped at least a dozen trees I start getting the look from Jay and I realize that I've lost all three of them, and I have to make a decision fast! It really is a joyous tradition...I promise!

I have added a few photos to give you (and ME) some Christmas inspiration as I take a short break from decorating the mantle and tree. The first two are shots from my entry way, the first hall to get decked in the Quiet house. I will be posting more as I move from room to room later this week. The second two pics are taken from the current issue of Veranda showing Lisa Luby Ryan's dining room. I just LOVE all the shades of white, the collage of white ironstone plates on the wall, and of course, the shell flower pots used for the centerpieces!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Online sources for Christmas photo cards

My preference is to design our Christmas card every year, but if I don't plan ahead, I can find myself frantically looking for a unique photo card to get out quickly! Here are a few sites that I have located for ordering your holiday greetings. I have only used one of them, Tinyprints.com, but after looking at some of the new ones out this year, you shouldn't have a problem finding something that fits your taste and budget! In fact, you can even help the planet and GO GREEN by sending out a photo card on eco-friendly paper!


How this all got started...

Tracy, my sister, Barbara, my mother who looks way too much like my sister, and me!

Today is my first blog entry...here at last! I gaze around my "quiet" house and see laundry to fold, dishes to clean and beds to make. And, here I sit with my coffee, glued to what is possibly my newest internet obsession. My husband thinks I spend too much time on the internet (between Ebay, Facebook and all the surfing I do, I sort of understand how he might think this, although it simply isn't true!). I tried to explain it in a way that he could relate so I said "You start your day off on ESPN learning the latest sports news. I look at blogging as a way of creating the NEWS!" Another way to explain how my time on the internet is not so bad is that some people lay in front of the televison hours on end watching re-runs of some stupid sit-com. I spend time on the internet educating myself with new recipes and trends, communciating with old friends or keeping up on current events...hours on end.

I have to dedicate "Me and My House" to my sweet mother. As far back and I can remember, she had a love for decorating and fashion. Hence, we grew up with piles (neat piles of course!) of magazines and books throughout the house that educated and inspired my sister and I until this very day. We never had the biggest or more expensive house on the block, but I assure you that we always had the BEST decorated house in the neighborhood, and possibly in town. I know that one of the greatest things she taught us (which my husband really appreciates!) is how to decorate our homes and our closets on a budget! And if you ask me, it is so much more fun to find the latest jeans at half the price that your friend down the street paid for them...not to mention you have enough money leftover to get a cute shirt to go with your jeans!

We still share our favorite issues of fashion and decorating magazines with one another even though we all live in different cities (Mom is in Houston and sister in Dallas). Mom will call us to see if we have checked out "so and so's" house in the latest issue of Elle Decor or House Beautiful because it is just too fabulous and she just has to share the great news with us! If we don't have that issue, we run out to the store that very minute so we can continue the dialog and discuss how it has inspired us.

It only seems fitting that my mother was also the one who introduced me to the world of fashion & design blogs. She is retired and therefore has a lot more time to surf the web and find the blogs worth adding to our Favorites Folder. We have often talked about having our own blogs so we can share with friends and family our favorite new book, lotion or gelato! Half the fun of discovering a treasure is sharing it with the ones you love! Thanks mom for instilling in me a love and passion for fashion, decorating, junk stores and sale racks. Through all these wonderful resources, you taught me how to create a beautiful home (that's forever changing!), have fun with fashion and design while not breaking the bank, and how to sit back and appreciate the beauty in it all!