Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dream Home Challenge: Backyard

I'm moving outdoors this week as I continue "building" my Dream Home.  Though we didn't move to a notoriously warm climate, outdoor dining is still one of my favorite ways to relax at home.  And my dream house will be designed accordingly!

I love the outdoor fireplace below.  Though, I have to admit my home would likely require a gas fireplace in order to guarantee it would be used often.

Maybe there would be a separate outdoor breakfast area.  For morning coffee in the sun.

I would like to cover the backyard with blue hydrangea (our wedding flowers!).
 I've tried my hand at extensive landscaping before, and I don't find the urge to do that again.  So this time I'd leave it to the pros and let them design something awesome out back:
I've never wanted a pool due to the upkeep, but I bet you a dream home would come with a pool fairy.  So I'll throw a pool into the dream backyard.

Finally, it should come as no surprise that I would love to have an amazing garden.  Maybe with a smaller collection of potted herbs closer to the kitchen, and a larger gardening area out back:

Check out Meredith's Dream Home backyard here.
Catching up?
Architectural Styles--Sarah / Meredith
Bedrooms--Sarah / Meredith 2
Family Room & Living Room--Sarah / Meredith 2
Bathrooms--Sarah / Meredith
Kitchen-- Sarah / Meredith

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Energy Bites

Between our recent travel and outdoor activities (camping & hiking), there have been a number of times I wish I had some snacks I could throw into the backpack to tide us over.  Coincidentally, I have seen a number of tasty-looking homemade snacks online lately, and I decided it was time to finally give one of the recipes a try.  There are bake and no-bake versions, bars, and....bites!  

Using this recipe for inspiration, I tossed several ingredients into a bowl.  I toasted some coconut flakes, tossed them on top the rest of the mess, and mixed together with my hands.  The result was a pretty sticky mess that smelled and tasted amazing.  

After rolling them into balls and refrigerating until firm, the bites lasted several days in a sealed container at room temperature.  They ended up being a great snack after a run, plane snacks for when we traveled, and backpack treats when we were hiking.  

I plan to continue mixing up different ingredients to try out different combos.  The nice thing about these is you know exactly what you're eating--no weird preservatives!  I highly recommend giving them a try.

Other granola bar recipes that have caught my eye:
Eat Live Run (with quinoa!)


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Bay to Breakers 2012

As I mentioned, last weekend was our first time experiencing Bay to Breakers.
It was definitely an event that lived up to the hype--I have never seen so many people on one street before, wearing the most ridiculous things, no less.  

It was a gold mine for people-watching, which is quickly becoming my favorite local sport.  It makes me appreciate this city.

We started off the morning in a park near our house.  The sun was warm and made everything so pleasant.  After meeting all of Juanita's friends and creating plenty of early morning raucous, we walked towards Golden Gate park, where the race crosses through the city.  

Even the enforcement let loose a bit!

I'll note here that Bay to Breakers is a 7.46mi running race.  The winners finish in something completely ridiculous, like 34 minutes (remember, SF is hilly!).  But the real event is the hundreds of thousands of people who dress up in elaborate and creative costumes (or none at all), and walk along the course. 

Guy from The Hangover

The funniest part of the day was probably one of the friends we walked with.  Have you heard of Sexy Sax Man?  He is a Youtube phenomenon and internet meme: 

Sexy Sax Man

He was a total hit at Bay to Breakers.  Random strangers pointed, smiled, and approached him all day asking him if he could play "that one song."  And play it, he did.  It got worse as the day went on (exhaustion or alcohol or both?)  By the end of the night, the song was running through my head as I fell asleep.  That's not a good thing.

But it was very humorous.

Hope that song doesn't get stuck in your head now.  If it does, blame him, not me!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Dream Home Challenge: Kitchen

Today the Dream House Challenge moves into my favorite room of the house: the kitchen.   The kitchen is one of the best rooms to be in: I love the relaxing activity of cooking, and I love being creative and experimenting with recipes.

As usual, I am most drawn towards white with pops of color--either in the floors, counter-tops, backsplash, or accessories.  White in the kitchen just feels clean.

I'd love a big island with plenty of counter space, and a surface that you can place hot items right on top without having to use a trivet.  And a counter I could roll out pie or cookie dough, without crumbs getting into creases.
An eat-in kitchen table fits the style of our family, and I would love a comfortable spot where we'd linger even after meals were over.
Click below to read more Dream Home Challenge: Kitchen

Thursday, May 24, 2012


This month has been a good one for graduations.

Can you believe they are letting this little cutie graduate from college today?!

I can't believe she's all grown up!  Congratulations, D!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Veggie Load

In the next month, we are traveling every weekend, hitting all corners of the country.  I am excited for every single weekend event (!), but it does take a bit of extra planning to recover from the long flights and get myself back on track for the work week.  
Tonight I made Veggie Enchiladas and packed them with 10 different veggies.  We ate some for dinner, and I am throwing the rest in the freezer for a quick and healthy meal after weekend travel that can defrost and bake while I unpack.

I spent just over 10 minutes cleaning and dicing the veggies, and I threw the diced sweet potato in the oven to soften while I sautéed the rest.

The filling:
Sweet Potato

Cilantro-Lime Crema
(plain greek yogurt, frozen cilantro cube, lime juice, salt)

I put the crema in the enchiladas and also saved some to dollop on top.
And I covered the whole thing with a bottle of red enchilada sauce from Trader Joe's and some cheese.
In the oven....
...out of the oven:

Loaded with veggies:

Have pre-made dinner; will travel!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Dream Home Challenge: Bathrooms

This week in the Dream Home Challenge, we're moving on to bathrooms.

I'm not too picky when it comes to bathrooms, but this is a room where I have no shame in keeping light and airy.
The bathtub gets very little use in our household, though if this is a dream house, I might as well pick a cool one!  A shower with several shower heads, a cool faucet, and a bench would be nice.

And I love these colors below:
Though I think I'd prefer carrera marble or something similar in color for all the tiling work:

With pink orchids for a pop of color:
I'd be willing to go a bit more wild with a guest bathroom.  This teal color is pretty cool:
And I think this would make a cool kids' bath:
Check out Meredith's bathrooms here.
Catching up?
Architectural Styles--Sarah / Meredith
Bedrooms--Sarah / Meredith 2
Family Room & Living Room--Sarah / Meredith 2

Monday, May 21, 2012

Solar Eclipse

I'll be back later to report on our first Bay to Breakers experience (in sum: awesome), but in the mean time, here's a photo I snapped on my phone last night of the Solar Eclipse.

We were not very prepared -- we had a rudimentary pinhole viewer, no sunglasses, and no nice camera with us -- but my phone managed to capture the eclipse's image in the lens flare, and I love how it turned out!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bay to Breakers

Today is the 101st Annual Bay to Breakers race, a San Francisco tradition.  It's our 1st time experiencing the craziness that takes over the city on the 3rd Sunday of May each year.  

We aren't running the nearly 7.5mi race but plan to join the thousands of spectators that walk along the course in costume and people-watch.  

Racers also wear costumes:

 Though many costumes aren't blog-appropriate.  Feel free to google "Bay to Breakers" to see more!
Race starts in 30 minutes!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dream Home Challenge: Family Living Room

We're back this week working on Dream Home Design, turning to family rooms and living rooms.

I spent time flipping through pages and pages of living rooms, lots of which are really nice, but I came to the realization that I don't have much interest in a room that looks pretty but serves little purpose.  It seems like a lot of extra surface area that needs vacuuming and dusting.  I just don't think I will be the type of person to entertain in a sitting room.

So while I think pictures of rooms like this one below are pretty, they just don't quite fit into my dream house.  Even though I like the colors and the interesting chandelier, it is just missing a bit of the warmth I'd love to have in my family room.

Instead, I picture my family room having a big fireplace, huge sectional couch, and lots of other seating in addition to the sectional.  A game table nearby is a must, for puzzles, poker, and Apples to Apples.

 Built-ins with plenty of room for books:
And chunky black frames full of family and travel photos:
I think the only thing missing now is a bar :)
Would you feel relaxed in my family/living room?

Check out Meredith's Formal Living Room here.
Catching up?
Architectural Styles--Sarah / Meredith
Bedrooms--Sarah / Meredith