Sunday, September 29, 2013

(Belated) 30th Birthday Bash... Scottsdale Style

My birthday may have been over a month ago...
but I (finally) properly celebrated it last weekend.

I flew to Scottsdale, Arizona and met with three of my closest friends 
(who also turned 30 this year.)

It had been almost an ENTIRE YEAR since we were all together...
and we were determined to make up for lost time!

Our friend Ellen (who happens to live in Scottsdale) was an excellent host.
But, while she was busy chasing after her two kids, or making dinner plans, 
I was busy taking pictures of her GORGEOUS house.

Ellen's husband owns a custom cabinetry business, and you can tell which room
he likes to spend most of his time in...
Pretty cool, right?!

Perfect spot for game day.

The three-day trip was fantastic.
We had the chance to go shopping, swimming and 
HIKING - which was an "interesting" activity for many of us.

Ellen's husband decided we should tackle Squaw Peak.
It doesn't look too bad from the picture...
but let me tell you...
I thought I was going to die up on that rocky hill.

It was 98 degrees outside... and we were all dehydrated... 
but after an hour of hiking...
we barely made it to the top! (And survived.)

My friends Sara and Jenn were seriously rock stars.
Hahaha, get it? ROCK stars?
Yeah... I'm lame...
BUT - they kept pushing us to finish.
Over achievers.

The way back down the hill was just as challenging.
Our friend Ellen had a few mishaps.
She fell 1, 2 or 12 times... (not sure)... I lost count after awhile.

I also lost count how many times I had to "hug it out" with the porcelain throne.
(I wish I would have packed a toothbrush in my fanny pack.)

After our fun hike...
We decided to stay on FLAT ground for dinner.
We ate at Sapporo's (a Japanese steakhouse.)
The food was AMAZING.

We also weren't ashamed to break out our BLINKING "30 Rocks" buttons.

The night ended with some classic "Dirty Dancing" moves at Kierland Commons.
Ellen's husband is freakishly strong.
(I blame it on all the 5-Hour Energy drinks he consumes!)

All in all, it was such a great weekend.
I am so blessed to have three amazing friends in my life.
Even though we don't live in the same city... or talk every day... 
we always pick up EXACTLY where we left off.  
I love friendships like that :)

And, yes... it can be a bit challenging turning 30.
Apparently it makes you want to go to bed at 9:37 PM.
(Sorry, Jenn!)

P.S. If you don't follow my friend Ellen's blog, you are missing out!
She is a fantastic writer... and takes you on a very personal journey...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Shhhh... Secret Mashed Potatoes!

Check out that comfort food on a spoon.
Looks like mashed potatoes, right?

You're WRONG.

It's actually cauliflower!

A few months ago, my cousin sent me her "Mock Garlic Mashed Potatoes" recipe.
(It's has fewer calories than regular potatoes.)

Last night I finally tried the recipe... and...
It. Blew. My. Mind.

- 1 head of cauliflower
- 1 Tablespoon cream cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 1-2 Tablespoons chopped chives
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- Salt/pepper to taste (I used about 1/8 teaspoon of each)
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Boil a large pot of water and cook the cauliflower for 8-10 minutes.

Drain and pat dry.
Blend the cauliflower in a food processor. 

Add the cream cheese, parmesan, garlic powder, chicken stock, butter and salt/pepper.

Blend in the food processor once again.

Garnish with chopped chives... and you're done!
This recipe is super, super simple and SO DELICIOUS.
It tastes exactly like "Garlic Mashed Potatoes."

If you have kids who HATE cauliflower - this is the perfect, sneaky way to get them to eat it!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

White Stripes in the Bedroom

I was shuffling through old photographs today, 
and realized that I never shared the "before" and "after" photos 
of my parents' guest bedroom!

The room used to look like this...

I really, REALLY wanted to paint stripes on the wall.
So, I found inspiration by looking at several design websites.

I love the white/light tan combination.

It was quite simple painting the stripes on the wall.
The room was already painted a "light tan" color - so I only needed to paint the white stripes.
We bought one gallon of white paint - and LOTS of Frog Tape!
It is FANTASTIC for painting lines.
(I recommend using it over the blue Painters Tape.)

We held a level up on the wall... got a pencil... and slowly made our way around the room... 
forming STRAIGHT LINES with light pencil markings.

Then, we placed the Frog Tape along the pencil markings.
We painted in between the tape, and were left with these awesome stripes!

We wanted the stripes to be different sizes.
(The larger one goes behind the bed.)

Speaking of the bed...
Our color theme for the room was: 
White, Tan, Gray and Yellow.

We also played up different patterns - with one common shape:

The circles on the pillow actually inspired the artwork for the wall.

To find out how I made these DIY art pieces - just click here.

I also hung these metal circles on the wall too.
I found them at Target - on clearance!
They were in the "kitchen section" of the store... 
(so I'm not really sure what they're "supposed" to be used for.)
But, I like them as artwork!

I decided to hang them above my grandmother's cedar chest.

Some people tend to use the cedar chest as a "bench"...
so I made a cushion out of this gray/white fabric I found at Hobby Lobby. 

This yellow pillow was one example of the "pops" of yellow we had in the room.

Speaking of my grandmother's furniture...
this mirror/dresser combo was also my grandmother's.
It's a GORGEOUS piece of furniture.
And, the "circle mirror" fits in perfectly with the room!

All in all, we spent about $200 to upgrade the room.
The money went to:
Paint, curtains, pillows, a duvet cover and artwork supplies.

(The headboard and side table were furniture pieces that my parents already had.)