Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Post-Christmas

Working from home; more specifically: the Bastrop cabin.

Vantage point:


I call this one Still Life with Seester:


Santa left his reindeer outside:


And for fun, a shot of my nephew from a few days ago. He looks better in my sunglasses than I do, it's true.


I don't know if I'm blessed or just lucky, but does it really matter one way or the other?


Friday, December 21, 2012

PIE!

Of the chicken pot variety, more specifically!
Nothing says comfort food better than a good chicken pot pie, methinks. I made one last night, and it was so delicious that I have to share!

The original recipe is here, but I tweaked it like so (not much tweaking, just a bit more ingredients):

Chicken Pot Pie with Sweet Potatoes

1.5 cups chicken broth
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 cup shredded carrots

1 medium sweet onion, chopped
leaves from 2 sprigs of thyme
salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
1 cup 2% milk mixed with 4 tablespoons flour
1-1.5 cups cooked chicken (shredded or cubed; storebought rotisserie is ideal. I used 2 decent sized baked chicken breasts)
2 handfuls frozen peas
1 pie crust, (storebought is fine)
1 cup mushrooms, chopped



Preheat oven to 425°F. Bring broth to a boil in a saucepan. Add the potato, carrot, onion, mushrooms, and thyme and simmer the mixture for 15 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Stir the flour mixture slowly into the vegetables and simmer, stirring until it is thick. Remove the pan from heat, stir in chicken and peas, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Add pot pie filling to 4 ramekins or 1 9.5-inch pie plate. Cover with pie crust (cut in to quartered pieces if you’re making minis), cut a few slits in the surface, and bake for 15-20 minutes (for minis) or 25-30 for a regular 9-incher.

Make sure you put the pie plate on a baking sheet of some sort; there will be oozing!

This was seriously SO good, and the entire pie only has 1600 calories! As you can tell, my dairy-free life has gone bye-bye, but my new migraine preventatives seem to be working just fine, so it's all good.

Happy happy happy happy holidays, dear chirplettes!! I hope yours is relaxing, full of love, and sparkly.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Mantels mantels mantels

When Joseph and I were looking for a place to buy, we very not-so-secretly wanted a fireplace. I realize that in Austin, Texas, having a fireplace is a little bit ridiculous, but still. Also, given that fall and winter are my favorite seasons, and that I have always wanted a mantel of my own to decorate, I was pretty fixated on the idea.

Now that the holiday season is here, I realize that I didn't plan quite enough for mantel-decorating time. I really wanted a fresh garland, but I'll have to save that for next year.

Inspiration:

STYLEBLUEPRINT

God, isn't that gorgeous?? I love that it's mostly just green; I'm into burgundy, but the vibrant reds that go along with Christmas aren't so much my style.

This mantel is also awesome, although it channels a completely different vibe:

Desire to Inspire

Apparently the house owner made it by hand, and every year she adds more ornaments on. They are all glass, and there are over 500 of them! I assume she doesn't have children, pets, a significant other, or friends that drink.

I did pretty mine and Joseph's mantel up a bit last night. I had already replaced the white candles with gold ones, but I added some silver glittery feathers to the flower arrangement:


And some adorable poofy little bird ornaments to our stocking holders:


For a much prettier, although still not all-out, composition:



I like it.

Plus, we wrapped presents!


Now we just need to sit down to our annual Love, Actually viewing, and the season will be complete.
Also, eggnog.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Happiness is...

Santa Rampage with the people you love:


An almost-complete corner fireplace in Bastrop in a freaking bathroom:


And Christmas decorations, also in Bastrop!:


Joseph and I went out on Saturday to help Mom put everything up, and we did a great job, if I do say so myself. I even climbed up on a REALLY tall ladder to hang a wreath and place a gold metal tree over the television area.

50% Annual Bonus. Way to be distracting, TV.
 Oh! And I hung mine and Joseph's stockings at our condo. This is a terrible picture, but c'est la light from the windows.


Sigh; it really is the most wonderful time of the year.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Oh, Chreestmas Tree!

Or, "Oh Holiday Tree", to be p.c.

Have I mentioned how much I adore the holiday season? Because I do. I love love love it! Curling up on the couch with a book and a blanket, peacoats and boots, being lucky enough to be able to see my family in Bastrop? Yes, pretty please.

And that first part- the part about curling up on the couch with a book and a blanket (well, and a boyfriend, obviously), is so much better when there is a Christmas tree involved.

It's nearly impossible to get a good picture, but who cares? Sparkly!





Is your tree/menorah/other holiday-themed sparkly thing up?


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Living room, part...three?

I'm not sure what iteration of mine and Joseph's living room we are on, but I think maybe it's three. The new couch is in, and we decided to get a coffee table that was easier to move around and get beat up than the antique chest we had been using. The chest is my first antique that I got, so I want it to last for as long as possible (it's now at the end of our bed. Pics tomorrow). Since we (I use the term "we" loosely here. Thanks for the beautiful couch, darling!) had just splurged on the couch, we went super economical on the coffee table. And you know what that means: a trip to Ikea!

The new little guy is simple and glossy, and I love the brightness next to the dark couch.


Plus it's super lightweight, so we can shift it around easily.

Oh LazyBoy, you wonderful, comfortable, eyesore of a chair.

Unless you're a bajillionaire (and even then, really), I honestly think you should always have a mix of investment pieces and less expensive items. It adds a fun element even to more serious rooms.



Bonus: shark!




I mean, we got two for my nephews, but I can't lie to you; I totally cuddled with one most of Sunday afternoon.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Bastrupstairs!

Let's continue our cabin journey, oui?

Upstairs, we find my oldest brother, Steve, and his wife Tammy's room:




Then mine and Joseph's room, which still needs some bedside tables and such but I absolutely love. Mom let me pick out my own bedding, and this grey and lavender Restoration Hardware spoke to me. "Buy me!", it said. And we did.


In one corner is an amazing antique humidor and a beautiful antique rocker (courtesy of my friend Matt Donnelley, who needed it to go to a good home!).


Close-up of my third grade dress-up mug shot:



And in the other corner a vanity:



Then we venture into Ann Marie and Joel's room.


That has one of my favorite pieces, this perfect pink vintage chair that Mom and I found in Smithville.


More vanity action:

Well hello there, mama!

And we finish up in the bathroom!


mmmm. Bourbon in the bathroom.

There's a reading nook to come, but it wasn't picture-ready yet.

Et voila! We're having Christmas out there, and I absolutely can't wait!



Friday, November 30, 2012

Bastrop: Up Close and Personal with the Downstairs

I really can't express how excited I was to see the Bastrop house last night (I've been knocked for calling it a cabin, which is probably valid). It's so surreal that the new house is there, and it's difficult to explain why. Walking in, I still expected it to be the old house, and even though this one is new and improved, it's obviously still very, very bittersweet. It's easy to get over any conflicting feelings, though, because oh. my. god. The new house is SPECTACULAR. It's big and lovely and impressive and homey and everything it needs to be, and I can't wait to have Christmas out there with my parents and my siblings.

And because I took a million pictures last night, I'll give you the downstairs today and save the upstairs for Monday. Sound good? Good!

Living room from the entrance.


Living room and bar area/kitchen. Sorry it's so dark, but I just couldn't wait to show you all. And yes, that is Mom over there fixing us bourbons :) In most of the pictures we can actually play "find the bourbon Natalie sat down while photographing." It's fun!


Entrance.


Hot mama in the kitchen.


Second oven in the pantry! All of the ceilings are 10 foot (besides the taller ones in the living room and kitchen), so the pictures look far less impressive than the rooms do in real life. I know, duh, but I had to point it out.



Awkward shot of the master bedroom.


Bonus dog kennel.


Master bathroom with beautiful beveled subway tiles. Still waiting on the cabinet to be built around the fireplace.





Up close of bee-yoo-tee-ful crystal handles:


And awesome granite countertops + sink hardware:


Other downstairs bathroom:



Downstairs bedroom that was nearly impossible to get a picture of. It's cool, trust me:


Me on giant fur beanbag:


As this bedroom doesn't have a closet, Mama found a phenomenal armoire:


Aaaaaaaaaand the bunk beds for the kids' room haven't been built yet, so that room is still to come!

That's all I have for you today! Tomorrow morning I'll get some good pictures of the deck area all furnished; the ones I took at night are almost impossible to see. Hooray for Bastrop!