coffee grinders

Our coffee maker, which we use during the week, broke down, so I’ve been doing some diligent research on which coffee maker we should invest in to make our mornings happy.

We had the Cuisinart DGB-650BC grind and brew thermal 10 cup programmable coffee maker with a thermal carafe. Unfortunately, we’ve already exchanged this guy once. The grinder decided to stopped working after about a year. We also replaced the carafe because it would leak every time we would pour a cup, but the new carafe did the same thing. No love. This past week the coffee maker started leaking water, so I figured it was time for new design altogether. It’s been hard.

I decided to downgrade and convert to a simpler coffee maker.  It’s like those TV’s with both a VCR and DVD in them.  It sounds like a great idea until one of them breaks, and now you need to get an external DVD player, too. I went with the simple Cuisinart DTC-975BKN Thermal 12-cup programmable coffee maker. This guy just makes coffee with grounds, in a 12-cup glass carafe. It works perfect. It pours perfect. And for $40.00 less, I was a big fan.

But now I’m down a coffee grinder.  I needed one that would work well with a coffee maker and a French press to grind coffee beans accordingly. Plus, I didn’t want to spend more than $40.00 for it…

These are some of the options:

Bodum Bistro is so cute and compact!  It comes in various colors for $34.99. The downfall is that it makes only 2 cups of beans and has no type of external container.

The DeLonghi KG49 coffee grinder $39.99 – makes 4-12 cups and shuts off automatically. It also has a removable ground coffee container for your freshly ground beans.

The Cuisinart Grind Central Coffee Grinder $29.99 – a handsome little guy that claims to grind enough beans to make 18 cups of coffee.  It also has a removable container with lid to store your grounds which is also dishwasher safe.

Lastly the Intelligent Coffee and Spice Grinder by Toastess $39.99 – Grinds 2-12 cups of coffee and spices too.

Honestly, they all are great.  They all have a one-touch feature to work those beans, and most have a retractable cord making it as compact as possible! I really wanted the Bodum grinder for the cuteness factor but decided on the Cuisinart grinder for practical reasons.  Plus, I liked the ability to remove the container from the grinder.  Grounds can be messy so any way to reduce the mess, I’m in! The grinders are a little on the big side, but for the price I think it works great!

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend!

givin’ blood

This Sunday our church was having a blood drive after the service, and I was so excited to donate!! Not only is it for a good cause (I saved helped three people) but yes, it was my number ONE on my 33 before 33 list! I honestly thought I wasn’t going to be able to donate because I answered “yes” to having had an aspirin within the last 48 hours! But luckily I was good to go!

If you haven’t donated, make sure to wear warm clothes. I was in a dress and super cold!  After going through the registration and questionnaire, I was set to donate. The phlebotomist said I didn’t have that great of veins, which is always great to hear as a first timer.

“Did anyone ever tell you, you have small veins?” Nope, this is my first time donating! I’m real excited and a little nervous.

“Okay. You’ll feel a stick and a burn.” Okay. Wow, is that a 16 gauge? “Yes, it’s big.”

And I start.


Meanwhile the husband registered, did his questionnaire, and got hooked up. He started about 5 minutes after me and finished about 10 minutes before me!

I was told “I’m not a bleeder”, which is funny because I always wondered where my patients got the notion to say “I’m a free bleeder”. I chuckle everytime I here it! After a while of slowly bleeding out (ha ha, that sounds gory), they gave me a glove to squeeze hoping to speed up the process.

It worked well considering my “small veins” and “slow donation” situation. I’m sure many have donated before but I’m glad I have and will probably do it again.  Maybe I’ll try my left arm next time?!?

we got a pool!!

Ever since I told Boston we were moving into a house, on his wish list has been a pool! We didn’t want a real one (don’t tell Boston) but we’ve been hunting for a little pool for him to enjoy especially before it heats up. We got one this weekend at Dollar General, though a little too small, he absolutely loved it! We’re on the hunt for a bigger one but this will have to do.

Otis wasn’t too sure about all this wetness! But Boston loved it!

Otis just watched and tried to avoid getting splashed!

Boston had a great time putting his football in…

And out!

Then we filled it up again.

Then more splashing and footballs in and out!

With all the fun Boston was having, we wanted Otis to join in!  We put his ball in the pool… and here’s him gingerly getting it out.

He was not a fan! How dare we put his ball in the pool!!

I hope everyone is enjoying their own pools, big or small, in-ground or plastic!

oh, nat-ur-al!

I did it!  I took the plunge on Friday and dyed my hair back to it’s (mostly) natural color. As close-to-a-bottle-of-hair-dye-could-provide natural color.  It took a little encouragement from a friend, a cousin, and a hairdresser (do you call them that?) to get the job done but it’s a fun new change! Gosh, I cannot believe my hair could possibly be this dark!

Usually, I would schedule my hair appointments every 6-8 weeks, and for the past three visits, I would tell my hairdresser, “I want to go natural”.

He would say okay. Are you sure?

I then would pause, and say, “no, the usual, please!”

He and I would laugh, and I would be blonde for another month and a half.

This time it was different, I had my 33 before 33 in mind, and I wanted a change, a big change! Like Carrie in the first Sex in the City movie!

Below is a picture of me semi-panicked as Blue (my hairdresser) mixes up the color!

Here goes nothing…

Processed and waiting for style. Still questioning, what was I thinking?!?

All in all I’m really happy I did it. For one, I think I look more like a mix of my parents. I have my mom’s eyes and smile and apparently her hair, too. I love that my eyes look more green than just brown and my skin tone seems to match better; who knew?!

And here’s the final, with a little curl.

I thought this would save us some money, but now I get to explore a whole new color scheme in makeup and wardrobe… eek!


This week went by super fast with work and all our evening plans, so I haven’t had time to catch up and write about last weekend’s activities! We had more visitors!! I could definitely get used to this!

The husband’s parents came down to see us and the progress of our home. I think they were really impressed with all we have done, considering they haven’t seen it (in person) since we moved in! It was also nice to revisit all the changes we have made and realize just how much we have accomplished! Our official list is here.

When they got in Friday, we stayed in and made turkey burgers and enjoyed the beautiful weather outside!

The next morning, they woke up to scones and French pressed coffee, of course!! We then headed out to watch some baseball!

For a moment I thought I was back in Wisconsin?!?!?

The Rangers lost, but we had a great time anyway! Plus, the weather was fantastic! 70’s and overcast – we could not have wished for better weather!

That evening we took them to Frankies, a wonderful Mexican Restuarant in the area which is steps away from my favorite ice cream shop, Fire Fly! We had to introduce them to both!

Trying to save room for ice cream…

Sunday we spent relaxing. We introduced them to our favorite sushi restaurant (our treat for Mother’s Day) and made one trip to Home Depot for Arlyn’s help with some electrical work!

All-in-all another great weekend! It always goes WAY too fast!!

pinster style

I’ve loved the idea of Pinterest for a long time. I first logged into Pinterest in 2009, not knowing quite how the whole thing worked, but I loved the idea of endless arrays of pictures at your fingertips.  Since then, actually within the last couple of months, I figured it all out, and it has been such a wonderful way to research ideas for my home, wardrobe, and recipes.  One pin that I frequently receive ‘likes’ and ‘repins’ on is my DIY brush holder.  I first found it on Pinterest and wanted to make my own.

My inspiration: here.

I went out to Hobby Lobby when they were having one of their many sales. 50% off all vases! Score! I swooped up this great square vase for only $4.00!

I then went into my kitchen cabinet to find some coffee beans. I know this is sac-religious to coffee lovers, but trust me on this one!

I then filled the vase about 1/2 full of coffee beans. I wanted to make a pot of coffee right then and there; don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Collect all of your make-up brushes.  Yes, I seem to have a lot of them?!? And yes, my blush brush has been attack by a young yellow lab who will remain nameless. And finally no, I don’t use half of them but they are so fun to have around… just in case.

Assemble to your liking!

Shifting around the brushes when you are getting ready releases such a wonderful coffee aroma; you’ll be ready for the day… and a cup of joe!

turkey burgers

We purchased The Dolce Living Lean Cookbook and have been really surprised just how delicious the recipes have been.  They focus on lean organic alternatives and here’s our rendition of turkey burgers.



  • 1/2 lb. lean turkey (we do 93% lean fresh organic ground turkey)
  • 1/4 cup oat bran
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire
  • 1 dash each of sea salt, pepper and oregano

In a larger bowl, combine everything and mix well. It looks a little scary. 

Shape into 4 to 5 palm-sized patties.

The husband places aluminum foil, lightly sprayed on the grill so the patties don’t fall through.

Cover, over indirect medium heat for 4-6 minutes on each side or until meat is no longer pink inside. Add cheese if desired.

Serve on bun or wrap.

Optional toppings

  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Sliced Tomato
  • Dill Pickles
  • Avocado
  • Cheese
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
Enjoy!! This is a great burger!

garage sale & cottonwood

Yep, we did it; we had our first garage sale ever! It was a solid day’s work, but I think it was worth the effort to de-clutter our house and make a few extra bucks.

Sitting around watching people rummage through our things and negotiate deals, I thought up ten pertinent things for anyone wanting to host their own garage sale. I referenced Restored Style, too.

Top 10 Thing (I learned to do) for a Successful Garage Sale

1. Signage – I would make the signs first!  I love art and drawing, but I waited to make my signs until Friday night at 11 pm, making them a little less appealing to the eye. Next time, I would make them first. Also, put yourself out there on Craigslist and in the local newspaper to get even more people at your sale.

2. Have a friend – I had my spouse, and honestly would have thrown the stickers out the window, if he wasn’t helping. The prep work can get long and tedious, but it’s more doable with a friend. It’s nice to have someone the day of the sale, too. To help stay close to the cash, answer questions, make lunch or get drinks, and make sure no one is stealing. We lost one portable mouse when we only had one person watching the sale. 

3. Price to sell – Sometimes the price we think is super reasonable is outrageous to the buyer; it’s not personal, just the way it is. Make sure you make adjustments to your prices throughout your sale. We reduced prices on items if we saw a lot of interest (items being picked up, etc.) but no sale.

4. Buy Prefab Stickers – I bought stickers that were pre-priced and blank stickers at the Dollar Tree. They worked perfect and were a lot less work than putting every number on each item. Also, work with quarters and dollars. Anything worth less than 0.25 cents, I put as free. It’s just easier to deal with than having nickels, dimes, and pennies in your cashbox.

5. Clump like items – When setting up your garage sale, people like the department store feel. Kitchen items on one table, electronics on another. It’s also easier to monitor. I would put the more pricey electronics on a table closer to where you are sitting.

6. Bags – Have a couple of plastic shopping bags available for people that buy multiple items. If people know they can walk away in one trip, they are willing to buy more goods.

7. Negotiate and Bundle – Be willing to negotiate; it’s a garage sale, and the items made it outside your home for a reason. Let someone enjoy your goods. If they want it for $3 not $5, I say sell. Also, let your spouse or friend know which items you won’t budge on. I had a couple of BCBG and J.Crew dresses priced at 20.00, which was my lowest price and Paul knew it. Otherwise, if you notice a person interested in a couple items make an offer. (Watch American Pickers, Frank’s the bundle master!) They come to your garage sale for a deal and a couple dollars off two items is huge! Be willing to be a salesperson.

8. Weather – Watch the forecast! This I know personally. Friday afternoon when I was setting up for the sale, I didn’t check the forecast, until there were thunder clouds rolling in; we had to move everything we set out into the garage. Also, in Dallas, I will schedule my next garage sale in March or April. This weekend, it was already in the 90’s, and humid! It was already hard for individuals to handle being outside for too long.  

9. Get Cash – I went to the bank prior to the sale and withdrew $70.00; $40.00 in $5.00, $20.00 in $1.00 and a roll of quarters. This was really nice to have to make change.

10. After Sale – Assess what you have left. I put my items in three categorizes.

  • Craigslist – Items that I think could still sell to the right buyer.
  • Donate – Things that were just not that great to put back into the house! De-clutter! We itemized our donations (use garage sale prices) for tax purposes.  Every little bit helps!
  • Store or Reinvent – This is a hard category. Try your best to really assess and reassess what you bring back into the house.  We had all but a basket left after our sale, and I couldn’t be more pleased.

I think this does it for the start of my de-cluttering adventure. It’s honestly so nice to start working towards being a little bit of a minimalist.

After all of our work, we made it to the annual Cottonwood Festival, which is just down the street from our house. It’s artist from all over the US coupled with live music. It’s cheap, fun entertainment.

I actually sprung for some artwork, too! Two prints; one for our kitchen and one for our entry! Maybe it was the extra cash from the garage sale that make me say “let’s?!?” But I’m really happy we got some solid art.  It was great to talk with the artist as well. He explained his thoughts on each piece, which was an extra special touch.

Sunday, I was able to frame it, and the husband hung it! It was a great team effort!

Otherwise, I’ll leave you with this lovely picture of the ducks at Cottonwood Park… they were enjoying the festivities as much as we were.

I hope everyone else had a productive and satisfying weekend, too!

false hope

Due to a recent influx of Asian viewer(s), I figured I would share my love for all things Asian. While I would love to believe my blog is SO great that it’s starting to gain serious international interest (153 international views in one week), it was quite disappointing to discover that they were all coming from a couple of IP addresses; yes, it appears I have a “SUPER FAN” in South Korea.

Nonetheless, my love for Asian design, cooking, and a certain best friend have not changed. Here are a few of my favorite things. I’m sure there are more, but these are a few favorites that come… to mind…

Lettuce Wraps.


Zen Design.

Fortune Cookies. (which I realize are more American than Asian)

Chinese Buddha and Buddha looking babies.

Crab Rangoon. (Really, any greasy Chinese food!)

One of my best friends and wasabi loving partners.

Next week, I’m going to attempt to re-create her mother’s lettuce wraps from her intense recipe!  I’m so excited but SO nervous she won’t be here to help!

*All photos sourced from Pinterest and Google.

florence + the machine

no designing. no cooking. Because I got to see this lady live, last night!!

She’s poetic and therapeutic and I swear her whole album was made only for me. He he. If you ever get a chance, go see her! She speaks to your soul and she’s absolutely amazing!