Running the fine line between too hard and too easy

Friday, July 25, 2008

Furniture Shopping = Unneccessary Stress

It's a sofa. At most 100 inches long and 41 inches deep. But why is it more complicated to shop for such a sofa than say... a house? Mr. W and I have decided it's time to have grown up furniture in our living room. While I am really happy about this decision, I know that this is a long road (one we are already 1/4 of the way down) ahead.

We went to look around a few Sundays ago. We visited four different furniture stores to brainstorm and see what Mr. W likes and dislikes. The verdict:
--It must have a "comfy" arm for him to rest his head
--The length of the couch is crucial for enjoying a movie together
--Even more important is the depth for the same reason
--It should be tailored, but not too stuffy looking
--No skirts. Whatsoever.

So, all in all, it was a productive day to learn what we both liked and where to go from there. But then the idea of price came out. Mr. W is convinced that all furniture is over-priced. I would totally agree with him, but I concede under the "if you can't beat them, join them" ideals. We did find one Club Sofa from Martha Stewart's Bernhardt line that we both liked. But then Mr. W challenged me to find it the same look for less money (honestly, it was very reasonably priced to begin with, but we'll let that be for now).

Well, a couple of weeks went by. We randomly stopped by an Ethan Allen store last Sunday and Mr. W was drawn to a sofa in the store. And it's gorgeous! And, much to my surprise, he wanted to go ahead and discuss sealing the deal on the awesome sofa ("But...honey...this one is twice as much as the other one...oh...nothing...just saying..never mind! We'll take it!")

So, there you have it. That is the 1/4 of the journey down this road we have taken. Mr. W is playing in Vegas this weekend, so hopefully I can get him into the EA store next week before he changes his mind and we can have a huge check off the list! After the sofa, it's all downhill, right? (Dear Blogging Lords, please don't let me regret typing that last part...)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

My favorite salad

This summer I have been loving making my own salad dressing. I just started doing this, so my dressings have been pretty basic vinaigrette. One night though, everything came together perfectly and I created my new favorite salad.

2 chicken breasts
baby spinach
seedless cucumber
green pepper
grated Parmesan cheese

To prepare the chicken:

Brine the chicken for a few hours (you can prepare the brine bath before work and let it soak all day). Remove from the brine bath and grill (no need for seasoning). Once finished on the grill, let sit for 2-5 minutes to rest. Cut the chicken into strips.

To prepare the dressing:

When I started reading about vinaigrette, I read about how french chefs prepare the dressing in the base of the bowl first and then toss the salad in the dressing. It makes great sense because you can control the amount of salad dressing and it gives you a place to emulsify the dressing. So, start off by getting a large glass bowl. Pour one tbsp. of olive oil, 4 shakes of the balsamic vinegar bottle (this is very technical obviously), the juice of a lemon, oregano, parsley, and garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. I say to taste because really this is just what I like and I threw in my favorite ingredients. Whisk all the ingredients together and you'll notice it takes on an entirely different texture and look!

Once the dressing is prepared, cut up the cucumber, dice the green pepper and throw the spinach and veggies into the bowl with the chicken and toss to coat. Top it off with some Parmesan cheese. It's so simple to make!

Just have fun experimenting. That's what life is all about :)

2nd Best Investment for the Garage

A year ago we were busying buying new gadgets and gizmo's for the yard and house. And the garage was quickly becoming a death trap of random stuff all over the place. We knew we needed to get it into check and quickly. Enter the Rubbermaid Fast Track system. We found it at Home Depot and not only is it incredibly affordable compared to other options in the store, it is so versatile and easy to install! Mr. W installed 4 tracks and we had started to organize the garage within 3 hours. It's a year later and it's still awesome. We've added another Fast Track on the 3rd wall and more stuff is off the floor now. We still have more organizing to do with the garage, but this was most definitely a very large step in the (now clear to walk through) direction.

FYI--The total cost for everything you see here was roughly $400 including the red tool chest and 2 door cabinet for storing paint and supplies.

Oh, and why is this the 2nd best investment and not the first? Stay Tuned...