What I Pinned: Pinterest January 2012

I've put together a round up of pins from January. Obviously I liked everything I pinned or I wouldn't have pinned it, but I've forced myself to pick my top 10...follow my boards & you can see them all. Lucky you!

From top; left to right:

1. DIY headboard. If you read What I Love About Our Bedroom, you'd see we desperately need a headboard. Trying to decide between this look and one made of wooden shutters, like this.

2. Pouf from west elm. It's gray, we need furniture and I'm totally loving this pattern.

3. Shipping pallet repurpose. Just a wicked cute idea.

4. Charlie Hunnam. New (crush) TV obsession: Sons of Anarchy. Need to watch Season 4.

5. White kitchen. Really loving white kitchens - white tile backsplash, barn lighting & butcher block counter tops.

6. Baby kangaroo print. Collecting ideas for a future baby's room. This print is perfect.

7. Maggie Jones's. Restaurant in London we recently had dinner. It was phenomenal. Add it to your travel pins.

8. Vintage crates. Love this vintage look.

9. Amazing body. Will you look at those abs? This is some much needed workout motivation!

10. Kara Paslay's bathroom reno. Cute, eclectic and functional.

Hope you liked my January pins! What will I pin in February? I don't know, but check back & find out, or just follow my boards!


What are your favorite pins you've pinned recently on pinterest? Enough uses of the word pin for ya? 

What I Love About Our Bedroom

What I love about our bedroom...
  • Kylie lounging in the sun
  • LOVE our fresh gray walls!
  • My mercury glass lamp
  • The candle my sister bought me for Christmas...smells so good!
  • The sunlight that fills the room in the afternoon - unfortunately I miss this five days a week while I'm at work, but I'll take what I can get
  • The clean slate we have to work with

What I do not love about our bedroom...
  • Our bedspread. It's just a stand in until I find a white one that works. I wanted the parachute duvet from west elm, but they don't have it sad. So I'll be pinning like mad until I can find something similar, that doesn't cost a million dollars
  • The size of our works for Jon and I, but lately Ky's been sneaking in and trying to sleep with us at night and there is not enough room for two people + a dog in a full size bed
  • how much work it needs...cuz work = $! I've got a lot of ideas, most of them on pinterest, just need to figure out how to make them fit in our budget

But it's come along since we first moved in...Kylie even changed positions, well she's looking in a different direction at least!


What do you love about your bedroom? What don't you love about it? Do you have a dog who loves to sleep in your bed too?


11 Hours in Paris

I mentioned our whirlwind trip to Paris in my London post, but wanted to share some more photos & details about the trip. I've been wanting to go to Paris for as long as I can remember, so when I found out it was only about two hours by train from London, I had to book tickets. Some people thought we were nuts to only go for a few hours, but we didn't care, we just wanted to see it - and we were so glad that we did. I had gotten some suggestions from a few friends and colleagues so we'd have some idea of things to see and do, other than the Eiffel Tower. Since we had a limited time, we were reminded not to just jam in as much as possible, but to take time to take it all in and enjoy the experience (and the food & wine!). That little reminder definitely helped, and made us feel better about not seeing all the typical sites.

We booked the second train out of London to maximize our short time in Paris. I slept the entire way there, so it literally was the blink of an eye and we were pulling into Gare du Nord.

We were so excited to embark on our 11 hour journey, but our excitement was quickly overcome by confusion when we tried to read the Paris Metro map. Let me preface this by saying Jon and I have been taking public transportation to and from work for more than five years...and this thing still confused the heck out of us. After five minutes staring and trying to decipher the map as if it were written in Chinese characters, we finally got it and were on our way!

What the?!?!
We paid too much for a map of the city and began wandering. Saw the Opera house...

...stopped at Laduree, renowned for their macarons, and enjoyed Praline and Pear & Chesnut macarons. They were freakin fabulous!

We kept walking and arrived at the Place de la Concorde, where we got our first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower in all it's metallic glory...

We were pretty hungry since we'd only each had a croissant on the Eurostar, so we decided to go to Angelina Tea Room, recommended by multiple people. We were told to try their hot chocolate. OhhEmmGeee it was the most ridiculously amazing hot chocolate I have ever had in my life! It was literally a liquidy version of a melted bar of chocolate. It was to die for, but you can only drink a little. Along with the cup, they give you a large teapot full of more hot chocolate, and a very small cup of fresh whipped cream. Needless to say we left most of the pot sitting on the table because our stomachs couldn't handle it. But everyone should experience that hot chocolate in their lifetime!

Here are a few other things we did...

Saw the Louvre...

Walked through the Tuileries Gardens...

And up the Champs Elysees...

to the Arc de Triomphe...

Drank Pinot Noir & ate a plate of French cheeses...

At this point it was starting to get a little dark, so we decided we'd go see the Eiffel Tower from a closer angle. We went to the Trocadero Metro stop since we were told this was the place to go for the best view. We got to street level, rounded the corner of the building and there it was!

It was one of the most amazing things I've ever witnessed. I can't even describe my feelings at the time. I was just in such awe. It was really beautiful all lit up in the night sky. We just stood there for 10 minutes taking tons of photos and just admiring the tower when all of a sudden, the flickering lights came on. The tower has 20,000 lights that flash for five minutes every hour. I didn't realize this when we arrived, but since we stayed for less than an hour, there was the definite possibility that we could have missed it. SO glad we didn't. It was fantastic. Unfortunately when I looked into booking a trip up to the top, there wasn't a time available until February, so my dream of French kissing at the top of the Eiffel Tower will have to wait until next time! :-) I will tell you it was very romantic being there to see the lights twinkle together...awwwww.

Sadly our time in Paris was coming to a close so we decided to stop in one more place for a beer and some munchies before we left. I don't remember the name of the place we went, but they had the best charcuterie plate! We shared a table with some French women, had a few beers and then made our way back to the train station, deciding that we'd definitely be back in Paris some day!

Here's are just a few places I'd go if I were you...
  • Eat a macaron at Laduree
  • Drink the hot chocolate at Angelina on Rue de Rivoli
  • See the Eiffel Tower lit up at night. Go to Trocadero for the best view! Then climb to the top.
  • Find a cafe to enjoy some Pinot Noir and a cheese plate
  • Go to Sainte Chapelle - I didn't get to go, but I read about it on our way out the Arc de Triomphe and it looked amazing!
  • Take a cruise on the Seine
  • Visit Montmartre
  • Explore the Latin Quarter
  • Take it all in & enjoy yourself!

Have you been to Paris? What was your favorite part? Any suggestions for future visitors?

Bringing Home Homegoods

Here's what I bought yesterday...

a silver mirrored cabinet from Homegoods (among other things!). To say I love Homegoods is an understatement. It's one of my favorite places to shop for my house. Since we just recently moved into our first home, we need A LOT of furniture. As I was browsing the aisles, this piece immediately caught my eye and I had to buy it. Now I have to figure out where to put it! Family room? Bedroom? Not sure, but I don't care where it goes because I love it!


Have any fab Homegoods finds you'd like to share? Where's your favorite place to shop for your home?


I See London...and it's Love at First Sight

I've had a lifelong love of travel. I traveled a lot growing up, both within North America & the Caribbean, but always desired to visit Europe.  I'm lucky in that my job has provided the opportunity to fulfill some of my travel dreams. I work for a student travel company and in 2008 I took one of our tours to Barcelona, Provence, the south of France, Florence & Rome. It was thrilling. Compared to many people I know,  I haven't been to too many places, but many more people never get to Europe at all, so for that I'm thankful.

Jon & I, Venice, Italy 2010
In July 2010 I was able to cross more of Italy off my bucket list when my husband and I honeymooned throughout the country, stopping in Venice, Florence, Rome & ending on the Amalfi Coast. It was a busy trip full of "adventures," (often tiny mishaps along the way, but we kept it positive) but it was also amazing & unforgettable.

Recently I had the opportunity again to travel with my company, this time to London, a place I'd never been before. To be honest London wasn't at the top of my list, it was on it, but after places like Paris, Austria, Prague, Morocco and Peru – have you seen photos of Machu Picchu?? But I was thrilled with the chance to explore a new international city…and the upcoming Olympic destination!

Jon & I outside Parliament Square, London
When the work part of the trip ended, Jon flew over to join me & we began exploring together. I had not realized how much there was to see & do in London! You could seriously spend two weeks there and just scratch the surface. Being a travel whore I craved visiting another city too, so imagine my delight when I realized that Paris-one of my all-time bucket list cities-was only 2 hours away on the Eurostar. So we booked a day trip there as well. Although we missed a day in London as a result, the teasing taste of Paris was so delicious it was totally worth it. More about Paris later, but for now, here are some more pics of the places we saw:

Tower Bridge from the River Thames, London
Sunset in Trafalgar Square, London

Outside Parliament Square, London

Big Ben, London
London was pretty incredible. One of the main things I love about exploring a new city, besides eating and drinking my way through the culture is admiring the architecture. Everything is just so much older and the buildings are so gorgeous! People would be out for a run and I'd think how crazy it is to run past all this beauty and history every day, admittedly I also felt kinda lazy having not worked out consistently in months - whoops! So Jon and I spent tons of time just walking around and admiring our surroundings. Jon visited the Imperial War Museum, which he said was pretty cool, but otherwise we spent tons of time just walking around, taking photos, stopping in pubs, etc.

I won't bore you to tears with the drawn out details of our trip, but I will tell you about a few places I'd suggest visiting in London.

For Lunch, Try Pret a Manger
Ok so it's a chain, but it's SO good! Pret serves freshly made, natural sandwiches, wraps, soups, salads and other delicious goodies...and for cheap! The average sandwich is around £3. I grabbed lunch here almost every day. Try the hoison duck wrap, the curry lime pickle crisps and a ginger beer. If you can't make it to London, there are a few locations in the US you can try. Hopefully they'll open up a location in Boston soon!

When You're Ready for Dinner...

Head Over to Maggie Jones's
Such an adorable little place Maggie Jones's was! And the food was delicious. They brought over their specials on a tall blackboard lit by candle light - adorable! The lights were low and the atmosphere was  warm and romantic. We tried the tart of the day, which was spinach & almond - it was devine!

We actually ate at that booth in the middle of the photo!
photo via Maggie Jones's
For Dessert go to Kettner's; the Strawberry Pavlova is absolutely incredible. Probably one of the best desserts I've ever had...and it didn't even have chocolate in it!

If you do eat at Maggie Jones's, take a stroll around the block to The Churchill Arms for a drink. Try the honey brown lager on tap. SO good!

For a glass of wine, an adorable and unique spot you can sip some vino is Gordon's Wine Bar. It's on a roadway between Charring Cross and Embankment stations, down a narrow staircase. We didn't actually stay for a drink because it was happy hour on a Thursday and extremely crowded, but it was suggested to me by multiple people so I'd definitely go there on another trip. They had marinated olives, meats and cheeses to munch on too.

After Gordon's you can walk through Embankment station and up onto the nearby bridge for a beautiful view over the water.

In terms of the sights, of course visit the big ones, Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, Buckingham Palace, Parliament/Big Ben. I was actually planning to go up in the London Eye and was super bummed to find out that it was closed the week we were there, so I'd suggest doing that if you go.

If you like architecture like me, go to the Royal Courts of Justice to take some pics. I didn't try to venture inside, but the outside was so cool. I saw it on a bus tour and had to go back to see it up close and take some pics of my own.

Gate outside the Royal Courts of Justice

The last awesome places to tell you about are the bars in the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel in St. Pancras Station. This is the station where major trains come and go, including the Eurostar to Paris. There are two amazing bars in the station, Booking Office and the Gilbert Scott. They are both wonderful and need to be seen. The Booking Office is grand, with Victorian architecture, incredibly high ceilings and upscale drinks, including punches in immense copper punch bowls. The Gilbert Scott is intimate and has the most amazing chandelier made of bells. Also in the hotel is the actual staircase featured in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," for all you fans.

Staircase seen in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Chandelier inside Gilbert Scott. Isn't it awesome?!

And just for fun, me in a telephone booth...

Paris next...


Have you been to London? Share your tips below!


Chicken with Israeli Couscous, Spinach & Feta

I hate cooking. I don't know what it is but I just find it stressful, I hate the mess it makes (prob got that from my mom!) and I am usually awful at it. So Jon does most of the cooking in our house (while I drink the wine). I do however love to bake and am pretty good at that.

But, I stumbled across this recipe by searching for recipes with some ingredients I already had on hand - chicken & Israeli couscous. Israeli couscous is so much better than regular couscous, by the way. This dinner was super easy to make and ended up being edible (which is always a plus!) and actually pretty tasty. It was filling & healthy too. Thought I'd share the wealth. Forgive the horrible iPhone photo, but that's all I had with me. Plus food usually doesn't photograph that well when I'm behind the camera anyway.

The only thing I would change is to eliminate a little of the lemon juice. It was really lemony...I think that was from the dressing I put on at the end, so I'd probably do slightly less than that. Otherwise...yum!

Chicken with Israeli Couscous, Spinach and Feta
2 servings

1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 (6 to 8 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
Table salt and ground black pepper
3 TBL olive oil
3/4 cup Israeli couscous
1 shallot, minced (about 3 TBL) - I used regular onions b/c we didn't have shallots 
3 garlic cloves, minced (about 3 TBL)
1/2 tsp grated zest plus 3 TBL fresh juice from 1 lemon
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
6 oz baby spinach (about 6 cups)
2 oz feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Place the flour in a shallow dish. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt & pepper. Working with one breast at a time, dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off excess.

2. Heat 1 TBL of the oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Lay the chicken breasts in the skillet and cook until well browned on the first side, 6 to 8 minutes. Flip and reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook until the thickest part of the breast registers 160 to 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 6 to 8 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken to a plate, tent loosely with foil, and let rest in the warm oven while prepping the couscous.

3. Wipe out the skillet with a wad of paper towels. Add 1 TBL oil and the couscous to the skillet and toast over medium heat until light golden, about 2 minutes. Stir in the shallot, 2 tsp of the garlic, 1/4 tsp of the lemon zest, and 1/8 tsp of the pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

4. Stir in the broth and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, until the liquid is absorbed and the couscous is al dente, 8 to 10 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, whisk 1 TBL of the lemon juice, remaining 1 TBL of oil, remaining 1 tsp garlic, remaining 1/4 tsp lemon zest and remaining 1/8 tsp pepper flakes together in a small bowl.

6. Stir in the spinach, one handful at a time, into the skillet and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in the feta and remaining 1 TBL lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the couscous between two plates and top with the chicken. Drizzle with the lemon juice mixture, serve and enjoy!

Do you have any quick go to recipes to make after work? Share with me!



Sneak Peek: London & Paris

Details on our trip to London & Paris coming soon. In the meantime, here are a few of my favorite photos from our trip...

Hotel Russell, Russell Square, London

Signs, London
Tower Bridge from the River Thames, London

Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich

National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
Trafalgar Square, London

Big Ben, London

Champs Elysees, Paris

Arc de Triomphe, Paris

Tour Eiffel, Paris

Tower Bridge, London

Tower Bridge, London