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Thursday, October 25, 2012


Last week I showed y’all my newly painted entry table and shared my plan to make my front entry a little more inviting. That’s great (and much needed) once people are inside the house, but what about the outside? What kind of impression is the front porch giving?

Yikes! That’s definitely NOT an inviting area! Lots of leaves, weeds, and even the welcome mat is askew (it’s been like that for weeks…I didn’t do it to make the before picture look worse). Needless to say, my front porch needed a little TLC.
I started by sweeping off the concrete, pulling weeds and picking up leaves…oh and straightening that mat! I added planters that I found at Garden Ridge ($9.99/each) and filled them with snap dragons. I want to add more to both of the planters, but this will do for now. The whole thing was kind of a last minute plan, so I ended up running into Lowe’s and grabbing the first flowers that were pretty and cheap ($3/each).

I also bought a new wreath for the front door. It’s from Michael’s and was priced $34.99. Of course I used a coupon (40% off), so I only paid $20.00. I thought that was a great deal plus the eucalyptus smells amazing.

Also in the front yard, my bougainvillea was due for a haircut. It’s the only plant in the front yard (besides a palm tree) and it’s a beast! I’ve never watered it, but it continues to grow like crazy. I have to trim it up almost every month!  

I usually butcher the poor thing, but this time it turned out pretty even. It’ll be looking crazy again in a few weeks. 

So the front makeover isn’t quite finished - I still want to add more flowers to the planters and I’d love to find a bench for the front entry, but I think we can all agree that it’s a lot more welcoming. It doesn’t look like a foreclosed and abandoned house anymore. And now that the weather is cooling down, you’ll probably see a lot more outdoor projects on here. Thank God the 100+ degree weather is over!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pinterest Recipe Week 3 Review

Last Monday I announced that it was Pinterest Recipe Week – meaning that I was only going to cook dinner from recipes I’ve recently pinned. Everything turned out pretty good, but only a few of the recipes earned a spot in my recipe binder. Before I crap on any recipes I want to say that these are just our opinions. You might like something we didn’t like or vice versa. That’s what makes food fun; everyone is different.


I love pizza and I love garlic, so this was the perfect dish for me! I used meat from a rotisserie chicken and made the pizza dough with one of those pre-made mixes, so this was a really easy and quick dish to make. I really liked the idea of using Philadelphia Cooking Crème as the sauce.  The only sketchy part was that I forgot to add the cheese until the last 3 minutes of cooking time! Oops – I guess I was too eager to get back to my Sons of Anarchy marathon! Anyway, this was definitely a keeper!
Cooking Note: I followed the temperature and cooking time directions on my package of dough mix, not the recipe.


The steak skewers had a lot of flavor and were good, but I probably wouldn’t make them again. No particular reason…there just wasn’t anything special about them.
The broccoli was delicious! I really like how the oven cooks the broccoli – it’s crispy and not mushy. Plus the roasted garlic gives it such a good flavor.

Shrimp with Spicy Garlic Sauce and Rice

So, I didn’t follow this recipe very well…I ended up buying a bag of green beans that you cook in the microwave. They turn out perfect every time and I didn’t want to mess with steaming them. Also, I’m allergic (supposedly) to sesame seeds so I left out the sesame oil and sesame seeds. I used a Thai chili sauce that is amazing, but not very spicy so my Spicy Garlic Sauce wasn’t spicy at all. That being said, this was good, but I think I’ll stick was garlic butter or just the Thai chili sauce next time I need a quick shrimp dish.  

California Club Quesadilla

Good, but nothing special…I think it would be better if you used the avocado to make guacamole instead of stuffing it in the quesadilla – it would at least give it more flavor. I think I’ll stick to my usual quesadilla recipe – cheese, chicken, grilled onions, and bacon served with guacamole and sour cream.

I didn’t get a chance to make the Southwest Crispy Chicken Sliders and Baked French Fries this week. Last night we ended up having dinner with my boyfriend’s family to celebrate his grandma’s birthday. I still have all of the ingredients, so I’m going to make it this week. I’ll update this post later to include my review.


I have a confession to make: this was my first time trying Nutella…I know! I’m the last blogger on earth to eat Nutella. Anyway, I made these cookies to take to work and they were a hit! They had more of a brownie texture than cookie texture, but I wouldn’t say that’s a bad thing. I’ll definitely make these again!
Cooking Note: After reading some of the comments I decided to add 1 tbsp milk to my mixture and only use half of the sugar in the recipe. BUT I did sprinkle the top of the cookies with sugar before I baked them.

So, the recipes that earned a spot in my infamous binder are:
Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza
Roasted Broccoli with Smashed Garlic
Nutella Cookies

Has anyone else tried a recipe they've pinned? Leave any recommendations in the comments section - I'm always looking for new dishes!


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Insta-16: Take Two

It’s time for another round of Instagram pictures! You can see the first round here
If you have an account, you can follow me at: SAMTJH22.  If not, this recap is for you! I’ve rounded up my last 16 Instagram pictures for you here today. Yes, it’s been 2 months since my last recap post. And yes, that means it took me 2 months to take 16 pictures on Instagram.
As I mentioned in the last post, my plan is to share a pretty collage of all the pictures and then pick my top 5 in different categories: Abby, Ringo, Cutest Couple (Ringo and Abby), Yummy (Food or Drink), and Wildcard (Non-Food and Non-Puppy).
OK, enough talk! Here’s the second round of Instagram pictures:

As usual, lots of puppy pictures. It was hard to pick favorites, but here they are:


Abby loves to cuddle and believes that she’s a little lap dog. As soon as I sit on the couch, she jumps into my lap. When I’m watching TV in bed, she crawls across my lap/chest or snuggles up next to me. This picture was taken one Saturday morning while I tried to watch TV in bed and she slept across my chest.  


“Destroying everything in the backyard is exhausting!”

Cutest Couple

Look at those faces! It’s hard to get a good picture of them together, looking at the camera without bribing them with treats – this must have been my lucky night!


Fondue! My boyfriend and I had a fondue date night at The Melting Pot courtesy of a Living Social deal. It was an expensive meal (even with the deal), but it was SOOOO good and so much fun.


Did you know I was at Disneyland exactly 2 weeks ago? Yep, we were in California for a wedding and decided to spend a day at Disneyland. I’ve never been there in October, so it was my first time seeing everything decorated for Halloween. This is the entrance to the Haunted Mansion in all its Halloween glory. And this was the last picture I took before my cell phone battery died…

OK, who else is on Instagram? Leave your username in the comments, so I can follow you.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pinterest Recipe Week 3

It’s ba-aaaack – Pinterest Recipe Week! You can see Pinterest Recipe Week 1 here and Week 2 here…I can’t believe it’s been 7 months since my last full week of food experiments!
As I’ve mentioned before, every Sunday I plan out dinners for the upcoming week and then do all my grocery shopping after work on Monday - it saves a lot of time and trips to the store. I plan out 5 dinners (we usually eat out Friday and Saturday) each week and I also add 1 dessert during Pinterest Recipe Week. Today I’m sharing my meal plan for the week and next Monday I’ll share my reviews.  Let’s hope we find some keepers in this list!



You can see these pins and other food related pins here

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Painted Console Table

Alternate Title: Pitiful Wall: Take Two

Say hello to the pop of color my living room has desperately been needing!

Yes, I painted my new console table and I'm finally making some progress on my pitiful wall. Last you saw, the large statement wall in my living room looked like this:

Nothing impressive, but better than the IKEA nightstand that's been there for the last year few months. 

OK, back to my newly painted console table - I ordered the table from Wayfair, but didn't love the black and cherry finish. Mostly because I already have a black dining room table and it's a beast to keep dusted and clean. I started by painting a coat of primer on the table. Then I painted two coats of Lagoon by Martha Stewart - I fell in love with the color after seeing a coat rack painted that color in HGTV magazine.  Finally, I rubbed the table down with some Minwax Wipe-On Poly and replaced the knob with a glass one from Hobby Lobby.

I love it, but I still need to hang artwork and style the table. You'll see that in Pitiful Wall: Take Three, but for now, here's my plan of attack:

So, I definitely have a lot more work to do, but I'm lovin' the progress. The blue table is a lot more welcoming than the nightstand that used to be there. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Rug Painting Party – Week 3

It’s the third and final week of the Rug Painting Party – that means today is finished rug day!  You can see Week 1 here and Week 2 here.
When we last left off – I decided to paint stripes after my “paint by numbers” plan failed. I started by painting the entire rug white - first I rolled on Creamy by Sherwin Williams. BUT, the rug looked splotchy after one coat and I was getting impatient, so I decided to spray paint the rug. I used Rustoleum Paint + Primer in white.

As you can see, the lines of the weave were still showing through the paint. This made it really easy to tape off the stripes. With Ringo and Abby supervising, it took less than 30 minutes to tape off the stripes.

Once the rug was all taped up, I took it outside and spray painted the gray stripes. I don’t have a picture, so you’ll have to use your imagination. I just used even strokes and tried to spray straight above the rug and not on an angle – I didn’t want the paint spraying under the tape.
Once I removed the tape I did notice a few spots where the paint got under the tape, but it’s not that noticeable. I can always touch it up later. Anyway, tape removed and paint dry – here’s my new rug:

I love it! The stripes are so fun and definitely my style. It actually doesn't feel too crunchy from the paint. However, I've read that lightly sanding the rug can help if your rug feels too stiff. 

I want to thank Linda from My Crafty Home Life for putting this challenge together. This rug would still be unfinished in my closet otherwise! Also, don’t forget to stop by the other participating blogs to see the rest of the reveals. There were some great in-progress projects last week, so I’m sure they look amazing all finished up.

Trapped In North Jersey

Monday, October 1, 2012

Winner + Features

Before I announce the winner of the Cutting Edge Stencils Giveaway, I want to thank everyone for entering. With more than 300 entries, this was by far my most successful giveaway! A big thank you to Cutting Edge Stencils for sponsoring the giveaway!
Lastly, I want to say that if you host giveaways, use Rafflecopter! It makes giveaways so much easier to manage and you just have to click a button to pick a winner – no more counting comments!
OK, so now what you’ve all be waiting for - the winner:

Yay! Congrats Brie! I’ve sent your name and e-mail to Cutting Edge Stencils – you should hear from them soon! I can't wait to see what you create!

While we are here, I want to thank a few blogs for featuring my Stencil Upholstered Headboard project!

Tickled Pink at 504 Main  Happy
Thanks ladies (and Handy Man) for the feature! And thanks to all of you for your sweet comments!