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Fruit Pizza

June 19, 2012
tags: ,
by thenestinggame

Around the time I discovered Summer Beer, I experimented with Fruit Pizza. Some people in their young lives get into drugs. I got into party food.

I think I brought Fruit Pizza to just about every shindig I went to from 1999-2002. And this weekend, when the kids were here to celebrate the boys’ birthdays it popped back into my head and I decided to pull out the recipe and give it a go. It was a delicious blast from the past, so I thought I’d share the recipe with you.

Yours does not have to be bedazzled with a blueberry number 12. But for 12th birthdays, I recommend it.

Fruit Pizza
adapted from The Junior League Centennial Cookbook

INGREDIENTS:
Crust:
1 roll of sugar cookie dough

Glaze:
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp strawberry-flavored gelatin mix
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water

Cream Layer:
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened (reduced fat is fine)

Toppings:
2 bananas, sliced
1 8oz can mandarin orange sections, drained
1 8oz can crushed pineapple, drained
8-10 fresh strawberries, sliced
2 kiwifruit, sliced
1 cup blueberries

PREPARATION:
Press out the cookie dough into 1 giant cookie on a circular pizza pan or stone. (This time, I divided the dough into two parts for 2 smaller “pizzas.”) Bake until slightly golden and cool completely.

To make the glaze, combine the ingredients in a sauce pan and boil until thickened. Refrigerate until cool. (If you refrigerate until it’s jello, then just stick it in the microwave for a few seconds until it’s gooey and spreadable.)

Whip together the confectioner’s sugar and cream cheese and spread it on top of the cooled cookie. Layer the banana slices on top and then spread the strawberry glaze over the bananas to prevent them from turning brown. (Note the original recipe calls for triple the amount of glaze, which I consider overkill. I cut the recipe in thirds and enjoy that much better.)

Scatter the pineapple over the glazed bananas and the remaining fruit over the pizza in whatever OCD fashion you desire.

It is rare that there are leftovers, but it doesn’t keep all that well (soggy cookie) so eat up buttercup!

 

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Icing Down Drinks

June 15, 2012
tags:
by thenestinggame

Do you ever need to quickly chill a bottle of wine or beer or—in my case—a 12-pack of Diet Coke, OF which you desperately need to drink one and you feel it’s dumb to buy a 12-pack AND a cold 20oz bottle at the check-out line for instant Diet Coke gratification? You may be tempted to stick it in the freezer. But don’t.

Fill an ice bucket or a vase with ice AND cold water and stick your drinks in there. I also add a healthy pinch of salt to make the temperature drop even lower. Within 10-15 minutes your drink will be nice and chilled. It works way better than the freezer, and you can even use it as a mini-cooler for a small party and it seems all festive.

Btdubs, Shiner Ruby Redbird has all the things I love: Grapefruit, ginger, beer and pretty design, but I don’t love it all together. Valiant effort, though!

PS. This is the real perfect Summer Beer.

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Brass Urchins

June 13, 2012
by thenestinggame

Get this. I’ve been jogging lately. I’m on week 8 of a Couch to 5k podcast program and… I actually really like it. I haven’t run for a few years, so getting back into it was kind of a challenge, especially because Atlanta has these things called HILLS that Florida didn’t so much have.

So after taking my new running shoes for an inaugural run Saturday morning, I laid down in the park to do some crunches/stretches/collapsing and looked up to see this.

Remind you of anything?

{chataleine via veneer design}

{atlanta homes magazine}

{the cuban in my coffee}

{elle decor}

{zhush}

I guess if I had been sitting on my couch eating Cheetos I would never have made this connection. Damn you, endorphins!

PS. We almost bought some of these from Trina Turk while we were in Palm Springs, but passed them up. (The second anniversary is “Urchin,” right?)

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Making the Bed

June 11, 2012
by thenestinggame

I got new shams at the Ballard Designs outlet a few months ago and pretty much forgot about them until I made my pillow in sewing class.

I remember thinking my home-sewn pillow looked like something you could buy at Ballard. Then I remembered why. Because I already owned two that looked virtually identical. Ah well. They’re like white tank tops. You can never have enough.

So now that it’s summer, I’ve switched to our summer bedding scheme:

Every morning the quilt ends up on the floor, but for a span of about 20 minutes in the middle of the night it comes in handy.

The Winter scheme is a little more intense:

My mom always “double sheeted” our beds. I think it’s because blankets used to be wool and scratchy on your arms. By sandwiching the blanket between two sheets your arm never has to touch it. I like the extra layer so I still double sheet, even though blankets nowadays are much softer.

As for pillows, here’s my general layout:

I don’t have tons of tiny pillows on my bed. Instead, I have a half a dozen big ones. The Euros and the Standard Sham come off at night, but we both have to sleep with 2 pillows.

What’s your bedding formula?

And, to tell you the truth, I’m terrible at making the bed every day. Do you do it?

PS. See a tour of our master bedroom.

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Friday Five: Oversized Lamps

June 8, 2012
by thenestinggame

I just read May’s House Beautiful on the plane a couple weeks ago. (I’m typically woefully behind in magazine subscriptions, but if there’s a plane ride involved, I can usually knock a few back issues out quickly.)

Anyway, I poured over a section of 101 Designer Secrets. Several hit home, but one I liked in particular was this:

Does it?

{via inspire bohemia}

The size isn’t big in this one, but the scale of the cane is. I think it has the same impact.

{better homes and gardens}

{via nickel cobalt}

{via apartment therapy}

Or, why not do both?

{maria barros via design rulz}

Are you big on big accents? We have a pretty big coffee table in our den and a big brass lamp in Sadie’s room.

I forgot to mention I was over at A House in Holland this week guest blogging about 3 small projects that are easy to do. Check it out, and MORE importantly, have a great weekend!

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Cabo Azul Resort

June 6, 2012
tags:
by thenestinggame

I already shared some pics of the fun we had in Los Cabos. Today I thought I’d show off some snaps of the resort where we stayed, Cabo Azul.

We went back and forth on all-inclusive vs. non-inclusive. And since good food and a variety of food options was pretty important to us, we went for a non-inclusive place. This way, if the resort food was not so hot, we wouldn’t feel compelled to eat there because we’d already paid for it.

I loved these straw garlands hung outside the (fairly decent) restaurant.

We got a 2 bedroom villa. Somehow I lucked into my own room. It didn’t have a window to the outside—it had a frosted window that faced an interior hallway. But, it was so beautifully decorated, I didn’t even notice. Plus I slept like a freaking sunburnt log.

The canvas drapery went all around the room and over the ceiling like a circus tent. The carved headboard was also backlit, so when we came back after dinner it illuminated the mint on my pillow. The bathroom mirror was backlit too. I left it on as a nightlight.

The master bedroom had canvas draped over the king-sized bed and a pair of these on either side.

The villa’s living room had dark wood beams and white slipcovered furniture with carved, dark wood accents. I loved how simple it was, but there were so many details that made it special. Like this fringe on the dining chairs.

And this shell-ish light.

Outside the living room and master was a big patio with canvas drapes. The ceiling was painted brown, which made the space a little warmer and more intimate.

But when this is the view, you’re really not looking at the ceiling too much.

The pool area was gorgeous, too, with dark wood chaises and white terry cloth covers. The pool also had a natural rock bottom, which I really like the look of. But don’t worry, there was still a swim-up bar.

Whoever decorated this resort had a wonderful sense of texture. I loved these nubby planters. There were a couple dozen of them lining the edge of the infinity pool waterfall.

We found the resort through TripAdvisor. It had great reviews and definitely did not let us down. I would love to go back, if for no other reason than they had this drink called Miami Vice—half piña colada, half strawberry daiquiri. Where have you been all my life, Don Johnson?

Isn’t it a beautiful resort? What’s the pretty place you’ve stayed?

PS. See where Taylor and I stayed for our honeymoon. They use the canvas draping trick too.

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How I Make Fabric Coasters

June 4, 2012
by thenestinggame

Prologue: So, I feel pretty ridiculous giving a “How To” tutorial for a sewing project when I am seriously fresh out of Sewing 101. So this is not a “How To,” it’s a “How I.” Sew at your own risk.

Fabric Coasters! A million years ago I bought some star-shaped velvet coasters at the Williams-Sonoma outlet. They are for the holidays, but I loved using them to toss under wine bottles or glasses. So when I took my sewing class, I figured that making some coasters of my own would be a good beginner’s project.

Here’s what I bought:

Two 1/2 yards of fabric in complementing patterns or colors (So, 1 yard of fabric total)

1/2 yard of medium weight interfacing (for a bit of heft)

Matching thread

I pre-washed and ironed the fabric. I wanted my coasters to be 4.5 inches square, so I cut out my fabric squares and interfacing to 5.25″.

I picked black and white fabrics for my project at Whipstitch. This damask/tapestry pattern by Alexander Henry and a not-so-serious stripe by Marisa & Creative.

I aligned the fabric right sides in and placed the interfacing on top. I sewed the squares with a .25″ seam allowance around 3 sides and halfway down the 4th side, leaving an opening about two fingers wide.

Here are my finished sewn squares and the magic weapon, the chopstick.

I turned the coasters inside out through the hole I left in the 4th side.

Then I used the chopstick to poke out the corners. If you don’t do that, then your corners will be wimpy and paunchy. The chopstick makes them pointy and awesome. I think during my next go-round I will try snipping the corners before I turn the coaster right side out. Also, this would be a great time to iron them again to make sure they are crisp.

I sewed around the entire coaster about .25″ in for a little bit of a quilted look. And in some cases, where the open seam from the flip hole was not completely sealed, I added another stitch closer to the edge of the coaster.

The two 1/2 yards of fabric and interfacing yielded 12 finished coasters and a few practice ones. I gave stacks of 6 as hostess gifts this weekend and hope to make more to squirrel away for future gifts.

And that’s how *I* make fabric coasters. I imagine you could use the same steps for placemats or table runners, just adjust the size. Clearly.

I’ve also found several of these sets on Etsy. I don’t think I could actually charge money for my handmade wonkiness, but if you’re not a sewer, you can find some cute fabric choices on there.

Go forth and coaster! (Yes, it’s a verb.)

P.S. Catch a glimpse of some other fabric coasters I’ve made in this post. And my home-sewn piped, zippered pillow.

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Cabo Vacation

May 30, 2012
tags:
by thenestinggame

Now *that* was a vacation.

Girlfriends. Sun. Fruity drinks. Gossip magazines. A swim up bar. Infinity pools. Guacamole. 8 bottles of sunscreen.

Re-entry is going about as well as can be expected.

Our resort was amazing and beautifully decorated. I’ll be sharing pics soon, amigos.

Today, you can find me guest blogging over at Design OCD about simple changes that can make a big impact. Click on over!

And hey, it’s already Wednesday!

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Summer Beer

May 23, 2012
by thenestinggame

I admit, AT TIMES, I am somewhat prone to exaggeration. But not this time.

All I’m saying is, this post will change your life.

Summer Beer.

“But I don’t like beer.”

You will like this.

This somewhat sweet, totally refreshing seasonal beverage gets the party started. In fact, I kind of get cranky in festive summer occasions if I don’t have a glass at my disposal. Luckily, it’s super simple to throw together.

You will need:

4 cold light beers (I usually go the Miller Lite or Bud Light route.)

1 can of frozen pink lemonade concentrate (Pink is a crucial ingredient. Regular lemonade is not the same.)

1 empty lemonade can’s worth of vodka (We had Tito’s on hand, but I typically use Smirnoff. Meaning, it doesn’t have to be top shelf.)

Pour the lemonade concentrate into the pitcher, then fill the empty lemonade can with vodka. Sometimes I do as little as half a can. Sometimes three-quarters. Sometimes, all the way.

Pop open your cold beers.

Then pour them into the pitcher. Flick out some of the extra foam and stir.

Now, you might be asking, “What if I have a big party? Can I make summer beer in larger batches?”

Excellent question. The answer is, “absolutely!” I’ve made it with as much as a 12-pack before, but I must say, the fresher it is, the better. So, if you know can refresh a pitcher, or even a double batch, without too much trouble, then I would recommend it. And I guarantee someone is going to ask you how you make it, so making the refill pitcher can actually turn into a nice demo opportunity.

I have also found that it’s best to add ice to the individual glasses rather than to the pitcher itself.

I must give a shout out to Bill (whose last name I forgot) from the 2000 Theatre Memphis cast of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat for introducing me to this wonderful concoction. It has added life to countless parties that happened to fall between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

A word of warning: it goes down easy.

Summer Beer is best served on a beach. Or by a pool. Or on a boat. Or on a patio beneath the shade trees. Or smuggled into a karaoke bar.

Now you are ready for Memorial Day.

And so am I, because I am heading to Mexico with some of my besties! I will return next week. Enjoy your weekends and let me know if you make some Summer Beer!

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UPDATED: There’s a second version of Summer Beer you should try: Mexican Summer Beer. Es bueno.

mexican summer beer

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Planning a Deck

May 21, 2012
tags:
by thenestinggame

Ever since we moved into this house, Taylor and I have been talking about how great a deck would be. So over these past couple years we’ve been saving our pennies and we’re getting closer to making it a reality.

It’s a real plan! On graph paper! That’s how you know we’re serious.

Because it’s a second story deck (among other reasons), this is one project we will not be DIY-ing. We’ve had three contractors out to the house. One from a personal recommendation and two that were highly rated on Angie’s List. (The personal recommendation was highly rated on Angie’s List too, btw.) We are still waiting on a bid from the final contractor, and then we’ll make a decision and get going, hopefully.

Our house is built on a hill and our main floor is essentially on a second story. We currently have a patio that comes off of our basement and is a short flight of wonky stairs down from our kitchen door/carport. It’s fine for the two of us, but not ideal. The concrete stairs are badly sloping and there’s no handrail. The patio is cracked in several places and also sloping.

And it sucks for entertaining. Fact.

So, to get the party started, Taylor decided to do a little reverse landscaping and rip out the bushes where the eventual stairs will go. I didn’t get a true “before,” but you can see what we’re dealing with in the photo below. Please note the angle of the stairs. I mean, I’m surprised only 1 person has tumbled down them. (Andy Corbett for the win!)

Unfortunately, most of the foliage on the must-go list is forsythia, which I really like, but it was too leggy and weedy to really transplant anywhere.

God bless Taylor. He worked his butt off all day. I am not just not that into yard work and he lets me get away with it.

By the end of the afternoon, we were looking at this.

Yeah that’s a lot of dirt. It will look much nicer with a staircase on top of it.

And here’s the view of the back of the house.

So the stairs will dump you out in front of that bush to the left. The window above the floodlights will become a door. The grill table will go in front of the left side of the chimney.

(We won’t talk about the fact that the patio furniture I want costs half as much as the deck itself…)

Who’s excited?!?

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