Thursday, March 31, 2011

KT's Refinishing School Spring Break: Can You Come Home?

Welcome back!  Today, Starlet will be sharing some gorgeous fashion pieces perfect for Spring.  Starlet is the creative genius behind Can You Come Home where she shares everything from day trips in the Bay Area (where she has scored some amazing furniture), photos of her adorable cats Coco and Chanel (Woods wants to be friends) and details of her garden.  As an apartment dweller, I am most in awe of her garden and can't wait for the day that we can swap gardening tips together!  Starlet is sweet, smart and creative; her blog is definitely a must read.  Here's Starlet...

Hello everyone!
It's Starlet visiting from CanYouComeHome today. It's such a privilege to be able to guest blog for one of my favorite blogs here at KT's Refinishing School.
I hope y'all are doing good this week. With all the gloominess from the unfortunate events around the world, I think that it is okay to give ourselves a little brightness at the end of the tunnel. So I am very pleased to share with you a touch of spring to lift up our chins.
And I thought bringing poppies here would do just that.

Some of the houses in my neighborhood are so cheerful with these happy campers. It's so hard not to think spring shopping when you see them, because although it has been raining a lot lately, the smell of spring really is here.
So here are the ones that I'm swooning over to create a poppy-inspired light and airy spring day look:
{These tiny elegant drops multiplies the sophistication level by so many folds!}
Source: via Starlet on Pinterest
{You can definitely opt into a more statement earrings like these amazingly put together pieces}
{This 20s inspired dress by Anna Sui just makes me want to dance in the rain!}
Source: via Starlet on Pinterest
{A touch of gray clutch sort of bringing everything back to the ground without making the whole look too heavy}
Source: via Sarah on Pinterest
{And lastly, the shoes! You can dress it up with these delicate look}
{or dress it down in a very chic way!}
Source: via Starlet on Pinterest

P.S. If these beautiful things are way too feminine for you, simply slip on this boyfriend blazer to toughen up the look!
I hope my choices above have excited some ideas to create fun, spring looks to uplift our moods and everyone else around us :)
Thank you so much for being with me today and have a great, great day!

I love all of those choices, especially those shoes--feminine, flirty and fun!  We have Geek Ball (a law school dance for the law publications) tomorrow night and I think an outfit like this would be perfect.  You are tempting me, Starlet :)  Thank you so very much for participating!

Only two more workdays until the weekend and Lauren from You Had Me at Homemade will be kicking off the weekend in style, something you definitely won't want to miss!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

KT's Refinishing School Spring Break: It's Baking Time with Ashly at Moon Walk

I am so excited to share today's feature with you all!  Ashly at Moon Walk has quickly become a great blog friend and her blog is a staple that I check daily for ideas and inspiration on everything from home decor to fashion to food.  I hope to someday make it out East so we can meet in person!  Today she is sharing a yummy spring time recipe for you that I think you will just love.  Here she is!

First off, Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Ashly from Moon Walk and I am honored to be here today at KT's Refinishing School. Even though I have never met KT, I really consider her to be a friend and an inspiration as a blogger.
Ahhh, Spring Break! Every time I hear that word it makes me think back to my college days at UMASS Amherst. I must admit, I never got a chance to go on Spring Break but I always dreamed about it. My Spring breaks were spent at home with my family, lounging around and somehow always doing a whole lotta baking with my mom. I don't know if it was out of sheer bordom or that fact that my mom and I adore everything about food but that's just what we did. Cookies, cakes, name it, we made it!
One of my favorite Spring time treats to make is Raspberry Lemon Tea Cake. There's just something about it that makes me think Spring! Maybe it's the sweet, fresh raspberries! Who knows. 


1 1/2 cups Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
3/4 cup Vanilla Yogurt
2 eggs
1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
3/4 cup Sugar
1 tbsp Lemon Zest
1 cup fresh Raspberries

Whisk dry ingredients together. In another bowl, whisk together yogurt, eggs, vanilla, sugar and lemon zest. Lightly whisk in dry ingredients until incorporated. Fold in raspberries into the batter. Pour into lightly sprayed baking pan.

Bake 55-60 minutes in 350 oven.

It's that easy. So get baking! What's your favorite Spring time sweet? Dish! I'm dying to hear. Thanks again to KT for letting me be a guest blogger on the Spring Break series. Make sure to stop by Moon Walk to let me know how your Raspberry Lemon Tea Cake turned out. 

Doesn't that look delicious?  I especially love the plate Ashly used in the photos--looks perfect for an afternoon tea and definitely evokes Spring time.  Thanks again Ashly for being a part of this series!

Tomorrow Starlet at :: Can You Come Home :: will be sharing some of her favorite Spring fashion pieces so stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

KT's Refinishing School Spring Break: Long Distance Loving

Today {av} from Long Distance Loving will be sharing with us some tips on dating long distance, which is very appropriate considering the first of many times J and I dated long distance was during our Spring Break sophomore year!

{av} has a wonderful blog that covers everything from dating tips to her favorite accessories. She is the genius behind Friday's Fancies which allows you to opportunity to put together dream outfits without spending a penny. I visit her blog often for a daily dose of inspiration! Without further ado, here she is...

Hi! My name is {av}--and I'm the voice behind {long distance loving}
I was so happy KT asked me to blog in her absence!

My husband, {cv}, and I started dating in August 2005. We had nine wonderful months together while we were both students at Georgetown. {cv} graduated in May 2006 and we made the long distance commitment before I left to study abroad in France that summer. He was headed to North Carolina for work and I still had another year of school. Even though we were in totally different places in our lives, we managed to overcome the differences because of the love we shared--with a little help from what I've deemed as the most important long distance accessory: the phone.

{left columntop middle bottom ~ right columntop middle middle bottom}
Our long distance days started with the Atlantic Ocean between us, while I was on a super tight student budget. Talking on the phone wasn't easy and the six-hour time difference took its toll on us. He was working until midnight in North Carolina and I had class by 8:00am in France. This meant we typically talked when he was on his way home from the office, right around the time I was getting up for class. It wasn't ideal. I was barely coherent in our conversations because I had just woken up. I was constantly worried I would miss his call, so I didn't sleep well all summer. Let's also not forget he was exhausted after a long day of work. All these things combined? Not that much fun.

However, that summer helped us realize something very important: if we could make our relationship work with an ocean between us {coupled with a six-hour time difference}, we could make it through anything. The phone remained an important extension of myself throughout the remaining 34 months of long distance. I've been asked on a number of occasions how we made it work. Though I'm no expert, I do have a little experience on the matter ;) so here is my advice:

1) There will be days when it seems like you have nothing in common, but don't get down. Not every call will be stellar. Remember: there are days when you barely have the energy to have a dialogue with yourself, let alone have a dialogue with another person. 

2) Manage your expectations about what you can accomplish in a phone call. Don't expect to solve all your problems over the phone. Weekend visits, new technology like skype, and patience will certainly assist in that capability, but the phone isn't a miracle worker.

3) Use the phone to find out new things about one another. After three years on the phone, I was still learning new things about {cv} on a regular basis because I became more in tune with his emotions and his tone. In turn, I knew when to push his buttons and when to hold back ;) This has helped tremendously now that we're in the same place too!

4) Don't be that couple. FInd a happy medium between your friends and your significant other. Try to find opportunities to chat outside of the time when you're with your friends.

How do you think the phone helps {or hurts} a long distance relationship?

Thanks again to KT for having me--make sure to stop by {long distance loving} for lots more on long distance relationships and the long distance love affairs I have with clothes, home goods, and travel destinations I can't afford quite yet ;) xoxo {av}

Aren't those some great tips?! They definitely ring true for me in the time J and I spent apart over the years (including during J's first year of law school when I was in California with my family).

Thank you so much for sharing those tips with us, {av}! I think they are applicable for all of us who sometimes have to deal with absences of our significant other, whether it's short term during a business trip or longer due to other circumstances. Hope you all are having a great day!

Monday, March 28, 2011

KT's Refinishing School Spring Break: A Modern Day Wife's Journey

First up in our Spring Break line-up is Lauren from A Modern Day Wife's Journey.

Lauren has quickly become a great blog friend and is always inspiring me with her gorgeous home decor deals and her posts often remind me to be grateful for the little things and for everything I've been given in this life! She and her husband live in sunny Florida with their adorable dog Scooby.  Lauren, take it away...

Hi everyone! It's Lauren here from A Modern Day Wife's Journey guest blogging today for KT's spring break special! This is my first guest blog post so I hope you find it entertaining and fun :-) Thanks KT for having me share a little today with your readers.
I decided to blog today about my favorite things about spring/summer..hope you enjoy!
A few of my favorite things...
I am a huge beach girl being from Florida so of course one of my favorite things about the spring/summertime is being about to go to the beach and have a few tropical beverages and curl up with a good book! My husband and I go to the beach at least two times a year for a little getaway and we love being so close to our beaches here!
of course I love shopping for beach gear such a cute bathing suits from Victoria's Secret and of course stocking up no flip flops and many cover ups and sundresses. I also have a TON of cute beach bags which always come in handy and of course my SPF usually in 30 or higher always!

I can't leave out all the delicious food of the summer now can I??? We love to BBQ, eat watermelon, treat myself to ice cream and then of course a fruity cocktail or sweet tea!
did I just make you hungry/thirsty? ;-)
Also of course I love spending time with my husband, family & friends..I figured I would end my post with some of my favorite pictures of us at the beach on vacations since we always have a blast!
This picture was from our FIRST beach trip together in 2006..we look so young!
This was from a beach weekend we went on our first year as newlyweds we had a great time!
This picture was from 2008 when we went to the beach for the 4th of July with my family and extended was such a blast!
My family has always been a huge fan of taking beach trips! Here is my sister, dad, me and my mom :-)
These pictures were from our 2009 beach weekend with my family we had such wonderful weather!
We love going to the beach..obviously ;-)
 Picture from our 3rd anniversary beach weekend last summer..can't wait to go back in May!
Thanks for reading my post and have a wonderful day!

Aren't those pictures great?  Makes me want to sit on a beach and sip on a strawberry daiquiri with some sand between my toes right now!  

Thanks again Lauren for sharing some of your favorite things and getting us in the mood for Summer. 
Come back tomorrow for more Spring Break goodness!

KT's Refinishing School Spring Break

With perhaps the busiest two weeks of the year approaching at work, I have decided to take a break.  In an ideal world, I'd be taking a Spring Break somewhere warm but alas, I no longer have them as a member of the working world.  Instead, I will be taking a break from blogging.

Do not fear, however, ten lovely and talented ladies have volunteered to share with you some aspect of Spring Break and Spring more generally with you while I am gone, whether it's a Spring-time recipe, memories from a Spring Break trip or a smart and creative craft just in time for Easter!  I am very excited to share these guest posts with you and hope you enjoy yourselves.  I'll be popping in now and then to say hello when I can but will largely let these lovelies speak for themselves!

Here's what you can expect around here in the next two weeks:

Today: Lauren at A Modern Day Wife's Journey
Tuesday, March 29th: {av} at Long Distance Loving
Wednesday, March 30th: Ashly at Moonwalk
Thursday, March 31st: Starlet at :: Can You Come Home ::
Friday, April 1st: Lauren at You Had Me At Handmade

Monday, April 4th: Mallori at Aiukli Because Life is Beautiful
Tuesday, April 5th: Courtney at The Granola Chronicles
Wednesday, April 6th: Stacy at Every Little Thing
Thursday, April 7th: Lesley at Mrs. Z(ed)-A Crafty Librarian
Friday, April 8th: Gina at Temporary Nest

I'd like to extend a big thank you to all of my guest bloggers for participating.  Happy Spring everyone!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Under the Weather

Literally and figuratively.  I woke up to a "wintry mix" on the ground this morning and a cold, one that J had earlier this week and since then, I have been fighting off in vain.

Image via weheartit
Good thing we cleaned the house on Sunday.  Now if I could bounce back before J's mom arrives, that would be great! 

Enough of my whining, I have lots of surprises in the next two weeks in the form of some wonderful guest bloggers as part of KT's Refinishing School's Spring Break so stayed tuned later this weekend for details!

Happy Friday everyone! 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

April BBC Pick and Handwriting Game

As some of you may have noticed and as others have pointed out, we had a seven-way tie for April's BBC book.  To remedy this situation, I decided to randomly select the next book, old school style by pulling names out of a hat (or in this case decorative vase).

Here is a recap of the choices:

Two Kisses for Maddy
A Spot of Bother
Wheel of Time: The Eye of the World
The Host
These Things Hidden
House Rules
Life of Pi
Three Cups of Tea
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Love in the Time of Cholera
One Hundred Years of Solitude

That is quite the list and while all of those books look great, I think we will narrow down the choices next month to three or four choices to avoid seven way ties again!

Immediately prior to the drawing
And we have a winner!
House Rules by Jodi Picoult
Now that we have a winner, let's discuss dates for our discussion.  How about Monday April 25th through Friday April 29th?  If everyone's Aprils are as busy as ours is, an extra week to read the book will be appreciated!  I will open the poll (with less choices) on Wednesday April 20th and it will remain open for one week so that we can decide on May's book without losing too much time.

While I was at it, I decided to get in on the handwriting game after seeing others participate.  Even though I haven't been tagged, I thought it would be fun!

1. Name and blog name: KT & KT's Refinishing School
2. Blog URL:
3. The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.
4. Favorite quote: "Here is the secret nobody knows, here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart.  I carry your heart, I carry it in my heart--e.e. cumings

Answers, continued:
5. Favorite song: Changes often but right now I am loving Natalie Maines' new single/cover of "God Only Knows."
6. Favorite band: Dixie Chicks, as evidenced from above.  They are the reason I play guitar and discovered country and bluegrass music.
7. TAG YOU'RE IT! (I hate my all capital letters :) )
Ashlee @ Finely Young
Lauren @ You Had Me at Handmade
Miss Jewells @ Crown Jewells

And anyone else who wants to participate!

So there you have it, a little taste of my handwriting and more importantly, our BBC pick for this month.  Now get reading and don't forget to tell me if you are participating so I can add you to our list of participants on The Library page!

P.S.  I apologize for my silence around here yesterday.  I worked a twelve hour shift (I normally work 8 hour shifts) and came home exhausted!  I'll try to be better about that :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Weekend Review

J and I had a relaxing yet productive weekend, which was much needed to get us set up for what promises to be a busy week at work and school!  Here's a little recap of what we did:

  • Used our Groupon and had a delicious nigri sushi dinner (with a few rolls too) at Sekisui on South Grand--we even had deep fried crawfish with our platter!
  • Watched the next three episodes of Mad Men, Season 1 that we had on Netflix.  One more DVD and we will have finished season 1!
  • Had breakfast in bed while watching Food Network.
  • I did 8 (that's right I said eight) loads of laundry at the laundry mat, including many of my 30 for 30 clothes.
  • Planned our week's menu.
  • Went grocery shopping.
  • Made another Asian-inspired meal in the form of Miso soup (get the recipe here), tempura vegetables (we used Panko bread crumbs in lieu of tempura batter), and spring rolls stuffed with shredded chicken, green onions, sushi rice and an Indian cilantro chutney.  We made a mess in the kitchen but it was delicious!

  • Watched Dumb and Dumber before we fell asleep.
  • Went to church.
  • Cleaned the house in preparation for guests tonight for a screening of this film and J's mom and boyfriend who are in town starting on Friday!
  • Marveled at how long Woods can be when he really stretches out.
  • Cleaned up the dishes from the night before (we washed pots, pans and knives on Saturday night but just rinsed and stacked the rest for the morning).
  • Finished putting away the 8 loads of laundry from the day before.
  • Made Pasta Primavera for the first day of Spring.  Get the recipe here.
  • Met some friends for drinks and sat out on the sidewalk enjoying the sun and warm weather!
  • Watched the series finale of Big Love.  J and I started watching this show right after we started dating five plus years ago so it was bittersweet to see the show ending!
How was your weekend, friends?  Anyone watch Big Love and want to talk about last night's episode?!

P.S. Today I am sharing my favorite bread pudding recipe as part of a guest post for Lauren at Tickled while she visits friends in Charleston.  Check it out here!

    Friday, March 18, 2011

    Friday's Fancies: Sense and Sensibility Edition

    To wrap up a week's discussion of Sense and Sensibility as part of our March BBC book pick (read others' reviews through the link-up here, my review here, a film vs. fiction feature here and further reading on the subject here), I thought I'd participate in {av}'s Friday's Fancies with a twist.

    Today I designed two outfits, one for both Elinor and Marianne, imagining what they might wear if they lived in 2011 instead of the early 1800s.

    First, the elder sister, Elinor.  Practical yet fashionable (she cares deeply about propriety and what others think), Elinor would be stylish yet feminine in this outfit.  She did snag one of the most eligible bachelors in London, after all!

    A pair of wide leg belted trousers, something 19th century Elinor would never have dreamed of wearing, but perfect for our 21st century girl!
    A white long sleeve scoop neck top, chosen for its clean lines and the similar neckline (scoop) to that of many Regency dresses
    A pair of leather peep toe ankle boots for a little height and interest
    A pink Alexander McQueen Union Jack clutch for a little glam and a subtle reminder Elinor is a British gal
    A diamond shape gold necklace, from Edward, which she keeps close to her heart!

    Second, the younger sister, Marianne.  Romantic, prone to flights of fancy, Marianne is less grounded and more free-spirited than her older sister.  Since marrying Colonel Brandon, she has become a bit more settled but has kept her feminine flair!

    A flirty and colorful coral skirt with a little pocket perfect for holding the latest love letter from Colonel Brandon.
    A soft but sophisticated knit v-neck sweater, perfect for keeping Marianne warm while she goes on long walks at Delaford
    A pair of coral pumps to coordinate with her skirt
    A coral and gold oval ring, brought back to Marianne by Colonel Brandon from London
    A cream, frilly clutch for holding her lipstick and other necessities
    A pair of peach flower drop earrings for a romantic and feminine finish!

    So which sister are you most like, Elinor or Marianne?  I used to think I was a Marianne but the older I've gotten the more I think I'm an Elinor...

    Happy Friday, friends!