Archive | January, 2012

Tuesday’s DIY :: Upcycled Frame

31 Jan

I found this huge open frame at a tag sale months ago for $3.  I couldn’t believe it.  It’s about 4 feet in length so I snatched it up, not knowing what to do with it.  It drives my husband crazy because we have a stack of frames in our garage.

Since we are still working on my daughter’s room, and she loves to write notes and play school, we decided to turn it into a chalkboard.  Not to original, I know, but it turned out great.

Using Annie Sloan’s Paris Grey, we started with this:

$3 frame

MDF board cut to size at Home Depot.  I just brought my measurements and they cut it for me.  The board cost about $1.50.

The frame looked like this originally:

I love the linen and gold border so I left those alone.  Now the frame looks like this:

It is so sweet and calming.

Using spray chalkboard paint:

Dropped it in the frame and duct taped it to the back:

Done.  And she loves it.  I love it too.

The entire project took less than 30 minutes and cost less than $5.

I’ll show the finished wall soon.  We painted 2 frames hot pink, distressed them and ordered large prints of her ballet shoes and riding her horse.  Can’t wait to get those on the wall!

I’ll be back tomorrow with my favorite recipe, ever.

xoxo,

Carrie

Monday Inspiration

30 Jan

Carrie’s inspiration:

Color.

Bright, vibrant color.

For my outfits and my home. Little pops of color as we roll into spring.

I love this from J. Crew Spring 2012:

 

Annie Sloan’s has a gorgeous red chalk paint, Emperor’s Silk, which is the most beautiful red paint. The perfect mix of red with blue and orange. I’d love a red piece like this:

 

Loving these orange bar stools:

This painting is stunning:

Source: brabournefarm.blogspot.com via Carrie@2friends2cities on Pinterest

And this bright graphic print to start the week positive:

 

Angie’s inspriration this week:

My inspiration this week all comes from the amazing Donna Rullo.  My meeting with Donna last week was so insightful.  I can’t wait to share and show you all the things we are going to make for the coffee shop.

I don’t have many pictures because these decor and furniture items haven’t been created yet so you’ll have to use your imagination with me to envision what will be!

There are so many ideas Donna shared with me it was overwhelming. I’ll start sharing two with you here now. Then I’ll be working like mad over the next two months trying to complete them so that we can get our coffee shop up and running in April.  And of course, I’ll share all these projects with you along the way.

1) First and foremost, Donna is going to help us merge all our styles in the coffee shop together.  Before we met Donna, we had already been buying things we liked and wanted to install in our coffee shop.  The problem is the styles aren’t currently cohesive with each other.  We’ve bought furniture and decor from three different design styles: industrial, mid-century and classical antiques.

I wish I had pictures to show you of a table we purchased but the lighting was dark in our coffee shop so I’ll have to post one later (the city has not turned on the electricity yet!) .   Most of the furniture we are putting in the coffee shop will be small but we want at least one large table to serve as a community area for people to share which will also allow a large party to sit together. The table we found is beautiful and big – approximately 3’8″ by 7′.    The table is ornate on the bottom having two large engraved legs – one on each side.  The table is all wood and a medium dark shade of brown. I want to use the new chalk paint Carry bought me to paint the legs.

I thought bright paint would emphasize the beautiful legs and the blue color would help integrate the other mid-century colored furniture that will be in the coffee shop.  But…Donna had another idea to really make the table fuse with our three styles.   Donna suggested we install industrial metal on top.  The metal top will be more durable and easier to clean as opposed to leaving the top wood.  And now the table will contain three of the styles we are going for: a) the table was already classic antique b) painting the legs will make it cohesive with the other furnitures’ mid-century colors and c) the metal top will go with the other industrial things also. Genius.

2) I had never met with a designer before so I wasn’t sure what to bring to the meeting.  And the coffee shop is basically an empty space right now so there isn’t much to work with.  So I did what I could to prepare for the meeting by saving pictures of things I found and liked from the internet and also took pictures of things I already owned (that’s currently stuffed like sausage in our home garage!).  Donna is so talented she immediately made something out of nothing. What I really loved was she used things we had to create new things.  She looked at the pictures of  things we already owned and created new ideas for them.  One of which was this pallet.

I originally had plans of using pallet wood to help create an industrial decor by using the pallets as shelving or wall covering.  Donna had a better idea. Donna wants to take this pallet and make it a large light chandelier. It will hang over the large community table with chains and look something like this.

That’s just a little teaser. There are so many  more ideas from Donna! I’d better get to work!

By the way, if you read my post the other day about Donna, please check it out again. I added at least 10 more pictures of Donna’s amazing design creations..most of which Donna made herself including huge faux yarn balls and a large bird cage attached to the wall stuffed with vintage book pages.

What are you inspired by this week?

Friday Favorites

27 Jan

Some of my favorites things this week…

$5 Antique tray from San Antonio and $3 French blue porcelain bowl from Marshalls:

Reading this book with my babies:

Making and shipping these pillows across the country:

Being in a hotel, working, taking pictures, and emailing how to figure Mixed Fraction to Improper Fractions for my daughter:

Wearing these shoes as I get back into running:

I’ve been told several times in past few weeks, “Carrie, you used to be a runner.”  Yes, I know this.  And it frustrates me too, that at one time in my life, I was able to run marathons and participate in triathlons.  I’ll share that story with you one day the reason why I haven’t run one mile in 3 years.  But, I’m determined to get back there again…fingers crossed.  I have my sights set on 2 more marathons.  I ran my first marathon for my little girl.  My 2nd will be for my baby boy.  And my 3rd will be for me.

And finally seeing Angie in San Antonio and bringing her birthday present:

Can’t wait to see what she does with the blue.  I’ve been dreaming about the green!

Happiest of weekends to you!  We are spending our Friday night at home with movies and popcorn.  Good old fashion family night.

And next week, I have an awesome recipe to share.  It is so yummy…my mouth is watering right now!

xoxo,

Carrie

Fate, Estate sales and the amazing designer… Donna Rullo

26 Jan

Fate, Estate sales and the amazing designer… Donna Rullo

Those three things all magically collided this last weekend.  When Carrie was in town visiting, we decided to go to a few estate sales together.  There weren’t many estate sales going on this weekend so by fate, I happened to drive to an estate sale that I assumed was a misprint in the paper.  You see, the week before I had gone to an estate sale on Ridgemont Ave… and I thought the paper had the same Ridgemont Ave. estate sale listed again by error.  Good thing we chanced it because it was a new estate sale across the street!

When Carrie and I walked in the house, we were stunned and froze where we stood.

We saw things like this…

Things like this…

And this.

That’s because this estate sale wasn’t a typical.  The estate sale was for a house that had been professionally staged by the amazing Donna Rullo.  I don’t know who wouldn’t want to buy this house after seeing how Donna decorated it! I am still in awe!

Donna is not only insanely talented but she is also one of the most charitable people I’ve ever met.  She started H.O.P.E., a charity that assists and educates children in need in Africa. I can’t articulate enough how inspirational Donna is.  Everyone really needs to check out H.O.P.E. here and find out more.

Donna also did something I will forever be in debt for.  When she heard we were opening a coffee shop, she offered to help design our coffee shop for free and also helped get our future coffee shop promotional exposure at a fashion show she is having February 9th.  Our coffee shop isn’t even open yet and we are already getting the word out!!

Donna is meeting me for lunch today to discuss design plans for the coffee shop.  I am so giddy with excitement!!

If you look at all the following creations (all Donna’s!!) shown below, you will see why I am so excited she is going to help us with our coffee shop.

This is a large bird cage attached to the wall. It’s filled with beautiful vintage pages from an old book.

Decorated antique luggage.

This chandelier was made by Donna.  Circles painted on the ceiling with large round lights hanging from it.

 

Mannequin covered in buttons and bling!

Donna is not only a gifted designer but she’s also an artist.  Many of the beautiful paintings shown here, are her works of art.

 

Love this and had never seen it before! Colorful lamp shades hung randomly together in an area of the room.

 

These are faux yarn spools.  Donna took croquet sticks and wrapped yarn around them.  The sticks appear to have a massive amount of yarn on them but hidden underneath is styrofoam… so only a small amount of yard was used.

 

This was a fun room with cowboy decor.  There are even small chairs actually attached to the wall.

We bought these chairs for our coffee shop. The orange pillows on top were handmade by Donna.

Guitars covered in buttons. 

Typography!

Don’t you love Donna’s creative style!?

- Angie

What’s for Dinner Wednesday :: Spiced Carrot Soup

25 Jan

Sometimes I feel like a 5 year old when it comes to vegetables. I like them but I’m not immediately drawn to them. They sometimes have to be hidden in my food in order for me to eat them. So when my friend Layla told me about vegetable soups she makes in a blender, I was very interested. I’ve wanted to increase my vegetable intake and vegetables blended up in a creamy unidentifiable mixture were right up my alley.  I wouldn’t be able to focus on the individual vegetables floating around in the soup and would be sort of tricked into eating them.

If you are like me and had never heard of blender soups before, they are simple to make and taste really great. Basically vegetables are sauteed, then chicken stock is added and everything simmers until cooked completely. After that, it’s all thrown in a blender. The result is a thick silky soup that can be served straight from the blender.

Due to my new vegetable soup addiction, I eat so many vegetables now it’s ridiculous. My body will probably go into shock. My favorite all time vegetable soup is this Spiced Carrot soup.

If you knew how much I hated carrots, you would know that consuming this soup is sort of a miracle for me.  I can’t stand carrots but somehow they taste so utterly amazing in this creamy spicy magical soup.

The spiced carrot soup is garnished with greek yogurt and crisp prosciutto which is the perfect flavor combination. It’s only a tiny bit on top so there’s no need to feel guilty about calories or fat. It seems strange using greek yogurt instead of sour cream but it is the most interesting compliment and actually makes the dish. The prosciutto is also important.  Don’t attempt this dish without adding both those or you will be missing out.

Oh…let me add one important fact.  The soup is all vegetables.  No cream.  Just vegetables and chicken broth. One bowl is the equivalent of eating several carrots.  It is hearty and filling and we usually just eat this soup without any other dishes for dinner.  Even my husband loves it and it’s satisfying enough for him.

I got this spiced carrot soup recipe originally from Williams Sonoma (also where Layla gets all her amazing soup recipes) and altered it because I don’t have a Cuisinart soup maker.  By the way, if you haven’t tried William Sonoma recipes, give it a try because they are all wonderful. Williams Sonoma has very high standards on the recipes they publish on their website. I’ve tried many of them and the results were flawless.

If you have a Cuisinart soup maker, then follow the Williams Sonoma recipe here.  If not, my adaptation is below.  All you need is a blender and a soup pot. I usually double this recipe because I’ve found it only makes about 3 small servings despite the recipe claiming 4-6 servings.

Ingredients:
  • 4 thin slices prosciutto
  • 2 Tbs. olive
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 6 carrots, about 1 lb. total, peeled, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 tsp. vadouvan curry powder ( I use any curry powder I can find)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • Greek yogurt for garnish
  • Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)

Directions: Preheat an oven to 350°F. Set a wire rack on a baking sheet. Place the prosciutto on the rack-lined baking sheet and bake until crisp, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile over low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook. Saute until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Increase the heat to medium, add the carrots and cook for 5-10 minutes.

Add the curry powder, salt and pepper and cook another 2 to 3 minutes. –The recipe calls for vadouvan curry powder but I’ve never seen it in our stores. I use any curry powder I can find including this muchi curry found at Whole Foods.

Increase the heat to high, add the stock and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Then transfer the soup to blender and blend on high until the soup is silky in texture, 1 to 2 minutes.

Pour the soup into warmed bowls. Drizzle with yogurt, top with the crispy prosciutto and sprinkle with cilantro.

Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

-Angie

Tuesday DIY :: Whipperberry {Pendant Light}

24 Jan

Totally loving this pendant light from Heather @ Whipperberry.

Totally something I want to do in my kitchen.

Here’s the lowdown on how Heather did it:

To begin you need to drill a hole into the bottom of your basket.  For this project my SWEET brother-in-law came over and helped.  He is BRILLIANT when it comes to anything around the home.  He used the step drill to drill the hole in the metal at the bottom of the basket…

The step drill in a fabulous tool to help you slowly and carefully create the proper size whole that you will need.  We also drilled it in a box to minimize metal shavings flying all over the garage.

  

It was amazing how slick the step drill was.  As you can see the edges were pretty rough so he filed down the edges with a round metal file…

Place the clamp connector into the hole and secure…

  

Cut the plug off the pendant light and feed the cable through the clamp.  Secure the clamp and voila… you have yourself your very own cage pendant light.

Now I don’t plan on posting about how to hardwire this to your electrical system, because quite frankly I am not an electrician.  I would recommend that you have someone who knows what they are doing hard wire your lights into your system.  I will post some suggestions on how to place your light or lights soon.  I made a set of three lights in order to create a fun pendant cluster to put over my kitchen table.

Looks pretty simple, right? I think so!

Have an awesome Tuesday, friends! Angie’s here tomorrow with a great recipe…can’t wait!

xoxo,
Carrie

Monday Musings

23 Jan

Carrie’s ideas:

Trays. Lots and lots of trays.

While in San Antonio this past weekend, Angie and I went estate sale-ing (is that a word?) and we came across several sales with lots of trays. I only came home with one silver mirrored antique tray and Angie scooped up a gorgeous gold tray and a few silver trays.

I have a pretty large kitchen island and I’ve been on the lookout for a unique, antique tray to add little sweet glam to the gray walls. I’m so excited to clean up the tray this week and add her to my kitchen.

Here are more ideas for antique trays. Seriously, I cannot get enough of them!


Carrie’s images via Pinterest

Angie’s inspiration:

For the last year, I’ve been admiring dark colors in small spaces.  It’s gorgeous and seems like a decorating rule I just have to break. I have a small space in mind and one dark color in particular has become an obsession lately…midnight blue.

Using a dark color in a small space seems risky but I read that blue creates the perception of depth…

and the color of blue is also supposed to create a calming affect.  I don’t know about you but I could sure use as much calm in my life as possible.

Would this be a design rule you would break?

If you love dark blue and want to see more, check out my midnight blue Pinterest folder here.

 

 

 

Friday’s Happy Things

20 Jan

Happy Friday everyone!  I am so ready for this weekend.  It’s been a long crazy week!

Carrie and I have been working on adding new content and recurring themes to TwoFriendsTwoCities and are eager to share our new blogging schedule with you:

  • Every Monday, we’ll post interior design ideas that inspire us
  • Tuesdays will feature DIY projects
  • Wednesday will still be our What’s For Dinner Wednesday series where recipes are featured.  It’s hard to believe but we’ve had this food series since November 2010!  Since the series is weekly, that’s at least 60 recipes we’ve shared with you.  What an we say…we Texas girls love food and testing out new recipes.  Lately we’ve been becoming more aware of what’s hidden inside packaged foods and it’s quite shocking.  Eating healthier and eliminating artificial ingredients in our diets is big on our personal agendas for 2012, so you’ll start seeing more of these type of healthy recipes and discoveries on What’s For Dinner Wednesday.
  • Thursday will be personal blogging about whatever is going on in the world: the news, our lives, whatever floats our boat (or your boat!).  So if you want to hear about anything particular or have always wanted to know something about us, now’s your chance! Just let us know and we’ll do our best to fit it in.
  • Friday will simply feature things that make us happy.  There’s always been small things or subjects we wanted to share with you…just little things we come across like a funny statement or a new find on Pinterest.  However we’ve been hesitant and not shared them because the subject matter didn’t seem worthy enough for an entire blog post.  Well, that’s where our new Happy Friday Things comes into play.  Now we can cram all these little random things in one post for a fun Friday read.

We started our new schedule this week and so you might recall some of these themes already.

So now for Friday’s Happy Things…

The main thing that makes me happy this week is that I was able to hang out with Carrie last night!!!! Carrie and I talk on the phone, blog and text with each other every day but it’s been almost 3 months since we were able to spend time face to face. The last time we were together was at the Round Top antique fair in October. Carrie arrived in San Antonio yesterday to work on a project and we were able to sneak in a little time together.  After she finished working, we headed to Paloma Blanca for some mojitos!  It was so nice hanging out with her and I can’t wait to do more of it this weekend.  After Carrie finishes working today, we have plans that involve Mexican food and margaritas at Soluna (a delicious Mexican restaurant next door to our future coffee shop!) and then Saturday we are headed to some estate sales!  There’s nothing like antique shopping with my TwoFriendsTwoCities and Lizzie + Luckett partner!!

Other things that make me happy at this moment are the great finds I scored estate sales last weekend.

With estate sales, you never know what you will get.  Some have crazy good bargains with just the type of décor you love and others are horrid expensive let downs.   What I love about San Antonio estate sales are that they are real estate sales.  In Los Angeles, it was always a big trick.  They would classify a sale as an estate sale in the paper but when I showed up, it was nothing more than a junky garage sale.  I love a good garage sale but there is a a big disappointed in expecting antique furniture and instead seeing someone’s old clothes and unwanted refrigerator parts. I had quite a bit of good luck at estate sales the first few months I moved to San Antonio but the last few months haven’t been so hot.  Perhaps people weren’t having as many estate sales due to the holidays?  I am not sure why there was a slump but I think my good luck is back because I scored such a good deal last weekend, I can still hardly believe it.

All of this glassware: one cake cloche, one wine decanter, one crystal bowl and five large heavy red wine glasses…

and this 8 piece set of gold rimmed porcelain…

….all for a whopping! $23!!! I had been shopping for cake cloche stands for our future coffee shop, and found most to be priced from $40-100 plus shipping.   The fact that I got 16 pieces of glassware (including the vintage cake cloche) and porcelain for $23 is unbelievable isn’t it?  I bought the decanter to serve juice at our new coffee shop and the crystal bowl was also for the coffee shop and will be used to serve mints, biscotti, etc…

I ended up paying quite a bit for these electrical insulators but I justified it since they are for resale on Lizzie + Luckett.  They are so beautiful I catch myself constantly staring at them.

I love how the light reflects through them.  They are currently for sale on Lizzie + Luckett but if they don’t sell in the next few days, I am seriously considering pulling them off Lizzie + Luckett and keeping them for myself.  I have lots or orange and teal in my home décor and these fit right in.

If you had not heard of electrical insulators before, they were originally made to keep telegraph and telephone wires electrically insulated from wooden telephone poles (especially important in the rain). With the additional needs of rural electrification, there was a big insulator boom in the early 20th century, peaking from the 1920s through the 1940s.  Insulators are now highly collectable and the three I found are made by Hemingray.  They are at least 70-90 years old and were a superb find because they are like new without a single crack or chip.

Since most of the things I bought at the estate sale were for Revolucion Coffee or Lizzie + Luckett, I decided I needed a little retail therapy myself.  I bought this messenger bag at Tumi.  I feel like such a cool hipster when I wear it!

That’s what made me happy this week!  How about you?

-Angie

My journey from an accountant to a barista

19 Jan

I have some exciting news to announce:  my husband and I are opening a coffee shop!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been dream of ours for many years.  The dream developed roots back in 2006 in Austin, Texas.  My husband and I were living downtown on 13th street and this out of the world little coffee shop popped up two blocks away.  The coffee shop was named Caffé Medici and they served “real” coffee.  High quality coffee and handmade espressos.  Caffé Medici’s coffee was an artistic and a culinary experience.  It blew our minds and taste buds away.

We weren’t aware that coffee could taste so good.  We had previously had spent our coffee years away drinking frappuccinos and sugar laden lattes made with inferior coffee from the big national chain not knowing there were other options.   After experiencing Caffé Medici, we dove deep into an intense coffee education.  For those of you that don’t know, there’s a whole other coffee world that is as complicated and diverse as wine. We quickly learned that coffee wasn’t just a caffeine injection, it was a culinary treat.  We bought a home roaster and played with roasting and grinding our own coffee.  We sampled coffee from all over the world and made coffee and espresso in ways we never imagined.

For years, terms like single origin, country and farm origin, tasting notes and micro-roasters filled our dialogue.  After we moved from Austin to Mexico, our coffee exposure increased exponentially.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Mexico, we were located close to good Mexican coffee farms like those in Chiapas.  Another thing in Mexico we experienced was the art form of making espresso.  As in Italy, most places in Mexico make coffee and espressos the old fashioned way…handmade.  They still use espresso machines but the barista plays a big part – they are almost 99% responsible for how the espresso shot comes out.  Baristas have to control by hand the water pressure and the quality and amount of the coffee grinds.  You might see baristas at the big chains in the United States frothing some milk but what you don’t see behind the scenes is that they usually push one button that automatically grinds the beans and spits out poor quality espresso shots.

When we moved from Mexico to Los Angeles, there were more decadent coffee experiences.   The five years we spent in Los Angeles consisted of indulging in local indy coffee shops experiencing new surprises and ingredients like soy, almond milk and green matcha lattes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we moved to San Antonio in August, our coffee consumption came to a screeching halt.  We live in what is considered one of the most innovative and progressive areas of San Antonio and there wasn’t one single local independent coffee shop in sight.  And there were only a few of the famous coffee chains…and even they weren’t located close by either.    Two months into living in San Antonio, we decided that the fact that there weren’t any coffee shops must be a sign that we had to finally start our own dream coffee shop.  In October we found the perfect retail location.  For the next month, we filled out application forms and created a business plan.  Luckily both our application and business plan were approved by the landlord and lease contract negotiations started.  Negotiating the lease took 3 months!! Everything from what specific items we intended to sale, hours of operation to construction remodeling details had to be outlined and signed off on.  This week, we finally received our signed lease contract.  Now everything is legal and we can start the next phase of renovating the retail space.

I never imagined when I quit my job last April what a whirlwind of happiness would be bestowed upon me.  I was terrified to quit my career in accounting and give it all up for the unknown.  Thank goodness I finally took that leap of faith because now I’m able to enjoy all my passions in life.  In June, two months after quitting my job, I started Malibu Dog, an online dog supply store.

If you have followed our blog for a while, you know our two Havenese dogs (Oscar & Arnold) are our children.  When they were first introduced into our lives, my husband and I had a hard time finding well-made, safe pet products.  I started Malibu Dog to offer other pet owners the best products we had found in our own pursuits and make them available for their pets.  Malibu Dog is still in its infancy stage but it’s slowly growing and has been quite an education in creating an online business. Quitting my job also allowed me to dive deeper into the blogging and the design world with Carrie, building more on TwoFriendsTwoCities and also starting our new vintage store Lizzie + Luckett.


 

 

 

 

Like Malibu Dog, Lizzie + Luckett is in it’s infancy form – (it’s actually only a few weeks old!) but we have huge plans for it in 2012.  Some things we are planning are expanding our offerings, working with other vendors, making our own online store in addition to our Etsy store and participating in some antique trade shows.

And now on top of all that…I’ll soon have a coffee shop!

The coffee shop isn’t going to be a walk in the park.  We have lots of hard work ahead of us.  There are complicated city permits, construction work that needs to be managed and planning out all the intricate details like menu, supplies, equipment and labor. But we hope our dream of having an Italian-caliber coffee shop will be success and a labor of love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We decided on the Revolución Coffee + Juice. Here’s our logo!

As much as we love coffee, we feel selling juice is an important healthy concept and will help expand our product offerings.  And we also really love juice.  We chose the name Revolución because it signifies a new way of doing things.  We are going to have a new concept in coffee offerings and provide healthy eating options.  We also chose to spell the word Revolución the Spanish way with a “C’ as a special homage to the incredible time we spent time living in Mexico.  The Spanish spelling also fits because many of our coffee, juice and food items will be influenced by things we experienced living in Mexico including using cajeta and condensed milk in some specialty drinks and playing with fruit juice combinations.

I am sure many people might think I’m working too hard and all over the place with my business pursuits.  Dog products, Interior Design, Blogging, Coffee + Juice….  But I was always immersed in these subjects before so might as well work in them.  They already consume my life, each in their very own ways.  Back in my accounting career days, I constantly read business strategy books.  I remember an excerpt from one of Donald Trump’s books that stuck with me.  Donald was commenting on the fact that he gets lots of criticism from working too hard and he basically stated that he loved what he did so he never thought of it as work.  That’s how I feel now.  I worked like a dog with my accounting career – long hours and days full of stress. Now, I am working and doing more than I ever did as an accountant but it doesn’t feel like work at all.  I am excited and loving all I do.

The coffee shop is not going to take time away from blogging with TwoFriendsTwoCities and I hope you will follow me on my journey with it.  Since my husband and I are on a tight budget with the coffee shop and because we love designing things, we are going to be doing most of the interior and construction design ourselves.  That means making our own tables, creating art, decorating and painting and a slew of other DIY projects.  And food.  I have lots of recipes to test and share with you.  Scones, granola, juice and smoothie experimenting.  I can’t wait to share all these things with you!

Viva La Revolución!

-Angie

And in the words of Steve Jobs:

(All the pictures in this post are property of TwoFriendsTwoCities, all inspiration quotes courtesy of Pinterest)

What’s For Breakfast :: Immaculate Baking Scones

18 Jan

These scones are by far my families favorite thing to eat for breakfast, which are quickly finished off as after school snacks.

I’ve bought Immaculate Baking Co. organic cookie dough and we love them.   And after that huge recall of my husband’s favorite cookie last year, I really try to make cookies from scratch or in a pinch, buy refrigerated dough.

It was only recently that we tried the scones…I was hesitant because my husband grew up on sweet, sugary cinnamon rolls every weekend and I thought no one in my house would eat something called ‘scones.’

But let me tell, these scones are no joke.  The cinnamon chip are nothing short of perfection but the Blueberry Scones are to.die.for.  

Real blueberries…not fake.

Have you ever read this about the so-called ‘real’ blueberries found in muffin mixes, cereal, and breads?  Check it outyou’ll never look at a box of muffin mix the same.

Immaculate Baking Co Blueberry Scones, sprinkled with turbinado sugar before baking, cooked to perfection with a cold glass of milk…perfect start to the day.

We love them!  And they are all natural…nothing funky going on inside, thank you very much.

immaculate baking company cinnamon chip scones

Here’s a little history of Immaculate Baking Co…I like reading things like this.

The History of Immaculate


Any history of Immaculate Baking begins with Scott Blackwell’s story. At 7, he sees the movie, Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory and sends away for the “Make Your Own Wonka Bar” Kit. Scott peddles his handmade chocolates to neighbors out of his wagon. His great-grandmother teaches him how to bake, and his love for chocolate, baking, and whimsy are solidified!

Scott later uses his baking skills to pay for college with a cash-only pie business, serving 28 local restaurants. While building pie boxes one night, Scott sees 2 wacky guys on tv named Ben & Jerry. 3 months later, Scott is the 9th distributor in the country for Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.

In 1989, Scott sells his Ben and Jerry’s distribution, moves to Columbia, SC, and opens Immaculate Consumption on Main Street. The restaurant sells all natural sandwiches, baked goods, and fresh roasted coffee and espresso. Always resourceful, Scott makes tables out of old doors and uses leftover furniture from the previous tenant to make counters. A 1950s, avocado green refrigerator purchased from a salvage yard houses the prep ingredients.

In 1993, Scott sells the restaurant and moves to Flat Rock. Working out of his garage, he roasts artisan coffee and bakes cookies – packaged in plain brown bags – to sell locally.

The early days in the cookie business are a little tough for Scott. So, to clear his head and regain perspective, he takes a few road trips around the South to visit some friends. Along the way, he discovers folk art, and his life is never the same. Scott is drawn to the spirit of folk art and artists, to their innate creativity, their resilience and resourcefulness. He decides to celebrate these artists by featuring their work on his cookie and coffee packages.

Scott attends his first trade show in 1997 at Atlanta’s AmericasMart. On a tight budget, he builds his booth by hand in his backyard for a total cost of 27 bucks. The booth design wins Best in Show!

Scott takes the cookies clear across the country for their West Coast debut at the NASFT Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. It’s a true success, considering a man named Chuck Williams exits the show with multiple Apple Pie cookies in his pocket. Scott receives an order – at his garage — from Williams-Sonoma the following week.

Marking the 1999 birth of Liam, his first child, Scott creates Leapin’ Lemon, Immaculate’s lemon white chocolate best seller. The following year, Leapin’ Lemon wins the award for Most Outstanding Cookie in America at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York.

After realizing that a much-needed packaging machine is too tall to fit in the garage, Scott begins a frantic search for a real bakery building. He moves from the garage into an old metal shop in downtown Hendersonville, NC. The building is outfitted with industrial ovens and even has an office!

Around this time, Scott reaches back to his pie baking days and creates Key Largo Lime cookies, a tribute to the Key Lime pies he made and sold to pay his way through college. Increasing in both staff and production, Immaculate begins building a 12,000 square foot facility in Hendersonville.

That same year, Scott established the Folk Artist’s Foundation to give support, aid, encouragement and exposure to artists working in the folk art tradition.

In the middle of a 2002 snowstorm, the folks at Immaculate move to the new bakery building. Here, Scott develops the award-winning Edible Art Box, a cookie kit celebrating Immaculate’s love of baking and the creativity of American Folk Art. Immaculate is recognized as North Carolina Business of the Year.

Research and development begins on a super secret project, codename WBC. A flurry of extraordinary activity takes over the back warehouse. WBC is code for . . . . World’s Biggest Cookie! After many, many months of preparation and trial baking, the World’s Biggest Cookieis baked on May 17. The cookie weighs in at 38,000 pounds and measures over 102 ft. long!

Immaculate’s Artreach Van is created in 2004 to help fulfill an outreach program pairing folk artists with kids young and old. Scott takes the van, and artist, Leonard Jones, to Mt. Pleasant, SC to bake a 10 foot cookie at Earth Fare and share Leonard’s paintings with the children gathered at the store. The Soul Food Fund is established to support, nurture and celebrate creativity. Ten foot cookies continue to bake around the Southeast (and in Chicago!)

In 2008, Paul Nardone comes on board as CEO and frees up Scott for more innovation. And innovate, he does. Scott is passionate about food and develops all of Immaculate’s recipes himself.

Aside from his overwhelming interest in Immaculate, Scott remains an avid folk art collector and has even dipped into the world of filmmaking to complete the 10-year documentary project about Southern folk artists entitled “All Rendered Truth.”

The company has grown slowly, cookie by cookie, but the past few years have seen an explosion of creativity and production: we’ve launched a full line of natural and organic cookie dough, brownie dough, buttermilk biscuits, and scones. We’ve made debuts in more stores than ever, gotten some amazing press, and connected with folk artists for baking and packaging inspiration.

And here we are, almost 15 years later – still committed to premium ingredients, folk art, and fun. You find our cookies on airplanes, in supermarkets, and club stores – and hopefully, you’re keeping these treats in your own kitchen.

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So interesting, right?  Love it.

I just wanted to share what our family eats for breakfast these days…on busy mornings especially, they are just what mama needs to get everyone out the door with full tummies.

Enjoy your day, friends!

xoxo,

Carrie

BTW, Immaculate Baking Co. has no idea who we are and this is not a paid endorsement.  I just really love their products and think you will too.  Share the love!  xoxo.

 

 

DIY Feature :: PB&J Stories

17 Jan

We have a little infatuation with Pamela from PB&J Stories.  Not only is she super cute, she’s super creative.

Check out this truck:

Turned into this:

Adorable!

You can read all about the details here.  It’s such a fantastic idea…my husband has an old trunk in the garage.  I wonder if he’ll let me have it??

Hope everyone is having a wonderful week so far!  I’ll be seeing Angie this weekend in San Antonio!  I have conference there on Friday and my hubs and kiddos are coming along for the ride.  Can’t wait to her and give Angie her very belated birthday gift!  She already knows what it is, and I’m positive she’ll have some amazing projects to share using it!

xoxo,

Carrie

What’s On Our Minds??

16 Jan

Carrie’s inspiration this week:

Doors

I want to makeover my very tiny laundry room. I spend way too much time in there as it is and I’d really like to have a fun, little room. It’s a constant source of traffic, from shoes to backpacks, washing to folding, and kenneling up sweet Bella.

I have a couple ideas and my first thought is to switch out the door. I’d like something interesting with maybe glass on the top half of the door. Or something distressed and rustic to offset my matte black pantry door on the other side of the kitchen.

I could totally distress the current door to save money but I’m not a fan of the panels.  I want something with a little more character, a little fancier.

Source: theinspiredroom.net via Casey on Pinterest

 

What do you think? Spice up of the laundry room door??

Do you want to see what my laundry room looks like right now?  Be afraid, be very afraid….

Angie’s inspiration this week:

Memory Jars

I discovered these memory jars on Pinterest this week and my mind has been racing with ideas on how to replicate these for our home.  What an innovative modern take on the old concept of shadow boxes.  So many options to play with including different shapes, sizes and colors of glass.

 (Courtesy of Pinterest)

I adore the idea of using jars instead of deep picture frames to capture memories.  The jar symbolizes a little world where you can picture yourself back in time and get a rush of pleasure remembering how happy you felt and the good times experienced there.

Using jars to capture vacation memories touches my heart.  If you have followed our blog, you know I used to live in Mexico and part of me always wishes we were still there.   You also might remember my husband and I cashed in our life savings last year and bought a vacation home in Ixtapa-Zihautanejo, Mexico. I am thinking of making a memory jar as a reminder of our times in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo filling it with sand, driftwood, seashells and pictures.  These wouldn’t be just objects… looking at them will take us back in time with where we’ll visualize our long morning walks on the beach, the hours we spent hunting for seashells and the excitement we felt the time we discovered baby sea turtles.

(Courtesy of Pinterest)

If you’ve lived in different places, making jars for each city or house would be another idea.  I could make a jar for the years we lived in Los Angeles, Texas (Austin and San Antonio) and Mexico City.   I think it is something that would bring happiness to not only myself but my husband as well.  And it would be a compelling conversation piece for guests that come over.

Here are more ideas for memory jars:

Making one for each year or a period in time.

 (Courtesy of Pinterest)

Jaden, with Steamy Kitchen,  jots down memories as they happen throughout the year on colorful post-its in her memory jar.  This is a quick and much easier than keeping a journal!

And Brooke, with Inchmark, probably has the sweetest memory jar.  Brooke writes down funny or sweet things her children say.  Children always say the funniest things and as hilarious as the statement was…it’s easy to forget a day or year later.  Now Brooke’s children’s phrases are captured forever in her memory jar.

What do you think of these ideas and what’s on your mind this week?

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