I happened to be watching a Rick Steves show on Denmark and in the show they were describing a way of living that they had. It was called hyggelig (hoo.gl.ee). This hyggelig meant you always have a drink, some food, and at the very least a candle between you and your company. It meant feeling cozy at the very base translation of the word but actually much more, it was your surroundings without anything that would make you feel ill at ease or emotionally overwhelmed. It was actually the pursuit of serenity, of comfy, of homey, of anything that brought that warm fuzzy to your soul.

My jaw dropped at this Danish discovery of self. That one single word summed up the pursuit of my entire life. Hyggelig!!! This blog is about just that, all the things that make me feel hyggelig. My only hope is that they inspire you to find your own hyggelig too. Imagine a world full of hyggelig, just imagine...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mostly Found For Free Thanksgiving

Like I said before we decided to host this years family Thanksgiving since it's our first in our new home. Yes, we are crazy! We've only been here six months which all of have been spent on non-stop house projects. We still have a ways to go but wanted our family here anyway. Needless to say we are pretty much tapped out for lots of frilly extras. So, I hunted for what we needed around the house & neighborhood. I think it turned out pretty well considering I didn't buy a thing. You know I actually did look around in the stores and there weren't any Thanksgiving decorations anyway. It's like they think you only celebrate Halloween or Christmas.

Anyway, this is what I did...

Our table only seats six and we are going to be serving eight so I had to get clever and fit another table onto the side of it and then figure out how to make it look all cohesive. So I remembered that we had a king size sheet in a perfect harvest color that we'd never used. It made the perfect tablecloth and covered both tables.
An unused sheet can stand in for a tablecloth when in a pinch. 

I collected leaves from around my neighborhood and used leftover mini pumpkins from Halloween to make the table decorations.
Artfully arrange leaves under mini pumpkins for  fall festive decorations at each place setting. 

For the place cards I simply wrote each name on a leaf and placed it over the napkin on the plates.
Place cards made by nature are more beautiful than any I could make or buy.

To help tomorrow go much more smoothly and make sure everything is gonna fit on the table I labeled each dish with what it will be serving for the meal and made sure each dish had a serving utensil. Tomorrow when all the family arrives and is wanting to help they will be able to see what goes where without having to ask me (I'll be busy in the kitchen!)

All organized and ready to go!

The buffet is where we will be serving appetizers and dessert. Did you think I have a table runner? Nope, it's a trimmed end from one of the curtains that was too long. I just folded the raw edge under and perfection. It was even just the right size. All to do next was lay the leftover leaves on it for decoration. Pretty simple huh?

All decorated and ready for the desserts to arrive!

Look around your house for things you may be able to repurpose into decorations in a pinch! You just might find what you need and save some cash in the process and perhaps the landfill too!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Love Of Cookbooks

I have a thing for cookbooks. I love them, want to collect them, read them, and enjoy them so much that I'm sure I have way too many for my own good, but yet they still keep coming in. So I've told myself that I could only add to my collection if I actually make the recipes in them and give a few away that I don't use anymore. So, two went to sisters and two are on their way from amazon. I have to say that they were super cheap since I got them used. Just a few dollars... Honey, Don't be mad. These are actually going to be VERY useful. They have all the homey kind of food I love but are all healthy versions that will keep my figure getting slimmer not bigger over the holidays. They also list all the nutritional info for all the recipes including the food exchanges. How did I find them? I checked them out from the library while looking for some cookbooks with slimmed down versions of my favorite foods.

Brownies from the 

New Dieter's Cookbook

Today I'm trying the brownie recipe. It's kinda great that it only makes 8 brownies since there are only two of us living in this little Enchanted Cottage. I'm waiting for them to cool as I type at this very moment. So far they smell delicious, just like regular brownies. Let's see if they taste as good.

Verdict: pretty good. About a 3 out of 5 which is pretty good for a diet brownie. I think if I frosted them with chocolate frosting instead of the suggested powder sugar they could be a 5. Theres also a chocolate frosting recipe in the book! I'll have to try that next time and let you know how it turns out.

My cookbook collection. This is the mudroom right off the kitchen at the backdoor. How do you like my twig door knobs?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Product Review: Dr. McDougall's instant soup cups

I order in bulk from Amazon

I think most of us are constantly trying to watch our weight, eat healthy, and tasty food that is preferably convenient. Thats why I love these soup cups from Dr. McDougall. You can get them in many different flavors. My favorites being Miso Noodle, Black Bean and Lime, and Tortilla Soup with Baked Chips. All you do is add boiling water and let them sit for a few minutes. So easy.

Boil water (thats the Honey peeking in❤)
Put top back down and place spoon on top to keep in steam. Wait a few minutes. 
Peal back top half way and fill up with water.

It's done! I top the tortilla soup with light sour cream sometimes but it  really doesn't need it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Enchanted Garden Party

Giambattista Valli

We've been laboring on our new home since it's only new to us but old to itself being built in 1901. Painting, refinishing floors, changing outlet & switch plate covers, replacing all the light fixtures, new windows, new front and back locks & door handles, and lots more painting. WHEW!

When spring starts up the work will get underway outdoors. Once all the pulling, chopping, planting and landscaping has finished for the season we are planning a very intimate but grand garden party to celebrate all our labors.

All who have lingered in our backyard have gone under the spell of enchantment that it holds like a whisper from a magical fairy. The perfect place for a romantic afternoon. The festivities will include, tea, fancy little bits of scrumptious food, bubbly drinks, white linen and fancy china, lawn games, a photographer, and of course the ladies and gents decked out in gorgeous attire.

So of course I've been dreaming about what the very perfect and proper garden party attire should be. I've decided that it's fancy with a bit of whimsy, although not too fancy and not too casual. Well, to really get what I mean just imagine a bunch of lovely girlies kicking off their shoes and lounging in the grass wearing these  romantic beauties...

Banana Republic  (Imagine it without these socks & shoes)
Chanel (whats fantastic about this is the parasol that looks like a  sun bonnet!)

Erdem (lace lace lace!)

Giles (take away the neck pouf and it's perfection)

Wunderkind (without the hose and jacket  it's simply gorgeous)

Just Cavalli

Karen Walker

Moncler Gamme Rouge


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Decadent Without Guilt

A couple days ago I taste tested some super decadent chocolate muffins and was given the recipe. I went to Trader Joe's to buy all the ingredients and then realized that Trader Joe's chocolate cake mix is way bigger than your standard ones. So I doubled everything and it came out just perfect with lots to freeze for later!

1 box Trader Joe's cake mix
1 cup water
2 cans 15 oz pumpkin
3/4 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup white chocolate chips

Mix all together and and drop into lined muffin tin.
Bake at 350 F for 25 minutes or 30 minutes for jumbo muffins.

116 calories per serving of regular sized muffin, 232 calories per jumbo size
omit chocolate chips to lower calories
My recipe made 24 regular sized ones and 10 jumbo.

I'm excited to experiment with this! I think it would make a great cake minus the chocolate chips and topped with a low fat cream cheese topping or cool whip. I'm thinking carrot cake mix with shredded carrot added and cream cheese frosting.

Try any cake mix you like. I think the original recipe used spice cake mix and cinnamon chips.
If you want to use a regular cake mix just add 1/2 cup water, one  15 oz can pumpkin, and 3/4 cup chips.

Honey approved! He ate three in a row.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My Office, A Clean Slate

Like I said I love to paint inside the closets!

I've never had my very own work space before. In this house my Honey and I each get our own little offices  tucked upstairs (now I'll have no excuse to start that business I've always wanted to). We've been working non-stop on this place and are finally about to finish the upstairs. My room has the basics pretty much done. It's a clean slate just waiting for me to dress it properly for the multi tasking it will have to do. My office / craft room, occasional guest room.

I absolutely love the color I picked for this. So far this and the dining room are my favorite wall colors throughout the house. Like with the closets I'm obsessed with the walls being just the right color. For this room it had to be an energizing work space yet cozy for the house guests it will sleep. I think it's just perfection.

Soon to be added, a bookcase on the left, cork board on the right and a flat screen over the desk. Well, the last one is on the wish list. Office chair waiting to be put together!
New window! This room has been painted floor to ceiling. Wants for this wall include a colorful  curtain / shade. 
This side of the office is gonna get a day bed with baskets underneath for storage.  Also an area rug is in the plans. The chair will have to go. 
This is my office looking into my Honey's. We are doing his next! The mirror will be hung, and the heater vent changed out. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

New Windows!

Can you believe that you could replace all the windows in your house within about 5 hours? Well, thats exactly what we had done by Renewal by Andersen windows and they look great!

It's sad to replace the 1901 wavy glass but not sad to finally have working windows that aren't painted shut and missing all their weight and pull hardware. Also not sad to see the ugly outer storm windows gone too! I think we just massively raised the value of our little enchanted cottage.

Living room  prep work for lead protection by the workers
Needing new windows!
Bathroom before
old window cutout 
New bathroom window!
kitchen before
kitchen after. Still has to be painted. The window sill was deepened too!

outside before
Outside after! So much nicer!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Simple summer frocks

Alright, it's time to talk frocks. Not the frilly dressy things you never really wear. No, these are perfect for any day or anywhere. You must consider that your wardrobe might be lacking some personality if all you don are jeans and the boring khaki capri pants that every single mom seems to claim as her uniform come summer. SKIP IT!! They are making you look like a blah, boring, mommy who is older than her time. 

The plus side here is that it will take you one pull over the head to get dressed and look chicer than your old self ever dared. It's weird but a lot of ladies are afraid of dresses. There's no need to be when you have lovely chic frocks like these...

Vivian Tam 

Marc by Marc Jacobs 

Francesco Scognamiglio

Lela Rose
Chris Benz 
Marc Jacobs 
Vivienne Westwood
Behnaz Sarafpour (love the layering going on here)

Rachel Comey (dressy day wear)
I can hear you all complaining that you don't want to show that much leg. Remember this is the runway. Any of these dresses would look great just at the knee. Manipulate the looks to suit you. Make them your own by way of longer hem, more of a sleeve, a different color or a more casual fabric. Pay attention to the shape of the dress and have some fun getting updated!

Sachin & Babi (dressy day wear, think about that bridal shower you have to go to)
Listen, if you put flat sandals with almost any of these dresses it brings them down to casual wear in one smart move. Try it! You might just decide to trade in your old mommy aging capri uniform or same old college standby jeans for something much chicer and easier.