Archive for October, 2012

Spicy Carrot Soup Recipe

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Yesterday we made our Mum’s yummy, Spicy Carrot Soup. It is healthy, easy, inexpensive and perfect for a Halloween supper.

Here is the recipe:

2 lbs carrots

2 medium potatoes

1 large or 2 medium onions

2 knorr stock cubes or chicken stock

1/2 cup of long grain rice

Salt + Pepper to taste

Curry Powder to taste

Peel potatos and carrots and cut in even pieces, peel and cut up the onion/s. Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan and then saute the vegetables in the oil for a few minutes until partially cooked. Cover with water and add stock cubes (or chicken stock), add the rice and bring to the boil. Once boiled turn down the heat and simmer for at least an hour or until veg are very tender. Blend with a hand blender or blend with a food processor and season to taste with S&P and curry powder.

Serve soup piping hot, and garnish with blob of sour cream, a swirl of fresh cream, grated cheese, or a sprig of cilantro.

This soups is perfect with our favorite no-knead bread and  is so hearty and warming I think it should be a new Halloween tradition, it would be perfect before sending the kids out on a cold night! Thanks for the recipe Mum! What are you up to this Halloween?

Draper House: Thrift Cafe Chairs

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Nobody five years ago would guess that now one of my favorite things to do is to scour a thrift shop. What can I say, living on a strict budget as newlyweds made me get creative, and the high from finding something fantastic for a only a few bucks is hard to beat!

In decorating I am all about mixing the highs with the lows. I splurge on only a few items and then save big time on the rest.

Nothing too much will change to this approach with the new Draper house and I am on the hunt…

It is a rarity to find a full set of anything at a thrift store, so I literally gasped out loud when I saw 12 cafe chairs last week!

I snatched 8 up immediately and even negotiated my way into getting them for $4 each!

Cafe chairs are all the rage and it seems as though they are everywhere; Restoration Hardware, and Crate & Barrel just to name a few. I have been loving these curvy chairs and am so excited to have found some!

The chairs have been cleaned and sanded, are in the not-so-fun process of being primed with an oil-based primer, and are almost ready to paint. I decided I wanted a mis-matched look of dark wood and white before I even found the chairs, so now I just need to decide on which color:

dark table + white chairs

images unknown

or…white table + dark chairs

I know that last picture is just white table clothes, but ya get the idea. I am leaning towards the white table with dark chairs.

We are still waiting for permits to be approved with Draper City before the builder can break ground on the house but it should only be a few more weeks. I think I’m a little too ahead of myself, huh?!

Good news though, is that all of the design options have been finalized and I will be sharing them with you soon. Oh, and let’s not forget the longer the construction time, the longer I have to find some more thrifty treasures!

Do you like a good thrift store hunt or are you totally grossed out at the thought?

Glamours Gift Wrap

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Today I’m happy to be sharing a project over at Lil Luna, be sure to go check it out!

I’ve gone crazy for black and gold this season. I’m usually a silver and white girl through and through, but it’s been so fun mixing things up and embracing the warmer metallic. Em’s love of glam is rubbing off on me, and her roundup of products like THIS has left me drooling.

On our last trip to the Dollar Tree we spotted these fab gold present toppers, they look like paper fireworks and we couldn’t resist. Paired with a package wrapped in black butcher paper, it’s simple, glamours and (shhh) cheap. :)

The other packages were made up of left over gold wrapping from years ago, and a gold leaf (left over from HERE) made another nice statement on black too.

Do you guys end up with as much leftover paper as we do? Mixing it with a bold new colour really helps breathe fresh life into something you may be sick of looking at! Blending old and new is always a good thing. :)


Local Costco Deals

Friday, October 26th, 2012

When I nipped into Costco the other day for my rotisserie chicken, a few crazy deals caught my eye that I just had to share:

First, this throw is soooooo lush and very comparable to our absolute favorites from Restoration Hardware, but half the price at only $19.99

Next, white tissue paper…it’s an annual stock up and lasts the whole year for only $5.99 for  400 sheets!!!

And finally a local deal…Thanksgiving Point $50 gift card for only $39.99. Can be used same as cash and is perfect for renewing your Thanksgiving Membership. Our duo membership is $110, but with this we’d only pay $90…holler!!!

PS. Thanksgiving membership is the best deal in town even without the additional discount, see more details HERE.

PPS. Sorry for ugly pics, warehouse lighting is the worst!!!


Holler Dollar: Drawer Liners

Thursday, October 25th, 2012


The other day we had a very successful visit to the Dollar Tree we spent $28 which never happens. Christmas is almost in the air and we were feeling it!

But for now, on this cold Autumn day I treated myself to some new drawer liners. This lining was only $1 for 1.5 yards, enough to line four drawers (I used 2.5 rolls total).

The classic floral black and white print, matched perfectly with my traditional dresser. There’s something a little luxurious  about this project, I can’t pin point what it is…but for $3 I know I’m loving it!

A Cheeky Fall Favor

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

We know, we know. Mason jars have been the ‘thing’ for many years, but we just can’t get enough of them. This brand from the Dollar Tree says “golden harvest” on the front with a cornucopia engraved on the glass. Em thought they’d be perfect for a fall favor.

We simply filled it with salted popcorn, and stamped “thanks for popping in” on a tag. Quite adorable don’t you think?!

There could be so many variations of this: perhaps caramel popcorn, or a different saying like “just wanted to pop by to say hi.” Either way, it’s cute and simple and sure to cheer up anyone’s day. :)

Draper House Master Bath Options

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

The next Draper house decision I am pondering is the master bathroom mirrors. The standard option is to get the huge, gargantuan mirror. I think it’s going to be a lot like Sarah’s with a double vanity, white counter tops and lights over each sink:

My cabinets will be a dark brown ‘java’ color though. I have mixed feelings about massive mirrors like these.

On one hand, it would be nice to be able to have a big mirror to see myself before headed out of the door in the morning (no large mirror currently in the apartment). It also would cost no additional money.

On the other hand, that is a big mirror and my husband is a big water splasher. I would have to clean that baby every day.  Also, their are so many fun options to be had to customize the master bath, I’m not sure if I can commit to the large mirror being glued to the wall.

Here are a few options I am contemplating. I would love any help and advise please!

Option 1: It has been very popular lately to add paneling to a large mirror and I love the look:

Option 2: Round mirrors. As you know, I LOVE THIS OPTION. I could easily be persuaded on pivot, oval mirrors too.

Option 3: Rectangle mirrors. Traditional, classic and never out of date.

Option 4: Medicine cabinets. I love our current medicine cabinet above our sink, it helps me stay so organized! I am a big fan of two cabinets hung next to each other:

Do you have a preference in bathroom mirrors? What do you think is the best choice considering both aesthetics and functionality?

Two-Minute Fall Banner

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

I have been making a few changes to transition the apartment into the winter months and had a craving to make something with felt to cozy things up for the season.

As I usually have zero tolerance for crafts as my DIY’s usually result in a less than desirable result, I didn’t want to waste any time so I tried to keep it as simple as possible.

I used what I had: Brown felt, brass fasteners and twine and simply cut the sheet of felt into 4 pieces with a flag edge, folded the felt over the twine and secured in place with the brass fasteners.


It is simple and looks great on the stairs, but best of all took no time or money whatsoever. The felt is usually around $.20/sheet at a craft store, and the fasteners are less that $2 at any grocery store. I like it so much, I’m planning on a gold + cream version for Christmas. Well worth a few minutes, don’t you think?!

Christmas Cards at Target

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Christmas is literally just around the corner, so it’s time to start thinking about Christmas cards!

Sarah and I go nuts for pretty stationary at a pretty price and Target is yet again fitting the bill with new Green Inspired christmas cards.

Joy To The World card

Noel card

Happy Holidays red christmas card

Season’s Greetings blue and red christmas card

I am getting all merry and bright at the thoughts of these cards, especially for $7 for a 16-count pack. Craazzy price! The green inspired collection also has packs of little notebooks in the stationary aisle that would make wonderful little presents for Christmas.

Green-inspired 3 ct notebooks

For only $3 for the set, they would be adorable individually or collectively.

Have you started thinking about christmas yet? what are you getting excited for?

New Coats

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Normally I would be very unhappy to wake up on my birthday to rain clouds and blustery wind, but not this birthday…

Haha, I’m such a poser when Sarah is behind the camera! Cold weather meant I got to wear my new, lovely Michael Kors coat that the mam and paps got me for the big 3-0. I had to blog about it because Sarah and Mum found it for 75% off at Nordstrom Rack! The Rack has such a great selection right now. If you need a new coat, start here. Thanks Mum and Dad, I l-o-v-e it!

On another note, a five minute trip to Walmart over the weekend resulted in an equestrian find. An English/horsey jacket is something I’ve been coveting for Fall. Not the most flattering, but for $18.96 I will come and clean out the stables in it.

ps. The black is way cuters, but the green matched my wellies :)

p.p.s. I just realized, two coats in one week?! I got majorly spoiled this week! Thanks peeps for making the big birthday extra special xxx

Deal Alert: BOGO at Rumbi

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Just a quick deal for all you local readers. Rumbi Island Grill has a great buy one get one free coupon out right now just click HERE to view and print.

We LOVE their sweet potato fries and sandwiches, and on this student budget it’s a great meal for 2 for around $7…Holler!!!

Clearance at Target

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

On Monday we were headed home from the wedding and stopped at Target in Sparks, NV to pick up a few snacks. Instead, we picked up a few black, cream + gold 50% clearance items we’ve been waiting for to be reduced:

Black stripe lampshade $9.99

Metallic circle bolster $9.99

Hello tray $9.99

Gold base lamp $22.99

Nothing beats getting something you’ve been waiting for a steal of a deal! Down side is that while waiting you risk missing the mark down and the item being gone before you get to it.

As you probably know, each Target marks down clearance items independent of other stores, but from our experience it usually only differs by a few days. If your local target hasn’t marked these items down yet, they will soon….so it might be worth a few trips to make sure you don’t miss out on your favorite items in the Timeless Collection.

Em’s Birthday

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

To our Little Sister,

You may feel old on this milestone birthday, but we are the old ones, for we can remember your entrance into the world.

The day you were born we were at Gran’s house, and although the day was full of anticipation, we were happy playing in the garden and dressing our dolls waiting for news. It didn’t seem like long before Dad knocked on the door, and walked in with a big smile. He came in and told us all about you, and we fell in love with you, even before we met.

We couldn’t be happier that you made two best friends into three.

We love, adore and admire you.

Helen and Sarah x

PS. We’ll be enjoying some of Em’s birthday freebies today, check out my post HERE to see our faves.

Packing Tip: Ikea’s Big Blue Bag

Monday, October 15th, 2012

We just returned from our fabulous wedding weekend, and thought I’d share one of my favorite packing tips.

Sometimes when we’re going away with a big group it’s easier for the hostess and ourselves to pack our own bed, bedding and towels etc…But when you get it all together it can become quite bulky and look something like this:

This is when the Ikea big blue bag comes into play, you know the ones at the check out for only 59¢? Seriously it’s the best 59¢ I’ve ever spent, I use it again and again especially on large items like these.

See look how tidy:

It’s perfect to pack in the back of the car, as it’s a major space saver.

Of course you don’t have to just back bedding, it’d work for whatever to cart around; I’m thinking it’d be supper handy with kids. Do you guys have any packing tips? There’s always room for improvement!



Salon Anxiety

Friday, October 12th, 2012

This week I visited the salon for some much needed hair care before the the lil’ bro’s upcoming nuptials.

image source unknown

I realized while sitting in that spinny chair of horror that I would much rather be in a gynecologist office than be in that chair…

I realized that I felt this way for three reasons:

  • #1 I feel my hair is “my one true beauty”, and I am putting that into a 20-year old, stranger’s hands!
  • #2 I work at an infertility clinic, so going for a doctor’s visit is quite normal for me.
  • #3 I once left a popular salon paying over $100 with pink hair.

No, it wasn’t supposed to be pink! it was supposed to be like Rapunzel’s or Sleeping Beauty’s, not Katy Perrys and now as a result, when that little blue bowl of bleach comes closer to my locks my heartbeat starts to raise.

Luckily, this time I am in the clear. I was in skilled hands and it turned out beautiful. But probably when I go next, the stylist will be gone and I will be back to square one.

Does anyone else feel like this or do I need to be medicated?

Gift Idea: Straw Glasses + Soda

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

A couple of years ago I gave this gift of straw glasses and soda to one of my nephews, it was an instant hit and the other kids wanted a sip and turn of the glasses. So naturally I added it to my list of good gift ideas and have been giving it ever since.

It’s a fun treat, and I can’t decide what the kids enjoy best, the quirky glasses or 6 bottles of soda all to themselves!

Glasses were from World Market for $4.99, but I stocked up when they had a toy buy one get one free sale (should be coming up soon). The soda is from Walmart for around $3.

Do you have a gift you give all the time? We love to hear your ideas.

My Little Black Dress Makeover

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

About a month ago, our littlest baby brother got engaged to his wonderful girlfriend. They’ve been dating almost two years so it wasn’t really a shocker, but then they told us they’d like to wed this fall, in the woods…as in THIS FALL…like NOW!

Sally (our sissy-in-law to be) and her mother have everything under control, and have planned a wonderful fall wedding in the matter of weeks.We’ve been helping here and there, but my main concern was what to wear! On this tight student budget, there isn’t really room for to attend a destination wedding and get a new outfit, so I decided to go with a dress I already had and added just a little bling.

My classic black Banana Republic Dress:

Dressing it up a tad with some costume jewelry:

Then I decided not to break up the neckline of the dress, so I cut off the chain of the necklace and stitched it directly onto the dress.

Ta dah…the finished result.

It looks way cleaner and polished right? Plus with it stitched on it feels like a whole new dress, not just a necklace!

Now I just have to pack my hankie and I’m ready to go, wish me luck!

PS. My necklace is from HERE.

An Organized Pantry

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

A beautifully organized pantry is a sight to behold, but can sometimes seem overwhelming and unattainable.

Today I’d like to share just few of our favorite pantry organization tricks to help your pantry become a little more efficient and organized.

#1 Group Complimentary Items Together

It makes no sense to be pulling all of your ingredients for your favorite lasagna recipe from all over the kitchen. Most people store grains with grains or canned food all together, but come dinner time it makes a lot more sense to keep pasta next to tomato sauce, rice next to stir fry mix, and baking supplies all together.

This dreamy baking cupboard holds baking ingredients and supplies alike in one place. Below items are grouped for meal preparation.

Grouping items like this helps me so much with mean planning, I can see exactly what I have and what I’m missing for any given dish.

#2 Store Bulk Items Somewhere Else

The number one problem we see when organizing is trying to cram too much into a space. When you have a cluttered pantry, food often gets lost and expires before use.

By storing bulk items in another location such as the garage or basement, and leaving just 2-3 of the particular item in the pantry, you free an incredible amount of space, allowing everyday food to be arranged so it can be clearly seen.

#3 Baskets, Baskets, Baskets!

Baskets are a fantastic way to group identical items, such as those ten different kinds of rice or noodles you have.

Another idea for baskets that I love comes from a family I used to babysit for. They had a snack basket, located on a lower shelf in the pantry, where the kids could help themselves to a snack everyday from the items in the basket (fruit leather/granola bars etc). I loved this idea so much, I do the same thing for Brad and me!

#4 Clear Containers

This is one example of how you can change just one thing and make a huge difference in your pantry. We love these plastic containers, especially for cereal.

clear plastic cereal container $3.99

These containers makes it easy for kids/husbands to pour cereal in a flash without having to hassle with clipping the plastic bag and closing the cereal box nicely. It’s also is easier to see when your stock is running low.

Most people keep cereal on one of the top shelves or cupboards in a kitchen. We suggest if you have children, to keep it on a lower shelf. In our experience, kids love to feel independant getting their cereal in the morning and when they’re big enough can pour it themselves.

Overall, with pantry organization you should keep on switching things up until you have a system you are happy with, don’t give will get there!

Do you have any great pantry organizing tips? We’d love to hear…

Free Shipping Today at our Favorite Shops

Monday, October 8th, 2012

Our favorite family of shops have free shipping today: Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, PBteen, West Elm and Williams-Sonoma. (See their sites for discount code info).

It’s a great time to browse their clearance, stock up on faves, or take a look at their new seasonal items.

Here’s what I’ve been looking at: 


This party in a box is a great thing to have on hand for a last minute birthday party. It’s classy back and white and fancy fonts will have you looking like an amazing hostess for only $19.99 down from $49.50.


This large silver keepsake frame is amazing. It’s down from $99 to $27.99.

This savanna removable wallpaper is equally fantastic, down from $69 to $19.99-$24.99 (depending on colour). This is an ideal easy way to wallpaper, even an accent wall would look amazing.



And finally my favorite find of the morning: this yoke pendant lamp and shade, it’s down from $295 to $159.99 which puts it in a normal range for pendant lights. I’m thinking this would be a great addition to Emily’s Drapper house, what do you guys think? This is what she’s chosen so far, see HERE.

PS. AMAZING news for all you Utah readers, West Elm is opening this week at City Creek, we’re finally becoming a real city! J/K but seriously lets hope it’s not a mini store I want to be blown away!


A Morning Indulgence

Friday, October 5th, 2012

When we were little, birthday celebrations would start at the crack of dawn with all 8 children piling on our parents’ bed to open presents before school. The birthday child would always unwrap some form of chocolate (usually Maltesers) and willingly share the goods among the family for a birthday breakfast.

Thinking about this now, if I had children there is NO WAY I would let my kids eat chocolate (a) before their breakfast (especially on a school day) and (b) on my white, crisp sheets! I am now realizing my parents were pretty nice :)

I think somehow this morning birthday celebration has been ingrained in me, coz on occasion after a bad night or on a lazy Saturday morning you may find this on my nightstand:

(Sick right?! My mother would not be so proud.)

It’s the epitome of naughtiness for me, and goes against my usual protein and whole-grain breakfast regime. But hey, it helps me feel that life is good and gives me a needed boost on those mornings when I feel like I’ve been dragged through a bush backwards.

Anyway, sometimes I feel this blog shows a vision of thrifty, pretty, and organized living. While this is our goal, as  you can see with my lovely breakfast above, I am far from living it perfectly. Isn’t there something to be said though for enjoying the moment and random little indulgences?

I would love to hear how you balance goals in your life…penny for your thoughts?