Welcome to Hometown Perch

Hometown Perch is about celebrating where you live. Whether you’ve moved away and back home again (like us), lived in the same place your entire life, or have settled down and made someplace else your hometown perch for good, there is beauty everywhere. So get out there and love where you live.

Click here to meet your hometown girls.

Hometown Perch Photo Shoot from Stacie Marez on Vimeo.

 

Body Spring Cleaning

Body Spring Cleaning

We eat pretty healthy around here. My brother nicknamed me Organica. My teenage nephew laments the contents of my pantry when he visits–”All you have is healthy stuff!” My friend recently brought some kid’s drinks for an event and jokingly said “I checked the ingredients and I think they’re pretty good. There’s just a tiny bit of MSG in there.” Everyone got a good laugh.

If what I buy isn’t a whole food (fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy) I check the label.  And I don’t just look for calories and fat content. In fact, I rarely look at those. What I do look for is sodium and sugar content and the list of ingredients. If there are too many ingredients and I don’t know exactly what they are, it’s not going in the cart. Contrary to what my brother believes, I don’t buy all organic. I buy organic when I can–when it’s affordable and when it makes the biggest difference. Check out the info graphic below for more details on when it makes sense to buy organic:

image via Environmental Working Group

image via Environmental Working Group

 

Consider the popcorn labels below. It’s easy to grab a box from the aisle. But it takes just a moment to compare the two labels to notice that the product on the left has artificial and chemical ingredients. You probably know all or most of the ingredients in the product on the right. It’s the better choice even if the sources weren’t organic. Try doing this with corn chips. It’s pretty easy to find chips that contain simply corn, oil and salt.

Popcorn Labels

In spite of the tricks mentioned above, we still have some cleaning up to do in terms of food and fitness. I have a lot of cleaning up to do in terms of fitness but that’s another post for another day. We, like so many families, are really busy during the week. If we don’t plan ahead for meals we find ourselves eating out too often which is the number one way to consume too many calories, too much sodium and other junk. And, it’s really tough on our monthly budget. If we don’t grab something on the go we might snack during the day without eating a filling lunch and then come home and eat everything in the house. That’s just about as unhealthy as eating out. Really clean nutrition is the key to meeting fitness goals. You can work out all you want but if your diet is poor or sub-par, your results will be limited.

I’ve recently been inspired by Megan of Honey We’re Healthy and a colleague who is in amazing shape! I mean Ah-mazing! Both women have prioritized working out and very clean eating. Their results speak for themselves. They inspired me to clean it up around here.

I made the two-week rotating menu below and we follow it pretty well. We might make Tuesday’s dinner on a Monday depending on what ingredients we have on hand. But overall, it’s been helpful for our family to map out our meals in advance. We have all noticed a difference in the way we feel and Dylan has seen improved results from his workouts. Me, on the other hand. I need to get with the (fitness) program. More to come on that.

What kind of spring cleaning have you done lately? Do you have a workout program you just love? Let me know. I need all the inspiration and motivation I can get.

SUNDAY

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

6:00 Hash browns & Eggs 

9:00 Fresh Fruit

12:00 Tuna Salad

3:00 Cheese cubes & Fruit

6:00 Grilled Shrimp Tacos

6:00 Protein Pancake 

9:00 Almonds & Raisins

12:00 Thai Chicken Salad

3:00 Celery with Nut Butter (pb, almond)

6:00 Light Fettuccine Alfredo

6:00 Protein Smoothie 

9:00 Hummus & Carrots

12:00 Chick Pea Salad

3:00 Homemade Granola Bar

6:00 Tortilla Soup

6:00 Veggie Omelet 

9:00 Apples & Almond Butter

12:00 Quinoa Caprese Salad

3:00 Rice cakes, Tzatziki, peppers

6:00 Chicken Marsala, Brown Rice

6:00 Hash browns & Eggs 

9:00 Fresh Fruit

12:00 Tuna Salad

3:00 Cheese cubes & fruit

6:00 Taco Turkey Casserole

6:00 Protein Pancake 

9:00 Almonds & Raisins

12:00 Greek Pasta Salad with Chicken

3:00 Celery with Nut Butter (pb, almond)

6:00 Soup, Salad & Roll

6:00 Protein Smoothie 

9:00 Hummus & Carrots

12:00 Spinach Salad

3:00 Homemade Granola Bar

6:00 Tomato & Wine Braised Chicken, Rice

6:00 Veggie Omelet 

9:00 Apples & Almond Butter

12:00 Bagel w/Cream Cheese & Smoked Salmon

3:00 Rice cakes, Tzatziki, peppers

6:00 Cobb Salad w/Choice of Protein

 

THURSDAY

FRIDAY

SATURDAY

6:00 Breakfast Egg Sandwich

9:00 Greek Yogurt with Granola

12:00 Tex Mex

3:00 Homemade Trail Mix

6:00 Chop Salad w/Choice of Protein

6:00 Oatmeal

9:00 String cheese & Fresh Fruit

12:00 Tex Mex

3:00 Almonds & Dried Cranberries

6:00 Build-your-own-pizza

6:00 Apple Puff Pancake

9:00 Free choice

12:00 Free choice

3:00 Free choice

6:00 Garden Burger

6:00 Breakfast Egg Sandwich

9:00 Greek Yogurt with Granola

12:00 Pear & Gorgonzola Salad

3:00 Homemade Trail Mix

6:00 Turkey Chili

6:00 Oatmeal

9:00 String cheese & Fresh Fruit

12:00 Turkey Chili

3:00 Almonds & Dried Fruit

6:00 Build-your-own-pizza

6:00 Apple Puff Pancake

9:00 Free choice

12:00 Free choice

3:00 Free choice

6:00 Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs

An interview with Adam Jones

An interview with Adam Jones

The other day I was lying on the couch drinking decaf coffee and thinking random thoughts when this one popped into my head:  Wouldn’t it be fun to ask Adam a bunch of questions about books?  Adam Jones has been the manager at inklings bookshop for several years.  And he also happens to be my beloved cousin, friend and fellow bibliophile.  He is smart, kind, and full of brilliant, witty observation.  I’m pretty sure this is an impartial point of view, and am absolutely convinced that if I didn’t know him from . . . well, Adam (I can’t believe I just wrote that), I would quickly come to this same conclusion.

So, back to my story, I emailed Adam some questions and then we met up for coffee to visit and do a mini photo shoot.  Here’s what Adam had to say about book clubs, hot reads for 2014, some of his favorite authors and why indie bookstores have a prominent place in the heart of any community lucky enough to have one.

To start, can you give a little background on yourself?

I started working at Inklings during summer breaks while I was in college.  At that time, the co-owner of the store just happened to be my cousin, Mandi!  After I graduated, and after a few false starts, I was back in Yakima at the exact time Inklings needed a new manager.  That was over ten years ago!  Since then, I’ve been the general manager of the store.  I’ve also picked up a couple other roles along the way, which is how it works in a small business.  My favorite “task” is buying the sidelines for the store.

Though I’m not a Yakima native, I’ve made my home here since 2003.  I live by Franklin Park with my crazy dog and my partner, Greg.

If you could have dinner with any literary figure who would it be and why?  What would you eat and drink?

This is the hardest question to answer.  I want to do a crazy long list, but I have to pare it down, so here’s the short list: Nancy Mitford, Muriel Spark, Margaret Atwood and Marguerite Duras.

I would be terrified of both Marguerite Duras and Muriel Spark, so I’ll scratch them off the list.  And I don’t know if I have a suit nice enough to meet Nancy Mitford in, so that brings the answer to…Margaret Atwood

She’s such a hoot!  Let me insert – If you don’t follow her on Twitter, get on that right away!  She’s sharp as a tack, even in less than 140 characters.  I also know that she’s very generous with her time and attention with her fans, so though I would be flipping out a bit, I think I could handle the meeting!  She is also Margaret E. Atwood, so you would be bound to leave the conversation with your head spinning with ideas and notions.

I think she would love our Valley – she’s so knowledgeable about history, and ecology, and I think it would be a treat to show her around.  Ideally, she’d visit in the summer so I can take her to the Bale Breaker tasting room while Imogene’s is serving dinner there.  She strikes me as the kind of person who would enjoy a pint of something cold, and this way I wouldn’t have to spend my time worrying about feeding her!  Because I would have so many questions. Eventually, I would want to ask her about her novel “Life Before Man.”  That book fascinated me when I finally read it last summer, probably because it’s plot is so tightly focused on just the time of life I find myself in (though, as I am neither a moony paleontologist nor a depressive woodworker, I do not relate to the exact plot points).  As it has such autobiographical elements I wouldn’t want to be rude with my questions, but I do wonder what she thinks of it, thirty-odd years after it was published.

What are your tips for a successful book club?

I don’t currently belong to a book club, so I feel a little bit like a cheat answering this!  I’ll do my best, based on my observations:

I think sometimes we worry too much about the fun, but honestly, your group WILL be fun!  Getting together with friends over wine and some nibbles, while talking about books?  You’ll have a great time!

Instead of worrying about that, ask yourself what the aim of your club is, and how to structure your time together to meet that goal.  If you want to talk about books with a little bit of seriousness, lay a few ground rules.

From what I’ve gathered, the key points to enriching exchanges over books are: chose your books carefully, and do a little research.

Have criteria for what you read, whatever it is.  Are you going to read through the classics?  Will you only read books that have been reviewed in the New Yorker?  Something like this can help to assure that a book is worth your while and will generate good conversation.  If you don’t have this nailed down, and you let everyone pick a book (which is only fair), your group might end up reading “Goosebumps” – or something worse!  If that’s the case, the conversation is pretty much derailed before it even starts.

Secondly, if you want to learn something from the group, it will take a little bit of work.  You don’t have to write a doctoral dissertation, but do a little bit of research.  I know of groups that ask someone to do a presentation on the author, or about the themes or style of the book, before the general discussion.  I always thought that would be fun, and give the group a solid jumping-off point for conversation.  And there’s lots of resources available now that are designed for just this sort of thing, so you don’t personally have to slog through the Library of Congress to gather this info!  If you want the conversation to go farther than just “I liked it/I didn’t like it,” give your group the tools to do so.

What books are on your  nightstand right now?

I just started “The People in the Trees” by Hanya Yanagihara, and I’m halfway through “Empress Dowager Cixi” by Jung Chang.  Incidentally, these are both fairly new books that had not appeared on my radar at all until I was in Seattle and picked them on a trip to the University bookstore.  One was a staff pick (regrettably I can’t remember the staff person’s name), and the other was nicely displayed in the Asian history section.  So you see, even booksellers need help finding the perfect read sometimes!

What are the new books for 2014 that you can’t wait to get your hands on?

I’m very excited for Helen Oyeyemi’s new book “Boy, Snow, Bird.”  Her book “Mr. Fox” was such a gem, and the new book is getting a lot of press, which I hope translates into more people reading her.

The amazing, demented Patricia Lockwood is publishing her first book of poetry with a major publisher in May.  She’s previously published with small presses and online, but the new book is with Penguin, and called “Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals.”  I can’t remember the last time I saw someone doing something so fresh and, frankly, shocking, with poetry.  It’s incredibly fun to watch.

And Roz Chast is releasing her first book of non-fiction, a graphic novel autobiography titled “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?”  I read it in advance, and while it’s not a long book, it is nowhere near slight.  It’s heartbreaking and hilarious.

Two cookbooks (I’m an addict) that have caught my eye in catalogs and previews so far:

- “A Mouthful of Stars” by Kim Sunee (who wrote the gorgeous “Trail of Crumbs”)

- “Forest Feast: Simple Vegetarian Recipes from My Cabin in the Woods” by Erin Gleeson – hands down, the most beautiful cookbook I’ve seen in ages!

Honestly, it’s going to be a big year for books.  Superstars that are releasing new titles this year include Emma Donoghue, Michael Lewis, Barbara Ehrenreich, and Michael Cunningham, for starters.  It’s gonna be a bumper crop!

If you could live inside one book, which would you choose?

This is tough, because many of the books I love depict a world I would rather not live in!

I think I’ll go back to childhood for this one:  I remember reading Astrid Lindgren’s “Ronia: The Robber’s Daughter,” and wanting to run away to the enchanted forest in that book and live with wild and crazy robbers!  In reality, I was such a quiet, timid kid, who never broke any rules.  I think what I wanted was to be as brave and bold as Ronia and Birk, and to laugh at danger like they did (I seem to remember that they liked to say that phrase a lot?).  That’s never really happened, so I’ll revive that wish!

I also remember very clearly wanting more than anything to get into Willy Wonka’s factory, and finding it utterly unfair that I couldn’t.

What does it mean for Yakima to have a indie bookstore like inklings in its midst?

We love books here, and I mean that sincerely.  Our entire staff reads and reviews books; we love to talk about them, and share them with our customers.  I love it when a co-worker tells me how they just put their favorite book in someone’s hand, and convinced them to give it a try.  We get so excited about it!  Other times, you’ll find one of our staff having a long talk with a customer, sharing their mutual love for a book, or their disagreements!  That relationship is about a shared passion, and it’s a genuine one. 

From the beginning, the idea for Inklings was to be a “place set aside for books and their friends,” and I think on the community level, we matter exactly because our goal has always been bigger than just to sell books.  We want to be a gathering place for our community, and to be engaged with our community.  It’s part of the reason we’re so confident in the face of online retailers and big box stores.  We enrich our community’s experience with events, from the serious to the silly.  We help young readers find that first book, that key that will open up their world to the possibilities of reading.  We’re involved with local schools, providing books for their libraries, and holding fundraisers for them.  And on a most basic level, we’re open every day of the week, with big, comfy chairs for you to read in!  I love looking up from my work, and realizing we’ve had the same customer browsing our store for hours.  It’s that sense of place, and that relationship with our reading friends that is so key; I don’t think any algorithm will ever be able to duplicate it.

Healthy, Homemade Granola Bars

Healthy, Homemade Granola Bars

I got the recipe below from a friend of a friend and it has sat in my binder for the past three years. I decided it was time to give it a try and I’m glad I did. They are so tasty!These are the perfect, protein-packed snack for your little athlete. They’re also great for lunches or that mid-day snack when you start to crave sugar.

The recipe can be customized any way you like to adjust for preferences or food allergies. The options are endless. As long as you follow the simple steps of preparing your chosen dry ingredients, wet ingredients (a.k.a. the glue that holds it all together), and dried fruit, you’re sure to have a winning combination. If you come up with something great, let me know. I’d love to hear from you.

I didn’t have crushed peanuts so I added 1/2 cup of peanut butter to the wet ingredients. Because of that my bars turned out a little softer. But they were still delicious!

Homemade high protein granola bars

Homemade Granola Bars

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • ¾ cup wheat germ
  • ¾ cup non-salted sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup crushed peanuts

Wet Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt

 

  •  8 ounces dried fruit of your choice and/or coconut

Instructions

Mix and toast dry ingredients in the oven at 400 degrees for about 8 minutes stirring at 4 minutes. At the same time, mix the wet ingredients in a sauce pan, bring to a boil for 1-2 minutes.

In a large bowl mix dry ingredients, wet ingredients and dried fruit. Place mixture in a wax paper lined 13×9 inch pan. Top mixture with wax paper and push down flat until you have an even mixture. Let sit over night to set. Cut into 16 bars in the morning.

Weekend Therapy

Weekend Therapy

What a perfect weekend–a Saturday curled up by the fire, the whole family whittling the day away reading, watching movies, Pinteresting, napping and feasting (Doug made an amazing roast).  The most relaxing, lovely day I’ve had in a while.  And then waking up to winter (finally), reveling in the 10+ inches of snow that fell throughout Saturday afternoon and into the evening. While Doug was off helping neighbors and family shovel snow, Sophie and I added coats and boots to our already stylish attire of robe and jammies, grabbed our cameras and headed out to explore.

We laughed and shivered and studied and listened–the world looking and sounding so different.  Sophie uncovered her trampoline and I captured her jumping through the snow.

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Then we shook the snow from our boots, tore off our wet socks and walked barefoot into the kitchen to make hot cocoa.  We sat by the fire and talked.  And then back to the kitchen to make chocolate chip pancakes covered in warm berries.

And that is why now, Sunday evening, I feel human again (rejuvenated), ready to take on the week.  And that is why I love weekends.

 

Custom Console Table

Custom Console Table

You may remember me complaining about our worn out, too small, very uncomfortable couch in my House Anniversary post. We bit the bullet this summer and finally ordered the Henry Sectional from West Elm. After going back and forth between two colors I decided on Performance Velvet in Otter. I love it! The fabric is so soft. It’s a microfiber which means it’s easy to care for but it has a longer nap so it feels more like velvet.

The sectional takes up the entire corner leaving no room for side tables. I ordered the sectional with one shorter side to leave room for a console table. I knew finding a console table long enough would be a challenge and possibly very expensive. We looked at several options before deciding that Dylan could build one that is the right size and for the right price.

I told Dylan the dimensions I wanted and the basic look and he nailed it! The finished table measures 18 inches wide and 8 feet long. I painted it Galveston Gray by Benjamin Moore. It’s a paint color I am also using in our kitchen remodel.

console table 1

console table 2

console table 3

painted console table

I love how it turned out. The best part is that, after packing them around for over 20 years, we finally have a place to display our fathers’ flags and that makes me a happy girl.
custom sofa table 2

custom sofa table

sofa table 2

Living Room Before

Living Room Before

Living Room After

Living Room After

Yakima River Canyon Cattle Drive

Yakima River Canyon Cattle Drive

I had some work to do in Ellensburg on Saturday and Kendall rode along. We decided to take the Yakima River Canyon Road on the way home hoping to see the  bighorn sheep for ourselves. We didn’t see any sheep but we were treated to an animal experience of another kind.

As I headed into the canyon a road sign warned of traffic delays. I hesitated for a moment and considered getting on the main freeway. But, I decided to take a risk and stay on our route.  Halfway into the canyon we saw this heading toward us:

Yakima River Canyon Cattle Drive 1

Kendall and I were so excited! We pulled over to the side of the road, grabbed my camera, started snapping photos and otherwise tried to stay out of the way.

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Half of the herd had passed when Kendall spotted someone making her way along the side of the road.

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And then came the second half of the herd. We loved this beautiful girl–white outlined in black.
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The annual cattle drive has been an Eaton family and friends tradition for years. Although it wasn’t on our agenda for that chilly, foggy Saturday, Kendall and I were thrilled that we accidentally bumped into these folks.

Next time we will find a spot way off the road to park, sit back and watch everyone amble by so that this doesn’t happen again:

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My Happy List

My Happy List

Beginning with the disclaimer that it is the many amazing people (some of whom are pictured below) who make my life truly happy, it is also appropriate to recognize some of the things that are brightening my winter (especially in the midst of Yakima’s current weather inversion–many days of grey, cloudy skies and icicle inspired temperatures).

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Raise your large, warm mug of Theraflu to the following:

Seahawks–I have to begin with honesty:  the first complete game I watched this season was the NFC Championship.  You would think this would mean I was a quiet observer, sitting calmly in my parents’ oversize chair, more interested in the dogs in a blanket on my plate than the game.  Not so.  Just ask my daughter.  Sophie was unfortunate enough to be sitting next to her closet-competetive mother throughout the game.  I loved every minute.  At one point, near the end, she looked at me and said:  “You are louder than Uncle John and Grandpa combined.”  If you have met John or my dad, or have any kind of imagination, you can conclude that I was fantastically loud. It was SO FUN!!

Football has never been my favorite sport to watch, but this season may have changed my mind.  More than that, I have loved the sense of camaraderie that has extended into our schools, our local businesses, our social media, our families.  How often are the majority of people in a city or region focused together on good news?  It seems rare indeed and something to celebrate.  Today I am excited to join the ranks of LOUD Hawks fans everywhere.  I’M IN!

Books that have captured my interest:

  • Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson–Yes, this book is big and yes it is long.  It is also intriguing and mind blowing.  Nearly every page offers some new, complex insight into the life and mind of Steve Jobs.  Well worth the time investment.
  • DK’s Beginner’s Photography Guide–Though I am impatient about “getting to know” all the cool things about my camera, I am finally committed.  Up to this point, I’ve just wanted to take the damn photos.  Now, I’m willing to invest a little time in improving and the DK guide is the perfect mentor.  Lots of illustrations and quick tips.

TV that I love:  Parks & Recreation, Downton Abbey & Sherlock Holmes.  I don’t know how I’ve gone so many years without really watching P & R.  Now I am a devoted convert.  While first seeming mostly goofy, I quickly understood that Pawnee, Indiana Parks and Rec Director Leslie Knope (played by the supreme Amy Poehler) is one of the most lovable and inspiring characters in sitcom history.  This is a woman who loves her city, loves her job and pours her time and passion into making things better for the people in Pawnee.  And yes, she is also wonderfully goofy and flawed, along with the rest of the phenomenal cast, which makes the show equally hysterical and uplifting.  At work I find myself asking:  What would Leslie do? 

Downton Abbey really needs no recommendation from a mere mortal such as myself, but I will say that one of my favorite things about this series is the undercurrent of humor that many of the characters have perfected.  It buffers the tragedies that are woven throughout the script and adds a complexity to the characters.  While at first Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, seems only harsh and stringent, you quickly discover that she is often perceptive, can be counted on to point out the ridiculous and is not without compassion.

And Sherlock Holmes pulls several of my favorite things into a single show:  classic British mysteries (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle!!), modern day London and Martin Freeman :).  Oh, and Benedict Cumberbatch playing Sherlock . . . I can’t emphasize how perfectly lovely that is.

New jewelry–Sophie, like so many children across America, was gifted with a rubber band Rainbow Loom for her birthday and then again for Christmas.  She has made me tons of lovely, rubber-bandy jewelry and I love it.  Colorful and flexible, they do make me happy. I am currently sporting a black & white speckled ring and a rosette bracelet.  I also have a pen rest and turtle charm on my desk at work.

rainbow loom bracelets rainbow loom rings

Future Vacation–this is pure fantasy, but it is helping in the midst of the current no-sun blight of winter.  Doug found himself in Cancun a few weeks ago.  I won’t go into the details of this happened, and how I ended up staying behind, but will focus on the promise:  Doug came back committed to taking me on a warm, relaxing vacation next winter.  Though this is in the pipe dream stage at this point, I don’t care.  I am going to start a Pinterest board and envision all of this future, white beach goodness:

white beach Image courtesy of www.wallcoo.net

 

 

 

Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn Sheep

I grew up seeing these signs in Central and Eastern Washington. In my 41 years living in Washington State I have never seen bighorn sheep so I wondered if they really existed or if the signs were outdated.
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Dylan was working in the Yakima River Canyon the other day and snapped this photo with his phone.

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I was so excited! It was like that M&Ms commercial….”They do exist”.

Quick Barstool Update

Quick Barstool Update

I had these very orange saddle seat bar stools that didn’t match anything in the house.
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I decided to give them a quick facelift. I wanted to test out the Minwax Polyshades in Classic Black Satin to see if that’s what I want to use to re-do our stair railing. It was a great chance to kill two birds with one stone.

This is what the stools looked like after one coat. I actually kind of liked this look but decided to keep going.
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The stool on the left has one coat, the stools on the right have two.
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After they dried completely I was left with pretty bland looking black stools that I didn’t love. And I decided that the satin sheen isn’t the right choice for the stair rail in the future. It will be gloss for sure. I took a medium grit sanding block and sanded around the edges of the stool to get an antique/weathered black look (un-sanded on the left below, sanded on the right). It made all the difference. I love the finished product!

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You can use this technique for just about anything–chairs, tables, dressers. These are the steps I followed:

  • Lightly sand entire surface with a medium grit sanding block. You don’t need to strip off the old finish, you just need to rough it up.
  • Apply the first coat and let dry completely overnight.
  • Rub steel wool (000 or 0000) over the entire surface. This helps the next coat adhere.
  • Apply the second coat. Let dry overnight. You may even want to let it dry for two days depending on the temperature and humidity.
  • Use a medium grit sanding block along the edges until you get the look you want.

stools after

There’s a New Cookie in Town

There’s a New Cookie in Town

If you were around last year you may remember my affinity for Scandinavian Almond Bars. These delectable treats have reigned as my favorite cookie for nearly twenty years. But hold on, there’s a new cookie in town that’s giving the almond bars a good run for their money.

When I saw this headline “TODAY producer’s cookie makes Orlando Bloom swoon” I just had to check it out. If Orlando Bloom loves them, surely my family would too. Four ingredients—that’s it! If you have butter, brown sugar, graham crackers and pecans you can make this easy cookie that is sure to change your life. Okay, maybe not change your life but it will certainly take center stage at your next office event or cookie exchange party.

Ingredients:

  • Graham crackers (laid out whole)
  • 1 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 cup of chopped pecans

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Put parchment paper on a cookie sheet, then place graham crackers so they cover the entire cookie sheet.
  • Melt butter over medium high heat. Add the brown sugar.
  • Stir brown sugar into butter until melted. Bring to slight rolling boil.
  • Cook and stir for two minutes. Add the chopped pecans.
  • Pour mixture over graham crackers.
  • Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
  • Cut while still warm.

These are delicious as-is. But, I have decided to, as Emeril Legasse likes to say, “kick it up a notch”. I will be making them again this weekend and will add a drizzle of dark chocolate and a sprinkle of sea salt. It doesn’t get any more divine than that!

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4-Ingredient Graham Cracker Bars TODAY Show

Enjoy.

Original recipe found here.