I’m Moving

I totally moved my blog over to my own domain but forgot to write a final post over here to let everyone know!

Way way back in June I bought my domain hippieitch.com and planned to transfer over to my new site. Months went by and I avoided what I thought would be difficult work like the plague. Well two weeks ago I got an email saying this blog was renewing and I’d have to pay the $30 personalization fee or whatever. I’m cheap and the rest is history!

Besides the entire site redesign you may see some design tweaks here and there over the next couple weeks since the ‘look’ isn’t done yet.

I currently have this address hippieitch.wordpress.com forwarding to hippieitch.com but if you could resubscribe to the new site that would be great.

Hope you like what I’ve done so far (I sure do) and I’ll see you over at hippieitch.com! Have a great weekend!

P.S. If you find any errors please let me know!

master bedroom makeover

Every night for about 6 weeks we slept in our bed surrounded very closely by our dressers. Like I mentioned in my last post, I couldn’t seem to get the mail let alone paint a whole room a couple months ago so it took me way longer than it should have to finish our bedroom. I wouldn’t say it’s completely finished now but man o’ man is it way better than before. Red trim and flower border, be gone!

Here’s what came with the house: floral wallpaper and blood red trim.

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Once the wallpaper was down, I painted the walls with two coats of a Valspar Ultra Paint + Primer that I found on the sale rack in Lowe’s. The trim took a lot longer since it was red to begin with. If I remember correctly I did two coats of oil-based primer and two coats of Olympic semi-gloss white paint.

Tip: To save myself some time I used an angled brush with a short handle to do all of the edges. I only needed tape on the floors to prevent anything from getting on the wood. It would have taken me so much longer if I had taped the whole room too. Get this brush and a steady hand, your patience with thank you.

Six coats and many hours later it was done.

My favorite part is decorating so once the walls were dry, I got to it.

The first thing I did was hang the curtains. The sellers actually left these hanging down in the den. In the future I’d like to sew some big blackout curtains but for now these white curtains are great. They let the light filter in nicely during the day and give us enough privacy at night.

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I already had my bedding. Instead of buying a matchy matchy bed set like I would normally do, about a year ago I went to HomeGoods with my mom and pieced together these colors and textures. The sea foam green quilt is a nice wavy pattern that I thought contrasted well with the gray geometric shams. I added the little accent pillow for more contrast, a different texture, and a little glam. :)

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The art above the bed is a collection of random pieces I had up in the attic. To balance out the dark furniture in the room I used lots of different frames. I’ve got a photographic print that my photography teacher gave me, one of our wedding photos, and two paintings I did in grad school. I love seeing them and remembering those moments in time.

Oh and I really just eye-balled the layout. I had a picture in my head so I arranged the pieces on the bed to see if it would work first. Then I mentally measured where the center of the grouping was (on the left side of the big, wood frame) and centered that above the bed. Then I hung the last three pieces about 2 inches from the middle frame.

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Randomly I remembered that I had an old craigslist rocking chair up in the attic so I brought that down to use up an awkward corner of the room. I don’t use it to sit in really but it’s a nice place to lay out my clothes for the next day.

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And last but not least I give you Belle’s fancy new bed oh and some good storage. The lady cries at night so we moved her to our room to shut her up. :) The basket underneath the bedside table is one of two that I found thrifting one day. It holds my iPad charger, old magazines, and my wrinkle release spray.

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It’s amazing what a little (or a lot) of paint and a few decor items can do!! It’s sooo nice to walk into this room everyday. I love it.

Future fixes: New rug (this one is leftover from the seller), paint the basket, paint the lamp and give it a new shade, new lighting on the ceiling, new curtains, and other stuff I’ve probably forgotten.

Nothing like a semi-completed room to give you that motivation you need to tackle your next project! Onto lots of future that needs refinishing. I really am pumped though! I’ve got lots of ideas brewing.

i’m back

This past year, I was sliding down a slippery slope. I was a shell of my true self. A different person. You see, depression runs in my family and I’ve had it once before (a long time ago).

Unlike last time, I got help sooner than later.

I met up with a psychologist who’s bio spoke to me. She was trained in yoga, helping many clients recover through both yoga and meditation. These are two things I LOVE so I was hopeful.

During our first meeting she mentioned her 8-week class that was about to start: Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy.

Here’s the blurb about the class, “This 8-week group provides proven, innovative skills to help you break the cycle of depression and anxiety once and for all. You will learn strategies that help you see clearly that thoughts and emotions come and go, Many find that these skills help them side step the mental habits that lead to despair, excessive worry, and self-blame. Hands-on skill building exercises are taught that incorporate mindfulness (attentional control training) and cognitive therapy.”

I finished the class in December and am now stronger, wiser, more mindful. I’m close to my normal self again and have great new tools to combat any negative thoughts or depression lurking around the corner.

It’s such a relief.

I believe in fate and this sure was an example of that. I stumbled upon my psychologist on google, she’s a yogi, her class was perfect, and she’s even located 1 mile from my house! That’s unheard of out here in suburbia. Usually you have to drive at least a couple miles to get to where you’re going!

On our last day of class we got to pick out a little token to remind us of how far we’ve come.

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I’m not sure where I’m going to put my little stone yet but I’d like it to be in a place that I see it daily, frequently. The mantel?

Now that I feel capable of tackling projects and this blog again, I can’t wait to update you! You know I may have done things like survive a marathon (?!) and convert to a vegan diet (?!). We’ve also completed a couple of snazzy house projects and have a lot more in the works. Oh and I might have another animal. Hehe.

I’m really looking forward to connecting with you again! It’s gonna be a good time.

bamboo floors and decor decisions

Al finished up our new floors on Saturday. There are a couple projects left like caulking and gluing down the trim around the fireplace as well as cutting the doors in the hallway so they’ll close but for now he’s taking a much needed break! Nothing like finishing 6 hours of physical work only to run 16 miles in training the next day.

Let’s ooh and aah over his work, shall we? You can take a look back at this post to see how the floors used to be.

Here they are now.

So much nicer! I now don’t feel the need to walk on my tippy toes when I’m down here in the lower level of the house. The old linoleum used to gross me out for some reason.

I found this runner for $50 at Capel’s on Broad Street. I check there often for sales and finally lucked out. It’s a baby blue which wasn’t one of the colors I planned on buying but at that price for such a good quality I decided I’d, as Tim says, ‘Make it work!’. I figure I have a lot of pastel colors in the house so it’ll match somehow.

The flooring is a floating bamboo from Lumber Liquidators. It’s got a great texture and variety in color.

With the floors done, I had a big urge this morning to play with the space.

A couple of decor items have changed since I last took progress photos of the room. The main big item is the new couch! It’s the ‘Cameron‘ from Crate and Barrel. We went ahead and splurged since the last couch we bought for cheap barely lasted 2 years. We wanted one that would last for a long, long time. The other change is the rainbow reversible rug that my MIL bought us when she visited in July. I love me some bright color and just had to have it.

But after taking the initial photo above, I thought the back of the rug which is a toned down version of the bright side might look better so I flipped it over.

I was right or so I think! It still shows all the colorful thread but it didn’t seem to compete with the green walls as much.

On to the next item of business.

We originally bought the ottoman to match the old couch. It contrasted the light tan fabric of the piece but now it competes with the dark grey of the new couch so I did another switch.

Our little entry bench that holds our shoes and doggy bags is actually a coffee table. Another improvement! Not as bulky and a different texture than the couch.

By this time in the process I was sweating and laughing at myself… I had another idea. The pale yellow carpet from the upstairs living room might look even better down in the den! I rolled up the two carpets and made the switch. Oh and I changed the lampshade to white thinking I’d probably have to change the pillow colors as well if I were to keep the yellow carpet. Sheesh.

For now, I’ve got the yellow carpet and the ottoman in the space. We’ll have to find a new bench to hold our shoes before I officially make the switch.

As for the carpet situation, we need to cover more of our new floors so the dogs don’t slip and slide. I was thinking of buying a couple of sisal rugs (like this one) and laying them side by side to form one giant rug. I’ve seen it done a couple times on decor blogs lately.

Knowing that, all that rug moving was probably useless but it was fun to see! Keeping my camera in the same spot while changing out the items really helped me visualize the differences. I could easily flip back and forth between ideas.

At least I decided on one thing. That I want to use the coffee table instead of the ottoman! Phew.

Feel free to send Al lots of compliments on the floors. I’ll forward them to him so he gets embarrassed. Right Al? :)

Do you ever have that itch to start rearranging? I’ve moved our entire (very heavy!) bedroom set by myself before because I just knew a different way would work and surprisingly it did.

morning glory muffins

Thank goodness I made these muffins on Monday or else you wouldn’t have a post to read today! We’re still making progress on our projects. I’ll have the ‘after’ photos for you next Monday!

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On Sunday I realized I had 2 very ripe bananas hanging on our cooking wall and 7 frozen in the freezer. It was about time to start using them.

Banana bread is one of my favorite snacks but I wanted to change it up and find a different recipe. I searched my cookbooks and came up empty so I went to my trusty Cookinglight.com and searched ‘bananas’. I found a recipe called Morning Glory Muffins with over 50 positive reviews. By substituting some of the ingredients I didn’t have to go to the grocery store first therefore it was a winner.

I went a little overboard with the substitutions but hey, I can’t not. Experimenting is fun! If you’re wondering about the Peach Yoplait, Al hates that flavor so I wanted to use it up and of course I didn’t have regular yogurt on hand.

To explain it all, I put my changes in parenthesis after the original ingredients in the recipe below.

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Morning Glory Muffins
(source)

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (about 4 3/4 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (about 2 1/4 ounces) (White Whole Wheat Flour)
  • 1 cup regular oats
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar (Cane Sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon wheat bran (Chia seeds)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plain fat-free yogurt $ (Peach Yogurt)
  • 1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2)
  • 1 large egg $
  • 1 cup chopped pitted dates
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts (Pecans)
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried pineapple $ (Dried Cherries)
  • 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed (about 2 tablespoons whole (Raw Buckwheat Groat)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Place 18 muffin cups liners in muffin cups; coat liners with cooking spray.
  3. Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flours and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Make a well in center of mixture. Combine yogurt, banana, and egg; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Fold in dates, walnuts, and pineapple. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle evenly with flaxseed. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove muffins from pans immediately; cool on a wire rack.

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So I guess I created a variation of the original recipe. My ‘substitutes’ aren’t all similar to the original ingredients! It’s almost like I knew what I was doing.

Fresh out of the oven with a little butter or earth balance. These muffins were amazing. I thought all the dried fruit and crazy yogurt would make the muffins way too sweet so I cut back a little on the dried fruit when I made them. I think this helped because the sweetness was definitely there but it didn’t overpower the pecans or oats. The oats, raw buckwheats, and pecans gave the muffins an awesome chew which contrasted with the gooey fruit.

It’s ridiculous how good these muffins are! No wonder so many people on Cooking Light felt the need to give there two cents.

I’ve taken two with me to work each day this week. I could have probably eaten one for my morning snack and one for the afternoon but once I start one I can’t leave the other all by itself. :)

Do you have a yummy muffin recipe?

slowing down to pick myself up

I’m turning inward today! I hope that’s okay.

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When I’m stuck in a rut I easily become overwhelmed – with my to-do list, my relationships, my life. I’m currently at this point.

I truly believe I should be able to fix this problem and have attempted all my life to do so. I’ve written posts about this subject here, here, and here. I’m always able to stay on top of things for a couple weeks but then I get to busy, stressed and everything goes out the window.

I’m so very tired of this vicious cycle.

I watched a documentary on Friday night called Happy. It’s about people and what makes them truly happy.

That night I was up at 3:30 thinking about it. I panicked during this bout of insomnia, feeling overwhelmed about failing to be happy.

After a few hours, my mind started to settle and clear. I began to try and figure out what I could do to fix my problem.

I’ve had a couple nights like this in the past few weeks. They remind me of one night of insomnia last year when I realized I wanted to quit my old job (and career) that I went to school for so long for. Now I’m at a completely new job and loving it so I’m thinking I’m at the cusp of another step in the right direction.

Thank goodness.

When I’m overwhelmed I usually find something to escape my feelings. My go-to options are TV, the Internet, food, and my dogs. I think spending time with my dogs does help me feel better and more present but the other stuff really doesn’t. I feel lazy and stressed once I finally decide to get my butt off of the couch. I’m also usually doing a combination of TV, Internet, and food so I’m even more removed from ‘real’ life! Not good.

I know that it’s definitely healthy to escape the hustle and bustle of real life sometimes but lately for me it’s getting in the way of living that life.

My epiphany on Saturday night/morning was something that I already know but have a hard time doing.

To really try to become happier, I’ve got to take it slow. I’m going to focus on fixing one poor habit at a time. Anything else I do that might not be considered healthy doesn’t matter for now. I just have one thing to do. That’s it. That should keep me from getting worked up.

I’m thinking I’ll start with no TV. Without TV I’d have soooo much more time to do things that I really love like gardening, reading, art, even chores! If I’m successful… wait… when I’m successful, I’ll be able to replace one bad habit with tons of other good options. Perfect.

I’m sure there are other people out there like me but man does it feel like I’m the only person sometimes with these silly struggles.

I hope to update you on my progress next week. This should hold me accountable!

Who’s overwhelmed? Who’s with me? Who has some words of wisdom for all of us? 

pecan and wild rice-stuffed squash

This dish might have the longest cooking time out of all the recipes I’ve posted on this blog. I only post my absolute favorites so that just shows you how marvelous it is! Relative to a lot of recipes out there, it’s still super quick. There’s just a good amount of time in the oven so you have to find other things to do  like laundry, clean… or watch TV and read blogs like I did. :)

The recipe comes from the same cookbook that I used for the Turmeric Brown Rice Con Pollo.

Since I don’t think the recipe is online, I went ahead and typed it up for you.

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Pecan and Wild Rice-Stuffed Squash

2 small acorn squash (I used one giant one instead)
1/2 cup wild rice
1 1/2 cups water
3 tablespoons fresh sage
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 stalks celery, minced
1/2 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup pecan halves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Oil 2 baking sheets. Cut each squashes in half from the stem to the tip. Scoop out the seeds and place cut-side down on the baking sheets. Bake from 20 to 30 minutes, or until easily pierced with a paring knife. Let cool. Reduce the oven heat to 375 degrees.

In a medium saucepan, cook the wild rice in the water, simmering until it is tender and starting to split. If there is any excess water, drain the rice in a strainer. Finely chop the sage and parsley. In a small saute pan, heat the olive oil and saute the celery, onion, and sage over medium heat until just softened. Stir in the parsley, marjoram, pepper, nutmeg, and salt, and take the pan off the heat.

When the squash halves are cool, use a spoon to scoop out the flesh, leaving a bit behind to keep the skins from tearing. In a large bowl, mash the flesh coarsely and reserve. Select 16 intact pecan halves for garnish, then use a food processor to grind the remaining pecans to powder (I just finely chop them). Add the ground pecans, the sauteed mixture, and the wild rice to the squash in the bowl and mix thoroughly. Stuff the mixture into the squash shells and top with the reserved pecan halves. Place in a casserole or baking dish large enough to hold all of the squash halves. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the tops feel firm to the touch.

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Fresh sage! I don’t have any herbs in my garden but I do have a couple in pots on the patio. I most often sub dried for fresh when a recipe calls for it (use half of the fresh amount) but this time I had something on hand!

While prepping my ingredients I got a little sidetracked -> I saw this idea on YoungHouseLove a while back. If you have a party where crudités are involved, you could use these celery flowers to decorate the plate!

Along with the blog reading and TV watching, when the squash is initially roasted I was able to get my rice cooked and saute mixture ready.

Every time my dad uses the toaster oven he removes whatever he has cooked with his bare hands. It doesn’t matter if he yells or makes pain noises every time, he does this without fail. I do the same thing and have also added not waiting until hot squash cools before hollowing it out. This acorn squash didn’t disappoint. It had me yelling up a storm.

My dad went to Cornell so that must make me a genius too. Please don’t try to be smarties like us and have patience!

I love the presentation of this dish! You could totally wow some friends with your celery flowers and squash bowls. :)

There’s so much flavor in this recipe. The spicy and nutty flavors are a great contrast to the sweet meat of the acorn squash. There’s lots of crunch and chewiness in there too. Mmm mmm good.

As soon as the temps in your State start to drop, you have to make this! It’s got great fall ingredients, a comfort food feel, and it’s healthy to boot!

Are you about to go pumpkin/squash recipe crazy? I sure am.