Thursday, July 31, 2014

Throwback Thursday! Tom and Carolyn!

This picture has to be at least 16 or 17 years ago. Tom had brown hair and I was skinnier. My glasses are terrible! But look at how long my hair was!

I used to work at the Historical Museum of South Florida and this was at a golf tournament we hosted.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Home Tour ~ My Kitchen

Today I present you with a tour of my kitchen in the new house. I say MY because this my space. Sure, Tom comes in to get stuff and clean the dishes but this is my space. When we first saw the house, I thought this kitchen was too small because I really wanted a huge ass kitchen. I wanted an island and lots of counter space. But when we decided on this house, I compromised. The kitchen looks pretty new so I figured at least I have the upgrades but not the space.

We have been in the house for 2 months now and I do not miss having more space. It seems to be working out just fine. I have tons of cabinet space and the cabinets are pretty upgraded so I have fancy huge drawers for pots and pans. The cabinets go almost up to the ceiling so that also gives me extra space I did not have in our last house.

So here is a tour of the kitchen. You enter from the dining room and I am taking you left to right.

When you walk in, to the left is the fridge. I am a little iffy on the side by side fridge. I think I like the top and bottom refrigerators better because you get a little more space. Our freezer is pretty small but we have another one in the garage so that gives me a little more space. I do love the ice and water in the door. 

Next to the fridge is the range. On the counter I have my Winnie the Pooh honey pot. I love this stupid thing. I have had it for years and can't imagine my kitchen without it. 

This is the left wall of the kitchen. The range is super fancy. It is gas with 4 burners. It also has interchangeable parts so, if I wanted, I can put a griddle on one side of the range. It is also a convection oven. The microwave is a little higher than I like but it gives me more space on the range. As you see we have tons of cabinets. 

On the next wall, I have added this fantastic shelf. It's decorative and functional. I can have cookbooks on the shelf and it holds some of my aprons and other stuff. The door next to the aprons is my pantry. 

Here is my decorative kitchen switch plate. I love this one. As you see, we have a thing for decorative switch plates. 

This is my pantry. It is a hot mess. It's not that big but we have stopped buying a lot of processed food so it works. I also added an over the door shelf thingy and I love it. It holds a lot of stuff. I also have some of my small appliances in there. For now it is working. 

On the door are more of my numerous aprons. I am an apron fanatic. I like buying them when I travel because they are useful and easy to pack. 

Next, on the same wall, are more cabinets. I have three large cabinets on top. On the bottom, I have 3 more drawers. One small one for the utensils and two large ones that hold my pots and pans. All the counters are granite and we have subway tiles throughout. I can also finally have my Kitchen-Aid mixer out the counter. I have had it for years and never used it. 

I also have these open shelves. I made one decorative and the other two I use for casserole dishes I always use. I also just got a Tribest personal blender that I LOVE so I made sure to give it its own place so I can have it super handy. I will be reviewing it on my other blog soon. It rocks! 

This is the next wall of the kitchen. We have a big window that lets in tons of light. The sink doesn't look big but it is. Of course, it will never be as big as the one in my last house. You could literally put two babies in that sink and still have space. I want a curtain but Tom is forbidding me to put one up. Since this is my room, we'll see who wins. Okay, he will probably win because I am too lazy and not handy enough to actually put up a curtain rod and stuff. Oh well. The door leads out to the side of the house. But I will probably never use this door so I am getting a rolling kitchen cart so I can have an extra workspace by the stove. Then be able to roll it back into the corner when needed. 

These two little guys live in the kitchen. The top one is a Russian nesting doll given to me by my friend Tammi. The doll is actually a measuring cup. Inside there are several other dolls and each is a measuring cup. And, of course, y'all know the Pillsbury Dough boy. 

I have this awesome sign. I love it. And the little hanging thing is from Costa Rica. I have had that for a decade or so and it is always in my kitchen. 

This is my new switch plate. This is the cutest thing! 

This is the last wall. On this side, I have more cabinets. I also have a side cabinet on the bottom. And there is the dishwasher. The kitchen also has hardwood floors. I thought this would be a bad thing but the hardwood floors are easier to clean than tile floors. 

That is my kitchen. It's not huge but it seems to be working out well for me. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

We are settling in!

It's been a month or so that we have been living in Wilmington and we are settling in. The house is unpacked and almost organized. If you have visited in the past weeks, you have seen some of our rooms. We are still up in the air about certain things because we want to remodel. We had a survey done and now are awaiting for my dear friend, Dion, to help us figure out what we can do.

Dion is an architect and he is family to me. He once said he would help me design something when I wanted. This is the first house we have wanted to do something. We definitely are renovating our Master Bath. It really screams for a walk in shower, storage and a new vanity area. Everything else is up to what Dion comes up with. We could add a den or just an outdoor space. We are not sure.

Aside from that, Tom has started work. I am still looking for work. We thought there might be more jobs here for me but so far nothing. But I am hopeful. I like being home and blogging but I miss going to an outside job. I know that sounds weird but I like getting out of the house and earning money.

Two weekends ago, we went to Holden Beach to see our niece Amy. She is really Tom's niece but since we are married I am counting all his nephews and nieces my own since I don't or won't have any ever. She and her fiancee, Don, had rented a house on the beach. We were able to go for the day and hang out. It was great. On their way back home, a week later, they came to visit us and we had lunch with them as well. They were our first official guests.

We have also been trying to get out more. I cannot tell you how nice it is to have too many restaurants around. On Thursdays, we head downtown and choose a place to eat. We tried a great little fondue place the other day called the Little Dipper. It was fun and I am a fondue fanatic. It was great but I still prefer the Melting Pot. And guess what? We have one in town! YAY!

We have been visiting the Farmers Market down by the river as well. Since I have no garden this year, it has been great. I can get fresh veggies without all the work. But we have also found fresh bread, fresh meat and other yummies. We have also found quite a few good restaurants. We found a fantastic Chinese place. We also found a Peruvian restaurant that serves rotisserie chicken that is like the type we get in Costa Rica!

The other night we went to the Opera. There was a production at UNCW and Tom got us tickets. We are trying to enjoy the are and what it offers. In Sylva, we rarely went out and stayed inside because there was nothing to do unless you liked the outdoors. If you know me, you know I hate the outdoors unless it involves sitting on a deck by the sea having food and drinks. Or if it is outdoors with concrete and a pool. That's just how I roll.

We have also been doing a lot of shopping. We have had to buy things for the house. I cannot tell you how nice it is to just be able to drive 10 minutes to a store and get something. In Sylva, all we had was Walmart. I try to avoid Walmart at all costs. We also have  every single store you could ever want here.

In two weeks, we are having a beginning of the school year party for Tom's new faculty. Stay tuned because I am going to try some fancy appetizers and cool recipes and y'all know I will be blogging about that!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Chicken Lettuce Wraps ala P.F. Changs

I love the chicken lettuce wraps at P.F. Changs. When we lived in Sylva, I had to drive an h our to get them. Now that we live in Wilmington, I fond out there is no P.F. Chang's in town. Well, one day I am at the grocery store and see that they sell lettuce leaves ready for wraps.

I start thinking that I might need to recreate the chicken lettuce wraps at home. So I gave it a good college try and this is what I came up with.

Here are the ingredients I used. I had ground chicken, rice vinegar,green onions, soy sauce, sriracha, ginger, garlic, honey, red cooking wine and some portobello mushrooms. 

I first made a sauce. I used rice vinegar, soy sauce, a splash of red cooking wine.

I chopped up the fresh garlic, green onions and ginger. 

I mixed it all together. I also added a splash of sake and some honey. I also added some salt and pepper.You can also use brown sugar but I prefer using honey. I did this all by taste. 

I cooked up the chicken. I added some salt and pepper. 

I added the mushrooms. 

I added the sauce I made. 

My grocery store had ready to eat lettuce leaves. I loved it. It made it so much easier for me. 
After the ground chicken was cooked, I put the mixture into the lettuce leaves and served them with my seasame noodle. 

The chicken mixture was super tasty. It was pretty close to the P.F. Chang's version. I was missing water chestnuts for the crunch but the mushrooms really worked. Not only did it add an added texture, it also added some flavor. I also need to make some chili oil because that would have added a kick. The sriracha worked but the chili oil would have been better. 

I have to admit that I did prefer the P.F. Chang's version but I think that is because I get served and don't have to actually cook if I go there! 

Buen Provecho!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Throwback Thursday!! Little Caro and Yvonne!

I have stopped doing Wordless Wednesday and now am doing Throwback Thursday because I love sharing these old photos.

I found this vintage photo of me and my sister. We are so darn cute. I am the one on the left. And yes, we were always dressed alike when we were little because my mom made most of our clothes.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Home Tour ~ The West Wing Hallway

This hallway connects the living room, my office, the guest bathroom, the regular office and the East Wing of the house. It also has a door to our linen/bathroom supply closet. It is a pretty busy area. It is actually the perfect place to put a lot of our stuff. It has a built-in bookcase and we have filled it.

The before pics. That door at the far end connects the west and east wings. The office is to the right of that door. The guest bathroom is to the right of the office and the closet is to the right of the guest bathroom. To the left is the door to my room/office. 

Check out that weird thing on the floor that looks like a rug. It isn't. It is a floor patch. We didn't notice that because there was a rug on it. It is there because the original house had a chimney there. There is a door in my room/office that leads to the attic. And if you go up to the attic, you will see part of the chimney up there. Down below the patch was the old furnace. Before we moved in, Tom had the floor fixed and, let me tell you, our contractor did a wonderful job fixing it. If you look at the picture below, you will not be able to tell there was a patch. 

The after pic. 

Besides calla lilies and day of the dead stuff, I am obsessed by crosses. This is on one side of the hall tree. 

On top of the hall tree is our chicken. We bought the chicken at the Mountain Heritage festival where we used to live. I loved it. It is big and fat and made from a gourd. The weird doll beside it was bought by Tom when he went to China. He is old and a little demented but he is kind of cool. 

More crosses. 

More pots. This one is from Mexico. The paper flowers are also from Mexico. 

That weird box in the middle is actually our doorbell. How old is that? It is cool and sounds nice but hogs up the whole wall. So we decided to put up some of our masks. The one on the left is from Nicaragua. The one on the right is from China. The painting below is from our artist friend, MANO. You will see we have a few of his paintings. We love his work. 

The doll on the right is made by my friend, Zan. She is an incredible artist who mainly works in pottery but she also does other art. She makes dolls and when I saw this one, I had to have it. She is made of yarn. She is crocheted. It is a cat knitting and I love it. The angel is from Nicaragua. Tom bought her when he went there without me. 

On the top shelf: A cool tin we bought in Madrid, Spain.  We also bought the little bull in Madrid as well. There is a Frida Kahlo candle and a Frida Kahlo box. The jug next to that is made by Zan as well. The jug has three faces and it really cool. I also have an assortment of candles. mainly with Day of the Dead motifs and Frida Kahlo. 

As you can see, the Day of the Dead and Frida madness continues. The little bus and woman with little kids were gifts when I left my job in Santa Fe. They all knew I was crazy for Day of the Dead stuff. The doll on the right is from Jamaica. If you turn her over she is the day, right now she is the night.

On the bottom shelf is a paper mache devil. I loved him the minute I saw him. The middle doll is a Katrina. Katrina's are Day of the Dead icons. And lastly, is my little Frida Kahlo doll.

We bought this mask in Costa Rica. 

Of course, a calla lily switch plate. 

This is a view of the whole hallway. The mask on the arch is from Puerto Rico. And way in the background, you can see our giant paper mache Katrina doll. And that's our cool black front door. If you haven't noticed, all our interior doors are black. I love the black doors. It reminds me of the Rolling Stones' song: Paint it Black. 

I would be remiss in not highlighting our hardwood floors. They are oak and beautiful. They are throughout the house except for bathrooms. I am pretty sure the guest room has hardwood floors but it has carpet. And our master bedroom has carpet but since that is an addition to the original house, it probably does not have hardwood floors.

I love them and, for some reason, they are easier to clean than the hardwood floors in our old house.

Well that's another part of the new house. I still have to focus on the living room, kitchen and my room. Our bedroom is a snooze fest and out master bathroom is so 80's. We are definitely going to renovate the master bathroom at some point.