Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Its been a while...

Its been a while since I've posted on our blog. Sorry about that! Sometimes life gets busy and you have to step away from the key board and wrestle it head on. Plus, it never hurts to get away for some fresh air and inspiration. Heres a little update about where we've been since the last time we posted...

It seems like we work a lot these days. Remember when summer was about watching "Friends" re-runs and sleeping as much as possible... what happened to that!? Jake is working full time at the firm and I have an easy 10-2pm schedule working for the school. I've also been doing some work for Jake's dad on the side. I like to brag about how I work two jobs, but I don't think it really counts. I have plenty of time for playing around in the afternoons and I try my best to be a good wife. I'm really grateful that Jake works so hard to support our little family. He also looks really handsome in his work clothes!

Dinner Parties:
It seems like all our friends are so grown up these days. We used go out to pizza to catch up, now we make each other delicious home cooked meals and talk about our boyfriends, fiances, husbands, jobs, houses or career plans. We had a couple of these dinner parties in the last week and we really enjoyed seeing our good friends.

Jake and I have been skipping around trying to find a church in San Jose for a while now. We've finally begun getting involved at WestGate on Saratoga Ave. We're taking a class about the church and trying out all the programs. Jumping into a new community is hard, but we are being persistent and praying about it a lot.

Sorority Events & Meetings:
On Saturday I went to an alumnae brunch for Alpha Xi Delta in Sacramento. Besides the fact that being in Sacramento feels like standing in a giant oven, I had a blast meeting and mingling with my alumnae sisters. It really helped me remember that being in a sorority is not just for the four or five years you are in school; its for life! I've also been having a lot of meetings, conference calls and planning sessions getting our chapter geared up for the next semester. This will be my last semester as president, so it is important to me that I leave the chapter stronger than ever. This Fall, we will be participating in our first formal recruitment (a.k.a. a big deal in sororityland). There is a lot of preparation and effort that goes into recruitment. Because it is such a process, there is a good chance that there will be some blogging gaps over the next month. Please forgive me in advance!

Engagement Dinners:
Jake's sister Taylor just got engaged to her long-time boyfriend, Joe. The families are very excited! On Saturday, we went to their engagement dinner with both sides. We had a blast wining and dining at the White Crane Winery in Livermore. They even had a port sorbet! Trouble! I'm so excited because Taylor asked me to be one of her bridesmaids. This will be my first time in a wedding (besides my own, of course).

Me, my hubby & some champaign. Life is good.

Me, Taylor & Aimee (Joe's sister). Aimee and I are so excited to be bridesmaids!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Today we are dreaming of...

Today we are dreaming of Italy & Greece. We are planning a two week trip for next summer, but every now and again we just stop what we are doing here in San Jose and wish we were there right now.

Where would you go if you could go anywhere?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Opinion: Looks Great or Feels Great?

So lets say there is this chair...

Its a gorgeous chair. In fact its the Ankara Chair from Crate & Barrel. So there is this chair and every single time I go to Crate & Barrel, I just stare at it for a minute. It makes me so happy and I want it... and then I sit down... and truthfully, its just not very comfy. Anyways, I pretend that it doesn't matter because its beautiful and sometimes beauty trumps comfort, right? Its that beautiful... right?

But then I'll sit down in a different chair, like a big leather recliner (this one is the Carlton Recliner, also from Crate & Barrel). It doesn't do anything for me in the design department, but I suddenly want to set up camp and spend the night in it.

What about you? Do you have crushes on chairs you wouldn't sit in? What do you think is more important when it comes to furniture? Beauty or Comfort?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Our Nest Housewarming Party

We had so much fun at our Nest Housewarming Party on Saturday and we want to thank all of our friends who came out to visit. Here are some pictures of what we put together.

We served a tray of meats, cheeses and crackers, bruschetta with bell peppers and gorgonzola, and palmiers filled with pesto, goat cheese, pine nuts and sun-dried tomatoes (both from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics: Fabulous Flavor from Simple Ingredients).

I also put together some low-key bird decorations to go with our theme. I reused the vases from Brenda's cupcake party and mixed them with river rocks, candles, small twig wreaths and a couple of birds. We picked up a couple inexpensive bird accessories from HomeGoods and found a pretty canvas that we are going to hang in our kitchen.

Before & After: A Bathroom Miracle

A miracle occurred this last week in the Curtis house. Our apartment is changed forever. On Thursday night, we had an idea that was a little bit crazy. It was less than two days before our housewarming party, but we just couldn't resist updating the bathroom a "little bit". Just a little bit of paint, a few of screws and a couple of late nights later, we are crazy about our transformed bathroom.

Our old bathroom was dreary. The paint was bland it it seemed that everything on the walls had been repurposed from a dorm bathroom somewhere. The main mirror actually had a seam right through the middle and the shelf was stainless steal. While replacing a turquoise towel bar that we thought was plastic, we discovered that it was made of porcelain! Don't even ask Jake about the "toilet paper holder".


We found a cotton shower curtain at Bed, Bath & Beyond that matched the teal and tan towels we were given and brought in some of the chocolate brown from the rest of the house. We picked a cheery teal color for to brighten up the trim and accent the doors (Jake wants me to assure you that we used Valspar paint from Lowes because he doesn't like Home Depot and won't let me shop there). We refinished a mirror and a shelf from HomeGoods with silver spray paint and lacquer. We moved some silver frames from the main room to put a little bit of texture on the wall and replaced most of the the hardware. We replaced the towel bars with hooks. We like the way they look and they require a lot less folding. We painted the cabinet with a dark brown color that we already had and accessorized it with some fun Crate & Barrel doo-dads (alarm clock, zarha vase, and axis candleholder). We also found a laundry sorter from Target that fit perfectly into our nook. Lastly, we spray painted some crates from the wedding and used them to store our towels. We absolutely love the final product, it feels like a little piece of spa to us. What do you think?


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Before & After: A Big Blank Wall

For such a small apartment, it sure seems like we have plenty of wall space. We've been battling with what to do with one particular wall that looked really big and really empty. Finally, we found an affordable silver mirror from HomeGoods that inspired us to get to work. We purchased inexpensive frames from HomeGoods and Target and refinished the ones that weren't silver with DesignMaster "Super Silver" spray paint. We also tied the Paloma's Nest ring bowl from our wedding with a chocolate brown ribbon and hung it in the middle of the frames for some variety.


"Neither be cynical about love, for in the midst of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass."

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Loot: Teal Kitchen Accents

We have discovered a new and magical place... HomeGoods. We visited a HomeGoods store this last weekend while we were in SoCal with my family. Its a big place and its full of kitchen goodies and decorating doodads and small furniture. When you're inside, you have to walk really slow and keep your eyes wide open to catch all of the random goodness, but the amazing part is that everything you pick up is on clearance. To make it even better, we accidentally discovered one in San Jose too! Right in our backyard! To illustrate my point, here are some goodies we picked up for our kitchen from the Lake Forest HomeGoods store.

Dish Towels: These modern patterned teal dish towels will get along great with our late-sixties infused, minty green rental kitchen. $3.99 for two.

"Treats" Jar: This imprinted jar makes me want to bake. Plus, the lid has a rubber seal to keep your cookies from getting stale. $3.50.

Everyday Food: Great Food Fast Cookbook: I selected this book for the content, but the color doesn't hurt! $16.99.

Inspiration Board: Our New Nest Party

I'm getting quite excited about prepping for our nest-themed housewarming on Saturday! Here's the inspiration board I've created to go forward with. What do you think?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy Month-iversary!

Jake and I have been married for one month today. We know we have many many more to go, but we like to celebrate the little things. An old friend reminded me that anniversaries only come once a year, so I suppose this is a month-iversary.

We were driving home from a terrifically fun Fourth of July weekend in SoCal and, in true Jake and Tobi style, created an adventure from scratch. We hadn't really planned anything before we started our trip, but by the time we hit Ventura, we had decided to stop in at our honeymoon spot on the way home to celebrate. We walked the beach, watched surfers, ate at our favorite Cambria restaurant and took a couple hours to relax and wish each other a happy month-iversary.

Happy Month-iversary, Babe. Everyday feels like the honeymoon with you.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Celebrate: Cupcakes & Champaign Party

This is one of our dearest friends, Brenda.

Brenda's birthday is next week and this week, she is moving home to San Francisco. San Francisco seems like a billion miles away. In reality, its only about 50 miles. I don't really specialize in reality. Anyways, two days ago, Brenda decided she wanted to have a "Cupcakes & Champaign" going away birthday party. She wanted a light coral and gold "Cupcakes & Champaign" party, specifically. Suddenly, I was on some party planning reality TV show. I think I dragged Jake to every craft and party store within a 30 mile radius. He loved it.

After a lot of shopping, baking and frosting, this is the table-scape I designed for Brenda's Champaign & Cupcakes going away birthday party... Classy!

Tobi's Tips & Tricks for a Cupcakes & Champaign Party:

1. Label Love
Creating simple labels when you're serving desserts, finger foods, or appetizers is easy and it automatically bumps up the ATD factor (thats Attention To Detail, of course). Here I used some inexpensive spray painted frames from Michael's that I had left over from the wedding. I used Adobe Illustrator to create labels for the cupcakes in a fun font, but you can use any word processing software. The cupcakes weren't made from scratch, they were Betty Crocker cake mix, but making up fun names like "Mellow Yellow" and "Chocolate Pudding" makes desserts seem gourmet. I also labeled the candies with gold alpha stickers from Michaels. This was the least difficult thing I did, and yet people got a kick out of it all night long.

2. Stand Up
Display pieces that create height can contribute a lot to a table-scape. Here, I used Delish Cake Platters from Crate & Barrel. Cake stands are not limited to displaying cupcakes though, try using them for baubles or centerpieces too.

3. Classy Cupcakes
Never waste your time frosting cupcakes with a knife. It's annoying. Piping bags and tips are cheap and easy to use and they give your desserts a beautiful finished look very quickly. You can find a simple set at Michaels, I bought the Duff Goldman 15-Piece Signature Set because it comes in a cute and convenient tin.

4. Simple Sweet Tooth
"Candy Bars" are all the rage right now for weddings and parties, but they can get pricey quick. To add munchies and color to a table, you can make a simple and cheap one. The glass containers were from Michaels and were about $2 per piece. I used mostly Target brand candy because it was affordable. Here we had Chewy Sweet Tarts, Caramels, Swedish Fish and Sour Patch Kids.

Ideas for Next Time:

1. Telephone Toast Party Game
Sit guests around the room in a circle and have one person think of a champaign toast they want to say to everyone, then have them pass it around the circle by whispering it in the next person's ear, like a game of telephone. The person at the end of the circle then has to stand up and give the toast that was passed on to them... no matter what it ends up as!

2. Cupcake Bar
If you are interested in a less posh party, set up a do-it-yourself cupcake bar. Provide baked cupcakes, frosting and assorted candies and toppings. Then, let guests go wild.