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We are really very disciplined about eating at home.  It helps with the budget, and our lives are so packed with activities, we would be eating at 9:00 every night before we got together to go sit down somewhere not to mention that we really enjoy cooking.  Dinner is cooked, and whoever is home eats together.  Whoever isn't home has a meal when they need it, and there are usually leftovers for our lunches.

We usually go out to eat once each week though.  We usually plan well in advance what the meal out for the week is going to be.  Sometimes it's breakfast; sometimes it's dinner, but it almost always happens on Saturday.  The one meal we all always agree upon is sushi and always from Kabuki.  The pictures above were taken over several visits, but the roll we always order, and sometimes in multiples, is the Lotus on Fire roll.  Can you pick it out?



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Work in Progress

I've had this antique secretary in the house for several years, and I've never used it for in the manner it was intended.  In the old house, it sat in the combined living room/dining room and mostly stored linens.  The one holiday decoration that always got missed when I was putting things away always got stored there for the year.  When we moved into this house, there was a perfect corner of the kitchen where it fit, and I've been using it for linens and cookbook storage, but the shelves are too narrow and not tall enough, so I'm on the lookout for a new bookshelf for the cookbooks.

My baking supplies were scattered around the kitchen, and my decorating supplies were stuffed in with my baking pans.  I keep buying food coloring because I can never find the color I'm looking for when we are working on a project, so I decided the small cubbies of the secretary would be the best place to store the little bottles and jars without them getting lost among other things.  The things I gathered here were after a first quick sweep of the kitchen.  I'm planning on moving my baking spices into the narrow top drawer and the baking sheets into the two deeper bottom drawers.



I've already expressed my childish pleasure with surprise, grab-bag packages here.  The Popsugar Must Have Box is my favorite because of the great mix of beauty and lifestyle products which are in the box every month.  When I opened the November box a few weeks ago, I do have to admit that I was a little thrown when I saw this box of doughnut mix.  When I was a teenager, my mother had an electric doughnut machine, but I haven't seen one of those in ages.  The mix required very few ingredients which also made me wonder how good they could be.  The husband and I waited until after Thanksgiving to stop by Williams Sonoma to pick up a mini doughnut pan then came home to try the mix.

We were delighted with the resulting cinnamon cake treats.  The entire plateful were gone in no time.

Also in the Must Have Box were a trio of spices from La Boite two of which we sprinkled on for even more spicy goodness.  I was so impressed with the quality of the Stonewall Kitchen mix, I'm very excited to see that they have several different types of baking mixes for us to try all of them all natural with no additives which is to me how you can always tell something came from a mix and why I try not to use them.

Of course, the visit to Williams Sonoma to pick up the pan, resulted in several purchases of other food items which I'm sure I'll be posting soon.


To Foyer or Not to Foyer

We live in a mid-century ranch-style house in Southern California.  After living in a turn-of-the-century Craftsman house for several years, adjusting to this house has been a struggle for me.  My husband was a fan of mid-century before we moved in, and he tried to convince me that I would learn to enjoy it.  One advantage immediately was the increase in closet space.  Our previous bedroom had a closet the size of a broom closet, and I had to keep all of my clothes in an attic closet upstairs. This house has a sitting room adjacent to the bedroom which has become my dressing room.  It is quite a luxury.

Another thing this house has that the last did not is an entryway, or as my mother would say, a foyer.  It's not huge but compared to the last house where as soon as you walked in the door you were standing in the combined living/dining room, there is a definite, dedicated foyer here.  It's one of those spaces that looks too bare without anything but isn't big enough for a very large piece of furniture.  I bought this table some time ago from on-line retailer Ballard Designs.  They don't currently appear to have any small, marble-topped tables available on their site.  The antique, silver sugar and creamer were grabbed at the Rose Bowl Flea Market for $18.  I've never polished them because I love the patina.  I've loved grab bags ever since I was a child, so recently the husband and I have been investing in the grown-up version of grab bags available from Bespoke Post and Popsugar. You'll likely see lots of products here and on my fashion blog, Bespoke Baroque, that come form these boxes.  The Paddywax Tolstoy candle from their Library line is currently living on the table.  It has a grassy, musky but fruity scent that I think is perfect for the winter.  I used to be able to find Paddywax candles at Anthropologie, but they don't appear to be carrying them any longer.

I've tried to keep the other accents small here as well.  The two framed mirrors are also from Ballard.  The low brass pot I'm using as an umbrella stand, came from TJ Maxx.  It's had a previous life as a planter, but I like it now for this purpose because it's short enough for our small umbrellas not to go swimming under its lip.  You see a glimpse of the blue (shudder) carpeting which we have to live with as we are renting this house.  All of the public rooms of the house are either wood floored or tiled, so we just have it in the hallway to the bedrooms and the bedrooms themselves.  I don't care for wall-to-wall carpet personally, and this shows dirt horribly especially with two little dogs inside the house. That's Piglet being nosy by the way.



We never have time for a cooked breakfast during the work week.  All of us have different schedules and either leave the house at different times or are rushing out the door, but we all love breakfast food, so we sometimes can't resist having it for dinner.  I have to admit that breakfast for dinner is always welcome on really rushed and busy days because it's done quickly without a lot of fuss.  So that it doesn't feel like so much of a cop out, I like to do one special thing whether it's waffles, pancakes or quick bread, it's a little more exciting than eggs and toast.  Today I tried making stovetop scones for the first time.  When such simple ingredients come together to make something satisfying and tasty, it's time well spent.