Basil Summer

I love eating, and to be honest John and I normally cook a lot. When we first started dating we would collect recipes all week and then spend all day Saturday or Sunday cooking and baking. Probably our weirdest concoction of recipes… beef empanadas, cherry pie, chip dip & baked brie.

Lately we have not even used the oven let alone cooked a meal of quality. Which is really a bummer for both of us. The most delish meals come from summer veggies and besides eating them raw, we havent eaten enough. Any who we have cooked! Yes, but don’t worry I didn’t use my oven. We made a couple of things with all of the great basil and herbs our visitors this past weekend brought us.

Herbs make the cutest centerpieces.

That is before I started wiping up these two great recipes. Tomato basil soup & pesto sauce (both of which are in the freezer) and I have no plan making anything with them until it isn’t 90 degrees outside.

Rich Tomato Basil Soup

  • 4 tomatoes – seeded and diced
  • 4 cups tomato juice
  • 14 leaves fresh basil

Place tomatoes and juice in a stock pot over medium heat. Simmer for 30 minutes. I don’t have an immersion blender (put that on my Christmas list) to puree the tomato mixture along with the fresh basil leaves, so I just ladle out a portion at a time and blend them then return the puree to the stock pot. Often I take this mixture and portion it for the freezer. Then when it comes time to make a bowl or two of this thick and creamy soup I collect a few more ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
Place the tomato mixture in a pot over medium heat, when mixture is hot but not boiling stir in the heavy cream and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Do not boil or you will have a mess on your hands.
YUM this soup is so easy to make and is great to heat and eat with crusty bread and a salad for a week night meal.

This is the basil I grew

Homemade Freezer Pesto

  • 12 fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons  olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 garlic

Place everything in the blender (I use the Magic Bullet (which is where I got the recipe)). Blend until everything becomes a grainy paste. The leaves should be chopped into a uniform size.

John likes to freeze in small batches so you can just get however much pesto you need. Freezing in an ice-cube trail works well, after they freeze pop them out and into a Ziplock. This way when you need a cube or so of pesto you can just grab one instead of melting an entire container or baggie of the basil deliciousness.

Do you make your own pesto? Anyone else getting desperate for a chest freezer? I need one badly as my freezer is full. Is there anything that you make and save for the winter months?

Another Chalkboard Project -unfinished for now

I have a perfect frame for over the bed in the guest bedroom… by perfect I mean it was free, the wood frame was the right color for the room and it was a substantial size (size does matter). Perfect with one exception, I didn’t know what I wanted to frame. Everything I thought of seemed so boring, busy or was just icky (that is a real design word). So as much as I searched Pinterest (check out my pin’s here) I just couldn’t get creative. That is until I took another look at what was over the bed.



A word that has hung in every one of my spaces for over 7 years. Usually this word was nestled in with pictures , hung above a cabinet or leaned on the wall above cupboards. But right now it was all by itself above the bed and actually it is kinda boring. The word imagine should conger up ideas and fantasizes not be boring. But it is perfect above the bed… hmm what to go with it. Then I realized John Lennon’s Imagine is one of my favorite songs, and one of many reasons I love the word so much, I also loved its price tag at Value City (who wouldn’t shop for design accents at a store named Value City) it was $8.99, I know because the price tag is still on it, kinda like Sherry of Young House Love (check out her problem here).

I love IMAGINE! Watch the video here.

So I painted right on the glass with Rustoleum Chalk Board Paint, I had leftover (from this project) and then I am going to write out the chorus to Imagine. When everything is dry, which will hopefully be soon. I will just have John help me hang it above Imagine, so it looks like this idea was meant to happen. Don’t worry I will post pictures once it’s up there.

Oh, and as long as we’re in the guest bedroom… Here are a few pics of how cute it is in there, you’d think we were having guests over for the weekend. Oh, wait. WE ARE!  John’s Mom, Linda, and her sister, Aunt Diane, are coming to stay-antique-shop-eat-drink wine-beach and Grand Haven it up with us until Sunday.

Blue and green guest bedroom

Don't you love these felt pillows my Mom made for me. They go great in the guest bedroom.

Green and blue, this great little green cabinet was a gift from both of my parents. The antique window is an original from their farm-house.

Love the antique dresser from John's family. It is one of a kind and beautiful. Notice anything typical? Oh, an heirloom white giraffe and her baby.

Yup these guys were brass before, but I love to spray paint and now they are so sweet.

Do you love Imagine, does the song just make you oh I don’t know, Imagine?  Do you quick add style to rooms a few hours before house guests arrive? Are you frantically cleaning not because your house is dirty but because you can’t imagine not cleaning right before a guest arrives? Are your ready to have some fun this weekend or what? Ugh, this was a long week.

Mascara Review

My name is Kyle and I am a Mascara-aholic!

Literally I love mascara. When I turned 13 my Mom let me wear makeup, but she didn’t buy me makeup… so I just started by wearing her mascara, which turned into mascara and an under eye concealer. Now that I am an adult and buy my own makeup I still can’t leave the house without mascara and an under eye concealer!  I mean I could leave the house, but it’s not really a sight for all eyes.

I’ve got a fav concealer (it’s actually a foundation) and I never change. Oh, and a new compact of this stuff will last me about 6 months! AWESOME.

In Ivory (what can I say I have angel skin)

When it comes to mascara, I have tried them all. I will tell you though, I’m not a big fan of department store mascaras, it’s not the money, it’s the fact that they don’t work any better than the same product and  they do cost far more.  I have used many a Lancome product and if you absolutely have to have a department store mascara, this is the one but it smells weird…

Hypnose Volume Mascara by Lancome (I use brown or brownish black mascara, but I couldn't find a pic)

Back to the subject… I actually like drug store mascaras!! I think I’ve tried them all, I certainly will try anything new. I usually have a couple different brands/tubes going at the same time and I switch it up regularly. I also will not use an old tube! Haven’t you noticed that when mascara gets old it starts to smell? That can not be a good thing. JUST THROW IT OUT even if it did cost you $20!
I do love one brand in particular, Maybelline. They make the best mascaras. I’m sure it all started with this one (the green and pink) which I totally still use. Anyway my current fav is Maybelline’s Falsies which has a patented ‘spoon’ brush. The brush is really different and lends itself to create l beautiful big thick lashes and in my opinion the bigger the better when it comes to lashes. So back to the brush, it actually has regular bristles on one side and has short bristles on the other so you can concentrate on the base of the eye lash to start with the short bristles (creating fullness) and then use the long bristles to create  long and thick lashes. Here is the one I am currently using as my go to mascara, o.O.o and I just had a comment the other day about how thick my eyelashes were…

Maybelline The Falsies Volum' Express in Brownish-Black

Do you still rock the pink & green by Maybelline? Any fav brands of mascara? Are you addicted to mascara?

Proud to be a girl named Kyle

I am proud to be a girl named Kyle!

I mean when you are a blond little girl with a short boy-style hair cut and a boy’s name, you get strong. You also get use to repeating your name and listening to people tell you their brother, son, husband, father, grandfather, step father, father in-law (or any other significant boy in their life) has the same name. It’s also always been fun to hear stories from boyfriends about when they told their family, friends or co-workers about a date with Kyle (hahaha).

Here are a couple of stories only a girl with a boys name has…

My next door neighbor growing up was a Kyle (the regular boy kind), so my neighbors always called my Kylelayne as though my first and middle name were just one name.

In the fourth grade I didn’t want to be Kyle J (you know how this happens when two kids in the same class have the same name) so I went by Kylee. Yep, just put an extra E on my name and it was different. Too bad I hated being a Kylee and dropped the E in the fifth grade. Some kids Moms still called me Kylee throughout school.

I once was nearly in a fight with a professor in college. While taking roll he said, “Kyle Johnson?”.

“Here”, I replied.

“No seriously, Kyle Johnson?”.

“I am Kyle Johnson.”

 “Stop this, who is Kyle Johnson?”.

“I am Kyle Johnson. I have a boy’s name but I promise I am Kyle and I am here”.

No response to this. 

“Steve Johnson?”.

There are plenty more stories about my name, I promise to share them all over time. Now for the real reason behind this post…

Kyle Freeman, another awesome girl named Kyle with great Style (see what I did there?).

Kyle Freeman is a blogger from the Boston area who happens to blog for (talk about inspiration). She also happens to have a super sweet pad with tons of color, second-hand finds and homemade items Does that sound like a dream to this girl Kyle? YES it does!

Anyway, I wanted to include a quote from the BHG DIY Magazine (Fall 2011) about Kyle’s feelings towards thrifting, “You’ve got to be willing to work when it comes to secondhand shopping,” she says. “It takes effort to find the really great pieces that make a room.”

I totally agree with this quote. Mainly because it makes my many trips through the same thrift stores valid. I don’t buy something every time, but when I am there to strike on a brand new IKEA frame, or grab up tons of great JCrew t-shirts, and then hear my friends whine about how they never find anything… I will know its the effort I put forward.

Anyway, I love other girls named Kyle! You rock.

Bedroom Paint -progress

I don’t know how many times I can say it, but I truly dislike the previous owners of our house. I mean I say “oh, that’s Future Kyle’s problem”, all the time but the deal is I know Future Kyle and I know she can and will take care of whatever mess I have made for her.  I’m pretty sure that the previous owners of our house said “oh, that’s future owners problem,” and then they quickly sold and got out of dodge  Grand Haven.

Ugh previous owners! Previous owners who; did stuff like running speaker wire obviously through the entire three seasons room so that everywhere you look you see the wire, who kept something awful in the hall closet, pee-you, it still stinks on hot days,  let their children play with stickers (John still finds those buggers all of the time),  and (my most recent pet peeve) painted everything in a hurry. Seriously I think it took them about an hour to repaint every room in the house, one wall even looked like they threw the paint on it and then just pushed it around. Oh, and don’t get me started on how they didn’t cover up the floors, tape anything off  or repaint the trim and ceilings… I could go on. Needless to say, I am not a big fan of previous owners. (Side note: I am sure they are wonderful people, just not as anal as I am and not as smart as John is!)

FYI I also really like previously loved houses, and don’t imagine living in one not previously owned by someone else.

Anyway, over the weekend I worked very hard to remove the trace evidence of our previous owners…

Before 1

Before 2

Before the big revel as to what the bedroom looks like right now, I must tell you what I’ve done.

First thing is, the old paint color is super dark and kinda a gross shade of green. The bedroom is shaded by the giant front yard maple tree, so I wanted to lighten it up with a warmer color. I was thinking a light cream with a hint of yellow. I went with this, Behr’s Lightweight Beige -eggshell. Truly a light cream with warm yellow in it.  In addition to painting John also hung a great brand new ceiling fan that matches the oil rubbed bronze fixtures in the house. His favorite part? Oh, probably how it is silent when it’s on, unlike the old fan.

Okay I also have a few more big dreams for this room, but I can only get one thing done at a time. So here is how she looks today.



Awesome Silent Ceiling Fan


Lightweight Beige compliments my jumbo chevron painting and definitely lightens up the space

If you noticed. This little cutie adorns our dresser and John stows his pens, change and such in him.

Okay, so some heavy lifting was done… But I have more to do, check out the list to complete our bedroom.

-hang curtains

-add art (change-up dresser leaning art)

-find great matching night stands

-paint heirloom bed to a lighter shade

-add bed linens in warm and shades with a few great throw pillows

-change dresser nobs

-and probably a bunch more stuff

Did you spend your entire weekend painting? Do you have more blisters on your hands than you have fingers? Do you divide and conquer projects? or do you just say screw it and leave the old ugly paint?

Fabric Floral Pin DIY

I’m in love with Pinterest! Mainly I use it as a place to gather inspiration and follow creative trends. You can see what I have pinned on my boards here. Oh, and my recent coffee table  inspiration for my chalkboard coffee table came from Pinterest, and I’ve got lots more plans for projects from my pins.

Fabric flowers are crazy cute and add fun to any outfit. When I saw this tutorial on Pinterest and figured as it involved zero sewing and minimal time I could try it out. The flower I saw on Pinterest looks like this…

When I was ready I headed straight to Trish’s Two Peas in a Pod Designs (where the pin originated) to see the full tutorial. I loved the step by step pictures for the fringed floral pin. I used Trish’s tutorial as the basis for my fabric flower pin and I came up with this. Trish definitely didn’t miss a step, great tutorial.

Fabric Flower Pin

Okay, so the tutorial works. I used about a stick of hot-glue (yeah if you can’t sew, you usually can use hot-glue (LOVE THIS TUTORIAL). My first go at this project worked well and I spent zero money. I used this old shirt to create the pin.

It took me about an hour total, mainly creating these tiny little circles out of the old Oxford.

Then a little time was spent glueing

This picture was taken after the first fringed circles were added to the felt base. I’m pretty sure I used more glue than really needed, but I mean how is a girl to know on her first attempt. FYI I don’t care for the seersucker fabric I used, not because of the stripes, but because the fabric continues to fray tiny little fibers. I did combat this when I wore the pin… I sprayed it with a little hairspray, and for the most part it worked to prevent the fiber shedding.

I think I'll make another one, soon.

What do you think? Was it worth the hour it took me to make? Have you started saving your flower pin budget by making these yourself?

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Accessories make it

Okay,  so truly I am a basics kinda gal… I mean a crisp white blouse with a navy blue skirt is right up my alley. Except not really at all, I love to accessorize. I once was on my way to an interview and my Mom told me to put on some accessories, because as she said “you look professional, you just look really boring and not you”. Love-my- Mom. Actually come to think of it back in college when I didn’t know what to wear my BFF would tell me, “just put on a few more random things on, and you will have a very ‘Kyle’ outfit”.

Here is todays take on the ‘classic’ white and navy outfit, with a splash of accessory color.  Oh and excuse how I’ve removed my footwear, I really am not a fan of shoes and I completely forgot I wasnt wearing any. FYI I did wear a simple blue flat to work.



What is it I’m wearing? A great navy lace skirt (Target), a unique shape white blouse (Marshall’s), my favorite accessory belt (Gap) (oh FYI this belt was $5 at Gap a couple of months back, SCORE), flower pin (Younker’s).

The best part about adding flair to a plain outfit is being able to wear nearly the exact same thing (the white blouse and navy skirt) in many different ways and most everyone I know would never know, because they will have focused on the pink flower pin. Maybe next time I wear this combination, I’ll add red accessories or something more nautical.

Also, this work ready outfit totally reminds me of Liz from 26 and Counting. Love her fun, appropriate and wearable work outfits.

Do you love to accessorize? What is your go to accessory that enhances everything you wear it with? Have you ever forgotten you weren’t wearing shoes?

OH, and I will ask John about enhancing my outfit pictures, these are boring.


Stolen Idea: Chalkboard top coffee table

For our Three Seasons Room I wanted something like this.

Love the chalkboard top, and the color.


So I knew that I loved the concept. But I didn’t want such a sturdy or plain-looking coffee table. I needed something with curves, oh and yellow would be too much for my 3 seasons room. So I did this…

I went with a beautiful curved coffee table ($10 at Goodwill). Blue was a better fit to tie in with the pillows and not add to much color to a space designed to highlight the outdoors.

Chalkboard paint is really easy to use. I chose to use Rust-Oleum Chalk Board Paint Brush On and only needed 3 thin coats to complete the top. Bonus it is perfect, and wipes beautifully every time.

What have you used chalkboard paint on? Did you DIY anything over the 4th of July or were you just lazy and enjoy your weekend?

Happy 4th of July LONG WEEKEND

BRING ON A FEW DAYS OFF! Oh, and our Totally Awesome America’s Birthday Party on Monday at our house.

God Bless America

Cute casual Friday Outfit Rundown: Blouse (TJ MAXX), Necklaces (Art Fairs) , Bracelet (Forever 21), Ring (G’s closet), Jeans (Gap), Sandals (Nine West Outlet)

Oh, and this little cutie wanted to say hi. She is finally social after nearly 24 hours of thunderstorms.

Happy Fourth! Love, Talis