Friday, April 18, 2014

[ hippity hoppity ]



WE ARE headed to Canada to see our folks and take a little break. I wonder if the Easter Bunny will find us there?

Have a wonderful Easter!

lisa

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

[ ted baker love ]

ONE STORE that I've really grown to love is Ted Baker. It's a great mix of pretty, feminine collections with accessories to match. I love how they take a specific pattern and colourway and create a variety of pieces that all work together. I actually first came across Ted Baker while we were living in Ireland and I'm glad that they have a few stores in Dubai too.

I always find things I like year-round, but their spring/summer collections are so pretty in all their florals and pastel shades. Though it's a little on the pricier side for everyday pieces, it's always the first place I go if I'm looking for a special dress since their collections always include some great dresses for parties or events...



I also love the accessories and am always smitten by the fun selection of bags and scarves. My dear friend bought me this scarf covered in London houses and I love it...


... the colours are so pretty for spring and it will go with almost my entire wardrobe. Such a sweet friend she is!

If you don't have a store near you, they do have online shopping with free shipping in the US, UK and most international so it's worth checking out. No, I'm not being paid by Ted Baker but between this shop and Kate Spade, they're my favourites even just for window shopping!

lisa

Monday, April 14, 2014

[ cake mix cobbler ]

SOMETIMES I love a dessert that you can pull together with minimal effort ~ snoop around in your pantry and see what you find. This cobbler uses a simple cake mix and any type of canned fruit {or fresh or frozen}. Add some cream cheese and you're off to the races!


lisa's peach blueberry cake mix cobbler

what you need:

1 box of white or yellow cake mix
1/3 cup butter, softened
28 oz can of peaches, well drained (or 4-5 fresh peaches)
1 cup frozen blueberries {optional}
2 eggs
8 oz pkg cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

how to:

1) Preheat oven to 350F. 
2) In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, 1 egg and butter until crumbly. Set aside 1 cup of crumble for topping.
3) Grease a 9x13" glass dish and press remaining crumble into dish to form a crust. Bake for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, slice peaches into 1" pieces.
4) Beat together cream cheese, 1 egg, vanilla and sugar until smooth. 
5) Remove baked crust from oven and layer peaches and blueberries over crust. Spread cream cheese mixture over fruit. Sprinkle reserved crumble over top.
6) Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden and fruit is bubbling. Allow to cool 30 minutes before serving ~ delicious with vanilla ice cream. Yum!

lisa

Saturday, April 12, 2014

[ happy weekend! ]



WE started our weekend with a fun night out with friends at the Atlantis for dinner. It made me realize that we really need to do these things more often! I guess no matter where you live, you get into a rut sometimes. What have you got going on this weekend?

lisa

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

[ best feelings ]


I WOULD add hugging my guy when he returns home from a business trip. What are your best feelings in the world?

lisa


[via theberry.com]

Sunday, March 30, 2014

[ iGuy - not just for kids! ]

HAVE YOU seen the iGuys for iPads? Super cute. The funny thing is that they're supposed to be geared to kids, but I got one!


I love to read my digital magazines on my iPad when I go to bed but I find it uncomfortable to hold  up my thin iPad for an extended period of time or try to position my duvet to soften the hard edge across my stomach. This iGuy is perfect ~ easy to hang onto his little arms and his feet raise him up so he sits above my covers and doesn't get buried in them. I think getting him in white actually makes him look pretty cool. Am I crazy?

lisa

Thursday, March 27, 2014

[ market day ]

OVER THE past few years, we've become accustomed to using reusable bags for grocery shopping. It started in Ireland where they were charging the equivalent of about 50 cents per plastic bag ~ we quickly started bringing our own!

Even though we've gathered a few of the cheap cloth ones they sell at the grocery stores, I've been meaning to make a couple of my own ~ something a little cuter to make the chore of grocery shopping a bit more fun. I finally got around to sewing up 2 new ones...



I dug through my fabric stash for something heavy enough so I wouldn't have to add a lining and found this black leaf-print IKEA fabric and had just enough to make 2 bags. I didn't use a pattern ~ I just winged it. I added a dotted pocket on the outside, perfect for a phone, wallet or coupons and used black ultra-suede along the bottom. I figured that black will hide dirt and remain nice looking for longer, but they're washable anyway so no worries. 

Sorry, no DIY on this one, but if you're looking to whip up a similar one for yourself, I did come across this cutie...


and you can purchase the pattern for it here Happy sewing!

lisa

Saturday, March 22, 2014

[ arrggh! this place! ]

EVERY expat in Dubai knows that this place is an exercise in patience. Sure the sunshine is great, but it definitely comes at a price! I'm constantly encountering things that just don't make sense and are guaranteed to hike your blood pressure up a few notches. My latest encounter was this...

This is where we live ~ villa 57 on street 2 of our gated community...


Over the course of this year, the developer has filled in an open area just up the street from us with a few new villas. The boards have just come down to reveal this...


Seriously! How can you have two villas on the same street with the same number?? They had assigned this chunk of new villas numbers 53-63, right between existing numbers 12 and 13! Why 53-63? Seems pretty random since the existing numbering already goes to about 100 at the bottom of our street! How does this even happen?

I hadn't noticed until I called for a taxi on Thursday. I was standing outside my villa waiting for what seemed to be much longer than usual when my phone rang.

Taxi: I am here ma'am
Me: Where?
Taxi: In front of villa
Me: No... I'm standing right in front of my villa and you are not here.
Taxi: Villa 57?
Me: Yes, villa 57. Are you on Street 2?
Taxi: Yes ma'am
Me: Are you sure?
Taxi: Yes ma'am. Street 2. Villa 57.
Me: Well I'm confused. I'm standing right in front and you are not here. Are you sure you are on Street 2? Did you turn right at the gate or left?
Taxi: I turn right ma'am. Street 2.
Me: Well, you are definitely not in front of my villa. I'm confused. You're SURE you turned right at the gate?
Taxi: Sigh. Yes ma'am. I turn right. I go back and turn left. 'click'
Me: Sigh.

I stood there waiting to see how this was going to play out when I saw him approaching from the bottom of my street instead. He had driven around, past the gate, down Street 1 to where it joins my street and come up. He looked at my villa number with a confused look on his face. I got in.

Taxi: This is villa 57?
Me: Yes. This is where I've been waiting. This is Street 2.
Taxi: Yes ma'am but I was Street 2. I show you.

We drove up the street and he stopped in front of the new villa.

Taxi: Here ma'am. Here I was waiting. Villa 57. Street 2.

I couldn't believe my eyes! I was looking at a villa on my street with the same number as mine! The fact that it was clearly still under construction and obviously not yet occupied hadn't dawned on him. He was waiting at villa 57 so I couldn't very well accuse him of being wrong. He was right ~ sort of. I can't even imagine the problems this is going to create.

Sigh. Only in Dubai.

lisa

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

[ apple of my eye ]

WHEN you are craving something for dessert, there's nothing like baking up an apple cake. I love that there are no special ingredients ~ just pantry staples so you can bake one any time you like!


lisa's scrumptious apple cake

This cake is simple to make and you can use any apples you like {I use a mix of Granny Smith and Gala just because it's what I usually have on hand}. This is a light, fluffy cake and the apple slices will sink right into it when it bakes. Tastes delicious as is, or serve it even yummier with ice cream and caramel sauce!

what you need:

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
a sprinkle of nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
3 apples peeled, cored and cut into thin wedges
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon for topping

how to:

Preheat oven to 350F. 

1. Sift flour with baking powder, 1 tsp cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and vanilla until fluffy. 

3. Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture, alternating with the milk {begin and end with flour mixture}. Spread the batter into a greased 9" square baking pan.


4. Place apple slices in rows on the batter, pressing in slightly {I alternate apple varieties}. If you have a few too many, just wedge them in there! Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.

5. Bake for about 50-60 minutes or until apples are tender and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.



Enjoy!

lisa

Monday, March 17, 2014

[ my weekend ]

WHILE much of North America is still digging out from under snow, we've had a dirty sandstorm weekend ~ beige skies, sand blowing, a bit of drizzle just to make the sand run slightly down the windows and then dry that way ~ yuck. This is my 3rd birthday in a row with a sandstorm. Gotta love waking up and checking the forecast on my iPhone and seeing this...


So needless to say, we didn't partake in the breakfast on a patio idea that I had originally planned. 

Instead, we chose a bit of Texas BBQ...


And we went to see this...


I hadn't heard of it ~ apparently it was at Cannes. Hmm... what can I say except it wasn't really my taste. I mean, how bad could it be with Ryan Gosling in it?? I guess I just didn't appreciate the artistry of it. 

But the best part was being surprised with these...


I can never have too many pairs of TOMS, especially here in Dubai. And this taupe colour is perfect to hide any dirt, even in a sandstorm!

Thanks for all your sweet birthday wishes! How was your weekend?

lisa

Saturday, March 15, 2014

[ another year older ]

HAPPY weekend everyone!


As for me, I'm celebrating my birthday ~ yup, another year closer to old age! Luckily I still feel like a spring chicken and my guy tells me that I don't look any different than when we met at 16 ~ gotta love him!

Have a great weekend!

lisa

Sunday, March 9, 2014

[ the beach at jbr ]

ONE THING about Dubai is that there is always development going on and something new popping up. This weekend we decided to check out what's been happening down at JBR, the area where we stayed 3 years ago when we first arrived here before we got our apartment.


JBR is a popular Dubai tourist spot with The Walk, a strip of hotels and all kinds of cafes and restaurants with outdoor patios. It's a great spot to people-watch and weekends usually bring the locals with their expensive cars cruising along the strip.

There has always been a beach along the shore and now there is The Beach, a new development of 4 plazas connected by an esplanade with more shops and restaurants, a running track, underground parking, valet parking, and an open-air cinema opening soon. A few places have opened so far with more to follow. 


With Dubai winning the bid this year for Expo 2020, there's been plenty of celebration here and plans for more and more development. I love this huge sandcastle...


We decided to stop for lunch and headed for The Counter, a build-your-own burger spot {we went to one a few times in Dublin when we lived there}...


My guy built his with sautéed mushrooms and chipotle aioli...


and I made mine more of a Hawaiian with grilled pineapple and bbq sauce...


add a chocolate banana shake and a side of these parmesan fries...


and yummo!

The Beach at JBR will be a great spot in the winter with mild temperatures and gentle breezes on the patios. But with temperatures jumping from highs of 24C to 31C just this week and climbing, it won't be long before it will be a little too toasty for many to take in the sights along the sand {including the camel rides!}. 

lisa



[via mytravelingjoys.com]

Monday, March 3, 2014

[ sticker families ]

I'M SURE all of you are familiar with sticker families ~ those little stick people on the back windows of vehicles depicting everyone in the family including pets...


Well, did you know that there are also sticker families for people here in Dubai?


It really is a small world. Do you have a sticker family on your vehicle?

lisa

Friday, February 28, 2014

[ happy weekend! ]


THE WEEKS sure seem to fly by ~ can you believe it's already March tomorrow? So what have you got planned for the weekend? Since weekends here in Dubai are Fridays and Saturdays, we've already had a head start and enjoyed a lovely brunch meeting new people from South Africa and France ~ I love that Dubai is such an interesting mix of international people.

As for the rest of the weekend, I think a bit of sleeping in tomorrow is in order and perhaps soaking up some sun while we still can before the temperature starts creeping up.

Whatever you are up to, have a good one!

lisa

[via byfryd.com]

Monday, February 24, 2014

[ before and afters ]

ONE OF my favourite things is seeing how an ugly space has transformed into a thing of beauty. Sometimes the work has been extensive, but sometimes only a few minor changes have created a completely fresh space. These are some of my favourites I've come across recently...


Aren't they great? I love how these spaces have primarily used paint to give the room a completely updated feel. So if you're shopping for a home, don't be scared off by dated wood finishes ~ just imagine how it would look painted out and you might snag a bargain!

Have you painted out any dated wood finishes in your home?

lisa

[the decorologist; coastal living] 

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