Hi there! I’m Kara.
Category Archives: home
These gold fish (goldfish?) are $12 at CB2 and I want a school of them.
(The title of this post is inspired by this amazing shirt that Josh got B.)
One: This cool-girl coat.
Two: This important article in the New York Times calling for depression screenings before and after pregnancy. (YES.)
Three: These ridiculously chic, gender-neutral nurseries. (Via Elements of Style)
Four: Kind of obsessed with this crib bedding set by Oh Joy for Target.
Five: That time when only female lawmakers showed up to work during a snowstorm.
Seven: Also love this peplum cami.
Eight: One of my favorite St. Louis events, the Beggin’ Pet Parade, is this weekend – and it looks like even the weather gods love dogs in costumes.
Nine: I realize this is a random addition, but we just installed this ceiling fan in our bedroom. I was ardently anti-ceiling fan until I realized there was NO AIR MOVEMENT and I hate to sweat. This ceiling fan doesn’t look like it came straight from 1999 and it has a remote, which somehow makes me feel like I am a fancy adult.
Ten: Cute earrings.
I am not a cook. Not even close. I am famous for the following crockpot recipe:
Kara’s Crockpot Baked Potato
Ingredients: One potato
Directions: Put one potato* in crockpot. Turn crockpot on. Wait six to eight hours. Remove potato. Eat.
*You can modify this recipe by adding more than one potato.
Wait, should this be a food blog?!
My single-sex high school prided itself on not offering “home ec” classes, so I am illiterate in the ways of homemaking, even though my mom is a phenomenal cook and can put any bakery to shame. Josh, who is a pretty good cook, says that I am too ambitious when I decide to try to cook. I hate doing things I’m not good at, so I don’t cook.
But it’s time to Adult.
I’ve found a couple crockpot meals to master so I’m not only serving my kids stuff from the frozen food section of Trader Joe’s.
Slow Cooker Cranberry Pork Loin
Slow Cooker Cranberry Pork Loin Recipe:
(Recipe from Design Times Four)
3 lb. boneless pork loin or tenderloin
16 oz. can whole cranberry sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
Place roast in a slow cooker coated with cooking spray. Combine the rest of the ingredients and pour over roast. Cook on high 4-5 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Remove roast, slice and serve.
*You can also add a little water and cornstarch to the juices left in your slow cooker if you wish to make a gravy.
Slow Cooker Coconut Basil Chicken
2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast
14 oz. lite canned coconut milk
2 cups basil
1 tbsp. ginger, chopped (or more to taste)
1 jalapenos, chopped (or more to taste)
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- Add the coconut milk, basil, ginger, jalapeno, garlic, lime juice, turmeric, cumin, curry powder, salt, pepper, and cinnamon to a blender. Blend until combined.
- Add the chicken to the slow cooker. Pour the sauce over top. Cook for 4 hours or until chicken is cooked through and tender.
Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos
PREP: 5 MINS COOK: 15 MINS TOTAL: 20 MINS
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 2 pounds beef (I used a boneless chuck roast)
- 2 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 cup beef stock
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced (if you want extra flavor/heat, add an extra pepper)
- 1 small white onion, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- Flour tortillas
Possible taco toppings:
- guacamole http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/perfect-guacamole/ or sliced avocado
- salsa http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/restaurant-style-salsa-recipe/
- Mexican rice
- grated cheese
- fresh lettuce
- lime wedges
Whisk together the chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika in a small bowl. Rub the spice mix into the beef, covering each side evenly.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully place the beef in the skillet and sear on each side until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the beef from the skillet and place in the bottom of a slow cooker.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and diced onion to the saute pan. Saute for an additional 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the beef stock and stir the pan to deglaze it, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add tomato paste and minced chipotle, and whisk into the pan sauce until combined. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for a 3-5 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly. Pour the pan sauce down over the beef in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours, until the beef shreds easily.
Shred the beef with two forks, and toss to coat with any of the remaining juices. Serve the beef in the flour tortillas, topped with your favorite taco toppings.
Yes, another Target post. Last weekend I declared that going to Target alone is one of life’s greatest joys, and I am not backing down from that. Here’s some cute new stuff:
One: There are very, very similar boxes from Crate & Barrel for, like, $50. Buy these. They are so cute and affordable.
Two: This is marked down to $35, so it’s probably gonna go fast if it’s not already gone. I keep trying to find a spot for this in one of my bathrooms but the reality is that my bathrooms are small. My friend Jen has something similar in her big, luxurious bathroom and I am eternally jealous that our bathrooms can’t match.
Three: I’m obsessed with this. Less than $100, and looks like it would add a lot of texture and interest in any room. Hoping it would work at the end of the bed we just ordered.
Four: Ordered these. Brass ram bookends? Yes.
Five: Saw this in store and it looks so much more expensive than it is. But – it’s kinda too small for a traditional coffee table and a little low to be a side table, so I can’t figure out how to use it. If you live in a small space or are more creative than I am, get it. Now. Plus, it’s under $100.
Six: I obviously love a bench.
Seven: I, um, also own this. It goes perfectly in our living room and it is big enough and adds more interest and texture than framed pictures or art. It apparently doesn’t photograph that well because it looks a lot better in person. Josh even likes it and he is mostly anti-rug-wall.
Eight: This is in Target’s patio collection. It’s way cute for outside, but wait for it to go on sale. You know it will.
I’ve bought a few furniture pieces (including this coffee table, which is still for sale) at Urban Outfitters and have had good luck so far. It’s often a little smaller scale (I think the technical term is “apartment sized”) but that’s OK. I’m not looking for heirloom pieces here – just something fun until I change my mind in a couple years. I recently checked back in and they have some really good stuff right now that can be easily mixed into lots of different styles. Plus, it’s all super affordable. Behold:
One: Put a bird foot on it. These weird little bird feet are doing it for me. I don’t know why. But to validate my love, I did some research and this table is a knockoff of a super-expensive antique piece. I love it. And it’s only like $69.
Two: I would snap this up at a consignment store in like .5 seconds. Buying it from Urban Outfitters is a little less cool in the “not vintage” sort of way but WAY cooler in the “doesn’t have bedbugs” sort of way. I’m old and value lack of bedbugs over vintage street cred.
Three: Urban and Anthropologie are owned by the same parent company, and I kind of feel like they meant to put this headboard on the Anthro site, where the price tag would literally contain another zero at the end.
Four: You can’t go wrong with an angular brass coffee table unless it’s 1983.
Six: I’m into greenery right now, but sometimes your greenery needs a little boost. Put your baby plants on these cute plant stands until they become toddler plants and can stand on their own.
If you’re like me and refuse to subscribe to Amazon Prime, you’re probably closing in on the last few days of online shopping without paying like $300 for overnight shipping. So here’s a smattering of gifts for everyone left on your list.
Two: This little brass “hello” would be adorable on your front door. Or on my front door.
Three: It’s a scientific fact that everyone likes succulents. You barely have to water them! They are hip! People like plants! Buy ’em in bulk and find some cute little pots and pass them out to your coworkers. Or scatter them around your house.
Four: Give this to your free-spirit, crafty friend. Or yourself.
Five: I just bought something like this for B for Christmas. Trying to jumpstart her career as professional instagrammer.
Eight: I bought this for B mostly because I think they are cute and am prepared to fake-eat them.
Nine: These are good for any of your female friends. Or for me if I’m your female friend.
Ten: We had this calendar a couple years ago and it 1) is freakin’ huge and 2) looks badass.
I married a very thoughtful man who does things like remind me to send sympathy cards. I’m slowly learning – and remembering – to send cards. Even B very much enjoys getting cards in the mail and can distinguish between the specialness of a hand-addressed card versus a sterile, white-enveloped bill.
Sympathy cards are a tricky thing. You don’t want them to be too cheerful. You don’t want them to be too cloying, or religious, or look like something your weird aunt would pick out. Plus, even when you just go to Target, cards are kind of expensive. We never have cards on hand, which might change now that I found the best cards ever by Emily McDowell because I’m buying ’em all.
Check out some of the sympathy collection:
In an attempt to make sure that this post isn’t a total bummer that leaves you pondering all of life’s hardships, here’s some awesome/sweet/funny cards:
These cards are mostly $4.50 a pop, which is a steal for great design + a way to strengthen all your friendships.
I fully admit that I’m stealing this idea from Emily Henderson because she has yet to troll St. Louis’ Craigslist (rude) and point out awesome stuff for me to buy. Guess I’ll do it myself.
In general I have a love/hate relationship with Craigslist. I like to buy weird stuff for cheap but I hate the possibility of being murdered. Considering I’m alive to write this, I’ve been doing good so far but I very much recommend taking appropriate safety precautions before blindly following someone into their basement/kidnapping den in hopes of the perfect mid-century dresser. Craigslist: the adult version of a guy in a windowless van offering candy to kids.
Here’s some of my favorite items on Craigslist in St. Louis right now:
This midcentury gem is only $70 and claims to be real wood. Depending on the condition you could put a coat of paint on it OR you could sand it down and restain it a bit darker (get rid of that nasty orange tint!) and have a pretty awesome piece. I think those little handles might be brass, and they might be really good. I’m also vaguely interested in the wood chairs stacked behind the dresser.
I think Jenny Lind beds are so sweet for a little girl’s room (we considered one for B) and Land of Nod sells colorful versions for a mint. This one looks like it’s in good shape and with a fresh coat of paint – maybe yellow or aqua – you could have the look for a whole lot less. (This is $225. Talk ’em down.)
This bar cart is so good. Not cheap at $500, so I would want to make sure it’s legit vintage and not a knockoff. If you buy it please have me over to your house and serve me drinks from it, but beware because I will probably try to roll it to my car and steal it.
For $120, I’m skeptical that this is actually a Milo Baughman piece, but it’s not bad. Make sure the rest of your house is appropriately hip or this could go “bad ’80s/early ’90s” quickly.
The colors on this map are fun and maps in general are cute in little boys’ rooms or playrooms. This is kind of pricey at $125, but a piece of art or a print this big would be easily twice that, and this has the added benefit of not having to be framed.
These kind of make me sad because my grandma had these exact deer figurines and I didn’t recognize how cool they are and we sold them in an estate sale. $15 is a steal.
I have been looking for a new bed for our master bedroom, and I’ve been kicking myself for not buying this bed in white when it was still in production at West Elm. (We have a difficult bed/window situation and I feel like I need a headboard with a lighter, airy feel.) BUT it’s on Craigslist in brown for $450, so it might be something to consider…
Let me know if you pick up any of these. Please don’t get murdered!
I recently finished Mindy Kaling’s new book, and I liked it much more than the last one. It also inspired me to get Hulu so I can watch new Mindy Project eps.
This is inspiring: “What happens when 7 Capitol Hill interns are forced to live together.”
I read, and reread and reread this piece on how to compliment little girls. So very important.
We’re thinking about installing some wood paneling in our dining room. Wood paneling has come a long way, friends.
There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who appreciate giant yard inflatables and those who don’t. I’m firmly in the no inflatable decorations camp, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy a kitschy indoor holiday-themed item. I’ve rounded up a few cute, affordable Halloween items that won’t look too weird in your house.
(Clockwise from left)
These skeleton lights are cute and I like their big mouths.
Put a Bird on It: Halloween.
These little Day of the Dead-inspired doilies are cute. (Also, the best part of being Catholic is that All Souls Day (or Dia de los Muertos) is a Holy Day, meaning that all Catholic schools always have the day after Halloween off school.)
“Drink Up Witches” is apparently this year’s hip Halloween phrase.
Sometimes I feel how this skeleton plate looks.
I’m obsessed with these skeleton hand salad servers (and they have almost this exact set at Target) but then I remembered that I don’t have an annual Halloween party and/or an annual Halloween salad tradition, so they would be basically useless to me.
Fun fact: I had a similar skull candle and it blended into my decor so well that I forgot about it and had it up until Christmas. So that must have been awkward for people who noticed.
Skull on wood base. Doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it’s kinda cute.