Hello, today for my Five Faves with Annie and Cindy, I want to tell you about a fast makeover of my son-in-law’s free-standing garage into a home office and workout room, why I caved for a faux Christmas tree, a tasty recipe for a Chinese dish you can make at home, and more.
1. Spare Garage To Home Office And Workout Room In Two Hours
When I was in Los Angeles visiting recently, my son-in-law, Luca asked me to look at their spare garage/storage unit. He wanted to make it a home office and workout room.
This is realistic to do where you have mild weather. They have a portable A/C unit for the summer.
Not one to waste any time (I only had two days with my 2-month-old granddaughter), I said:
- Let’s take everything out.
- Clean everything (very important to feel fresh).
- Take the 9 x 12 Ruggable rug that you aren’t using to the laundromat to wash and dry.
- Draw a floor plan.
- Move furnishings back in from the garage or from inside the house like art and lamps.
- Discard what doesn’t work.
We got to work and were finished in about two hours! We didn’t spend money on anything except the cost of cleaning the rug. And Luca bought a blower to keep leaves away on the patio and from getting into the garage.
They have a Peloton, weights, a mirror, and a yoga mat. I think an adjustable workout bench like this one would also be nice here. (Christmas present?).
2. Pillow Insert Investigation
Plump pillow inserts are so important for a plush designer look.
I have recommended Interior Linens inserts for years but they seem to have disappeared! According to their Facebook page, perhaps The Company Store bought them. The Company Store is a good company and they have 20″ square firm down and feather inserts that look good. But no 22″ square inserts.
Then, I read this article by Spruce:
3. How An Artificial Christmas Tree Won Me Over
Never in my life have I wanted a fake tree until now. Here’s why:
- No one wants to do the work of putting the lights on.
- Real trees dry out before Christmas.
- The pine needles make a big mess.
I saw the artificial trees from King Of Christmas and met their representatives at Haven (bloggers’ conference) this summer and was impressed. They offered to give me one for my honest media exposure on Instagram.
This is the King Noble Pre-lit 9′ tree. I really wasn’t prepared for how EASY it is to put together. For a 9′ tree, just four pieces stack together and the branches fall into place. It comes with a remote.
While we were hunkering down during Hurricane Nicole it was cheerful to turn the Christmas tree on.
The trees are on major sale right now. I don’t know for how much longer or if the trees will sell out. So check them out here.
The basket tree collar is from Ballard. This is the large…I may have been ok with the smaller one.
4. Kung Pao Chicken You Can Make At Home
This is adapted from the New York Times recipe by Emily Weinstein.
Howard added the peanuts to the dish and topped it with chopped scallions. I like brown rice but don’t complain since he is making the dish 🙂 I DO wash the dishes.
- 1 lb pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into ½-inch chunks
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- salt and pepper
- 1 1/2 tbsp tablespoons Chinkiang (black) vinegar or balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1/4 cup neutral oil, such as grapeseed
- 1/2 cup small dried red chiles (or less if you don't like too spicy)
- 1/4 cup roasted peanuts (if desired)
Mix the chicken, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon cornstarch, and a big pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl until evenly coated. Let sit while you prepare the sauce.
Stir the vinegar, sugar, remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce and 1 teaspoon cornstarch in a small bowl.
Combine the oil and chiles in a wok or large nonstick skillet, and set over medium heat. When the chiles start to sizzle and brown, about 15 seconds, push them to one side of the pan. Add the chicken to the other side all at once and spread in a single, even layer. Cook, without moving the pieces, until the bottoms are dark golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. If the chiles start to blacken, put them on top of the chicken so that they don’t burn.
Using a large spatula, flip the chicken in portions. Cook just until the meat almost loses all of its pinkness, 1 to 2 minutes more. Stir the sauce and pour it into the pan. Stir until the sauce thickens and slicks the chicken evenly. Immediately transfer to a plate and serve hot.
5. Cute Children’s Clothes From The Gap
Well, I’m back to the Gap for kid’s clothes again! This smocked floral dress set is well-made and on sale. This is size 0 to 3 months and it goes up to 18 to 24 months.
Louisa feels cute.
If you are new here, each Sunday I share my top five favorite things along with my friends, Cindy and Annie. It’s like our weekly “catch-up” phone call. If you would like to receive this series every week, please sign up HERE.
Let’s see what Annie and Cindy’s Five Faves are this week:
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