Kitchen…Quick Update

So, I had previously shared our first house project…painting the kitchen.  It was quite an improvement from what we started with, but it didn’t feel quite finished yet.  We needed to update the curtains too!

Curtains are one of those things that are so overwhelming to look for.  There are a million styles, colors, patterns…etc.  And, you could easily spend a small fortune on them. I started off my search by looking for  modern, geometric pattern panel curtains that were tan and white to go with the rest of the room.  I would love to put in some white cafe style plantation shutters to add some privacy as well.

Here are a few options I was thinking of…


Ikat Key Curtain (Flax) – West Elm


Taupe Gatehill Curtain – Kirklands

Then, I went to Pottery Barn to look for rugs for our family room and I came across these…


Allegra Palampore Drape – Pottery Barn

I took a picture of them to show my husband and left the store because I was not even looking for curtains.  When I got home I realized that I really liked them and they were on sale and I had a coupon.  So, I went online and figured I would order them.  If I didn’t end up liking them, I could always just return them.  Well, the shipping cost was absolutely ridiculous so I called the store where I saw them to make sure they had the right size, had them put the curtains on hold and drove all the way back to the store to pick them up (which is not that close).  Ugh…why does Pottery Barn always rope me in.

Well I’m glad I went back and got them because they look perfect in our kitchen.


IMG_0336 IMG_0335

A completely different look than I was going for.  I love the red in it, which goes with all of our other accents in the kitchen.  And, I’m glad I went with some color instead of sticking with the tan and white because it really livens up the room. What do you think???

Now all we need is a kitchen table…maybe by next year 🙂


Sun-Dried Tomato Risotto

Sun-Dried Tomato Risotto - LiveDineParty

It feels like I haven’t made a real meal in forever!  With all of this house stuff going on and unpacking/organizing and doing projects around the house, I haven’t had the chance to really plan a meal and cook in my new kitchen.  So this week I finally got back at it!

Now I don’t want to make it sound like I haven’t cooked in weeks and we have been starving over here, but the meals we have been cooking have been very quick and easy, nothing special.  And OK, I officially owed my husband a good meal after all of his hard work.  So, the first real dinner I made was one of our favorites, sun-dried tomato risotto.  I have mentioned my obsession with risotto lately and I think it is safe to say this is the favorite risotto variation I have made in our house.  The flavor combinations are just perfection 🙂

Sun-Dried Tomato Risotto - LiveDineParty


  • 5 1/2-6 cups vegetable stock (You can also use low sodium chicken stock if you prefer.  I used to make it with the chicken stock until I was cooking dinner for a vegetarian and realized at the last minute that I couldn’t use chicken stock.  I was nervous about how it was going to come out, but I actually like it better.  I think the vegetable stock brings out the flavors a little more, but both are delicious)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 cup fresh mozzarella cheese
  • Fresh basil, chopped for garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste


In a large saucepan, bring the vegetable/chicken stock to a simmer.  While the stock is heating, drain the sun-dried tomatoes and reserve the oil.  Chop the tomatoes coarsely and set them aside.  Chop up the mozzarella into small pieces and set this aside as well.

In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil from the sun-dried tomatoes over medium heat, add onion and sauté until translucent.  By using the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes instead of olive oil, it makes the dish more flavorful.

Sun-Dried Tomato Risotto - LiveDineParty

Add the rice to the sauté pan and stir to coat with the oil.  Toast the rice until the edges become translucent and white spots appear in the center of the grains, about 1 min.

Pour in the wine and stir well until completely absorbed.

Add 1/2 cup of the hot stock to the rice.  Cook, stirring constantly, until all the stock has been absorbed. Continue to add the stock, 1/2 cup at time, and cook until each successive batch has been absorbed.  Stir constantly and adjust the level of heat so the rice is simmering very gently while adding the stock until the rice mixture is creamy, but al dente.  This will take from 15 to 20 minutes.

Sun-Dried Tomato Risotto - LiveDineParty

Add the mozzarella cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, chopped basil, and salt and pepper. Mix well and serve piping hot.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.  I’m still getting used to my new stove, but I’m enjoying cooking in my new kitchen.

Happy New Year!

I can’t believe we just rang in 2014 :). It has been a VERY crazy and exciting week for us…we officially moved into our new house!  It was the best Christmas present we could have ever asked for.  And, a big thank you to our amazing families who helped us move and clean.  Luckily we had a few 50 degree days in mid-December to move during!

Our House - LiveDineParty

But, with all of the craziness going on, Christmas and New Year’s just kind of crept up on us and our new house has been decorated with moving boxes instead of a Christmas tree.  I’m anxious to finish unpacking and organizing and to start sharing the inside of the house with all of you, all of the projects we have planned and eventually the entertaining we do in our new home.

And, this leads me to my New Year’s resolution…to relax a little more and enjoy every moment before trying to figure out what I am doing next.  Cliche, I know 🙂

So, here is our first project…painting the kitchen.  After going back and forth about a hundred times on what I wanted to paint first and what color, we finally decided on painting the kitchen first, which needed it the most.  My husband is an angel for putting up with my indecisiveness over the last week 🙂  The previous home owners left us with copious amounts of nail holes and marks on pretty much every wall in the house (much appreciated), but the kitchen was the worst and it is where we will spend a lot of time.  I also had to get rid of the horrible light yellow the previous owners had on the walls as quickly as possible.

We decided on Benjamin Moore Shaker Beige for the wall color.  It is a great neutral color that we had used in our condo, not too yellow or pink, a true beige.  Our new kitchen has off-white cabinets (painted Behr Antique White) and a tan granite so the Shaker Beige compliments it perfectly and adds the right amount of contrast to the cabinet color.  For the bead board, we used the Behr Antique White to match the cabinets.  FYI, bead board looks great, but it was a lot of work to paint.  Unfortunately, you can’t just roll the paint on because it creates too much texture so I had to paint the entire area with a brush and I think my hand was about to fall off by the end of it.  We also used a semi-gloss white on the trim to make the Antique White pop more, which was a great idea from my husband.

Here are some before and after pictures, enjoy!


 Kitchen - LiveDineParty Kitchen - LiveDineParty

Kitchen - LiveDineParty

Kitchen - LiveDineParty


Kitchen - LiveDineParty

Kitchen - LiveDineParty

Kitchen - LiveDineParty IMG_0294

Kitchen - LiveDineParty

Kitchen - LiveDineParty Kitchen - LiveDineParty

It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do for a room.  Now on to the next room for painting…living room or bedroom????