Author Archives: Julie

About Julie

My name is Julieanna Bucior, but I go by Julie (unless I'm in trouble). I'm thirty one. I am a bookkeeper by day, rogue fashion designer/crafter/amateur baker by night. I spend most of my time feeling like a kindergartner trapped inside an adult's body. I love reading, hanging out with my crazy cats and being silly. I'm pretty much the girl next door, with a twist.

Julie’s 1st Trip to IKEA

This weekend was pretty big for me; for the first time ever, I went to IKEA. I’ll give you a minute to take that end. IKEA. Before Sunday, the closest I’d been to the iconic store was the song by Jonathan Coulton. I was excited but a little apprehensive, since I’ve had people tell me before how overwhelming the store can be and also how you can get lost if you’re not careful. However, my adventure was being coordinated by two IKEA veterans, and they were bound and determined that I was going to get the most out of my inaugural trip.


That’s right; we IKEA selfied, and you know what? We weren’t the only ones.  If you’ve never been before, IKEA is broken down into 3 main sections: The Staging Area, The Marketplace & The Warehouse. There is also a cafe AND a cafeteria (where they serve their famous meatballs), but they were packed with people and therefore off the agenda for this particular trip. We started in the staging area with notepads and tiny golf pencils in hand to make our lists of what we wanted to pick up from the marketplace and warehouse afterwards. That quickly turned into us taking pictures of the tags/items with our phones, but hey, we got it done. 
Three show rooms in, my head was already spinning from so many great things for really great prices! I wanted all of it, and I was quickly beginning to realize that I was going to have to be strategic about my purchases or I’d spend way more than I had budgeted. 
Mostly I was looking for storage containers and quirky kitchen items, but honestly, I saw some larger pieces that I’d like to incorporate into our home. I am already planning a return trip with the husband since I like to let him weigh in on things like that. I was also absolutely sure he’d love the “exploding” lamp below. Not really my thing, but he had fun looking at the pictures none the less. 
I did have one minor issue on this trip. The wood based bell jars below were the one thing I HAD to have, and although they were in several of the staged spaces, I couldn’t find them in the marketplace. Finally, I tracked down an employee, and he told me that they hadn’t had a chance to restock them. Which I get, but when I asked if I could purchase one of the staged sets (since I’d seen about a dozen), he informed me that I just have to come back or use the website. A minor annoyance and, I think, a dumb policy, but I’ll get my hands on them eventually. 
LOVED these floating tea balls, so much so that I purchased two sets so I could share with my tea loving friends.   Someday, I will own this tub, it was huge and I will soak in it every single night when the stars aline to make it mine. 

So much fun, and I left with so many ideas. Andy and I are going to try to head back in the next few weeks to implement some of the short term fixes I found for our home and to make a longer list of items that we want to start purchasing and integrating as our financial situation permits. Also, so I can check out the cafeteria 😉


Becky’s Brownies

A few months ago, I tackled the Maniac Fire Bread from Sweet & Vicious. It was pretty great, and one of my taste-testers was so in love that she HAD to have the recipe. Unfortunately, after reading the directions, she decided that the whole process was more than she cared to tackle with her limited baking skills. So I had a thought: what if I came up with something that combined the same flavors, but was much less complicated to complete? Say, something utilizing that most amazing of baking cheats, the box mix? Challenge accepted!

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of Betty Crocker Supreme Triple Chunk Brownies
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 cup veggie oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1 1/2 tsp minced serrano chile

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray brownie pan with non-stick spray.
  2. Combine mix, cinnamon, milk, oil and eggs in a bowl and mix thoroughly
  3. Mince the serrano and then fold into batter and pour into prepared tin.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until knife comes out clean.
  5. Enjoy!

Notes:

  • Obviously, this isn’t quite the same thing, you know, being brownies instead of a quick bread, but the flavor is there and you still have the dense texture that is dotted with chocolate chunks. Plus, it’s easier to cut and consume.
  • I know a lot of bakers gasp at the idea of using mixes instead of baking from scratch, but let’s be honest – life is busy, and you don’t always have time to make everything from scratch. Besides if most people were given the choice between box mix brownies or no brownies, I’m pretty confident in asserting that they’ll happily take/settle for the box mix bakes. Sometimes it’s just better to work smart instead of hard.

Fit for a Princess

Instagram can be a dangerous place. One moment you’re catching up with the 20 different cats you follow and commenting on your friend’s baby pictures, and then BAM! There is an add for beautiful sparkle things. How is a girl supposed to defend herself? I am very susceptible to beautiful merchandise, especially when it’s well photographed and already tagged with the line “pretty things”. This weekend saddled me with another tab in my “bookmarks”, Erica Elizabeth Designs.

 Now, technically these items are billed as “wedding accessories” but I think there are plenty of non-matrimonially related reasons to want a tiara. You know, something important like a Tuesday or going to brunch. 
It was difficult for me to decide which photos to share with you guys, everything on the site is stunning, but I found myself gravitating towards the floral pieces that reminded me of spring, with a few celestial inspired items thrown in there for variety. Actually, If I were pressed to pick a favorite, I think for once the flowers would lose. That piece with crescents and the stars? It’s giving me some wonderful art nouveau flashbacks, and I have visions of wearing it with inky indigo gowns and some silver shimmer dusted on my cheekbones…..

Which one is your favorite?

 

All images from Erica Elizabeth Designs


Julie Vs. The Tiny House: Part 2

My first experience with a tiny house, was well… fun, but not something I felt would work long term for people as tall as Andy and myself. The second tiny house we tried was about twice the size of the first: still tiny, but with enough space to leave me thinking “yeah, I could absolutely do this!”

 Another Air BnB find, the Crooked Lake Tiny House, was such a wonderful place to stay. So nice in fact, that I have the listing bookmarked and saved in my Air BnB account for future use.   Interestingly enough, this place is located on the same lake as the neighborhood I grew up in, the opposite side, but theoretically I could look across the lake with a pair of binoculars, on a clear day, and see the edge of it.   Very clean in and modern in decor, Andy was absolutely in love. I think this is exactly what his home would look like if he didn’t have me throwing color and bits of this and that all over the place.  One of the most thoughtful hosts I’ve ever had. Our little welcome package basket had soap she had made herself, eggs from her chickens, and beverages to make sure we were hydrated after our long car ride and late arrival. She even set out solar lights to make sure we’d be able to see the turn for the tiny house and find the parking area in the dark.  I didn’t get a good picture of the loft (the listing has some if you want to check it out), but Andy and I quite enjoyed our “fort,” and although my mom did make the climb up the ladder once, she was more than happy to leave the space to us and claim the downstairs bedroom.  The kitchen was fantastic and had suprising amount of storage. We easily made both breakfast and late night snacks during our stay. The other thing that really set this place apart was the outdoor spaces. There was a fire pit, a really nice hammock for lounging, and a gorgeous little garden with fish pond. Our host even left us fish food so we could go out and give the fishes a bit of a snack when we felt like it. 

Not pictured is the turtle we saw walk up from the lake and lay her eggs in a hole under one of the lounge chairs. An amazing highlight to what was not the most enjoyable trip. I am really, really hoping to be able to come back someday when I have more time to spend. Also, I’d like to make some sketches because Andy and I are very much thinking of building ourselves a place like this somewhere down the road.


Sweet & Vicious: Kahlo Cookies (Strangely Hot Mexican Chocolate Cookies)

Guys, I am so so very close to finishing off #3 of my 31 before 32 list! Recipe 11 of 12 tried from the wonderful and intimidating Sweet & Vicious. Do I wish I had managed to do it sooner? Yes, but some of these recipes were a little more complex than I anticipated, not to mention that almost every recipe had an ingredient that I had to make a special shopping trip for. I think that’s why being this close to the end make me feel strangely powerful. I won’t go as far as to say I defeated the book, but we fought to a draw and I am good with that.

Notes:

  • For the first time, in a very long time, these did not go to my trusted taste testers. They were good enough that Andy and I decided to keep them for ourselves. Now in all honesty, he is consuming 3 or 4 cookies to every one that I eat, but these are some of the best cookies I’ve had in a while.
  • I think the added heat is what makes these cookies something special. I think you could forgo the extract, but the chipotle pepper is essential. For me, it cuts some of the sweetness -and these are very sweet cookies-, and it forces me to slow down and really enjoy the complexity of what I am tasting.
  • If you guys are interested in the hot pepper extract, it’s fairly easy to make, but it does require two weeks to cure.  Comment below if you’re interested and I’ll post the how-to.