April 29, 2014

Home and Happy

After 10 days of travel (7 in France, a 12 hour break in DC and 3 days in Atlanta immediately following) the Hoffs are back in DC and happy to be home.


I've got 700 photos to sift through, but I promise to bring you along on our Parisian adventure soon.


Spoiler alert: we loved it and had a blast.

But, no matter where you travel, there's no place quite like home.

Although I do think I could handle just one more nutella waffle...

April 20, 2014

For Easter Sunday


How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds

How sweet the name of Jesus sounds, in a believer's ear
It soothes his sorrow, heals his wounds, and drives away his fear

It makes the wounded spirit whole, and calms the troubled breast
'Tis manna to the hungry soul, and to the weary rest

Dear name, the rock on which I build, My shield and hiding place
My never failing treasury filled, with boundless stores of grace

Jesus my Shepherd, Brother, Friend, my Prophet, Priest and King
My Lord, my life, my way, my end, accept the praise I bring

Weak is the effort of my heart, and cold my warmest thought;
But when I see thee as thou art, I'll praise thee as I ought

'Til then I would they love proclaim, with every fleeting breath
And may the music of thy name, refresh my soul in death

John Newton

The fourth verse of this hymn calls out to Jesus in ten different ways.  These words of love and admiration just scratch the surface. 

May the sweetness of Jesus be even more evident this week as we reflect on the suffering that He endured so that we could belong to Him.  

April 19, 2014

We made it!

Just living the dream, y'all! 

After several hours of walking, we ended up on a boat to take in the sights from the water. It started raining, so naturally, I pulled out the beret my mom brought me from her trip to France in 2001. It was perfect. 



We're taking in the sites and having a great time. Thanks for following!

April 17, 2014

The trip of a Lifetime

{source}

Today Kern and I depart for a week-long honeymoon in Paris, France.

Since our wedding was so close to the holidays, we decided to delay our trip to a month that promised wonderful weather, bright blooms and a longer days of sunshine.

April in Paris.  I halfway believe I'm going to find Hemingway and Fitzgerald lounging in a sidewalk cafe.

This trip is the culmination of several areas of life for me: finally visiting a city that I have read about for years, celebrating my marriage to my best friend and seeking inspiration from architecture, food and the French culture.

I expect (and hope) to come back changed.  That's my favorite part of travel: the eye opening realizations of "Oh!  So this is how they do life."

Kern and I will be instagramming and tweeting our way through the city. 
Follow along, s’il vous plaît:

Instagram:
@emhoff1
@kernhoff

Twitter:
@emilypennhoff
@kernhoff
 

April 16, 2014

Chocolate Truffle Pie {on the roof}

In celebration of spring, I've been soaking up time outside as much as possible.  It was definitely time to plan an easy rooftop cookout.

I wanted a chilled dessert with minimal ingredients that would satisfy my chocolate-craving sweet tooth.  I found a no-bake pie recipes and modified it until I was happy.


I definitely plan on making this for future gatherings.

Would you like the recipe?

Chocolate Truffle Pie
Prep time: 15 minutes  Total time: 4 hours, 15 minutes  Serves: 8

Ingredients

Pie:
  • 1 ready-to-fill chocolate crumb crust
  • 20 caramel squares, unwrapped
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk (about 3 ounces)
  • 1 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (reserve a few to sprinkle on top of whipped cream)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Whipped Cream (you have to make it from scratch!):
  • 8 ounces heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
Directions
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the caramels and milk over medium heat until the mixture is smooth. Be sure to stir often!  Pour over the crust.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the chocolate chips, heavy cream and butter until smooth.  Pour over the caramel. 
  3. Refrigerate for four hours.
  4. To make whipped cream: pour heavy whipping cream into a bowl and add vanilla and sugar.  Whip with a hand mixer until cream forms little peaks.
  5. Cover pie with whipped cream and sprinkle with chocolate chips!
The pie has it all--chocolate, caramel and whipped cream.  If you're a nut lover, pecans would be fantastic.  

We kept it simple {and classy} with paper plates and plastic forks.  

What's your go-to spring recipe?

April 15, 2014

Currently: April


Currently, I am...

Listening...any and all songs by The Album Leaf

Planning...grocery list and meals for this short week in DC

Eating...delicious French food from Le Diplomate (with wonderful friends) in preparation for our venture to France starting Thursday!

Dreaming...of Nats baseball games and $1 hot dogs

Thankful...that I get to see my entire family at Gran Fran's 90th birthday party the day after we return from Paris!

Learning...to squeeze the toothpaste tube from the bottom up

Reading...Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Watching...the Cherry Blossoms bloom and admiring the pink petals

Pinning...inspiration for painting my new bar stools.  Will I go funky or classic?

April 14, 2014

Cherry Blossom Madness

There's a difference in seeing Washington, DC's famous Cherry Blossom trees and enjoying Washington, DC's Cherry Blossom trees.


In a moment of city pessimism, I might even argue that visiting the beloved blossoms is anything but relaxing and should be done only with the intention of fighting through mobs of tourists, crying children and people obsessively snapping photos.


It looks a little like this photo below:



But, despite the crowds, Kern and I rode our bikes down to the Tidal Basin to behold the wonder and beauty that these trees bring to our city each spring.  It's finally warming up here and to be honest, I'm amazed that any tree or flower is blooming after the long and brutal winter that we endured.


It's so wonderful to see signs of life bursting through branches that have been bare for so long.

Welcome, spring!

April 11, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Paint

I'm linking up with Lisa Jo and the rest of the five-minute writers today over here.  Join us, if you like!

Today's writing prompt is...paint.



 In my mind, the job description of painter used to be synonymous with Monet or Rembrandt--a person who creates scenes or portrays people from a blank canvas.

I've never been good at drawing per se and I still cannot sketch out a realistic looking human or animal.

When I first mustered up the courage to try my hand at transforming furniture, I merely expected to paint a piece or two for my apartment and then move on with my life.  I had no idea the creative force it would unleash within me.

Painting furniture is more than just haphazard brushstrokes slapped on an old dresser to change its appearance.  The process is what I love: finding a piece, imagining its potential and then bringing that idea to fruition.  The magic can happen with an idea, a little time and a few basic materials.  Painting relaxes me because it's tactile and so different from my everyday stance of sitting in front of a computer.  Painting requires me to be flexible, not only by moving around in plenty of strange poses (those nooks and crannies can be hard!) but also because I am often required to alter my original plan if the wood shows through the paint or the paint does not go on smoothly.  Painting is messy.  Even when I'm careful, I still get it on my hands, in my hair and on my clothes.

Painting furniture has shown me that even if I lack the talent to sketch a drawing that I still have the ability to create a beautiful work of art.  Creating comes in endless forms--it is not limited to drawing or painting.  I truly believe that every human has the gift of creating.  My love of creating reminds me that I am made in the image of The Creator, and He has made everything beautiful in its time.

April 10, 2014

The Next Project: Kitchen Bar Stools

I love the open floor plan of our apartment.  I enjoy being able to cook in the kitchen while watching the sun set or talk with friends lounging on the couch.

We have a large kitchen island that provides a lot of room while prepping and cooking dinner.  At the end of the island there is a little open space that just seemed perfect for one big bar stool or two smaller ones.


I've been itching for a new project, so I found basic stools that were sturdy and strong.


When not in use, the stools can be easily stored under the counter so they don't take up floor space.


So now the question is: what color?!

Should I go bold?  Should I stay with my favorite blue/gray palette?  Should I paint a design?
Distress? Clear or Dark wax?

There are so many options.  This is the fun part.

What's your favorite Chalk Paint color?  What would you do?

April 09, 2014

#PIinspired Challenge!

It was such a treat to be featured in the weekly Perfectly Imperfect newsletter recently and I was pleasantly surprised to receive a package from Troy, Alabama in the mail.


Not only does Shaunna have a blog, but she also has a brick and mortar store that sells everything from gorgeous furniture to pillows to specially made candles...and of course, Chalk Paint!

I opened the box and my senses were immediately greeted by the relaxing scent of dried lavender.


In my interview questions with PI Ladies, they asked me which colors I would like to try.  I've always loved Antibes Green--it's just such a fun and bright color and looks fantastic aged with dark wax.  Aubusson blue is darker than the blues that I normally gravitate to, but I love the idea of bringing a bolder shade into my color wheel.

Guess which colors I now have the option to play with?  The box contained two test jars: one Antibes Green and one Aubusson Blue.

So my challenge is...what should I paint now?

April 08, 2014

Celebrating #LoveLarge2014

Kern and I had a wonderful weekend in North Carolina celebrating our friends' wedding: Lisa and Patrick.  The weather made the evening even more enjoyable as we lounged, danced and mingled at the Old North State Club following the ceremony.


Two of my favorite gals: Katie and Laine



These three were great company on the comfy chairs overlooking the lake!



It's always a dance party with Lisa!

Cheers to this fun couple...we love you!

April 04, 2014

Five Minute Friday: The Hobby of Writing


I'm linking up over at Five Minute Friday today!  Join me?

The first book I ever authored was entitled "My Little Ponies" and the storyline involved a girl who escaped to "Pony Land" one evening while she was supposed to be in bed.  I thought through the plot, wrote the words and carefully illustrated each scene. (Isn't this an 80's/90's child at her finest?)  My first grade teacher helped me bind it in a little cardboard book so my classmates could "check it out" from our " classroom library" and read it.

The "My Little Pony" book is tucked away with some other childhood treasures at my parents' home, but I appreciate the opportunity that I had as a child to feel the accomplishment of being deemed a writer.  It tempting to think that the lofty title of Author can only be given to a person whose work makes it to the top of the New York Times Bestseller list.  Truthfully, authors come in all mediums and with varying degrees of experience.

Now, over twenty years after my first book (ha!), writing has become a hobby for me.  I enjoy putting pen to paper to write in a journal or a letter and my fingers tapping on a keyboard can quickly translate thoughts from my mind to the screen.  The ability and the confidence to write--even if no one else reads it--can be soothing, uplifting and clarifying.  It's the perfect hobby.  And the souvenirs are great.  If you ever want to read my second grade masterpiece, "The Day the Tiger Left his Tail on the Beach," come to Mississippi and check it out of the Penn Library. 

April 02, 2014

Perfectly Imperfect #PIinspired Weekly Newsletter Feature


A big thank you to the Perfectly Imperfect Team for featuring me in their weekly newsletter!

In case you missed it, I've included it below!


Featured #PIinspired Reader, Emily Hoff


I am from Jackson, Mississippi, originally, but have lived in Washington, DC since 2008.  I met Kern, a fellow Mississippian, while in DC and he and I got married this past November. I work for Congress, which means lots of long days and lots of time spent sitting at a desk.  In 2011 I was in need of a new hobby and ready to get my hands dirty!  I started reading Perfectly Imperfect and through Shaunna's helpful posts and video tutorials I mustered up enough confidence to paint my first piece of furniture with Chalk Paint--and then I was hooked!  Since then, painting has become my creative outlet and is the perfect weekend remedy to long hours in the office during the week. 


My favorite Annie Sloan color is French Linen, I just can't get enough. I would love to try Aubusson blue, it's so much darker than what I am used to painting with and that scares me! (in a good way)  If I'm going really out there, I think Antibes green is also super fun and bold and I think it would look fabulous on an old crackly piece with dark wax. 


I share all of my furniture ventures, my favorite recipes, travel adventures and bit of my life in DC on my blog: www.askforroses.com.

____________

Thanks again to the Team at Perfectly Imperfect!  Remember that you can sign up for their newsletter here.  It's a great weekend read!

April 01, 2014

Simple Meals: Frittata

One of the easiest and most flexible meals I know how to make is a frittata.  It may sound fancy, but trust me, it can be made in a snap...and likely with ingredients on hand.



Frittata
Prep time: 15  Cook time: 45  Total time: 1 hour  Serves: 8

Ingredients:
2 TBS coconut or olive oil
1 onion, diced
12 eggs
1tsp minced garlic
1tsp Italian season
salt and pepper to taste
splash of milk or water
1 cup of cheese for toping

For the "insides" it's dealer's choice.  Some ideas:
sausage
spinach
mushrooms
tomato
basil
peppers
broccoli
carrots
rosemary
chicken
sweet potato chunks
kale
whatever is lurking in the fridge

Directions:
  1. Heat a skillet on the stove top to medium heat. Add the oil to the pan and brown onions and meat (if meat is being used). Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Add all the delicious veggies.
  3. In a bowl, beat the eggs with the water or milk and seasonings.  
  4. Once the veggies have sauteed enough (5-10 minutes) pour the egg mixture on top.  Turn the heat down to medium-low and cover the skillet. Cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Move the skillet to the oven to continue cooking until the eggs have firmed up, about 10 minutes. Check the skillet and cover the top of the eggs with grated cheese and pop it back in the oven under the broiler (at 500 degrees) until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  6. Allow the frittata to cool slightly and then cut into wedges and serve.






This frittata makes excellent leftovers and is perfect for a crowd!