Thursday, August 29, 2013

Let's talk about Coffee machines

The only 'vice' I truly have (well, other than shopping & constant redecorating) is drinking coffee. 

Not just any coffee, but GOOD COFFEE

I don't drink a lot of it, 1-3 daily is good for me, but I do like it to taste real good.

So with the new kitchen coming soon, we wanted to invest too on a good coffee machine. 
Thanks to our friends, the Deloso's and their excellent home-brewed coffee, we were convinced to get a nicer coffee machine.

Initially we wanted to get this...

Breville Barista Express
It looks great, smaller size and a  Semi-automatic espresso machine.

 For the record, I am no coffee connoisseur and so what I'm about to tell you about this & other coffee machines,  comes from an ordinary layman's perspective.
Warning, a lot of 'new' terms here for those unfamiliar with the coffee lingo!

Semi-automatic means, the coffee machine will grind the beans for you, but you have to manually tamp (press) on the ground coffee yourself and then from that, you put it back and the machine then brews the coffee for you. 


It has a steamer and frother  or a steam wand on the side too - 
the one the looks like a shotgun on the side. 
The steamer of course, steams your milk piping hot and the frother, well, froths the milk to give you that bubbly, frothy feel you get form a good cup of cappuccino like this..

It's like your regular coffee machine really, the only difference is that the Coffee Grinder comes built in to it.

However, we eventually decided against this machine since my hubby and I thought, we might get tired of the tamping process in the long run since our time in the morning is always a rush, so we have to have our coffee ready right away.

So we looked into the Superautomatic machines.
Automatic, as the term implies does everything for you - the grinding, tamping and brewing. You still have to steam on your own and froth on your own, but at least the coffee will be ready.

The down side to these superautomatic machines is that it's usually very bulky and can get really expensive, prices can range from the thousands to a couple of hundreds. 

There are so many models out there. So we limited our choices with our budget and the one that can fit our counter space. Here were some of the models we looked at...

Delonghi ECAM 23210SB
Perfect size, nice to look at, only thing against it was the short steam wand and the price, since this was closest to the upper limit of our budget.
Saeco Odea Capuccino Espresso Machine
Nice size & price, but this one doesn't have a Bypass, the conduit you could use to pour ground or decaf coffee. And sometimes, you just want that kind right?! I need my Dunkin Donut Coffee grounds a lot and also my decaf for my night time cup ;-)

Jura ENA 4 Capresso
This is the one we actually chose. 
Perfect size & price, love the stream-lined look and our friends had experience with this machine already, so we knew it could brew great coffee and works excellent too. 
The brand name as well is synonymous to excellent quality when it comes to Superautomatic espresso machines.

We've had it for about a month already (Yup, got it even while the kitchen was in progress) and I can just say, it is coffee heaven for us!

How about you? How do you like your coffee? Have you splurged on any kitchen gadget recently? Was it worth the money? 

Happy Shopping & Have a Great Labor Day Weekend!


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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Gift Wrap Uses

You guys know how much I love GIFT WRAP. 

I have used it to decorate bookshelves backing....

 And aside from wrapping gifts during the holiday season, I use it a lot in my Christmas decorations...

Glittered wrap backing my media center cabinets

Updating my wall decor by adding Gift wrap on the back
I also use it as Paper Placemats too!

I've used it to wrap some of my Paper storage boxes in my Craft Room as well

So I usually stock up on this a lot.

I've also seen it used as a wallpaper for an entire nook...

A Thoughtful Place Blog
...and room!

Lonny Magazine
And I know very well it can be displayed as art...

Seventh House on the Left Blog

So when I discovered Cavallini Gift wraps from, I knew I  just had to share them with you for an affordable, easily-changeable wall art! These are my favorites...

English ABC's

These Paper wraps are $3.95 only too!!!!

By the way, this post is actually sort of a PREQUEL to a project I did for my new kitchen!
Can you guess what I did with gift wrap in my kitchen???!

Happy Decorating!!!


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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Kitchen Renovation Update Day19-23

Happy Monday Everyone!

Finally, we're getting close to getting this 'baby' done!
This week has been very good.
First we got all the light in...

Yup, the chrome one from Lowes won me over.
Check out too the cabinet lighting on the background!

Also got my gorgeous Chandelier installed !Where? take a guess...;-)

Then, we finished the Pantry Cabinet ... well, sort of, since there's an additional detail your not seeing yet...

So beautiful, I'm totally inlove with this cabinet. Molding not up yet on this one though
and some other stuff too... ;-)
Was so excited, that I started filling it up! Here's a sneak peak...

Happy Organizing with my IKEA containers!

Then some good news on the countertop. 
Basically, one of the countertops arrived earlier than expected!

Tada! My 'chocolate' goodness!

And with that installed, we were able to start putting the back splash!
No grout yet but looks great!

Close-up of the veining on the counter top

And so naturally, the sink and dishwasher is finally in too!!!
Kohler Vault Double Basin with the Kohler Sensate Pull-out High Arch Faucet
I wanted to get a different sink but we were limited to a 33" one. I'm loving this one though, don't you?
The faucet has touch-free technology too!

I'm excited with the dishwasher (actually used it right away the same night (Aaaahh, relief!) since it was apparently good, the quietest in the market, and has a 3rd row tray!

Finally on Friday, I got another good news on the marble countertop!
It too arrived sooner than expected and I went to the store to see it before cutting, and it is gorgeous! 
It's hopefully going up this week, so hopefully, we should be done then! 

Now all I have to start doing is organizing  and decorating!!
 Uh-oh... Wish me luck! ;-)

By the way, if you want to see where we started & the previous days on this renovation click on the
links below....

Kitchen Renovation Day 14-18
Kitchen Renovation Day 9-13
Kitchen Renovation Day 4-8
What our house looks like during renovation & Day 1-3
Kitchen Flooring Options
Kitchen Pendant Lighting Options

Have a Great Week Everyone!


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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wall Paper Love - Phillip Jeffries

I have been in love with this wall paper for a very long time...



Isn't it gorgeous?!

It's from Phillip Jeffries and it's called Moroccan (obviously) from the PASSPORT COLLECTION. It is hand-printed by artisans on natural Manila hemp, linen & japanese paper weave.
When I knew I was gonna renovate my kitchen for sure, I knew I would be incorporating this gorgeous wall paper in the space. I just had to figure out how to get it...

You see, if you go to the site, you cannot just buy online or order this wall paper over the phone.
You have to be a member of a design trade or so to order.
And so I tried availing the service of one local interior design specialist in our area.
However, somehow it did not work out and I turned to my blogosphere friends for help!

Particularly to the wonderful Mother-Daughter duo of Nancy & Bethany from "Powell Brower at Home"!

And of course, I was not disappointed !
They helped me in getting the sample, avail of a fabulous discount and of course, ordered this gorgeous wall paper for my kitchen! They even went to the WASHINGTON DESIGN CENTER  to help me out ( You can READ ALL ABOUT IT HERE)!!!

Bethany talks to an expert 

 To top it all off, although I told them from the start that this was purely a 'professional request', they still did not charge me a single dime for all their help!!
I was just blown away with this and could not believe it, truly one of the perks of blogging for sure - great sources into great friends!

I am truly grateful and thankful to these two wonderful ladies for all their help!!! I love their BLOG and I love them both! Thank you again... ;-)

So do you want to see it in my kitchen? Here's a peak...

sorry for the bad lighting

I don't want to show you the whole thing until the kitchen is entirely complete, then you'll understand why I'm so smitten (sorry for the tease..;-)).

Anyway, if you guys are in need of anyDesign Service at all, do consider Nancy & Bethany from "Powell Brower at Home".

Based on my very satisfying experience, I'd say a big A+ to these two!

Happy Decorating!

*VEL *

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Kitchen Renovation Update Day 14-18

And so the saga continues... This week has been a 'rollercoaster ride' for me.

First of all, we had a major Vent issue. Remember that I was changing my vent to this...

Used to have a drop-down vent

Well, the original plan was to take the duct work thru the ceiling and out the wall to the side of the house. Simple and easy right? Wrong. 
There were too many obstacles in the way for us to do that and I emphasized already that I did not want a re-circulating vent since the main reason why we're switching to an overhead vent was we wanted more of the cooking smell OUT!

Luckily though, our carpenter was very smart and luckily too, taking the vent all the way up thru the roof, it would only pass thru  a linen closet upstairs and not cause any unsightly pipes to show. And so the vent went up...

Chose a Zephyr Milano-G series vent
On the upside, after the vent was installed, a lot of the appliances went in too!

Small 18" Beverage fridge for the island

Built-in Trim kit for our old Panasonic microwave
Got the Built-in Trim kit idea from Lisa over at "Sine Your Light" Blog when she disscussed about Microwave ovens! Thanks a bunch Lisa! I saved a lot and am pretty happy with this kit, but I think my hubby is even happier - for the same reasons. ;-)

Viking warming Drawer
Decided to get one becuase I love to host parties and I don't like serving cold food at all come winter time. So finally have one. Hope I will use it enough!

 Then came  mid-week,  I got some bad news on the countertops, the last big piece of this 'puzzle'! Basically, a major delay since the stones were not yet even delivered to our area!

I chose Danby marble...

Danby Marble



Initially wanted Carrera marble but the countertop people advised me against it saying that it was "too soft" for the kitchen and would scratch up and stain more. So I chose one that kinda looked like carrera.
This will go on the island and office area.

The second stone I chose for a countertop is the  Emperadoro Ceasarstone...
It will go on the tops of all the cabinets.
Of course, for now, there's nothing we can do but wait... :-)

On the other up-side, I finally chose this bar stool for the island...

Ikea Urban Bar stool
I wanted white, backless and swivel stools and this one had the perfect color and price! Hopefully, it won't get so dirty in the long run, that's my biggest fear with white! We'll see..

Additional details on the Pantry Cabinet is up as well. Like the gold bar pulls and the furniture feet!
And lastly, the thing that went up this week that made me very happy was the wallpaper!

I will tell you more about the wall paper in my next post since
how I got it is a good story to share with you all. :-)
Oh and did I mention, I got sick too!!!!!
Better now, but still recovering.
That's my roller coaster week. Looking forward to the next days in this saga!

Have a Great Day!


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