Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

There is something about fall that just makes me crave pumpkin. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice latte, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies... you get the idea.

I whipped up a batch of these cookies this weekend to take to visit with my little cousins (and Kevin and Gaylene too, of course). They were gone in a number of minutes, so I think it's safe to say they were a hit.

They're super duper easy to make and create such a yummy cake-like cookie.
Here's the recipe via allrecipes.com:

* 1 cup canned pumpkin
* 1 cup white sugar
(I only used half a cup and they were still sweet and delish)
* 1/2 cup vegetable oil
(I read a good tip you could substitute this with applesauce instead, I might try this next time)
* 1 egg
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon milk
* 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
* 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
* 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir in. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
2. Add vanilla, chocolate chips and nuts.
3. Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly brown and firm (I ended up baking them for closer to 13 - 15 minutes).

Mike and I had a great time hanging with the boys. Aren't they just the sweetest little faces? They are such good little guys with so much energy (I'm sure the sugar rush of the cookies had nothing to do with it ;)


I hope you had a great weekend too!

Fall Shoes

It is just irking me that every time I come to my blog the first thing I see is that Vienna Lux flame mess. Yes, the schnitzel was good, but the logo... not so much. So, to move on from that ugliness, here's a little something pretty to brighten your day (and my blog)... shoes.

I used to have a pair of purple suede booties like this when I was in elementary school.  I guess my love of fashion started early, because I LOVED those shoes and still remember them.  Is it weird that I still remember outfits I wore as a child?  I love it when things like this come back in style, but this time with a more updated look and a heel! Something tells me my mom wouldn't have let me pull off a heel at 10 years old.

Vienna Lux: Schnitzel!!

Tuesday, already!? Wow, did this weekend fly by!  In between spending time with my family in town, Mike and I also headed down to Calgary for a work event.  We had a great time with the gang, and I had to share with you a new discovery.

"Always hot and juicy", haha. No, we did not stop off at a strip club. Despite the rather suggestive name, Vienna Lux is a quaint little sandwich shop in downtown Calgary that serves wiener schnitzel sandwiches!! (seriously, who's in charge of their marketing here?)

I realize now that schnitzel isn't the most photogenic of foods. Our friend Scott said it looked like we picked something off the side of the road. But trust me, in person, it did not disappoint. Thin, crispy wiener schnitzel.  Sweet red cabbage.  Sauteed onions. The largest and freshest kaiser bun you can imagine. Oh and a pickle, don't forget the pickle. 

If you're ever in Calgary I highly recommend, and come hungry - these suckers are huge! Thanks to my foodie friend, Dajana for the tip!

Where o' where can I find me some schnitzel in Edmonton!??

Spreading the Love

Happy Friday friends! I've been feeling the love and just wanted to send it back 'atcha!

photo by skippy designs
photo and print by madebygirl
 I've been eying up this print (along with a few others) and just might have to bite the bullet soon.
I taught my dad how to comment this week (hi, DAD!) and even my husband stopped by to say hello.  Okay, so maybe my complaining at dinner about their anonymous reading had something to do with it, hehe... either way, love you guys!!

Thanks to you all for spreading the love, I hope you have a good weekend. My brother and cousin are in town and we're having an early thanksgiving dinner tonight. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone... and pumpkin pie, mmmm, I'm looking forward to that too.


"Hey, that's me!"
Spreading the love back to these ladies, you guys are swell!!
Kerry at First Time Fancy
Kelly and Victoria at Design Ties
and my lucky sister's craft guru Amy at Whistlepea.

c out.


In case you've been living under a blog rock (or to be fair, aren't as design obsessed as moi) there's a new digital mag on the block and it's amazing.  Welcome, Rue.

I am in love with co-founder/editor in chief, Crystal Gentilello's bachelorette pad.  Do you think she'd let me move in?  Mike can come too and we can all be rue-mates (insert eye roll here).

Go, read, enjoy.

image by Rue Magazine

The little things: fall

I wrote about my gma-in-law and our shared love of the "little things".  Read about it here.  She made me smile with this cute little flower arrangement and the tiniest vase known to man.  This was in August, the beginning of August.

photo taken August 1, 2010

Well, Heathermom was back in Saskatchewan this past weekend and guess what was still there??
I think they transitioned into fall quite nicely :)

photo taken Sept 12'ish by Jeannette - thanks Jeannette!

Thanks Gma!

Love, Christine

My House: all dressed up, sources

Sheesh, my dressing table is going to get a complex, thanks so much for your comments! I appreciate each and everyone one. Anyone who has a blog knows comments are like chocolate, or icecream, or icecream covered in chocolate... anyway, they just make my day!

A few people were asking about where I got a few items, so here is a source guide for your reference:
Dressing Table: HomeSense
Chair: IKEA
Mirror: Urban Barn
Lamp: IKEA

Small mirror: HomeSense
White Apple Candle: HomeSense (on clearance for $3.00!!)
Mirrored Tray: Old Strathcona Antique Mall
Lipstick Holder: Old Strathcona Antique Mall
Roses: my front yard!


p.s. Do you think somebody goes to HomeSense too much? It's on my way home from work, sometimes it's just so hard to just keep driving!! ;)


My House: all dressed up

My little table is finally all dressed up and ready for a night on the town, wouldn't she make a cute date?


Check out all that organization goodness! I was worried about the insides getting too dirty with makeup, so I spiced it up with drawer liners I rigged up out of cork and wrapping paper.


I found a few goodies from the antique mall including the mirrored tray and the lipstick holder.  Why don't they make these anymore??


I'm so happy with how everything turned out, not only is she good looking, but she keeps me organized too! I think it's love ;)

What do you think?


Thank you

Thank you all for your sweet words and encouragement while this blog gets her big girl pants on.  You guys are just swell - gold stars, no make that gold trophies, for all!

image source
Only Anthro could make a trophy hat/dress combo look cool.

To quote molly yeh (an amazing food blogger after my schnitzel loving heart):
 "Here's to everyday life being like a vacation!"

Thanks again for reading, I hope you have a great weekend. Yay Friday!

Just Bella

As you can tell we are (sadly) not in Europe anymore and this poor blog seems to be having a bit of an identity crisis. Let me take you back... way back to when this lil' blog started off as 'Bella Italia'. Mike and I were off on our honeymoon and I started this blog to keep in touch while we ate and drank our way through beautiful Italy. It was a perfect little travel journal to keep in touch and document our trip.


Then this poor ol' blog gathered dust for two whole years until, hooray! another trip was in the works! This time a family trip to 'Bella Europa', so I dusted off the ol' blog and began writing. Again, it was a perfect way to document our trip and keep in touch.


And now, even though our trip is over, I'm still here and you know what, dear internet, I like you.  And I like having a little piece of the internet to call my own.  I really enjoy the writing, the photography and just the inspiration I get from this blogland. It's a great way to keep in touch with family, old friends and new and I hope to continue writing.  Writing about life, home, food, design, travel, and watch out I might even get crafty on you... phew!  Let's just say there isn't exactly a niche around here so it's really everything just beautiful. 

So the blog lives on from Bella Italia to Bella Europa to now, just bella.

Welcome, I hope you'll stay awhile.
: ) Christine 

Inspiration: all dressed up

Call me lazy, but I always like to sit when I get ready in the morning.  I'm not really much of a morning person and all that effort to stand while doing my makeup seems like such a waste of energy.   Haha, melodramatic much?  Me? noooo.

So, with that said, a dressing table was always very high on my wish list and I was so excited to find the perfect little number at Home Sense (also known as the blackhole for my wallet).  Isn't she pretty!?

I'm working on finding the perfect chair/stool and need to hang my mirror still, but I'll post a pic once she's all dressed up and ready to go.  But for now, here's a little peek into my inspiration folder.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

you like?