September 2015 - The Surznick Common Room

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Surznick Reads: September 2015

You guys... this is a Surznick Reads first (and kind of a sad one). We have NO books read this month (or at least, no novels.) We're both nearing the end of the books we're currently reading, but we don't like to share our books until they're completely finished. September was an incredibly busy month for us so our books just stayed on the back burner. Oh well!

We still wanted to do a book related post for you today, so we thought it would be fun to talk about one of our newest cookbook additions to the Surznick apartment: The Broad Fork by Hugh Acheson.

We received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for review. This is an awesome cookbook. Unlike many cookbooks, this one is arranged by season. Each seasonal recipe centers around ingredients that are commonly available during that time. You may remember our Grilled Corn Salad from a few weeks ago, which we described as the perfect summer dish. We got that recipe under the summer section of the book (shock!), as a recipe featuring corn (double shock!). Some other examples of foods featured in each season are apples, sweet potatoes, and eggplant for autumn recipes, and artichokes, beets, and morels for spring recipes.

Not only are the recipes delicious, but the photos are absolutely fantastic. This is such an important part of a good cookbook. Great food photography is really the first reaction we have to a food when we see it online or in a book. The name of the food is completely secondary to my initial drool over a good picture.

Everywhere you look online, you can find incredible dishes and recipes, but with the internet being so over saturated with them, it can sometimes be overwhelming to find something you want to make. It has been a refreshing opportunity to actually open up a physical book, browse the pages, and choose something that hasn't been shared and repinned one bajillion times all over Pinterest and Facebook.

Hopefully for October Sarah and I can have some book reviews ready for you, but in the meantime, I hope that this write up of one of our favorite cookbooks helps to whet your appetite for new and unique recipes!

Sarah & Nick

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Dining Room Tour

Finally - another room tour! It's been nearly a year since we shared our office makeover and today we're at long last here to share with you our dining room (or music room/library/everything room.)

In addition to the living room, we spend a lot of time together in the dining room. This is pretty much the central room of our house - it connects the living room, kitchen, and hallway leading to our front door, bedroom, and bathroom. Huge pocket doors separate this room from the living room, however, we usually keep them open and try to create one large living space.

The most recent addition to this room is the vintage ladder we snagged from the house next door. We're using it to hang all of our cute little air plants. You can read more about the ladder and air plants here, or check out how to make those awesome geometric mobiles!

Moving clockwise around the room you'll find our futon and record player. On the futon we keep our DIY studded pillows and super soft knitted blanket that I made. In front of the futon is our chalkboard coffee table!

On the wall above the futon we hung all of our Circa Survive albums. I've purchased each album on vinyl as it was released, but don't have the heart to open any - they may be worth a lot someday! They're also just awesome to look at. Esao Andrews does all of their album art and it's always so unique and vibrant.

Next to the kitchen door is our bar cart, our framed War of the Worlds vinyl, and the room's only window. The bar cart was a Craigslist find that we couldn't pass up. It was already painted this light mint color when we bought it, so we decided to keep it as is.

On the opposite side of the window, you'll find our little eating nook and a couple more DIYs! We shared our table and chairs makeover on the blog last year, as well as the hanging lights. You may also remember the hand-stamped curtain and if you look closely, our dyed cloth napkins are there too!

In case you haven't noticed thus far, this room is full of little projects and things that we've made. To be honest, I don't think I even noticed it until writing this post, but now that I do it makes me love this room even more. I love creating things that make our home feel like us, and I think this room is a prime example of that!

Moving along to the wall opposite the futon you'll see our large, wooden fireplace. This is one of two fireplaces in the apartment (the other being in the living room), and it adds so much character to the room.

A couple years ago at Christmas I added the faux fire and never ended up taking it down. I love the whimsiness of it! Neither of our fireplaces are functional, so I'd rather have fake fire than none at all! The upper and lower mantles are home to our small (but hopefully growing) globe collection and several books that have outgrown our shelves.

The last stop on our dining room tour are the colored coded bookshelves (also shared on here previously!) This is my favorite part of the entire room. I love the bright pop of color and of course, I just love our books! I think a book collection is a great collection to have and I can't wait for ours to keep growing and growing. Someday maybe we'll have a house with a little library (dream big!)

On this wall we've also hung Nick's guitars, bass, and banjo. We love having his instruments out on display and having them hung high on the walls really draws your eye up to our 10 foot ceilings. The pretty grey chair there on our chevron rug was a thrift store score that I shared about last year!

That's about it! I hope you like this room as much as we do. If you have any questions be sure to leave them in the comments and we would be happy to answer them!

Sarah & Nick

Friday, September 25, 2015

Surz Style

Even though I wouldn't consider The Surznick Common Room a fashion blog, I do enjoy sharing outfits from time to time. I love clothes and I enjoy getting to share glimpses of my personal style here on the blog!

Our biggest struggle with getting outfit photos is that it's hard to find the time. Our days start at 6 AM and sometimes don't end until 6 or 7 PM, and by that point all we want to do is put on pajamas, eat dinner, and go to bed. As fall rolls in and the nights start to get darker earlier, it's only going to get harder and harder to squeeze in an outfit shoot.

That all leads me to this post: the first installment of Surz Style! At the end of the week, I will share a post recapping what I wore each day. One quick photo before/after work? That's pretty manageable! We'll still share other outfit posts but I thought this would be a fun way to incorporate more (budget friendly) fashion into the blog and challenge me to remix and rewear long forgotten about pieces in my closet to put together cute looks! Okay, here it goes!

Monday - 5:45 PM

Skirt\H&M (exact old, similar)
Shirt\Forever 21 (exact old, similar)
Lace Up Flats\Topshop (exact)
Key Clock Necklace\Amazon (exact)

Tuesday - 6:15 PM

 Floral Dress\Target (exact old, similar)
Blazer\American Eagle (exact old, similar)
Lace Up Flats\Topshop (exact)

Wednesday - 5:30 PM

Sweater\Forever 21 (exact old, similar)
Pants\Target (exact old, similar)
Bag\Target (exact old, similar)
Leopard Loafers\Saks Off Fifth (exact)

Thursday - 5:45 PM

Shirt\Old Navy (exact in other colors - only $8!)
Skirt\Target (exact old, similar)
Flats\Can't Remember (exact old, similar)
Necklace c/o ZNU (exact)

Friday - 6:15 PM

Shirt\Old Navy (exact sold out, similar)
Jeans\Old Navy (exact old, similar)
Lace Up Flats\Topshop (exact)
Key Necklace\Made by my awesome friend, Shannon! (Close up photo)

A pretty successful week one! I mentioned in my birthday post that I am on a clothes spending freeze this month, which has been surprisingly okay. I shop online A LOT, so I have a lot of clothes that aren't worn very much. It was fun to work with what I have to put together these outfits! Which look is your favorite? By the way, HAPPY FRI-YAY! Have a great weekend!

xo, Sarah

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tech Tip: LuxBox Cases


This post brought to you by LuxBox Case. The content and opinions expressed below are that of The Surznick Common Room.

I'm willing to bet at least half of you out there over the age of six have an iPhone. And I'm willing to bet that the rest of you have some other kind of smart phone. Regardless of performance, power, or capabilities, one thing I absolutely love about Apple products is design. It is certainly no novel idea that you need to keep a case on your phone, but as someone who is on his 4th iPhone 6 (yeah, I know... I'm that guy...) trust me when I say it's important.
One of the most frustrating things about owning an iPhone is the absolute necessity to have a case covering what I believe to be an incredibly beautiful design. There is nothing like opening the box to a brand new Apple product (especially an iPhone) and then immediately realizing you need to get a cover on it ASAP!

I'm pretty sick of ugly, clunky, rubbery phone cases, and luckily for me, Wonderful Things Factory, creator of LuxBox, was kind enough to send me one of their cases to try! Far and away the best features of these cases are the unique designs and interesting textures that are offered. I tried out the classic with white trim, and I think it looks really slick, as well as feels good in my hands.
The other LuxBox products feature some walnut wood finishes that look really awesome. The case is slim in design and most importantly, it doesn't completely kill the vibe that my iPhone puts out. I think Keith Hall, co-founder and product developer, puts it best: "It's ironic that the sleek, minimal, and well thought out design of smartphones is a large part of what makes them appealing; yet most cases distract and take away from that experience."

If you're interested in checking out the LuxBox or some of the other products that theWTFactory SHOP has to offer, hop on over to their site! I hope that regardless of the kind of phone you have, this helps inspire you to find something unique and beautiful to cover it. Don't settle for any ugly case just because you need one. We are particular about every other aspect of fashion in our lives, and our phones should be no exception!

This post is sponsored by LuxBox and theWTFactory, all opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Surznick Common Room!

Sarah & Nick
Visit Sponsors Site

Sunday, September 20, 2015

26 Candles

Friday marked another year older (and hopefully wiser) for me! I planned to do a birthday outfit post last week but things got super busy. Instead I'm just going to recap all of the birthday festivities from this weekend - I hope you enjoy!

Shirt\Old Navy (exact - on clearance for $8!)
Skirt\ModCloth (old, similar)
Shoes\Topshop (exact - only $45!)

I usually try to pick out a cute dress or something that will make me feel special on my birthday. This year I was kind of at a loss for what to wear. I put myself on a clothes spending freeze for all of September, so I couldn't buy anything for the occasion. I rummaged through my closet and picked out this cupcake liner skirt that I haven't worn since last fall. I thought it was fitting seeing as I ate about 1,000 cupcakes last week (we had back-to-back-to-back birthdays in my office!)

The night of my birthday we went to Penn Brewery for the first night of Oktoberfest! If you've never been, you should definitely go. Who doesn't want to drink beer out of half gallon jugs?!

P.S. My sweater is from Oasap and only $20!

We were throwing my birthday party on Saturday night and I knew I wanted a bunch of balloons, so we decided to make a balloon ceiling! Instead of shelling out extra cash for helium balloons or renting a helium tank, we blew up all 72 balloons by ourselves and taped them to the ceiling! It wasn't super easy with our 10 foot ceilings (Nick had to move the step stool every couple inches, haha), but it was super worth it - so cute!

Speaking of my birthday party... it was 90s themed! We put together an AMAZING 108 song playlist, got some Ring Pops and Mondo, and we were ready to party like it's 1999! I dressed up like Daria... how'd I do?

Since the photobooth at our last big party went over so well, we knew we had to make it happen again! I loved looking through all of the photos this morning - so much fun!

And of course, a birthday party wouldn't be complete without some sweets! My friend Shannon made me Butterbeer cupcakes (!!!) and they were SO good!

A super big thank you to everyone that wished me a happy birthday and an extra, extra big thank you to all of my amazing friends that came over to celebrate last night! I love all of you!

Hoping my 26th year will be just as awesome as my birthday was :)

xo, Sarah