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back to school + portobello burger recipe
Ali Hedin | Back to School with a Portobello Burger

Hooray!  Hooray!  The kids are going back to school!  I am ready for them to have something to do everyday that doesn't require me entertaining them. I have usually had help so I can do my own work projects while the kids are home.  This summer I figured the kids were old enough, had things going on, and we didn't need help.  


It has been a long summer of entertaining children and not exactly working.  Things really fell off.  I missed this.  I missed you.  I missed working and creating.  I cannot wait for these little people to GO BACK TO SCHOOL already.

To celebrate (it makes them feel special, not just a celebration for me) I created a healthy version of our favorite dinner featuring Portobello Burgers + Dry Zero Sugar Cola.    

Ali Hedin | Back to School with a Portobello Burger

All summer we have eaten more burgers than it seemed possible in one summer.  We'd go to someone's house - burgers.  We went to Chelan - burgers.  We couldn't figure out what else to eat - burgers.  No one wanted to cook inside - burgers.  

When we start going back to school, I try to make things a little healthier.  My family isn't a huge 'mushroom family' because Mr. Hedin and I aren't the biggest mushroom eaters.  But I am trying harder to make sure my children have eaten everything.  Portobello mushroom caps are a great start.  They have a meaty flavor and texture that is simple for "newbies" to get into.  I layered mine with guacamole + Swiss cheese which also helps for people who haven't had much exposure to mushrooms.  

Ali Hedin | Back to School with a Portobello Burger

Portobello Burger

serves 4


Marinade the mushrooms in white wine, balsamic, oil, and garlic.  Let rest 10-15 minutes.  (15-20 mins)



Grill the mushrooms on either a hot barbecue or a grill pan.  Continue to baste with remaining marinade. Toast the buns while you’re at it.  5-6 mins



Top each mushroom with a piece of cheese and let melt.  



Add tomato slices, guacamole, and lettuce.  Serve hot. 


4 large portobello mushroom caps

½ cup white wine

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, grated

4 leaves iceberg lettuce

4 slices Swiss Cheese

½ cup guacamole

1 beefsteak tomato, sliced

4 brioche buns

Ali Hedin | Back to School with Portobello Burger
Ali Hedin | Back to School with a Portobello Burger

Is anything more natural than a burger and a cola? But if you're making changes to your burger - why not make your cola a little healthier too?  DRY - my very favorite soda company in the whole wide world - has come out with new colas!  I paired my burger with the basic DRY Zero Sugar cola and it was perfect.  Not only do the new Dry Zero Sugar Colas not have sugar, but they are organic.  It's also not shabby with a little whiskey...

Ali Hedin | Back to School with a Portobello Burger

How are you celebrating the kids going back to school?  A little mothers brunch?  Cocktails at noon?  Let me know! 

Sponsored by DRY Soda

party house demo update
 All plans by David Coleman Architect 

All plans by David Coleman Architect 

Holy floor plan! I know - it's a lot of lines so I'll break it down.  We have gotten so close to permit and the official 'start' of our project and the floor plans have gotten really serious.  The trick with being married to the contractor is that little parts of the project have been able to start - like salvaging the lights in the dining room or the knobs in the front bed room.  Around the house it's looking very exciting!  

Want to review the project with me?  

First, when you walk in, you walk into the living room.  There's a short 'entry' space that will have the new upstairs stairway in it as well.  Currently the living room has gotten a few updates since these original photos but since literally nothing is staying, we can start with these photos.  

Ali Hedin | Weeknight Party House Living Room

We've worked with our architect David Coleman to create a mid-century feel to the new space that's isn't "old fashioned."  Functionally, the current space is challenging for two main reasons:

1. You cannot get to the backyard easily.  There's one tiny door that's tucked around a corner and it creates a bottle neck when people want to go in and out at the same time - which does happen.

2. You cannot arrange furniture around a fireplace that's on a corner.  Literally C A N N O T.  I have chosen to ignore the fireplace and not arrange anything around it.  It makes it a little awkward.  Plus since we can't even use the fireplace because it's so old and has inside issues it's totally pointless.  

Ali Hedin | Weeknight Party House
Ali Hedin | Weeknight Party House

We are removing the fireplace completely.  I hate it and can't wait for it to be gone.  It was actually one of the things I loved about the house when we first bought it because it gave the house such a sense of the era.  But after living with it for seven years I'm done.  

Once that is gone - and it's huge - there will be space for a built in bar and a walk way to the back room which will become an office/library space.  Next to that walkway we're creating a cool slat wall that replicates some of the awesome slat walls of the 1960's and 70's.  

The windows that are so huge and yet such a tease because you can't go out them are leaving.  We found these G I A N T sliding doors that are like four feet wide panels and are so fabulous to replace them.

 This blank wall becomes the 'slat wall' and possibly holds the television?

This blank wall becomes the 'slat wall' and possibly holds the television?

The best part of this new living room?  A FREE STANDING FIREPLACE!  You guys!  Like at the Parker Palm Springs or on White Christmas.  I am so beyond excited.  Beyond.  The plan is to have a hood made from brass (Mr. Hedin has a guy) and build our own base.  In Washington State you can't have a gas flame without it being surrounded by glass (party poopers) so we are using BioFuel which is not only legal but doesn't need anything extra piped in.  Win.

 Model by David Coleman

Model by David Coleman

Dining Room Hedin.jpg

The dining room doesn't feel like it's getting very updated.  But it's going to be great because we can actually host people in here without it feeling like a cavern.  Right now it feels like a cavern.  It will help that the giant windows are becoming more giant sliding doors to match the living room. The current solid wall will become another slat wall to match what's happening in the living room.  Not only will it look really cool, but having the wall be open and not closed off which will let in more light and make the space feel more open.  

Ali Hedin | Weeknight Party House
Ali Hedin | Weeknight Party House

The floors in the dining room are going to be hardwood.  The living room and the kitchen will be a terrazzo style tile but this space will have it's own unique hardwood floor.  The way these rooms all run together visually, it was the architect's idea to create delineation in the flooring.  From the mock ups I've seen, it's going to look awesome.  

Furniture wise we are attempting to repurpose our existing dining room set, but with updated chairs to keep the space feeling modern without loosing the cool family heirloom that has lived in our house.  

Ali Hedin | Weeknight Party House
Ali Hedin | Weeknight Party House
Ali Hedin | Weeknight Party House

Arguably the most dramatic of all is the kitchen.  The existing space is being divided into kitchen and pantry to create two separate spaces for working, storing, and cleaning.  As I am sure you can tell from the photos, this kitchen is the pits.  Literally it's awful.  Not only is it dark and full of awkward cabinets, but there is virtually no workable counter space.  

Ali Hedin | Weeknight Party House

The new space looks really simple.  And if you are worried about how I am going to cook in the space, have no fear.  I was worried too so Mr. Hedin and I cleared out our existing dining room and literally taped out the floor plan.  Here's why it works:


1. Lots of prep space on either side of the stove + around the sink.  Plenty of room for cutting boards to be out and functioning or ingredients to be stacked up.  I like to get everything out when I start cooking and see what I have to work with.  Currently I put a cutting board over the sink to stack things on.  Not ideal.

2. Because the island can be used on all sides, there is plenty of prep room for all members of the family to help cook.  One struggle we faced in the old house was that everyone wanted to help cook (literally for breakfast, lunch and dinner) but there was virtually no where to do that.  Bringing in an island gives us loads more workable space.

3. The pantry.  99% of why this space works is because the pantry is a work horse.  The pantry will end up with a sink, dishwasher, oven, microwave, appliance cabinet and storage for all of the food.  The main kitchen space will look sparse and lovely thanks to the pantry.

Ali Hedin | Weeknight Party House
Ali Hedin | Weeknight Party House
Ali Hedin | Weeknight Party House

The last "public" room in the house is - what I am calling - the library.  Currently this is the master bedroom.  Since that is moving upstairs with the new house, we had this space to use for homework, actual work, and just getting away.  Plus, since the current master is huge, this gives us the option to add storage.  Mr. Hedin is hoping to keep the garage tidy which means storage of camping gear, ski boots, etc. needs a home.  

Ali Hedin | Weeknight Party House
Ali Hedin | Weeknight Party House

This room left me feeling really confused for a while and then... I stumbled onto Mandy Moore's renovation (which is epic) and she has an office space that we can use as inspiration to create a cozy and inviting room for studying, reading, and possibly piano playing.  The room will end up with a built in desk and a built in sofa seat with a squishy velvet cushion on it.  I keep picturing it as a perfect spot to cozy up with a book, and then I hit reality and realize it will be the place my children end up with an iPad.  Le sigh.


Since we are now starting demolition and the project will officially kick off on Monday, you will be seeing a lot more of this on social media!  Follow me on Instagram to get the latest updates (and check the stories!) and check back here as I start to flush out more rooms throughout the house.  We're having some parent/child power struggles on room color.  Stay tuned as I battle that one.

 model by David Coleman

model by David Coleman

weeknight cocktail | football punch
Ali Hedin | Football Punch

I think a punch is the coolest.  I love pouring big buckets of booze into a cute punch bowl and serving it up.  I also love that it's a one and done kind of thing.  Make a big batch and you won't have to deal with it again for a while.  What better time to not be tethered to the bar than Super Bowl?  

I made this one 'not too strong' so you can continue  to have cocktails for the four hours of football without being totally on your lips by the award ceremony.  If you want to pop it up a notch, add a little vodka!

Ali Hedin | Football Punch



Combine all ingredients in a large punch bowl and stir



Serve in chilled glasses

2 quarts light beer

1 can frozen lemonade concentrate

46 ounces pineapple juice

1/2 cup cointreau


Ali Hedin | Football Punch
Ali Hedin | Football Punch

Shop this punch

weeknight cocktail | tropical skinny margarita
Tropical Skinny Margarita | Ali Hedin

Usually I would say "This time of year I'm trying to eat healthier" but the reality is, I should probably cut out extra calories on the regular.  Alcohol is a pretty good place to start.  Do you know how many calories are in a margarita?!? It's like a zillion.  I wondered if I could combine tequila + a little juice + coconut water to make a cocktail that's not too heavy in the calories but is actually delicious.  

Nailed it.  

It turns out this is fantastic.  Because it isn't filled with the margarita syrup stuff, it actually needs less salt on the rim than usual.  But it's so much more fun with  a salted rim.

Tropical Skinny Margarita | Ali Hedin

Tropical Skinny Margarita

makes 2 drinks


In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine all of the ingredients.  Shake vigorously.  


Run the edge of a lime wedge around the rim of a glass and tip into margarita salt.  Fill the glass with ice


Strain the cocktail into the prepared glasses and garnish with a lime.  Cheers.


80mL coconut water

80mL tequila

40mL pineapple juice

Tropical Skinny Margarita | Ali Hedin
Party House Kitchen Inspiration

The kitchen is the most important part of my house.  Always.  Our current kitchen is the worst of the worst.  I think there are apartments in New York City that are bigger than this kitchen.  Given that I have a growing collection of vintage bar-ware, kitchen ware, plates, etc. this really needed to change.

Despite how tiny the actual kitchen is, there is all this extra room on the other side of the counter that is not being used very well.  We've stuck a table and bench in the corner, but it could be so much better with a counter stretching into it and the other side open into the dining room.

As you can see, there are a lot of things that need to change.  The priorities are:

1. Open up the kitchen onto the rest of the house.

2. Increase storage but also keep it looking really clean and simple.

3. Make it functional for all of us to work in the kitchen at the same time.

Here's the plan:

1. Remove the wall between the kitchen and dining room and push the kitchen a few feet so it's the same length as the dining room (there's currently a three foot gap).

2. Create a pantry space for storage so there doesn't need to be overhead cabinets in the kitchen + a spot for a second oven, second sink & dishwasher.  

3. Create an island between the kitchen and dining room so there is ample work space all the way around the counters.

I'm dreaming of opening up the kitchen and having an island between the kitchen and the dining room.  And that brass hood?  Are you kidding me?  I'm having a brass hood for sure.  In talking to Mr. Hedin, it's actually way more affordable than it looks.  We can purchase basic hood mechanics and hang them up.  Then we can have a metal worker bend a frame and hang that from the ceiling around the basic mechanics.  (This is why you marry a contractor ladies.)

I want the space to feel really open and light while maintaining some element of mid-century.  The ribbon windows will help to bring light in without staring at the neighbors house.  Having the room open to the rest of the house should help with the rest.

This is a room that I plan on spending loads of time.  So I'll be putting loads of thought into this space!  I can't wait to show you the next steps.

xoxo, ali


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Party House Inspiration

The first thing Mr. Hedin and I thought of when we started dreaming of our new house was the Parker Palm Springs.  We love the Parker.  We love going into Mr. Parker for a Manhattan.  We love wandering the grounds.  We love the vintage vibe of the whole place.

I have pinned one million images from the Parker, Emily Henderson, and my latest idol, Sarah Sherman Samuel.

Jonathan Adler and Simon Doonan home images

We've stolen ideas from all of these fabulous designers to make our dream house.  The most important - the showstopper - the centerpiece - will be a freestanding fireplace of some sort.  I'm hoping against hope that it looks like the fireplace in Jonathan Adler and Simon Doonan's house.  Our energy codes in Washington State are a little fussier than they are in New York which means it can't be totally open like this.  

Despite our architect visibly sighing when I said this is what I wanted, he's come up with some ideas that will work within the rules.  It's going to be awesome.  

Parker Palm Springs image via Parker website

image via Sarah Sherman Samuel

We will have about 800 windows on the backside of the house and everything inside will be painted white.  I can only hope it reflects the light the way this A-Frame reflects the light!  The pictures of us will be so pretty. Let's be honest, you don't design a house that you can't take a good photo of yourself in.  White walls for the win.

image via Emily Henderson

I'm really drawn to these spaces that echo the 1970's aesthetic.  I'll be bringing in loads of color but only in accents and wall hangings.  The walls, floors and basics will be neutral colors so I can change my mind a lot because you know I will.


xoxo, ali