Category Archives: home decor

fall dinner party whole 30

A Fall Dinner Party (Whole30 Approved)

It’s the time of year where spending a bit more time inside, curling up on the couch, and enjoying a delicious meal with friends is commonplace. Last week, I invited some friends over for a dinner party. The only catch- we had all sorts of diets and food allergies to accommodate. (The list was long, but it included dairy, grain, gluten, whole30, pork, beef, avocados, bananas, and eggs.) Rather than being discouraged and resorting to eating a slab of bland meat , I decided to look at it as a challenge. You know I love a good challenge, so I started recipe researching and brainstorming the dinner with a few of my foodie friends.

Keep reading to see how the whole meal came together!

The Table

Inspired by the seasonal produce of fall, I played with a palette of warm colors and the bounty of fall. Anchored by the use of loose eucalyptus and sunflowers, I added a few mercury glass tealight holders in a mixed metallic. The pops of color were injected with the use of pomegranates and persimmons. Each place setting was anchored with a charcoal gray napkin, black stoneware bowl, full set of metallic flatware, and a beautiful golden bosc pear placed in each bowl. Underneath the flowers was a favorite linen runner from Crate and Barrel. It’s a staple for parties in our home and one we use over and over again.

The Food

Remember the earlier mentioned challenge? It was too real and required a bit of research. Using seasonal produce and a love of lamb as a launching point, I developed this menu featuring vegetables in a variety of forms. Whether cooked down and pureed as a soup or slow roasted alongside herbed lamb, it allowed the meal to have continuity and flow, while highlighting various aspects of the vegetable. (I’ll be rolling out the recipes for the menu items later this week.)

Fall Dinner Pary (Whole30 approved) Menu

Roasted Leg of Lamb with Squash, Tomato, Roasted Garlic, and Sunflower Seeds

Carrot Soup with Balsamic Vinegar and Herb Oil

Mediterranean Salad

Chai Soaked Pears with Cinnamon Vanilla Coconut Cream

Carrot Soup with Balsamic Vinegar and Herb Oil

Roasted Leg of Lamb with Squash, Tomato, Roasted Garlic, and Sunflower Seeds

Chai Soaked Pears with Cinnamon Vanilla Coconut Cream

Tomorrow, I start sharing recipes from the dinner party. See you then!

garden makeover

Progress Report: Garden Makeover

With fall finally reaching two digit temperatures in the day, I’m excited to be able to use our outdoor living space again. With a few additions and low cost items, I was able to add some seating, greenery, and a small barbeque, perfect to enjoy in the mornings and evenings without having to hop in the car to enjoy fresh air.

Keep reading for all the improvements after the jump!

garden makeover before The Before

Basic, sad, and underutilized space. I had dreams of those picture perfect small space patios that you see in large urban areas. (Most of the folks in our complex use theirs as a space to dry laundry. It’s sad really.) I had big dreams and wasn’t willing to give up on my vision. We knew going vertical with our plants was a necessity and we had dreams of pocket planters and lush hanging gardens. With summertime and hot heat, I love the idea of a small grill and wanted the space to accommodate a small charcoal grill as well. While we living in a dry and arid climate, we opted to go crazy with succulents and palms, keeping watering low maintenance.




Our Progress
With a few benches, potted plants, and a concrete succulent wall, the makeover is full on and has been underway for a bit. I’ve been playing with ways to elevate common materials, keeping things budget friendly, while adding a large visual impact. In this garden plan, I’ve kept the palette limited to pale stoneware, terracotta, blacks, whites, and greens. (I’m learning this palette is kind of my go-to in this season and I absolutely love it.) Adding color and texture with fabrics, woods, and plants, it keeps things tight and cohesive. All of our plants are drought friendly, requiring minimal watering or herbs, remaining highly functional and useful, rather than solely ornamental.

My favorite project so far is the concrete succulent wall under the kitchen window. Once completed, it will add an additional serving surface, perfect for a bar or to hold food for any small gathering. The bench is great for additional seating and is anchored by an ivory garden stool for the perfect vignette.

Finishing touches

I’ll be adding lighting poles in the corner to hang our string lights higher than we had previously. I still love globe string lights and have been using this set for years. By using a bit of wire, eye hooks, and sand, the poles will be camouflaged in plant containers placed in the farthest corners of the patio. Saying farewell to playing limbo with string lighting is more than welcome. I have a DIY for hanging planters I need to complete, adding a bit of visual interest to the garden. That and sprucing up a few herbs that have bit the dust. (Poor cilantro, it died in the summer heat on day one.) The final touch? Adding a piece of reclaimed lumber to the top of the succulent wall. Then this project will be complete and ready for those cozy fall nights. Bring on the tea, blankets, and hot toddies!

bedroom makeover

Progress Report: Bedroom Makeover

Over the past few months, I’ve been telling you all that I’ve been working on some home and DIY projects. While I have a few more projects to go, I wanted to give you all an update and share what I’ve been up to. If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen a few of these images already. Inspired by some of my favorite materials and minimal design, my room is starting to look like a place I actually want to spend time in. To be honest, my bedroom usually is the last space I invest in. But with a few simple tricks and keeping a strict budget, I’m really pleased with how the room is shaping up.

The Challenge: A two-fold dilemma

Side one: I live with roommates. Around here, this is pretty common and something that varies the investment people make in their rentals. Money is often tight for students around here, meaning spaces don’t often get the love they deserve. It’s common to share a room with someone that values a different aesthetic to yourself, meaning compromise or sourcing items you may not love.

Side two: When it comes to designing this room, my primary goal was to avoid it looking like a dorm room or kids space. As I was looking for design inspiration, nearly every image I found with two twin beds had this vibe. I’m 28, so that really isn’t an option. I love things to be minimal, but are quality pieces and look expensive. I love white walls, a strong contrast of black, woven and wood textures, and pops of fresh greenery. I usually end up sourcing items from the Internet or take on DIY projects to get the desired look I want.

bedroom makeover Before (Sad I know!)

The space was empty with little furniture and needed some serious attention. With minimal interior design, furniture sourcing is super important. I went to Craigslist combing for an affordable midcentury pieces I could find and repurposed some items I had previously purchased. (A big tip! For household items you know you will no longer be using, take the time to post items for sale on Craigslist or in Facebook groups. I sold items I no longer wanted which helped cover costs for additional purchases.)




Progress

While I was super hesitant to take on a painting project in a rental, it made all the difference. (Make sure to talk to your landlord about this first.) I’ve lived in places where I’ve longed for white walls since moving to Redding (3 falls) and I can’t tell you how happy I am to finally have them. It truly makes all the difference for all the other pieces I added. The other big difference is the plywood lower wall. Using one and a half pieces of plywood and a few drywall anchors, it was a great and affordable solution when it came to featuring the beds and makes a big visual statement. For clothing storage,  a midcentury paint and stain treatment on IKEA rast dressers was a great solution. Because the dressers are smaller in scale, it allowed for us to place additional storage at the foot of our beds, while keeping pathways clear. By hanging a large round mirror and balancing it out with hats on the wall, it added a bit of glam and visual interest to that side of the wall.


Finishing touches

For the wall closest to the hallway we still need to install floating shelves, add a bit of artwork and hang the items that are currently leaning on the desk. I’m trying to figure out ways to manage clutter, add storage, and keep surfaces simple. That and plants. I love our big houseplant in the corner by the dresser and am looking for ways to add some additional greenery for texture and visual interest keeping your eye moving around the room. You’ll notice a few touches of bright copper finishes throughout the space. With a bit of copper spray paint, I might have a new obsession and love it. I’m trying to figure out sourcing or building a blanket ladder for a storing and displaying few mexican and turkish blankets I have. This would go to the right of the floating shelves.

Are you completing any home improvement projects or DIYs this fall?
Let us know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

bar-cart-basics

Bar Cart Basics

When it comes to feeling grown up, there’s nothing quite like a bar cart to do the trick. This has been something I’ve been wanting for a while, but didn’t have the space until recently. Using a dresser without drawers as the base for our credenza and bar, we used items we had on hand to style it out.

Keep reading for the full post, bar cart essentials, and our favorite libations after the jump!

The furniture

Of course you can purchase any bar cart, but I was looking for something that provided space and storage for entertaining essentials that would no longer fit in our kitchen. I love this idea and thought it would be the perfect addition to the empty space toward the end of our living room. By sanding down the rough spots of paint and giving it a fresh new coat, we were able to breathe new life into this dresser. Getting inexpensive plywood cut down, we placed these sheets of wood where the drawers once were, and gave additional reinforcement where the braces had broken down. It now provides great open shelving for platters, wood serving boards, and bowls we don’t use on the daily. We also added a great set of matte black stoneware from IKEA. We absolutely love it and can’t wait to feature it in some photoshoots for the fall season.


The containers

I personally believe every bar cart needs a bit of sparkle, some greenery, and pieces with a little soul. Keeping the palette neutral with pops of green, our bar cart keeps its order with a vintage silver tray for glass wear and a beautiful shaker. (We purchased our shaker on clearance a few seasons ago from the Anthropologie holiday collection and are so happy it finally has the place of honor it deserves.) Our liquor, mortar and pestle, and jigger stays put in a great vintage briefcase we were given a while ago. We love the way it keeps everything organized but adds a great and unexpected touch to the space.

Where to Begin with Liquors, Mixers, and Garnishes?

We slowly started acquiring our liquor collection by purchasing what we needed for specialty cocktails. It has taken a bit of time, but I can now confidently say we have the ability to make almost any drink we desire.

Liquor

Whiskey/Bourbon- I’m a Kentucky girl so I will always have a Bourbon from my hometown. Currently, Bulleit bourbon is the bourbon of choice.

Gin- Smooth and clean

Tequila- Gold label Cuervo for the win. My margaritas are amazing and this plus some Patron is the trick

Rum- Mojitos anyone? This is a great base for all of those sweet and fruity drinks you like.

Vodka- Great for martinis. I usually do an olive or twist of lemon in my drink rather than consuming straight. Also if you’re looking to make some boosy popsicles, vodka or rum is great base.

Mixers

TJ Margarita Mix- If I had loads of time, I would squeeze lime juice for hours to make margaritas. This base is great as it has simple ingredients and you can make margaritas in a snap. I love using it as a base for non-traditional margaritas as well. Whether it is peach, watermelon, or blood orange, it’s my go-to.

Patron- I use this orange liqueur in place of Cointreau and Triple Sec. It gives a more lux and full bodied flavor to drinks, keeping things pure and removing any artificial taste.

Vermouth- Smooth and dry. I love putting vermouth in my sangrias to bulk them up and to a classic martini to add a bit of smoothness.

Club soda/sparkling mineral water- Usually always on hand, as many cocktail recipes call for it. Mojito or a tequila collins anyone?

Garnishes

Your garnishes will largely depend on what cocktail you decide to make. We usually always have fresh citrus and olives on hand, in addition to a variety of fruits. I typically shorten bamboo skewers if I want to do a large garnish for a highball, if not everything goes on the rim of the glass or is balanced over the mouth with a toothpick.

The Tools

We can’t recommend getting a jigger, cocktail shaker, and mortar enough. We use the mortar for muddling items in the glass. It’s super helpful for making things like moscow mules, mojitos, or mint juleps.

Ready to get started? Here are some great cocktail recipes to try.

Winter Citrus Sangria
Cranberry Pomegranate Sangria
The New Fashioned
Pomegranate Mimosas
Peach Margaritas
Blood Orange Margaritas
Basil Gin Lemonade
Rosemary Bourbon Sour
Cranberry Orange Martini

 

toolbox essentials

Toolbox Essentials for the Beginning DIY-er

Over the past month, I’ve been resetting home. For me that means adding furniture to fill out seating and tackling that pesky list of projects I’ve been putting off for a while. In the past, I’ve put off purchasing power tools because of the expense. It always seemed less expensive to borrow items. This year I took the plunge, after realizing I truly needed a drill between renovating my workspace and my home. (To those of you who I borrowed a drill from for months at a time, I’m super sorry.) When building out this toolkit, I kept things super simple. I know I can add more items later, but these were the items I needed to get done on my project list. In a moment of total honesty, I too thought that with life and maturity would come the man to stay the course of time and bring with him his stash of power tools. That hasn’t happened yet and it was time to purchase my own.  I can also say that I can now confidently navigate both big box hardware stores in town, while sipping on a glass of iced coffee, and wheeling around a lumber cart with one hand. No damsel-in-distress-at-the-hardware-store here, I’m a lifestyle blogger who has found victory in wielding my power tools.

Keep reading below for all my toolbox essentials!

toolbox essentials

A good hammer. I’m sold on Stanley products. They’re affordable and are great quality for the price. You will find this list filled with their stuff. This hammer has a good weight and balance to it with a comfortable grip for all of those long projects.

A drillbit set: This set is affordable and has almost every bit you could need. I can’t wait to drill into 2 x 4 and create perfect round holes with these bits. Bring on making my own pour over coffee stands, candle holders out of drift wood, and coasters. This set is going to make it happen.

Plier set: Our last pliers were used constantly. I’ve needed these to pull finishing nails out of reclaimed wood recently. (Because saving on lumber is always a good idea.)

Black and Decker Jigsaw: Perfect for making cuts. This saw has been put to serious work recently in our home. With a headboard project and DIY shelving it has been invaluable. It’s a little guy, but gets the job done and is incredibly affordable. I love breaking the notion that power tools to get things done have to be expensive.

All in one Screwdriver: This one is a favorite, with almost any end you could use, it keeps things nice and compact. I love all-in-one options that work. Living in a townhome, this helps save on storage space and future purchases.

Cordless drill: No need for cords here, this drill can handle almost any surface, from drywall to wood. With 12 volts of power, it has a bit of push behind it, but still remains lightweight.

Wire snips: I’ve been working on my outdoor space throughout the summer (three more projects to go before the full reveal), these have been perfect to bring about colored copper flashing and bullnose wire mesh for a concrete succulent wall. Heavy duty and with rubber comfort grips, I can say that these snips don’t cause blisters after a day’s worth of work, which is a really, really good thing.

Copper spray paint: I recently shared by copper obsession. It hasn’t subsided and I don’t think it will anytime soon. Unfortunately, lots of big box stores haven’t caught up to this trend in my region. My solution? Spray paint. I can’t stop using it guys. Bright copper everywhere and I absolutely love it.

Tape Measure: Whether you’re measuring walls, furniture, or cuts of wood, this is a necessity. You know you’re a lifestyle blogger when you always have a tape measure in your bag and this one takes the cake. With weight to the tape, you can measure great lengths by yourself without someone on the other end of the tape, which is always great.

What are the essential items in your toolbox?

We’d love to hear from you! Let us know in the comment section below.