Catasphrophic hurricane coming your way?! Flo is just reminding us that summer isn’t over yet! Forget the halloween decor and pumpkin spice lattes… go home, whip up a batch of guacamole and shake up this cucumber cilantro margarita and ignore all this gosh darn rain! Warning:Don’t stop reading if you hate cilantro, which I know is common, just skip the cilantro for a cool twist to the traditional margarita that’s still super delicious!
Cucumber Cilantro Margarita | makes 1 cocktail
Muddle 3 slices cucumber, 2-3 tablespoons cilantro, leaves, the sugar and 1 lime wedge in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add the tequila, triple sec and lime juice. Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Circle the rim of your glass with the remaining wedge of lime, and add salt or sugar if desired. Pour over either pebbled/crushed ice or a large ice-cube and enjoy!
Gallery wall, take 2. Last time I gave some tips to consider when creating a well curated gallery wall so today I’m creating a gallery wall and explaining how I picked each piece.
To begin, you have to start with one piece of art. The piece I started with ended up being my anchor piece but that doesn’t have to be the case! Can you guess which one the anchor item is? Ding ding ding… if you guessed the top left, Valley by Jess Engle , you’re correct! This piece immediately jumped out at me and although sure I could have picked it’s mate, I decided to spice things up and build a gallery wall around it.
The white space and shapes are what I used to help decide on the complimenting pieces. For example, the bottom right print, Escape Routes #8 by Massimilano Massimo Borelli, matched the half circle and contained lines. They’re diagonal from each other so it doesn’t look too matchy-matchy but continues the same vibe. The splat print also mimics the lines and diagonal direction. I primarily used black and white pieces of art and photographs, however I pulled the yellow out just a bit more by adding the watercolor, New York Street via Minted. Again the yellow isn’t right next to each other, allowing your eye to venture to all the photographs, not just the ones with yellow. Three of the photographs have a primarily black background, creating a very edgy theme. And the two photographs that feature people, are opposite. One is David Bowie’s face, facing forward, and the other is a man waiting for the train, with his back to us. This opposition also creates a good balance and repetition without being duplicates.
I totally picture this gallery wall in a loft, over this sweet daybed, draped with a mongolian sheep skin in front of some white washed brick scenario. Yeah- I’m taking this gallery wall a little far by now envisioning a whole room around it but hey, a good gallery wall warrants it!
You guys. Demo day is less than a month away! The architect has been by, permits have been pulled, cabinets are being made, appliances are ordered, and it’s now almost not moving fast enough! I wish that it was August 27th, yesterday! Here’s a few images that inspired the end design that we came up with!
We’re going with a shaker style, stacked cabinet. The lower cabinets will be black and uppers white!
Countertops were a debate. We weighed the different materials – granite, marble, quartz and even porcelain! Each material has its own pros and cons but we ultimately decided on quartz. Low maintenance and being able to predict what each slab is going to look like (read: reduce my stress as much as possible) contributed to it became the clear winner! It was SO much fun going through and seeing all the giant slabs in person. So much fun that we changed our minds about 5 times on what we wanted! We narrowed it down to three and then two and after seeing the samples in our space (which I highly recommend because of lighting) and comparing to the color of our cabinets we picked a winner. We’re going with Calacatta Verona quartz!
The veins are lighter than other slabs, yet still defined and will hopefully make a really beautiful match for the island’s waterfall edge and slab backsplash. Which brings me to the next piece of inspiration… backsplashes. Pretty much from the very beginning I knew that I wanted waterfall edges on the island and a slab backsplash. I love the look those two features both create. Unfortunately this meant that we needed to get a second slab to cover the sq. footage, but I thought it was worth the extra cost. Changing to a subway tile (which is everywhere) or some sort of design would change the whole look that I was going for and since our space is smaller, the less busy the better to create an open and larger appearance.
Umm is anyone else on the East Coast forgetting what the end of July is supposed to feel like? Where are you sunshine and 100 degree weather?! All this rain is making my productivity scale fall but there’s nothing like battling the rainy day blues with something delicious! You’re welcome in advance for providing you with your next go-to recipe to whip up for brunches, lazy Sunday mornings, baby or bridal showers, etc.! These bacon cheddar chive scones are so delicious and surprisingly incredibly easy to make! They’re the perfect amount of flakey, savory and I dare you to not have more than one!
Bacon Cheddar Chive Scones | Yields ~12 small to medium size scones
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp sugar
4 tbsp cold butter (*don’t use margarine! They don’t come out as good!!)
1 cup of coarsely grated or diced cheddar cheese
1/3 cup of chopped chives or finely chopped scallions
1/2 lb cooked and crumbled bacon
3/4 + 2 tbsp heavy cream
Preheat oven to 425 degrees with the rack in the middle of the oven. Lightly grease a baking sheet or scone pan with butter or cooking spray. (You can also line it with parchment paper.)
Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. Gradually add in the butter until the mixture is unevenly crumbly. It’s ok if there are some chunks of butter- a standing mixer helps to break the chunks up and distribute throughout the mixture!
Toss in the cheddar cheese, chives, and bacon
Add in the heavy cream as you are mixing. If the amount above is not enough to make the dough cohesive, slowly add a little bit more cream until the dough becomes cohesive but not sticky.
Pat the dough mixture out into an even disk and cut wedges. If you have a scone pan, pull apart the dough and mold into the pan.
Brush the tops of the scones with either an egg white mixture or cream to get that pretty golden brown top.
Bake for 20-24 minutes, until the tops of the scones are golden and your house is smelling all sorts of delicious.
Remove and let the scones cool before biting in! Serve warm and if you have leftovers, refrigerate and pop in the microwave when you’re ready to indulge again!
*I’ve also added in some blue cheese crumbles to add in a whole other layer of savory and I highly recommend if you’re a fan of the stinky cheese!
Not all gallery walls are created equal. Sometimes I think they’re too kitschy with the mismatched frames and colors, other times they stop me in my tracks. Like most decor, gallery walls can make or break a room’s vibe. It’s so important that if you’re creating a gallery wall you keep these tried and true tips in the back of your mind during the creation:
Use art that you really love. Art should speak to you and not something that you pick up just because. Plus good art is expensive! Even prints end up adding up when you mat, frame, etc. Sure you can find some good prints and pieces at homegoods, but if you find a piece that makes your heart flutter just go for it because I guarantee you’ll kick yourself for passing it up, or spend hours searching to find it again!
Pick an anchor piece. The anchor piece of art should be the decider of how much cohesion and difference is in your gallery wall. And don’t be fooled- anchor pieces don’t necessarily have to be the biggest piece of artwork on your wall but make sure it’s not lost with the other pieces displayed!
Have the right amount of cohesion and difference. I’m a big fan of mixing mediums and gallery walls is the perfect opportunity to do so. Choose different metal frames, add wood frame in there too. Try to keep it to 2-3 different color frames depending on how many photos are included. Another way to not get too mismatched is to stick with all wood shades, or the same color such as black or white but mixing between wood and metal frames. Always, always mix photography and prints and paintings. Pull out certain colors and/or shapes from your anchor piece to help balance the differences and similarities.
Don’t overwhelm the space. Gallery walls do not need to cover corner to corner. In my collection above I picked 4 pieces that spoke to me. I could have kept adding pieces but I tend to lean toward simple rather than complex. If you have a small wall sometimes adding a bunch of art brings that wall to life. If you have a large wall sometimes adding a bunch of art just looks messy. Make sure you consider other elements in the room when designing and organizing your gallery wall.
I’m in the process of slowly but surely developing a gallery wall in my upstairs guest room. It’s the back room behind my office/closet so I’m having a fun time figuring out the vibe I want back there. I’m thinking modern meets library. Here are a few of my favorite gallery walls done right for some inspiration:
Another house project checked off the ol’ never ending to do list! Completing projects are always satisfying but this DIY project turned out exactly how I imagined. The before and after of our backyard is night and day so I’m super excited to share!
First let’s start with a little before action (look below). How sad!!! Behind our house there’s an alley and vacant brick building. A lot of our neighbors park their cars behind their house so sitting out on the back patio area was never really that relaxing. We watched cars and people go by, and felt like everyone was looking in on us. It wasn’t private, it wasn’t relaxing, and if/when I was sitting out eating dinner at our little bistro set, I was just staring at a line of trash and recycling bins. Not really my first preference of scenery!
In December I started looking at the cost of replacing our fence. Given that we want to start planning our kitchen remodel soon, the $$$$ estimates coming in weren’t really feasible. I started thinking. And googling. And pinteresting. I knew that I could figure out a way to make this chain link fence not so chain link fence-y. I considered purchasing more of the bamboo cover that the right side fence is covered with, but considering I don’t love the look, I opted not to. After running by a few other options with J, we decided to give covering our chain link fence with a wood plank facade a go. So spoiler alert, the chain link fence is still there, you just can’t see it!
So our backyard went from this:
Wondering how we did it? Don’t worry, I’m about to share!
*Disclosure: I would recommend having two people assist in the actual putting together.
Since it’s two swinging doors, and ideally we wanted to still be able to open the doors if needed, we measured each “door” and figured out we needed two sets of 72″ H x 81″ W for each. (We had Home Depot cut the planks to the length that we needed to save a step at home plus it’s free.)
We picked out the stain that we liked, and stained. And stained. And stained for a total of 3 coats on each side. We realllly didn’t want water to warp the planks so we made sure we used up the gallon of stain and then purchased this Thompson Waterproofing spray to seal the deal.
Once all the planks were stained we laid them out and picked the sequence. We wanted to make sure we put the best planks with the coolest wood grains at the top, and ones with drips or nicks at the bottom since they’d be covered by the loveseat or other furniture in the future.
I painted the side posts of the fence an aged bronze/black to go one step further in removing that chain link feel.
We then used the six 1″x3″x6′ boards to create the “frame” on the fence. We braced one on each side, and one positioned in the middle with the brackets at the top and bottom to secure to the fence and prevent the planks from sliding.
Then plank by plank, position, level and screw away! (We used a screwdriver wedged between the planks to create a consistent gap between wood planks.) After we had all the planks up, we sat back and enjoyed the transformation for about 5 minutes before I wanted to get started on gardening 🙂
We went back and forth on whether to position the wood horizontal or vertical, and I’m so happy that we landed on horizontal. It gives it a little bit more of a modern feel, and goes with our patio furniture. I’m debating what we should do with the bamboo covering on the right end, and divider fence on the left… maybe paint them black? Or cover with the faux boxwood screen squares?
If you’re renting, this option doesn’t ruin the existing fence so it’s an awesome option for renters too! If you don’t want to put in the effort there are actually a ton of privacy screen ideas to consider if you want something less permanent or even more affordable than covering your chain link fence! I ordered this faux boxwood screen squares and was pleasantly surprised at how great it looked when I covered the single door next to the wood fence.
The total cost of the fence ran us about $450 for the wood, stain, screws, and brackets which is considerably more affordable than having a company put in a new fence.
It’s almost a little comical that whenever I put together little design mock ups, they’re not what my house is styled like (at all!), but I spend my free time looking at homes on Redfin and Zillow just for fun and I envision how I’d decorate and/or renovate them. Sometimes I venture so far out I end up finding a house on the market in Yucca Valley that gives me all the heart eyes imagining a desert, bohemian, casual cozy abode. For this desert darling I’d paint the house a deep navy, create a large lounge area around the fire pit with some concrete stools and butterfly chairs and play up the indoor-outdoor living you can get away with in the desert! For the eating area, since the house under 1000 sq. feet, I’d do a fun simple little set. A moroccan print round rug in a gray and ivory, leather swoop chairs, tulip table, and some refurbished wooden shelves. You could argue it’s a little more on the masculine side with the leather chairs and metal base, but the light wood gives it a simple, natural look. A simple half dome lamp in either a black or a hammered brass would the perfect size overhead light for a small tulip table while still making a statement. And these chairs. Go ahead and order 4 because a) they’re under $100 for a set of 2 and b) they’re so cute that if you don’t want to keep all four at the table, you could use them in the living room or in the corners of the bedroom.
Shop The Look:
P.S. 2.5 acres under $200k. This house is a little gem!!
Going into staged homes can either be a blessing or a curse. Blessing because you can see what size furniture works (or doesn’t work) and curse because then that set up is stuck in your mind. I kept picturing the staged set up- which I thought worked really well- but I wanted to nail down pieces that were a good mix of feminine and masculine, traditional yet modern, and make a bit more of a punch since it was the first room you see as you walk into our home and sets the stage.
The brick wall was like an obstacle that I had to get past. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but I was having the hardest time figuring out what type and shade sofa that I wanted that would look good against the brick. J & I both liked the idea of a leather couch with a fun profile since this space is our more formal, conversational room (read no TV) but finding the leather sofa was difficult. I didn’t consider black leather until we came across this West Elm Modern Chesterfield sofa and we immediately knew the buttery soft, tufted leather in Licorice was exactly the punch that we were looking for! To brighten up the room, I opted for a pair of mid-century modern wingback chairs in a neutral twill, a black and gray overdyed rug, and brass accents throughout the room.
I had everything in place for a couple weeks, minus a coffee table. I debated a few different coffee tables but ultimately decided on this CB2 one. A simple marble slab. At our old place our coffee table was always covered in things, trays, books, mail, etc. so I’m trying to keep the accessories to a minimum and let the white marble show off itself!
Staged Living Room while on the market:
My Living Room Design:
Living Room Reveal:
I was overjoyed when I walked in during our house search to see so much of the original character maintained. The French doors and crystal door knobs make me smile every day!
Although I don’t have a pink living space (yet) I love the way you can really freshen up a space with the all-the-rage shade in a very adult like way. The soft shades of pink have been on the interior decorating market for some time so it’s definitely a trend that’s going to stick around for awhile. When done right, it can act as a neutral or even the pop of color your neutral space needs!
Millennial pink works so well with a cozy, bohemian style. In this mock up I’ve paired a pink slipper chair (super affordable) with a neutral couch and different patterns and materials to give the small space concept some depth and interest while not crowding. If you’re afraid to add in pink via your furniture, try adding in some decorative pieces like the globe, vases, or throw pillows.
Last fall J & I were gearing up for our “I do’s” so it seemed like we took a season off from the college-football-watching-snack-filled-lots-of-drinking weekends that we grew accustomed too in our early dating. Since this fall we’re brand spanking new homeowners we can’t put a hard-stop on the weekend honey-do list, but we can definitely press pause for at least a game or two. “Pausing” is something that I’m consciously trying to do a little more often. I tend to get caught up in the constant rushing to and from and worrying about what to do next instead of giving giving myself a break. So trust me when I say, this twist on a mimosa was exactly what the doctor ordered to helped me pause & enjoy the weekend with J so much so I foresee whipping these up again this weekend!
Mature Mimosa Champagne Cocktail | makes 4 cocktails
4 quarter to half-inch rounds of orange (I used Navel Oranges)
10 dashes of orange bitters
1 shot of orange liqueur (I used Patron)
Orange zest strips (to garnish)
Place the orange rounds on foil and broil under high heat until browning with a little bit of charred. Let orange rounds cool. Add orange liqueur, orange rounds, and dash bitters. Muddle together. Add ice above the level of the liquid and give it a quick stir or shake. Pour mixture about 1/3 of the way of your coupe and top with 2/3 champagne. Make it even fancier with a twisted orange peel! Cheers!