Month: July 2017

Fancy Friday: Mint to Be

Welcome to my first ever Fancy Friday post! One of the things that makes me happiest is finding ways to elevate an everyday situation to feel truly special. Yes, some of my friends have called me extra as a result, but who cares. Paying attention to the details has always been my thing, and it helps amp up my ability to entertain. I’ll be sharing simple and attainable tips and tricks for making things feel fancy without much added effort on the blog (hopefully) each week.

If you follow me on Instagram you’ve seen the incredibly awesome tiered planter that made a debut on my patio this season. It was a very thoughtful birthday gift from my best friends Joe & Laura last year. They gave it to me in May 2016 and it promptly sat in the box. All. Freaking. Summer. Mike and I were both swamped with work and traveling and we just didn’t have the time to dedicate to gardening the right way, so I resigned myself to being a complete gardening failure last year. Isn’t it nuts how our own negative thoughts can be the worst criticism? Ugh…

But when spring finally came again we both made a commitment to finally putting the planter to good use. (Read: we were prepping for my annual Cinco de Brieo birthday party when he suggested we finally put it together and I lost my mind because we had so much else to do excitedly agreed and jumped right in.) Needless to say, I was thrilled we finally made use of it early in the season to start a small veggie & herb garden.

I had no idea what I was doing. This is the first year I’ve really tried my hand at cultivating edible plants. So we chose a few of our favorite herbs and picked up three different types of tomato plants and two types of peppers and with a little sweat equity we were off to the races. My biggest piece of advice? Invest in a drip irrigation line! It’s a major time saver and it snaked easily through the tiers of the planter box. Mike handled this part of the project and once I saw it come together it was way less intimidating than it sounded. And all the necessary materials are available at your local home improvement store.

So, what has been the all star of my container garden so far? M-I-N-T! Mint. Mint. Mint. I’ve developed an obsession for this fragrant, hardy and fast-growing plant. After a juice cleanse and a whole hearted attempt at doing the Whole 30 (more to come on that) since the summer started, I was looking for no-calorie ways to amp up food and drinks, and mint was it.

Here are some of my favorite ways to use mint to make life a bit fancier:

Sweet Potato Toast with Almond Butter, Smashed Blueberries & Mint (Whole 30 compliant)

Take a sweet potato and slice it into several thin slices. You want them to be thin enough to crisp up in a toaster by not so small to fall through the grates. I don’t have exact measurements, so I recommend experimenting to see what’s best for you. Put two slices in the toaster on the highest setting. You’ll need to put it back in two or three times to get the right level of crispiness/warmth. I liked mine when it was warmed all the way through and slightly blackened on the outside. Once toasted, smear a tablespoon of almond butter on each piece. Smash a few tablespoons of blueberries in a bowl and spread on top of almond butter. Then top with julienned mint. I promise, you won’t be disappointed. If you’re not on Whole 30, adding a bit of honey or agave to the blueberries would sweeten it up a bit, but it’s not necessary.

Coconut Mojito Mocktail (Whole 30 compliant)

Cutting out fun stuff like alcohol, cheese and desserts was hard during my Whole 30 program. When I stumbled on this recipe for a Coconut Mojito Mocktail I knew I had to try it. I’m pretty sure I used too much fresh lime juice (hello, sour citrus) but it was still delicious. For looking fancy, it came together quickly and was super easy.

“Spa Water” with Lemon, Cucumber and Mint

Summer is a great time to try and increase your water intake. Drinking “fancy” water (either sparkling or flat) with lemon wedges, slices of cucumber and muddled mint was a way for me to treat myself and help change my habits during Whole 30, and it’s something I’ve continued because I love it so much. I keep all the ingredients prepped and ready in the fridge and it’s become a fun ritual in the morning to make my spa water for the day. I use a stainless steel tumbler so all I need to do is keep adding water throughout the day. It’s the perfect way to stay hydrated while feeling like you’re doing something special for yourself.

What are your favorite ways to feel fanciful? What have you been harvesting from your home grown garden?

 

 

Living Room Refresh

The “house tour” section of my blog is woefully out of date. It’s so funny to scroll through those photos and realize how far my house has come in the last few years. Old photos help me appreciate all the time and energy I’ve spent turning my house into a home since we moved here in March 2013 (shortly after we married). We were lucky enough to score a short sale at a bargain price and scrape enough money together for a very small down payment. And my favorite DIY project to date began as we started transforming the house room by room.

Here’s the living room soon after we moved in.

Not the worst room I’ve ever seen, but looking back at that photo makes me cringe so hard.

Fast forward through four years, three couches, two area rugs and countless gallery wall attempts and the living room reflects my personal style now more than ever. It’s as close to feeling finished as ever. Part bohemian and part elegant with a dash of cozy and a hint of quirky is the best way to describe my style. I’m instantly drawn to anything with a tribal print like kilim or ikat — especially if it features an array of saturated hues. I’m a sucker for color, but a steady foundation of greige (a neutral shade of trendy gray mixed with *gasp* traditional beige) is the common thread keeping it all feel grounded.

Here’s a view from a similar angle of what the room looks like today.

So. Much. Better. Psst… see my little pup hiding behind the coffee table? His fur matches my color palette, but I swear that was a happy accident. 🙂

Here’s a more straight on view. This is what you see at the back of the house when you walk in through the front door, so it’s the first impression visitors get when they walk in.

Loloi’s gorgeous new Javari rug in Berry/Sunrise is the foundation of this room. It was certainly a splurge but I’m at a place where I’m ready to start investing in key pieces and this rug was love at first sight. I’m so happy I pulled the trigger and I’m thrilled with the quality and softness of this rug. Two thumbs WAY up!

The light gray fabric of the Paidge sofa (fabric: performance velvet; color: stone) and rich brown of the Henry power recliner (fabric: top-grain leather; color: tobacco) are similar tones to the rug and I love the way they all came together. Both are from West Elm and, like the rug, were investment pieces — so I went with neutral, durable fabrics that will have longevity. Did I mention this is my third couch in four years? It needs to stick around for a while.

Rounding out the seating area are two modern slipper chairs. The size and scale allow them to float in a high traffic area without making it feel too crowded. These are from Target’s budget-friendly Threshold line and at $129 each they helped balance the cost of the pricier pieces without sacrificing style. The color is called pepper and they throw a navy hue (not black) in person which adds a nice hint of color without competing with the rug.

Three cheers for finally seeing this room come together. It’s such a good feeling! What home-related projects have you tackled lately that make you take a deep, soothing breath when you look at them? What rooms are next on your to do list?

 

Is this thing on?

Whew, it’s been a while (ahem… more than two years) since I’ve updated here. I started this blog for a few different reasons. I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback in my personal life and on social media about my home decor and party planning posts — and I wanted to expand on those social snippets to tell a bigger story. With a background in PR, marketing and social media I also had the know how to start a blog (for the most part). The one thing I didn’t have in 2013 was the confidence to truly put myself out there with the potential for negative feedback. For people to criticize me as anonymous followers often do. For someone to think I’m… *gasp* not perfect.

I’ve strived for perfection my entire life. That inner drive is what lead me to accomplish some amazing things at the ripe old age of 29, and it also made me terribly critical of myself (probably more so than any anonymous follower ever could be). But with 30 just around the corner it’s time to shake things up. It’s time to own my opinions and have courage to be who I am. It’s time to take risks and truly chase my dreams. It’s time to realize what I thought my life would become may not be how it ends up, and that’s okay. It’s time to stop trying to be perfect and start being real (and hopefully help inspire others to do the same along the way).

I’m blogging again. But this time my goals are different. I don’t have unrealistic expectations of what “should” be. The word “should” always gets in the way for me. The thought of what I “should” do or how perfection “could” look if only I work hard enough isn’t going to stop me from trying anymore. This blog is going to evolve with me, and that’s okay. It’s more than okay. It’s perfect.