Sep 28, 2012

"Curated" Powder Bath Reveal

And it's done! I finished our "curated" powder bath a few weekends ago and have been excited to show it to you.  The inspiration board and inspiration room I introduced to you to a few weeks ago can be seen in the post {here}.  Ready for the grand reveal???

Here is the builder-basic blah "before"...

And, the very-curiously curated "after":

I know it's most definitely not everyone's cup o' tea, but I've been loosening up a bit and having more fun with design in our current house.  There are no rules, so if it makes you smile, go with it!

I used Benjamin Moore's "Blue Note" on the walls - so glad I went that way versus a deeper navy because that would have been way too dark.

Here are a few more detailed shots of the walls...

(I was going for eclectic - a little modern art, some classic art, family portraits, postcards, and other finds)

(yep, an upholstered rack...who doesn't want one of these?)

(my Federal style mirror is the little gem in the rough)

 (got the inspiration room "birds" in...)

 (eye chart was inspired by my dad - he's the best ophthalmic salesman the world has ever known)

Let's just say you're not going to get bored sitting on the throne at our house!  Regardless of if you love it or hate it, I guarantee it will create some sort of emotional response.  I should probably make people sign a waiver before they go in to use the powder bath...

Here is the original inspiration board and (much larger) inspiration bathroom:

So, did I come remotely close to what I was going for?  Tell me which of my "curated" objects you're most interested in.  Any questions about the selected items or stories behind where they came from?

Sep 26, 2012

3 Ingredient Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ok, y'all, these are the easiest and tastiest muffins I've had in a long time.  And, even better, they are relatively "healthy" and only have 3 ingredients - that's it!  Get ready to get your seasonal pumpkin-loving taste buds going...

Easy as 1-2-3, both for ingredients and steps!

1 box yellow cake mike (yep, just the mix itself - NO eggs, oil, water, etc.)
1 can (15oz) Libby's Pumpkin
1 cup chocolate chips (I used regular semi-sweet morsels, but mini morsels would be fun too)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease muffin pan - or use cupcake papers.

2. Combine 3 ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Spoon into greased muffin pan. (The muffins didn't rise too much, so you can fill each cup up near the top.)

3. Bake for 12-14 minutes.  Remove from oven and dump out on baking rack to cool.

Aren't they pretty in that festive Fall orange hue?  This recipe made me about 50  mini muffins - which admittedly didn't last very all.  The muffins are very moist, even without oil, thanks to the pumpkin!

P.S. I was told by my friend who gave me the recipe that each muffin is only 1 Weight Watchers point.  Not certain if that is mini muffins or larger muffins, but that's the story and I'm totally sticking to it! :)

Anyone try muffins like these before?  Any other easy (or healthy) muffin recipes we should try?  My friend Mindy, over at Rindy Mae blog, posted a delicious muffin recipe today too - check 'em out {here}.

Sep 24, 2012

Give-Away Winners Announced!

Congrats to Mindy and Alaine88 on their big win!  Thanks to you ALL for entering and for being my avid readers and supporters - I simply couldn't (and wouldn't) do it without you.

Mindy and Alaine88 please send me an email at to claim your prize and pass me your address so I can mail your gift cards out this week.

Here's to another year full of inspiration, fun, and the occasional whim!  Have a blessed week!

Sep 20, 2012

Painted Walk-Throughs Anyone?

(Don't forget to enter the 2 by $25 Gift Card Give-Away this weekend.  Easy to enter {here}!) you know, I've been dealing with a lot of WHITE.  And, when I say "white" it's an understatement.  The paint color they use for the interior walls in base housing here is called "asylum white".  I wonder why!?!?  The advertising slogan for the paint is likely, "Lovingly used in mental hospitals all across the globe!"

That being said, you've seen my painted wall in the master bedroom makeover {here}.  And, I've also put up paint in 3 more spaces - on my kitchen backsplash (reveal soon!), in my powder bath (another reveal soon!), my "walk-throughs/archways/door frames" - depending on who you are and what you'd call the fragments of wall between my living space and kitchen area.

Here is the area pre-paint:

And, a more-lovely area post splash-of-color paint job:

Much livelier, huh?  I used Benjamin Moore paint in "Million Dollar Red (2003-10)".  Couldn't resist with a name like that!  I needed (yet another...) splash of red, and this was a great way to get it without committing to an entire wall in red - which I would also have to commit to priming and repainting when we move out in a couple years.

Have you seen this done anywhere else?  I looked for examples out there in blog-land, Pinterest-world, and Houzz-ville, but came up short.  Look at me, being a decor innovator... :)

I'd love to hear what you think of it.  Was it a crazy idea - as in crazy cool, or crazy not so hot?  Either way, have a fabulous weekend - I'll be enjoying a girls' weekend at a college roomie's wedding in Nebraska!

Sep 18, 2012

Warm-Up Your Living Room for Fall

(First off, don't forget to enter the Inspired Whims Gift Card Give-Away {here}.  Winner announced next Monday!)

Now, on to the post...
A recent article in the September 2012 issue of HGTV Magazine inspired me to search for a few ways to "warm up" a living room for Fall, by using primarily the same furniture and fixtures and then adding just a few new accent pieces to give it that warm cozyness that Autumn inspires.

So snuggle in (if you're cool already) or kick back in your flip-flops (if you're still hot) and take some notes...

Here is a snap-shot of the "before" summer-ish living room that was shown in HGTV Magazine's "Quickie Makeover! One Room, Two Looks" article:

And then, the snap-shot of the "after" Fall-inspired living room with the same furniture but new accents pieces:

Notice that the key differences in this "Fall" space have to do with color and texture.  For color, out with the light and bright white, yellow, green, and blue; and in with the spice-hued red, orange, gold, and brown.  Deep navy blue, plum, and gold are a few other colors that help warm up a space.  For texture, limit the use of glass, silver metals, and other slick surfaces; and instead, amp up the wood, warm-colored metals (like gold, copper, iron), leather, velvet, tweed, etc.

Feeling warmer already??? In the article, the writer Elizabeth Roehrig, suggests changing up pillows, side tables, rugs, curtains, lampshades, and other accessories to give your room an entirely new look with the same basic furniture.  Slip-covers are another great option if you'd like to completely change the look of larger furniture, like sofas and chairs.

Now that you've seen a professional's example of a transformed space, here are a few accent pieces that can help you do exactly the same in your space at home!

Pillows - mix and match colors + textures for a warm eclectic look...

1. Amber Gold Velvet Throw Pillow ($10) - Cost Plus World Market // 2. Rust Burlap Lumbar Pillow ($17) - Cost Plus World Market // 3. Decorative Pillow Target Multicolored Square ($27) - Target // 4. Diagonal Stripe Pillow ($35) - Pier 1 // 5. Spotted Hide Pillow Cover ($80) - Pottery Barn

Lamp Shade - go darker or introduce a new textured material like cork or burlap...

1. Natural Cork Floor Lamp Shade ($35) - Cost Plus World Market // 2. Red Burlap Floor Lamp Shade ($30) - Cost Plus World Market // 3. Yellow Lamp Shade w/Cinnamon Stripe ($20) - Target

Window Panels - add some depth and richness with lush velvet...

Velvet Drape ($109 per 84" panel) - Pottery Barn

Replace your area rug with a warm-colored option...

1. Coventry Area Rug ($137 for 5'x8') - Home Decorators Collection // 2. Kattrup Rug ($149 for 5'x7'') - Ikea

Or, add a few other textured accessories (large or small)...

1. Uttermost Walton Hall Gold Finish Wall Mirror ($152) - Amazon // 2. Leather Ottoman ($165) - Overstock // 3. Natural Tree Stump Side Table ($199) - West Elm // 4. Valencia Red Leather Nail Head Bench ($169) - Overstock // 5. Nate Round End Table ($200) - Target // 6. Tweed Carmen Chair ($599) - Pier 1 // 7. Hitch Marigold Stool ($169) - CB2

Keep in mind, restraint is key in not going over board and looking too much like a "Fall Festival" - just pick a few pieces that really complement your space (i.e. new pillow covers and velvet drapes, or maybe a new lamp shade, rug, and a small leather accent).

Are any of these featured items peaking your interest?  Have you thought about adding any fall-inspired accents to your space?  If so, what do you add or plan to add?

Sep 16, 2012

Inspired Whims' Birthday Give-Away!

H-A-P-P-Y  B-I-R-T-H-D-A-Y to you!  H-A-P-P-Y  B-I-R-T-H-D-A-Y to you!  Yes friends, a year ago this upcoming Saturday (22 Sep) Inspired Whims was born - and boy have we come a long way since then!  It's been such a joy to have this little creative outlet that has blessed me, and hopefully blessed you, in so many ways.  I couldn't have made it this far without YOU - my dedicated readers, participants, and friends, who have made the commitment to blog totally worth it.  THANK YOU!!!

In order to celebrate this (very) happy birthday, we'll have a gift card giveaway next Monday (24 Sep).  Because I have two gift cards to give away - $25 to Marshall's and $25 to Michael's - there will be two lucky winners selected at random by way of

In order to enter for the big win, simply do one, some, or all of the following:

1. "Like" Inspired Whims on Facebook {here}, and leave a comment below stating that you did
2. "Follow" Inspired Whims on Twitter {here}, and leave a comment below stating that you did
3. "Follow" Inspired Whims on Pinterest {here}, and leave a comment below stating that you did
4. Subscribe to Inspired Whims email posts or RSS feed {here}, and leave a comment below stating that you did
5. Leave a comment below telling me your favorite type of post - Design and Decor, Recipes, DIY, Travel, etc.
6. Leave a comment below telling me your all-time favorite post.
7. Leave a comment below telling me which post has inspired you to do something in your own home.

(Each comment that fits the above criteria gets an entry, so the more the merrier!)

The winners will be announced via Inspired Whims posting, Facebook, and Twitter on Monday, 24 Sep.  So...please enter away all week, make sure to leave comments for each of your entries, and don't forget to check back in next Monday to see if you're one of our lucky winners!

Sep 14, 2012

Fab Find: Patch NYC at Target

Happy weekend everyone!  I was flipping through a magazine the other day and something jumped out at me...

An eye-catching ad for a new "Shops at Target" line by a Boston-based store called Patch NYC.  They seem to have the coolest "woodland whimsy" home decor theme going on for their Target line, and I'm super excited to go check it out in person.  Best part is, it's totally affordable with most items $25 or less.  Here are a few of my favorite Patch NYC items currently offered both in-store and online at Target:

1. Patch Animal Print Dessert Plates ($20) - Target // 2. Patch Journal 2-Pack ($20) - Target // 3. Patch Feather Coffee Pot ($25) - Target // 4. Patch Accent Rug Black/Rust ($25) - Target // 5. Patch Geometric Pillow ($25) - Target // 6. Patch Woodgrain Pillow ($25) - Target // 7. Patch Mushroom Candle ($10) - Target // 8. Patch Owl Lamp w/Bulb ($60) - Target // 9. Patch Pouf Plum/Pink ($80) - Target

Patch NYC will only be featured at Target from 9 September through 20 October, so don't wait too long to go scope it out.  In a way, the short time-frame makes all the products "limited editions" of sorts.  Kinda cool!

Lucky me, I'll be checking out Patch NYC's actual store in the South End (here in Boston) soon!  I've visited their website {here} and can't wait to see their one-of-a-kind wares in person...they seem to be vintage-inspired, artistic, and wonderfully rustic yet refined.

Here are a few of their online offerings from the Boston shop:

Vintage Urn Planter ($38) - Perfect for planting or simply showcasing on a shelf/mantel

Whale Candle ($37) - Orange, Patchouli, Basil, and Jasmine, oh my!

Ikat Pillow Set ($198 for both) - The fabric is sublime and so rich looking

Handmade Burlap Mushrooms ($38 each) - So adorable, and no two are alike!

Inspiration Portfolio Cards ($18) - Perfect for framing or inspiring (or both!)

Piggy Banks ($36 large, $15 small) - Sometimes you just see a piggy bank done right...

Anyone else totally loving these things?  Has anyone seen Patch NYC's Target line in person yet?  Do give us the inside scoop!!!

Sep 12, 2012

Brimfield Trip Report and Tips

The deed is done...I went to Brimfield Antique Show last Saturday and left a changed woman! I cannot even begin to explain the immense nature of this event. I arrived early, got through my detailed list (a must-have to stay on track!), and left as the crowds started swelling around noon. It's amazing how many people invade such a small town for this event!

Want to see a sampling of what I picked up for my "Curated Powder Bath" plan???  Remember, my objective is a "collected" look with layers that tell a story and create interest in the small space.  Most of these items will go on the wall in a gallery style (minus the rug, of course)...

Old Abe - I simply couldn't turn this (heavy) guy down.  He was likely an old book-end that lost his mate.  Now he serves as the perfect petite bust.

8-Point Antlers - I need to mount these suckers in a classy way (that may be an oxymoron).

 Bright Pakistani Rug - for only $65, this unique rug had me at "hello".

 Butterfly Print (placed in a frame) - from "The Butterfly Book" published in 1898.  Way more intriguing than the Ikea butterfly print I showed you {here}....and, amazingly, cheaper at a mere $3.

Giant No. 3 - I was looking for a letter but stumbled upon this number instead, and figured it appropriately represented our little family of three.  It was originally used to post (likely cheaper) gas prices on a highway billboard.

 Abstract Oil Painting - this large painting was only $1...yes, they have "everything's one dollar" booths at Brimfield!  This probably was painted by a starving (but inspired) artist, who would still be starving at the price I paid...

Modern Art in Rustic Frame - I love black and white, and while my 2-year-old could do this, the patina sold me.  It totally grows on you...I promise.  The "artist" and guy who sold it to me was a little-bit wacky, but said he was being featured on the A&E show called "FLEA" in Jan 2013.  Jury is still out on if that show even exists...

Oh, and I have to share two additional items with you that I picked up during our End of Summer Trip to Portland, Maine a few weeks ago:

 My Beloved Federal-style Mirror - at only $35 I didn't jump at the opportunity, I LEAPED!

Seascape Painting - a perfect souvenir for our trip to Portland, a dreamy one-of-a-kind painting of the Maine shore.

Now a few handy tips for shopping at a large outdoor antique show, based on my Brimfield trip :
1. Make a list - this will keep you on track and keep you from spending money on things you don't need. Do some research ahead of time so you know fair pricing. (I checked out pricing on for most of my items.)
2. Arrive early in the day. The early bird totally gets the worm and avoids sunburn.
3. If the show lasts multiple days, I recommend going toward the end of the show. You'll get better deals from vendors who don't want to pack everything up and take it back home
4. Bring a backpack - packed with sunscreen, some reusable bags, a measuring tape, a bag lunch, and plenty of water.
5. Have cash, preferably small bills, on hand. And, if you have a budget, stick to it!
6. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing. You don't have to look cute for this...
7. Kindly barter. Most vendors don't expect you to pay full asking price, so do your research in advance and respectfully propose a cheaper price and be willing to work with their counter. I found most items could be purchased at 20% off the "asking" price.
8. If you see something you absolutely must have, buy it then and there. It likely will be gone if you come back for it later.
9. If possible, take a large vehicle.  Or, take a friend with a large vehicle. Or, at the very least, clean out your car to maximize stowing space.
10. Select your shopping companions wisely - this is not for the feint of heart or will, press on and your relationship will endure the stresses of crowds, constant visual stimulation, and antique overload.  I left my babe at home with Dad and said a silent prayer for every parent there who chose to bring their kiddo - true heroes and saints in my book.
11. Take a moment to people watch.  You'll be glad you did...

What do you think of my finds?  You'll better understand what (seemingly crazy...) eclectic look I'm going for if you check out the inspiration board and photo {here}.  Have you ever been to a crazy huge antique show like Brimfield?  They do it 3 times a year, so you'll have to join me next May!!!

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