Nov 27, 2013

I try to be thankful everyday, but Thanksgiving is a good reminder to be intentional in our thanks.

I'm thankful for my wonderful husband, my beloved little girl, my treasured family, my irreplaceable friends, and all the blessings and experiences we get to share.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Nov 25, 2013

A Gift Idea: Custom Recipe Print

How adorable is this custom recipe print from Provisions by Food 52?

You can customize it with the recipe of your choice - whether it be a family favorite or an heirloom recipe that was passed down through the generations.  I think it would make such a fantastic and meaningful gift for a loved one.

Provisions is a new affiliate of Inspired Whims - see the new banner in the margin to the right?  They have such beautiful artisanal kitchen wares, beautiful table linens, useful culinary gadgets, and edible wonders.  It's totally worth a gander especially as we all prepare for holiday gifting.

What do you you think of this super cool print?  Don't you want one of your own?  Which recipe would you choose to immortalize on a custom recipe print?

Nov 22, 2013

Decorative Light Bulb Star

Isn't this a pretty star sculpture/geometric object?

I've saved the above photo as inspiration in my "to-do stash" for a while now and decided to get rolling and finally make my very own light bulb star when they had bulbs on sale for 30%-off at Target.  And (drumroll!) here it is...

Pretty, huh?  At first I was afraid it would turn into a DIY fail as I couldn't get my super glue to set when I put the first four bulbs together (see below).  But, with a little patience, heat from a blow dryer, baking soda, and hot finally came together quite easily.  Now it's a pretty decoration for Christmas and all-year round.

6 incandescent candelabra bulbs (I used flame tip bulbs)
8 incandescent round bulbs
Super Glue
a dash of baking soda (to keep things exciting)
blow dryer (to keep things hot)
hot glue


1. Super glue the bases of 4 candelabra light bulbs together on a flat surface.  (First I tried hot glue for this step, and it wouldn't hold this "foundation" of bulbs as sturdily as I wanted.  Next I tried super glue, which wouldn't dry because of the metal used on the bulbs) So, after some "googling" of how to make super glue set....I put super glue on the bulb bases, pressed them together, sprinkled a little baking soda on the super glue which causes a chemical reaction that dries the glue almost immediately, and let that dry for a good while.  This is the most intensive and the last Super Glue step thankfully!

2. Hot glue around the Super Glue at the central joint to make it even more sturdy.  You won't see the center, so you really can't use too much hot glue.  Let dry a few minutes.

3. Hot glue candelabra bulb on top, holding upright and perpendicular to the plane of 4 bulbs.  Let dry a few minutes while holding in place.

4. Turn over and hold the bulb glued in the previous step, hot glue another candelabra bulb on top in the same exact fashion (upright and perpendicular).  Let dry a few minutes while holding in place.  You'll have a nice 6-point star after this step.

5. Hot glue a round bulb at the junction of each three-some of candelabra bulbs.  Wherever 3 candelabra bulbs meet, place a good dollop of hot glue and press a round bulb in.  Let dry a few minutes while holding in place.

6. Rotate to the next junction of 3 candelabra bulbs and repeat until all junctions are filled with round bulbs - 8 total.

7. Display and enjoy!

(Please note: My star turned out very sturdy, but don't put this in reach of small kiddos as it's tempting to play with and could easily shatter.)

What do you think of my little masterpiece?  If you're wondering, total cost of bulbs was about $10.  It's really a very artistic looking object - I'm no Chihuly, but it's a nice amateur glass sculpture if you ask me.  Now how do I market this as modern art and make a million?

Nov 20, 2013

Thanksgiving Meal Musts : Gulliver's Corn + Green Bean Casserole

I'm bringing these two little gems out of the vault just to make sure you didn't miss them.  These easy recipes are ultimate must-haves for Thanksgiving at our house.  And people are always asking for the recipes!

The first, Gulliver's Corn, is a recipe my mom had gotten from a restaurant decades ago.  It's truly the BEST cream corn you'll ever taste.  And, the second, Green Bean Casserole, has buttermilk and parmesan, and something about using the frozen french cut green beans instead of canned green beans makes it WAY better than the traditional Green Bean Casserole that most people make.

Gulliver's Corn

2 (20 oz) packages frozen yellow corn
1/2 pint whipping cream
1/2 pint milk, preferably whole milk
1 tsp salt
6 tsp sugar
pinch of black pepper
2 Tbsp melted butter
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
fresh chives for garnish (optional)

1. Combine corn, whipping cream, milk, sugar, salt, and pepper in a pot on stove.  Cover and bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

2. Blend melted butter and flour in small bowl.  Add to corn mixture.  Combine well then remove pot from heat.

3. Pour into oven-safe casserole dish and top with Parmesan cheese.  Place dish under broiler in oven until evenly browned (watch it carefully so it doesn't burn!).

4. If desired, garnish with fresh chives.  Serve warm.

(Way Better) Green Bean Casserole

1 bag (16 oz) frozen organic french cut green beans
1 can Campbell's Low Sodium Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can-full of buttermilk (use the soup can to measure)
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese + plus some extra for on top
1 can French's Fried Onions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Combine green beans, soup, buttermilk, pepper, and Parmesan cheese in an oven-safe casserole dish.  Stir to mix well.
2. Sprinkle the top with French's Fried Onions and an extra dash of Parmesan cheese.
3. Bake for 45 minutes.  Serve warm.

Thought I'd get these out to you while you're still planning for next week's meal.  We'll be away from home in NYC again this Thanksgiving, but this time with my parents (yay!).  We'll miss the traditional meal but we're stoked to be enjoying the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Rockettes performing at Radio City Music Hall for our holiday!  What are your family's plans for Turkey Day?

Nov 18, 2013

Mad For Plaid

Once the holiday season hits, I can't help but be drawn to plaid prints in both clothing and home decor. Something about plaid is just so cozy, and warm, and Christmas-y to me.  It evokes the feelings of a warm fire, cuddling up with loved ones, and sharing some hot chocolate.  Anyone else feel the same way??

That being said, plaid can be pretty all year round.  But, I'd suggest using it sparingly in accent pieces that can be rotated out if desired.

Here are a few of my favorite plaid items for decorating, gifting, and wearing:

Anyone else out there with an affection toward plaid?  Is it a seasonal obsession, like mine?  Or, are you always a glutton for plaid?

Nov 14, 2013

The Look for Less: Inspired By Pottery Barn

I love, love, love this Pottery Barn pillow cover for Christmas...

The chalkboard-esque look always does it for me.  What can I say?  I liked school as a kid, I like chalkboard paint, and I like black and white it kinda falls in line.

I decided to let this pillow cover inspire the "artist" in me.  Especially after I picked up this lovely leopard canvas off the side of the road...

Grarrrrrrrr!  Apparently someone didn't like it anymore and had set it out on the curbside as trash.  Can you even believe that??

I doctored it up just a tad by covering it head to toe (or shall I say eye to eye) with my favorite chalkboard paint.

After letting the paint dry and giving it a good chalk dusting, I finished my Christmas masterpiece.

 Quite the difference, huh?  This cat has officially begun a new life...if you know what I mean.

Do you think it looks even a tad like my inspiration??

I do still love that Pottery Barn pillow cover, but this alternative will suffice for now!

Nov 12, 2013

Slow Cooker Puerto Rican Shredded Pork Tacos

I've totally owed you guys a recipe, so here's a really good one I found in a BHG magazine ad that's super flavorful, colorful, and quite healthy (unless you add yummy cheese and sour cream...).

2-3 lb. pork boneless sirloin roast (preferably tied with kitchen twine to make things easier for you)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp cumin
1/2 Tbsp coarse salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1 cup orange juice (or 4 oranges, juiced)
4 limes, juiced

1. Poke 3-5 holes in raw pork roast with sharp knife; stuff with half the crushed garlic.  Warm oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add pork to skillet and brown on all sides, 6-8 minutes total.

2. Combine remaining ingredients in blender/food processor and blend for a few seconds until evenly combined.  Place pork in slow cooker and pour liquid mixture over pork.  Let marinate for about 10 minutes on each side.

3. Turn slow cooker on low; set timer for 8 hours.  After 8 hours, remove pork and shred using two forks on a large cutting board.  Add pork back into juices in slow cooker.

4. Serve shredded pork warm in corn tortillas.  Garnish with fresh salsa and slices of avocado.

Note: Cilantro and shredded lettuce would also be yummy and healthy additions.  (Feel free to add some delicious cheese and sour cream if you're feeling it!)

Enjoy, friends!

Let me know what you think of the recipe!  It's my quasi-paleo attempt at a meal.  I've learned to accept some things like stone-ground corn tortillas, even though they're not "paleo".  I simply cannot survive without chips and salsa...not going to happen folks.

Nov 8, 2013

Splurge vs. Save: Gate Citrine Pillow

Sources: splurge |  save

Such a pretty color and such a pretty pattern to add some spice to your space.  These pillows are made of the exact same Robert Allen Gate Citrine designer fabric!  Look how pretty they are in this living room:

I've learned to always do an Etsy search before I consider splurging on pillows.  You can find some great deals just like the above example.  And, of all the Etsy stores I've ordered from, I've always been impressed with the quality of craftsmanship and the responsiveness of crafters/vendors.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Nov 6, 2013

An Ottoman Adventure...Yes, You Can Spray Paint Vinyl

Remember this guy?

Yes, he's a little dingy looking in all his vinyl glory.  And, I admittedly jumped the gun and paid way too much for him on Craigslist ($25!! What was I thinking?) when I was awestruck and inspired by Jenny Komenda's vinyl chair make-over {here}.  Honestly, that woman does no wrong in the world of decor!  Check out her blog - A Little Green Notebook - sometime and you'll be changed forever.

Now, back to my spray-painting vinyl project...

I hemmed and hawed about what color, and then decided I'd go with white because it would be easy to spray over if I ever repainted it someday.  And, it would fit in color-wise in just about any room in our house.

I learned a couple things on this DIY adventure: 

1) Jenny wasn't lying - you can definitely spray paint over vinyl with spray paint made for plastic finishes.

2) Even if you buy paint with primer in it, you'll need way more paint than you think to really get a good clean finish when painting over a dark object.  (And - true confessions - I'm too cheap to get another can of paint for this project)

3) Finally, don't paint a vinyl object stuffed with styrofoam beads - they show through like cellulite on Rosie O'Donnell's beach body.

Oh and learn!  Not a total bust, but it does make me chuckle when I get close and see the bumpy surface.

I lovingly call this ottoman "Rosie" now.  Bottomline: Not all DIY projects turn out the way you want them to.  Glad I could be honest with you on my DIY fail.  I still aspire to be Jenny...someday.

Nov 4, 2013

Aspen's Hotel Jerome - Hunker Down and Stay Awhile

Now that Halloween has come and gone, most of us are chopping at the bit to cuddle in and cozy up as we decorate for Thanksgiving and then Christmas.  (True confessions: We've decided to do our Christmas decorating this next weekend so we can enjoy it for as long as possible!)

As we prepare for this joyous holiday season, I wanted to share a space with you that has inspired interiors that truly warm me every time I look at them - Hotel Jerome in Aspen, Colorado.

Let's take a little walking tour of this historic gem with recently updated interiors designed by TAL Studio...shall we?
The Exterior

The Living Room (check out plaid-backed chairs, the navajo rug, and the framed flag!)

A Guest Suite

The Living Room Bar

The Prospect Restaurant

The Lobby

The Pool

Don't the pictures make you feel all warm and cozy?  There's nothing like being surrounded by the mountains and snow at Christmas, and I can only imagine that lodging in a luxury hotel like this would be beyond magical.  

Think they'll ever offer a Groupon to stay here?  Sign me up if they do!!

Nov 1, 2013

Splurge vs. Save : Acrylic Bookshelves

I happened upon this super adorable nursery designed by Kristin of The Hunted Interior the other day...

I love the stars on the ceiling, the gold pouf, the layered rugs, the pom pom curtains...I could go on and on.  My favorite thing though has to be those killer acrylic bookshelves!

Acrylic shelves are pretty popular these days with the lucite craze happening, but they can get pricy.  The ones used in this nursery (the "save" shelf shown below) were a total steal though.

sources:  splurge |  save

You could buy three of the "save" shelves for about the price of one "splurge" shelf!  (And, both options are the same size at 36 inches long.)

I could see these being hung in any room for some barely-there impact - an office, a playroom, a living room, a kitchen, anywhere really.  And they're cool for holding books, picture frames, art, or small containers.  Hip spice rack, anyone?
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