Thursday, October 31, 2013

Design Trends: All About Agate!


When it comes to design trends, I’m not one to rearrange my life to accommodate the newest look. However, when it’s a style that I already like, I’m ecstatic. Reasons being, there is more of it available and I'll automatically become much more hip. Right now, there is a rock and mineral theme that’s making it’s way on to store shelves and yes, I’m overjoyed.  
Decorative Tie Backs - get the DIY here

For those who like to bring bright hues into a room via textiles and objects, agate adds that bit of color, naturally.  
Marble Print Pillow • West Elm
Luce Agate Lamp • Rablabs

Get ready for the holiday entertaining with some of these lovely objects below. 

Clockwise from top:
Agate Ornaments • West Elm
Brazilian Agate Bookends • The Evolution Store
Agate Cheese Sets • Uncommon Goods
Garra Bottle Stoppers • Rablabs 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fresh Flowers and Succulents :: Fall Centerpiece by GRO Designs

Last week I had the opportunity to visit GRO Designs here in Dallas. Creative Director Nathan Johnson created a beautiful Fall-inspired tablescape of hydrangeas, roses and succulents. It was so awesome to see him in action, he made it seem so effortless. Check out the complete feature here over on Houzz. Nathan shares some easy-to-follow steps to create this arrangement in your own home.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Colors and Patterns Houzz Tour

My latest home tour on Houzz is the lovely abode of Steve and Amber Frazee. Amber is the owner of the Dallas home furnishings store StellaDallas. Her use of pattern and color is incredible. Honestly, I don't know how she does it. She has this ability to mix and blend florals, graphic prints and stripes in a way that no one else can. This home just makes you happy. The pops of bright colors on crisp white walls is exhilarating. You can check out the complete home tour and more photos HERE. Enjoy!

FRIDAY'S DISH: Braising Goddess


I watch a lot of food television. I mean A LOT of food television and one of my favorite television chefs is Nigella Lawson. She has the most delicious way of describing the food she is making. Her recipes leap off of the screen and she is not afraid to make a bit of a mess. What seems most important to her is the end result. Overall, she’s my kind of cook.  In addition to her glorious descriptive skills, her dishes are no muss, no fuss. Each time I have tried to make something I’ve seen on her show things turn out pretty darn good. With a few modifications, as evidenced by the accompanying pictures, the following recipe was no exception.

With the weather getting colder I thought it would be a good time to trot out some of the braising recipes I’ve collected over the years, and Nigella’s braised pork knuckle is one I was itching to try. I was also elated to pick up a few apples from the Greenmarket in Jackson Heights near my apartment. I was able to use some in this recipe and some in a recipe for braised kale. I picked up that simple recipe right there at the market. When all was said and done, I had braised my way to a hearty cold weather meal.

NOTE: This recipe is not mine and all credit goes to the kitchen Goddess, Nigella Lawson and another skillful cook, Ashley Rafalow.

Beer Braised Pork Knuckles with Caraway, Garlic, Apples and Potatoes
From Nigella Kitchen by Nigella Lawson. Copyright (c) 2010 Nigella Lawson. Published by Hyperion. All Rights Reserved.
Total Time: 3 hr 25 min
Prep: 25 min
Cook: 3 hr
Level: Easy
Yield: 6 servings
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt or 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 pork knuckles or hocks, rind scored
  • 2 onions
  • 2 eating apples, cored and quartered
  • 4 baking potatoes, or 2 pounds other large white skinned potatoes, cut into quarters lengthwise
  • 2 cups good amber or dark ale (not Guinness or stout)
  • 2 cups boiling water
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Put the salt and caraway seeds into a bowl, mince or grate in the garlic, and stir to combine. Add the pork knuckles and rub them well with the caraway mixture, getting it into the slits in the rind where it was scored.

Peel the onions and slice them into rounds and add them to the bottom of a roasting tin, making a bed or platform. Sit the knuckles on top of the onions and cook them for 30 minutes.

Take the tin out of the oven and quickly arrange the apples and potatoes around the knuckles. Carefully pour 1 cup of the beer over the knuckles, so they are basted as the liquid pours into the tin. Put the pan back into the oven. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F and roast for 2 hours.

Turn the oven up again to 425 degrees F, and baste the hocks with the remaining beer. Roast for 30 minutes more.

Remove the tin from the oven and transfer the apples and potatoes to a warmed serving dish. Lift the knuckles onto a carving board and leave the onion and juices in the tin. Put the tin on the stove over medium heat and add 2 cups boiling water, stirring to deglaze the pan to make a gravy. Transfer the gravy to a serving bowl.

Take the crackling off the knuckles and break it into pieces, then add them to a serving bowl. Pull or carve the pork meat and add it to the bowl with the crackling. Serve with the apples, potatoes, gravy and some German mustard.

Make Ahead Note: 

The pork and onions can be put in roasting tin up to 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Just before cooking, rub with the salt, caraway and garlic and cook as directed. 

Making leftovers right: 

Leftover pork can be stored in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped in aluminum foil, for up to 3 days. Eat it cold or reheat gently in a saucepan with leftover gravy, until piping hot. You should store any leftover gravy in a separate airtight container in the in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.

Leftover pork can be frozen for up to 2 months, tightly wrapped in foil, then defrosted overnight in the refrigerator. Even if you have an amount too small to be useful by itself (a likely outcome), simply bag and mark it up and freeze it for future use in the Pantry Paella recipe.

Kale with Apple & Onion
Recipe by Ashley Rafalow, Market Manager
Serves 4 as a side dish
  • 1 head of kale, roughly chopped (keep ribs and stems on!)
  • 1cipolliini onion, diced
  • 1 apple, preferably fuji, gala or empire, diced
  • 12 oz apple cider
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
*Ingredients available seasonally at your neighborhood Greenmarket
Heat olive oil over medium heat.
Add onions, sauté until translucent
Add apples, cook until slightly softened and browned, about two minutes.
Add chopped kale. Sautee briefly until kale begins to wilt.
Add half of the apple cider, reduce heat to a simmer.
Cover and cook until kale is softened, about 5-7 minutes.
Remove lid and continue to simmer kale until cider is reduced by 2/3, about 10 minutes. If kale begins to stick, add more water.
Add vinegar, salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

SHOP LOVE: White Faux Taxidermy


Sure, I love the look of animal heads as wall décor, but it can a bit be creepy, expensive and sort of overwhelming. Which is why I am so glad to have found White Faux Taxidermy! WFT allows you to have your wall ornaments but in poppy colors. They're super affordable and since they're made of resin, you'll have a good conscience to boot! All of the pieces are available in different sizes. Just allow a few weeks for delivery, as every piece is made to order.  

Here are a few of my favorites:  
Hey giraffe! Cute enough for a kids' room, chic enough for a grown-up room. 

Of course this could never be real taxidermy but a it's cool idea. A T-Rex in 'caution orange' is totally unexpected, and this could also be an added element to any home security system.

A lovely gold shark, to go with all of the brass that's available now.  

What a great version of a venison!  

Enjoy! ~ and visit WFT's website! 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Home Depot 2013 Holiday Style Challenge

The participants of the Home Depot 2013 Holiday Style Challenge were announced yesterday. I'm so excited to be involved! Talk about being in great company. I've followed quite a few of these bloggers for many years and it's so amazing to be included with them. On November 7th our styled holiday looks will begin posting on Home Depot's blog, The Apron. Mark your calendars! I know there's going to be some unique ideas and DIY projects that you can use for your own home. You can now follow our inspiration board on Pinterest for even more ideas! I hope my fellow bloggers are having as much fun as I am right now decorating. Can't wait to see what everyone has created!

Monday, October 21, 2013

DIY: Easy Peasy Coffee Tabletop

This DIY is long overdue since I've been enjoying my coffee table now for many months. I found this Danish-style coffee table base at a thrift store for 25 dollars. I almost passed on it since the top was missing, but for such a small amount of money, I had to buy it!

I wasn't quite sure what to do for the tabletop. Should I have glass cut or even have a custom wood tabletop made? My mind was spinning at all of the possibilities. Then my Dad suggested that we just make a wood top ourselves. Well of course we should! So one Saturday morning, we gathered some materials and made a tabletop. It turned out perfectly!
Here are the materials:
Wood Slab
Wood Stain
80-120 Grit Sandpaper
Electric Jigsaw
Safety Glasses
The proper way to draw the curved edges is probably to use a compass. I didn't have a compass on hand at my parents house so I made two markings on a paint can, then lined those points to the edges of the wood. It worked perfectly! Next, put on those safety glasses and cut the curved edges using a jigsaw.
With sandpaper, smooth the edges and both sides of the wood. Once complete, wipe down the wood with a damp cloth and let dry.
With a brush, paint on the first coat of stain going with the grain. 
Wipe off excess using a cloth. Let first coat dry and then give it a once over with the sandpaper again. Remove any dust with a cloth and then apply second coat of stain.
Once you're satisfied with the darkness of the stain, sit it outside to let dry. The next day I added 2 coats of polyurethane in a satin finish and let the top completely dry for 48 hours. I then fixed the top to the base with small brass bench anchors.

My new coffee table and I then drove from Louisiana back to Dallas...
and voila! Here's the lovely table in action.
 Thanks to my Dad for his expert help! xoxo

Friday, October 18, 2013

FRIDAY'S DISH: Not so “French” Toast


The only time I buy white bread anymore these days is when I get a taste for French toast. I don’t usually order this treat when I’m out at a diner or having brunch because it’s so darn easy to make at home. While shopping at my favorite store, Trader Joe’s, I came across the perfect “Texas Toast” white bread so I just had to pick some up. The slices are extra thick and make for perfectly fluffy French toast without that egg-y, soggy consistency you get from those thin sad little Wonder Bread type breads.

To ensure a crispy texture and add a little sweetness I switched things up this time by adding another element, frosted corn flakes! They add a delicious crispy crunch and beautiful brown color. I really bumped up the sweetness when I added the maple syrup.
I would say that this particular recipe a distinctly American version of “French” toast simply because of the use of breakfast cereal (cornflakes, of course, having been invented in Battle Creek Michigan.) The recipe is a little over the top but so delicious!

Here’s how I made it:
  • 4 slices of thick sliced white bread (Texas Toast)
  • 2-3 eggs, depending on size
  • 1 cup crushed frosted corn flakes
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 dash of ground nutmeg (you can grate in fresh if you’ve got it)
  • 1/8 tsp good vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • Butter for sautéing
What to do:
Combine all of the ingredients in a shallow bowl, save the cornflakes and bread. Spread the cornflakes out on a plate or shallow dish. Dip the bread in the egg mixture until soaked, but not so soggy that it falls apart. Meanwhile, in a non-stick sauté pan melt a generous amount of butter over medium heat.
Take each slice and generously coat one side with the corn flakes by laying each slice on top and lightly pressing down. Work in batches.  Sauté cereal-side down and when golden brown flip with a spatula. Each piece should be firm when lightly pressed with your finger to ensure that the custard in the inside is fully cooked.

Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar or do what I did and go All-American with real maple syrup.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Scary Movies Decor: Get the Look!


As we all know, Halloween is quickly approaching. I don't do a lot of decorating or party planning in honor of this holiday, but I do love it's requisite scary movies. I tend to look beyond the story and characters of any movie, and mentally track down the props and set dressing.  

Below are a few of my all time (scary) favorites: 

What a cute headboard for a girls' room, and who can forget the kitchen chairs being playfully stacked by the family ghosts in Poltergeist?  

I've always been a fan of the David Hicks hexagon pattern, seen here in The Shining. Do you think this colorway might be called "Red Rum" ?  

A classic costume of the horror genre... 

One can't talk about scary movies without mentioning this film...

Here are a few sources inspired by the films.  (clockwise from top left)  
Carol Anne's Headboard • Land of Nod
David Hicks hexagon (wallpaper) • Cole & Son
Bates Motel Shower Curtain • Amazon
Thonet Chair • The Modern Shop
Freddy Kreuger Stripes • Mood
Nancy's Phone • Etsy
Shower Head • Kohler 
Norman Bates' Knife • Shun

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

SHOP LOVE: Mazizmuse Design Co.

Loving these geometric patterned pillows from the mazizmuse Autumn 2013 collection.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

FOLK by Alice Behar

Mexico City designer Alice Behar first home collection FOLK is unbelievable! All crafted with handmade textiles from her travels throughout Mexico, the patterns and textures are rich with color. "I'm interested in the energy and artisan knowledge of generations integrated in every day objects," says Behar. "I selected fabrics that reminded me of the visual richness that I grew up surrounded by." Her handcrafted designs support indigenous artisans across Mexico. The Totomeh chair, pictured below, would complement a Saarinen dining table oh so well!

Monday, October 14, 2013

My Visit to Canton, Texas!

A couple of weekends ago, I made my first visit to First Monday Trade Days in Canton, Texas. It's one of the country's largest flea markets spanning over 100 acres. It's HUGE! I only went for the day, but it was a lot of fun. Flea markets are my kind of good time! I like rummaging through the tables and piles of random things stacked high. Where some see junk, I see potential. Sometimes it just takes a little elbow grease to bring something back to life. Plus, you can't beat the deals you can find at flea markets. Always remember, everything is negotiable (with cash).

Check out my article for Houzz here where I share some of my favorite vendors and products of the day. Happy Monday!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Benjamin Moore's Color of the Year 2014


Last week I was lucky enough to catch a seminar at the Benjamin Moore showroom where they revealed 2014's color of the year, Breath of Fresh Air, #806. Following the current pastel trend, this pale, subtle blue can beautifully fade into the background and become the "new neutral" that the company dubbed it. It is accompanied by a palette of 22 other colors that can be found here.

Accurate color samples are difficult to show on a computer screen, but this wall color represents #806 pretty well. I'm sure we'll see a lot more interiors like this in the coming months!
Pastels usually aren't my thing, but the rest of these images could definitely change my mind.

1 / 2 / 3 / 4

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Keep Calm and Go to London


Although I've connected through Heathrow on several occasions, my FIRST time actually visiting England was this year. I felt all over the place and as if I lived on trains, so I didn't get to take many pictures, but I got a ton of experience. 

I flew from Dallas to Chicago to Manchester, took the train from Manchester to Leeds, and walked from the station to my hotel. On Monday I took the train to work, and the following day, I took the train from Leeds to London (let's not discuss the many changes/connections that I had to make with luggage).

While I was in London, I would catch trains to work; however, I loved riding the tube to various stops while I wasn't on the clock. I think I mastered the London train system after three days of running through the stations. A special shout out to the handsome gentleman who helped carry my luggage all the way up two flights of stairs! 

Even after a few travel woes, I would love to go back to London. Plus, I have to go back since I put a ton of pounds on my Oyster card!


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