Friday Favs: Happy-Hour All Weekend Long

Happy Memorial Day weekend!  While it’s really a time to honor our Nation’s deceased veterans, the focus tends to be a little more a little more on barbecues and booze (….and appliance sales…. go ‘merica*).    The good new is that with a long weekend you can do both!  Attend a Memorial service, spend some beautifying a loved one’s grave site…and celebrate with friends and family.

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And if you like your celebrations on the boozy side, here are some cocktail recipes for you to try out.

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Rosemary Gin Sparkling Lemonade Via Creative Culinary

Matt and I are both mad for Gin + Tonics… although I’m a little more open to variation than he is.  Rosemary-gin-lemonade?  Sounds deliciously summery.

 

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Fruit + Tonic Via A Beautiful Mess

If lemonade isn’t your jam, maybe try a different fruit with your g+t.  I think the blackberry sounds especially amazing!

 

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Peach Sangria Via Tori Avey

Our go-to Sangria recipe is, oddly enough, more winter-friendly, using oranges, lemons, and limes.  Peaches just started appearing in stores here and I cannot wait to try this more seasonal recipe.

 

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Classic Mojito Via Chef Savvy

Mojitos are one of my favorite summery drinks, and I just planted some mint this year (if you do grow your own mint make sure you keep it in a container otherwise it could take over).  You can also easily make mojitos by the pitcher.

 

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Caipirinha Via All Recipes

Ever heard of a caipirinha?  Most people I know haven’t, but they’re all missing out.  It’s basically a Brazilian margarita–delicious, simple to make, and massively boozy (so be careful about how fast you go through them!)

Looking for more?  I’m a little biased towards gin and rum so if you’re looking for something else Total Wine’s website has a recipe index by type of liquor.

And of course, please be responsible people.

 

*I feel like there really needs to be a be a proper sarcasm tag in HTML…

Friday Favs: Kitchen Gear

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Matt likes to cook and I like to bake, but with limited space we haven’t amassed a huge collection of kitchen gadgets (and I’m actually not a fan of super-specific gadgets).  I thought I’d share some of our favorite kitchen pieces though.

 

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Kitchenaid Stand Mixer

Ohhh yeah, the highlight of any wedding registry, right?  If you don’t do any significant baking you probably don’t have to go this fancy, but for me it’s awesome (especially come my annual Christmas Cookie Bonanza).  I haven’t bothered with any of the uber-fancy attachments, but I do really like the flex-edge beater.  I also feel a little lame that I stuck with the classic stainless steel when there are so many color options out there, I just figured there were cheaper ways for me to change up my kitchen color scheme.

 

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Food Processor

The first food processor I got Matt was a little mini-prep one.  It was amazing for dicing onions and chopping up things for guacamole…. but then we discovered the joy of using a food processor to cut in butter so we upgraded to a bigger model.  Matt makes scones every Saturday so he actually uses this one more than me!

 

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Electric Kettle

I’m a big tea drinker, and Matt’s the only coffee drinker in the house so we don’t have need of a full coffee maker.  An electric kettle though?  It makes us both happy, and this one also looks so cute on our counter! Personally I prefer the ones where the kettle is independent of the heating element, but this particular one is a little heavy because it’s ceramic.

 

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Pastry Blade

It looks so simple, but it’s so useful!  Anytime I’m working with a stickier dough it help to cleanly remove it from my rolling surface and get cut-out cookies off without deformities.  It also will do a great job scraping off cutting boards if you want to compost or just don’t have a garbage disposal.

 

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Oxo spatulas

Spatulas are pretty standard cooking gear, but these specific ones are my favorite.  They’re one solid piece so you don’t get ickiness building up in between the blade and the handle.  As I was putting this post together it looks like more places are making solid spatulas… plus some in fun colors!

 

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Cookie scoops

What’s my secret to perfectly proportioned muffins and cupcakes?  A cookie scoop.  It’s super easy to get the batter from the bowl to the pan and a large (3 Tbsp) is the perfect size for a standard muffin tin.

 

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Oxo salt and pepper shakers

I have a nicer set on our table, but for the counter I love these because they’re a combination shaker AND pour spout.  Cool, huh?

 

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Parchment paper (in sheets!)

You can find rolls are parchment paper most places, but the flat sheets are kind of amazing.  No ripping, no curling, just easy-peasy.  (Also, if you’re in a bind you can substitute a cut up paper bag for parchment… just never use wax paper as a sub).

 

Ricer Cooker
Ricer Cooker

You know how I said I didn’t really like task-specific gadgets?  This one’s the exception.  Sure, it’s not that hard to make rice on the stove top, but having to get it just right when you’ve got other stuff happening?  It can be a little putzy and this guy takes all the guesswork out it (plus a lot come with a steamer so it’s not totally a single use gadget).  It’s also no more work to clean up after than another pot you would have used to make rice anyway.

 

Friday Favs: Secret Gardens

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We’re going to be working on a couple different projects over the next few months–yard Before pics coming soon!–so I figured some outdoor corners would be nice springtime inspiration for all of us!

 

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Via Better Homes & Gardens

Not gonna lie, but I’m really not a fan of grass. It’s kind of boring and you just have to mow it constantly.  A little bit of river rock filler though?  Nicely textural and will really make the plants pop around it.  Plus I dig the ever-so-slightly overgrown look this little corner is sporting.

 

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Via Sugar and Cloth

Gravel can also make for a cute patio area.  I love how they paired it with pavers here to make a more stable area for the table and chairs.  Also, did you notice the A/C unit?  I barely did.

 

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Via Door Sixteen

Pavers, wood decking, mulch, AND gravel?  Whoa!  I love the mix though… as you may have caught on I think texture is a huge part of landscaping and this setting seems delightfully low maintenance.

 

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Via Holi Coffee

I’m also a sucker for ponds, but I’ll never talk Matt into one in the mosquito haven that is Minnesota.  Maybe a nice little bubbling fountain to kill the standing water….

 

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Via Fine Gardening

Or maybe a dry creek bed?  I love the look of these and they can help out with drainage in problem areas.

 

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Via Shedworking

Perhaps you’ve heard of the new(ish) fad that is the She Shed?  This kind of makes me want one….  Plus, I LOVE the look of ivy, but I know it’s terrible for homes.  I might sacrifice a small shed to it though.

 

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Via Apartment Therapy

If you want another way to get your low maintenance (after it’s done anyway) texture groove on, how about an rock rug? I don’t think I’d have the patience to make one, but they are pretty swoon-worthy.

 

Friday Favs: Swoon-Worthy Stairs

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I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it, but I am a HUGE sucker for staircases.  You have no idea how thrilled I was to find a house with a pretty impressive set of stairs.

 

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Via Jenna Sais Quois

A more traditional vibe than what I usually post, but this one is probably the most similar to the stairs in our house.  I think the two-toned look is fab and I’m seriously considering duplicating it.

 

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Via The Design Nerd (Tumblr)

Exposed brick may be another love of mine.  The sleek modern stairs paired with the more industrial brick is also a contrast I’m particularly fond of.

 

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Via My Ideal Home

While this is clearly not for households who have need of a handrail, I love how bright and airy this is (bonus points for a cozy reading corner)!  Also, can we take a moment to collectively swoon over those beefy wood treads?

 

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Via Real Simple

Maybe your stairs aren’t already making an architectural statement, but this ombre paint treatment would make even the simplest of stairs pop.

 

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Via Lonny

If you fear no pattern you could also opt to wallpaper your risers… or stencil, or tile.  I saw a similar treatment with white textured wallpaper that was pretty divine as well. Plus if you use a removal wallpaper you can easily swap it out as your tastes change.

 

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Via The Glamorous Housewife

Maybe you have some outdoor stairs that you want to stand out.  How amazing are these aged aqua steps??? I wish I had a place for them in my life right now.

 

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Via Bob Villa

If you have a small yard and want to maximize your greenery I think using glass steps over plantings is kind of ingenious.

 

Friday Favs: Book Nooks

Ok… so it’s really more Saturday Favs today but we had family in town last night so I was little distracted. It won’t happen again.*

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It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a bibliophile… in fact I may even be a bit of a book hoarder. You’d think e-books would have made it easier, but I while I use my Kindle app occasionally (mostly when I travel) I still love books.  The feel, the smell, the joy of being in a book store… it’s all wonderful!  This is followed by a pressing need to store my hoard of books.

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Via Little Green Notebook

Floor to ceiling bookshelves and a library ladder?  Be still my heart!

 

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Via Domino

It’s pretty well accepted that technology in the bedroom can be disruptive to your sleep, but surrounding yourself with books?  That seems pretty dreamy to me.

 

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Via Habitually Chic

If a slightly moodier library feel is more your vibe (and you’re not blessed with super tall ceilings) you can frame out your wall ‘o books in a deep color.

 

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Via Desire to Inspire

Or you could opt for a brighter color for a funkier vibe.  I’m kind of in love with that daybed too.

 

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Image Credit: Unknown**

I’ve always been a sucker for attic spaces, but I think this wall of books is especially spectacular.

 

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Via Real Simple

Got a goofy little alcove?  You could turn it into your own personal mini-library.

 

*Actually, I’m pretty sure it will.

**I found this image on Pinterest, but it only seems to link back to Tumblr pages and other round up style posts so I have no idea what the original source is.  If you do, please let me know and I’ll update accordingly.

 

 

Friday Favs: PINK Rugs

I am ridiculously in love with the pink rug in our dining room!  It’s so fun and vibrant and adds a whole new level of dimension to the room.  I had originally planned on getting a neutral rug for the space (yaaaaawn) and then I stumbled across this article on Apartment Therapy talking about how pink is the perfect rug color for almost every room.  A slight exaggeration perhaps, but they had some fabulous examples and I was SOLD.

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If you’re ready to hop on the pink train here are some more rugs to consider–and all are under $300!

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1// Overstock $161 for an 8×10

Over-dyed seems to be big right now.  I think it looks awesome in the right space, but Matt thinks they look like someone took an eraser to them.  To each their own.

2// Anthropologie $248 for a 3×5

Ok, so this one’s not totally pink, but it’s got a solid pink pop and is still pretty spectacular

3// All Modern $150 for a 5×8

I love how this one is slightly reminiscent of a Moroccan pattern.  The bold pattern but more muted color is great if crazy hot pink isn’t for you.

4// Overstock $166 for a 5×7

So this was the rug I originally wanted for the dining room.  I love the balance of color so it doesn’t seem completely overwhelming.  Unfortunately it wasn’t available in the right size when I was actually ready to buy it, but my alternate worked out beautifully too!

 

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Bright not your thing?  No problem.  Pastels aren’t just for baby girls!

1// Overstock $270 for an 8×10

This rug would look uber chic in the right room.  Anyone else kinda dig the black-white-blush-gold palette? It’s hard to tell from the image, but the rug is super plush so it would provide a soft but textural base.

2// Wayfair $275 for an 8×10

A busier pattern, still in a soft color is a great way to add texture too.

3// Rugs USA $200 for a 3×5

This one’s a little bolder, but I think the earthier coral color is divine and it’s not overwhelming.

4// Overstock $250 for a 3×5

And of course, pastel with fringe!  Because fringe.

 

Friday Favs: IKEA Hacks

One of my favorite things about living in St Paul is that we’re about 20 minutes away from IKEA.  The good news for anyone who doesn’t live close to an IKEA is that they’ve started offering a lot more of their furniture for purchase online.

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IKEA has some great basic pieces, but sometimes they need a little extra oomf so your house doesn’t end up looking like an IKEA catalog.

 

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Via Young House Love

Young House Love turned an Expedit (now Kallax) into a stylish changing station for their baby, but this same look would make a great credenza or TV stand too.

 

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Via In My Own Style

Card Catalog style drawers + secretary desk?  I can hardly think of a better upgrade for a TARVA dresser.

 

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Via House of Hawkes

If paint is more your skill level it can still make a huge difference and transform a simple shelf into something a little more glam.  A VITTSJO unit was used here, but you could also ramp up a $15 HYLLIS too!

 

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Via Cleverly Simple

The RAST dresser is one of the most hacked IKEA pieces I’ve seen (I’ve hacked it myself too!).  I love how it’s been turned into a fabulous little nightstand here.

 

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Via Money Saving Sisters

Another simple paint upgrade, this time with a SNILLE chair.

 

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Via The Makerista

I think these built in BILLY bookcases are one of the most divine things ever!  And the addition of a  library ladder?  To DIE for!

 

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Via Oliver & Rust

Need some extra storage for the kitchen?  This island looks fancy, but is really a pretty simple hack, needing just some paint and a new top.  This one used a BEKVAM kitchen cart, but if you want a little extra storage you could use a FORHOJA too.

 

Weekend Assemblage

We’re getting down to the wire now… not that we’re on any actual schedule, but I’m eager to get another room knocked off my list.

Our new light fixture arrived on Thursday and was breeze to put up since there was actually a properly installed electrical box AND modern wiring already in place.  Madness!  The only issue was the electrical box protruding out of the ceiling about 2-3 inches.  We just ran with it and added a collar to make it look a little more intentional.*

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I also tackled some IKEA assembly.  I picked up 2 BRUSALI cabinets to use as buffets flanking the window.  They were inexpensive, a good size, and provided useful storage for some of our extra kitchen gear.  Only problem?  They’re not actually white. WTF Ikea? You call them white, couldn’t you call them “distressed white” or some such thing so people don’t get a nasty shock?  Ugh.  I wish IKEA would keep it’s finishes more consistent, this is just as bad the Stockholm series that’s a funky dirty beige color.  Oh well, that’s what paint is for, right?

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It’s also what IKEA beer is for….**

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These are one of the more obnoxious IKEA I’ve ever put together, and to put that in perspective, I think the MALM dressers are pretty easy.  We managed to slightly damage both in the process, nothing (too) visible, but it wasn’t hard to do.  That and the fact that they’re fairly wibbly-wobbly does not make them one of my favorite IKEA pieces ever. Scale-wise they fit the room pretty well though and they were pretty darn cheap so ultimately I’m feeling pretty good.

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After I got them in place the distressed-ness of the finish wasn’t terribly obvious so I’m holding off on painting them for now.  I am on the hunt for some fancier hardware for them though… although I can’t find anything with the same hole spacing (and I’m sort of in love with these) so I may have to paint them just so I can the patch the holes…

What’s left now you may ask?  The final prettifying*** is yet to come.  I need to pick up some final accessories, our rug should arrive sometime this week and then it’s just styling and staging.  And the room’s not really done until it’s properly accessorized.  If all goes smoothly we should be done within the next  week!

 

 

 *Not gonna lie, the fact that the seam on the shade is on the most visible side ever drives me a little bonkers.

**Ok, so 1) It’s not really IKEA beer, they just styled the labeling as an IKEA spoof and 2) I’m not a beer drinker so wine was my comfort of choice.  It was too fun not to pass up!

***Whoa, spellcheck says this actually a word!  I thought I was making it up!

Friday Favs: Statement Ceilings

Were you inspired by our faux tin ceiling?  I hope you were!  Ceilings are an all too often neglected part of the room.  People spend their time picking out paint and wall coverings, choosing the perfect flooring and furniture…. and paint their ceilings the off-white color of the ceiling paint right out of the can…. why?  You should think of your ceilings as a 5th wall, just as deserving of attention as all your other walls.

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If you’re feeling like showing your ceilings a little love, here’s a roundup of inspiration.

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Via Dave Fox Design Build

The easiest option is to just consider the color of the ceiling. If your walls are more neutral a pop of color can be a fun accent.

 

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Via SF Girl by Bay

You can also bring the ceiling color down into the room bit.

 

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Via The Blog Deco

Or onto an entire wall

 

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Via Little Green Notebook

Maybe you’re not feeling the paint, but wallpaper doesn’t have to be be just for the vertical walls.  Julia Rothman’s Daydream is a pretty perfect pattern for a ceiling.

 

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Via Contemporist

If you’re not up for covering the entire ceiling you always just add a focal point.  This one has the added bonus of being an amazingly dramatic headboard too.

 

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Via Atlanta Homes

Not my normal aesthetic, but ceiling was too spectacular not to share!

Friday Favs: Paper Flowers

I have a weakness for paper flowers.  They’re beautiful in their own way without looking just like a fake flower.  With Easter right around the corner they seemed like a good Friday inspiration.  If you’ve got some time on Saturday you could even whip some up for centerpieces or get crafty with your kiddos.

 

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Via Project Nursery

Tissue paper dahlias are probably the most basic option, but they look pretty spectacular as a backdrop.

 

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Via Design*Sponge

Daffodils are possibly the quintessential spring flower, but these you could keep year round.

 

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Via Smile Mercantile

Go big or go home right? If you have an over-sized floor vase this would be the perfect spring addition.

 

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Via DRI

The instructions are in Spanish, but the pictures are pretty easy to follow to make fun watercolor mums.

 

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Via Martha Stewart Weddings

Mmm… Magnolias!  They’re one of my favs, but we’re nowhere near their natural range.  These might be my own weekend craft.

 

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Via Oh Happy Day

This flower garland doesn’t have to accessorize a giant egg (although it is pretty cute).  You could also use it a runner for a centerpiece at Easter dinner (or your next springy brunch!).