2.15.2019

Arugula & Quinoa Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Happy Friday!

I hope you had a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Ours was super low key this year, as Bryce was traveling all day yesterday. We usually cook a fancy meal together, but instead opted for fancy takeout.

Today I'm excited to be sharing a recipe for my all time favorite salad: Arugula & Quinoa Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette. Whenever I ask about content y'all want on the blog, the #1 answer is recipes, so I hope you're excited, too!

This recipe originally came from a website called A Nutritionist Eats, which no longer is online.

It is light, healthy and delicious and also is great leftover (a true feat for salad). It is my go to when entertaining. In fact, I probably make it about 90% of the time when entertaining, so much so that my friends will expect it.




Ingredients
For the Salad
1 cup cooked quinoa (I usually measure 1/4 to 1/3 cup uncooked)
6-8 cups arugula (at least one container of arugula, sometimes a little more if for a crowd)
1/2 cup almonds, toasted and chopped (almonds are best, but pecans are tasty, too!)
For the Vinaigrette
1 tbsp lemon zest (about 1 lemon - I zest and then squeeze for juice below)
2 tbsp lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey
3 tbs minced shallots (about 1 shallot)
salt & pepper (I always prefer kosher salt on my salads)

Directions
1. Prepare quinoa as directed and let cool.

2. Whisk together all vinaigrette ingredients.

3. Toss quinoa, arugula, and dressing until combined.

4. Top with almonds (you can toss with the almonds, but I find for entertaining, pouring on top last makes for a prettier presentation).

5. Voila, easy peasy! Enjoy!

Do you have a favorite salad recipe?

What are your go-tos when entertaining or feeding a crowd?

Have a great weekend!

2.13.2019

2019 Valentine Making Party

Happy Valentine's Day Eve, my friends!

I've always been a big fan of Valentine's Day, even when I was single. A day devoted to pink, red, hearts, and flowers is a win in my book single or taken!

Given my love of the holiday, I decided getting the chance to spread love with some of my best girls could be quite fun and hosted my first ever Valentine Making Party in 2014 (see here). It was an instant hit with my friends and since has become a bit of a tradition. I hosted a second in 2016 (here), third in 2018, and this year managed to host two years in a row for the first time with a 2019 edition. I gathered about 10 girlfriends last Thursday night and am excited to share with you today.


First things first: Supplies! After hosting this party so many times, I didn't even have to purchase supplies this year, though I did notice my stock is getting low on a few items. Here you can go as simple or complex as you'd like. Key elements are construction paper and/or card stock, markers, scissors, and glue. From there you can add to the mix with stickers, paper doilies, pom poms, scrapbook paper, feathers, balloons, and my personal favorite, googly eyes! Really just about any craft supplies can get added to the table, and I try to keep them all in a red, pink, and purple color theme for aesthetic purposes. I also am always sure to put the tablecloth (similar here) shown above on the table. It is vinyl which wipes clean easily and padded with flannel on the backside. This means people can craft away with no worries about damaging our dining room table! The "love" runner on top was a TJ Maxx find years ago. Finally, another crafting tip is to have trash cans at the ready. I put two on opposite corners for easy access, that you can see in a photo toward the bottom of the post.


To encourage creativity I also display an inspiration poster. It has a mix of sample valentines that are both cute and cheeky!

Next up, and equally important, is food and drink!


Every year I make champagne punch for the occasion! It is so perfectly pink and festive and a big hit. You top a container of raspberry sherbet with a bottle of champagne, a bottle of ginger ale, and a bag of frozen strawberries. Easy peasy! You can top it off with more champagne to refill as needed throughout the night.

 

I also had lemon water, La Croix, and red and white wine available for guests.

For menu, I replicated the menu from last year's party to a tee. It was easy, crowd pleasing, and quick to pull together on a weeknight. It also has options to satisfy both vegetarians and guests who are gluten free.


Pimiento cheese is a Southern staple and if you're in Richmond, Yellow Umbrella's is hands down the best. I always will make an extra trip there for it when entertaining. I serve it with Pecan Nut Thins which are gluten free, and complement the cheese well. A pre-made veggie tray is easy to kick up a notch with hummus for dipping and pretty presentation.


I also like to serve a few items that are a bit more hearty so people don't leave hungry. These chicken salad bites have become an entertaining staple since getting the idea from a friend. Just scoop chicken salad on top of granny smith apple slices and top with a pecan. Poppyseed ham biscuits are classic Virginia, and while they're very easy to make, they're even easier to buy premade for weeknight entertaining. These came from Yellow Umbrella, as well. Finally, this arugula salad is my go to for entertaining and a favorite amongst my family and friends (recipe coming Friday!).


I'm going to try and link up as much of my serveware as I can find online below, but will note that these rectangular platters the chicken salad and ham biscuits are displayed on are a favorite! I received one as a shower gift and have found myself wishing for a second again and again when entertaining. I decided it was time to bite the bullet and literally stopped at Fraiche on my way home from work the day of the party to purchase a second. I tried to keep all serveware to a Beatriz Ball/silver and clear glass theme.


Last, but certainly not least, no Valentine's Day celebration would be complete without sweet treats! These cookie dough rice krispies (recipe here) are a favorite and probably the dessert my friends request most! The rose heart wreath was a CVS find in college and I added the ribbon a couple years ago.


I upped the ante a little this year by using a cookie cutter to make them into hearts. It took a long time, but I think the cuteness factor was worth it! I make these the night ahead.


I can't resist showing you a couple snapshots of some additional decor. I didn't go all out this year, but the little Valentine's Day touches sure do bring a smile to my face.


The felt garland was a Michael's or Target find years ago and is so sweet.


There's nothing quite like pink tulips in the dead of winter! The pink and red blocks were a Target dollar section find in college and spell "XOXO," "KISS," "HUGS," and "LOVE."

Once the party started, I only managed to snap two pictures, which was a sign of a good party in my book!


What I love about this photo is that each of these 4 ladies is a friend from a different facet of my life - I really enjoy bringing different groups together!


And here's a sampling of our masterpieces! Those googly eyes! Mine is the love bug!



How do you celebrate Valentine's Day?

Do you like making handmade cards or prefer store bought?

Are there any parties you throw year after year?

Have a great Valentine's Day, love bugs!

1.25.2019

Bedroom Design: Reality

TGIF, readers!

Those who follow along on Instastories know I decided to delay this post to today, since Bryce had a work dinner last night and I chose to spend Wednesday night focused on him rather than blogging.

I'm excited to share the final post in my bedroom refresh series. Hopefully the next post related to this will be a reveal of the updates in the next few months!

If you're just tuning in, be sure to check out the other posts in the series:

In these posts, I started with the inspiration for a bedroom refresh, and worked my way up to a design. Today I'll share the plans I have to incorporate into our bedroom now.

As mentioned in the Dream post, pattern play is still a must for me, but I decided to go with a bit more neutral palette.


After playing around a bit, I decided on this combination: Kravet Xu Garden Veridian (existing shams and bedskirt), this neutral leopard (not sure of fabric source, but have chosen this bolster and these pillows in it), and Colefax and Fowler's Bowood.

I actually polled on Instagram asking for a vote on this combination and the vote I got was about 60 yay/40 nay. I was surprised, because it's rare to get such a close split. I'm wondering if the Bowood feels too traditional or grandma-ish for some? I also have had some reservations, because while it's timeless; it is definitely on trend right now. I keep seeing it over and over as I scroll Instagram, so while I'm about 90% sure I'm going to stick with the plan as shown here, I'm going to keep thinking on it a little longer. I don't want to go with Bowood because it's in now and then regret it. Plus, I keep coming across other fabrics I love like this one. this one, this one, and this one.

Okay, so assuming I stick to the plan, let me share it! If I end up veering off the Bowood path, the overall plan will remain the same, the Bowood pieces will just be replaced with a different fabric.

As mentioned on Tuesday, I've wanted to add a bolster to our bed for a while. I excitedly told Bryce my plan was to reduce the number of pillows on the bed, but he wasn't all that impressed decreasing from 7 to 5 (not counting the pillows we sleep on). I originally chose this leopard, but decided the neutral would be more versatile than blush and liked the idea of adding velvet into the mix as a new texture. 

The impetus for the rest of the plan came when we decided to convert our sunroom into Bryce's office. We're still working to complete that update, but have started the process. Namely, we moved the club chairs from the sunroom into our bedroom and the leather chair and plaid ottoman (that never really matched our bedroom) down to the sunroom. This gave me a springboard to create the seating area I've always wanted in our bedroom and do some additional updates to tie the whole space together.

This is the starting palette:

 

The blurry spot in the photo below is a bookshelf I edited out. It's an eyesore providing storage in our 1950s home that has next to none, but it's getting out of our bedroom, so I went ahead and removed for these purposes. Additionally, I had envisioned the chairs flanking the window seat, but the window isn't actually centered in the room, so this layout worked better.


So now for the fun part! I played around with different combinations to find the perfect design.

I played with the idea of keeping our ikat pillows (I do really love the pattern mix) with the bolster, as well as two small bolsters. Neither was quite right...


I also played with the idea of adding both Bowood and the leopard on the bed, and really love the look of the 3 Bowood pillows with the bolster, but that would increase not decrease the pillow count.


I finally settled on the original, simple plan of just the bolster with the existing matelasse euro shams and trellis standard shams. It evokes the calm feeling I'm going for, and I love that it lets the trellis shine.


Wanting to still incorporate the Bowood to this part of the room to make the overall plan flow, I decided to go with a Bowood tablecloth for my nightstand. The thought is that in a future dream bedroom that will hopefully have the space for matching nightstands, this table could perhaps go into the seating area.  You can see a mock up here, with the throw I mentioned Tuesday (comes in 29 colors!) for an added pop of color.

Fun Fact: 
My grandmother petit point embroidered 
the bench at the end of our bed as a teenager!

 Next, I turned my sites to the sitting area. I opted to add leopard pillows to the chairs to match the bolster and a basket beneath the existing table. As mentioned Tuesday, I find that natural fibers bring a cozy feel to spaces, and I have a few baskets similar to this one throughout our home. I even already found the perfect, rectangular shaped one for this space at Home Goods, my go to source for baskets!


I decided Bowood could have its place in our window seat and couldn't resist a fabulous monogram, as well for the window seat. It adds another pop of color and I really love a monogram in a bedroom. Our bedding doesn't really lend itself to monograms, so this dupioni silk pillow brings the couture monogram look I love in bedrooms. I've also already ordered this pillow for the space opting for my monogram. Bryce and I are not the hugest fans of the couple's monogram (just our preference!) and instead have opted for the more traditional Southern route of using her monogram for linens and his monogram for barware. Because of the size of the window seat, I created a custom order for a toddler sized pillow, and will need to go with 16" pillows in the window seat. 

And just because I'm obsessed with this pillow, I'll show you a close up. Aside from having to go with a smaller size, I chose everything else to be identical to this one shown in terms of monogram style and color selection. I can't wait for it to arrive!


So there you have it!

I plan to order the leopard bolster and pillows next, and as mentioned am going to think a little longer on the Bowood. I'm 90% there, but just want to give it some additional time to be sure, especially considering it's more of a splurge fabric, and that we have a few other little home refresh projects going on right now. 

Did you like this four part series, or did you get bored?

Are you a fan of Bowood?

What colors and style do you have in your bedroom, or want in your dream bedroom?

Have a great weekend!

1.22.2019

Bedroom Design: Dream

Happy Tuesday, friends!

Did you have yesterday off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day?

I always think back to my kindergartners on this holiday. You can read a little about my lessons around the holiday, in this post from my teaching days.

Now for today's post...Friday turned into Tuesday! I was very excited for my 3 part series posting Monday, Wednesday, Friday, but the end of the last week just got crazy! That said, as I've put the finishing touches on this post, I've decided it's just too much content for one post, so the 3 part series will now be a 4 part series. I hope you're not tired of my bedroom yet!

As mentioned last week, I've been wanting to refresh our bedroom a little bit over the last several months. Over the last year or so, I've found that I'm drawn more to calm and neutral spaces and want a bit more subdued and serene design in our bedroom. When decorating our current house, the balance is always in choosing where to splurge and where to save. We know we won't be in this house forever, so I try to splurge on items I know I can use down the road; and save on items that may not be a fit for a future home. For example, I'd love to get an updated rug for our bedroom. That said, it just doesn't make sense to splurge on that now, when we may be in a bedroom that needs a bigger or smaller rug once we're in the next house. Pillows and bed linens, however, will "fit" in any bedroom so I have no problem splurging on those now.

All that to say, it doesn't mean I don't dream of the ideal bedroom, so for today's post I thought it would be fun to start with the dream and then share my reality design in Part 4 on Thursday.

We'll start with the focal point of a bedroom, the bed and then we'll look at my dream bedroom sitting area.

Similar to my Gift Guides, I'm linking my rationale for each design element, with links, below the design image. If you want to skip that, you can just scroll through and admire the pictures!


As a reminder, here is a picture of the current situation. I still do love everything about it, however, it just doesn't have quite the serene, calm bedroom feel I want at this stage.

Let's break it down:
The Bed: This is our current bed. It is actually 4 posters, but for the purposes of creating this design, it was easier just to crop out the end. I do get a few requests on Instagram for the source of this bed each year. It was handmade by a local company, Suter's, that has been in business since 1839. It is the Pencil Post Bed in mahogany.
Linens: All the linens you see are current, with the exception of the bolster pillow. The matelasse quilt and euro shams were from Garnett Hill and no longer made. I actually hunted for this exact style for a few years when I was still in college. I knew exactly what I wanted and said when I found it, I was going to buy it to have for my "grown up" home someday. I posted about them, actually, in my first few months of blogging in 2011 here. I love is the scalloped edge, the euro shams, and that it's heavier than a coverlet. Garnet Hill, if you're reading here (ha!) please bring the Orleans line back... after nearly 8 years, and Millie, I could use a new quilt! I have found a few similar options here (coverlet, shams), here, and here. I had the trellis standard shams and bedskirts custom made and the fabric is Kravet Xu Garden Veridian. Finally, the bolster, which I'm planning to order soon was something I had thought of incorporating for a while. Once I saw this bedroom by Molly Basile Interiors, I was sold. I was also sold on adding Bowood to the mix! Wanting to add some pattern and texture, while still remaining neutral, I chose this natural leopard in velvet.
Sunburst Mirror: When we first got the four poster bed, Bryce and I were just dating and our home was just his home at the time. The bed felt very traditional to me, so the sunburst mirror and other modern details like the ikat pillows currently on our bed were compromises we made to modernize the space when I moved in. This sunburst mirror was a Martha Stewart for Home Depot steal that was all over the blog world circa 2013ish. It's no longer available, but I've found some similar affordable options here, here, and here. I absolutely love a sunburst above a bed and think it perfectly fits my traditional meets modern style.
Mirrored Nightstands: Given the space constraints of our current bedroom, we're not able to have matching nightstands. Bryce's side of the bed really only has room for a walkway and slim nightstand. My dream is to someday have a pair of mirrored nighstands, though, and these I found for the design come in at a great price point. A close second to mirrored nightstands are these raffia nightstands at a not so great price point.
Bedside Lamps: I'm a big fan of symmetry if you can't tell and these splurge lamps are just gorgeous!
Bedside Art: When thinking of art, my brain went to symmetry again. I didn't want botanicals which would compete with the Bowood chintz fabric, or, mirrors that would compete with the sunburst. I eventually decided to opt for framed calligraphy. While not a big fan of word art, I think in a bedroom displaying your wedding vows or readings as art is quite romantic. It's affordable custom art, and you can bring in some color by having the calligraphy done over watercolor as shown here (though my exact dream one would have more of a pale coral watercolor to tie in with the coral throw), or through different ink choices. The calligraphy shown is from my amazing wedding calligrapher Virginia Lucas Hart (I bet you can spy our custom wedding invites and crest on her Past Work page). There are also many options on Etsy: I liked this one and this one. To frame the calligraphy, I opted for a splurge (since you're saving on the art!) burlwood gallery frame. I love that the burlwood brings another texture into the room and is a nice contrast to the mirrored nighstands and mahogany bed.
Bedside Accessories: I'm drawn to spaces that feel lived in, so topped my dream nightstands with some accessories. Books for both, of course, a stylish table clock for him, a tray and blue and white bud vase for her.
Bowood Bench: Can we talk about this bench!? I'm in love and made it "custom" for this design! Chintz can feel grandma really quick, so the ultra modern lucite bench legs are just what the doctor ordered! A pretty throw (comes in 29 colors!) atop the bench brings a pop of color I love and feels cozy.
Floor & Walls: Last, but, certainly not least, I have to mention the floor and walls. A cream rug feels soft in a bedroom and this wool one is affordable and has great reviews! For fun, I added grasscloth wallpaper to the walls. I've been dreaming of a grasscloth bedroom since seeing the bedroom of the always stylish Sue, the lady behind The Zhush.

The next and final part of my dream design, is a sitting area! A nice little sitting area in a room is wonderful for putting on shoes, enjoying a glass of wine as you get ready or relax with a face mask, and of course, is a place to throw and pile up all your discard clothes (ha!).


When envisioning this room, I simply added some square footage to our current bedroom and adjusted the windows a bit. In my dream design, if you were standing facing the bed in the last image, this set up would be to your right on the adjacent wall. 

Window Treatments: Let's start with that big window I designed! I couldn't stop with Bowood just on the bench, so my dream bedroom would have Bowood draperies as well. Again, to modernize the chintz, they'd be hung on a fabulous lucite and brass curtain rod! I'd also add a bamboo Roman shade. I love that natural elements like bamboo can really ground a space and also make them feel inviting. It's all about the mix and this dream bedroom should feel traditional and modern, masculine and feminine, formal and inviting. 
Club Chairs: These swivel chairs are casual chic and a great price point! To top them off, I added a leopard velvet pillow to each which matches the bolster on the bed.
Moroccan Pouf: A neutral Moroccan pouf adds some masculinity to the space, and while these poufs aren't all the rage they were a few years ago, I still love them! I'll never forget saving up to order a blush pink one for our sun room ages ago that cost $165...which felt very much like a splurge at the time. It's now in our living room and still a favorite.
Garden Stool: I have this very garden stool in our dining room. I treat blue and white pieces as a neutral throughout our home and think it's the perfect little table between the chairs.
Tortoise Frame: I've admired this Kate Spade frame for ages, and am not sure why I haven't ever bit the bullet and ordered it. I go gaga for anything tortoise. It's small size makes it perfect atop the garden stool.
Tocca Candle: As you're sipping wine, propping your feet up on the pouf reading and enjoying a face mask, this lightly scented candle will add to the overall ambiance.

Now, if you've made it this far, a few final notes:

  • On the wall to the right of the bed, adjacent to the sitting area, my dream bedroom would have this ahhh-mazing antique bamboo secretary!
  • I'd also add a fabulous dresser to the space. I really love this one and this one.
  • My dream bedroom would also have a dream closet like this one, and a dream bath like this one.
What do you think?

What would be the musts in your dream bedroom?

Do neutral, calm spaces appeal more to you, or bright, bold spaces?

Be sure to tune in Thursday to see how I'm taking this dream vision and adapting it for our reality!

Have a great day!

1.16.2019

Beautiful Bowood Bedrooms

Happy Wednesday, friends!

If you tuned in on Monday, you'll know from that post Eight Interior Designers to Follow that I'm doing a three part series on the blog this week culminating with a design plan to refresh our bedroom.

Monday, I "introduced" you to some seriously talented ladies whose design has been inspiring me, and today I'm sharing a fabric that has been inspiring me.

First, though, I'll note that my design style has really evolved in the last year or so. While still a fan of bright colors and bold prints, I've found myself more attracted to neutral palettes where bright and bold serve simply as "pops" rather than taking center stage. When thinking to design in my own home, an overly loud space feels a little overwhelming and exhausting. This especially rings true to me when thinking of a bedroom.

You can take a peek here at my current bedroom decor. Don't get me wrong, the bright ikat paired with the ultra traditional trellis does make my heart flutter, but, what it doesn't do is evoke calm, relax, rest...things I find to be pretty crucial in a bedroom.

The good news is that our base - white matelasse bedding (similar coverlet and shams) with trellis shams and bedskirt (fabric here) - are classics that will stand the test of time. The rest are just accessories that can be easily switched out with mood or style evolution over time. And I've given a lot of thought over the last several months to how I want to update those accessories. Don't fret, pattern play will still be be a part of the overall scheme, it will just be more subdued and subtle.

One pattern I've kept going back to is Colefax and Fowler's classic Bowood chintz. While it's definitely having a moment right now, it is undoubtedly timeless and as the photos below show, truly versatile.

Let's take a look shall we?

I'll let the fabric do (most of) the talking from here on out...

Whens scheming my bedroom plans, accent colors I considered were pink and lilac. I think I've decided on pink, but this bedroom belonging to the stylish Julia Engel does lilac so well.

I love, love, love the Bowood headboard and bedskirt and those bed linens are so cute! 
Those sconces are fab, too, while we're at it!

The Bowood headboard and canopy! The luxe velvet pillow! The lamp that looks nearly identical to my bedside lamp! Swoon!

This space by Clary Bosbyshell, who was featured in my post, on Monday is so cozy and calm.

And last, but certainly not least, all the love for this perfectly pink space. Designed by Richmond designer Suellen Gregory, this bedroom belongs to Katie Ukrop the lady behind Richmond's 
(also perfectly pink) Quirk Hotel and Quirk Gallery.

I can't wait to show you the vision I have on Friday for Bowood in our bedroom!

Are you a fan of chintz and Bowood?

Or do you prefer more modern fabrics?

Have a great day!