Anti-vase flower vase

There’s almost nothing better than decorating my home with flowers – especially when we are entertaining. I love using colorful seasonal flowers (like beautiful peonies that are in season right now!) and soon enough I’ll have my own little garden to grow my favorites for the freshest picked varieties!

For dining table centerpieces I adhere to the rule of keeping flowers either lower than eye level or above 18 inches, but every once in a while, I want to mix it up.

I recently saw an eggshell vase similar to below and it inspired me to compile a go-to list of other unique flower “vases.” I mean how cute is the eggshell centerpeice for brunch?

Some of my other favorites:

 Antique mason jars = my favorite

In a chalice/ glass with dirt

Love using wine/ glass olive oil bottles

 Pitchers are also one of my favs. This one is from an earlier post

 Flowers displayed in a simple tin!

What’s your go-to anti-vase?

Advertisements

St. Patrick’s Day Green Treats

So… St. Patty’s Day is upon us. I typically don’t do anything special for this holiday but it certainly is a good excuse to hang with friends and [over] indulge in some fun food and drinks!

This year we have a St. Patty’s day brunch at a friend’s house, a St. Patty’s day bar-b-que later that afternoon and a wedding that night! Needless to say, I will not be hosting any parties but I wanted to share some recipes of what I would be making for those of you looking for ideas.

Let me know if you try any of them!

Photo courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

Shamrock Cookies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter (1-1/2 sticks)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoonsalt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract or vanilla
  • Few drops green food coloring
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Green colored sugar
Directions1.In a large mixer bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until softened (about 30 seconds). Add sugar and salt and beat until fluffy.2. Add the egg, peppermint extract or vanilla, and a few drops of green food coloring. Beat mixture well.

3. With mixer on low speed gradually add flour to butter mixture and beat well.

4. Divide dough into 3 equal parts. Shape each part into a roll about 1 inch thick and about 8 inches long. Roll each in green colored sugar. Wrap rolls in plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 1 week.

5. Unwrap rolls. Slice crosswise so the slices are 1/4 inch thick. To shape each shamrock, place 3 slices of dough with sides touching in a shamrock shape on an ungreased cookie sheet. Cut a stem from a fourth slice and attach to the shamrock (save the rest of this slice for cutting other shamrock stems). Gently push the slices together so each leaflet curves in slightly.

6. Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 8 minutes or until edges are light brown. With a pancake turner lift the cookies onto a cooling rack to cool. Makes 32 cookies.

Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens here.

 

Photo courtesy of Taste of Home

St. Patrick’s Day Pistacio Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/4 cups 2% milk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Green food coloring, optional
  • Cream cheese frosting

Directions

  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, pudding mix, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, beat the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; add to dry ingredients and mix until blended.
  • Fill paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 375° for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Add food coloring to frosting if desired; frost cupcakes. Yield: 1 dozen.

Recipe from Taste of Home here.

Photo courtesy of Betty Crocker

Ingredients

1  pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® sugar cookie mix

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon mint extract

6  to 8  drops green food color

1 egg

1  cup creme de menthe baking chips

1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks

Directions 

  • Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, butter, extract, food color and egg until soft dough forms. Stir in creme de menthe baking chips and chocolate chunks.
  • Using small cookie scoop or teaspoon, drop dough 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool 3 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Serve warm or cool completely. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

Recipe from Betty Crocker here.

Spring Reading List

Reading is somewhere on my top 10 favorite things to do with my time when its the weekend/ when I am on a vacation but, I have to admit, flipping through picture-filled pages of a pretty book or magazine might be higher. And let me tell you: a fabulous coffee table book collection is wonderful until it comes moving time; they are SO heavy!!

But, that doesn’t keep me from lusting for more! Below are some new books that have recently caught my eye.

The Sartorialist II, Scott Schuman

I was so excited when Scott Schuman’s first book came out that I ran to the first local book signing and snagged a seat at his Q&A forum with a fashion editor. I love the chance to hear straight from an author about their inspirations, trials and favorite parts of putting a book together. It just makes the book so much more personal.

The Sartorialist was pretty successful and since Scott’s fame and following has only grown, I imagine I am not the only one waiting to see what the second volume includes. Word on the street says it won’t be out until September but we can anticipate the best of his street-style photography and tons of exclusives not released on the blog!

Paris versus New York, Vahram Muratyan

A completely new take, but nonetheless still a tale of two cities, except this time its from the perspective of an art director/ graphic designer. I love both cities so much that I can respect the fact that this book promises to be ‘friendly’.

By Invitation Only, Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson

Who doesn’t love Gilt Groupe? Years ago when I worked for a fashion publication, these women and their “online sample sales” came up in many editorial meetings as the next big thing. Now with more segments and markets than I care to count [Gilt City, Jetsetter, Taste, etc.] and new imitators popping up weekly, they have certainly proved that they are in it for the long game. Their book promises to share “straight talk” on how the women followed their passions and created a start-up with a behind the scenes look at the fashion industry. Kind of a mix of business and pleasure!

You can pre-order the book now but you will have to wait until April!

Diana Vreeland The Eye Has to Travel, Lisa Immordino Vreeland

I’m not sure how much this book weighs [maybe they should start listing that in the book descriptions?], but I’m sure its worth it. The book chronicles 50 years of this iconic fashion editor’s lavish life and international style. It promises tons of photos, original fashion magazine spreads and a glimpse into this visionary’s sense of fashion.

“The only real elegance is in the mind; if you’ve got that, the rest really comes from it.”

-Diana Vreeland

DIY Deconstructed Book Bundles

I love this look from Restoration Hardware; these deconstructed books look soft and structured at the same time. And the best part? These book bundles can fit anywhere in your house. They can be stacked in an old fireplace, laid in a wicker or metal basket or piled high on any side table or trunk.

Over the weekend, I decided to make a few my self to bring a little vintage vibe to my bedroom. It was so simple to make (and cheap!0. You only need two things:

  • Old soft cover books – I grabbed some of my old novels and some college reading material which I can’t believe I was still holding on to! You could also pick up some old books [the older looking the better!] at a half priced book store.
  • Twine – I picked up some jute twine at the grocery but you can use any type white or brown

I used six books. Three were about the same size and the other three were slightly different sizes to make two unique-looking bundles.

I pulled off the front and back covers from each book leaving the binding exposed [but the book still in tact]. I also flipped through the first couple of pages at the front of the book so I could have a blank page exposed at the top. I noticed that some of the newer books didn’t have a blank page at the beginning so I tore out some of the “uglier” pages and left the first chapter page on top. I kind of like it that way… the book is just left open on the first chapter waiting for someone to flip through it again.

Stack our books you want to bundle. Mine were in stacks of three but you can stack as many as you want depending on their thickness. Starting at the bottom of the stack, I wrapped the jute twine around the books horizontally, twisted it in the middle [at the top of the stack of books] and wrapped around the books again vertically so you are back to the bottom. I looped the jute twine under the bottom thread and tied a knot. Then, I simply made sure the twine was tight and the books were secure and cut off any excess jute.

There you have it: your deconstructed bundle of books that only cost you a fraction of the price tag at Restoration Hardware!

Framed Photo Wall

This has been a long time coming. I really, really dislike bare walls BUT nicely designed and pretty walls take effort and time. I started researching some fun examples earlier this month and got some great ideas. I still have room for improvement but I decided to jump in and at least make something happen!

I wanted it to be basic and consistent but still fun. Eventually I want it to showcase more old photos and include all of our family members!

Has anyone else tried this? Any tips or suggestions?

The Pioneer Woman’s “Knock You Naked” Brownies

That’s right. These brownies are that good!! I enjoyed one [maybe two; okay three] of these at a friend’s house last week and I was hooked! They are just the right amount of gooey, chocolate-y, nutty and sweet. The brownie base is packaged German Chocolate cake mix with evaporated milk, butter and nuts with a layer of ooey carmels and chocolate chips in between the layers of brownie batter.

I topped my brownie with some ice cold vanilla ice cream and was in heaven! Here is the recipe from The Pinoneer Woman. Enjoy!!

Ingredients

  • 1 box (18.5 Ounce) German Chocolate Cake Mix (I Used Duncan Hines)
  • 1 cup Finely Chopped Pecans
  • 1/3 cup Evaporated Milk
  • 1/2 cup Evaporated Milk (additional)
  • 1/2 cup Butter, Melted
  • 60 whole Caramels, Unwrapped
  • 1/3 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1/4 cup Powdered Sugar

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, chopped pecans, 1/3 cup evaporated milk, and melted butter. Stir together until totally combined. Mixture will be very thick.

Press half the mixture into a well-greased 9 x 9 inch square baking pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and set aside.

In a double boiler (or a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of boiling water) melt caramels with additional 1/2 cup evaporated milk. When melted and combined, pour over brownie base. Sprinkle chocolate chips as evenly as you can over the caramel.

Turn out remaining brownie dough on work surface. Use your hands to press it into a large square a little smaller than the pan. Use a spatula to remove it from the surface, then set it on top of the caramel and chocolate chips.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for several hours. When ready to serve, generously sift powdered sugar over the surface of the brownies. Cut into either nine or twelve helpings, and carefully remove from the pan.

*Adapted from the classic “Knock You Naked Brownies” recipe, based on a dessert at the Salt Creek Steakhouse in Breckenridge. These brownies don’t really knock you naked…but almost.