Shared posts

27 Sep 16:30

Spicy Paleo Pumpkin Muffins

by Sabrina Modelle
Paleo Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin pancakes and cinnamon rolls are well and good, but what about those of us who like something savory instead of sweet for our weekday breakfasts? These Paleo muffins prove that pumpkin plays just as well with cumin and paprika as it does with cinnamon and nutmeg.

These muffins make a great grab-and-go breakfast or a healthy afternoon snack. They are also grain-free and very nutritious!

Continue reading "Spicy Paleo Pumpkin Muffins" »

27 Sep 16:07

indian-spiced cauliflower soup

by deb

It’s not even October yet and my friends were already expressing pumpkin spice fatigue yesterday. I have just the antidote: ginger, turmeric, cumin, coriander, fennel, some lime juice, and a chile. Who’s in?

what you'll need

I have only one cauliflower soup recipe on this site — I shared it over 10 years ago. It’s so good and so simple, no updates have been warranted. But flipping my way through Madhur Jaffrey’s Vegetarian India for ways to sate my steadfast Indian cravings, I knew this would be the next addition to the category. A close cousin to these potatoes and cauliflower (aloo gobi) but formatted as a soup, this is my favorite kind, one that doesn’t expect you to have a quart of homemade or boxed stock at the ready, the kind that trusts it is intensely seasoned enough that just water will stretch the flavors into a full soup. More of these, please. (Here’s another, by the way.)

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26 Sep 19:00

Grilled Chicken Nachos in Foil with Sour Cream BBQ Sauce

by Elise Bauer
Grilled Chicken Nachos in Foil with Sour Cream BBQ Sauce

When the fine folks of Stubb’s Legendary Bar-B-Q reached out to us about developing recipes using their BBQ sauce, I practically jumped out of my chair with an enthusiastic YES!

I love Stubb’s. I have great memories of dancing up a storm in my cowboy hat and boots at their place in Austin (my gosh do Texans know how to put on a party, scroll down for evidence).

Their BBQ sauce (we used Stubb’s Original) is everything you’d ever want in a BBQ sauce—deep, rich, tangy, and smoky. (It’s also gluten-free for those of us who like to avoid gluten.)

This recipe for grilled nachos in foil makes use of BBQ sauce twice—once for tossing with the cooked chopped chicken that goes on top of the tortilla chips and cheese, and once again mixed in with some sour cream to drizzle over the nachos.

Continue reading "Grilled Chicken Nachos in Foil with Sour Cream BBQ Sauce" »

27 Sep 10:06

Listen

by swissmiss

Listen Poster

We should all LISTEN a bit more. Poster by Playtype.

26 Sep 16:30

Slow Cooker Cajun-Spiced Stuffed Peppers

by Lisa Lin
Slow Cooker Stuffed Peppers

Have you ever tried making stuffed peppers in your slow cooker? These slow cooker Cajun stuffed peppers are great alternative to the usual oven-cooked method for busy weeknights.

Just pop them into your slow cooker for a few hours, and you’ll have a tasty meal waiting for you.

Continue reading "Slow Cooker Cajun-Spiced Stuffed Peppers" »

26 Sep 12:00

How They Do It: Secrets of People Who Are Always Full of Energy

by Anne Momber

You know who I'm talking about. The people who show up at the office bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, every day, like clockwork. They're the ones eating the kind of food you made New Year's resolutions about. The ones who never fail to get their workouts in. The ones who stock their calendar planning events and have all the fun. In other words, they're the people with enviable amounts of energy — enough, it sometimes seems, to power whole neighborhoods. Full disclosure: I am not one of those people. But here are seven things they all have in common.

<p><a href='http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/secrets-of-people-who-are-always-full-of-energy-236250'><strong>READ MORE »</strong></a></p>
23 Sep 18:54

DIY Wooden Planter

by A Beautiful Mess
Shh.listen

Maybe for that bamboo salad bowl we have?

Simple DIY footed planterIf your homemaking mantra, like mine, is "Never enough houseplants," then you might also be ever on the lookout for fun, new planters to hold your green babies. Am I talking about you? Yeah? Well then, this might be the perfect DIY project for you!

Generally I have good luck finding nice pots or vases at thrift stores and flea markets, and I'll occasionally splurge on something I really like from favorite shops like West Elm, but lately I've been exploring easy DIY options to create unique planters I just haven't been able to find in stores. You may have seen my recent lucite plant stand project, which was so easy and nice looking that I just had to translate the idea over to a planter too! And here she is. Lookin' mighty fine, if I do say so myself.

Simple DIY footed planterSimple DIY footed planterSupplies:
-wooden bowl (I got mine here, but these can easily be found at thrift stores.)
-3 wooden ring display cones* (I got a set of 6 from here)
-epoxy cement
-masking tape
-disposable surface (such as a paper plate or piece of cardboard) + disposable stir stick

*I lightly sanded and restained the cones I received in order to better match the bowl. I always have a variety of wood stains on hand, so buying stain for this project wasn't an issue for me. If I didn't have stain options at the ready, I would've been happy enough to leave them as they came.

Simple DIY footed planterStep One: Situate the wooden cones equidistant on the edge of the bowl's bottom. Mark their placement with masking tape. This will make it easy for you to perfectly place the cones during the next step when time is an issue.

Simple DIY footed planterStep Two: Squeeze out an even amount of the two epoxy ingredients from the tube onto a disposable surface. Quickly mix them together with a disposable stir stick, then goop some epoxy onto the flat edge of the cones/feet. Spread the epoxy lightly and evenly, then press the feet into place on the bottom of the bowl. The epoxy will set up very quickly, so you don't have much time to fuss here. Hence the taping from the previous step.

Make sure to immediately remove the masking tape, lest any of the epoxy set up over top of it!

Simple DIY footed planter

Drainage Considerations

If your wood bowl is not already sealed, I definitely recommend lightly sanding and spraying down the bowl with polyurethane to make it waterproof. You may choose to drill drainage holes into the bottom of this planter, in which case I would recommend sealing the wood inside the holes with polyurethane as well. If you don't, you risk rotting the wood as it becomes soaked with water.

Simple DIY footed planterI cut down the sides of a fancy plastic self-watering pot to fit inside this planter so the water could drain into the saucer inside of the wooden bowl. I bought two plastic pots to try out, and one ended up being the perfect size! Using this interior planter is great for the succulents I'm using and certainly is a lot easier than dealing with drainage holes in the wooden bowl itself. If you are planting something like pothos that doesn't need soaking and ample drainage, I wouldn't worry about drainage holes. Just don't overwater it.

Simple DIY footed planterThis footed planter is a nice size for a table centerpiece, and the contents can be changed up depending on the season. And hey, if you feel really crafty, why not paint it a fun color? I have a feeling a little paint job may be in this guy's future, but for now, the wood finish provides the perfect cozy touch for the fall and winter seasons. -Mandi

Credits //Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess actions.

22 Sep 14:04

fall refresh, two ways.

by erin

fall refresh, two ways
Today is the first day of Fall and isn’t that a nice thing to think about?  I’m a sucker for season change. The shift in weather, the memory of past seasons coupled with the promise of a new year offering something just a little bit different. When the season’s associated with warm spices and breezy days and leaves crunching underfoot, well, then all the better. Yes, I’ll take all the clichés, please and thank you.

I contributed to a Lonny Mag piece earlier this week and gave a few ideas for how to freshen up a home for fall. No surprise, my tips don’t include buying much of anything new, but the story did inspire me to do a little two ways and expand on a few ideas you can use to refresh your space, either by making a smart investment or just investing a little time.

Check out the original story here. Get a few other ideas down below:

Brighten Your View, Two Ways:
+ Upgrade your curtains to something calm and cozy.
+ Wash the curtains you have, wipe away the water spots on the windows from those summer thunderstorms, and watch the fall sunshine stream in.

Bring in Fall Colors, Two Ways:
+ Add a warm touch to your entryway with a richly colored rug.
+ Collect freshly fallen leaves and get a lil’ crafty with some washi tape and a blank wall. 

Hang Up Your Stuff, Two Ways:
+ Bring home a new set of hooks to wrangle clutter and get things off the ground.
+ Clear off the hooks you already have and decide carefully what you hang back up. If there’s something you don’t use or aren’t currently wearing either pass it along to someone else or tuck it away for safe-keeping.

Keep Your Floor Clean, Two Ways:
+ Replace a grody or threadbare doormat with something clean and new and built to last.
+ Give your doormat a deep clean by shaking out the dirt, vacuuming it up, and giving her an old fashioned scrub with a sturdy brush and dish soap.

Swap Out Your Art, Two Ways:
+ Invest in a new statement piece to love forever.
+ Move what you already have around. Shifting an existing piece to a new wall will give a whole new look without costing a dime.

Upgrade Your Closet, Two Ways
+ Splurge on the new fall flannel you’ve been eyeing.
+ Give your dresser drawers a good once-over, make sure you love everything in them, do a little refold/reorganization to get them looking new again.

Cozy Up Your Bed, Two Ways
+ Go for that set of super-soft flannel sheets that reminds you of being a kid.
+ Pull the warm blankets out of summer storage, air it out in the sunshine, hit with a little lavender water, and drape it over your bed.

Set the Mood, Two Ways
+ Get a little spooky with a set of black beeswax tapers.
+ Set those apple peels, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and cider to simmer on your stove and fill the house with the smells of autumn.

Set Your Table, Two Ways
+ Fill it with dark woods and gooey cheeses.
+ Haul out whatever you’ve got, invite your friends over for a pot of chili, pour goblets of red wine.

Control Your Clutter, Two Ways
+ Tuck unsightly bills out of sight with a beautiful leather wall envelope.
+ Get ahead of the holiday junk mail influx and get yourself off unwanted mailing lists now.

22 Sep 11:06

Lemony Linguini With Zucchini

by swissmiss

Lemony Linguini with Zucchini

Found this mouth watering recipe for Lemony Linguini With Zucchini by Sam Linsell of Drizzle & Dip over on A Cup of Jo. This dish combines raw zucchini with cooked pasta! Yum!

22 Sep 11:08

Flip Clock

by swissmiss

Flip Clock

The Flip Clock is beautifully old-school. It would look good in my home!

20 Sep 12:30

Real Life Advice: Buying Land and a Tiny Home to Put On It — How'd You Get That Home?

by Adrienne Breaux
(Image credit: Abe Martinez )

Do you dream of one day buying a bit of land, plunking down a stylish trailer and living a slower-paced, nature-filled, "tiny home" lifestyle? Or perhaps you're just curious how anyone goes about getting that kind of life? Either way, you'll want to check out this advice from Kirsten Dickerson, who lives on 25 acres that includes a 1955 Spartan Mansion (350 square feet) and a 1967 Overlander Airstream (180 square feet). She's a pro now, but she and her husband had never owned land or trailers before this...

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21 Sep 12:45

5 Steps for Setting Up a Morning Meditation Routine — Kitchn

by Apartment Therapy
(Image credit: Amy Covington/Stocksy)

From Kitchn → 5 Tips for Starting a Morning Meditation Practice

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20 Sep 13:00

Beet, Goat Cheese, and Honey Bagels

by A Beautiful Mess
Shh.listen

MMMMMM

Beet, Goat Cheese, and Honey Bagels (via abeautifulmess.com)You know how many grocery stores have a big, clear case of pastries somewhere near the bakery? Temptation island, am I right. :) I don't always open the case and pick out a treat for myself, honestly. Or at least I don't as often as I think about it. Also, why do they always seem to be right by the produce section?! At any rate, more often than not, I think about getting a donut, but when it really comes down to it, I end up reaching for a bagel. Of course I love both, and in a world where calories and carbs don't exist, I reach for both, always—but that's not where we live. :) 

I am a sucker for bagels though—I really am. They are just so comforting! I love the almost-crusty outside and then the soft, chewy insides too. And every now and again, I get the itch to make them at home so that the smell of baking breads fills out the house. One of my favorites is Everything Bagels, and this is sort of a variation on that recipe. It's got some stronger flavors but nothing is overwhelming, just interesting. If you've never made bagels at home before, I highly recommend you give it a try—it's super easy and sort of fun!

Beet, Goat Cheese, and Honey Bagels (via abeautifulmess.com)  Beet, Goat Cheese, and Honey Bagels (via abeautifulmess.com) Beet, Goat Cheese, and Honey Bagels, makes 8

1 large beet (mine was 8 oz.)
1 1/3 cups water
1 tablespoon honey + more for the tops and serving
one package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 oz goat cheese + more for serving
1/4 cup chopped nuts or seeds (I used almonds, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, and poppy seeds)
1 egg
coarse sea salt (1/4 teaspoon or so, no need to be exact here)

First we make some homemade beet juice, but without a juicer.

How to make beet juice without a juicerPeel and cube the beet. I wear gloves and use a potato peeler to do this. Beet juice will stain your hands, wood cutting boards, and sometimes marble counter tops, so do be careful when you work with beets—they can be messy! Add the cubed beets to a small pot with 1 1/3 cups water, bring to a low boil, and cook for 10 minutes until the beet has softened some. Then pour the entire contents into a good blender (I love my Vitamix here!) and blend until smooth. Strain into a glass measuring cup using a fine mesh strainer. You're aiming to get 1 1/4 cups liquid here, but if you come up a little short, just add a little water until you have that amount. 

How to make bagelsNow, while the beet water is still warm, stir in 1 tablespoon of honey, and then pour the yeast over the top of the mixture. Let that sit for a few minutes. It should begin to foam a little, which just means the yeast is working. Doing its yeasty job.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the 3 1/2 cups bread flour and 1 teaspoon salt. Pour the beet/yeast mixture in and stir until a crumbly dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 3-5 minutes until the dough ball becomes somewhat elastic feeling, the surface becoming slightly shiny and smooth. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and allow to rise for 1 hour in a warm, dry spot in your house. If your house is a bit chilly, you can warm your oven a little (not too hot or you'll bake the dough), then turn the oven off. Place the dough in there, with the door slightly ajar or closed (depending how warm you got the inside) and let it rise there. I almost always do this as we tend to keep our house on the chillier side. 

By the way, don't you think the dough kind of looks like a brain here? I don't know what it is about the pink, beet color, but it kind of looks like a brain to me. So maybe this could double as a Halloween baking project for kiddos/adult Halloween enthusiasts? :)

Homemade bagel recipeOnce the dough has risen, turn out onto a flour surface and divide into 8 pieces. Roll into a ball and then use your index finger to gently press a hole in the center, then shape into a bagel shape. Once you've shaped all the bagels, allow to rest for 10 minutes. 

In the meantime, heat a medium sized pot with water to a low boil. Boil each bagel for 1 minute on each side. The dough will float about the first few seconds of cooking here. Then remove to a baking sheet lined with a baking mat or that's lightly oiled. 

Whisk the egg in a small bowl and brush over the tops of each bagel. Top with the goat cheese, nut/seed mix, a drizzle of honey, and a little coarse salt. Bake at 425°F for 20 minutes. Then remove to a cooling rack. 

Beet, Goat Cheese, and Honey Bagels (via abeautifulmess.com)    Once cool enough to handle, slice and serve with a little more goat cheese and honey. Yum!

Notes:

-If you can find or make fresh beet juice, feel free to use that instead of the water/beet juice mix suggested here. The flavor of your final bagels will likely be stronger, but I suspect it will be just as good and the color may even be richer.

-I do wear gloves when peeling or cutting up beets, but once you've incorporated the juice into the dough, it won't as easily stain your hands or counter tops. I kneaded the dough on my white counter tops and no stains appeared. 

Hope you enjoy these! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess actions

19 Sep 19:30

Erin Shares Everything About Her $18K Kitchen Renovation

by Dabney Frake
(Image credit: Erin Francois)

Erin and Ken updated their Tudor home with bright, clean finishes and smarter, more efficient technology — all while respecting their Tudor home's time period and keeping a firm handle on their budget. Here are the details from her renovation, including the final costs of materials and labor and specific sources for the finishes and fixtures:

→ If you want to see what the kitchen looked like originally, read Before & After: A Tudor Kitchen Catches Up With The Times

READ MORE »

19 Sep 14:23

How to give a new house tons of character

by Sarah Thrifty Decor Chick
Thirteen years ago at nearly this exact time of year we were starting the process of buying a house. We had been in an apartment for four years and I had lived either in dorms or apartments for seven years before that. The idea of owning a home had always been a dream of mine and I was so thrilled that we were going to make it happen. 

The funny thing is, we knew immediately we wanted to build a house. We just knew we wanted something brand new, even though I do love an old house. There was something so exciting about picking out each and every detail and personalizing it to how we wanted. And as much as I love old stuff, I loved that everything would be sparkly and new. 

We soon decided on a builder and ended up with Beazer Homes. We were so thrilled with the process from start to finish (and still are 12 years later!), so I was honored when the folks at Beazer asked me to partner with them to share how we've updated our Beazer home over the years. You know this one involves before and after photos so I was totally on board. ;) 

Our superintendent in charge of our build and our design studio contact were both so helpful during our build. When we couldn't decide on a kitchen cabinet finish they allowed us extra time and visits to figure everything out. When I couldn't decide on tile colors our rep pulled out our carpet and paint color and helped me find something that worked with both of them. During the build process our superintendent would make small tweaks along the way and was so accommodating the entire time. It was a little sad when we were done because we knew we wouldn't see all of those friendly faces again.  

Even though we live in a suburban neighborhood, even years ago (before I started changing our home), I still felt like ours was unique. Beyond the fact that we had options that made our house different --  our office could have been a bedroom, our two-story living room could have had another bedroom above, we added a beautiful bay window in the kitchen for extra space and we could have opted for an additional bedroom instead of our open loft. All of the little choices we made created a home like no one else's. 

I've always said I had good bones to build on and that was SO true when it came to our stair makeover. I remember when we were building and I saw the wood stairs -- I was so close to asking them to just leave them without carpet (because I knew they would have). I chickened out though!

For years I thought about the pretty wood stairs under this carpet: 
removing carpet from steps

And about six years ago I finally got the courage up to rip that carpet off the stairs. This was one of my best decisions ever! The pretty white risers and dark stained treads are so classic and make such a difference: 
how to take carpet off your stairs

I added trim below the handrail and painted that wall black later on but the star of this show is the contrast of all that wood. 

Another spot that had quality finishes to start was our kitchen. The cabinets were maple and solid wood:
gray and white cabinets in kitchen
The island didn't always look like contemporary art. ;) That was the marks from the glue I used to add trim over the years. 

The finish wore like any would over the years and eventually I wanted a new look for the kitchen. I LOVED the design of the cabinets (I think they are timeless) so they got a makeover (well, the whole room did!):
two-tone kitchen renovation

Those quality wood cabinets, a good paint job and some patience on my part allowed for a beautiful, factory finish when I was done. I also used our old kitchen island and built on to it to create a much larger and custom one.

There are little details in our home that I've always loved. One is a half wall in our foyer that gives a little bit of definition between the foyer and living room: 
how to build a bookcase

I knew that was a great opportunity to add even more character so I built a bookcase along that half wall that finishes it off beautifully: 
half wall bookcase

This is why I laugh about building a new house -- I love old homes and all of their character, but we chose a shiny new one and I'm always trying to make it feel older. And I'd do it again that way! That's part of the reason I blog, because it is most definitely possible to add character where there wasn't much before.

It doesn't always have to be a big build or project that adds personality to your home. I made a tufted headboard for our bedroom years ago but still felt like that wall needed something: 
DIY tufted headboard

I grabbed some mdf from the hardware store and spent an evening adding it to the wall. I painted the trim and wall in a dark gray for a dramatic backdrop in our room for very little money: 
dark accent wall in bedroom

The three biggest projects we've done in the house are finishing our basement, the kitchen makeover and a big one that involved taking down a wall between our family room and the office: 
how to knock down a wall
This was one of those "real life" photos that I snapped when we were contemplating this idea.

This is thing about building a house -- my biggest piece of advice? Do your research beforehand! Thank goodness you all have Pinterest, back in my day I tore pages out of magazines. ;) I loved the idea of a corner fireplace and the Beazer folks were all, let's do it! And then I lived with it and wasn't so thrilled with my decision. 

Perhaps it is my odd need for symmetry, but it drove me crazy. One day a reader said, "Why don't you take down that wall?" and the skies opened up and birds sang. 

That we did:  
gray fireplace with marble
I got my beloved symmetry but we also got a larger family room that is twice as bright. (I have to mention that we have a ton of windows on our house -- another bonus about the Beazer options.) AND a beautiful new fireplace with a marble surround and tons of built in storage. This is the coziest room in our house and I think this change has to be the best change we've made to date. 

We have never regretted going with Beazer to build our home. Our experience was top notch from the start in the model home to years later as I make this house more ours with every day. This is a well-built house with good bones and I just keep adding good stuff to it. :) 

Be sure to tune into Instagram this Wednesday (the 21st) as I take over the Beazer Homes account and share more before and after photos of our home that I didn't include here. (You can follow me on IG as well and I'll remind you there.) Looking back at our beloved home is one of my favorite things! 

Have you ever built a house or are you considering it? Did you enjoy it? Was it fun for you or super stressful? If you have questions about the process I'd love help however I can!

P.S. I've updated the "Our Home" tab at the top of the page with some new photos of the house and recent projects. Be sure to check it out if you are new around here! :) 


I have been compensated by Beazer Homes to share this post about our home but all thoughts and experience are my own. 







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This content is property of Thrifty Decor Chick LLC. If you are reading this on any other site other than www.thriftydecorchick.com or one of her social media platforms, please contact her immediately (thriftydecorchick at gmail dot com). Any other use of this content is strictly forbidden.
19 Sep 15:30

Top 10 Room Dividers & Folding Screens — Annual Guide 2016

by Nancy Mitchell

Whether you need to carve out a bedroom from a studio apartment, or a foyer from a living room, or just a little private space anywhere, these room dividers will get the job done. Some are more opaque, for when privacy is a primary concern; others let a bit more light through, for when the suggestion of a separation is enough. Check out our top 10 collection.

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03 Sep 12:56

Seven Springs Blanket

by swissmiss

seven springs blanket

I would be totally ok with having one of these Seven Spring Blankets in my house.

04 Sep 15:00

Things I Didn’t Buy

by swissmiss

Things I didn't Buy

I recently started keeping a list of “Things I Didn’t Buy“. It’s refreshing to look back at it and realize how much money I saved and how many of these items would have just become “stuff” in a very short time. Marie Kondo-ing my life last year was one of the best things I have done in a long time and it keeps having a positive effect on my life (and finances). If you are not familiar with her book “The life-changing magic of tiding up“, look it up. But be warned, you might start talking to your socks.

06 Sep 09:57

Gemini Espresso Maker

by swissmiss

Gemini Espresso Maker

Ah! This Gemini Espresso Maker is the cutest. I bet the coffee is excellent.

09 Sep 15:30

The Mega Guide of New Shows You Need to Watch This Fall

by Brittney Morgan

Cozy sweaters, orange leaves and pumpkin-flavored everything are great, but arguably the best part of fall is the new TV lineup. Whether you're looking to Netflix and chill or find a new network show to obsess over, there's something for everyone. This fall will see premieres of new series centered on everything from time travel and murder mysteries to romantic comedies and quirky family dramas, and all that's in between. From both the major networks and your favorite online streaming services, here's what to watch this fall.

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14 Sep 13:14

Natural Deodorant DIY

by A Beautiful Mess

Natural Deodorant DIY (click through for tutorial If you’ve ever gotten into making your own beauty products before, then you know how addicting it can be. One area that I hadn’t gotten to try yet (but was so curious to see if I liked), was making my own deodorant. If you’ve been trying to switch your body care products to more natural options, then you probably already know about some of the toxins that can be found in many of the antiperspirant and regular deodorants on the market (like aluminum, parabens (preservatives), and questionable chemicals labeled as “fragrance” to name a few). One thing that I like about the more natural DIY versions out there (as well as the one that I use), is that you probably already have most of the ingredients that you need to make your own version at home! And since you are making your deodorant from scratch, you can also customize the scent combination and strength as well.

Natural Deodorant DIY (click through for tutorial)   Natural Deodorant DIY
Recipe slightly adapted from Wellness Mama’s Natural Deodorant

3 tablespoons of coconut oil
3 tablespoons baking soda
2 tablespoons Shea butter
2 tablespoons cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
6 drops of lavender essential oil*
2 drops of absolute vanilla oil*
container for deodorant (either a push-up stick or a jar)

*You can use whatever essential oil you like, but this is the combo I love.

Natural Deodorant DIY (click through for tutorial)      Measure out your ingredients into a glass mason jar and loosely place the lid on the top. Add 4-5” of water into a pot and bring the water to a low boil. Reduce the heat to medium, and place your glass jar into the pot. Allow the warm water to melt the ingredients together (you can give the jar a swirl to mix every minute or two).

Natural Deodorant DIY (click through for tutorial)    Once your concoction is liquid, let it cool a little, and then pour it into either a jar or push-up deodorant stick for use. Since coconut oil has a melting point of 76 degrees, your deodorant will be more solid below that temperature and more of a lotion if it’s warmer. So, how cool you keep your house may determine if you want to use a jar or the stick for your container (you can use either your fingers to apply out of the jar or I’ve also seen people use little spreader sticks to apply).

Natural Deodorant DIY (click through for tutorial)  I was a little skeptical about making this category of product myself, but you know what? I really love it. The smell is great, and it works just as well as the other deodorants I’d been buying, but I can feel really good about what went into making it (my husband really likes it too!). Since it is an oil base, I usually apply it a few minutes before getting dressed so it has time to soak into my skin and I don’t get excess on clothes (kind of the same way you would if you use coconut oil as a lotion). As with all skin products, go easy on the amount you use until you know that it doesn’t react badly with your skin type. I love seeing all the homemade beauty products taking over my bathroom sink, and I can’t wait to find more options I love! xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

09 Sep 21:00

A Bright & Pretty Minneapolis Loft — House Call

by Apartment Therapy Submissions
(Image credit: Submitted by Colie)

Name: Colie
Location: North Loop — Minneapolis, Minnesota

This is my one bedroom apartment in the North Loop of Minneapolis. I chose this space because I LOVED the bright white feel and large floor to ceiling windows since there is only lighting on one side. The white kitchen was also a winner for me. I would love to be in an older building with exposed brick, but didn't really love any of the kitchens I saw.

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12 Sep 14:52

Top 20: Toddler Quilts, Comforters & Duvet Covers — Annual Guide 2016

by Carrie McBride
(Image credit: Katie Holdefehr)

Nights are getting chilly all over the country and parents are starting to think about warm-weather bedding for their kids. If your toddler has outgrown the sleepsack (or just doesn't like it), now's the perfect time to take a look at the prettiest comforters, quilts and duvets for the toddler set.

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13 Sep 17:00

Beyond Shiplap: 6 White Walls That Will Make You Rethink Wood Paneling

by Dabney Frake
(Image credit: D Magazine)

If the term wood paneling makes you think either "70s Brown Hot Mess" or groan at the thought of yet another episode of HGTV's Fixer Upper, then take a look at these alternatives. They are a great way to add visual interest to flat surfaces.

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13 Sep 13:18

Sweet Potato and Kale Quesadillas

by A Beautiful Mess

Sweet Potato and Kale Quesadillas (via abeautifulmess.com)   The movie Napoleon Dynamite has forever ruined me as I always see the word "quesadilla" and pronounce it in my mind like "armadillo". As if I didn't already mispronounce everything! It's an ongoing problem for me. 

But other than my pronunciation issues, I do love quesadillas! So easy to make, and you can pretty much just fill them with leftover bits of this and that if you are running low on grocery supplies for the week. These, however, are a bit more intentional. 

Sweet Potato and Kale Quesadillas (via abeautifulmess.com) I think the inspiration behind this meal, on some level, was me trying to still hold on to summer but add in some flavors that remind me of autumn. I went outside to walk my dogs the other day and it FELT like autumn. I can't totally explain it... the leaves haven't changed colors yet, but something in the air felt distinctively like fall to me. And I both celebrated and felt a little sad since I love both summer and fall – it's complicated. :) 

Anyway, if you like quick, easy, and delicious dinners, then you'll love these. I also have a fool-proof method for flipping quesadillas without all the filling flying out. 

Easy kale recipesSweet Potato and Kale Quesadillas, makes 2-3

1 medium to large sweet potato, approx. 9 oz.
1 tablespoon chopped red onion
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
salt and pepper
2 oz chopped kale
1 tablespoon oil (I used olive oil, but any cooking oil is fine.)
4-6 flour tortillas (4 if the larger "burrito" size, 6 if smaller. I used whole wheat flour tortillas. You could also choose something gluten free if you need.)
2-3 teaspoons mayo
5-6 oz shredded cheese (Colby or something mixed is great)
cilantro, lime, avocado, and/or sour cream to serve

Peel and rinse the potato and cut into small cubes. Chop the onion. Cook the potato and onion in a little oil over medium/high heat for about 8 minutes. Then add the minced garlic, cumin, chili powder, and season with a little salt and pepper. Cook for another 1-2 minutes until you can easily mash one of the pieces of potato with the side of your spatula. Remove to a plate. 

Easy sweet potato recipesIn the same, still hot pan, add the chopped kale and cook just for 1-2 minutes until it turns a brighter green and begins to wilt. Remove to the same plate with the sweet potato. Turn the heat down to low.

Have two tortillas ready and sitting out on a cutting board or large plate. Spread a teaspoon or two of mayo over one side of each. Add one to the pan, mayo side facing up and top with 1/3 to 1/2 of the sweet potato and kale filling. Then sprinkle on 1/3 to 1/2 of the shredded cheese. Top with the remaining tortilla, mayo side down. Allow to cook for a couple minutes, then use your spatula to peek under the bottom tortilla to see if it's getting brown spots yet.

Once it looks crispy, but not burnt, slide it out of the pan and onto the cutting board or plate that previously held the tortillas. Top with another plate, so you've made a sandwich that is: cutting board or plate, quesadilla, another plate. Now flip this over so the uncooked tortilla is on bottom, and then slip this into the hot pan. If you need to add a bit more oil to the pan, do so before adding the quesadilla. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Repeat for each quesadilla. 

Sweet Potato and Kale Quesadillas (via abeautifulmess.com)Top with a bit of fresh cilantro and sliced avocado if you have it. I love to squeeze a little lime juice over everything just before eating. But that's it – easy as can be. Enjoy! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

08 Sep 19:00

Try This: Add Paint + Patina to a Picture Frame

by A Beautiful Mess

Adding patina with clear and black wax methodsHey, I'll be the first one to admit it—I easily grow bored of the decor in my home. It's my one weakness. (Ha!) Lately I've been rethinking a lot of the art on my walls and had an idea to restyle a frame, rather than donating it or hoarding it in the attic. Initially I was thinking I'd like to paint this wooden frame black, but then I thought it might be more interesting to give it a hint of color and some character with a rich patina.

Adding patina with clear and black wax methodsWe partnered with Annie Sloan for this restyle, and I was so excited to try out a variety of their colors to see what kind of subtle color I could achieve to add interest to this plain wooden frame. You can use this link to locate a stockist closest to you! For those interested, I actually made this frame with no power tools, and you can see how I created it, along with two others, in this post.

Adding patina with clear and black wax methodsAdding patina with clear and black wax methodsTrying Out Colors and Patina Techniques

I knew I wanted a dark, subtle finish, but I definitely wanted to see a little bit of color showing through. So to start out, I wanted to see what different colors looked like underneath the Annie Sloan Graphite I had chosen for my top color.

The first board above shows the color Barcelona Orange with a coat of Clear Chalk Paint Wax, then a coat of Graphite, which I then scraped off with a drywall spatula. I liked the look of the scraping, but the orange was too contrasty with the Graphite. I wanted something that would tone in better and feel more neutral.

The second board above shows Olive with a brushed on coat of Graphite over it. I really like the olive color, but you couldn't see enough of it through the brushing method I used. And I wanted to try one more color.

The last board above shows Coco with Graphite dry brushed over it, no waxing in between. I liked the way the brush strokes looked, and I really liked the color combination here. But in the end, I decided that I liked the texture from the waxing and scraping of the first board, but with the color combination of the second board. So that's what I went with for my frame.

Adding patina with clear and black wax methodsSupplies:
-wooden frame
-painter's tape (designed for multi-surfaces)
-Chalk Paint decorative paint by Annie Sloan (I used Olive and Graphite)
-Annie Sloan Clear Chalk Paint Wax
-Annie Sloan Black Chalk Paint Wax (below)
-metal spackling spatula
-Annie Sloan flat brush and wax brush
-rag (not shown above)

Optional: hammer and other metal objects for distressing purposes

Adding patina with clear and black wax methodsStep One: I taped off the inside portion of the frame, leaving just the outside edge exposed for painting. Then I brushed on two coats of Chalk Paint. There is no need to sand or prime your surface before using Chalk Paint, which was an idea that took some getting used to for me. But as skeptical as I was about that, it worked out and the finish was lovely!

Adding patina with clear and black wax methodsStep Two: Brush on a coat of Annie Sloan Clear Chalk Paint Wax, and rub it in with a rag. The more you rub, the shinier it will get, but there's no need to get too crazy here. You'll just be painting on top of it in the next step.

Adding patina with clear and black wax methodsStep Three: Brush an over coat on top of the wax. Do not use a wet brush, but it shouldn't be too dry either. Use a light hand when brushing it on, as you don't want it to be too thick, at least for the method I was using. Then I chose to immediately scrape off much of the paint with my metal spatula. You can wait for the paint to dry if you need to, and it will still easily scrape off because of the wax underneath.

Adding patina with clear and black wax methodsStep Four: Peel off the painter's tape. I then chose to use various metal objects to bang around my more pristine frame to give it indents and age marks, so to speak. I even banged it around a bit on my driveway! Because the wood is pine, it marked up easily. Oak or birch would be more difficult to dent.

Adding patina with clear and black wax methodsStep Five: Apply a coat of Black Chalk Paint Wax over the entire frame. Then wipe off any excess as you somewhat buff the remaining wax. The black will get into cracks, dents, and crevices, making them more apparent and also giving the overall piece a darker finish, similar to that of stain.

Step Six: Finish off the piece with a bit more Clear Chalk Paint Wax after allowing the Black Chalk Paint Wax to rest for a few hours.

Adding patina with clear and black wax methodsThere it is! It has so much more character and richness now that it lacked before.

Adding patina with clear and black wax methodsUp close you can see around the corners and across the surface where the antiquing marks have added a nice patina in combination with the Black Chalk Paint Wax.

Adding patina with clear and black wax methodsHere it is hanging above my sofa now, and I love it! I guess the frame was okay before, but it lacked a certain je ne sais quoi, and now it seems to fit in with the space much better! Now I'm already looking around my home for other items I can change up with the other paint colors I have left. That Coco grey is crying out to me! -Mandi

Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson.

10 Aug 18:00

Here's How Hidden Cabinet Hacks Dramatically Increased My Kitchen Storage

by Rachel Jacks
Shh.listen

SO MANY TIPS!

(Image credit: Rachel Jacks)

Unless you designed your kitchen from scratch, with a custom layout and cabinets, it's probably not perfect for your needs. But new cabinets can quickly eat up a small remodeling budget, and re-designing the kitchen isn't usually an option if you rent. I won't even get into the environmental impact of trashing old cabinets and producing new ones. Fortunately there are a lot of clever DIY ways to make the most of your current kitchen cabinets.

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08 Sep 11:45

Ideas to Help Your Kid Pack Their Own Lunchbox — Kitchn

by Apartment Therapy
05 Sep 16:30

Thai Green Curry Chicken

by Elizabeth Stark
Thai Green Curry

Few dishes are as satisfying as a freshly made green curry.

The curry paste itself, made here with fresh cilantro stems, lemongrass, shallot, chilies, and ginger, is a treat to inhale.

Made into an easy rich curry dish with chicken, coconut milk, fresh herbs, and lime, you’ll have a stunning dish to admire, smell, and taste.

Continue reading "Thai Green Curry Chicken" »

06 Sep 13:17

(Grain-Free) Pumpkin Blender Cookies

by A Beautiful Mess

Grain-free Pumpkin Blender Cookies (via abeautifulmess.com)Celebrate with me! The autumn baking season is upon us! I just love the feeling when the weather cools off, and I can spend an afternoon or chilly evening playing around in the kitchen. I love baking, and although I do it all year round, I feel especially excited about it during the fall and winter months. 

Recently I was experimenting, and although my main experiment isn't quite ready (I've still got a bit more testing to do), one of the results is that I end up with a fairly small amount of canned pumpkin leftover. Now there are all sorts of ways to use leftover pumpkin, like making your PSL syrup or just mixing it in with morning oatmeal.

Grain-free dairy-free cookie recipeI decided to also experiment with making some healthy (grain-free, dairy-free, no sugar added) blender cookies. I tend to think of these as snack cakes more than cookies as they are a fairly soft, sort of mix between a pancake and a cookie. They are totally delicious and make a great afternoon snack or even warmed up and topped with fruit for a morning sort-of pancake option. In case you got the baking bug this season but are looking for some lighter options that still satisfy your autumn-baking-dreams, you should totally try these! 

This was a random experiment, mainly to use up leftovers, that I actually wasn't really intending to share. But I figure why not since it turned out so yummy. That being said, I really cannot take much credit since the following recipe is very much based off of this recipe for Almond Butter Pancakes, which I first saw years ago on Elise's blog and have been making ever since as a healthy alternative to baking cookies as often as I like. :) 

Blender cookiesGrain-Free Pumpkin Blender Cookies, makes 6
Adapted from Detoxinista's Almond Butter Pancakes

1/2 banana* (approx. 2 oz.)
1/4 cup natural peanut butter or almond butter
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of salt

*I always have a big bag of frozen, sliced banana in my freezer for smoothies and other things. So that's what I used here. If you aren't a banana-freezing freak like myself, you can use a fresh, ripe banana instead, but only use about 2 oz. (roughly half a medium-sized banana) or else the texture will be off on these. 

How to make cookies in a blenderAdd all the ingredients to a blender and blend just until smooth. Spoon the batter in 1/4 cup increments onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking mat. 

No sugar added cookie recipeBake at 350°F for 12-14 minutes. Then remove from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack. I will usually eat one or two while they are still warm, and then I wait until these are cooled, place them in a ziplock bag, seal, and refrigerate until I want to eat them. They've never lasted me longer than a few days, but they'd probably be fine in the refrigerator for up to a full week. If you'd like to make a bigger batch and save them for longer, I would consider freezing them. 

Gluten-free pumpkin blender cookies (via abeautifulmess.com)These are lightly sweet, mainly from the banana. If you don't care about keeping them totally "no sugar added", then you could top each with a small handful of chopped white or dark chocolate to make them feel even more like cookies. Totally up to you, there's a million ways to spice these up. :) I ate a couple this morning warmed up and topped with a little (vegan) butter and applesauce. Do as you will! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman.