strawberry meringue daring pairing

I’ve been inspired by Rachel Ashwell’s design style, Shabby Chic, for a long time. In her book– which sits in the middle of my coffee table- she says, “Comfort, the beauty of imperfection, the allure of time-worn objects, and the appeal of simple, practical living: These are the cornerstones of…the Shabby Chic style.”

[Photo Credit: Country Cottage One]

If a comfy sun-drenched room- casually draped with strawberry and cream colored accents-  is the place to enjoy a long summer night, isn’t a light and fluffy strawberry meringue the perfect dessert to enjoy there?

[Photo Credit: Taste of Home]

Strawberry Meringue Pie [via]

For meringue: 
  •  4 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 c. sugar
Beat egg whites until frothy. Add cream of tartar and beat until stiff. Add sugar gradually and beat until stiff and glossy. Pour into pie tin and bake 1 hour at 275 degrees. When cooled add the filling.

For filling: 

  •  1 pt. strawberries
  • Sugar to taste
  • 1/2 pt. cream, beaten

Cut strawberries in quarters and sweeten to taste. Let stand. Drain off juice. Spread meringue with a layer of whipped cream, then the strawberries, then the cream.


P.S. Check out these Shabby chic accent pieces: Scrollwork CandleholderWooden StandArched-Top Wall Mirror.


watermelon inspiration

Trader Joe’s is currently selling $4 seedless watermelons, which means my roommate and I have bowls of watermelon in rotation in our fridge. It’s hands-down my favorite fruit, so I thought I’d dig up an old watermelon daring pairing from Harmonized Living.

Pink & green home decor 

[via My Pear Tree House]

A unique savory & sweet watermelon salad

[via Jessica Mayo]

  • 3/4 cup halved, thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 quarts seeded, cubed watermelon
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup pitted black olive halves
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Place the onion slices in a small bowl with the lime juice. Let stand for 10 minutes [the acid of the lime will mellow the flavor of the raw onion]. In a large bowl, combine the watermelon cubes, feta cheese, black olives, onions with the lime juice, and mint. Drizzle olive oil over it all, and toss to blend. Serves 6.


daring pairing: mexican flair

{This is a pre-scheduled post. I am currently getting my Cinco de Drinko Mayo on}

This post is not revived from Harmonized Living- it’s a brand new daring pairing in honor of my favorite holiday, Cinco de Mayo!  

For me, Mexico conjures images of vibrant culture, close-knit communities, and the sound of sing-song Spanish everywhere. I’m instantly taken back to the month I spent in San Miguel de Allende, where I learned traditional dances {I will not dance them even if you ask nicely haha}, ate amazing food, and wandered the cobblestone streets with summer friends. The place where I lived looked a little bit like this:

Photo credit

 Just like the home decor, the food is heavily influenced by the culture and history of the area. It’s characterized by bright colors, a mix of textures, and a certain spiciness, like in this traditional ceviche {not for the faint of heart, since the shrimp is technically raw!}.

Photo credit

  • 3 lbs small raw shrimp, cleaned
  • 4 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 6 limes, juiced
  • 4 lemons, juiced
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 serrano chile, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 of a cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons tomato sauce


Lay out shrimp in the bottom of glass baking dish. Pour lemon and lime juice over them and refrigerate for 3 hours. The juice will “cook” the shrimp. Toss with remaining ingredients and refrigerate for one more hour or longer. Enjoy with tortilla chips or as a topper for grilled fish!

Enjoy your Cinco de Mayo!

harmonized living: peppermint green

Here’s another revived “daring pairing” that matches a home decor style with a coordinating recipe. Here’s to living in harmony!

Though St. Patrick’s Day has passed, the color green is here to stay for at least 6 or 7 more months. For me, green represents many things:

Springtime. Fresh cut grass. Mint. Healthy smoothies.

[Via CountryLiving]


Peppermint Patty Green Monster [via Oh She Glows]

  • 1-1.5 large frozen banana (peel before freezing)
  • 1-1.25 cup non-dairy milk (almond, soy, hemp, rice, etc)
  • Handful of fresh mint leaves, stems removed
  • 1-2 handfuls spinach
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp peppermint extract (optional)
  • 1-2 tbsp chopped dark chocolate, for garnish

Add in all of the ingredients except the chocolate into a blender and blend until smooth. Adjust to taste and serve with a garnish of chopped dark chocolate and mint leaves. Enjoy with a spoon. Serves 1.

harmonized living is back + cherry blossoms!

If you’ve been a loyal reader for awhile, you may remember my much-hyped but not very long-lasting blog, Harmonized Living. In case you’re unfamiliar, I posted a home decor + cooking “daring pairing” each day- so a rustic soup was matched with a rustic cabin, Moroccan food was matched with a Moroccan pouf, etc…get it?

Though the blog is on a serious {and perhaps permanent} hiatus, I thought I’d dig up the old posts and put them up here!

To celebrate the dawn of spring and the recent National Cherry Blossom Festival, today’s daring pairing features Cherry Blossoms.

[photo credit: windy_sydney]

Cherry Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes 12

  • ¾ cup plus 1 tsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ cup sour cream


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place liners in cupcake pan. Mix 1 tsp. each flour and cocoa powder; dust pans.

In bowl, combine ¾ cup flour, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

In large bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on medium for 30 seconds. Add sugar; beat until smooth and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth. Beat in sour cream and flour mixture. Pour batter in cupcake tins and bake 18 to 22  minutes or a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Place on cooling rack.

In a large mixing bowl combine one 8-ounce carton sour cream, 1 cup of already-whipped whipping cream, 1 ½ cups powdered sugar, and 2 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice. Beat on medium-high until fluffy.

Drain 12 maraschino cherries with stems; pat dry with paper towels. In small microwave-safe bowl combine ½ cup semisweet chocolate pieces and 1 tsp. shortening. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until melted, stirring once. Dip cherries in chocolate; place on waxed paper until set.

Ice cooled cupcakes and top with a cherry-covered cherry. If you’re feeling adventurous, top with a sugar-coated cherry blossom- they’re edible!

diy: painting a rug

I’ve seen many a room transformed by a big area rug. It’s amazing how that  little pop of color can make such a big difference and make a room feel complete.

In light of this, I keep reading blog posts about “amazing rug sales.” I click through the links and see $150+ price tags. Sorry kids, that to me is not cheap!

As I lay in bed pondering my options, I remembered I’ve had a big beige rug in the trunk of my car since I moved into my last apartment! On a whim, I googled “painting a rug” and found that not only is it possible, it can look great.

Here are some great tutorials:

Chevon Painted Rug from Ikea

Painting a Rug: The Idea Room

How to Paint an Indoor/Outdoor Rug viaCurbly

Makeover Your Rug with Paint via RealSimple

DIY: How to Paint a Sisal Rug

As for our place, what do you think of something like this?

Photo credit

Does it look too much like grass? We’re doing an off-white, brown, and gold theme with pops of color, like light green and pink. This could pull out the colors on our pillows! Or maybe one of these more simple ones:

P.S. Before she moved in to the apartment, I emailed my roommate the following:

Hey! I’ve been browsing rugs online and I found a few cool ones. I think either of the two below would be great and really add to the classy theme in the living room. I was thinking of getting the biggest size.

a retrospect: top + favorite posts from my blog

It’s interesting for me to look at which blog posts of mine get the most traffic vs which ones are my favorite. There is some overlap between the two.  Part of my mission with this post is to bring to light some of my poor neglected posts that I think deserve a spotlight! I put my favorites in bold and added a few others below.

Some of my top posts (in order):

Some of my other favorite posts:

monday morning inspiration

Read these words on Live Creating Yourself

Sip this fair trade K-cup

Sniff this fall-filled scent

Listen to this rediscovered band

Try this crisp weather soup

Embrace these cozy scarves

…And don’t forget your amazing weekend

what a week it promises to be

7am cycling class this morning- in retrospect, I could have pushed myself harder!

image credit:

Big mug of decaf toasted almond coffee

Lots of work for LivingSocial and the coworking space

My cozy new couch, which completes my sitting area

Country-style pork ribs rubbed with Memphis BBQ spices slow-roasting in the oven

image credit:

Babysitting my new family. The little girl woke up the day after I babysat and said “When is Cristina coming back?! She said she’d come back soon!” SO cute.

Restaurant Week dinner with the girls at Five Star

And that’s just Monday 🙂