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.


attention kmart shoppers

My sister was cleaning behind her couch and found this old Country Living magazine:

I love the cover and wanted to use it as inspiration for my apartment. How do they bring all of those unique, eye-catching pieces together so well?!

Anyway, one item in particular caught my eye- this armchair (you can kind of see it in the bottom right corner of the cover):

It’s from the Country Living line at Kmart. Now I’m no furniture snob (quite the opposite, in fact), but I hadn’t thought to check out Kmart. I dropped in and found the exact chair, even though the magazine was about a year old! And it was the last one. Fate.

And let me tell you, it looks great in my apartment. It’s interesting how one item can bring a room together so well. Pictures to come!

P.S. I feel frivolous when I talk about home decor, but I think having a comfortable, welcoming- and aesthetically pleasing- home is important. Having a place to rejuvenate makes you ready to take on the day in order to do non-frivolous things 🙂

a long overdue life update

I’m sitting with my sister on the couch and she is begging me to write a life update on my blog- which is funny, because she knows everything that goes on in my life!

I was about to type “The past few weeks have been a whirlwind” but I realized 1) I overuse the expression “whirlwind” and 2) when is my life not a whirlwind?! Good thing I like it hectic.

  • Smashingly successful open house for our coworking space (officially The Raleigh Forum); tons of people came out to explore the space, mingle, and enjoy our refreshments
  • Endless promotions for the space
  • Hired an Office Assistant (that’s right, we have an employee! So cool)
  • Spoke with my sister about The Raleigh Forum at a Ladies NC networking event
  • Assigned to several new projects at my recruiting job
  • Put the almost-final touches on my apartment- pictures coming soon! Let’s just say I’m very happy
  • Did a Warrior Dash-esque run through Umstead Park
  • Made potato leek soup, Moroccan chicken stew, and Mexican bean salad
To come:
  • Wine & Design session with a new friend
  • Checking out Benelux Cafe
  • Meeting with new babysitting client
  • A hike in Hillsborough
  • Cupcakes at Gigi’s with another new friend
  • Biking with another new friend (that’s 3+ new friends!)
  • Weekly tennis match
  • Recuperating from my little cold
  • Planning a 2012 cruise with the girls. I spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E 🙂
[photo credit: here]

diy sunburst mirror

I have a relatively recent fascination with sunburst (also called starburst) mirrors, like these:

Unfortunately, they can be quite pricey- like $200-$400 pricey! I don’t know about you, but no one piece of decor is worth that much to me.

So I began a hunt for DIY versions and found this (using poster board), this (using twigs) and this (using dowels).

I will post pictures as soon as I get around to making my own!

P.S. Did you notice the absence of the Oxford comma in the second to last sentence? I’m still mourning its death.

refurbishing 101

I found this $20 steal awhile back. I happened across it on Craigslist and negotiated the price down a whole $5! But here’s a little secret: I despise birch, and I think it looks especially cheap on Ikea-style furniture (sorry to any die-hard birch supporters out there!). When I bought it, I asked the man if he thought I could paint it and he said probably not (supposedly laminate is hard to paint). But I was determined to rid my apartment forever of this dismal color, so I began on an unwavering path toward furniture salvation.

Step 1) Hit up Sherwin Williams for advice (or just read this post)

Step 2) Purchase a sanding sponge and paint brush (several dollars each at Target), oil-based primer, and a quart of paint (fun fact: paint stores can color match using a special camera, so I took in one of the off-white shelves as a comparison)

Step 3) Set up something to catch paint (I used garbage bags that I had used as garment bags during my move)

Step 4) Sand the sides you plan to paint

Step 5) Spray on two layers of primer, waiting at least 2 hours between each coating

Step 6) Paint two or three layers, waiting at least 1 hour between each coating

Step 7) Admire your handiwork (most enjoyable while staring at it and sipping a Bud Light)

Remember to wash your paintbrush between use. I forgot to once and had dried flecks of paint everywhere.

And that is how I got from this:



To this: 



from drab to fab…almost

I was THRILLED when I walked into my new apartment. First of all, it’s HUGE. Like a palace. So big, in fact, that I have to do some creative thinking to FILL the space (I’m used to buying furniture and accessories that serve double duty so I can fit everything, but now I need more things so it doesn’t look empty).

the american (closet) dream

I realize I risk sounding vapid with this next question:

What girl doesn’t want an awe-inspiring closet, chock-full of multi-colored clothing, cute accessories, and a whole host of purse options?

Guilty as charged (even though I do prefer Target over Gucci).

And with not one, not two, not three, but FOUR closets in my new place, maybe I’ll be one step closer to achieving the American (closet) dream.

the moroccan pouf

Wondering what it is? The Moroccan pouf is a round leather embroidered ottoman.  “They’re also really versatile and can be used for seating, as a foot stool, as a small table, or just to look pretty! Just one pouf is a lovely touch for your living room or bedroom or you can go with multiples” (source).

The enduring and deeply philosophical debate drags on: is the pouf here to stay? In other news, I think the hair pouf (a la Lauren Conrad, not Snookie) should definitely stick around.

Back to the more international pouf. It’s cute, versatile, and comfy, so why not?