Inspiration Workshop

Today I’m linking up with Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop on Bathrooms (which just happens to be my favorite room in the house)!

Our Master Bath

1. Even though your bathroom may be small, don’t be afraid to go bold w/ color. Since it’s a separate room w/ a door, who cares if it totally doesn’t match the rest of your house? Some of the most beautiful bathrooms I’ve ever seen have been: bright red, terra cotta, black, navy blue. It’s also a small room to make such a bold commitment, so if you find you don’t like it, it won’t take you a week to re-paint! Forget the whole: dark walls make a small room look smaller – not true.

2. Hide your bottles! Nothing makes a bathroom look more “cluttered” than a bunch of different sizes, shapes, and colors of all your health and beauty products. Put them in a pretty basket w/ a lid, put them on a shelf with a deep basket as a “drawer”, put them under your sink. OR get decorative containers for the essentials: matching soap and lotion dispensers. Lowes also carries a lovely white ceramic mouthwash dispenser that I first saw at a spa, and then had to have for myself!

Before

After

Our birch branch "curtain rod" above the mirror

 

3. Use your “soft items” to bring color to the room. Your towels, floor mat,  toilet cover, and shower curtain are all wonderful options for bringing cohesive color to the room. Instead of keeping your towels in a linen closet, stack them on top of the toilet. Install an open towel holder that keeps them rolled up on the wall, or if you have a small table or bookshelf, stack them there. Keep your washcloths in a shallow basket on the vanity.

 

 

4. Find a great piece of large art, and pull your colors from there. Many people shy away from art in the bathroom, but I say “go for it!” buy an inexpensive print or poster and a simple frame, and even if the moisture eventually causes it to curl or ripple, just go buy another! If you really love the print, but several at the same time so that you can replace as needed and still keep your same theme. Of course, a good ventilation system will really cut down on this problem.-

 

5. Use plants! If you’ve got some natural light in your bathroom, many tropical plants LOVE the steam and humidity that your showers provide! Get a tall floor plant, or if you don’t have any floor or counter space to spare, hang one from the ceiling.

 

6. Keep it fresh! Nothing is worse than a bathroom that smells like a bathroom. I love plug-in tart warmers. Small ones will hang right on your plug, while decorative large ones can also act as art on your vanity (and a nightlight too). I prefer these to candles because a bathroom is usually “out of sight, out of mind”, and you never want to leave a candle burning unattended. Of course there are lots of other options: scented reed oils (also decorative), Febreeze set and refresh, sachets, potpourris, etc.
7. A couple other touches I love to find (and place) in bathrooms are:
*Fresh flowers – you and your guests will find your spirits lift when you see them!
*A small bowl or basket of breath mints (especially nice if you’re hosting a dinner party).
*Easy to find emergency feminine products under your sink.
*Room spray that doesn’t make a loud “phsssssssshhh” sound when sprayed (could be very embarrassing for people). Non-aerosol pumps or small bottles are best.
*Lotion (especially during the winter)

8. Hmmm….speaking of keeping your bathroom fresh, I happen to have a Febreze Set and Refresh to giveaway to a lucky reader! I have one sitting on the back of my toilet right now, and I love how fresh it’s keeping that area! Would you like one? Just leave a comment on this post! Winner will be chosen over the weekend.

Well, those are all the bathroom tips for this post! Hope your day is a delightful one! Thanks for stopping by, now go get in your bathroom and make it beautiful!

A Brilliant Idea!

Ok, I must confess here and now that I am a blog reading hummingbird. I click links that others suggest with alarming rapidity, scan quickly, and then am quickly on to the next.- Because of my “any way the wind blows” reading style, I often stumble upon things, and make a quick mental note, but would have NO idea where I read it if you asked me an hour later.- This idea is one of those things. Saw it on a blog. Loved it. Forgot where in the world I read it. If it was your blog – tell me! I’d love to give you credit 🙂So (that was a rather long disclaimer, no?) onto this little nugget of summertime fabulousness. I’ve read this before (ages ago), but never did anything about it. Now that I’ve started though, there is no turning back! You know how when you make a pot of coffee in the morning, everybody has their fill, and then there’s the drip left over. You know what I’m talkin’ about…not enough for a cup, but too much to not feel guilty about throwing down the drain?- Well, sometimes our drip stays in the carafe all day waiting for someone to feel sorry for it. Then my husband comes home and makes a quick sip of iced something-or-other out of it. – BUT! Guess what it could be? Oh! So much more!COFFEE ICE! That’s right…if you’re anything like me, you love you some iced coffee in the summertime, but hate how watered down it  gets when you actually add the ice to it. But no more sisters. No more. If you take your drip, and pour it into your ice cube trays, the next time you go to make iced coffee, use your coffee ice instead of regular water ice and it will stay as strong as the minute you brewed it! See? I told you it was brilliant! Now maybe you’ll even start making more coffee than you need on purpose – just so you can have a wonderfully sized drip to freeze! Sure beats $5 at Starbucks, no? Look at that! This even inadvertently turned into a money saving idea too! You’re welcome. Ok girls – you know what to do…let’s mobilize Operation Home Barista and go grab your ice cube trays!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

Although this has an autumnal twist, I have been in love with this recipe lately at our Summer Brunch Clubs! Speaking of which, I have added another brunch menu to the Veranda discussion. Have you joined our community over there? Why not check it out?! Originally I found THIS recipe over at Healthy Food for Living written by my favorite cook Lauren. I adore bread pudding, but not the heavy cream, butter, sugar, and egg yolks that they are traditionally riddled with. So imagine my delight when I found such an incredibly healthy version! Only downfall: these are totally warm cozy autumnal flavors. Aaaannnd it’s June. Alas and alack. That tiny little fact did not stop me however, and it should most certainly not stop you from trying it. I’d be willing to bet it becomes a staple on your brunch and/or dessert menus as it has ours! Best part? You can make it the night before, then just pop it in the oven to bake up to golden deliciousness in the morning! I tweaked it just a little bit here and there, and below you’ll find my final delicious obsession :-). A bread pudding (read: ultimate southern comfort food) with NO guilt, and you can make it the night before?? Sign me up!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

10 slices whole wheat bread cut into 1″ cubes (an electric knife makes short work of this)

1 1/4 cups rice milk (or regular – whatever is fine)

1/4 cup agave

1 1/2 t cinnamon

1/8 t nutmeg

1/2 t ginger

pinch of salt

3 egg whites lightly beaten

1 (15oz) can pumpkin

1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Combine milk through pumpkin ingredients in a large bowl, whisking until well combined. Add the bread cubes and chocolate chips. Toss gently to coat.

Spoon mixture into a greased 8×8 baking dish. Cover and chill overnight (or for at least an hour).

Preheat oven to 350. Bake, covered, for 25 minutes. Uncover pudding and bake 25 minutes longer. Let cool a few minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature. – Ice cream, vanilla, or bourbon sauce are delicious as an accompaniment  to this recipe! Yield: 9 servings.

Simple Summer Centerpiece

Hello Friends! I hope you had a lovely weekend, and are ready to face a new week with excitement about all the promise it holds! Today, I thought I’d share with you the centerpiece that’s been gracing my kitchen table (island) for the past few weeks. I love it because it’s simple and fresh, and I can fill the bowl with whatever happens to be blooming in my gardens – or if nothing is at the moment, some fresh summery greenery or herbs!

I just took a pedestal, added a white salad plate topped with a serving bowl, and filled it with water. Easy as a wink, and it’s fun seeing what new things I can discover out in the gardens to cut to change it up every few days!

Do you bring fresh flowers in from you gardens in the summer?

A TEST…PLEASE RESPOND!!! (oh yes, and Friday’s Foto Felicity)

Readers! I need to know if this blog is showing up on your Google Dashboard? Not sure if something was broken during the move that I need to fix. Please let me know! Just a quick “yes” or “no” would suffice! Thanks in advance…

Now onto Friday’s Foto Felicity:

“Happiness is a by-product of an effort to make someone else happy.”

Gretta Brooker Palmer

Morning streams through our bedroom window...

Gardening Part 2

Remember a week or two ago when we started chatting about gardening a bit? Well, here is the next installment:

The Basics

The other day I finally went and purchased some brand new gardening gloves (remember how holey and awful my old ones were?)! The same day, I found a great sale at Lowes on annuals: they were selling 6-packs for .89! I don’t usually purchase lots of annual flowers, but I do use some here and there for a spot of color or in my pots. Annuals are plants that only last one growing season, but during that one season, they bloom their little hearts out! Perennials, on the other hand, come up year after year, but most have a short window of bloom, so choose perennials whose foliage you like as well as the flowers! Many perennials grow bigger and/or spread each year, so you can dig up and divide them to add more free plants to your yard!

Perennials for Cutting
I choose most of what I grow for three reasons: 1. Is it suited to my yard (light, heartiness zone, soil conditions)? 2. Do deer like to eat it? 3. Is it good for cutting? It’s also helpful if it comes with an “easy to grow” recommendation 🙂 So, come up with your criteria, do a little research, and you should be successful! If you just get something because it’s pretty or you like the color, but it really isn’t designed to fare well in the conditions you have, you’ll just find yourself frustrated and fighting nature all season to desperately try and keep your plants alive!
Some perennials that I have in my yard and love for their ease of growth, deer resistance, and cut-a-bility, are:
*Stella D’oro Lily (these bloom most of the season too – when you cut them, the bloom will only last one day, but each day a subsequent bud will open, so cut stalks w/ lots of buds)
*Black Eyed Susans
*Asters (later bloomers)
*Perennial Bachelor Buttons (gorgeous deep blue flower)
*Coneflowers
*Columbine
*Coral Bells
*Sedum
*Scabiosa
*Forget-me-nots (these mostly bloom in Spring -sometimes again in fall, but I love the color they bring to the garden – see photo)
*Lambs Ears
*Peonies (although their bloom time is short, it is glorious – a must to add to your old-fashioned garden! If you have a more modern garden, try tree peonies)
Fertilizer
I’m a big proponent of Miracle Grow. I use regular Miracle Grow on my annuals to keep them growing and blooming fully through the season, and I use Organic Miracle Grow in my vegetable garden b/c we grow our veggies and herbs organically. For my perennials and bushes, I use Plant tone or Holly tone depending on their acidic needs, and that’s usually a once a year fall feeding. – Something important to remember is that some plants don’t like fertilizer! The photo to the right is an example. I grow nasturtiums (an annual) for eating, but they do best in poor soil – so I have to try hard to ignore it all year! Also,  my beloved hydrangeas don’t like too much fertilizer, if you fertilize them, they will grow huge and have wonderfully lush leaves, but very few flowers. So again, do your research! That’s what makes a green thumb green you know (you’re not born with or without one contrary to popular belief)!
Thanks for stopping by today! If you have any gardening questions, feel free to ask away!
What’s blooming in your garden today?

WIWW – And Some Girl Talk – HELP!!!

Hello Readers!

Today is “What I Wore” Wednesday over at The Pleated Poppy, and once again I’m joining in the fun! Seriously girls, if you need some inspiration in the wardrobe department, go check out the stylish linkers over there.~     And while we’re talking fashion, can we just take a minute to discuss unmentionables girl to girl? You know: underthings, bloomers, pantaloons? With the advent of summer comes 2 things I dread fashion-wise: 1. Showing more skin, and 2. The HEAT! Is it just my tastes, or are the majority of cute sundresses cut super low? Grrrr…. I have a few dresses that are light and adorable, but require: 1. A Camisole (for cleavage control), 2. A slip (for see through control, 3. A bra (for support) but then #3 sometimes causes strap showing issues depending on the strap pattern of the dress, and having 2 sets of straps is kinda bulky under a thin sundress, and two layers up top = major sweatage. Aye, aye, aye. All that to just get out of the house in some kind of decency. Totally destroys the purpose of a nice LIGHT throw-on sundress.

Cotton/Silk Top: JCrew, White Seersucker Bermudas: White Stag, Belt: NY&Co.

SO, it makes perfect sense to my little mind that there should exist a certain type of undergarment: one that has a cami top (for cleavage control), is nice and light (for summer layering), is a full-slip (for see through control), and has a built-in full-coverage (i.e. soft cup) bra. Doesn’t that sound perfect? Trouble is, I haven’t been able to find such a thing anywhere. So I’m really hoping you can help me out. Have you ever seen one? I adore the idea of wearing ONE undergarment that does everything under my sundresses. Just one nice, light layer. Nothing to adjust, nothing tight and stifling. Aren’t you breathing a sigh of blissful agreement just thinking about it? I know.

Nautical Top: Worthingtons, Gray Capris: St. John's Bay

Please, please, please let me know of any links, websites, stores, or brands that I should check out in this department. I, and my summer wardrobe will be eternally grateful!

One last outfit for this week:

Lavender Drape Top: Joy, Eyelet Skirt: Erik Stewart, Belt: Thrifted, Pearls: Shangby