The Nursery Inspiration

Vivian’s nursery is my favorite room in the house.  When deciding on a color scheme for her room I knew I wanted to add color of some sort, seeing as I tend to shy away from color in general throughout the rest of the house, especially on the walls.  One day while at Marshall’s, I came across these pretty gift tags and fell in love with their color and pattern.  So there you have it, the inspiration for Vivian’s nursery.  I also created a Pinterest board to store pretty images I found elsewhere.  Stay tuned for the nursery reveal soon.

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Sources: 1(my own), 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Currently reading

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I’ll be the first to admit I don’t own or buy a lot of design books. I get my daily fix of inspiration via blogs, like most people nowadays.  I’m a long time reader of Erin’s blog.  When I heard she was coming to Chicago for her book tour, I was excited and felt compelled to go and meet her.  This was way back in October, by the way.  A little late on the post…I know.  I took Vivian with me; both mother and daughter’s first book signing!  Had a great time chatting it up with Andrew, and Erin was super sweet and down to earth.  With the baby these days I haven’t had much time to sit and really dive into the book until recently.  It’s such a great read, literally like an extension of her blog.  Erin is very candid in how she explains the design process, she gives great advice based on experience and what’s worked best for her.  Andrew contributed to the foreword section of the book, and wrote some of the sweetest words about Erin and her journey to writing her first book.  And of course, Erin showcases her talent throughout the book with beautiful pictures from beginning to end.  I highly recommend the book to any design enthusiast.

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One of my favorite parts of the book is the honest and invaluable advice Erin gives to bloggers.

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Wallpaper, wallpaper, and more wallpaper!  This gives me the itch to put some wallpaper up in my own house.  Hopefully sooner rather than later.

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Such a beautiful and inspirational office.  I don’t think I will ever get tired of seeing huge inspiration walls such as the one pictured above.

Living room update

Just a quick post today to show you an updated view of the living room and how the white cabinet looks.  It sits right next to the foot of the sectional and is the first thing you see when you walk in the front door.  I had mentioned before here, that the living room needed a furniture piece in the entrance way to sort of define the entry of the house.  This console does just that.  I accessorized it with items I had around the house, I don’t think I’m sold on the look just yet.  But for now it works.

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Baking tips for the novice baker

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My love for baking goes way back to my early teen years, my mom would commission me to bake my siblings’ birthday cake or just because.  It was always a box cake, but the end result was always a moist, fluffy cake.  I can’t remember the last time I baked a box cake; and since then, I have learned a few tricks and techniques that make for a better cake.

1. Bring your refrigerated ingredients to room temperature

Avoid using cold eggs, butter, cream cheese, milk, etc.  You almost have to plan ahead to bake.  For example, leave the butter and eggs sit out on the counter overnight.  You can also bring eggs to room temperature by placing them in a dish with warm water for 10-15 minutes.

2. Use parchment paper

Avoid your baked good from sticking by adding parchment paper to the bottom of the baking pan.  While you’re at it, make sure to butter/grease and flour the pan generously.  A good trick to do this is to use a brush to brush on the butter or grease, that way you don’t miss any nooks and crannies.

3. Don’t open the oven

Doing this affects the temperature in the oven and alters the baking time.

4. Avoid over baking

When a recipe calls for a range in baking time such as 22-25 minutes I always start with the lowest time to avoid over baking.  You can always bake for 1 or 2 minutes longer, but you can never undo the dryness of an over baked cake.

5. Always cool completely on a rack

Cooling a cake on a rack allows for even airflow around the pan therefore cooling the cake evenly.  You always want to cool the cake completely, like at least 2-3 hours before frosting or doing anything to it.

These are some tips that work for me, what are some things you do that make for better baked goods?

Red Velvet Cake

I was scheduled to work this weekend and unexpectedly got called off (yay!).  I have been wanting to bake a red velvet cake for quite some time now so I decided this was the perfect time.  And with Valentine’s Day around the corner, this is the perfect festive cake for such occasion.

This was my first time baking a red velvet, and there are countless recipes out there so I took to Pinterest and chose a recipe with the prettiest picture. :)

I used this recipe. The cake was moist, however it had too much of a cocoa taste to it.  I prefer my red velvet cake to be on the sweeter side.  I will probably try a different recipe next time.  I used this cream cheese recipe and loved it!  However, I modified the recipe a bit.  Instead of adding 2 cups of powdered sugar I added 3 cups (per one of the reviewers suggestions) and the end result was delightful.

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A Documentary Worth Your Time

As a new mom, it’s easy to get caught up in the daily routine of washing the dishes, going to the gym, loading the washer and (3 hours later) unloading it and throwing the clothes in the dryer….you get the idea.  Doing this day in and day out is so uninspiring, to say the least.  I rarely take time to do the things that I enjoy because housework and the baby usually take precedence.  So today I decided to turn to Netflix (during one of the baby’s bottle feeds) and watch a documentary.  I had no idea what I wanted to watch so I literally just picked one based on its cover.  I chose Living on One Dollar.

This film did not disappoint.  I would say it was the best documentary I have ever seen, it’s that good  The film is about a group of four guys that head to Guatemala and live on one dollar a day for eight weeks, in an effort to experience what it’s really like to live in extreme poverty.  So inspiring, emotional, and eye-opening on all levels.

But back to what I was talking about, I felt so giddy inside as the movie was about to start.  I realized, at that moment, how important it is to step away from the daily house chores or whatever it is that you do everyday and let yourself enjoy a film, book, TV show, etc.  One of the biggest changes I felt when I became a mom was the feeling of being disconnected with the outside world and current events in general.  Watching this documentary opened my eyes about what millions of people living in extreme poverty struggle with everyday and made me realize how fortunate I really am.

So now I feel like I learned something new and in turn have something substantial to talk about next time I get together with friends, because as much as your friends love your child they don’t want to hear about her 24/7.  :)

The Entryway

I finally got around to hanging pretty and personal artwork in the living room.  It’s actually a page out of one of my sketchbooks from undergrad school.  If I remember correctly it was for my art history class?? Not sure about that one.

I am really enjoying this little corner in the living room and how it turned out.  For the longest time there was this awkward space at the foot of the sectional.  I especially hated the view of the living room when you walked in thru the front door, it was like you were walking straight into the sectional.  This little set up gives the entrance a presence, almost like a make-shift foyer.

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The storage cabinet is from Target from their Threshold line (It’s currently 15% off).  I bought mine during a similar sale and used my Target card and got an additional 5% off and free shipping.  The drawers currently store books, photo albums, and showcase some knick knacks.  The stone face statue, frames, and flowers are all from Homegoods (my favorite store).