31 January 2011

It's a dark, rainy Monday morning, and all I'm really wanting to do is:

 cozy up in a warm, window-filled corner

 pour a prettied cup of coffee

 open an inspiring book

make a mess of breakfast...
and call my hubby home to hang.

So...this really isn't helping me get motivated for another Monday.
Hope yours is full of prettied inspiration :)

27 January 2011

Good with green.

Loving the shades of sea-inspiring green found while perusing Mary Ruffle this morning.
Hope it perfectly accompanies your  morning cup of joe :)

26 January 2011

Packing a punch.

It's funny: I certainly don't love the color purple, or any super bright, feminine shades for that matter. I tend to gravitate toward masculine hues: grays, greens, browns, blacks (sounds super boring, I know). But, as I was perusing my favorite flickr finds this morning...there seemed to be a theme: punches of pink + purple.

{all photos found via flickr}

So there you have it: my morning inspiration...and discovery, I guess you could say.
Who knew I had such a fondness for bright, happy shades of pink and purple?
Hope your day is just as pretty as the photos above :)

25 January 2011

h.i.m. (happy, in the morning)


this whimsical foodtography by the talented Sayaka Minemura makes me oh-so-happy this morning (and kind of makes me want to start playing with my food again).

*found while persusing the ever-inspiring Oh, Joy!

24 January 2011

Gift picks: for the host(ess).

Old-fashioned? Perhaps, but I very much believe in hostess gifts. I love the idea of providing your host/hostess(es) with a thoughtful little treasure in return for opening their home. Dinner may simply call for arriving with a bottle of wine in-hand (I heart #3), but weekend stays (or longer) allow a bit more creativity in the gift selection process. Below, quick pics for a fail-proof gift...just in time for springtime travels:

 { 1. A rustic mangowood breadboard paired with a crusty, artisan baguette;   2. The cooking connoisseur's go-to spices: Herbs de Provence from Williams-Sonoma. Bonus? Super cute container for the counter;    3. Brilliance in a bottle: Occasion wines from Swanson Vineyards;    
4. No self-proclaimed cook would refuse this little number from Rife Paper Co. to house their most-prized culinary concoctions. }

21 January 2011

BIG news.

(Well, for me and Maple at least)...
And I'm so very glad that process is over with!

It's trying...and stressful...and I've maybe never been so antsy as to when we were waiting to hear whether our offer was accepted (like, three different times). And, on top of that, it all happened so quickly: we started looking last Wednesday...this was the second house out of about 15 we saw...we went back for a second look on Sunday...we fell in love...we decided to make an offer on Monday...we made our offer on Tuesday...we made our counter offer on Wednesday...we made our 2nd counter offer on Thursday...and finally, friends, it was accepted.

So, no, it's not officially ours yet (I'm trying to remind myself to not get attached but man that is hard) because it's contingent upon the inspection and the closing date is most likely a month and a  half away. But there's still room for excitement I think...

I made strawberry muffins this morning to celebrate :)

Anyway, there she is, and here's exactly why we wanted her for our first home:

-it's in an older, eclectic little neighborhood that's really making a name for itself: restaurants (some of the best in Charleston, at that) are infiltrating the area...it's filled with coffee shops, brunch spots, antique and thrift stores...and it has very big trees :)

-the home is older (which we wanted) and the kitchen and bathrooms haven't been updated much (which we also wanted). we're so picky that we wanted a blank slate to design them to our tastes instead of living with someone else's renovations we really don't love.

-she has hardwoods throughout (swoon).

-the windows are amazing and maybe my favorite part: they're huge (meaning...lots of sunlight), and they're aluminum (so cool), AND...they have a handle you crank and wind out to open. i heart them. and so does Maple.

-the kitchen is giant...and oh how i'm more than ready for that! it's a huge galley kitchen, with a big picture window in the front, tons of counter space, tall cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling, terra-cotta tile floors, and room for our family heirloom butcher block island. yes...this is where i will live :)

-4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms means we can stay here for a very long time.

-there's a front porch...which was high on our list.

-the front yard is giant with tall, old trees...but...that backyard is just humongous. plenty of room for a patio, a firepit, (an outdoor kitchen one day?), but best of all...a garden and a gardening shed. and finally our little pup has a yard to trove around in (and finally we don't have to go on a hike to let her out everyday).

-it's a 10-minute hop and skip from downtown, and a pretty one at that, as we'll now have to drive over the most beautiful bridge with the marina below.

-the craziest part? our monthly mortgage for this 4 bedroom house will be significantly lower than the rent we are currently paying for a 1-bedroom apartment downtown.

So, there you have it...the "big news" I've been hinting toward, and the reason I've been posting so many  interior design photos lately. Yes, my mind is reeling with the possibilities, and it's so fun to see Maple's doing the same. It's our new little abode, and the place we hope to call home for a very long time. So, now you can cross your fingers and say a few little prayers that all will go well from here on out...that the inspection will go through without a hitch (no termites, pretty please) and that closing will follow suit with a smooth handing over of the keys.

Enjoy your weekend...hope it's everything you hope for :)

19 January 2011

Kitchen space.

I very much believe that a kitchen is the heart of a home--at least in terms of our lifestyle. I love to dirty it up...in a good way, of course...with ingredients scattered, pots and pans boiling and sauteeing delicious pieces of a meal that inevitably brings us together at the end of a long and separated day. It's where Maple and I spend  most of our time together...talking, stirring, tasting...sipping a drink. Okay...my point's been made, I think...but that's all to say I spend a lot of time perusing blogs and design sites in search of a kitchen that's cozy and humble yet perfectly inspiring. And this very kitchen is all of those things:

So now that you've seen my dream kitchen--what's yours?
What's your very favorite feature you couldn't possibly live without?
What do you dream for your culinary space?
I'm always looking for clever kitchen ideas...

(Yes, I'm southern...)

18 January 2011

Inspired by:

Hello lovelies. Hope you had the most wonderful holiday weekend. I, myself, had a busy one...but am beyond excited due to the reasons. I've been working on a few magazine projects that will be featured in the upcoming issue of Charleston Home (an amazing publication if you haven't yet discovered it). Just look at the behind the scenes of this photoshoot! *That's me--the blonde in the green shirt. Anyway, I've been taking on their DIY/Mini-Makeover sections and designing + producing the features--can't WAIT to show you what I've gotten myself into this time. Let's just say I have the best. job. ever.

Also...another little (or big?) something is underway with the me and Maple (no...no babies)...and fingers crossed I'm able to tell you about it. So, even though I'm leaving you very much in the dark, any little prayers are appreciated today.

With that said, HAPPY TUESDAY.
And happy reading.

13 January 2011

h.i.m. (happy, in the morning):

Good morning, sunshines! Hope your morning cup of coffee is treating you well...and more than perfect than those pictured above. And how amazing is that cup and saucer set? Yes, please, I need you now...

Anyhow, my week is busy,  hectic, crazy, and fun. Lots of exciting things happening at the moment, so this sadly this is all I have time for this morning. But enjoy! And peruse the etsy shop the images came from when you have the chance--so cute.

11 January 2011

Sweet potato recipes:

So, my lovelies, there's one root vegetable I particularly adore (aside from my parsnip fascination...they are so delectably sweet when roasted...but isn't everything better roasted?), that being the sweet potato. Not only is it delicious, but it's bright orange, and so very wallet friendly. All good things in my book. I love them diced and pan-roasted--the perfect breakfast side dish. I love them oven-roasted and plain, with a hint of brown sugar sprinkled on top. But, my friends, here's how I really love them. And I mean really, really love them. A must-try side dish, as I've become rather addicted (inspired by an epicurious recipe):

Roasted, spicy chipotle sweet potatoes:
(serves 4)

You will need: 
4 medium sweet potatoes (rather uniform in size)
1 garlic bulb
olive oil
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, diced, one tablespoon of adobo sauce reserved*
1/4 cup butter, diced into manageable pieces
salt and pepper to taste
*found canned in the ethnic/hispanic section of your grocery

To prepare:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Wash the sweet potatoes, poke a few holes in each with a fork, and roast for one hour or until soft.
Chop off the tip of the garlic bulb and place the bulb in aluminum foil. Drizzle approximately one tablespoon of olive oil over the bulb and fold the foil around it. Place in the oven with 20 minutes remaining on the potatoes' cook time, and roast so that the garlic and potatoes are done at the same time.
Meanwhile, dice the chipotle pepper into very fine pieces (chipotle peppers pack quite a bit of heat, so if you don't prefer spicy, reduce to 1/2 a pepper).
While to potatoes are still hot, make a slit in each and remove the pulp, placing it in a mixing bowl. Discard the skins.
Remove each clove of garlic from its skin and mash to a fine paste. Add to the mixing bowl along with the remaining ingredients.
Whip all ingredients until smooth.

...AND EAT!!! Devour. Enjoy. They are so very good. 
And, with your leftovers, make these homemade treats:

These, too, were so incredibly delicious.
Maple and I had an unexpected snowday (or, freezing rain/ice day) yesterday, and all the bridges shut down, meaning...no getting to work!! Best. day. ever. So, during my morning blog persusing, I stumbled across this recipe via Gweneth's goop, and what do you know...I had leftover chipotle sweet potatoes. And a maple leaf cookie cuter (duh). So off I went to the kitchen, with a latte in hand (divine, I tell you) and whipped up these morning treats. The garlic/chipotle flavor of my taters added the most amazing twist. Really, you must try them, even if it's with a plain jane sweet potato:

Homemade honey sweet potato biscuits
(keep scrolling til you see the video--how cute is this girl!?)

10 January 2011

Kitchen space.

I'm over our teenie kitchen.

Yes, it's cute...or quaint...or whatever charming word you want to use to disguise it's cramped, inefficient boundaries. And I will miss it...it's inevitable...because it really is cute and quaint and sunny and warm. But I need elbow room. I need to spread out and make a mess when I cook (on a non-miniature stovetop, please). And clean it up easily (aka a dishwasher...like, a real electric one...), and store all of my cookware so it doesn't take me seven minutes to retrieve the one pyrex I need from the bottom of the pile.

Yes...I love our teenie kitchen, but at the same time, I am over our teenie kitchen.

Which leads me to dreaming of:


 {martha stewart}



So, what do you think?  Open shelving--would you do it?

It used to be no question--I absolutely would. How nice and convenient it would be to have everything right there in the open, at eyesight and arm's reach whenever you need it. It's certainly functional. It gives you the ease and efficiency of a chef's kitchen with the cozy warmth of displaying your coveted kitchen things (quoted from the hubby, I might add).

But now I find myself gravitating toward a sleeker look...wanting to disguise everything behind crisp cabinets. But, there's a lack of warmth and personality in that method. And, I do kind of love the kitchenware we have. I wouldn't mind seeing it on display...beckoning me to contrive some delectable recipe with it all.

So, that brings be back to the question of the hour (or the day).
Open shelving: what do you think? Would you do it? Have you done it?
I'm so curious...please share :)


P.S. winter in Charleston is so entertaining. It rained this morning, and it happens to be 35 degrees, so work has been delayed for hours. They are out and about sanding (not salting) the rainy roads. Because there might just be a patch of ice somewhere. 

I take it back. We are totally having an ice storm. Work has been called off for the hubby, and I won't be going in til later (if at all). You know what this means: SNOW DAY!!!!!

P.P.S. I'm really super missing the late, the great DOMINO this morning. (sigh...)

07 January 2011

06 January 2011


Frugality is an art. 
Especially if you don't want to look like you're always pinching those pennies.
I'm always on the lookout for sightworthy steals--those that will save me sweet mulah while still turning heads. So I thought I'd share my latest savings discoveries:

HAPPY SHOPPING (or saving).


Any steal-worthy savings of your own? I'd SO love to see them! Always on the lookout for amazing finds :)

This morning I am:

     Dark. Sultry. Stunning. 
  Three things I like my food to be. 
  Found via flickr.

04 January 2011

A cure for the cozy:

  {source unknown}

  {source unknown}

 {source unknown}

Design is in me. It's what I live and breathe...and get out of my cozy bed for each dark and cold morning (that and a warm cup of coffee...in a carefully chosen mug, I might add). It hails from my architect father and his brilliant designs (really...I am always amazed), and my artist mother who's a master sewer/quilter/crafty-thing in general (if only I had that same knack). Anyway, their love for the arts has transpired to me, who meticulously compiles desktop folders of carefully-edited inspiration in all forms (so much for having a cute background photo).  And this is just one of those folders-- rooms of coziness and warmth, that I want to be in...and spend all my time in...and recreate....someday, that one day, that we are homeowners. 

So...here's to your Tuesday being perfectly cozy and full of inspiration. 
Mine certainly is :)

HAPPY 2011. 

*sources unknown: if you happen to have seen these photos elsewhere, please let me know and I will happily credit the rightful owners!