7 Favorite Kitchen Backsplashes

When it comes to kitchens, the details are the most fun part. One of these details includes backsplashes. When done right, they are practical and beautiful. These are my favorite kitchen blacksplashes:

1. This honeycomb-shaped gray mottled marble backsplash is eye-catching and unusual. I like how it climbs the wall but doesn’t go all the way. This honeycomb pattern blends well with the kitchen, and gives a simple kitchen character.

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2. Use chalkboard to make your backsplash even more functional. Write down recipes, ingredients you need from the store, doodles, and inspiring quotes!

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3. It is typical for backsplashes to be tile or marble, but I love this idea of having windows as a backsplash. You can look outside while you do cook or do the dishes!

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4. Having a backsplash that pops out against dark hard wood floors is such a beautiful idea. These lime green tiles stand out, but not annoyingly so. Such great contrast of light and dark.

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5. Backsplashes can maintain a clean and simple look, like this gorgeous off-white color. However, what keeps the look interesting is the design of the tiles. Create stunning shapes in a neutral color to keep your kitchen minimalist and unique.

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6. A counter-to-ceiling backsplash, especially in this light blue color, is captivating. The tiles do have different shades of color throughout, giving the kitchen a nice dimension.

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7. Go bold or go home! These big colorful tiles are such a great way to make a statement in your kitchen. They also match the floor!

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What types of backsplashes do you love most?

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Father’s Day Gifts

Father's Day 2014

1. Globe Spirits Decanter $50 / 2. Epic Projection Keyboard $150
3. My Paris Life by David Lebovitz $22.14 / 4. Clapper Board Alarm $Request Price
5. X-Men and the Wolverine Collection $38

Whether it is his birthday, the holidays, or Father’s day, fathers can be really hard to shop for. Hunting down the perfect gift can be a challenge, but I feel like you can’t go wrong with a quality cookbook or DVD collection. Your dad will also have a hard time saying ‘no’ to his favorite movie and a fine bottle of scotch. If all else fails and you just can’t find anything your think your dad would like, give an experience gift and plan to spend the afternoon together and cook a meal or head to the theaters for a new release.

What are you getting your father this Sunday?

11 Ways to Store Your DVDs

When you get to the point of having stacks of DVDs, you need a place where you can keep them all in a tidy manner. I personally love to keep my DVDs out in the open so that I see them daily. Plus, they can be nice decorating pieces and add character to any room. Whether you have a lot of space or not enough space, here are 11 various ways to store your DVDs…

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1. Find storage bins from a container store and neatly label. This way you can stack boxes on top of one another for a more organized look.

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2. Build pull-out storage walls into your apartment or home for easy access to your favorite films.

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3. This fun different levels shelf is an amazing way to showcase your all time favorite movies. It’s cool and practical.

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4. Looking for something to do with your wall space? A DVD might just be what your white walls need. Each branch can be a different movie genre.

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5. Storing your DVDs in the bathroom might be the last thing you think of, but if you are in a small space and need the extra room, DVDs can add a lot of character to an otherwise simple bathroom.

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6. Not only is this nook gorgeous, but by mixing in your DVDs with your other belongings, you can make any empty corner your own.

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7. A revolving DVD tower for when you have no idea what to watch but keep spinning to see if something will catch your eye.

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8. Buy some CD binders, label each binder with a corresponding letter: A-B-C-D,  toss the DVD cases, and make a spreadsheet with which movies are in which A-B-C-D binder. A major space saver.

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9. Have enough DVDs to fill a wall and below your bed? Make sure to invest in a bed with a pull-out underneath. Instead of storing sheets, linens, and towels, store movies!

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 10. If you’re into design and have a lot of DVDs, build a wall that resembles this diamond geometric pattern and utilize the space for storage.

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11. Possibly one of the coolest shelves ever. Your DVDs will stand out in this awesome United States wall piece.

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Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother's Day 2014

 

1. Downton Abbey DVD Collection / 2. Decorate a cupcake pan and plant succulents / 3. DIY Cork Planters for her office or bedroom/ 4. Ceramic Tea Cup
5. Spend an afternoon or evening making dinner and watching movies such as Pride and Prejudice and Mamma Mia

Since Mother’s Day is celebrated in spring, light colors and succulents are always good choices. Instead of the usual flowers, surprise mom with succulents in a decorated cupcake pan or in wine corks. Or spend an evening with her watching romcoms, musicals, or a popular TV series. A little something special goes a long way. What are you getting your mom for Mother’s Day?

An Afternoon with Goats

Closeup Goat

A couple of weeks ago, I made friends with goats. Let me explain: covering 42 acres of the beautiful island of Maui, Surfing Goat Dairy produces fresh goat cheeses with unforgettable flavors. The dairy farm currently raises over 180 goats, taking proper care of the animals to ensure quality milk and cheese. In fact, many restaurants around the island use Surfing Goat’s cheeses.  During the tour of the dairy farm, we had the unique opportunity to feed and milk the goats. There was also a cheese tasting, which wouldn’t be complete without a large glass of Surfing Goat’s fresh lemonade.

During my visit to this farm, I couldn’t get enough of watching the baby goats, also known as ‘kids,’ sleeping and playing on oversized surfboards and logs. For a unique afternoon spent with goats and great cheese, Surfing Goat Dairy is a welcomed change of pace from laying out on the beach.

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Farm with Rainbow

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{Photos by Lauren}

Gifts for Any Occasion

 1. World’s Largest Gummy Worm / 2. Kissing Beagle Salt and Pepper Shakers
3. Donut Pool Float  / 4. Custom Jones Soda Label / 5. Customized M&M’s

 Sometimes when I am looking for gifts for friends, family, or for a host/hostess, I cannot for the life of me figure out what to get them. Unless I find a gift far in advance that is perfect for someone, it takes me a lot of brainstorming to come up with something special. Though there aren’t as many gift-giving holidays in the summer as there are during the winter, there are always birthdays, graduations, BBQs, just because, and thank you gifts that are waiting to be given. I laughed out loud when I saw the 3 pound gummy worm…I am a major fan of all things gummy (and sour), but this is just too much! The pool float is also hilarious. I saw it in person at a random store last weekend and it is even better in person – it’s also perfect for these hot summer days. Customized gifts can be pricey, but if the situation calls for it, I think it can be really meaningful with limitless opportunities to include inside jokes.

The Food Group

1 | Vanilla Mascarpone Coeur a la Creme with Edible Flowers
2 | Spring Cupcakes with Sugared Flowers
3 | Grilled Scallops with Ginger and Orange Sauce (recipe in French)
4 | Prosecco with Hibiscus Flowers
5 | Carnival Flowers (recipe in Spanish)

As the saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers,” and as we transition into April, flowers are one of the beautiful things we have to look forward to. We just have to get through the rain first.

When May’s flowers are in bloom, there are multiple ways to make use of them in lieu of a colorful bouquet. For one, some flowers are edible and make for excellent dessert and dish toppers. Here is a chart I found for you to reference, just to be safe. Certain flowers, such as hibiscus and rose, complement bubbly drinks or ice cream. Whether you choose to eat the flowers or not, they are a lovely spring dish, dessert, and drink addition that contribute a little something extra to your meal.

Interior Cooking

Lonny Magazine - Mar/Apr 2011 - Interior design by Daniel Pafford

Hang postcards, inspiring and vintage images, and photographs on a board in an area of your kitchen where it will constantly be seen. Cooking while you stare at pictures that make you happy? Pure bliss.

Architecture and interior design have always been a visual interest for me. I love spending time flipping through Architectural Digest and searching for online blogs that feature fresh designs and ideas. I recently came across Lonny Magazine, a bimonthly online magazine that spotlights lifestyle and home decor. I immediately adored not only the layout of the website, but the interior designs of the kitchens that were featured. I want to have a house full of kitchens straight out of Lonny Magazine.

Lonny Magazine - Jun/Jul 2010 - Interior design by Ellie Somerville

Cover your kitchen walls with patterned wallpaper and a bold piece of art.

Lonny Magazine - Apr/May 2010 - Interior design by Ashley Wick

Utilize your wall space by hanging a blackboard to write recipes, take-out phone numbers, and other random reminders. An elegant chandelier is a lovely touch.

Lonny Magazine - Jul/Aug 2011 - Interior design by Adam Braum Straus

Art is for displaying, not always for hanging. Lean a framed photograph against the window, accompanied by an antique bust.

Images via Lonny Magazine

Sealed With A Kiss

Valentine’s Day is in less than one week, and if you plan on sending something to a loved one but don’t know what to get him/her, here are some ideas. Remember, you can’t go wrong with food. For a guy or girl. Make sure to place your orders ahead of time! Don’t wait until the last-minute – let this post be your friendly reminder.

Send Eleni’s cookies – they are seriously one of the nicest gifts to receive. The cookies are delicious and the designs on top are skillfully and beautifully applied

Make a cute little bag full of his/her favorite candies with a plastic toy shovel and a sweet tag: I Dig You

Chocolate AND fruit? Yes please!

Bake a batch of cookies with these awesome stamps and send it on its way

You really can’t go wrong with chocolate/Godiva

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Romantic Meals

Happy February 1! While Valentine’s Day doesn’t represent all that February has to offer, it is a month that is visually filled with more love than usual. Love should be celebrated every day of every month, not just in February. Whether you’re celebrating something big, like an anniversary, or just celebrating being with someone special, it can be fun to change things up. If you usually cook meals at home or do take-out, switch up your routine by going out (and vice versa). The location doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but somewhere where you can sit down and enjoy each other’s company. If you’re a table for one, treat yourself somewhere extra special!

I’ve witnessed a romantic dinner right before my very eyes…it was nighttime, the steps were lined in candles, there was live music playing, and after lounging on cushions drinking wine, the couple moved to a table for dinner, where I’m sure he popped the question. Cue this song to complete the moment.

Here are some romantic locations for a lovely meal over candlelight…

→ Looking over the water on the pier

→ On the beach…cheesy? super romantic? too fancy? All of the above.

→ Double date on a platform surrounded by twinkling lights

→ The rooftop makes a serene and romantic location, especially with the city lights against the night sky

→ Breakfast in bed – best way to start the morning

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