Posted on

3 Simple Alternatives To A Minimalist Interior

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
For the past decade, magazines and TV shows have been telling us about the joys of a minimalist interior. White walls, high gloss kitchen units, minimal clutter, and simple furniture have been the trends of choice. Only with the emergence of a more creative set of designers and a frustration with the lack of artistic license in a minimalist environment, have people become more enamored with more colorful, exciting and unique designs. Magazines are now showing off more vibrant ideas on their covers and showcasing younger interior designers with their more forward thinking creations. If you fancy stepping away from the sleek and monotone to a more cheerful and homely atmosphere, take a look at these three simple alternatives to a minimalist interior.

wood home wall decoration shelf living room furniture room bedroom apartment interior design bookcase design shelving estate cabinetry
Image Credit

Walls

Forget white walls or even a touch of magnolia. It’s time to be bolder with your palette. If you fancy introducing more color in a subtle way, play around with duck egg blues, pastel hued greens or even a teal wall or two. If you’re more willing to experiment with a broader range of colors, consider mixing palettes and hues. A dark damson feature wall with lighter surrounding walls can create a focal point and break up the sea of white.

Artwork can also add touches of flair within a space and allows you to express your personality. If you love graffiti art, pick up a couple of Banksy prints. For traditional art lovers, why not head to your local gallery, purchase an original watercolor and support the local artisan trade. For a more realist approach to your artwork, you might wish to think about the photography prints for sale online. A spectacular landscape, some wildlife shots or street photography could be perfect for your interior.

vinyl blur plant technology vintage retro house reflection equipment empty furniture room modern radio brand product inside indoors focus electronics design picture frame classic contemporary disc display device
Image Credit

Furniture

While minimalist furniture has been the order of the day, people are now looking to source vintage furniture to create a mix of modern and old for their interior design. G-Plan, Ercol, and Meredew made stunning and affordable mid-century teak tables, chairs and sideboards. With people looking back fondly on the swinging sixties, people are keen to bring a touch of retro to their designs.

Coupled with drapery and fabrics, the wooden or teak inspired furniture can come alive with more texture, colors and a tactile nature. Hygge has been a Danish concept that has suddenly gained traction within the design world as families are more interested in function over form. Interior design lovers want comfort, cosiness, and a homely feel more than something that simply looks stunning but is virtually unusable. Banish the chaise lounge that never gets used and swap it for a fashionable leather recliner that will be enjoyed for years to come.

Playing around with your interior design can be a daunting prospect, but it should also be enjoyable. With our busy lifestyles, we want a humble abode that is welcoming and comfortable; minimalism doesn’t always deliver this. Banish the white walls and clinical look to welcome a more vibrant and exciting interior design.

 

Advertisements
Posted on

Chocolate Stuffed Chip Bars

Confession: I have an extremely large sweet tooth. So when I was tasked with making a dessert for an upcoming housewarming party, you better believe I jumped at the chance. I wanted a dessert that would be loved by the masses, relatively simple to make and easy to transport. Well, you can never go wrong with anything chocolate and bar cookies seem to be a no-brainer.  The answer; Chocolate Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars. And yes, chocolate is in the name twice! This cookie bar recipe is as if a chocolate chip cookie hugged a Hershey’s chocolate bar. How sweet is that?

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted Challenge Butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
7 full-sized Hershey bars

IMG_0099

DIRECTIONS

  • Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often until it becomes brown in color. It will foam, reduce, then foam again. Once it’s done cooking the foam is a light brown and it will dissipate after you remove it from the heat. Make sure when it starts to brown to keep stirring so it doesn’t burn. Let sit for 5 minutes to cool.

 

  • Pour the butter mixture into a mixing bowl, while still hot. Add both sugars and mix with an electric beater on low until combined. Let sit to cool for a few minutes.
  • While butter mixture is cooling, combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir to incorporate and set aside.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, to the butter/sugar on a low setting until it’s completely incorporated.  Add in vanilla extract. Incorporate the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Fold in chocolate chips with a spatula.
  • Line a 9×13” baking pan with foil. Spray with cooking spray for easy removal.
  • Press half the cookie dough in the prepared pan. Pour sweetened condensed milk over the top of the bottom layer (be careful to leave about 1/4” edge around the pan so the milk doesn’t touch the foil), Lay the full Hershey chocolate bars over the top, lining them up across the pan. Spread the remaining cookie dough and place on top of milk. Press with your hands to flatten. It will mostly cover but not completely cover the bottom layer.
  • Refrigerate pan for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake for about 30-35 minutes until the tops of the bars start to get golden brown. Cool completely before slicing into bars.

 

IMG_1713

 

More Dessert Recipes

Need more recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth? Check out these sweet treats:

IMG_0164
Double Fudge Brownies >

IMG_9777-2

Banana Cake with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting >

Posted on

Top 10 Butterfly Garden Plants

My garden is a very busy place these days! Butterflies, bumble bees, hummingbirds — all bustling around pollinating their little butts off. I’ve really enjoyed watching all of the activity and wanted to share a little research I did on the Top 10 Butterfly Garden Plants. I plan on expanding my garden next year and want to be informed on what I should be on the lookout for. This is the perfect time of year to pick up some clearance perennials at the garden center, save a little money and help foster a healthy ecosystem.

 

Snapdragons
Snapdragon (Antirrhinum)

10. Snapdragon (Antirrhinum)

A common perennial used in flower pots and garden borders, this flower is great for butterflies, humming birds and honey bees.

(Nectar & Host) : Cabbage White, Common Buckeye, Grey Hairstreak, Pearl Crescent, Swallowtail

White daisy
Daisy (Leucanthemum)

9. Daisies (Leucanthemum)

This classic summer flower attract butterflies as well as serving as a host plant.

(Nectar & Host) : American Painted Lady, Cabbage White, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Mourning Cloak, Painted Lady, Queen, Red Admiral, Pearl Crescent, Sachem

8. Goldenrod (Solidago)

Goldenrod, a fall bloomer, attracts native pollinators and beneficial insects to your garden. It’s beautiful golden color adds a needed pop of color to a late Summer/Fall garden.

(Nectar) : American Painted Lady, American Snout, Clouded Sulphur, Common Sulphur, Great Swallowtail, Gorgone Checkerspot, Monarch, Painted Lady, Pearl Crescent, Red Admiral, Red-Banded Hairstreak, Sachem, Viceroy

Black-eyed Susan
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)

7. Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)

Another long-blooming summer perennial that butterflies love! Fun fact!: The black-eyed susan have an invisible (to humans) pattern on their petals that only butterflies (with ultraviolet vision) can see. How cool is that?

(Nectar) : American Snout, Great Spangled Fritillary, Hayhurst’s Scallopwing, Orange Sulphur, Pearl Crescent, Sachem, Silvery Checkerspot, Silver-Spotted Skipper, Spring and Summer Azure, Variegated Fritillary

6. Verbena

Verbena is also drought tolerant, make a great choice for rock gardens or planting in cracks between stones. Verbena are the ideal plant to cascade over retaining walls, containers, baskets, and window boxes. This versatile flower is perfect for any butterfly garden and it’s clusters bloom all season long.

(Nectar) : American Lady, Black Swallowtail, Cabbage White, Common Buckeye, Clouded Skipper, Clouded Sulphur, Crossline Skipper, Dun Skipper, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Fiery Skipper, Gray Hairstreak, Great Southern White, Great Spangled Fritillary, Hayhurst’s Scallopwing, Horace’s Duskywing, Least Skipper, Little Glassywing, Monarch, Ocola Skipper, Orange Sulphur, Painted Lady, Pecks Skipper, Pearl Crescent, Pipevine Swallowtail, Red-Banded Hairstreak, Red Spotted Admiral, Sachem, Silver-Spotted Skipper, Silvery Checkerspot, Swallowtail, Tawny-edged Skipper, Variegated Fritillary, Wild Indigo Duskywing, Zabulon, Zebra Longwing, Zebra Swallowtail

Lantana
Lantana

5. Lantana

Lantana are full of color — bright and cheery.  Their blooms last all season long and they attract both butterflies and humming birds to your garden.

(Nectar) : Cabbage White, Fiery Skipper, Great Swallowtail, Gray Hairstreak, Hayhurst’s Scallopwing, Little Glassywing, Monarch, Red Admiral, Sachem, Silver-Spotted Skipper, Skipper, Spicebush Swallowtail, Swallowtail, Wild Indigo Duskywing, Zebra Longwing

Salvia
Salvia

4. Salvia

Salvias come in a wide range of colors, are drought tolerant and their bloom life is exceptionally long. They not only attract butterflies but hummingbirds as well!

(Nectar) : American Lady, Cabbage White, Clouded Skipper, Cloudless Sulphur, Dun Skipper, Fiery Skipper, Giant Swallowtail, Gray Hairstreak, Gulf Fritillary, Monarch, Orange Sulphur, Orange-barred Sulphur, Peck’s Skipper, Sachem, Silver-Spotted Skipper, Spicebush Swallowtail, Zebra Longwing, Zabulon

3. Aster

Asters are a late summer and fall blooming perennial and not only attract butterflies for the nectar but also as a host plant. They are a daisy-like perennial  with star-shaped flower head and come in a wide range of varieties, colors and sizes.

(Nectar & Host) : American Lady, American Snout, Anise Swallowtail, Black Swallowtail, Buckeye Butterfly, Cabbage White, Clouded Skipper, Clouded Sulphur, Common Buckeye, Common Checkered-Skipper, Common Sulphur, Eastern Tailed-Blue, Fiery Skipper, Gray Hairstreak, Horace’s Duskywing, Lorquin Admiral, Monarch, Orange Sulphur, Painted Lady, Pearl Crescent, Peck’s Skipper, Question Mark, Red Admiral, Red-Banded Hairstreak, Sachem, Silver-Spotted Skipper, Sleepy Orange, Swallowtail, Variegated Fritillary, Viceroy, West Coast Lady

Purple Coneflower
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea)

2. Purple Coneflower (Echinacea)

This widely versatile perennial can be planted almost everywhere in the US and attracts a ton of butterflies. Purple coneflowers, also known as Echinacea, are attractive and hearty flowers that not only draw butterflies to your garden but songbirds too!

(Nectar) : American Lady, Banded Hairstreak, Black Swallowtail, Clouded Sulphur, Common Checkered Skipper, Common Wood-nymph, Eastern Tailed Blue, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Fiery Skipper, Giant Swallowtail, Gray Hairstreak, Great Spangled Fritillary, Gulf Fritillary, Hayhurst’s Scallopwing, Horace’s Duskywing, Little Glassywing, Monarch, Orange Sulphur, Painted Lady, Pearl Crescent, Peck’s Skipper, Red Admiral, Red-Banded Hairstreak, Red-Spotted Admiral, Sachem, Silvery Checkerspot, Silver-Spotted Skipper, Spicebush Swallowtail, Swallowtail, Tawny-edge Skipper, Variegated Fritillary, Viceroy, Wild Indigo Duskywing, Zabulon

Butterfly bush
Butterfly Bush

1. Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)

The name says it all, Butterfly Bush is hands down the best plant for attracting butterflies to your yard. Each plant can support hundreds of butterflies feeding on it at one time. Beautiful, fast-growing, deciduous shrub with masses of blossoms that bloom from summer to autumn.

(Nectar) : American Lady, Anise Swallowtail, Banded Hairstreak, Black Swallowtail, Cabbage White, Cloudless Sulphur, Crossline Skipper, Eastern Comma, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Fiery Skipper, Giant Swallowtail, Great Spangled Fritillary, Gulf Fritillary, Horace’s Duskywing, Little Glassywing, Monarch, Mourning Cloak, Ocola Skipper, Orange Sulphur, Painted Lady, Pipevine Swallowtail, Polydamus Swallowtail, Queen, Question Mark, Red Admiral, Red-Banded Hairstreak, Red-Spotted Purple, Peck’s Skipper, Sachem, Silver Spotted Skipper, Southern Broken-Dash, Spicebush Swallowtail, Spring and Summer Azure, Variegated Fritillary, Viceroy, Wild Indigo Duskywing, Zabulon, Zebra Longwing, Zebra Swallowtail

 

Do you have a green thumb or know someone who does?

I put together a guide of  “Must-Haves” for Plant Lovers  to keep that thumb extra green!

Watering Can

 

 

Posted on

Refreshing Pineapple Mango Sorbet

Is this Summer flying right by, or is it just me? I’m trying to squeeze every last moment and morsel out of my favorite season and just before I have to utter the words “Kids, it’s time to go back to school”!  One of my favorite new recipes has all the wonderful punchy flavors of Summer, Pineapple Mango Sorbet! The flavors are bright, the color is cheery and texture is simply divine. This sweet treat has become an instant favorite at my house and with only 4 ingredients, super simple to make.

IMG_1111.JPG

Unlike most summer treats, sorbet is dairy-free, which makes this lactose intolerant girl grin from ear to ear! This super easy recipe is a great alternative to ice cream and can be simply altered with different fruit to please anyone’s picky palate.

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups packed cubed fresh pineapple

2 cups packed cubed mango

1 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (or 4 drops of lime essential oil & 2 tablespoons of water)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add pineapple, mango, sugar, and lime juice to a blender and blend on high until creamy and smooth, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Pour mixture into a shallow plastic air tight container and chill in the freezer for 4-6 hours, or until firm.
  3. Let the sorbet soften slightly before scooping. Serve and enjoy!

 

IMG_1128.JPG

RECIPE TIPS:

  • Use ripe mango and pineapple for the best flavor.
  • Keep sorbet in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
  • Don’t like Mango or Pineapple? This recipe can be easily altered. Try other seasonal fruits like: strawberries, bananas, peaches, and raspberries.
  • Lime or lemon juice adds a little extra punch to sorbet. If you don’t have a fresh lemon or lime on hand, essential oils can work just as well. Add 2-4 drops of your favorite citrus essential oil.
Posted on

Double Fudge Brownies

Brownie recipes are much like chocolate chip cookie recipes, everyone seems to have their own favorite recipe and thinks theirs is the best. I get it. There are so many variations and are a standard dessert go-to for many. I personally like my brownies chewy and dense. (Oh, and super chocolaty *duh*) After doing some “brownie research” for this post,  I concocted a Brownie recipe that is chocolaty, chewy and even had a secret ingredient to elevate the chocolate flavor —INSTANT COFFEE! I made a batch of these brownies this weekend. My boys were licking their plates to get every last crumb and morsel. A true sign of a recipe gone right!

P.S. The coffee is totally optional, but must say it does give it a great boost!

Prep time: 15 mins   Cook time: 30-40 mins
Total time: 55 mins  Servings: 16 brownies

Ingredients

1 cup butter (2 sticks)

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup white sugar

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp instant coffee diluted with 1 tsp of hot water (or 1 tsp of coffee extract)

3 eggs

1 yolk

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

IMG_0099.JPG

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 9 x 9 inch square pan. Set aside when done.

  2. Place the butter in a heat-proof bowl and microwave until butter is completely melted.

  3. Add the brown sugar, white sugar and salt while the butter is still warm. Mix to combine the butter and sugars together until you have a smooth consistancy.

  4. Add the vanilla, shot of  instant coffee (or coffee extract) , eggs and egg yolk to the butter and sugar mixture. Whisk in the eggs until they have been incorporated into the butter sugar mix. With a hand mixer, approx.  2 minutes until the mixture is well combined and is light in color.

  5. In a separate bowl, sift the flour and cocoa powder together.

  6. Add the dry mixture of flour and cocoa powder into the wet ingredients and mix it in until just combined. Add about ⅔ of the semi-sweet chocolate chips halfway through the mixing in of the flour. The goal is to make sure the batter is not over-mixed when the flour is being incorporated. Important: Do not over mix!

  7. Spoon the batter into the 9 x 9 pan. Spreading the batter evenly. Sprinkle the rest of the semi-sweet chocolate chips on top.

    IMG_0124

    IMG_0132.JPG

  8. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes. If you like your brownies fudge-like, stick closer to 30 minutes. If you like you brownies a little more well done, 40 minutes.

  9. Remove from the oven and let it cool down to room temperature. Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours. Brownies that are chilled are easier to cut.

  10. Cut the brownies into squares with warm knife and serve.

IMG_0177.JPG

IMG_0164.JPG

Fenway Serving Tip
: Drizzle with chocolate syrup, a dollop of whipped cream and lightly sprinkle with cocoa powered for an impressive presentation.