October 23, 2016

Halloween Home Tour

Welcome to my Halloween Home Tour!  To me, Halloween is about the crisp air, creative costumes, pumpkin carving, trick or treaters, and a big bowl of candy.  Nothing scary over here.  So grab some cider, a throw and get comfy as I take you around my home.

Pumpkin beer! My other favorite is Saranac Pumpkin Ale.

I love the make-your-own 6 packs from Total Wine... though there are only 4 pictured here ; )  The Jack O'Lantern tea towel is old (you may remember it from here and here) and the antler bottle opener was a gift from my brother.

Baking corner, with my copper cookie cutters on display.

A close up of my fall cutters.

Coffee corner

I really do enjoy a traditional coffee maker.  Something about brewing a fresh pot of coffee first thing in the morning and listening to it fill up the coffee pot...  Maybe it's nostalgia of family gatherings or maybe it's just a soothing smell right when you wake up.  Whatever it may be, it's certainly wonderful.  

I purchased these Brown and White Transferware Planters (set of 2) back in September.  They're so festive for the fall months.  I haven't decided what greenery to put in them yet, so for now I have my Williams-Sonoma Pumpkin Spice candle, which smells fantastic.  In fact, I have it burning right now : )

The Trick or Treat Mugs are a Homegoods purchase from last year, but I've seen them again this year.  I get so many complements on my candy corn mugs.  I think they were purchased either in college or right after from Kohl's.  They're definitely my favorite!

Fall = baking

One of my roommates after college introduced me to the Murihead Pecan Pumpkin Butter from Williams-Sonoma.  She would bake the best pumpkin bars with them and ever since then, I have to buy a couple each fall.  Also, I recently made the switch from Trader Joe's vanilla extract to Nielsen-Massey.  The flavor difference is unbelievable.  It's pricier ($12.95 for 4 oz.) but honestly worth it, in my opinion, to have a richer tasting treat.

Pottery Barn introduced these watercolor pumpkin plates last year.  I thought they were beautiful but never got around to ordering them and then they sold out.  Luckily they brought them back this season and I was able to purchase a set in August before they sold out again.  They feature 4 timeless pumpkin watercolors and I look forward to using them year after year.

Candy Corn Mugs (old, Kohl's)
Trick or Treat Mugs (Homegoods)
Mr. Coffee Coffee Maker
Glass Canisters
Copper Cookie Cutters (began collecting this past year; various sources)
Crate and Barrel Bamboo Recipe Box (discontinued but similar here)
Black and White Cachepot
Antler Bottle Opener (gift)
Crate and Barrel Hot Dog Basket (out of stock)
Jack O'Lantern Tea Towel (old, Pier1)
Our Daily Bread Tray (hand me down from my mom)
Brown and White Transferware Planters
Williams-Sonoma Pumpkin Spice Candle
Williams-Sonoma Spiced Pecan Pumpkin Quick Bread Mix
Williams-Sonoma Pecan Pumpkin Butter
Williams-Sonoma Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract
Williams-Sonoma Open Kitchen Spatula (out of stock)
Pottery Barn Watercolor Painted Pumpkin Plates (out of stock)

Welcome to the living room!  This fall, I chose grays and creams.  I do have two orange lumbar pillows but wanted to keep the colors muted this year.  I'm sure I'll put them out again next year since I tend to change it up from year to year.  The gray garden stool is from Homegoods, which I've had since we moved to New Jersey a year and a half ago (already?!)

The couches were also new upon moving in.  We purchased them at Pottery Barn in Richmond back in January 2015 during their annual furniture sale.  They were 20% off + we got an extra 15% off with their moving discount.  Since they were custom, they took 8 weeks to make, so we had them shipped to New Jersey and held at the warehouse until we officially moved in at the beginning of April 2015. They're the Pottery Barn PB Comfort Roll collection and we've been very happy with them.  They are made in the USA and well constructed.  Furniture is something I believe in spending more on for quality, and can actually save us money in the long run by not wearing out as often.

The rug is from Target and I can't wait to replace it (ha!) but am keeping for now until our next move.  I still love gray but want something less modern/more classic and Persian or Oriental in style.
These are some that I've had my eye on: Nolan Persian Style Rug | Florenteen Gray/Ivory Rug | Catherine Rug.

As you probably know by now, I love plaid (so much tartan in my Christmas Tour last year).  I picked up 4 of these Colin Plaid pillows from Pottery Barn in August + the Ronan Plaid Throw (like I really need another throw...) but waited patiently to put them out until after Labor Day.  I also got 2 of these Chunky Chenille Pillows after seeing Desiree of Beautifully Seaside's Fall Home Tour, which adds softness and warmth to the room.

Living Room
Pottery Barn PB Comfort Roll Arm Slipcovered Sofa and Loveseat
Coffee Table (DIY; post coming soon!)
Pottery Barn Ronan Fall Throw
Pottery Barn Colin Plaid Pillow Cover (out of stock)
Pottery Barn Freshness Assured Feather Pillow Insert
Target Chenille Throw Pillow
Target Plaid Candle
Faux Alligator Black Tray (old, Pier1)

If you're looking for some Halloween recipes, my Monster Bars are the perfect treat.  You can find the recipe here.

Williams-Sonoma Ooey Gooey Pumpkin Bars, which I made over the weekend.

Thanks for stopping by!  Be sure to head over to Seams and Sprinkles to see Britney's Halloween decor.  Hopefully next fall I will have some sort of outdoor space and can share a fall front porch with you ; )

September 26, 2016

Moon and Stars Sugar Cookies

As promised, I'm sharing the recipe and icing how-to for the Moon and Stars Sugar Cookies from the Moon and Stars Baby Shower post.  One of my favorite blogs I follow is Everyday Occasions.  Jenny has quite the knack for entertaining and hosting and each season she shares charming seasonal cookies she and her daughter Emma have decorated.  I thought I would try my hand at baking and give her sugar cookies and royal icing a whirl.  They were a hit- literally.  Zero left over.  I asked for my family's honest feedback and they LOVED them.

I tested this recipe out about 6 weeks prior to the shower since I knew I would be baking them in New Jersey and transporting them to Richmond.  They stayed fresh for a whole week!  I was glad I made the test batch because it honestly helped so much with my week-of prep timeline.

Since I knew they would stay fresh for a week, I made the dough on Tuesday night.  The recipe says to place in the refrigerator to chill for 20 minutes, but I wrapped it and let it chill until Wednesday.  Wednesday, exactly 24 hours later, I unwrapped and rolled out the dough.  The key is to roll it out thin- about 1/4" so they don't spread and lose their shape while baking.

The recipe + my size cookie cutters made 5 dozen cookies.

Then on Thursday after work I made the icing and decorated them.  I have to give all of the credit to Jenny for this one- the recipes and icing colors amounts.  I used her guide for The Perfect Powder Blue for the stars and The Perfect Baby Chick Yellow for the moons.  The color was made with Williams-Sonoma's Food Decorating Paste and an edible marker from Michael's for the faces.

I improvised and set the pastry bag in a pint glass to hold it upright while I scraped the icing from the
Kitchen Aid bowl since I didn't have a second set of hands.  It worked great!


Crate and Barrel Lawrence Platter (no longer available but you can find the Lawrence Serving Tray)

September 25, 2016

Moon and Stars Baby Shower

Sorry for being absent these last few days- I was busy with last minute shower details :)  This past weekend was spent at home in Richmond, showering my sister at her baby shower.  Many of my friends have had children but this shower was extra special to me, not only because it was for my sister but because I am going to be a first time AUNT!

Wanting to add a personal touch to my sister's shower, I created the invitations, raffle cards, and water bottle labels.  I utilized a third party printer my company uses and she was gracious enough to print them as a gift!  The invitations and raffle cards are printed on 100 pound gloss cover card stock in white.  The water bottle labels are on a waterproof adhesive.  Below is the branding color palate I created for this fun project.
Everything turned out perfectly.  We had right at 40 guests attend, making it memorable for Kristen and Chris.  Baby Eli is already loved by so many.  Just about 7 more weeks until he makes his debut.  (I cannot wait to meet him!)

My mom did a wonderful job with the cake design.  It is Ukrop's Bakery, for all of you Richmonders!

Moon and Stars Sugar Cookies - recipe and more pictures here.

I specifically wanted these light blue hydrangeas with subtle light green (almost yellow) centers.  I knew they would add a nice touch to the shower and tie in perfectly with the color scheme.  There are also quite a few meanings for the hydrangea- my favorite being heartfelt emotion- appropriate for a baby shower.  We had 12 vases placed throughout the room.

Baby pictures of Kristen and Chris.  I loved this DIY frame they made for the shower.  They bought the frame and secured the twine on the back.  My sister printed their baby pictures on these cute Polaroid pictures from an app!

Wish Tree, made by one of Kristen's friends.

This little baby is so loved!

The proud parents :)
Don't she look amazing at 33 weeks?!

My outfit details: Lilly Pulitzer Marlowe Dress (in Bay Blue), J.Crew Petal Gems Necklace (no longer available),

September 20, 2016

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know it's bold to claim "the best" but they are honestly the best I've ever made.  Mike agreed, my coworkers agreed, and I agreed, so there you have it- the consensus is in!  It's probably because this is Ina Garten's recipe and we know her recipes don't disappoint.

Recipe makes 3-4 dozen depending on what size you drop the dough.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ยบ F.
  2. Using your KitchenAid with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars until consistency is light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time, and mix well.
  3. Sift together the flour and baking soda and add to the butter mixture with the mixer on low speed, mixing only until combined.  Fold in the chocolate.
  4. Place dough in the fridge to chill for 10 minutes.
  5. Drop the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Place dough back in the refrigerator each time to chill between baking sessions.
  6. Bake for exactly 12 minutes (the cookies will seem underdone). Remove from the oven and let cool slightly on the pan.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Enjoy!

*Original recipe is linked.  Recipe + my variation is typed above.