Retail Therapy: A Trip to Goodwill

 I get asked occasionally how I put my home together from so many thrift and consignment store finds.

My brain is weird number one and my style is eclectic so that helps, but I also put together vignettes in my head to help me a picture how something will look with the other items that I own.

And sometimes I go so far as to put stuff together in the store to see how I like it together so I can determine if the said item is really a good buy.

Because a $10 chair is a great deal but if you bring a $10 chair home and you can’t use it you wasted your money regardless of how good a deal it was.

And when you thrift or consignment shop you don’t have the luxury of going home to measure or really taking much time at all to decide because  when you come back the item is almost always is gone…

Because of the Goodwill vultures! Hang on to your treasures while you are in the store. Finders keepers!

So last week I quickly put together an arrangement with

canvas art $25,

gold book ends $5,

a bronze lamp $8,

yellow wing back chair $80,

and a turquoise ottoman $12.

PS. If you saw a red head putting room arrangements together in a Goodwill store last Friday that was me. I got lots of crazy stares.

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These bookends would probably get spray painted white if they came home with me.

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 And I would buy a bright white drum lamp shade to replace the grody cream one.

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Tips for Goodwill Shopping

 

I love how this little reading nook came together in 15 minutes for under $150. That’s chic cheap!

Monday Randomness: Baby Dedications, Porch, Cake and Selfies

The last few weeks were full of extended family, fun and thankfulness for new life.

My sister Nancee had a porch raising at her house (see the before and after pics of her home remodel here and here).

A porch raising=free family labor as long as you feed them.

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We spent Saturday evening shopping for porch furniture with baby Cora.

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Porch Collage

These are the basic selections we ended up with. All the items are from World Market or Target.

Then my sister Annie’s sister-in-law got married over the weekend.

Annie made the naked bacon chocolate wedding cake with maple frosting. I didn’t try it, but I heard it was decadent.
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We also had two baby dedications.

My brother and his wife had Cora dedicated last weekend.

Cora is wearing the dress that my sister-in-law was dedicated in as a baby.

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And then MacKendrick was dedicated Sunday morning.

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MacKendrick’s dress was the same one that my sister Annie wore at her dedication 27 years ago.

Mac promptly spit up on it after her dedication, but I made my brother model the dress so you could see it:)

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Prayer before our big Sunday lunch after Mac’s dedication.

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Both great-grandmas with MacKendrick at lunch time.

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Bailee was talking to her cousin Cora after lunch.

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Just so many nieces.

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Finally Sunday afternoon we took a 3+ hour nap, and then Joe and I dined at Olive Garden because we wanted too.

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Happy Monday!

Old Fashion Banana Cake and a Tip for Ripening Bananas for Baking

This has been my dad’s birthday cake for ages.

It’s quick, simple and reminds me of February 26th every time I eat it.

It also reminds me of the time my sister (who was in 6th grade) and her friend ate this whole cake during a sleepover. It’s really that good.

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Two things to note about this handwritten recipe:

1. My handwriting will never be as good as my mom’s handwriting is.

2. And my mom’s maiden name is written on this recipe which means that she had to call her to-be mother in law in California for the recipe.

Oh the things we do to please the men in our life.

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The bananas I was using were not to the overripe stage yet.

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So I cut them up, covered them, and then heated in the microwave for 3 minutes.

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Then simply mash the bananas. Allow to cool for a few minutes before adding to the rest of the ingredients.

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Any white frosting can be used for this cake.

We typically use the Jiffy white frosting because that’s how my grandma always made it for my dad.

But cream cheese frosting is great too.

2-3 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp half and half

4 oz cream cheese

Whip until smooth.

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Click here for the printable version of this Old Fashion Banana Cake.

Home Improvement: Stenciling an Accent Wall at Rebecca Illsley’s Home

 I had the privilege of helping a friend (and my hair dresser) with an accent wall in her home a few weekends ago.

Rebecca chose the French Floral Damask wall stencil from Royal Designs for me to use.

French Floral Damask Stencil- large

The stenciling process was incredibly easy with the help of  instructional videos online, but there were three basic steps that really helped us complete this project successfully.

  • Type of design: Because we used an irregular design matching up the pattern was very easy (and didn’t have to be perfect).  If we had used a geometric pattern or similar I would have been pulling my hair out. Painting perfection is not one of my strong points.

 

  • Type of paint and roller: A semi-gloss paint was used as the stencil paint over a base coat of flat paint. The base coat of flat paint quickly absorbed the semi-gloss stencil paint making the process go very quickly. Using a sponge roller with very little paint makes the process go quickly with not a lot of excess paint on the stencil (because lots of paint on the stencil smears on the wall as you go).

 

  • Paint color selection: We chose to use two tone application. Because there was not a lot of contrast between the two colors, we were able to hide our “oops” very easily.

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Using a sponge roller and a 8 ft ladder, my sister Nancee Lee and I completed the whole wall in about 4 hrs start to finish.

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 I didn’t have to start in the middle of the wall but I wanted to make sure the pattern was centered.

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We used painter’s tape to hold the stencil in place while we rolled the paint on.

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 Stenciling near electrical outlets can be tricky but not impossible. Just go slow and paint around the outlet without painting over it.

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Roll slowly as you get close to the trim. Using a dry roller is especially important here because you don’t want any drips!

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 Nancee Lee touched up the edges near the trim with q-tip and extra paint.

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 Tada!

The semi-gloss paint really sets off the design against the flat paint. It’s a HUGE impression for very little money, especially in comparison with the price of wall paper.

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I have loved working on so many rooms in Rebecca’s new home!

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Stenciling a wall

Recipe Review: Freezer Chicken Burritos ($1.43 each)

Freezer Chicken Burritos

I was kinda doubting that these would be any good because I have made other “freezer” meals that haven’t turned out so well.

But this recipe is an overachiever. It is perfect lunch-packing food or just for an easy weeknight dinner.

The finished product is SO good, even the cilantro which I doubted would taste good after freezing.

I made and assembled all ten in about 30 minutes.

Now go forth and make chicken burritos!

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Mild and Hot

 

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Freezer Chicken Burritos (adapted from Martha Stewart’s Bean Burritos)

makes 10 burritos

  • 2-3 chicken breasts ($4)
  • onion powder
  • chili powder
  • garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 oz grated cheese ($2)
  • 1 bag frozen brown rice ($1.50) *
  • 1/2 bag frozen corn ($1) *
  • 1/2 cup salsa ($1)
  • hot sauce (if preferred)
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained ($1.60)
  • 1 bunch cilantro ($1.50)
  • 10 burrito-sized flour tortillas ($1.79)

Slice the chicken breasts in strips (fajita style). Coat with onion powder, chili powder, garlic powder and s/p. Add a little butter (or coconut oil or olive oil) to a skillet over medium heat. Toss in the chicken strips to cook through, 5-8 minutes. Set chicken aside.

Toss the brown rice, corn, black beans and salsa (plus hot sauce if you like things spicy) together. Set aside.

Chop the cilantro. Set aside.

This next part is key. Heat the tortillas in the microwave for 30 seconds or so. Then one at a time place the tortillas on a damp dish towel to assemble each burrito. Layer the chicken, rice mixture, cilantro and cheese. Wrap up in foil. Freeze up to 3 months.

To reheat: unwrap and place on a microwave safe plate. Cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave for 2-3 minutes. Slice in half and serve with salsa and sour cream.

*no need to defrost

Housekeeping and a Deal on Design

If you were hoping this was a blog post on how to clean your 4 bedroom home in 15 minutes you have come to the wrong place.

But if you have been reading this blog long you already know that.

Because let’s be honest. I have a cleaning lady.

I can’t be a wife/stepmom, cook, clean, work two jobs, write a blog and try to get in shape all by myself. It takes a village to raise me keep me sane.

And if I am really being honest I would rather work two jobs that have to clean my house anyway.

But I did want to share a couple things blog-related.

First off if you would like to receive my blog in your inbox weekly see the button below for details.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Secondly, I have a new facebook page for all my local design work plus deals on furniture and accessories and tips for sprucing up your home.

Thirdly, I have a new simple website for my decorating business now. HRP Interiors

And for the spring I am offering a deal on my e-design work (for e-design details click here).

Get 30% off the price of an e-design package.

This process has worked great with clients as far away as Alaska! Email me at hrpinteriors@yahoo.com if you are interested. I would love to help you refresh your space for 2015.

Retail Therapy: It’s All About the Pants and a GIVEAWAY (Winners Announced)

Winners randomly selected by random.org:

Landerlm and Jamie.

Ladies, I will email you this week for your selection, color, size and address.

Thanks for reading! 

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


I have found some great pants recently that I just had to share.

First of all it you are taller and/or thinner these probably won’t be the best finds ever because I am going to assume that finding pants that fit is not as uncommon than finding a four leaf clover. (√got in my St. Patrick’s Day reference)

But I have a really hard time finding pants that fit and don’t make me feel like a sausage in a casing that is too tight.

Great mental picture right?

I own at least 2 pairs of each of these pants.

I know I have blogged about the leggings before but you all: THEY ARE THE BEST. I have them in every color.

Old Navy just stocked their linen blend pants for the spring. You need these pants. They even come in petite. They fit every shape and size plus as long as you pull them out of the dryer quickly you don’t even have to iron them. They are perfect office-y pants if you have to wear office-y clothes during the (HUMID) southern summer months. Bless our (sweating) hearts.

The workout capri pants were a desparate purchase because I was so tired of washing my workout pants multiple times a week.

But thankfully I actually love them and purchase 2 more. They are light weight but not see through which I love.

Pants

1, 2, 3

Now to the fun part: THE GIVEAWAY.

Giveaway

Two winners will receive a pair of the above pants, your size and choice of color.

Giveaway is over.

To enter: just leave a comment below with your favorite season.

For three additional entries share on facebook, instagram or twitter and then leave a comment below that you did.

A winner will be picked on Tuesday, March 3rd PM via random.org.

International entries welcome.

Happy (almost) Spring!

Monday Randomness: It’s been a while

Guys, folks, y’all whatever you prefer to be called, I am over winter.

We have been sick at our house for the better part of 2 months. Sinus pressure and tissues galore.

And in case you are over it too, just console yourself with this picture of my precious nieces from last Saturday.

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They were just chilling out on the big ottoman while most of my siblings and their spouses cleaned out my mom’s attic. Fun times.

Also note that Cora has her hand in MacKendrick’s mouth. They are going to be best buds. Or not.

Shortly after this Cora (1 month) kicked Mac (3 months) in the head and all the fun and games were over at least as far as Mac was concerned.

Back to all the sickness: because we have been laying around a lot nursing ourselves back to health we have been binge watching TV.

Two shows I can’t seem to get enough of are New Tricks and Behind the Mask.

New Tricks is an older quirky BBC show about retired police detectives. The narrative is hilarious and the characters are full of, well, character.

The other show is an original documentary on mascots which I know sounds strange, but I am so intrigued by these people (who are sometimes very shy) that put on a show in front of 1000’s on a regular basis. The psychology of anonymously performing “behind the mask” is fascinating to me.

Hulu has already produced another season. And its just as great as the first.

On Wednesday this week I was in need of some retail therapy.

Nothing clears my head like a stroll around Target or perusing the aisles of Goodwill for treasures.

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I picked up this new to me jean vest and brand new rose gold metallic sandals last week for a grand total of $10.

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Then Saturday, with the help of my sister Nancee Lee, I stenciled a wall at a home I have been working on for the past 6 months or so. LOVE how it turned out.

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I also finished up a simple kitchen remodel on Thursday evening with a client. It turned out great and that granite is just gorgeous in person.

Baked Chicken Parmesan by Shutterbean was on the menu for Saturday evening at my house.

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It was so tasty. I used chicken tenders to cut the baking time down. Dinner was on the table in under 30 minutes.

Can’t beat that for a scratch made meal.

Note: Use paper plates for the chicken breading “dipping stations.” Makes for less clean up.

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For a low calorie option I served the chicken parmesan over these zucchini fritters. They are SO good. I think kids would even eat these.

Although I am never opposed to pasta. Pasta is my love language. Also chocolate and good leather bags. So basically I really like food and have expensive tastes in handbags.

Zucchini Fritters- Damn Delicious

Thanks for reading, have a great week, and don’t forget to get an entry in for the It’s All About The Pants Giveaway.  Two winners randomly selected tomorrow.

Retail Therapy: It’s All About the Pants and a GIVEAWAY

Winners are:

Landerlm and Jamie. Ladies I will email you this week for your selection, color, size and address.

Thanks for reading! 


I have found some great pants recently that I just had to share.

First of all it you are taller and/or thinner these probably won’t be the best finds ever because I am going to assume that finding pants that fit is not as uncommon than finding a four leaf clover. (√got in my St. Patrick’s Day reference)

But I have a really hard time finding pants that fit and don’t make me feel like a sausage in a casing that is too tight.

Great mental picture right?

I own at least 2 pairs of each of these pants.

I know I have blogged about the leggings before but you all: THEY ARE THE BEST. I have them in every color.

Old Navy just stocked their linen blend pants for the spring. You need these pants. They even come in petite. They fit every shape and size plus as long as you pull them out of the dryer quickly you don’t even have to iron them. They are perfect office-y pants if you have to wear office-y clothes during the (HUMID) southern summer months. Bless our (sweating) hearts.

The workout capri pants were a desparate purchase because I was so tired of washing my workout pants multiple times a week.

But thankfully I actually love them and purchase 2 more. They are light weight but not see through which I love.

Pants

1, 2, 3

Now to the fun part: THE GIVEAWAY.

Giveaway

Two winners will receive a pair of the above pants, your size and choice of color.

Giveaway is over.

To enter: just leave a comment below with your favorite season.

For three additional entries share on facebook, instagram or twitter and then leave a comment below that you did.

A winner will be picked on Tuesday, March 3rd PM via random.org.

International entries welcome.

Happy (almost) Spring!

A Goal to Entertain More And Worry Less Plus a Chili Recipe

In addition to getting healthier (see this post and this post), I wanted to entertain more this year..

And soon as we made that a goal my next thought was, “What in the world will I make for these people I am having over?”

It might just be me but usually that thought causes me to panic.

I know I am a good home cook,  but the thought of producing a Martha Stewart like dinner party causes me to sweat.

But here is what I have learned. Few people like a dinner party-esque type of get together.

People love simple food, prepared well which is why I served chili and grilled cheese at the last “dinner party” I hosted.

I might add that I also had worked a full day, rushed home and had about 20 minutes to prepare before my guests arrive.

You read that right. I made grilled cheese for dinner guests.

And it was the easiest stress-free meal.

But the key to making a simple meal great is quality ingredients, which in total cost me about $15 for 4 people (with leftovers). 

That totally kicks any good restaurant bill in the pants.

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I purchased fresh bakery bread and a nice melting cheese to make the sandwiches, but a day in advance I prepared a simple chili from the recipe my mother always used.

 Then after the guests arrived I threw together an arugula salad with an orange honey mustard dressing which I made by blending a little orange juice, Dijon mustard, honey, olive oil, and s/p.

I am going to make easy entertaining recipes a series this year because if you are like me you need all the encouragement you can get when it comes to hosting people in your home.

Here is my mother’s recipe for basic chili.

Mom’s Slow Cooker Chili

serves 8-10

  • 2 lb ground beef (or venison)
  • 2 small onions, diced
  • 4 tsp chili powder
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1- 28 oz can tomato sauce
  • 2- 28 oz cans petite diced tomatoes
  • 3- 14 oz cans beans, drained and rinsed (I prefer black beans)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Brown ground meat in a large skillet. Drain fat from the skillet if using beef. Return meat to the skillet and add onion, spices and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes over low heat.

Add meat mixture and the rest of the ingredients to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Serve with hot sauce, shredded cheese and sour cream.

Freezes well up to 3 months.

Corn Bread Muffins