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How to Stock Your Pantry

Posted by Andie on August 31, 2018


You know that feeling.  You're in a time crunch throwing together dinner and you're positive you have everything on hand...only to find at the last minute that you are short 1 or 2 essential ingredients and have to make a dreaded trip to the grocery store.  Isn't that the worst?  It's basically the story of my life.  In an effort to live a simpler, less frazzled life, I'm on a mission to create a well stocked pantry.  I found an awesome guide made by Eating Well that gives you a run down of some of the best items to keep in your pantry so that you're ready for anything! If that means no last minute trips to the store with three babies, I'm in!  Check it out...

Eating Well's Healthy Pantry List

Oils, Vinegars & Condiments

  • Extra-virgin olive oil for cooking and salad dressings
  • Canola oil for cooking and baking
  • Flavorful nut and seed oils for salad dressings and stir-fry seasonings: toasted sesame oil, walnut oil
  • Butter, preferably unsalted. Store in the freezer if you use infrequently.
  • Reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • Vinegars: balsamic, red-wine, white-wine, rice (or rice-wine), apple cider
  • Asian condiments and flavorings: reduced-sodium soy sauce, fish sauce, hoisin sauce, mirin, oyster sauce, chile-garlic sauce, curry paste
  • Kalamata olives, green olives
  • Dijon mustard
  • Capers
  • Ketchup
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce

 

Seasonings

  • Kosher salt, coarse sea salt, fine salt
  • Black peppercorns
  • Onions
  • Fresh garlic
  • Fresh ginger
  • Anchovies or anchovy paste for flavoring pasta sauces and salad dressings
  • Dried herbs: bay leaves, dill, crumbled dried sage, dried thyme leaves, oregano, tarragon, Italian seasoning blend
  • Spices: allspice (whole berries or ground), caraway seeds, chili powder, cinnamon sticks, ground cinnamon,coriander seeds, cumin seeds, ground cumin, curry powder, ground ginger, dry mustard, nutmeg, paprika, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, turmeric
  • Lemons, limes, oranges. The zest is as valuable as the juice. Organic fruit is recommended when you use a lot of zest.
  • Granulated sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Honey
  • Pure maple syrup
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder, natural and/or Dutch-processed
  • Bittersweet chocolate, semisweet chocolate chips

 

Canned Goods & Bottled Items

  • Canned tomatoes, tomato paste
  • Reduced-sodium chicken broth, beef broth and/or vegetable broth
  • Clam juice
  • "Lite" coconut milk for Asian curries and soups
  • Canned beans: cannellini beans, great northern beans, chickpeas, black beans, red kidney beans
  • Canned lentils
  • Chunk light tuna and salmon

 

Grains & Legumes

  • Whole-wheat flour and whole-wheat pastry flour (Store opened packages in the refrigerator or freezer.)
  • All-purpose flour
  • Assorted whole-wheat pastas
  • Brown rice and instant brown rice
  • Pearl barley, quick-cooking barley
  • Rolled oats
  • Whole-wheat couscous
  • Bulgur
  • Dried lentils
  • Yellow cornmeal
  • Plain dry breadcrumbs

 

Nuts, Seeds & Fruits

  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Almonds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Dry-roasted unsalted peanuts
  • Pine nuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Natural peanut butter
  • Tahini
  • Assorted dried fruits, such as apricots, prunes, cherries, cranberries, dates, figs, raisins (Store opened packages of nuts and seeds in the refrigerator or freezer.)

 

How does your pantry look?  My plan is to make one big trip to the grocery store to get a bunch of it bought, and then to get into the habit of buying an extra can of everything I buy at the store for food storage.  How do you do it??

 

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Persian Rugs in the Kitchen

Posted by Andie on August 30, 2018

One of my very favorite design trends right now is putting persian rugs in the kitchen.  It's been happening for a little while, and I don't think it's going anywhere soon!  Persian rugs are back in a huge way!  Sound crazy?  Here are 3 reasons why you need a persian rug in your kitchen...

1. Stains are Easy to Remove!
At first I thought people were insane for laying down expensive rugs right in the walkway of their kitchens, but after speaking with a persian rug dealer, I can understand why.  He told me you can basically wipe any stain you can think of out of a persian rug- red wine, spaghetti sauce, etc.  As long as you wipe in the direction the wool is going (similar to wiping spaghetti sauce out of dog hair), it will come out easy peasy!

2. They Last Forever!
Persian rugs literally last a lifetime- over 100 years, easy! Sure, they are more expensive than running to Target and spending $25 bucks on a kitchen rug, but they are an investment that you can pass on to your children and grandchildren.  Go for quality.

3. They Add a Burst of Life!
I love a clean, white kitchen- especially when paired with a little pop of bold color!  Persian rugs add an unmatched element of personality, brightness, and fun!  You can find them in any and all colors, and they bring life to a space. 

Check out the beautiful kitchens below to see what the fuss is all about...

 

Studio Mcgee via pinterest



Amber Interiors via pinterest

 

via pinterest



Lonny mag via pinterest

 


via Studio Mcgee

 


via pinterest




via Studio Mcgee


Don't you love it??
Check out this beautiful runner RC Willey sells!

 

 

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How to Train Yourself to Wake Up Earlier

Posted by Andie on August 29, 2018

My kids and I have gotten into the questionable habit (its kind of awesome, but kind of awful) of sleeping in this summer.  Most days nobody wakes up until 9:00 am (I swear we are permanently on Utah time from our visit last month).  It's all fun and games until next week, when school starts again.  I'm seriously worried about how we will fare waking up two hours earlier than normal!  I'm on a quest to train myself (and my kids) to wake up earlier naturally, and I want to share five ways you can do it too!  

1. Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine
Focus on getting better sleep, and then you might not need quite as much of it (read: 8 hours instead of 10!).  Take thirty minutes or so before you want to be asleep and do something relaxing to help wind your body and mind down.  Take a bubble bath, read a book (the paper kind) in dim lamp light, do some quiet meditations, etc.  Put your smart phone down and turn off the tv.  Avoiding screens for the hour leading up to bed is one of the best ways to signal to your body that it's time to sleep. 

2. Go to Bed Earlier
This one is a no-brainer, but it can be really hard to do!  Start small.  Go to bed 15 minutes earlier than normal for a week, and then go to bed 15 minutes earlier than that the next week.  If you make gradual changes little by little, it won't be so hard on your body, and before you know it you'll be going to bed an hour earlier than you used to and it will feel normal.  

3. Put Your Alarm Clock on the Other side of the Room
It's way too easy to hit the snooze button or turn your alarm clock off altogether if it's sitting on the nightstand next to you.  A warm bed will always win!  Make it harder for yourself and your changes of staying out of bed are much higher!

4. Give Yourself a Good Reason to Wake Up Early
Waking up early because it's a noble thing to do will typically not be a strong enough reason to get you out of bed when you'd rather keep sleeping.  If you have a buddy you are meeting at the gym, an early morning walk planned, or a quiet breakfast on the patio by yourself before the rest of your household wakes up?  Now those are things worth making the sacrifice for.

5. Adopt a Morning Person Mantra
Did you know that so much of who we are is created by the thoughts we have?  Stop thinking "I'm not a morning person" or "I'll always be a night owl" to "I'm becoming a morning person", or "I'm so productive that I can wake up in the morning".  Simply changing your mindset can do a lot in the way of helping you create your future!

 

For all of you early risers out there, what are some of your tried and true tricks??  Please share!  And, if you don't have an awesome mattress, RC Willey can help you fix that!  A new mattress can do wonders for the body!

 

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Favorite RC Willey Sofa's

Posted by Andie on August 28, 2018

If you haven't figured it out yet, RC Willey doesn't only sell furniture your grandparents think is awesome!  (Not that there's anything wrong with furniture your grandparents dig, but you know what I mean.) In fact, in the past several years I've been over the moon at all of the many contemporary and mid-century modern choices that have become available.  We are in the market for a new sofa, and so I decided to peruse the website for ideas, and I came up with my top 7 favorite sofas.  They are good, you guys!  If you are in the market for a new sofa check these beauties out.  And walk, don't run to your nearest RC Willey location....


Casual Contemporary Oatmeal Sofa

 



Mid Century Modern Stone Sofa

 

 


Mid Century Modern Olive Green Sofa

 


Mid Century Modern Blue Sofa- Patchwork

 


Magnolia Home Furniture Linen & Burlap Sofa

 


Mid Century Modern Chestnut Brown Leather Sofa

 


Modern Royal Blue Velvet Sofa

 

Aren't these incredible??  

If they aren't your cup of tea, check out all of our other sofa's!

 

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15 Ways to Avoid Mediocrity

Posted by Andie on August 25, 2018

I was reading Ben Behunion's book, "Put a Cherry on Top: Secrets of Creating an Artful Life", and there was a huge section on refusing to settle for mediocrity.  It really resonated with me.  It's a principle I'm trying to teach my children, and also apply in my own life- and I think it's important that we talk about it!  In our society it's so easy to do just enough.  Once we are done with school, or in the career we worked hard to get to, how do we continue to motivate ourselves to do our very best in all aspects of life?

"I am calling for a very directed rebellion---- against complacency, mediocrity, unquestioned traditions, ignorance, thoughtlessness, hopelessness, and all other forms of ugliness.  I am calling for a rebellion against the fences that you believe are holding you back, that are keeping you from becoming the person you want and hope to be.  Stop relying on others to validate who you are.  You now who you are......Re-open your mind to possibility-----all of them.....Realize now that life will definitely not go the way you plan.  And that's okay, because if you're flexible and creative, it will go way better than you imagined."

Check out 15 of my favorite suggestions Ben gives to avoid mediocrity....

1. Focus
2. Spend your time becoming something awesome.
3. Only read the best books.
4. Remember you are a child of the universe.
5. Don't hang out with people who do ugly things.
6. Eat good chocolate.
7. Go on long walks.
8. Make friends with people who challenge you to be better than you are.
9. Move out of your parents' house.
10. Take risks only after you have looked at them from all angles.  
11. Work hard. Play hard.
12. Save your money.
13. Remember that in today's world, for all but the most deprived, ignorance is a choice- no one can force it upon you.
14. Think for yourself.
15. Do the math before taking out a loan.

What are your best tips for avoiding mediocrity in life??

 

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Paint Sheen Guide

Posted by Andie on August 24, 2018

Selecting paint colors for a home remodel or room makeover can be difficult, but then on top of that you still have to pick a paint sheen!  It might sound like a trivial decision, but believe it or not, the sheen you choose will have a HUGE impact on the finished paint job.  It's amazing just how different the same color can look in two different sheens of paint!  So how do you know if you should go with flat or eggshell?  Satin or semi-gloss?  There is no one steadfast, across the board rule, but check out the helpful guides below to give you some good direction.... 

 

 

via pinterest

 

 

From my experience, I like to do eggshell for walls, satin for cabinets, semi-gloss for trim & doors, and flat for the ceiling!  

What are your go-to paint sheens?

 

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Trend Alert: Layered Rugs on the Front Porch

Posted by Andie on August 23, 2018


While doormats traditionally serve a very functional purpose, it doesn't mean they can't be stylish at the same time!  One of the hottest design trends when it comes to front porches right now is layering two rugs on top of each other.  It looks so cute, and it's a really simple way to add some personality to your porch! Just start on the bottom with a flat cotton weave (can be indoor or outdoor), and then add a smaller, heartier Natural coir fiber or sissal rug on top, and BOOM- you're done!  The great part is that you can make it work for any season of the year!  Check out the great examples below for some inspiration.....

via studiomcgee

 


via pinterest

 


thethankfulfarmhouse via pinterest




Lantern Lane Designs via pinterest

 


via pinterest

 


Studio Mcgee via pinterest

 

 

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Symmetrical Interiors

Posted by Andie on August 22, 2018

Symmetrical balance: when two sides of a central point are mirror images of each other.  While we all seek balance in our lives when it comes to work, relationships, fun, etc, you're either into symmetry when it comes to interiors, or you're not.   Read on to see which camp you belong in! 

Symmetrical balance has been around since the beginning of time, and is typically found in formal, refined, traditional design.  You'll also find symmetrical design elements in a lot of bathrooms, and bedrooms.  If you are drawn to symmetrical interiors, you no doubt appreciate the feelings of calm, safety, and comfort they stir up.  Rooms that are balanced symmetrically don't leave you guessing or wondering what is coming, and there is some security in that! 

  


via houzz

The problem with symmetrical interiors though, is that they are super predictable, which can be a little boring for some of us.  The good news, is that now days, really great symmetrical composition will always contain an element or two of asymmetry, just to keep the eye happy.  Almost everything in the room should be placed symmetrically, with one or two 'wild cards' thrown in there to disrupt the perfect balance.  Below are some fun examples- can you find the items that upset the symmetrical balance?  

 

via pinterest


via domino



via pinterest

 


via pinterest

 

via houzz



via houzz


via houzz



via houzz

 

What do you think?  Do you love symmetrical design, or hate it?

 

 

 

 

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Small Powder Rooms

Posted by Andie on August 21, 2018

Bigger is not always better-- especially when it comes to powder rooms!  In fact, I think the smaller the powder room, the more of an opportunity to make a huge impact!  If you are wondering how to add some flavor to a small and boring powder room in your home, here are 4 things you can do to take it from drab to fab! 

1. Install a Little Vessel Sink
If you don't have room for a big, bulky vanity, a simple and small vessel sink is a great way to go!  They are clean, don't take up a lot of space, and cute!  Also, I am loving the shiplap in the photo below, with a little wood countertop and vessel sink- perfect combo!

via pinterest

 

via pinterest

 

2. Utilize Space for Storage
Just because you don't have room for big cupboards, doesn't mean you can't store stuff!  This photo of shelves behind the toilet is the perfect example of making every inch count!  It might take a little thinking outside the box, but you can do it!

via pinterest


3. When in doubt, WALLPAPER!!!!!
YES, YES, YES!!!!!  I love bold wallpaper, and there is no room in the entire home that it looks better in than a small powder room!  If you think a room is too small to pull off bold wallpaper, you are wrong!  It will make the room feel bigger and better.  In my opinion, no pattern is off limits! 

via pinterest

 

via pinterest

 

via pinterest

 

via pinterest

4. Paint the Vanity
If wallpaper isn't your thing, another great option is to simply throw a fun coat of paint on your vanity!  A bright colored vanity will ALWAYS win over a plain white, black, or wood grain in a small powder room.  This will give your room a heck of a lot more personality!




And there you have it!  Four simple ways to transform your powder room!
What are your tricks in creating a cute powder room?

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Fresh Homemade Peach Ice Cream

Posted by Andie on August 20, 2018

My kids go back to school in two weeks, and I'm in denial!  We just got back from a month long cross country trip, and now I'm trying to squeeze in all of the fun I can before summer is officially over!  Nothing says summer to me like homemade ice cream!  Read on for the most incredible & easy to make fresh peach ice cream that will most likely change your life..... 

Here's the thing- I LOVE homemade ice cream, but I've always used the old fashioned ice cream maker with the ice and salt.  You know what I'm talking about?  Sure, it's charming and fun, but it always turns into a watery salty mess and a ton of work!  While I was visiting my sister a few weeks ago, she introduced me to this ice cream maker- boy is it a game changer!  We whipped up a batch of delicious peach ice cream in no time, and I'm still dreaming about it.  You've got to try it!

Ingredients: Yield: 1 Quart
1 cup peaches, peeled
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Peel and chop the peaches.  Set aside in medium mixing bowl.
2. Combine sugar and water in a saucepan, and cook over medium heat until all sugar has dissolved.
3. Add reserved peaches to the sugar syrup, and continue to cook for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.  Once chilled, puree the mixture in a food processor until very smooth.  Strain through a mesh strainer if desired.
4. Combine all ingredients in the food processor, and puree unttil very smooth.  Chill in refrigerator for 2-4 hours, or overnight.
5. Once chilled, add to ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions for freezing.

Recipe via The Everything Ice Cream, Gelato, & Frozen Desserts Cookbook

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