Sunday, January 31, 2021

Mollie's Amazing Zoodle Soup

I don't know whether to call this a soup or a one pot meal but I do know it is delicious, filling, healthy and relatively easy and quick to pull together.  

Mollie is an intuitive cook and pulled this together without a recipe to follow. Due to a number of health issues she has become adept at creating clean, healthy recipes from scratch or by adapting and "blending" existing recipes. That's really the take away from this - if you don't like a certain ingredient? Then make a substitution. Adjust the spices. Make the recipe work for you and whomever you are cooking for.

And, oh yeah - we aren't food bloggers but we wanted to share this deliciousness!

Mollie's Garbanzo and Zoodle Soup.

What you need:

2 boxes of organic chicken bone broth (32 ounces each)

2 cans organic garbanzo beans (Trader Joe's is a great source)

1 tbsp herbs de Provence (we love the one fromTrader Joe's but it is a seasonal item and you can find other brands at the grocery store)

red pepper flakes to taste 

1/4 cup chopped onion (we use TJ frozen onions and Mollie admitted she sometimes forgets to toss them in - it's still yummy!) 

4- 5 strips Applegate Thick Cut Uncured Bacon (or bacon of your choice)

4 organic zucchinis 

2 bags of organic baby spinach - 6 oz. each

4 -5 chicken breasts. We use organic free range chicken breasts.

What you do:

Bring bone broth, herbs and pepper flakes and frozen onion to boil in a large soup pot.

Pour in two cans garbanzo beans that have been drained. Reduce to simmer. 

Cook Applegate thick cut uncured bacon in saute pan.

While bacon is cooking make zoodles. Mollie uses a very inexpensive zoodle maker that she's had since college. You can also buy premade zoodles.  Mollie uses kitchen shears to cut the long zoodles into "spoon size" pieces.

Cut the chicken breasts into strips and grill for approximately 12 minutes until cooked.

When chicken is halfway cooked Mollie adds the zoodles and two 6 oz. bags of spinach to the simmering broth.

 When chicken is ready cut the chicken into bite size pieces and place in the bottom of a bowl. Cover with  soup mixture and garnish with the bacon. Mollie adds hot sauce because she is spicy!!

This is a filling and comforting meal in a bowl. It is an adaptable recipe and would be delicious without the chicken for a meatless meal- just add more zoodles! 


Friday, January 29, 2021

"Monkey See, Monkey Do" Has A Fancy Name!

 Singerie is basically the "fancy" name for "monkey see, monkey do!"

Singerie is a French word for “Monkey Trick” and is the name given to arts depicting monkeys aping human behavior. The Singerie was popular as far back as Ancient Egypt, and, in medieval times, scribes frequently drew monkeys in the margins of manuscripts to mimic man and his foibles. Flemish engraver Pieter van der Borcht introduced the Singerie around 1575 in a series of prints and this encouraged other Flemish artists to begin depicting monkeys dressed in human attire. By the 18th century, Singeries found their way to France where they became extremely popular.You can read more about the history of Singerie here.

Monkeys aren't for everyone but I definitely enjoy a touch of Singerie in my home. I campaigned long and hard as a pre-teen to be given a pet monkey for Christmas. It was a hard 'NO!' so I compensated for a while with a stuffed toy monkey named Magnolia and now I've moved on to some thrifted Chinoiserie monkeys.

I love the soft colors of my "bookish" monkey but I have a couple of blue and white Chinoiserie monkeys too. 

This guy is the "heavy lifter" (he was my first Singerie find!) and has ended up holding a variety of things over the years - sponges by the sink, Christmas ornaments, mini pumpkins and more. 

He does some of his best work hanging out on the bar cart and offering up citrus fruits!

My other blue and white Chinoiserie monkey is a vase. He hung out in the kitchen over the Christmas holidays.

When I redid my downstairs Powder Room for the Spring 2020 One Room Challenge I gave a not so charming lamp a makeover and now the monkeys on the lamp look rather dapper. Be sure to go see the lamps' before picture on that post - it's amazing what white spray paint can do.

I'm always on the look out for Singerie pieces when I'm thrifting.

What about you? Any monkey business at your house?

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Another Day (or Two) and Another Plant (or Two)


(Fittonia Albivenis or Nerve Plant)

As I mentioned the other day here on the blog and on my Instagram I always crave a way to continue the touch of green in January after the December holiday decorations come down. 

A lot of you have shared that you feel the same way. 

I've been buying a few houseplants to give the house a fresh feel in the middle of a lot of gray weather. It's hard to find the right houseplant for each spot. Unfortunately just liking the look of  a plant is not enough. 

Some need a lot of light (which my spots do not have to offer) so I have to look for plants that I like the look of and have lower light requirements. A lot of us are in the same situation apparently so here are my latest lower light requirement plants. 

The plant above was a hanging basket that I popped the wires off of and put in a thrifted planter. The tag said it liked low light (Fittonia Albivenis or Nerve Plant) and I'm trying to be diligent about opening the curtains across from it for at least a little while each afternoon. Fingers crossed that it will be happy in this spot.

One plant that I had been searching for is the ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia or Zanzibar Gem.) I started hearing about it early last year - people had left their offices, college dorms or apartments to lockdown somewhere for over a month (and longer) and left their ZZplants behind. They returned and they were not only alive but growing!

(ZZ Plant, Zanzibar Gem or Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

 I thought, "That's the plant for me!" I lucked into one for a good price the other day at my local Lowe's. I've tucked it in a blue and white planter and I'll keep you posted on how it does in my low light situation.

(Dracaena or Deremensis)

The other plant I purchased a couple of weeks ago is in the Dracaena family which is known for being an easy indoor plant and great for helping indoor air quality. I loved the chartreuse green of this particular variety. 

They have definitely brought a little life and freshness 
where we were missing our holiday greenery.
Any good plant recommendations? I need low light options!

Saturday, January 16, 2021

When Designers Make "Trend Predictions"...

 I love to read all of the "design trend predictions" that come out the beginning of each year. 

I read them all - from independent bloggers, to well known, high-paid designers, to magazines and companies in the industry who have product to sell based on these "predictions."

I just find it interesting but I am, by no means, going to change up anything major based on a trend. 

I'm not trendy - just let me put that out there up front. And you can honestly find an article to say one thing and then the opposite...

Case in point. Pantone released a mid-tone gray as one of it's two 'Colors of the Year' but I can pull up at least 3 articles that say 'gray is on it's way out!'  My thought on this is A) don't use the color of the year, the mid-tone gray, if you don't like it and B) if you have a house full of gray tones and love it then don't listen to the naysayers who say gray is on it's way out.  In other words, you should love your home and the colors in it regardless of predictions or trends!! If you stay true to your personal color story you will be "in" one year and "out" the next- ha!

I met with a delightful lady to do a consult in the late Fall. She was lovely, her home was welcoming and charming (on steroids charming - soooo charming) but she loves and has a lot of red in her home along with a muted creamy wall color. Touches of green and lots of pattern. Beautiful art. Sounds delightful, right?  She thought she needed to change it up because it was dated. We ended up discussing minimal changes to just freshen a few spots up and make things slightly more functional for her- not the major gut job she thought she would be advised to do! But this home was absolutely, exactly Grandmillenial style. Perfectly done. Except that it wasn't the trend she was following, it is her home that she has lovingly collected and decorated this way for decades! A great illustration of the point above, these things come and go. When "granny chic" moves on she will still have a home full of colors and treasures she loves!

I like to read the trend predictions for inspiration (you never know when something might spark a little change in your home) and it is fun to be "validated" when you are on trend!! A few years ago a delicious coral color was Sherwin Williams Color of the Year. Yay me! My bathroom cabinet was painted that color - but it had been for years prior to that. Nice to feel like I was "on it" design wise but it is also STILL that color!! I didn't change it at the end of the year to be on trend with the new Color of the Year! You're in, you're out. Que Sera!!

Soooo, what are some of the predictions that I have seen so far in 2021 ??? Oh, I also love it when an article says "I think this trend is here to stay or this trend has been around for a long time and probably won't change." To me that constitutes something classic that has been deemed a trend for a short period, gains a lot of popularity and is often overdone and then trend followers move on while people who enjoy the classic look continue to embrace it. 

Anyway. Here we go: 

1. White Kitchens. They come, they go. I think there will always, always be people who want a classic white kitchen - trendy or not. I've had a white kitchen for 40 years and probably always will. The curtains and accessory colors might have changed a little bit over the years but basically my kitchens are always white. I just saw a bunch of articles that white kitchens are out and a couple that said white kitchens will always be crisp and classic and never 'go out of style.' Basically "ditto" on the white walls conversation! 

PS. My island is a SW navy blue that was a color of the year at one point ;)

(Sorry about the Christmas touches but my kitchen is rarely photographed - it's always in use and therefore neverrrrrrr clean enough!)

2. Bamboo, Rattan, Cane Furniture. OK, if you've been here a second you know I love, love bamboo, rattan, cane furniture and accessories!! I personally cannot get enough. This goes back to my early childhood staying in Charleston/Low Country homes - in town or out at the beach. Formal or very casual. Recently decorated or family pieces. It was always in every home and I loved it. For years now I have been seeing rattan, bamboo or cane furniture (new or vintage) touted as here to stay or a trend that's going to last.  I think this type of furniture or accent is a classic touch and you can use quite a few pieces or just that one fabulous, textural accent piece.

3. Functional Outdoor Spaces. I love to be outside - this doesn't mean it always has to be an activity. I love to dine outside, relax outside, work at a table on the porch. You name it. So for me this is a no-brainer. I'm always perplexed when I see a deck or a porch without a comfy chair or a little table to have coffee. It does not need to be expensive to outfit an outdoor space. Do I dream of ordering everything in the Serenea and Lily, Ballard or Frontgate catalogues and having a perfectly decorated space? Yes! But in fact, thrifted items that you can be relaxed about in all types of weather are a great start and can give you that evolved, European outdoor space feel. They do it so well. And contrary to what I usually think, this is a good place to buy a few things from a big box store if you need to. The prices can be very low for sturdy outdoor furniture. Depending on your climate you can really stretch your outdoor time with a heater, firepit or cozy throws. I do all three and we use our screened porch every month of the year!

All of the furniture and accessories on this screened in porch have been thrifted. When something wears out we repaint, recover or go thrifting for a replacement. This porch gets a ton of use and wear but it doesn't matter because none of it was costly!

We also added this a few years ago and it has added  a lot to our backyard experience.

4. Rooms That Function for Your Needs! Do not let the name on a floor plan dictate how you use a room! When I was young I never understood why we couldn't set foot in our "living room." Shouldn't you be able to "live" in it???  We turned our (according to the floor plan) Formal Dining Room into a Library almost 15 years ago (We needed to give our stacks of books a home and know where they were when we wanted to relax and read!) They are rarely big enough for large tables anyway. We have a large eat in kitchen and we had a table that seated 12-14 on our Screened In Porch which is where we have always entertained! I also love when people take the kitchen table out of the small dine-in area in a kitchen and put two comfy chairs and a drinks table. So great for someone chatting with you while you cook. Thirty years ago I  had a friend whose big family always congregated at her house for meals constantly. She sold her matched Living Room furniture and turned her Living Room into a very large Dining Room with a long table. They loved it and their family used the heck out of that room that had sat unused prior to that. People thought she was crazy to sell her 'nice' furniture - I thought she was genius! We put French Doors on our Formal Living Room the week we moved in and for over a decade it housed my husband's business office. I use the space now as a studio (on a good day) and storage dump (on a bad day!) We have zero reason to devote that space to formal living room furniture. Some people do!! Some people put exercise equipment in it! No right or wrong - just make those rooms work. 

Our Library - no longer the Dining Room. You can read more about the process here and here.

5. Accessories, Plants, Flowers, Foraged Blooms and Branches. Accessories should be things you love not things purchased for a look (in my opinion!) So if you spend time in nature and go hiking and pick up rocks then display them in jars or bowls. I have seashells galore. And we have a beach sand collection (in a vintage wall cabinet in our kitchen!) Do you love books?Stack them up! Clocks? Group them together! Art? hang those gallery walls anywhere that gives you pleasure! Blue and White Chinoiserie pieces?? There's one that's been popping around on the trendy list that is a classic! They are an example of something that has been collected for hundreds of years and used in decor without a break that became trendy a few years and very popular. Many of us have pieces that came through our families and we will always use it in our homes.

And plants, blooms, flowers and branches?? Always, yes. Bring in living and green as much as possible! It's always a good thing!

6. Black and White Check Floors. (or maybe checked floors in general) I have not seen this on a single list this year or in the recent past but I'm throwing this one out there as a classic that shows up from time to time as a trend! I've seen a ton of painted black and white checked floors on blogs and Instagram in the last year or two. I even painted my powder room floor that we redid in 2020 with a black and white check. Black and white checked floors have been a design element for centuries.I fell in love with them, as a teenager, on my first trip to Paris. They were everywhere. Our first home, a 1904 Farmhouse Victorian, had black and white check flooring in the kitchen. I loved it!! I put black and white check tile in my master bathroom in the 90's. Still there. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was painting check floors during the big country decor days of the 80's - think Mary Emmerling influence. It was considered a trend then but it's classic in so many decor styles - country, Parisian, farmhouse, etc. 

Seriously the hardest room in my house to photograph but you can see more here.

So, for whatever my opinion is worth, I say to read the "trend" forecasts but remember that your home should please you and work for your family - whether you are currently 'on trend' or not!

So, how do you feel about design trends vs. classics?  Do you read the forecasts? What did you think about the forecasts for 2021?? How much we are home and how we used it over the last year will probably impact how we design our spaces. Do you agree? Have you made any changes? I am curious!

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Bamboo Cabinets

 The trio of bamboo cabinets at the back of my family room have gotten quite a few comments on Instagram over the last few weeks (plus I just changed up a few of the items inside!) so I thought I might as well blog about them ;) 

They are a very lucky thrifting find from Goodwill. It had probably been a year  (I kid you not) since I had found anything at that location. But I was over that way and it is the GW where I found the amazing bamboo dining table and chairs I use in my kitchen so I figured I might as well pop in. 

And there they were - all lined up in a row!

They were in amazing condition and two of them were under $20.00 each and one was priced at $15.00 because the glass in the door was missing (easy fix.) 
They had all of their glass shelves as well. 
I couldn't grab those tags fast enough. 
I wasn't sure if I could use all 3 but I figured that someone would be interested in them if I couldn't. I was right - I had offers as soon as I posted a pic on IG.

We had (at the time) a very cool cabinet on the back wall of our family room. We had thrifted it when Mollie was in elementary school and it came out of an old school library.  You can see more about that here.

I decided to move that cabinet to our Library 
and use the trio of bamboo cabinets in our family room.

I took a few pictures of them with the interior lights on. I don't turn them on often but I do love the glow at night when we do!

Cooper remains unimpressed with the cabinets or the photo shoot!

I recently rearranged a few things and added three 
of my prized Sweet Grass baskets from Charleston!

The center light house is Morris Island Light off of Folly beach and a favorite childhood site!
The shells have come home with me from travels and the stack of primitive clay bowls were a gift from the mother and grandmother of a little girl we delivered a wheelchair to in a remote mountain village in Honduras. I carried those bowls all the way home to be sure they made it intact! The photo in the shell frame is of Mollie sand dollar hunting on Tybee Island many years ago. 

It's fun to have the display space and to change things around from time to time but I try not to get them too 'busy' visually because of the way they are situated in the room.

So even though I don't find things at that particular thrift store often it has definitely been the store where I have found some of my biggest finds! 
Do you have a "lucky" thrifting spot?

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Post Holiday Refresh

There's always a LOT of discussion on social media about when it's OK to put up Christmas decorations and just as much discussion about when everyone takes it down!

We generally don't decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving and the take down is usually dictated by travel and weather! If I have a nice day right after Christmas I get the outside decorations down right then.
 I'm a little slower inside ( I tell myself I'm organizing and purging - whatever!! )

I always miss the 'green' of my Christmas greenery but since I use a lot of fresh magnolia and such it gets pretty crispy and just can't stay long after the big day!

So I just replace it with different types of "green" 
- I always crave fresh houseplants after the new year.
(After the Christmas decorations come down I want to fast forward to Spring!!)

This corner of the Family Room was the first spot to get a new plant and I shopped the house to switch up the table top vignette a bit. This room didn't need much because it just got a 
One Room Challenge makeover right before Thanksgiving!

The other thing I crave as an antidote to the early darkness in January is a replacement for all the twinkle lights of December. I mentioned the picture light 
above on my Instagram. It's so nice to have a little glow in this corner and the light has a remote and a timer so it's easy to use.

I read a review that the gold/brass finishes did not match perfectly. I thought I might need to use Rub and Buff to make it cohesive but honestly I can't tell - it's almost at the ceiling. I may make it a rainy day project one of these days but I went ahead and put it up.
It comes with the easiest hanging hardware ever - it has a built in level!!

Here it is at night - it was the only light on in the room when I took this picture!

 I plan to get another picture light for the Library. I'll be sure to show you when it arrives!
And I'm sure I'll be adding some more green plants too! 
Do you crave houseplants in January? Do you miss the twinkle lights?

Monday, January 4, 2021

Happy Hopeful New Year!! It's 2021!


I posted this picture on NYE 2020 and then realized it was only fitting to end the year with this Diana bust because I started  2020 with a picture of this Diana bust on my IG!

Here's a little recap:

A lot of us have joked about the arrival of 2021 saying "the bar isn't very high" for 2021. We are just glad that 2020 moved on. 
In many ways I actually think a lot of us have high expectations for 2021.

I think my take away from this past year
 (and really 2019 had some pretty tough parts for our family)
is that last line from my IG post:
Only we can make it the best one yet.

So let's make each day count - come what may!