Beat the Heat with These Summer Meals

Summer is in full swing, and I love exploring new meal ideas during this time of year.

I did some research, and picked some AWESOME breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack ideas to share with you all! I’ve also included the original website link to each recipe, which you’ll find next to each recipe title.

Feel free to leave a comment on this post to let me know if you tried any of the recipes, or to include your own great summer meal suggestions!

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Posted in Cooking, Healthy Living | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Delicious Dilemma: Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

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I am so surprised and humbled to have been nominated for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award by esteemed bloggers Kerrie Kelly and Lesli DeVito. What a fun activity!

Kerrie Kelly

Kerrie Kelly

Lesli DeVito

Lesli DeVito

I chose my five favorite questions from each respected blogger to come up with my 10 responses. Following my responses, I’ve added my list of 10 questions for 10 new bloggers, which they’ll pass on to their readers.

1). WHAT PROJECT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
Volunteering as the interior designer for three different Ronald McDonald Houses in Wichita, Kan. Two were Ronald McDonald homes and one was a Ronald McDonald respite in a hospital family room.

Credit: Ronald McDonald House Wichita
2). WHAT IS A NEW SKILL YOU’D LIKE TO LEARN?
Photography! I’m so inspired by nature and would love the skill to snap impromptu photos to share with others.

3). WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO COMFORT FOOD?
Definitely pizza–especially Papa Murphy’s Mediterranean chicken! No one believes that I can eat half of a pizza, but just ask my family. It’s the “cheat” part of my 80/20 eating plan and pizza is definitely in the 20 percent splurge!

4). WHAT DOES YOUR PERFECT DAY LOOK LIKE?
As a morning person, enjoying the quiet of the morning, taking a long walk, having Mitzi time, having friend and family time, and also knowing that I’ve made a difference in somebody’s life that day. And, of course, having fabulous food and a glass of wonderful red wine at the end of it all!

I'd have to make my raspberry chocolate truffle pie for dessert!

I’d have to make my raspberry chocolate truffle pie for dessert!

5). WHERE DO YOU MOST WANT TO TRAVEL?
Since I’ve been fortunate enough to have been to Europe many times, my list now includes fabulous resorts in the United States such as Mackinac Island in Michigan and the Green Briar in West Virginia. I’d also like to visit New England in the fall, or a take cooking class in Napa Valley.

6). WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE DRINK?
Red wine. These days I’m into red blends like Apothic and Callia.

LOVE this Callia Bella red blend

LOVE this Callia Bella red blend

7). BESIDES LIVING THINGS, WHAT YOU WOULD GRAB FROM YOUR HOME IN A FIRE?
My journals and family portraits.

Bob Bob and I with our angels.

Bob Bob and I with our angels.

8). WHAT IS THE LAST BOOK YOU READ?
One of my favorite book series is “The Mitford Years” by Jan Karon. Very rarely do I re-read a book, but I read the whole series again this summer. Her latest book, “These High, Green Hills,” was also great. I was so sad when it ended.

9). IF YOU WERE GOING BACK TO COLLEGE AND COULD GET IN ANYWHERE, WHERE WOULD YOU APPLY AND WHAT WOULD YOU STUDY?
Parsons The New School of Design in NYC to become an interior designer. To start out my career after graduating from such a prestigious school would have opened doors so many doors, where as my route took much longer!

parsons-the-new-school-for-design-logo-61dtuatu

10). WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT FAVORITE COLOR TO DECORATE WITH?
Benjamin Moore “Crystalline” as seen here in our master bedroom. It’s a color I love to incorporate because it’s so soothing.

master

Finally, here are my questions (some of which are borrowed) for my Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award Nominees.

1). How long have you been blogging and why did you start?

2). What is the perfect paint color?

3). If you could pick any designer, living or dead, to decorate your house, who would it be?

4). What location is on your travel bucket list?

5). What is your favorite restaurant?

6). Which wallpaper is your favorite?

7). When starting a design project, your first step is… (lighting, colors, furniture, etc.)

8). What is your favorite holiday and why?

9). What is your favorite type of lighting source to use?

10). What is your favorite design project you’ve ever done?

My 10 nominees are…

Mary Carol Garrity – Nell Hill’s
Arianne Bellizaire – Inspired to Style
Stacy Kunstel – Dunes and Duchess
Carla Aston – DESIGNED with Carla Aston
Gloria Graham Sollecito – Artful Kitchens
Libby Langdon – Libby Langdon
Carolyn Von Der Ahe – Von Der Ahe Interiors
Ruthie Staalsen – DecRenew Interiors
Michelle Cortizo – DECORTIZO
Amy Lambert Lee – House of Wentworth

Enjoy, ladies! I can’t wait to read all of your answers.

Posted in Lifestyles | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Downsizing? Bookshelves Are The Answer!

If you’re in downsizing mode and have special treasures or family heirlooms you want to be able to enjoy, consider vertical bookshelves your new best friend. Not only do they contribute to purposeful design, they can also serve as a back drop to your furniture.

This video from our archives has been popular with viewers looking for smart ways to use bookshelves to keep treasures, while at the same time, still downsizing.

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Posted in Design | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 39 Comments

Healthy Homes Have “Healthy” Furniture

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Knowing who is actually making our furniture, and also what country it comes from, is a definite goal for purchasing furniture to keep our homes as “healthy” as possible.

Why? Because we are now learning and gaining more research on the effects of off-gassing from our purchases for our homes. This is especially true in the furniture we buy!

Even if a company says solid wood, we unfortunately do not have a guarantee that it truly is solid wood. A year or two ago, imported tables from various vendors were said to be solid wood. Well, examples of those tables were cut half to expose what was under the supposedly solid wood inside.

It was shocking to see how inside many of those lovely tables was actually particleboard, which is glued together by formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen. The very thin wood veneer was literally only skin deep.

In a report by Matt Hickman, he asks, “Why is my new piece of furniture emitting a nasty odor”?

A quote from his report: “Off-gassing is the natural evaporation of a type of indoor-air-quality-compromising pollutant often referred to as volatile organic compounds or VOCs in paints, stain, and carpets.

Formaldehyde is a common culprit because it is used to cure particle board, pressed-wood, and plywood–all manufactured composite woods.

China often takes the blame, but the manufacture of off-gassing furniture knows no geographic boundaries.”

To read more about this, click here.

So how do we know if our furniture is “healthy’’?

MacKenzie Down Barley Twist Four Poster

MacKenzie Down Barley Twist Four Poster

Hype Park Chairside Chest

Hype Park Chairside Chest

One way is to buy from companies such as Mackenzie-Dow Fine Furniture, which is made in America, where our government regulations are extremely strict about permitted chemicals. Companies with solid reputations often have the information readily available to actually learn what is inside their furniture, how the outside was finished, and with what materials.

Barley Twist Gate Leg Table

Barley Twist Gate Leg Table

In the long run, it is not a bargain to buy cheaper furniture if it is transmitting off-gases in your home or living areas. This, of course, includes our work areas, as so much time is spent in these areas.

Alton Ladderback Arm Chair

Alton Ladderback Arm Chair

More research is needed on what is called the “sick building syndrome ,”and its effects on our health. We live in a chemical world with toxic materials everywhere–in carpeting, for instance. But where we can, it is prudent for us to do a little research as we can find anything today on the Internet. Companies that have nothing to hide make it easy for consumers to know how their products are manufactured because they are proud of their products.

Randy Fiser, CEO of ASID, said at his January 2015 Modenus presentation, that everyone deserves a healthy environment. Of course we all can agree with his statement and want this for ourselves and others.

Plate Rack for Huntboard

Plate Rack for Huntboard

However, I can hear the cries already. “Mitzi, who can afford the furniture you are promoting”?

Well, my question for all of us is how can we not at least begin the dialogue on what types of furniture we are purchasing? One way, which is what I tell my clients, is to buy quality. Wait until your budget allows you to buy quality furniture from reputable manufactures.

Desk and Hutch

Desk and Hutch

By doing what I suggested (checking out quality furniture manufacturers) one will discover that Mackenzie-Dow is one of those manufacturers, hands down.

To read more about MacKenzie-Dow Fine Furniture, visit their website here.

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Posted in Design | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Three Reasons Why Lamps Are Our Friends

Why are lamps our lighting friends in design? Here are my three reasons, featuring examples from The Natural Light:

1). Lamps are an easy way to incorporate additional lighting to a room.

As we age, we need much more lighting in our spaces. Often, however, adding light can be a challenge due to construction restraints, or because our living spaces are already in their finished states.

Solution: add lamps!

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As a professional designer for more than 30 years, I am truly amazed at the inadequate lighting I observe in more than 90 percent of clients’ spaces. We get accustomed to what we have. Once additional lighting is added, I always hear, “Wow, what a difference this makes”!

Lamps can be placed on bookshelves, kitchen counters, bathroom counters, entry tables, ends of hallways on a chest, on tables behind sofas, and on night stands. The list is endless.

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2). Lamps are a simple way to incorporate design elements in our rooms.

Designers realize that incorporating design principles and elements are essential to bringing a project up to its full potential.

Of course, light is an important element, but also look for different textures, colors or shapes to add interest and drama to an otherwise mediocre space. The iron tall, vertical lamp base we see everywhere is so yesterday! Our spaces are predominately filled with right angles and are very linear.

Solution? Add lamps!

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3). Lamps are a great way to make a high-level design statement.

Again, designers know how to bring up the level of design by adding beautiful accessories. One of the biggest design mistakes when finishing a project is to add inexpensive or inappropriate lamps to a beautiful room. We would not accessorize with cheap looking jewelry while wearing an Anne Klein dress, so why would we do this in our homes?

I think you know the solution… lamps!

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I tell my clients that good design never goes out of style, so it’s best to buy fewer items at a higher quality. In the long run, it’ll save money. One of my favorite sayings from an unknown designer is, “You can never have too many lamps, mirrors, or natural plants in a room.”

I could not agree more.

Learn more about The Natural Light and see more of their amazing lighting products here.

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