Homemade S'mores Ice Cream

Embarrassingly, the real reason this recipe has not come to the blog sooner, is that once I make a batch of this s’more ice cream, it goes SO fast in my house that by the time I pull out my camera there’s only a couple of bites left in the pan. I’m serious. I also think I’ve made a batch every week since I first tried my hand at homemade ice cream six weeks ago. The best part about this ice cream is that you do not need an ice cream maker, it takes 15 minutes to make (+6 hours to sit), has only a few ingredients, and its SO much better than the store bought stuff. I want to experiment with different add-ins, but this one is so good that no one in my family wants me to try anything else just yet.

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Base recipe

  • 2 cups of heavy whipping cream

  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

  • I can sweetened condensed milk (for the purists-try this)

S’mores Add-ins

  • crumbs of 10 graham crackers

  • 1 Hershey chocolate bar, crushed

  • 1 cup of marshmallows melted with 1 tbsp. corn syrup or honey

*Put a loaf pan in the freezer to cool. Beat the whipping cream in mixer until the peaks are stiff, add in the vanilla ,condensed milk, and all the add-ins. Pour into loaf pan and cover with foil, put in the freezer for 6 hours before serving.

*Recipe taken from here.

My Summer Staple: The Mint-Lime Spritzer

Back in May, I had the most delicious spritzer when I went to the Terrain cafe on a trip to Philadelphia with a friend. I didn’t think much more of it until I came back and we decided to grow mint for the first time. I started looking up all the ways to use mint, and after a failed attempt at watermelon mint popsicles (it sounded good at least), I came across the idea for a spritzer. I’ve played around with it a bit, and It’s fair to say I’m hooked. I may go for a few days where I forget about it (or I’m trying to let my mint plant alone for regrowth), but then I have it and I have to have at least 2-3 glasses. It’s SO good, and about as refreshing as an alcoholic beverage. I also love that it’s simple to make- I always have limes and mint on hand, and now I make it a point to have club soda on hand. It’s delicious AND easy, and that’s a must these days……

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Add these ingredients in this order, then mix with your spoon. Enjoy!

  • 4-5 mint leaves, mashed with your spoon in the bottom of the glass

  • 1 drop of Agave Nectar

  • full glass of ice

  • another drop of Agave if desired

  • juice of 1/4 a lime

  • club soda- I prefer one that isn’t too “hoppy” like Pelegrino.

  • Blackberries/blueberries if desired

On designing and blogging (and throwing out all the rules)

I came to this realization in the past year that I do not want to be an “influencer”. I felt immediate shame following this realization. What’s wrong with me? Am I just not ambitious enough? What kind of designer doesn’t want thousands of people following them (to be clear, I wouldn’t mind a bigger following, just not the work required to get there)? Ever since I started this blog, I have enjoyed writing and sharing my projects as a creative outlet. However, I have never identified with the “blogger persona”. It has never aligned with who I am. At my core, I am a person who loves to create , a slow living lifestyle, and not living in the lime light. It has felt at times that there are two parts of me that feel at odds with one another. The need to create/share, and the need to have a quiet simple life with my family.I have wrestled with these questions for so long, and this last week it came to me.

First and foremost, I identify as a designer, not as a blogger/influencer. There is a very clear difference, and there’s a reason I have never monetized this blog. Secondly, my love for slow living is at odds with the other side of me who wants to have and grow a business. I don’t want to “hustle”, and never have wanted that. (Please note: here I’m defining “hustle” as doing everything to reach the top, I’m not referring to anyone who is trying to earn a basic living). Am I allowed to say that? I don’t even think there’s anything wrong with “hustling”, except that I know it is completely wrong for me. I don’t want to push products on people- rather I want to encourage people to be more resourceful. I don’t mind sharing the things that have made my life easier or brought joy even, but I don’t want to be another voice in that arena. I am also jealous for my family time, and my privacy is very important to me..

Ps. I’m so excited to learn more about gardening, and this book is incredible.

Ps. I’m so excited to learn more about gardening, and this book is incredible.

Over the years I have gone through short bouts of trying to fit the mold and keep up with the demand for continuous new content, regular posts on specific days, and it’s never worked for me. I want to write when I feel inspired, not to keep up a schedule. I want to share DIY projects when I have them, not create DIY projects for the sole purpose of creating content, and I want to take on clients because it’s right for me and my family, not because I need something to share for fear of becoming irrelevant. It’s difficult to drown out all the noise of “shoulds” for blogging schedules, algorithms, and other business growing related strategies. Don’t get me wrong, social media is amazing (getting your portfolio out there for free!), but our digital culture is demanding more and more……and personally I’m not willing to give what’s being asked. I have to “do me.”

So where does that leave me? The same place I’ve been this whole time- just with a very clear goal on my end. The goal is to continue designing and learning and seeing where that takes me, not to “hustle” my way to the top. Yes I want to grow my business (especially as my girls get older), but I will be over here on my little piece of the internet not following the rules, posting when I have something to say or share, continuing to say “no” to projects that aren’t right for me and my family, and saying “yes” to the right things.

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To end, here is a picture of our fire pit in the works. We want to get a new fire pit eventually (I might be spray painting it for the time being), and add some pea gravel to define the space. The best part? There’s no time-table, after all- it’s on my terms.

Get the Look (with the help of Craigslist)

A while back (over on instagram) I asked you guys if you were interested in me sharing my craigslist finds with you, and how I would style them. The response was a resounding “YES”. Everyone is always quick to tell me that there are no deals to be found in their city, and while some areas of the country are definitely tricky (I’ve lived in DC, NY, IN, WA, OK, and MA so I know!)- I truly believe that there are rare/cool finds to be had everywhere if you are willing to spend the time looking and willing to drive a little out of your way. The trick is to look often, broaden your search, and to use good search words. After that, I think the problem most people have is seeing past the crappy phone pictures (in bad lighting) that people tend to post of their stuff on craigslist. Most of us (whether we realize it or not) are visual, and a bad picture scares us away. Let me tell you though- the bad pictures are where the deals are at.

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Take this bedroom by Amber Interiors ( she kills it, per usual), that antique bench adds depth to the room. Sure, you could buy an imitation antique from a large chain store, but it’s not the same thing……vintage brings an element to design that a modern copy cannot in my opinion. That’s not to say that I don’t own a few imitations myself, but when it comes to aged wood, I prefer the real deal. This one is selling for $200, and I bet you could barter this down to $125 or $150 (which I’m all for doing, as long as it’s fair).

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If I really wanted the look of that Amber Interiors bedroom, this is what I would pair with that bench from craigslist. After this, all you need is some cool art ( I prefer original, vintage, or from an artist you love rather than the mass produced art if you can help it.) and you are set with a budget bedroom!

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Eleni's Nursery

It seems fitting that the first post on my new website is Eleni’s nursery. When we found out we were having a third girl, it took me a while to come up with a design that I was excited about. After all, I’ve done three girl nurseries in our house. This time however, I went a decidedly more feminine direction when I fell in love with this floral wallpaper from Anthropologie. From there, I decided on a color pallet of mustard yellow/gold and mauve. Getting the mauve paint color that I was searching for took some trial and error- it either looked too muddy or too pink. After painting the room and repainting it, I settled on Behr Pearls and Lace. If you are searching for the perfect mauve, I will say that lighting has everything to do with getting the right color- what looks mauve in this room could look pink in another room.

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This was my first wallpaper experience, and as always I learned a few lessons the hard way. I originally bought a wallpaper paste that was not pre-made (just add water it said), and that was a HUGE mistake. Once I went back and bought the pre-mixed paste, things started to go a lot more smoothly. Because of my original mistake, there are some imperfections that are probably most noticeable to me (I am my worst critic), but I was too pregnant and too exhausted to care when I was done. Thanks to my mother-in-law for being incredible and for helping me pull this off, it was quite the “bonding” experience:).

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I love that the half painted wall adds a dose of modern with the rounded edges of the armoire and the feminine wallpaper.

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I needed a rocking chair that did not have a tall back (due to this wall) or take up a ton of room. This one has been perfect, it’s comfortable and still wide enough for me to sit with one of the older girls. I think we will be using it well after Eleni is past the baby stage.

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You will remember a lot of these pieces from various areas of our previous homes. Whenever I’m designing a new space in our house, I always start with shopping around my house.

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I love a touch of whimsy in kids rooms, and styling with garlands are a simple way to add it to a room.

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One of the few purchases I knew we needed for this room was a plush rug. Because this room is too small for a changing table, I wanted a rug that wouldn’t hurt her head or kill my knees in the middle of the night.

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I found this vintage armoire on craigslist for $100, and if you follow along with me on IG you will know that I debated painting it. In the end, I love it as is- and painting it felt like too much with the wallpaper. It is also super functional - meeting our need to hang a few items ( the “closet”in this room, if it can be called one, is too shallow for a hanger), and provide extra storage. Connor and my cousin’s husband nearly killed themselves getting it up our narrow staircase, so it’s not going anywhere for a while….which is totally fine with me!

rug/armoire (vintage)/crib/wallpaper/mauve pillow/rocking chair/mauve blanket /garland/alphabet sign/ceiling light- old from Serena & Lily/ sconce - old from Urban Outfitters / stool

Winter Survival- For the Home

Truth be told, I would rather be cold than hot on any given day ( I've come to believe that my core temperature is naturally a solid 10 degrees warmer than most peoples). So while everyone else is groaning about February's freezing temperatures , I secretly prefer it to the humidity of August. And while I love my fair share of exploring, for everyday life I'm a homebody at heart and have embraced everything surrounding the Scandinavian idea of "hygge". As defined by the dictionary, hygge is " a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.". When I think of bringing hygge into my home during these winter months, I think of it in terms of the five senses (sight, sound, smell, touch, taste). This is how I'm infusing hygge into my everyday life:

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Smell
Nothing beats the smell of homemade bread that's just come out of the oven. Though I took a break from baking myweekly bread towards the end of my pregnancy, I'm anxious to get back into the weekly ritual. Soups and stews make the whole house smell amazing and make snow days more cozy.  This recipe is still a family favorite.


Sight. 

Since the girls are stuck indoors a lot more these days, I went ahead and bought some fairy lights for their room. It's an easy way to make it more fun to stay indoors when the days are shorter.  I used to feel wasteful lighting candles for everyday living, but this year I changed my mind. While I could easily put candles under the "smell" category, the sight of a flame coming from a candle instantly ups the cozy factor. Since we don't have a fireplace, this is the next best thing. When the days were really short in December, I would light a candle when it started to get dark (at 3:45 here in Boston!), and rather than feeling depressed about the short days, it felt cozy being inside.

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Taste

Nothing says cozy to me more than a hot cup of coffee. I'm a creature of habit, and drink out of my favorite mug every morning, and every morning it makes me so happy. Though it's not exclusive to winter, there's something about a favorite mug that makes me enjoy the experience of being indoors sipping my coffee. Saturday mornings with flapjacks and maple syrup in another winter treat my family enjoys, and pretty ceramics only add to the experience. 

Sound

There is something about a record player that is very nostalgic for me, years ago I splurged on the u-turn audio record player and I haven't looked back. I use it every day, and during winter months I love an old jazz record, like Ella Firzgerald.

Touch

Soft (fur) throw blankets and sleeping bags (for the girls) for movie nights are a must in my house, the thicker the better.

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1. Fairy Lights
2. My current favorite candle
3. Farmhouse Pottery Maple Syrup Pitcher
4. Ella Fitzgerald record
5. Dutch Oven
6. Record Player
7. Fur throw
8. Tea Kettle
9. Farmhouse Pottery Mug