Patio Inspiration

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It is finally spring, and I am dying to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. The past few days have been a bit dreary with spring showers and winds, but that doesn't mean I can't start dreaming of warmer days and sparkling wine. The past few years we have been slowly been adding bits and pieces to the back porch and flower beds which I have showcased here and here. This year, it is all about adding a stone patio as a walkway and a place to gather around our fire-pit. We spend most evenings - work days and weekends - in our backyard, so it only makes sense to add to the space! Of course, I can't create a space without some inspiration, so here is what I have so far... 


Above is our backyard currently. What you don't see is the back porch set-up as we hadn't pulled it out from storage yet (it is officially out now though) and all the beautiful flowers Tyler planted which are starting to sprout. The chairs are for general placement and the fire-pit was a gift from my parents that we use ALL the time. We aren't doing an in-ground fire-pit as we want the flexibility on the patio for possible dining or seating. 

Sources: 01, 02, 03, 04, & 05

Sources: 01, 02, 0304, & 05

Above are a few images I have been hoarding/dreaming about for a while. Our overall concept that we try to continue to reference while selecting flowers and laying out our yard is "Controlled Whimsy." Of course, everyone sees images differently, so below are the reasons I am drawn to each image. 

  1. This image may be on of the first images I pinned when we bought our house. The flagstone along the side of house mixd in with mulch seems so intimate, soft and inviting all while still bringing color and control to the space. Who couldn't love this image? This image is what I keep referencing if I ever have question of direction. 
  2. This past summer we went to a beer garden in San Fran and they had huge wooly blankets you could borrow while enjoying the cool night air and a cold beverage. We use the outside almost 9 months a year, so a few wooly blankets draped over some chairs would be perfect for fires in the fall. (Ideally hoping to find some inexpensive blankets that I can dry-clean). 
  3. Obviously, I love flagstone, and the colors of this are perfect mixing the grays and tans together. I also think this would be the way we achieve our "circle" for the fire-pit space "connecting" the flagstone together. 
  4. The flagstone mixed with flower beds and grass is really what I am going for. The patio will be coming off our back porch on the ground, and ideally it should all feel organic, yet connected. 
  5. The sparkly lights, the lounge chairs and a roaring fire all beckon to sit at for hours. This is all on the grass, but at the end of the day, this is the atmosphere we are trying to create in city!  

So that leads us to the question... which chairs should I buy to go with our fire-pit patio? Ideally we would have 4-6 chairs and they should be easy to move because most likely we won't leave them out all the time and if so the cushions will come in for sure. I also want them to be extremely comfortable. If its a beautiful night, we may be sitting in them for hours. I also want to make sure they go with what we already have and give off the right vibe, so which ones do you think we should go with?

  1. A really playful, comfortable chair from one of my favorite stores - Target. These are $211 for two chairs and a side table! In person these are more tan than gray, but are they too "cool." 
  2. These chairs are easy to store and set-up, which would be nice as I do think they might blow away if there was a storm. I like bringing a touch of wood onto the patio and I could easily add a few pillows to make these more comfortable. For only $50, I could easily get 6 of these and store them no sweat. 
  3. Who doesn't love a good Adirondack chair? These would be a bit heavier and probably not move in and out. The white would be fresh and tie back to the porch, and I can easily see the blankets draped over them. This style of chair can be super pricey, but I found these for $60! 
  4. This whole set is pretty, and I kinda want to just have one in my house, but not sure if it is really right for the vibe we are creating outside. They do look comfortable, but are $100 a pop and I don't know if I love them that much. Thoughts? 

Check back to see the beginnings of our back yard. We have marked it out and are getting quotes so we can compare DIY'ing the job or getting some help. I am hoping we have a complete patio by mid-May, so keep your fingers crossed for inexpensive quotes! And I would love any input on the chairs or if you have any expert advise! 

Happy Spring!


Candle Jars Repurposed


I am an avid candle buyer, and I can hardly resist a candle that is in a beautiful or interesting container. This isn't a recent discovery. In middle school, I loved Yankee Candle and the wax melts that you could put in ceramic dish. My sense of smell has changed overtime for sure, preferring more of the floral, musk smell rather than the sweet vanilla, and pumpkin pie scents back in the day, but that doesn't mean I haven't filled my house with a variety of candles in an assortment of sizes, colors and finishes. Eventually the candles run out, and you are left with a container that is often too pretty to toss. Luckily, it doesn't take much to remove the leftover candle wax and repurpose the jar. Here are a few different ways you can reuse a "jar."

Two of my candles that recently ran out, and my cute little matches that I found in Nashville this past fall. 

Two of my candles that recently ran out, and my cute little matches that I found in Nashville this past fall. 


Above is the start of my "collection" of jars, containers and bottles that have had a hodgepodge of uses prior to their current state. As you can see, there is a mixture of finishes, sizes and textures. I don't ever like to throw them away because you never know when you might need one, but it is getting a bit out of control... 

Many of you may know how to remove wax from candles, but just in case here are the simple steps for having a brand new container for "free." 

  • Burn the candle until there is no longer any wax - best part of the process. 
  • Place the container in the freezer for a day or two. 
  • Remove the container and scrape out the wax. I typically use a butter knife, but be careful with glass jars so you don't break the glass. (this hasn't happened to me yet...) 
  • Place the jar in the dishwasher on the top rack to be cleaned. 

Above is my collection of make-up brushes and a set of small perfumes that I use on a daily basis that I like to keep readily available. I also think the touch of color add a little something to the bathroom. Sadly, while I was taking photos for the blog, one of my mercury glass containers (the one with the brushes) shattered across the bathroom floor. However, I had a few back-ups to choose from going with a clear, texture glass. On a side note - our bathroom isn't that big, and we have to be as creative as possible when it comes to storage. Right now it is a bit generic, but it is on my list of rooms to freshen sometime in 2017. 

The brass container above was a refresh as well. Our old toothbrush holder was one I made, and it had seen some better days. You can find the how to here. Keep in mind when searching for a toothbrush holder - go with a solid container and one that will actually fit your toothbrush and maybe a razor. Just because it is utilitarian doesn't mean it has to be ugly! 

Above you can see a few simple examples of what I have done. The homemade candle from Candle Lab is great because it is tall, dark and works great for taller items like paint brushes. I used this candle up pretty quickly - it just smelled so good. I may even go back and make another one... The blue and white container is from Thailand honeymoon and really is just beautiful alone. Currently, I have it sitting in the guest room which would be great to have hold small samples or ear plugs for guests. It really does shine on its own though. The last container is a textured mercury candle holder that I used as a vase for my wedding tables. I used all sorts of containers in the white, gold and clear combinations for multiple small arrangements on the tables. 

Containers can be used for anything really! As you can see, I use them for all sorts of things: make-up brushes, perfume collections, paint brushes and even as vases for my wedding. Just remember next time you find yourself purchasing a candle, it isn't just about the scent you are purchasing, but about the container too! What do you do with empty containers - do you toss them out, or do you have a collection as well?

Happy Shopping!  


Wine Club!

Some days/weeks are a bit rougher than others, but you know it is going to be a good weekend when you have a box of wine waiting for you when you get home. I am not a wine connoisseur, nor do I try to be one, but I thoroughly enjoy a nice glass of wine after a rough day at work, over some cheese with friends or curled up on the sofa with a good book. I would say on average I prefer to spend less than $15 for a bottle of wine - that may be cheap to some or pricey for others, but I would say average I am between $10 - $13.99 a bottle. For the last few years, I have been a Kroger wine regular with a few occasional stops at Oakley Wines, but I have recently discovered Wine Insiders, and I think I may have converted... 

I honestly had never heard of Wine Insiders until my brother-in-law gave me a Groupon to order a box of wine as a nice gift. It took me a while to actually purchase a box, but the first box I ordered was a mix of reds, whites and rose and it showed up right before the holidays! It was perfect - we hadn't spent much on the box, had multiple options of everything, and to top if off - all the bottles had beautiful labels! They were the perfect hostess gift as well as a nice little collection for home. Since then, I have ordered a few more boxes, the latest being all whites. 

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As you can see above, this case had twelve bottles (some do have 15) and there are two of each variety. Each one is pretty different, but do have handy little guidelines/suggestions on the backs of the bottles as to what you should serve with it and what special flavor notes the bottle may have. Having a variety to choose from has been a fun little surprise and a bit refreshing as well. I was in somewhat of a rut drinking the same brands of wine from Kroger, however having a variety of unknown brands has pushed me out of my comfort zone and it hasn't cost me much if not saved some money. The thing is, that at the end of the day I am either going to buy wine from the grocery store, the local wine shop or online and so far online has been convenient, refreshing and successful. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed receiving a box of new options to try, and it makes life just a tad bit easier. So far, I can't say really anything negative about Wine Insiders, except that you do have to sign for the package, but that's technically not their fault. There is always a sale, so wait for the deal and go for it and as they say, "A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine!"

Happy Friday!


Making Plans - Part II

Images from Top Left, Clockwise: 01, 02, 03, 04 and 05

Images from Top Left, Clockwise: 01, 02, 03, 04 and 05

Last week, I talked about where we are at this very moment in our house and what I would like to ideally tweak/adjust. Above are some beautiful inspiration images that I have been lusting after for a while on my Pinterest board, here. I understand that white is the thing on the internet these days, but I love something about a good moody, cozy room that feels a bit eclectic with new shiny pieces and old worn objects from the flea. As you can see above, the rooms are all a bit dark, a few antlers, fresh white dishes and some old and new pieces. I am hoping to take these underlying ideas and pull them together in our home. Of course, there are a few decisions to be made, so check out the plan options below. 

As you can see in the two plans above, the only major differences are the dining room tables themselves; the rest of the pieces remain the same. I originally wanted an expandable, oval table. After some serious hours hunting, I have come up with nothing that felt just right. The oval Eero Saarinen inspired table worked well, but the hubby was not a fan at all. Typically, he doesn't say much, so when he voices an opinion, I feel like I should listen. So then I started thinking that a typical rectangle could work nicely as well with the right finishes. Once it was placed in plan and tweaked a bit, it became the better solution for sure. Not everyone has the resources to create a plan and check out various options, but I highly recommend it if you can. I still plan on marking it with tape in the dining room to confirm the size one last time before having a custom table made! The big change in both of these, is that the seating arrangement in the living room will become tighter, cozier and the walkway from the backdoor is a bit tighter, but still useable. 

Above are a few of the pieces we either already have, or what I am looking at to purchase. When designing, it is important to think of function and form. Sometimes it is hard to find exactly what you are looking for, but no one wants to live on eggshells in their own home. Nothing is officially final, but this is the general direction I am headed with a few explanations, pricing and sources below! 

  1. A beautiful metal console table. I don't know if this is my final selection, but I do like the dark metal finish and gold pulls. This house doesn't have a ton of "hidden" storage, so the more drawers the better and a simple shelf below for styling! 
  2. My current, probably long time, Dante Sofa from Arhaus. This was our first big furniture purchase for this house. I love the sleek lines, neutral color and I think it will only be better with time! This sofa isn't going anywhere unless it gets destroyed or we move and it is too small for the space. 
  3. The gold and marble coffee table I am saving up for. This pretty piece is around $1100, but works perfectly at 58"w x 28"d. I also love the rounded corners and the softness it brings to the space. It is also a pretty durable piece, so you can throw your feet up on it and not worry about breaking it unlike glass. 
  4. Two matching "worn" leather chairs are way down the road. I want these to be super comfy and possibly even recline. Of course, these wouldn't be on the inexpensive side, so a sale and savings will be in the future for these bad boys. 
  5. A dining table is number 1 on my list right now. I want something pretty simple with a white "marble" top. The overall space could use a bit of bright, white and a "marble" quartz is super durable and beautiful. The one shown above is from Restoration Hardware for an insane amount of money, but I am hoping to find someone to make it. Still working on the details, but it is looking promising for sure! Will have more info once it becomes a reality! 
  6.  Eventually a rug would be nice, but want to hold out for an actual table. The colors in this one work nicely, but ideally a darker rug would be good to hide stains and such so we shall see. I do like the mix of gray, cream and copper in this one from West Elm. Still on the hunt though. 
  7. My newly purchased chairs! These were a steal for $160 from Everything But The House. They need to be reupholstered, but it is just the seat, so the price shouldn't be too bad. I am thinking a gray velvet shown above. I haven't decided if I want to refinish them or not, but I am thinking no. The height works great in our space and they are strangely comfortable to sit on for a dining chair! Really excited to see the finished product! 

As I mentioned before, these items aren't being purchased tonight on my credit card, but will take some time and savings, but at least I know what I am aiming for and if it is all going to work together. Because turning a house into a home is a process, some of these items may be tweaked or may never happen, or we may add additional pieces (chandlier?). Either way, I am excited to see it come to life, sooner rather than later I hope! What are your home goals? 


Making Plans - Part I

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We have officially been living in our home now for 3 years, and we have slowly taken it from a house to a home, but that doesn't mean everything has been worked out and is just the way we want it. There are still quite a few elements that I would love to tweak, add or eliminate. However, it all takes time, money and the most difficult element - patience. I am often frustrated when I look at blogs online and within a few weeks/months from purchasing a house, it is all "perfect." Most of us don't have that luxury, so I have pulled together the "in-the-moment" pics, unstyled as is, and our existing plan/layout of the space with new plans and ideas showcased next week in Part II. 

For the most part, I am pretty happy with the layout and flow of the space. I really like that the TV is tucked away for easy viewing or conversation. We struggled at the beginning with light sources, but we have 3 in the living space now, which works great in the evenings giving off a soft ambient light. However, as you can see in the plan above the items I would like to add or adjust aren't huge necessarily, but would make a pretty big impact. 

  1. A dining table and chairs that would fill the space proportionally. 
  2. Adding a new, larger coffee table to the lounge space, pulling that space together a bit more. 
  3. Shifting the sofa into the lounge space allowing more room in the dining room, as well as adding a console table along the back of the sofa to divide up the two spaces a bit. 
  4. And last on my list - matching leather lounge chairs with low backs. I love both chairs that I have now for sentimental reasons, but would like to use them elsewhere in the house. 
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Overall, the living/family room works great. I love our sofa - clean lines with a bit more traditional details, comfortable and coordinates with most things I bring into the room. If you can't do an "L" shaped sofa, I highly recommend getting an ottoman for flexibility and comfort! There are my two "coffee tables" as well. The wood box was $3 from a flea 7 years ago, and the gold and glass piece is from EBTH and could be in nicer shape, although it has worked well so far. I really like the accessories on these pieces, but would really prefer a piece that is durable, you can put your feet on and makes a more cohesive statement. 


The dining room KILLS me right now. Every time I look at it, it makes me a bit sad. The biggest problem with an open layout - you can see everything ALL the time. We recently added the china cabinet, which works perfectly under the window with all my wedding china. The find for that piece goes to Carly! I also have had the bar cart forever - even before they were all over pinterest. Not sure I will keep it exactly as is, but it is useful for sure and works great off to the side. For the most part, the biggest issue is the table and chairs! The table is too small, and the chairs are outdoor chairs and are slowly destroying our wood floors. Of course, this may be the most expensive adjustment to the space. Working on this now, and am getting excited for what I think may be an affordable solution! 

Don't get me wrong, there are things that I love about our house - the location, open floor plan, efficient use of space, 1/2 bath (HUGE deal in Cincinnati), the character (especially the thick trim and base board) and all the windows, but there are a few things I am still working on. I keep telling myself our house will be more of a home with stories behind each piece instead of being picture perfect overnight. Make sure to come back next week to see what I have planned! What dreams do you have for your home? 


New Year, "New" START

Counting the minutes of 2017... an amazing piece by Victor Hunt at the Cooper Hewitt Museum. 

Counting the minutes of 2017... an amazing piece by Victor Hunt at the Cooper Hewitt Museum

How is it that 2017 has already started and flown by all at the same time? Last year was a bit of a whirlwind and was filled with some pretty big moments in our lives including - turning 30, buying a house, lots of travel for work & play, and a few surprises in between. Last year, we had some lofty resolutions, which you can find here, however this year we are trying to keep them a bit more simple and realistic! Do you have any major goals for 2017? 

Balloons from my 30th birthday. A night to remember for sure! 

Balloons from my 30th birthday. A night to remember for sure! 

Carly's new house, already starting to feel like a home! 

Carly's new house, already starting to feel like a home! 

We may not have accomplished all our goals from last year, but that doesn't mean we can't try again this year. Keeping it simple and creating the best version of ourselves is ideal, so here is what we have planned to accomplish this year! 

  • Get fit! This was on our list last year as I am guessing it was for many of you, but that doesn't mean every year you can't get better at getting fit. My goal is to eat more lean protein, while Carly is trying to become a morning person. Both are easier said than done, so if you have any tips send them our way! 
  • Making time to be creative just to be creative. Sometimes it is easier to binge watch a TV show than to sit down and sketch. Pushing ourselves to reach for the pencils/markers instead of the remote will be a tricky, but rewarding goal. 
  • Exploring new places, whether roughing it in the mountains or lying on a new beach, count us in. 
  • New, consistent relevant content for Mishaps and Mimosas. Sadly, Mishaps and Mimosas didn't necessarily take center stage throughout the year, but we are hoping to change that for the better in 2017.  We would love your help! Below is a super quick survey, we invite you to take so we can create content you care about!  

Thank you for all your support, we are excited to celebrate all the ups and downs with you in 2017! Bring on all the fun-filled adventures! 


-a & c. 

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Chicken Noodle Soup

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Hello 2017! It has been a rainy and cold first few days of the new year and what better way to spend a cold afternoon, than to make homemade chicken noodle soup. This recipe was given to me a few years ago from a friend and co-worker, and it has become a favorite meal during the fall and winter months. We had already made a batch a couple times this fall, but when I received a beautiful cherry red Le Creuset pot for Christmas I couldn't wait put it to use over the holiday break with homemade chicken noodle soup. You don't need a fancy pot for this recipe, but I do recommend a large one as this recipe makes enough for a few hot bowls of soup and a few individual frozen meals for late winter nights and soar throats. 

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Chicken Noodle Soup 


  • Whole Amish Chicken 

  • Low Sodium Chicken Broth 

  • 4-5 Celery Stalks 

  • 1 Sweet Onion 

  • 3-4 Whole Carrots

  • 1 Shallot

  • 2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme 

  • Salt & Pepper to taste 

  • 2 cups Egg Drop Noodles (found in international section of the grocery store) 


Peel and cut ends of celery, onion, carrots and shallot tossing the scraps into the pot. Add raw amish chicken, a few sprigs of thyme, salt and pepper and chicken broth to the pot. Fill the pot with broth and a bit of water - enough to cover most of the scraps and chicken. Bring to a rolling boil and let boil for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. (Sometimes if the chicken isn't completely covered, I may flip the chicken at the end and give an extra 10 minutes.) While it boils, dice the veggies. 

Remove the chicken and let cool. Drain the scraps from the broth, pouring the broth back into the pot. Tear the chicken apart and cut into bite size pieces (typically this is Tyler's job). Combine broth, veggies and chicken bringing to a boil again. Add egg drop noodles and boil for 10 minutes. 

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It may seem like a lot of work, but honestly it is a pretty simple recipe with just a few basic ingredients, and the finished product is much more rewarding than Campbell's Soup, promise. This probably isn't a late night work day recipe, but is perfect for a lazy weekend. We often find ourselves making it on a cold Sunday afternoon when we are lounging around or working on side projects. It really is the best thing when there is a blustery cold wind outside. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do! Do you have any favorite winter soups we should try?