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!

-a. 

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? 

-a. 

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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Above:

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. 

Below: 

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? 

-a. 

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! 

Cheers! 

-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 

Ingredients

  • 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) 

Directions

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? 

Enjoy!

-a. 

Benches & Stools

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So this may be a few days/weeks later than I wanted, but these past few weeks have been a bit hectic working and enjoying family. That doesn't mean I have forgotten, and have a nice little selection of benches and stools for these upcoming holidays. There are a variety of options from style, size and price - good luck choosing just one! 

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Benches 

  1. Sleek, leather bench without much fuss. It comes in my favorite army green leather, but has some beautiful leather options as well! 
  2. Simple and a bit more rustic, this wood bench would work great if you need a heavier, warmer piece. 
  3. The lattice on this piece may make it one of my favorites. The size, color make it the perfect piece for an entry way or at the end of the bed in a children's room. 
  4. A bit more classic than the others with wood legs and gray tufting, this bench would be beautiful at a dining table or in a master bedroom. 
  5. If storage is what you need, this is the perfect trunk/bench with its beautiful wood and brass clasp. This piece could work as a coffee table or in a guest room where you can store all your warm cozy blankets. 
  6. This basic black metal bench works great indoors or out. It may be a bit chilly for it now, but it could easily be used inside for the holidays and later moved outside when you need more seating on the porch. 
  7. If you are looking for a bit more elevated bench, this is the one, with its beautiful velvet and plush seating. 
  8. Going for a more a more organic look, this jute wrapped bench says natural elegance without question. It is also incredibly versatile and could work almost anywhere! 
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Stools 

  1. Who doesn't want a furry stool? I love the multi-colors of this one, and it seems perfect for these cold winter months. 

  2. This rattan stool would be great next to a cozy chair. Brings a bit of warmth with the wood and a bit more modern with the painted black. This piece is pretty inexpensive at $55, so if you want to play with the color and spray paint it, I say go for it! 

  3. The gold hairpin legs and deep blue/green cushion can only say sexy elegance. If you need a little bit of wow, this is the perfect piece

  4. A leather and brass stool may be the most versatile piece. In fact, I would recommend buying two and using them at the end of a bed or along an entry way. Really, you can't go wrong no matter what with this piece - classic, affordable and beautiful! 

  5. Too fun not to include - a plaid stool is perfect to set near the fireplace during these cold months that can have a pile of cozy blankets sitting on it or another spot for a family member while enjoying a hot beverage. Either way, this is a playful piece that can snuggle into any place. 

  6. More of a side-table than a stool, this piece works great for those small quarters where you need to squeeze in one more piece for drinks or a plant in the spring. 

  7. A bit more casual, this wood stool has a playful cushion with stripes that adds a bit of color to any room. Again, two of these stools would look great at the end of the bed and could be perfect for a little boy's room. 

  8. The second fur stool - a bit more fancy with gold legs, but still a great piece. A bit on the pricey side, two may be a bit too much, but this piece would be great at an entry or as a foot stool in the living room. 

  9. A leather pouf is the perfect piece to add to any family room in need of a bit more seating. When company is gone, add a tray and create a side table. Either way, a beautiful leather pouf will always add a level of cozy comfort to a room, especially this one! 


Hope there is something in this list that you can find useful. Personally, I can't decide which are my favorites but  the leather and metal stool, leather bench and wood trunk are probably in my top three! Keep in mind, round pieces work best in odd locations, and you can always put two squares/rectangles together to create a cohesive look. Check out these two posts here and here for some tips. Good luck adding a few to your homes for the holidays! 

-a.  

End of Bed Solutions

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With the holidays just around the corner, it is the perfect time to make a few tweaks around the house that don't necessarily take up a whole weekend, but make a big impact. The most recent change in our home has been the modification at the end of the guest bed. Years ago, just after college, I stumbled upon the hot pink velvet bench above and couldn't resist buying it. If I remember correctly, the bench cost $25, which should have been a sign to leave it, but I didn't and I have dragged it all over. At first glance the piece doesn't look too bad, but a piece of fur and basket can cover some serious sad spots. Either way, it was time for it to go. I knew I wanted to replace the bench with something new, but I wasn't quite sure what. So I began my hunt! 

 

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Above shows two different options that I considered - one piece with thin black metal legs or two smaller pieces with a touch of wood and brass. As you can see, the one piece was about $180 while the two smaller pieces from Target added up to be about the same at $160 for both pieces (again the price tags are left on for reference). I really liked the single piece, but the legs seemed a bit sad with the thick brass bed legs. There isn't much blackened metal in the room. The full-length mirror is the only piece, which seems to blend into the navy walls and may be painted a new color in the future. So, although I preferred the single piece, the two pieces together also worked nicely and connected all the finishes together.  

As the photos show above, having something at the end of the bed helps ground the bed a bit more, and can be rather useful too, especially in a guest room. Below are a few guidelines of things to think about when you put something at the end of the bed. 

  • Typically there isn't much room in a bedroom except for items you really need, so make the item at the end of the bed useful! In our master, I have a trunk full of shoes while in the guest bedroom, it is a bench for guests to set luggage or personal items on.  
  • Ideally, the piece/pieces should be 2/3 of the overall length of the bed. In other words, find a piece that sits within the bed frame giving it room to breath. 
  • These pieces are usually pretty versatile, so when buying it keep in mind the piece may be used elsewhere one day, possibly at an entrance, along a hallway, another bedroom or even seating at the dining table. 
  • In this particular instance, I didn't want too much pattern/color as the room is a dark navy and there are plaid drapes (not shown), so I wanted something more on the neutral side. If the rest of the room is neutral, this may be a great place to add color/texture. 
  • Adding a blanket or accessory to the piece is another way to add dimension or interest. It also works well for adding more color in the room occasionally. Just remember to keep it simple. 
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At the end of the day, I went with the two stools and returned the one piece bench. I am happy with the results, and excited to say both the guest and master bedroom are almost complete. Overall, my focus this year has mostly been in the bedrooms, so we are one step closer. We need a headboard for the master, possibly a new nightstand in the guest room, and maybe one day a couple of rugs, but nothing that is immediate. Keep in mind, small changes like this don't take much money or time, but can make a big impact. Just remember choose a space your family will get to see and appreciate! Come back next week for our bench round-up! 

Happy Fall! 

-a.