Rethinking the Living Room

Minerva Wall Mirror // Harmony 2-Piece Chaise Sectional

It’s been a minute, well about three and a half years, since I did anything major to my living room. I’ve updated the floor rug and throw pillows and some other little things a few times, but nothing big. Lately I’ve been getting the itch to do an entire overhaul. Not that it’s in my budget at the moment, but it’s worth daydreaming over for a bit. The first piece I’d bring in would be this couch that I’ve had a crush on for years – I love how welcoming it looks. And a big round mirror over the mantel would make the room feel larger and add a nice focal point.

 

Chuck Log Holder // Aaron Aged Brass 3-Light Floor Lamp // Cast Tripod Side Table

My fireplace doesn’t work at the moment, but I still enjoy a stack of logs nearby and this holder could double as a magazine holder if I get bored. A sweet little side table could either be used for its intended purpose or a plant stand. Didn’t you know that I love pieces that are multifunctional? This brass floor lamp will add some cozy light to the room.

 

Ash Connections 5-Shelf Bookshelf // Laini Throw // Rattan Bowl Bullet Planter

I have a lot of books and love putting the on display, so a trio of these shelves should do the trick. (All lined up in a nice little row, of course.) Plants run rampant in my home, and one of these large bullet planters would hold a large palm nicely. A pretty blanket would bring in a simple pattern and some texture.

 

Stand Table Lamp // Victrola Gramophone Bluetooth Speaker // Warwick 3-Door Media Cabinet

If you haven’t noticed, lately I’m heavily drawn towards a mix of wood and metal in neutral tones. This little table lamp combines all three very nicely. An updated bluetooth gramophone ties together the old-meets-new aesthetic I tend to gravitate towards, and the media cabinet gives a place for all other electronics in the living room.

 

Motion Lines 3 Wall Art // Eden Cross Base Standing Planter // Hayes Leather Storage Basket

No room is complete without art on its walls, and I really like the simplicity of this piece. A pair of these standing planters would flank the fireplace nicely, don’t you think? And a decent sized basket works hard in any number of ways, including holding blankets and pillows.

 

Brass Tray Coffee Table // Vintage Distressed Rug

The edge on this coffee table is a unique feature that I really like, as are the thin brass legs. The navy blue in this large floor rug ties in perfectly with the hues in the rest of the room without being overwhelming.

 

Chelsea Double Sconce // Rose Quartz Coaster Set // Roar + Rabbit Chair

The third source of light would be ideally situated in the corner of the room, directly over the crook of the sectional – the best reading spot! A pair of chairs that make a statement in pale pink finish things up, while a set of quartz coasters check off a necessity. Here’s to dreaming!

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2018 Reader Survey

 

It’s that time of year! Each January I ask you what you like, what you love, and what you could do without here on Design Crush. Filling out the reader survey should take less than five minutes of your time and it helps me plan the future of the site so I can give you all more of what you’re coming here for. Thank you in advance!

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All About the Face

 

 

Sometime last January I started something that I should have tackled years before: a legitimate skincare routine. As a teen I used the old standbys containing plenty of benzoyl peroxide, and in my 20s I relied on face wash and Oil of Olay. Hardly a regiment that was prepping my face for the years to come or protecting it against the elements encountered on a daily basis. But with the uncertainties looming in 2017 (R.I.P.) I needed to feel control over something, and that something turned out to be my face. According this article in the New Yorker I wasn’t alone either, scores of you turned to skincare as a coping mechanism. My biggest takeaways? That just because your skin may feel oily you still need to moisturize and that serums are worth their weight in gold. Nearly twelve months in and I’m feeling much better about my complexion and continue to search out products to add to my routine. What are your go-tos?

 

1/ Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask  2/ Boscia MakeUp-BreakUp Cool Cleansing Oil  3/ One Love Organics Brand new Day Microderma Scrub + Masque  4/ Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate  5/ DR JART+ Water Fuse Ultimate Hydro Gel  6/ Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel  7/ Farmacy Honey Drop Lightweight Moisturizer  8/ First Aid Beauty Eye Duty Triple Remedy Overnight Balm  9/ Garnier SkinActive Moisture Bomb  10/ Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask

 

11/ Charlotte Tilbury Goddess Skin Clay Mask  12/ Herbivore Blue Tansy Resurfacing Clarity Mask  13/ Disco Kitten I Dew Care Mask  14/ ILIA Cucumber Water Stick  15/ Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil  16/ Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask  17/ Lapcos Clear Toner  18/ Lovely Day Hyaluron & Bloom Pink Clay Mask  19/ Malin + Goetz Acne Treatment Nighttime  20/ Herbivore Mini Facial Oil Set

 

21/ Milk Makeup x UO Charcoal Cleanser  22/ Herbivore Brighten Instant Glow Mask  23/ Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich  24/ Radha Beauty Rosehip Oil  25/ Simple Hydrating Cleansing Oil  26/ Rose Clay Facial Mask  27/ Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Facial Oil  28/ Tea Tree Anti-Imperfection Night Mask  29/ This Works Stress Check Face Oil  30/ Glossier The Super Pack

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Let There Be Porch Light

 

This is the story of a porch light fixture that was supposed to be an easy self-install last spring, but my 117-year-old house has something to say about that. Namely that the electrical needed revisited. No sooner had we removed the old fixture that it became abundantly clear that something was amiss – the grounding wire was charred and literally crumbled when touched and there were two black wires rather than one white and one black.

This is the end of any novice’s electrical work ability, and I’m not one to mess with anything that has the capability of burning down my house.

 

 

I had picked out a fairly low-profile three-light, energy-efficient, LED Vance outdoor fixture back on April 14th. April 14th. The heads swivel a little for light placement and I loved the modern-meets-traditional design of the piece.

 

 

Luckily an incredibly competent electrician was referred my way who was able to get the job done, as well as correct a few things that weren’t up to code. So maybe this was actually a blessing in disguise? Not burning a place down is always a good day in my book.

 

 

The LED lights are wonderfully bright and much improved over the old one-bulb fixture that had most likely been hanging up there for decades. And I not so secretly love how my little collection of decorative gourds are on display until all hours.

 

 

In fact, here are a few more gratuitous photos. I couldn’t resist adding geometric shapes with some paint pens to these two.

 

 

And I’d really like to turn that Hubbard squash into a crow’s face before October 31st rolls around next week.

 

 

I’ve also been wondering whether or not that butternut squash will last past next Tuesday so that I might cook with it? Only time will tell! Now let’s talk about how long it will take me to box in those scrollwork pillars…

This post sponsored by Lamps Plus. All words and opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that help Design Crush create fresh content!

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Hearty Molasses Beef Stew

 

Even though the weather is still (oddly) in the 70s, I’m so happy to shift back over to heartier recipes in the kitchen. More Sundays than not I get together with my mom and stepdad for dinner and this is one of my favorite dishes – a thick beef stew with the a touch of unexpected sweetness care of molasses and golden raisins.

Hearty Molasses Beef Stew
• 1/3 C all-purpose flour
• 2 tsp salt, divided
• 1 1/2 tsp black pepper, divided
• 2 lb beef roast, cut into 1-inch pieces
• 5 Tbsp oil, divided
• 1 medium onion, sliced
• 15 oz diced tomatoes, drained
• 1 C beef broth, plus more to keep moist
• 3 Tbsp molasses
• 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tsp dried thyme
• 1 tsp celery salt
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 bag frozen mixed vegetables
• 2 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
• 1/2 C golden raisins

Combine flour, 1 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp black pepper in a large bowl. Toss cut beef in flour mixture. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in large saucepan or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add half of beef and brown on all sides, remove from pan and repeat with 2 Tbsp oil and remaining beef. Remove beef and add remaining 1 Tbsp oil, add onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, broth, molasses, vinegar, garlic, thyme, celery salt, bay leaves, and remaining 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of black pepper. Bring to a boil, then add beef and boil for one additional minute. Transfer to crockpot, cover and cook on low for 5 hours or high for 2 1/2 hours. Add frozen vegetables, potatoes, and raisins and cook for an additional 1 to 2 hours, or until vegetables are tender. Remove bay leaves and enjoy! Serves 6 to 8.

 

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Accounting Confessions of a Businesswoman, Part 3

 

I’m filling your screen with pretty home photos because I finished my extended 2016 taxes two weeks ago and I’m still recovering. Putting myself – and my accountant – through that mess only served to support my decision to move on to a more informed process, making this third post about using FreshBooks very timely. Up until this point I think I’ve taken for granted everything that’s going on behind the scenes after I enter invoices, receipts, etc., but now I’m very much looking forward to handing over a completely organized file on time next April.

 

 

But before I get into a few more of my favorite FreshBooks features, I wanted to share a few things I do to get in the right mindset for conquering my arch-nemesis: numbers. Math has never been my strong suit, and even though FreshBooks takes care of the actual calculating for me, it still stresses me out and I want to be as focused as possible when starting.

• Make a cup of tea or coffee, the ritual will help calm your nerves.
• Put on comfortable clothes.
• Light your favorite candle or diffuse some essential oils.
• Turn off the TV and turn on some music, I like classical when I’m working.
• Grab and snack and make sure you go to the bathroom beforehand to avoid interruptions.
• Try to conquer things during your most productive hours – for me it’s early evening.

 

 

Okay, now we’re settled and ready to rock.

As I dive deeper into everything FreshBooks offers, I’ve been using the Projects function that’s a godsend when working with a team or collaborator on blog posts or freelance jobs. Basically, you can invite others in to manage and share information, files and, updates so that you’re all on the same page and no detail gets forgotten. Employees can access the full project, contractors can see steps and invoice you when everything is complete, and clients can share feedback and track progress. I love that it’s a centralized place for files too, no more digging through long chains of never-ending emails!

Projects features: simple project management, collaborate with employees, contractors, and clients, share images and files, centralize conversations, current project overview

 

 

 

As we roll into Q4 I’m also paying way more attention to Design Crush’s profitability for the year. FreshBook‘s dashboard makes it plain as day where things stand so I can take a look at where I can improve or what’s going exceptionally well. Reporting takes care of calculating profit and loss statements and the other small business financial reports that I’ll need come tax time without giving me a panic attack. The numbers are all in one place and my accountant can put the Advil back in the medicine cabinet.

Reports features: clear breakdown of spending, filtered custom reports, summary of outstanding revenue, profit and loss report, expense report, invoice details report, the ability to download reports to Excel

 

 

Our final FreshBooks post will be in January, when I’ll spill my guts about how this past year has really gone financially. If you have any questions about FreshBooks I’d love to try and help get answers for you from their award-winning rockstars in customer service. In the meantime, you can sign up for a free monthlong trial right here!

This post sponsored by FreshBooks. All words and opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush creating fresh content!

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A Book That Takes It’s Time

 

A Book That Takes Its Time is one I’ve been waiting to get my hands on since the start of the year when I first learned of its upcoming existence. Finally today, thanks to the team at Workman Publishing, I’m able to share it with you on its release date!

Flow is a magazine celebrating creativity, imperfection, and life’s little pleasures and this is its first companion book. It also embraces the physical qualities of paper – its weight, texture, the way it takes color – and the formats and ways in which it can be delivered. Articles in the magazine mingle with bound-in or fold-out posters, stickers, pre-printed thank you cards from noted illustrators, and other “goodies.” In short, Flow has created a magazine best enjoyed in print form and A Book That Takes Its Time follows closely in its successful footsteps.

 

 

A Book That Takes Its Time: An Unhurried Adventure in Creative Mindfulness (the full title) was penned by the co-founders and creative directors of Flow, Irene Smit and Astrid Van der Hulst. At it’s heart this tome is about doing, about experience, and about intention. It’s a book both about mindfulness and a book that literally inspires mindfulness while reminding readers to slow down, breathe deeply, and be present.

 

 

I don’t know about you, but I’m forever struggling to be more in tune with the now – maybe this year more than ever before. This book turned out to be a much needed balm, right from Chapter 1, that I can turn to when the days are especially trying or I just need a moment to regroup and regain focus. Make your way through its pages in order or skip around depending on what you need and when you need it.

 

 

Learn to appreciate and savor moments both large and small by punching out pages of decorative memory cards to fill out and save in a mason jar so you can revisit them when you need an emotional lift. Read about the benefits of clearing your mind and letting your hands lead the way, then use the provided images and words to create a personal collage. Snip, arrange, and paste them onto the fold-out blank canvas and see where your subconscious takes you.

 

 

Read about the advantages of slowing down, then put those lessons into practice with the removable Joy of One Thing at a Time Notebook. Tear out a postcard and snail mail it to a friend. Make a list to clear your mind and refocus.

 

 

There are lessons on how to shift your focus away from what you don’t have and focus on what you do have. On stepping back from your phone to take just one photo with a camera – and then let the gaps in an album tell the story. Even tips for breaking old habits that will get your wheels turning.

 

 

Not every page is an activity or lesson, some are simply filled with inspiring words that you may not have known you needed to read. Do you get it? It’s the kind of book that makes you take your time, one that you can’t just hurry through so like so many other things in life. It’s a book that makes you stop to savor, play with, and appreciate all the lovely and interesting detours that hands-on activities provide.

 

 

 

Readers will have the chance to learn hand-lettering, the basics of collaging, even how to meditate while running. There’s something for everyone, which is what I love most about this book that mixes reading, learning, and doing. It’s part creative therapy, part teacher, part self-help, part workshop.

 

 

 

 

 

This post sponsored by Workman Publishing. All words and opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Design Crush creating fresh content!

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