February Favorites

This is a new series that I’ll be sharing on the last day of each month, a collection of favorite things that I’ve been using in my everyday life that I hope you’ll love like I do. These can be beauty products, recipes, accessories, whatever. Just a chronicle of great things!

 

1/ Oregon Chai Sugar Free Chai Tea Latte Concentrate
I’m diabetic and have been missing chai lattes since my diagnosis almost three years ago. While grocery shopping last month I found this sugar-free concentrate that I’ve been using to make dirty chai lattes (coffee + chai) and get my fix.

2/ Makers of Wax Goods Wood Wick Bourbon Candle
Sometime last year I picked a smaller size of this candle at Marshall’s because I really loved the packaging, but I feel even harder for the scent itself. Since then I’ve been addicted and have this candle in three rooms of my house!

3/ Dr. Jart+ Water Drop Hydrating Moisturizer
My skin has been flipping out this winter – flakey and breaking out. I’ve had to amp up my skincare game in a big way and this moisturizer is my latest discovery. It’s so lightweight, is absorbed immediately, and makes my skin feel plump and nourished.

4/ Scentered Therapy Balms
Part of my bedtime routine, somewhere between feeding the cats and reading Twitter one last time, includes the Sleep Well balm. I just rub some on my wrists and breathe deeply in and out five times. During the day I rely on the Stress Less to help keep me focused.

5/ First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydra-Firm Sleeping Cream
I alternate between three different moisturizers depending on how my skin is behaving. This one is great to put on before going to sleep when I’ve had an especially stressful day and maybe haven’t eaten the best.

6/ Sephora Collection Lotus Face Mask
For Christmas my friend sent me a package full of different sheet masks and this one has made me a devotee. (You can actually get two uses out of sheet masks if you put them back in their package and make sure it’s tightly closed.)

7/ Herbivore Botanicals Jasmine Body Oil
Again with the dry skin. This body oil is super pure and smells heavenly, so much so that I skip the perfume on days I wear it.

8/ Fashionable Mini Tirhas Saddlebag
This bag was a Christmas gift from my stepdad that I’ve been carrying every day since. I’m a longtime fan of Fashionable and the quality of this piece is outstanding.

9/ NOW Rosemary Essential Oil
I’ve been adding this rosemary essential oil to my diffuser every afternoon before turning it on for an afternoon pick-me-up. It makes the entire first floor smell so fresh and clean.

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Printable Sensory Calendar

Monica Lee

A few weeks ago when I was in Palm Springs I attended a roundtable discussion led by my friend, Monica Lee. In it she talked about embracing your senses and using them to broaden the world around you, both for well-being and creative purposes. Lately I’ve found myself creating a bubble of health and positivity, and this idea of hers fit in seamlessly with the salt lamp and essential oil diffuser I’ve made room for in my daily life. Our senses are the way we experience the world, why not – literally – stop and smell the roses more often?

I asked Monica if I might share her idea with you, so we created a download that you can print and follow each day this March, it even includes a few thumbnails of her beautiful paintings. Each task is short and meant to be enjoyed while making you take notice of the things that might normally slide by.

 

 

Download the 31 Days of Senses calendar, then head over to Monica’s portfolio to see more of her feminine, romantic paintings and read about her outlook on art.

 

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Just Spices

 

The packaging for Just Spices is lovely on many levels. Each can is made of paperboard, an aluminum lining, and an extra membrane for freshness. Sunlight can affect the flavors of spices, but this packaging is 100% protected for optimal preservation of the USDA organic goods enclosed. And lastly, my favorite part – the portraits. Each one tells the story of local cooks who helped develop what’s inside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Everleigh Cocktails

 

The Everleigh is a well-known hot spot in Melbourne that specializes in Prohibition-era style cocktails. To take their well-crafted drinks beyond the bar they partnered with The Company You Keep to design some of the best looking packaging I’ve seen of late. Taking their main inspiration from vintage perfume bottles, TCYK added the minimal amount of type necessary. The four cocktails available – Martini, Old Fashioned, Manhattan, and Negroni – can be purchased in a gift box of four or individually. Now the question is, could you bring yourself to drink them?

 

 

 

 

via Trendland

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Master Bedroom Makeover Bits + Pieces

 

How happy am I with the makeover Quick•Step flooring and I worked on? So happy that I basically never want to leave my bedroom. I’ve never been a morning person and I now find myself waking up with a smile on my face. It’s utterly ridiculous and I’m completely head over heels for what I feel like is the first bedroom design that truly matches my aesthetic.

Here I’m spilling about how I pulled it off and the items I picked up to give the room a great refresh, and over on Quick•Step Style I’m sharing more about which flooring I chose for the RoomUP Challenge, as well as five tips for making your space feel bigger (trust me, they’re really good ones). Head over there then meet me back here… I’ll wait…

 

 

Okay, let’s start with those lamps. (Oh, if you need a refresh of what the master bedroom looked like before, here you go.) I loved the old lamps hard, but it was time for a change that blended more seamlessly with the rest of the room. This pair of Helene white ceramic table lamps* match the boho chic vibe I was going for. Their basketweave-patterned bases and linen shades add a nice touch of texture and the size isn’t too overwhelming for the Penelope nightstands.

 

 

 

 

When it comes to dresser mirrors I’m more of a leaner than a hanger. I finally upgraded the round vintage mirror that sadly cracked in half and that I sadly kept using for more than two years with a larger 36-inch one, the HUB Mirror. It’s rubber rim fits snuggly against my mid-century 6-drawer dresser‘s surface, leaving me unafraid of a crash in the middle of the night. You can’t beat the price of this piece either – it’s huge and quite a deal when compared to other large mirrors.

 

 

 

I’ve been on the lookout for a great floor mirror for years, and that’s not an exaggeration. The Payne antique gold full length floor mirror* got my number and called the next day. Its windowpane style has an art deco feel to it, and the gold calls out some of the other metallic accents in the room. I made space in my mini gallery wall for it, because it really does feel like a piece of art.

Speaking of art, my very good friend who is also a very talented artist – Jaime Derringer – made me four pieces of 4 x 4″ art for the revamped space. I have a few more things I’d like to do in this bedroom (new light fixture, different floor rug, adding a bench, etc) and framing these is at the top of the list. I love her abstract style and am thrilled to add these minis to my ever-growing collection of her work.

 

 

This piece, Stormy Drive, used to be a huge statement over my headboard. After relocating the bed to under the windows, I chose to lower the gigantic frame to be level with the door and let it own the entire wall. It’s so striking from this angle!

 

 

 

I’ve been toying with notion of painting this room the same pale pink as the accent wall in my office, and to ease into the idea I added this Mongolian pink fur pillow* to the mix on my bed. The texture is fantastic and I’m so much closer to pulling the trigger on that paint job.

There’s only about twenty feet between my house and the neighbors’. So when I first moved in I picked up some tension rods to get curtain up ASAP and, well, never replaced them. This trio of brass Cappa adjustable single curtain rods look at least one hundred times better. At least.

 

 

The vintage light fixture fit in much better once I removed the ornate decorative rims – dare I say it looks modern even? It ties the curtain rods, the fixtures on the dresser and nightstands, and the edging on the floor mirror together oh so nicely.

The last addition is the Murray modern mahogany platform bed*. I was honestly pretty nervous about mixing mahogany with the other two wood finishes in the room, but it fits in seamlessly and actually manages to set off the Quick•Step flooring. I love having such a low-profile bed more than I expected I would, it just helps the room feel that much more open and airy which was my number one goal in this project.

If you ignored me above, click over to Quick•Step Style to read more about the transformation and process, the amazing flooring, and five tips for making your space feel bigger. And then enter the RoomUP Sweepstakes for a chance to win up to 500 sq ft of Quick•Step flooring for your own project, as well as see other transformations from other RoomUP bloggers!

 

 

This post sponsored by Quick•Step. All words and opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush creating fresh content! Get more inspiration from Quick•Step on Facebook and Pinterest. You can also download their Style My Floor app to visualize their floors in your own home.  *product provided by Lamps Plus

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Cardamom 12 Ways

Cardamom is one of my favorite spices to bake with, I love the warmth and spice it exudes. But after doing some investigating it seems I’ve been selling my tastebuds short because you can use it in so many more ways than the oven. Here are twelve recipes I’d love to try featuring cardamom, including a few baked goods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on each image to go to the recipe.
All photos copyright of their respective sites unless otherwise noted.

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Wall to Wall Be Gone

 

If you asked what my biggest interior design pet peeve is it wouldn’t be ceiling fans, it would be wall to wall carpeting. I despise the stuff with the fire of a thousand suns, which of course means it’s covering the majority of the floor on the second level of my house. So when Quick•Step flooring reached out to me about participating in their RoomUp Blogger Challenge it was a no brainer to say (and not scream) yes!

 

 

Aside from flat-out not liking wall to wall carpeting, most rooms upstairs weren’t an issue. The guest room door stays closed, the bonus room stays relatively pet-free, the bathroom is tiled, and my small office was floored with the leftover laminate from downstairs. But the master bedroom is a different story altogether, because that’s where my two elderly cats spend most of their day and I’ll say no more about it than that. The carpeting either had to be replaced (no!) or new flooring put down.

 

 

I requested four different flooring samples from Quick•Step‘s extensive collection, and once they arrived let the pieces sit on the floor in my bedroom for a few days before making a final decision. Pop over to Quick•Step Style to read more about which option I went with and to see more transformations from other bloggers participating in the RoomUP Challenge! I’m looking forward to revealing my full bedroom makeover with you next, and you can see a little sneak peek below.

I truly love this product and would love for you to love it, too. So make sure to enter the RoomUP Sweepstakes for a chance to win up to 500 sq ft of Quick•Step flooring to transform a space of your own!

 

 

This post sponsored by Quick•Step. All words and opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush creating fresh content! Get more inspiration from Quick•Step on Facebook and Pinterest. You can also download their Style My Floor app to visualize their floors in your own home.

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Rumpl

 

These Rumpl blankets use the very same materials used in sleeping bags and puffy jackets, so you know they’re super light and mega warm. They’re comfortable, durable, and tested in harsh environments (that means when you curl up with yours on the couch it’s not going to fall apart) and give off an ever so slightly ’80s vibe that I love.

 

 

 

 

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Print, Write, Mail – 24 Printable #Resistance Postcards

What better day to fight back than President’s Day? (Trick question, every day.)

I haven’t talked politics here because I haven’t had the words. If you follow Design Crush on any social media platforms you likely have a very good idea of my beliefs and thoughts on the current administration, it’s just been easier to put my thoughts and emotions into 140 character bursts than a post. It’s taken me over three months to get to this point and even now I feel fragmented. I was with her, I was emotionally and mentally devastated, I was sick to my stomach. I marched, I called, I wrote letters. And I needed my first ever political post here to be proactive, not just all of the above angst.

Last weekend I had a germ of an idea and acted on it, thirty minutes later I had emailed a few dozen artist and designer friends asking for their help. I wanted to create a post – this post – full of inspiring art in postcard form that you could download for free, print out at home (or wherever), and mail to every political representative you want to get in touch with. I can’t thank these friends of mine enough for making time in their already busy schedules to stand up for their beliefs and contribute to a project that I hope will be spread far and wide.

Each download has two postcard fronts per letter-sized page, you can download the universal postcard back here. It goes without saying that these are for personal use only, each artist and designer retains the copyright to their work.

 

Lisa Congdondownload here

‘Persistent’ is part of a series of artworks that illustrator Lisa Congdon is making in response to the new administration and posting on her Instagram feed. She has been struck by the perseverance, not only of Rep. Elizabeth Warren, but also by other women – both women in power and regular women who are resisting the new administration with fervor. Lisa was inspired by the imagery of a renaissance warrior in armor, which was the inspiration for this piece. The woman holds both a weapon and a dove, representing both the struggle and the fight for peace and inclusion.

 

Amy Turn Sharpdownload here

It’s our government. We get to resist.

 

Chris Piascikdownload here

I’m always drawing, it’s my way of thinking and reacting to the things around me. These days I can’t help but react to the insanity of the Trump administration and the GOP working hand-in-hand with him. So many outrageous things are happening daily, these are my attempts at bringing a bit of clarity to a blur of chaos.

Download additional postcard designs by Chris here.

 

Courtney Khaildownload here

“Peace cannot be kept by force, it can only be achieved by understanding” (Albert Einstein)

I attended a magnet school for most of my childhood. The student body was comprised of all different races, economic backgrounds, and sexualities, but instead of dividing us, our differences were celebrated. We were encouraged to embrace our unique stories and share our experiences with one another in order to become more well rounded, compassionate, and informed individuals. It was our diversity that strengthened us. When I sat down to create this painting, I knew that’s what I wanted to show. That despite how different each bloom is, each one is beautiful, strong, and worthy of being part of the overall bouquet. There is a lot of division is our country right now and I feel that all stems from a lack of understanding (which then breeds fear and hatred). So let’s fix that – let’s talk.

 

Dane Horvathdownload here

All of us, especially politicians, forget the simple concept of treating others like you would want to be treated.

 

Emily McDowelldownload here

I designed this “snowflake” badge – which is also being turned into a pin as I type this! – as a response to all the folks who use it as an insult. First of all, snowflakes are beautiful, and second, when millions of snowflakes get together, you end up with an avalanche, or a blizzard, or a deadly snow tornado, so WATCH OUT, you regressive, hateful shit-gibbons. I love this on a postcard, because I picture it as part of an avalanche of mail overwhelming the White House daily.

 

Everyday Balloonsdownload here

Persist – continue firmly or obstinately in an opinion or a course of action in spite of difficulty, opposition, or failure. An important word to keep in mind as we rally together to resist and stand up for what we believe is right. While it’s not an easy road, we must persist to make our voices heard.

 

Amy Garbarkdownload here

I have been actively writing postcards to our elected officials for the last several weeks as a way to engage and speak up about policies and Executive Orders that I do not agree with and/or that I think are harmful, hateful, or detrimental to humans and our planet.

It’s been a serious challenge to connect with some of our lawmakers and representatives. As constituents, our voices should be important to the elected officials who are representing us, but in many cases, this is not the situation.

From disconnected phone lines, full voicemail boxes, turned away mail, and lack of town hall meetings; it’s been difficult to access some elected officials to even have the opportunity to share one’s voice. In some cases, the only available way to communicate has been via fax. And yes, it is 2017.

These postcard designs reflect a general sentiment of: Please listen up: the people have something to say and we want you to hear it.

 

Genevieve Barbee-Turnerdownload here

 

Jaime Derringerdownload here

I created this piece to represent the frustration and chaos of our political climate, but I am hopeful. #resist

 

Kate Missdownload here

My quote is taken from a speech Obama gave way back when he was campaigning before the 2008 election. It’s still so relevant, especially now that so many of us feel like we’ve lost an adult in charge and dart our eyes around for someone. It’s us, guys! I’m so proud of the resistance movement in our country and how we’re all holding people accountable and standing side by side. When I was in college in the early 2000s in Seattle I went to many anti-war protests, and my friend Steve used to whisper as we took a deep breath and stepped out into the streets of oncoming traffic: “safety in numbers, safety in numbers” and I whisper that to myself a lot lately.

 

Kelly Bealldownload here

Even when there are blockades in the road and insufferable people running the government, it’s our job as patriots to fight back. To stand up for what we believe in and what this country stands for. To persist.

 

Kimberly Hall for So + Sodownload here

We started doing these as merit badges for adults (there’s a small collection up online now) and as we started putting together ideas for more we stumbled upon Kate Greenaway’s book about the meanings of flowers. We just found so many that seemed like messages we want to share, and the nasturtium (for patriotism) was so perfect for the struggles so many of us are going through right now, it felt like a way to connect with others that are feeling the same way. We’re really excited to get to share it even sooner than it can be ready in its embroidered form!

 

Leslie Fandrichdownload here

Beastess does not mess around. She channels her steely lioness heart with a mighty headdress and a wild attitude. She will not be deterred and while she can be intimidating, she is also wise and loyal.

 

Melanie Biehledownload here

Abstract cityscapes are one of my favorite things to paint. I decided to create a city of red, white, and blue because while we’re different in lots of ways, we’re all Americans. I hope it reminds the recipients of this postcard that no matter how they personally feel about the message on the back, that it is being sent to them from a fellow American. WE’RE the people… all of us. And we deserve our voices to be heard.

 

Melissa Morris Ivonedownload here

I’ve been looking to the Statue of Liberty as an icon for this era. She’s a strong, confident woman who welcomes the persecuted into this country. She represents the greatest parts of America. The parts that seem ignored by the current administration. I know if she could, she’d pick up a sign and lead us all in an attempt to remind this country of what she stands for.

 

Natalie Souddownload here

Creating these was definitely cathartic! I’m a fan of super bold color, and it felt especially suiting to pair slap-you-in-the-face hues with the bold statements I wanted the cards to make. Couldn’t resist throwing in a little humor, because these days, we all need some!

Download additional postcard designs by Natalie here.

 

Old Sweet Songdownload here

I’ve had to stop looking at the news and at Facebook constantly because it is so overwhelming. This terrible thing is happening! Oh wait, here’s another terrible thing! And another! There’s just so much to be outraged about it’s hard to know where to start.

 

Rachael Arnold Sagerdownload here

The United States is SO fragmented right now. I believe there’s strength in that passion – it means we care about our nation, our communities, friends, and families… but if we are going to heal from this divisiveness, we must hold our government accountable for their actions regarding the population they insist to represent. We might be fractured, but we aren’t broken; and we aren’t going away.

 

Rebecca Rothfus Harrelldownload here

It’s funny, when you said resistance postcard I immediately went to the WW2 resistance posters that had the sun rays on them. I did that part and assumed I’d make a cloud in the front. I tore blue paper and grey paper to look like a cloud but nothing seemed right. Then I cut an angled piece of grey paper and I thought “AH! it’s an abstract cloud but also like a WALL”. I am trying my best to project positivity but feeling very weighed down by reality.

 

Ryan McManusdownload here

Based on something called “dazzle camouflage” that the navy used to confuse and disrupt targeting systems: “Unlike other forms of camouflage, the intention of dazzle is not to conceal but to make it difficult to estimate a target’s range, speed, and heading.” Seemed an apropos metaphor for the movement. Keep ‘em guessing!! The other intended goal was to stand out dramatically in piles and piles of US Gov’t correspondence. I thought it would help these little missives get noticed. Third constraint was keeping the design B&W so the printing could be cheap/ubiquitous (though I bet it would work best on glossy stock).

 

Strawberrylunadownload here

Good communication is always a positive. However, good communication is a two-way process. In this time of engaged citizenry and heightened awareness of the role our elected officials play in millions of Americans everyday lives, I find myself frustrated with the lack of open channels of communication to my elected officials. And I know I’m not alone. Don’t give up! Keep making those calls.

 

Worker Birddownload here

In the midst of this shock and awe campaign of “governing” I feel that RESIST is my go to word to keep up my own fight against EVERYTHING that is happening. It’s an umbrella term that covers not normalizing this administration and its actions, not accepting the racism and xenophobia that runs rampant, not accepting the avoidance and/or silence of our elected officials, and trying to hinder the forward march of fascism.

As I carved the art I pulled prints at various stages to track my progress and to see what was actually happening on the block. In the end I scanned a few of the proofs and then layered them to create the final digital piece.

 

Rebecca Atwooddownload here

The past few months have left me heartbroken. I’ve struggled to find the words to share because there is so much emotion.  I realize I am privileged to feel heartbroken like this for the first time.  I like to look for the silver lining–that hopefully this time will spark more change and more love.  To me, so much of this comes down to putting ourselves in the place of others and trying to see the world a bit differently. This year, more than ever, I want to spread more love. It’s hard to open yourself up. To consider others needs–even if it’s something as simple as opening the door for someone or smiling at them. To stop a gut reaction to snap when that response has nothing to do with the other person. Let’s all try and send out more love.

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DIY Plexiglass Painting

 

My infamously non-functioning fireplace felt like it needed a little pizzazz after the holiday decor came down last month. I’ve left a strand of battery-powered mercury lights up for the rest of winter and a dozen prayer candles in the firebox, but it didn’t feel like enough. So then I relocated a plant (that I brought all the way home as a carry-on from Palm Springs!) to the hearth and that helped a little bit more. But then whole time I knew what would really perk it up would be art.

 

 

Plexiglass is one of my favorite surfaces to paint on, a little unusual I know. But you can’t beat the way the paint effortlessly glides around the surface and I love the way it feels so light, whether placed on the floor or hung on the wall with a large bulldog clamp.

 

 

Supplies

plexiglass (this piece measures 16 x 20″)
craft paint
palette or paper plate
large round brush
• water jar

 

 

I flipped through a few of my Pinterest boards for inspiration, and settled on an asymmetrical design using three colors – pale pink, soft grey, and olive green. After peeling off the protective film all plexiglass should have, I began in the southwest corner with the pink and worked my way up and out, making curved swoops with my brush and leaving plenty of space in between. Sort of spastic motions really. After the pink dried I went back in with the grey and did the same, filling in about half of the gaps and when that dried I filled in the rest with the green.

 

 

As always with our DIY projects, this is just a loose idea of what you could do with these materials. I love creating abstract art because it helps me get my emotions out, but maybe you like landscapes or portraits. Go with it.

(If you missed January’s project, check it out here.)

 

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