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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Eldvarm Fireplace Accessories

 

Lit your first fire of the season yet? These fireplace accessories by Eldvarm elevate the necessary accompanying objects through a collection of elegantly designed and crafted pieces. They’re made with untreated French Beech from sustainably managed forests in France, the powder coating is free of harmful substances, greased Swedish leather, and horse hair bristles. The result is modern with a traditional twist.

 

 

 

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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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Trending: Emerald Green

 

Emerald green has long been one of my favorite colors and I’m so happy to see it’s having a moment this autumn! I love how interiors and fashion often intersect like they are for this trend and can’t wait to take advantage and add a few pieces in this rich, deep hue to my home and closet.

 

Deep Green Brick Wallpaper Mural // Camryn Suede Bow Flats // Doris Emerald Aluminum Tumbler

 

Emerald and Copper Print // Emerald Cabochon Ring // Emerald Coast Shower Curtain

 

Green Agate Coasters // Malachite Wallpaper // Orion Emerald Green Ceramic Accent Lamp

 

Nine Stone-Filled Hoop Earrings // Obi Velvet Kimono // Too Faced Melted Matte Liquified Long Wear Lipstick in Wicked

 

Overdyed Naima Rug Swatch // Pleated Skirt // Skye Crushed Velvet Comforter

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Coffee Cake 15 Ways

To me autumn really harkens in the season of the coffee cake and indoor entertaining, and whether it’s Entenmann’s or from scratch I love a good one. Preferably with a near equal ratio of cake to crumbly topping, the kind that’s so messy you need to eat it over the sink or a napkin. These fifteen recipes look like solid contenders!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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Nose Candleholder

 

While still a concept, Quentin de Coster’s NOSE is a sculptural candleholder that’s quirky and functional. The protruding “nose” is what holds the taper in place, while also managing to look modern and abstract when not in use.

 

 

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44 Halloweeny Things

Apple Cider Crullers // Black Branch Wreath // Brown Butter Bourbon Caramel Apples // DIY Colorful Halloween Wreath

 

Death Eater Negroni Cocktail // DIY Boo Halloween Treat Bags // DIY Eames Print Pumpkins // DIY Modern Painted Pumpkins

 

DIY Gold Botanical Pattern Pumpkins // DIY Pastel Pumpkin Faces // DIY Witch Silhouette Decor // Skull Ring

 

Gilded Insect Cookies // Glass Orb with Brass Base // Sugar Skull Plates // Marie Coupe Smoke Grey Cocktail Glass

 

DIY Miniature Haunted Houses // Moon Garland // Palmistry Brooch // Red Velvet Skeleton Cake

 

Gold Skull Figurine // Spooky Black-and-White Russian Cocktails // The Eel Charmer Cocktail // Carved Wood Raven

 

Apple Spice + Bourbon Flip Cocktail // Dark Purple Edison Bulb String Lights // DIY Black Flower Halloween Wreath // Black Widow Berry Cocktail

 

DIY Concrete Pumpkins // DIY Monster Pinatas // DIY Jade Pumpkins // DIY Paper Bag Portrait Luminaries

 

DIY Sassy Trick or Treat Bags // Easy Pumpkin Bread Rolls // Eyeball Orbs // Gilded Skeleton Canister

 

Brushed Gold Skull Punch Bowl // Lantern Candle Holder // Melting Monster Halloween Punch (Non-Alcoholic) // Monster Eye-Scream Cookies

 

DIY Painted Party Pumpkins // Pomegranate + Blackberry Lemon Drop Cocktail // Sketched Skull Plates // Slow-Cooker Spiked Mulled Cider

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