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Last week we got together for my mom’s birthday. I always look forward to celebrating her special day. My brother and his wife hosted dinner. I brought the cake. This year’s cake inspiration struck when I was reading one of my all-time favorite blogs, Posie Gets Cozy. The subtle simplicity, yet playful sparkle totally won me over. I knew I wanted to make this cake and my mom’s birthday would be the perfect occasion. I really enjoy making a cake from scratch. It’s so much more rewarding and the flavor and texture are incomparable. This cake involved whipping eggs whites into stiff peaks. That always makes me a little nervous until I’m actually folding them into the batter. Then it’s just pure joy. You can find the cake and frosting recipe here. I went with all buttercream because I needed to prepare the cake in advance. This is definitely a must try. Happy baking.

 

And Happy Birthday, Mom. I love you!

                    Last week we got together for my mom’s birthday. I always look forward to celebrating her special day. My brother and his wife hosted dinner. I brought the cake. This year’s cake inspiration struck when I was reading one of my all-time favorite blogs, Posie […]




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Last week I told you about my Jalapeño Cheddar Bread. I liked that recipe so much that I decided to put my own little twist on it. Nothing wrong with that, right? So I picked two my favorite ingredients, Gorgonzola and sun-dried tomatoes, and whipped up another batch of bread.

The process is pretty much the same as last week’s with the exception of changing around a few ingredients.


Let’s get going. First, grab the mixer and get the dough ready.

Once things are mixed up and the dough has risen, sprinkle the work surface with some of the sun-dried tomatoes.

Then, get the dough spread out. You can use a rolling pin, but I found it just as easy to spread it out with my fingers.

Sprinkle on the Gorgonzola.

Then top it off with the rest of the sun-dried tomatoes.

Again, roll that bad boy up and get it into a well-oiled bread pan.

Let it rise for another hour. Then it’s time to pop it into the oven.

Ding! Done!

Now, that is a slice of heaven. Bread, cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes – three of my favorite things in a single bite.

My swirl didn’t turn out quite as wondeful as last time because I ended up tucking a lot of excess dough underneath. I’m sure it would have been more prominent on the ends. Though I didn’t realize that until I started typing this, and the bread is already at my grandparents’ house. Oops! We will let them decide.

At any rate, not too shabby for my first original take on a recipe, right? The flavor combination is excellent, especially when served with a little balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Amazing!

Gorgonzola and Sun-Dried Tomato Bread (1 medium loaf)

Here’s what you’ll need:
3/4 water plus 3 tablespoons
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, diced
3 cups bread flour
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (one – 1/4 ounce packet)
Extra virgin olive oil for coating and brushing

Let’s get baking:
In a mixer bowl, combine yeast, 1 cup flour, salt, sugar, and cornmeal. Into dry ingredients, add 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons water heated to 120-130°F and oil. Mix the dry and wet ingredients, wrap with a plastic wrap, and let cool.

Attach a kneading hook to the mixer and add the egg while kneading on low. Gradually add the remaining 2 cups of flour and remaining 1/4 water and knead with dough hook 5-7 minutes until smooth and elastic.

Cover dough with a thin film of oil, place in a bowl, and cover bowl with a plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a warm place for approximately an hour.

Sprinkle about a teaspoon of the sun-dried tomato onto the work surface. Place dough ball on sun-dried tomato and punch down dough to remove air bubbles. Roll or pat into a 14 x 7 inch rectangle. Spread the Gorgonzola (save about a tablespoon for the top of the loaf) and the remainder of the sun-dried tomato on the dough.

Then, starting from the shorter side, roll up the dough tightly. Pinch edges to seal and tuck under.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Place rolled dough, seam down, into a 5x9x3″ greased loaf pan. Sprinkle top with the remaining Gorgonzola. Press the cheese gently into dough, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for approximately an hour or until it doubles in size.

Brush the top of the dough with oil and bake for 30-35 minutes. After 20 minutes into baking, turn the pan 180 degrees and cover with foil. Continue baking for another 10-15 minutes. Take out of the oven, remove from pan, and let your delicious bread cool on a baking rack.

Happy baking, everyone! What are your thoughts about my Gorgonzola and Sun-Dried Tomato Bread?

Last week I told you about my Jalapeño Cheddar Bread. I liked that recipe so much that I decided to put my own little twist on it. Nothing wrong with that, right? So I picked two my favorite ingredients, Gorgonzola and sun-dried tomatoes, and whipped up another batch of bread. The process is pretty much […]




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A few weeks ago my brother had a little party at his house. Even though I wasn’t asked to bring anything, I always follow the rule of “never arrive at someone’s home empty handed.” Earlier that week I had stumbled across a recipe for chocolate-coconut bars (I was later informed they were also known as Hello Dollies) and thought they would be perfect. I can’t say I ever really had these growing up, so while they are a popular dessert down South, they were totally new me. I’m so glad I gave them a try! They turned out to be quite delicious and pretty simple to put together. 
Hello Dollies

First, take out some aggression by smashing graham crackers into finely ground pieces in a plastic bag. (Full ingredient list and recipe below). Then mix in sugar, cocoa powder, and melted butter.

Pour the crust mixture into a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (Do as I say, not as I do. I’m clearly using a silicone mat in my pictures because I was completely out of parchment paper. It worked, but wasn’t ideal.)

 Then, bake the crust.

After the crust has cooled, top it with some yummy chocolate chips, pecans, sweetened condensed milk, and coconut. 

 

Then, place it back in the oven to melt and toast all of that goodness.

Once it’s cooled, remove it from the pan.

This step isn’t necessary, but I wanted to make my Hello Dollies extra decadent and beautiful so I simply melted about a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and added a chocolate drizzle to top things off.

And that’s it. Once everything is cool and firm, slice them up, stack them, and serve them.

 

I can see why these are a Southern favorite!  They are a “Michael favorite” now! I just love the combination of toasted coconut and chocolate! If you have yet to make these, stop what you are doing and get baking!

Here’s what you’ll need:

3 cups finely ground graham crackers (12 ounces)
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup pecan pieces
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed mik
1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

Optional:  1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (melted) for drizzling at the end

Let’s get baking:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly splash a 10-by-15″ rimmed baking sheet evenly with water, then line with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs, cocoa powder, sugar, and butter until combined. Press evenly onto bottom and up sides of prepared baking sheet. Bake, rotating halfway through, until firm (about 10 minutes). Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack and cool for about 20 minutes.

Sprinkle cooled crust evenly with pecans and chocolate. Pour condensed milk over the top, spreading to cover completely (Do not let it drip over the edges.). Sprinkle with coconut.

Bake until coconut is toasted, 10 to 15 minutes. Place on wire rack and let cool completely.

If desired, drizzle with melted chocolate. Allow to cool and harden.

Trim edges, if needed, and cut into equal-size bars.

Have you ever made Hello Dollies? How does your recipe compare to this one? Any special tips?

A few weeks ago my brother had a little party at his house. Even though I wasn’t asked to bring anything, I always follow the rule of “never arrive at someone’s home empty handed.” Earlier that week I had stumbled across a recipe for chocolate-coconut bars (I was later informed they were also known as […]




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Last week I did a four-day juice cleanse. I have been hearing about cleanses for a while and was especially interested after reading this blogger’s post. Not long after, a friend of mine mentioned that he really liked the cleanse from Ritual Wellness. All the work is done for you and the juices are delivered right to your door. This means there is no need to buy a juicer. Perfect.

With my cruise just around the corner, I thought it would be the perfect time to try a cleanse. In doing a cleanse, I also had a few goals in mind. First, I wanted to satisfy my curiosity and see what all the talk was about. Second, I wanted to refresh my system and learn how to listen to my body to see what it actually needs. Third, I was hoping a cleanse would help me take off a few extra pounds. 

I decided to try the Seasonal Reset Cleanse for four days. That meant for four days, I would only drink six juices each day, plus some water. No food. No coffee. No alcohol. 

Three of the juices were your basic green juice consisting of kale, romaine, spinach, celery, cucumber, green apple, and lemon. It tasted pretty much as you’d expect. It wasn’t my favorite of the juices, but it really wasn’t too bad. My second juice, part of the seasonal cleanse, was one of my favorites. It consisted of orange, cranberry, and red apple. Yum! The fourth drink of the day was a spicy lemonade. I liked this one as well. It was basically lemon, water, agave, and red pepper. The final drink was a protein-rich cashew drink made of cashews, water, cinnamon, nutmeg, agave and vanilla. It was a nice hearty treat for the end of the day.

Overall, I was really pleased with the process of the cleanse. It was wonderful working with Ritual Wellness. Not having to buy a juicer and make all of those drinks was great. The juices were delivered to my door in two separate shipments. Everything arrived in excellent condition and was super fresh. There even was a little reusable freezer bag in case I needed to transport the juice to and from work. Plus, the quality and flavor of the drinks were fabulous. I highly recommend them if you have the extra cash and want to make this an easy process for yourself. While it may seem a bit pricey, I would say it’s totally worth it. As an IBC reader you can also get a discount. The code is at the end of this post.

The cleanse did leave me feeling lighter and brighter, as weird as that may sound. I didn’t notice a huge difference in my energy levels or how well I slept. Though, my energy level is usually pretty high and I usually don’t sleep very well. I did end up losing those extra pounds over the course of the four days, but since then, I’ve put about one pound back on. 

Here are the top three things that I learned and gained from my cleanse:

1. I don’t need coffee as much as I think I do. It used to be the first thing I put into my body every morning. Usually, it was two to three cups. After going four days without coffee, I really don’t miss it. In fact, I actually didn’t have cup until four more days after I finished my cleanse and then, I only drank about half of it.

2. I’m not as hungry as I think I am. Only twice during the cleanse was I actually hungry. Other than that, I was perfectly fine. I noticed that I tend to eat a lot when I’m being lazy or procrastinating. After the cleanse, I’m doing a much better job of recognizing when my body is hungry as opposed to when my mind tells me it thinks I’m hungry.

3. Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables makes my skin and hair look and feel better. 

So that’s my cleanse in a nutshell. If you have questions, please let me know in the comments and I will try my best to answer them. You can also visit Ritual Wellness. Their site may provide answers to some of your questions; if not they have a fabulous team that can help. 

As I mentioned above, Ritual Wellness is offering a 20% discount to all Inspired by Charm readers. Just enter INSPIRED at check out. This code expires on March 10, 2013.

A big thanks to the awesome folks at Ritual Wellness for supplying me with my four day Seasonal Reset Cleanse at no cost in exchange for my review. Please note that the opinions, thoughts, and ideas listed in this post are my own. I really do love and recommend this product. 

Last week I did a four-day juice cleanse. I have been hearing about cleanses for a while and was especially interested after reading this blogger’s post. Not long after, a friend of mine mentioned that he really liked the cleanse from Ritual Wellness. All the work is done for you and the juices are delivered […]




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I’m pretty sure I’ve never shown you my front entryway. Why? Well, that’s because it’s always been a bit of an eye sore. What’s even more embarrassing is that it’s the entrance that everyone uses when visiting my little shop.



It’s a pretty tight space, so I apologize in advance for the weird camera angles. I tried to get the best shots I could. (I even stood on the porch in the snow for a few.) This space is also somewhat dark since my front door is mostly solid with only a small window at the top. A new front door has been on my wish list for quite some time, but that’s another story.



As I’m sure you can agree, this space needs to be enlivened with a splash of color! The walls are already painted a great neutral gray that I love. I just needed some really unique accessories.



So, I hopped in my car and headed to Target. They recently released their new home decor line, Threshold. It’s fabulous – budget-friendly, high style, bold colors, and tons of options.



Not surprisingly, I was greeted with aisle after aisle of really beautiful, high-quality products. I could have spent hours checking it all out. Talk about color! My mind immediately went to work on what I could use for my space. I thought about a couple possibilities, including those big rattan baskets, but ultimately I fell head over heals for this unique bench with its colorful woven top. It would be the perfect size, and since it was the last one on the shelf, I knew it was meant to be. I grabbed a few other coordinating accessories, loaded up my cart, checked out, and headed home. 


While the Threshold line has several different color stories and themes, they still work very nicely together. Whether your taste is simple and neutral or bold and eclectic, there’s a combination for you. 


Now, get ready, this is going to be a quick, yet beautiful makeover.


I started out with my bench. 



Perfect fit! 



After that I hung up my artwork



Remember, I put these together last week with just a couple pieces of fabric. (See the full tutorial here.) They look pretty paired up with the bench, right?



Then I added this great hammered tray, topped up with a pair of blue vases and an incredible yarn-wrapped gazelle bust. I think I love it the most.





A bright turquoise basket underneath for some magazine storage adds a pop of fun color. 



And that’s it! My new, colorful entryway! 




I’m so glad I decided on that little bench. I’m crazy about it. I’m also a big fan of all of the color I was able to incorporate. It’s now a fun and happy little entry. 



Remember where I started?


And now…




Totaling everything up, I spent just over $200 to give this tiny foyer some new life and color. 



Below are links for all the items I used to create this updated entryway. 


1. Beveled Mirrored Glass Frame // 2. Turquoise Wicker Basket  // 3. Silver Serving Tray  

 4. Woven Accent Bench // 5. Small Blue Glass Vase // 6. Medium Blue Glass Vase  // 7. Yarn Wrapped Gazelle



If you haven’t had a chance, swing by your local Target and check out the new Threshold line. They have some many great, classics pieces. Even by adding one or two fun accessories, you could completely change the look of your own entryway. 



Happy Decorating! What do you think of my updated space?



A big thanks to the awesome folks at Target for supplying me with these beautiful Threshold products at no cost in exchange for my review. Please note that the opinions, thoughts and ideas listed above are my own. I really do love and recommend these products. 

I’m pretty sure I’ve never shown you my front entryway. Why? Well, that’s because it’s always been a bit of an eye sore. What’s even more embarrassing is that it’s the entrance that everyone uses when visiting my little shop. It’s a pretty tight space, so I apologize in advance for the weird camera angles. […]




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After experimenting with two less conventional types of bread (stecca and flatbread), this week I wanted to make an actual LOAF of bread. During some quick research (and by quick, I mean a good half hour on Pinterest), I stumbled upon a recipe for Jalapeño Cheddar Bread from the blog Food Wanderings. Her bread looked divine. I had found a winner!  

Like most of the breads I’ve made thus far, this actually turned out to be a pretty simple process. I seriously don’t understand why I have feared yeast for so long.



After blending most of the ingredients in my stand mixer (full instructions below), I just sat back and watched the dough hook do its thing for several minutes.


Then, I set my dough in a warm spot to rise for an hour. (Yes, I’m still always completely shocked when it actually rises.)



Following the first rise, I chopped up some jalapeños.



After sprinkling my surface with a little flour and about a teaspoon of the jalapeños, I spread out my dough,


sprinkled on the cheese, the rest of the jalapeños, and then rolled the whole thing up! 



Next I let it rise for another hour and then it was time to bake. I told you this was easy.

About a half hour later, I was greeted by a bountiful loaf of cheese-filled bread. Talk about a slice of heaven. 



I’m not sure whether my jalapeños were on the mild side, but the bread didn’t have as much heat as I thought it would. This worked out well, because most of my family doesn’t like things super spicy. And check out that gorgeous swirl on the inside. You have to love that! I think it just makes things taste extra yummy.



Again, thanks to my baking bud over at Food Wanderings for making my first attempt at a loaf of bread a success! I actually have my own unique spin on this recipe I’m going to share with you next week. Stay tuned! 



………..…………….



Slightly adapted from Food Wanderings, Jalapeño Cheddar Bread


Jalapeño Cheddar Bread (1 medium loaf)

Here’s what you’ll need:


3/4 cup water plus 3 tablespoons

1/4 cup canola oil

1 egg


1 1/2 teaspoons salt


2 tablespoons sugar


1/2 cup yellow corn meal 


1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded


2 tablespoons diced jalapeño (1 large)


3 cups bread flour 


2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (one – 1/4 ounce packet)


Extra virgin olive oil for coating and brushing 


Let’s get baking:

In a mixer bowl, combine yeast, 1 cup flour, salt, sugar and cornmeal. Into dry ingredients, add 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons water heated to 120°-130° degrees F and oil. Mix the dry and wet ingredients, cover with plastic wrap, and let cool.

Attach the kneading hook attachment to the mixer. Then add the egg while kneading on low. Gradually add the remaining 2 cups of flour and the remaining 1/4 cup of water and knead with dough hook 5-7 minutes until smooth and elastic. 

Cover dough with a thin film of oil, place in a bowl, and cover bowl with a plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a warm place for approximately an hour. 

Sprinkle about a teaspoon of the jalapeño onto the work surface. Place dough ball on jalapeños and punch down dough to remove air bubbles. Roll or pat into a 14 x 7 inch rectangle. Spread the cheese (save about a tablespoon for the top of the loaf) and the remainder of the jalapeño on the dough. 

Then, starting from the shorter side, roll up the dough tightly. Pinch edges to seal and tuck under.




Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.




Place rolled dough, seam down, into a greased 5x9x3′ loaf pan. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese. Press the cheese gently into dough, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for approximately an hour or until it doubles in size.




Brush the top of the dough with oil and bake for 30-35 minutes. After 20 minutes into baking, turn the pan 180 degrees and cover with foil. Continue baking for another 10-15 minutes. Take out of the oven, remove from pan, and let your delicious bread cool on a baking rack. 



Happy baking, everyone! Do you think you’ll give this Jalapeño Cheddar Bread a try?


After experimenting with two less conventional types of bread (stecca and flatbread), this week I wanted to make an actual LOAF of bread. During some quick research (and by quick, I mean a good half hour on Pinterest), I stumbled upon a recipe for Jalapeño Cheddar Bread from the blog Food Wanderings. Her bread looked […]




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Unfortunately, not every weekend can be a magical one. I literally spent the last 48 hours in bed with probably one of the worst colds I’ve had since childhood. I guess it really is cold and flu season, and it was just my turn. At least Ina Garten was there to provide some comfort. With great expectations for this past weekend, it looks like I’m going to be playing major catch up this week. Isn’t getting behind the worst part of being sick?

Anyway, I’m finally feeling slightly better. Or at least I’m well enough to get out of bed and attempt to accomplish something. Let’s get this show on the road! 


How was your weekend? What did you do? Have you been hit by a cold or the flu this season?



Unfortunately, not every weekend can be a magical one. I literally spent the last 48 hours in bed with probably one of the worst colds I’ve had since childhood. I guess it really is cold and flu season, and it was just my turn. At least Ina Garten was there to provide some comfort. With […]




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I’m back with another exciting artist on Completely ObsessedI hope you guys are loving this series as much as I am. It is a thrill to discover these wonderfully talented artists. Today, I’m sharing the work of Susan Rodriguez. Susan has been working with clay for over 20 years and creates all of her pieces in her backyard studio in San Antonio, Texas. I was immediately drawn to her pottery because of her fabulous use of color and pattern. These pieces would add such a fun element to any table or even make beautiful wall art. The two-toned bowls and plates are some of my favorites. Susan is kindly offering IBC readers a 10% discount on the READY TO SHIP section of her shop, CeramicaBotanica. How sweet! Just enter coupon code: CHARM10 at check out. (Offer Expires February 21, 2013) Thanks, Susan.


Have a grand weekend! Which items from Susan’s shop are you completely obsessed with?

I’m back with another exciting artist on Completely Obsessed. I hope you guys are loving this series as much as I am. It is a thrill to discover these wonderfully talented artists. Today, I’m sharing the work of Susan Rodriguez. Susan has been working with clay for over 20 years and creates all of her pieces in her […]




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As I mentioned on Monday, I stopped at Target (The nearest Target is about 1.5 hours from me. Tragic, I know.) to check out their new Threshold line. I have a thing for frames and a thing for mirrors, so when I saw these mirror frames, I knew they had to go home with me. 


Aren’t they awesome?


I have a little front entryway which is actually part of my gift shoppe. It’s the door everyone uses.  I’m pretty sure I’ve never showed it to you because it’s always just been an empty (and kind of ugly) space. Well, it’s finally getting a mini-makeover, and these frames are going to be the crowning jewel. 


Anyway, on to the art for the frames. I told myself I wanted to create some super quick DIY artwork. Well, there isn’t anything much easier than framing a favorite piece of fabric, right? 



First, I found this striped fabric at IKEA this past summer. When I bought it, I had no idea how I was going to use it. I just knew I loved it. 




Okay, so this really doesn’t get any easier. Next, I disassembled each frame by taking the back off and removing the mat. 



Then, I placed the mat at different places on the fabric to determine the parts I wanted to show and how I wanted the pattern to appear. 


Although I liked them all, the vertical stripes were the winner for me. The next step was to cut out pieces of fabric that were about two inches larger than the mat opening. 



Using some painters tape (It’s just what I had on hand.), I taped the fabric to one of the pieces of paper that was included with the frame. (You know, the one with the awkward family photo.) 



If your frame didn’t come with a piece of paper, you could just tape the fabric to the back of the frame.


After that, I put the mat back on and reassembled everything. 



That’s it! Some easy, colorful, and modern art work. It literally took me less than ten minutes, and I’m loving the results. I’m so glad I decided to pick up a yard of that fabric.



Next week I’m going to style my entryway, get this artwork hung, and show you my other Threshold purchases. Stay tuned.



So what do you think? Will you be framing some of your favorite fabric?

As I mentioned on Monday, I stopped at Target (The nearest Target is about 1.5 hours from me. Tragic, I know.) to check out their new Threshold line. I have a thing for frames and a thing for mirrors, so when I saw these mirror frames, I knew they had to go home with me.  Aren’t they […]




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Well, I’ve delayed this long enough. Although this is probably bigger news for me, it has been a major factor in my life for the past few months and is something I need to share with you. I just feel telling you is necessary as I move forward with my life, career, and this blog. After much thought (I’m talkin’ like six months here, people), I have made the incredibly tough decision to close the doors of my little inn. As of January 1, 2013, I stopped taking guests in my house. What the what? Yeah, I know. As I said, I didn’t come to this decision quickly or easily, but after much soul searching, I decided this was the best and right thing to do. I’m going to try and be as brief as possible, but I feel I owe you an explanation. So, here goes. 

Living. It sounds romantic and wonderful to own a Bed and Breakfast, but it is life consuming. As much as I enjoyed running my inn, I really didn’t do much other than that. I forgot to live, or didn’t have time to live rather. There were months and months I went without a day off, without the phone ringing, etc. You get it, right? I could go on, but I’ll stop there.

Space. I needed my own space. Again, I love interacting with people and making new friends. I couldn’t imagine a career without some aspect of that interaction. As much as I loved that, after five years, the constant presence of people in my home took its toll on me. I mean, sometimes you just want to walk around in your pjs (or less) and leave a few dirty dishes in the sink. As some of you may have already guessed, I have already completely taken over the main house and made it my own. Remember how I created a living room. Well, spoiler alert, it’s all for me. Selfish as it sounds, I can’t tell you how happy I am about that. I will get some more pictures and explanations on the blog this week or next week as to how I am now using the space. I’ve been so excited to share this with you. 

Dreams. Ever since high school I have dreamed of owning a Bed and Breakfast. Thankfully, at the green young age of 25 I had the opportunity to buy one and I successfully ran it for almost five years. In my book, that’s pretty amazing. I’m not closing my doors because the business failed or didn’t prosper, I’m closing Old Charm B & B because I chose to. Did you ever dream of doing something, going to a particular place, or trying a certain food, and even though it was amazing, it wasn’t exactly what you thought it would be? Well that happens. Dreams aren’t always what you think they will be. Dreams change, and that’s okay.

Money. “Dude, if you are not running your little inn, how are you going to make a living?” I debated whether to address this question because how someone makes money or what someone chooses to do with money is really no one else’s business. At least that’s what my grandma says. To keep this explanation simple, this little blog (thanks to all of you!) is doing wonderfully. I’m also writing blog posts for some amazing companiesand my gift shoppe (inside my house) will remain open. In addition, I have a few other projects / opportunities that are on the down-low at the moment. So hopefully, that answers that question.

Future. Beyond my dream of owning a Bed and Breakfast, I have a lot of other things I want to do. I want to design products, write a book, and create, I want to see more of the world. Making this change allows me the chance to pursue some new and very exciting dreams. At this point, the world is my oyster. I’m open to new opportunities and challenges until that “one” comes along that fits. 

And yes, I know that over the years many of you have expressed interest in staying here, meeting me, and eating my pancakes. Don’t worry. For now, I’m staying right here. Maybe we can work something out. Plus, not being so tied down gives me the opportunity to come visit you, right? There are a lot of other details and things that go into this story, but I’ve shared the ones that affected my decision the most. If you have questions, you’re welcome to ask them in the comments, and I’ll do my best to answer them. 

Thank you so much for your continued support and love throughout these years. Without all of you, this move and change would not be possible. In fact, many of your emails, comments, and words of support helped make this decision a whole lot easier So again, thank you. 

Here’s to new and exciting adventures together! 

Well, I’ve delayed this long enough. Although this is probably bigger news for me, it has been a major factor in my life for the past few months and is something I need to share with you. I just feel telling you is necessary as I move forward with my life, career, and this blog. […]




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Shop – My friend Krista, her husband, and I sneaked away for a little shopping adventure this weekend. As I mentioned previously, we will be going on a cruise soon so we needed to stock up on some new clothes. Isn’t shopping for vacation the best? We did well given the fact that it is the dead of winter here and most stores don’t have their full spring and summer lines out yet.


Eat – We met up with another friend for dinner at a place called Buratory  (we were in Pittsburgh, PA by the way). After about a two-hour wait, we had a fabulous and fun meal. Burgatory specializes in burgers and shakes. I assume it’s similar to a Shake Shack , only a little more formal. We all made our own burgers and ate french fries with truffle oil and Gorgonzola. It was divine. (And yes, our cruise diets were temporally on hold.) 

Decorate – We also popped into Ikea for a hot minute. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, but it’s always nice to shop around. I did stumble upon this marvelous pillow that had to go home with me.


Plan –  I also was finally able to check out the new Threshold home line at Target. Talk about amazing. They have some great-looking pieces! I’m working on a decorating my neglected little entryway, so I’ll show you my purchases next week. 


Text Message Fashion Show Part 2 – Speaking of shopping, I also ordered a bunch of tanks from  American Apparel. I had never purchased from them before, but tried out this one, loved it, and ordered one in every color. Well, not every color, but you get the point. I guess when you find something you like you must have it in all the available options. This is totally normal, right?

Love – I mentioned last week I don’t really do Valentine’s Day. I guess that was a lie as I ended up doing a pretty fabulous Valentine’s Day round-up for Better Homes and Gardens and their food blog, Delish Dish. You can check  that out here. (Your comments are always welcome over there, too. Thank you!) 

Bake –  Also, speaking of Valentine’s Day, I was pretty impressed when I saw this Strawberries and Cream Cake (from Gimme Some Oven) covered in candy conversation hearts. I mean, it’s such a simple idea, but the result is just stunning. 


Listen – I must have music playing while I’m working throughout the day. Lately, I am crazy about this music player called 8tracks. You can listen online or there is an app available for your phone. I discovered it through the blog Happyolks a while back. They have ttwo mixes that I totally love.They are the perfect mellow, chill-out, get-down-to-work kind of songs. I really haven’t explored 8tracks a whole lot, but I will say I’m obsessed with these two mixes. Do you listen to any mixes on 8tracks? I was thinking about putting some mixes together, would you be interested?

Hope you had an amazing weekend! What interesting things did you do or find?

Shop – My friend Krista, her husband, and I sneaked away for a little shopping adventure this weekend. As I mentioned previously, we will be going on a cruise soon so we needed to stock up on some new clothes. Isn’t shopping for vacation the best? We did well given the fact that it is the […]




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More Lessons From:

Amy Poehler

Adele

More Lessons From: Amy Poehler Adele




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Today on Completely ObsessedI’m thrilled to show you the brilliantly bright work of Nicole Porter. Lately, I’ve been giddy about neon, so naturally Nicole’s work grabbed my attention. I’m pretty sure I need her entire bowl collection. I love setting the table for a dinner party with friends. I always like to include something fun and unexpected. Not only would these bowls be perfect, but Nicole’s napkin sets are fabulous, too! Nerd, geek, freak, dork – since when did these terms become endearments? I’m a fan! Nicole is kindly offering IBC readers a 20% discount to her entire Etsy shop. Amazing! Just enter coupon code: IDONICOLE at check out. (Expires March 15, 2013) Thanks, Nicole!

Have a fab weekend! Which items from Nicole Porter’s shop are you completely obsessed with?


Today on Completely Obsessed, I’m thrilled to show you the brilliantly bright work of Nicole Porter. Lately, I’ve been giddy about neon, so naturally Nicole’s work grabbed my attention. I’m pretty sure I need her entire bowl collection. I love setting the table for a dinner party with friends. I always like to include something fun and unexpected. […]




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clothespin chop sticks // edamame server // stacked teacup // block print runner

hitch peacock blue stool // hour glass // kent vase // cutback vase // oversized equator pendant

cirque vases // avec peacock apartment sofa // dino candleholder // ladder

stick around side chair // go-cart white desk // greyline table lamp // mint file cabinet // peg coat rack

striped orange throw // upcycled shaggy pillow // flask vases // la cage

As much as I appreciate a rusty, oversized, old chicken feeder. I also love bright colors, clean lines, and modern quirkiness. In my opinion, modern and rustic country are a match made in heaven! Nothing makes me happier than to include both in my decor. So when I’m looking for bold and interesting pieces, my heart always leads me to CB2 (Crate and Barrel’s more modern and hip brother [or sister, I haven’t quite determined that yet]). CB2’s catalog is one of my favorites to receive in the mail. After excitingly flipping through its pages, I always feel inspired. The newest CB2 catalog is no exception, so I decided to pick out my top five spreads and share them with you. This post is not sponsored by CB2. I just love their stuff. Though, if I had a dream company to work with, it would probably be them. Anyway, check them out.  I’d love to know what your favorite pieces are and how you mix modern elements into your space. 

clothespin chop sticks // edamame server // stacked teacup // block print runner hitch peacock blue stool // hour glass // kent vase // cutback vase // oversized equator pendant cirque vases // avec peacock apartment sofa // dino candleholder // ladder stick around side chair // go-cart white desk // greyline table lamp // mint file cabinet // peg coat rack striped […]




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Living in Central PA, I find this time of year most uninspiring when it comes to decorating my house. While I’m glad the clutter of the holidays is gone, I still like to have color and interesting details fill my home. 



Of course, it’s too early for spring. I also don’t really do Valentine’s Day and if I see another pinecone, I might scream. Thankfully, the other day inspiration struck when I was doing a little shopping at Walmart. Yes, I was somehow inspired by Walmart. Alert the design gods. Anywho, the store had just received a huge shipment of “exotic angel plants,” and I knew they’d add the perfect amount of freshness, life, and inspiration to my space. So, I loaded up my cart and off I went.

With my plants on hand, I was ready to break out another new treasure! This past November I was extremely fortunate to find this old chicken feeder on eBay. Normally, these suckers come with a hefty price tag. Luck was on my side, and I was able to pick up this guy for under $40 (with shipping). Talk about a steal. I actually never even opened the box until yesterday. It sat in my basement untouched for three months. Get it together, Michael! 






So, I simply put in my plants, added a few candlesticks, tucked in a little moss – and a centerpiece was born! I love how the plants are peeking out of the rusty galvanized screen. The candlesticks add a little sparkle and glam. It’s all the things I love.  





I have a terrible track record with these plants. (Though, I blame myself because I probably should not be buying something with “exotic” in its name.) But that doesn’t stop me from trying. Hopefully, I can keep them alive for at least a few months. At $2.50 each, it seemed worth the risk. 

While it’s not much, this little centerpiece definitely got my creative brain working. I’m excited to tackle a few other areas in my house in hopes of no longer being uninspired by this season. How do you decorate this time of year?  

Living in Central PA, I find this time of year most uninspiring when it comes to decorating my house. While I’m glad the clutter of the holidays is gone, I still like to have color and interesting details fill my home.  Of course, it’s too early for spring. I also don’t really do Valentine’s Day […]




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Everything Flatbread | Inspired by Charm

First of all, thank you so much for your A-Year-of-Yeast love in response to my first post in this series. I’m glad you are liking this idea. I’m already in bread heaven. I’ve found that there are very few things in life that taste as good as homemade bread, still warm from the oven. It’s truly magical. 

As I mentioned previously, to start this yeast adventure, I’m pulling inspiration from recipes that already exist. “Everything” Bagels are probably one of my favorite (with the exception of Panera’s Cinnamon Crunch Bagels), so when I stumbled across an “Everything” Flatbread recipe from Confections of a Foodie Bride, I knew this would be the perfect recipe to try. 

I must warn you, though, don’t eat this bread on a hot date or before an important meeting. The “everything” seasoning includes garlic and onion. As delicious as it may be, the smell and taste tend to linger. Full disclosure here, people. 

The process of making “Everything” Flatbread is pretty simple.

Mix the dough, let it rise. 

Quarter it, and let it rise again.

This recipe calls for a flour paste, which I assume is used to help “everything” stick to the dough. 

This concept was totally new to me, so it was fun to learn that little baker’s secret.

After letting the dough bake for about 15 minutes, I had warm and intensely flavored flatbread. I mean, it doesn’t get any easier than that. 

I’m not sure if it’s beginner’s luck, or if I’m just picking super easy recipes, but other than the time involved, making flatbread was a piece of cake. I highly recommend this recipe for a beginning baker.

Again, a big thanks to Confections of a Foodie Bride for bringing this awesomeness into my life.  

Slightly adapted recipe from Confections of a Foodie Bride,”Everything” Flatbread:

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the dough:

1 cup warm water
1 1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast (1/2 envelope)
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as necessary
1 teaspoon salt
Oil for greasing bowl and baking sheet
For the flour paste:
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup water
Cornmeal, for baking sheet

For the “everything” topping:
2 teaspoons dried minced garlic
2 teaspoons dried minced onion
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
2 teaspoons sesame seeds (I used a black and white mixture.)

Let’s get baking!

Add the water to the bowl of your mixer fitted with the hook attachment and sprinkle yeast over top, letting it proof for 5-10 minutes.

Add the flour and salt, and knead for 6 minutes until the dough is smooth and only slightly sticky. If most of the dough doesn’t form into a ball after about 2 minutes, add 2-4 tablespoons of flour.

Place in a lightly oiled bowl and let rise until doubled, about an hour.

Lightly grease a baking sheet and divide the dough into 4 pieces. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise for another hour.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and place a baking sheet or pizza stone into the oven.

In a small sauce pan over medium heat, heat the oil and whisk in the flour, sugar, and water until mostly smooth. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat to cool.

In a small bowl, stir together the ingredients for the “everything” topping.

Generously sprinkle cornmeal onto a sheet of parchment or a silicon mat (or something else to help you transfer the dough onto the heated pan in the oven).

Gently stretch a piece of dough into an oval, lifting the dough and adding additional cornmeal to prevent it from sticking.

Use your fingers to press lines or dimples into the dough. 

Then, spread flour paste over the top.

Sprinkle with a generous spoonful of “everything” topping and transfer the dough to the oven.

Repeat for the remaining dough (I formed and baked two flatbreads at a time.) Transfer dough to the pre-heated pan / stone in the oven.

Bake each for about 15 minutes, until golden brown.

Best enjoyed as fresh as possible.

Happy baking, everyone! Do you think you’ll give this “Everything” Flatbread a try?

First of all, thank you so much for your A-Year-of-Yeast love in response to my first post in this series. I’m glad you are liking this idea. I’m already in bread heaven. I’ve found that there are very few things in life that taste as good as homemade bread, still warm from the oven. It’s […]




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Gardening – Okay, gardening  might be stretching it, but I picked up some indoor plants this weekend at Walmart. It’s only the beginning of February and cabin fever has already set in. I’m doing whatever I can to freshen things up in the house. More on that project later. 


Drink – I busted out the big wine glasses on Saturday night and somehow found myself watching Bring It On. Surprisingly, it was kind of a perfect evening. Spirit fingers! 

Test Message Fashion Show – I mentioned this before, but a few friends and I will soon be heading on a cruise so we are building our cruise wardrobes. Since my BFF and I don’t live near one another, we are forced to have “Text Message Fashion Shows.” I highly recommend them. This was our most recent one. Too much fun!


Wear – Have you heard of Kiel James Patrick? I might be kind of obsessed. Basically, it’s a brand / man / company that makes these beautiful nautically inspired accessories. After falling madly for this particular one, I had to have one for my very own. Although the first size I ordered is a little tight (I’ve already sent for a replacement.), it’s true love! I have heard that the company will be releasing a new spring line any day now. Be on the look out! 


Cook – While it’s nowhere near by birthday, I stumbled across these Birthday Cake Pancakes from Pennies on a Platter and immediately starting craving birthday cake. What a smart and fun idea for a special birthday breakfast. (It’s my opinion that on your birthday you should eat as much cake as is humanly possible!)

Celebrate – How adorable are these gold painted animal candle holders from The Sweetest Occasion? So genius and weird, but it makes perfect sense. The fact that they are gold is even better because gold and I are BFF lately. I think I need these on my next birthday cake.

Decorate – Speaking of gold, you’ll have to check out my latest on BHG’s Style Spotters blog. I totally fell in love with this vignette from one of their latest photo shoots. I’m not sure what it is about this picture, but it hits all of my design sweet spots. The blue chair, the splash of green, and the asymmetrically hung gold mirror. It’s magic. Anyway, I did a little round up of gold mirrors here, if you’d like to check it out.


Bake – My brother had a Super Bowl party yesterday (How killer was Beyonce by the way?!), so I whipped up a batch of Chocolate Coconut Bars (a.k.a. Hello Dollies). I’ll be sharing the recipe soon.

Change – Well, Christmas is finally coming down in the Gift Shoppe. Yeah, I know it’s already February. I try and stretch Christmas out as long as possible with a big New Year Sale. I also don’t start getting new merchandise until February. It may be weird, but it works. So, with new merchandise on its way, it’s time to make spring happen – on the inside at least. 

ReadGretchen Ruben’s The Happiness Project has been on my “must-read” list for quite some time. I finally decided to break it open this weekend and I’m finding myself flying through it. Her advice is exactly what I need right now. I’m so glad I decided to dive in. Have you read it yet? Thoughts?


Hope you had a super weekend! What exciting things did you do or find?

This post first appeared on Inspired by Charm on 2/4/2013.


All text, photographs, and graphics were created by Lifestyle Blogger Michael Wurm, Jr. unless stated otherwise.

Gardening – Okay, gardening  might be stretching it, but I picked up some indoor plants this weekend at Walmart. It’s only the beginning of February and cabin fever has already set in. I’m doing whatever I can to freshen things up in the house. More on that project later.  Drink – I busted out the […]




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Lessons From: Adele

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More Lessons From:

Amy Poehler

This post first appeared on Inspired by Charm on 2/2/2013.


All text, photographs, and graphics were created by Lifestyle Blogger Michael Wurm, Jr. unless stated otherwise.

More Lessons From: Amy Poehler This post first appeared on Inspired by Charm on 2/2/2013.All text, photographs, and graphics were created by Lifestyle Blogger Michael Wurm, Jr. unless stated otherwise.




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