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As most of you already know, in January of this year I closed my little inn and took over the entire house. Let me tell you, this has been a huge blessing. I’m loving it. During the past few months, I’ve been slowly making changes to take the house from little inn to my home. You’d think this would be a pretty simple process, but I’ve been really dragging my feet for some reason. Honestly, I think I’m suffering from a case of “I have so much I want to do, that I don’t know where to start, so I’ve barely started at all.” Does that make sense? I’m a little overwhelmed.

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Lately, living in a space that is in a state of transition is starting to drive me bananas. So, I’m now putting together a Master To-Do list. If you follow Young House Love, you know that they do something like this, and it seems to be really effective. Hopefully, such a list will provide a starting point for me to get some projects started. Then along the way, I get to share them all with you.

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One of the spaces that’s pretty high on my list is my bedroom. I’m not sure if I ever really mentioned this, but what used to be the Garden Suite in my old inn is nowmy bedroom. A few years ago this room got a mini-makeover including paint, curtains, a fun peg rail, and lots more. As much as I love it, I want to inject a few modern elements to make the space look and feel a little more like me. I don’t like to refer to a room as being masculine or feminine (Guys can like flowers and pink, too,), but this space needs less aprons and florals for my taste.

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Anyway, I was at Target the other day and picked up a few gold accessories and some frames in hopes of finding some inspiration to get my bedroom changed around.

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Gold and I have become BFFs lately, so I was instantly enamoured with this set of lanterns. I seriously want a set for almost every room in my house, but that’s obviously going a little overboard. I also had to have a couple brass animals. I ended up getting the rhino and the elephant. Love them!

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Another one of my favorite elements from the Threshold collection is their pillows. Remember the ones I got for my kitchen? Not only are they gorgeous, but the price is perfect. I brought home two of these yellow striped pillows for less than $20 each.

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I also want to start incorporating more artwork and photos into my home. Nothing makes a space more personal. So I picked up two frames. The selection of frames was amazing, but I was especially thrilled to find these distressed natural wood frames. Introducing a little natural wood element into a space adds a bit of texture and creates a really homey feel. (And yes, I realize these frames having nothing in them. Oops!)

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So, while I have a long way to go (stay tuned for my Master To-Do List), I’m making a little progress and feeling inspired. While I love the Internet, it’s still so very important to get out of the house and find some unique and original inspiration. Don’t you agree?

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Have you had a chance to shop the Threshold collection at Target? What pieces are your favorites?

Details for other items in this space: curtains, shaker peg rail, red leather chairs (similar)
Thrifted: cream dresser, turquoise metal table, aprons

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.

As most of you already know, in January of this year I closed my little inn and took over the entire house. Let me tell you, this has been a huge blessing. I’m loving it. During the past few months, I’ve been slowly making changes to take the house from little inn to my home. […]




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When I started this A Year of Yeast series, I knew that one of the things I wanted to tackle was pizza dough. In my opinion, being able to whip up a quick pizza is sort of an essential culinary skill. Although pizza sometimes gets a bad rap in the dietary department, I think there are ways to make a version that is both healthy and delicious.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough via Inspired by Charm #ayearofyeast

So today I want to share my new go-to recipe for Whole Wheat Pizza Dough. I found it earlier this week when I was looking for recipes on BHG.com. (I’m a contributor to their food blog, Delish Dish so every other week, I pick a recipe and recreate it with my own little twist).

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I was thrilled to see this recipe for Pizza Dippers. I love my pizza extra saucy! I was even more excited that the recipe included homemade pizza dough and the option to make the dough whole wheat. Perfection!

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First, let me tell you, making pizza dough from scratch is easy peasy. As with most yeast-based recipes, it does require a little planning, but it’s totally worth it. You could even whip up a batch of dough one evening and leave it in your refrigerator until the following night.

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The resulting dough is both soft and flavorful. I like my dough on the thinner side, so I rolled it out quite a bit. I also love how this recipe includes a little cut out for extra sauce. It’s such a unique way to serve pizza.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Adapted from BHG’s Pizza Dough

Here’s what you’ll need:
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ – 1 ¾ cups whole wheat flour
1 package active dry yeast
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup warm water (120 degrees F to 130 degrees F)
2 tablespoons olive oil

Let’s get baking:
In a large mixing bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, yeast, sugar, and salt; add the warm water and oil. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping the bowl as needed. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes.

Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the whole wheat flour as you can. Knead in remaining whole wheat flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6 to 8 minutes total).

Shape dough into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface. Cover and let rise in a warm place until the dough doubles in size (about 45 minutes).

Punch dough down.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Cover; let rest for 10 minutes.

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Pretty easy, right? So now that you know how to make the dough, click here to head on over to BHG’s Delish Dish to learn how to put together the rest of this recipe for Pizza Dippers! You won’t be disappointed. Not only are they delicious, but they are fun to eat, too!

Enjoy!

When I started this A Year of Yeast series, I knew that one of the things I wanted to tackle was pizza dough. In my opinion, being able to whip up a quick pizza is sort of an essential culinary skill. Although pizza sometimes gets a bad rap in the dietary department, I think there […]




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Modern touches with vintage accessories via Emily Henderson and Orlando Soria #FileThatUnderInspired

Modern touches with vintage accessories via Emily Henderson and Orlando Soria #FileThatUnderInspired

I’m a huge fan of Emily Henderson and Orlando Soria. Their design sense and respective blogs are fantastic. Based on reading their sites, I get the impression that they also are pretty close friends. Anyway, last week Orlando posted some pictures of his updated apartment on Emily’s blog. His place is pure genius. I wanted to repost every photo here, but I limited myself to the dining room. So, do yourself a favor and check out his entire space here.

While I pretty much love everything about this space, I’m most excited that the work was done on a budget many folks can afford. The dining table is a little bit of a splurge at $600, but most of the accessories are vintage, the shelves are from Ikea, and the chairs are from West Elm. I will also admit to being a bit obsessed with the light fixture and the gold pig bookends, not to mention that artwork. Amazing!

What do you think of this space? Love it or hate it? What details are your favorite?

Photos // Emily Henderson and Orlando Soria

 

I’m a huge fan of Emily Henderson and Orlando Soria. Their design sense and respective blogs are fantastic. Based on reading their sites, I get the impression that they also are pretty close friends. Anyway, last week Orlando posted some pictures of his updated apartment on Emily’s blog. His place is pure genius. I wanted […]




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WW16M

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Burn – For the last two weeks I have been craving a Mountain Pie. Specifically a Pizza Mountain Pie. I can’t tell you how excited I was to get a text from my brother telling me he had a fire and was making them. So delicious!

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Hang – My BFF, Krista was in town for the weekend. We always have a blast together. I can’t tell you how nice it is to have her around.

Plant – On Friday night my mom and I hit up one of my favorite greenhouses for a few more flowers. I think I finally have all I need. The past two nights we’ve had a hard frost, but I’m really hoping to get planting this week. I’m sick of moving the flowers inside every night.

Landscape – Speaking of plants, this weekend I picked up 18 boxwoods. I have two narrow strips of dirt on each side of the walk that leads up to my front door. Currently, I have daylilies planted there. I like them in the spring, but as the summer progresses they don’t look so great. Some of the leaves turn yellow or brown and they get a little out of control. I wanted something with a little more structure.

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Eat – When I’m not stuffing my face with Pizza Mountain Pies, I’m really trying to eat a little healthier. Which, admittedly, is a bit difficult when your refrigerator is full of cheese. I’ve gained about eight pounds since my cruise, so I’d like to shave off a few pounds. Anyway, last night I roasted up some veggies with just a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. It was the perfect dinner.

Celebrate – I was thrilled to see Inspired by Charm and my work with Threshold featured on Rue Daily! You can check it out here.

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Hatch – Momma’s babies hatched! I assume this happened while I was in New York last week, because they were already pretty big when I finally noticed them. They are growing up fast, so I’m guessing it won’t be long before they will be take flight and give me my porch back.

Hope you all had a fabulous holiday weekend. What fun new things did you do or find?

 

Burn – For the last two weeks I have been craving a Mountain Pie. Specifically a Pizza Mountain Pie. I can’t tell you how excited I was to get a text from my brother telling me he had a fire and was making them. So delicious! Hang – My BFF, Krista was in town for […]




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Lesson From: Tina Fey via Inspired by Charn

Lessons From: Tina Fey via Inspired by Charm Lessons From: Tina Fey via Inspired by Charm Lessons From: Tina Fey via Inspired by Charm Lessons From: Tina Fey via Inspired by Charm Lessons From: Tina Fey via Inspired by Charm

Lessons From: Amy PoehlerAdeleZooey DeschanelOprahJimmy BuffetAmy Poehler (Part 2)RuPaulTina Fey

Hope you are having a fab weekend friends!

Lessons From: Amy Poehler, Adele, Zooey Deschanel, Oprah, Jimmy Buffet, Amy Poehler (Part 2), RuPaul, Tina Fey Hope you are having a fab weekend friends!




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Cedar Point | Inspired by Charm

After my trip to NYC on Sunday, I traveled four hours to Sandusky, Ohio with my family to go to one of my favorite places, Cedar Point.

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In case you’ve never heard of Cedar Point, it is probably one of the best amusement parks in the country (in my opinion, at least). When I was growing up, my family we would take a vacation every summer. These getaways typically involved an amusement park since we’re sort of roller coaster junkies. After my brothers and I finished school and started our careers, the annual family vacations stopped. Life just got too busy, I guess. Thankfully, over the past couple years we’ve resurrected this wonderful tradition.

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Although things are bound to change some over the years, there’s nothing better than returning to a place you loved as a child. Memories come flooding back with each step. Familiar sights, scents, and sounds make it seem like no time has passed. It’s kind of magical. I’d give anything to go back to one of those family vacations or my youth. Clearly, I know that’s impossible, so returning as an adult is certainly the next best thing. It’s also amazing to have technology at my finger tips. While I avoided work as much as possible, I loved snapping and sharing pictures of all the coasters. Even if you don’t ride them, aren’t they beautiful?

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Just for fun, here are a few numbers for you. We spent 17 hours in the park over 2 days. We road all 14 roller coasters and the 3 thrill rides (some multiple times) for a total of 26 rides. We went 120 miles per hour and were 427 feet in the air. Yeah, it was pretty amazing. And for those of you who are familiar with the park, my favorite coasters are Millennium Force, Top Thrill Dragster, and The Maverick.

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So, I’m curious, how many of you like riding roller coasters? Have you ever been to Cedar Point?

After my trip to NYC on Sunday, I traveled four hours to Sandusky, Ohio with my family to go to one of my favorite places, Cedar Point. In case you’ve never heard of Cedar Point, it is probably one of the best amusement parks in the country (in my opinion, at least). When I was […]




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As I mentioned yesterday, this past weekend I traveled to New York for an amazing project with my friends at Better Home and Gardens. On June 6 Meredith (the company behind some of our favorite magazines such as Traditional Home, Everyday with Rachael Ray, and BHG) will join with Rebuilding Together to rebuild homes on Gerritsen Beach, one of the many NYC communities hit hard by Hurricane Sandy this past October. Meredith is sponsoring the transformation of two community locations and three private homes

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All of us who are involved in this important effort had the opportunity to visit three of the homes that will be repaired and rebuilt. I can’t even begin to describe the devastation that these folks endured. They lost not only the entire first floor (or more) of their homes but all the cherished memories that those spaces held.

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The story that touched me the most was of a woman who lost custom cabinetry built by her late father. All that was salvageable was a small section of ceiling he had built. My heart went out to her. While some work has already begun, on June 6, I will head back to NYC for the actual build day. At that time I will join hundreds of people from Rebuilding Together, Meredith, and Lowes to install appliances, put in cabinets, paint, landscape, and so much more. One home will be specifically worked on by the Better Homes and Gardens team. The folks at Crate and Barrel have generously offered to furnish the home. How awesome is that? At the end of the day, these folks will finally be able to return to a normal life in a home that is both safe and beautiful

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Two community locations are also included in the rebuild. The first is Kiddie Beach, a small beach area where families gather during the summer months. After the wrath of Sandy, homeowners feared this area would not reopen this season. The Vollies Memorial Hall will also see some improvements. This space is used to train the Community Emergency Response Team. Supplies are stored here in time of disaster and emergency. Even at-risk youth are trained at this hall to develop first responder skills and a sense of purpose in the community.

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While this visit left me feeling deeply saddened about the loss that folks experienced,I was inspired by their courage to move forward. I’m not sure how I would find the strength after losing so much. I can’t tell you how excited I am to return in June to be a small piece of a very large puzzle and to help get these people back in their homes. I’m honored and humbled that BHG has invited me to participate and give back to a community that is so deserving.

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For more information about this project and ways you can help, visit WeRebuild.com (this site will be live on Friday, May 24).

 

As I mentioned yesterday, this past weekend I traveled to New York for an amazing project with my friends at Better Home and Gardens. On June 6 Meredith (the company behind some of our favorite magazines such as Traditional Home, Everyday with Rachael Ray, and BHG) will join with Rebuilding Together to rebuild homes on […]




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WW15M

Yeah, so apparently I’m a few days behind here. Sorry about that. I have been traveling for almost a week and, ss wonderful as my trips have been (minus a few hiccups), it’s been challenging to keep up with my IBC posts. It’s great to be home again even though I’m not feeling very settled yet. One step at a time I suppose. Stay with me here as I attempt to catch up.

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Fly – Last Thursday I flew back to New York City for a wonderful event with my friends at Better Home and Gardens. Meredith (the company behind some of our favorite magazines like Traditional Home, Everyday with Rachael Ray, BHG, and many more) has teamed up with Rebuilding Together to help some folks who were affected by Hurricane Sandy this past fall. I’ve been asked by BHG to be their representing blogger. The purpose of this particular trip was to see the scope of the project and meet the residents we will be helping. I am so proud to be a part of this effort and will be sharing a recap in the next few days.

Explore – Before and after my time with BHG, I did have a chance to explore and shop in the city. I was able to hit up some of my favorite places and I did a lot of window shopping. I just love walking around the city. It’s my preferred way to get from place to place. I usually have no idea where I am in regards to well-known landmarks, so I’m always pleasantly surprised when I stumble upon places like Rockefeller Center or spy the Chrysler Building. I think that’s one of the reasons I love this city so much.

Stroll – The weather was gorgeous during my visit. It was almost magical seeing the lawns in the park full of people enjoying the spring weather. It provided a little retreat amongst the hustle and bustle of the big city.

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Wear – During my stroll around the city, I got to use my fabulous new bag. I’ve been on the hunt for a new tote for months and finally found this one from Wantful. I’m totally obsessed.

Eat – Being in Central Park, I knew that Levain Bakery was nearby. On my last visit to the city, Jamielyn of I Heart Naptime told me about this bakery where you can get these amazing chocolate chip cookies. She wasn’t kidding. It was probably one of, if not the best, chocolate chip cookie I have ever eaten. The cookies are even served warmed. Amazing! If you are in the city, it is a must. I can seriously still taste it.

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Craft – During my window shopping, I stumbled upon this book called Everything Oz. I have a tiny obsession with anything related to the Wizard of Oz, so I was thrilled to discover this book. It has over 50 projects to make or bake and they are all themed around Oz. So fantastic, right!?

Cook – I also stopped at Barnes & Noble to pick up a book. While I was there, I spotted a few cookbooks I wanted to check out. (Even though I clearly do not need another.) Heather Christina’s Generous Table and Smoke & Pickle from Edward Lee look amazing. Are either of these residing on any of your shelves? I’d love to know what you think.

So that’s a short recap of my trip. How was your weekend? Any fun or exciting new experiences?

Yeah, so apparently I’m a few days behind here. Sorry about that. I have been traveling for almost a week and, ss wonderful as my trips have been (minus a few hiccups), it’s been challenging to keep up with my IBC posts. It’s great to be home again even though I’m not feeling very settled […]




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Other than a Cupcake Tasting Party, a Cheese Tasting Party just may be one of my most favorite things. Having a tasting party is a fun way to experiment with new foods and flavors. Whether it’s for a special occasion or just a night in with the girls (or guys), a tasting party can be both fun and educational. Plus, since you can prepare most things in advance, it’s an incredibly stress-free way to host a party. It just takes a little planning. I’m here to help with that! 

Today I wanted to share six easy steps for hosting a fabulous and fun Cheese Tasting Party.

Let’s get started!

Step One: Buy Some Cheese

 
 
First things first – you’re going to need some cheese. Plan on serving 4 to 6 ounces of cheese per guest. Unless you know that your friends really like to eat. I mean, can you ever have too much cheese? I also suggest having 5 or 6 different varieties. I’d recommend Extra Sharp Cheddar from Cracker Barrel as a great cheese to anchor your board. It’s delicious and reasonably priced. Buy cheeses that you love and don’t be afraid to experiment with a few new varieties as well. A cheese tasting party is the perfect occasion to do this.
Tip: Cracker Barrel’s signature square shaped cheese is designed to perfectly fit a cracker.

Step Two: Set up the Party


Presentation is important, right? Search your house for fun surfaces on which to display the cheese and your other fixins! Cheese is at its tastiest at room temperature so bring your cheese out of the fridge at least an hour before the tasting. Big chunks of cheese look best and retain their freshness. Cutting off a few slices encourages your guests to start tasting.

 Tip: I’m a big fan of using neutrals when it comes to displaying food. White platters, slate boards, wood cutting boards, and marble pastry slabs are a few surfaces that really let the food shine!

Step Three: Share your Knowledge

 

Cheese is obviously delicious on its own, but it’s even better when paired with a great cracker or fresh fruit. Offer your guests a variety of accompaniments to pair with the cheese. Suggest some possible flavor combinations, but encourage your guests to come up with their own pairings, too! 

 Tip: Not sure what to serve with your cheese? Don’t worry! Some of my favorite accompaniments are olives, any fresh fruit or berries, sliced Italian meats, balsamic glaze, nuts, honey, jam and chocolate!

Step Four: Teach How to Properly Taste

 
 
Yes, there is a proper way to taste cheese and Cracker Barrel has perfected it – sniff, size it up, slice, smoosh, and savor! Use the guide below to impress your friends with your mad skills! Print out a few copies for the party as an easy reference for your guests. 

 Tip: Provide paper and a pen so guests can note their favorite cheese and which flavor pairings they like best.

  

Step Five: Serve up some Drinks





 
Wine is an obvious choice for pairing with cheese. To keep things simple, I suggest having one white and one red for your guests to choose from. For the white, try something light and crisp like a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. For the red, you can never go wrong with a Pinot Noir. Be sure to also have water and soda available for those who don’t imbibe.
 

Tip: Buying wine can be expensive. If your guests ask about bringing something to the party, encourage them to bring a bottle of their favorite wine! Not only will your guests get to taste cheese, they’ll also discover some new wines.

Step Six: Relax and Enjoy

 
Finally, enjoy yourself. Formal tasting parties can be a drag. Encourage your guests to relax! Keep things fun and causal by turning up your favorite tunes. Urge your guests to taste, taste, taste and share their favorite cheese and flavor combinations. Remember, it’s a party! Have a great time!

 Tip: Ask your guests to send you a list of their favorite songs. Make a playlist specific to your party so each guest can enjoy some of their top tunes! This is a great way for everyone to learn about new artists!


 That’s it! My six steps for an unforgettable Cheese Tasting Party! Have you ever hosted a cheese tasting party? What additional advice or tips do you have?


 

Other than a Cupcake Tasting Party, a Cheese Tasting Party just may be one of my most favorite things. Having a tasting party is a fun way to experiment with new foods and flavors. Whether it’s for a special occasion or just a night in with the girls (or guys), a tasting party can be […]




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The Perfect Cosmo via Inspired by Charm #DrinkandLinks

It’s Friday and time for another round of Drinks and Links! I’m actually hanging out in New York City today. My friends at BHG invited me to team with them and Rebuilding Together to help folks who were affected by Hurricane Sandy this past October.

This particular trip was a site visit to see the area and meet a couple of the homeowners. We will be back in June for the rebuild. It’s such an important cause. I’ll share a bit more next week when I’m back home.

But since it’s Friday, I think a drink is in order! Today I’m mixing up what I like to call “The Perfect Cosmo.” Many cosmos claim to be perfect, and I’m sure a lot of them are, but this one is perfect for me.

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I love a good cosmo, but it’s rare for me to order one out, especially around my little town, because I’m nervous about what I’m going to get. Will it be too strong? Will it be too sweet? Will there be sugar around the rim? (This is a bad thing by the way; never rim a martini glass with sugar for a cosmo.)

The Perfect Cosmo via Inspired by Charm #DrinkandLinks

So when I have cosmos, I’m usually making them at home. What I’ve found over the years, and this applies to any martini, is that you must use very good ingredients. Since most martinis are pretty much straight alcohol, this is not the time for cheap vodka. Pay a couple extra bucks for the good stuff. Cointreau, versus an off-brand triple sec (an orange-flavored liqueur) also makes a big difference.

The Perfect Cosmo via Inspired by Charm #DrinkandLinks

I don’t want to sound like a snob, but I think when any recipe is comprised of just a few ingredients, you should use the best ingredients possible. A lesson I learned from Ina Garten actually.

The Perfect Cosmo via Inspired by Charm #DrinkandLinks

All right, let’s get this drink in our shakers!

The Perfect Cosmo via Inspired by Charm #DrinkandLinks

The Perfect Cosmo

Here’s what you’ll need (for one cocktail):

1½ oz citrus vodka
¾ oz Cointreau
¾ oz cranberry juice
½  oz fresh lime juice
Lime cut into wedges
Add the vodka, Cointreau, cranberry juice, and lime juice to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously. Pour into a martini glass and garnish with a lime wedge.

The Perfect Cosmo via Inspired by Charm #DrinkandLinks

Delicious, right? I told you! All right, drink in hand, let’s take a look at some fun links from the past two weeks.

The Perfect Cosmo via Inspired by Charm #DrinkandLinks

The Perfect Cosmo via Inspired by Charm #DrinkandLinks

Cheer to these Awesome People:

I wish I made time to read more than I do. If you are an avid reader, you may want to check out this list of the “65 Books You Need to Read in Your 20s

Speaking of drinks, these Pear Vanilla Sparklers from ShutterBean (alcohol optional) look delicious! I can’t wait to give them a try.

A Beautiful Mess launched their iPhone app! I’ve downloaded it, but haven’t had a chance to play around with it yet. It looks so cute! Have you? Are you loving it?

So many new and wonderful albums came out this past week. I love new music. I’m especially loving the latest from Pistol Annies and their current single, “Hush Hush.

 My Writing, Elsewhere:

Over at BHG’s Delish Dish, I made some fabulous Pink Lemonade Cupcakes. Not only are they delicious, but they are as cute as a button!

Yes, hot pink and red can work very nicely together when it comes to home décor.

You know I love color. On Style Spotters I’m exploring my love of lime green in my latest Pin it. Get it!

I created a fun shopping guide based on my winning dream Buick Encore design. Check out how you can add color and luxury to your space!

The Perfect Cosmo via Inspired by Charm #DrinkandLinks

Have a fabulous weekend everyone! Can you handle one more photo? It’s probably my favorite.

The Perfect Cosmo via Inspired by Charm #DrinkandLinks

Sebastian photo bomb!

Cheers!

It’s Friday and time for another round of Drinks and Links! I’m actually hanging out in New York City today. My friends at BHG invited me to team with them and Rebuilding Together to help folks who were affected by Hurricane Sandy this past October. This particular trip was a site visit to see the […]




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Well folks, after talking about it for months and months, the new Inspired by Charm is here! I can’t tell you how excited I am to share it with all of you. Isn’t it gorgeous!?

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The fabulous Bethany of B*Spoke Studio is the genius behind the look and feel of the site. Josh Leuze is the technical guru who made it all work.I seriously could not be happier. I will be forever grateful for their expertise.
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Make yourself comfortable and feel free to poke around. I did make the switch from Blogger to WordPress, so there is going to be some “weirdness” until I have a chance go through all 800+ posts to make sure things are formatted and working correctly. As I do this, you’ll notice the Recipe and Design pages slowly start to fill. So exciting!

All the recipe-related posts will now have an actual (printable) recipe built in to the end of the post. How great is that!? I’m also going to create House Tour posts so you can see my house in one easy location. I know that some of you have been asking for that.

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As you are clicking around, you may also notice that I have a new site as well. With the new blog, I launched michaelwurmjr.com. This is just a little space where you can learn a bit more about me and my work.

So take some time, explore, and have fun!

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Even though I’m running on three hours of sleep after a restless night struggling with Google, servers, and things I never want to deal with again, I’m going to keep plugging away.

To me. it was all worth it. The new IBC is fierce!

I can’t wait to hear hat do you think? Let me know in the comments.

Well folks, after talking about it for months and months, the new Inspired by Charm is here! I can’t tell you how excited I am to share it with all of you. Isn’t it gorgeous!? The fabulous Bethany of B*Spoke Studio is the genius behind the look and feel of the site. Josh Leuze is […]




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Celebrate – Belated Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms reading this! I hope you had a gorgeous day! Also more Mother’s Day hugs and kisses to my own dear mom. If you haven’t already guessed, my mom and I are pretty close. I cannot describe how much she means to me, how selfless she is, and what an amazing inspiration she is to me. Not only is she my mom, but she is also one of my closest friends. Yesterday we celebrated Mother’s Day at her house – it was wonderful! 
 
Bake – For Mother’s Day I made these delicious Pink Lemonade Cupcakes. I posted the recipe on BHG’s Delish Dish this past Friday. You can check that out here.
 
Shop – On Friday Mom and I began our spring flower shopping. I feel like I need to do a flower-haul to show you guys what I got. Shopping for flowers, as I mentioned on Friday, is one of my favorite things to do!
 
Plant – I was also thrilled to find this fun little tree at Walmart of all places. The label calls it a Eugenia Topiary. The store had three of them and I decided to buy them all. I kept one and gave one to my mom and another to my dad’s wife. Everyone loved them.
 
Drink – We found a new (and absolutely delicious) spot for dinner. It’s called Buck’s Pizza. At first I assumed it was a local place, but after googling to find their website, I discovered that it’s a franchise. Who knew? The one near me just opened recently. The food was great, the service was quick, and to top things off, they serve Blue Moon! A winning combination!
 
Read – I was so excited to get this new cookbook from my friends at BHG. It looks amazing. I can’t wait to dig into it. It should be perfect for the summer. I’m not sure if it’s available for purchase yet. I’ll keep you posted.
 
Travel – Speaking of BHG, I’m heading back to NYC later this week for a fun and meaningful event with them. I’m thrilled to again be in the city for a few days. Stay tuned for details on that! 
 
Other than Mother’s Day, my weekend was pretty uneventful. It was a bit chilly around here with temperatures dropping below freezing at night and snow flurries during the day. Yuck! This cold weather needs to go!
 
Any who, what exciting things did you do or find?

Celebrate – Belated Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms reading this! I hope you had a gorgeous day! Also more Mother’s Day hugs and kisses to my own dear mom. If you haven’t already guessed, my mom and I are pretty close. I cannot describe how much she means to me, how selfless […]




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Let the spring planting begin! After finding some herb garden inspiration, I decided to create one of my own. Do you remember that chicken feeder I used as a centerpiece a few months ago? (Side note: Folks on Pinterest and other social media outlets were mortified that I put a chicken feeder on my table. I understand the concern. Chickens are not the cleanest creatures. But I thoroughly scrubbed and disinfected the feeder before bringing it into my house.) Well, the centerpiece probably lasted a week. The plants died, and it was a pain to move around. Down to the basement it went. Now, the feeder is making a glorious comeback as an herb garden.

Chicken Feeder Herb Garden via Inspired by Charm

I like it much better this way. The feeder holds eight six-inch pots. There are several kinds of herbs, including mint (apple, orange, and chocolate), curry (not sure if / how I’ll use it), basil, rosemary, lemon thyme, and flat leaf parsley.

The feeder fits perfectly on the ledge of my side porch, which is right off the dining room. It’s a super convenient spot for gathering herbs. I can’t tell you how nice it is to have this porch cleaned up and ready for company. Shannon, when should I expect you and John for sangria?

Orange Mint

I made a few DIY herb markers, too. Yes, these are the same flags I used in my Blackberry Mint Juleps and Pink Lemonade Cupcakes. I just put a piece of washi tape, sticky sides together, on a stir stick and made a v-cut in the end of the tape. I used a gold sharpie to write the name of the herb. Too easy. Too cute.

I don’t know how well the markers will stand up to the elements, but I really only need them to last through the summer. I think I should be good. I’ll keep you posted.

Since there is still a chance for a frost around these parts, I’m not going plant crazy yet. However, I did get a plant for my scale basket. It’s clearly not as voluptuous as my plant from last year. These things take time. 

Tonight I’m heading out with my mom to a local nursery and Lowes and as usual I will probably come back toting lots of plants. I always tell myself not to buy so many flowers. But then, when I’m in the nursery, I’m overcome with this intense urge to buy every flower in sight. I can’t explain it. Please tell me I’m not the only one. 
 
Have you started your spring planting? What herbs are must-haves in your garden?

Let the spring planting begin! After finding some herb garden inspiration, I decided to create one of my own. Do you remember that chicken feeder I used as a centerpiece a few months ago? (Side note: Folks on Pinterest and other social media outlets were mortified that I put a chicken feeder on my table. […]




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Posted By at 5:20 PM
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As you already know, I’m thrilled to be working with Cracker Barrel Cheese throughout this summer to bring you some delicious ideas and recipes. With Memorial Day get-togethers just around the corner, you may even have an excuse to put some of these wonderful recipes to use.

In addition to always having copious amounts of cheese in my house, this partnership has allowed me to further explore my passion. I think it’s so important to push ourselves into uncharted territory in an effort to do the things we really love. So what is this passion?

Well, over the years I’ve come to realize that I have a passion for styling. Starting this blog has allowed me to see, practice, and explore this passion. Although I’ve always had a love of design and beautiful things, I only realized recently that I get true joy from making things look beautiful. Whether it is a cake, a nightstand, a piece of cheese, or my kitchen – the happiness I get out of creating these spaces and things is indescribable. And that’s truly what passion is all about. Whether I’m actually good at it is debatable. But that’s not the point here. The feeling I get from creating is what really matters. Sharing it with all of you is icing on the cake. I’m so thankful to the folks at Cracker Barrel for giving me the opportunity to work with them. It has really allowed me to further explore my passion for styling. Over the course of this opportunity, I’ve learned valuable lessons on food pairing and stylings. Now, I get to experiment with these skills and share them with you. Plus, it all involves cheese. Talk about a dream come true! My challenge to you today is to pursue your passion. Make time in your busy schedule to do the things you love. I promise you will be glad you did. Let me know in the comments below, what is YOUR passion?

As you already know, I’m thrilled to be working with Cracker Barrel Cheese throughout this summer to bring you some delicious ideas and recipes. With Memorial Day get-togethers just around the corner, you may even have an excuse to put some of these wonderful recipes to use. In addition to always having copious amounts of […]




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Cinnamon Bun Bites

A Year of Yeast has been trucking along for over four months. Can you believe it? I have to tell you I’ve been enjoying every minute of it. As I enter month five I can honestly say my fear of yeast has pretty much subsided. Today I wanted to try something in the sweet category.

As you may remember from one of my Weekend Wanderlust posts, I was drooling over this recipe from Martha Stewart. Little balls of dough dipped in butter, dredged with cinnamon and sugar, and drizzled with a delicious glaze. I’d say they are similar to monkey bread but a bit drier and lighter. Plus, the glaze sends these little bits over the top.

Being a huge fan of sweets, I am tempted to sit down with this pan and gobble them all up with a big glass or milk or a hot cup of jo!  Who’s with me?!

Look at the ooey, gooey goodness

Okay, I can’t take it anymore. Enough chatter, let’s get baking!

Cinnamon Bun Bites

Cinnamon Bun Bites
Here’s what you’ll need:

Bites:
1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick unsalted butter, softened, plus 1/2 stick, melted, and more for coating the dish
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Vanilla Glaze:
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Pour water into the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle yeast evenly over water, and let stand until foamy, 5 to 7 minutes. Whisk until smooth, then whisk in 1/2 cup flour to form a loose paste. Let rise in a warm place until yeast mixture has risen and fallen, about 30 minutes.

Add eggs, 1/4 cup sugar, salt, vanilla, and remaining flour to yeast mixture. Knead dough, using dough hook attachment on mixer, until smooth, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add 1 stick butter, and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes (add a little more flour if the dough is too sticky). Turn out dough onto an unfloured work surface, and knead by hand until very smooth, about 3 minutes. Transfer dough to another bowl, and let rise in a warm place, covered with a damp cloth or plastic wrap, until doubled, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Punch down dough; press out air bubbles.

Lightly butter a 9-inch pie plate. Place melted butter in a bowl. In another bowl,stir together remaining 1 cup sugar and the cinnamon.

Roll dough into 1-inch balls (I ended up with about 55). Working with 1 at a time, dip balls into melted butter, then roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture and place in pie plate. Stack balls to form a dome. Sprinkle with any remaining cinnamon-sugar, and drizzle with any leftover butter. Cover with plastic wrap, and let balls rise by half, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Unwrap balls, and place pie plate on a baking sheet. Bake until golden and firm (a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean), 50 to 55 minutes. Let bites cool in dish for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, let’s make the glaze. First, stir together sugar and salt in a small bowl.

Then, whisk together butter, milk, and vanilla, and stir into sugar until mixture forms a smooth paste. Keep glaze at room temperature until ready to drizzle over cinnamon-bun bites. Before using, whisk until smooth.

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Feel free to keep your Cinnamon Bun Bites in the pie pan like I did or remove the loaf and serve them up on a beautiful wood cutting board. The choice is yours. Thanks again to Martha Stewart for this fabulous recipe, which I slightly adapted.

What do you think of these Cinnamon Bun Bites? Will you be making them?

A Year of Yeast has been trucking along for over four months. Can you believe it? I have to tell you I’ve been enjoying every minute of it. As I enter month five I can honestly say my fear of yeast has pretty much subsided. Today I wanted to try something in the sweet category. […]




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Soak – What a fabulous weekend! Despite a little wind, the weather here was nothing short of wonderful. Low 70s, sunny, and blue skies for miles. I was in heaven. I took full advantage of this warm weather and finally got my little side porch cleaned up. (Pictures coming soon.) You may remember that last year I painted my outdoor furniture white which I loved. Primer and a “rust-proof” paint did not stop the rust, so this year I decided to paint the furniture black again. Things are now looking clean, crisp, and dust free! 
 
Paint – Don’t worry – not everything is black. I added some interest to my little side tables / plant stands. You probably  know by now that I’m a little gold-obsessed. Well, I thought, why not bring my love for gold outside. Armed with a few cans of gold spray paint, I did. I’m freakin’ in love with the results. I can’t wait to share. Stay tuned. 
 
Garden – Even though frost is still a slight concern in these parts, I was determined to do a little planting. Remember my chicken feeder centerpiece? Well, that lasted about a week and most of the plants died. After storing it in the basement for a few months, I brought it back out and filled it with some herbs. I’m loving it all over again. More on that soon. Have you started planting yet?
 
Hatch – A momma dove has taken up roost in the shelf on my porch while she waits for her two little eggs to hatch. The process happened pretty quickly. I just noticed the nest a few days ago. Shortly after that I saw the eggs. I’m kind of excited to see this new life unfold. I call the dove “Momma” and we had a little chat about her not pooping everywhere. I also told her that there is no need to fly away like a crazy person whenever I go out on the porch. The sound of her flapping wings and squawking gives me a little heart attack every single time. I think we are on the same page at this point. She is slowly become more comfortable with my presence. 
 
Relax – Even though I didn’t find too much time to relax, these guys did.
 
Eat – Seriously folks, have you tried these new Triscuits? I think there are a few varieties, but the sun-dried tomato basil are my absolute fave. I could literally sit down and eat an entire box without blinking an eye. So try them, but be warned – they won’t last long.
 
Hang – My friend Krista (middle) was home for the weekend. As usual we had a blast with our friend Emily (left). We had lunch and beers at our new favorite hangout. It was even nice enough to sit outside. Seriously, does it get better than hanging outside with your friends on a sunny day having great conversation, a cold beer, and some delicious grub. Pure magic. 
 
Share – Last but not least, my friends at HomeGoods are sponsoring a challenge for the entire month of May. The are asking their fans to share favorite HomeGoods finds. Throughout the month HomeGoods will be giving away three $250 gift cards per week. I’ve been asked to spearhead the first week of the challenge. It’s all about sharing your Bright Finds! You can post on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I will be selecting a winner from each outlet. Yep, yours truly is personally picking the winners. You can head over to the HomeGoods blog by clicking here for all of the details.
 
I hope your weekend was as sunny and happy as mine! What new things did you do or find?
 
 
Can’t wait for these weekly updates? Just follow along on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for more behind-the-scenes and sneak peaks!
 

Soak – What a fabulous weekend! Despite a little wind, the weather here was nothing short of wonderful. Low 70s, sunny, and blue skies for miles. I was in heaven. I took full advantage of this warm weather and finally got my little side porch cleaned up. (Pictures coming soon.) You may remember that last […]




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I wasn’t planning on doing another round of Drinks and Links this week, but with the Kentucky Derby this weekend I’ve been seeing recipes for Mint Juleps all over the Internet. I had to see what all the buzz was about. 

This drink is definitely out of my comfort zone. I typically don’t like bourbon / whiskey and I don’t watch the derby. Nonetheless, today I’m making Blackberry Mint Juleps.


You know me – I couldn’t make just a standard mint julep. I decided to give this classic drink a little IBC twist with the addition of fresh blackberries and blackberry whiskey.

All I did was puree some blackberries in the blender and add them to the traditional recipe. I will say the combination is delicious. And, I actually kind of like the whiskey! Who would have thought?

Let’s mix up a few!

Blackberry Mint Julep

Here’s what you’ll need (for one cocktail):

5-6 mint leaves
½ oz. blackberry puree*
2 ½ oz. blackberry whiskey (I used Bird Dog.)
½  oz. simple syrup**
½ oz. water

Let’s get mixing:
In the bottom of your glass, muddle / crush together mint leaves, simple syrup, and blackberry puree.
Fill glass with ice cubes, then pour in bourbon / whiskey and water. Stir.
Garnish with a few blackberries and a sprig of mint, and a super cute stir stick***.
Enjoy responsibly.

*Put a handful of fresh blackberries into a blender. Puree the blackberries until smooth.

**Bring 1/2 cup sugar and 1 cup water to a simmer over medium-high heat until sugar is completely dissolved. I usually let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes to create a thicker syrup. Allow syrup to cool completely.

***I just added a piece of washi tape, sticky sides together, and made a v-cut in the end.

Okay, we’ve got our cocktails and the TV is turned to the race. Now let’s get lost in some links.

Cheers to these Awesome People:

If you didn’t already know this, I’m kind of a big country music fan. Right now I’m listening to Hunter Hayes’s new single, “I Want Crazy.”

My blogger BFF, Courtney of Pizzazerie, is launching a new book this summer. It’s called Frostings. I’m pretty sure it’s going to take my love affair with cake to a whole new level.

It may be old news to some, but I’m still obsessed with Bri Emery’s (of Design Love Fest) living room. It was styled by Emily Henderson. Eclectic, gorgeous, and kind of magical.

Have you seen the Dove Real Beauty Sketches video? If not, stop what you are doing and go watch. It’s truly beautiful.

A SnowBall Cake Roll. Are you kidding me? Dying here. Thank you, Sprinkle Bakes.

Enjoyed this article from Holly Becker of Decor8 about blogging, trends, and sharing content. Good stuff! If you are a blogger, it’s a must read.

 

My Writing, Elsewhere:

Need a few party pleasing dishes for an upcoming get-together? Check these out!

Stop by DesignHappy to read about my favorite HomeGoods find. What’s yours?

I’m talking vases over on Style Spotters this week. Filled with a few fresh flowers, a vase can be a beautiful finishing touch for any space.

You broke down and bought some air plants, right? Okay. Good. Now here are ten ideas for what you can do with them.

Cheers friends! Have an awesome weekend!

I wasn’t planning on doing another round of Drinks and Links this week, but with the Kentucky Derby this weekend I’ve been seeing recipes for Mint Juleps all over the Internet. I had to see what all the buzz was about.  This drink is definitely out of my comfort zone. I typically don’t like bourbon […]




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Do you remember that metal cart I found at Goodwill for $10?

 

Isn’t she lovely? Who’s coming over for a drink? Cheers!

Do you remember that metal cart I found at Goodwill for $10?   Isn’t she lovely? Who’s coming over for a drink? Cheers!




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Posted By at 6:36 PM
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Play – This past weekend (I apologize that Weekend Wanderlust is a few days late this week.) I spent a few days with my brother and his family. I hadn’t seen them since the holidays so it was a much-needed visit. Thanks to the warmer weather we spent a lot of time playing outside. It finally felt like spring. We blew bubbles, played baseball, went for a walk – It was wonderful!


Create – I even drew an amazingly long board with chalk. With over forty jumps, it kept me pretty busy. As you will notice, I ended up getting a little creative with the shapes. 


Inspired – You can find inspiration in the strangest places. As I was opening a new box of Crayola sidewalk chalk, I saw these colors next to one another in the package: lavender, chartreuse, gray, and white. What a fabulous combination! What’s the oddest place you’ve found color inspiration? 


Taste – Some adult fun was had as well. While my mom babysat the kids, my brother took me to the Holy Hound Taproom. Talk about amazing. They always have 30 beers on tap. Really good, craft-style beers. I managed to taste about five of them. One of my personal favorites was Big Gruesome Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout from Spring House Brewing Company. I know, the combination doesn’t sound all that great, but it was an instant fave. 


Drink – My brother even crafted his own concoction for an early brunch treat. We had Bloody Marys with homemade spicy vodka and pickled asparagus. It was fantastic! You can expect to see the recipe on IBC soon.


Magic – I love spring. This is one of the reasons why.


Buy – I think I found this mug via Pinterest. I think. The moment I saw it, I was obsessed. Cake for breakfast is probably one of my favorite indulgences of all time. Especially leftover birthday cake. This probably explains why I was always a little on the chunky side as a kid. 


Going Geek – I finally broke down and bought a pair of glasses. I normally wear contacts, but at the end of the day it’s so nice to take them out of my eyes. Since I still need to be able to see, the glasses come in handy. I bought them from Warby Parker and used their Home Try-On program. I was really pleased with the process and I’m loving my new glasses. 


Hope you enjoyed your weekend! What thrilling things did you do or find?


Oh, and there is a Hometalk Twitter Chat this Thursday 5/2 at 9pm EST. 

Come join me and these fabulous ladies as we talk Summer Home Decor Trends!

RSVP here and join the chat to win some fabulous prizes! 

Play – This past weekend (I apologize that Weekend Wanderlust is a few days late this week.) I spent a few days with my brother and his family. I hadn’t seen them since the holidays so it was a much-needed visit. Thanks to the warmer weather we spent a lot of time playing outside. It […]




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