Tips to Create a Simple and Stylish Beverage Station | Inspired by Charm

This post is sponsored by NESTEA.

If you’ve yet to create a functional and stylish beverage entertaining area in your home (or just want to refresh the one you have), then this post is for you. Today I’m excited to share a few tips to put together your own simple and stylish beverage station.

Tips to Create a Simple and Stylish Beverage Station | Inspired by Charm

As you may know, I’ve been working with NESTEA as they launch their delicious new and reformulated iced teas that have fewer ingredients and a simpler recipe. If you haven’t yet sampled their new real brewed iced tea, you really should. It’s great stuff. My personal favorite is the Slightly Sweet Black Tea. Anywho, through this fun series, I’ve shown you the NESTEA Tiny House (which I helped design), shared a simple summer table setting, and given you three beautiful ways to style your coffee table. Today, I’m back with a new (old) piece I purchased for my Pittsburgh digs and how I styled it.

Tips to Create a Simple and Stylish Beverage Station | Inspired by Charm

Let’s get to it!

1. Be Different
In the early phases of planning for this space, my thought was to have some sort of rolling cart. Carts seem to be a popular option these days, and I do like the look of them. But given that my kitchen island is on wheels, I realized that would be too many rolling carts. So, when I came across this vintage piece, I knew it would be the perfect solution for my space.

Tips to Create a Simple and Stylish Beverage Station | Inspired by Charm

Tips to Create a Simple and Stylish Beverage Station | Inspired by Charm

In its former life, this cabinet was a pie safe. The door panels, which are now glass, were originally tin. I prefer the glass because it’s lighter visually and showcases what’s inside.

2. Shop Vintage
Whenever you’re accessorizing a space, one of the things I recommend is hitting up your local thrift store and vintage shops. While new pieces are nice, there’s something special about giving old items a second life. They have a backstory that the modern ones don’t.

Tips to Create a Simple and Stylish Beverage Station | Inspired by Charm

Tips to Create a Simple and Stylish Beverage Station | Inspired by Charm

Plus, you’re also more likely not to have something that everyone else has. Shopping vintage is a one way to make your home unique.

3. Think Multipurpose
I also like to use pieces in unconventional ways. For example, if you need bowls to hold garnishes for your drinks, what other containers do you have that are more interesting?

Tips to Create a Simple and Stylish Beverage Station | Inspired by Charm

Here, I’m using a cream and sugar set for garnishes that go great with iced tea. I put lemons on the tray and raspberries in the sugar container. When I filled the creamer with water, it became the perfect place to tuck fresh mint. I also found this mini letter opener which can be used as a little pick to grab the lemons.

Tips to Create a Simple and Stylish Beverage Station | Inspired by Charm

Tips to Create a Simple and Stylish Beverage Station | Inspired by Charm

Having things that do double duty lessens clutter and is a smart move if your home is tight on space. My creamer set can return to its original function once it’s done here.

4. Mix Your Glassware
When it comes to glassware, I find it best to mix things up. To make this work, start with classic, clear glass. Every drink will look great in it. Plus, it matches everything and will work for any occasion.

Tips to Create a Simple and Stylish Beverage Station | Inspired by Charm

Tips to Create a Simple and Stylish Beverage Station | Inspired by Charm
Also, it’s okay to break the rules in certain situations. If you’re hosting a party and serving NESTEA, try offering it in a stemmed glass to make it feel even fancier or serve your beverages in small glasses so your guests can sample all of the offerings.

Tips to Create a Simple and Stylish Beverage Station | Inspired by Charm

Tips to Create a Simple and Stylish Beverage Station | Inspired by Charm

To add interest to your traditional glassware, mix in a few unique finds. Vintage and thrift stores are loaded with glassware treasures, so start there. These work for special occasions or look great when put on display.

5. Embrace Change
If you know me well, then you won’t be surprised that I’ve changed the look of this cabinet about a half a dozen times since I brought it home. And that’s okay. No matter what you’re decorating, have fun with it and keep trying new things until you love the results.

Tips to Create a Simple and Stylish Beverage Station | Inspired by Charm

Tips to Create a Simple and Stylish Beverage Station | Inspired by Charm

So what do you think of my new beverage station? Rolling carts are so 2016, right? Haha. I kid. The point is to find what works best for you and your space. I hope these tips were helpful.

Now, I’m off to enjoy a cold NESTEA with a sprig of mint and slice of lemon. Be sure to swing by NESTEA.com where you can get a free bottle of their new real brewed iced tea to sample yourself.

This post is sponsored by NESTEA. If you’ve yet to create a functional and stylish beverage entertaining area in your home (or just want to refresh the one you have), then this post is for you. Today I’m excited to share a few tips to put together your own simple and stylish beverage station. As […]




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Creating a New Master Bedroom | Inspired by Charm
This post is sponsored by Stearns & Foster.

I am thrilled that so many of you are enjoying seeing how my new home is starting to come together. It is truly a joy to take you on this journey with me. One space I haven’t shown you yet is my master bedroom. Today, I thought it’d be fun to share my plan for the space, and then next week, I’ll give you a look at what I’ve done so far.

The Mattress: When I decided to make this move to Pittsburgh, one thing I knew I need right away was a mattress. (I spent the first couple weeks here on an air mattress which is not that much fun.) For the mattress, I turned to Stearns & Foster. Well, actually, they turned to me. It just so happened that they teamed up with Jonathan Scott and a few HGTV influencers (I’m honored to be one of them!) to help transform ordinary bedrooms (or in my case no bedroom at all) into beautifully-crafted retreats. Talk about perfect timing, right? (Details on how you can win a Stearns & Foster mattress are at the end of this post.)

Creating a New Master Bedroom | Inspired by Charm

Since we spend seven or eight hours (ideally) on our mattresses each day, choosing the right one was very important to me. I’m generally not the best sleeper, so creating the ideal environment for sleep is a must for me, and a handcrafted mattress with exceptional details was the best place to start.

Creating a New Master Bedroom | Inspired by Charm

After a bit of research, I was beyond excited to welcome one into my home. Stearns & Foster mattresses are beautifully designed for comfort with the highest quality materials and handcrafted with exceptional details to complement a well-designed bedroom. No matter how long my journey keeps me in Pittsburgh, this is a mattress that will provide indulgent comfort for years to come.

The Plan: With my mattress chosen, it was time to consider how I wanted this room to look. As I thought about a design direction for this space, I took inspiration from the wilderness. And by wilderness, I mean pine trees, plaid, national parks, camping, wood, and leather. My idea was to create a masculine camping/glamping aesthetic filled with comfort and style.

Creating a New Master Bedroom | Inspired by Charm

Make sense? Can you envision it?

Moving to Pittsburgh has been an incredible life adventure for me so I wanted to recreate that wild adventure vibe in my space while still being true to my style.

I don’t want to reveal too much of the space just yet, but I thought you’d love to see a few details. The bed frame is wood and leather. I wanted to incorporate leather into this space for a couple reasons. First, I have leather details in the rest of my apartment, so tying everything together just made sense. Second, the wood and leather are a nod to the beautiful detailing on the Stearns & Foster mattress.

Creating a New Master Bedroom | Inspired by Charm

Creating a New Master Bedroom | Inspired by Charm

For my bedlinen, I found this beautiful cotton and linen blend duvet cover with a broken chevron pattern which I’ll be pairing with a bold black and white buffalo checked covered chair. Crazy, right? The idea here is to have fun with patterns and texture. When you think about camping, it’s about utility rather than being all matchy-matchy.

Creating a New Master Bedroom | Inspired by Charm

I also found this super fun “keep it wild” pendant at a shop down the street from me. It’s the perfect sentiment for this space and life in general. I think it will be just the addition I need to tell the story of this new space.

Creating a New Master Bedroom | Inspired by Charm

I’ve also purchased some other beautiful accessories for the space to add to the rustic charm. I think you’re going to love it.

Creating a New Master Bedroom | Inspired by Charm

As with most of the rooms in my new digs, it’s going to take time to develop. I won’t have a dresser for a few months because it’s on backorder. The story of my life!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this preview. Be sure to join me back here next week when I’ll be revealing my New Master Bedroom.

For more information about Stearns & Foster, head on over to their website (or find a retailer here) to learn how their beds are made or choose the perfect mattress for your space.

You can also take part in the Stearns & Foster Bedroom Suite Sweepstakes for a chance to win one of their matresses and $1,000 towards your own bedroom makeover! Click here to learn more about the sweepstakes and to enter. Good luck!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Stearns & Foster. The opinions and text are all mine.

This post is sponsored by Stearns & Foster. I am thrilled that so many of you are enjoying seeing how my new home is starting to come together. It is truly a joy to take you on this journey with me. One space I haven’t shown you yet is my master bedroom. Today, I thought […]




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Tuesday Tunes 24 - This is June Summer Music Playlist | Inspired by Charm

It seems like forever since I’ve shared a Tuesday Tunes playlist here on IBC. The goal was to share one or two each month, but it’s been about three months since my last one. OOPS! I think that’s a clear indication of how bananas the past several months have been. How can June be almost over already? What the heck happened?

Typically, I have a theme for my playlists, but today’s tunes are just a random mix of what I’ve been listening to. They are a good representation of the variety of music I’m drawn to. There’s some Miley Cyrus (who’s new music I can’t get enough of), The Lumineers, Lady Gaga, and even a track from Phish. In general, I don’t like the latter’s music, but I truly do enjoy this one song.

With lots of trips back and forth to Pittsburgh over the past couple of months and a brain that won’t stop analyzing and worrying, this playlist has saved my sanity many a time.

Tuesday Tunes 24 - This is June Summer Music Playlist | Inspired by Charm

Even though these songs don’t necessarily “go together,” if you’re heading out on a road trip or just need a distraction at home or on your next walk, I hope they’ll help you destress and quiet your thoughts.

 

 
 

As always, you can listen to this Tuesday Tunes playlist using the player above or directly on Spotify here.

Feel free to follow me on Spotify for all of my playlists and sneak listens to upcoming Tuesday Tunes. Hope your week is off to a great start!

It seems like forever since I’ve shared a Tuesday Tunes playlist here on IBC. The goal was to share one or two each month, but it’s been about three months since my last one. OOPS! I think that’s a clear indication of how bananas the past several months have been. How can June be almost […]




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This post is sponsored by NESTEA.

I’m finally getting settled in Pittsburgh. After a crazy May, June is giving me a chance to get some furniture, put things in order, and generally make this new space my home. On my last trip from St. Marys, I brought over a coffee table I’m no longer using in my spare bedroom over there. The table got me thinking…

As you know, for the past month or so, I’ve been working with NESTEA. They recently redesigned their look and their teas. Their new recipes are simpler with fewer ingredients. It’s a totally #newNESTEA. My favorite is the slightly sweetened black tea, but they have a variety of real brewed and fruit flavored iced teas as well. Pop on over to NESTEA.com to grab a free bottle and choose your favorite.

Simple Coffee Table Styling Ideas to add style to your living room decor | Inspired by Charm

Inspired by the idea of simplifying, I thought I’d share three simple coffee table styling ideas. Pulling these together was somewhat of a challenge for me since I don’t have my usual array of accessories to work from here in Pittsburgh. However, I actually like this situation, because it proves you don’t need a stock room of props to create a beautiful and joy-filled space. Less is more, my friends.

Let me walk you through my three designs and share a few tips along the way.

Perfectly Pretty
First, let’s start with something pretty. And when I think of pretty, I think of flowers, so that’s exactly where I started. With this small coffee table, I found that using three different elements seemed to work best. (As is often advised when designing, “Work in odd numbers.”)

Simple Coffee Table Styling Ideas to add style to your living room decor | Inspired by Charm

For height and texture in this design, I placed the flowers in a tall smoke glass vase. I opted for hydrangeas and peonies and packed them in tight to create a little ball of beauty. Flower arranging doesn’t get much easier than this.

Simple Coffee Table Styling Ideas to add style to your living room decor | Inspired by Charm

And, yes, that’s Sebastian “supervising in the background.

Simple Coffee Table Styling Ideas to add style to your living room decor | Inspired by Charm

Since magazines and books are naturals on a coffee table, I stacked up three of them and topped them with a candle. The candle adds sparkle and gives off a lovely glow when lit.

Simple Coffee Table Styling Ideas to add style to your living room decor | Inspired by Charm

I finished things off with an oversized wood chain link. I love bringing in something like this because it’s unusual and likely to stir up conversation when guests are visiting.

Simple Coffee Table Styling Ideas to add style to your living room decor | Inspired by Charm

Young and Quirky
Speaking of out-of-the-ordinary and interesting, that was the theme for my next table. For this styling, I took inspiration from NESTEA and the Tiny House I helped decorate. (More on that here.) The folks at NESTEA were kind enough to send me the brass wiener dog I used in the house. I just can’t get enough of him and look for any excuse to use him in my decor.

Simple Coffee Table Styling Ideas to add style to your living room decor | Inspired by Charm

Simple Coffee Table Styling Ideas to add style to your living room decor | Inspired by Charm

Again, for this table design, I used a grouping of three. I placed a plant on top a stack of books. To me, a plant, flowers, or some botanical element is a must for styling. The third element was my little wiener dog. He gives the look a playful touch and a bit of bling for good measure.

Simple Coffee Table Styling Ideas to add style to your living room decor | Inspired by Charm

To finish off the table, I used a small tray. Right now the tray is holding my favorite NESTEA and glasses for company, but you can fill it with anything you’d like. Coaster, remotes, a deck of cards … whatever needs a home. Having a tray or box on a coffee table is a great idea for corralling those little items you’re never sure what to do with.

Simple Coffee Table Styling Ideas to add style to your living room decor | Inspired by Charm

Simple Coffee Table Styling Ideas to add style to your living room decor | Inspired by Charm

Think Functional
FUNCTION is the inspiration for my final simple coffee table styling idea, which includes this amazing fern arrangement that I picked up at a local flower shop. (I probably won’t be able to keep the ferns alive, but they’re stunning for now.)

Simple Coffee Table Styling Ideas to add style to your living room decor | Inspired by Charm

Simple Coffee Table Styling Ideas to add style to your living room decor | Inspired by Charm

Going for a group of three again, I paired the fern garden with a beautiful brass watering can. Now, I know a watering can on a coffee table is strange, but when the can is this gorgeous, I don’t mind at all. It adds interest and sparkle which are important elements when dressing a coffee table. Plus, the folks at the shop told me this fern likes to stay wet, so the watering can is a visual reminder.

Simple Coffee Table Styling Ideas to add style to your living room decor | Inspired by Charm

The final item is the wood tray you saw earlier. I wanted to show you how a tray can work for holding remotes and such. Rather than being scattered around the table, a tray or box keeps them handy and organized.

Simple Coffee Table Styling Ideas to add style to your living room decor | Inspired by Charm

And that’s a wrap. What do you think? Do you have a favorite?

Simple Coffee Table Styling Ideas to add style to your living room decor | Inspired by Charm

I hope you found these simple coffee table styling ideas helpful for decorating your own space.

This post is sponsored by NESTEA. I’m finally getting settled in Pittsburgh. After a crazy May, June is giving me a chance to get some furniture, put things in order, and generally make this new space my home. On my last trip from St. Marys, I brought over a coffee table I’m no longer using […]




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This Ritz Cracker and Mixed Berry Icebox Cake is the perfect dessert for summer entertaining. | Inspired by Charm
This post is sponsored by NABISCO.

Today I’m remixing another old-fashioned dessert just in time for summer BBQ season! It’s a RITZ Cracker and Mixed Berry Icebox Cake.

This Ritz Cracker and Mixed Berry Icebox Cake is the perfect dessert for summer entertaining. | Inspired by Charm

This icebox cake is the perfect combination of salty and sweet topped with fresh summer berry flavor! My friends over at NABISCO asked me (and you!) to remix our backyard BBQs this summer. So I thought I’d create this classic icebox cake in a new way using RITZ Crackers, homemade whipped cream, and fresh berries. It’s a wonderful way to cool down and enjoy the flavor and fun of an unforgettable summer.

Ritz Cracker and Mixed Berry Icebox Cake summer dessert recipe | Inspired by Charm

Ritz Cracker and Mixed Berry Icebox Cake summer dessert recipe | Inspired by Charm

This recipe idea is based on a classic one. The traditional dessert is a no-bake recipe consisting of RITZ Crackers, whipped topping, and grape jelly. Yep, that’s it. However, I decided to take it to the next level by whipping up my own whipped cream and adding cream cheese and mixed berry jam. I also topped the whole thing off with a pile of fresh berries because … why not?

Ritz Cracker and Mixed Berry Icebox Cake summer dessert recipe | Inspired by Charm

To create my version, you start by whipping up a big batch of whipped cream. Cream cheese, powdered sugar, and mixed berry jam are then combined and slowly folded into the whipped cream to create the sweet and fluffy part of this dessert.

Ritz Cracker and Mixed Berry Icebox Cake summer dessert recipe | Inspired by Charm

Now, the fun starts. The cake is formed by layering RITZ Crackers with this sweet berry filling.

I started mine on a cake plate. Then, I added just the outer ring of a spring form pan. Doing this isn’t required, but I found it helped to hold everything together and ensure that the layers didn’t slide as they set.

Ritz Cracker and Mixed Berry Icebox Cake summer dessert recipe | Inspired by Charm

I began with a layer of crackers, then a layer of mixed berry whipped cream. I put my whipped cream into a piping bag which made adding it to the crackers much easier. I then used a small offset spatula to level everything off.

Continue adding layer by layer until you reach the top. I used about 6 sleeves of RITZ Crackers (1 1/2 box) and most of my mixed berry whipped cream. You can reserve a bit of your whipped cream to add the fresh berries on top before serving.

This Ritz Cracker and Mixed Berry Icebox Cake is the perfect dessert for summer entertaining. | Inspired by Charm

Next, the whole cake gets refrigerated for 4-5 hours or until you’re ready to serve it. Before serving, add a dollop of the reserved mixed berry whipped cream and top with a mound of fresh berries. How’s that for Remix Your BBQ dessert? Mission accomplished, NABISCO!

This Ritz Cracker and Mixed Berry Icebox Cake is the perfect dessert for summer entertaining. | Inspired by Charm

As I mentioned above, the resulting dessert is the perfect combination of salty meets sweet. The addition of mixed berry jam and fresh berries add just the perfect taste for summer. You’re going to be the king or queen of your next BBQ.

This Ritz Cracker and Mixed Berry Icebox Cake is the perfect dessert for summer entertaining. | Inspired by Charm

For more fun, try some of these easy and inexpensive BBQ decor ideas:

  • Instead of fresh flowers, use seasonal blooms such as geraniums and petunias to add color to your party.
  • Pick up some inexpensive handkerchiefs to use as decor. They can dress up a table, line a basket for chips, or function as a napkin.
  • Use some galvanized steel server ware. It’s a beautiful and trendy metal for outdoor entertaining.
  • Save your fancy glassware for inside. Opt for mason jars with paper straws. They are durable and fun.

This Ritz Cracker and Mixed Berry Icebox Cake is the perfect dessert for summer entertaining. | Inspired by Charm

This Ritz Cracker and Mixed Berry Icebox Cake is the perfect dessert for summer entertaining. | Inspired by Charm

I think your summer BBQ is ready. Let’s whip up this cake so we can get to the fun!

This Ritz Cracker and Mixed Berry Icebox Cake is the perfect dessert for summer entertaining. | Inspired by Charm

RITZ Cracker and Mixed Berry Icebox Cake

Serves 16-18

Here's what you will need:
4 cups heavy cream
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, divided
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
16-ounce cream cheese
1 1/2 cups mixed berry jam
5-6 sleeves RITZ Crackers
2 cups fresh berries to garnish

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add 1 cup confectioners' sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. Continuing whipping until firm peaks form. Set aside.

In another large mixing bowl, whip together the cream cheese, mixed berry jam, and 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar until smooth. Fold into the prepared whipped cream until evenly combined. Divide into three large piping bags. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.

Assemble the cake by arranging a layer of RITZ Crackers on a cake plate or serving dish using a springform pan ring as a guide. (The springform pan ring is optional but recommended.) Pipe about 3/4 cup of the mixed berry whipped cream on the crackers. Spread the whipped cream out evenly with a small offset spatula. Repeat the cracker and filling layers until you reach the top of the pan or desired height. The top layer should be the mixed berry cream.

Refrigerate for 4-5 hours or until ready to serve. When ready to serve, top with any extra mixed berry whipped cream and a mound of fresh berries.

Print

This Ritz Cracker and Mixed Berry Icebox Cake is the perfect dessert for summer entertaining. | Inspired by Charm

Isn’t it gorgeous? I love how simple and delicious ingredients can make a beautiful and delicious dessert in no time!

This Ritz Cracker and Mixed Berry Icebox Cake is the perfect dessert for summer entertaining. | Inspired by Charm

This Ritz Cracker and Mixed Berry Icebox Cake is the perfect dessert for summer entertaining. | Inspired by Charm

This will definitely wow your guests this summer. It’s the perfect dessert for any celebration.

And don’t forget the tunes for your summer BBQ. As part of the “Remix Your BBQ” campaign, NABISCO is teaming up with Lady Antebellum for their YOU LOOK GOOD WORLD TOUR. They will be at select stops throughout the summer sharing more remixed recipes.

This Ritz Cracker and Mixed Berry Icebox Cake is the perfect dessert for summer entertaining. | Inspired by Charm

This Ritz Cracker and Mixed Berry Icebox Cake is the perfect dessert for summer entertaining. | Inspired by Charm

For more information about “Remix Your BBQ,” including recipes and a chance to win tickets to see Lady Antebellum, head on over to NabiscoBBQ.com.

Also be sure to show off how you remix your BBQ by using the hashtag #NABISCO and #BBQRemix.

This Ritz Cracker and Mixed Berry Icebox Cake is the perfect dessert for summer entertaining. | Inspired by Charm

This Ritz Cracker and Mixed Berry Icebox Cake is the perfect dessert for summer entertaining. | Inspired by Charm

I hope you enjoyed my delicious remix of a classic desert with this RITZ Cracker and Mixed Berry Icebox Cake. Cheers to summer!

This post is sponsored by NABISCO. Today I’m remixing another old-fashioned dessert just in time for summer BBQ season! It’s a RITZ Cracker and Mixed Berry Icebox Cake. This icebox cake is the perfect combination of salty and sweet topped with fresh summer berry flavor! My friends over at NABISCO asked me (and you!) to […]




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Updated Apartment Lighting - unique and stylish chandeliers to decorate your apartment | Inspired by Charm

Well friends, slowly but surely I’m getting settled into my new place. I have decided to take my time and enjoy the process, so don’t expect any grand reveals anytime soon. However, now that life has settled down some, I’m excited to show you around a bit. Let’s start with the updated lighting.

Before I signed the lease on my new apartment, one of the questions I asked was if I could change the light fixtures. I have this weird obsession with light fixtures (it’s one of my favorite things to choose for a space), so having the option to swap out builder basic for bold and unique was a must.

And, although I’m new to apartment living, I think little changes like these can make a huge difference when you’re trying to make a rented space look and feel more like home.

You might remember from my first tour of the apartment that I have four overhead fixtures – one in the kitchen, one above the sofa, and two in the entry hallway. They functioned well but lacked the style I was after so an upgrade was in order.

In the kitchen, I went from this …

Updated Apartment Lighting - unique and stylish chandeliers to decorate your apartment | Inspired by Charm

… to this.

Updated Apartment Lighting - unique and stylish chandeliers to decorate your apartment | Inspired by Charm

Big improvement, right?

Updated Apartment Lighting - unique and stylish chandeliers to decorate your apartment | Inspired by Charm

This is the Tangled Chandelier in Natural Brass from Schoolhouse Electric. I have been crazy obsessed with this fixture since it came out a couple years ago. In fact, I was considering putting it in my St. Marys’ kitchen.

Updated Apartment Lighting - unique and stylish chandeliers to decorate your apartment | Inspired by Charm

Updated Apartment Lighting - unique and stylish chandeliers to decorate your apartment | Inspired by Charm

Recently, it got a lot of attention in blogland, which kind of bummed me out. With this new space, I’m trying to avoid all things “trendy” and do my own thing. I considered not purchasing it for that reason. However, after lots of thought and research, it seemed like the best fit for my space, so I went with it.

Updated Apartment Lighting - unique and stylish chandeliers to decorate your apartment | Inspired by Charm

And I’m so glad I did. I think it works exceptionally well in this location. The exposed bulbs and wires tie in with the industrial elements in the space, while the brass is likely to complement the more modern and traditional pieces I hope to incorporate down the road.

Updated Apartment Lighting - unique and stylish chandeliers to decorate your apartment | Inspired by Charm

Isn’t it amazing how a simple light fixture can totally change the look of a room? It’s definitely making this feel more like home.

Over in the entryway, I used a more modern / mid-century modern-looking piece.

Updated Apartment Lighting - unique and stylish chandeliers to decorate your apartment | Inspired by Charm

This is the Possini Euro Metro fixture from Lamps Plus.

Updated Apartment Lighting - unique and stylish chandeliers to decorate your apartment | Inspired by Charm

The reason I selected this piece is that I’m a huge fan of the Modo Chandelier from Roll & Hill. However, with a $4K price tag, that one wasn’t happening.

In addition to the affordability of the Lamps Plus fixture, I like that its white globes match the white bulbs of the kitchen fixture. (There is a method to my madness.)

Updated Apartment Lighting - unique and stylish chandeliers to decorate your apartment | Inspired by Charm

My only gripe with this chandelier is that I wish it was a tad larger. It doesn’t come in multiple sizes, so it was sort of a “take it or leave it” situation. I took it.

Updated Apartment Lighting - unique and stylish chandeliers to decorate your apartment | Inspired by Charm

This space is still painfully empty, but once I bring in a bench, rug, sideboard with lamps, and some accessories, I don’t think the chandy will look so small and lonely. Here’s hoping!

Updated Apartment Lighting - unique and stylish chandeliers to decorate your apartment | Inspired by Charm

I have another fixture on order for the living room and am looking for something sort of basic for the hallway, but that’s still undecided. I’ll be sure to give you an update when they are installed.

Also, as I mentioned in last week’s newsletter (You can sign up here if you aren’t already on the list.), I have updated the SHOP IBC page to include a section for my apartment. There are only a few things in there at the moment, but I will do my best to keep it updated with my purchases in case you have questions on where things are from or want a sneak peek at what I’m purchasing.

Finally, for my fellow apartment dwellers, I installed these fixtures myself. My dad taught me well, and I have a lot of experience after swapping out almost every fixture and light switch in my other home. I do recommend getting permission from your landlord before making any electrical changes. Hire a professional or get trained to do the work yourself. Also, hang on to the fixtures and hardware that came with your apartment so you can put them back up when you move.

Updated Apartment Lighting - unique and stylish chandeliers to decorate your apartment | Inspired by Charm

That’s it for my apartment light update. What do you think? As you can see from the glimpses of other details in the space, I have lots more to share. Stay tuned, my friends!

Well friends, slowly but surely I’m getting settled into my new place. I have decided to take my time and enjoy the process, so don’t expect any grand reveals anytime soon. However, now that life has settled down some, I’m excited to show you around a bit. Let’s start with the updated lighting. Before I […]




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Simple Tips for Joyful Entertaining - summer tablescape and green-inspired table setting - dining room decor | Inspired by Charm

This post is sponsored by NESTEA.

I wonder if I could make a career out of creating fun table settings? Oh wait, I’ve already sort of done that. #winning Anywho, today I’m back sharing a fun green-inspired tablescape and a few simple tips for joyful entertaining.

Simple Tips for Joyful Entertaining - summer tablescape and green-inspired table setting - dining room decor | Inspired by Charm

As you probably know, I’ve been working with NESTEA as they launch their delicious new and reformulated iced teas with fewer ingredients and a simpler recipe. (By the way, you can get a free bottle of the new NESTEA here.) To help spread the word about their real brewed tea varieties and classic iced tea flavors, they created the NESTEA Tiny House which I helped decorate. The Tiny House showcased the concept of less is more in a beautiful, trendy, and fun way.

Simple Tips for Joyful Entertaining - summer tablescape and green-inspired table setting - dining room decor | Inspired by Charm

Simple Tips for Joyful Entertaining - summer tablescape and green-inspired table setting - dining room decor | Inspired by Charm

Inspired by the #newNESTEA and influenced by their Tiny House (more details on that here), I thought I’d put together a simple yet beautiful green-inspired table setting to continue the fun.

With the table set, I’m going to show you around and share some simple tips for entertaining and creating a fabulous table of your own. There is joy in simplicity, and my hope is to show you how you can easily make something simple that’s beautiful and special.

Let’s get started!

1. Begin with Color
Have I engraved this tip in your brain yet? Whether I’m sharing advice for decorating or party planning, I always tell folks that color is the place to start. Not only does your color scheme guide your decor but it also helps you be less distracted by beautiful things outside your palette.

Simple Tips for Joyful Entertaining - summer tablescape and green-inspired table setting - dining room decor | Inspired by Charm

For this particular tablescape, green was an obvious color choice. It’s the color ofNESTEA’s logo, and it played a big role in decorating the tiny house. To go along with it, I chose two neutral colors: white and brown. The white adds a crisp, modern touch to the table, and the brown wood tied brings in another touch of nature. (It’s also a great nod to the color of Nilgiri tea leaf in the new NESTEA.)

Simple Tips for Joyful Entertaining - summer tablescape and green-inspired table setting - dining room decor | Inspired by Charm

2. New and Old
When creating a tablescape, I recommend mixing old and new. (This is another tip that works for home decor as well.) When you mix old and new, you instantly get a collected look. The mix of items also tells a story, such as “This piece belonged to my grandma. I just found this piece at my favorite store. This was an old sign that I turned into a tray.”

Simple Tips for Joyful Entertaining - summer tablescape and green-inspired table setting - dining room decor | Inspired by Charm

Obviously, having things on your dinner table that tell a story creates conversation and connections. Plus, they sure look beautiful.

Simple Tips for Joyful Entertaining - summer tablescape and green-inspired table setting - dining room decor | Inspired by Charm

3. Nature-Inspired
During the summer months, I love hitting up my own yard for fresh greens and flowers. They’re there for the taking, so why not use what you have? Whether it’s a branch from one of your trees, a potted succulent, or blooms from your cutting garden, nature’s bounty brings texture and interest to your table.

Simple Tips for Joyful Entertaining - summer tablescape and green-inspired table setting - dining room decor | Inspired by Charm

Simple Tips for Joyful Entertaining - summer tablescape and green-inspired table setting - dining room decor | Inspired by Charm

In fact, for these greens, I didn’t even have to step off my porch. These speckled flowers from my climbing hydrangea, along with a few branches from a nearby tree, added height when tucked into a vase. Done!

4. Less is More
Beyond the place settings, I’ve only added six decor items: two glass buoys, one sign-turned-tray, one large vase, and one mini vases. That’s it. When you use interesting and dynamic pieces, you don’t need a lot.

Simple Tips for Joyful Entertaining - summer tablescape and green-inspired table setting - dining room decor | Inspired by Charm

Decorative pieces that are functional (like the sign I’m using as a tray) are a double win. I also think that using larger shallow objects, such as the glass buoys, are a smart idea because they can be quickly removed when it’s time to eat.

Simple Tips for Joyful Entertaining - summer tablescape and green-inspired table setting - dining room decor | Inspired by Charm

5. Think Outside the Box
My final simple tip for joyful entertaining is to think outside the box. That is, how can you use things in a new, different, or unexpected way?

Simple Tips for Joyful Entertaining - summer tablescape and green-inspired table setting - dining room decor | Inspired by Charm

For example, I used long thin cutting boards as placements. Sure, they don’t fit perfectly under the plate, but it’s enough to keep the plate steady and in place while your guests dine. Plus, depending on what you’re serving (How about some delicious summer kabobs?), they could act as a plate for the main course. As I already mentioned, a sign reading “Lake” became a graphic tray with zero time and effort. If I had wanted to make it more functional, I could have added handles, but I decided that wasn’t necessary for my tablescape.

Simple Tips for Joyful Entertaining - summer tablescape and green-inspired table setting - dining room decor | Inspired by Charm

Keep things simple by getting creative with what you already own. The more purposes one item serves, the more valuable it is. It also means you can bring less stuff into your life and home.

Simple Tips for Joyful Entertaining - summer tablescape and green-inspired table setting - dining room decor | Inspired by Charm

Simple Tips for Joyful Entertaining - summer tablescape and green-inspired table setting - dining room decor | Inspired by Charm

That’s it, my friends! Now that the table is set and the iced tea is poured, it’s time for the grub. I hope you enjoyed a look at my table and picked up a few ideas for creating a sensational yet simple tablescape.

Thank you to NESTEA for sponsoring this blog post. All opinions are my own.

This post is sponsored by NESTEA. I wonder if I could make a career out of creating fun table settings? Oh wait, I’ve already sort of done that. #winning Anywho, today I’m back sharing a fun green-inspired tablescape and a few simple tips for joyful entertaining. As you probably know, I’ve been working with NESTEA […]




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What's the Tea with IBC | Inspired by Charm

I try not to do these “What’s the Tea” updates too frequently because I know that most of you are here for design tips and recipes. Occasionally, life warrants another update, so please bear with me.

What's the Tea with IBC | Inspired by Charm

Several weeks ago I told you that my Gram had a stroke. Unfortunately, she was not able to recover, and I am deeply saddened to tell you that she passed away a little over a week ago. She spent time in the hospital and a nursing home, and her condition was up and down. In her final days, we fed her, held her hand, hugged and kissed her, and said prayers. She struggled in the end. As hard as it was to say goodbye, it was time. Her service was held two years to the day after my grandfather (her husband) passed away.

What's the Tea with IBC | Inspired by Charm

As much as I’d love to chat about my grandparents right now, I’d be just a babbling mess of tears, so I’ll save my stories of them for future posts. I did, however, want to give you an update and thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers.

What's the Tea with IBC | Inspired by Charm

It probably goes without saying, that May was a busy and trying month. I’m very happy that June is here. The sun is shining, and although Gram is no longer with us, I have another angel watching over me as I try to figure out my life.

Just this past weekend, I came back to my somewhat abandoned apartment in Pittsburgh, and now I’m finally starting to settle in. (I share daily updates on Instagram Stories … if you’re interested.) My first day back here was tough. The cats came with me this time, and watching them struggle to adjust to their new environment broke my heart. Coupled with the recent loss of Gram, it wasn’t much fun around here.

However, five days in, things are getting better. The cats are adapting to the new space which makes me so happy. And I seem to be adjusting, too.

What's the Tea with IBC | Inspired by Charm

I am genuinely happy to be living here. As I drive the streets and walk the sidewalks of Pittsburgh, I think of all the things I want to do and can do. All the places I want to eat and all of the experiences I want to create. It’s almost overwhelming but in the best possible way.

I am feeling a little pressure, however. (Which is mostly of my own making) I want everything to happen at once, even though I know that is totally unrealistic. Time seems so fleeting, and I feel like I’m running out of it.

On top of that, I’m also anxious about making friends, I’m nervous about going on dates. I’m trying to push myself into new adventures, but at the same time I need and want to feel comfortable. (Or does comfort need to go out the window at this point?) How does a person do these things in his mid-30s? Ack! I should have all of this taken care of by now. Anywho, for now, I’m taking things day-by-day, moment-by-moment, and just hoping for the best.

What's the Tea with IBC | Inspired by Charm

I have made great progress in my apartment, however. As you can see, I’ve found several pieces to start making this place feel like home. I promise to whip up a mini-home tour for you soon. Be warned, however, that this is the only section that’s somewhat presentable. Behind the camera, my TV is sitting on the box it came in. Not cute.

In other news, I need to get my food intake back on track. Living in the city doesn’t mean I’m on a permanent vacation where my diet can consist mostly of cinnamon rolls, pasta, cheese, and multiple glasses of rosé. With the progress I’ve made in losing weight this year, the last thing I want to do is backslide. Thankfully, I have several farmers markets nearby, lots of places to run, and a gym in my building. I truly have no excuse.

What's the Tea with IBC | Inspired by Charm

While I’m certain I have more life updates, I think that’s about enough for today. Before I sign off, though, I have a quick question for you. Do you enjoy these more personal / working-through-life style posts? I ask because I always have lots of thoughts rolling around in my head. I’m happy to share them, but I know this can easily verge on oversharing. I’m curious about what you might like, so any feedback is greatly appreciated.

Hope you’re having a wonderful week, my friends!

I try not to do these “What’s the Tea” updates too frequently because I know that most of you are here for design tips and recipes. Occasionally, life warrants another update, so please bear with me. Several weeks ago I told you that my Gram had a stroke. Unfortunately, she was not able to recover, […]




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Mason Jar Mixed Berry Shortcakes with Homemade Whipped Cream - easy summer dessert recipe from Inspired by Charm
This post is created with America’s Dairy Farm Families and Importers, in partnership with the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. The views, ideas, and options are my own.

Did you know that June is National Dairy Month? To celebrate, I’m going to show you how to make Mixed Berry Shortcakes with Homemade Whipped Cream.

Mason Jar Mixed Berry Shortcakes with Homemade Whipped Cream - easy summer dessert recipe from Inspired by Charm

As much as I love getting creative in the kitchen with new ingredients and fancy food trends, there’s something special about the classics. Strawberry Shortcake (or in this case, Mixed Berry Shortcakes) is high on my list of favorite classic desserts. What I love most about this recipe is that it takes me back to my childhood. It was one of those desserts (along with tapioca pudding) that my mom often made. You knew it was going to be a great meal when it ended with shortcake, strawberries, and whipped cream.

Mason Jar Mixed Berry Shortcakes with Homemade Whipped Cream - easy summer dessert recipe from Inspired by Charm

For this recipe, I’m teaching you how to make whipped cream from scratch. If you’ve never done this, you’re in for a treat because homemade is the best. Not only that, it’s simple. But to make it, you will need heavy whipping cream. This is a must.

Mason Jar Mixed Berry Shortcakes with Homemade Whipped Cream - easy summer dessert recipe from Inspired by Charm

Fun fact: Did you know that the milk you drink is most likely from a farm in your locale and that dairy products contribute to the farm-to-table movement? Milk is produced in every state, and on average milk travels 300 miles from farm to store. So while you’re out picking up some fresh summer berries, also grab some milk, cream, and butter from a local farm! (And did you also know that 97% of dairy farms are family-owned and operated?)

I hope you enjoyed the milk facts I just laid on you. We are celebrating National Dairy month after all! For more undeniably dairy fun, check out this “dairy” cute video here.

Mason Jar Mixed Berry Shortcakes with Homemade Whipped Cream - easy summer dessert recipe from Inspired by Charm

Ok, back to this homemade whipped cream. I used my stand mixer and whipped the heavy cream up with a bit of vanilla extract and powdered sugar. Don’t have a stand mixer? No worries. You can beat the cream by hand. You’ll get some arm exercise at the same time.

Mason Jar Mixed Berry Shortcakes with Homemade Whipped Cream - easy summer dessert recipe from Inspired by Charm

Mason Jar Mixed Berry Shortcakes with Homemade Whipped Cream - easy summer dessert recipe from Inspired by Charm

Whip the heavy cream until it just forms stiff peaks. Be careful not to overmix because, if you do, you’ll start creating butter. And while that’s equally delicious, we don’t want butter layered in between our shortcakes. The final cream should be fluffy but not too firm.

Mason Jar Mixed Berry Shortcakes with Homemade Whipped Cream - easy summer dessert recipe from Inspired by Charm

Speaking of shortcakes, we’re making those from scratch, too. You can certainly substitute angel food cake for this, but for me, shortcake is the way to go. Thanks to the butter and eggs, it’s a bit denser and really soaks up all those delicious juices from the berries.

Mason Jar Mixed Berry Shortcakes with Homemade Whipped Cream - easy summer dessert recipe from Inspired by Charm

Mason Jar Mixed Berry Shortcakes with Homemade Whipped Cream - easy summer dessert recipe from Inspired by Charm

Once all of that is ready, mix together your berries with sugar and a splash of lemon juice. Then let them sit for a while to draw out that sweet juice of summer.

Mason Jar Mixed Berry Shortcakes with Homemade Whipped Cream - easy summer dessert recipe from Inspired by Charm

With that, your shortcakes are ready to assemble. I decided to use large wide mouth mason jars for this.

Mason Jar Mixed Berry Shortcakes with Homemade Whipped Cream - easy summer dessert recipe from Inspired by Charm

The jars fit the farm-to-table vibe and allow you to see all of those beautiful layers: clouds of homemade whipped cream, dense shortcake, and bold summer berries. Perfection!

Mason Jar Mixed Berry Shortcakes with Homemade Whipped Cream - easy summer dessert recipe from Inspired by Charm

To add your homemade whipped cream, I recommend using a piping bag fitted with a star tip. This makes it super easy and pretty, too.

Mason Jar Mixed Berry Shortcakes with Homemade Whipped Cream - easy summer dessert recipe from Inspired by Charm

Now our mixed berry shortcakes are complete! Let’s eat!

Mason Jar Mixed Berry Shortcakes with Homemade Whipped Cream - easy summer dessert recipe from Inspired by Charm

Mixed Berry Shortcakes with Homemade Whipped Cream

Makes 8 servings

Here's what you will need:

Shortcake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cubed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup cold heavy whipping cream
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons milk (for egg wash)

Macerated Mixed Berries:
3 pints fresh berries (Strawberries should be hulled and chopped.)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar

Homemade Whipped Cream:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set it aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift the flour, 3 tablespoons of sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using the paddle attachment and low speed, mix in the butter it is about the size of peas. Combine the eggs and heavy cream in a measuring cup. Then, with the mixer on low, add them to the flour mixture. Mix until just combined. The dough will be sticky.

On a well-floured surface, roll the dough to about 1/2-inch thick using a rolling pin. Use a 2-inch cookie cutter to cut about 16 shortcakes. Place them onto the prepared sheet pan. Brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle them with sugar. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the tops are browned and the insides are fully baked. Allow to cool on the sheet pan.

In the meantime, prepare your berries by tossing them in a large bowl with the lemon juice and sugar. Let the berries macerate for 1-2 hours, stirring them once or twice during this process.

To prepare your homemade whipped cream, add the heavy whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla to the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, with your mixture on medium speed, whip the cream until it begins to thicken. Continue whipping for several minutes until the cream is fluffy but not too firm. Add the whipped cream to a piping bag fitted with a star tip.

Once the shortcakes have cooled and the berries have produced sufficient juice, you're ready to assemble the dessert. Begin by cutting the shortcakes in half with a serrated knife. lace half of a shortcake into the bottom of the mason jar. Top with berries and then whipped cream. Repeat this process again. Finish with a shortcake top, a dollop of whipped cream, and additional berries to garnish. Serve immediately.

Tell me these aren't the most scrumptious-looking treat you've ever seen.

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Tell me these aren’t the most scrumptious-looking treat you’ve ever seen.


Mason Jar Mixed Berry Shortcakes with Homemade Whipped Cream - easy summer dessert recipe from Inspired by Charm

Mason Jar Mixed Berry Shortcakes with Homemade Whipped Cream - easy summer dessert recipe from Inspired by Charm

As I mentioned earlier in this post, going homemade and farm-to-table is recommended for a dessert like this. The freshest ingredients will give you the best flavors.

Mason Jar Mixed Berry Shortcakes with Homemade Whipped Cream - easy summer dessert recipe from Inspired by Charm

So, as we celebrate National Dairy Month, whip up some fresh cream and pick up your favorite fresh berries. Then treat yourself to one fabulous dessert.

 

This post is created with America’s Dairy Farm Families and Importers, in partnership with the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. The views, ideas, and options are my own. Did you know that June is National Dairy Month? To celebrate, I’m going to show you how to make Mixed Berry Shortcakes with Homemade Whipped Cream. As much as […]




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Colorful Summer Porch Styling - outdoor summer decorating ideas | Inspired by Charm

Recently, I decided to refresh my side porch for the summer, and today I thought I’d give you a peek. In an ideal world, I’d invite all of you over to sip sangria and visit. But since there aren’t enough seats for everyone, I figured this mini-tour would be the next best thing.

Colorful Summer Porch Styling - outdoor summer decorating ideas | Inspired by Charm

For the past two years, I’ve been styling my side porch pretty much the same way, so a change was in order. It actually all started when I spotted this fun pillow at HomeGoods. That became my jumping off point for some colorful summer porch styling.

Colorful Summer Porch Styling - outdoor summer decorating ideas | Inspired by Charm

Colorful Summer Porch Styling - outdoor summer decorating ideas | Inspired by Charm

I also decided to get new tables because my old ones were beginning to rust again. Far too many coats of spray paint had also left them looking a bit shabby.

Colorful Summer Porch Styling - outdoor summer decorating ideas | Inspired by Charm

For my coffee table, I opted for a pair of round iron and wood-topped side tables. Their shape adds a bit of interest, and they can easily be moved around as needed.

Colorful Summer Porch Styling - outdoor summer decorating ideas | Inspired by Charm

I also pulled in a few simple side tables which offer places to set a drink, plant, or decorative accessory.

Colorful Summer Porch Styling - outdoor summer decorating ideas | Inspired by Charm

 Colorful Summer Porch Styling - outdoor summer decorating ideas | Inspired by Charm

During the past couple of years, I had been using a reddish orange bench for my coffee table. It suffered a few dings and dents this past winter, so I patched the bruises and gave it a fresh coat of black paint.

Colorful Summer Porch Styling - outdoor summer decorating ideas | Inspired by Charm

Now it doubles as a side table and a place to show off a few plants.

Colorful Summer Porch Styling - outdoor summer decorating ideas | Inspired by Charm

Colorful Summer Porch Styling - outdoor summer decorating ideas | Inspired by Charm

Normally, I fill my porch with annual flowers, but this year I went with lots of succulents. The latter require much less water and will still look great even though I won’t be here to water them daily. (Side note: if you’re looking for big succulents, hit up Home Depot. I love their selection!)

Colorful Summer Porch Styling - outdoor summer decorating ideas | Inspired by Charm

Some other fun accessories (mostly from HomeGoods), a few ferns, and a simple outdoor rug (from Walmart) complete the space.

Colorful Summer Porch Styling - outdoor summer decorating ideas | Inspired by Charm

Colorful Summer Porch Styling - outdoor summer decorating ideas | Inspired by Charm

Although it’s not a major change, it was fun to switch things up and try something new this year. And best of all, it’s just in time for summer!

Colorful Summer Porch Styling - outdoor summer decorating ideas | Inspired by Charm

Over on the HomeGoods blog, Design Happy, I’m talking more about this space and sharing 4 Tips to Add Color and Style to Your Porch. Click here to head on over there for more inspiration.

Recently, I decided to refresh my side porch for the summer, and today I thought I’d give you a peek. In an ideal world, I’d invite all of you over to sip sangria and visit. But since there aren’t enough seats for everyone, I figured this mini-tour would be the next best thing. For the […]




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Guest Color Lovers - Bedroom Makeover: Before | Inspired by Charm

Well friends, as I promised a while back, I’m tackling a mini-makeover of one of my guest bedrooms. Earlier this year some blogger friends and I decided it would be fun to team up for a bloggers’ series. For the series, each of us would pick a room in our homes and give it a new look inspired by color. We’re calling our series Color Lovers.

Today all of us bloggers in this series are sharing “before” images of our respective spaces and giving you a sneak peek at our plans for them. (I’ve linked all of the other bloggers at the end of this post, so be sure to check out everyone’s spaces.)

For this fun series, I opted to refresh my coral bohemian-inspired guest bedroom. While this space has always functioned fine, I was never especially excited or happy about it, so it was the perfect choice for this project.

Guest Color Lovers - Bedroom Makeover: Before | Inspired by Charm

Guest Color Lovers - Bedroom Makeover: Before | Inspired by Charm

My plan is to keep the layout of the room pretty much the same and just tweak some of the furnishings, accessories, and paint. As regular IBC readers know, I recently moved to a new apartment in Pittsburgh. Because I’m still unsure about the future of my house in St. Marys, a major and costly room makeover just didn’t make sense right now.

However, I still want a big change for this room so my hope is to take it from tropical bohemian to hipster hotel.

Let’s take a look.

Guest Color Lovers - Bedroom Makeover: Before | Inspired by Charm

Yeah, it’s quite different, right?

I often pick up inspiration while traveling, and that’s where the idea for this space came from. Back in February, when I was visiting Pittsburgh, I stayed at the Ace Hotel and fell in love with the decor of its restaurant.

Guest Color Lovers - Bedroom Makeover: Before | Inspired by Charm

In case you’ve never been to an Ace Hotel, the vibe is vintage with modern touches. Think record players and colors from the 70s with thick black borders and touches of marble. Hipster is probably the most appropriate word for it. And even though, I don’t consider myself “hipster,” I adore the aesthetic.

Guest Color Lovers - Bedroom Makeover: Before | Inspired by Charm

I’ll be sourcing all of the items above when I post the reveal on June 27. (The rest of the bloggers in the series will be sharing their reveals then, too.) During this series, we all have the pleasure of working with The Mine, Birch Lane, and Minted to source some of the decor and accessories for our spaces. So, if you’re desperate to find some of these pieces, those are good places to start.

While I’m thrilled to have a direction for changing this space, I am still undecided on a few details and also debating whether to paint. If I do paint, it would most likely be just around the fireplace, a feature wall, or some modelings. We shall see!

Whatever happens, I’m so excited to get this color-loving makeover started so I can share the reveal with you at the end of June! I may even pop back in between to give you a little update. You can also follow along with my Instagram Stories where I’m sure I’ll be teasing you with a few things from my room refresh.

If you love makeovers, be sure to visit all of the bloggers in the series by clicking on the links below.

Guest Color Lovers - Bedroom Makeover: Before | Inspired by Charm
Inspired by Charm (You’re here!)

Well friends, as I promised a while back, I’m tackling a mini-makeover of one of my guest bedrooms. Earlier this year some blogger friends and I decided it would be fun to team up for a bloggers’ series. For the series, each of us would pick a room in our homes and give it a […]




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Find Joy in Simplicity in Your Home | Inspired by Charm
This post is sponsored by NESTEA.

A couple weeks ago, I told you that I was working with my friends at NESTEA to decorate a Tiny House in NYC. It took a couple months to bring it all together, so it was great to finally see the result of our collaboration.

The Tiny House was created to show the idea of “less is more” and that by simplifying our lives, we’re able to focus on what’s truly important and enhance our joy.

Find Joy in Simplicity in Your Home | Inspired by Charm

Find Joy in Simplicity in Your Home | Inspired by Charm

The timing of this opportunity with NESTEA was perfect since I have been making changes in my own life to increase my happiness. As I travel between my house in St. Marys and my apartment in Pittsburgh, the advantages of having less have become apparent. I know this sounds kind of backward because having two residences instead of one is the opposite of less, but I’m referring to the “stuff” I have in each of those places.

As I work to create simplicity in my homes, today I thought I’d share a few tips for how to do this. Whether you’re starting out in a new space or reinventing your old one, I hope these ideas help you maximize your joy!

Keep Only What You Love
I’ve always used my job as an excuse to “have a lot of things.” Since my home is my stage for Inspired by Charm, I’m constantly wanting to keep things looking new. That means shopping for things each season to give my spaces a fresh and updated look. And while I love this (because shopping and decorating are my jam), a house can only hold so much.

Find Joy in Simplicity in Your Home | Inspired by Charm

Recently, I’ve been trying to follow the principle of when something new comes in, something old must go. For example, if I get a new set of throw pillows for my bed, the old ones should be donated rather than stuffed in a tote and stored away. This instantly eliminates the excess.

Find Joy in Simplicity in Your Home | Inspired by Charm

Now, I totally understand that I can’t just get rid of everything. Decorating is a passion, so I do like to change things up seasonally. That’s why I’m working to create a dedicated area in my basement or attic where I can store sentimental decorations that I plan to use again and again. Simplifying is about balance, too.

In Color Order
Let’s talk about simplicity in decor. No matter what your style (even if you’re like me and want to keep things eclectic), you can still find a beautiful sweet spot between extravagant and simple. You can see below how I was able to incorporate a few of the tiny house accessories into my own home just by working within a color scheme.

Find Joy in Simplicity in Your Home | Inspired by Charm

With any design (even when I’m planning a party), I often turn to color as a guiding principle. If you can limit the colors in a space, you can instantly keep things simple and cohesive. Take the Tiny House for example. The goal for the home was to honor the NESTEA green and incorporate that throughout the space. This was a great idea because it instantly gave us a theme. It simplified the design process as well because I could focus my efforts on finding things in that color scheme rather than searching through every possible color palette.

Find Joy in Simplicity in Your Home | Inspired by Charm

For balance, I choose to incorporate a few touches of blue. While simplifying is wonderful and powerful, maintaining a balance is also important. An example is the new NESTEA. While the recipe has fewer ingredients and a simpler recipe, there’s still room to play with levels of sweetness (from unsweetened to slightly sweetened) and flavor (lemon, raspberry, and peach.) The goal here is to add joy, not remove it.

Design With Purpose
One other thing to keep in mind with your decor is to have things with purpose whenever possible. Can a basket add texture while providing a place to store towels or magazines? Can a bedside clock look chic and as it gives you the time? Can banquette seating offer hidden storage? Can open shelving in the kitchen function as wall art and storage?

Find Joy in Simplicity in Your Home | Inspired by Charm

Anytime something can do double (or triple) duty, I think it’s a win. Again, it something serves a purpose and brings you joy, it’s worth keeping in your home. Also, keep in mind that “purpose” can also mean that something makes you laugh or brings a smile to your face. Be it a gold unicorn bust or a brass wiener dog, it’s important to allow things in your life and home whose sole purpose to make you happy.

Keep Organized
Like many people, I struggle with staying organized. There have been multiple occasions when I’ve bought something new, forgetting I already had something similar stored away. Or I’ll buy something because I just can’t find the one I already own. (Please tell me I’m not the only one!)

Find Joy in Simplicity in Your Home | Inspired by Charm

Therefore staying organized and having a place for everything can be helpful when it comes to simplifying. For example, store your tools in a tool chest instead of having them scattered around in various drawers. Keep all your jeans on one shelf or in one section of your closet. Have a dedicated area for mail rather than allowing it to pile up on every flat surface from your door to your desk. It’s a joy suck when you realize your electric bill is a week overdue because you can’t find it and now you have to pay a late fee.

Find Joy in Simplicity in Your Home | Inspired by Charm

No matter our intentions, I know that at times we are all restricted by life, time, and money. In a perfect world, we’d follow every “good” principle and life would be dandy. There’s no need to drastically change things in one day (unless that works for you). Try making small changes over time. The goal is to simplify and maximize the joy in your life (not cause stress.)

Find Joy in Simplicity in Your Home | Inspired by Charm

Find Joy in Simplicity in Your Home | Inspired by Charm

For more information about the NESTEA Tiny House that I helped to decorate, check out my post here. Also, be sure to sample the all-new NESTEA. It’s mighty tasty. Their real brewed tea (in black and green tea) comes in a variety of sweetness levels. They also have fruit-flavored teas, including lemon, raspberry, and peach. You can get a free taste at NESTEA.com Cheers!

Thank you to NESTEA for sponsoring this blog post. All opinions are my own.

This post is sponsored by NESTEA. A couple weeks ago, I told you that I was working with my friends at NESTEA to decorate a Tiny House in NYC. It took a couple months to bring it all together, so it was great to finally see the result of our collaboration. The Tiny House was […]




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What's the Tea with IBC | Inspired by Charm

Happy Wednesday, friends! It’s been a while since I’ve chatted with all of you, so I thought today would be a good time to pop in and say hello.

Life has been a rollercoaster these past few weeks. As you know, two weeks ago, I finally got into my new apartment in Pittsburgh which was wonderful. I knew going into May that it would be a busy month with Mother’s Day, a trip to NYC, and the move. However, since I was excited and ready for the change, I was OK with the busy-ness.

Unfortunately, one day into my move, my grandma had a stroke. It wasn’t a major stroke, but it has affected her ability to swallow. I won’t get into details, but my family has been in a constant state of worry and concern ever since. Some days we are very hopeful and others … not so much.

Naturally, settling into Pittsburgh (and life, in general) is now on hold. I had intended to return there yesterday, but changes in my Gram’s condition have kept me in St. Mary’s. I may sneak down to my apartment later this week for a couple days, but that depends on her status.

I realized that might be too much information for the blog, but I’ve been taking you along with me on this 2017 journey – good and bad, so there it is.

Despite life’s rollercoaster, I’m ecstatic about finally getting to Pittsburgh and starting to feel comfortable there. Since we last chatted, I’ve ordered a sofa, desk, and a couple light fixtures. I also found a beautiful, large entryway mirror at HomeGoods. If you’re following along on Instagram, you might have seen a few of those things in my stories. I also have my eye on a few other pieces that I’m hoping to order this weekend if the Memorial Day sales pan out.

What's the Tea with IBC | Inspired by Charm

As I mentioned, last week I was in New York City for work. (You can read more about that here.) The weather was perfect, and when I had some free time, I hit up a number of home stores I don’t normally get to. Let me tell you, seeing decor and furniture in real life instead of blindly ordering online is life changing. (Okay, maybe not life changing, but you get what I mean.) To be able to see scale, size, color, and texture in real life is just so helpful when choosing pieces for the home.

Naturally, I checked out favorites like West Elm and Crate & Barrel. But two stores I was super excited to visit were the newly opened Rejuvenation and ABC Carpet and Home.

What's the Tea with IBC | Inspired by Charm

I’ve been in love with this particular fixture from Rejuvenation since it came out last year. I had hoped to get it for my apartment but found out that it’s an LED fixture, and therefore wouldn’t be dimmable. (Or, at the very least might not dim with great results.) Beyond looks, I’m not a big fan of overhead lighting, so dimmability is very important to me. Anywho, while at Rejuvenation, I found a fabulous duvet cover, some beautiful pillows, and a few other light fixtures to swoon over.

What's the Tea with IBC | Inspired by Charm

What's the Tea with IBC | Inspired by Charm

ABC Carpet and Home was also a great place to visit for general inspiration. I saw several pieces I really loved, but I’m afraid they’re probably beyond my budget. However, it was still insightful to visit in person versus just looking online or in a catalog.

Once I get back to the ‘burgh, I plan to put some posts together about how I’m decorating my space, choosing light fixtures, etc. I have a lot of design / decorating posts swirling around in my head. They are coming, I promise.

What's the Tea with IBC | Inspired by Charm

And that’s about it, friends. (Oh! I also got my self-watering planters planted and updated my porch with a bit of color, so I’ll be sharing those things soon.)

As always, thank you for following along, reading, commenting, liking, pinning, sharing, etc. Seeing your ideas and what you like means so much to me. And if you have a spare moment, please keep my Gram in your thoughts.

Happy Wednesday, friends! It’s been a while since I’ve chatted with all of you, so I thought today would be a good time to pop in and say hello. Life has been a rollercoaster these past few weeks. As you know, two weeks ago, I finally got into my new apartment in Pittsburgh which was […]




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Celebrate with this unique and colorful cocktail: a Prickly Pear Margarita recipe served in a cactus glass. | Inspired by Charm

Happy Friday, friends! Today I’m wrapping up the cactus-themed party that I kicked off on Monday. I started by sharing some tips for prepping the perfect party, and then I gave you my recipe for Really Good Pasta Salad. Today we are celebrating with a delicious Prickly Pear Margarita.

Celebrate with this unique and colorful cocktail: a Prickly Pear Margarita recipe served in a cactus glass. | Inspired by Charm

I’ve actually been waiting to make something with prickly pear for a long time. Back when I worked at the Four Seasons Hotel in Philadelphia, this was one of the specialty cocktails on the menu. If prickly pear is new to you, you might be surprised to know that it’s not really a pear: It’s a fruit that grows on a cactus. It gets its name from the prickly needles of the cactus. The flavor is reminiscent of a pear mixed with watermelon and a “natural” bubble gum. I know that sounds a bit odd, but it is quite delicious and works well in cocktails and vinaigrette dressings.

Celebrate with this unique and colorful cocktail: a Prickly Pear Margarita recipe served in a cactus glass. | Inspired by Charm

Not that the prickly pear needs another unique element, but one of my favorite things about this fruit is its neon fuchsia color. When used in a cocktail, it instantly creates a wow-worthy drink. Don’t you agree?

Celebrate with this unique and colorful cocktail: a Prickly Pear Margarita recipe served in a cactus glass. | Inspired by Charm

The easiest way to use prickly pear is in a syrup. It’s likely to be available in specialty food stores, however, I found mine here.

Celebrate with this unique and colorful cocktail: a Prickly Pear Margarita recipe served in a cactus glass. | Inspired by Charm

Now that we’re all familiar with prickly pears, it’s time to shake up our margaritas. In keeping with the cactus theme of this celebration, I chose to use my cactus margarita glasses. Mine are vintage. I found them on eBay a few years ago. But you can buy new ones here. (They look identical.)

Cactus-themed party with cactus margaritas glasses and Prickly Pear Margaritas! | Inspired by Charm

Begin by rimming your glasses with a wedge of lime and then dipping them in some kosher salt. Though the prickly pear syrup will make these margaritas a touch sweeter, I still appreciate a salted rim.

Celebrate with this unique and colorful cocktail: a Prickly Pear Margarita recipe served in a cactus glass. | Inspired by Charm

The tequila, Cointreau, lime juice, and prickly pear syrup are then shaken with ice. Add a bit of ice to your prepared margarita glasses and pour over that delicious libation. Garnish with a slice of lime.

Celebrate with this unique and colorful cocktail: a Prickly Pear Margarita recipe served in a cactus glass. | Inspired by Charm

Celebrate with this unique and colorful cocktail: a Prickly Pear Margarita recipe served in a cactus glass. | Inspired by Charm

For added fun, I picked up a few of these cactus cocktail charms. Their neon colors and cute design matched my party perfectly. What do you think? And as a bonus, my guests won’t confuse their drink with someone else’s. Win-win!

Celebrate with this unique and colorful cocktail: a Prickly Pear Margarita recipe served in a cactus glass. | Inspired by Charm

Prickly Pear Margarita

serves two

3 ounces clear tequila
2 ounces Cointreau
2 ounces freshly-squeezed lime juice
1 ounce prickly pear syrup
Lime and kosher salt for garnish

Begin by running a wedge of lime around the edge of your margarita glass. Dip in kosher salt to coat.

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the tequila, Cointreau, freshly-squeezed lime juice, and prickly pear syrup. Shake vigorously. Strain into your prepared margarita glasses filled will ice. Garnish with a lime slice to serve.

Print

Cheers, friends!

Celebrate with this unique and colorful cocktail: a Prickly Pear Margarita recipe served in a cactus glass. | Inspired by Charm

I hope you enjoyed this fun, colorful, and delicious drink. Whether you’re hosting a party or just relaxing at home, I hope your weekend is magical.

Cactus Themed Party ideas for a unique and fun celebration complete with Prickly Pear Margaritas | Inspired by Charm

Be sure to check out the full party post here and grab the recipe for the Really Good Pasta Salad here.

Happy Friday, friends! Today I’m wrapping up the cactus-themed party that I kicked off on Monday. I started by sharing some tips for prepping the perfect party, and then I gave you my recipe for Really Good Pasta Salad. Today we are celebrating with a delicious Prickly Pear Margarita. I’ve actually been waiting to make […]




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My Results with Jenny Craig | Inspired by Charm
Thank you Jenny Craig for sponsoring this post. Tried other diets? It’s time for Jenny Craig.

Well, the results are in. It’s been about 2.5 months since I started on the Jenny Craig program, and I’m happy to report that I’ve lost a total of 18 pounds*! As you can tell, I’m extremely pleased with the results and so happy that I chose to include weight loss in my 2017 journey to improve myself and amp up my happiness.

* Results not typical. Members following the Jenny Craig program, on average, lose 1-2 lbs per week. I received promotional consideration.

When starting this program, my goal was to lose 25-30 pounds. Although I haven’t reached that goal quite yet, I’m well over halfway there, and that makes me pretty excited.

My Results with Jenny Craig | Inspired by Charm

If you’ve ever struggled with your weight or tried dieting, you know it’s not easy. Give me a weekend, and I can put on five pounds without trying. Taking off those five pounds in one weekend, however, is not so effortless (and practically impossible),

I was exceedingly grateful to have the support of Jenny Craig. Without the program, I’m not sure I would have been as successful. As I mentioned, I had hoped to be down 25-30 pounds by the end of May (and I’m still working on that goal). While I’m not there yet, I am thankful to be where I am. Had I not done anything, I assume I would be at the same weight or even higher.

My Results with Jenny Craig | Inspired by Charm

I also learned a few things though this whole process. First, having a menu plan is ideal for me. With the Jenny Craig food and menus, I didn’t have to think about what I was going to eat. I went with what was on the menu rather than impulsively eating something loaded with calories. Second, I gained more perspective on how much food is enough. There’s no doubt I eat more than I should at meals, and it’s just not necessary. Throughout the program, I was rarely hungry. Could I have eaten four of those awesome cinnamon rolls instead of two? You bet. But did I need four? Of course not.

My Results with Jenny Craig | Inspired by Charm

Beyond the weight loss, I have renewed confidence. Shirts that were once too tight now fit again, and I’m just generally more comfortable in my own skin. It’s a good feeling. Another thing that I’ve noticed is that signs of a double chin when I smile have disappeared. It’s motivating to me when I look in the mirror and no longer see that.

This all comes at such a perfect time too as I’ve moved to Pittsburg to start a new chapter of my life. Feeling more like myself and more confident will go a long way in helping me go outside my comfort zone, try new things, and meet new people.

I also want to say that losing weight or being “skinny” doesn’t make you or anyone more beautiful, attractive, or sexy than the next person. I believe that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. If you are comfortable, happy, and healthy in your body, then you are totally winning, my friend. The reason I decided to lose weight is because I wasn’t comfortable, happy, or healthy. The Jenny Craig program was my tool and friend for the past two months, and it greatly helped me on this journey. I will also carry the principles of the program in my back pocket. (And maybe a snack or two.)


My Results with Jenny Craig | Inspired by Charm

While I didn’t snap traditional before and after photos, I thought I should at least include a few new pictures of myself. If fact, it wasn’t until just a couple of weeks ago that I felt comfortable taking new photos of myself and sharing them with the world. I even went as far as to update my profile photo here on the blog and social media. I know that sounds like a silly thing, but I have avoided posting pictures of myself for quite a while.

My Results with Jenny Craig | Inspired by Charm

Thank you for joining me on this adventure. I still have more pounds to lose and more muscle to gain so I will certainly pop back in to give you an update on my journey.

Feel free to check out the Jenny Craig website for more information about the program and to see if it’s right for you. I’m also always happy to answer your questions in the comments below. Everyone’s experience is different, but I can tell you about mine.

 

This post was sponsored by Jenny Craig but the content and opinions express here are my own.

Thank you Jenny Craig for sponsoring this post.  Tried other diets? It’s time for Jenny Craig

This post was sponsored by Jenny Craig and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Thank you Jenny Craig for sponsoring this post. Tried other diets? It’s time for Jenny Craig. Well, the results are in. It’s been about 2.5 months since I started on the Jenny Craig program, and I’m happy to report that I’ve lost a total of 18 pounds*! As you can tell, I’m extremely pleased with the results […]




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Decorating A Tiny House in NYC with NESTEA | Inspired by Charm
This post is sponsored by NESTEA.

I have exciting news! For the past couple months, I’ve been working with my friends at NESTEA to design a Tiny House in NYC!

If you haven’t heard, NESTEA has a fresh new look and delicious new recipes. Now made with fewer ingredients, it’s a perfect example of “less is more.” As frequent IBC readers know, I’m also making changes in my life to simplify, clear the clutter, and find more joy. So, when NESTEA presented this Tiny House opportunity to me, I was totally on board. Joy, simplicity, and design? Yes! Count me in.

Decorating A Tiny House in NYC with NESTEA | Inspired by Charm

The NESTEA Tiny House in NYC showcases this concept of less is more in a beautiful, trendy, and fun way. Two other bloggers and I were brought on to help plan the interior decor of the house. My focus was on the living room, bedroom and bathroom as well as deciding on several other details in the space.

Decorating A Tiny House in NYC with NESTEA | Inspired by Charm

Decorating A Tiny House in NYC with NESTEA | Inspired by Charm

Never having designed a space like this, it was an enjoyable challenge for me. My color inspiration came from the greens in the NESTEA logo and branding. I also pulled in touches of blue to add contrast and interest. A lot of white was used the space as well to keep it feeling spacious and open. Black accents were incorporated for a fresh, clean, contemporary look.

Decorating A Tiny House in NYC with NESTEA | Inspired by Charm

Modern stripes, solid colors, and green borders keep the overall design simple but appealing. A few accent pillows were chosen to provide a pop of color and pattern. The softness of the pillows also makes the space look and feel comfortable.

Decorating A Tiny House in NYC with NESTEA | Inspired by Charm

Since space is extremely limited in a tiny house, every detail in it must have a purpose. A few simple accessories were incorporated to keep the house fun and inviting without feeling fussy or cluttered. Plus, the details give it personality. (Any Inspired by Charm space wouldn’t be complete without a touch of quirkiness and brass. Right? You know me too well.)

Decorating A Tiny House in NYC with NESTEA | Inspired by Charm

Decorating A Tiny House in NYC with NESTEA | Inspired by Charm

By now, you’re probably wondering what all of this has to do with you and blogging.

Well, if you live in or near New York City and want to see the Tiny House (and me), you’re welcome to stop by for a visit! The NESTEA Tiny House will be set up in Herald Square on May 17. Swing by, say hello, and sample the new NESTEA. If you don’t live near NYC, no worries. You can follow along on social media (@inspiredbycharm) for a look inside the space.

Second, after the reveal of the Tiny House in NYC (which I’ll share more details about in coming weeks), I’ll be back here on Inspired by Charm with ideas on how you can find joy in simplifying home decorating and entertaining. As I design my new home in Pittsburgh, that will be a major theme. I’m excited to move forward with less so I can focus on what’s really important and not be weighed down with excess and clutter.

Decorating A Tiny House in NYC with NESTEA | Inspired by Charm

I’m looking forward to seeing you in NYC on May 17 or virtually via social media. For more information about the new NESTEA and their selection of delicious teas, head on over to their site.

Thank you to NESTEA for sponsoring this blog post. All opinions are my own.

This post is sponsored by NESTEA. I have exciting news! For the past couple months, I’ve been working with my friends at NESTEA to design a Tiny House in NYC! If you haven’t heard, NESTEA has a fresh new look and delicious new recipes. Now made with fewer ingredients, it’s a perfect example of “less […]




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Really Good Pasta Salad recipe packed with flavor and perfect for summer entertaining | Inspired by Charm

Thank you to everyone who joined me yesterday at my little cactus-themed party. Today I’m continuing the fun with my recipe for the pasta salad featured in that post. It’s aptly called Really Good Pasta Salad.

Really Good Pasta Salad recipe packed with flavor and perfect for summer entertaining | Inspired by Charm

You may remember that a few years ago I shared a recipe for Really Good Macaroni Salad (which, by the way, has become one of the most popular recipes here on IBC.) The reason I described that salad and this one as “really good” versus something like “the best” or “the ultimate” is because I haven’t tried all of the pasta salads in the world. Plus, even if I did, what I think is best might be different from you think is best. Make sense?

Really Good Pasta Salad recipe packed with flavor and perfect for summer entertaining | Inspired by Charm

This recipe is from my mom. While she often comes to me for new recipes, I always go to her for classic recipes from my past. We make a good team like that! I’ve loved this pasta salad for years, so I’m happy I finally have a chance to make it for you.

As you can see, this pasta salad recipe has a lot of delicious little goodies mixed in – cheese, olives, broccoli, pepperoni, salami, and so on. I think the variety of ingredients creates a wonderful combination of flavors and textures. However, if you hate olives (or another non-essential ingredient), feel free to leave them out.

Really Good Pasta Salad recipe packed with flavor and perfect for summer entertaining | Inspired by Charm

Really Good Pasta Salad recipe packed with flavor and perfect for summer entertaining | Inspired by Charm

Also, when you’re chopping all of the ingredients, I recommend keeping the pieces pretty small. This is my trick for creating any really good pasta-type salad. The goal is to get as many of those tasty flavors into a serving as you can. If you only have eight pieces of broccoli in the salad because you cut them so big, it’s likely that not every serving will have broccoli.

Really Good Pasta Salad recipe packed with flavor and perfect for summer entertaining | Inspired by Charm

All right, let’s whip up a batch!

Really Good Pasta Salad recipe packed with flavor and perfect for summer entertaining | Inspired by Charm

Really Good Pasta Salad

Serves 10-15

Here's what you will need:
1 pound cellentani pasta, prepared al dente and cooled
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1 cup broccoli, chopped
1 cup green olives, sliced
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, cubed
1/2 cup banana peppers, chopped
1 cup mini pepperoni (or pepperoni cubed)
1/2 cup salami, cubed
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
1 medium green pepper, diced

Dressing:
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, add the cooled pasta, red onion, broccoli, green olives, cheese, banana peppers, pepperoni, salami, cherry tomatoes, and green pepper. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar, sugar, dried parsley, Italian seasoning, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. (About 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.)

Add the dressing to the bowl of pasta. Toss to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours. Toss again before serving.

Print

Really Good Pasta Salad recipe packed with flavor and perfect for summer entertaining | Inspired by Charm

Really Good Pasta Salad recipe packed with flavor and perfect for summer entertaining | Inspired by Charm

I could make a meal out of this stuff. That’s how much I like it!

Deliziosissima!

Really Good Pasta Salad recipe packed with flavor and perfect for summer entertaining | Inspired by Charm

Oh, and for those who were asking, you can find that fun light-up marquee-style cactus here and the wooden cactus cutlery here. The adorable mini clay cacti were a DIY. You can learn how to make those here. The white ceramic cactus was a HomeGoods find.

Really Good Pasta Salad recipe packed with flavor and perfect for summer entertaining | Inspired by Charm

Join me back here on Friday for the Prickly Pear Margarita recipe and more details on the party supplies.

Thank you to everyone who joined me yesterday at my little cactus-themed party. Today I’m continuing the fun with my recipe for the pasta salad featured in that post. It’s aptly called Really Good Pasta Salad. You may remember that a few years ago I shared a recipe for Really Good Macaroni Salad (which, by […]




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7 Tips for Party Planning Prep - ideas for hosting a stress-free celebration | Inspired by Charm
This post is sponsored by Clorox® Scentiva™.

Summer is upon us, and that means it’s the season for parties, barbecues, and get-togethers with family and friends. I don’t know about you, but I always get a little nervous when the crew is coming over to my house. That’s because I like things to be as “perfect” and polished as possible.

If you’re like me in that regard, then this post is for you. Today I’m sharing 7 Tips for Party Planning Prep. And, as a fun bonus, I have two recipes inspired by this list that I’ll be posting later this week. Plus, there’s an adorable recipe tag/place card printable that you can download for free today!

7 Tips for Party Planning Prep - ideas for hosting a stress-free celebration | Inspired by Charm

For this post, I’ve teamed up with the folks over at Clorox® to tell you about their exciting line of Scentiva™ products. Clorox® Scentiva™ Disinfecting Wipes and Multi-Surface Cleaners are a new products that’s designed to clean, disinfect, and deodorize. It comes in two destination-inspired scents: Hawaiian Sunshine and Tuscan Lavender & Jasmine. You no longer have to choose between a product that is effective and a product that smells good. Now you can get the best of both worlds in one.

7 Tips for Party Planning Prep - ideas for hosting a stress-free celebration | Inspired by Charm

Okay, with plenty of Clorox® Scentiva™ cleaners and wipes on hand and a cute cactus-inspired party theme, let’s talk party planning prep tips!

Create a Specialty Cocktail
When it comes to entertaining, creating a specialty cocktail is always on my list. While it’s considerate to have a few beverages for your guests to choose from, a specialty cocktail is a wonderful way to tie in your party theme and show off your personality.

Prickly Pear Margarita - bold colors and sweet taste make this margarita recipe perfect for summer celebrations! | Inspired by Charm

Prickly Pear Margarita - bold colors and sweet taste make this margarita recipe perfect for summer celebrations! | Inspired by Charm

For this gathering, I whipped up a Prickly Pear Margarita (You can find the recipe HERE!). The recipe and glasses go nicely with my cactus theme, and the bold fuchsia color of the prickly pear cactus syrup is sure to catch the attention of guests. Earn the “host-with-the most award” by having a few of your cocktail recipes printed off for guests to take with them.

Set Up in Advance
Come the day of your party or event, there’s likely to be a lot going on. Use the days leading up to the party to get your house clean and ready for the event. Hosting a dinner party? Set the table in advance! Having a buffet? Decide what bowls and serving utensils you’ll need. If you can, go ahead and set them out on the table. When the party rolls around, just add the food.

7 Tips for Party Planning Prep - ideas for hosting a stress-free celebration | Inspired by Charm

7 Tips for Party Planning Prep - ideas for hosting a stress-free celebration | Inspired by Charm

For last-minute cleanups before the party, grab Clorox® Scentiva™. Not only is it effective and easy to use, it won’t leave your house smelling like you waited until the last minute to clean.

Stick with What You Know
A big party is not the time to experiment with a fancy new recipe. There’s no need to add to your stress level. Pick recipes you know like the back of your hand. Crowd pleasers are also a smart choice. For this party, I whipped up a batch of classic pasta salad. (You can find the recipe for my Really Good Pasta Salad here.) It not only makes a lot, but it’s always a hit with my guests. I’m looking forward to sharing it with you.

Really Good Pasta Salad - the perfect summer side dish | Inspired by Charm

Really Good Pasta Salad - the perfect summer side dish | Inspired by Charm

If you must try something new, test the recipe on your friends or family. Their responses can help you decide if the recipe is a keeper.

Create a Relaxed Atmosphere
Think about what type of party you’re hosting and create ambiance based on the vibe you want. For example, opt for dim and soft indirect lighting rather than bright overhead lights.

7 Tips for Party Planning Prep - ideas for hosting a stress-free celebration | Inspired by Charm

Add a fragrance that makes your home feel fresh and inviting. Clorox® Scentiva™ is perfect for this. As you’re cleaning, wipe away bacteria and viruses and at the same time fill your home with scents of citrus, key lime, mango, and hibiscus petals. The Hawaiian Sunshine scent will make you think you’re on one of the islands.

7 Tips for Party Planning Prep - ideas for hosting a stress-free celebration | Inspired by Charm

Cactus Themed Party ideas for a unique and fun celebration | Inspired by Charm

Also, don’t forget to relax before guests arrive. You deserve to enjoy the party as much as they do. Plus, a calm host sets a laid-back tone for the event.

Add a Little Flair
As with decor, I think it’s important to add a bit of whimsy to your celebration. For this party, I decided to go with “cactus” as the theme, so I chose a few quirky accessories to match. Adorable mini cacti garnish my cocktails and act as drink charms, a light-up cactus creates drama, cactus print forks are fun and functional, and my DIY clay cactus garden (which I made a few years ago) is given a new life. Think outside the box.

Cactus Themed Party ideas for a unique and fun celebration. Cactus Party Decor | Inspired by Charm

Cactus Themed Party ideas for a unique and fun celebration. Cactus Party Decor | Inspired by Charm

I created these fun CATtus food tags for my celebration. (Yes, it’s a cat cactus.) It’s helpful to have labels for your food and beverages to avoid repeated questions about what’s what. Guests can just help themselves.

Cactus Themed Party ideas for a unique and fun celebration. Cactus Party Decor | Inspired by Charm

Prickly Pear Margarita - bold colors and sweet taste make this margarita recipe perfect for summer celebrations! | Inspired by Charm

And if you like my little CATtus cards and want to use them for your next party, I’m making a free printable available. You can download that here.

Clean as You Go
Cleaning up is my least favorite part of anything. After having a blast for a few hours, who is in the mood to work? My tip: clean as you go. Put dirty plates in the dishwasher, toss used paper goods, and wipe up any spills. Anything you can do while the party is going on will save you time and work afterward

7 Tips for Party Planning Prep - ideas for hosting a stress-free celebration | Inspired by Charm

Prickly Pear Margarita - bold colors and sweet taste make this margarita recipe perfect for summer celebrations! | Inspired by Charm

Again, Clorox® Scentiva™ comes in handy. The last thing you want is for your guests to smell harsh cleaning products while the party is still bumping. However, the scent of lavender, jasmine, white sandalwood, and vanilla only add to the atmosphere and keep things smelling fresh.

7 Tips for Party Planning Prep - ideas for hosting a stress-free celebration | Inspired by Charm

Let Go of Perfection
As I touched on at the beginning of this post, don’t worry about having everything “just so.” View your party like your guests. When they walk into your home, are they going to notice a cobweb in the corner? A chip in your woodwork? Or a wrinkle in your couch pillow? Probably not. They are doing a quick scan of the space, and then the talking, eating, and drinking will take over. Do what you can to prepare, but then relax, and most importantly, have fun!

7 Tips for Party Planning Prep - ideas for hosting a stress-free celebration | Inspired by Charm

Are you feeling more confident in your party planning prep? I certainly hope so. With these tips, you’re ready to host and celebrate the summer. I know I am.

This post is sponsored by Clorox® Scentiva™. Summer is upon us, and that means it’s the season for parties, barbecues, and get-togethers with family and friends. I don’t know about you, but I always get a little nervous when the crew is coming over to my house. That’s because I like things to be as […]




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IBC in PGH | Inspired by Charm

Well, it’s official. I’ve moved!

(Quick recap for those who have no idea what I’m talking about: I decided to rent an apartment in Pittsburgh, PA and split my time between there (er, here) and my house in St. Marys.)

Earlier this week, I packed up a few things in my car and headed to Pittsburgh. In typical Michael-fashion, I’m a ball of nervous excitement. Despite my nerves, things are going well so far. The month of May is a busy one for me, so I’ll be traveling back and forth quite a bit. However, I really wanted to move into my new place as soon a possible to start getting a feel for things so that when I’m officially ready to spend more time here, the transition will be smooth.

Because I’m maintaining my home in St. Marys, too, I did not take a bunch of stuff with me to Pittsburgh. The goal is to start fresh in this new space. I’m still loving this idea, but right now I’m writing this from my makeshift office – an outdoor chair and the box my trashcan came in. However, I do get to stare out a giant window at all the possibilities ahead, so I’m perfectly OK with this situation.

IBC in PGH | Inspired by Charm

I realize it’s been a bit quiet around IBC, and I hope you’ll understand. I will have fresh content coming next week. It’s already been photographed, and I’m excited to share it. Thanks again for your patience.

Today, I thought I’d quickly show you around my empty space so you can see the “Before.” I’ll also talk briefly about my design plans.

The main space of the apartment is an open concept living room-dining room-kitchen. This is the reason I chose this particular unit. The room has huge windows, plus a small balcony. I crave natural light so this was a big selling point.

IBC in PGH | Inspired by Charm

IBC in PGH | Inspired by Charm

A couple weeks ago as I was starting to plan the design for this space. I had the idea to go more contemporary with some mod furniture, touches of gold (of course!), and a more masculine aesthetic. However, once I got here and spent time in the apartment, my plan has shifted. Yesterday, I walked around Butler Street (which is the main street of Lawrenceville – my neighborhood) and was inspired by the city. While I still want to keep this space masculine, I’m moving toward a contemporary industrial aesthetic. But not old, hard, and uncomfortable. I’m thinking more colorful, warm, and cozy. A big brown leather couch, wood-based dining table with glass top, upholstered dining chairs, wood bed frame, etc.

I’m probably not making much sense, but it’s clear in my mind, Over the next few weeks, I’m going to start putting together a couple mood-boards so you can see what I mean. Hopefully,

IBC in PGH | Inspired by Charm

IBC in PGH | Inspired by Charm

Off the kitchen-living area is the master bedroom. This is a small room, and it only has one window. However, it does have an attached bath. While I’d love more light in this space, I keep reminding myself that I’m mostly in here while sleeping. If I decide I have to have more light, a well-placed mirror might help.

IBC in PGH | Inspired by Charm

IBC in PGH | Inspired by Charm

IBC in PGH | Inspired by Charm

Behind the wall of the living room is my office/studio. This space is actually much bigger than I remember when first looking at the unit. What I love most about this room is that it has another one of those huge windows. Since I will be working from home, this is probably the room I’ll be spending a big chunk of my time in.

IBC in PGH | Inspired by Charm

IBC in PGH | Inspired by Charm

A few times I’ve questioned whether I actually “needed” a second bedroom. And while I probably could have done without it, I’m thrilled that I will be able to close the door to this space and create a physical separation between my work and the rest of my life. (It’s hard to do that at my house in St. Mary’s since the office is sort of the hub of the home.)

Next to the office is another full bath for guests. Love that!

There’s also a sizable entryway. It has room for a table and a little bench and a mirror. With most apartment units, you essentially walk right into the living room, so having this dedicated entry space is a plus.

IBC in PGH | Inspired by Charm

I do have lots of closet space which is another advantage. One of the closets contains a washer/dryer unit!

Right now, the entire space is an off-white color. It’s not my fave, but I’m going to try to live with it for a few months. I am allowed to paint, so maybe I’ll add color or change things to pure white. Only time will tell. One thing I’m kind of bummed about is that all the trim and doors are gray. You know I love me some white trim. I think this is something I’ll have to live with, although I might be able to change the door colors.

Again, this new space is really a chance for me to test the waters. Wall and trim color aren’t going to (or shouldn’t) affect my life, so I’m just rolling with things for now.

IBC in PGH | Inspired by Charm

IBC in PGH | Inspired by Charm

Naturally, I want the whole apartment to be furnished, styled, and finished tomorrow. However, I discovered yesterday that there are a number of interesting and beautiful shops in my neighborhood. It was a nice reminder to slow down and take my time with this process. It’s not necessary to run to West Elm or HomeGoods and buy everything in one swoop simply to have the place finished. During the past year I sort of forgot how much I love designing, sourcing, and shopping, so I might as well stretch out the process as much as possible. Right?

http://inspiredbycharm.com/2017/04/moving-to-pittsburgh.html

Yes, admittedly, it would be nice not to be working on a cardboard box, but this builds character or something, doesn’t it?

I hope you enjoyed this look around my space and are excited as I am for this new adventure. I’ve been trying to be a bit more active on Instagram and Instagram stories, so if you want more peeks at what I’m doing, be sure to follow along there.

Until next time, friends!

Well, it’s official. I’ve moved! (Quick recap for those who have no idea what I’m talking about: I decided to rent an apartment in Pittsburgh, PA and split my time between there (er, here) and my house in St. Marys.) Earlier this week, I packed up a few things in my car and headed to […]




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Mason Jar Cherry Supreme - classic summer dessert recipe | Inspired by Charm

I’ve had this recipe on the side of my refrigerator for a good two years. It’s one of those recipes I’ve always wanted to make and share. However, I kept thinking it’s too basic since it uses canned cherry pie filling and Dream Whip.

Mason Jar Cherry Supreme - classic summer dessert recipe | Inspired by Charm

So when my mom asked me to return the recipe card because she wanted to make it for Easter, I was kind of surprised. But you guessed it. On Easter Sunday, I had to try a slice. Talk about good!!!

Mason Jar Cherry Supreme - classic summer dessert recipe | Inspired by Charm

As you know, I’ve been on a weight loss journey (I’m down 17 pounds by the way.), and through the course of my weight loss journey (and recent personal journey), I’ve realized that life is about balance. I’m on board with exercising, eating more healthfully, and avoiding processed foods. In fact, I love cooking with fresh, in-season ingredients. But it turns out that I also like Dream Whip and cherry pie filling. And though they might “not be so good” for me, I’m going to thoroughly enjoy them on occasion.

I’m not sure why I feel the need to explain this. Maybe it’s a way to lessen the guilt I sometimes feel about eating and sharing desserts when I should be snacking on a carrot. But again, balance. In all things, find balance. (What you don’t see is me later sweating like crazy for 40 minutes on the elliptical to burn off those sweet calories.)

Mason Jar Cherry Supreme - classic summer dessert recipe | Inspired by Charm

So, this Mason Jar Cherry Supreme is an old-school recipe. It’s traditionally made into a pie (which my mom did and you can too with the recipe below), But I think any dessert is instantly 10% more delicious when it’s served in a mason jar. It will take you a couple extra minutes but it’s so worth it. (I used these mason jars.)

 

Mason Jar Cherry Supreme - classic summer dessert recipe | Inspired by Charm

Mason Jar Cherry Supreme - classic summer dessert recipe | Inspired by Charm

Essentially, this dessert is a cheesecake, but the Dream Whip creates a super creamy and silky texture that’s unmatched. There is cream cheese in there as well to give it that tang we’ve come to love in cheesecake.

Mason Jar Cherry Supreme - classic summer dessert recipe | Inspired by Charm

You can use your own pie filling mix or even fresh berries to top this off, but there’s something nostalgic about canned cherry pie filling. It’s kind of magical. It takes me back to my childhood.

Mason Jar Cherry Supreme - classic summer dessert recipe | Inspired by Charm

Mason Jar Cherry Supreme - classic summer dessert recipe | Inspired by Charm

Anyway, these individual cheesecakes are super simple to make and crazy delicious. Even if you’re not a baker, you can handle this. I promise.

Mason Jar Cherry Supreme - classic summer dessert recipe | Inspired by Charm

Mason Jar Cherry Supreme

Makes 8 servings

Here's what you will need:
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 bag Dream Whip (There are 2 bags in a box; you just need one.)
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 (8 ounces) block cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar

2 (21 ounces) cans cherry pie filling (you may have a bit left over)

Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, salt, and melted butter. Mix until combined. Divide the graham cracker mixture evenly into 8 wide-mouth mason jars (about 1/4 cup in each jar). Use your fingers to press the crust into the bottom of each jar.

Place the jars onto a baking sheet and bake about 10 minutes. Allow the jars to cool completely.

While your jars cool, prepare the cream layer. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, add one bag of Dream Whip. Then add milk and vanilla. Stir to combine. Then mix on high for about 4 minutes.

Next, add the cream cheese and confectioners' sugar. Mix until silky, shiny, and smooth. Place in the refrigerator to chill while your jars continue to cool.

Once everything is chilled, evenly divide the Dream Whip mixture among the jars. (I found it easiest to add the mixture to a large piping bag and pipe it onto the graham cracker crust in each jar.)

Finally, top with the cherry pie filling. Cover with the mason jar lids or plastic wrap and refrigerate the jars until you're ready to serve the dessert.

Print

Voila.

Mason Jar Cherry Supreme - classic summer dessert recipe | Inspired by Charm

Mason Jar Cherry Supreme - classic summer dessert recipe | Inspired by Charm

You see what I mean? Delicious! Are you craving a bite? Well, you’re going to have to make your own because these are mine.

Mason Jar Cherry Supreme - classic summer dessert recipe | Inspired by Charm

Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think.

I also wanted to thank you for your patience with me and the lack of posts on IBC recently. I’m hoping to be posting a bit more regularly in the very near future: 3 or 4 times a week. That’s the plan at least. Your support is always much appreciated.

Mason Jar Cherry Supreme - classic summer dessert recipe | Inspired by Charm

I’ve had this recipe on the side of my refrigerator for a good two years. It’s one of those recipes I’ve always wanted to make and share. However, I kept thinking it’s too basic since it uses canned cherry pie filling and Dream Whip. So when my mom asked me to return the recipe card […]




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Join the conversation.






Strawberry Coconut Margaritas recipe for summer entertaining. | Inspired by Charm

Happy Monday, friends! I’m kicking off this week with a bang! Well, more like a splash because today I’m showing you how to make Strawberry Coconut Margaritas.

Strawberry Coconut Margaritas recipe for summer entertaining. | Inspired by Charm

With the weather warming up (and Cinco de Mayo just days away), several of my blogger friends and I thought it would be great fun to create a little blog tour inspired by two of our favorite things: Tacos and Margaritas!

Strawberry Coconut Margaritas recipe for summer entertaining. | Inspired by Charm

Since I just shared Sriracha Chicken Tacos last week, I decided to take one for the team (LOL) and blend up frozen margaritas. I’ll walk you through my recipe first. Then you can check out all of the others in the tour at the end of this post.

Strawberry Coconut Margaritas recipe for summer entertaining. | Inspired by Charm

Strawberry Coconut Margaritas recipe for summer entertaining. | Inspired by Charm

As I’ve told you, I love me some coconut, so I decided to make coconut margaritas. What’s especially nice about these is that they’re sort of a cross between a margarita and a piña colada. Who wouldn’t love that? To give them a summer twist, I threw in a handful of fresh strawberries for delicious berry flavor and a beautiful pink color. I think they are calling it millennial pink these days. Does that make me trendy?

Strawberry Coconut Margaritas recipe for summer entertaining. | Inspired by Charm

Trendy or not, these libations are the perfect way to sweeten up your fiesta. They’re also just the thing to cool you down as you kick back on a summer or spring afternoon on the porch. Grab your blender and let’s make a few!

Strawberry Coconut Margaritas recipe for summer entertaining. | Inspired by Charm

Strawberry Coconut Margaritas

Makes 4 cocktails

Here's what you will need:
1 (15-ounce) can Cream of Coconut
1 cup tequila
1/4 cup orange liqueur or Triple Sec
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 1/2 cups ice
2/3 cup fresh strawberries, halved
1/4 cup toasted coconut
Honey or lime wedge
Fresh strawberries and lime slices for garnish

Begin by preparing your glasses. Add the toasted coconut to a small plate. Rim each glass first with a bit of honey or the wedge of a lime; then dip the rim of the glass into the toasted coconut to coat. Set aside.

In a blender, add the cream of coconut, tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice, ice, and fresh strawberries. Blend until smooth.

Pour into your prepared glasses. Garnish with a fresh strawberry or slice of lime or both.

Print

Pretty in pink!

Strawberry Coconut Margaritas recipe for summer entertaining. | Inspired by Charm

You’ve got to love a frozen cocktail. Everything gets buzzed around in a blender and voila, it’s ready to go.

Strawberry Coconut Margaritas recipe for summer entertaining. | Inspired by Charm

Here’s to a great week!

And don’t forget to continue on this Tacos and Margaritas adventure by following the links below to see the delicious creations of my fellow bloggers. Enjoy!

 

Skinny Jalapeno Margaritas – Sugar and Cloth
Cinco de Mayo Taco Bar – The Effortless Chic
Margarita Float – Julie Blanner
Coconut Grapefruit Margaritas – Pizzazzerie
Fish Tacos with Coconut Avocado Creme – Freutcake

Happy Monday, friends! I’m kicking off this week with a bang! Well, more like a splash because today I’m showing you how to make Strawberry Coconut Margaritas. With the weather warming up (and Cinco de Mayo just days away), several of my blogger friends and I thought it would be great fun to create a […]




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What's the Tea with IBC | Inspired by Charm

Happy Thursday, friends! Wow. Where did the week go? I need to apologize for my silence this week. In fact, things may be a bit quieter around here over the next month. Let me explain.

As many of you know, in the coming weeks I’m “moving” to Pittsburgh. In preparation, I’ve been purging my current home. The amount of “stuff” I have hidden away in my garage, attic, and basement sort of makes me feel like I have hoarder tendencies. Part of the problem is that when I bought this house 8 years ago, it came fully furnished. And that included an already packed basement and attic.

Anywho, over the past month, I have been making a lot of progress in getting rid of unused and unloved stuff. While I’m not selling my current home, I want to get it to the point where it’s free of excess so that when the time comes, I’m ready. I realize that I’m not going to be done with this process before I make my way to Pittsburgh, but I’d still like to get as much accomplished as possible. Even though that’s been taking up a lot of my time, but it’s not really “blog material.” (Trust me, you don’t want to see my jam-packed basement.)

York, PA - What's the Tea with IBC | Inspired by Charm

In other news, this past weekend my mom, brother, and I went to visit my other brother and his family. I was somewhat hesitant about going given all the things on my to-do list, but we had a wonderful weekend, and I’m so glad I took time off. During the last year, I’ve let work dictate my life in many ways, so it was nice to have a break and not stare at a screen for a few days.

What's the Tea with IBC | Inspired by Charm

Over the past month, I’ve also been working on an exciting brand partnership. I can’t share much just yet, but if you are in or near New York City on May 17, I’ll be at a fun event where you can come hang out and say hello. Be sure to follow on Instagram and Facebook. I’ll be sharing all the details soon.

I also have an update on the flower planting situation at my current home. Earlier, I asked for advice on an irrigation system so that I could still plant flowers even if I’m not here to water them. Well, my friends at Grandin Road and Frontgate came to the rescue.

After doing a bit of research, I found out they sell self-watering planters! Genius. The planters are double walled so they can hold gallons of water between the layers. Because of this, the plants can go 2 to 6 weeks without watering.

Grandin Road Square Devon Planter - What's the Tea | Inspired by Charm

Frontgate Camden Planter - What's the Tea | Inspired by Charm

I ended up getting two of the Square Decor Planters for my front porch and a couple of the Camden planters for my back porch and deck.

While there will still be lots of activity at my house when I’m not here, I won’t have to bother my house sitters with plant watering. I also plan to buy a few succulents and cacti which likewise won’t require frequent watering. Once I get things planted, I’ll show you how the planters look and work.

I also found a solution for my mail delivery since I won’t be able to check the mailbox daily at my current house. (Thank you for all of your great suggestions, by the way.) I decided not to forward my mail because the US Postal Service will only do that for so long, and then I’m out of luck. I also didn’t want to change my address for all of my mailings.

So here’s my plan: a larger (and more secure) mailbox!

It turns out, you can buy large capacity mailboxes, similar to what the USPS uses to collect mail, but for a home. I purchased this one from Amazon.

Large Metal Package Mailbox - What's the Tea | Inspired by Charm

Although it’s a bit pricey, I think the investment is worth it. The quality is excellent, and it’s big enough to collect at least a week’s worth of mail. It’s also secure. The unit bolts to the floor, and there’s a guard inside so no one can reach in and access the delivered mail. I plan to be home a few times a month, so I can just sort through my mail and pay bills when I’m here. I think it will work out well.

In other news, I’m making some progress with the design plan for my apartment. I still need to take measurements of the space and get a feel of the flow, but I hope to share some ideas and thoughts with you soon. Stay tuned.

In addition, I’m spiffing up my current house so I can share a late spring/early summer home tour with you. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’ve been having a bit of a design dilemma lately. However, my new apartment has given me a confidence boost, so I’m excited to tackle my current space with renewed vigor.

Trophy Succulent Planter for the Kitchen | Inspired by Charm

Thank you in advance for your patience with me over the next month. Again, I’ll still be here, but maybe not quite as much as normal. Before I sign off for the day, here are some other goodies from around the web:

20 random facts about me.

The Wizard of Oz is one of my favorite movies, so I tend to love anything inspired by it. This video isn’t for the easily offended, but I’m totally in love with this song and video by Todrick Hall.

Speaking of tunes, do you need a good playlist for exercising? Check out my RUN playlist here. I also love this Tuesday Tunes 10 – You Are Amazing playlist for extra encouragement.

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo? Visit my series from last year for festive ideas and delicious recipes.

Kimmy Schmidt is back for another season. Hasbrown No Filter! Check out the new trailer here. Troll the respawn, Jeremy.

Happy Thursday, friends! Wow. Where did the week go? I need to apologize for my silence this week. In fact, things may be a bit quieter around here over the next month. Let me explain. As many of you know, in the coming weeks I’m “moving” to Pittsburgh. In preparation, I’ve been purging my current […]




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Join the conversation.






Tips, Tricks, and Ideas for Updating Your Guest Bedroom Decor | Inspired by Charm

Earlier this year I mentioned wanting to put the finishing touches on my guest bedroom. Well, I did. Today, I’m going show you my updated guest bedroom.

Tips, Tricks, and Ideas for Updating Your Guest Bedroom Decor | Inspired by Charm

As you know, I’m moving into a new place in a few weeks. (More details on that here.) To get ready, I’ve been cleaning, organizing, and clearing the clutter in my current home. It’s not going as quickly as I would like, but I am making progress. My goal is to completely rid this house of excess stuff (There’s a lot of it!) and to put everything in its proper place. My hope is that knowing where everything is will make the transition from home to home during the year go more smoothly.

All of that information probably isn’t relevant to this post, but I’m happy to be able to cross one room off my to-do list.

Tips, Tricks, and Ideas for Updating Your Guest Bedroom Decor | Inspired by Charm

As you might remember, a few years ago I painted this room and slowly started to redecorate. I don’t get many house guests, so finishing the space was never a high priority.

However, every month I write a post for the HomeGoods Design Happy blog, and this month’s post happened to be about bedrooms. I took this opportunity to put the finishing touches on this space (for now at least). You can check out my HomeGoods post here. It’s filled with tips for creating a cozy guest bedroom.

Tips, Tricks, and Ideas for Updating Your Guest Bedroom Decor | Inspired by Charm

Tips, Tricks, and Ideas for Updating Your Guest Bedroom Decor | Inspired by Charm

Getting wall decor for this space was a must. I ended up with this collection of rattan trays that I found in the outdoor section at HomeGoods. Three nails and five minutes later I had some classy wall art with great texture for under $40. Project complete!

Tips, Tricks, and Ideas for Updating Your Guest Bedroom Decor | Inspired by Charm

Tips, Tricks, and Ideas for Updating Your Guest Bedroom Decor | Inspired by Charm

I also updated several of the pillows. I found these gorgeous oversized white down-filled Ralph Lauren pillows (also at HomeGoods) that worked perfectly for the bed. I love them so much that they may end up moving with me to my new space.

Tips, Tricks, and Ideas for Updating Your Guest Bedroom Decor | Inspired by Charm

Tips, Tricks, and Ideas for Updating Your Guest Bedroom Decor | Inspired by Charm

I also added a couple new vases around the room. This allowed me to replace smaller items with larger statement pieces.

Tips, Tricks, and Ideas for Updating Your Guest Bedroom Decor | Inspired by Charm

The biggest change or addition to this room is the gorgeous light blue velvet chair. It is the perfect blend of traditional and modern so it works well with my eclectic style. I love the lines of the piece and the dark wood-grained legs, and it’s comfortable to boot. Every guest room should have a cozy chair. (The cats seem to agree.)

Tips, Tricks, and Ideas for Updating Your Guest Bedroom Decor | Inspired by Charm

Tips, Tricks, and Ideas for Updating Your Guest Bedroom Decor | Inspired by Charm

Tips, Tricks, and Ideas for Updating Your Guest Bedroom Decor | Inspired by Charm

Near the dresser, I swapped out an old, damaged mirror for something new. I fell in love with this big chunky wood mirror so it needed to come home with me. To be honest, I don’t love the wood-on-wood of the dresser and the mirror, but it works for now. The finish on the dresser is a bit “busted” so I might paint it down the road and change out the knobs. We’ll see.

Tips, Tricks, and Ideas for Updating Your Guest Bedroom Decor | Inspired by Charm

Tips, Tricks, and Ideas for Updating Your Guest Bedroom Decor | Inspired by Charm

And that’s pretty much it. Guest bedroom complete.

Tips, Tricks, and Ideas for Updating Your Guest Bedroom Decor | Inspired by Charm

In case you are wondering about some of the other pieces in the space:
bedframe is vintage / chandelier is from ZGallerie (no longer for sale) / art is from Lindsay Letters / trunk is from HomeGoods / lamps are from Lamps Plus / curtains and rods are from Pottery Barn / rug is from Urban Outfitters (no longer for sale).

Details on all my paint colors can be found here.

Tips, Tricks, and Ideas for Updating Your Guest Bedroom Decor | Inspired by Charm

Tips, Tricks, and Ideas for Updating Your Guest Bedroom Decor | Inspired by Charm

I hope you enjoyed this look at my updated guest bedroom.

Earlier this year I mentioned wanting to put the finishing touches on my guest bedroom. Well, I did. Today, I’m going show you my updated guest bedroom. As you know, I’m moving into a new place in a few weeks. (More details on that here.) To get ready, I’ve been cleaning, organizing, and clearing the […]




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Sriracha Chicken Tacos - sweet and spicy Sriracha chicken taco recipe | Inspired by Charm
This post is sponsored by Sutter Home through the #SweetonSpice program.

There’s something about serving up a big spread of tacos with fixin’s that just hits the spot this time of year. In fact, it’s one of my go-to meals in the springtime because it’s so easy to pull together. Plus, if you pile your tacos high with lettuce, tomato, and avocado, it’s a fairly well-balanced meal. That’s a win-win in my book! Today, I’m inviting you to join in the taco fun with my recipe for Sriracha Chicken Tacos!

Sriracha Chicken Tacos - sweet and spicy Sriracha chicken taco recipe | Inspired by Charm

In case you’re not familiar with sriracha, it’s a type of hot sauce. It has a unique spicy flavor, and in recent years, it’s become rather trendy.

Sriracha Chicken Tacos - sweet and spicy Sriracha chicken taco recipe | Inspired by Charm

The only thing better than tacos is tacos and wine, and recently, my friends over at Sutter Home hooked me up with a couple bottles of their White Zinfandel. Sutter Home’s White Zinfandel is an excellent sidekick for these Sriracha Chicken Tacos. The heat from the sriracha is perfectly balanced with the refreshing sweetness of the wine. In fact, because this White Zinfandel has a medium level of sweetness, it pairs wonderfully with many Mexican dishes. (You’re salivating, right? I knew it! )

Sriracha Chicken Tacos - sweet and spicy Sriracha chicken taco recipe | Inspired by Charm

Sriracha Chicken Tacos - sweet and spicy Sriracha chicken taco recipe | Inspired by Charm

Okay, now let’s pour a glass and whip up some tacos.

Start by marinating the chicken for 15-20 minutes. (If you’re able to plan ahead, a couple hours would be even better.)

Sriracha Chicken Tacos - sweet and spicy Sriracha chicken taco recipe | Inspired by Charm

While the chicken is marinating, chop and prep the rest of your taco toppings. My suggested toppings are in the recipe, but you’re welcome to add whatever you like.

In addition to the White Zinfandel, there’s also a sour cream sauce that goes beautifully with this recipe. Made from sour cream, honey, lime juice, and cilantro, the sauce helps to cool down the spiciness of the sriracha.

Sriracha Chicken Tacos - sweet and spicy Sriracha chicken taco recipe | Inspired by Charm

Once everything is prepped, pile up your tacos, and pour your wine. Dinner is served!

Sriracha Chicken Tacos - sweet and spicy Sriracha chicken taco recipe | Inspired by Charm

Sriracha Chicken Tacos - sweet and spicy Sriracha chicken taco recipe | Inspired by Charm

I love how all of the elements of these tacos create an amazingly well-balanced dish. And don’t worry. They aren’t overly spicy. In my opinion, it’s the perfect amount of heat. However, feel free to add more or less sriracha to suit your taste.

I know you’re going to love these.

Sriracha Chicken Tacos - sweet and spicy Sriracha chicken taco recipe | Inspired by Charm

Sriracha Chicken Tacos

Makes 6-8 tacos

Here's what you will need:

2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
3 tablespoons sriracha sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Salt and pepper

6-8 soft taco shells (You can also use hard shells,)
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cubed
1 cup, Monterey jack cheese, shredded
1-2 cups mixed greens
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
Sriracha to garnish (Optional)

Sour Cream Sauce:
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons cilantro, finely chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon sriracha sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large plastic bag, combine the sriracha sauce, honey, lime juice, ground ginger, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix together. Add the chicken, coat with the marinade, and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes or up to 3 hours. The chicken can then be cooked on the grill, in the oven, or in a skillet on top of the stove. Cook the chicken until it is well done and no longer pink inside. When it's slightly cool but still hot, cut it into cubes.

While your chicken is marinating, prepare the sour cream sauce by whisking together the sour cream, cilantro, lime juice, honey, sriracha, and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

Add the hot chicken to the taco shells. Top with cheese, mixed greens, green onions, and avocado; then drizzle with sour cream sauce. (Drizzling with additional sriracha is optional.) Serve immediately.

Print

Sriracha Chicken Tacos - sweet and spicy Sriracha chicken taco recipe | Inspired by Charm
Sriracha Chicken Tacos - sweet and spicy Sriracha chicken taco recipe | Inspired by Charm

If you love tacos and the combination of sweet and spicy, these guys are for you. Serve them with Sutter Home White Zinfandel for a #SweetonSpice pairing that is guaranteed to impress your guests.

Sriracha Chicken Tacos - sweet and spicy Sriracha chicken taco recipe | Inspired by Charm

Cheers, friends!

 

This post was sponsored the makers of Sutter Home for the Sweet on Spice Program.
The content and opinions expressed here are my own.

This post is sponsored by Sutter Home through the #SweetonSpice program. There’s something about serving up a big spread of tacos with fixin’s that just hits the spot this time of year. In fact, it’s one of my go-to meals in the springtime because it’s so easy to pull together. Plus, if you pile your tacos […]




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