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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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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Join the conversation.






How to create a Vertical Modern Herb Garden for your Kitchen | Inspired by Charm

Happy Friday, friends! I hope you had an outstanding week. It went by in a blur for me. I’m in the midst of doing work for clients, attempting to spring clean, and purging my house of “stuff” like my life depends on it. As much as I love shopping and decorating with new things, clearing the clutter can often feel just as good, if not better.

This past Sunday I worked on a fun project in my kitchen, and today I thought I’d share it with you. I’m actually teaming up with a few of my blogger friends again for an indoor flower and plant tour. So, if you’re following along and joining from the fabulous Kathleen of Lindsay Hill Interiors, welcome! I’m so happy you found your way here.

We are showing you different ways to decorate and style with flowers and plants, so I thought you might be interested in my new Modern Kitchen Herb Garden. Here it is:

How to create a Vertical Modern Herb Garden for your Kitchen | Inspired by Charm

How to create a Vertical Modern Herb Garden for your Kitchen | Inspired by Charm

Pretty cute, right?

You might remember that previously I had vintage red shutters hanging on this section of the wall. (Check out this post about my kitchen if you don’t.) And, as much as I loved them, and still do, I wanted to mix things up and try something new.

How to create a Vertical Modern Herb Garden for your Kitchen | Inspired by Charm

As someone who loves to cook, I like the idea of having fresh herbs in the kitchen. Herbs are so handy for adding bright, fresh flavor to many dishes. Plus, they can make a great garnish for main course items, desserts, and cocktails. Having herbs within arm’s reach is a big bonus in my book.

How to create a Vertical Modern Herb Garden for your Kitchen | Inspired by Charm

Modern Kitchen Herb Garden | Inspired by Charm

If you know me well, you know that every year I try some sort of new herb planter. (Remember my DIY version from last summer?) This year I’m going to be able to check that annual project off my list a bit earlier.

However, I almost felt like I was cheating with this particular project because it was so simple. I found these black ceramic wall planters at West Elm (I’ve used the 4″ size.) and immediately knew they’d be perfect for the look I wanted to achieve.

Modern Kitchen Herb Garden | Inspired by Charm

Modern Kitchen Herb Garden | Inspired by Charm

After taking a few measurements, marking the locations for the screws, and putting the screws into the wall, the project was complete. Literally, in under 30 minutes, my modern kitchen herb garden was installed. I love it!

Modern Kitchen Herb Garden | Inspired by Charm

Modern Kitchen Herb Garden | Inspired by Charm

The only (slight) concern I have is that the pots do not have drainage holes. (It makes sense that they don’t because no one wants dirt and water spilling out onto the floor.) To provide some drainage, I lined the bottom of each pot with small stones before adding the soil and plants. We’ll see how the herbs fare. Worst case scenario: I can switch them out with succulents.

How to create a Vertical Modern Herb Garden for your Kitchen | Inspired by Charm

How to create a Vertical Modern Herb Garden for your Kitchen | Inspired by Charm

Regardless of what fills the pots down the road, because this wall is opposite a window, and my kitchen gets a lot of sunlight, it’s a good spot for plants. Right now I’m going to enjoy these delightful herbs.

Oh, and while I was at it, I added a few succulent to my little trophy vases I found at Michael’s.

Trophy Succulent Planter for the Kitchen | Inspired by Charm

Trophy Succulent Planter for the Kitchen | Inspired by Charm

What do you think of my little kitchen garden? What are your spring indoor planting plans?

How to create a Vertical Modern Herb Garden for your Kitchen | Inspired by Charm

For more flower and plant inspiration, be sure to continue on the blog tour. Up next is Sheila from Maison de Cinq. Click on over and see what pretty project she has in store for you. I know you’ll be inspired.

Have a happy weekend (and a Happy Easter, too)!

Happy Friday, friends! I hope you had an outstanding week. It went by in a blur for me. I’m in the midst of doing work for clients, attempting to spring clean, and purging my house of “stuff” like my life depends on it. As much as I love shopping and decorating with new things, clearing […]




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My Experience on Jenny Craig. - Jenny, My New BFF | Inspired by Charm
Thank you Jenny Craig for sponsoring this post. Tried other diets? It’s time for Jenny Craig.

And by BFF, I mean Best Fat Fighter. And by fat fighter, I mean I’m losing weight.

As you know from an earlier post, I’ve partnered with Jenny Craig for three months to help me with some of my weight loss goals. Before I even knew what was happening, I had gained some weight, my clothes weren’t fitting as they should, and I just wasn’t feeling good about my body. While I wish I had started this whole weight loss adventure sooner, I didn’t. However, I am so glad that working with Jenny Craig is helping me achieve my goals.

My Experience on Jenny Craig. - Jenny, My New BFF | Inspired by Charm

Last time I chatted about this, I was down 8 pounds. I’m excited to report that now 5 weeks into the program, I’ve lost 5 more pounds for a total of 13 pounds.* My goal is 25-30 pounds, so I’m on track and still super excited.

*Members following the Jenny Craig program, on average, lose 1-2 lbs. per week. I received promotional consideration.

It was serendipitous that I was able to start on this program when I did. I’m the type of person who needs to go all into something so this pogram fits perfectly into my plan to become a better and happier me. While I’m still working toward my goal, I’m already starting to feel more confident about how I look. (It’s hard to be confident when you’re busy sucking in your gut so your shirt doesn’t look stretched. Right?)

My Experience on Jenny Craig. - Jenny, My New BFF | Inspired by Charm

I will readily admit that, in general, diets are not easy for me. This one is no exception. As I’ve told you, I’ve been tempted by jelly beans and delicious spring treats. However, what’s great about the Jenny Craig program is that I always have food, a plan, and my consultant Kim to keep me on track. The food is in my freezer and pantry, ready for me to start over with a fresh new day if I happened to “mess up” during the previous one.

The program has also taught me a lot about when and how much to eat. I’m so blessed to be able to work from home, but being 20 steps from my kitchen often makes eating way too tempting. Now, because I’m eating 6 times a day (3 main meals and 3 snacks), there’s no need to be sneaking things in between. However, if I do feel the need for more, there’s a list of Fresh & Free Additions that I can enjoy guilt free. These additions may not be cupcakes, but they’re healthy, and they keep me feeling full.

My Experience on Jenny Craig. - Jenny, My New BFF | Inspired by Charm

I love that I don’t have to think about what I’m going to cook or eat. In fact, this might be my favorite part. (Well, losing weight is my favorite, but you get what I mean.) Running my own business and being my own boss means that I have to make every single decision. Not having to also plan what I’ll eat is the bomb-dot-com-forward-slash- awesome. You can take a peek at some of the food options here.

My Experience on Jenny Craig. - Jenny, My New BFF | Inspired by Charm

I’m so excited to be continuing the program through May, which means I should be “lookin’ fine and feelin’ great” for my move to Pittsburgh. I’ll pop back in again to let you know my final results. Maybe I’ll even share a picture or two. (My transformation definitely won’t be as dramatic as Mama June’s.)

My Experience on Jenny Craig. - Jenny, My New BFF | Inspired by Charm

If you have any questions about the program that I can answer, let me know in the comments. You can also check out the Jenny Craig website to find the plan that works best for you, check out some their current offers, and take a look at all of their tasty food options. (And yes, all of the food items in the photos of this post are Jenny Craig foods.)

I know I’ve said this before, but thank you so much for your support through this crazy and amazing journey we call life. I feel exceedingly blessed and honored.

 

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

Thank you Jenny Craig for sponsoring this post. Tried other diets? It’s time for Jenny Craig. And by BFF, I mean Best Fat Fighter. And by fat fighter, I mean I’m losing weight. As you know from an earlier post, I’ve partnered with Jenny Craig for three months to help me with some of my weight loss […]




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Strawberry Cheerio Treat Bars - spring summer dessert recipe strawberry bar treat | Inspired by Charm

It’s looking like I might be that blogger who makes treat bars with every new flavor of Cheerios. I’m cool with that! My latest: Strawberry Cheerio Treat Bars.

Strawberry Cheerio Treat Bars - spring summer dessert recipe strawberry bar treat | Inspired by Charm

A couple years ago I shared the recipe for my friend Emily’s Cheerio Treat Bars. This past fall I adapted that recipe using the new Pumpkin Spice Cheerios. So of course, when I spotted these new Strawberry Cheerios at the store last week, my mind immediately turned to treat bars.

Strawberry Cheerio Treat Bars - spring summer dessert recipe strawberry bar treat | Inspired by Charm

However, I was on a shopping mission and didn’t give the cereal any more thought until later in the day when I got a message from my friend @SweetShadeLane on Twitter. She tweeted me an image of a box of the new Cheerios which led to a discussion of how these new treat bars should be created. While I knew that white chocolate was a must, she suggested using freeze-dried strawberries. I was immediately sold. So a big thank you to her for helping me decide on the ingredients for these Strawberry Cheerio Treat Bars.

Strawberry Cheerio Treat Bars - spring summer dessert recipe strawberry bar treat | Inspired by Charm

Strawberry Cheerio Treat Bars - spring summer dessert recipe strawberry bar treat | Inspired by Charm

If you’ve never made a bar like this, you need to know that they are so simple! It’s one of the reasons I love them. The process is the same as for making crispy rice treats, but a few extra ingredients are used.

White chocolate chips, corn syrup, butter, and mini marshmallows (Hey, I didn’t say these bars are healthy!) get melted in the microwave until smooth. Then the cereal goes in. I also mixed in a cup of roughly chopped freeze-dried strawberries.

Strawberry Cheerio Treat Bars | Inspired by Charm

Strawberry Cheerio Treat Bars - spring summer dessert recipe strawberry bar treat | Inspired by Charm

Mix everything together as quickly possible because the mixture will start to stiffen up pretty fast. Pour the cheerio mixture into a greased pan and press the mixture down with your hands. Then drizzle melted white chocolate on top and sprinkle with a few more chopped freeze-dried strawberries. That’s it, folks. I told you these treats were easy.

Strawberry Cheerio Treat Bars - spring summer dessert recipe strawberry bar treat | Inspired by Charm

Strawberry Cheerio Treat Bars - spring summer dessert recipe strawberry bar treat | Inspired by Charm

And they’re yummy, too! They are a bright and fruity take on the classic, making them perfect for spring and summer. Plus, who doesn’t love a delicious, fantastic-looking snack that you can whip up in 15 minutes. Right?.

Strawberry Cheerio Treat Bars - spring summer dessert recipe strawberry bar treat | Inspired by Charm

Strawberry Cheerio Treats Bars

Makes 24 bars

Here's what you will need:
11 oz. bag (about 1 ½ cups) white chocolate chips
3/4 cup light corn syrup
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
Pinch of salt
1 cup freeze-dried strawberries, roughly chopped
6 cups Strawberry Cheerios
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup freeze-dried strawberries, finely chopped

Lightly spray a 9x13" cake pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, microwave white chocolate chips, light corn syrup, butter, mini marshmallows, and a pinch of salt on high for 2-3 minutes or until smooth. Stir after each minute.

Add the Cheerios and 1 cup strawberries and quickly mix them in until they are evenly coated.

Press the Cheerio mixture into your prepared pan. Press with a spoon (or your hand) that's been lightly sprayed with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, melt the white chocolate chips in the microwave. Heat at 30-second intervals, stirring in between. Heat until smooth; then stir in the cinnamon.

Add the melted white chocolate to a piping bag (or plastic baggie) and then snip off the tip to drizzle the chocolate over the bars. Sprinkle with finely chopped freeze-dried strawberries before the chocolate sets.

Refrigerate for about one hour or until firm. Slice and serve. Store in an airtight container.

Print

Strawberry Cheerio Treat Bars - spring summer dessert recipe strawberry bar treat | Inspired by Charm

Pretty, right? Those bright red strawberries made all the difference.

Strawberry Cheerio Treat Bars - spring summer dessert recipe strawberry bar treat | Inspired by Charm

If you liked these bars, be sure to check out the original Cheerio Treat Bars here and my Pumpkin Spice Cheerio Treats bars here.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheerio Treat Bars | Inspired by Charm

Butterscotch Pumpkin Cheerio Treat Bars | Inspired by Charm

Now if I can come up with something for winter, we’ll have Cheerio treat bars for every season.

Enjoy!

It’s looking like I might be that blogger who makes treat bars with every new flavor of Cheerios. I’m cool with that! My latest: Strawberry Cheerio Treat Bars. A couple years ago I shared the recipe for my friend Emily’s Cheerio Treat Bars. This past fall I adapted that recipe using the new Pumpkin Spice […]




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16 Wow-Worthy Easter Recipe Ideas for an Epic Easter Celebration

It wasn’t until a few months ago that I I realized I hadn’t created any Easter content during the first eight years of IBC’s existence. How was that even possible? Clearly, I have made up for it this year with lots of festive ideas, decor, recipes, and bunnies.

With the holiday less than a week away, I thought I’d put together a recap of all of the Easter fun we’ve had on the blog these past two months. I’m also bringing in a few of my favorite ideas from blogger friends to give you a total of 16 Wow-Worthy Easter Ideas and Recipes.

Whether you’re hosting Easter, heading to family or friends, or just enjoying the day by yourself, I hope one or two of these ideas makes its way into your home or tummy. And if you don’t do Easter, with a few simple tweaks, any of these ideas could make the perfect way to celebrate spring.

Let’s get to it! (Click on the image or text in teal to be directed to the recipe / red.)

1. To start, I must mention my favorite sugar-overload-inspired treat: Easter Dessert Kabobs! Skewered in a rainbow of sweetness, it’s a taste of all of your favorites.

Easter Dessert Kabobs - Spring / Easter rainbow dessert recipe | Inspired by Charm

2. & 3. You can also grab the recipe for my Carrot Cake Truffles and The Ultimate Coconut Cupcakes which were two of the homemade sweets I skewered to make the kabobs.

Carrot Cake Truffles for spring and Easter dessert - carrot cake pops | Inspired by Charm

The Ultimate Coconut Cupcakes | Inspired by Charm

4. Do you still need to dye some eggs? My pal Leah from Freutcake will teach you how to do it with blueberries. The results speak for themselves.

How to Dye Easter Eggs with Blueberries - Delicious and Beautiful Easter Recipes and Decor Ideas

5. Julie Blanner is the queen of effortless centerpieces so of course, she’d have a few tips for Easter. Check out her idea for using tulips and a basket.

Tulip Easter Centerpiece - Delicious and Beautiful Easter Recipes and Decor Ideas

6. Need more Easter table decor ideas? Then don’t miss the post where I shared tips for styling an eclectic and colorful Easter table.

Easter and spring decorating ideas - An Eclectic and Colorful Easter Table | Inspired by Charm

7. Feeling fancy? Chelsea of Lovely Indeed made waffles and garnished them with edible flowers. I’m certain these are the prettiest waffles I’ve ever seen.

Edible Flower Waffles - Delicious and Beautiful Easter Recipes and Decor Ideas

8. If you love the combination of peanut butter and chocolate, you’re going to go gaga for this Peanut Butter Sheet Cake decorated with peanut butter eggs.

Peanut Butter Sheet Cake - easy and delicious peanut butter cake recipe for any celebration | Inspired by Charm

9. Want more peanut butter for your celebration? Try these Soft Peanut Butter Cookies for Spring.

Soft Peanut Butter Cookies for Spring and Easter - peanut butter and chocolate cookie dessert recipe

10. Maria from Two Peas and Their Pod also has a treat I think you’ll love: Easter Saltine Toffee. The sprinkles and M&Ms are a lovely spring touch.

Easter Saltine Toffee - Delicious and Beautiful Easter Recipes and Decor Ideas

11. And speaking of gorgeous, take a look at these Vanilla Cotton Candy Easter Cupcakes from Cyd of The Sweetest Occasion.

Cadbury Mini Egg Cupcakes - Delicious and Beautiful Easter Recipes and Decor Ideas

12. Add a themed cocktail to your celebration with my Cottontail Martini. A coconut rim and marshmallow “tail” make this drink look as great as it tastes.

Cottontail Martini - a coconut martini cocktail recipe for spring and Easter.

13. And while we’re on the subject of cocktails, dress up your bar cart with bunnies and a few other touches of the season. I’m teaching you how to style a spring bar cart.

Spring Bar Cart | Inspired by Charm

14. For more coconut goodness, how about these classic Easter Coconut Macaroon Nests? Use your favorite candy eggs to make them personal.

Coconut Macaroon Nests | Inspired by Charm

15. Surprise! These spring cupcakes have a little secret. I packed them with vanilla cupcake M&Ms.

Surprise-Inspired Spring Cupcakes - cupcake dessert recipe for Spring and Easter | Inspired by Charm

16. And one more treat from Julie Blanner – her adorable bunny butt cake. I couldn’t resist!

Adorable Bunny Butt Cake - Delicious and Beautiful Easter Recipes and Decor Ideas

And there you have it – 16 Wow-Worthy Easter Ideas and Recipes. Enjoy all of the deliciousness!

It wasn’t until a few months ago that I I realized I hadn’t created any Easter content during the first eight years of IBC’s existence. How was that even possible? Clearly, I have made up for it this year with lots of festive ideas, decor, recipes, and bunnies. With the holiday less than a week […]




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The Best Homemade Kung Pao Chicken recipe | Inspired by Charm

This post is sponsored by Carnival Cruise Line.

Today we’re heading back into the kitchen, and believe it or not, this time we aren’t baking. Instead, I’ll be teaching you how to make Kung Pao Chicken.

The Best Homemade Kung Pao Chicken recipe | Inspired by Charm

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of sailing with Carnival Cruise Line on Carnival Vista, their newest ship. One of the many wonderful aspects of cruising is the amazing number of dining options on board for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between. On a weeklong cruise, you could eat something different at every meal.

Michael Wurm Jr - Carnival Cruise Line | Inspired by Charm

Carnival Cruise Line - Vista | Inspired by Charm

For dinner, you have the choice of enjoying the buffet, heading to the dining room (which most folks seem to do), or eating at one of the ship’s specialty restaurants. As delicious as the food is in the formal dining room, for me, the specialty restaurants are where it’s at. On the Carnival Vista, you’ll find Cucina del Capitano (Italian), Fahrenheit 555 (Steakhouse), and JiJi Asian Kitchen (Asian). There is an additional fee for dinner at each of these ($15-$35 per person), but it’s so worth it. On our recent cruise, my mom and I ate at each of the restaurants. We actually hit JiJi Asian Kitchen a second time for the Kung Pao Chicken. It was crazy delicious.

Now, two months after our cruise, I’m again craving that incredible Kung Pao Chicken. So what’s a boy to do? I decided to recreate the recipe at home. Although it doesn’t quite live up to the version at JiJi Asian Kitchen, it’s pretty close, and it definitely satisfied my craving.

The Best Homemade Kung Pao Chicken recipe | Inspired by Charm

The Best Homemade Kung Pao Chicken recipe | Inspired by Charm

To make this Kung Pao Chicken recipe, I did research online and found a variety or recipes that had similar flavor profiles. With a bit of testing and combining of recipes, I’ve come up with a dish I’m proud to share with you.

The Best Homemade Kung Pao Chicken recipe | Inspired by Charm

Typically, Kung Pao Chicken is fairly spicy thanks to the dried chili peppers included in most recipes. Since I prefer a little less heat in my food, I opted to leave the dried chilis out. Instead, I put in crushed red pepper flakes. To get the level of spiciness you like, you can just add more pepper flakes.

The Best Homemade Kung Pao Chicken recipe | Inspired by Charm

The Best Homemade Kung Pao Chicken recipe | Inspired by Charm

No matter what your heat preference is, I think you’re going to love this recipe. And while I can’t take you all on a Carnival Cruise (I wish.), I can at least share a taste of the cuisine!

The Best Homemade Kung Pao Chicken recipe | Inspired by Charm

Kung Pao Chicken

Serves 4

Here's what you will need:

1 pound boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (Use more for added heat.)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 medium green bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, roughly chopped
1/3 cup roasted peanuts
5 green onions, chopped
Cooked white rice for serving

Marinade:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vingar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
3 teaspoons cornstarch

In a medium-sized bowl, prepare the marinade by whisking together soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, sesame oil, and cornstarch. Add the chicken and stir to coat. Let stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes.

In another bowl, prepare the sauce by whisking together the soy sauce, dark soy sauce, hoisin sauce, balsamic vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, and cornstarch. Set aside.

In a wok (or large skillet) over medium heat, add the peanut oil. Stir in the crushed red pepper flakes. Add the red and green bell peppers. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the peppers are slightly softened. Stir in the minced garlic and ginger. Cook for an additional minute. Add the chicken with a slotted spoon (no need to include extra marinade). Cook the chicken for 4-5 minutes or until it's thoroughly cooked.

Add the sauce to the chicken and mix it to coat the chicken. Stir in the peanuts and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and toss in half of the chopped green onions. Transfer to a serving plate; sprinkle the top with the remaining green onions. Serve with white rice.

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The Best Homemade Kung Pao Chicken recipe | Inspired by Charm

Talk about a dish that’s loaded with flavors. – This is it!

While baking and making appetizers have been my forte, I can certainly see myself getting more into actual cooking. Just as long as everything tastes as good as this.

The Best Homemade Kung Pao Chicken recipe | Inspired by Charm

If you give this recipe a try, be sure to swing back and let me know what you think.

For more information about Carnival Cruise Line and their many dining options, head on over to their website. Also, be sure to visit Away We Go for more cruising-related content and advice from me and other bloggers.

This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind. Head on over.

This post is sponsored by Carnival Cruise Line. Today we’re heading back into the kitchen, and believe it or not, this time we aren’t baking. Instead, I’ll be teaching you how to make Kung Pao Chicken. Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of sailing with Carnival Cruise Line on Carnival Vista, their newest ship. […]




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The State of My Design | Inspired by Charm

To follow up on my most recent “What’s the Tea” post, today I wanted to write a bit more about where my head has been lately in relation to design and home decor. I’m not sure how useful this post will be in terms of helping you design your own space. I’m writing this (draining my brain) in an effort to gain some clarity, feedback, and ultimately, confidence.

My love affair with home decorating and design began years ago. Sometime in my tweens, I sketched exactly what my future home would look like: white farmhouse style with green shutters and a big wraparound porch. I used to be a paperboy, and thoughts of this future house would occupy my mind as I delivered newspapers. Without fail, I noticed the details of existing houses in the neighborhood and new homes being built.

Later in my tweens, I took it upon myself to repaint my bedroom. This was when sponge painting was the thing (Remember that?) I went for dark green over white. It was hideous, but I was obsessed with it, and back then no one could convince me that it wasn’t beautiful. A few years later, the sponge painting had to go. My room got a fresh coat of a light green color. (Apparently, I was super into green) I ordered my own curtains online, made curtain rods from old staircase spindles, and turned a window I picked up on the side of the road into a mirror. Also, one summer I designed and planted the landscaping around my mom’s new deck. Needless to say, my love for designing and creating goes way back.

The State of My Design | Inspired by Charm

So where does this leave me today? Well, to be honest, (and you might already know this because sometimes I get way too personal), I’ve always struggled with self-confidence in most aspects of my life. Although this blog is my full-time career and I am pleased with much of my work, there are times I feel like I’m not very good at it, and that one of these days the jig will be up. (And yes, the numbers tell me that my fears are not well founded, but that doesn’t stop me from thinking it.)

I also realize that home design is highly subjective. No matter what I do or how I decorate, some people will love it, and others will hate it. That’s why one of my commandments for home decorating is: If you love it and it brings you joy, then go for it. At the end of the day, it truly doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.

The State of My Design | Inspired by Charm

However, after saying all that, I think my current struggle with decorating is that I feel my design choices do matter. Because this is my business, I recognize that people liking what I do is essential for me to survive (i.e., buy food, pay bills).

Social media also contributes to my concern. (I am aware that my own neuroses/self-confidence issues are really the culprit with this.) These days, there’s definitely a desire and need to “be perfect,” get it right EVERY time, and please everyone who comes in contact with my work via social media.

And the pressure is amplified in the blogging community. By and large, IBC is a one-man operation. There are bloggers who have teams (assistants, photographers, stylists, people who handle social media, managers, writers, etc.). Competing on that level is essentially impossible. (Though I certainly try my best.) These days, some blogs are design firms or corporations, and I’m just little ole me hanging on as the pressure to keep up rises. (High fives to all of the bloggers out there who are doing things on their own. You have my utmost respect.)

Does all of this make any sense? I probably could go on for days, but I suspect you get the picture. I also should say that I’m crazy in love with my job. I’m not asking for sympathy, praise, or admiration. I’m just attempting to explain.

The State of My Design | Inspired by Charm

Beyond all of that, my other design hurdle is the fact that I like so many styles. I read and follow a variety of blogs and designers, and there’s so much great work out there. Pinpointing one style to follow just isn’t going to happen for me. Farmhouse, mid-century modern, preppy, rustic, colorful, white walls, graphic rugs, neutral rugs … I want it all. And there’s nothing wrong with that. However, it does make designing a bit overwhelming for me.

In my home, I’ve attempted to blend styles. I think my dining room is the best example. I have a farmhouse table, modern and traditional chairs, a green primitive cabinet, and modern artwork. It’s surely a mismatch, but somehow it works. Right?

The State of My Design | Inspired by Charm

Again, as I’ve mentioned way too much lately, the past couple years have been challenging personally, so I think that has amplified my feeling of “not good enough,” which in turn, has impacted my design creativity and willingness to share. That’s why IBC has been brimming with recipes. It’s harder to criticize a beautiful and delicious cupcake. Right?

So now what? Where do I go from here? My current home needs a refresh, I’m about to move into a new space, and I want to do what I love so much.

Clearly, not designing and complaining about not designing isn’t getting me anywhere so I’m going to try acting “as if.” This concept was presented to me a few weeks ago when I spoke to my therapist about my brother’s confidence and ability to not worry about what other people think. She told me to try acting “as if.” Pretend you are confident. Pretend you don’t care what other people think.

It might seem or feel silly at first, but I really love this notion. Want to be happy? Start by acting as if you’re happy. Want to get motivated? Start by acting as if you’re motivated.

Act as if you are the person you want to be.

This may sound a bit far-fetched or wacky to some, but it’s very appealing to me. The idea is that after acting this way for so long, it starts to become your reality. Pretty soon you’re not acting as if anymore. You’re just happier, more confident. You’re a person who likes to go to the gym. You’re a person who doesn’t need a cupcake to feel happier.

Get it? It’s worth a shot, right?

There are so many aspects in my life where I could apply this principle. And since I’m moving to a new city soon, there are so many reasons that now is the time to do it.

The State of My Design | Inspired by Charm

So, I hope all of my rambling makes a little sense, provides some clarity, and maybe even inspires some of you. As always, I will report back on my progress. In case I forget, be sure to remind me.

Also, I had intentions of sharing some of my current favorite designers and sources of home decor inspiration in this post, but this got much longer than I expected so I’m going to cut if off here and save that information for another day.

Until next time, friends…

To follow up on my most recent “What’s the Tea” post, today I wanted to write a bit more about where my head has been lately in relation to design and home decor. I’m not sure how useful this post will be in terms of helping you design your own space. I’m writing this (draining […]




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Free Spring Recipe Card Printable Download | Inspired by Charm

Last year I had so much fun creating and sharing a new recipe card printable with you each season that I’ve decided to do it again this year. Today I’m excited to bring to you the first recipe card of 2017. Check out the new (and totally free) Spring Recipe Card Printable!

Free Spring Recipe Card Printable Download | Inspired by Charm

What do you think?

As you can see, I opted for a new design and layout for 2017. Like last year, each season’s recipe card will have a similar layout and style, but the designs, graphics, and colors will be different. For spring, I went with a floral pattern. (Groundbreaking, I know.)

Free Spring Recipe Card Printable Download | Inspired by Charm

The cards are double sided so there’s plenty of room for the ingredients and directions for making your springtime favorites. As you can see, the watercolor floral design on the front is repeated on the back, however, there’s a subtle variation in the foliage.

Free Spring Recipe Card Printable Download | Inspired by Charm

Free Spring Recipe Card Printable Download | Inspired by Charm

While these cards are wonderful to print off and use in your own kitchen, I hope you’ll also give a stack to a friend. I promise they will add a special touch to fresh flowers, baked goods, or any simple gift.

Free Spring Recipe Card Printable Download | Inspired by Charm

Free Spring Recipe Card Printable Download | Inspired by Charm

You can also print and use the cards when entertaining. As I’ve mentioned here on IBC, when I entertain I like to have recipes on hand for guests to take (or snap a pic of with their phones) in case they want to recreate a dish at home. This makes sharing recipes super convenient. (And it eliminates scrambling two weeks later when I realize I forgot to email a friend the recipe I promised to send.)

Free Spring Recipe Card Printable Download | Inspired by Charm

I hope you enjoy this new design. You can download the recipe card printable here.

When you click there, you’ll also find links to last year’s cards in case you missed any of them or need to print more.

Also, those Carrot Cake Truffles can be found here.

Free Spring Recipe Card Printable Download | Inspired by Charm

And before I go: Props to Mike of Dash Creative who helped me execute my vision and created the handy download file for all of you. Thanks, Mike!

Last year I had so much fun creating and sharing a new recipe card printable with you each season that I’ve decided to do it again this year. Today I’m excited to bring to you the first recipe card of 2017. Check out the new (and totally free) Spring Recipe Card Printable! What do you […]




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Moving to Pittsburgh | Inspired by Charm

Kind of. Let me explain.

Yes, this spring I will be moving to Pittsburgh. If you’ve been following along for a while, you know that the past couple years haven’t been the best for me personally. I’ve been trying to think of ways to improve myself, my life, and my overall happiness. Earlier this year I mentioned the idea of moving to all of you and received lots of heartfelt, insightful comments in response. Some of you said, “get out of town,” while others urged me to stay put. Given the pros and cons of each choice, I decided to meet somewhere in the middle.

After much consideration, I decided to rent an apartment in Pittsburgh, which is just under three hours by car from my current house. I knew that I needed to make a change, and although Pittsburgh hadn’t been on my radar, the more I thought about it, the more sense it made.

Moving to Pittsburgh | Inspired by Charm

You may have some questions, so I’ll tell you what I can.

What about your house?
I am not selling my current home. My plan is to spend about 75% of my time in Pittsburgh and the other 25% in Saint Marys. Even though renting an another place is an added expense, it makes the most sense at this time. It will give me the opportunity to spread my wings and try something new without making a drastic move. After a year, if it’s not working, I won’t renew my lease, and my year it Pittsburgh will just be another chapter in my life story. If it’s working, I can decide the best way to proceed from there.

With that being said, based on my life plans, the sale of my current house is inevitable within the next couple years. So, throughout the coming year, I’m going to diligently work to clear the clutter, finish projects, and get the house “ready for sale.”. That way, when the time does come, the place will be ready.

I have set up a security system in my house in Saint Marys, and during the time I’m away, I will also have a bunch of folks who will check on it weekly. However, if anyone else is in a similar situation or has a summer home/vacation home, I do have a couple questions. What do you do about your mail when you are away for an extended time? Also, I’m going to greatly miss planting flowers. Does anyone have an automatic watering system they recommend? Thanks in advance!

What about your grandparents’ house?
I have had and still have the intention of buying my grandparents’ house some day. That option still remains, but it’s not a decision I need to make now. When the time comes, I will assess my current situation and make a decision then.

Where will your cats live?
I haven’t traveled with my cats since I moved them from Philadelphia in 2008. So, I’m honestly not sure how it will go. Though, I’m certain they will adjust. (Any tips for a three-hour car drive with cats would be most welcome.) However, since I will be spending most of my time in Pittsburgh, they will make the move with me. I do plan to come home every couple of weeks for a day or two, but I won’t bring the cats unless I’m in Saint Marys for an extended time (e.g., the holidays).

Are you as sure about your decision as you seem?
There are moments when I’m thrilled and moments when I want to throw up. ( I think that’s normal.) I’m so excited about the blank pages that are before me. I can’t wait to try new things, meet new people, decorate a new space, walk to a coffee shop, take an art class, find my tribe, etc.

However, a part of me is petrified that I won’t make new friends and that I’m destined to repeat old habits. What if I make this move and nothing changes? What if it’s the same old story, just in a new zip code? To be honest, it’s totally possible. Because I’ve been somewhat isolated for the past year, it’s going to be a push for me to put myself out there. And while I’m committed to finding happiness and building a better personal life, I also know myself all too well.

In an effort to avoid the same old story, before the move, I’m committing myself to establishing some goals and pushing myself out of my comfort zone to ensure that I don’t look back at this opportunity with regret.

Moving to Pittsburgh | Inspired by Charm

Can you tell us more about your place?
You bet I can!

In March, I visited Pittsburgh and looked at several properties. I ended up with one I’m crazy about. It’s a two-bedroom apartment in a new complex. (I’ll actually be the first person to live in this apartment.) While I didn’t “need” a two-bedroom, it’s something that I really wanted in order to have a separate space for work. Since I work from home, It was important to me to be able to close the door at the end of my work day.

Moving to Pittsburgh | Inspired by Charm

Because I love natural light, the thing that sold me on this particular unit are the huge (almost floor-to-ceiling) windows in the open concept living room/kitchen. There’s also a small balcony off the kitchen. And a rolling island will be provided with the unit.

Moving to Pittsburgh | Inspired by Charm

The second bedroom (which will be my office) has a similar large window, which will be great for photography. The room that will function as my bedroom has a sizable window, though not quite as grand.

Moving to Pittsburgh | Inspired by Charm

Moving to Pittsburgh | Inspired by Charm

As you can see, this space has a more modern/industrial feel to it which is quite different from my current home. While I won’t go with an overly modern or industrial aesthetic in terms of decor, I am looking forward to experimenting with new and different ideas. Also, I am allowed to paint and change out light fixtures, so that has me excited as well.

Will you be moving all of your stuff?
No. I don’t plan on moving much. I’m looking to start fresh in this space. I will obviously decorate, but I’m hoping to keep the “stuff” to a minimum. (We’ll see how that goes because I love my “stuff.”) I think there’s joy in the “less is more” attitude so I want to give that a try. Plus, I want to avoid the hassle of moving a lot of stuff if at all possible.

I am very fortunate that my job allows me to share this journey with you. I’m not in a rush to have everything in place and furnished within a weekend. I’m looking forward to taking my time and sharing things with you along the way.

I do realize that having two places will be a challenge because I am going to need duplicates of everything (iron, coffee pot, dishes, etc.) I may end up bringing down extra things that I have here, thrifting some items, etc. I’ve also been saving up gift cards, reward dollars, etc. to help with some of the expense.

Will the move have an effect on IBC?
Yes and no. As I’ve been hinting, you can expect more home decor and decorating ideas will be on their way as I move into this new space. Since I will be living in a new city and be experiencing new things, I assume my content will evolve as it has with other changes in my life. My hope is that it’s for the best. I am totally committed to this little space on the internet and my career as a Lifestyle Blogger so it’s my hope that I will be here for years to come.

Moving to Pittsburgh | Inspired by Charm

I think that about covers everything for now. Obviously, I will be talking about this quite a bit in the future (hopefully not to the point of annoyance). If I missed something here, I’ll probably cover it at a later point. You’re also welcome to leave comments below. I can follow up with another post to answer more questions if needed.

I should be mostly settled (with the cats) in my new place toward the end of May. My lease starts sooner, but I have a work trip to NYC in May (details on that soon) and some other things happening, so it’s going to be a busy month. Before the official move in, I will need a mattress, a few supplies, and cozy spots for the kitties.

Again, I want to thank you for your comments, emails, messages, and support. I know I haven’t responded to them all, and I feel terrible about that. However, they mean so much to me, and each and every one helped me to come to this exciting decision.

I can’t wait to take you all on this new adventure. Look out Pittsburgh, here comes IBC!

Pittsburgh Image Source (Image 1 / Image 2)

Kind of. Let me explain. Yes, this spring I will be moving to Pittsburgh. If you’ve been following along for a while, you know that the past couple years haven’t been the best for me personally. I’ve been trying to think of ways to improve myself, my life, and my overall happiness. Earlier this year […]




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What's the Tea with IBC | Inspired by Charm

You’ve probably noticed that things have been a bit quiet around here this week. During the first four weeks of March, I created more than 21 posts which averages to about 5 posts per week. For one person, that’s a lot of content. I was so busy creating and writing that I forgot to look up and totally ran into a brick wall this week. I didn’t want you to think I dropped off the face of the earth, so I thought I’d pop back in with a little update post jut to chat about life and share a few housekeeping things. Sound good?

What's the Tea with IBC | Inspired by Charm

First, speaking of post writing, I had this idea to start a series here on IBC called ‘Behind the Blog’. Basically it would be a look at how blogging works, what I do on a daily basis, how blogging has changed over the years, etc. It’s not so much a tutorial on how to become a blogger (or be a better blogger), but more about how things work, why bloggers do what they do, how you can support your favorite bloggers, etc. Is this something you’d have an interest in reading?

Second, next week I’m launching a new/updated newsletter. In my continued effort to improve and try new things, the IBC newsletter will now be a weekly publication that comes out on Tuesdays. The newsletter will serve as a recap for all the content from the past week and include a personal note from me as well as a few other tidbits exclusive to the weekly email list. If you’re not subscribed to the IBC Mailing List, I hope you’ll do so by clicking here. For those of you who want daily updates, you always have the option getting blog posts delivered by email on a daily basis via FeedBurner. Click here to do that. (Then click on ‘Get Inspired by Charm’ delivered by email in the ‘Subscribe Now!’ box at the top of the page.) I’m really excited about this newsletter update. I think it will be a fun and new way to connect without clogging up your inboxes. Be sure to subscribe.

Third, even though I did hit a bit of a blogging wall this week, I already climbed over it, so content will resume next week. As I’ve mentioned here, I am looking forward to sharing more design, DIY, and home decor content in the very near future. To be honest with you, I’ve been struggling with design and home decor lately. While it always has been (and always will) be a passion for me, I feel that my love for so many different design styles coupled with the pressure to “be perfect” has my design sense in a completely confused funk. Overall, I guess I’m just not feeling confident about what I’m creating. (I may also write about all of this, so stay tuned for more.) However, I have two big projects coming up that involve redecorating my guest bedrooms. Plus, something even bigger on the horizon, which leads me to my next point…

And finally, I have a very exciting (but equally nerve-racking) life update (It’s a follow-up to my Sun-Dried Tomatoes post.) I think it will charge me and IBC up in the best possible way. *fingers crossed* I’m so happy to finally be able to share what’s happening in the coming months. This update is coming on Monday, so stop back then for the big announcement. (UPDATE: You can find this announcement HERE.)

What's the Tea with IBC | Inspired by Charm

With all that said, consider yourself caught up. I’m also linking up a few of my favorite things from around the web this week. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

The new song “Happy People” from Little Big Town
Julie Blanner’s adorable and delicious “Carrot” Cheeseball
MamaKatTV puts IBC’s Leprechaun’s Kiss Martini to the test
The cutest DIY Bunny Napkins
Amanda’s (I Am Baker) Rainbow Sugar Cookies
James Cordon as Belle literally had me LOLing
Rebel Wilson slaying Poor Unfortunate Souls as Ursula

Have a fabulous weekend!
Michael

You’ve probably noticed that things have been a bit quiet around here this week. During the first four weeks of March, I created more than 21 posts which averages to about 5 posts per week. For one person, that’s a lot of content. I was so busy creating and writing that I forgot to look […]




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Spotify Playlist for Spring - Tuesday Tunes 23 - Spring Awakening | Inspired by Charm

You’ve all been anxiously awaiting some new music for spring, right? Well, you’re in luck! Today I’m back with an all new Tuesday Tunes!

If you can believe it, we are now on our 23rd playlist (with a few other personal lists sprinkled in here and there). And, it’s officially been a year since I shared my first playlist “In Like a Lion.” I hope you’re enjoying listening to some of my favorite music. I know that my mom is, so at least I have one fan out there. Just kidding, I’ve noticed that many of you are following along, and I am thrilled and humbled.

Spotify Playlist for Spring - Tuesday Tunes 23 - Spring Awakening | Inspired by Charm

This new playlist, aptly titled Spring Awakening, is comprised of light, happy tunes with a bit of a beat. The songs are perfect for that first spring afternoon on your porch, an early morning walk through the neighborhood, or background music as you start spring cleaning. Some of my favorite selections on this list are from The Lumineers. Earlier this month I went to Pittsburgh with my family to see them in concert. It was an amazing show, so including them in this playlist was a must.


 

You can use the playlist above or listen directly on Spotify by clicking here.

Spotify Playlist for Spring - Tuesday Tunes 23 - Spring Awakening | Inspired by Charm

Be sure to subscribe to my profile for access to all of my tunes along with sneak listens of upcoming playlists. If you have a song I should hear, please share it in the comments below.

 

Wishing you a terrific Tuesday!

 

TUESDAY TUNES LIBRARY

You’ve all been anxiously awaiting some new music for spring, right? Well, you’re in luck! Today I’m back with an all new Tuesday Tunes! If you can believe it, we are now on our 23rd playlist (with a few other personal lists sprinkled in here and there). And, it’s officially been a year since I […]




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Learn how to make your own candles with this DIY Beeswax Candle making tutorial | Inspired by Charm

This post is sponsored by Carnival Cruise Line.

Being a self-proclaimed candle-acholic, it’s hard to believe I’ve never attempted making my own candles. However, this past weekend I finally dipped my toe into the candle-making pool, and now I may never get out. I loved it, so today, I thought I’d teach you how to create your own DIY Beeswax Candles!

Learn how to make your own candles with this DIY Beeswax Candle making tutorial | Inspired by Charm

For this post, I’m teaming up again with the wonderful folks of Carnival Cruise Line. During my last cruise, I had an opportunity to hang out at their Cloud 9 Spa. For me, it’s essential to enjoy some pampering when on vacation, and the spa offers that and more. It’s truly a treat for your senses.

Cloud 9 Spa Carnival Cruise Line

I have a strong sense of smell, so taking in the calming and soothing scents in the Cloud 9 Spa is my first cue to relax. In an effort to recreate that same feeling of relaxation at home, I decided to get crafty and make some candles of my own using beeswax and essential oils.

Learn how to make your own candles with this DIY Beeswax Candle making tutorial | Inspired by Charm

You may remember that in my “How to Decorate with Travel Souvenirs” post, I showed you a couple beautiful carved wood bowls. Those were another source of inspiration for this project as I wanted to put them to use, and I thought candles would be perfect.

Learn how to make your own candles with this DIY Beeswax Candle making tutorial | Inspired by Charm

And because one style of candle just wouldn’t be enough for this project, I also picked up this shallow ceramic bowl to create one of those large-scale candles I’ve been seeing everywhere.

Learn how to make your own candles with this DIY Beeswax Candle making tutorial | Inspired by Charm

Are you ready to get this candle making underway?

Learn how to make your own candles with this DIY Beeswax Candle making tutorial | Inspired by Charm

Here’s what you will need:
1/2 pound beeswax pellets
1/4 cup coconut oil
Wax dye
Essential oils (lavender and sandalwood)
Candlewick(s)
Wick sticker(s)
Vessel(s) for the candles
Large glass jar
Bamboo skewers
Tape

Learn how to make your own candles with this DIY Beeswax Candle making tutorial | Inspired by Charm

First, you’ll want to prepare your vessels for the wax. I found these great wick stickers that make it easy to attach a wick to the bottom of your vessel. In the center, l placed a wick sticker and then added the candlewick.

Learn how to make your own candles with this DIY Beeswax Candle making tutorial | Inspired by Charm

To keep the wick upright when pouring in the wax, secure it with a bamboo stick and tape.

Next, you’re ready to melt the wax. Begin by filling a large heatproof glass mason jar with the beeswax pellets. Then, fill a large saucepan with enough water so that the water level is slightly above the height of the beeswax. Place the jar into the water and heat the water until it reaches a gentle boil.

Learn how to make your own candles with this DIY Beeswax Candle making tutorial | Inspired by Charm

Allow the heat from the water to melt the beeswax. You can use an old wooden spoon to stir it every few minutes.

(Working with wax can be messy, so I recommend using older kitchen supplies that you don’t mind getting a little wax on.)

Once the beeswax has melted, turn off the heat. Then add coconut oil, and if desired, wax dye. A small amount of dye goes a long way so add a little at a time until you achieve the color you’re after. Finally, add 10-12 drops of essential oil. I used lavender for one candle and sandalwood for another. (Add more drops for a stronger scent.) Stir to combine the oil and wax.

Learn how to make your own candles with this DIY Beeswax Candle making tutorial | Inspired by Charm

Carefully pour the wax mixture into your prepared candle container. Let the candle set for at least a day before burning.

Learn how to make your own candles with this DIY Beeswax Candle making tutorial | Inspired by Charm

Learn how to make your own candles with this DIY Beeswax Candle making tutorial | Inspired by Charm

Prior to burning, trim your wicks to about 1/4-inch. Also, to avoid tunneling when burning your candles, it’s recommended that you let the candle burn for an hour or two the first time you light it. Essentially, you want to make sure the entire top melts on the first burn. Also, please remember to never leave a lit candle unattended.

Learn how to make your own candles with this DIY Beeswax Candle making tutorial | Inspired by Charm

And that’s it, friends. Your candles are ready to give you a relaxing, spa-like experience at home.

Learn how to make your own candles with this DIY Beeswax Candle making tutorial | Inspired by Charm

With a variety of wax colors, essential oils, and vessels, you can make candles that are perfectly suited to your home and style. That way, when you’re not relaxing at Carnival’s Cloud 9 Spa as you float through the Caribbean on Carnival’s newest ship, you can at least pretend you are.

For an even bigger at-home treat, pair your scented candle with some of my DIY bath bombs. You’re welcome.

This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind. Head on over.

This post is sponsored by Carnival Cruise Line. Being a self-proclaimed candle-acholic, it’s hard to believe I’ve never attempted making my own candles. However, this past weekend I finally dipped my toe into the candle-making pool, and now I may never get out. I loved it, so today, I thought I’d teach you how to […]




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Modern Farmhouse Mantel Decor Ideas for Spring Decorating | Inspired by Charm

Happy Friday, friends! I know many of you are excited about the weekend. I haven’t experienced the “Yay, It’s Friday” feeling since I was a kid. As an adult. I’ve never had a Monday – Friday / 9 – 5 job. When I worked in hospitality, it was “Weekends = Busy = You’re working.” It was the same when I ran my B&B, except that I was my own boss. Now that I’m a blogger, weekends are the time I can get more done because the emails stop and the rest of the world seems to quiet down.

Eventually, I would like to get myself on a schedule where the weekend actually means time off. Sounds nice, right?

Modern Farmhouse Mantel Decor Ideas for Spring Decorating | Inspired by Charm

Anywho, a couple weekends ago I hit up one of my favorite places, HomeGoods, to gather accessories to style two spring mantels for the HomeGoods Design Happy blog. While you’ve been getting peeks of them on Instagram (it’s so hard for me not to share), they are finally posted in all of their glory, so I thought I’d give you a look at them here. (You can check out the full post here.)

If you’ve ever shopped at HomeGoods, you know that as wonderful as the store can be, it can also be a bit frustrating. HomeGoods is one of the places I go to when I want to be inspired, find something unique, hunt for creative ideas, etc. It’s not necessarily the place to go when you’re looking for something super specific. Since their inventory is always changing and not all stores have the same things, for the best possible experience, I recommend going with an open mind rather than a checklist of specific items. It’s all about the hunt!

Modern Farmhouse Mantel Decor Ideas for Spring Decorating | Inspired by Charm

When I was shopping for my spring mantel, I didn’t follow my own advice and went looking for a particular style and color scheme. Needless to say, I was feeling defeated after circling the store a few times and not having any luck.

So, I took a deep breath to open my mind, and just like that, things fell into place. Even though my designs typically don’t fit the farmhouse category, when I saw these large galvanized lanterns, I thought they would be perfect for my mantel.

Modern Farmhouse Mantel Decor Ideas for Spring Decorating | Inspired by Charm

I also picked up a pair of these white utensil holders. I had been eyeing them for a few weeks. I love their shape and style and thought they’d be ideal for holding a plant or flowers. Thankfully, I was right.

Modern Farmhouse Mantel Decor Ideas for Spring Decorating | Inspired by Charm

A purple hyacinth plant from Trader Joe’s worked beautifully with the galvanized metal. (The tray with the copper rim was a Michaels’ find.)

Modern Farmhouse Mantel Decor Ideas for Spring Decorating | Inspired by Charm

The mantel came together beautifully. Simple and seasonal with just a pop of color.

For my second mantel idea, I went with a more modern farmhouse look. When I spotted these two mirror-backed houses, I thought they’d be great sitting on the mantel. (They are designed to hang on a wall.)

Modern Farmhouse Mantel Decor Ideas for Spring Decorating | Inspired by Charm

Since I went a bit hyacinth crazy at Trader Joe’s, I decided to tuck a few into the houses to add movement and break up the hard lines of the houses.

Modern Farmhouse Mantel Decor Ideas for Spring Decorating | Inspired by Charm

I was struggling with what else to use on the mantel, and then I remembered the cute rabbit print hanging in my bathroom. So I grabbed that and onto the mantle it went. It was perfect with a modern candelabra that I’d picked up at Target a few years ago.

Modern Farmhouse Mantel Decor Ideas for Spring Decorating | Inspired by Charm

Modern Farmhouse Mantel Decor Ideas for Spring Decorating | Inspired by Charm

I also added in this great modern teak stool  (from Grandin Road) at the base of the fireplace to bring it all together.

Modern Farmhouse Mantel Decor Ideas for Spring Decorating | Inspired by Charm

Again, it not fussy, and it’s spring-centric. But this time, there’s a pop of quirkiness. It works!

Modern Farmhouse Mantel Decor Ideas for Spring Decorating | Inspired by Charm

What do you think? Which mantel look is your favorite for spring? Be sure to hit the Design Happy blog for more details on both of these designs.

And whether you’re celebrating the arrival of the weekend or, like me, just continuing your work week, I hope today is a happy one for you.

Happy Friday, friends! I know many of you are excited about the weekend. I haven’t experienced the “Yay, It’s Friday” feeling since I was a kid. As an adult. I’ve never had a Monday – Friday / 9 – 5 job. When I worked in hospitality, it was “Weekends = Busy = You’re working.” It […]




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DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas | Inspired by Charm
This post is sponsored by DIGIORNO pizza. As always, all opinions are my own.

Last fall I taught you how to create a fantastic and festive DIY football party. Given that spring and March are all about the craze of basketball championships, I’m back with a few DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas!

DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas | Inspired by Charm

DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas | Inspired by Charm

I’m so excited to be partnering with DIGIORNO pizza again to share these colorful and creative ideas for any basketball parties you may be hosting this year. I love serving DIGIORNO pizza when entertaining not only because it’s delicious, but also because it saves time in the kitchen. DIGIORNO pizza lets you get the most out of every moment with your family and friends. After about 20 minutes in your oven, your pizza is piping hot and crispy and ready to serve. What’s not to love?

DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas | Inspired by Charm

In addition to having delicious pizza at my celebration, I decided to get a bit crafty with a few fun decorations.

“What are we making today?” you ask. To serve your pizza, we’re crafting some painted plates inspired by the black and white stripes of a referee’s shirt. Then, because dessert is essential to cap off any get-together, we’re going to make cupcake stands.

DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas - basketball party decor | Inspired by Charm

And finally, a festive garland (with a free printable from yours truly) is a must to display during the tournament.

DIY Printable Basketball Banner - DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas - basketball party decor | Inspired by Charm

Let’s get right into these fun projects! You know I have a thing for painted plates here on IBC, so this idea was one I was excited to create.

DIY Painted Plates - DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas | Inspired by Charm

The bold black and white stripes add a fun graphic element to the table and are definitely a good call when hosting a basketball-loving crowd.

DIY Painted Plates - DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas | Inspired by Charm

Plus, doesn’t the design make the pizza pop? For this party, I’m serving DIGIORNO Original RISING CRUST pizza. I chose the Original RISING CRUST Spinach, Mushroom & Garlic and the Original RISING CRUST Spicy Chicken Supreme.

DIY Painted Plates - DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas | Inspired by Charm

What I especially like about this pizza is the crust. It has a fresh-baked taste that can only come straight from your oven, it’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Yum!

DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas | Inspired by Charm

Okay, that’s enough talk for now. Let’s craft!

Black and White Striped Painted Plates

For this project, you will need:
White dinner plates (ideally, with a thick rim)
Black multi-purpose paint
Paintbrush
Painter’s tape
Craft knife

DIY Painted Party Dinner Plates - DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas | Inspired by Charm

Begin by taping off your design. I made two designs. One has stripes across the entire plate. The other has stripes just on the edge of the plate.

Sidenote: Check local discount retailers for inexpensive white plates to recreate this project on a budget. For a lower-fills party, you could also add paint to the edge of a paper or plastic plate for disposable fun.

DIY Painted Party Dinner Plates - DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas | Inspired by Charm

Paint the desired area of the plate using a multi-purpose non-toxic paint that you can cure in the oven. (This should be stated on the back of your paint.)

DIY Painted Party Dinner Plates - DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas | Inspired by Charm

Add another coat of paint for full coverage.

Once the paint has dried, use a craft knife around the edges of the taped areas to prevent the tape from peeling up the paint when removed. Remove all tape.

DIY Painted Party Dinner Plates - DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas | Inspired by Charm

As needed, touch up any areas of paint with a small paint brush or use the craft knife to scrape off any drips.

Allow the paint to dry for one hour. Then, cure the plates in an oven, making sure to follow the directions on the back of your paint container. (My particular paint instructed me to place the plates in a cool oven, heat the oven to 350 degrees F, and then bake them for 30 minutes. Allow plates to cool in the oven.)

DIY Painted Party Dinner Plates - DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas | Inspired by Charm

It’s amazing how a little paint can take something from plain to pretty! The bold black and white patter really make the DIGIORNO pizza pop!

Speaking of pretty, can we talk about these adorable basketball cupcake stands? They were probably my favorite things to make.

DIY Cupcake Stand - DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas | Inspired by Charm

A few wood plaques and some basketball foam balls came together to create this fun presentation. They are simple to make. Let me show you how.

DIY Cupcake Stand - DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas | Inspired by Charm

Basketball Cupcake Stands

For this project, you will need:
Round wood plaques
Dowel rod
Mini foam basketballs
Drill and drill bit
Black paint
Paintbrush
Wood glue

 

DIY Cupcake Stand - DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas | Inspired by Charm

Begin by using your drill to make holes in the center of the wood plaques. (To ensure a snug fit, the size of the drill bit should match the size of your dowel rod.) Drill 1/4-inch into each wood plaque. Do not go through to the other side.

DIY Cupcake Stand - DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas | Inspired by Charm

Paint both sides of the plaques and allow the paint to thoroughly dry.

DIY Cupcake Stand - DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas | Inspired by Charm

Use the drill to make a hole through the center of your foam basketballs.

DIY Cupcake Stand - DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas | Inspired by Charm

Cut the dowel rod to size. It should be the diameter of your foam basketball, plus 1/2 inch.

Insert the cut dowel rod through the basketball. Add a dab of wood glue to each drilled hole in the painted wood plaques. Insert one end of the dowel into the base and the other end into the top. Allow the glue to dry completely.

DIY Cupcake Stand - DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas | Inspired by Charm

How clever are these?! They are perfect for presenting a cupcake, but you could use them for general decor around your table should you decide not to serve cupcakes.

DIY Cupcake Stand - DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas | Inspired by Charm

DIY Cupcake Stand - DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas | Inspired by Charm

And finally, let’s finish off this celebration with a garland!

Printable Basketball Garland - DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas | Inspired by Charm

This garland might look familiar. I designed it to look similar to the football garland I created last fall. I like the idea of having coordinating garlands. That way, if you’re throwing a party with a general “sports” theme, you can easily combine the two if you wish.

Printable Basketball Garland - DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas | Inspired by Charm

Let me show you how to put the garland together. Again, it’s super simple.

Basketball Garland

For this project, you will need:
Basketball and referee pendant printable (It’s free! Download it here.)
Scissors
Twine
Mini clothespins

Printable Basketball Garland - DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas | Inspired by Charm

Begin by downloading the free printables. Print out the basketballs and referee pendants and use scissors to cut them out.

Printable Basketball Garland - DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas | Inspired by Charm

Then, using the mini clothespins, attach the cutouts to your twine. Once you hang your garland around your space or drape it across your table, you’re done!

Slam dunk! It’s that fast.

DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas | Inspired by Charm

Sidenote: You might have noticed that I used smaller basketball cutouts to garnish my cupcakes. To make those, I used the basketball printable, but when I printed it, I reduced the size by 50%. Then I cut out the small basketballs and glued each onto a toothpick. How easy is that?

DIY Cupcake Stand - DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas | Inspired by Charm

Simple touches like this truly help to tie things together at a party and having DIGIORNO pizza as the centerpiece will certainly help you rise to the occasion. Speaking of party, it’s time for our hoops celebration. Enjoy!

DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas | Inspired by Charm

DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas | Inspired by Charm

I hope you like this these DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas.

For more delicious pizza varieties, head to DIGIORNO.com! Visit DIGIORNO Pizza on Pinterest for more entertaining inspiration.  Follow DIGIORNO Pizza on InstagramFacebook and Twitter too!

This post is sponsored by DIGIORNO pizza. As always, all opinions are my own. Last fall I taught you how to create a fantastic and festive DIY football party. Given that spring and March are all about the craze of basketball championships, I’m back with a few DIY Basketball Entertaining Ideas! I’m so excited to be partnering […]




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